I think my obsession with red fruits and vegetables is growing with growing age. Be it red bell peppers or himalayan bay berries, strawberries or cherries. I like the way they brighten my life. Specially when I see cherries it takes me back in time. My father knew how much I love cherries and at the outset of season he would get for me cartons of cherries. That love is imprinted in my heart and I can never forget that. So whenever I see cheries I go berserk. I always find ways to make something with them. In the past I have made Cherry Focaccia Bread, Cherry & Lychee Ice Cream, Mascarpone Cherry Compote Cheesecake Glasses. And this season I knew I had to make  this Cherry Clafoutis, the popular French flan.

If you have made a flan before you know it is made with a rich custard. The key ingredient in any flan is eggs. If they are fresh ,it has a direct impact on the overall quality and taste of any dish. So my first choice was to use Eggee, which are high protein, organic eggs. They are my family favourite. 

And oh boy! I was right the clafoutis came out so rich and perfect. Its an easy peasy recipe and you should try it out before the cherries disappear for the season. I still have a box of cherries, if you have any interesting recipe where I can utilize cherries please share it below in the comment box.

1. Grease a 9 inch pie tart pan or cast iron skillet or baking dish with oil or butter. And dust the surface with Confectioner’s Sugar.

2. Pit the stones out of the cherries. There is an easier way to remove stones from the cherry. Try this method. Place the pitted cherries on the pie pan and spread evenly. Set aside. Preheat your oven on 180 degree Celsius for 10 minutes.

3. In a bowl whisk milk and eggs. I have used organic eggs by Eggee. I find these eggs to be most amazing in nutrition and taste. That yellow yolk is so beautiful. 

4. Add Vanilla essence and mix.

5.Add sugar, salt and all purpose flour.

6. Whisk everything together and now add melted butter and whisk again.

7.Pour this custard in the pie pan over the cherries.

8.Bake it in the pre heated oven on 180 degree Celsius for 40-45 min or until the custard just sets.You can insert a knife in the centre to check if it comes out clean. Slice and serve warm or cold as you like. I like it warm and still jiggly. You can make these in ramekins also which makes individual servings, so perfect for parties.

Other recipes you can try with summer fruits are: Strawberry Walnut Babka, Italian Focaccia Bread with Strawberries, Apple Crisp, Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal with Toasted Walnuts, Eggless Black Grape Cake with Strawberry Jam Glaze, Classic No Bake Key Lime Pie, Coconut Milk Mango Pudding, Eggless Fresh Peach Cobbler.

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Living on the hills has its own advantages and disadvantages.  One of the most amazing part of the hills is that we get access to some fresh bounty in the form of fruit, vegetables and lentils. Everything is organically grown. Last week when I went to Mukteshwar, I saw people selling fresh plums , peaches and apricots on the road side, just outside their orchards. I bought them greedily and started weaving dreams of how I can utilize them. I made Peach upside down cake with peaches, Apricot Almond Cake  and Apricot coriander chutney with apricots and this Plum Ginger Jam with juicy ripe plums. 

This is by far the most amazing combination of jam I have made. The way plum marries ginger is outstanding.  It has an incredible out of the world taste and goes amazing with my Sourdough Bread, I made a small batch to really understand how ginger marries Plums but looks like I have to make a huge batch as the result was sincilating! Try this 4 Ingredient, Preservative free, Pectin free Plum Ginger Jam and you will surely like to thank me 🙂

1. Wash some plums and pat them fry with a kitchen towel.

2. Chop them into small pieces and remove the stone. Place a ceramic plate inside the freezer. 

3. Put the chopped pieces of plums in a pan, preferably a non stick pan. 

4. Add grated ginger, lemon juice and sugar.

5. Mix everything well and turn the flame on. Keep cooking on medium high flame.

6. The plums would release its liquid and entire mixture will come to a boil. If you feel their is little liquid in the plums add 1 tbsp water and cook.

7. Keep stirring and cooking. As the plums cook the colour of the jam will become darker. After 10 minutes approximately when you notice it has achieved some what jam like consistency you can test by putting quarter of a spoon on the frozen ceramic plate and run a finger in between it. If the division remains clear your jam is ready but if the jam runs over, you need to cook a little longer and do the test again.

8. Turn the flame off and let it cool down before you transfer this to a glass jar. Store in the refrigerator for couple of weeks. Please use a clean and dry spoon for spooning out the jam from the jar.

Other Plum recipes you can try are : Spiced Plum Chutney and Plum and Mango Smoothie  .

You can even try Red Bell Pepper and Chili Jam and  Strawberry Jam


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I am always curious to try new food, especially which are localised. When monsoons engulfed the hills we were blessed with some interesting looking vegetables. They caught my attention and I decided to bring them home. They looked curvy coiling and simply gorgeous! I enquired the locals about its name and to share its recipe. It is known by many names Lingda, Lingadh, Lingude, Lingru, Loongru, LungduLiyon, Languda, Kutelda, Kasrod, Nuri, Neuri, Nigro, Niyuro, Dhekia Xaak.


Interestingly it is found in spring season on hilly terrain near marshy areas. In the Indian subcontinent, it is found in the Himalayan North and North Eastern states of India. Also these are found in Canada, Alaska, France and East Asian Countries.

I asked my readers to suggest recipes from their regions and I am elated I have a few I would like to try. In the meanwhile I experimented and decided to cook it with Angel hair pasta. To my surprise it was beautifully delicious. The ferns which are thin and tender are best suitable for cooking and you can cook them directly without steaming or boiling. But if you end up finding ferns which are thicker simply boil them and the thicker outer skin will come out easily. This will help you save time on peeling.


1.  Wash the entire fern under running water and specially the centre are which can have a lot of insects, after all its a wild plant. Once you wash them out. Run a kitchen towel it will clean out all the brown membranes , hair like structure and cut the ends.



2. In a pot boil some water and add the ferns to blanch for good 8-10 minutes, in case they are thick and if you see they are tender about 2-3 minutes will do the trick. Do add salt and drain them once done.




3. After draining them you will be able to peel out the top thick skin easily even with your hands, or else use a knife. Discard the skin and reserve the tender portion. Cut the tender portion into bite size pieces. I liked the coil shape of the fern so dint cut the circle. 



4. In another pot add some water and boil some angel hair pasta or rice noodles. Cook them for 5-8 minutes and drain the water. Run them under cold water and reserve.



5. In a pan add some butter and olive oil.



6. Add chopped onions and garlic and saute them over low flame. Add chilli flakes to bring up the heat.



7. Add boiled and peeled Ferns and saute them till they become slight brown in colour. Add some fresh herbs, I used fresh thyme and chives from my kitchen garden. If you do not have fresh herbs add a combination of dried herbs.



8. Season with salt and ground black pepper.



9. Add the drained pasta and toss iot around carefully. Add a drizzle of olive oil to unite them.



10. Divide the portions into individual serving plates and grate some parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

Other Pasta dishes you may like to try here:  Avocado Parsley PastaCheesy Chicken LasagnaHealthy Broccoli PastaPasta Alla VodkaSautéed Red Bell Pepper and Olive Pasta SaladSundried Tomato Pasta SaladVegetarian Mushroom Lasagna in Creamy White Sauce.


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On my last trip to Delhi I gathered a lot of strawberries for my experiments. Ha! I sound as if I am a mad scientist..well almost 😛 When I made the Strawberry Preserve for my family they went gaga over it and it was finished in a few days. I never have had so much jam in my entire life. Well I am left with is an empty jar and sweet memories on my tongue. The next on my mind was to use them for some cookies. I know it sounded weird but when I did my google I saw there were many weirdos like me. I zeroed down to Harini’s Recipe and it was huh! Heavenly!


The colour of cookies was so enticing that my little sunshine picked up one, and then two and finished three of these with milk in his favourite short mason jars. You know baker mommies they just love this and that’s how their heart melts. I am simply going to repeat doing this whenever I have strawberries next. In the meanwhile you try and indulge.


1. Wash and hull strawberries and cut into slices. With the help of your finger tips coarsely mash them. A blender will make it a puree, but we just want them coarsely mashed. So stick to your hands.




2. In a bowl add butter and sugar. Cream them together.




3. Add coarsely mashed strawberries and combine.



4. Add Vanilla extract and combine.

5. In a separate bowl sift and combine All Purpose flour Baking Powder and Custard Powder.




6. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix together to form a sticky dough. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes so that it becomes easier to work with. 



7. Line a baking sheet with Oddy Uniwrap Parchment Paper and preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. 



8. Divide and roll the dough into golf size balls and place them on the baking sheet. Press them slightly with your palm. 



9. Bake them in oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove them from oven. Let them cool down completely before indulging into it.

Other Cookie recipe you can try here are: Coconut Chocolate CookiesItalian Almond BiscottiGreek Traditional Christmas Cookies , Ragi & Whole Wheat BiscuitsWhite Chocolate Chip CookiesPeanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips.


[yumprint-recipe id=’197′]Sending this to: Uniwraps.com


These days you can easily find fresh ginger root sold in the markets. The newly dug ginger root is pinkish in colour and is very soft without any membranes which makes them perfect for pickling. This is a very easy recipe of Adrak Lehsun ka Achar or Ginger Garlic Pickle which I learnt from my mother. I made this pickle for the Uttrakhand Food Festival where I participated last month. I sold more than 30 bottles of pickle in one day. That was quite an achievement for me. 

My husband is completely gaga over this pickle. He eats his every meal with this. Oh well he hasn’t been fond of pickle ever but wonder why he is hooked to this 😉 You must try this for you will fall in love with its simplicity.

1. Wash Ginger Root thoroughly and remove all the mud. Cut or break it into small pieces. Peel its skin using a sharp knife.



2. Cut it into thin slices and further cut into thin sticks.



3. Place the ginger sticks into a bowl and add white vinegar. Add half teaspoon salt and cover. Let it rest overnight. The ginger will absorb vinegar and become pink in colour.




4. In a dry grinder add rai or red mustard** and make a course powder and set aside.



5. Also make a paste of garlic and set aside.



6. In a wok or karahi add mustard oil and smoke out the oil. Add garlic paste and saute till you see it changing its colour.




7. Add powdered rai powder, salt, black pepper powder.




8. Add ginger sticks and discard the vinegar. Mix well with the spices and let it cook a couple of minutes more. Turn the flame off. 



9. Let it cool down and transfer it to an airtight container. Keep it at room temperature. The pickle stays good for up till a year.

Other Pickle recipe you can try here: Jalapeño PickleKacchi Haldi ka Achar, Instant Raw Mango Pickle South Indian StyleBharwan Lal Mirchi ka Achaar


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Amaranth Saag

I just attended my brother’s wedding last week and I realised I was much plumper than before (I don’t wanna demean my self by calling fat :P). So on returning back my husband and me decided to go on good healthy diet with proper exercise. Its been a week and we still seem to be on the right track. I have been avoiding sweets and cheese and bringing in more vegetables and proteins in my diet. One such vegetable is the nutritious leafy vegetable which is known as Cholai or Chaulai in Hindi and Amaranth or Amaranthus in English. I made this stir fried Amaranth Leaves with spices.

Amaranth Saag
 Grains of Amaranth  are also used in food and are very good  source of energy. I found these leaves in the farmer’s market and quickly decided to make something out of them. The colour of leaves vary from purple to red and green to gold. I have used the former types as I love these colours but you can use any variant. Amaranth leaves are good antioxidants and good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. If you eat amaranth in leafy form, it acts as a good roughage and helps cure constipation. It is very easy to cook amaranth. Its a simple recipe with bountiful of nutrition. 


1. Separate the leaves from the stems. Place them together.



2. Wash the leaves thoroughly as there can be a lot of grit in the leaves.

3. Chop them coarsely and set aside.

4. In a wok or karahi add clarified butter or ghee and turn the flame on. Vegan may use any other cooking oil.

5. Add Cumin seeds and A bay Leaf.



6. Add Ginger Garlic paste along with chopped green chilies and saute them until the raw fragrance of garlic diminishes.

7. Add onions and continue to saute till the onion becomes soft and translucent.

8. At this stage add the chopped cholai leaves and toss them with the onions. 

9. Season with Salt, red chilli powder.



10. Also add coriander powder and Garam Masala.



11. Cook on medium low flame, uncovered until soft and thoroughly cooked. Serve hot with Chappatis.

Other simple everyday recipes you can try on The Secret Ingredient: Tori Wadi, Masaledar Arbi, Baingan ka Bhartha, Langar Wali Dal.
Other dishes with Leafy vegetables you may try: Palak Paneer,  Aloo Methi, Arbi Ke Paton Ke Patode, Pudina Pulav, Methi Matar Malai.

Amaranth Saag

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There is a story behind this Andhra Style Mango Rice. This year I have been lucky for I made so many recipes with raw mangoes which I received from my home tree from my parents. I went crazy and made Instant Raw Mango Pickle South Indian Style, Sweet and Sour Mango Chutney, Aam Ka Panna, Raw Mango and Mint Chutney. When a few mangoes were left almost turning yellow I decided to do this Andhra style Manga Sadam or Mango Rice. It was incredible!!!

There is another version of this rice and also from Andhra Pradesh which uses freshly grated Coconut. It is often made on the occasion of Maavinakayi Chitranna. But the recipe I am posting is simpler and you would probably have all the ingredients at home.

1. Wash and soak rice in a bowl for 15 minutes. Cook in a pressure pan that every rice grain remains separate. Keep aside. In the meanwhile peel some raw mangoes and grate them using a grater.



2. In a wok or karahi add some oil. And heat it up.

3. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle. 

4. Add Urad Dal and Channa Dal. Toast them in oil for a few seconds on low flame till they are nice and golden.



5. Add Kaddhi Patta and saute for a second.

6. Add peanuts and dry red chilies. Toss them in the oil.



7. Add asafoetida and turmeric powder.



8. Add grated raw mango and mix well for a few seconds. 

9. Add red chili powder and Salt. Mix well and turn the flame off.



10. Gently mix the Mango Masala  to the cooked rice.

11. Serve hot with Instant Mango Pickle South Indian Style and some Papads.

Other Rice recipes you can try here : Curd Rice, Kathal ki Biryani, Mint Pulav , Mushroom Risotto

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I live in the hills where the backyard of every house is occupied by the fruit trees and those trees are laden with ripe fruits. This time of the year we get plums or Aalubukhara in abundance. Although they are easy targets of monkey menace but we manage to get some fruits for ourselves. 

I am not very fond of plums as a fruit per se, but love to make delicious pies and chutney out of it. I finished making a batch of Plum Chutney and I still had a few lying unused. I decided to make a quick plum smoothie. I added some mango pulp to balance the tartness of plums. Ohh it was amazing and so very refreshing and not to mention how it helps to regulate High Blood pressure and Improves Bone Health.


1. Pick some ripe plums and wash them thoroughly.


2. Cut the plums into slices and discard the stone. Also scoop out pulp of a ripe mango.


3. Put the plums and mango in a blender and add brown sugar or mascabado sugar. You can even use jaggery powder.


3. Add a pinch of salt and add water.



4. Blend it together to form a smoothie. Serve chilled and enjoy this summer drink.

You can try other thirst busters from The Secret Ingredient: Musk Melon & Cucumber Minty Smoothie & Aam Ka Panna.


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Indian summers are scorching and can take a toll on you. So it is very important to keep your self hydrated and take all necessary steps to fight against the intense Indian Summer heat. One such way is to drink Aam Panna, it is a healthy drink made from the pulp of raw green mangoes, sugar and assortment of spices.

Aam Panna not only quenches your thirst but also helps prevent excessive loss of sodium chloride and iron in the body resulting due to heavy sweating. Its my favourite drink since childhood. You can make a concentrate of Aam Panna and keep it refrigerated. Simply add cold water to it and enjoy this refreshing summer drink with the goodness of Mango. 


1. Wash and peel raw mangoes and cut them into small pieces discarding the inside seed. I have used slightly ripe mangoes but they were still quite tangy. You can even directly boil the mangoes with the peel and later separate the peel and pulp. But it gets messy so I prefer to simply boil the pulp.



2. Transfer the chopped mango pieces in a vessel.

3. Add water and let it come to a boil.

4. Put the lid on and let it simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the mangoes have become soft. I inserted a knife to check its doneness. Turn the flame off and let it come to room temperature.



5. Transfer the cooked mango pulp with its water into a blender. Add sugar and roasted Cumin Powder.



6. Also add washed mint leaves and Black Himalayan Salt , also known as Kala Namak.



7. Blend Together to make a smooth liquid Concentrate. Pour a small portion of it in tall glasses and add chilled water as per your taste. Store rest of the concentrate in a container and keep it refrigerated.

You can try other Raw Mango recipes on The Secret Ingredient: Raw Mango Pickle South Indian Style, Raw Mango Sweet and Sour Chutney and Raw Mango Chutney with Mint and Coriander.

Other refreshing things you can try to beat the heat are: Mango Coconut Milk Pudding, Musk Melon Cucumber and Mint Smoothie and Quick Pista Badam Kulfi.


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Last week I spoke to my parents and they sounded very low. On asking the reason they said 6 buckets of raw mango fell down from our mango tree after a fierce storm. They were distributing them to our neighbors, friends and family. I told them my friend is visiting us the following day and they were suddenly excited. I knew what this excitement was all about. When my friend came she brought in about 10 kgs of raw mangoes along with other produce. So after she left I am busy utilising the raw mangoes. I finished making Raw Mango Chutney, this South Indian Achaar and Aam Panna is on cards!

he beauty of this pickle is that it takes absolutely no time to put it together. My friend Sonu posted this recipe sometime back and I knew it then and there that I will be making this. Not to mention even my Mommy made this pickle! My husband who is not very fond of pickles could not resist eating this. We love this specially with Curd Rice.

1. Wash and peel raw mangoes.



3. Chop them into small pieces eliminating the seed inside.



3. Add salt and mix well. Let it sit for an hour  undisturbed in a colander until the juices run out. Squeeze out extra water. Set aside.



4. Add mustard seeds and Fenugreek seeds in handy mortar and pestle and coarsely grind them. You can even use a dry grinder or coffee grinder for this purpose. Keep aside.




5. In a wok add some mustard oil.


6. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle.

7. Add kaddhi Patta and coarsely ground mustard and fenugreek seed mix.



8. Add Red Chili Powder, Asafoetida and little Salt. Rememeber the mangoes are already salty.




9. Turn the flame off and add the raw mangoes. Mix thoroughly until the spices are well coated on mangoes.


10. Let the pickle cool down completely then transfer it to a glass container and refrigerate and enjoy with your favourite meal. This stays good for 4-5 days.

You can try this pickle with Curd Rice. You can even make Bharwan Lal Mirch ka Achar.


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