Lauki ki Sabji


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Lauki does not get cooked often in our house. This vegetable along with zucchini has been deemed as having sweet taste when cooked by DH and so they get ignored. Hence they do not find a good place in our kitchen. However recently one of my colleague had brought this curry for lunch and I took a liking to it. I noted down the recipe and made it when DH was away for the day.  It is a simple curry that gets done in no time and forms a good accompaniment with either rice or rotis.

Lauki (Hindi) is known as Bottle Gourd in English. The cooked vegetable is cooling, diuretic, sedative and anti bilious. It gives a feeling of relaxation after eating it. However, bottle gourd should not be eaten in a raw state as it may prove harmful for stomach and intestines (Source)

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  • 1 large lauki/bottle gourd (peeled and chopped into cubes)
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • Mustard seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • Cumin seeds/jeera
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste

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  • Take a heavy bottom pan and heat about 2 tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add the curry leaves and jeera/cumin seeds, urad daal and mix until it turns light brown.
  • Add the diced onions and sauté until it turns transparent.
  • Add the chopped lauki, salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder and mix well. Add about 1/2 cup of water and stir again.
  • Cover with lid and let it cook on simmer, stir in between.
  • Switch off when the lauki is cooked, finally add chopped coriander for garnish and stir.

Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

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Wishing you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays ya’ll. Hope you are having a fabulous and fun filled long weekend with your friends and loved ones. Here in the United States, the phrase “Happy Holidays” is often used as a generic collective greeting for all of the winter holidays which includes Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. 

December is an exciting month of the year. Even though the days are shorter and colder than usual, the spirit of the holidays, the festivities that comes along with it lingers on; it is hard to ignore the excitement going around. The malls crowded, people in jolly mood, red, green white colors everywhere, Christmas trees decked up, the houses all lighted up and most important of aroma of different varieties of desserts and holiday food waffling around.

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The weather now here has become cold and chilly as well far outcry from the spring like weather we had few days ago. Our favorite part past time at this time of the year is to sit close to a warm place in the coffee shop, sipping on hot coffee with a piece of dessert listening to some old carols while watching the surrounding decked up in lights and other ornaments.

Neighbors, friends, colleagues are all on a baking spree and it hard not to be a part of it. I have been most influenced by few of my colleagues who have baking and sharing the goodies with us. I decided to start off with a simple and easy vanilla cupcake, which I adapted from Eggless Cake and Eggless Strawberry Cupcakes. The good part is that even though it is simple, one can jazz this up by beautiful and pretty looking frosting apt for this season.

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If you are looking for a plain eggless vanilla cake then this one is a keeper. I had seen this base recipe of using aerated water/soda along with condensed milk for making eggless cake on many blogs and bookmarked it since a long time.  I had an opportunity last week and I am so glad that this turned out well. The other recipe that worked for me is the Orange flavored Egglesss cake that I have posted here.

Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes 

Recipe Source: Adapted from Eggless Cake and Eggless Strawberry Cupcakes

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  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk (200 gms)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter softened (unsalted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup aerated water or soda water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (optional) 

Yields: 9 medium cupcakes or 17 mini cupcakes


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Meanwhile make the muffin moulds ready by greasing them..
  • On a big sheet of paper sieve the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar (optional) and baking soda.
  • In a bowl beat the condensed milk, butter, vanilla essence together until incorporated.
  • Add the soda water and beat again. This becomes frothy and light.
  • Add the flour mixture to this spoon by spoon and mix again. The batter is slightly thick.
  • Fill the batter in each of the muffin cups until ¾ full. Bake the muffins for 15 to 18 minutes until it turn golden brown or a tooth pick inserted in one of the muffin comes out clean. (Mine were done in 16 minutes).
  • Remove from oven and let them cool on wire racks. After they are cooled do the frosting as required.

Icing: I used store brought frosting.

Lemon Cookies

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Winter/snow is in full swing in most part of the United States, but here in Texas we have been blessed with an unusually spring like weather and have been enjoying every moment of it. Let us see, how long it lasts though!

 Anyway, I had tasted some lime cookies at a get together and had fallen in love with the taste. Cookies that had an equal balance of sweet and tanginess with melt in the mouth texture; reminded me so much of our very own Nankathai (Butter cookies) with lemony flavor.

 I wanted to re-create it and searched on the web for some ideas the main criteria being that it has be eggless/egg free. After some searches I narrowed my choice for the Lime Biscuits here. The author mentions that she tried it from Anjum Anand’s book.

 I have tried this recipe twice and here are some observations:

  • This is not a cookie that has a melt in the mouth texture and has a bite to it.
  • It is good to keep the thickness of the cookies to about ¼” inch. When I made it a little thicker, it did not become crispy.
  • I used lemon juice first as I did not have lemon extract and the cookies become little hard. It came out well when I used lemon extract.
  • These cookies bake very fast and brown at the edges. So keep a close watch.
  • You can use lime or orange extract instead of the lemon.

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Recipe Source: Adapted from Lime Biscuits


  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour/Maida
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest(grated)
  • 1 tsp lemon extract ( I did not get good results with lemon juice)
  • Pecans for garnish (optionally use almond, cashew)

 Yields: 15 -18 small cookies


  • Please see the notes above before proceeding.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180C). Grease a cookie sheet and have it ready.
  • In a plate mix all flour, sugar, zest, add the butter, extract and mix to a smooth dough. Keep aside covered with damp cloth for 15-20 minutes.
  • On a flat surface, roll the dough into about 1/4 ” thickness and then cut into desired shapes.
  • Place a piece of nut (pecan/almond) in the center and transfer to cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep a close watch as it tends to brown pretty fast.
  • Keep aside on wire rack for cooling. They harden upon cooling.