Monday, October 26, 2020

Xoi La Dua - Pandan Flavored Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Xoi la dua is Vietnamese style sticky  rice flavored with coconut and pandan leaves. Myself and my daughter are so much addicted to Thai sticky coconut rice (with or without mangoes). So, often we try different south-east Asian sticky rice. In Vietnam, the sticky rice is made in different colors with natural ingredients that add color to the food. It is a feast to the sight to see a tray filled with different colored rice. It is a popular snack, or a meal. It is a typical breakfast. Vietnamese style of coconut rice is not so sweet - mean to say - not like dessert sweetness. The sweetness comes mostly from the topping and the rice is not loaded with sugar. So it is easier to adjust the sweetness according to your preferences. You can add generous amounts of the toppings too. The topping is usually made with toasted sesame seeds, coconut, and a little sugar. Love that combo. In our tradition, we make sesame balls, peanut ball, coconut, rice (sweet as well as savory version). All these ingredients are used in Vietnamese sticky rice and it is a win-win situation for me. Not so sweet, just the perfect sweetness for me. I like to have this any time of the day. It is pure heaven for me. But feel free to sprinkle extra sugar and make it a dessert, if you have a very sweet tooth. 

I have tried a few versions of the Vietnamese sticky rice, but tried with pandan this time. Fresh pandan imparts a lot of flavor and aroma. I didn't want to venture out much in this COVID situation to look for fresh or frozen pandan leaves. Different reviews for the extract resulted in confusion. So, ordered dried pandan leaf powder in amazon. I guess drying diminishes the aroma/flavor a little bit. So had to increase the pandan powder in the subsequent experiments. The powder gave a natural green hue to the rice. It turned out to be a great recipe. Soaking the rice is important for better steam cooking  of the rice. I always use my multi-purpose pan to steam the rice. Any kind of steamer can be used. 

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon #117 - Must Try International Recipes. Check here for information about what fellow Blogging Marathoners are doing.



Short grain sticky rice - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Coconut milk - 2 tbsp
Sugar -1 tsp
Salt -1/8 tsp
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Pandan powder - 1 tsp


Peanut - 1 tbsp, toasted
Sesame seeds - 2 tbsp, toasted
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Coconut - 1 tbsp, for garnish, optional


Wash the rice a couple of times and soak  for at least 8 hrs. in 1 cup water. Drain the water and rinse. Pour water in the steamer and bring to a boil. To the rice add salt, pandan powder, and mix well. 

Grease if using metal plate for steaming. Spread the rice evenly, cover and steam for 15 min. 

In the meantime, pulse the sesame seed and peanut in spice grinder just to crush it. Transfer to a bowl. Add salt, sugar and mix. Keep it aside.

Sprinkle coconut milk, sugar, grated fresh coconut. Mix gently with chopsticks, like kind of fluffing it. Steam for another 15 min. 

Transfer to serving bowls, top with coconut, sesame seed - peanut mixture according to your taste.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Winter Melon Iced Tea and Milk Tea

Who doesn't love boba teas? These teas are famous in Taiwan. My kids are a great fan of those and along with them, my journey exploring the different teas began. I tried winter melon milk tea in one of the joints (I guess T4) and really liked the flavor. I wanted to try making it and hence began this post. I like this soft flavored tea, its quite different. I checked the syrup recipe from the dole website but used only brown sugar to make (as I didn't have the rock sugar on hand). I didn't add any water while making the syrup (checked this link, but used 2 cups of sugar). I made the syrup a couple of times and hence wanted to stick with 2 cups sugar, as I was able to get the taste similar to the one from the boba shop.

The tea can be made in a couple of ways. The syrup can be diluted in a 1:3 ratio with ice water and poured over ice for the winter melon iced tea. This version is very much similar in taste to our traditional panagam drink with a hint of winter melon (minus the spices). Adding any flavored tea is always optional. You can steep oolong or jasmine tea and add to the syrup for a tea flavored with winter melon. Also, can add a little evaporated milk on top to make the milk tea. Bobas are optional and should be added first to the serving glass, followed by the tea. Try this tea and you won't be disappointed that a yummy tea can be made with the vegetable that is more often used in many stews and curries.

I am posting this recipe for the Must-Try International Recipe- Blogging Marathon #117.


To know what others are doing in this marathon for this month, check here.


For the syrup

Winter melon - 5 cups, diced small

Brown sugar - 2 cups


In a saucepot, add the melon and brown sugar. Keep covered for 1 to 1.5 hours. Water will ooze out and you can see dark color liquid in the pot. heat the mix, when it starts to boil, lower the flame to low and simmer covered till they become transparent. It may take about 2 hrs. for the winter melon to cook transparent with the sugar flavor completely melded. Switch off the flame.

Filter and try to squeeze the mix to take out the maximum syrup. 

Store in refrigerator until use. It would stay good for a few days. This recipe yields about a cup of syrup.

For the iced tea

Ice - 3/4 cup
Boba (optional)
Syrup - 1/4 cup
Ice water - 3/4 cup

For the milk tea:

Oolong tea - 1 tsp

Water - 2/3 cup

Ice - 3/4 to 1 cup

Winter melon syrup

Evaporated milk - 2-4 tbsp.


Iced tea:

In a tall glass, add boba pearls if wanted, followed by ice. In a cup add winter melon syrup and ice water. Pour this onto the cup with ice. Iced tea is ready to be served. If preferred steep a bag of tea for 5 minutes, mix with syrup, and add to the ice. Serve immediately.

Milk tea:

Now for making the winter melon milk tea, steep oolong tea (1 tsp per serving in 2/3 cup water) for about 5 minutes. Filter and add it to a martini shaker with 1/4 cup ice. Add 1/4 cup syrup (you can adjust the amount of this to control sugar and flavor of the tea). Shake well.

 In a tall glass, add boba if you prefer. Add 1/2 cup ice. Add the tea mix from the shaker. Top with a couple of tbsp. of evaporated milk. Serve immediately.


If you are adding boba stored in sugar syrup, add accordingly as this may make a sweeter drink. If you want to control the sweetness of the drink, choose appropriate amounts of syrup and boba.

Saturday, October 24, 2020


Vichyssoise is a classic creamy chilled soup. It is a thick and chilled soup for the hot summer days. It is made with simple ingredients like potatoes, leeks, cream, salt, pepper, and chives. They are simmered, pureed, and served chilled. This soup, in simple ways, is like having a very mild aloo masala (spiced up mashed potatoes) in the soup form. The aroma definitely reminds aloo masala when the soup begins to simmer. 

My version of this soup is a lighter version of the classic one, but at the same time, it is still creamy. The creamy soup is generally made with lots of cream. I have used half the cream required for the soup. This amount gives the perfect balance for us. Also, in this recipe, I have not sautéed the potatoes and leeks in butter. The potatoes and leeks with the required water are simmered and pureed. The cream is added then and chilled before serving. If you want to down on the calories, substitute cream with milk. When doing a vegan version, replace the milk or cream with plant-based milk or just water. It is very easy to make but very delicious. Just add everything together, cook, puree, and serve. Since it is served chilled, you can make ahead and relax. Traditionally, this soup is served chilled but can be enjoyed warm in cold seasons.


I am posting this for Must Try International Recipes- Blogging Marathon. Check here to see what others are making for the #117 Blogging Marathon. 

Makes 4-6 servings

Potato - 3 cups, diced, small

Leeks -3 cups, sliced

Salt 1 and 3/4 tsp

White pepper - 1/2 tsp

Black pepper- 1/2 tsp

Cream - 3/4 cup

Water - 6 cups

Chives- 2 tsp, chopped, garnish


In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, add the leeks, potato, and water and heat. Once it starts to boil, add salt and pepper, cover, lower the flame, and simmer. 

In about 30 minutes, the veggies would be cooked to perfect tenderness. Use an immersion blender, and blend to smooth consistency. 

Transfer to a serving bowl, add heavy cream, and mix. Adjust salt and pepper according to your taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Ladle the chilled soup onto bowls, top with chives, and serve.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Cucumber - Peanut Salad

There is nothing more satisfying to have a tasty and healthy snack. Cucumbers fall into that category. The juicy refreshing taste adds great flavor to salads. This simple cucumber salad with crushed peanuts, lemon juice, and pepper flakes has a perfect balance of crunchiness, spice, salt, and sour tastes. Add it can be made within five minutes. Nothing can be more perfect than this. 


Serves 1 - 2

Cucumber - 1 and 1/2 cups, peeled, and diced small

Salt 1/4 tsp

Lemon juice- 1/2 tsp

Peanut - 1 or 2 tbsp, roasted and crushed

Chili flakes - 1/2 tsp

Cilantro - 1 tsp


Add all the ingredients together, mix and serve.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Very Berry Lassi

Lassi is the best satisfying as well as nourishing that can be had in summer. Chill or cold lassi is the perfect snack or even a meal replacement during summer. When the heat is high and you don't want to stand near the stove or oven, lassi is the ideal one coming to your help. This can be an anytime healthy snack too. . It can be enjoyed in any season if you like. Also, this is a great drink for Valentine's day lunch or dinner. It goes perfectly with dum biriyani.


Makes 4 servings

Strawberry - 8 to 10

Blueberry - 1/3 cup

Raspberry - 6 or 7

Blackberry - 6

Sugar - 7 to 8 tsp, or according to taste

Yogurt - 2 and 1/2 cups, cold


Add everything to the blender. Blend to smooth lassi. 

Serve immediately.


Raspberries are sour and hence may need to add sugar. The above-mentioned sugar tastes optimal for full servings. If you are omitting raspberries, add sugar as needed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Whole Wheat Rolls # BreadBakers

These whole wheat rolls are one of our favorites. The recipe uses 100% whole wheat flour and no all-purpose flour. I used the regular Aashirvad whole wheat flour that I use to make chapathis every day. It is 100% whole wheat flour. It just requires a little bit more liquid than the ones that are made with all-purpose flour. The rolls are very soft that people may not believe if they come to know it is made with only 100% whole wheat flour. I have tried these with the Khazana brand whole wheat flour that I get from Costco, and it works fine. 

The brand I used

Also, I didn't add extra gluten. Just trying to make it simple with simple everyday ingredients to make healthy and flavorful bread every day. I got my bread machine 4 years back and tried to make bread using the machine following a couple of books. Slowly, over many trials, I tweaked the recipe constantly to suit the need for a 100% whole wheat bread without adding extra gluten. 

I can't keep track of how many times I have used this recipe. This is one of the bread that we make often in our home. These rolls are great that you will start to finish as soon as they are out of the oven. They are great with soups and stews. We use it as pav for pav bhaji. Tastes great with a little butter/cream cheese and jam for a breakfast. Or just dip in milk/tea/coffee latte and enjoy the bread. 

Whole wheat rolls with minestrone soup
Whole wheat rolls with potato and leek soup

Served as Pav Bhaji (Indian Street Food)

I am posting this recipe for the Bread Bakers - favorite brown bread


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. 


Warm milk - 1 and 1/3 cups

Water - 6 tbsp

Butter - 6 tbsp

Salt - 1 and 1/4 tsp

Sugar - 2 tbsp

Whole wheat flour - 3 and 1/2 cups

Bread machine yeast - 1 and 1/4 tsp

For preparing the pan

Butter - 1 tsp

Cornmeal - 1 tbsp

For brushing

Milk - 1 tbsp

Melted butter - 1 tbsp


Add all the ingredients to the container of the bread machine in the ingredients list order. Set the machine to the dough cycle. 

After 1hr and 30 min, take out the raised dough from the bread machine container, transfer to a flat surface dusted with flour. 

Punch and fold a couple of times. shape into a log and divide into 2 halves. Cut each half into 9 equal portions. Roll each into a smooth ball.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Take a baking container, apply butter on all sides and sprinkle with a little cornmeal. Place the dough balls, cover with a cloth and let it rise for a second time for about 30-40 minutes or until doubled. 

Brush the top of the rolls with milk. Bake in the oven for 18 -20 min. Take out and brush with melted butter. After five minutes transfer each roll to the cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. 

Serve with your favorite soup, stew, bhaji, or just with butter/jam.

This month theme is Favorite Brown Bread hosted by Wendy Klik and Stacy Livingston Rushton. Thanks for hosting the event and adding me to the group. Check here for what other members are doing:

Anadama Bread by Passion Kneaded

Boston Brown Bread by Pastry Chef Online

Brown Sandwich Bread by Anybody Can Bake

Copy-Cat Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Copy-Cat Outback Steakhouse Bread by Making Miracles

Golden Braid of Bern by What Smells So Good?

Irish Brown Bread by Palatable Pastime

Molasses Rye Slider Buns by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

No Knead Sprouted Wheat and Flax Seed Sandwich Bread by Karen's Kitchen Stories

Sourdough Molasses and Honey Brown Bread by Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Traditional Steamed Brown Bread by A Messy Kitchen

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread by Ambrosia

Wholemeal Soda Bread by Food Lust People Love


The rolls can be made with any wheat flour. Just make sure there is enough liquid to make a smooth and soft dough.

Check on the rolls as the bake time may vary slightly according to the oven. Hollow sound when tapped on the bottom of the bread indicates baking completion.

The same bread can be made traditionally instead of in a bread machine. Use 1 and 3/4 tsp active dry yeast. Knead the dough well, do the first proofing for an hour and follow the steps for the second proof and baking.