A big dose of dosas…

Mmm…the Indian dosa. Whenever I return from a trip around India I long for these golden pancakes. Crisp on the outside and spongy on the inside…just the thought of them makes my mouth water. They are a speciality of South India and are perfect for breakfast.
They need thought beforehand to make them because you need to soak some of the ingredients overnight. The following is a recipe by the wonderful Mrs. S. Mallika Badrinath from her cookbook 100 Tiffin Varieties.

2 cups par boiled rice
2 cups raw rice
1 cup dehusked black gram
3 pinches kesar colour
1/4 tsp cooking soda
4 heaped tsp salt
Oil (enough for frying)

1. Soak rice and dhal together in water for 4 hours.
2. Grind to smooth paste.
3. Add salt just before taking out of grinder.
4. Allow to ferment for 15 hours.
5. Next day morning add colour and soda to the batter.
6. Mix well. Pour onto hot fry pan or tawa.
7. Fry both sides with oil.
8. Serve hot.

Mrs Badrinath also includes the calorie value (Ganesha bless her) 1 dosa = 121 calories. Sounds pretty good to me. Do try it and see if you agree.

Ravishing restaurants ~ Havana, Wellington, New Zealand…

“For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the memorable meals we had in Wellington this trip was at the Havana Bar Restaurant. Located next door to the Havana Bar it is a wonderful match for its neighbour. The Havana Restaurant is light, airy and filled with wonderful aromas drifting from the open style kitchen.

Dave is the head of staff in the kitchen here. He is a cute and friendly chap and we had a lovely chat to him after our meal. The meals are tapas style which is a wonderful way to get a small taste of lots of dishes. Although the dishes are to share they are extremely generous in size. Dave and his staff use the freshest of New Zealand produce and have developed a menu which is extensive and delicious.

We were attentively served by lovely Sean. His tips and suggestions went down a treat with our group of six people.

Havana Bar Restaurant

32a Wigan Street

Wellington NEW ZEALAND

Phone: 04 3847039


Havana’s Spanish inspired seasonal tapas dishes will delight and inspire you. It is a perfect spot to while away a glorious afternoon in wonderful Wellington.

A Really Easy Recipe…

welcome 2

Namaste…travel and cooking are my  passions.

For those of you who like my recipes I thought I would let you know I have started a new blog called A REALLY EASY RECIPE. I hope you will be tempted by lots of quick, easy recipes and cooking tips. All of the recipes have been road tested by Rahul and my boys.

I will continue to post my Indian recipes for you on Lakshmi Loves To Shop as well. Thank you for your support.

Curry in a hurry…

pea and mushroom curry

Rahul is always out-doing me in the Indian cooking stakes so last night I turned the tables and whipped up a delicious pea and mushroom curry. However Rahul still had a major input into the meal with his yummy chappatis…

The recipe is from the fabulous Nita Mehta’s cookbook Vegetarian Dishes. It is a quick and easy recipe to follow:



200g mushrooms (trimmed and sliced), 1/2 cup peas, 3 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds), 1 tej patta (bay leaf), 4 moti illaichi (cardamoms), 3 laung (cloves), 2 onions chopped finely, 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped), 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional), 1 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric), 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup tomato puree, 3 tbsp cashews ground to a paste with 3 tbsp water, 1 1/2 cups coconut milk


  1. Heat butter and fry mushrooms lightly then put mushrooms aside.
  2. Heat oil in pan. Add jeera, tej patta, illaichi and laung. When jeera turns golden add onions and garlic. Fry till light golden.
  3. Reduce heat and add dhania powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, haldi, amchoor add salt. Stir till onion is golden brown.
  4. Add tomato puree, peas, cashew nut paste, cooked mushrooms and coconut milk. Cover and simmer on low heat till gravy thickens.
  5. Serve topped with chopped fresh coriander and chappatis.



500g white or wholemeal flour, pinch salt, generous handful fennel seeds, 300ml water


  1. Place flour, salt in bowl..make a well in centre and add water then blend with hand. Alternatively use a dough hook on your mix master to mix into dough (Rahul’s tip).
  2. Roll dough into small balls and let rest for at least 1/2 hour.
  3. Heat ghee in flat chappati fry pan.
  4. Roll out chappatis into flat circles. Fry in pan on both sides till golden.


Mmm…Malai kofta…

malai kofta

Rahul’s delicious Malai kofta…

“If you had one last meal what would it be?”…I love when this topic of conversation comes up. For me the answer has been the same for years. It would be Rahul’s Malai kofta and a glass of chilled Sauvignon blanc wine.

His tasty recipe comes from the wonderful cookbook “100 Vegetarian Gravies” by Mrs. S. Mallika Badrinath. You can buy this cookbook all over India for 55 rupees…a real bargain.

Here is the recipe:

Malai Kofta Curry


Carrot ~ 100 gms, Beans ~ 100 gms, Peas ~ 100 gms, Potatoes ~ 100 gms, Cornflour ~ 2 tbs, Tomatoes ~ 1/4 kg, Breadcrumbs ~ 2 tbsp, Onions ~ 1 or 2, Ginger ~ 1 inch piece, Garlic cloves ~ 4, Cinnamon ~ 1 stick, Cloves ~ 5, Fresh cream ~ 1 1/2 cups, turmeric, chilli powder, ground coriander powder

To make paste:

Cashew nuts ~ 1 handful , Poppy seeds ~ 1 tbsp


  1. Cut the onions into thin long pieces.
  2. Blanch tomatoes in hot water, remove the skin and make into a paste.
  3. Cut all the vegetables very finely and steam.
  4. When it is cooled completely, add 2 tablespoons of cornflour, breadcrumbs, salt and a little chilli powder.
  5. Mash together, make small balls, flatten them a little with hand and deep fry in hot oil.
  6. Keep aside. Make a paste of ginger and garlic.
  7. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil or ghee in pan and add cinnamon, cloves, ginger/garlic paste, onions and fry.
  8. When it turns into a golden brown add turmeric powder, salt, dried coriander powder and then tomato puree.
  9. Cook for a few minutes then mix in ground cashews, poppy seeds and fresh cream. Pour in enough water and cook until thick.
  10. Cook for 5-10 minutes and remove from heat. To serve arrange koftas in the serving dish then pour the hot gravy on top. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander leaves.


Hills, thrills and lots of pills…

Pilgrims climbing Chamundi Hill…

Today was our second wonderful day in Mysore. In the morning we travelled just out of Mysore to one of the eight most sacred sights in India – Chamundi Hill. Here devoted pilgrims climb the 1000 plus stairs to visit the Sri Chamundeswara Temple. The truly holy place a small dot of kum kum powder on each individual step.

Placing the kum kum powder…

At the top of the hill near the temple is an avenue of flower sellers and trinket merchants. Flowers and coconuts are taken as offerings into the temple.


On the way up Chamundi Hill is the huge five metre high Nandi bull statue. It is carved out of solid rock and is one of the largest in India.


While looking at the Nandi statue today we also met a gorgeous little fellow dressed up as the monkey God Hanuman. For ten rupees he gave us his best god-like poses…


After Chamundi Hill we travelled back to town. We had a quick look in the brand new Mall of Mysore- a huge new shopping centre (MG Road, next to Mysore Golf Course).Not all the shops are filled yet but there are already some well known names there such as Shoppers Stop, Hidesign, Bata shoes and many more. Of course Padma shopped up a storm and we left with a few less rupees in our purses!
We then visited a fantastic Himalaya Ayurvedic shop which sells herbal remedies for nearly every ailment you could possibly have. It also sells beautiful shampoos, face cleansers, lip balms and toothpaste. The address is 108 Devaraj Urs Road, Mysore. We left with a bag full of pills to improve our health.
Next door we bought some more of our favourite Mysore sandalwood soap.


We had a quick bite at the popular Parklane restaurant. Padma and I giggled at the one-of-a-kind smoking cabins they had there…


When we returned to the Green Hotel we went with one of the friendly employees on a tour of the upstairs of the hotel. The view from the top was amazing.


We finished the day off with a delicious dinner at the hotel of navaratna kurma, vegetable rice and butter naan. A perfect end to a lovely day in Mysore.

Bedding down Bangalore style…

Our luxurious room…

Booking your hotel online is a great way to smooth your trip to India – however it can have its ups and downs.
Let me explain…All hotel photos online seem to look like something out of a glossy magazine. But sometimes when you arrive you find that it’s more jaded and faded than your Great Aunt’s spare bedroom!
Luckily for us this trip our hotel is just as great as the photos showed and more! We are staying at the St. Mark’s Hotel in St. Mark’s Road, Bangalore. This is my 8th trip to Bangalore and I have stayed in quite a few hotels. St. Mark’s is definitely the best I have stayed in and we strongly recommend it to you.

The hotel foyer…

So why is St. Mark’s so great?
~ IT’S LOCATION…it is located right in the heart of Bangalore. It is a short walk from MG road and walking distance to many great shops such as Ffolio, Ritu Kumar, Cinnamon and UB City Mall.
~ THE ROOMS…great standard of room for the price. Lovely bathroom with a separate shower…this is a bonus…as many bathrooms in India have the shower head in the middle of the bathroom and when you shower the whole room gets wet! Tea/coffee making with a cute little jar of biscuits. Free wi fi, bottled water and breakfast are included.

The proud chef and waitress…

~ THE WONDERFUL FOOD…wow I don’t think I’ll ever top the breakfast here! Divine mint and lime Ayurvedic starter juice, delicious South Indian coffee, yummy puri Marsala, idlis, fresh fruit, pastries…the list goes on and on.

Padma and my lovely breakfast of puri Marsala and dosa…

We also ate last night at their restaurant Curry with a K. Don’t let the name put you off as the paneer mukhani, coconut rice, butter naan and fresh sweet lime sodas were a taste sensation.

~ THE STAFF…definitely St. Mark’s strong suit is their wonderful staff. Everything is done with a smile here! Everyone is so friendly and it has a great vibe. The hotel booked our driver for yesterday and it was very reasonably priced. Our driver, Rama Krishna, was a darling. We had a great day chatting to him and he had a giggling sense of humour which we loved.

Hotel lobby…

So Padma and I are very perky and happy about our new favourite Bangalore hotel…perfect in every possible way…