I am delighted that my Lemon Chili pickle recipe was featured in "Cooking for one - A Craving for condiments" The article was written by Joe Yonan of the Washington Post. I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I have enjoyed taking them. 

DPP_00018e copy

IMG_1631e copy 

IMG_1604e copy
Chili-Lemon Pickle

The Washington Post, February 3, 2010

Cooking for One

  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Course: Condiment
  • Features: Make-Ahead Recipes


The spicier counterpart to Moroccan preserved lemons, this pickle can be made in just a day and used immediately, unlike some traditional recipes that call for a 30-day-or-longer curing period.

Nonetheless, it will deepen in flavor as it ages. Use it on rice, as a table accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, or even mixed with cream cheese on a bagel or in a sandwich.

The recipe calls for asafetida, an oniony spice that is available at Indian markets, where the curry leaves and dried sanaam chili peppers also can be found.

MAKE AHEAD: The lemons need to marinate for 1 or 2 days. The pickle can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups


  • 4 medium (about 1 pound) lemons
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 4 to 5 dried chili peppers, preferably an Indian variety such as sanaam (see headnote)
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida (see headnote)
  • 6 to 7 curry leaves (see headnote)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


Wash and dry the lemons. Cut each one in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 16 equal pieces. Place in a medium bowl and add the salt and vinegar. Cover; marinate at room temperature for 1 or 2 days, stirring occasionally.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds; once they start to crackle, add the dried chili peppers, asafetida, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds, stirring to combine, then add the marinated lemon pieces and their marinating liquid along with the chili powder, garlic powder, turmeric and ginger. Mix well and bring to a boil; cook for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the lemon pieces start to become tender.

Cool completely in the saucepan, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 6 months.

Recipe Source:

Adapted from K.N. Vinod, chef-restaurateur of Indique, Indique Heights and Bombay Bistro.

Tested by Joe Yonan for The Washington Post.
E-mail the Food Section with recipe questions.

Made This Recipe? Write a Review

(Michael Temchine for The Washington Post)

Serving size: Per tablespoon serving
Calories: 52
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 6g9
Saturated Fat: 1g5
Cholesterol: n/a0
Sodium: 162mg7
Total Carbohydrates: 2g1
Dietary Fiber: 1g4
Sugar: n/a
Protein: n/a
*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Total Fat:Less than65g
Saturated Fat:Less than20g
Cholesterol:Less than300mg
Sodium:Less than2,400mg
Total Carbohydrates:300g
Dietary Fiber:25g

Read more:Cooking for One: A craving for condiments


Tomato Egg Drop Soup

I am thrilled to note that my tomato egg drop soup recipe is featured on NPR in an article written by Monica Bhide. Here is the recipe for the soup as posted on NPR's site - Kitchen Window.

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

Serves 4

5 cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 cups diced ripe tomatoes

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Salt to taste

2 sliced green chilies

In a deep saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. If any scum forms on top, gently remove it.

Add the tomatoes and boil for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the cilantro leaves, pepper, cornstarch mixture and soy sauce.

Very slowly pour egg whites into the soup in a steady stream.

Gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form thin streams or ribbons.

Remove soup from heat.

Taste for salt.

Garnish with green chilies and serve piping hot.

Accompaniment - Chili vinegar.

Here are some pictures that are not on NPR's Web site, but thought you might enjoy...




Img 05

Read More ......  Indian Chinese Cuisine - Of Spice and Zen     



My first experience with cashew nuts was when I used to visit Kerala as a child on vacations. More recently I had the opportunity to visit our ancestral home with my wife and kids. We were all fascinated as my grandfather showed us cashew nut trees, mango trees, jackfruit trees, pepper corns, pineapple, coconut trees, banana trees, paddy fields, etc . On the topic of cashew nuts, my understanding is that cashew trees were brought to India from South America by the Portuguese. The cashew nut (seed) grows on the blossom head of an edible "apple", as shown in the pictures below. 



When growing up, my family and I would eat the apple when it was ripe. This fruit is made into jams, jellies, and marmalades. The cashew nut is extracted from this seed by roasting the seed in open containers, earthen ware pots, rotary cylinders or hot oil baths. After roasting, the shells are removed and the nut is extracted manually. These kernels are then dried in hot air chambers, which help in the peeling of a thin membrane/skin on the cashew nut. Women mostly work in these cashew factories in Kerala, shelling the cashew nuts. The shelled nuts are usually segregated into whole, split, or broken and then, graded and priced accordingly.

Buying whole cashew nuts are only necessary if you are serving them whole. So if you want to save money, I recommend that you buy broken or split cashew nuts, as you are probably going to process them during cooking. For my restaurants, I buy whole cashew nuts to serve with cocktails and I buy  split or broken nuts for utilization in curries and chutneys.

Here is what you have been waiting for in this blog posting – My Mom’s cashew nut chutney - here is the recipe - Yum! 


 Cashew nuts – 1 cup

Coconut (grated) – 1cup

Ginger -  a small piece - cut into small pieces or juliennes

Shallots – 2 cups ( sliced )

Tamarind – 1 ounce *  

Whole red chilly – 4 or 5

Salt – to taste

Vegetable oil - 2 tablespoons

1.   Soak an ounce of tamarind in hot water. Just enough water to cover the tamarind. (Tamarind is  sold in Indian grocery stores – it comes packaged as a 7 ounce seedless slab.

2.   In a frying pan heat oil and add whole red chilly, ginger and shallots. Once the onions are translucent,  add cashew nuts, and grated coconut. Stir for two minutes and remove from fire. Stone grind as shown in the pictues below...... :-)

   or you put all the ingredients in to a food processor and grind  using very little water,adjust the seasoning and use as you like....

      This is a thick chutney that you can use it any way you like - use it as a spread for your sandwiches, bagels.......  

      * If buying the tamarind slab is too cumbersome or if it is not available add abut half an ounce of the store bought “tamarind paste” - the store bought tamarind paste however will make the chutney much darker.

Variation : You can substitute raw green mangoes instead of the tamarind and see the results…. and report back to me on this blog.

Collage2. copy  

Blog collage1                                                                                                                         

Collage3 copy

Collageamma. copy

Cashew on Foodista

Mint Chutney - Bagels and Chutney Anyone?

Mint continues to be in season and in my last post I demonstrated how to make a simple Mint chutney (pudina chutney) - Here is another method of making the chutney. Although, this method has a few more ingredients, it is still a very simple process. Don't be intimidated by seeing the number of ingredients.DPP_00025.b IMG_0341a

  1. Arhar Dal- 2 tablespoons
  2. Urad Dal (polished) - 1 tablespoon
  3. Channa Dal - 2 tablespoons
  4. Tamarind * - 2 pieces  - about 2 ounces
  5. Shallots - 2 pieces
  6. Ginger - 2 small pieces
  7. Hot pepper/jalepano/green chilie - 7-8 pieces
  8. Grated coconut* - 3 tablespoons
  9. Vegetable oil - for frying
  10. Mint leaves - 6 - 8 heaped cups


 1. Wash and rinse mint leaves.


2. Heat oil, add arhar dal, channa and urad dal and fry till golden brown in color, add shallots, green chilies, ginger, coconut and mint leaves.Stir for a minute or two till all the mint leaves are wilted, add grated coconut, stir well and grind them to a smooth paste in a food processor using little water. Check for seasoning. If you like it more hot, blend in a few more hot peppers, if you like it more sour add some more tamarind or you can add some lemon juice.






  1. Veg. oil
  2. Mustard seeds
  3. Curry leaves


Now the next step is to temper the chutney. This is again a very simple process. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, and when the mustard seeds starts to crackle, add the curry leaves and take them off the fire and add it to the chutney and mix well.




Mix well and serve. These chutneys are so versatile, they can be served with almost anything. Are you bored of taking the same old sandwiches for picnics ? Add a dash of this chutney with your next tomato or cheese sandwich or try bagels with mint chutney and cream cheese ... use your imagination and have fun...

* Tamarind : is available in Indian grocery stores in various forms. It comes as a slab - which is what I have used in this recipe. You can use tamarind paste if you like...

* Grated Coconut : Is available in frozen form in Indian grocery stores - if you don't want to go through the hastle of buying a whole coconut, breaking and grating a fresh coconut.


Mint Chutney (Pudina Chutney)



It is this time of the year that my backyard is full of Mint leaves. Let us explore the various ways of making a Mint Chutney. Through the following pictures, I am going to illustrate that making a pudina chutney is a very simple process.

In India there are various ways of making Mint or Pudina chutney. Just as the cuisines vary so much from state to state, region to region -


The above ingredients clockwise (starting from top left) are: salt, green chilies & ginger root,tamarind, and Anardana* powder (Available in most Indian grocery stores). If you are not able to find it - don't worry too much about it, we can make it without the Anardana - just increase a little bit of tamarind. :-)

Basically, it is as simple as putting all the ingredients and putting them into a blender with a little bit of water to grind. Check for seasoning.

*Anardana are pomegrante seeds - available in Indian grocery stores in the seed or powdered form.


In the next post we will check out various other ways to make Mint chutney and more ...

Variation: You can add some plain beaten yogurt and then adjust the seasoning.

For more on Mint read Joe Yonan's post here in the Washington Post food blog.

Cool off with a Cold Soup –

Hot summer days in the DC metropolitan area!  For all those folks who asked me for the recipe of the cold soup that we serve at Indique Heights - here we go......


This was printed in the Washington Post in 2006.

 Moru Rasam (Spiced Buttermilk Soup)

  The Washington Post, August 9, 2006


·                                 Cuisine: Indian

·                                 Course: Soup

·                                 Features: Fast, Meatless


"We drink this at the end of a meal," says Chef K.N. Vinod. When preparing this soup, whisk the buttermilk well before adding the seasoning. It can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

*Notes: Asafetida, fenugreek seeds, urad dhuli dal and curry leaves are available at South Asian markets and at Wegmans stores.

4 to 6 servings


·                                 1/4 cup vegetable oil

·                                 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

·                                 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

·                                 1 pinch asafetida (optional)*

·                                 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds*

·                                 1/2 teaspoon urad dhuli dal (white split gram beans)*

·                                 1/3 teaspoon chopped jalapeño chili pepper (optional)

·                                 1 teaspoon chopped ginger root

·                                 10 curry leaves*

·                                 3 shallots, thinly sliced

·                                 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

·                                 1 teaspoon salt

·                                 2 quarts buttermilk


In a medium pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers and then add the mustard seeds. When they start to crackle and pop, about 30 seconds, add the cumin, asafetida if using, fenugreek, urad dhuli dal, jalapeño chili pepper, if desired, ginger, curry leaves and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently and reducing the heat if necessary, until the shallots become golden brown (watch carefully so they don't burn), about 2 minutes. Add the turmeric and salt and remove from the heat.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until it forms a thick paste (if the mixture is not fully engaging with the blade, add a little of the buttermilk). Place the buttermilk in a large bowl or pitcher and add the spice paste, stirring until no streaks remain. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until cold. Before serving, add salt to taste.

Recipe Source:

 Adapted from Chef K.N. Vinod, co-owner of Indique / Indique Heights in Chevy Chase.


Originally uploaded by chefvinod

Vegetable Oothapam with assorted Chutneys

Here is the recipe as demonstrated on Fox TV :


Dosa Batter  - 20 0unces *

Onion – (chopped) – 4 tsp

Tomatoes – (chopped) – 4 tsp.

Red Pepper – (chopped) – 4 tsp.

Green Pepper (chopped) – 4 tsp

Yellow Pepper (chopped0 – 4 tsp.

Cilantro ( chopped) – 4 tsp.

Vegetable oil – 1 table spoon.

  1) On a hot flat top griddle spoon 4-5 ouces of batter.

  2) Add a teaspoon each of the chopped ingredients on top of the batter and cook on both sides till done. Sprinkle with a  few drops of oil on both sides while cooking.

Dosa batter is available at some local Indian grocery stores in the D.C metropolitan area.


Recipe for Dosa Batter:

Raw Rice                     -    2 cups

Parboiled Rice             -    2 cups

Urad Dal (dhuli)         -    1 cup

(black gram dal polished)

Fenugreek seeds         -   1 tsp.

Salt – 2 ½ tablespoon

Oil – a few drops for frying.

1)      Soak raw rice, parboiled rice,  urad gram dal and fenugreek seeds together

             in water for 3 hours.

2)      Grind the soaked ingredients to a smooth paste.

3)      Add salt after grinding and allow fermenting for 8 – 10 hours at room temperature.

spice Crusted Salmon

spice Crusted Salmon

Originally uploaded by chefvinod

Spice Crusted Salmon as demonstrated on fox tv.

I have received several requests for posting this recipe for the Spice Crusted Salmon and here it is :

Salmon - 2 fillet 6 ounces each
Ginger and garlic paste - 2 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Fresh lemon juice - 2 tsp.
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilly flakes - ¼ tsp
Cumin Seeds - ½ tsp
Whole Black Pepper Corns - ¾ tsp
Olive oil or Veg Oil - 2 tsp

1)    Cut Salmon fillets into six ounce pieces with the skin on.
2)    Rub with Salt, fresh lemon juice, ginger and garlic paste and olive oil. - Set aside for half an hour.
3)    In a skillet, toast coriander seeds, whole red chilies, cumin seeds and black pepper corns - grind in a spice grinder or coffee mill.
4)    Apply this coarsely ground spices on top of the marinated fillet.
5)    Heat a skillet to high heat and place the fillet with the marinated side facing down and the skin side up.
6)    Sear for approximately a  minute till the spices form a nice crust and then flip it over gently
7)    Finish in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes or till the fish is done. Do not overcook the fish.

P.S : If you are not used to having a lot of hot food, reduce the red chilly flakes and pepper corns.