My brother's Kashmiri Aloo Dum (Potatoes and Chickpeas in Indian Spiced Yoghurt Sauce)

This is another delicious dish my brother prepared. Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love Indian food. This dish really surprised me as it tasted incredibly authentic. My brother put a lot of effort into it and also used his new mortar to pestle a fresh masala spice paste. He mentioned the bell pepper were cooked too long, but for  me it just added to the flavor. I really enjoyed eating it and hope to be able to try more of his Indian dishes :)


  • 1/2 lbs small potatoes - peeled and halved
  • 1 liter salt water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion - chopped
       Masala spice mix:
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 red chilis - sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cardamon seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste 
  • 2/3 cup red bell pepper - diced
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander for garnish
  • serve with Basmati Rice



  1. Use a tooth pick to prick each potato piece so that they can absorb the salt water. Let them soak in salt water for about 1 hour.
  2. Heat up oil in a frying pan. Sauté onions. When gold brown, set the onions aside, keep the oil in the fying pan.
  3. Prepare the Masala Spice Paste: Add the masala spices (coriander seeds, cumin seeds, tumeric powder, garam masala and red chilis) to the used frying pan. Fry for a couple minutes on medium heat, stir frequently to prevent burning. Then, transfer them into a mortar and pestle to a paste.
  4. In a clean frying pan, heat up oil with bay leaves. Add the cardamon seeds, the gloves and cinoman stick. Fry for a minute. Add the ginger-garlic paste, the onions you had set aside, the bell pepper and the chickpeas. Fry for another minute. Add the masala spice paste with a few tablespoons of water. Stir frequently and let cook for 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add the yoghurt, salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes, cover the frying pan with a lid and let cook for 15 minutes. If it gets too dry, add a little bit of water. At the end, remove the cinamon stick and the cloves (if you are able to find them).
  6. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top and serve with Basmati rice.

Note: If you do not have a ginger-garlic paste ready to use, just prepare it yourself similar to the masala spice paste. Heat a little oil, add chopped fresh ginger and garlic (e.g. 4 ounces of each), fry for a couple minutes and keep stiring. Transfer to a mortar and pestle. Add a few drops water if too dry. Alternatively, you can also put the garlic and ginger in a blender, add a few drops of oil and blend till it is smooth. You can refrigerate or freeze the paste for later use.

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    Sunny Side Up Eggs a different way - a B-Day gift

    So, this post is about a birthday gift - one I really wasn't quite sure about and almost didn't go through with it. A while back a friend of mine posted on Instagram a sunny side up egg in form of a skull during Halloween time. I thought that so funny and it looked quite pretty. I thought this would be a perfect gift for a friend of mine, especially as he has a little girl at home. At that time I didn't know that he had developed some kind of food allergy to eggs... my bad...

    Anyways, I talked to my friend with the egg skull mold and she told me that the egg skull turned out quite okay at the second try. I did a little more research and googled youtube videos/reviews. Unfortunately, these did not convince me too much, especially not "Fred and Friends" review. They did not look pretty and the people complained that it is not easy. And furthermore, the silicone molds were so flimsy, I started doubting it...  So, I was a little in a pickle and stuborn as alway... Despite the reviews, I really did like the skull form and the idea, especially because I found this box with three cute egg molds which seemed really nice for the little kid (skull, bunny and owl), and my friend who had actually tried it out said it would be okay. I decided to trust her. Good decision!

    I never expected this outcome. Look how gorgious these turned out! And that was his first try. I guess he is just a natural ;)

    Cook's Tips:

    I asked him whether he did something special or has some tips, but for him it seemed easy. Just use two eggs :) After I showed him the reviews, he was surprised how much could go wrong. He added a few more tips. First, seperate the egg yolk from the egg white so that you can transfer the egg yolk easily into the eyes of the molds. Then, grease the molds, use a teflon frying pan and use chopsticks to remove excess egg white (that runs out of the mold) before it turns solid. Also, don't heat up the frying pan too much to prevent brown egg white and blisters and don't use a lid as some reviews suggest. Loosen the egg yolks before you remove the mold and transfer the eggs to the plate. And maybe use pepper on the plate, after you take the picture ;)

    I post this to show that these egg molds can result in eggs that look as perfect as on the commercials. Don't get discouraged by some of the youtube reviews.

    Picture courtesy of N.K.

    Berlin's "Zuckerfee"

    Everyone knows the Sugarplum Fairy from the famous ballet "The Nutcracker", which is especially great for little kids around the Christmas time. I watched it in Portland, OR and I loved it. This time we tried a completely different Sugarplum Fairy. This one is actually a breakfast/ brunch place in Berlin. The real name of this little restaurant is "Zuckerfee", which is German for Sugarplum Fairy. I wanted to try this place because they serve their breakfast on three tier etageres which I just cannot resist. I even went so far to take two of my male friends to this very manly place :)

    The place is cute with a small outdoor seating area for the summer with nice little colorful chairs. Inside, they had decorated each table with fresh tulips and there were huge chandeliers on the ceiling. And the breakfast was just amazing. You can order single dishes such as omlettes, pancakes, etc. or one of the three etagere breakfasts: The "Sugarplum Fairy" which comes with pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon or the "English man in New York" which comes with baked beans, sunny side up egg and bacon, or the "La Fee Dragée" which comes with croissants, cheese, salami and jam.

    My friend definitely wanted to have some scrambled eggs and bacon, so we went for the "Sugarplum Fairy" etageré breakfast and my other friend ordered the omlette with bacon. To sum it up we ordered fresh pressed orange and grapefruit juice. Delicious.

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