Jun 29, 2009

Do the Matki dance (Moth/ Matki Usal)

A couple of days ago when I was soaking the moth/matki beans my three year old asked me, “What’s that?” When I told him he asked me wide eyed, “Matki dance?” I burst out laughing because the name does sound like a dance name. The name wasn’t enough to get him to try and eat the usal but I have always loved usal because my mom would make it so much fun to eat it. She would keep bowls of chopped onions, boiled mashed potatoes, yogurt and sev for garnish. My siblings and I were allowed to choose our own toppings and we usually went with everything. It was my mom’s way of turning a nutritious sprouts dish into a fun eating adventure. Sadly, those tactics don’t work on my savvy but picky son.

Sprouting the beans:

It usually takes one to two days to sprout these beans. So plan in advance. Soak the beans in a lot of water for 6-8 hours. The beans soak up a lot of water and double in size. Drain the remaining water and wash them to remove any dirt or grit. Tie them in a damp cotton fabric and leave them covered in a dark, warm place. I usually leave them in a cabinet under my stove. The beans will start sprouting by next day. The ingredients for the usal are very few and I usually cook everything in my 3ltr pressure cooker. These beans are easy to cook and you can always follow the same method in a pot. Just cook the beans till they are tender.


1 cup sprouted moth/matki beans
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp coconut powder
1/8 cup of peanuts, soaked in water (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste


Heat 1 tbsp of oil and add cumin seeds, turmeric and garam masala. Once the cumin starts to crackle add the onions and peanuts.
Let the onions turn translucent before adding the tomatoes and red chili powder. Cover and let cook for a few minutes.
Add the sprouted beans, cover the lid and cook till the beans are tender and cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro, chopped onions and sev or farsan of your choice.
This recipe goes to Susan's My Legume Love Affair hosted this month by Apu of Annarasa . The matki dance also goes to Spill the beans Sunday snack event hosted this month by Priya of Akshaypaatram .

Jun 24, 2009

Treading Deep Waters

The month of June has been exciting and exhausting. As I get more involved with my blog and explore the wonderful world of food blogging, I am getting deeper and deeper into entering various events hosted by gracious blog hosts. It is exciting to find out about an event whose theme excites and inspires you to create new recipes and improve the ones in your repertoire. Blogs like Meena’s Hooked on Heat make me realize how far I still have to go towards building a great blog. It has inspired me to pay more attention to the little details in writing my recipes and try to take better food pictures.
It is exciting to see my post getting accepted in an event and appear on the host blog (so far just one – My entry to the CLICKS event). But it is also exhausting to keep track of different themes, deadlines and photo specifications. I have also realized that it takes more time to write, photograph, upload and link a recipe than it does to make the food, eat it and load the dishwasher.
So, for my second entry for Tried and Tested: Hooked on Heat event hosted by Kits Chow , I picked the Sauted spinach with potatoes recipe which is not only easy to cook and delicious to taste but is also nutritious and takes very little time to make or to write. Also, I had some leftover baby spinach in the fridge begging to cook it with potatoes.

Aloo Palak (Potato Spinach) stir fry


6 cups of spinach, washed and chopped roughly
2 medium potatoes, sliced thin
1 small onion, diced fine
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped or mashed fine
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder)
1 tsp red chili powder
Salt to taste


Heat 2 tbsp oil and add mustard seeds. As they start to crackle, add cumin seeds, turmeric, onions and garlic. Sauté on medium heat till onions turn translucent and garlic starts giving off its aroma.
Slide in the potatoes and cook covered till almost tender. Add salt and spinach and cook till the potatoes are done and the spinach is wilted.
Serve warm with rotis and dal.

Going (a)round memory lane

They say everything comes back full circle and it has never been so clear to me since the birth of my son three and a half years ago. He has the exact sleep pattern as mine, the same picky eating habits of my childhood and the same obsessive and stubborn nature. My son did not let go of his beloved baby bottle till he turned three and just like me he got hooked on Aloo Paranthas at the age of two. His picky eating habit doesn’t give me a lot of options to feed him. So, once a week, I boil some potatoes and keep the sabzi ready to make his favorite aloo parantha at a moment’s notice.

Potato (Aloo) Parantha

This recipe goes to my darling son and to Tried and Tested: Hooked on Heat event guest hosted by Kits Chow. My recipe is very similar to Meena’s (of HoH ) Potato Parantha recipe, except I use fennel seeds and ginger-garlic paste instead of cilantro, green chilies and onions. I am also sending this to BSI:Potatos hosted by Chez What? .


2 cups wheat flour
5-6 potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (optional)
1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste

Sprinkle the wheat flour with carom seeds, add a tsp of oil and with some water knead into soft dough. Divide dough into golf sized balls and keep aside.
Mix salt and chili powder in the mashed potatoes.
Heat a tbsp of oil in the karahi and add turmeric and fennel seeds. As they start to crackle, add the ginger garlic paste. Let it cook for a few minutes. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well. Cook for a few minutes and turn off the heat.
Roll out each dough ball into a small circle and place 1 tbsp of potato mix in the centre. Bring up the edges and press together to form a ball. Make sure the edges are sealed tight.
Flatten the ball with your hands, dredge it in some dry flour and roll out to desired thickness. In the world of paranthas THICK = SOFT and THIN = CRISP.On a hot gridle or tava, fry the rolled out paranthas with oil or ghee or both. Serve hot with pickle and a heaping bowl of yogurt.

Jun 21, 2009

Indian rickshaw in my home

Yesterday, a friend returning from India brought a toy rickshaw for my 3 year old son. More than him I was excited to see it and I have to confess, I played with it a little too.
Rickshaws, for the uninitiated, are three wheeler modes of transportation that run on two horse power motors. They have a long seat in the back that can seat three people and the driver seats in the narrow front section. There are no doors or seat belts but I have never heard of anyone falling out of a running rickshaw yet. All rickshaws have the same body but they are as unique as the driver who rides it. Some will be decorated with pictures of the god or goddess the rickshaw driver believes in. Some will have colorful festoons and ribbons hanging from the roof. The hi-tech ones will have loud stereos blasting the latest film songs or religious bhajans (hymns).

As a single girl living in Mumbai, India, the ubiquitous rickshaw always came to my rescue when I needed to reach an appointment in time or a ride home in the middle of the night. Like taxi cab drivers in New York or Boston, the rickshaw drivers too had their preferences on where they wanted to go and if it was worth their time to travel a small distance or not. Especially at the end of their shift they preferred to take a passenger going in the direction of their home. On a hot, summer noon one could find them parked under a shady tree, reclining in the back seat, taking a nap. There were kind rickshaw drivers who would give you a ride when it was raining cats and dogs in the city and there were the crooked ones who would charge you an exorbitant amount of money if you were in a fix.

I remember one early morning I hired a rickshaw from the Mumbai airport and asked the driver to take me to home. On the way he told me he will have to charge me night rates since it was fairly early in the morning. Too tired to argue with him at that ungodly hour I agreed. When we reached my home he showed me the conversion chart. The amount of money he was charging me did not seem right but “the chart doesn't lie” so I paid him off and went inside. Only later did I realize he had shown me the rate conversion chart of a taxi cab and not an auto rickshaw. An expensive lesson learnt early in the day.
On my last visit to India, my then two and a half year old son had a rocking time riding in the rickshaw. There was no car seat or seat belt to confine him, he could feel the wind on his face and see all the wonderful sights a busy city like Mumbai has to offer.
You can see why I am delighted to have a toy rickshaw for my son to play with and for me to relive my wonderful, single life in Mumbai. And why I had to write about it.

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Jun 20, 2009

Best Dessert in the World

Summer Fruit Bonanza

If there is anything I like better than eating a fruit dessert it is eating fresh fruit. It is also one the reason why summer is my favorite season of the year. Nature’s bounty is at its most generous during the three long, hot months and I love gorging on berries, cantaloupes, oranges and water melons. These three months my family and I eat a generous helping of fruit salads which is just a fancy word for lot of cut up fresh fruit tossed together. I don’t add anything to it except a fork. No fruit chaat masala, no lemon juice or sugar. Just plain, simple fruit as nature intended. After all, what dessert can replicate the taste and texture of fresh fruit bursting in your mouth?

Jun 18, 2009

Mad about Mangoes

As a kid if you have ever eaten a ripe, juicy mango in the heat of the Indian summer, you know what I am talking about. As kids we would get a mango every afternoon after lunch. We would squeeze them all around to get the juices flowing and then tear off one side to get to the juice and the fibrous, sweet flesh. By the time we finished it off our arms and faces would be sticky with mango juice but our tummies would be happy in a way no dessert could equal.
As I grew a little older I was allowed to scrape the flesh off the Hapoos mangoes for the aamras. My siblings and I would fight over the dibs for the mango skins and scrape them clean with our teeth. Those summers were magical and heavenly; when the scent of mangoes hung in the kitchen and after lunch we would darken the common room and start the cooler fan. In that dark, cool room satiated with a good lunch and bowls of aamras, everyone would fall asleep for the noon.
In the US, it is hard to get good mangoes at the local Indian grocery store so I sometimes buy the canned mango pulp. But the canned stuff is too sweet and has an aftertaste that is hard to explain and not easy to get used to. I usually use this pulp to make mango lassi (with yogurt) or mango shakes (with milk). The other day I found a recipe for mango sorbet and decided to give it a try.
The original recipe calls for fresh mangoes but since I had the canned pulp I decided to improvise. The result was a creamy sorbet with just a hint of coconut and the crunch of cashew nuts.
This is also my entry to SHF 2009 event hosted by Mansi. The event calls for the recipe to include at least a fruit and a nut. I wrongly assumed coconut to be a nut but a search on the net revealed it is in fact a seed! Who knew? This also goes to Srivalli’s Mango Mela and to  Ben's Homemade #5 Challenge .

Mango Coconut Sorbet


1 can (1 lb 14 oz) of mango pulp
1 can (14 oz) can of coconut milk
1 tbsp roasted and coarsely crushed cashews
Cardamom powder to taste (optional)

Mix the mango pulp and coconut milk in a freezer safe container.
Pop it in the freezer for two hours or till is just about sets. Take it out and with an electric hand mixer beat the pulp to break up the ice crystals.
Whipping the pulp this way also infuses it with air and makes the sorbet light and fluffy.
Repeat three to four times, every couple of hours till the desired consistency is achieved.
Serve garnished with cashews (which is a nut) and coconut flakes. Sprinkle cardamom powder to enhance the taste of mangoes and serve chilled.

Jun 11, 2009

My mother-in-law’s secret…

When I got married, my mother-in-law passed on a family secret she had also passed on to her other two, older, daughters-in-laws. Well, it is more of a cooking tip than a secret but it is such a family staple that everyone know about but no one talks about (well, till now!) that I think of it as her ‘secret’.
Well, as all things brilliant go this one is actually quite simple. Indian households, including my MIL’s, use large quantities of ginger-garlic paste in preparation of curries and other varied recipes. With three growing sons and a husband fond of good food, she learned early on that it made her life a little easier if she ground ginger-garlic-green chillis and cilantro into a paste and stored it in the fridge to be used when needed.
As her three sons grew older and eventually got married, the tip was passed down to every new bride. To me, who had not cooked a lot before getting married, the simplicity of the tip was just brilliant.
A jar of this paste in the fridge lasts about 10-14 days, if you don’t finish it all off first. It is really handy when you are cooking for a lot of guests or if you make curries that call for ginger garlic paste. I also use it for marinating meats and fish.

1 cup coriander
14-15 cloves of garlic
4 inch of ginger
5-6 green chillis (vary according to preference)
1 tsp of salt

Grind the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. The salt helps preserve the paste for a couple of days.
The addition of green chillis and cilantro to the paste gives the curries and marinades a flavor that is hard to describe but tastes very good when the dish is cooked.

Jun 9, 2009

Not so good cookies

There are a very few pre packaged cookies that I like and I am not a fan of store bought pre packaged cookie mixes and dough. I find them too sugary and synthetic to taste. Besides, it takes maybe 10 minutes more to prepare cookie dough from scratch as compared to opening a packet of pre mix.
Today, however, I broke my rule and decided to make cookies from a Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix. It had a recipe for making cookies by adding 2 eggs, 1 stick of butter and ¼ cup of brown sugar to the cake mix. I was skeptical of the recipe but followed the instructions and put the cookies in the oven.
Now because the main ingredients were that of a cake, my guess is there was too much baking powder and baking soda in it. It made the cookies expand a lot more than normal cookies. As a result my first batch of cookies was almost as big as a dessert plate. Also, the time specified on the box was way too much (14 – 16 minutes) for the cookies. If my oven light was not on I would have most certainly burnt them. It took about 8-10 minutes for the cookies to be done.
That can be a good thing when you have an impatient toddler hanging around the kitchen asking every two minutes, “Are they done yet?” They did look good too, all brown and chocolaty. Also, there wasn’t a lot of cleanup to do afterwards, just the mixing bowl and spoon.
So, what is the flip side? Well, for one the taste. As I said before, they were far too sweet and didn’t taste as good as the ones made at home. There was no texture to it and the chocolate flavor wasn’t intense even though I used the dark Chocolate Fudge flavor and added good quality chocolate chips for extra measure.
I will stick to my tried and tested kitchen sink cookies recipe.

Jun 8, 2009

An ode to artisan bread

This picture is my entry to Jugalbandi's Click Event

Long time ago, we found a German bakery called Bread Haus, about 40 minutes away from our home. I still remember the first time I walked into their little shop, lined with wooden shelves and filled with golden, brown loaves of bread. A delicious smell of fresh baked bread hung in the air. To the side and in the back you could see a huge oven and stainless steel tables on which more bread was being shaped by hand and left to rise for next day.
This week Tushar got some freshly made bread and I couldn’t help but take a picture of this loaf of garlic Gilroy and post it. If you have always eaten the pre packaged, retail store bread, you have to try a local bakery made bread. We have been customers of Hous for 6 years now and I know friends who have been regulars since the last 13 years. We eat the bread with
chicken salad , with some pepper jack cheese melted on top or just plain with some butter smeared on it.

Here’s a little information about ‘Bread Hous’ and a link to their website.
The owners, Petra and Mark Lively, make artisan breads out of organic flours, grains and seeds. Their hearty breads do not contain any added sugar, fat, dairy and egg. We buy two or three loaves every two weeks but have to reserve our favorite kind (Multigrain and Garlic Gilroy) early in the morning or they sell out of almost all of their bread by 4 PM every day.

Bread Haus , a retail bakery, owned and operated by Petra and Mark Lively.

Jun 4, 2009

Decadent Kheer (Rice Pudding)

For me the mere mention of kheer conjures up delicious bowls of sweetened milk laced with raisins, cashews and pistachios. I remember the sweet smell of the cardamom pods being crushed in my mom’s small mortar and pestle. My siblings and I would hang around the kitchen, waiting for my mom to finish her pooja and “naivaidya” (The first offering for the gods), so we could eat the delicious kheer.
In every Indian household, kheer is a popular dessert that is made during religious occasions, for special guests and sometimes if there is too much left over milk. Out here in the good old USA, I don’t get a lot of occasions to make kheer but when I do, I make the much thicker and decadent version of my mom’s recipe.


½ cup basmati rice
6 cups of whole milk
1 tbsp ghee
½ cup of sugar
¼ cup raisins (I use gold and dark)
1 tbsp cashew nuts
5 – 6 cardamom pods

Wash the rice thrice under cold water, drain the water and keep aside.
In a heavy bottom pan heat the ghee and toast the rice for a few minutes on medium heat.
Add the milk and bring it to a gentle boil. With the heat on med-low, let the milk simmer and bubble. Keep stirring the pot from time to time to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
In about 30 minutes the milk should reduce to about half. Add the sugar and raisins and stir. Continue to boil the milk till the kheer thickens, another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, crush the cardamom pods to a powder.
Take the kheer off the heat once the desired thickness is achieved. I like it super thick.
Sprinkle the cardamom powder on the kheer and stir to combine.
Transfer to a serving dish and chill.
Just before serving, fry whole cashews in ghee till golden and garnish on the kheer.
This recipe goes to Meeta's Monthly Mingle hosted by Nags . This month's theme -- Ravishing Rice.

My Masala Dabba

First a background lesson in Masala Dabba: Every Indian kitchen has at least one masala dabba if not two. The concept is just genius and my hats off to whoever invented it. A MD is usually a round, flat container with a lid and has little containers, usually 6-7, that fit inside it. With the plethora of Indian spices one has to use while cooking, it is handy to have the most commonly used ones within easy reach. My mother-in-law has two dabbas – one for ground spices like turmeric and red chilli powder, and the second one for whole spices like cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon sticks and black peppercorns.

Red Chilli Pwdr, Garam Masala (Everest), Cumin Seeds, Turmeric Pwdr, Mustard Seeds, Cumin Corrainder (Dhana Zeera) Pwdr and in the centre cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

I have to admit I don’t clean my masala dabba very regularly. I just clean the container that needs refilling before putting it back with the rest of the messy ones. But yesterday, I accidently dropped the MD on the floor, spilling all the spices and ended up not only cleaning all the little containers but also my kitchen floor. Let me admit, while I am at it, the floor too needed a good moping. (Hey, don’t judge me!)
My MD along with my kitchen floor is now sparkly and shiny. When else will I get a chance to photograph it and put it on my blog? Here’s a picture of my masala dabba, all sparkly and clean.
Now only if it could stay this way.

Udipi style aloo sabzi (potato sabzi)

As a singe girl living in Mumbai, India, I used to love to eat in Udipis and Madras Coffee Houses. To the uninitiated, these are restaurants that exclusively serve South Indian cuisine and really good coffee. They used to be relatively inexpensive for the quality and quantity of food they served. It was a favorite hangout for writers and young college students.
The Masala Doa would come with a aloo sabzi stuffed inside, sides of coconut and tomato chutneys and a big bowl of sambhar. In all the cooking adventures I have had, I have never been quite able to duplicate any of the tastes except that of the sabzi. Here is my simplified version of the udipi sabzi.


4 – 5 medium potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
½ cup of peas
½ tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves (optional)
1tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp cumin coriander powder
½ tsp sabzi masala (I use Everest brand)
Salt to taste

Boil the potatoes in the cooker for 2-3 whistles. Once it cools down, peel and chop potatoes in small cubes.
Heat oil in a karahi or wok and add the mustard seeds. As they begin to crackle, add the curry leaves. The leaves have water in them and so they splutter when added to the oil. It is advisable to lower the heat and stand aside while the spluttering subsides.
With the heat still on low add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and chopped onion. Bring up the heat to medium and sauté till onions turn translucent.
Add the remaining spices and stir. The spices should start giving off their aroma in a minute or so. Add the peas and potatoes at this point. Coat the pea and potatoes with the onions and spice mix.
At this point, you can decide to do two things. If you want the sabzi to be dry (sookhi) then just add the salt and mix. Heat it through and serve with a garnish of cilantro.
If on the other hand, you want the sticky, Udipi style sabzi, add salt and ½ cup of water to the karahi. On medium low, let the water bubble and boil while the starch from the potatoes makes delicious, sticky gravy. In about 5-7 minutes you will have the Udipi style aloo sabzi ready. Serve it garnished with chopped corrainder and dosa.

In my household, we eat this sabzi with dosa and toor dal cooked in a cooker.

Jun 3, 2009

Everyday dal

In Indian households dal and sabzi are accompanied by rotis (wheat tortillas). But yesterday I wasn’t in the mood to make rotis. Besides, my 3-year old likes his dal with a dosa and my 34-year old hubby doesn’t like dal but likes his dosa with aloo (potato) sabzi. Luckily, I had some store bought dosa batter in my fridge and I had already made dal in the morning. I only had to make aloo sabzi and dinner was ready to be served. The toor dal I use in this recipe is also called tuver dal or split pigeon peas. Here is the recipe which I make in my trusty 3-litre Hawkins Pressure Cooker.

Toor Dal


½ cup toor dal
1 tomato, chopped
1 slit and chopped green chili or 1 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp garam masala powder or any other masala powder at home
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp asafetida
A pinch of sugar or a small lump of jiggery
Salt to taste

Soak the toor dal in 2 cups of water for 3-5 hours.
Heat oil in the pressure cooker and add mustard seeds. Turn the heat to low when they start to crackle and pop.
Add the green chilli, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, asafetida and the garam masala. Roast for one minute till the raw spice smell is replaced by the fragrance of the spices.
Add the chopped tomato and cover the cooker with a lid for five minutes. Bring up the gas flame to medium. The tomatoes will soften and release their liquid.
Add the soaked toor dal and add salt. Stir, add one cup of water and cover the cooker lid.
Turn off the heat after 3 whistles. Let the cooker cool down before opening it and transferring to another vessel. If the dal is too thick, add some water and boil. Garnish with coriander before serving.
Now, the only reason I transfer the dal to another vessel is so I can rinse it out and boil the potatoes for the sabzi. But if you are not going to make the sabzi, keep the dal in the cooker till you are ready to serve.

Aloo sabzi recipe coming up in the next post.

Chicken Salad Sandwich with salad greens and blueberries

In India, I had read about chicken salad sandwich in books and seen people order it on American sitcoms. But I had no idea how it was made or what its taste was like. Eight years ago when I came to the US, a newbie bride eager to taste all that this wonderful country had to offer, guess what, chicken salad sandwich was one of the first things I ordered in a diner. It was shredded chicken drowned in mayonnaise and mustard, slopped on two pieces of untoasted bread. I did not care for the taste or the texture and so did not eat it again for the next 6 years. Then one day I went with my friend Erin to the Celebrity Cafe. She recommended the Chicken Salas Sandwich (from henceforth to be referred as CSS) on the menu. I was skeptical but Erin’s recommendation, be they about food or movies, has never steered me wrong. So I ordered the CSS and loved it. It was not gooey like I remembered it. You could hardly taste the mayo and the mustard and it had bits of pecans and apples in it for crunch. The whole wheat bread was lightly toasted and there was a crunchy lettuce leaf under the salad to soak up the liquid and prevent the bread from getting soggy. A fan of CSS now, I wanted to replicate the Celebrity Café sandwich in my kitchen. After two years of trials and errors I have finally hit the jackpot. I just eyeball my ingredients for this recipe and so the following is an approximation of my recipe. You can adjust the ingredients according to your liking.

Craneberry Walnut bread from Bread Hause


¼ cup Rotisserie chicken, shredded
½ tbs Mayo
1 tsp mustard of your choice
1tbsp pecan/ walnuts
2 tbsp chopped onion and or apple
A dash of salsa
Salt and pepper to taste

Run the shredded chicken and pecans through the food processor for a few minutes. Chicken salad is ready.
I pile it on two slices of hearty bread we get from a local German bakery. This time I had some cranberry walnut bread in the house. Yum!
Some store bought salad greens and blueberries and lunch is ready.

Jun 1, 2009

Everything but the kitchen sink cookies

Baking cookies and giving them to your neighbors or friends is a great way to personalize your thanks for their help. Yesterday, a neighbor helped us fix our fence gate and I decided to bake some of these easy but delicious cookies.
They do not require fancy stand mixers or a lot of fluffing and beating. Plus as far as baking recipes go, this one is very flexible. If you don’t have pecans you can substitute walnuts. If you like chocolate chips or raisins in every bite of the cookie, you can add a cup of them instead of half. Plus you can double the recipe if you want 4 dozen cookies instead of 2.

Some ingredients halved or doubled from the original recipe.

1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats

The following ingredients can be further increased or decreased according to your personal preference:

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (or white/ dark/ milk)
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut (I use 1 cup)
½ cup raisins (or cranberries)
½ coarsely chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Beat butter and sugar till creamy. I usually let the butter sit on the counter the whole day to soften it up. If you forget to do that, just melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir it in the butter and egg mix.
Once the flour is incorporated in the butter, add oats, chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts and coconut flakes. The mixture will be a little bit dry and lumpy.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Drop 1 tbsp batter for small cookies and 2 tbsp for large cookies on to the parchment paper. Press the batter down with the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup to flatten the cookies evenly.
Bake till golden brown – about 14 – 15 minutes.

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