Kitchen Gadgets make life easier and I love trying out new gadgets(kitchen or otherwise). And each time I decide to go ahead and buy one I am reminded of how we used to do it back home, before we had the luxury of grinders. All of our batters, chutneys, garam masalas used to be ground in stone by hand!
The ladies in the home spent time(and I always wonder how 24 hours a day were enough) to get everything done and ready for the family. And this is why I think many many times before I invest in a new gadget - I weigh all the factors that are important to me - Price/Multi-purpose/Usage.
For example take the Kitchen Aid mixer. I have been eyeing that beauty for 2 years now. And the ones I really like, don’t come cheap. This one specifically. Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way - the reason why I haven’t gotten one is that I honestly wouldn’t use it enough. Also, although it might be a pretty sight on the kitchen counter, I can’t justify the purchase to the frugal me.
So I decided to list the gadgets I currently have and also list the ones I’d like to have. Also since I’ve had most of these gadgets for at least 3 years now, I decided to do a short pros and cons list too.
As a south Indian, I am used to recipes that involve lots of rice and lentil based batters, grain and legume flours, and a ton of masalas. All of this involve a LOT of grinding - dry grinding, wet grinding, fine and coarse grinding - you get the gist.
The one ultimate gadget that most families(that could afford it) invested in was the mixie and only a couple of brands could take the heavy duty work. We still have mixies at home that have lasted close to two decades! So when I got here and had to finally buy a blender I decided to buy a low end mixer - to test it out. I went to best buy and looked for a mixer with a glass jar and got an Osterizer. It has been with me for close to 4 years now and has definitely been one of my favourite purchases. It has been used to grind chutneys, idly/dosa/vada batters, oats flour, smoothies, ginger garlic pastes to name a few. I have complete satisfaction when it comes to the performance of the Osterizer for these tasks. I end up using the Liquify setting almost 90% of the time.
A glass jar imparts strength and gives life to the grinder. Because of the weight, it also gives stability which is a much needed factor in a machine that has sharp blades, a rotary motor and many times hot stuff in it.
I have never said it out loud but this is also one of my top reasons for NOT buying a Vitamix/Blendtec. They all come with Plastic jars which are also not cheap. I was brought up with the notion that anything plastic has to be cheap - sorry but I blame(read proudly attribute) my roots for this.
How ever I have found that when it comes to making small batches of fine masalas, this does not fit the bill. So I usually buy the masala mixes I need online or I simple use the whole spices to add flavor and take them out before serving.
I have a Hamilton Beach Juicer. I took a while to make this purchase. Because I was not happy with the amount of veggie pulp it left me with and which I couldn’t bear to use in any edible way. But, very recently I started making compost (Mom’s idea) and this made me feel slightly less guilty about juicing. Then I thought of making carrot halwa or carrot cake maybe, both of which didn’t sound appetizing enough. I made a savoury carrot cake but again that was mostly for the (R)oomie.
Then I read this post by Asha and loved it. And then it struck me - I could use the juicer veggie pulp to make my vegetable stock!!! Beets, carrots, celery and whatever else you are juicing with - add the pulp to a large bowl with water, add salt and bring to a boil. Strain and use.
So given my new found use for veggie scraps, the juicer now sees a more favourable place in our kitchen.
Electric Rice Cooker:
I have a Oster electric rice cooker. A very recent purchase because I already have the more popular Indian Pressure Cooker which takes about the same time but is also a multipurpose utility gadget which I use to pressure cook lentils perfectly.
The electric rice cooker is nice because you can make small quantities and if you are trying not to eat rice then this is great! You can also cook Quinoa, Couscous and steam veggies at the same time - all of which I can do in my pressure cooker by simply taking off the ‘weight’ but the pressure cooker is heavy to begin with and cleanup takes time especially if things spill over.
I have a Hamilton Beach slow cooker. Not much to brag in this area. I have made garbanzo beans, red beans, black garbanzo beans, butter beans and the taste is nothing like when its cooked in the regular way on the stove. Since I don’t eat meat, I feel like I am not exploring the gadget to its full potential. If you do have a slow cooker and want to try Indian Recipes try this book by Prerna Singh.
Saves time if you plan ahead.
No need to use oil.
Lacking in taste.
Electric Hand Mixer:
I have a Hamilton Beach electric Hand Mixer. When compared to what I would like to have, this one is almost minuscule and a non entity but given the nature of my baking experiments this works for me. I use it to beat eggs, make frostings, meringues, cookie and cake batters.
Perfect for small batches and the different speeds provide decent control.
Not good enough for larger batches.
Lot of arm work.
I have an Oster Waffle Maker. A very recent acquisition and I am still exploring the possibilities in this baby. But with my little experience, I can say that it is easy to use, easy to clean-up and I haven’t had any spillage issues yet. Also I got this because I live with a Waffle lover. What better reason to get one, right?
Easy to clean.
Easy to use.
At the most makes only 1 waffle at a time. So if you are not okay with splitting a waffle or mind eating it cold, this is not for you.
So, in all, my kitchen gadgets don’t cost more than $40 each. Also unconsciously, I stuck to just 2 brands which speaks for their quality. My entire range of gadgets cost less than $250 in total which I can live with - for now.
Now, if I were to make a list of what I’d like to have, I’d have to build a house just for the gadgets.
About 4 months back I got a lovely present from Tracy. I opened it up and found this beautifully aromatic almond paste by Mandelin. Did you know that California is known for its Almonds? Also almonds are not as fattening as Cashews and so I can get away with using it in anything I please.
So after months of contemplation(read google search) I decided that I wanted to make something so simple so that I could bring out the flavor in the almond paste. This cookie makes for fantastic snack bites and thanks to the almond paste texture is very pliable.
Okay lets get to the ingredients list. I could almost bet that you’d have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry for sure!
Mandelin Premium Almond Paste - 16 ounces
Egg - 1 Large
All purpose flour - 4 Tbsp or 1/4 Cup
Almond slivers - This is optional and I used it to add extra crunch and texture to the chewy cookies.
Please, please, pleeeease use the almond paste as soon as you open up the box. I waited a few days and the top of the paste started to dry up and that is sacrilege to something so beautiful.
In a clean glass bowl, add the almond paste and beat slightly to break it up.
Now add the egg and continue to beat till it mixes well and forms into a smooth thick batter consistency.
Add the flour a little at a time and mix well to form a cookie dough consistency.
Depending on the almond paste, the amount of egg and the ambient temperature you might need a little more/less dough.
Cover the bowl or wrap the dough with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour atleast.
Before you are ready to bake, take the dough out and let it come to room temperature.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
Roll the dough into any shape and size you like. I tried a few different types and just made sure that they had the same thickness. Pointer - thin cookies take less time and thick cookies take longer. So maintaining a uniform thickness allows for even cooking or else you will end up with a mix of crunchy and chewy cookies. If thats how you like it though - go for it.
If you want to make these cookies even more ‘almondy’ roll the cookies in some almond slivers and place it on the parchment sheet lined baking tray.
Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.
Take a peak at your cookies and you will see that they have started to brown slightly and thats about the right time to take them out.
Let the cookies cool completely before you pack it up for later.
Another thing, you can make your own almond paste at home - blanch almonds, take off skin and grind to a smooth paste and add as much sugar as you’d like. I have done this and the only thing different is that you will have to add almond flavor and add more flour because the home made paste is going to be more liquid.
I hope you give these a try and enjoy them :)
Till next time. And a huge shoutout to Tracy for introducing me to this wonderful pantry must have…
A long long time ago or rather what feels like a really long time ago, I was juicing regularly and loving it. Although I havent done it in a while, my palms have been twitching to get the Juicer out.
I usually juice on carrot juice if and only if I feel my eye sight isn’t at its finest. Since that feeling has been hitting me of late, I decided to go ahead and juice on some baby carrots. One of the other reasons for not juicing as often is all that fine pulp that ends up in the trash. Not this time though.
After I made some juice, I used the carrot pulp to make a quick vegetable loaf.
If you want to watch the silent movie of the easy peasy carrot pulp loaf, click here or watch below… Either ways its pretty simple to follow. I havent put up any text with the ingredients but I wasnt really making a propah video - so to speak.
Waffles needn’t be just a breakfast thing you know. It could be but it could also make for a filling lunch, especially when you’ve found a way to make it flavourful and filling.
On a visit to Costco, I walked by the coloured potatoes bag a couple of times before which I slung one over my shoulder and into the cart. There - commitment issues being resolved, slowly but surely. I brought it home and grabbed a few of them, washed and boiled them. And then I was stumped for ideas & I wondered how I was going to finish up the entire bag. That is when I watched this beautiful recipe by Prerna of Indian Simmer. Though I was tempted, I didn’t have all the ingredients. But the ingredients started brewing in my head and I decided to use the kitchen gadget I had acquired recently.
Potatoes - Cooked and mashed - 1 Cup
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tsp
Spice mix - 1 Tsp (I used S&B Curry powder)
Garlic paste - 1/4 Tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 Tsp
Yogurt - 3/4 Cup
Water - 3/4 Cup
Oats flour - 1/2 Cup
Cornflour - 2 Tbsp
Mix all the above ingredients to form a smooth batter. Heat up the waffle equipment and pour the batter and wait for that green light. Serve with this gravy - I promise you, your tastebuds will thank you.
The language used in the label is ‘Telugu’, the main language spoken in the south Indian state I was born in which was recently cut up into two states thanks to greed, conflict and war. I was taught to write in this language since I was 10 and I was a reluctant learner. I don’t do justice to the language when I speak it but I understand it very well. I consider the state my birth place and it saddens me terribly to see it torn up.
I’ve mentioned this state because it is known for its pickles. Pickles made from vegetables, fruit and meat, pickles made to be eaten right away and ones made to last for years, pickles that are enough to make a meal and pickles that make a necessary side dish.
Summer is slowly but surely creeping up on us and Summer back home meant mangoes and mangoes meant pickles. Sunday is the day when families go shopping for the best raw mangoes - the shrill of the market vendors calling out to you, giving you a better deal, handing out a piece to taste. The sourer it is, the harder it is the better. As we kids hang around, our parents/grandparents/relatives fill up bags full of raw mangoes and head over to the next step of the pickle making process.
A bunch of people sit with a huge board and a vicious looking knife, chopping off at mangoes and trying to get business at the same time. After bargaining amidst customers yelling about how they wanted the pieces cut, we wait our turn and count away at the mangoes making sure the number is right.
Then we get onto the Vespa, snuggled between Grandpa and whoever else decides to make it to the market and reach home but not before you pocket a few pieces of cut raw mango to chew on. On reaching home the mango pieces would be washed and laid out on cotton cloth under the sun under watchful eyes lest drooling mouths wander to steal a few pieces.
The actual pickling process itself was almost sacred. The kitchen would be sterilized, the utensils cleaned and dried, each ingredient measured and most importantly all kids shooed away. Once done, large bharanis are used to store pickles and they are stowed away on attics where they rest for two weeks after which they are brought down and mixed and returned for resting.
Only a month after the actual pickling process are we allowed to taste it and the tasting day is one I wish I could relive. All the kids in the house would gather around Grandma and she would have a huge steel place filled with piping hot steamed sona masoori rice. A generous dollop of ghee in the center and a side of the pickle - the green skin of the mango standing out against the red chilli oil. Our granny would mix it all up(all the time blowing to avoid scalding her fingers) and make balls - a size too big for our mouths but just right to hold in our cupped hands. And we would each devour them till we were over-satiated, eyes streaming, ears smoking and tummies bulging.
Summer time is the best time ever!
P.S: I’ve never seen the actual process of mango pickling from up close and so I am still very intimidated by it.
P.S.S: The picture included in this post is NOT Mango. It reads ‘Tomato Roti Pacchadi’ so its a tomato pickle.
I have a single picture for this simply because it was so good. period. It was devoured in less than a week!
I am a supporter of reusing and recycling whenever possible. The bottle you see in this image has been reused. And in all probability will be reused again.
My Mother is a strong supporter of fresh food - fresh ingredients, freshly made and consumed asap. At home although we cook for unexpected guests it is rare that we have left overs because she makes lip smackingly tasty food. Breakfasts are made and served hot, lunches packed and dinner made an hour before everyone is ready to eat. While all of this sounds like a dream, it isn’t always practical to expect. Which is why it helps to make a few ingredients ahead of time.
Sometimes when we return from a long day, the last thing we want to do is peel the ginger or grate the garlic and it helps when they are ready to use. There have been occasions where I skip adding green chillis simply because I don’t want my rather sensitive fingers tingling as I chop them up.
So I decided to spend about an hour a month and prep these fundamental ingredients ahead of time. I took inspiration from a friend of mine whom I visited in the east coast recently and decided I’d give it a try as well. Why am I putting it up here? Because this really small gesture won over the (R)oomie who absolutely does not enjoy the prep work as much as he likes cooking.
You will need sterilized wide mouthed jars for storing the pastes. Mason jars seem all the rage these days.
Ginger Paste :
Fresh Ginger - 1/2 lb (I washed it, scrubbed the skin off and chopped it into 1” pieces)
Oil - 2 Tbsp (I used Grapeseed)
Salt - 2 Tsp
In a grinder add the ingredients and grind to a fine paste. I have an Osterizer and I use the High/Liquify setting. The oil is what aids the grinding and the salt is the preservative. Once the consistency is smooth and devoid of lumps, I transfer it to a jar and leave outside to cool to room temperature. Anything when ground in a mixer/grinder tends to get slightly hot so make sure that it cools before you put it in the fridge.
Garlic Paste :
Garlic - 10 pods (Take off the skin and cut into 1” size pieces)
Oil - 2 Tbsp (I used Grapeseed)
Salt - 2/3 Tsp
Follow the same process as the Ginger paste. If you like a mix of the ginger/garlic paste add equal quantities of both and grind to a fine paste. Once done, transfer to a jar and store in the fridge.
Green Chili Paste :
Green chilies - 1/2 lb (Wash and dry, take the stems off and cut into 1” pieces)
Oil - 2 Tbsp (I used Grapeseed but feel free to use a fragrant oil like coconut oil)
Salt - 2/3 Tsp
Same drill as the Ginger and Garlic. And transfer to the jars and store in the fridge.
If you are doing all of this on the same day, always grind the chilies at the end. Also you can deseed the chilies to control the spice factor. Use the grade of chilies you are comfortable with. And last but not least if your fingers tingle when you handle chilies, use gloves and DONT put those fingers in your eyes - jus sayin.
Also these paste last well for atleast two months in the fridge and much much longer when frozen. You could just freeze them in those cute tiny ice cube trays and store in a ziplock. I don’t do this and I’ll tell you why. Usually ginger garlic paste is sautéed in some form of fat and that causes splutter and I am not a huge fan of spluttering especially if it is oil splutter. If you know that you will not be using the frozen cubes for sautéing then I’d say freezing is a good idea.
One of (R)oomie’s favourite thing to do when we have the pastes is to make this spicy buttermilk drink.
Plain Yogurt - 2% or whole - 1 Cup
Water - 2 Cups
Ginger paste - 1/4 Tsp
Chili paste - 1/4 Tsp (adjust to your spice buds)
Salt to taste (Careful here because the pastes already have salt in them and you don’t want a salty drink)
Onion - 2 Tsp - finely chopped (optional)
Curry leaves (optional)
Mint leaves (optional)
Plenty of crushed ice
In a glass bowl, beat the yogurt to a smooth paste, and add the water to it. Mix well.
Add the ginger and chili paste and taste and only then add the salt if need be.
Top it with the optional ingredients if you like and serve chilled with crushed ice.
The onions add a nice crunch between sips. And the mint is only to add the freshness aspect to the drink. You could just crush a few mint leaves and add the juice if you don’t like chewing on the leaves.
This drink is so good! Spice it up some more with some chili infused vodka for a kick!
Okay, we started with fresh ingredients and ended it with vodka which is not the freshest of ingredients. So I guess the title makes sense.
Travel makes me happy. Returning to the nest makes me happy as well. I need to find a fine balance between the two or else I get home sick. Home is a continually changing destination these days. It’s more about where my favourite peepal are.
Travel makes me feel very grownup - finding my way around new destinations and even old ones. Dodging the obstacles, looking at maps, figuring out what to do next - it is super exciting and so much fun. I spent 10 days 3000 miles from home in a city I hadn’t visited in 4 1/2 years - this time being the guide and taking some responsibility.
Growing up in India and being a public commute person most my life, I enjoy the east coast which offers a much better public commute option compared to the west coast where one is forced to get a car if one wishes to get groceries. What i also enjoy is that I am able to travel (mostly) worry free, not having to fear being grabbed, or touched unless I wish to be.
I enjoy smiling at strangers, offering a helping hand if possible and sometimes making random conversations. An iPhone in hand and a backup map of the subways helped me a lot but talking to random strangers was a welcome break. At one point I was sitting in an Airtran with 22 others and everyone of them was looking down at their smartphone - so strange yet so normal.
Im sitting cooped up in the nest and looking forward to the next destination… Till then…
I think I’ve mentioned earlier how Oats flour plays a significant role in our home. After having been introduced to it more than a year ago by my Mom, we’ve been using up boxes of Quaker Oats like nobody’s business. Warming up a glass of Lactaid and adding two tablespoons of the Oats flour and some honey and fruits makes for a pretty quick and delectable breakfast. If time permits, Oats dosa is an all time favourite and can be whipped up in no time.
Another constant the last two years have been weekend getaways at hotels where continental breakfasts are served. What we got used to during those trips were ‘Waffles' - the unhealthiest kind. I got so tired of these mostly round, pocketed, doughy things that I decided to get myself a waffle maker and make my own recipe. A recipe that I could relate to, that had ingredients from my pantry and that we could all enjoy - guilt free without missing out on taste.
So this morning after a few unsuccessful attempts in the past, I walked around the kitchen, shuffling through my pantry for ingredients that called out to me, measured them and put them together and looking down at the plate and it was Eureka time. I was pleased - mighty pleased might I add because the composition of the ingredients, the time to put it all together resulted in golden brown crunchy outsides while being cooked and spongy inside.
Oats flour - 1 Cup
Durum Whole Wheat flour - 1 Cup
Sugar - 2 Tbsp
Salt - 1/4 Tsp
Baking Powder - 1 Tsp
Corn Flour - 4 Tbsp
Yogurt - 8 Tbsp
Water - 1/2 Cup + a little more to make the batter consistency just right
Half and Half (optional) - 2 Tbsp
When you have all your ingredients ready, turn on your waffle machine so that it gets heated up.
In a glass bowl, mix all your ingredients to form a smooth batter.
Use a non stick spray to grease the waffle iron and pour the batter. Use per the instructions mentioned on your machine. I simple flip it after I pour the batter and then wait for the light to turn green. Also I set the heat level anywhere between medium and high for that perfect golden crust that I like.
Serve warm with maple syrup - try pure maple syrup - its expensive but oh so flavourful! Or if you aren’t a sweet breakfast person, mix it up with pickles or just fruit or eat it plain or go crazy and drizzle some chutney over it. All I ask is that you eat it right after you take it off the waffle maker. Dont wait and dont make it wait. Promise me!
Simple enough? Well this recipe needs a gadget but I just started to think up recipes I could make with different types of flours and the $35 I spent and the 10” X 10” counter space seems well worth it. Hopefully I’ll share all the successful experiments here soon!
Indian weddings are known for its flamboyance - the colors, jewellery, dance, music and the richness of it all. Additionally another important aspect to Indian weddings is the food. A wedding down south is judged by the number of desserts it serves it’s guests. The food is spoken about months and in some rare cases years later even after the bride and bridegroom are long forgotten.
One of the famed desserts that used to served at a lot of the “upper” middle class Indian weddings was the shahi Qubani ka Meetha or the royal Apricot dessert. The authentic way to make this luscious and rich dessert involves using the kernel of the apricot and extracting the nut in it to add to the dessert. To be honest I never enjoyed the taste of the almost almond like nut. So in my version I skipped these altogether and went with almonds and cashew nuts instead.
Dried Apricots - 1 Cup soaked in 1 Cup water for about 5/6 hours. About 250 gms by weight when dry. Jaggery - 250 gms (you can substitute the jaggery with sugar if you don’t like the taste of jaggery) (& if you prefer less sweetness, you can halve the quantity of sugar but just this once I wouldn’t advise you to) Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp (or any flavour you like - like say cardamom.) Almond slivers - 1 tbsp roasted Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp roasted Saffron threads - 1 pinch (optional)
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan on low flame, cook the apricots with the water that you used to soak it in. For about 25 minutes cook covered till the apricots turn soft and mushy. I used a masher to mash up the apricots to get a uniform consistency.
Now add the jaggery/sugar(if using) and let cook till the jaggery melts for another 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and continue to cook till all the water disappears and the mixture has a jam like consistency. Stir in the vanilla essence. The essence is basically to neutralize the strong apricot and jaggery flavors. Add the almonds and cashew nuts and turn off heat. Garnish with saffron threads if you like.
I was inspired to make this dessert thanks to a going away gift i got from a coworker ~ a huge jar of mandeline almond paste. I looked up recipes of cookies, cakes and then wondered if I could use it in traditional Indian gravies and finally decided on making a different version of the famed Kaju Katli » behold the infamous Badam/Almond Katli!
Although I didn’t end up using the almond paste Tracy gifted me, I think it would make for a perfect ingredient in this dish. I went the from scratch way and the result wasn’t half as bad as I expected it to turn out.
°Whole Almonds : 225 gms Fine Sugar : 160 gms Milk : 3/4th Cup Saffron : 20 strands powdered and another 20 strands for garnish Cardamom powder: 1/4 Tsp Clarified butter/Ghee : 2 Tbsp
°Prepping the Almonds: Boil water in a saucepan and add the whole almonds to it. Blanch for a minute and then transfer the almonds to cold water. Gently press on each almond to remove the skin. Pat dry. In a grinder, grind the almonds to a fine paste adding the milk ~ a little at a time. In a heavy bottomed wok or sauce pan add the almond paste, sugar and mix well. On medium fire, heat this mixture while stirring constantly. Stir in the clarified butter.
Add the saffron powder and cardamom powder and continue to stir. Continue to stir for almost 45/50 minutes. The mixture starts to separate from the sauce pan and thats when you know the dessert is ready.
Transfer to greased molds or spread onto a greased plate and let cool.
Serve warm or cold. Store for upto a week in the refrigerator.
As a south Indian I grew up eating these for snacks - Achappams - crispy, light, slightly sweet and fun! It wasn’t until recently that I found out that they were called Rosettes out here.
*Update: I just found out that these are also called Chinese Pretzels! Thank you Tracy!
So I jumped at the chance and got myself the molds from Kitchen Collection and didn’t wait too long to give it a try. While making them though I found that there are a lot of nuances that you need to make a note of as you go along. For example the mold has to be hot but not too hot, the batter a certain consistency, the mold dipped to a certain height - not too deep, not too shallow, the oil should not be too hot, you need to change the heat as you make it to make it more crispy. Notes I compiled so I could share it with you.
First lets look at the ingredients you’ll need:
All purpose Flour - 1 Cup
Rice Flour - 4 Tbsp
Egg - 1 large beaten
Milk - 1/2 Cup
Water - 1 Cup
Sugar - 2 Tbsp or 3 if you like it really sweet.
Salt - 1 pinch or 1/8th Tsp
Flavouring : I used cardamom powder but you can use vanilla essence if you like or strawberry or any other flavor you like.
Natural colouring if you prefer it that way.
Oil for Frying - About 1.5 to 2 Cups . A note on the oil I used. I’ve been experimenting with grapeseed oil recently and because of its high smoking point, I’d definitely recommend it. But please feel free to use vegetable oil, canola oil or coconut oil or shortening.
In a glass bowl add the beaten egg, the flours and start mixing. Add milk and water and mix to a smooth ‘pancake’ batter like consistency. There should not be any lumps.
Add the sugar, salt, flavour and color and mix well. What I did to avoid lumps is to give the mix a quick beat with a hand mixer.
Heat oil in a preferably deep bottom, wide mouthed sauce pan. To test if the oil is ready just add a drop of the batter to it and it should sizzle and rise up immediately.
Now join the mold to the holder and place it in the oil for about 10-15 seconds. Pat the excess oil off onto a paper towel and gently dip the mold into the batter. The mold should go in about 3/4th of the way. So when you dip it into the batter you should be able to see the top of the mold.
Now dip the mold into the oil for about 10-15 seconds. The batter will start to sizzle and fall off the mold when you gently shake the mold. If it doesn’t come off that easy use a wooden skewer to separate the batter from the mold. I have a quick video here…
Now reduce the heat and let it brown a bit. The low heat allows the achappams to turn crispy. After about 30 seconds turn the achappam over and let the other side brown as well.
Use a skewer and transfer the achappams onto some kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil.
Keep in an airtight container and serve with tea!
I’ve been away far too long but here’s wishing you all a lovely year ahead!
I stopped juicing two weeks back. I am not too happy about it but change happens and one must roll with it. So heres a quick list of all the blends we have had recently.
Yes, this one isnt juice. One day I was feeling super hungry after a glass of juice so I treated myself to some oats, milk and honey.
The persimmon season has taken everything by storm especially the juicing group. I enjoy the times the persimmons are tender and juicy. We have been adding chia seeds on a regular basis as well.
This color is a dead giveaway that we have beets! Yay! the texture, taste and everything I’ve said before about beets. DO i need to repeat myself? Coz I will, you know.
This texture I am not too fond of. If you actually bit into the juice(you can do that) you could taste the leaves. As a matter of fact , i dislike biting into the juice simply because I am afraid I might bite into one of those treacherous(but good for you) greens.
You can be sure that this texture is thanks to avocados and bananas. Smooth, slick, green and yet really sweet!
This blend was a little spicy and tangy.
Not to repeat myself but this color is only because of the beautiful beets. We also turned to adding flax seeds quite regularly.
This blend was super smooth and quite filling. I think it was the heavy greens we used in this blend.
Not my favorite blend. The juice was more watery and also not as smooth as I usually like it.
The beets again! Great taste and filling. We had dragon fruit in this!
This one had a big arse beet in it, persimmon, sweet potato leaves, cranberries, apples, spinach, kale, avocado, bananas, oranges, lemon, lime, kiwi, carrots, broccoli amongst a lot of other veggies…
Personally I enjoyed every bit of this juicing journey the past 4 months. I got to eat a multitude of healthy veggies and fruits and would love to try this again in a heartbeat.
I never realized how much I would grow to love these weird tomato-ish looking fruit in such a short time. Mostly it was used for juicing with the juicing buddies and the fruit came straight from their family gardens. Recently a neighbor dropped by and game me some because, she said, her brother in law gave her so many, she didn’t know what to do with them all. I decided I’d make Persimmon Jam and then use that in a puff pastry! How ingenious is that!
Also I have been waiting a week for these beauties to ripen a bit more. Would it be weird if I offered some of the jam to the kind lady that gave me the fruit in the first place?
I have been trying out puff pastry bite size dessert ideas for sometime now. Apricot preserve, Pumpkin butter, pineapple jam, strawberry preserve, orange marmalade, chocolate sauce, cheese, spinach - you name it. In India I used to love the egg puff although not as much the mess it made while eating though. And i think that is one of my main reasons to make them bite size - no mess. These can be devoured by the dozen, can be made healthy(using whole wheat puff pastry) and are fast and easy to make as well.
I obviously had to pinterest all the little bite size treats i could. And I almost got lost deciding what I wanted to make. Finally i decided on giving these a try with what I had on hand before I went and splurged on fillings.
Pretty simple, right? These are as simple and straightforward as they look. The prep time is about 15 minutes and the cook time - about 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold, they are definitely a treat to the eye and the tastebuds.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Get puff pastry at the grocery store and thaw for about 10 minutes. Cut into desired shape and bake for 25-30 minutes. If you like to add egg wash to the top of the puff pastry, thats a good touch as well.
Once done, use a fork or your hand to make a small depression in the middle and add any pre-made topping you like!
Each of us deal with grief and loss in a different way. It might come as no surprise that I turn to food which is not necessarily a good thing. I decided though not to focus on the loss and instead write something about the person.
The one thing we had in common was that we loved food. I loved cooking(& eating) and he enjoyed eating. I come from a family that used to love non vegetarian food - a lot! It came as a big surprise to them when I stopped. For quite a few years after I stopped eating meat, I continued to cook it during family get togethers because people enjoyed it.
I remember making chicken fry and having it wiped clean by the lot. I remember making baked fish and my uncle insisting on checking if it was cooked every few minutes - by tasting it.
I have not cooked meat in a long while and have not eaten it either and so I decided to make a dish that we all loved eating and making regardless of the occasion. Chole, chickpeas in a tomato based gravy, eaten with rotis, puri or any form of flat bread or not, but always enjoyed by everyone.
I made a small modification and added a lot more fresh coriander than i usually would. The fresh greens added a flavor and color that was definitely a feast to the eyes and refreshing to the taste buds. This is not your typical chole and you will not find it at your local restaurant so if you’d like, give it a try. This recipe requires no finesse or knife skills but does require patience(waiting for the onion to almost caramelize for example) and ALL of the ingredients.
Garbanzo beans - 2 cups soaked overnight, cooked and drained (You could alternatively use canned garbanzo beans)
Oil - Canola or Vegetable or Coconut oil - 1 Tbsp
Onion - 1 Large roughly chopped
Tomatoes - 2 Cups roughly chopped
Garlic - 10 cloves
Ginger - same amount as the garlic roughly chopped up
Green chillis - 2
dry red chillis - 2 (Optional if you don’t prefer too much spice)
Curry leaves - 20-30 leaves
Coriander leaves - 2 bunches cleaned and separated
Salt to taste
How to go about it:
In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic and ginger to it. Here is where the patience bit comes in. You need to cook it till the onion starts caramelizing about 15 minutes on medium high flame. (I put in a picture of how the onion should look, above)
This is when you add the tomatoes, chillis and the rest of the ingredients except one bunch of coriander leaves and coo till the tomatoes are real soft. Use the ladle to mash up the tomatoes and let the juice from the tomatoes cook everything else.
Turn off the heat and let this mixture cool just enough to put it into the grinder. Add the fresh coriander bunch that you kept aside earlier and grind to a smooth paste. You don’t want any unsightly lumps. Once the grinding is done add this to a sauce pan and add the garbanzo beans and cook covered for about 20 minutes and then uncovered for another 10 minutes. Make sure to taste and add salt if required. If you want this gravy to be a little less thick, feel free to add water.
I must advise that you be careful when this gravy starts to come to a boil because it will start spluttering quite a bit. Let it boil for a few minutes and you can turn it off and serve warm. Garnish with roasted cashews and coriander leaves.
This keeps in the fridge for upto 3 days and in the freezer for upto a week (it could keep longer but I haven’t tried longer than that)
I started writing this blog post even before I had a recipe. It’s my birthmonth and I’ll be turning the big 30 - still very young at heart though. I went through a ton of recipes, looking to make something special for the festival of lights. In the end I decided to make a simple Saffron Kheer or Payasam and light up every corner of the house.
I also want to make some homemade granola and make some parfait with granola and fresh fruit as a topping. This year has been very happening - some good some not so good. But the one constant has been my love for food, celebrating festivals and birthdays alike.
I don’t know which recipe I’ll be putting or if I’ll be putting one up at all at the end of the day but I hope to click as many fun captures as I can and savour every mouthful moment today, be thankful for what I have and try to give and share more than I do today. I know some of us are not in a good place and I want you to know that someone somewhere is thinking of you…
I ended up using saffron to make a chocolate and almond bark with raw sugar to add texture… Super easy to make and the chocolate just melts in your mouth. I made a little and stored in the fridge for later use…
Chocolates are always handy to have if you have unexpected little guests. Or maybe thats just a reason to have chocolate handy for midnight cravings… Either way, its a win.
Hmmm… the other thing that has been bothering me is granola… Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy store bought granola, walking around wholefoods and tasting a bit of each flavor they have and deciding on which one to get.
But when you have fabulous food bloggers sharing their secrets on how to make a customized version at home where you can decided which flavor you want or how much you want and having all the ingredients handy, it is very hard to resist the temptation.
So I gave in and made some… Crispy, less nuts, more dry fruits and not too sweet. Thats how I like my granola.
Happy Deepawali to you… May the righteous win always.
Juicing is going strong. We meet up everyday almost at the same time and finish up in 30 minutes from prep work to clean up.
A lot of the juice buddies bring fruits from their garden. So luckily we’ve tasted guavas, persimmons, apples, grapefuits, avacados that are homegrown.
We also have adventurous juices with ingredients such as chia seeds, dragon fruit, pomegranate. Kale and beets have become a must have and we love the color they impart.
Sometimes thick, sometimes watery juicing updates are fun to share. I am slightly allergic to pineapple but I did taste it once and it was really good.
This was the drink with the persimmon in it. I loved it. The only persimmons I’ve tasted are from a long time ago and they were not really tasty. These were plump, soft and juicy perfect for juicing. I even saved up the seeds to try and grow them.
I love beets! You’ve probably heard me say it before but I’ll say it again. I LOVE BEETS! Roasted, steamed, pickled, fried or even RAW, these beautiful roots have my heart tummy in a strong grip. The natural color that these beauties give out are something a lot of people are afraid of but they can stain me anyday, anytime!
Roasted beets and quinoa make a great pair although its the beets that doing all the work, adding color and flavor.
I peeled the beets, chopped it up and added it to a sauce pan with salt, pepper and garlic and cooked it for 15 minutes till the beets turned tender al through. Serve warm with some quinoa on the side :)
Cranberries never fascinated me too much except when it was in my cocktail. Who knew that would change so fast, with one recipe? Cranberries have a few benefits - the raw juice form is known to help against UTIs! Yay to me for putting that info up on my food blog. I always have a bottle or two from Trader Joe’s stored up in my fridge. But I must admit that I don’t enjoy the taste at all. I gulp it down once a day like a Tequila shot.
Along came my Amma dearest with a recipe that makes the cranberry a must have in stock grocery item. She told me as she picked it from the grocery store, ‘You know Anu, this can make a tasty pickle. And you know, it accounts for two ingredients instead of just one. Come I’ll show you how to make it.’ I’ll admit, I was not too excited but extremely curious.
We reached home, and she took out a sauce pan and turned on the heat to a medium high. She asked me to wash the cranberries under running water and then dry them on a cloth. Then she put them on the sauce pan and started stirring for a few minutes. I continued to watch and then remembered her mentioning the 2 ingredients part and asked her about it. She says to me ’ There are three distinct flavors that you need to make a pickle - Salt, Sour and Spice.’ Then she thought for a minutes and tell me ‘No no, 2 basic tastes - Salt and Sour - Spice is optional. But we come from south India and no pickle can be called a pickle if it comes without spice, you know.’ I nodded in agreement. ‘Cranberries not only farm the base ingredient of the pickle but it also adds sourness.’ I blinked, and then it struck me - ofcourse that sour taste that I couldn’t stand when I gulped it down was actually a good thing here!
By now the cranberries started splitting - the skin started cracking up with the heat exactly like what would happen with tomatoes if you put them whole in heat. Amma kept stirring and asked me to get her oil, rock salt and chilli powder. She added about 1 Tbsp of oil, 1 Tsp of salt and chilli powder and kept stirring. I use the word ‘about’ because my Mom cooks w/o measuring cups. She flavors her food with her eyes, her fingers and her experience. She cooks for the family and adds ingredients based on our taste buds.
By now the cranberries has turned really soft and she kept stirring for another 15 minutes and using the ladle kept mashing up the cranberries to make it a smooth paste. I waited by her side eager to taste. She gave it to me like she always does - a little bit on the ladle, blowing it so that it wouldn’t burn when it touched her finger and a quick swipe with her finger on my tongue.
The heat has dissipated and the sour and spice hit me right away. I knew then that this would be a favourite and I was right. Mom smiled as she saw me enjoy her food and continued to stir the potatoes on the other stove.
Note: The cranberries used was about 300 gms - ocean spray cranberries that I got at the local grocery store.
I made a tiny tiny batch of brownies from scratch. They turned out great. As usual my baking soul woke up in the middle of the night, a friday night at that. I am not a wasteful person and so wanted to make the tiniest batch I could w/o making the whole effort seem like a waste of time.
But Im glad I did because the first trial worked out and I got a thumbs up from the recipe taster. I also spent a good 3 hours on the garden after which I was rewarded with fresh lime from the tree and er… 3 beans from the bean plant. Not the greatest yield but the experience is teaching me what I can and can’t grow.
The lime on the other hand, were a surprise! Although the plant itself was infected, the yield was decent! And the size of the lime - ginormous!
The recipe is from AverageBetty. I did not make the frosting because I wanted to taste the brownie itself. And I adapted the recipe slightly to accommodate the ingredients I had in my pantry.
Here’s my list of ingredients. I followed the exact procedure at mentioned and voila, the results were more than satisfactory.
1/4 a cup butter, melted for 45 seconds in the microwave
1/2 a cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - I used the Ghirardelli brand and must say that the flavour really came through!
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
Last but not least, Autumn is here to stay. I see all the signs and I swear I’ll savor every minute of it. Starting it off with roasted pumpkin seeds…
Trifle bowls are fantastic if you have colorful layers that you want to showcase especially if you have a picky eater that loves colors. Sweet or savory, naturally colored food is a great way to whet an appetite - not that mine needs much whetting.
My recent love for beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber and mango makes me want to do a post with these beauties- instead I’ll go ahead and share my very own chocolate cake in a mug trifle bowl recipe.
With all the ‘juicing’, I haven’t baked in a while and mini deserts are something I find very endearing. Especially when its ready - in a microwave - in exactly 75 seconds!!! No worries about dishes to wash, leftovers, or getting rid of taking the rest to work the next day. Just make it when you feel like it, in the same dish that you want to eat it in (yay for portion control)!
Serve it warm with some condensed milk or some orange juice - either way - you won’t be disappointed! Instead of making it in the mug, the way I did on friday at 1 am, I wanted to make these again for you in a trifle bowl.
Without further ado(pun intended):
One microwave safe cup/bowl lightly greased if you care about cake stuff sticking to your cup. I sprayed mine very lightly with canola oil. Oh, and a fork for all that beating you are about to do!
1 Egg - beaten into the above cup (try room temperature if you can, I’ll tell you why in a bit)
2 Tbsp - Olive oil beaten in with the egg
1 Tbsp - pure coconut oil (at room temperature pure coconut oil is solid and if you add this to a cold egg, it will remain solid. Beating the mixture will generate the heat required to melt the oil. If you are not a fan of coconut oil, please feel free to avoid this step and substitute with the olive oil - I promise I won’t be offended :D)
2(or 3) Tsp - Sugar (I used raw granulated sugar, I could suggest an alternative of honey or agave nectar but I haven’t tried it so I wouldn’t know for sure) I didn’t add too much sugar because I don’t like cakes to be super sweet. Please adjust this according to your taste-buds.
3 Tbsp flour - Mix this well into the above mixture - you want to avoid lumps.
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa (I used ghirardelli) - Add this to the above almost done cake batter and mix well. Again no lumps.
1 tiny scoop of the secret ingredient - Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (Shhh it’s vegan so the word butter is deceptive. I promised you there was going to be no butter in this recipe!)
1/4 Tsp Baking powder - Mix it in and if you have any batter on the sides clean it up - I didn’t and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
a pinch of salt
By now you cup should be about 1/2 full. Now put this in your microwave and microwave for 75 seconds at full power. I started at 30 seconds, added another 30 and then did a quick toothpick test and microwaved it for an additional 15 seconds.
T’ was soooo exciting I tell you! You can see the cake rise, threaten to spill over and then sit pretty - spongy and well done! - you should try it yourself.
There are a ton of cake in a cup recipes and I’m sure they are all delish! I found my happiness in this bowl and I hope you do too!
I wanted to share the standard list that we send out to everyone so that the base of our juice stays pretty consistent. This list is shared once a week and everyone gets their share. Some of the expensive fruit is usually split and shared by a couple of juice buddies.
APPLES (Organic) (5)
APPLES (Organic) (5)
The group has experimented with some amazing greens and vegetables and some not so amazing ones as well. For example, mint is a big NO NO as is mustard greens. Celery has been voted out by the group.
But we’ve tried sweet potato leaves, beet leaves, various varieties of sprouts - alpha alpha and pea sprouts for example. BEETS which is turning into one of my favourite vegetables - from being the one veggie I would run from(my Mom will vouch for this). I have been trying to introduce it into my daily diet in as much of a raw form as I can. Steamed beets are great too! Add some to cooked quinoa for some great color(and taste!).
Today’s blend consisted of :
1 medium sized beet, 1 whole juicy pineapple, 3 apples, 2 bananas, 3 Cups baby spinach, 4 kale leaves, a handful of sweet potato leaves, 1 cups grapes, broccoli (about 1.5 cups), 2 tomatoes, 2 lemon, quarter of a cabbage and 4 oranges!
Because of the number of ‘sweet’ fruits this blend was mostly sweet and we could hardly taste the greens in it. The days that the juice is as green as you see in one the images above, the taste is usually grassy ans sometimes on the bitter side and those are the days I usually scrunch up my face while drinking it. Those are also the days I smile more because I know I’ve done some good to my body.
Disclaimer: I am not on juicing for weight loss, nor have I seen any difference in my weight. My reason is to improve my health (which isn’t at its best). I have noticed that my digestive system has regulated itself a lot better than it has in the past. It might help everyone a little differently - some claim that their skin starts glowing, for some it might help in weight loss/maintenance.
I’ve been juicing for a while now - well if two months is ‘a while’. I juice with a bunch of juicing buddies and have been enjoying every weird drink 5 times a week. We take a break on weekends though there have been weekends when I’ve missed it so much that I make a mini version for myself!
We work together as a group so our juicing gets done in about 25 minutes. This includes, washing, cutting, blending and cleaning up.
Its a great way to meet up people you wouldn’t meet on a regular basis
You taste veggies and fruits that you wouldn’t try on a regular basis
It makes for a good dose of your daily fruits/veggies
We get a different blend(taste, color, smell) everyday so there’s no way we get bored.
It definitely regulates your digestive system
You don’t waste any fruits or veggies cause anytime you have anything in your fridge that you think you wont finish you could add it to the juicing.
We are slowing exploring the opportunity of starting a compost using the stuff we usually throw away(skin, stems etc)
I’ve actually started eating bananas (this is a personal milestone in my life since I have never been able to eat bananas before)
I haven’t found one yet except maybe that you need a decent blender. We have a vitamix that makes juicing life so much easier.
Our juicing group has a few rules:
Bring your own cup - no paper cups allowed - great way to promote waste reduction and recycling
Contribute to the juicing group by bringing the ingredients
Stick to organic stuff when getting any of the dirty dozen
Do not bring anything that’s on the no bring list(which we all vote on)
I wanted to share some of the combos that have been a hit/miss with the crowd. I’ll start with one and keep adding as we go…
Apples - 2
Avocado - 1/2
Bananas - 2
Blueberries - 1 Cup
Broccoli - 1 Cup
Carrots - 4
Flax seeds - 1 Tbsp
Kale - 3 leaves
Lime/Lemon - 2
Mango - 1
Orange - 4
Pear - 2
Spinach - 3 Cups
Sprouts - 1/2 Cup
Tomatoes - 2
Add the above in a blender and add ice if you like your drink cold. Add a little water to help with the blending/consistency and blend till smooth. Drink away! This particular blend tastes tarty, sweet and was thick because of the avocados and the bananas.
If you think that you have a group that’s interested, form one and have fun blending and juicing!
Sydney visited us this weekend and was the awesomest guest ever! All she asked for were tummy rubs and long walks! I heart her.
What I also heart are Dhoklas. My recipe is going to be very different from the original recipe and much quicker too. I made this once before but tried a different version of the leavening agent this time around.
In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients for the batter except the eno salt. This needs to be added right before the batter goes on the stove. Mix the batter to form a smooth batter - no lumps allowed.
You can make this recipe using a steamer or a cooker without the pressure regulator. Grease the vessel in which you will be steaming the batter. I used a 6” round steel vessel and sprayed it with some canola oil.
Add the Eno salt to the batter and mix. You will notice that the batter has started bubbling (about 10/15 mixes to make sure that the bubble are evenly distributed). Transfer this batter to the greased vessel and steam till the batter is well done. This is the most important part of this recipe. Depending on the quantity of the batter, the thickness of the batter and the vessel you use the time is going to vary. The batter was 1.5” thick and it doubled in size when it was done. It took the batter a good 25 minutes for the toothpick to come out clean when i did the toothpick test. So I’d suggest that you test as you go!
When done turn off the heat and transfer to a plate and wait for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into smaller pieces.
Heat the ghee in a small pan and add the mustard and wait for it to splutter, and add the other ingredients and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add this to the Dokhla pieces and serve - wait for it - warm or cold!
Ganesh Chathurthi is around the corner and I spent some time sculpting and then painting Ganesha… Although I am not a very religious person and have never really celebrated this festival before I got married, for some reason I felt like making my first Ganesha back in 2010 and have since kept the tradition. It hasn’t been long and this is my 4th year but I enjoy it just as much every single time.
For some odd reason I don’t like any fruit or vegetable that is deemed healthy. Turns out my ‘homies’ - Mom and (R)oomie are the complete opposite. A visit to a steak house where the chef kindly served up a huge vegetarian platter to (R)oomie who was the only vegetarian in the group, turned him into an instant Brussels sprouts lover.
The next few days were spent listening to (R)oomie praise the chef and his brussels sprouts - how perfectly tender they were and how well the flavor was captured with simple ingredients. Gritting my teeth, I got out and bought some from Wholefoods, cleaned em up, blanched them for a full 6 minutes.
Let cold water run over it and drained it. Heated 1/2 a Tbsp of butter and roasted the blanched brussels sprouts with salt and pepper for another 10 minutes.
I love how blanching retains the lovely color of the veggies!
Roasted to our perfection. I even tasted some of it! At least my phobia of cooking these troublesome veggies has been conquered.
DIY - Dining chair upholstery - a quick and fun project
I’ve been admiring the finished product for about a month now. Since it has to do with food, I decided to do a quick write up. This is one of the easiest and most fun projects I’ve done in a while.
DINING CHAIRS - one of those pieces of furniture you cant do without and end up using the least - atleast in my home. Looking at the same old piece of furniture doing nothing had me pintresting my options. A visit to a friend’s home in San Jose who did a similar project helped me make up my mind.
So heres what you need - a set of chairs you really don’t like, a stapler gun and staples, a screwdriver, a pair of scissors and just enough new fabric. I got mine from Joann and absolutely love the pop of color it adds.
Unscrew the seat from the frame - easy peasy japaneesy. Please place the screws in a safe place- you’ll need them.
Now you have two choices - take off the existing cover which is a lot of work. I tried it on the first chair and was tired by the end of it. The other choice is to leave it on and put the new cover on the existing cover. Thats my preferred way. I suggest that you make your choice depending on how easy it is to take off the older upholstery.
Measure and cut out the fabric as required. I needed the following dimensions for each chair: 30” X 33” For best results I would suggest that you iron the fabric to get the creases out of it.
Load up your stapler gun and wrap the fabric on the seat and start gunning the staples. Treat the fabric like a gift wrap - try to minimize the folds and stretch the fabric to avoid creases.
Decent? Well it could be better around the edges. I tried fixing it up by stretching and pulling and restapling a bit. You can always learn as your work on number 2, 3, 4 and more depending on the number of chairs you have.
Screw it back. I didnt have to drill new holes and the screws just slid right back in place.
I love kitchen gadgets… When I get them as a gift I adore them so much more… Recently Mark came home and surprised us with a bag of goodies. I couldn’t wait to open it up and was so pleasantly surprised to see that it had to do with my favourite place - the kitchen!!!
The ball whisk was one of the gadgets and I am completely in love with it. I’ve used it so many many times in the past two weeks that I am sure if the whisk could speak it would ask for some time off…
I’ve mostly used it to make omelettes and crepes(oats dosa that is)…
I kept taking the whisk around trying to get the perfect shot… I dont believe I’ve done it justice though.
Sometimes you just gotta keep trying… Have I mentioned previously how much I love eggs? This wasn’t always the case. A long long time ago when I was all but 10, I cracked open an egg and suddenly had no appetite foe it for a good 5 years… I slowly brought it back into my diet although I still have nightmares about cracking open an egg and not liking what I see inside.
That little story aside - I enjoy eggs hardboiled, as a french toast and also in a tomato based curry but mostly I just enjoy it the plain old way - in an indian omelette.
3 eggs at room temperature
Tomato - 1/4 Cup
Onion - 1/4 Cup
Curry leaves - a few leaves finely cut
Turmeric power - 1 generous pinch
Paprika powder - 1/4 Tsp (or according to taste. Feel free to substitute with pepper)
Salt to taste
Whisk up the eggs and add the above ingredients and miss well. Heat a pan/skillet and spray some canola oil and pour out half the mixture spreading the veggies evenly on the surface. Cook on medium high for about 2 min and then toss to cook the other side.
Serve hot with crusty toast for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The wide gaps that I leave here leaves me feeling guilty and wanting to make up but posting for the heck of posting is no fun. Finding a recipe I like so much that I feel the need to share is what is worth a blog post.
While I have been busy with classes, taking a break from everything and searching for something I might enjoy doing is taking up most of my time. One of those days while I was thinking, hunger pangs made me whip up something quick and yet fancy - at least to my palate.
I have always had a thing for italian food - so much so that my (R)oomie wonders if I have some italian blood in me. I can never tire of italian cuisine except of course when I’m served with Mom’s sambar or (R)oomie’s rasam.
So coming back to the recipe - I used basic ingredients, fresh and organic and simple.
Pasta - boiled and drained - I used spagetti. Each type of pasta has different cooking directions. Follow the directions on the packet for convenience. I usually stand by to make sure its al dente since I don’t enjoy overcooked pasta.
For the sauce:
Roma tomatoes - 2
Fresh basil - a handful
Yellow pepper - 1/2 cup chopped into tiny cubes
Garlic - 7 cloves - peel and smash and chop up roughly
Oil - I used a teaspoon of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
How to go about it:
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the oil and the garlic and saute for a minute or two. You are looking to lose the raw smell the garlic… Trust your nose on this one if you like garlic.
Now add the tomatoes and salt and pepper(to taste) and cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover and use the back of the ladle to mash the tomatoes. Add the yellow pepper and adjust the salt and pepper accordingly. cook uncovered for another 5-7 minutes on medium high.
Now add the basil leaves and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix well with the spagetti and serve hot. This makes enough to serve 2 with leftovers for lunch.
Linking to the the host of Pasta+please challenge hosted by Ruth this month, started by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes
Butternut squash sauce with gnocchi - a simple shortcut
It’s not always about food is it? I’ve been putting together a collection of sorts… It’s really funny how I love collecting and rarely like actually wearing any of this.
Well since this is a food blog, I thought of sharing a recipe I made up for (R)oomie… How this came about was actually this Valentines Day we ate at this restaurant called Mediterraneo and I ordered butternut squash sweet potato gnocchi. (R)oomie LOVED it. We went back 2 months later and they had taken it off their menu.
So I’d been on the hunt for butternut squash sauce since without much luck. One day as I was strolling through the aisles in Trader Joes I spotted Butternut squash soup! And I thought a simple reduction with some spices should do the job. It worked. The gnocchi is something you could get at the store - I haven’t dared make it from scratch yet. The sauce is a simple reduction of the soup with salt, pepper and some paprika.
This reduction requires you to stand right by the stove and keep stirring or your kitchen is going to be very very messy - not that I would know it from personal experience or anything.
Gnocchi is in general really heavy and so we had some salad on the side…
Homemade remedies for the body, mind and soul - #2
I was brought up by a Mom that did not like to waste anything. We made sure to compost at home, recycle and reuse bags, papers anything and everything. I have had dreams of doing the same with my family - whether they liked it or not. I was going to be all out organic, grow my own veggies, adopt strays, take care of the planet and all of that. I’ve probably gotten as far as 1% of that dream. Why am I telling you this? Just a little background on why I am who I want to be.
These lemons once squeezed would be applied on our skin - a natural toner and astringent, some of the shells reserved to be boiled in water to be used for bathing, and all the waste then used for compost.
Did you know that putting one half of these in your aluminium cooker helps clean it up to look all sparkling? There’s a tip!
Lemon - 2 medium sized
Honey - 2 Tsp
Salt to taste
Water - 1 Cup
If the lemons are too hard to squeeze, you could either let them rest in warm water for 5 min or simply roll them between your palm and your counter top a few times.
Cut and squeeze the juice using any instrument you like. I like what you see in the picture because my Mom gave it to me :) Add the rest of the ingredients, mix and adjust quantities to suit to your taste. Drink this early morning and watch yourself go!
Note: Many use sugar, I prefer honey. Again trust your tongue.
Homemade remedies for the body, mind and soul - #1
I’ve grown up depending on home remedies because of my insane fear of doctors. If I could I would never had my forehead stitched my qualified doctors and let my skull heal on its own. Ok, not the best way to start a food blog post.
Well backing up a bit, I was brought up on homeopathic meds, ayurvedic meds and a rare visit to the doctor. The rest of the time for minor ailments we depended on home remedies. All I can vouch for is for them being the best to lift a dull mood since I am not qualified to say anything more…
One of the best known of them all is the Jeera Kashayam or Cumin seed juice. A simple concoction really but oh what a relief to the ailing tummy. We usually make a huge pot and drink it throughout the day if the stomach feels funny. It helps in digestion so on days when we treat ourselves to crazy food downing one glass helps reduce any uncomfortable gas formation and other ahem issues that follow digestion.
Cumin seeds - 1 Tbsp
Water - 1/2 Gallon
How to go about it:
Dry roast the cumin seeds on a pan and add to a pot of water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil till the water reduces to nearly half its volume. Turn off heat and let cool. Filter out the cumin seeds and consume as required.
Quinoa with mix veggies and sautéed spinach… I love this mix - although I am tempted to make Quinoa with vegetable stock instead of just water. Maybe even add some saffron to it - which is what is happening in my kitchen right now…
Quinoa again but this time with veggies sausages, a balsamic reduction and some scrambled eggs.
This is my regular Oats dosa with Indian peanut chutney. I gave some of this chutney to my ex manager and a colleague and they said it was good. Also they ate it as a topping on a cracker - so im gonna take that as positive feedback.
The lovely quinoa pearls - I loved clicking these babies.
Indian condiments that I always have in stock. These are tequila shot glasses that I use for spices and condiments instead.
I’ve been collecting some junk jewellery which you can see on my Instagram feed - mostly stuff I got from ebay or other rare purchases I made along the way.
Becca, the lady that works at the Starbucks in Disney made my day!
I’ve had this recipe on my mind for a long time now. It’s healthy, tasty and very filling. You know how we end up reading that we need to have at least _ servings of veggies a day and _ servings of whole grains etc ? Well, this recipe could be an answer to that. And it doesn’t need you to be standing by it while it cooks up and absorbs all the flavors. You could very well be reading your favorite novel, or catching up on an episode of Downton Abbey or doing something more fruitful even. ;)
Makes 4 servings
Olive oil - 2 Tsp
Garlic - 2 pods minced fine
Barley : 1/2 Cup - washed and drained
Frozen/Fresh veggies of your choice - 2 Cups
sweet onion - 1/4 cup finely chopped
potatoes - 1/4 cup cubed to 1/2 inch pieces
green pepper - 1/4 cup cut to the same size as the potatoes
Tomato - 1/4 cup finely cut
The rest of it was a mix of frozen veggies(Carrots, green beans, peas, lima beans and corn)
Water : 3 Cups or more if you’d like
Garlic herb - 1 Tsp
Sweet Basil - 1 Tsp
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Paprika - 1/2 Tsp adjust based on the level of spice you prefer
How to go about it:
In a heavy bottomed vessel, pour the olive oil and add the garlic and the onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat and then add the potatoes and the green pepper. Saute for another 5 minutes.
Now add the tomatoes, the frozen veggies and the barley - mix well and add all the seasoning now. Let this cook for about 5 minutes.
Add water to this mix and reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook for about 40 minutes. This is when you dont have to bother about it at all.
After the 40 minutes, stop by the kitchen and carefully lift the lid and mix well. The Barley must we all cooked now. Taste to see if you’d like some more seasoning or if its too thick for your liking, add some more water and let it come to a quick boil.
Serve warm with some bread or eat it as is. Your tummy will thank you for this one pot comfort meal.
Last year has so much I want to write about but before I go there I want to try and focus on the positives. Yes there has been a loss of humanity and I really want to be in a happy place - forgetting all the bad and hiding behind something that makes me happy.
Although there was so much bad going on around us, for me, personally this last year is very very special. Some milestones were reached, some hardships overcome, some new friends made and another year lived.
In all this i have a companion, someone who drives me insane and yet makes it all worthwhile. Someone that tries his hardest to understand me and keep me happy.
Its been 3 years since we tied the knot - a formality that lets you do anything and get away with it.
This someone who has to put up with my craze for saffron. My need to not cook for the sake of cooking but to experiment and blog about it.
Someone that understands that rasam and rice are what make me happy and makes it for me the moment I crave it.
it’s been fun, hon! It’s fun putting the last 3 years together in this strange puzzle of life…
Here’s to the 3 we just lived and at least 30 more… We’ll add some more when we get there.
Well I’ve been asked to patent this recipe :D So I’m mighty happy with it and so are some others! I’ve tried a version of this earlier and this time I tried chocolate and it was ‘purrrr fect!
I had people come up to me and compliment the cake as well as ask me for the recipe. Even fruit cake haters. Wait don’t run away - this ain’t the regular long process fruit cake you are used to every Christmas. This one is fun and yumm!
Sharing both the easy way and the from scratch way of making this recipe:
This is because some of my friends do not try my recipes because they feel it’s too much work starting from scratch. Also I assure you that this cake does not have RUM or MANGOES.
The easy AND tasty way out:
Use the best chocolate box mix you can get. If I’m ever in a hurry I get the ghirardelli mix or the Duncan Hines or an interesting looking/sounding box mix from Home Goods maybe.
Chop up these dry fruits really small so that they pack up in a cup:
Dried cherries - 1/4 cup
Dried Apricots - 10
Dried Raisins - 1/4 cup
Dates - 7-10
Feel free to change the ratios to suit your palate - I personally do not like raisins as much and apricots bake really well in cakes.
In a large enough glass bowl soak the dry fruits in 2 CupsIrish cream. The Irish cream adds both sweetness and makes the cake moist.
I left this in the fridge for about a week. You can leave it in overnight - i’ve tried that too and it works!
If you are using the box mix, follow the instructions to make the batter - usually they ask you to add oil, eggs(add an extra egg always for a more dense/soft and moist cake) and water. I replace the water with milk - again for a better consistency.
Mix in the soaked fruits. Bake at 350 F for about 45-50 minutes or till the toothpick comes clean.
This cake will most probably rise in the middle.
The longer from scratch method:
This is the link to the base cake recipe. The original source is here.
I didn’t have butter milk so I used google and found this substitute which surprised me but worked fantastically.
The ingredients I used:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (I used this)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup milk and 1 Tbpsn white vinegar - the buttermilk substitute (or simply use 1 Cup buttermilk)
1 Tspn vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Cocoa powder
1/2 Tspn baking soda
1/4 Tspn salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips - the really tiny ones so that the cake is not overpowered with the big chunks of chocolate. If you are not a fan of chocolate chips, feel free to skip it.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar.
Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk(or its substitute) and vanilla.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and add it into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not over mix.
Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are mixed well else you’ll have some dry spots in the cake.
Now add the chocolate chips and the soaked dry fruits mix and mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan/cake pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 325 F, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Amma has been asking me to try this recipe since forever now. I finally did and it definitely was worth a blog write up. I will also share a chutney’s recipe here because I promised a friend :)
I could never find a dosa making pan for the longest time. I wanted one which had no edges like the one in this pic. Now it’s here and it’s here to stay! This recipe is health itself - well im probably exaggerating but it really is the healthiest uttappam i’ve had.
· 1 Cup oats
· ½ Cup home made yogurt
· ½ Cup warm Water (Substitute with ½ cup Buttermilk if you like it to taste a little more sour)
· 3 small green chilies finely chopped
· 1 Tomato finely chopped (You can strain the juices and de-seed if you like, we didn’t)
· Spinach – ¼ cup finely chopped
· Carrots – ¼ cup finely shredded
· You can go on and add other vegetables…
Take a glass bowl, and mix in oats and the yogurt and water or buttermilk and let soak for about 15 to 30 minutes. We did this because this was the traditional oats and needed time to get soft. If you have the quick oats then 5-10 minutes would be sufficient. Now add the green chilies, spinach and add salt to taste.
Now heat the dosa pan and tap a drop of oil to it, spread the oats carefully to form any fun shape you like. The batter is going to be slightly gooey and not as easy to spread as dosa/uttapam batter usually is. Sprinkle the toppings evenly and let cook for about a minute or two. The batter changes color as it starts cooking. Carefully turn over and cook for another minute or two. Do not cook on high heat because that might just end up burning your toppings and not cook the batter through and through.
Serve with some coconut, onion or peanut chutney.
· 1 Cup peanuts (I use the Indian variety because I like their taste better)
· Red chilies – 5-10 based on your spice buds
· Tamarind paste – 2 tbps
· ¼ Cup onion chopped
· Coriander -
· Curry leaves – 10 leaves
· Salt to taste
Roast peanuts, red chilies, curry leaves and onion for about 5 minutes and let cool. Grind together all the ingredients and add a little water to aid the grinding to a consistency you prefer. Transfer to a serving bowl. Temper using the below ingredients if you like the chutney with tempering. You can skip this step entirely.
· 1 Tsp oil (Use Canola or coconut oil)
· ¼ tsp mustard
· ¼ tsp jeera
· ¼ tsp urad dal and chana dal
· Curry leaves – about 10 leaves
Heat oil and add the ingredients in the above mentioned order. Pour over the chutney and mix before serving. Serve with warm uttapams for a healthy and happy stomach!
This is going to be a pretty short post. I don’t have much to say for a multitude of reasons:
> I’m no sushi guru (Have you watched Jiro dreams of Sushi?)
> Nor is my (R)oomie and you can hardly tell looking at how great they turned out
> He dumbfounded me by making the perfect looking/tasting rolls
This being his first ever time!!!
Having zero sushi making apparatus!!!
Nori - 3 sheets
*Rice - long grain washed multiple times and soaked for about 30-45 minutes and cooked - 1 Cup
Cucumber - Sliced thin and long
Carrots - Sliced thin - 1/4 cup
Broiled Tofu - Drained and pressed and sliced thin
Sesame teriyaki sauce - 1 Tbsp
Soy sauce - For dipping
Wasabi - As per taste
Procedure: The first pic(you can see a glimpse of his hand) pretty much gives you an idea of everything so I’ll try not to explain too much. Apart from cutting all the vegetables thin and long, we fried the tofu in a pan and then drizzled a bit of the teriyaki sauce over it. The tofu adds flavor and crunch to the otherwise bland sushi rolls. The rolling past was where the skill came in and I’ll leave it at that. :)
Rice: We used long grain rice, washed it about 4 times and then soaked it in cold water for another 45 minutes. Add plenty of water to the rice and cook it in the microwave for about 25 minutes. Drain the excess water and pass under running water to cool. Fluff with a fork and use.
The story behind this post is that we watched ‘Jiro dreams of Sushi’ and it got (R)oomie all excited to make us some sushi that we could eat. We then went about buying the basic ingredients knowing very well that we wouldn’t be doing this very often and so a huge investment was not needed.
I helped a bit with prepping the ingredients but the rest is all his doing. I have been proud of him for various reasons but this takes it to a new high for me personally. I’m glad he made his comeback on the blog with something, I consider sushitacular.
It feels like a century since I last visited and I’m back to make up for all the lost time. Of late, I’ve been crushing on Boba… The chewy little sweet balls soaking at the bottom of a refreshing cold milk tea really bring add a twist to the concept of tea. For someone like me, who is a recovering chai addict, when I say chai I mean the heavy Indian adrak and elaichi chai. Boba was almost like adding a whole new dimension to the concept of tea. Drinking cold tea without actually dipping biscuits in it was so completely alien. So after having a ton of that from the local truck I decided it was time to make some at home.I’ve had Boba at 3 different places and the best yet was at the LA County fair.
I looked up on Amazon for some good Boba but then found out that there is a store really close by where I could get some really good quality Boba for a lot cheaper! Here, I’m sharing the recipe I made while really trying to match the taste from memory. I also learned some valuable lessons about storing these cute little chewy honey soaked balls.
This is great for a hot summer day or these even hotter fall days. Make all the ingredients in advance and welcome guests with a glass and you are sure to be remembered!
So let’s get right into it:
You will need:
1) Time to make the Boba - About 60 minutes in total
2) Jumbo Tapioca pearls - 1/2 cup
3) Filtered water to boil the Boba - 4 Cups
4) Black tea(Skip the black tea if you are using Almond milk)
5) 1 Cup water for the tea
6) Milk - Whole/fatfree milk (Whatever you like). You can even substitute it with Soy/Almond milk to make it Vegan
7) Honey - 1 Tbsp (Use sugar syrup to make it Vegan. You can also use a mix of the two for a slightly different taste.)
8) Ice cubes
That’s about it.
How to go about it:
Bring the water to boil and add the tapioca pearls
Boil for about 2-3 minutes till the pearls rise to the surface
Reduce the heat to a low and let cook for about 25-30 minutes. makse sure to stir every few minutes.
After cooking for about 30 minutes, turn off heat and cover and let rest for about another 30 minutes.
Strain and wash under cold running water. Transfer to another bowl.
Add the honey to the boba and let soak for about 15 minutes.
Boil 1 cup water and add the black tea to it and let soak for about 10 minutes. Strain and let cool.
In a glass add the tea decoction and the milk to it.
Add the soaked boba and the ice and enjoy.
> Start the Boba and the tea making at the same time so it gives the tea to cool down a bit.
> The boba is going to harden even if you leave it out so I cant stress enough on the making ‘just enough’ part.
> Make just enough so you don’t have to end up storing it in the fridge. But if you must, you can reheat and use at a later point in time. I did not however enjoy the texture as much as I did the fresh boba.
> Add more sugar/honey if you need to.
> The boba are delicate little beings before you cook them so be gentle, stir gently during the prep process.
> Add a bit of vanilla to the boba to for a twist to the taste
> Last but not least, please have it in moderation.
The sugar syrup soaked boba are actually nice to eat as a dessert.
I didn’t get the jumbo straws but you can get them online.
It’s that time of the year, when I put on my ‘artist’ cap and have some fun. Honestly, this is something I started in 2010 right after I got married, for no particular reason but to be able to create something from clay. Earlier I was hooked to Tanjore painting and was frustrated because of the lack of materials out here. More on that later.
Toying with the idea, I got myself some clay from Michael’s and well a lot of other stuff that wasn’t really part of the original plan(you know how one can get lost at Michael’s). I played with it, watched a video on you-tube and made the first one. It was simplistic(still is) and the end result made me immensely happy. I got a lot of compliments(read facebook comments) and some emails asking me for the procedure I followed. I want to thank you for that encouragement. Although it was as crude and rough as it was, it made me happy to see that people appreciated it.
I remember the first time, trying to make the left ear look like the right one and wondering if I’d ever be able to get it. On that note I still can’t get both ears to look alike.
The year after that, (R)oomie insisted that I make one. That year I didn’t have the right colors and I was slightly disappointed with the end result but I decided to not try to change too much. After all an elephant IS grey in color! And blue doesn’t necessarily mean jeans.
So well this year I created Ganesha from memory, no videos, no references, nothing. I used 2 boxes of clay instead of one so that I didn’t need to restrict myself.Maybe next year I will use 3 or 4 or more. Oh, the possibilities!
Happy Ganesh Chathurthi in advance peepal! Have a safe and peaceful year. Keeping near and dear ones in my prayers for now.
My first experience with Sushi wasn’t the best. And I’m talking vegetarian sushi here. It was from what they call the Mc Donalds for Sushi (Sushiboy) and we couldn’t stand the smell! Recently when I was out I decided to go ahead and try the vegetarian sushi at A CA SHI sushi. I had even watched a video on Chow.com on how to eat sushi the right way.
So all prepped up I ordered the egg sushi and the vegetarian sushi rolls. I fell in love with the seaweed salad sushi and the pickled radish and lotus root ones. The avacado, broccoli and asparagus I could easily skip. I didn’t see one with tofu but the idea struck me only later.
The egg sushi is more on the sweeter side but i really liked it! Especially the way he presented it. He was also making other orders, I was pleased that my order did not have any other smell and he made sure that he washed his hands after each order. It was amazing to see how quiet he was while making it all.
I also tried the vegetarian sushi rolls which had a mix of all the toppings I had. I realized later that I shouldnt have. I also had sake and for the first time had it warm. Again from my past experiences, I’d say warm is the way to go! I guess it depends on the type of sake you have but I definitely enjoyed it warm.
It’s also been a long weekend and some fun times. Celebrated (R)oomie’s birthday and our cake size reduced drastically this time and it was also not home made which makes me wonder where my baking days are headed. Huppy Buday ol (R)oomie! Kanpai to more fun times ahead!!!
Fresh basil - 2 loose cups Pine Nuts - 1 Cup Parmigiano-Reggiano - Freshly grated - 1/4 cup Olive oil - 1/2 Cup Lime juice - 2 Tbsp Pink Salt - to taste
We got a box of fresh basil from Wholefoods just the other evening and the aroma was tantalizing and calling out to me. I don’t have very many recipes to make with Basil - pizza and pesto are the most likely choices I’d make - observe how much i lean towards Italian cuisine. It must have something to do with my previous life.
Run the leaves through cold water and separate the leaves from the stem and discard the thick stems. Heat a non stick pan and dry roast the pine nuts making sure they brown slightly and evenly. Pine nuts are expensive so yea don’t let it go to waste. Btw we discovered pink salt about a month ago and I’ve been using it in a lot of salads this time around I decided to experiment it in the pesto. You are free to use regular salt. In a blender combine the all the ingredients and blend to a consistency of your choice. Your pesto is ready!
Olive oil - 1 Tsp Veggie dogs - sliced about 5 mm thick (Thats probably too much detail :D, i meant slice so that it holds not too thin and not too thick) Low sodium soy sauce - 1 Tsp
Heat some oil in the skillet and add the veggie dog slices. Brown evenly on both sides for about 2 min. Add the soy sauce and let cook on both side for about 2 minutes. Turn off heat. **I went slow on soy sauce since the veggie dogs had salt content already.
Bringing it all together:
Add the pesto to the boiled pasta and garnish with the sauteed veggie dog slices. Enjoy!
The (R)oomie and I are hooked ever since I got home these smart veggie dogs. These are treats that are high in protein content, are vegetarian AND taste delish at the same time. All it needs is a few minutes of saute on your favourite cast iron skillet, or a few minutes baking time wrapped in an american biscuit. What ever you choose I can promise you that your taste buds are going to be happy. Now from some feedback I received on my previous post, I realized that a lot of vegetarians do not enjoy soy based products. I still cannot eat soy chunks and do not enjoy the taste. But the (R)oomie loves it and so I end up making it or eating it more often than I’d like to.
I am not being paid for any of the products I put up on my blog. It’s my personal opinion and I respect that your opinion might be very different.
This post is in continuation with my earlier post on food from different restaurants that I seem to visit pretty frequently these days!
A very interesting albeit salt free Vegetable Florentine at Four n 20. A place I pass by every day for the last 6 months and I haven’t ever noticed. That’s not really new to me. I hardly observe things around me when I travel. Having a very short term memory doesn’t help either.
A boysenberry pie. The reason why we went to Four n 20 in the first place was that I had NEVER had a pie till then. I’ve seen them in stores but never dared or cared to order one. I seen and read tons of recipes but again never dared to try one out. Having finally tried this out I now know the texture of the pie crust and could probably muster the courage to make one meself.
Its a friday tradition to stop by at Gelsons and I picked this one up. This was my lunch - and nothing else. Pretty good and I’d say have it cold!
It’s summer time and people do crazy things with ice cream. My first try at a ice-cream sandwich cookie. Not very fun to eat given that ice-cream tends to melt and I like to eat a lil slowly. This is something I’d suggest you serve in a bowl. By the way, that was edible paper - which i did not eat.
The tree that gives me shade :D I love palm trees - I have memories of drawing them since forever. This one especially protects me from the crazy morning sun.
I love how the colors seem to burst right out!
The might I made pie for the first time! It was midnight and the 4th of July. I used a simple ratio that I had heard on the radio channel KCRW. But I’m not a huge fan of apple pie and so maybe i’ll make another one, some other crazy midnight.
By now, pasta is an old topic here :) Lunch one lazy Sunday spinach pesto with some Italian veggie sausages.
I hope you are enjoying a fun summer! I’ve been a little busy of late, with life and the consequences… I still try to stop and sniff the air around :)
About 2 years back, a friend of mine shared this link on facebook. I bookmarked it for later waiting to get my hands on some saffron. I finally did, very recently and have been using it since. I love the saffron flavor, aroma and the color it gives to the dishes it favors.
I used my favorite skillet as you can see and I just can’t seem to have enough of it! The bread came out sweet and flavorful just as I hoped it would so I have no complaints. I also made it a little rich(read fattening) by using some homemade ghee.
In a glass bowl mix the all purpose flour and sugar. In a cup add the warm water, sugar and instant yeast and keep aside for about 5-10 minutes and let the yeast do its work.
In another bowl heat some milk and add the saffron strands and mix well. Let rest for a bit so that the saffron flavor and color come to life! If you wish to add the raisins, just add it to the warm milk.
Now add the yeast and the milk to the dry ingredients and mix well to form a dough consistency. At this point the dough will be pretty sticky and you might need that lil extra flour. Use as needed. Add the ghee at this point and knead well. Cover with a well cloth and keep in a warm place for about an hour.
After about an hour visit the dough and punch it down. Make it into the shape you like and place it in your baking dish and make sure you give enough space for expansion. Cover up and place in the warm place for about another hour.
Preheat your oven to 400 F. When the dough has risen(when you push at its surface the dough should bounce back - kinda :)) brush some milk on the surface and bake for about 11-12 minutes or till the top has browned.
Serve warm with some jelly or just bite right into it.
Ever felt like a grain of sand in the desert? Most likely the answer to that question is ‘Yes, at some point in time’. What do you do when that feeling overcomes you and then you become that feeling? Do you drown? Do you feel helpless like a stranger in a foreign land or a fish out of water? Do you wish you could go back in time and huddle in your favourite place? Or, do you look around, seek familiarity in the foreignness, initiate a conversation even if it’s with a shy smile?
Cafe Latte from Republic of Pie - a little stronger, a lil more expensive but worth it!
I’ve felt foreign for the longest time in my life. Even back when I was a kid, looking for friends to play with, to talk to. But I’ve never looked back and wanted to change anything. I’ve enjoyed the flow of life and the places it has taken me to, the intriguing people it helped me meet. Smiling helps a lot, even if it invokes strange looks sometimes, they finally succumb and give in. They smile back hesitantly at first and then more openly. I love that first smile, the first look, the innumerable questions in the eyes and then the trust that comes with it… It’s what I adore about human kind - that although we seek to be different, we are the same - somewhere and somehow. Hatred exists and it kills us but there’s a little of it in all of us and that makes us similar too. Although this can be delved into a lot more - I won’t do it today.
Saffron buns: <Recipe here> A recipe I’ve waited almost two years to try out. Well worth the wait, I must say.
For sometime now I’ve been feeling a little helpless, a little fearful of losing the things I love the most. I thought about it, tried making a list of things that I care about, about people, actions, faiths and the list kept growing longer and longer with each deep breath I took and I grew frustrated. I intended to keep the things that mattered small so I could grab hold it in my arms when the time came. It was so hard to let go of anything, to strike even a single item off that list and I realized that I was literally making a mountain out of nothing. I wouldn’t have to hold on to anything if I didn’t fear losing it.
I love how vegetables add so much colour to a dish. Chop up some greens, reds and yellows add some spicesand you’re ready to go!
It’s not about not having attachments, I do have attachments and they make my life a sweet place to live in. But fear is the price tag of any attachment. Take it off but you know its value and you know you paid for it. I’m teaching myself to acknowledge its presence and then walk past it with a smile. Make it feel like a stranger in a foreign land…
I’m not going anywhere with this post. I’m not going to preach for I don’t believe in preaching. I do believe in humanity and that we are in someway connected(except those that I don’t feel connected to) and that connection will lead us on in this life to the next(if there is any such thing).
Holy Cow! Was I not supposed to be writing a food post? Isn’t this a food blog? I was going to write up about my new favourite kitchen utensil - the Cast Iron Skillet. I totally adore how well the food made in a skillet tastes - well so so good. I’m probably exaggerating here but I do feel the need to emphasize on the taste factor so you can go and get yourself one and help the Cast Iron Skillet industry!!!
Oookay the tinsy winsy details: For a while now I have been looking it up amazon, Sur la table and many other stores and finally bought it from Surfas which is a great store for gourmet food lovers. Amazon would have been a less expensive option but honestly I love the Surfas store and so I don’t have regrets paying a little more.
After all that joy I put into buying a skillet (I know, some of you might just be rotflyao, or not) I needed to put it to test. I had already heard about how it was a pain to maintain(Yay I’m getting all poetic here, food makes me wanna do that!) so I had all the tools handy to make sure it survives the next century! I started easy, make some fried potatoes, okra and then moved on to putting it in the oven making some saffron buns(I’d do anything so get some real saffron and not go broke) and finally decided to make some Egg curry.
This dish is so versatile, that to make it Vegan, all you need to do is replace the eggs with -peas or pan fried tofu works really well too. I have a picture with the step by step procedure so I want to try and avoid putting the recipe given that this post is pretty wordy already.
Or maybe it is sheer laziness on my part. But honestly I was clicking away each step of the way and so we’re even.
Try it out and let me know if you have any trouble. I’m here to help in any way possible - that includes inviting you home and showing you how to make it - anything that involves using my cast iron skillet.
The biscuits are ready to bake and need to be flattened out. Place the veggie sausages and add some cheese, wrap it up and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 F. Try Wholefoods, Albertsons or any store that carries a variety of veggie dogs. I tried simple sausages and the Italian flavor and the latter was my favourite. I also tried wrapping the dogs with croissants but didn’t enjoy the flaky outer layer that much.
In India, biscuits are what we call cookies here. I was pretty horrified to find out that biscuits here meant something completely alien to me. Ofcourse I grew to enjoy them slowly(proof of which you see above) but I started missing Indian ‘biscuits’ terribly. I’d stock up on marie ‘biscuits’ whenever possible, lest I run out of them on a rainy day. I am addicted to drinking my Indian masala tea with these ‘biscu-’ err cookies. One sleepless midnight I decided to give baking cookies a try and clicked this pic. I love how cold milk complements the soft cookie and I also tried to show off how well my Bonsai is doing!
That ends my post. I promise you not to be as weird as I was in my next post and actually put up a recipe. Have a brilliant week!