Of Farewells & Homecoming

April 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Last week was a week of goodbyes and homecomings. We found out that we’ve to move back to Bangalore in two months time. I had always thought that I would welcome the news with open arms but was surprised to find that I had mixed feelings. I have grown to love Hyderabad, and our home in the city. Its our first home together after we got married,¬†where we’ve filled an empty space with love and memories. Its going to be difficult to leave everything behind, but we also have a chance now to make new memories in Bangalore, closer to our family and friends.

It was also a weekend filled with a roadtrip, lots of excitement and a farewell. My father-in-law who teaches in Mysore is retiring and his department put together a fantastic farewell ceremony for him where he was felicitated with much love and adoration. The good news is that this isn’t the big ‘ole goodbye for him. In his words, its “Au Revoir” which means ‘see you again’ as he’s not going just yet. He’s been granted Professor Emeritus status and will continue to teach for another three years. It was so heartening to see how much he was loved by his colleagues and students alike, and what a difference he’s made to their lives. We were all bursting with pride!
Cultural Programe, Mysore University

FIL's Felicitation

Roadtrip stopover

Roadtrip

St. Phelomena's Church, Mysore

Because of all the travelling that we’ve been doing, we had a lot of frozen shrimps sitting in the freezer, just waiting to be eaten and I decided to use them all at once and make shrimp cutlets. I’ve been wanting to try these for ages now but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Then I decided to use the same techniques as for vegetable cutlets and surprisingly, they were phenomenal!
Work in Progress Shrimp Patties
Shrimp Cutlets

Shrimp Cutlets
Makes 8 to 10
What do you need?

Shrimp or Prawns: 200 gms
Onion, finely chopped: 1
Garlic, minced: 3-4 cloves
Small Capsicum, finely chopped: 1
Coriander, finely chopped: 2-3 tbsp
Jalapeno, finely chopped: 1
Brown breadcrumbs: 1/4 cup
Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Olive Oil: 2-3 tbsp

How do you do this?
– Pulse the shrimp in a food processor a few times until a coarse paste forms. I like it slightly chunky.
– Add all the other ingredients except olive oil and mix together till the seasoning is well distributed. Don’t over mix.
– Add olive oil to a non stick pan and heat. In the meanwhile, form shrimp mixture into patties. Place patties on the hot pan for 4 minutes on each side. Do not move them around too much.
– Serve with Siracha and bread rolls, or wrap in a chapati to make a healthy kathi roll.

Mango Rice

April 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we experienced the first drizzle of mango showers in Hyderabad. It was such a welcome relief to the terrible heat. The showers brought with them the sweet smell of wet earth, cool breeze and of course lots and lots of mangoes.

Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits and mango season means milkshakes, mango ice cream, aam panna, aamras and all of those sweet wonderful things. So far I’ve always concentrated on the sweet side of mangoes and I’m kicking myself about underestimating the awesomeness of raw mangoes. The tart, juicy taste which fills your mouth when you bite into a sliver dipped in salt and chili powder is refreshing and mouth watering.

Well I decided to combine the tartness with some healthy in what is now my favorite go-to-quick rice recipe. This is also a healthier version as it uses brown rice, and very little oil. Before you attempt this one, I’d like to remind all of you that Indian cooking is not so much about measurements and technique as it is about intuition and listening to your senses. So remember to taste and smell while making this one and adjust the flavors as you go.

Mango Rice

Tangy Mango Rice
What do you need?

Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp
Whole Dried Chilies: 1 or 2
Urad Dal: 1/2 tsp
Chana Dal: 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves: 5-7
Sliced Onions: 2
Grated Raw Mango: 1/2 cup
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Chili Powder: 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder: 2 tsp
Cooked Brown Rice: 2 cups
Salt to taste

How do you do this?
– Heat the olive oil in a wok or kadhai (deep vessel) and add mustard seeds and whole red chilies. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter, add urad dal, chana dal and curry leaves. Reduce the flame to slow and lightly roast the dals for a minute till they become golden.
– Add the sliced onions and cook for 2-3 minutes till they become translucent, but are still crunchy. Add the raw mango and the spices. Cook for another 2 minutes, and add the brown rice and salt.
– Toss the whole thing around till the spices are mixed properly and cover and cook for 3-4 minutes to let the flavors permeate. Adjust spices if required and enjoy with some fresh curd.

Quick Tips:
– You can use regular white rice or basmati but I love the texture that brown rice adds to this dish.
– Feel free to increase the quantity of raw mango if this is not tangy enough for you.

 

Comforting Daliya

April 1, 2014 § 2 Comments

This is a family story. About my parents and of course about food. My dad loves food and loves it like he loves all of us, passionately. But he’s a picky eater. He only wants the “good” food. You know what I mean? Like the chicken makhani and the aloo tikki and the Sunday pakodas. He hates regular food. The stuff that regular people like you and I eat.

So every once in a while, when he’d have a business dinner to go to alone, which was only once in a while since he also loves to drag us everywhere. My mum, sister and I would make some comfort food. Food that we wouldn’t be making when dad was around. And this dish is one of them. It’s not a very popular dish, and is usually cooked when someone’s not well because its easy to digest. But its one of my favorites because I have so many memories attached to it. And that’s what makes food so special, doesn’t it? The memories that we build while we eat with family and loved ones.

What are some of your favorite food memories?

Namkeen Daliya

Broken Wheat Curry or Namkeen Daliya
What do you need?

Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Green Chilli, chopped – 1
Onion, finely chopped – 1 small
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
Tomato, finely chopped – 1 small
Vegetables, chopped – 1 cup (I used mushrooms, beans, broccoli, capsicum)
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Broken Wheat or Daliya – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Water – 3/4 cup

How do you do this?

- In a pressure cooker, heat olive oil, and add green chillies, onions and ginger garlic paste to it. Saute for a few minutes till onions are pinkish in color and add tomatoes.
– Once the tomatoes are partially cooked and start breaking down, add the rest of the vegetables and spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the daliya.
– Dry roast this mixture for 2-3 minutes, add water and salt and put the lid and weight on the pressure cooker. Let this cook for 15 minutes. The pressure cooker should give out 3-4 whistles.
– Let the steam out naturally from the cooker and serve hot. Tastes best with curd.

Quick Tips:

- I love adding some grated cottage cheese to the daliya once cooked. It adds a wonderful creaminess to the dish.
– Go bonkers with the vegetables. I’ve used anything and everything with this and it always tastes awesome.
– This goes really well with other cooked vegetables as well and taste almost like rice.
– It’s a great vegan one pot dish.

 

Lazy Spaghetti

March 28, 2014 § 4 Comments

I believe that spaghetti is one of those pastas which should make its presence felt only in certain styles. I’m talking Bolognese, meatballs and sauce, aglio e olio. You get it right? Less effort, but remarkable flavor.

Well, I decided to use it another way because I wanted to have spaghetti. I had to have it. Like I had to. But I’m trying to eat healthy and had picked up a pack of whole wheat spaghetti recently which I also had to try. It was sitting there, without being opened. So I opened it and this is what I did. Loads of veggies, no store bought sauce, healthy whole wheat noodles and everything in twenty minutes. Its simple, delicious and so easy to make for a quick dinner or lunch.

Image

Lazy Spaghetti

Lazy Spaghetti

What do you need?

Spaghetti – 200 gms
Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon
Mashed garlic – 4-5 nos
Thinly sliced onions – 1 nos
Thinly sliced tomatoes – 3 nos
Tomato puree – 3-4 tablespoons
Vegetables (Broccoli, mushroom, peppers) – 1 cup
Oregano – 1 tsp (fresh or dried)
Chili Flakes – 1 tsp
Pepper – 1/2 tsp
Basil – 1 tsp if using dried, or a few chopped fresh leaves
Water
Salt to taste

How do you do this?

- Fill a large pot with water, add a teaspoon of salt and spaghetti to it when it comes to boil. Cook spaghetti as per packet instructions, until al dente. Strain and wash under cold water, while reserving some of the liquid. Set aside.
– Meanwhile, add olive oil, garlic and onions to a pan. Saute till onions become translucent. Add tomatoes and the puree and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of strained pasta water and the vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes till the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy.
– Add  the herbs, salt and spaghetti. Mix, let cook for 2-3 minutes till you can smell the flavors of the herbs. Devour!

Quick Tips:
– Add a dash of cream if you are not health conscious or want a creamy texture
– Replace or add sausages, chicken, shrimp for more protein

Baked Curried Cauliflower

January 7, 2014 § 4 Comments

Happy New Year everyone!

I’m very excited because this is my first post of 2014. I don’t believe in new year resolutions because eventually you forget about them, and feel guilty when you remember them again. So I’m going to look at this as a fresh start for this blog, and hope to update it more regularly. Please be rooting for me :-)

This recipe was a result of my husband being out-of-town. He hates cauliflower so I haven’t been cooking any. Yesterday, I bought some and I was really looking forward to it, but didn’t want to do the typical Aloo Gobhi. The result – this crispy, baked, spicy cauliflower that makes for great snacking or does very well as a side dish. I’m so impressed that I’m even going to serve this up at my next dinner party. Try it. I’m sure you’ll be making it regularly once you do!

Baked Curried Cauliflower (2)

Baked Curried Cauliflower
What do you need?

Cauliflower, cut into florets – 1 cup
Olive Oil – 1 1/2 tablespoon
Mahrashtrian Garam Masala – 1/4 tsp (You can substitute this for garam masala, and add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder and a pinch of sugar)
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Garlic, grated – 3 to 4 cloves
Salt to taste

How do you do this?

- Mix together all the ingredients from Olive Oil to Salt, and add the cauliflower to it.
– Coat the cauliflower with the mixture using your hands and spread it out on a baking sheet.
– Bake in a 200 Degree Celsius oven for 20-25 mins until crisp from the outside.

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