Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
1 tsp coriander or dhania powder
1 -2 tsp Amchur or Dry mango powder
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
1 -1.5 cups jaggery or Gur or brown sugar
1) Take a thick bottomed pan or wok. Add the gur/jaggery and the water. Stir on a low flame until the sugar dissolves and becomes syrupy. Keep heating until a 'goli band' syrup is formed. This means that a drop of the syrup added to a cup of water should solidify immediately.
This is not only low calorie but also economical, and a quick snack on the go for kids and adults both. A great way to satisfy that sweet tooth!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The absolute main ingredient here according to me is Shan masala - either for tandoori chicken or tikka. Yes, it has some color, probably, and also has some raw papaya which acts as a tenderizer. Although that's not needed for tofu, it does change the texture a bit. I am using some yogurt in the marinade, but it can easily be replaced by vinegar or fresh lime juice to completely veganize this. The recipe is as follows -
1-2 packets tofu
2 large onions
2 large peppers any color
2-3 Tbsp Shan chicken tikka masala or more
1/2 cup low fat yogurt
Chat masala to sprinkle
1) Prep all the vegetables and the tofu. Drain the tofu and cut in medium sized chunks and set aside in a bowl. Cut the vegetables in medium squares similar to the tofu. Place them in a seperate bowl. The onion should be in thick chunks. Deseed the tomato and cut it similarly.
2) Add the shan masala and half yogurt to the tofu. This is quite spicy so use it sparingly. You will know how much to use per your taste once you use it a few times. Toss lightly and set aside.
3) Marinate the vegetables similarly using the yogurt and some of the shan masala.
4) Marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour and even overnight if you are prepping in advance.
5) Alternately thread the tofu and the veggies into the skewers. e.g onion, tomato, pepper, tofu and alternate.
6) Place on a hot non stick pan and keep turning delicately. Once the liquid evaporates and the veggies shrink a bit or look done, hold these skewers over a gas flame one at a time. This can be done by using some type of pliers or tongs. Hold the skewers over the flame for a minute or two until there are one or two char spots.
7) Serve these hot, sprinkled with chat masala ( optional). This tikka is a great appetizer or entree. It can be served over a bed of rice, over some salad or just on its own with some pudina chutney.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
This salsa can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to a week. I do not think it will last longer, since it will be gobbled up long before that :). This is great for chips, in sandwiches or wraps etc. I served it alongside quesadillas for a fresh and tangy balance to the heavy cheese. The recipe follows -
1 ear of corn or 'maka' or 'bhutta'
1 small onion
3-4 fresh tomatoes
1/2 to 1 jalapeno or other mild green chili
1/2 capsicum or green bell pepper
1/2 tsp cumin or jeera powder
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1) Remove the green husks from the corn. Roast the corn over a gas flame slowly. If the gas flame is too high, the corn will burn and we do not want that. You may also roast it over charcoal if available. Keep turning the corn gradually until the whole surface is uniformly roasted and looks almost black. Set aside to cool.
2) Chop other veggies and add to a bowl. Finely chop a small shallot or onion. De-seed the jalapeno or other green chili you are using. Chop the tomatoes and the bell pepper/capsicum. Add seasonings such as salt, cumin powder, pinch of sugar and fresh lime juice. Mix well.
3) After the corn cools enough to handle, cut away the corn kernels with a knife. Hold the corn vertically with one hand, resting the tip against a surface/plate. Use a knife to scrape down the corn kernels with the other hand. **This could be tricky the first time.
Another option is to remove the kernels with your hand, plucking them off the cob.
4) Add the corn kernels to the rest of the veggies. Mix well. Adjust seasonings and add more lime juice if needed. Add a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper if you need more heat.
5) Add some fresh chopped cilantro/dhania/coriander leaves for added flavor and a nice garnish.
6) Refrigerate this for at least a couple of hours before serving.
This is a fat free healthy vegan and vegetarian side dish that can perk you up any time. Have you tried this yet?
Friday, September 23, 2011
4) Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. Use veg or canola oil.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Greens cook down a lot and two big bunches generally become a small bowl. Palak corn or spinach with corn is another of our favourites and I thought about using corn here too. This not only helps bulk it up quantity wise and fibre wise, but the natural sweetness of the corn takes away some of the bitterness without adding too much sugar. The method used is pretty simple and even simple seasonings such as some cumin/coriander powder and fresh garlic will go great with this. The recipe is as follows -
1) Pluck the leaves along with fine stems, discard thicker part of stems from the greens. Chop and soak in huge tub of water.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Saffron – just the name brings something exotic to mind. This is one of the most expensive spices and is popularly used in several desserts in Indian cuisine. Being very expensive, it is generally reserved for special occasions. Using this in a pasta sauce was a completely novel idea for me.
As I searched the web, I found that there really were several recipes of this kind of sauce. Rachael Ray used saffron with lotsa butter and parsley and mint and orange, but I was short on those ingredients. All I had was some tomato sauce and then the search for tomato+saffron yielded one even by the great Emeril himself. Bam!
To begin at the beginning, this whole thing started because I was presented with a bottle of rich saffron syrup. This was so heady and intoxicating that I immediately wanted to make something of it, something savory and other than the obvious desserts that came to mind. Pasta was the obvious vehicle, since I was craving pasta. Although all the recipes use pinches of saffron fronds, I decided to be bold and make the sauce using syrup.
Most recipes had certain elements – the usual onion, garlic, basil/spice, wine, cream, tomatoes and saffron. I made so many substitutions to this concept, that I fear I may have ended up with something totally different. I also made a much lighter version using whole milk instead of cream, and saved the cheese just for the garnish.
I used mushrooms and olives as the vegetables, and everything worked together well to give a unique flavor where you can’t really taste one particular thing.
Cavatappi is a long screw shaped pasta. You can use any ‘rigate’ or ridged pasta for this sauce. Something like penne or rigatoni will go really well with this sauce. The recipe is as follows –
Half pound penne/cavatappi
One small onion chopped
1 Tbsp garlic chopped
1 Tbsp EVOO or extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried spices such as basil/thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup vodka
1 cup whole milk
1 cup tomato puree/sauce
2 Tbsp saffron syrup such as Mapro
Or 1 big pinch or 1 tsp saffron fronds
1 packet mushrooms chopped
2 Tbsp olives sliced/chopped
Parmesan or cheese of choice to garnish
EVOO to drizzle
1) For the sauce – In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the EVOO and add the chopped garlic. Add onions and sauté until softened a bit. Take care not to burn either.
2) Add mushrooms and fry until all the water from the mushrooms evaporates
3) Add vodka, or wine if you wish and sauté a bit until absorbed
4) Add tomato puree or sauce and the milk/cream
5) Add the salt/pepper and dried herbs and simmer this sauce
6) Add the saffron syrup. If using fronds, steep them first in some hot milk and then add to the sauce
7) Simmer the sauce until all the milk/cream is absorbed and sauce thickens. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
8) Meanwhile, boil the pasta for about 8-10 minutes, a bit less than al dente
9) Drain the pasta and immediately add to the sauce. Stir well to combine, cover with lid on a very low flame and let the pasta steam in the sauce for 3-4 minutes. This time can be adjusted based on the actual pasta and your liking of chewy versus well cooked pasta.
10) The pasta will absorb most of the sauce and flavors pretty soon. Switch off heat and keep covered
11) While serving, spoon on plate and drizzle some olive oil and some grated parmesan or any other cheese.
This is a very rich tasting pasta with big flavor, that will make a great impromptu meal served with some salad and good bread.
I hope you enjoy this unusual sauce laden with the goodness of saffron.
Monday, April 25, 2011
http://www.thecorinthianspune.com/index.asp and http://www.thecorinthianspune.com/index.html
We have wanted to take the promo tour since a long time and have contemplated getting a membership here. Visiting the place for lunch incognito without being accompanied by a salesperson seemed a good idea to scout the place. This is touted as a five star hotel.
There are several restaurants portrayed in the dining section – Salsa, Pyramisa, Oceanus etc. Salsa was the only place open for lunch for non-members. We decided to give it a shot to end the curiosity about this place. Needless to say, as the title of this post suggests, we were in for a disappointment.
The whole Corinthians club has an Egyptian theme. There are sphinx like motifs everywhere, palm trees and what not. Salsa, as the website says, is Greek – Mediterranean – even mentions the Balkans. Wow. Some reviews I read on the web talked of mezze platters and falafel, and that seemed right for a spot of lunch.
The place we went to was said to be Mexican, continental and Indian – predominantly Indian( so why the misleading webpage?). A buffet menu was offered for lunch at 550Rs. This did not include any drinks. Cocktails were 400Rs on an average. A huge price to pay when you order a margarita and are served something in a martini glass which is just tequila shaken with ice at best. No seriously, imagine 100F + temperatures, a lazy Sunday afternoon, driving through the heat, envisioning a limey green margarita – sweet and sour and salty – and This is placed before you..for something like 10 dollars.. Not a good start, to say the least.
The buffet menu was both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian and almost everything had ‘Jain’ written before it. A clarification request yielded the response – the menu is mostly ‘Jain’ since most people visiting this place are ‘Jain’. I find this really surprising considering the huge population. But anyway, if you are particular about what spices go in your food, you should consider this. The server offered to make ‘everything’ (typical tall promise) fresh for me with the spices I wanted.
The menu was pretty sparse considering the price – a salad bar that had the usual green salad, devilled eggs, a pre-tossed Caesar, a salsa verde salad( unmentionable), some boondi raita, and that’s about it. There were some rolls and breadsticks.
There were two soups. The minestrone looked watery at best, and I ditched this considering the sweltering heat. The appetizers had some mutton seekh and some fish tikka. The fish tikka, I hear, was Ok.
Vegetarians has ‘nachos and cheese’ and veg seekh. The veg seekh was extremely salty, but was one of the few things that could be eaten as an appetizer. The ‘nachos and cheese’ were mostly a bed of corn chips, with some cheese on top, and baked enough to melt the cheese. It was not worth mentioning. There were some beans here and there on the nachos, mostly rajma which was pasty/undercooked. There was no cheddar like sauce, no salsa and the ‘cheese’ was mediocre at best.
There was a meat as well as soy shepherd’s pie. This was once again a pretty lame attempt. There was no soy or TVP mince as I expected in lieu of the ground meat and peas you would find in a meat pie, but just nuggets sprinkled here and there that were watery. The sauce was very tomatoey with a rosemary like flavor, no sherry etc.
The other entrees – a corn pepper subji, some white bland mixed vegetables with the grand name of ‘mughlai’ etc. were very ordinary. There was one vegetable which was their saving grace – paneer tikka cooked in a thick spinach sauce, kinda like palak paneer having paneer tikka in it instead of just paneer. This was specially cooked for us with onions and garlic.
There were only two desserts. One was like a mini gulab jamun in rabdi/basundi instead of in syrup. The other dessert was chocolate ‘pudding’, which was nothing but Dry sliced cake. Even the cake in the kayani bakery is richer than this. If my limited culinary knowledge of world cuisine is not enough to know that such a cake is also called chocolate pudding, someone please enlighten me. Both desserts were at room temperature. A cold one would have been nice considering the heat.
The ambience was good but was wasted in lieu of all other factors. There are statues of people playing guitar, sax etc., and there are a lot of black and white photos of people playing the sax. There was some nice jazz or latin jazz/salsa playing in the background. Which was difficult to hear due to a horde of noisy patrons. Half our time was taken up by a noisy table with voices that could be heard fifty feet away. The rest was taken up by a crowd with 3-4 babies, all screaming at the top of their lungs. Babies will be babies, but what to do when their erstwhile parents start playing music full volume on their cell phones??
A request to the staff yielded the response that they were helpless. I take points away from an otherwise well trained wait staff for this. They have to be assertive, and think of the common good.
When the check was presented, I was asked to fill out a feedback form. I almost shuddered, thinking of my experience at the Yellow Chili, but I still gave in and filled it out. I gave max points for service and ambience but remarked, rightly so, that the food could be better. The girl came back with questions on my comments, and I had to beg her to please leave me alone!!
Overall, this was disappointing. I can think of several places where I can get excellent food for this money. Sukanta can give me a much better and tastier Indian meal for one third of the cost. Anyone visitng this place expecting to go on a culinary mediterranean journey will certainly be in for a shock.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Puris are the ultimate Indian indulgence. They are generally made with wheat flour and fried to golden perfection. The most common kind is the plain or salted version which is eaten as a bread with any curry. This post is about the TiKhaT MiThachi puri or Masala puri. TikhaT is pepper and MiTh is salt, so this is salt and pepper puri, the pepper here being cayenne pepper, which is more common in Indian cooking than black pepper as a spice.
This is a typical marathi dish and a family recipe. This is/was pretty common as food to be taken along during travelling. This is because these puris stay good for a long time and do not spoil easily. I remember many a long train journey ( 20-30 hours) when I used to have a pack of these with some sweet lemon pickle and curd rice, lovingly prepared by the ladies - mother, aunts, grandmas - and it provided enough nourishment for a pack of hungry kids on their way back to college.
Every family generally has their own version, with some secret ingredient passed on down the generations. Our recipe is as follows -
2 cups wheat flour
half cup besan or chickpea flour
1 tsp turmeric or haldi powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper or mirch
2-3 cloves fresh grated garlic
1 tsp Ajwain seeds /carom
salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil for dough
oil for deep frying
flour to coat as needed
1) Mix together the flours and seasonings. Add the 2 Tbsp oil.
2)Add water very slowly and knead to make a thick dough. You can use the food processor, but be careful not to add too much water. Keep pulsing patiently to form a thick dough
3) Make small puris of even thickness using a rolling pin and a platform or your 'chakla belan'. You can make a big roti and then use a cookie cutter or jar lid etc. to cut out the puris. This will make all of them the same size and shape. This is just a suggestion if you are big on unformity and are a novice in this.
4) Heat oil in a wok or kadai. As the oil starts smoking, add the puris. Do not crowd the oil. Add 1,2 or 3 puris at a time depending on the size of your wok and the amount of oil you have.
5) Serve hot with any pickle of choice and plain yogurt.
This is an elaborate item/recipe which is tricky for the likes of me, and we hardly make these a few times a year. But this is a typical traditional dish which used to be pretty easy for the ladies of yore. Happy Munching!!
Friday, February 11, 2011
These are mostly Indian recipes, something that will give you a home cooked or comforting feel.
Please refer to the book 'Microwave Indian Recipes' on Amazon for a detailed description of these recipes.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I think Thai food introduces some exotic factor into Asian cooking, and altho' it feels very familiar to the Indian palette in some aspects, there are just two or three typical ingredients that take it over the top. For a vegetarian, eating Thai food in a restaurant can be a challenge. It took me some time to realize why this much liked food often made me sick - addition of fishy ingredients, literally, such as shrimp powder or fish sauce. You have to always remember the special instructions, namely, no fish sauce, dried shrimp or eggs in anything, and if you ever forget this, you end up wasting a fine order of food. It is also tough to find ready-made thai pastes that cater to this requirement, some just don't list out the shrimp powder etc. There are some high-end brands such as those available at Whole Foods that will clearly label that this is suitable for vegans eg. But any ready made sauce in a bottle lacks the quality of freshly ground spices or pastes.
Now that I have made a case for making your own curry pastes, I am going to go ahead and post this recipe with a ready made paste I luckily found in the local store that was vegan. A readymade paste will generally make your red curry really red, or the green really green due to the addition of colour. But I am also giving the recipe for making this paste at home with the disclaimer that you may not get a similar red colour, and thats OK.
After perusing several websites, food tv, chef's sites, blogs etc. and of course my own experiences tasting red curry a million times, I have come up with the main elements that go into a thai curry paste. These are shallots/onions, ginger or galangal, garlic, kafir lime leaves or lemon zest, lemon grass and chillies. A red chilli gives you the red curry, the green gives the green curry, and most everything else remains the same. The sauce is generally made up of coconut cream or milk. I generally use the above ingredients by the 'eyeball' method, not being exacting in using measurements, and almost always add a stock of lemon grass to the boiling sauce, to get more flavour that way. My efforts generally end up tasting 'thai' like enough, for me to have made this multiple times.
You can use your choice of vegetables - carrots, broccoli, green beans, peppers, tofu etc. The recipe/method is as follows -