Small discs of jaggery sweet Dosa layered with salted caramel and mint! Yumm…
1 part wheat flour, 1/4 rice flour, 1 part jaggery softened in water with elaichi, roasted desiccated coconut, dried ginger powder and a pinch of salt . Mini dosas made crispy.. create the towering sizzle….
- Iceland Ring Road Itinerary
Personally i think just doing the south coast is enough ( days 1-4) but with added hikes and activities ( whale watching, waterfall hikes, secret lagoons, land cruiser trips into the interiors, boat trips int he glacier, glacier hike, volcano hikes etc). Spend 2 days at each place and explore rather than rush the whole ring road as it is allt he same after 3 ays. The north part is rugged and beautiful but you wont gain much.
Places we stayed at with the girls- Gerdi , Hofn / Welcome hotel, Vik/Glaesibaer guesthouse, Akureyi/Hofdi cottages , Dalvik/Moar Guesthouse, Akranes.
Also I would not splurge out on accomodations as you will hardly be indoors and also the acco are usually of very high standards. Clean and simple.
ICELAND FULL 10 DAY ITINERARY-
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Day 1- Blue Lagoon
Total Driving Distance and Time: 21km, 22 mins
DAY 1- Reach airport, car hire and go straight to Blue Lagoon Spa ( saves time). Early morning or after 2 is better to avoid crowds. Buy tickets in advance.
Day 2- The Golden Circle:
Total Driving Distance and Time: 165 km, 2.5 hours
Visit Gulfoss waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir Park ( mid-Atlantic ridge) .
Day 3- Reynisfjara black sand beach, Dyrholaey Arch, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss ( we went behind this waterfall )
Total Driving Distance and Time: 153km, 2 hours
All these places have been in the KJo – Dilwale 🙂
Day 4-Jokulsarlon, Glacier hike, Skaftafell waterfall ( where we got nearly kicked out!)
Total Driving Distance and Time: 140 km, 2 hours
Total Driving Distance and Time: 350 km, 4.75 hours (not including detours)
Longest day as it involves driving to the north west. Better not to stop for any detour unless you are really keen.
Distance and Driving Time: 225 km, 3.5 hours
Myvatn town with its baths , Dettifoss waterfall ( missable place as you would have by now be fed up of waterfalls. So jsut relax and take it easy here)
Day 7- Akureyi
Distance and Driving Time: 140 km, 2 hours (not including the detour to Aldeyjarfoss)
Akureri, GodaFoss waterfall , whale watching
Day 8- Kirkjufell
Driving Time and Distance: 480 km, 6.5 hoursKirkjufell- supposedly the most photographed place in Iceland. I was not much impressed. Would personally not do this and go to reykjavik instad.
Day 9 – Reykjavik
2 days at least, it is a nice place, people usually overlook it.
- Northern lights- the Holy grail of sky watching
I have been a sceptic about the actual brilliance of the Auroras but Ram, knowing how photo crazy I am 😃 insisted on the tour in Akureyri, Iceland… so as usual, i read, researched, chewed up everything online about it and soon realised that it all came down to fate, lady luck, kismat! If it was destined, then we would spot the stunning dancing waves of light that had mesmerised for millennia.
So, one cloudless evening, we joined a bus tour with a bunch of excited American tourists (average age group 80 years and above) that promised to take us far into the darkness to watch the Aurora. The guide, Sigurður was rather excited and bundled us up hurriedly into the van but soon stopped in a field 5 minutes away!
I was sceptical and looked up at the sky, nothing. Sigurður kept staring, nothing. People started fidgeting, nothing. Only Ram seemed excited, clumsily setting up the tripod, asking Sigurður hundreds of questions while other minions like me kept squinting half heartedly into the inky darkness.
Suddenly Sigurður whispered, guys, look to your right…. she is coming. All heads turned like meerkats, cameras pointed, ready to shoot, Ram , the first bencher that he was, was already clicking away in sheer child like enthusiasm.
There was a faint grey flicker and suddenly without warning, the Aurora exploded, as if someone had splashed green paint across the skies. We gasped in unison, shutters clicked, Ram shuffled into the dark, in search of a ‘better spot’, his heavy tripod in tow!
Sigurður announced triumphantly, ‘she’ is about to dance, this is rare, I have not seen it in 30 years! And right in front of us, ‘she’ started moving, gliding towards us and lo behold, the Aurora formed a perfect circle over our heads and stated spinning, furiously! It was like the cartwheel fireworks , chakri .
She went on and on for around 40 minutes, Sigurður pointing in all directions till we had a crick in our necks! Except for Ram, of course ! The cameras kept shooting away, Ram’s oohs and aahs, interspersed with Smita, look there, come here, reverberated loud and clear in the crisp night.
As for me, I just put my phone down (yes, I can do that too ) and watched from a quiet spot. The Aurora came close, enveloped me in her warmth, took me with her when she receded and slowly floated me back again to earth after a while. She was truly alive. I was no longer cold, I was oblivious to those around me, there was only ‘she’ and me.
My next sentence may sound cliché and am sure, will elicit some cynicism, but I actually felt close to some divine power, something that was way bigger and magnificent than anything I had ever witnessed.
Don’t think any more words are needed 😍💕
Fun fact- named by Galileo in 1619 after Aurora (goddess of dawn) and Borea (god of the North wind). Inuits believe that they are the spirits playing ball with walrus heads while the Vikings thought the phenomenon was light reflecting off the armor of the Valkyrie, the supernatural maidens who brought warriors into the afterlife.
- Chicago marathon 2022-The tale of 26.2 miles and 26.2 months
My 7th marathon! A shiny metal! The Mallu in me said that I could have had a real gold medal with the amount spent in these countless marathons! True and yet so far from the truth.
So why do we, the human race, spend countless hours of time and energy in pursuit of pain and suffering. These thoughts echoed in my mind as I waited in line with 45,786 runners at the start coral. Flashbacks to hours of planning, dreaming and visualising the finish strategies, runs, long runs and not so long runs, slow runs and the so-called fast runs, all seemed real.
The marathon is an eye opener. Every time I marvel at the runners. They come in all shapes and sizes. From the seasoned , minimalistic, slick marathoner to the novice armed with all sorts of weapons ie water bottles, hat, gels, phones, camcorders too, etc. Lean, mean, fat, tall, old, grey, young, you see them all. and that’s when you realise that a marathon is not a race of the body. It is of the mind. And the person who actually reaches the start line is the victor because they dared to dream, they dared to run.
The Chicago Marathon was 26.2 months late, thanks to Covid and several health delays, but it was there, and our excitement was palpable. But more than that was the thrill of being joined by Varsha Joshi and Priya Nadeem Anis , forever my source of strength and comfort and the prospect of meeting yet another angel RT Gazula . We experienced home away from home at Suraj Aggarwal maasi’s who welcomed us with wide arms and smiles.
The pre-race day went past in a blur of laughter, excitement and girly gaggles. We gossiped past midnight over college infatuations and laughed about whoever entered our wine drenched thoughts. I just didn’t want the night to end. Med school days were revisited again and again and we fell asleep, still mumbling into the dark.
Varsha woke up at an unearthly hour of 4.30am , a combination of race and tummy nerves in full swing. I opened one eye and groaned into my pillow. Priya watched us amused and fascinated at the same time. Subhash arrived like clockwork at the strike of 6 and before we realised, time just fast forwarded, and we were jostling shoulder to shoulder along with the thronging hordes to the start line.
And so the race started. and from the word go, it was a dream. Perfect weather, perfect route and even more than that, perfect crowd support. People shouted out in the now much-loved American drawl ‘ Go, Smidaaa, you gaaat it, gurrlll……. Posters, placards, gels, sweets, all shouted out for us in unison. The aid stations were faultless, dispensing cooling gels and brufens when needed.
Subhash and I were cruising like a dream, our 4th marathon together, and very much in reach of the sub5 timing, when at mile 18, I felt the twinges of cramps in my calves. It escalated to full blown golf ball sized bundles of excruciating pain and at that moment, I knew that either I push ahead and take the risk of not completing or slow down and walk-run the rest of the distance. I chose the latter and crawled ahead with my mind, one step at a time.
When I faltered at mile 19, a lady jumped in, hugged me, whispered ‘you look amazing, you are nearly there’ and softly pushed me ahead.
Mile 19-24, everything appeared to be in slow motion . The mile markers appeared distant, people seemed to fade in and out of my eyes and I felt lightheaded and nauseous. But I knew that I had to inch ahead. The 5-hour pacer went ahead, and I let him go. I watched with regret at the 5.15 pacer and brushed aside the fog in my head. I could do it, I have done it and I will do it.
The final 2 miles, I decided to just run. I thought of Ram and his race, how he would have run, would do anything to run again. And that was the turning point! Cramps or no cramps, I bounded ahead, picked up my pace and whatever ego and passion I had for running and I charged to the finish line. Tears welling, hands outstretched, I heard someone hug me and whisper softly, Girl, you’ve done it. Someone garlanded me with the medal. Another arm reached out with the foil blanket. The rest was blurred by the tears gushing from my eyes and on my cheeks!
….5.19 hours , an eternity immortalised forever.
The pain is temporary, the glory is of a lifetime!
I am a marathoner 💖 and so were the 45,786 others who dared to dream, who dared to start…. so, just start 🙂
- Cyprus in 5 days
Cyprus is a labyrinth of unending beaches, modern towns catering to all cultures, dramatic mountains and sleepy hamlets. Yes, it is famous for its beaches so much so that most people end up in their resorts and miss exploring the mountains and hamlets of this beautiful country.
We went towards late summer and the weather was very pleasant. We flew into Larnaca airport and smoothly got into an upgraded airport rental car for our journey to Paphos, which was 2 hours away.
Check in: Hotel
The resort is around 3 miles from Paphos town centre and just a 10 minute drive away. It is big, modern and very clean. A lovely canopy of vibrant pink bougainvillea drapes the buildings. The reception of cavernous and staff are very welcoming. We stayed in the sea facing suite and had great sunset views. There are 2 pools including one exclusively for adults. Plenty of restaurants and beach bars nearby. Very clean beach. Would recommend the resort for families and adults only holidays.
Day 1 –
Chill day at the resort – I had promised Rhea that we will spend a full day doing nothing, absolutely nothing at the resort. And so that started as soon as we reached. Spent the whole day moving from one pool to hte other, to the bed and repeat. Dreaded it at the start but started enjoying it after a few cocktails 🙂
Day 2 – After breakfast, we drove to Latchi Harbour via the beautiful mountains with spectacular views of the glittering sea and white washed towns below. At the harbour, we took a half day cruise which took us to the famour Blue Lagoon. Spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the lagoon and then savouring the BEST barbeque chicken ever on the boat.
Dinner was an exclusive experience at the St George Tavern, known as one of the best by the locals. We had a unique experience there. There is no menu and you get totally spoilt by the constant small plates of food that get delivered by the ever so attentive staff, most of whom are related to the business itself. The owner just had one request- that we should try and eat everything as its his mother who has worked hard int he kitchen to make the food. There was never any doubt that the food would all be devoured instantly, it was so tasty.
Day 3 –
An hour’s drive from Paphos took us through the meandering roads uphill to the well sign posted area, apparently Aphrodite’s birth place! Ample parking. Once parked, you can descend down to the beach which is pebbly but with gorgeous views. Wear good shoes though! There is a shop nearby to buy water and icecream etc. It was very very hot.
The whole of Paphos is a world heritage site. The old town itself has all the flavours of an european haunt and with gorgeous sunsets. We spent the afternoon relaxing by the beach followed by strolling around the harbour in the evening.
Day 4 –
Troodos Mountains and Monastery
The Troodos mountains are home to tranquil forests, magnificient mosteries and ancient cobblestone lined villages. We visited one of the villages Omodos nested deep in the mountains. The focal point was a 11th centruy Byzanthine church with bright murals and an eerie tranquil around it. The village was pretty with beautiful facades, locals mingling with scattered tourists, some playing cards, nibbling on mezze and wine and watching the world go by. We joined in and sat for 2 hours, half of it was just watching some workers help navigate a large truck through a narrow bend in the village square!
The drive back from Troodos mountains was stunning and we were starving by the time we reached the resort. Dinner was at the harbour at Theo’s restaurant. Spent the rest of the day just watching boats go past in slow motion, trying to keep the sands of time still.
A slow eveing by the harbour, sipping some more cocktails and it was rest time again.
Last day we spent mainly by the beach, not wanting to leave, watching the sunset together over and over again. Promise to come back.
- The Running Diary- 1
- Easy Pad Thai Sauce
Easy pad thai sauce –
Everyone loves pad thai, who in the world doesn’t like pad thai… And if so, there is something wrong with you or you have not had proper pad Thai 😘😘😘
This is my simple and very easy Pad Thai sauce recipe. Try it and you will be hooked, I swear 🙏
Fish sauce (a must) + rice wine vinegar on equal amounts (3tbsp each).
( vegan fish sauce substitute – https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-vegan-fish-sauce-130535)
Brown or palm sugar 5tbsp ( if not, use treacle or maple syrup)
Soy sauce 1tsp
Siracha sauce 1 tbsp
Peanut butter 2 tbsp
Whisk all together and add to hot cooked noodles and vegetables.
- Coriander chicken
Happy Friday folks
Hara bhara chicken ( or veg)!
A lip smacking curry bursting with the fresh flavours of coriander and lemon juice. I know that this is a common curry in most houses, but Phir bhi, share karne mein kya jaata hai😋
Grind to a paste – bunch of coriander leaves, 5-6 green chillies, lemon juice, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1/2 onion, ginger, salt.
- Heat oil, add bay leaf, star anise, elaichi and cloves.
- Fry masala till the raw smell disappears. Add chicken pieces and stir well.
- Add 1 tbsp coriander powder and 1/2 tsp garam masala
- Cover and cook till oil floats on top.
- Add a dollop of yoghurt in the end to get the required colour.
- Chicken chukka – Tharamel style!
Tharamel is our ancestral house in a sleepy town, Mavelikkara in Kerala. Of course, memories of that place are the best but I have no recollection of the taste of all the food that my grandma made other than it was heaven and I always ended up spending most afternoons totally overfed and dizzy with sugar and spice!!
But today, when I made this chicken, mainly by feel, mum just jumped up with joy at the first bite and said this is exactly what ammuma’s chicken tasted like! That was the best compliment I ever got (and now she is complaining of tummy ache because of overeating 😂)!
So quickly adding it here, there and everywhere so that I don’t forget in future. #ammuskitchen #chicken
Served with hot piping rice and gur ki kheer 😍
Video in the instagram Post below. Please click and subscribe.
- Chettinad chicken curry
Chettinad chicken curry –
On Sunday, mum marched into the study where I was finishing some work and loudly proclaimed – main chettinad bana rahi hoon, video lena hai to abhi aana padega!! I said, maa, dhamki kyun se rahi hai, abhi se star jaise tevar
Anyway, maa ne bulaya and I dutifully followed for another interesting and hilarious session in #ammuskitchen.
Chettinad chicken is basically chicken curry with premade masala ( roasted and ground coconut, coriander and garam masala which is easy to make and can be stored in the fridge too).
1 kg chicken, washed and marinated in lemon juice, salt, turmeric.
Onions, sliced – 2
Masala ( fry in 2 tbsp oil and grind to fine powder with some water) – 3/4 cup coconut fresh, 3 tbsp coriander, 5 red chillies, 2 tbsp fennel seeds, 1 inch ginger, 5 garlic, 2 star anise, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 badi elaichi)
Heat oil, add onion slices and curry leaves. Add chicken pieces and stir till it changes colour. Add the masala paste. Stir for 10-15 mins. Cover and cook till done.
Send with hot paratha or rice.
- Aditi’s Aai cha ambat varan – Mummy’s khatti meethi Daal
When you missing your mom, you try and make things which remind you of her. As much as she doesn’t like her dal , pappa and me love it.
Today is Sunday, coincidentally pappa asked her to make the ambat varan and I called her to get her exact recipe as it’s different to my recipe
She laughed us both off, saying you can’t make this on Sunday! Sunday lunchtimes are special and it has to be mutton, chicken, fish or at your worst – eggs.
Well she didn’t make ambat varan today for pappa but made her egg curry.
I made her ambat varan and really enjoyed it with warm steaming rice and papad
Here is her special recipe
Cook toor dal in pressure cooker with hing, haldi,mirchi and dhaniya powder.
Make a paste in the blender with 2 tomatoes , 2-3 garlic pods, kadi patta and 2 green chillies
Now take oil in pan add urad dal , mustard seeds when they splutter add hing and red dry green chillies
Add the tomatoe garlic chilli paste and sauté it well till oil separates
Add the dal , add lemon juice salt gul and a bit of sugar to balance the khatta meetha teekha flavour
Let it boil for 5-7 mins
And serve hot
It tastes even better the next day
Saving her recipe as I call her every time when I want to make it
- Egg curry with black eye beans
Give me some egg fry, give me some plain
Give me egg florentine, I wanna taste egg all again – anda premi
That’s me. Noone can beat an egg when it comes to versatility. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or with the drinks ( a pure Punjabi will always serve boiled eggs with whisky! )
So this is my anda curry from yesterday with added black eye beans ( well, that tin was lurking at the back of the cupboard for years ) but the combo tastes great. Try it out…
Added coriander to the onion masala. Gave a nice flavour.
Recipe – no particular measurements
Heat oil. Add chopped onion /ginger /garlic /coriander stem ( i use my hand grinder for this)
Fry till translucent.
I added KTC tawa fry masala. Stir fry for another 5 mins.
Add black beans from the tin.
Add a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Let it bubble for at least 5-10mins till the oil releases and floats to the top. The weight watches can remove the oil then but soaking it in kitchen towel. But my principle is…… Yes, portion control
Add salt and a bit of sugar.
Garnish with coriander.
- Moroccan chicken ( but with wine)!
This is a great soul food, easy midweek feast. Don’t get fooled by the name, you will have most of the ingredients in your pantry.
A great explosion of lemon, honey, cinnamon and cumin with a smooth silky texture, what’s not to like 💃💃
I had always wanted to make Moroccan tagine chicken so checked out the recipe and started making it. In between, spotted some more leftover wine 🤣( yes, a cardinal sin to waste wine!) and one thing led to another and this is what I got. Try it, you will love it…. Served best with couscous or sweet potato slices.
Chicken – around 1/2 kg
Cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, coriander pd- 1 tsp each
Butter – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1 chopped
Ginger minced – 1 tbsp
Plain flour – 1 tbsp
Red wine – around a glass full
Honey – 2-3 tbsp
Cream – as required
Chicken pieces or thighs
Marinade mix – a tsp each of cumin, paprika, cinnamon, rock salt, coriander pd. Add juice of a lemon and mix well with chicken.
Cook marinaded chicken well and remove once done.
In the same pan, add 2 tbsp butter.
Add chopped onions and garlic. Stir till slightly brown.
Add plain flour and stir till dry.
Add stock, red wine and let it bubble till you get a sauce like consistency.
Add desired amount of honey.
Add cream, some more seasoning, coriander leaves.
Add chicken pieces, some more lemon juice, rind of lemon, olives.
- Buffalo chicken and teriyaki chicken
Crispy chicken in spicy buffalo sauce
Crispy chicken in teriyaki sauce
This is a super easy recipe!!!
I know you will say that its what I always say but trust me, this is a child’s play! Varun made this yesterday and I don’t think I am ever going to order buffalo chicken from the takeaway ever again.
No specific measurements!
Wash and PAT DRY CHICKEN PIECES.
Coat well in a dry mixture of cornflour, baking pd, ginger garlic pd, chilli flakes, salt.
Deep fry and keep aside.
Heat a saucepan. Add a generous amount of butter ( around 2 tbsp).
Add tomato sauce, siracha sauce, nando’s peri peri sauce, lemon juice, honey
Mix all well.
Pour over the fried chicken ( or vegetables)
Sprinkle chopped spring onions.
Heat butter in a saucepan
Add dark soy sauce, siracha sauce, brown sugar and mix well.
- Shakshuka, yet another egg fan
Shakshuka- quick and refreshing – a very popular middle Eastern dish made of poached eggs in spicy tomato and sweet pepper sauce. Tried it once at a local restaurant and was hooked since. You can add olives, sun dried tomatoes, beans, feta cheese etc to it too. The key is to take it out of the oven in time so that the yolks are still runny.
Add chopped onions
Add chopped sweet peppers, stir till soft.
Add tinned tomatoes, tinned beans
Add extra tomato paste (optional)
Season with chilli flakes, garam masala
Add salt and bit of sugar to counteract the tangy taste of tomato.
Once the sauce is done, break the eggs into it, keeping the yolks intact.
Place in the oven and cook for not more than 8 mins.
Garnish with coriander.
- Christmas menu 2020
Merry Christmas, dear cooks forum friends. So impressed and thrilled with all the cooking and sharing. Each and every post has been a virtual treat. At ours, the story was totally different. Yes, we did have a feast but didn’t hands much time to plan something elaborate. Also, somehow the madness took over and most of the food was massacred before I could get them to pose for photos 😂😂
So, apologies for the bad photos but can vouch for the taste ❤️❤️
This is a dinner menu that can be cooked in less than an hour. All the recipes are quick and easy. (except the cakes) not my department
Butternut squash and sweet potato soup with chilli flakes and creme fraiche.
Cheese and breads
Cocktails galore ( bartender special 😍)
Murg mussallam ( the usual tradition)
Butternut squash stuffed with feta cheese, cranberries and olive crumble
Kerala stew ( again, a tradition)
Roast potatoes and roast vegetables ( Rashmi special).
Lemon drizzle cake
- Creamy red wine sauce with prawns and ravioli/any pasta –
Christmas leftover cooking continues. Last night, after ages, added some red wine and tastes amazing. So give it a try for that ‘hattke’ taste. Tastes better than it looks.
You will need – butter, onion, garlic, prawns, red wine, cream, pasta
Saute chopped onions and garlic in butter till translucent. Add prawns, sprinkle piri piri pd, stir till cooked.
Take prawns out. In the same pan, add a generous splash of red wine. Let it bubble and sizzle stirring all the time till it is thick. Add cream to it and let it bubble away.
Add a bit of salt.
Prepare the store made ravioli.
Pour the sauce over the ravioli. Top it up with prawns and a handful of parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle tarragon leaves on top.
- Mango Badam Pedha
Desserts, my weakness. Mangoes, my weakness. So here is one of my favourite recipes, a 15 min jhatpat one which combines both of them into an irresistible, fool proof delicacy which will have your family and friends permanently wanting more….
2 cups mango pulp good quality
2 cups milk powder
2 cups almond flour
A pinch of saffron in warm milk, a tsp cardamom powder, cashews as garnish
Method – Heat mango pulp in a thick bottom wok till it reduces to half its amount. Will take around 10 mins. Add milk powder and almond flour. Keep stirring till the paste starts leaving the sides of the pan. That takes another 10 mins. Once lumpy enough, add saffron, remove to cool on a greased plate. Make laddoo size balls and shape into pedhas. Place a cashew in the centre. Refrigerate to set.
Makes 25 pedhas
- #4 Sweet potato, chick peas and red lentil soup
My brood has a soft spot for sweet potatoes. It fades a bit when it comes to chick peas and it disappears completely for red lentils. Since years, I have had to find to ways to mask lentils in their food. This wholesome heart warming dish does exactly that and is a hit with them, thanks to their creamy, slightly sweet flavour and smooth consistency.
500 gms sweet potatoes,
1 can chick peas
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger , chopped
1 cup dried red lentils
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
chilli flakes, coriander leaves, ginger juliennes for garnish
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil
- Add chopped onions and ginger. Stir till onions are translucent.
- Add chopped sweet potatoes, half can of chick peas and red lentils.
- Add vegetable or chicken stock and bring to boil.
- Add cumin ,coriander powder and lemon juice. Cook till potatoes are soft.
- Blend to a smooth consistency.
- Add rest of chick peas.
- Garnish with chilli flakes and ginger juliennes.
- Serve with fresh coriander leaves.
- The Humble Aloo- Mathura waale
One of my most memorable trips was to the land of Braj, Mathura, a couple of decades ago. I was wonderstruck by the dusty lanes, byzantine bylanes, the innumerable visions of Krishna and equally devout pilgrims. There were shrines around every corner with monkeys and kids playing with gay abandon as were the odd glimpse of a group of widows, their heads clean shaven, a stark reminder of certain practices that are still prevalent in our country.
Anyway, one memory that stuck with me was wating Dubke waali aloo with Puris. Dubke means immersed in. So this is a watery simple potato curry with minimal masalas and easy to make. I am sure we have all made this regularly at home but for a south indian like me, calling it dubke waali aloo imparts it a rather exotic flavour.
500 gm Boiled potatoes
3 onions, sliced
1 tbsp – ginger chopped
Oil, cumin seeds, green chillies for tadka
Heat oil, add cumin seeds and green chillies.
Add onions, ginger and stir till transclucent.
Add potatoes and water. Add turmeric, chilli powder, salt, aamchur powder. boil for 5 minutes.
Add coriander leaves at the end.
- Hot and Sour Chicken Soup
One of my fondest memories of med school life were the carefree evenings, zipping around on our two wheelers, hair carelessly flying in the wind in gay abandon. The thrill of unlimited freedom for those few hours still remains unmatched. A regular stop used to be the Indo-Chinese street cart and sharing a bowl of hot and sour chicken soup was a regular routine.
This soup is very addictive. It is super hot, spicy and crunchy, all at the same time. It is very easy, super easy actually and can be altered to our taste buds if you don’t fancy having a runny nose on your first date!
Many of us know this recipe but I had to include it in my list for posterity! You can make it in a soup maker but i find it easier in a saucepan because of the sheer amounts needed in my perenially starving family!
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp ginger garlic pieces
1 cup of Finely chopped frozen vegetables ( peas, carrots, mushroom, beans)
1 can creamed corn ( or boiled sweet corn coarsely blended with water)
1/2 cup shredded chicken ( or cook finely chopped chicken in water)
1 egg beaten
2 tsp each soy sauce ,fish sauce, rice vinegar ( use less if using malt or white vinegar)
2 tbsp siracha sauce
salt and sugar to taste
- Heat oil, add ginger and garlic pieces and stir well.
- Add water and chicken and cook till done.
- Add shredded vegetables, creamed corn, soy sauce, fish sauce, siracha sauce and vinegar.
- Add cornflour mixed in water and bring to a boil. The soup will thicken gradually.
- Add drops of beaten egg with a fork to the boiling soup, stirring all the time.
- Season to taste adding extra siracha or chillies.
- Apple and carrot soup
Apple and carrot soup –
The average time for any gadget to reach its resting place in the dark recesses of our garage is 4 weeks. So it has been only 2 weeks that the soup maker has entered the house, too early to pack it away .
Hence today was apple and carrot soup day. This soup is slightly tangy so the option of adding cream at the end is always there if you don’t like tangy flavours in your soup. I love it though, lip-smacking yum yum !
Winter days calls for this hot soup drizzled with chilli oil and of course warm bread!
2 apples, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp Cumin, chicken stock, 1/2 tsp garam masala or curry powder.
– Sauté cumin seeds and onions in 2 tbsp oil till translucent.
– Add chopped apples and carrots.
– Add vegetable or chicken stock.
– Season with sugar and salt.
– Cover and cook till done. If not in a soup maker, blend it smooth once it is cool enough to handle.
– Serve with a drizzle of fresh cream and chilli oil.
- Easy apple chutney
So, I finally got some apples from my neighbour…. No, not stolen, in fact, he actually delivered it to the front door, in the rain. So made apple chutney and my neighbour loved it. In fact, as I write this, I can see him on the ladder trying to pluck some more apples from his tree…
Apple chutney ( Instapot)
1/2 tsp each mustard , cumin, fenugreek, fennel, kalonji seeds
1/2 tsp each turmeric pd, chilli powder, ginger powder
Salt and sugar to taste ( I added 1/4 cup sugar)
Apple cider vinegar optional (usually 2 tbsp)
-Peel, core, chop apples.
-Heat oil in instapot. Add mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and kalonji. Stir till done.
-Add apples, curry leaves, turmeric, ginger powder. Stir for 5 mins.
-Cover and pressure cook for 20mins.
-Release the lid . You will get a rich syrupy chutney.
-Add mirchi powder, salt and sugar and heat on saute function till you get the chutney consistency.
-You can add a bit of vinegar ( I try to avoid it, not much of a fan)
-Remove from heat and store in a dry container.
- Green tomato sabji and chutney
Since life is returning to nearly normal, gardening in my world is reaching its autumn too…. I accidentally stumbled upon a huge crop of green tomatoes, unloved and forgotten, in the corner of our garden. The label on the pot had promised red beef tomatoes and I realised that it was not to be. Never made anything with green tomatoes in my life, so decided to make a simple green tomato sabji with our produce .
The sabji is lip smacking tangy and sweet, yum yum
The chutney is mild with coconut and peanut flavours.
Serve it with piping steaming hot plain rice to attain nirvana !
Green tomato sabji-
6-7 big green tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 red chillies
1tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 tsp jaggery or sugar
Heat oil, add mustard and urad seeds. Add curry leaves (optional).
Add onions and stir till translucent.
Add tomatoes, stir, add half a cup of water, cover and cook for 5 mins.
After that, remove lid, add turmeric pd, chilli pd, coriander pd. Stir well.
Add tamarind concentrate and jaggery.
Stir till you get a nice sauce at the base.
Heat a tbsp oil, add 1 tbsp sesame seeds, roast till light brown and remove.
Add urad dal, 1tsp, red chillies 2, jeera 1 tsp, roast and remove.
Grind it all together with tomatoes and coconut.
Add salt to taste.
- Broccoli and Stilton Soup
Rhea loves broccoli, Varun hates it.
Varun loves spinach, Rhea hates it.
The ‘perfect mum’ at the back of my mind threatens me with dire consequences if I dont make them eat both. Hence this has always been my go-to whenever I feel that there has been a lack of ‘green’ options in the family. And it has always been a hit hit. The lush creaminess of the Stilton cheese melts into the flavours of broccoli and spinach to create this amazing winter warmer soup.
1 head of broccoli, chopped into pieces
2 cups of spinach, rough chopped
1 potato, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 lt water or stock
150 gm Stilton cheese
Saute onions with a dash of olive oil till translucent. Add it to the remaining ingredients ( except cheese) into the soup maker. Put it on smooth setting and let it cook. When done, in 20 minutes, add crumbled cheese and stir well.
Serve with croutons.
- Karela stir fry with coconut
Karela stir fry-
This is yet one of those green monsters that has plagued me and given me countless nightmares in my childhood! Eventually came across some really nice ways of cooking and masking the bitter taste. This combined the flavour of karela with fresh coconut, sourness of tamarind and sweetness of jaggery, a win win situation. Do try it….you will love it!
2 cups sliced karela, soak in salt water and squeeze out after 20mins
1 chopped onion
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 handful chopped coconut optional
1 handful desiccated coconut fresh
1 handful cashew pieces
1 tsp sambar masala
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 handful jaggery
Heat coconut oil
Add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana Dal, hing, curry leaves.
Add chipped onions, ginger
Add karela slices and stir till dry.
Add sambar powder, jaggery, tamarind, cup of water and keep stirring till dry.
Add dedicated coconut.
Serve with a smile
- Hyderabad Mirch ka Salan
Hyderabadi mirch ka salan-
This is a peanut based curry and tastes amazing. Important tip is to make a very very smooth paste first! Don’t rush on that step.
Rest all is just adding the ingredients!
Fry deseeded chillies in oil and keep aside.
Roast sesame seeds 3 tbsp, peanuts 5 tbsp, poppy seeds 1 tbsp, 1/4 dessicated coconut.
Grind with ginger garlic and a bit of water.
Heat oil, add cumin, chopped onions, ground paste, haldi, chilli pd, garam masala.
Add 3 tbsp tamarind sauce ( or tamarind water and jaggery)
Add fried chillies…
- Creme brulee
Finally managed to make my man’s favourite dessert and also made use of one of my top 3 useless purchases during covid season 😜
Love the dessert for 3 reasons –
- Super easy and quick to make. That’s why I have added the video to make you believe me.
- Only 3 ingredients.
- Great fun using the blow torch.
Don’t overcook your custard or else it will curdle.
Don’t whisk it all at once, use a ladle at a time at the start.
Trust me, it tastes really really nice.
500ml double cream
5-6 large egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
Demerara sugar for the crust at the end.
Warm the cream.
Beat egg yolks and sugar till frothy.
Add cream, a ladle full set a time and whisk.
Pour in chilled ramekins and set in fridge or bake in a water bath at 180* for 20mins till set.
- Masala bhaath
Masala bhaat (traditional maharashtrian style)
Accompaniments- kadhi, shengdana koshambir, coconut chutney, beans sabji, sheera.
Aai was very proud and particular about her cooking, and why not, she made some utterly delicious dishes. She always insisted on spending time in cooking it on sim (which is now fashionable as the show cooker method 😁) and never allowed anything to get burnt. Tadka was as scientific as ever and so was the value of ‘mohun’.
Masala bhaath was something she made with a lot of love. Sharing the recipe here.
Always make the masala fresh.
Part fry the potatoes beforehand.
Add a dollop of ghee at the end.
Always serve with kurdya and saandge (if not, then crisps will do) 😜
Soak 2 cups rice in water
Heat 1tbsp ghee and brown 20 cashews.
Take the cashews out and brown cubed potatoes. Keep aside.
In the same pan, roast and make a fine powder of the following –
1tbsp coriander seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp poppy seeds
1tsp sesame seeds
Heat oil, add mustard and cumin seeds.
Add bay leaf
Add chopped onion x1
Add chopped tomato / puree
Add the ground masala
Add mixed vegetables (peas, beans, carrot, potato)
Add 4 cups of boiling water
Add salt and sugar to taste
Cover and cook till done.
Serve sprinkled with fresh coconut.
- Mini puddles of joy
Cheesecake is like marmite, you either love them or hate them….. And we are split down the middle in our home. However since my princess loves it, it is but natural, the piece de resistance of the house!
I have made cheesecakes in the past but always get annoyed with the multitude of ingredients. But this one is simple, needs fewer stuff and tastes great.
Also, the size makes it easy for serving which is a win win in itself.
Some important tips though for the perfect final product –
1. Enjoy the journey, cream cheese tastes heavenly along the way.
2. Mix the cheese and sour cream with sugar till fluffy but once the eggs are added, don’t whisk it too much. The cake will crack.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees but reduce the heat to 130 degrees when you put the cake in.
4. Cook only for 15 mins. Turn the oven off and leave it in with the door open for another 10 mins. The cake will be wobbly by don’t worry, it will set eventually.
For the crust –
Ginger nut or digestive biscuits or oreo – around 100 grams or 1/3 rd pack
Soft butter – 3 tbsp
For the cake –
Cream cheese – 400 gms or one large tub
Sour cream or Greek yoghurt – 200 gm
Sugar – 3/4 cup
2 eggs at room temperature
2 tbsp plain flour
Grind biscuits to fine powder. Add butter and mix well.
Grease a cake tin with removable base. Add parchment paper to the base. Press the biscuit mix to the base and press well.
Cake- mix cream cheese, sour cream and sugar till light. Add eggs and mix lightly. Too much mixing will lead to cracks while baking.
Add plain flour to give it body.
Pour into your cake tin.
Place in a preheated oven ( preheat 180 degrees) and reduce the heat to 150 degrees.
Bake for 15 mins.
Your cake will be wobble but resist the urge to cook a bit more.
After 15 mins, reduce the heat, open the oven door and let cook for another 10mins.
Take cake out and leave to cool at room temperature.
Cover and chill in the fridge.
- Just look around you…
I always have happy dreams, well most of the time.
As a result of which, a routine day starts with me jumping out of bed, super excited at the prospects that loom in front of me. Within minutes, I am bounding down the stairs, shrill cooing sound which is oh so inappropriate that early in the morning and that makes both of you shout out in anger for disturbing the calm and peace. The only person who finds this attractive is Romeo, who awaits my brouhaha with an equally ebullient thump of his tail.
But it doesn’t take long for this bubble to burst. Some days, I feel that I am on top of things, most days I know I am not. Some days I feel that today is the day when I will finish each and every target to be achieved only to realise that I have not gotten even to the start.
And suddenly I am tired. Tired of being the juggler, tired of the false confidence, tired of the smile. And that opens the floodgates of guilt….and oh what a flood it is. Only mothers know how strong and powerful guilt can be. The guilt of not have the perfectly perfect home for kids that is rubbed into your faces in the advertisements, the crisp linen and folded sock drawers. The guilt of not cooking three meals a day like my mum used to. The guilt of ignoring hubby in favour of useless worthless telephonic conversations with friends. The list is endless.
I sit down for a moment, collect my thoughts and look around me. Yes, I see your rooms which resemble a typhoon wreck, but I also notice the half curled smile on your lips while you sleep. I see a rather worn out shaggy dog, wet and breathing heavily after his rather successful romp in the park, still dreaming of the rabbits that he once again could not catch. I see hubby spread out on the sofa watching the latest in a series of mutant movies, eyes glazed and mouth open in astonishment as if they were actually communicating with him. I see my parents in their own corners of the house poring intently over the latest whatsapp video with televisions blaring full blast, heralding the imminent arrival of the latest doom in India and the world.
And that is when i know that I am not doing a bad job, in fact, i am doing a xxxxxxx amazing job. And I am not doing it alone. I take a deep breath, suck my sagging tummy in, tuck that unwanted grey hair behind my ear and gather a smile…..
Its time for that well deserved gin and tonic! My moment of joy, my well earned joy.
So remember that when life hands you lemon, you go ahead and make lemonade or gin and tonic. You can always make it a lot better than what it actually looks like. You just have to look around you.
And the cycle repeats itself again and again and again…….tbc
- Pineapple upside down cake
Pineapple upside down cake
Since the oven and I don’t get on well, I usually resort to sweet talking hubby into making this and usually he obliges willingly ☺️☺️. Except for today when it was being recorded!
This is a fool proof recipe, never fails.
Some tips- do caramelise the sugar well and leave the pineapples to cook for around 5 mins to get the flavour.
Make it all in one pot ie an oven proof skillet or non stick pan.
200 gms of Butter,
200 gms Self-raising Flour,
200 gms Golden Caster Sugar,
1 Tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
4-5 Slices of Pineapple canned
2 Tbsp Pineapple Syrup from the can
Base: Melt 50gms Butter and 75 gms Soft Brown Sugar (Add 15gms Dark Muscovado Sugar for darker colour) Cook for 5 mins over low heat in a Cast Iron Skillett or 12in baking tin. Add pineapple slices and leave for free mins.
Then pour the cake batter and oven bake @180 deg for 45 mins.
Cool for 10 mins and then turn over on a cake tray!
- Barfi-7 cups of goodness
7 cups of delight
When chitra ji told me that this barfi can be made in a jiffy, I didn’t believe it and had to make it myself. And gosh, it is true. Very very simple, takes only 12 mins from scratch…. If you don’t believe it, the video is attached as well.
And guess who I caught scraping the bottom of the pan, none other than daddy dearest!
Well, that just means it tastes great.
Please make it and share your experience too!!
1 cup gram flour (besan)
1 cup ghee
1 cup milk
1 cup Finely grated fresh coconut
3 cups sugar (i added slightly less)
Dry roast besan for a couple of minutes till the raw smell vanishes.
Add all the other ingredients, a pinch of saffron and cardamom.
Keep stirring. The ‘stuff’ will turn from gooey to smooth shiny liquid in 3 mins, thicker in 6mins and will start sticking to the sides as a smooth lump in 8 mins. Take it out instantly at that time and pour into a greased pan. Garnish with almonds or other nuts.
- Mawa cake
This is by far my favourite cake in all respects. The taste is heavenly of course but the winner for me is that you don’t need your weighing scales at all. Just a few measuring cups and viola, you are done!
This cake is so good that I made it three days in a row and still didn’t manage to get a decent picture for my blog. It was devoured after dinner, during breakfast and once when it came out of the oven, steaming hot!
Do try it out and let me know how it was…
Thanks to Savita Kulkarni from cooks forum who shared this recipe first and then to all those who trended it in the next few days.
To prepare the mawa –
1/2 cup milk powder
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
For the cake –
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp b. Soda
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp cardamom powder
Pinch of saffron
Beat till fluffy the eggs, butter and sugar.
Add flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Add to egg mix.
Add cardamom powder and saffron.
Add the crumbly mawa and mix well.
Add milk to attain desired consistency.
Top with chopped nuts.
Pour in a cake tin and bake at 180* for 30 mins.
Heat butter in a non stick pan and add milk powder and milk. Keep stirring till the mix becomes thick and dry. When it becomes crumbly, take it out and cool.
- Marathi goda masala
Multipurpose Marathi masala
For tinda, baingan and masala bhaat
1 cup dhania seeds
1/2 cup jeera
1tsp methi daana
1 cup dried red chillies
Roast all the ingredients one by one in oil, grind to a fine powder. Store in an air tight container.
6-8 pods garlic
1 cup grated coconut ( not dessicated)
2-3 tsp Red chilli pd
1 tbsp groundnut powder
- Mango Kalakand
Aditi’s quick fix recipe, love it!
Recipe: Rule of 2
2 cups mango pulp
2 cups crumbled paneer
1tin 375ml condensed milk
Keep cooking till dry ( takes a while 😂).
Pour out in a greased plate
- Easy Lemon Posset
Lemon posset ( a quick 3 ingredient delight)
People find it difficult to believe me when I say that this is the quickest of desserts. You can make it while your guests are having their dinner too and still get away with it…. Try it and let me know….
500ml double cream
150 gms sugar
3 lemon (juice of 2 and zest of 3)
Put the cream and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk them together and bring to the boil slowly. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes – the mixture should turn a rich yellow colour – before taking the pan off the hob.
While the mixture cools, grate the zest from all 3 lemons and squeeze the juice from 2. Add the juice and two-thirds of the zest to the cream mixture and whisk thoroughly until it is smooth.
Pour into the serving chilled ramekins and scatter the remaining zest on top. Serve with shortbread or ginger biscuits.
- Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Salad
Salads are far more than just greens and dont have to be boring. This is a great example of one such salad which is attractive, zingy and bursting full of flavour and can beat any French hors d‘oeuvres hands down!
It combines the sweetness of the beetroot with the saltiness of goats cheese (or French brie if you are not a goats cheese fan) , the crunchiness of honeyed caramel with the softness of rocket leaves, the crisp walnut bites with the moist flavour of sweet bell pepper. I can go on and on…..
- 1 Goats cheese or French brie, good quality
- Pinch of pepper
- 1/4 tsp Garlic, grated
- 1 tbsp Honey
- Pinch of thyme
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Beetroot slices
- Sweet pepper slices
- Walnuts, a handful
- Rocket leaves, a bag
Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Mix together garlic, honey, thyme and pepper with a whisK. Drizzle over cheese with a dash of olive oil. Bake cheese for 10 mins in the oven.
Chargrill sweet peppers and beetroot.
Meanwhile prepare your balsalmic reduction by pouring it into a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and simmer for the next 5-7 minutes till half the quantity.
Arrange a bed of rocket leaves and chargrilled bell peppers and beetroot.
Drizzle the balsalmic reduction over it.
Place the baked cheese on the bed of salad. Drizzle some more honey and serve warm.
The magic of monsoon, the pitter patter of rains, the incessant pounding on the windows and sneaking away yet again for that piping hot cup of masala chai with dabeli….memories, as far back as three decades ago, but as fresh as if it was just yesterday.
Ram made it, thanks to the new woman in his life, Archana from Hebbar’s Kitchen! Not sure if I am jealous or happy 😉 but my taste buds were definitely dancing away….
Do try it. Dabeli masala is really easy to make. Mainly sesame seeds, dried coconut and tamarind.
- Kachori bytes- Jodhpuri pyaaz wali
Jodhpur kachori pyaaz waali aur mango barfi
Sab kehte hai – fried food is bad for health, meetha sehat ke liye achha nahi…
Main kehti hoon – woh kambakht mohabbat hi kya jo takleef na de ❤️❤️❤️
Well, jokes apart, in moderation, sab achha hota hai!!
Rainy days are synonymous with chai and kachori. It takes me back to college days when Ram and I would sneak away in the rains to feast on kachoris and jalebis with piping hot tea, usually in the same glass😅😅 , yes, sounds really cheesy but didn’t feel like it then, hehehe!
Felt like that yesterday too, no no not the romantic feel but was desperate for the feel of the crispy flaky kachori with the spicy steaming filling inside. Oh and the chai too…
I had never made kachoris before, but it is not tough at all. Tastes amazing. Do try it today and let us know how it was.
Found this amazing YouTube link with a lovely name – pappa mummy ki rasoi 😍 how sweet. Just follow them for the recipe.
Pyaaz ki Kachori
All purpose flour – 1.5 cup
Ajwain – ½ tsp
Salt – ½ + 1.5 tsp
Edible Oil – ¼ cup + 3 table spoon + to deep fry
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp Coriander seeds – 1 tsp Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Onion (medium size) – 4
Potato (medium size) – 3, boiled
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp Green Chilli – 2, finely chopped Ginger – 1 inch Red Chilli powder – 1.5 tsp Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp Gramflour – 2 table spoon Citric Acid – ¼ tsp Sugar – 1 tsp Garam Masala – ½ tsp Coriander leaves (chopped)
MAke a firm dough with flour, ajwain and saunf. Heat oil, add cumin seeds, masala and onions. Add potatoes. Stuff in a disc of dougha nd deep fry on medium heat.
Oh and also made some vegan mango barfi. It is a quick fix when you are short of time.
1cup mango blend with half cup almond milk or coconut milk
3 cups coconut
Heat mango with sugar and milk till sugar dissolves
Stir well till it starts forming a thick lump.
Remove and chill on to a greased plate.
- Salmon curry – no coconut
Sunday special – kerala salmon curry (super easy)
2 onions, Finely chopped
6 garlic chopped
3 inch ginger chopped
Red chillies dry
Sliced tomatoes x2
1/2/3 tsp- haldi, chilli pd, dhaniya
Heat oil, add mustard seeds, onion, ginger, garlic. Fry until translucent. Add sliced tomatoes and curry leaves. Stir till it becomes a mushy mix. Add hot water, drop the salmon pieces, Kokum and cover and cook till done.
Serve with hot rice!
- And my princess turns 18 👸👸
Rhea’s favourite restaurant is Dishum…. Just like so many of us too. So when we realised we couldn’t go to Dishum, Dishum decided to come to us 😍😍. A birthday dinner fit for a princess….and she loved it! Nothing is more precious in this world other than a genuine thank you from your little adult 😍
Gun powder potatoes
Kiwi mango salad
Naan, steamed rice
Oreo cheesecake ( total flop!)
Daddy’s lemon drizzle… Takes one straight to heaven 😍😍😍
Subhash ‘s lemon drizzle…. And we go straight to heaven again!!! 🤣🤣🤣
- Persian Rose and Pistachio cake
This enchanting cake reminds me of a Persian garden in the late spring, adorned with the floral scent of rose water and citrus, and decorated with bright green pistachios.
If it is not devoured in one sitting, the oil in the ground almond base ensures a moist, densely textured cake that will keep well for a couple of days, covered in foil. A sprinkling of dried rose petals looks pretty for special occasions, but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of any. It’s still a cake to win hearts.
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes
Six to eight
- 200g unsalted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 12 cardamom pods
- 100g plain flour, sifted
- 275g ground almonds
- Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 1 tsp baking powder
- A generous pinch of fine sea salt
For the drizzle topping:
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ tbsp rose water
For the icing:
- 150g icing sugar
- Juice of ¾ lemon
- 2 tsp cold water
- 2 tsp sliced pistachios
- 2 tsp dried rose petals (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3. Grease a 22cm cake tin (one with a removable base) and line it with baking parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, beat in the eggs.
- Place the cardamom pods in a mortar and work with a pestle to get the seeds out of the pods. Discard the pods and grind the seeds to a fine powder. Add them to the cake mixture, along with the flour, ground almonds, lemon zest and juice, rose water, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. To check if it is ready, stick a fork in the middle of the cake – it should come out dry.
- Towards the end of the cooking time, make your drizzle topping. Place the caster sugar, lemon juice and rose water in a small pan over a low heat and heat until the sugar melts.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Poke holes all over the top of the warm cake and drizzle over the syrup.
- When the cake is completely cool, make the icing by combining the icing sugar, lemon juice and a few teaspoons of water until you have a smooth, thick icing. Spoon the icing over the cake and finish with a sprinkling of sliced pistachios and, if you like, rose petals.
- Methi anda and parsi chow chow
Eggs all over…..
- Masaledar Methi Anda ( fenugreek eggs)
- Parsi Egg Chow Chow
- Radish leaf with yellow lentil ( moong mooli)
Yesterday i happily harvested our radish leaves ( well, truth is that the baby radish were rather premature and disappointing while the mooli leaves had taken over the entire pot!!!). Anyway, thanks to advice from another forum, i decided to make mooli moong dal.
But the expression on mum’s face said it all and out came the eggs and the meat!!!!
Methi anda is basically egg curry with lots of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) in yoghurt and tomato gravy.
Egg chow chow is a non spicy Parsi dish. Small crispy cubes of boiled potatoes in mild tomato gravy with chopped boiled eggs, topped with chaat masala or lemon juice.
- Chicken katsu curry
Katsu curry –
Katsu curry is basically sweetish Japanese curry ( 1tsp curry powder+1tsp mild garam masala + pinch of pepper) mixed with flour and coconut milk.
Easy to make and tastes heavenly.
Breaded chicken ( use readymade ones. I made my own but the coating was not as firm as readymade)
Onions Finely chopped
Carrots ( slices or batons)
Vegetables if needed
Coconut milk 1 can
2tbsp Honey or maple syrup
Heat oven and place breaded chicken in it.
Heat oil, add Finely chopped onions and carrots and stir till onions are soft.
Add 1tsp curry powder, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp plain flour, stir lightly till a roux like consistency is formed.
Add coconut milk.
Add 1tsp cornflour, boil
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup.
Finally squeeze half a lemon and stir.
Serve over the chicken with picked cucumber.
Recipe for Japanese pickled cucumber
Thinly sliced cucumber
Rice wine vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, Finely chopped spring onions, chilli flakes, roasted black sesame seeds. Mix together with cucumber or radish thin slices.
- Chettinad pepper fry
Chettinad Chicken pepper fry –
This is one of my fav dry chicken recipes, cooks in a jiffy. Love the flavour of pepper. Goes very well with chilled beer, espc on this weather!!!!
Marinade chicken with turmeric pd, salt.
Dry roast and grind handful of coriander seeds and peppercorns each, 1tsp cumin seeds, 2 red chillies.
Fry gree chillies (Optional), sliced onions (2) and ginger.
Add 2tbsp coriander-pepper powder
Fry till well mixed
Add chicken and keep stirring till soft and succulent.
- Puranpoli, the marathi feast
Following mouth watering discussions on our FB forum, a good friend Geeta Kamat finally revealed the deep dark secrets to the perfect puran poli. Bear in mind that she is one of the most perfectest of perfect cooks ever, making even the humble potato stir fry look like a Robuchan’s Pommes Puree on his degustation menu!!!! Thanks Geeta for that and the photos😍
1 cup chana daal+3 cups water
Pressure cook chana daal. Once cooked drain the stock and put it aside for making Kataachi Aamti.
For making the filling use the over cooked chana daal & keep stirring in a pan to remove any moisture left then+ jaggery + cardamom powder + saffron/nutmeg for flavouring and keep stirring until it all gathers up in the pan. This is the filling.
Kataachi Aamti –
1 tsp cumin seeds, 5-6 red chillies, 4-5 pepper corns, 4-5 cloves, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/4 inch cinnamon. Roast all in a tspn of oil. After cooling grind + 1/2 cup fresh coconut and grind to a fine consistency.
Next in a pan for tadka – oil+ mustard seeds+ curry leaves+ hing + ground masala + daal stock + a small tspn of rice flour if its watery & bring to boil. Add a small ball of jaggery or puran + salt.
- Moqueca–prawn and fish stew
Moqueca De Piexe (simple translation : fish/prawn stew)
Orange cake (simple translation : cake with chopped dried orange bits and juice)
Peeled prawns, white fish & peppers cooked in homemade creamy coconut, fresh tomato & lime sauce with a coconut farofa to sprinkle.
Pre-birthday planning was on the cards but this perennially starved family was going crazy for their favourite restaurant foods, be it Nandos, Sushi or Chennai Dosa….. It is just not the same when you order a takeaway. So came across the Las Iguanas menu (while drooling over pics on their website) and decided to make some of their recipes…
This is simple, easy to make. Sounds exotic but you will have all the ingredients in your pantry. It is not packed with punch as most Indian or Thai curries are…. It is rather mild with subtle sublime flavours. You will definitely not be a garlic machine but the end of it…. 😜
White fish, cut into big cubes
2 onions, Finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, Finely chopped
2 green pepper, in chunks
4 tomatoes, in chunks
1 tin good quality coconut milk
1tsp each of paprika, cumin powder, jalapeños chopped
Coriander leaves and toasted coconut to garnish
Heat oil, fry onions and garlic.
Add dessicated coconut and sweet peppers
Saute for 5 mins.
Add chopped tomatoes and stir for 5 mins.
Add paprika, Cumin pd, jalapeños, salt and stir well.
Add coconut milk and let it simmer for 5-7 mins.
Place white fish gently till it is completely submerged. Cook for 5 mins.
Add cooked prawns and coriander leaves at the end.
Sprinkle toasted coconut before serving.
Serve with lime rice.
- Pineapple rasam and vaangi bhaaji
Aai’s vange chi bhajee ( or something close to it )- roast and grind dhania seeds 3tbsp, jeera 1tbsp, groundnut pd 1tbsp, sesame seeds 1tbsp, kaju 1tbsp, coconut 1tbsp, red chillies.
Mix well with finely chopped onions,coriander, salt sugar, haldi, chilli pd, garam masala or good masala. Stuff this powder into slit brinjals. Heat generous amount of oil, add hing, mustard seeds and the usual tadka stuff. release the stuffed brinjals into the oil, stir till it changes colour, then cover and cook till done. Keep adding water if it thickens.
Pineapple rasam- cook our daal , thin it to a desired consistency with water, add pineapple chunks, tomatoes, curry leaves, haldi, crushed black pepper, rasam powder. Boil till done. Add tadka at the end with red chillies and hing.
- Quick bisi bele bhaath
Best soul satisfying mid week dinner ( 10mins )
BISI BELE BHAAT
Mark Twain- name the greatest inventor of all time: Accident!!!
Left over dal
Left over rice
Cooked veg optional
Bisi bele bhaat powder
Handful of roast cashews and groundnuts
Method- mix dal and rice well (with your hands if possible), add a big dollop of ghee, a glug of tamarind pulp , a handful curry leaves, jaggery, masala pd as required and water to make it the consistency of porridge. Heat till it starts sticking to the pan. Add ghee tadka And serve hot!!!!
Story of how it evolved-
And so it was….. maybe the south Indians in the group may know this but I stumbled upon this wonderful quick soul satisfying, finger licking, mid week bowl of sinful delight purely by accident!!!
Tired and weary after work, with thoughts of a take away in mind, I entered home yesterday and immediately saw 2 bowls of leftover dal and cooked rice, kept on the table by a disapproving dad . Trying to please dads is every girl’s motto in life and so I decided to heat and eat it myself with a bit of chilli powder added just for the kick.
Unknowingly, instead I added a huge spoon of bisi belle bhaath powder and viola, it was just amazing!!! Even hubby kept having extra helpings again and again!!!!
It has even found it’s way into our lunch boxes
Try it and you will definitely be very very happy!!!
- Tortilla soup
Jhatpat mexican tortilla soup-
A super easy, weekday meal to keep your calories and increasing waist line in control ( Aditi Gupte boss, aapka hukm sar aankhon par)
Heat oil, add garlic and chopped red onion , saute
Chopped winter vegetables ( I added sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnip) go in next.
Can of marrowfat peas or any soft beans ( being a weekday, cans are favored)
Fajita seasoning ( since there was no fajita seasoning at home , how typical, i used a can of fajita beans which was lying unloved in a dark corner ) like they say, every can has his day!!
Add chopped tomatoes or puree, a dollop of ketchup ( masala chili tastes divine)
After boiling, leave it to simmer ( The more it simmers, the yummier it is)
Add a handful of tortilla chips and grated cheese just before serving.
- Banana cake
Rule of 2 & 1/2 : Quickie banana cake
Always hated the idea of measuring while making anything! Not one to stick to rule when it comes to cooking. So this is an absolute delight in weekend mornings…
I call it the rule of 2&1/2 cake
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking pd
Blend together the first four ingredients and fold in the flour. Bake at 160 degree for 30 mins…. Viola!!!
- Karela, will eat, won’t eat?
Supriya Dharmadhikari ‘s karela fry-
I have always disliked bitter gourd with a passion!!! Reminded me of childhood tantrums and fights with mum for hours! However this is ‘the’ karela dish that even a total anti-karela person has fallen in love with!
Karela cut, scoop insides and boil with some imli till just soft.
Take out, sqeeze water out and keep aside.
Besan- Dry roast well.
Add garam masala, goda masala, hing, haldi, mirchi, til, ground nut pd, sugar, salt.
Stuff the masala in the karela.
Heat generous amount of oil in a pan and stir fry the stuffed karela.
Garnish with chopped coriander.
- Dhaba chicken
So, to continue inundating cooks forum with food made when you have nothing else to do 😂😂😂, here is an easy peasy DHABA STYLE Chicken made by Shreeram Deshpande
Oil heated 3 Tbsp,
Chicken 1 kg stir fry till it starts changing colour,
Ginger paste 1 Tbsp and Garlic paste 1 Tbsp, Stir fry to lose the raw flavour
2 large chopped tomatoes, cook till soft,
Add spices (1 Tsp) Turmeric, Chilli powder, Coriander powder, Cumin powder, cook on medium flame
Add 1/2 cup water cover and cook for 15 mins,
add Salt, garam masala, Salt to taste and all the chopped Veg (Chunky Onions x 2, Large Red Pepper, 4 green Chillies, Strips of Raw Mango, Julienne Ginger), continue on low flame for 10 mins.
If chicken needs more time to cook add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook if needed.
Garnish with fresh Coriander and serve.
- Mango mishti dohi….
Mango mishthi dohi ( adapted from Kalpa Sundar recipe )
The first time I had this piece of heaven, I was hooked! And anything goes with mango, so mango mishthi dohi it was!
Very easy recipe, done in less than10 mins..
Greek yoghurt -one pot
Condensed milk-1 tin
Mango pulp-same as condensed milk
Elaichi pd pinch
Mix all ingredients.
Steam in a steamer or pressure cooker ( don’t forget to cover with lid)
Steam for around 30 mins.
Variation- crush ginger nut biscuits and mix with butter. Use as base for mango cheesecake ( for those who don’t like the taste of cream cheese)
PS- apologies for the image…. The dish was already dug into by the time I got the camera out 😂😂
- Home made carbonara….. Really!!!!
Carbonara sauce- home made (you need only eggs and cheese)!
How many of you buy your pasta sauce?
Honest confession – have always bought pasta sauce rather than make it fresh…. Eeks, I how I don’t get kicked out of this group!
Yesterday, Varun taught me how to make easy sauce at home with just eggs and cheese.
Fry pancetta and keep aside.
Boil tagliatelle , reserve a ladle of pasta water.
Add oil to it, add whisked eggs (2eggs and 2 yolks) and a generous fistful of cheese ( usually parmesan, I added gruyere as we had run out of parmesan, typical!!), salt, pepper.
Whisk it into the hot tagliatelle , turning well all the time till you get a creamy consistency. Add cream to get the right form, if needed.
You will never go back to the store sauce ever.
- Crispy chicken and Captain Ri….
Spicy garlic chicken – Korean fried chicken
Korean is the new kid on the block for me, ever since Captain Ri took my heart away 😍😍 ( well, if you have not watched Crashlanding on Netflix, your reading this is not worth it!!! ♥️♥️).
Anyway, started looking up Korean delicacies and this is similar to what we have always made. The only difference is double frying chicken with a generous amount of coating, either cornflour or piripiri coating. The result is succulent, crispy, super moist chicken coated in the most delicious lip smacking sauce!
Easy to make.
Just heat oil
Add lots of garlic, red chillies, soy sauce, siracha sauce, a tbsp vinegar, mustard, honey to fried chicken….. Viola
- Sundays and lamb curry
While growing up in Nagpur, Sundays used to be special, very special. Meat used to be a once a week treat hence Sundays were special indeed as it was the day when mum would get lamb from the local butcher and make the most delicious lamb curry and dad would painstakingly remove the marrow from the bones just for me (someone told him that it would make my mind sharp!). All this would be devoured instantly with steaming hot rice, followed by a long siesta below a loud roaring fan, with no care in the world. The lamb doesn’t taste like that anymore but the curry that mum makes still does.
Sharing the centuries old family recipe which I realised has nothing to do with the ingredients or amounts added. It is what it is because of the love and passion with which it has been cooked and fed for generations….. Although it seems distant, but hoping that my kids will carry on the tradition.
Oil – half a cup
Lamb – 1kg
Onions – 4 Finely chopped
Ginger – a thumb size chunk cut in small slices
Garlic – an entire bulb
Tomatoes – 4 chopped
Whole spices – cinnamon 1, green cardamon 4, black cardamon 2, bay leaf, cloves 3, peppercorns 10, 2 star anise, red chilli dry 4
Powdered spices –
2 tsp chilli powder
3 tbsp coriander powder
1tsp garam masala powder
1tbsp dry fenugreek leaves
Lime and coriander leaves
Heat oil in a thick pan
Add whole spices and stir for 1 minute
Add onion, ginger and stir till it becomes brown in colour
Add chilli powder, Coriander powder, garam masala powder and stir till it is well mixed.
Add washed lamb pieces and stir on high flame till it changes colour.
Add tomato and garlic bulb
Add a cup of water, salt to taste.
Cover and cook till done.
Add roasted dry fenugreek leaves at the end with a nice squeeze of fresh lime.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with steaming hot rice and yoghurt raita
- Maa and Masala dosa
Many people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to live normal healthy lives – thus issued a plaque gifted by a dear friend to mum. And how true it was….. The lockdown has seen a plethora of talented wannabe cooks and a deluge of recipes, and that includes me (totally unashamed and unabashed of my FB cooking exploits 🤗🤗).
But I have always wondered, time and again, frustrated and irked as to what was it that made my mum’s food so special?! So special that guests would glide past my elegantly served hors d’oeuvre to gorge on her carelessly tossed chilli chicken or fish fry. The guide to magical (or let’s say mumsical ) cooking however is not in the recipe or ingredients or exact measurements. It lies in practice and love, making it again and again and again, unlike fair weather/quarantined fausse cuisiniere like me 😝 and with the smile which beckons one and all. The irresistible combination.
So here is one of mum’s regular offerings which seals one’s place in her heart, the unassuming masala dosa!!
- Salted Caramel BrowniesNigella Lawson, once purred these famous words -Salted caramel is the Class A drug of the confectionary world! How true, ah how true! One lick of the spoon and you are transported to a heady world of sheer bliss and pleasure. Like a stalker’s obsession, you want more and more but are more likely to swing between the yo-yo of self denial and graceful glorious acceptance. I, for once, would want to wallow in it, not just experience it, but wallow in the sheer gorgeousness of the smooth golden molten and utterly indescribably beguiling liquid flowing down my throat and straight to my heart…..ah, well, to the coronaries as well but who cares…..a year less than 90 with caramel is acceptable, isn’t it!!! Anyway, enough of salivating and drooling, lets get down to the facts…. mix together chocolate, butter, sugar, etc etc or just get a cheap help ( aka kids bribed with pocket money or emotional stale Bollywood maa dialogues!) and viola, welcome to sugar heaven….. Rhea made these as there is no way I can follow recipes with measurements…..http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipes/salted-caramel-brownies.html?utm_source=foodnetwork.com&utm_medium=domestic Warning – post lunch, post shower, post exercise ingestion on a sunny day can lead to prolonged periods of inactivity.
Picke and Podi (powder)day
Now with COVID enforcing home stay, the idle mind wants to explore things we have not attempted before .
Kalpa went on to do some lime pickle and Udupi Rasam podi.
If you have ever been to a Andhra restaurant you would have seen a 4 Dish dispenser on the table. One. Would have Gonkura pickle, an Avakaya pickle and salt and then there is the Garlic powder!!
The Taste of hot rice with the garlic powder( podi) and ghee with the Avakaya pickle is to die for!
My attempt at the podi
Dry roast the following
- Dry roast equal quantity of Toor dhal, Moong dhal.
- Toast slightly less roasted Channa dhal ( Pottu Kadalai).
- Dry roast dried red chillies.
- Dry roast curry leaves till they dry up
- Garlic pods sliced and fried in oil till all water content is lost
- Toast sesame seeds.
- Once cooled down grind to a fine powder with required salt adding the sesame seeds in the end.
- Enjoy with hot rice and ghee!!!
Masala gnocchi – the one with an Indian touch
Boil and peel potatoes or use left over baked potatoes
Finely chop onion, green chilli, ginger. Sauté in hot oil/ butter with a pinch of turmeric
Add mashed or riced potatoes and fold together
Add sugar salt and lemon juice to taste.
Once the mixture is cooled add flour and grated Parmesan and knead into dough
Roll out to a rope cut to size and dimple with a fork
Boil water and touch of olive oil and drop the gnocchi and take out once they floa to the top with a slotted spoon
For the pesto
Blend Rocket, parsley, coriander, pine nuts garlic salt pepper lime juice salt and olive oil
Add butter to pan add veggies and sauté add gnocchi and sauté add full fat milk and the pesto paste
Once ready serve whit shavings of cheese