Kalpa & Ram recipes

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….

  • 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….

    Recipe –

    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.

    INGREDIENTS –

    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

    RECIPE

    • 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.

    RECIPE –

    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!

    INGREDIENTS

    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

    METHOD

    • 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!

    Recipe –
    2 apples, chopped
    4 carrots, chopped
    1/2 onion, chopped
    1 tsp Cumin, chicken stock, 1/2 tsp garam masala or curry powder.

    Method-
    – 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)
    4-5 apples
    1/2 tsp each mustard , cumin, fenugreek, fennel, kalonji seeds
    Curry leaves
    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)

    Method –
    -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.
    It’s done!

    Chutney-
    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.

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20201022_175935.jpg

    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.

    RECIPE

    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.

    A bowl of heaven 🙂
  • 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!

    Recipe –
    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!

    Recipe –
    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)

    Stir well.

    Add fried chillies…

    Enjoy

  • Creme brulee

    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 –

    1. Super easy and quick to make. That’s why I have added the video to make you believe me.
    2. Only 3 ingredients.
    3. Great fun using the blow torch.

    Tips-
    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.
    Ingredients –
    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.

    Some tips-
    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) 😜

    Recipe –

    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
    Star anise1
    Cloves 6
    Peppercorns6
    Dried coconut
    3 garlic
    Ginger

    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 rice
    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.

    RECIPE –

    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
    Lemon zest
    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…

    Dear kids,

    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.

    Recipe –

    200 gms of Butter,
    200 gms Self-raising Flour,
    200 gms Golden Caster Sugar,
    4 Eggs
    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!!


    Ingredients –
    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.

    Recipe –

    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

    2 eggs

    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.

    The leftovers that survived just for the photos
  • Marathi goda masala

    Multipurpose Marathi masala
    (all purpose)
    For tinda, baingan and masala bhaat

    1 cup dhania seeds
    1/2 cup jeera
    1tsp methi daana
    1tsp cloves
    12 elaichi
    Cinnamon sticks
    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….

    Ingredients –

    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 doeuvres 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…..

    RECIPE

    • 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.

  • Dabeli

    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.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CCTBblSoaXV/?igshid=1xxf473hjxufw

  • 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.
    https://youtu.be/0sXznI8iwu4

    Ingredients

    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
    1cup sugar
    3 cups coconut
    Heat mango with sugar and milk till sugar dissolves
    Add coconut
    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)
    Salmon pieces
    2 onions, Finely chopped
    6 garlic chopped
    3 inch ginger chopped
    Curry leaves
    Red chillies dry
    Sliced tomatoes x2
    1/2/3 tsp- haldi, chilli pd, dhaniya
    Kokum optional

    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 😍

    Menu –

    Brushchetta
    Lamb chops
    Gun powder potatoes
    Black dal
    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

    SERVES

    Six to eight

    INGREDIENTS

    • 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

    To decorate:

    • 2 tsp sliced pistachios
    • 2 tsp dried rose petals (optional)

    METHOD

    1. 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.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, beat in the eggs.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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…..

    1. Masaledar Methi Anda ( fenugreek eggs)
    2. Parsi Egg Chow Chow
    3. 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.

    Recipe –
    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
    Flour 1tsp
    Cornflour 1tsp
    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😍

    RECIPE –
    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…. 😜

    Ingredients –

    White fish, cut into big cubes
    Prawns
    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

    Recipe –

    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!!!

    Recipe-
    Left over dal
    Left over rice
    Ghee
    Cooked veg optional
    Bisi bele bhaat powder
    Tamarind pulp
    Jaggery
    Tadka
    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
    2 bananas
    2 eggs
    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!
    Recipe:
    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


    Recipe –
    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..
    Recipe:
    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

    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.

    Recipe –
    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 Brownies
    Nigella 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.
  • New year 2020 park run
    E very park run has a story, in fact, every run has a story. For years, I used to dread saturdays, dragging myself groggy and puffy eyed , a bag of nerves, shifting uneasy glances at the lithe fluidity with which runners passed me by, feeling like a turtle stampeding through peanut butter! 4 years down the line, and here I am, dragging others to the start line, feeling the perverse pleasure of lifting someone from their warm bed into the chilly cold park run !! For years I have wondered why people flock together to do the park run. its only a 5k, some would say, its too crowded, its too early, we feel we are very slow….. but what they realise only after attending a few is that the only person you compete with is yourself. You instantly become part of a running family and start adoring your fellow runners. Today I ran with so many inspirational folks… Today I ran with Priyanka, who sorted her babies before rushing to the run. Today I ran with Aditi, who came all the way from Harborne, just because she had given me her word that we would start the new year run together. Today I ran with my running club buddies including my crazy Ann Spencer, who has become part of me in the last few years and continues to inspire me with her antics. Today I ran with Vijay and Viji, the first runner amongst us and who (in the words of Prashant) ran even before running became fashionable! Today I ran with Subhash , who instilled the discipline of running in me. But most of all, today I ran with Ram, something I never imagined would happen and boy, I am so so glad it did. Now we can talk about household chores and finances even while running 😛😛😛 In essence, you don’t need to run for speed or accolades. A mile whether done in 4 minutes or 14 needs the same effort from different groups. What counts is that you were at the start line….. there is always time to be at the start line. You just need to start ….. 2020 is that year
  • Cheesecake
    Cheesecake is a slice of heaven. There is a common sight when someone puts a spoon of cheesecake in their mouth. They close their eyes, lips curl into smile , a halo surrounds them and all you hear is mmmmmm…..tell me thats not right :)))) I have longed to make a baked cheesecake but being a stickler for NOT following rules and measurements, I had always avoided the painstakingly long process till I was forced to, purely in an effort to defeat the forces that were trying to make it not happen…..the first effort failed as the entire waterbath toppled in the oven ( well, i cleaned the oven instead). I tried again and conveniently forgot the time and ended up with charred cheesecake ( not recomended) 🙂 , so finally, it dawned that fate was fighting against my efforts and decided to do it once more. Yet again, I marched to the shops, got the ingredients and hey presto, it worked. Never been so happy with any of my desserts…..Its fresh, soft and delicious. Try it and you will not make anything else again. IMG_5237
    Crust Ingredients: 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup melted margarine Filling Ingredients: 900 gm ( 3 tubs ). cream cheese 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar ½ cup sour cream 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 5 eggs Topping Ingredients: ½ cup sour cream 2 teaspoons granulated sugar Canned whipped cream (optional) Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a large pan or oven-safe skillet (that the cheesecake pan will fit inside) filled with about ½-inch of water into the oven while it preheats. This will be your water bath. 2. Combine 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon into a medium bowl. Mix in 1/3 cup melted margarine. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side. Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the cheesecake dry when placed in the water bath in the oven. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done. 3. Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Blend mixture for a couple of minutes or until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and then add them to the cream cheese mixture. Blend the mixture just enough to integrate the eggs. 4. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling into it. 5. Carefully place the cheesecake into the preheated water bath. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color. Remove the cheesecake from the oven to cool. 6. When the cheesecake has cooled, combine ½ cup sour cream and 2 teaspoons sugar. Spread the sweetened sour cream over the entire top surface of the cheesecake. Cover and chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. To serve, slice the cheesecake into 12 equal portions. Apply a pile of canned whipped cream to the top of each slice and serve. Makes 12 servings. nigella for the base 150 grams digestive biscuits 75 grams unsalted butter (melted or very soft) 600 grams cream cheese 150 grams caster sugar 3 large eggs 3 large egg yolks 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice for the topping 145 ml sour cream 1 tablespoon caster sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract CAKE Method Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of a 20cm / 8 inch springform tin, pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set, and preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF. Beat the cream cheese gently until it’s smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on. Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting dish. This will protect the cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in its water bath. Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don’t overfill as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will sit on the surface and not sink in. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the Springform, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it’s cooled down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmould and when you cut into it, plunge a knife in hot water first.
    IMG_5241
  • Ski 2019- to ski or not to ski
    Skiing holidays- the chance to spend a week escaping the relentless wheel of mundane existence by transforming into this super cool girl exuding positive vibes, zipping past upturned skis, long golden tresses flying impressively in the air…… nahhh, what am I talking about!!! In my case, even after many ski vacations, it is still construed as throwing myself down the side of a mountain over and over again, with bruises on the rearside the size of apples and pears and of course, totally bashed egos 😂😂😂 Dressed up like a puffy penguin, I still dream of a day when I would stand next to the svelte leggy Russian blondes (sans their bald, paunchy owners!) resplendent in shiny onesies and fur hats. No ugly black helmets for them, oh noooo….. 🙄🙄 The ski lifts, espc the button lifts, still scare me and so do the train of ducklings that glide past emerging into swans at the end of the week while I still pizza my way down, butt high up in the air, elbows and ski poles outstretched, ready to spear the unsuspecting snowboarder behind me !! But skiing holidays are not all that bad……. it amounts to hundreds of funny stories that my kids narrate year after year, of mum being the perennial tumbling clown on the slopes, long nights of wine and cheese, waking up to snow covered roofs with white smoke billowing out of chimneys and to the smell of fresh baguettes. Take me to the slopes again……
  • The romance of kappa meen curry
    Of the many things that can get a malayalee dewy eyed, puyungiya kappa with meen curry ( boiled tapioca and fish curry) comes in the top 5 ! My association with kappa ( tapioca) dates back to childhood when jute bags filled with this root accompanied us back after summer holidays in Kerala and proudly occupied a place of pride in the corner of our kitchen in Nagpur. I never liked it then but as years passed, these became part of those precious treasures that I wanted desperately preserve desperately as part of my identity. Kappa meen curry is served everywhere in Kerala, from ancestral homes to toddy shops and is eaten with gusto by rich and poor alike. We get frozen tapioca in the local supermarket and they are equally good. Recipe- Frozen tapioca ( from Asian shop) Place in a pressure cooker with 1/2 tsp haldi and salt to taste. Cook till very soft . Grind coconut 1/2 , jeera 1/2 tsp, lasun 3, haldi pd, chilly pd to a silky smooth paste. Add to the cooked tapioca and mash well. Fish curry Grind to a smooth paste- coconut 1/2, roasted dhania seeds 4tbsp, haldi, mirchi pd. Cut raw mango and fish pieces. Mix all together and cook on low flame with water. Add curry leaves, slit green chillies, salt to taste. Serve hot or cold
  • Amsterdam marathon- 2 weeks to go
    Groaaan , I can’t do it today because my Garmin is dead…. and Strava too 😋 And so it started with 101 reasons to actually not do the long run , including its too early, too wet, too cold, too little time, Romeo needs me, etc etc. I snuggled deeper into my duvet only to be unceremoniously kicked out by hubby who by now knew very well the consequences of my missing this long run! Miles 1-3 : Dreams, dreams, big dreams…. First 3 miles were pretty uneventful and steady. My brain was on overdrive.. I was the queen runner and everyone was admiring my long strides, while in reality, I was still the curvy aunty next door trudging along, avoiding the sympathetic glances thrown by amused passer-bys. I realised that my head was actually so stuffed with my plans that by mile 5, I was getting tired of it. Mile 3-6 : Excuses – the hallmark of a wannabe runner So the excuses manual came out and before I knew it, I had run 3 more miles conjuring up more excuses than a teen would come up with to avoid cleaning her room! The best so far was the thought of going back home for a trip to the loo even though i didn’t feel like it. Maternal instinct kicks in big time and so does the good wife manual. But i had to keep running….. Mile 6-9 This was my favourite part, the therapeutic part!. Here, even my traditional, conservative south Indian upbringing failed to hold back the slew of choicest swear words in Hindi and sometimes English, but mainly Hindi! In fact, this sport actually opened the doors of my repressed memory as far as swearing was concerned. Thode ch, bh, su, ha jaise shudh vyakhyaay muh se girte hi dil ko itni thandak pahunchti hai, kya batayein…..😎😎 Mile 9-12 – The mirage Now satisfied, the sounds in my head started fading away and the running continued. Soon, by mile 13, the sounds disappeared and I was surrounded by an eiree calm. I was floating away, no idea where and when. Mile 13-16 When are we getting there……. After that started the downhill. Not that I was tired but was bored. The rain and cold didn’t help either. Suddenly I spotted Romeo bounding towards me, his wonky , lopsided tongue flying in the air….. Ram’s appearance gave me a few minutes of peace and company for a mile. My mind wavered again with the thought of returning home with a rather drenched, dirty and smelly dog but I kept running. I was bored. I missed my running partner, I wished I had company. A trio running rather slowly in front of me now seemed like sprinters. I was slowing down… Mile 16-20 – The dementors My hair was wet, back sore , nipples chafed and legs hurting. The last 4 miles were painful but somehow i had to move on. The image of a nice warm car played havoc in my brain . I realised i was smiling, though it looked like a grimace, at anyone carrying a phone. The final mile home was the longest and I had to conjure up all the happy memories to slay that last dementor. I was dragging myself up the driveway of a white washed house, the landing strewn with shoes of various shapes and sizes, the appetizing smell of food wafting through the chimney, the muffled sound of a dog in the distance. The door opened and Dad smiled……. i was actually home and this time it was for real. A sign in the form of a card was waiting for me, as if someone was watching over me, my guardian angel, the third bird of my tattoo, Seema….. it was a sign indeed. The sounds in my mind loud again , asking why, why, why do I do it…….. and I smiled and asked why not 🙂
  • Sa Calobra Ride
    Sa colabra is a beast, a sinously laid out serpent, gliding its way lazily to the top and gracefully flowing back down to the sea. Built in 1932 by Antonio Paretti, it is stark and beautiful and a favourite among cyclists. Though not as challenging as the Italian dolomites or French Alp D’huez, it has its own 28 hair pin bends and spine tingling descent which make it a must-do on a trip to Majorca. img_20180626_0627181487611024716111627.jpg We started the climb early morning at 8am to avoid the traffic and parked the car at the base. The first part of the climb is fairly pleasant at around 6% incline and having gained a few minutes head start ( whining always helps!) I was happily chugging along listening to each and every chatter of Mother Nature.Warming up, the roads started bending more frequently and views started changing, each more spectacular than the next. The familiar sight of my men soothed the slight ache in my shoulders and I relaxed. 20180626_1018064970680355487983331.jpg For some time, my fears and attention was diverted by the stunning pine forests to the narrow steep gorges to the barren rock outcrops with their bizarre formations but after a few kilometers of solitude, I longed for the sight of the summit, eyes hunting up towards the distance for the first clue, following the road perimeters as much as it could see. img_20180626_0701482841929265788524118.jpg A narrow pass loomed ahead and my insecurities were dashed by another cyclist who disappeared through it with utmost grace and familiarity! IMG_20180626_103938 A few more bends later, the inclines started becoming steeper. I could see the father-son duo in the distance bridging the gap between us. 20180626_1014128871862722433142481.jpg The inclines peaked at the end to well over 10% and i could feel the familiar jelly like sensation in my calves and fire burning in my things. I dug my cleats in and after grinding through the final incline,  I was at the top of coll des Reiss at 682m which is cut through the rock , framing grand views of Nus de sa Corbata Sa Calobra (Tie Knot). 20180626_0948041238666216876429606.jpg The customary photos later, we relaxed and took our time to descend and soak in the blissful surroundings. Magical hills rolling into the sea into the distance. Looking down at the landscape, the enormity of the climb humbled us. 20180626_094537549620465743654631.jpg The next couple of hours, driving back, everything had changed drastically. The road, which was empty a couple of hours earlier, was thronging with cars and buses with cyclists dangerously weaving in a out. We hastily beat a retreat. Sa Calobra, we will be back again…..
  • London Marathon 2017: A dream we dared to dream
    IMG_3077 40 years ago, London was just a name in fairy tales and nursery rhymes. 30 years ago, the same London turned into a fantasy place, where I would often escape into, mingling with statuesque regalia. 20 years ago, London was real, in all its glory, flesh and sweat as I toured around for the first time, super excited, wide eyed, taking in all the monuments which I had read and re-read to the minutest detail. I was in London!! 10 years ago, London was in me. Living, working, partying- I was actually living the dream. Breathing the crisp air, swing in my step, and music to my ears at each bend. 1 year ago, I visited London in a new light, something I had never in my wildest dreams imagined possible. fb_img_14928629969804580354717407186087.jpg THE LONDON MARATHON – The Mecca of Marathoners worldwide A new entrant to the world of running, I would listen to all that the runners had to share, hungrily gulping each and every bit of information thrown my way in running clubs, magazines, internet and even random gossip sessions with those who had never run before! Friends from the K&D Running club swore by it. They all unanimously said that London marathon was an event to be experienced. We had to do it!!! Call it naive or foolish, having crossed the finish line of the Paris marathon just 2 weeks ago, we were ready!!  img_20170422_123444~36411872605507586267..jpg So as usual, ready and armed to the teeth with a plethora of information and anticipation, we jetted off to London. The expo was as amazing as expected. The customary fun and photo shoots followed and the rest of the evening was a breeze, pampered by Neha and Gaurav in their swanky Canary Wharf pad.   SUNDAY – THE D-DAY THE LONDON EXPRESSS Sunday morning saw 2 warriors on a mission, flanked by an army of loyal supporters. Hubby pampered me till I had to tell him off and kids were unusually kind. As soon as we reached the station, the enormity of the event struck me, full on. Out in front, was a sea of bobbing heads, runners and supporters, family and friends, lovers and children, a whole big community which had united for a purpose, whether be it to raise funds, to make a difference or just for personal strength.   I spotted Mr Potato Head pushing his way past a group of teenagers, Spiderman, hastily adjusting his chafing bits ( or should I say bobs ) , Stegosaurus trying to re-attach one of his spines while a nun puffed away at an E-cig, one leg resting upon a Pirate! There were others too caught up in their own world. A weather-beaten face who looked as if this was his umpteenth marathon sat eyeing the shoes of a stressed first timer, a kind dad accompanying his nervous daughter and a couple tied at the wrist, obviously very much in love with each other to notice anything around them. Prashant hopped over, as beaming as ever and soon, we were off. img_20170423_0936036705865920483867187.jpg Settling in our pens, we went over the plan again. The first half to be run in a relaxed manner and to stay steady and strong. Luggage deposition area was incredibly smooth and amazing, excellent organisation. The bags were deposited in alphabetical order of our names in open trucks and we stood, soaking in the atmosphere, still in disbelief that we were actually doing the London marathon. The first few steps, through the rough dirt path was crowded but resounded with screams of ‘go for it’, ‘you can do it’ , ‘go go go’…..We were flying. MILES 1-5 : THE HAPPY MILES We ran, happily chatting away on the incredibly crowded dirt path, Subhash stately and elegant and me, the bulky rugby player lookalike dodging the arms and legs coming my way. The 5k mark passed by quickly and I could see the novices stopping at the first sight of the water stations for their drinks, their faces flush with excitement. The couple who were tied at the wrist zoomed past, happily. I smiled at my fellow runners, picked up conversations with random strangers named Zoe and Fiona. All was well. MILES 6-10 : THE CRUISING MILES Mile 6 arrived and like clockwork, Subhash stopped and handed me a gel. I was too excited to have one but decided not to protest for the fear of causing distress to the ‘plan’! We seemed to be cruising along the serpentine lanes of London Docks, weary looking hamlets and non descript streets with their jaded shop facades. The thronging crowds cheered with increasing crescendo at each turn. By the end of mile 10, the first signs of tiredness crept in, the emotional high and excitement of the crowds adding to the claustrophobia. MILES 11-15 THE DEMENTORS By mile 11, I prayed for silence and magically the crowds thinned and their roars sounded distant. I was swaying and moving to the muffled beats of music in the far distance melting away my resolve. I started slowing down, invisible hands pulling me behind! Jolting free grfr the spell, i realised that it was fatigue thatthat making me delirious and so early on , it was not a good sign. It was only mile 13 and Subhash quickly forced another gel into my mouth. Soon enough, the shouts and roars came back again! We were running now along the smooth tarmac of Canary Wharf, our reflections unreal on the glass buildings on both sides of the road. MILES 16-20 ARE WE THERE YET? Fatigue was playing catch with me and I was busy trying to think of reasons to stop, to get a breath of fresh air and to shake Subhash off my trail so that he would go and finish the 26.2 miles on his own. My chimp told me to fake an injury but that was not to be! I longed to see the faces of our cheerleaders so that we would stop for a few selfies, but they seemed to have disappeared into the gallows of London dungeons. I even though of disappearing suddenly into the crowds only to realise that they would probably push me back again. Then I remembered Lisa Walker’s words- ‘when you feel like quitting, look down at your bib and remind yourself of why you are here in the first place! and so I carried on, grudgingly but carried on. My speed kept varying but Subhash kept moving and appeared stronger and stronger as the miles passed by. Ever so often, Ram, Rashmi and Neha with the kids would pop by, shouting and screaming away, giving me the precious gulps of water and fresh air. I clung on to Ram, not wanting to let go of him, wishing that he would whisk me away to the warm snug comfort of home.   Soon we were on Tower Bridge and that moment was what I had been waiting for. I don’t think i can ever forget that point in time when halfway along the bridge, I burst out in tears, emotional and happy. That overwhelming feeling that I had bundled up in my heart, burst its banks and I was crying and smiling at the same time. A camera popped up in the distance and immediately, I wiped my eyes, put on my best smile and sprinted towards it, chest out and strong. I was the only marathoner in the world on that majestic bridge and I was there to prove it. That I can run! And that I did run! That’s the moment when you actually realise that it doesn’t matter if you finish in 2 hours or in 6 hours. you are a marathon runner, you have done the distance, something that the hundreds of thousands of people thronging the streets could not do. You are already the winner! MILES 20-26 EXPECTO PATRONUM These happy thought immediately dispersed into thick air. A big booming voice in my head screamed at me to stop. It seemed to seize my ankles and I shuffled to a stop, bent over in agony, by the side of the road. I buckled to my knees and knew that I had hit THE WALL. The screaming group of onlookers suddenly fell silent. A hand pushed a bottle of water near my face, a toddler reached out with a fistful of jelly beans while a soft voice murmured ‘Smita, you are nearly there, just breathe…’. Tears welling up in my eyes, I turned around , defeatedly to Subhash, calm and composed. He held out his hand and said ‘ lets go, the end is just around the corner’…. Flashbacks of the past came flooding through. I thought of all our training runs, the fights, the little victories, of my kids who were so proud of their mum and of all happy moments sacrificed for training. It was as if I just had to get past the demons that were pulling me back to take charge of my life.. I took a deep breath and charged ahead, the crowd behind us erupting in joy and shouting out our names! img_20170423_1211133593980626600323148.jpg We continued from there, the crowds roaring becoming louder than ever. The sights of London came into view and we bundled past the West Bank and the river Thames when I saw it. The sign that I had been waiting for from the start! 2 miles to go. With renewed energy, we pushed ahead and suddenly in the distance, I heard my name being called out, a familiar voice that I could recognise anywhere and even in my deepest slumber. I thought I was confabulating again when I saw her, the most divine sight, mommy! There she was, a 5 foot formidable powerhouse, eyes ablaze with pride, pushing her way to the front of the crowds. My entire resolve and steel crumbled and I hobbled towards her, sobbing all the way. I just wanted to dissolve into her arms, to be hugged and comforted by her. I didn’t want to cross the finish line, I just wanted my mother….Subhash sensing the trouble ahead, suddenly dragged me back and pushed me forth, muttering ‘lets finish the race first, we are there…… MILES 26-26.2 THE GLORY and VICTORY londonmarathonpic17873049618110216498.jpg Rightly so, ahead was the FINISH banner. The rest of the distance was in slow motion. I was gliding and floating along , in no hurry or concern, towards the finish line. We stepped over the finish line, together and I knew that instant that i would never have had done it without Subhash, yet again. We staggered towards a bench and collapsed in a heap next to a First Aid station, smiling at the blue sky above us, taking stock of the runners sauntering across and the drums int he background. A few moments later, we were handed over our medals by the wonderful volunteers. The genuine smile and joy on their faces made all the difference. A volunteer hugged me and said that she was very proud of me. I believed her. What happened next was a blur, gliding down towards the exit in a trance, feeling the pride in the air, all victorious and emotional. I kept clutching the medal, not believing that it was real…..fearing that i would wake up from this dream. img_20170423_1706473016604997278842250.jpg My dream had come true. I was a marathoner, once again…… I was the lucky few to have had the good fortune to run the London MArathon.
  • ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME
    According to Phillip Schaff, the phrase  ” All roads lead to Rome” is a reference to the Milliarium Aureum – a marble structure speculated to be the base of the milestone  in the Roman Forum, the specific point to which all roads were said to lead. After attempting the Paris Marathon twice and the ‘bucket list’ London Marathon last year , Rome was naturally the next favoured in the quest for more marathon medal glory. Excitedly, we booked our places in the euphoria and invincible post marathon stupor. Training started in ernest and soon Strava and Garmin became my best friends. Each morning started with updating new stats of my ‘fellow’ runners and evenings were a blur discussing strategies for the next week. I flew higher and higher as the days, weeks and months passed, watching my beloved Garmin track my speed as it improved to below two digit figures. Soon, I was comfortable running 10k in less than an hour ( used to take 70 minutes or more a year ago). In a span of 8 months, from an average of 11, I could navigate sub 10 comfortably. But alas, like all things, the higher you go, the harder you fall…..that was so true. 12 weeks to go – Jan 28, 2018 We were on our long run, a 12 mile steady trot, steady pace, easy breathing. Floating amidst the bright blue sky and fluffy candy white clouds, i had no care in the world and absolutely no idea of what was coming the next day. 12 miles – 2:02:40 – 10.13/mile pace. Monday, the next day was the club training run. I knew that I was not prepared for it but greed took over. Within minutes, there was an excruciating pain in my right heel and it was difficult for me to run without wincing every few steps. I was reduced to a miserable hop and my old arch enemy, plantar fasciitis was back with a vengeance. 11-8 weeks to go – 3 weeks of total absence from running was more painful than the physical pain in my foot. When I slowly started, the toughness and tiredness struck , leaving me in tears once again. But I didn’t give up. The next 3 weeks were the most agonizing weeks of my life. Walking was painful and running was out of question. I thought that it would improve in a week, but it didn’t….a week, 2 weeks and in the third week, I ambushed a physio colleague in our car park. He introduced me to John, another physiotherapist, the angel in disguise who tolerated my tantrums and tears. He assured me that running would improve and that i needed patience. Moreover he got insoles for my shoes, and it was as if I had to start learning to walk again, that too on stone hard surface! Slowly I ‘broke’ into those insoles and did a run, gingerly, after 4 weeks! Gone were the days of long runs, here i was just trying to run! Took it gentle and slow, but felt alive!  64 min – 6.2mi – 10.24/mile 8 – 4 weeks to go –  Weeks rolled by and I continued running through the pain, hating it most of the times, sometimes with tears, with fears. But one thing i knew was that running was there to stay….. and so i ran. I limped through ice and snow, through gravel and sand, through howling winds and sleet. My speed slumped further to an all time low but I had faith in John so I carried on. But I did not lose hope. I will not lose hope. Contrary to the usual, I felt stronger and more determined to finish. Asif, my online mentor and angel too, kept encouraging all the time while hubby provided the much needed pampering with ice packs and kind words. 1:42:27 – 9.3 mi – 11.00/mile 3 weeks to go – Our running schedule is up in the air and the 20 mile run was reduced to a 10 mile trial by fire! Nowhere are we close to our marathon plan. A week ago, I told Subhash that the best plan is to finish half marathon distance after which he can carry on to the finish line while I fade away into the Roman ruins.  But this Sunday, week 6 post injury, everything changed. The pain vanished and I bounded like before on the treadmill. I think my plantar fasciitis has turned the corner and Subhash knew that we were back in the race together and stronger. I feel more rejuvenated and now, it is FINISH or BE FINISHED! The fastest run in 6 weeks saw my spirits soar. there was no question of doing up to half distance, it was all the way to Rome, nothing but the FINISH line! 40.34 mins – 4.1mi – 9:43/mile 2 weeks to go – So here I go , totally motivated, my chimp and angel riding high together. I am in no rush but I keep going back to the same question as to why I have continued, despite the pain, tears and setbacks. And I know it is because it has pushed my boundaries to the limits where I have never imagined I could reach. It has made me feel that I can take on tough challenges in life. If I can bear the pain and agony of a marathon, I can do anything that life throws at me. No matter how many times I fall, I know that I will always push ahead because you never give up till you cross the finish line. I am marathoner and I will be one, once again! THE ROAD TO ROME IS DEFINITELY SHINING BRIGHT !  
  • Grilled Peaches…
    Grilled peaches with mascarpone, toasted walnuts and drizzled with honey, on a bed of raspberry coulis 😍 Sounds exotic but is a kid’s recipe indeed. Tasted this a few years ago on a skiing holiday and still vividly remember the play of flavours, ever so exquisitely balanced on my palate. Healthy quick dessert, perfect for a Friday evening !!!👼👼👼 Recipe- Cut peaches into half, take the stone out and place cut side up on a hot grill till it gets slightly charred. Stuff the peach with a scoop of mascarpone cheese. Top it with toasted walnuts. Drizzle with good quality honey. Serve with any coulis ( pureed berries)
  • Pumpkin Vetthukozhumbbu
    Kalpa’s Vetthukozhumbbu There is something very exotic with all our regional names for various dishes we make in India….. one particular name that has fascinated me was the Vetthukozhumbbu ( vettu-kozhumb-bbu ) which is basically a classic Iyer recipe for chilli ( vettal) and tamarind based gravy ( kozhumbu). A regular member of Kalpa Sundar’s kitchen and one of my favourite. Sharing the recipe below, easy, tangy and yummy….
    _Q6A1316 Recipe: Chop pumpkin into chunky pieces. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves, sesame seeds, chana Dal , hing and methi powder. Add pumpkin pieces and salt. Add tamarind concentrate . Add a spoon of sambaar powder. Add jaggery to taste. Stir well and serve with hot rice or chapati._Q6A1313
  • Dahi Aloo ( potato in yoghurt gravy)
    Imagine cold dark winter evenings, snuggled in a cosy blanket, watching your favourite soap and a steaming hot bowl of  comfort food. And by comfort food, there can only be one name at the top, the mighty potato!!! This dish hardly needs anything other than potatoes and yoghurt…easy and quick to make and soul satisfying to say the least! _Q6A1308A simple dish that goes straight to the heart…. RECIPE: Boil and peel potatoes, cut into big chunks. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, hing, sesame seeds, kadi patta optional ( the mallu gene insists on adding kadhi patta everywhere 😂😂)
    Add chilli powder and coriander powder to taste (i usually add a teaspoon full of each) Add potatoes and stir till it becomes golden brown. Add yoghurt, salt sugar. Finally add roasted kasuri methi ( dry fenugreek leaves). Serve with hot phulka or steamed rice. _Q6A1311
  • Dal Makhani
    Ah, for the love of dal makhani !! This name, for me, conjures up vivid images of the royalty of Tuli International, Nagpur in the early 90s. Dal Makhani used to be their signature dish and I always longed for that taste ever since I came to this country. This is, again, a very easy recipe. Yes, I have used readymade dal makhani masala ( shock horror!!!) but if the end result reminds me of my childhood favourite dish, who am I to complain 🙂 _Q6A1326 INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup urad dal ( bengal gram) soaked for 4 hours 1/4 cup rajma ( kidney beans) soaked for 4 hours 1 onion chopped 1 tin chopped tomatoes 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste 2 tbsp dal makhani masala ( readymade or home made- recipe at the end) 2 tbsp butter METHOD Pressure cook the dal and rajma till very very soft. Mash well . Heat oil in a wok, add butter and stir fry the onions till transcluscent. Add tomato puree. Add 2 tbsp of Dal makhani masala and stir well. Add boiling water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste. Simmer for 30 mins. Add a dash of cream. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with hot parathas or steamed rice. DAL MAKHANI POWDER Roast and grind to a fine powder the following ingredients- 1 tsp cumin seeds ( jeera) 3 cloves, 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom ( badi elaichi),1 cinnamon, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 2 pinches nutmeg powder, 1 tsp aamchur, 1 tsp kasuri methi, 1 tsp coriander powder) . Store in a dry tight container.      
  • Chicken in white wine sauce
    European cuisine has been the bane of my life! Ask me about any complicated desi food and I can whiff it up in a jiffy. But the thought of even putting together a sandwich fills me with dread. I accidentally made this popular dish ( only 6 steps) and it tastes even better than what you get in the restaurants. The kids were thrilled and soon, both, the dish and me, acquired cult status in the kitchen 🙂 _Q6A1330 INGREDIENTS : Chicken fillets 2 ( whole or cut into chunks) Mushrooms 2 cups sliced Onion 1 medium size, chopped Chicken stock 3 cups White wine, preferably dry 1 cup Double cream 1 cup Basil – few sprigs finely chopped METHOD : Heat oil in a non stick pan, add chicken fillets and fry till golden brown. Pour the stock over it till it is covered, close lid and allow to cook for 30 mins till done. Heat butter in another pan, saute the onions and mushrooms till soft. Pour the white wine and allow it to bubble vigorously till it reduces to 2/3rd the amount ( it should be thick and syrupy). Add the strained stock from the cooked chicken into this mixture. Add the double cream, boil , season with salt and pepper. Mix the chicken into this sauce and heat it thoroughly till evenly coated. Sprinkle basil leaves before serving._Q6A1335_Q6A1336 Serve with bread or steamed vegetables.  
  • Stuffed Tinda / Indian Squash ( bharle dhemse)
    Some recipes are forever! This particular one was my mum in law’s speciality. Aai used to make this with utmost pride and love, never rushing through it. Being raised in a purely non vegetarian household, I never understood her fascination for vegetables and to top it all, this was as bland and harmless as it could be!!! But once i tasted it, I was addicted. Aai may no longer be with us but she lives in me through the recipes and cooking skills she passed on to me and Deepa tai. We would protest and whinge about it then but now, it’s something I hold dear to my heart. Thanks to Deepa tai, her basic masala recipes are still intact and I hope , some day, kids, you will make this too….. Ingredients : 12-15 pieces of tinda ( Indian squash) cut the top and scoop the inside pulp out . 1 large onion finely chopped Chopped coriander (a lot) 1/2 cup of coarsely ground roasted peanut 1 tbsp of coarsely ground roasted sesame seeds 1 tbsp of roasted dessicated coconut 1 tbsp roasted khus khus (poppy seeds) 1 tsp of red chilli powder 1/2 tsp of haldi 1 tsp of hing 1 tbsp of red masala powder (recipe in blog) Salt Sugar Curry leaves Method Mix all the above ingredients and stuff it in the tinda . In a pan heat 2-3 tbsp of oil, temper it with mustard seeds, hing, add stuffed tinda, and remaining masala. Stir. Add 2 tbsp of curd and one cup water, cover and cook till tender.
  • Butter chicken
    Aditi Gupte’s Butter Chicken recipe: PS: tastes exactly as the restaurant dish! Ingredients: Boneless chicken 1kg Tandoori masala powder 3tbsp Yoghurt 5 tbsp Lemon 1 Onions 3, very finely chopped Ginger garlic paste 3tsp 2 cans chopped tomatoes ( prefer Napolitana tomatoes) Kaju paste 2tbsp Kasuri methi 4tbsp roasted and crushed Kashmiri chilli powder 2tsp Sugar and salt to taste 1. Wash and marinade the chicken pieces in yoghurt, tandoori masala, red chilli pd, lemon juice and salt. Keep aside for few hours. Bake in the oven at 180* till done. 2. Heat oil in a wok , add onions and ginger garlic paste. Heat till the onions turn transparent. 3. Add the tins of chopped tomatoes and keep stirring over low flame till the mixture thickens and becomes doughy in consistency. This is the main part of the recipe ( the make or break point)!! It takes time but is worth the effort. This is what gives the restaurant taste. 3. Add kaju paste and water to attain the desired consistency. Sugar and salt to taste. 4. Add some butter ( after all it’s butter chicken 😇) and a dash of cream. 5. Add the baked chicken pieces. Add roasted and crushed kasuri methi at the end. 6. Viola, and it’s ready to serve.
  • Aai’s garlic chutney
    Some memories forever entrenched in our hearts are our treasures indeed. One of them is early morning golden toast with amul butter topped with aai’s garlic chutney. 4 ingredients, 4 minutes I promise 😍😍 Ingredients and method: 6-8 pods garlic 1 cup grated coconut ( not dessicated) 2-3 tsp Red chilli pd 1 tbsp groundnut powder Grind all together, store in an air tight container.

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

  1. Dry roast equal quantity of Toor dhal, Moong dhal.
  2. Toast slightly less roasted Channa dhal ( Pottu Kadalai).
  3. Dry roast dried red chillies.
  4. Dry roast curry leaves till they dry up
  5. Garlic pods sliced and fried in oil till all water content is lost
  6. Toast sesame seeds.
  7. Once cooled down grind to a fine powder with required salt adding the sesame seeds in the end.
  8. Enjoy with hot rice and ghee!!!

Smita Deshpande

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

%d bloggers like this: