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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Good Life

Sawwwrieeee!! Been meaning to write, but have been so busy with a million things around me. Wanted to share that this space will also have apart from food and food related pictures, travel related writings and recipes. Basically anything and everything that amounts to making ‘The Good Life’ . BTW, do you like the new header?

Today I will post a few pictures I took in Sydney Rocks Market, where I went rather berserk with the spread of Olive oils on display, homemade chocolates, wines and not to mention street food. But what caught my eye was the spices on display. They looked so vibrant ! Take a look!

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Will be back with more.

Ciao.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

South Beach Diet – Part 3

turkey breast omlette

Omlette with veggies topped with smoked Turkey breast strips and low fat cheese! I absolutely LOVED this brekky.

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Since its phase 2 of SBD I added croutons to this salad of grilled eggplants, olives, bits of walnut and mushrooms on a bed of mixed salad leaves. Finished with Balasamic Vinegar dressing.

couscous

My fav dinner these days- Couscous with minced chicken curry. Add raisins to the curry..ooh yum!

I made this chicken mince the Indian way, and it rocked with couscous.

A quick recipe: (for 250 gms of chicken mince)

Chop one onion and sauté it in a teaspoon of olive oil until brown. Add one spoon of ginger-garlic paste, 1 diced tomato, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin powder, 1 tsp ground coriander powder, 2 pinches of turmeric, 1/2 spoon of red chilly powder, salt as per your taste, mixed garam masala (cloves-2, cinnamon 1/2 inch, cardamom- 2), 1/2 spoon of dried or fresh mint leaves. Mix well until tomato softens. Add fresh chicken mince to this along with green peas and mix well. Cook on medium flame and covered for about 12 minutes. Add raisins to this and add water as per the consistency u desire.

Finish with a dollop of butter on top! This tastes fantastic with couscous.

(If you can manage to source a chicken masala from an Indian store, nothing like it. Just replace all the dry spice powders with 2 teaspoons of the ready made chicken curry masala)

Update: have los about 3.5 kgs since I began. have 2.5 more to go. Till then, bear with me!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Faux Moussaka >> South Beach Specials-3 (Dinner)

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I love eggplant! And it works best for any diet thanks to its really low calorie count. Traditionally Moussaka is a layered   eggplant dish with veggies or minced meat. I stuck to makiing two layers of eggplant with just veggies. Also i did away with bread crumbs and other carbs that go into making the traditional Greek Moussaka. And it turned out just fine!

Ingredients:

One big eggplant, thickly sliced into rounds.

Olive oil – 3 teaspoons

Parsley chopped – 1 bunch

1 onions chopped

4-5 garlic pods crushed

1 cup tomato puree

zucchini or any other veggies as you’d like.

Low fat cheddar cheese – 1 slice or 2 spoons shredded

Salt to taste

Method

In a pan roast the eggplant slices with a little cooking spray, till its a little soft- not very soft. Just a wee bit to help make it faster.

Place it in an oven proof baking dish.

Pour oil in a pan and add garlic, zucchini/other veggies, Parsley and onions. Sauté for a few seconds and add the tomato puree. Bring it to a boil. Its optional to add a teaspoon or 2 of light cooking cream. Would taste yum if u do though! I even added a few slices of mushrooms :-). I know, I know, this is a completely faux Moussaka recipe!

Once this sauce comes to a boil, season with salt and some paprika and pour it over the eggplant. You can make two layers of eggplant and sauce. Top it with cheese.

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees c. Bake the Moussaka for about 20 minutes.

Your faux Moussaka is ready! Have this with a salad and finish with sugar free jelly!

(Try the same thing with minced meet of your choice instead of the veggies!)

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Happy South Beach Dieting!

South Beach Specials-2

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Grilled Chicken and Avocado salad on a bed of iceberg lettuce and sprouts.

A few thin slices of Avocado in Phase 2 is ok. Just don’t over do it. Its good fat and will make your skin shine :). Char grill the chicken breasts or just tawa roast it.  Shred ice berg lettuce, rocket leaves and other greens as you may wish. Add in some moong sprouts, peppers and sundried tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. You can also crumble in some low fat fetta cheese. I do that sometimes and it obviously tastes out of this world!

Season with salt and pepper and finish with a dressing of your choice. I used none. If you are not dieting then might as well add some sweet chilly sauce to this!

Remember to add the walnuts to add to the crunch!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

South Beach Diet, oh yeah baby! (Part One- Brekky)

The reason you don’t see any yummy activities around this space is because, I am on a diet. :D. It was long due, and its going as well as it promises in the book. I am on the South Beach Diet and I am loving it. Am almost about to finish Phase 1 of the diet which lasts for 2 weeks. Would like to share a few brekky pics here. Will have follow up posts also, but for now lets settle for eggs, which seem like the only brekky I like since I don’t have Ham and Chicken early in the morning churns my tummy. SBD is a low carb diet, not a NO carb one. And is extremely flexible and easy to follow. I’ve tried Atkin’s earlier too, but was very unhappy. I did lose weight but I had cravings all the time and I was so depressed and in an ugly mood most of the time :D. SBD is fun, safe and effective.

Since diets can get monotonous, I took extra care to make my food look good. That way it didn’t one bit feel I was on a ‘diet’.

Follow up posts will have snack ideas, main course and desserts for the South beach diet. I have lost 3 Kgs so far, and for my standards and metabolic rate, its awesome! And its an earnest request that you get on this diet only after having fully read Dr Agatson’s book on the diet.

south beach diet

Top left: Scrambled eggs with tomato and mushrooms in Tabasco and chilly sauce, topped with a tiny dollop of low fat cheese.

Top Right: Omlette topped with sautéed bell peppers and mushrooms. Garnished with olives and low fat fetta.

Bottom left: Simple and lovely sunny side up on a bed of steamed spinach and red bell pepper. Finished with a dash of Tabasco and chilly flakes.

Bottom Down: Boiled and sliced egg on a bed of steamed veggies and sautéed mushrooms in oregano.

(Carrots are part of the avoidable veggie list, but I have it some times in very little quantities).

Have a kickass Thursday!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Barramundi Fish Fillets, Goan Style

 DSC_0029 Samar’s blog on Hindustan Tines Blogs, Our daily bread, had this amazingly simple Goan Gish curry recipe, called - ‘The quickest and easiest Goan fish curry’ .  I was pleasantly shocked that a recipe as simple as that could taste so good!

Do try it. I used Barramundi Fish Fillets. I couldn’t find Kokum here, so didn’t add that. And I added a wee bit of Tamarind.

Have it with piping hot steamed rice.

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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

How to make rice look impressive? :-)

020 When I make Indian food for a party, I always struggle with rice. I think making a Pulao is too rich and sides can’t be enjoyed with it. Jeera rice is nice, but sometimes it gets monotonous. Here’s something I do, to make the rice look lovely and it goes perfectly with just about any Indian side dish.

In 2 teaspoons of Ghee, add an inch of cinnamon, a few cardamoms and a bay leaf. To that add 2 cups of Basmati rice (pre soaked for about 15 minutes- not more than that) and mix well.  Let it roast a tad bit and then add hot water- 4 cups. Add a little salt- not too much (about 1/2 teaspoon for 2 cups of rice) and 2-3 pinches of sugar. Simmer and cover with lid. Takes about 15 minutes for the rice to cook.

Once done, transfer to the bowl you will serve in.

In a wok, add about 4-5 tablespoons of oil and fry thinly sliced onions (about 2 large ones) and let them brown.  drain on a kitchen towel. Fry a few cashews, raisins, and almond slivers.

Garnish rice with the fried onions, cashews, raisins and almond slivers.

Looks impressive, tastes great!

I’ve also done with by adding a few strands of saffron while cooking the rice, and it gives a completely different flavour.

Either ways, a nice change from the boring fried rice.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

The culprit

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I never knew Mother’s recipe marketed this. And never for sure knew, that I could find it in Sydney! And this, lovely jar of magic is responsible for the extra helpings of rice on my plate. Am sure next time a friend sees me in India and wants to hug me, her arms can’t ‘hold’ all of me. But who’s complaining, there is more of me to love, no?

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Oye Balle Balle! >> Fish Amritsari!

I’ve never been to Amritsar, but have heard a lot about this extremely popular street food- Amritsari Fish. This is a deep fried preparation, and has had many a guests of mine, raving! So the next time you have friends home, don’t go for the regular chicken fare for starters, try this!

I used this recipe from  Indian food Forever. There are variations wrt time- I tend to marinade it longer. You can follow either of the recipes. There is another version, where the fish is marinated with all the ingredients for an hour and then deep fried. The below one is tried and tested though, and I can vouch for it! :)

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For the marinade:

3 Fish fillets (Baramundi/Bhasa or any white fish fillet) – cut into squares

3/4 teaspoon Ginger-garlic Paste

1/2 teaspoon Red Chilly Powder or as per taste

4 teaspoons Lemon Juice

A few pinches of salt

Marinade the fish fillets in all the above mentioned  ingredients. Set aside in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Make the batter just half an hour before you intend to fry the fish.

For the Batter:IMG_0264

1 cup of gram flour/Besan

1/2 teaspoon of Ajwain seeds/Carom seeds

1/2 cup thick curd

1 whole egg

Salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients and set aside

 

Take the fish out and dip in the batter for about 10-15 minutes and deep fry until golden brown. Drain on a kitchen towel.

Sprinkle Chaat masala and lemon juice.

Serve piping hot with chilled beer! DSC_0011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

( Apologies, for the lack of presentation. I had packed this for a potluck! Do remember to sprinkle Chat Masala and lemon juice before serving!)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Via Deepti Abraham >> Lip Smacking Koyla (charcoal) Chicken

 

I thought this was one helluva cool recipe! And exotic too at that - I can almost smell the Koyla (charcoal) flavour!

Sounds like just the recipe I was looking for, for the coming up weekend :). And thank God for foodie friends!

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In Deepti’s own words:

  • Marinate the chicken with salt, ginger-garlic paste and chilli powder for about 4 hours.
  • In a pan heat oil and sauté the chicken for about 2 mins. (you can add slit green chillies if you want to spice it up). Then put in pureed tomatoes (I normally use 6 medium sized for a kg).
  • Cover and let it cook on medium heat for around 15mnts. then open and put in coarsely pounded cashew nuts. Around ten of them (roast the cashews on a tava/pan but don't brown them too much and pound).
  • Once the oil leaves stir in about 1/2 cup cream gently
  • Remove from the fire.
  • Just before serving take a small piece of Koyla (charcoal) and heat it over the flame till red hot. Quickly transfer to a bowl and put it into the chicken and pour ghee/clarified butter over it. when it starts to smoke cover the dish  for around 5-7 mtns.

Viola your Koyla Chicken is ready!!

Serve with rotis or steamed rice/pulao :).

Can’t wait to make it!! Thanks and a big hug, Dippy.

And if you have great, simply, fun recipes to share do write to me. Will be mroe than obliged to put them up on Slurrrrrrp!

So long then!

(And no, this is not Shahrukh Khan’s favourite dish :D )

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Effortless Stir Fry >>Chilly-Garlic Fish

 

When I am in no mood to cook, I make stir fries- with just about anything that’s in the fridge. The freezer had just one Bahsa fillet, so I decided to toss it with whatever remained in the fridge- I found a few sprigs of spring onions, green bell peppers, a few asparagus. Here’s was I did-DSC_0001

Apply a few drops of Vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the fish and set aside for 5 minutes. In 2 teaspoons of oil fry the fish until brown on both sides- ensure you do this very carefully. The fillets tend to break. Once done, keep aside.

Add another teaspoon of oil to the wok and add  chopped garlic- about 2 pods. To that add all the vegetables, 2 slit green chillies and sauté for about a minute. Don’t over cook it- the fun lies in crunchy veggies. Add the fish to this and sprinkle some salt, pinch of sugar, 1 spoon tomato ketchup, and 1/2 teaspoon corn starch dissolved in 2 tbsps of water. This makes the dish a wee bit wet, and coats the fish making it softer.

Voila! You’re done! Serve it hot with Noodles, fried rice or just have this by itself as a high protein diet meal!

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Have a lovely week ahead!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

In a mood for something cheesy :-D >>> veggie bake in white sauce

I attempted a veggie bake, the other day, and must admit, I liked it more than I like a bake with meat in it.  of course, anything with cheese is nothing but soul food. So I lapped it all up- with or without meat. 003

I used Broccoli, asparagus, baby corn, fresh sweet corn shavings, potato (par boiled), peas, French beans, carrots, bell pepper- yellow and red- for the color.

Sauté diced chopped garlic (2-3 garlic pods) along with the diced vegetables in 2 tbsps olive oil for about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle Thyme and Basil over it.

Lay it out as a bed on an oven proof dish.

Pour white sauce over it (method given below).

Grate cheese evenly over the bed of vegetables. I used Cheddar cheese.

Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 F for about 1/2 hour or till the cheese browns evenly.

Serve with Garlic bread.

039Method for making white sauce:

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons  all purpose flour/maida

1-2 cups Milk

Salt

Pepper

Sugar- 2 to three pinches.

Optional: 1/2 cheese cube grated.

 

Ooooooohhh la la!!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Spinach with ricotta, sweet corn and baby corn

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(sorry, not the best possible picture!)

Palak Paneer can get very repetitive, while cooking special vegetarian stuff. So I tried making the same recipe with a twist.

In one of my first posts I had posted the Palak paneer recipe. Click here to follow the exact same instructions and instead of Paneer/cottage cheese, add Ricotta (1/2 cup), sweet corn (1 corn on cob shavings) and baby corn (6-8 chopped).

Ricotta has a smooth texture and it literally crumbles and blends into the spinach giving it a distinct taste. The only addition is- nutmeg powder. Sprinkle some while you sauté onions.

Serve with Rotis or Rice.

Monday, 3 August 2009

How to make smoke come out of your ears >>> Stuffed Chilly Fritters / Stuffed Mirchi Bhajji/Mirchi Pakora

Some food, like people, have memories. Like the memory I have of my dad bringing home hot Mirchi Bhajji/Pakoras, wrapped in newspaper on his way back from work, for Ma. As a kid I never dared to try one, but as I grew up amongst Andhra folks, who are all essentially spice lovers, I developed a taste for the spiciest, hottest, Mirchi/chillies. To this day this remains my greatest strength and weakness, while cooking. Weakness for sure, because not all dishes require red hot chilly in it, and I can’t do without it, and this eccentric streak sometimes ruins lovely subtle recipes. I need to get myself to cook with more perfection and not arbitrarily.

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But no, today is not the day yet for a subtle recipe- here’s a very in your face, hot as hell, snack- The mighty chilly Pakora/Mirchi Bhajji/Mirapukai bhajji- call it whatever you may, it has the power to send you on a heady trip from hell to heaven and back to earth with just one bite. This snack is not for the faint hearted who spend time lingering about cheese and desserts. And now, that I have warned you well in advance, lets get around making it.

(This recipe is in Andhra style- yes exactly the type you must have tried on bandis/thelawalas and on railway station platforms- only, cleaner, more hygienic- no points for health and nutrition though. Weight watchers, you can choose to close this window, else you might be very very tempted to try one, right away!

 

For the chilly filling-

5-6 large green chillies (if in Sydney, you get these in Coles sometimes or in Indian vegetable markets around Flemington)

1 small cup of seedless tamarind, soaked in hot water

1/2 spoon coriander powder

1/2 spoon cumin powder

salt to taste

For the batter

1/2 spoon baking powder

2 cups of besan / chickpea powder/gramflour

1 spoon garlic paste

salt to taste

water about 1/2 cup

Red chilly powder- 1/4 spoon

Ajwain seeds

Oil for deep fry

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Method:

  • Slit the green chillies length wise and de-seed them
  • Blend the tamarind, coriander and cumin powder together in a blender/grinder with very little water- maybe a spoon or 2.
  • Stuff the tamarind mixture into the slit chillies. Set aside all the stuffed chillies.
  • For the batter, be careful with the consistency. Use little water at a time and beat the gramflour/besan, garlic, Ajwain seeds, chilly powder, salt and baking powder together. The batter shouldn't be watery.
  • Now dip each chilly into this batter and deep fry until golden brown. Dain on a kitchen towel/tissue.

Serve hot with tea, on a rainy evening and get nostalgic. :-)

(The North Indian version doesn't use any tamarind. Instead they make a mixture of salt, Amchur (dried mango) powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and stuff the chilly with this mixture.  They use normal chillies instead of big ones. You might want to try that variation too)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Buttermilk Chicken With Spiced Onions >> Knockout Stuff!

This one comes from Ruma ma originally, via Moon. Both, established cooks, and in the family :-). I totally love this recipe, simply because of its sheer simplicity. What a modest recipe!! No really, it has a kickass and a totally knockout taste and yet sooo simple to make.

Don’t believe me? The see for yourself!

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You’ll need:

500 gms chicken- with bones are better.

1 1/2 cups of buttermilk (I used the Dairy farmer’s one and it was fantastic)

1-11/2 onions- thinly sliced

Oil – 4-5 tbsps (yu’ll need a wee bit more for this recipe)

1 tsp- red chilly powder

For seasoning- 1/4 spoon methi/fenugreek seeds, 1/2 spoon mustard seeds, 2 –3 pinches of asafetida/hing, 4-5 cloves) – the seasoning is Very important. Do not miss out on any of these. (I also added whole pepper corns and saunf/Aniseed. You may or may not add)

Sugar- 1/2 teaspoon (must)

Salt to taste

Method

Fry the sliced onions in 2 tbsp oil until brown.  Add the red chilly powder to this. Drain on a tissue, keep aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and once hot, add the seasoning. Add chicken to the seasoning and fry well, until semi cooked. This should take about 6 –7 minutes. Now pour the buttermilk over the chicken, cover with lid and simmer for 6 minutes. Take off lid and let the buttermilk evaporate completely on medium flame. Once the buttermilk evaporates, add the spiced onions set aside to the chicken and mix well. Add salt and sugar. Serve hot with steamed rice and Dal! Aweeeeesome. I swear!

A BIG hug to Moon for this one.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Veggie Starter > Raw Banana Patties!

 

Last Saturday when R told me our invited guests were vegetarians, I had a real challenge to encounter! I cook veg  food but I wasn’t sure how an all veg meal will turn out to be! At the end it turned out just right, despite all the nightmares!Will post all  the stuff I made in separate posts. For now, I wanted to share the entre which they totally loved! Tiny raw banana patties.

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You’ll need :

2  big raw bananas

2-3 medium sized potatoes

2 onions chopped

Coriander leaves

1 spoon grated ginger/ginger paste

1 spoon red chilly powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala

Oil or ghee – 2 teaspoons

Salt to taste

Method: Boil the bananas and potatoes together (u can pressure cook – if you do pressure cook, then only wait for one whistle or a max of two).  The idea is not to make the mash too soggy- so they need to boil just right :). Peel them and mash it together.

In a pan add oil/ghee and sauté  chopped onions until translucent. Add ginger and sauté some more. Add turmeric and chilly powder and mix well. Now add the mashed banana and potatoes to this mixture and mix well until the masala blends with the mash. The mixture shouldn’t be watery/soggy as I mentioned earlier. The patties won’t be firm, then. If you feel it is, then add bread crumbs to this. It soaks up the excess moisture. Add garam masala and coriander powder and mix again and let it cool. Once cold, make tiny patties of them and pan roast them with little oil/ghee. Serve with tomato ketchup.

You can add boiled veggies like peas and carrot and also raisins/sultanas to make this more nutritious and tastier! Its a sure shot winner – its tasty, nutritious, and not deeeeep fried!  Try it :)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Ek Kali Do Pattiyaan

I am looking for inspiration. And I get oodles of it from my cuppa Darjeeling. A long while back, I wrote a post on Cha, on Butkintuparantu. Adding the link here. And if any Makaibari cha lovers are reading this post, make sure to watch this video, to see and know everything about Makaibari.

Wake up and smell the tea :-).

 

Have a lovely, inspiring weekend. Ciao.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Egg-xotic

 

Aziz Bi taught me to make this, and I make it very often. Especially when I am in a mood for something tangy and different. You can’ t go wrong with this- some people even mistake it for a bake! Simple yet exotic! Try it and lemme know :)

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1. Chop one big onion and one big tomato.

2. In a pan pour 3 teaspoons of oil and sauté the onions until brown.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes.

4. Add tomatoes, mix. Add 1 teaspoon of red chilly powder, pinch of turmeric, salt, 2 teaspoons of tomato ketchup and 2 pinches of sugar . Mix well and wait for tomatoes to soften as shown in the picture.

 

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5. break in 3 eggs

6. Break the yolks over the tomato paste

7. DO NOT MIX

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8. 8.Cover with lid over very very low flame.

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9. Wait for 12 minutes, till the egg is cooked.

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10. Serve with rotis or hot steamed rice as a side.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Roasted!

Are you one of those who can eat just about anything that is baked? I am, and love my oven. Here is a quick veggie roast, if u are in the mood for some diet meals that taste great. The simplest thing I have ever made, this is a must make if you like veggies.

All you need to do is put together your favorite veggies- cut into big chunks. In an oven proof dish, lined with aluminum foil, add the veggies, whole green chillies, whole garlic, sprinkle salt, sprinkle oregano, two teaspoons of tomato based pasta sauce (optional), and spray some olive oil. Bake at 180-200 degrees C for about 30 minutes or till the veggies turn brown.

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Eat it like an entree or main with bread.

Variations – use mustard sauce, or just red chilli powder, dhania (coriander powder) and salt.

I used egg plant, tomatoes, beans, onions, capsicum, carrot pumpkin, and potatoes for the roast. Whatever you use, do use pumpkin and tomatoes! You can add bits of chicken, if you can’t bear te thought of just vegetables! Just coat the chicken with pasta sauce and add.

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It might not look the most appetizing, but take my word, it tastes out of the world. I should have spent some time in presenting the dish! Next time perhaps. :)

Till then, eat well and cook up some great meals.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Raw Banana Koftas/Kaanch Kolaar Kofta >> Via Amma

I am not going bananas- he he, not yet! I thought while, we are at bananas, why not add another banana post. Only, this one has to do with raw bananas. This post is for Amma, our cook in Hyderabad- at my In-law’s place. She has been with us for close to 13  years now, and continues to support the house hold. Kaanch Kolaar Kofta or Raw Banana Koftas , in Bengali style is one of my husband’s favourite. And Amma made it well, when she was in a good mood, of course. I make many versions of this. Here is Amma’s version.

Deep Fried Raw Banana KoftasRaw Banana Kofta Curry

Steps:

  1. Pressure cook 2 raw bananas with 2 potatoes. 2-3 whistles are enough.
  2. Once done, peel off the skin form the bananas and potatoes and mash it in a bowl.
  3. Add to this mash one small chopped onion, green chillies, salt, Garam Masala powder, a handful of chopped coriander leaves an mix well.
  4. Make round balls of this mash. If the mash is too soggy, then add a spoon of gram flour or besan to this.
  5. Shallow fry this. Be careful with this, the kofta balls tend to break. Be gentle in turning them. Drain the fried Koftas.
  6. In a non stick pan, pour 3 tablespoons oil.
  7. Add whole spices- a few cardamom, a small stick of cinnamon, 2-3cloves, and 1 bay leaf.
  8. Add 1 big chopped onion to this and sauté till it browns.
  9. Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté some more.
  10. Add tomato paste or puree, 11/2 spoons of Dhania/coriander powder, red chilly powder, 1/4 spoon sugar, 1/4 spoon turmeric powder. Mix well and wait till oil separates.
  11. You can add green chillies if you want it spicier.
  12. Once the oil separates pour one big cup of hot water and bring it to a boil. Don't be very conservative with water- you can add another half a cup.
  13. The Koftas tend to sap all the gravy, so you need not worry about the gravy going too watery.
  14. Once done the gravy boils well, sprinkle with Garam Masala, and add coriander leaves to it.
  15. Transfer this to the serving dish and let it cool down a bit.
  16. Once its warm, add the Koftas, else they will break. Do not add the Koftas to hot boiling gravy.
  17. Enjoy with hot steamed rice or rotis!

 

Other versions:

1. If you are watching your diet, you can pan roast the banana koftas. Just make flat patties and roast them like we do with tawa cutlets.

2. Some add cream, to make the gravy richer

3. Dip the round kofta balls in a batter of gram flour/besan and deep fry them, for a totally different taste.

4. Instead of chopped onions, if you have the energy and inclination, add onion paste, that makes the gravy thicker.

So long, then!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Walnut Banana Bread >My Daughter’s Current Favourite

when my daughter says- ‘My favourite’ to something edible, it somehow becomes my moral responsibility to make it myself at home, instead of buying it readymade. I haven’t understood the nature of this mad streak in me, yet, but for now it seems to satisfy her immensely. So be it baby cupcakes or banana bread, I'd rather bake them at home, than pick it from the supermarket or the local baker.

There’s one more thing- each time I make a very complicated dish, like say Dum Biriyani, preparations for which, which span over 2 days, my husband only comments on the taste and never about the effort. But when I bake something like a banana bread or a cheese cake, he  looks at the piece of creation in mock disbelief. Its strange that he never thought baking banana bread at home was possible. That’s R for you.

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The bread was awesome, you know. It was my first attempt and it came out just right- like the ones my daughter picks from those Boost Juice bars….so yaaay to my banana walnut bread. Here’s how you make it- its simpler than making a cuppa coffee.

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Method:

Mash 3 ripe bananas in a wide mouthed bowl. Add 3/4 cup of brown castor sugar and 1/2 cup of softened butter. Mix well with a spatula. Add two beaten eggs to this and mix again. Add 2 spoons of sour cream (optional)to this mixture and beat more till the mixture is creamy.

In another bowl take 1 1/2 cups of self raising flour and sift it with 1 spoon of cinnamon powder. Add chopped walnuts (as much as you’d like- I added about half a cup of them), to this. Slowly add this mixture to the wet batter and mix well. Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 spoon of Vanilla extract. Fold with the spatula.

Grease a bread making dish and pour batter into this. preheat oven to 180 degree C and then bake the bread for 40 minutes or till its crisp golden brown.

Slice it and have it hot and fresh with a cuppa or leave it for the next day, when you toast it and spread butter over it to be instantly transported to bliss land.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Spice Temple, Sydney

One of the things R and I hadn’t done in Sydney was to try out cool new restaurants and have a nice relaxing lunch. We did that often back in India where we’d leave our lil rascal with mum and go gallivanting about the streets of Koramangla or Indiranagar in Bangalore, trying out the newest restaurant or watering hole on the block. So R decided to take me out as a prelude to my birthday, on Friday, when junior goes to day care. We chose Spice Temple at Bligh Street, in the city. I had read enough and more on Time Out Sydney about Spice temple and I was very very keen on eating something spicy, exciting and new. So we decided to try Chinese but not the run of the mill  fare.  We chose Spice Temple only based on what Timeout Sydney wrote-  And special it is – a Chinese restaurant that does not serve any Cantonese dishes. Instead, you'll find a menu that roams China from Sichuan to Yunnan to Guangxi. But the question tingling on everyone's lips is the chilli factor. "The dishes [on the menu] that are in red, they're hot," explains Perry. "Chilli isn't just about blowing people's minds out. It really is about adding that flavour and mouth-feel and excitement." Go with a bunch of friends and try as many different dishes for the table as you can. You're guaranteed to taste something here that your mouth has never experienced before. In a very, very good way.

I was so unprepared for what came on the table that afternoon - the aromas were invigorating, heady and mysterious and the food tasted like nothing I have had before. By far, my best dining experience, yet. Very very different from what you might expect. The ambience is perfect and they also have a scintillating white bar. Below are some pictures of what we ordered and ate. If you are in Sydney, don’t give this place a miss at any cost!

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(In the pics from top left: A beautiful bowl :), Bloody Mary in a  chilli, sesame, sugar and salt rimmed glass, Chicken Wings – Super Hot!, Fish with green and red chilli sauce (I’ve forgotten what it was called),  3 shot chicken, Ginseng tea, peanut, caramel and chocolate parfait, dessert menu :-) )

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Maju’s Simple and Sipcy Prawn Masala

photo We know very few people in Sydney. And the ones we know are thankfully gastronomes. Especially, the Jacobs. We love dining at their place, though the much promised Appam and Stew are yet to savored. The first time Maju and Manoj had us over, we came back so content and gloating with happiness – all thanks to Maju’s spicy prawns settled in our tummies. For many days we couldn’t get the taste out of us, especially, Raj couldn’t. So yesterday, I finally decided to give Maju’s recipe a try. Its amazing how simple it is. I was done in 10 minutes flat! If you are a lover of south Indian food, this recipe rocks. Simple and most kickass!

Here goes:

You’ll need

250 gms prawns – medium sized, shelled and deveined

Tomato- 1 medium sized

Onion- 1 medium sized

Garlic paste/crushed- 1 teaspoon

Chilly Powder- 1 –2 teaspoons (totally depends on how much you can take- for me the spicier the better)

Curry Leaves

Oil- 2 to 4 teaspoons

Tamarind – Maju suggests we get the Mallu variety of tamarind – round ones, apparently. I used regular tamarind. Though i vouch for her version. She had an altogether Mallu touch. So if you can find that tamarind go on and add 2 of those. Else just soak a little tamarind in water.

Method

If you are using fresh prawns then par boil it (2 minutes) with very little water, turmeric and chilly powder and keep aside. If you are using frozen prawns they can be used directly.

In a pan pour oil, add curry leaves, onions and sauté till they go just about brown. Add garlic and sauté more. After a few minutes add tomatoes and mix well. Let the tomatoes soften, and oil separate. Add chilly powder, turmeric and salt, mix well. Add the cleaned prawns to this and mix well. On medium flame keep mixing this till the mixture dries and stick to the prawns. Add the soaked tamarind pulp and mix. Don’t add water.  The masalas have to cook well and dry out. Don’t take it off flame when still soggy.

I added some ground pepper too- that’s optional. It adds to the flavour, and I recommend freshly ground pepper.

Serve with hot steamed rice on a nice wintery day.

Lemme know how it goes!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Spice is the only variety of my life

DSC_0252 Raj’s 32nd birthday and the long weekend coincided, so we took off to Port Stephens. I love the little getaways in Australia, especially the beach towns, and Port Stephens was a lovely getaway. But one thing that I really really miss in these holidays is a variety in food. The sea food available is brilliant, but after a while the regular breaded fish, grilled fish and chips fare kind of gets to me. The picture here is that of grilled Fish with greens and some sauce- I forget, and it was phenomenal, but we did want fish in a hot, spicy sauce. Or may be even a Goan version of this.  But then, we did enjoy what we got to eat, missed spice a little bit, but were happy nevertheless.

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So, the minute I got back yesterday, Raj suggested we order in. Oh, no! How can that be. Order in more Pizza? No way! I had to have my spicy fare! So in  I went to the kitchen to make my favorite – jhatpat spicy Chicken pulao. Thought I’ll share this with you all.

You’ll need:

Chicken thighs and breast pieces – 500 gms

1/2 cup curd

Onions- 2 large- thinly sliced

Basmati Rice Soaked half an hour before preparation: 1 1/2 cup

Ginger and garlic Paste-2 spoons

Green Chilies- 8 (i like it SPICY)

Coriander chopped- 1 cup

1 spoon red chilly powder

Mint – fresh or dried flakes (I suggest you buy a bottle of the dried mint flakes- they are handy and very very good on flavor)

Tomatoes- 2 large

Whole garam masalas- a few of whatever you have- i had only cinnamon and cloves.

salt to taste

Dhania/Coriander Powder- 2 teaspoons

Ghee – 2 tbsp

 

Method:

In a non stick vessel (ideally deep and wide mouthed), melt the Ghee and add garam masalas. Add green chilies and onions and sauté till it browns. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté some more. Add chopped tomatoes, coriander chopped , 1/2 spoon of mint flakes or a 1/2 cup of fresh mint  chopped, and mix well. Add Dhania Powder, chilli powder, salt and curd and mix. let the tomatoes soften. Now add the chicken to this and mix well. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Now add the soaked Basmati Rice and mix. Add 3 cups of hot water, stir well, and cover with lid. In low flame let it cook. Else, just pressure cook it, if you are in a tearing hurry!

This is heaven. I am home.