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Monday, October 16, 2017

The Classic Samosa

Happy Diwali to everyone that celebrates this festival full of food, firecrackers, gifts and parties! But you never need an excuse to stuff your face with samosas!

This recipe will yield about a dozen samosas.

For the stuffing, boil two medium potatoes and roughly crumble them; set aside. In a pan, heat a spoon of ghee and add cumin seeds, two chopped chillies and a teaspoon of ginger paste. Add the crushed potatoes and a half cup of peas, and a spoon of turmeric, a pinch of red chilli powder, a half spoon of garam masala, a half teaspoon each of cumin and coriander powder, a pinch of asafetida, salt to taste, and a half spoon of amchur powder. Stir together until mushy, add a half cup of chopped coriander leaves, and turn off the heat. Let cool.

For the dough, mix together two cups of maida (refined flour) with a quarter of a cup of melted ghee, a third of a cup of water, a spoon of ajwain seeds and a pinch of salt. Knead together into a smooth ball of dough.

To make the samosas, tear off a bit of dough and roll into an oval shape. Use a knife to cut the oval widthwise. Fold one half into a cone using water to bind the edges. Fill with stuffing and pinch the opening shut.

Deep fry or bake the samosas at 180 for 40-45 minutes. I baked for 25 minutes and flash-fried for a few seconds to get the texture right. Serve piping hot!


Monday, October 9, 2017

The Laukey Halwa

Desi boys and girls, 'tis the season to get fat! With festival after festival in the fall, it's so easy to fall off your low-sugar wagon, and this recipe's sole purpose is to help you back up on it. Laukey, better known as bottle gourd, or calabash, or long melon, has never tasted better!

Laukey ka halwa

(Almost exactly like gajar ka halwa

You need equal parts grated laukey (long melon) and milk; I used half a kilo of laukey and half a liter of milk. Start boiling milk in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the grated laukey to it. Boil until the milk has almost completely dried up and thickened; add about a cup of sugar or less (not more). Keep stirring until completely dried up! Optionally, add a spoon of ghee to the edges, but didn't really seem necessary. Garnish with slivered almonds, and you're done! Super easy.


Monday, October 2, 2017

The Bhog

Pujo season might be over, but you don't need to wait another year for the delicious khichudi served as bhog, as my husband recently discovered! Here's his "bhog-er khichudi" recipe.

Melt 2 spoons of ghee in a pressure cooker on medium heat. Add to it 2 cardamoms, 1 broken stick of cinnamon, a dried red chilli, 2 chopped green chillies and a spoon of crushed ginger. Stir. Then add a spoon of garam masala, a spoon of cumin powder and a spoon of coriander powder and stir some more. Add a chopped tomato and stir until softened. Then add half a cup of rice and half a cup of moong dal (both uncooked) with a spoon of red chilli powder, a large spoon of turmeric, a dash of asafetida and finally a handful of fried peas. Add salt to taste and a spoon of sugar. Add water until the mixture is immersed an inch, and close the pressure cooker. Cook until done, and serve with thinly sliced round potato slices fried in mustard oil!


Monday, September 25, 2017

The Gobi Prawn

It's pujo season! If you miss home but aren't in the mood to spend hours in the kitchen, here's a quick dish that goes well with rotis!

In a very lightly oiled pan, cook two cups of prawns until no longer translucent. Take out and set aside. Add to the pan a teaspoon of mustard seeds, a couple of broken green chillies and a spoon of ginger paste, and 3 cups of cauliflower florets. Add a teaspoon of cumin powder and coriander powder each, and a spoon of turmeric, with salt to taste. Cook on low until cauliflower is cooked through. Add the cooked prawns into the pan and a half cup of desiccated coconut. Add a pinch of sugar and cook for a minute or two more before adding two spoons of chopped coriander leaves and taking the dish off the heat.

Serve hot with rotis!



Monday, September 18, 2017

The No-Carb Burger

Well, there are breadcrumbs in the frittata and it's not a burger if I don't use two frittatas, but you get it.

Grilled chicken on carrot frittatas with avocados and sriracha mayo

Grill four chicken breasts with cajun seasoning on a grill pan - 6-7 minutes on one side and 4 on the other. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix 200g of shredded carrots with two eggs, a half-cup of breadcrumbs, a large spoon or two of flour, a red chilli, thinly sliced, salt and pepper to taste, a dash of smoked paprika, a spoon of oregano, and a spoon of fresh chopped thyme. In a lightly oiled pan, spoon a dollop of this mixture on and squish to flatten into a frittata. Once the frittata starts slipping around easily in the pan, flip and cook the other side until browned. (Should make about 4 frittatas with these portions)

Combine, in a small bowl, three tablespoons of mayonnaise, a spoon of sriracha sauce, a half teaspoon of chopped garlic and a spoon of olive oil. This is your sauce.

Put the ensemble together by placing the grilled chicken on a frittata, pouring some of the sauce on the chicken, and topping with freshly sliced avocado and cayenne chilli slices. Serve!


Monday, September 11, 2017

The Kolkata Biryani

One of the first recipes I put up on this blog was of my simple chicken biryani. However, over the last two years, my husband has become so good (and faster every time he makes it) at his traditional Kolkata-style biryani (with mutton and potatoes) that his recipe deserves a biryani do-over on this blog! Arselan ain't got nothing on this biryani.

Because he likes to cook in very large quantities, this recipe is roughly for eight people. But yay for amazing work lunches from leftovers!

Soak 3 cups of basmati rice in water for 30 minutes, and then boil with about 15 cloves, a half broken cinnamon stick, 4-5 green cardamom, a spoon of ghee, with excess water. Drain the water once the rice is cooked, and remove the spices. Set aside.

Dry-roast 2 pieces of mace, a broken nutmeg, 5 cloves, less than half a cinnamon stick, 2 cardamoms, and 1 large spoon of carom seeds on low heat for 3-4 minutes and then grind into a powder. Add 3/4 of this powder to 1.5 kg of washed mutton pieces along with a tablespoon of garlic paste, 1 spoon of turmeric, and 2 spoons of red chilli powder, and set aside for 30 minutes to overnight.

Heat a little oil in a pressure cooker. Add to it 2 quartered potatoes, and salt to taste and a spoon of turmeric, and fry for a bit (don't cook through). Remove from oil and set aside. Add to the oil 3-4 chopped green chillies and a spoon of garlic and saute. Add the mutton and stir well until the mutton sheds water. Add 2 spoons of yogurt, salt to taste, and a spoon of sugar, and mix well before closing the pressure cooker for about 5 whistles. At this point, add the potatoes to the mutton and close for another 2 whistles (or until the mutton is cooked). 

While this happens, thinly slice and caramelize an onion and set aside.

In a large wok greased with ghee, add a layer of the rice, then a layer half of the mutton, then rice, then the rest of the mutton with potatoes with a sprinkle of kewra and rose water, and then the rest of the rice. On the top, add the caramelized onions. In a bowl, add a few strands of saffron to 4 spoons of milk, heat for a few seconds in the microwave, and pour it over the top of the rice. Put the lid on the wok and let the whole thing cook on very low heat for 10-15 minutes. 

Serve with raita!



Monday, September 4, 2017

The Kung Pao

... or Gong Bao? I guess it doesn't matter, as long as it's a bowl of spicy peanut-y chicken goodness that I should've tried a long time ago.

Dissolve two spoons of cornstarch in four-five tablespoons of soy sauce and a spoon or two of Chinese rice wine (or Mirin, but skip the sugar later if you use this). Toss a kg of diced chicken thighs in this mixture and set aside.

Mix together a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of hoisin sauce, a spoon of Sichuan chilli paste, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a spoon of sugar (skip if you've used Mirin), 2-3 teaspoons of sesame oil, and a spoon and a half of cornstarch. This is your sauce. Set aside.

In a wok, shallow-fry the chicken in two tablespoons of vegetable oil on high heat. Once the chicken is cooked, add three red chillies, five thinly sliced spring onions, half of a green capsicum, a spoon of ginger paste and a spoon of garlic paste, and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the sauce and a cup of roasted unsalted peanuts, stir for another minute, and take off the heat. Garnish with spring onion greens, and serve hot with stir-fried veggies!


Monday, August 28, 2017

The Karahi

One of my favorite meals of all time is any spicy curried chicken with parathas, and this recipe is ideal for when I'm craving my favorite meal. Pakistani-style chicken karahi is different than its Indian cousin; while Indian chicken kadhai involves a drier dish with large pieces of onion, capsicum and tomato, this one is all about lots and lots of crushed tomatoes.

In a wok, heat maybe a third of a cup of oil, and add to it a kg of skinless chicken, bone-in and curry cut (I used boneless chicken but it just wasn't the same). Fry the chicken in the oil until the chicken browns a little on the outside. Add to it a spoonful of ginger paste and a spoonful of garlic paste and about 6 chopped green chillies and stir. Then add about 5 roughly crushed tomatoes and maybe a dash of paprika, plus a spoon of coriander powder and a spoon of cumin powder. Add salt to taste. Stir and cook together on low until the chicken is well cooked and the consistency of the gravy is thick and well combined. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (and sliced ginger: optional). Serve with parathas!


Monday, August 21, 2017

The Indian Chowmein

Spicy mixed Indo-chinese chowmein makes my day, and may make yours too!

Boil about 70g egg noodles for 4 minutes; drain and wash in cold water, and set aside. Also scramble two eggs roughly (no milk, no salt, just plain scramble) and set aside. In about two tablespoons of oil in a big wok, add two fat spring onions, sliced, four sliced green chillies, and a spoon of chopped garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent. Add two thigh fillets of chicken (chopped into very small pieces), and a cup of raw prawn and cook until chicken is almost completely done. Add about 4-5 tbsp soy sauce, a spoon of vinegar, a spoon of garlic chilli paste, half a spoon of cumin powder, and a pinch of garam masala, (and any veggies you'd like to add, or not) and stir for two minutes before adding the cooked noodles and egg. Check for spice levels; optional: dash of paprika. Stir-fry and serve piping hot by itself! Looks like, and essentially IS, a blob of carb and protein, but tastes like instant comfort! Serves 3.




Monday, August 14, 2017

The Thai Green Curry

Fish curries for the win!

So you can buy perfectly good Thai green curry paste in the market, but in case you want to make your own:

Grind together the following ingredients: 3 green chillies, a shallot, a clove of garlic, an inch of ginger, a half cup of coriander leaves, 3-4 kaffir lime leaves, a stalk of lemongrass, a half lime with a little zest, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of coriander, a little ground pepper, a spoon of fish sauce, two spoons of olive oil, and lastly, if you can find any, a half inch of galangal.

Phew. So in a pan, start by sautéing a little garlic in a spoon of oil. Add to it your favorite veggies (broccoli, carrots, beans, shitake mushrooms) and the entire green curry paste (or about 4 tablespoons of store bought paste) and cook. Add pieces of about 3 fillets of your favorite white fish and a cup and a half of coconut milk, simmer and serve! So easy. Serves 4.



Monday, August 7, 2017

The Protein Curry

Another invention by the protein-loving husband!

Boil 3 eggs, and blend into a paste with 1/3 cup milk. Set aside.

Make a paste of the following: a cinnamon stick, a brown cardamom, a green cardamom, two cloves, a nutmeg, two peppercorns, a little mace, 1/2 onion, an inch of ginger, 4 cloves of garlic: use half of it to marinate 1.2 kgs of chicken thighs (cut into small pieces) with a spoon of turmeric.

In a little oil, add two green chillies, chopped, along with the rest of paste, and cook for a bit. Then add the marinated chicken, and cook until water comes out of the chicken. Add salt and a spoon of sugar, and the egg paste made earlier, and simmer (covered) until reduced to your preferred consistency. Serve hot with rotis! (Optional garnish: coriander leaves)



Monday, July 31, 2017

The Teriyaki Floss

It is a well-established and widely accepted fact that if you bring home a tin of pork floss, you will put it on EVERYTHING. Tonight, I douse my teriyaki udon stir-fry in pork floss for your entertainment.

Boil udon noodles for 8 minutes, drain, and keep aside; we'll need about two cups of cooked udon. Sauté half a cup of chopped spring onions with a spoon of chopped garlic and a few slices of red chillies in sesame oil. Add to it about 300 grams of sliced chicken, salt to taste, and a dash of paprika and cook. Once the chicken looks almost cooked, add two cups of broccoli florets and sauté some more. In a separate bowl, mix three tablespoons of soy sauce, a teaspoon of ginger paste, a spoon of sugar, a spoon of mirin, a spoon of cornstarch and a little water to make a thick sauce-like consistency. Add to the wok. Now add your cooked udon noodles and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes before taking off the heat.

Serve with a generous bit of pork floss, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds! Yum.


Monday, July 24, 2017

The Crustacean Tail

Lobster tails have been on my mind for a while now, so I decided it was time to get my hands dirty. As a working professional, elaborate things such as lobsters aren't hard to tackle on a weeknight... not if you have garlic and butter at home! This recipe is probably one of the easiest ways to prepare lobster tails in less than 30 minutes!

Lobster tail with garlic butter and herbs

To butterfly a lobster tail, plate one flat on a cutting board with the head side facing you and the tail side facing away. Using kitchen shears, cut down the center of the shell at the top until you reach the beginning of the tail. Turn the tail around to the side with the ribs, and crack all the ribs. Turn the tail back around to the cut shell and use your fingers to pry open the shell and dig out the lobster meat in one piece; leave it attached to the tail bit. Place the meat on top of the now-empty shell. Prepare four of these and place them in a baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Mix in a bowl a spoon of Dijon mustard, two spoons of melted butter, a spoon of pressed garlic, a spoon of oregano, salt, pepper and paprika to taste, two spoons of lime, and a spoon of finely chopped coriander. Maybe add a small drizzle of olive oil. Pour this mixture over the lobster tails, and add an additional slice of two of (solid) butter on top of each. Pop the baking dish into the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the lobsters look solid and opaque.

To serve, take the lobster tails out of the baking dish and put on a plate, then spoon the liquid leftover in the dish onto the tail generously like a sauce. Season if you want, and serve with something light on the side!


Monday, July 17, 2017

The Texas Czech

Traditionally, a kolache is a wonderful little Czech-style pastry with sweet fillings. Trust the Americans to take it a step further, turn it savory, and serve it with picante sauce!

Texas-style kolaches

To make the dough, mix together 2-3 cups of flour (as required for dough consistency) with a spoon of butter, a spoon of dry yeast, three spoons of sugar, a quarter cup of warm milk, an egg, water as required and a pinch of salt. Fair warning: the dough will be very sticky, but should be firm enough to start to come together. Wrap in cling-wrap and refrigerate for 4 or more hours.

You can have a variety of savory stuffing options, from a breakfasty egg and bacon scramble to a sausage to curried chicken! Keep your stuffing ready while you preheat the oven to 180C. Get the dough out and roll into 5-7 balls. Make a dent in each ball and stuff with your choice of filling and pinch the dough up around the stuffing to cover. Place the balls seam-down on to a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden!

Serve with picante sauce.


Monday, July 10, 2017

The Salmon and Veggie Penne

Pasta doesn't always have to be an unhealthy, saucy, creamy thing, even though who can say no to a hearty fettuccine alfredo, really! Here's a simpler alternative.

While your two and a half cups of penne pasta (made of whichever wheat you're currently considering healthy) are boiling to al dente, combine a cup of sundried tomatoes with half a cup of cashews, half a cup of parmesan, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, three pods of garlic, a spoon of olive oil, and salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Blend together to make a pesto.

Cook four slices of a skinless salmon fillet in a pan with a little oil (four minutes to one side, three to the other) and take off the heat. Flake with two forks. Set aside.In the same pan, add a spoon of chopped garlic, a cup of broccoli florets and two cups of sliced mushrooms and saute until the water from the mushrooms has dried up. Add a spoon of chilli flakes and stir. Add the cooked pasta and the pesto and turn off the heat. Combine together and add the flaked salmon. Serve with a garnish of freshly grated parmesan and coarsely ground pepper. Serves two.


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Salmon Roll

Just back from a vacation full of binge-eating and I've put on two kgs in two weeks! What do you do when you're jetlagged, sleepy, bloated and just not fit to operate a stove?

Smoked salmon rolls

To make the guacamole for the stuffing, coarsely blend together a peeled avocado with a shallot, a small tomato, two pods of garlic, a teaspoon each of cumin and paprika, salt to taste, half a lime, a teaspoon of olive oil and a fistful of coriander leaves.

Lay out some cling-wrap and sprinkle sesame seeds on it. Spread eight slices of smoked salmon on it and spread guacamole and a thin layer of cream cheese on each slice. Sprinkle chopped chives on top and roll up the smoked salmon! Serve as appetizer or with steamed broccoli, and say yes to an extra-healthy Monday!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Patty

Souvenirs aren't the only thing that you can bring back from vacation! I've been meaning to put up something by this friend of mine for a while because she posts the most amazing food pictures on Instagram, and now I can!

Neha's meat patties, in her words.

Marinate 500g mutton kheema (mince) with a spoon of each: turmeric, chili powder, Garam masala, coriander powder, ginger and garlic paste and a tad bit of curd for like 30mins to overnight. Cook the mixture in the cooker with a little bit of water. Keep one chopped onion and a boiled potato ready. In a pan, add some oil put some jeera (cumin seeds), chopped curry leaves, onions and sauté it. Add the boiled crushed potato, add the kheema mixture until it becomes dry. After the mixture cools, make small patties....dip it in an egg and then bread crumbs and shallow fry. Ta-da, mutton parties are ready to eat!!!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Turkey Muffins

Meatloaf on a go? I think so!

Preheat oven to 220C. Sauté together half a chopped onion, a cup and a half of chopped mushrooms, and a cup of finely grated or chopped carrots, with three cloves of chopped garlic in a little olive oil. Add a spoon of garlic chilli sauce and a spoon of Peri Peri sauce. Add this mixture to half a kg of minced turkey in a bowl with an egg and half a cup of grated parmesan cheese. Mix together and spoon the mixture into greased muffin pans (should make 6). Top with pizza sauce. Bake for 25 min, and serve with your favorite greens!


Monday, June 12, 2017

The Mango Fish Tacos

I'm out of creative names for dishes.

Fish tacos with mango avocado habanero salsa

Slice three large basa fillets into fingers, and coat them in a mixture of flour, salt and paprika. Bake in the oven at 220C for 10 to 12 minutes.

While the fish bakes, mix a cup of chopped mangos with a chopped avocado and a tablespoon of habanero sauce. (I do this as a nod to an "incident" with an actual habanero.) Add a teaspoon of crushed garlic, salt to taste, two big spoons of chopped coriander and a quarter lime.

On the side, sauté two cups of sliced button mushrooms and set aside.

Toast each tortilla (whole-wheat, in my case) in a pan and stuff with lettuce, rocket, shredded carrots and corn. Add the sautéed mushrooms. Add three or four freshly baked fish fingers to each taco, slap on a dollop of Greek yogurt and load up on the salsa. Garnish with coriander leaves and lime! Should make about 6 tacos.


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Cilantro Lime Kick

Happy Monday! I cheated so much last week and I badly needed a no-carb Sunday night to prepare for a stricter week ahead just so I can cheat again next (long) weekend :) Here's another easy one pot recipe for a weeknight.

Pan-fry about 750g of chicken thighs (boneless) rubbed with salt, pepper and paprika in a little butter for 6-7 minutes on one side and 4 on the other. Take the chicken out of the pan, and add to the same pan a teaspoon of chopped garlic, a half onion, finely chopped, a half cup of coriander leaves, chopped, and a sliced lime. Sauté with the leftover chicken fat and butter in the pan before adding two spoons of yogurt, a cup of milk, two spoons of mango and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (all this to avoid using cream). Add chicken back in and simmer to thicken. In the last 5 minutes of simmering add sliced mushrooms. Serve on a bed of salad leaves and carrots.


Monday, May 29, 2017

The Jamun Session

Hand-made gulab jamun is probably one of the best things in the world, and my friend, Apoorva, does justice to my favorite dessert like no other.  Here's her awesome recipe.

Mix a cup of milk powder with a third of a cup of maida (or all-purpose flour), a spoon of sooji and a small pinch of baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add enough warm milk to start making a soft dough (will be close to two or three spoonfuls, and a spoon of ghee. Let the mixture sit for five minutes to let the dough soak up the milk well, before greasing your hands with ghee and making little balls from the dough. Fry these balls in ghee until light brown, and set aside.

Meanwhile heat 3 cups of water, to which, add 3 cups of sugar. Boil the mixture, and add a couple of cardamoms and a teaspoon of lime. Simmer until thickened and properly combined. Add the fried dough balls in the syrup and let sit for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with chopped nuts and serve hot, preferably with cold ice cream to really turn it up!



Monday, May 22, 2017

The Navratan Korma

Vegetarian curries can get rich and fancy too! This mixed vegetable curry is rich as well as healthy, and would make a good party dish!

Keep aside three spoons of peas, a half cup of beans, half a cup of carrots, half a cup of blanched chopped cauliflower, half a cup of corn, and half a cup of chopped paneer. Dice a small onion and sauté in a spoon of ghee with a red chilli, a spoon of grated ginger and a small spoon of chopped garlic until the onions are cooked through. Add a medium diced tomato, a half spoon of turmeric, a spoon of paprika, half a spoon of cumin powder and half a spoon of coriander powder, and a pinch of garam masala, and sauté for another two minutes. Grind the entire mixture in a blender with half a cup of almonds, a spoon of poppy seeds, two spoons of cashews and enough water to allow for a smooth paste.

Heat a little more ghee and add a spoon of cumin seeds. When they crackle, add a handful of cashews and sauté for two minutes before adding the veggies set aside. Add the paste after the veggies start to look cooked, and a spoon of yogurt. Simmer for five minutes before adding a pinch of kasuri methi. Take off the heat after two minutes, and garnish with sliced almonds. Serve hot with rotis/naan!


Monday, May 15, 2017

The Curry Puff

So I thought I'd make sausage rolls, Aussie style... And changed my mind like the curry-khor that I am... So now we have chicken curry puff rolls, and it's a good Monday!

Marinate slices of 500g of boneless chicken thighs in a spoon of salt, a half spoon of turmeric, a spoon of chopped green chillies, a fistful of chopped coriander leaves, a half spoon of cumin, and a dash of lime. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C, and saute a half finely chopped onion, a finely chopped stalk of celery, and a spoon of chopped garlic in a little olive oil until the onions soften, then add to the marinated chicken. Lay out two sheets of puff pastry, and divide the chicken onto the middle of each. Fold the pastry around the chicken like a roll. Brush the top with egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds before popping the rolls into the oven for 30 minutes.

Once cooked, slice and serve with your favorite greens!




Monday, May 8, 2017

The Vegan Breakfast

.... or a great high-protein meat detox breakfast for a power-packed Monday morning! You don't have to be vegan to try this, and it's so easy!

Chickpea Scramble

Heat half a chopped onion, a third of a chopped red capsicum and (optionally) half a spoon each of grated ginger and chopped garlic in a pan with a little olive oil. Cook until translucent. Add half a chopped tomato, a cup and a half of boiled chickpeas, a quarter cup of the vegetable broth made while boiling chickpeas, half a spoon of turmeric, a generous dash of paprika (no other spices), and freshly crushed sea salt to taste. Crush some of the chickpeas to add texture to the scramble. Add more broth if required to make sure it doesn't dry up too much. Once you're happy with the texture, add a handful of chopped coriander, stir for another minute, and take off the heat.

Serve on a crusty slice of sourdough or wholemeal Vienna, and you've got yourselves a ten-minute breakfast!

PS: This makes for a fabulous post-workout snack as well.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Molten Lava Cake

This one is actually really easy to make; it's too bad I (unintentionally) stabbed myself with a knife the day I was supposed to make it; here it is, one day later.

To make the ganache that goes inside the cake, melt half a cup of chopped up chocolate with a little more than half a cup of cream, boiled and poured boiling hot over the chocolate. Mix until smooth, then refrigerate. Once the ganache is hardened and glossy, roll into little balls (like truffles).

For two molten lava cakes, mix half a cup of self-raising flour with two fat spoons of cocoa, one egg, a fourth of a cup of finely granulated sugar, a half teaspoon of vanilla essence, and about 100g of melted butter. Mix well in a bowl with a spoon until there are no lumps left.

Divide the mixture into two lightly greased ramekins; make sure the mixture only comes up to half of the depth of the ramekin. Add a ganache ball (truffle) in the middle and put the ramekins in a pre-heated oven at 220C for 10-12 minutes or until the outside has just set. Get the ramekins out; run a knife around the sides and dump the cake upside down onto a serving bowl. Add ice-cream and toppings of your choice, and dig in right away!




Monday, April 24, 2017

The Fish Stew

David Muñoz is going to murder me in my sleep someday for adding chorizo and tomato to everything and then calling it Spanish. So I'm just going to call this a fish stew (obnoxious at best). Healthy alternative to whatever you're eating right now!

Add a sliced chorizo, a chopped onion and half a chopped capsicum to a little olive oil in a pan. Add a spoon of minced garlic and a sliced cayenne pepper and cook till the onion is translucent. Add a can of diced tomatoes (usually 400g) and half a cup of white wine and simmer.  Add salt to taste, smoked paprika, a handful of parsley, a cup of stock (or water and a little butter if you have no stock), a cup of cooked chickpeas, a sliced carrot, and a cup of beans, and simmer until reduced. Finally, add three or four fillets (cut into pieces) of your favorite white fish and cook, covered until poached. Serve with a slice of sourdough!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Honey Soy BBQ

Greetings, people on their holidays! We were camping all weekend so nothing too elaborate this post; here's a weird honey soy marinade for future BBQs or even a simple sauté sesh!

Mix a kg of boneless chicken thighs or wings with the following: a spoon of ginger, a spoon of chopped garlic, two tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of honey, a spoon of rice vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar, and a spoon of chilli paste (optional) for an extra kick. Marinate for at least an hour (or overnight) and cook over coal or pan-fry. Garnish with sesame seeds!

Happy holidays.


Monday, April 10, 2017

The Independent

Mondays are a great time to detox from all the bingeing over the weekend! This stand-alone salad needs no sides and adheres to no theme whatsoever, but I do guarantee its yum factor. These quantities are for 4 giant platefuls.

Here's everything that went into it.
Bacon bits, crisped, 1 cup
Sliced black olives, half a cup
Shredded carrots, 1 cup
Walnuts, 1 cup
2 sliced avocados
1 sliced tomato
3 minced pods of garlic
1 red onion, sliced
Rocket leaves, 3 cups
Baby spinach, 3 cups
Curried chicken, 2.5 cups
Aged Gouda, diced, 1 cup
Optional: 1 cup diced red pepper

For the dressing, throw together half a cup of coconut cream, half a cup of buttermilk, two spoons of vinegar, a spoon of sugar, a spoon of fish oil, two spoons of lime juice, a little lime zest, two spoons of finely chopped coriander leaves, a dash of garlic powder, a spoon of chili puree, a pinch of turmeric, and salt to taste.

Have a good detox!


Monday, April 3, 2017

The Alfredo

Fettuccine alfredo has been on my to-do list for as long as I first went to Olive Garden as a kid. There aren't that many pasta-loving noobs who'd say no to a creamy alfredo sauce. As I started experimenting with cooking, I held off on the alfredo sauce largely because the first time I actually made gulab jamun with my own hands and found out just how much sugar went into the dish, I almost stopped eating it completely. Thankfully I had a bite of my first fettuccine alfredo yesterday, which by the way is literally a 15 minute recipe, and I instantly knew that I'll never stop eating this scrumptious load of fat. For reference, I made the sauce by throwing in things until it tasted right, so take all my mentioned quantities with a grain of salt.

For about three fat serves, boil 250g fettuccine until cooked al dente, and drain. While the pasta boils, heat about three tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and add a small spoon of minced garlic to it. Then add about a cup of cream, half a cup of cream cheese, half a cup of grated Parmesan, and salt and white pepper to taste. Simmer and thicken until happy with the sauce. (For a little more flavor, what I did was fry small pieces of chicken thighs in butter and garlic first, remove the chicken and then make the sauce in the same pan.) Throw in the fettuccine (and chicken), and we're good!
(Just, like, go for a run the next day or something.)


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Vegetable Chop

If you've grown up in or around West Bengal, this is the stuff you've had in trains or run out to the local corner shop for in the evening when unexpected guests showed up at home. If you've not had the pleasure, this is what you've missed out on. The perfect street food-turned-fancy-beetroot-croquettes.

For 15 to 20 chops, roast half a teaspoon each of cumin and fennel seeds, 6 cloves, 3 cardamoms, a small stick of cinnamon, two dried red chillies, and a dried bay leaf or two, then grind into a fine powder. Mix this masala with two blanched and chopped beetroots, two mashed carrots and two mashed potatoes, and a spoon of ginger paste, half a cup of crushed roasted peanuts, salt to taste, and a pinch of sugar. Roll the mix into the shape of croquettes, and then roll each croquette in dry corn flour for a thin coat. Dip in a flour slurry and then coat with breadcrumbs and put in the fridge for 30 min or until you're ready to fry. , Deep fry and serve HOT with cucumber salad and kasundi (Dijon mustard sauce) to avoid sacrilege.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Dhoka Daalna

Here is a traditional Bengali vegetarian dish that basically gets eaten at every stage of its making. You'll see why.

Dhoka-r daalna

Soak 250g of chana daal overnight. Drain and grind with a spoon of salt, a dash of asafetida, an inch of ginger, 2 green chillies and half a teaspoon of baking soda. Transfer the mix into a greased steaming pan, and steam (preferably in a pressure cooker without its whistle on) for 5 minutes. TASTE IT! (YUM)

Cut the cooled mix into cubes and deep-fry in mustard oil. TASTE IT AGAIN. (Best snack ever)

Heat a little mustard oil in a pan and add to it two bay leaves, two cardamoms and 3-4 cloves, and a dry red chilli. Add a pinch of kalonji. Add half a chopped onion, a half spoon of garlic paste and a spoon of ginger paste, and then a diced potato, and cook together. Add half a small tomato and cook some more before adding a fat spoon of yogurt, and a spoon each of coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric and salt. Simmer with a little water until the potatoes are cooked, and then add the fried Dhoka pieces. Finish off with a spoon of ghee, a green chilli and a sprinkle of garam masala. Serve hot with rice! TASTE!


Monday, March 13, 2017

The Za'atar Chicken

.... Or as my husband insists on calling it, "The Za'atar Chicken from Qatar."

Preheat oven to 200C. In a baking dish, mix a kg of skinless chicken, bone-in, with a tablespoon of garlic, a spoon of sumac, a spoon of cumin powder, a spoon of paprika, two spoons of za'atar, a drizzle of olive oil, a diced onion and a few slices of lemon. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes; in the last 5 minutes of the bake, top with more za'atar and sumac (to taste), a quick dash of smoked paprika and a handful of chopped parsley. Serve with oven-crisp khubz and toum (garlic sauce)!


Monday, March 6, 2017

The Black Forest

I'm currently surrounded by birthdays (including my own last month), and baking cakes has never really been my star talent. Nevertheless, here's a stab at a very simple and easy black forest cake for my husband's birthday.

Bake a simple chocolate cake: a cup and a half of self-raising flour, 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 300g butter, half a cup of caster sugar, 3 eggs and a spoon of vanilla essence. Bake in a round dish at 180C for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the dish once cooled. Carefully make two through-and-through horizontal cuts to slice the cake into three round slabs. 

Get a jar of pitted cherries, about 600-700g. Remove 10-12 cherries for topping later. Take the rest of the cherries and a cup of the cherry juice they're in, and boil together in a saucepan with two fat spoons of sugar and a spoon of cornflour. If you're feeling quirky, add a spoon of spiced dark rum. Boil, then simmer, till the liquid is thick. Cool in the fridge.

Now, take 500g of thickened cream and beat with an electric beater till the cream starts to form peaks. On your cake base board, place the bottom slab of the chocolate cake. Dish out half of the cherry sauce on it. Cover with a layer of cream. Place the middle slab of chocolate cake and layer with the rest of the cherry sauce and another layer of cream. Place the top slab of the cake on top. Cover the cake with cream. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles or dark chocolate chips, or grated chocolate, or all three! Use the rest of the cream to put into a piping bag and make pretty stars, if you like! You're done.



Monday, February 27, 2017

The Labaabdaar

I love me some dried-up tangy masala! My mom made this yesterday and it needed to go up. Here's "Murgh Labaabdaar" from the mommy.

Cut a kilo of boneless chicken into bite-sized pieces. Marinate with the following: Salt, a spoon of oil, a spoon each of ginger and garlic, chopped or paste form, a big dollop of Greek yogurt and a spoon of garlic chilli sauce. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan and put a spoon of kalaunji/kala jeera/nigella seeds with two chopped green chillies, one finely sliced onion, and maybe half a sliced capsicum. Sauté for a little bit before adding the marinated chicken. Stir intermittently. Once the chicken is tender and no longer pink, add half a spoon of turmeric powder, a spoon of cumin powder and a spoon of garam masala. Once the chicken is almost cooked, dice a tomato and add that (so the tomato does not have the time to soften too much). If you want it creamy, add a little cream and let the masala dry up till it sticks to the chicken like sauce. In mother's own words, "cook till it is cooked" (profound).

Garnish with diced tomato and julienne capsicum, and maybe a little cream! Best with fresh parathas.


Monday, February 20, 2017

The Dakgangjeong

I'm the murderer of recipes. Last Friday I got some boneless chicken and covered it with spices and cornflour to deep-fry and douse in buffalo sauce for a Friday night-in. I had some marinated uncooked chicken left over, and figured now is as good a time as any to give Korean fried chicken, or dakgangjeong, a try. Except it was Sunday and I was lazy and man did I put whatever I wanted in the saucepan, and surprisingly still came up with relatively authentic-tasting (and looking) Korean fried chicken! So have at it.

Mix about 500g boneless chicken pieces (or chicken wings, ideally) with garlic salt, a little pepper, cornflour and just a little water to help coat the chicken well. Deep-fry till golden, and set aside.

For the sauce, in a very lightly greased saucepan, add a spoon of grated onion, a spoon of garlic paste, half a spoon of grated ginger, a small spoon of soy sauce, a proper spoon of rice wine, a spoon of chilli sauce, a spoon of sugar, a spoon of red chilli paste, a spoon of honey, and a pinch of Dijon mustard. 

Now here's the funny part - I didn't feel like leaving home to go get fresh groceries, so here's what I really put in the experimental sauce: a spoon of grated onion, a spoon of garlic paste, half a spoon of grated ginger, a few drops of soy sauce, a proper spoon of sushi seasoning (which is rice vinegar + salt + sugar), a tiny dash of Sriracha, no additional sugar, a spoon of honey, a spoon of red chilli paste, and a few drops of kasundi, which is basically Bengali-style Dijon mustard. I'm amazed at how well it imitated an authentic dakgangjeong sauce!

Anyway; simmer the sauce until thickened; then throw in the fried chicken in the saucepan and stir well till all the chicken pieces are well-coated in the yummy sticky red sauce! Garnish with sesame seeds. So crunchy!


Monday, February 13, 2017

The Mean Meen Curry

Everyone should have a Malayali friend who can cook up a storm and then have you over for lunch! Yesterday I was treated to a giant Sunday feast at my friends Jeena and Joseph's house, and one of the many, MANY dishes that they made was this lovely rustic fish curry that I thought needed to be shared. Here's the recipe in their own words.

 Meen Curry ( Kerala style fish curry)

Ingredients :
Fish - 1 kilo ( Spanish mackerel is what I've used here)
Kashmiri chilli powder - 2 teaspoons
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek powder - 3/4 th of a teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - as required
Crushed Ginger - as required
Crushed Garlic - as required
Curry leaves - as required
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Cambodge - 4 to 5 nos

Preparation :
In a bowl add some hot water  to soak the cambodge  and keep it aside.

Similarly mix kashmiri chilli powder, chilli powder , turmeric powder, fenugreek powder and salt with hot water. The paste should be in a semiliquid state.

In a vessel heat oil and crackle mustard.Then sauté  crushed ginger, garlic and curry leaves.
Add the masala mix and Wait till the oil separates from the masala.Then add cambodge along with the water and allow it to boil.Add required water so that  the fish is just immersed in the gravy.Once it boils add the fish pieces.
Once the fish cooks it's ready to be served !

To note :
A clay pot would be ideal to prepare Meen curry.


Monday, February 6, 2017

The Zucchini Fries

Zucchini fries for a healthy spin on fish and chips, except with these, it's the fish that's "on the side".

Julienne two medium zucchini. In a bowl, mix a cup of grated Parmesan, some sea salt, a spoon of paprika and a spoon of oregano to a cup of panko breadcrumbs. I actually also added two spoons of crushed dried curry leaves. Toss the zucchini in flour, then dip in egg, and then toss in this breadcrumb mixture before baking on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200C for about 12 minutes. No oil!

Serve with pan-grilled basa seasoned with Cajun seasoning with maybe some spinach and Sriracha for a kick. Hearty!


Monday, January 30, 2017

The Firebird

I'm still recovering from a junk-heavy holiday season, and need to shed those few extra pounds ASAP. Part of that involves going light on the carbs and heavy on the protein. Serve up a few of these spicy thighs with your favorite salad and you've got yourself a meal!

Spicy chicken thighs

Marinate five chicken thighs with a cup of yogurt, salt, a spoon of turmeric, a spoon each of ginger paste and garlic paste, a tablespoon of chilli flakes, a tablespoon of mustard oil, a spoon of chilli paste, a spoon of fennel seeds, a spoon of black cumin (kalonji) seeds, a small spoon of dry mango powder (amchur), a spoon of ground cinnamon, a spoon of ground cardamom, and a tiny splash of lime. Set aside for at least an hour (all day would be nice). Bake in the oven with its marinade (drain excess liquid occasionally) until the chicken is cooked through; I'd say 45 minutes on 190C. Serve with lime, and chopped parsley!


Monday, January 23, 2017

The Masala Balls

Why, yes, I do certainly actively look for the most ridiculous names for my dishes.

Kofta Masala

Mix the following in a large bowl: half a kg of minced chicken, a teaspoon each of ginger paste and garlic paste, one egg, a cup of chopped coriander leaves, a small, finely chopped onion, two chopped green chillies, salt, a teaspoon of turmeric, a spoon each of coriander and cumin powders, red chilli powder to preference, and a pinch of garam masala. Mix and let sit for a bit.

Meanwhile, heat up oil in a wide pan for shallow frying. Make balls out of the minced meat mix and place them in the hot oil. Cover and cook with the heat on low, turning the meatballs as required. Remove when 90% cooked and set aside.

In a wok, in a tablespoon of melted butter, add just a little ginger-garlic paste, another small chopped onion and a chopped tomato. Cook together till the onion is tender. Now add a little salt, a pinch of turmeric, and a little meat masala or just garam masala. Keep adding drizzles of water to keep the mix mushy. Add a tablespoon of milk and another tablespoon of almond meal, a pinch of sugar and a little more water, to create a mushy thick paste. Add the meatballs, coat them well in the paste and cook for two minutes. Take off the heat and garnish with green chillies and coriander leaves!

Leftover tip: Use up any leftover meatball mix by coating little patties in panko breadcrumbs and deep-frying to serve as chicken cutlets later!


Monday, January 16, 2017

The Legit Mushroom

Mushroom is a legit sabzi, and here is proof!

Mushroom kadhai.

Purée two tomatoes and set aside. Heat a little oil and add to it about 250 grams of sliced mushrooms. Mushrooms release a lot of water; once it evaporates, take the mushroom out. Heat a little more oil in the same pan and add a spoon of ginger paste and a spoon of garlic paste, along with small spoon of cumin seeds and one or two broken dried red chillies. Once the seeds begin to crackle, add and sauté a finely chopped onion and half of a julienne green capsicum. Once the onion is cooked, add salt, half a spoon of turmeric, a small spoon each of cumin powder and coriander powder, and a little paprika (preferably smoked). Stir together, then add the puréed tomatoes. Mix well till the mixture starts to really come together. If I'm having people over for dinner, I'd add a spoon of cream or full-fat milk at this point to introduce some creaminess in the gravy (completely optional). Add the mushrooms and sprinkle a generous spoonful of kasuri methi onto it. Cook for two more minutes and take off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves and optionally some julienne ginger and a dried red chilli.


Monday, January 9, 2017

The Haleem

Here's a dish I've been meaning to try for a while! Mutton haleem in all its glory.

Before you start, soak a cup of bulgur (wheat) in some water for at least an hour, and boil till soft. Similarly, soak a cup of chana dal for an hour and boil and mash. Set both aside.

Heat two spoons of ghee in a thick-bottomed pan, and add to it a sliced onion, a chopped green chilli, and a spoon of garlic paste. Once the onions are cooked, add salt, turmeric, a spoon of coriander powder and a spoon of cumin powder, along with a spoon of red chilli powder. Add half a kg of boneless mutton cut into small pieces. Cook for a while. Add a spoon of garam masala. Add your boiled wheat and chana dal mash and mix well. Add water as required, and cook together till the mutton is done. I'd recommend using a hand blender to break the mutton pieces down a little because mutton will take forever to cook, and your haleem will turn darker the longer you have to cook it, which is why my haleem is so dark!

On the side, fry thinly sliced onions in ghee for garnishing. Julienne some ginger and chop a handful of coriander. Once the haleem is done, use these to garnish. Serve with naan/rice and a slice of lime! Fiery.


Monday, January 2, 2017

The Pão de Quiejo

Happy 2017! Last year I had planned to make these for breakfast on New Year's Day, but my local supermarket's response to "Where is the cassava flour" is "what's that?" A year later, I managed to find tapioca starch in the Thai aisle, and here we are.

Pão de quiejo is a small Brazilian snack roll with cheese in it. This is my husband's uncle's recipe, and is meticulous and specific, and yet I barely did justice to it. Nevertheless:

Heat a cup of milk with a cup of water and 2/3 cup of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Take off the heat as soon as it starts boiling. On the side, mix two spoons of salt with two cups of cassava flour/tapioca starch. Add this to the hot liquid gradually while stirring all the time with a spatula. Once it starts to cool a little, use your hands to knead.

Once the mixture has cooled down, add two cups of grated Parmesan cheese and knead well. Now begin to add eggs. It may take up to 4-6 eggs for the dough to finally stop sticking. I added six eggs and my dough became a custard - smart - so I had to add a cup or two of dry cassava flour till the dough started looking like dough.

Preheat oven to 190C. Line a cookie tray with baking paper. Roll 1" diameter balls out of the dough and place them far apart (like cookies). Bake for 20-30 minutes (my first batch was done in 20 so do keep a watch). Enjoy them hot! Freeze the rest of the balls for spontaneous pão de quiejo whenever you like!