Friday, 28 December 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup for the Indian Palate

Winter just demands soups. You cannot have winter without craving for soups, just as you cannot have a rainy day without a craving for pakoras and masala chai.

I am bored of the standard tomato soup though I love it and I wanted to try something different. I found this recipe for roasted red pepper and tomato soup and have adapted it for more traditional Indian palate and a kitchen where there is no oven. It turns out to be a lovely thick soup with a light roasted spicy flavour from the red pepper and the tang from the tomatoes. And it makes a good, healthy one-dish meal for those watching out for their weight.


2 red peppers
2 tbsps olive oil
3 medium sized tomatoes
1 medium sized onion
6-7 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
4-5 whole peppercorns
Salt to taste


Wash the red peppers and dry them, apply some olive oil over them and roast them on the gas stove.

Deskin and deseed them, its easy to deskin roasted peppers. Blend the peppers in a food processor with the onions, garlic and the tomatoes. Heat oil in a pan add the bay leaf and the peppercorn. Add the prepared pepper soup puree and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste. Serve hot garnished simply with a corriander leaf and enjoy the sipping pleasure!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Thai Red Curry

Look at the beauty of the thick red curry below. I wish I could share the refreshing spicy lemongrassy coconut-y fragrance rising from it and I made it from scratch!

I stumbled upon Thai Red Curry at 14 when one of my favourite restaurants Monis, one of the oldest restaurants in Thane, introduced new dishes in their menu. I took a chance despite reading coconut and I fell in love at first bite! Since then it has always been my preferred order at the restaurant and even at Thai restaurants with a wider menu, I still order this comforting meal.

I have tried to figure out how to make it without having to buy the readymade pastes and having to hunt for the ingredients all over the world! I have finally attempted and cracked the recipe for an Indian kitchen with most of the ingredients now most commonly found in one. The only new ingredient we don't find are the lime leaves, but a trip to Crawford helped me with it. I am sure they are available with certain vegetable vendors (hey now they stock lettuce and cherry tomatoes and broccoli et al!) and next time I will look for them there.

Thai Red Curry (Vegetarian)

For the red curry paste

7-8 whole kashmiri chillies soaked in water for at least 3-4 hours
1 onion
6-8 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch piece of ginger
2 lemon grass leaves
5-6 Kaffir lime leaves (which the vegetable vendor I got from called it nimbu ka patta!)
1 tbsp dhania-jeera powder
Salt to taste

For the curry

1/2 medium sized red pepper diced
1/2 medium sized yellow pepper diced
1/2 medium sized green pepper diced
4-5 baby corns diced
200 ml coconut milk
2 tbsps olive or peanut oil
Salt to taste


Grind the chillies, onion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves dhania-jeera powder and salt to make a smooth paste.
In a deep frying pan, heat the oil, add the vegetables and toss them till they are a bit glossy. Add the red curry paste prepared as above and the coconut milk with the salt. Cook till it comes to a boil, you can add a bit of water for adjusting the consistency as you like it.

Serve it with a heap of hot steaming rice.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Starbucks (It Finally Feels Christmas-y!)

My friend and I missed Christmas yesterday, thanks to the really hot weather, the no Christmas trees around our places and me also because of no Christmas Carols or movies!

So today on a whim, we made a bit of a change in our plans for the day, and stepped into Starbucks (because it would be Christmas-y there!) and we weren't disappointed. Starbucks is spread over a decently large area for South Bombay or even Mumbai for that matter. The first thing that hits you, apart from the delightful smell of the coffee, is this space, the lighting, the soft lighting, the Indianised classic decor and for this season, the Christmas trees (there were 2, one large, one small!) and the carols! I was totally floored! We were so happy as it feels like you have stepped into a different world.

The Christmas Tree at the Mezzanine seating level

View of the reception and coffee serving area from the mezzanine seating level

Tree stump-like tables!

Decor shelf with old brass kettles and teacups, old books and some trunks.

 After enjoying the decor for some time and finding ourselves huge comfortable chairs in a corner of the cafe, me and my friend went ahead and placed our orders, a mocha latte, a white chocolate latte (something new, coffee with white chocolate!) and a fudge chocolate chip cookie. The coffees were fragrant and rich with the chocolate but the best part we savoured over was the cookie, it was pure sin. My friend who has stayed in Leeds in England for a year did comment that she couldn't find as good cookies in England at Starbucks as this one! Says quite something, I must say!

Mocha latte, White chocolate latte and Fudge Chocolate chip cookie

Me enjoying our time at Starbucks! (check out the huge chair!)

We did not have anything else as we had gone pretty close to lunch, but we do plan to go there again soon to try out the sandwiches that captured our interest.

Overall a good coffee experience!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Frankie (Vegetarian)

Frankie is one of Mumbai's favourite pick me up meal. A potato-vegetable, paneer, egg or chicken filling drenched in ketchup, chutney, mayonnaise, or schezwan sauce, with fresh shredded crunchy onions, cabbage, carrots served in a soft roti, is a good substitute for a meal, on the run.

My version of the frankie is a very simple and healthy version of the roadside snack, with inputs from my grand aunt who loves cooking too (it runs in the family!)

Frankie (Vegetarian)


For the roti dough

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

For the pattice

4-6 medium sized boiled potatoes
Salt to taste
2 tsps chilly powder
3 tsps amchur powder
2 tsps chaat masala
2-3 tbsps cornflour or maida
Oil for cooking

For the mint chutney

30-40 mint leaves
15-20 corriander leaves
Salt to taste
2 green chillies
1 tsp lime juice

Other ingredients

2 medium sized onions
2 parts salt 1 part chilly powder 1 part amchur powder and 1 part chaat masala for sprinkling
Tomato ketchup
Oil for cooking


First knead the dough as you would for rotis (it's a great way to use up leftover rotis!). Roll out rotis and roast them till half done on both sides.

For the pattice, mix all the masalas into the boiled potatoes well, shape into cylindrical flat pattice and shallow fry till golden brown on both sides.

Grind the mint leaves, corriander leaves, chillies, salt and lime juice with a little water (1 tsp) to make a refreshing mint chutney.

To assemble the frankie, cook one side of the half roasted roti using oil till done and flip and apply a little oil to the other side. As the other side cooks on the tawa, apply the ketchup, the mint chutney, place the pattice, add the onions (and other veggies like shredded cabbage, carrots if you prefer), sprinkle the masala. Roll the frankie and cook till the other side is done.

Serve hot with ketchup and chutney!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Corn Chaat

We Indians can 'chaat' anything up: fruits, vegetables, pulses.... name it and we're ready with our handy lemon, chaat masala, chilly et al to spice up the most boring of things! I tried this chaat recipe shared by a colleague of my sister and it turned out yummy!

Corn Chaat


1 cup boiled American corn
1 medium sized onion chopped
1 medium sized tomato chopped
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tsp chaat masala
1/2 tsp amchur (dried mango) powder
1/2 tsp rock salt
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp pepper
 Salt to taste

Chopped corriander to garnish

Mix up all the ingredients well in a bowl. Garnish with the chopped corriander and serve.

Note: You can substitute the corn with cooked pulses like brown or green chana or sprouts and it will be just as yummy!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Cannon Pav Bhaji: My Happy Meal

Mumbai pav bhaji has always been famous; but there is pav bhaji and then there is Cannon pav bhaji!

Located right outside CST (earlier VT) station, this place has been a landmark for years! The first time I had their pav bhaji was when I was in the 6th standard (about 12 years back) and was going to Birla Auditorium for an awards function and the taste hasn't changed since. It was also our Saturday special when we were studying at Xavier's (because it fits right into any college student's budget) and was on our bucket list of things to do when my friend came back from England after a  year! 

The pav bhaji made in huge quantities over these old cast iron tawas tastes the same from as far as I can remember it: perfect combination of spices, veggies with an overload of butter that just melts in your mouth (see the pic and you will see what I am talking of). This flavoursome (and not too pungent) mix of vegetables is served with two pieces of bread (again) drenched in butter! The best thing to wash it down with is the masala chhas they serve (its spicy, cold, tangy and yummy!)

Cannon Pav Bhaji with a just right overdose of butter and masala chhas: Our Happy Meal!

Cannon also serves misal pav, gajar halwa and wada pav, but I have never tried them because I go there for the pav bhaji and the masala chhas and that's what I stick to! The proof lies in the long queue of people, at any time of the day, having hot fresh pav bhaji right off the tawa!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Bhai Beej Special: Sheera

Today is a day of brothers and sisters... Bhai Beej... I am very close to my brother and over the years sibling rivalry has turned into sibling revelry for a variety of reasons. Of course this post is not dedicated to him (thought I am sure people who know me know I can end up talking for hours if I talk about my brother!) the dish I attempted for the first time today - sheera is dedicated to him.

Sheera is a surprisingly simple versatile sweet dish that can be had as breakfast dish in its simplest form, and is a traditional prasad for Satyanarayan pooja in a modified form. It also can be made with different bases like there is rawa sheera (the one which I made today), atta sheera (made from wheat flour) and can be made of various fruit flavours like banana, pineapple etc etc.

The one I made today was a simple rawa sheera with no jazz- just homely comforting sheera had hot...!

Rawa Sheera


1 cup rawa (semolina)
5 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 - 1 cup sugar


Heat the ghee in a kadhai and add the rawa in it to roast. When its roasted well, it will release an aroma and ghee will start to separate. At this stage add the milk and the sugar and keep stirring. The sheera will cook in the milk and when cooked will start to separate from the sides of the kadhai.

Garnish with dried fruits and serve hot!

Note: you can add a bit of green cardamom powder or seeds for more flavour.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Kashmiri Kahwa

Kashmiri Kahwa... the first time I had this tea was at Dolly's at Kolkata... (yes, not at Kashmir!) and I instantly fell in love with it!

Then I tried this tea at Tea Center at Churchgate and the love affair bloomed... so much so that I brought two packets of the tea bags from there and used up the one I was supposed to a gift a friend myself!

Today, I finally tried making this tea as I remember it from Dolly's and from the ingredients listed on the packet of the tea bags and voila! Kashmiri Kahwa as I remember it.

Disclaimer: this recipe is definitely as far as I know a deviation from the traditional recipe in terms of a couple of spices used or nuts added (like almonds are crushed and added but I personally do not like my tea to be chewed in any way!) but it makes for a wonderful tea!

Kashmiri Kahwa

2-3 green cardamom pods
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
2-3 saffron strands
1 green tea bag (or 1 1/2 spoons if you are using loose tea leaves)
2 cups water
Sugar to taste


Boil the water with the spices in it so that their flavour infuses well in them. Once the water comes to a boil add the tea and let it brew for about 2 minutes. Serve with a bit of sugar for taste!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Jewel of India

This post is courtesy a three hour buffet lunch I enjoyed thoroughly, thanks to the wonderful company I had!

Jewel of India located on the ground floor of the Nehru Center, in the heart of the city at Worli, makes for a fun and interesting dining experience on weekends. On weekdays, I have heard, it is full of employees of offices around (at least for lunch) and tends to be crowded. However, I went on a weekend and the restaurant was pretty decently crowded for a weekend and enjoyed the lunch.

The first thing that you notice about any restaurant is the ambiance of the place and Jewel of India scores well on this aspect. Warm colours, soothing paintings, plush seating, natural lighting (in the day at least) from a wall-sized window at a side with the food as the star of the show in the center.

The ambiance at Jewel of India

We started the meal with (no guesses for getting this one!) starters. The starters were an interesting combination of a onion bhajji chaat (onion pakodas served with dahi, imli ki chutney, teekhi chutney, corriander and sev), pani puri, mini dosas, fish fingers with a tartar sauce, lasuni chicken (boneless, melt in your mouth, garlicky chicken tikkas! yummmmmmmmmm!) 

Onion pakora chaat

Pani puri... all ready to be dipped in spicy water and eaten!

The garlicky melt in your mouth chicken goodness!

After spending about an hour and a half on the starters (most of it on the chicken... because a hot new fresh irresistible batch had just come in) some conversations and some laughter, we managed to hold ourselves from the dessert table (I swear it was secretly calling out to me!) and  moved on to the main course. The main course had some lovely meat and vegetarian gravies, meat and vegetarian biryani served with a basket of freshly made India bread (naan, methi parathas, roti) and baked bread rolls. I would recommend the creamy goodness of the methi matar malai (don't like peas but the gravy was out of this world!)

Indian bread basket

The plate full of Punjabi goodness!

And then finally (conversations aside) came the desserts! Such a wide variety to choose from. It was mango season (yes this post is THAT late!) so we had some mango crumble (though the mango was not deskinned properly and baking mango with the rest of the crumble kind of killed it for us!) a lovely chocolate pastry and another pineapple pastry (save it to be enjoyed last good! and I don't like pineapple really!), mousse, kulfi  and last but not the least fresh fruit!

My dessert plate (yes I am the good girl with the fruits on her dessert plate!)

The selection of desserts we sampled and enjoyed

My verdict? I would visit again for special lunches and celebrations!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Salli Par Eendu: With Love from Parsis

My crazy bawi! How I miss her since her last blink-and-you-miss-it visit from New Zealand last week. She was here to visit her sick grandmother and I was (right there!) with her, all the time I could spare from classes and tests (why?! why?! why?!)... the only thing we managed to cook together in this entire trip.. due spending large amounts of time at the hospital, a non-functional kitchen (where we had to even borrow cooking oil!) and her very short trip with long list of things she HAD to eat (Noorani's included!) was our favourite simple one-dish meal Salli Par Eendu (eggs on potato sticks).

This is a Parsi-style omlette is simple to cook, tasty and a great filler (passes all criteria I would have for dishes to make when I need comfort food!) Of course we devoured it so fast that I did not manage to (ok..ok... did not bother to as I was too busy eating it) click pictures but the next time I make it I will surely put up pictures!

Salli Par Eendu

Ingredients (for 2- 3 people)

50 gms potato salli (for every 3 eggs) - salli is thin fried potato sticks available at any stores that keeps farsan
1 tbsp oil
1 tomato sliced in thin round slices
1 green chilly finely chopped
10-15 leaves of corriander finely chopped
3 eggs
salt to taste


In a non-stick deep pan (used for shallow frying) heat some oil and layer the salli across the pan. Sprinkle some water across the pan (about 1/4th of a cup across the pan). Then, layer the tomato slices on the salli and cover and steam the salli and tomatoes for about 5 minutes till the salli and tomatoes soften.

While the salli is steaming, break the eggs in a bowl, add the green chillies and the salt and beat it till it gets a little fluffy. Once the salli and tomato are steamed, pour the egg mixture around the pan so  that it forms an even layer around the salli. Garnish with the chopped corriander on top and cover and cook till the eggs are done. This takes about 3-4 minutes when covered.

Delicious salli par eendu is ready to be served hot!

Tea: Oh Calcutta!

Thinking of tea... good tea always take me to Calcutta! Oh Calcutta! A tea lover's dream come true where even the "kulhad" chai you get on the streets is an amazing experience... especially after an uncalled-for off-season shower (which you've gotten wet in!)

Some of the tea experiences you should have in Calcutta (if you live there or just go there for a visit!)

Dolly's Tea Shop:

Brilliant! A small shop at Dakshinapan with a seating capacity of about 10 people (and it gets too crowded with that number) serves some of the most elegant tea I've ever had! The unbelievable variety of flavourful teas (of course!) personalised service (the owner is always there at the shop), the regulars, and the ambience of a busy high end bazaar... If you have great company (even if its just that of yourself!) you will have a gala time!

The Little Dolly's Tea Shop!

Mango tea (iced) and Kashmiri Kahwa (hot) at Dolly's tea shop

Apart from serving lovely tea, Dolly's also sells tea leaves, powder of various kinds. I had picked up Earl Grey tea (long leafed loose tea!), white tea and broken orange pekoe for gifts and have gotten great reviews about them. I would vouch for the Earl Grey tea too!

Cha Bar: Oxford Bookstore, Park Street

Located at the Mezzanine level of the Oxford Bookstore (books and tea! such a heady combination for me!), Cha Bar also serves an amazing variety of tea. The ambiance is high end with an amazing array of rarely-available-in-India teas such as the Russian Caravan. I have been to the Cha Bar in Mumbai too, which has a good collection of teas but is literally 5 tables crammed together in the middle of the small Oxford bookstore at Churchgate. Though the teas are worth a visit for if you can't make it to Calcutta!

Cha Bar, Calcutta

Russian Caravan (served so elegantly-check out that gorgeous spoon)

Teapot display at Cha Bar, Calcutta

Apart from that of course as I have already mentioned, the chai you get in kulhads by the street is also brilliant. The reason for this seems to be that all the tea produced in the North east states gets transported to Calcutta first for shipping, of course it gets dibs! And hence the amazing chai!!! :-)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Tea Tip

The tip to getting the right strength of tea (not too strong or light) when using loose tea leaves is to boil the water, switch off the stove, adding a teaspoon of leaves per cup and letting it brew till the tea leaves settle at the bottom... When they do, it perfect strength tea!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Little Food Things!

I came across this website the other day about enjoying the little things in life and it gave me immense pleasure to read it because I completely believe in this. This is an 'inspired' blog post about those "just little things" that give me that pleasure in the thing I love. So here's those little things (not in any order of preference) about food that make me go yay!

Watching a loved one enjoying the food you've made for them.

When a recipe just hits you and it just clicks together!

The fragrance that fills the room as soon as tea leaves are added to boiling water.

The first sip of hot tea

Comfort food

Having to blow on hot food just off the stove before gobbling it up.

Hot fresh soft rotis just off the stove!

A colourful platter of food (with so many dishes you can't decide where to start from! ;-))

The smell of freshly ground spices

Crispy pakoras

Misal pav!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Khichdi, the ultimate comfort food! At least for me, people tend to see it as sick food but then they probably haven't experienced the fun and depth of flavours simple khichdi can take on. A mushy hot mixture of lentils and rice cooked with some vegetables and served with a variety of accompaniments that do a lovely tango with it! You can play with the vegrtables used, the lentils used and the spices used and create such a variety of khichdis... its just amazing!

For me I guess the importance of khichdi is signified in these two closely related incidents. When (one of my two) best friends left for UK to study in 2009, the last meal we both shared together was a simple moong dal khichdi (by choice!) before she left for the airport and the first meal we had when she came back after a year in the UK was the same moong dal khichdi at the airport, when she landed. On both occasions, in full Gujarati tradition, there were about 20 odd "close" relatives that were around to drop and pick her up, and full Gujarati meals of thepla, dhokla, wadas, dabeli, something sweet, two drinks, tea were there (and when we picked her up at the airport it was 2 in the morning aaaaand all this was there eaten at the airport as the relatives waited for her to clear customs!), however the two of us were happy with our simple homemade moong dal khichdi.

This is a palak khichdi, a little more elegant than the simple rice-lentil khichdi we make in our regular menu, but a good khichdi to have.

Palak Khichdi with Tomato-Onion Kuchumber (Koshimbir/ Salad):

Palak Khichdi


2 cups rice (preferably basmati)
15-20 palak leaves
20-25 corriander leaves
1/2 inch ginger
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 green chillies
1 medium onion finely chopped
11/2 tsps shahi jeera
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4-5 cloves
4-5 whole peppercorns
2 tsps garam masala
2 tbsps oil for cooking
Salt to taste

Wash the rice and soak it for at least 30 minutes.

Blanch the spinach and chop it. Puree the leaves in a mixer with the corriander leaves, the ginger, the garlic, and the chillies.

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil. Add the shahi jeera when the oil is heated and let it crackle. Add the onion  and the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, the peppercorns and the cloves. Once the onions are translucent, add the palak puree and let it cook a little with the spices and the onions. Add the soaked rice and mix it well with the puree. Add the salt to taste, garam masala and the water to cook. Cook in the pressure cooker for about 3 whistles.

Serve hot with cold yoghurt, tomato-onion kuchumber and papad.

Tomato-Onion Kuchumber (Koshimbir/ Salad)

2 medium onions
2 tomatoes
1 green chilly
20-25 corriander leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, chillies and corriander leaves. Add the lemon juice, the salt and mix well to serve.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Palak kanda bhajiya with dipping sauce

Saturday again! And though its sunny outside in the middle of monsoon, it still doesn't take away tbe cravings for pakodas!
So what do I have available? Some spinach...and some onions... perfect for pakodas!
Here is the recipe of this snack, of  which I was just about able to snap a pic before it disappeared...
Palak onion bhajiya
10-15 palak leaves
1 medium onion
4 tbsp of besan
Salt to taste
1 tsp of rock salt
2-3 tsps dhania jeera powder
2 tsps jeera powder
Pinch of turmeric
1 1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp of ajwain seeds
Water to bind
Oil for frying
Shred the palak into 1 cm stripes. Finely chop the onion and add to the palak. To this add the besan and all the masalas. Mix this dry mixture so all the vegetables get coated by the besan and the masalas. Slowly add the water and bind till the batter is just about wet.
Heat the oil for frying. Make small balls of the mixture using your fingers (like small morsels of food are made while eating). Fry on medium flame till golden brown on the outside and cooked inside. Serve hot with the dipping sauce (recipe follows).
Dipping sauce
10 corriander leaves
5 mint leaves
1/2 green chilly
5 tbsps tomato ketchup
A pinch of dhania jeera powder (the clincher!)
Finely chop the corriander, mint leaves and the green chilly and add to the tomato ketchup. Add the dhania jeera powder. Mix well and serve.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday Evening Dinner: French Onion Soup

So its me and my bro again today for dinner since my mom and papa are fasting this month. I love cooking when its just me and my bro because he is pretty much open to trying new tastes and recipes that I want to try (maybe because I am good at selling whats in my mind to him!) and eats all of it with gusto. And he is also good at giving feedback... which I truly believe is an art!
I made my version of French onion soup today...a recipe which has been in my mind for a longggg time now! With some soft fresh bread to dip in it, it makes a great one-dish meal...well for people like me at least! :-)
French Onion Soup:
3 tbsp butter
1 medium onion
6 cups water
Salt to taste
1 seasoning cube (optional... I used the Maggi vegetarian one which is easily available nowadays)
P.S. Yes its just 5 ingredients!! You read that right!
Thinly slice the onions and separate them at the individual scales such that they are thin slivers.
Heat a pan and melt the butter in it. Add the onions and fry them on slow heat till they turn brown i.e. they are caramelised and release the wonderful buttery sweetish flavour. This takes about 10-15 minutes.
Add the water, salt and seasoning cube and bring to a boil. Voila! Hot lovely soup is ready to slurp!
I made two versions of the soup. I took some out for me before adding the seasoning as I love the flavour of the caramelised onions only and it's just brilliant!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Saturday Indulgence Cooking

I love cooking on Saturdays and trying out new recipes! Saturdays are a holiday, for just me and my brother at home and no compulsive need to cook something elaborate, just something yummy (of course!) and simple that the two of us can eat easily and chat over...
Here is another lovely snack I created today...
Fried Potato Rounders with Salsa Sauce and Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)
For the fried potato rounders:
3 medium potatoes
Oil for frying
Salt to season
Cut the potatoes (with the skins) and soak them in cold water into round slices about 1/2 cm thick. The soaking in cold water will prevent the slices from soaking up too much oil when frying.
Heat the oil well and fry (or half fry and refry) the potatoes till they are a wonderful golden brown. Remove on tissues to soak up the excess oil.
Season with salt while still hot.
For the salsa sauce:
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium onion
2-3 tbsps ketchup
15-20 corriander leaves
1 green chilly
2 pickled jalapenos
Salt to taste
Finely chop (very finely) the tomatoes, onions, chilly, jalapenos and corriander in a bowl. Add the ketchup and salt. I also added half a teaspoon of the pickling liquid used in the jalapenos that my friend had prepared for me with lovely flavours of the garlic, ginger and bay leaves in it...but this is optional if the jalapenos are store pickled in brine.
Let the salsa sauce rest in the fridge for 10-15 mins (maybe while frying the potatoes) for the flavours to mix well!
Garlic mayonnaise is readily available.
To serve, arrange the potato rounders on a plate, add the salsa sauce on each slice and serve with a small dollop of the aioli.
The crunchiness of the potatoes and the onions in the salsa sauce contrasts well with the creamy rich texture of the aioli and feels like an explosion of flavours and textures in the mouth.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

6 o'clock Snack

The golden dewy syrupy sweetness of honey glazed onto bread toasted in butter that has been liberally slathered on it with a mug of hot strong 'when-I-want-tea-I-want-tea' tea... Ahhhhh!!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Comfort Food

Hot steaming rice (preferably basmati - the queen of rice!)... dollop of comforting flavourful ghee melting over it, into it releasing its fragrance into the rice a sprinkle of salt for added taste... And memories of my granny mashing it all together to feed me... Comfort food truly!!!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Misal Pav - Aadhi Potoba

I have a love-love relationship with misal pav... I mean what's there not to like? Soft pavs dipped in a spicy gravy followed by a spoonful of the pulses and farsaan... Heaven!

And I had to share this because I think I have the second best misal of my life... At Adhi Potoba.

Adhi Potoba (literally the stomach first) is a small unpretentious restaurant bang opposite the main gate of the Mumbai University Kalina campus. Its speciality ad its 'tag line' gharchi aathvan (memories of home) suggests is home style Maharashtrian food. Pithla- bhakri, masale bhaath - alu bhaaji, khichi kadhi papad, varan bhaath toop, shikran poli to ne a few. The best part is its quite brilliant on a college student's budget and the food isn't too spicy or oily.

So was with the misal pav... not too much pf tarri (oily layer floating on top of the gravy). This little dish of delight, with quantity enough for two like me, was built up with matar and matki usal with pohe and batata vada stuffing and of course farsan, onions and tomotoes with a side of freshest pavs I've had in a restaurant and a wedge of lemon for that extra

It also serves other cuisines such as dosas, punjabi food, chinese food which is also very well cooked - my foodie friend had a rawa sada dosa which was totally thumbs up!

So if you are near Kalina (or not) and are looking for good food on a budget, do visit Aadhi Potoba, and if you try the misal pav... do tell me!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Food Fun

For me food is about fun, if you can't enjoy the experience (cooking, eating, anything related to food!), you just can't say you like it! So I thought why not a fun post on food?!

So the other day I was thinking of free association as a technique (Psychology student and not a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai fan!) and was thinking what are the first words I would think of if given these words:

   Food: Love

Yep, for me food is all about love! It takes just one ingredient to make a good recipe great! And it takes a lot of love for anyone to make great recipes everyday for the important people in their life. And yes, if I have cooked for you, then I love you!

Spice: Cinnamon

One of my most favourite spices. It enhances the flavours of sweet as well as spicy food!

Beverage: Tea

No second guesses on this one!

Kitchen: Moti (my grandmother)

All my images, understanding, memories, learnings, of a kitchen come from my granny, who introduced me to this magical world where some alchemy turns raw grains, different colourful powders (spices), vegetables into wonderful dishes that everyone eats with such love.

Salt: Pepper

The classic and the basic combination!

Dessert: Fruits

The one type of dessert I can ALWAYS have. Sometimes it can be an entire meal for me! :-)

Cooking: Creativity

I don't think anyone ever cooks the same recipe the same way twice (unless you're the clinical Macdonald's or other such food chain!)

A fun post for all the wonderful fun food brings into life.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Deciding a Menu (Chilly Garlic Fries today!)

I am a bookworm and a food fanatic. For me, it’s (almost) like Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. He couldn’t decide between giving up food or coitus (ah The Big Bang Theory!), I can’t decide between books and food!

And when it comes to deciding menus for what I want to cook, I have a beautiful analogy – for me it’s like choosing a book to read. Firstly what I will read or cook depends on my mood, “What book will go with my mood? Do I feel like a light chick lit, a classic Victorian novel, some poetry, a thriller?” Similarly, the menu will be highly dependent on what my taste buds crave, “sweet (very rarely), spicy, salty, sour…”.

Then will be the exploration stage. I will open my cupboard where all my books are kept, take some out, read their jackets (if I haven’t read them already) or remember its stories –when had I last read it, how did that book make me feel, what had I loved about it… if I remember a section I particularly like, I will quick go to it and read it again and take the book if it hits the right chord. Similarly for cooking, I will go through the ingredients I have, remember the times I have cooked the recipe, what innovations have I done with it, what had worked, and I will pick the ingredients accordingly and set them out for me to cook.

Then comes the lost in reading/ cooking and eating stage… a fairly self explanatory process.

Today’s recipe that got me: Chilli Garlic Fries

These ingredients should make fries enough for two people (or if you are like me then just one!)

3-4 large potatoes for the fries
Peanut Oil for frying
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 spring onion greens finely sliced
2-3 green chillies finely sliced
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
Salt to taste (Soy sauce already is quite salty, so you can skip this if you do not like too much salt)
Pepper to taste

Heat the peanut oil to prepare it for frying, Wash and cut the potatoes to make fries. I prefer keeping the fries a little thicker for this recipe. Fry and remove the potatoes on a tissue paper for the excess oil to get soaked.

In a separate pan, heat the olive oil. Fry the garlic and the chillies. Add the spring onion greens (you can save a few of the greens slices for garnishing) and the soy sauce. Toss the fries in immediately. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

Voila! A very simple recipe of French fries with a chilly- garlicy twist! (Will put up pictures soon!)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Breakfast Times

I pamper myself with my breakfasts. Surprised? Read on.....

During school days, 'breakfast' was a quickly gulped down, albeit filling glass of milk before hurrying to catch the school bus. The only time we (as a family) actually sat down and demarcated the first meal of the day as breakfast was on Sundays when grannie whipped up, either traditional breakfast dishes (poha, upma, idli) or more often than not, impromptu concoctions (toasted bread , bread, butter and tomato sandwiches with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, chips and dips).

It was when I was at Xavier's that my travelling distance and time increased, and I realised the value of having a healthy (or at least a hearty) breakfast. To motivate myself, I made breakfast time, "me" quality time and pampered myself no end!

Breakfast times at Xavier's had me spoilt for choice, be it anna's (the mess owner's) Toast and baked beans, or maggie with cheese and garlic, or Raju's quickly dished out hot soft omlettes with fresh pav with oddles of cheese or cutlet pavs with a the sour and sweet tomato ketchup (those were still my no need to control weight days....sigh!) or piping hot steamed idlis with a spicy tangy sambhar (it was me and my best friend's own version of sore throat remedy) to delightful dosas served with a dollop of butter that you could see melting till you carried your plate to your seat. All of these would be gulped down with a generous helping of  a double cappucino (the Nestle machine one which was somehow much better than what we got at Somaiya or get in the office vending machine), and the company of a good book for lit class or just CD and our chitter chatter.

For the past three years, I haven't really had much of choices as far as breakfast is concerned (you see I passed out of Xavier's) yet my breakfast time continues to be me times (unless I eat at my desk - but its still a meal I don't miss). Especially on weekends, when I make the effort to make myself a nice breakfast with a great cup of tea and spend time on it either with a sitcom or a great book.  Its the best way for me to start my weekend!

And then of course there are special occassions breakfasts (I come from a Gujju family after all!) with hot crisp neutral tasting fafdas with a spicy chutney that makes you just want to grab the next item on the menu, a sweet hot juicy jalebi! I can't wait for those occassions!

So the start of a new blog with a post about the first meal of the day that leads to great starts!