Food (53) Fitness (10) Nature (7)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Baked Beans on Toast

What do we do when there is no time for food?

Fig. 1. Baked beans on Toast

We open a can of Heinz or any other baked beans (without brown sugar) in a medium bowl, add tomato ketchup, red chili powder (to taste), and heat up the mixture in a microwave. Top a couple of toasted slices of bread with cheese slices, the baked beans mixture and (if time permits) some chopped onions and green chillies! Quickest possible meal in the tightest possible schedule.. reasonably healthy, very satisfying, and oh so spicy-crunchy-tasty!

Happy weekending!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda

Hi everyone.. Kadhi Pakoda today. Sanjeev Kapoor's Kadhi and Raaga (The Singing Chef)'s baked pakoda. Can't go wrong, eh? Right on! :)

Fig. 1. Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda

Sanjeev Kapoor's Punjabi Kadhi goes back to "olden" days. Family and friends used to love this Kadhi so it became the norm to make this North Indian version. But we sometimes exhaust a dish by repeating it way too often. Thus was the fate of this recipe. And by now, no one in the house really thinks Kadhi is a great dish. Reeks of monotony.

What's worse is that right from the beginning, the "anti-oil" and "anti-deep-fry" in me has always skipped pakodas in the kadhi. So really what I make is only kadhi, never kadhi pakoda. We do occasionally make pakodas at home, but they are never destined for kadhis. So Kadhi-Didi, sadly, is relegated to the rome-shome status on my menu and I almost never make Kadhi if I can possibly help it now. :(

Past few days I noticed kadhi-pakoda show up on quite a few Blogs, Sayali's and Priya's for instance. Those posts and their pics brought to my mind that it's been a while since we had some kadhi. I also noticed the fact that no one posts only kadhi! Am I the only one making kadhi solo? Maybe making the pakoda would be a good way to freshen up our kadhi-palate!!

I have plenty of besan sitting around that would be happy to receive some attention, so kadhi is a good candidate. This week I also had some spare cabbage sitting in my crisper. So I figured it is time to think about making pakodas. That would consume besan as well as the cabbage. And now I have the world of blogs at my disposal. Why worry about frying!! I set about searching for good "baked pakoda" recipes. And of course Raaga's blog quickly provided me a promising start!! So my plan to make kadhi-pakoda got a resounding "lock kar diya jaye!"

Extreme Make-Over Kadhi Edition begins!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pav Bhaji

My favorite!!

 Fig. 1. Pav Bhaji

A real crowd pleaser too! Easy to make and scale up for larger numbers of people, and the best part is... it also clears up my refrigerator and pantry. I have rarely "planned" to make pav bhaji. Pav bhaji means unexpected guests! When someone suddenly calls up on a weekend and says "Hey, want to meet up for a buffet lunch?" and we groan.. not buffet.. and offer to make pav bhaji at our place. ;)

I always have onions and potatoes handy, as well as carrots in the refrigerator. Pav bhaji is the gift-of-life to all the spare, leftover vegetables in the refrigerator. Any vegetables that are left over in small amounts - a handful of green-beans, a fistful of peas, small amounts of cauliflower, that solitary capsicum.. all roll into a big pot, mash-mash-mash and we make pav bhaji.

We usually make do with ordinary bread, but occasionally we will pop over to the store to grab real "pav" or at least "water rolls" if they are available. I find water rolls work reasonably as a substitute for pav. Since I have started blog-hopping I have discovered a host of people who make their own pavs - for instance Fantasy Cooking, Jugalbandi, Spice-Club, One Hot Stove and Enjoy Indian Food . So those would be something for me to keep in mind if I get into baking with yeast in future (the woman with a half-clean pantry does not buy yeast till she is confident she will have the time and opportunity to use it in at least 3 different dishes).

The recipe I use usually for Pav Bhaji is...... the-one-on-the-box!! This is what I routinely make and is embedded in my spinal reflexes. Decent recipe. And honestly I had never paid too much attention to which pav bhaji masala I use. It happens to be Everest quite by fluke. Which brings me to note that another pav bhaji recipe to keep in mind is Nupur's Sukh Sagar Pav Bhaji. She expressly recommends Everest, skips onions (which is unusual), and her recipe is quite well spoken-for in the Indian-food blogging world. So I certainly will try that too in future.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snail run

I run like a snail. "It's ok, just carry on!" I say to myself. And as an affirmation (doesn't happen often, so it's a nice fluke) I actually saw a snail 3 times this week! On the exact same spot! Oh ok, roughly the same spot.. this guy gets about 2 inches ahead each day. Not sure where he is headed.. I guess to the right?

Sometimes the going is really tough. And it's all very easy to say "Ya, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.." Easier said than done. I am the one who is running!! But just when I start to wallow in self-pity along comes Snail-esh! I saw him on Friday, then again on Sunday and now again today. He's one tough guy!! He has moved less than a foot in the last 5 days. But does he stop? Does he give up and turn back? Nope! You can actually see from the trail of those "wet" (what are those for God's sake?) spots behind him... and none in front, that he stays focused straight ahead!! Slow and steady he trudges on. He doesn't stop, doesn't give up. And what if I had run over the poor guy?!!! He is tiny enough that I could have crushed him in the dark!! I guess Snailesh Dada has more than just determination on his side.. He believes no one will crush him whether inadvertently or.. um.. advertently. I guess there is something to his positivity.

I just have to give it to Snailesh! Stay focused, determined and positive! We will get there!

Cheerio and thanks for reading!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Zucchini Pachhadi / Chutney

Hey everyone.. Zucchini Pachhadi today.. a surprisingly delicious dish! Great find for me!

Fig. 1. Zucchini Pachhadi
I like Zucchini as a vegetable. It is like french beans or green peas for me. It has a fairly neutral taste. Goes well with anything. So I use it as a filler vegetable to add body to my mixed veggie dishes. I don't think most of the family like the name Zucchini. So it is very important to disguise it. But they all happily eat it, no questions asked, when mixed with miscellaneous vegetables.

My grocery store, for some strange reason, prefers to stock items in batches. You have to buy a whole bag of several zucchinis at a time. No single pieces. But, I just need one or two pieces. Not more than that. Sorry, no such option. So I have to get a whole bunch at a time. I do easily use up about two in some or the other mixed vegetable dish, dosa, etc. But there are only so many of those to be made in one week.. so then I have to rack my brains as to how to consume the remaining zucchini!! Unfortunately zucchini goes bad fairly rapidly.. I would give it a week at most. By the end of 7 days the Zucchini in the refrigerator is already screaming for attention.

I had noticed Priya's Zucchini Pachhadi a few days ago and kept in mind for the next time I have excess zucchini. Rare (and risky) for me to try a zucchini-only dish. But that is the best way to consume a whole bunch of it at once! Can darling Zucchs pull off flying-solo?!! Priya confidently stated in her writeup that even her husband liked this one. I figured that was good enough for me. Let's give it a shot! :)

And voila...!! This pacchadi is truly worth its salt! The garlic and seasoning give it a very fragrant and flavourful taste. Totally worth the trial! Thanks for this recipe, Priya! My family consumed this pacchadi quite happily. And given my grocer's incorrigible habits, I will certainly be making this pachhadi again! :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Basic Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Hey everyone.. I wanted to send a few friends some foodie sort of gift. So I made a small batch of chocolate-chip cookies.

Fig.1. Basic Chocolate-Chip Cookies

What do you make when you have to parcel a food-gift to family or friends in other cities? At such times one has to rely on courier and postal delivery services which may take anything from 2-15 days to be delivered. This means the item has to be non-perishable. It has to be really dry so it doesn't harbor fungus, mold or germs while sitting in hot weather in the back of a truck or store-rooms. It has to be tough/firm so it doesn't break inside the package. Are there other concerns I am missing here..? Oh, how about it should taste decent.. :D

Cookies are my standard backup for such times. They can be made reasonably dry, so they stand the trial of time. So far the chocolate-chips have never actually melted. And the cookies have almost never broken or crumbled if packaged even modestly well..

This recipe is from the Betty Crocker website. If you follow instructions strictly, I would say you should check out the original recipe. I had found this recipe long back and have been making it whenever in need of basic cookies. I make variations in terms of different types of chips, nuts, etc flavoring the cookies. Here I will detail my version, which is roughly half of the recipe listed on the website. I have also included the changes I make having read some suggestions in their comments sections to make them softer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Achari Murg (Tangy, spicy, chicken curry)

Hi everyone! I wrote this post some days ago.. then I don’t know which keyboard buttons I hit accidentally, the entire text got deleted and before I could undo that, in less than a second… blogger auto-saved the post that way!! Oh my.. was I frustrated!! A whole post accidentally deleted!!! I searched.. but I could find no way to recover the text! It took me a while to get it all written again. Fortunately this recipe is worth re-writing many times.. just had to find the time. :)

Fig. 1. Achari Chicken

We had tasted a delicious non-vegetarian pickle with a very distinctive North-East Indian flavor a while back. Since then I have been on the look-out for such a pickle. I recently spotted this Achaari Murg recipe at Soma’s blog, Ecurry. This is not a chicken pickle really, it is a chicken curry. But the spices used lend a very clear north-east touch to the recipe. So I thought it would be a good idea to try out this dish and then maybe adapt the recipe in future to make chicken pickle.