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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Coriander Chutney and Food Fiction

Coriander chutney was the first thing I ground when I got my Mixer!

 Fig. 1. Coriander Chutney

Many long years had I spent without a mixer and without great chutney. Finally the day came when I got myself a mixer and I lost no time getting together some coriander, (some mint is optional), green chillies, garlic, jeera, coconut, lime juice, salt and ground myself some green heaven! It went on idlis, dosas, sandwiches, you name it and it was slathered with this chutney! In a matter of days I became desperately dependent on my mixer. Now I simply cannot do without it any more! If anything happens to my mixer I will have to get down on my knees and beg for its well-being, "Bhagwaan, mainey aaj tak tumsey bohot kuch maanga hai... Ek aur cheez mujhey de de Bhagwaan!"

You can see that there is lots of nonsense overflowing with my chutney today. Sometimes it just cannot be contained. And if you give me events like "Of Chalks and Chopsticks", hosted this month by Sra of "When my Soup Came Alive", then I grab them with both hands and let the nonsense begin. (Disclaimer: The following story is free-flowing fiction with no commercial affiliations.)

The Princess and the Chutney
According to the legend.. was Princess Sumeetrangini who first discovered coriander. The distressed damsel was lost in the woods, when she chanced upon this divinely scented jadibooti. She was so enamored by the delicate 'erb, that when she returned, the bravest and the best were commissioned to procure coriander and satisfy her craving for its chutney. But the perils of the journey were so great that few remained to tell their tale.

Prince Vikramaditya was the Crown-Prince of the illustrious kingdom of Adityapore. When he heard about Sumeetrangini's unparalleled beauty and the legend of her desire for coriander chutney, he decided to undertake the perilous journey to obtain the mystic 'erb for the craving beauty.

The brave Prince scaled mountains, swam rivers, pierced forests, fought terrors and finally obtained a bunch of coriander!! Armed with the rare bouquet he arrived at the Palace to meet the enchanting Princess...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lettuce Wrap with Sprouts Salad

Hey everyone.. light summer lunch today. I had never had lettuce wraps before. Tried them at a restaurant once and was totally bowled over by the incredible idea! First breads were replaced by tortillas, now tortillas have been replaced by lettuce! What next, one may ask..

Fig.1. Lettuce Wrap with Sprouts Salad

Ok, I admit I will shortly be replacing iceberg lettuce with savoy cabbage when you read on. ;) I felt it was a mite stronger than lettuce, also a bit larger. So I could wrap it quite reasonably and it held the stuffing better. But I am still calling it Lettuce Wraps. :)

The versions I have tasted at restaurants have mostly been soy sauce based with non-veg stuffing. Sometime later I noticed this Sprouts Salad version at Manjula's Kitchen. I loved the combination she has suggested here - oranges and tomatoes with lightly cooked green moong sprouts. I couldn't get the idea of that cool, juicy, sweet and salty combination out of my head. Just had to try it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Methi Pulao

Hi everyone! Methi pulao is my Mom's most amazing rice dish. Many of our get-togethers back home have been flavoured by this rice and some spicy non-veg gravy based curry. And that is the most ideal recommended accompaniment for this dish.

Fig. 1. Methi Pulao

When I read about Priya's Think Spice - Fenugreek event (started by Sunita Bhuyan) I knew I could participate in it. I had a whole packet of frozen Methi sitting in my freezer that I needed to use. And no matter how little time one has, one has to eat! Question is always whether there is time to post the dish! :)

This pulao is very convenient to fill the lunch box. Lunchbox items comprise a large chunk of my cooking. The primary criterion for choosing dishes for dinner is "Can this go into the lunchbox tomorrow?" With this event around the corner, Methi Pulao just had to be made! Leftovers were packed into the lunchbox with a curry. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mango Milkshake

Almost end of season, but finally we found Mangoes!

Fig.1. Mango Milkshake!!

Mango Milkshake = Mango pieces or pulp + milk + sugar if needed, blended all together. The Mint is just for prettiness. ;)

Do you routinely garnish your dishes? choose fancy plates and tableware just so your food looks pretty? Do you make sure you use pretty table-cloth and mats to offset your dinner plates? Did you do this before? I guess with blog-hopping I have suddenly become aware of a lot of pretty things that I never knew existed.

But I also feel the food in my own blog-photos should really look like it looks on my real-life table. Not just a set-up for a picture. Otherwise the next time I casually make that very recipe I will feel a little let down without all the pretty show, no?

Umm.. that means we will have to get entire sets of fancyware!! At the very least I could collect dishes and plates of random orders and somehow make space for them all in my tiny little storage area. Now these ideas are only hovering in my mind so far, and yet I can see them quickly getting out of hand! ;)

I guess for now I will suffice with a bit of mint garnish on my Mango Milkshake!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Aloo Paratha

"Garam garam para(n)they!" Reminds me of Hindi movies!! :D

Fig. 1. Aloo Paratha

Aloo parathas are my favorite kind of parathas. And usually they turn out pretty decent. I feel that the trick to making really soft-soft aloo parathas is: 1) roll out the rotis a fair amount so it will be easier to wrap up the stuffing and 2) DO NOT stint on the potato stuffing! If you fill in plennn..ty of potato and wrap it up in the rolled out roti, there is no way the parathas can fail to wow anyone.

The only problem with supremely soft aloo parathas is, they just have to be served hot!! Once they cool down or are refrigerated they become somewhat average parathas. So I tend to make these parathas only in casual settings, with few eaters, and when I know I have time just before dinner and I can serve them still hot almost right off the pan.

That's how I served them this time, fresh and piping hot!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

K's Bhindi Masala (Spicy Okra)

This is my cousin, K's, recipe. How do bachelor guys cook when they live on their own? With some perseverance.. quite decent! :)

Fig. 1. K's Bhindi Masala

When you have neither time nor cooking skills and about 5 spices in your kitchen you really learn to appreciate straightforward recipes, the flavour of vegetables and the value of keeping salt on the table! ;)

This recipe is something my cousin got from his roommate's friend who got it from Sanjeev Kapoor's book. With second-third-hand filtering going on here.. one expects only minimal remnants of the original recipe. However, this dish tastes surprisingly decent! And considering how quickly it got made, this certainly qualifies as a "will-repeat" recipe in my book!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pizza Sauce

Old fashioned home-made desi pizza sauce.. the kind Mummy made when you were a kid, with a pizza base from Monginis? Yup! That's exactly what this one is..

Fig. 1. Pizza!!!!!

This is MM's recipe.. and when we make this it always evokes good old home food nostalgia.. Every one of my friends used to have their own version of homemade pizza and pizza sauce... some even just used plain old ketchup on Wibs bread. As far as we are concerned, this is the best pizza sauce out there, no matter if it is not authentic italian. Used to have this as kids on the teeny tiny Monginis pizza base. Now such tiny pizzas are called "personal size".. oo-la-la! :D Spicy, chatpata, garlicky sauce and crunchy veggies with Amul Cheese.. mmmmwah-mwah.. nothing like Amul cheese on this planet!!