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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Comfort Soup

Piping hot cream of mushroom soup on a cool rainy night is the perfect respite from all the holiday feasting, and takes minimal time and effort!

Sauté 2 cups of roughly chopped mushrooms, half a carrot (sliced), half a leek (roughly sliced) and 4 pods of garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter. When the mushrooms have shrivelled up, add salt and pepper to taste. Add a cup of chicken stock or water and a spoon of stock powder, simmer for 2 min, then transfer contents to a blender and blend. Move the contents back into the pan; add another cup of water and a half cup of cream. Grate a little fresh parmesan into the soup. Simmer (and add water) until happy with the consistency. Serve piping hot with crispy toast, and watch the rain from the safety of your couch!

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Tonkatsu Ramen

Our recent trip to Japan has us obsessing over Japanese food and sake! On my husband's demand, here's my first attempt at a chashu tonkatsu ramen; please forgive my gross estimations with the recipe adapted to be made in an hour instead of 6, as is traditionally demanded by this dish. I have so much more respect for ramen now!

This recipe will serve 3.

In a pressure cooker, boil a cup and a half each of pig bones and chicken bones. Since those are hard to come by, I just bought some pork ribs and chicken necks and used them instead. While that's happening, heat a spoon of vegetable oil in a fry pan and saute together a half cup of chopped scallions, half of a leek (chopped), 7-8 cloves of garlic (chopped), an inch of ginger (chopped), and a cup of chopped mushrooms. Once the bones are boiled until the meat is white, drain the water and wash the bones and pop them back into the pressure cooker along with the sauteed chopped vegetables. Add 6-7 cups of water, put the lid on and cook for 30 min or until the broth is milky and opaque. (This is, unfortunately,. a replacement for the 5 hours of low-heat boiling that creates a beautiful ramen; if you have the time, do that instead).

During those 30 min, place a 300g chunk of pork belly skin down in a lightly oiled pan and cook for 15 min on high heat; then flip sides and cook the other side for 6-8 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to pan a half onion (chopped), a half leek (chopped), half a cup of chopped mushrooms, 4 chopped cloves of garlic and half an inch of ginger (also chopped). Add a spoon of miso, a dash of mirin, a teaspoon of granulated sugar, a little chilli oil (optional) and soy sauce to taste, and add the pork belly (skin down again). Add 2 cups of water and let simmer until the pork is absolutely tender. Remove the pork from the pan and the sauces and slice thinly.

Soft-boil two eggs on the side.

Once the broth is ready, add two packs of cooked ramen noodles, add salt/soy sauce/chilli oil/fresh chopped garlic to taste. Divide into three bowls. Add a half soft-boiled egg, some shiitake mushrooms and bean sprouts, chopped scallion greens and a third of the sliced pork to each bowl. Consume!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Fenugreek Curry

Methi paneer, or methi mushroom, or methi chicken - have it your way!

Sauté 2 diced onions in 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Add 4 cloves of garlic, two green chillies and a spoon of chopped ginger. Once the onion is cooked, add two diced tomatoes and half a cup of cashews. As they cook and melt together, add a spoon of tumeric, a spoon of cumin powder, a spoon of smoked paprika, salt to taste and a spoon of garam masala. Add very little water to stop madalas from burning and to let the onions and tomatoes melt together. Transfer the mix into a blender and blend into a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in the same pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of butter and lightly fry 250-300 grams of diced paneer (or 500-600g chicken). Add the paste and a cup and a half of water and simmer together. When the gravy texture seems right to you, add half a cup of kasuri methi. Simmer for another 5 minutes and take off the heat. Serve hot with your choice of carb!

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Portugese Chook

You can never have too many marinade ideas for barbecuing! The good thing about dry rubs is that you can easily carry them anywhere, and won't go bad - perfect for camping! Here is my favorite dry rub recipe for Portugese BBQ Chicken, right from my backyard.

Gather the following: For a kilogram of bone-in chicken (I went with chicken drumsticks), you'll need 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin powder, a teaspoon of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper powder, ground 1/2 bay leaf, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind, and salt and black pepper to your discretion.

Mix together and apply with a little olive oil to skin-on, bone-in chicken, and let sit for a bit before chucking them on the nearest BBQ you can find!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Childhood

Make mother's day special by whipping up a quick version of an old childhood favorite and looking like a pro! 

While your 250g of spaghetti boils, mix 500g of your favorite meat, minced (I used lamb, beef is the traditional choice) in a bowl with half a chopped onion, a spoon of chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons of chopech coriander leaves, a fistful of grated Parmesan, a little smoked paprika, salt and pepper, a spoon of oregano, an egg and half a cup of breadcrumbs. Make little meatballs (24 ish) and roll in flour. Shallow pan-fry these meatballs in a little olive oil for 2-5 minutes until browned; set aside. 

In a saucepan, add a little olive oil and add half a chopped onion and a spoon of chopped garlic. Once the onion softens, add a chopped tomato, about 300g of passata or tomato paste, salt, pepper, 3 spoons of grated Parmesan cheese, some fresh basil leaves, and 2 spoons of oregano, and let thicken. Add the meatballs once reduced, simmer for 3-5 minutes, and dump your spaghetti in!

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Carrot Fritters

Whether it be festivals (happy Navratri to those celebraging), beliefs, or just a little detox, you'll love the simplicity of these carrot fritters, which can be made vegan!

For about a dozen fritters, grate three carrots and put them in a bowl with half a chopped capsicum, 2/3 cup of chopped coriander, two cups of finely chopped mushrooms, salt to taste, a spoon of smoked paprika, three chopped green chillies, half a spoon of cumin powder, and optionally, if your diet allows, a spoon of chopped garlic, half a chopped onion and half a cup of grated cheese. To be clear I made these without the optional ingredients. Add three tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and a cup of chickpea flour (besan). Now add just enough water to make the mixture mush together.

Heat a nonstick pan with a few drops of vegetable oil. Plop fat spoonfuls of the mixture onto the pan (with a little gap between each) and pat flat with a spatula. Let them cook until you're able to slide the spatula under the fritters, then flip. Brown to your liking. Serve hot, maybe with sourdough!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Besan Ka Pura

Pura, chilla, vegetarian omelette - this underrated vegetarian Saturday morning breakfast is known by many names, and is so easy to customise to your liking. Here's the recipe! Serves 10-12 puras.

Mix two cups of besan (gram flour) with about a cup and a half of water, a pinch of turmeric, a half spoon of chilli powder, two green chillies finely chopped, half an onion finely chopped, a small tomato finely chopped, and two to three tablespoons of chopped coriander. Some people don't like tomato in their Pura, some put grated carrots: customise all you want!

Heat a pan or tawa to hot, use oil spray for light grease. Ladle the mix into the pan and spread into a thin, round crepe. Wait until the Pura is cooked and sliding around in the pan. Carefully flip. Drizzle a few drops of oil into the sides to add a little crispiness if you like; as you can see I like my Besan Ka Pura crispy!

Serve with achar or chutney of your choice!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Kali Mirch

Inspired by Hall IV canteen's late night tandoor menu at IIT Kanpur that I had basically every other day, I present my very own rendition of Chicken Kali Mirch Tikka (Pepper Kebabs).

In a pan, mix either 4 chicken whole legs (maryland cut) or 8 of just the drumsticks with 2/3 cup of yogurt, 2 spoons of freshly ground pepper, salt to taste, a teaspoon of mustard oil, half a spoon of cumin powder, a tablespoon of minced garlic, half a cup of ground cashews, and a spoon of freshly squeezed lime. Make slices into the chicken to allow for faster cooking and easier marination. Marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced. Place the legs on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper (retain the leftover marinade). Spray a little oil onto the top and bake for 20 minutes. Flip sides, apply the leftover marinade to the top of the chicken, spray a little oil and bake for 20-25 more minutes or until cooked and blackened. Serve hot with lime, green chillies and raw onion!

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Baby Scallops and Roe

Monday blues? Fine dine at home with this scallops with carrot puree recipe!

In a pan, heat a tablespoon of butter. Add to it a spoon of chopped garlic and a third of an onion (chopped). Once the onion is cooked, add two cups of grated carrots, half a cup of mushrooms, three tablespoons of chopped cashews and a sprinkle of parmesan, along with salt and pepper, a little paprika, a little cumin, and a little dash of cardamom powder. Cook until carrots are tender. Move to a blender with a dollop of yogurt and two tablespoons of milk. Blend into a puree. Set aside.

Sauté scallops (with roe on) in some butter with salt and pepper, and plate up with pureep a sprinkle of nigella seeds and desiccated coconut, and a side of rocket and crushed cashews! Quantities depend on your intake or lack of carbs with the meal. Enjoy!

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Southern Fried Chicken

The legacy of Southern food for non-Southern people rests on the shoulders of what most of us refer to as KFC chicken. Tsk tsk. Here's my recipe.

Make a spice mix of the following: 2 large spoons each of paprika, oregano, and black pepper. Tak about 10 quarter pieces of chicken or 12 drumsticks and add them to a large Ziploc bag filled with a beaten egg, a large spoon of garlic paste, a cup of buttermilk, salt to taste, and 40% of the spice mix made earlier. Make sure the chicken is coated well. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours.

When you're ready to fry, get the chicken out of the fridge. Mix in a bowl 1.5 cups of flour with half a cup of cornstarch, a little salt, and all of the leftover spice mix. Take a few spoonfuls of the marinade from the chicken to make the mix a little coarse using your hands. Now coat each chicken piece in this mix and deep fry (carefully enough to avoid flaking of crust. Finish off by baking for 10 min in the oven at 180C. Serve hot, preferably with easy biscuits and gravy (previous recipe)!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Biscuits and Gravy

Australia is really missing out on one of my favorite breakfast foods of all time: biscuits and gravy. So I made some!

I do love chorizos, so that's what my gravy was made from. Chop up a chorizo and fry them well in a pan. Remove the chorizos, and in the chorizo grease add two tablespoons of butter, a third of a cup of flour and two cups of milk. Stir vigorously to remove lumps. Add salt and pepper to taste, and maybe a tiny dash of Cajun seasoning to amp the chorizo spice. Add the chorizos and simmer until thickened to the right consistency.

For the biscuits, put in a bowl two cups of self-rising flour and a fourth of a cup  of cold pats of butter. Use your hands to combine the butter and flour so that the flour now looks coarse. Add just enough buttermilk while combining (not too much) so that the dough just starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Flatten onto a surface thickly (1 to 1.5 cm thick), and cut out circles using a glass. Brush the top very lightly with butter. Bake in the oven at 180°C for about 10 min. Serve hot, with a giant serving of gravy! Makes 9-12 biscuits.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Kite-Flyer

Happy Makar Sankranti/Lohri/Pongal/Uttarayan! I grew up in Gujarat, and to me, this time of the year meant terraces full of kids and adults engaged in kite-flying wars. Keeping with the theme, today's recipe is the easy 20-minute til laddoo (sesame sweets).

To make 8 to 10 small laddoos (about 1.5 cm in diameter), dry-roast about a third of a cup of white sesame seeds in a nonstick pan until golden, and set aside. Do the same to a third of a cup of crushed peanuts, and then to a third of a cup of desiccated coconut. Set aside.

In the same pan, on low heat, now add a tsp of ghee, half a cup of chopped jaggery, and 3 spoons of water. Stir vigorously to dissolve the jaggery in the water. Add a tiny pinch of cardamom powder. Simmer until it boils (bubbles) and starts to thicken a little. Add the roasted sesame, peanuts and coconut to the jaggery solution and mix well, then turn the heat off. The entire thing should become sticky and start to coagulate.

Transfer the contents of the pan onto a greased plate. With ghee on your palms, roll the hot mixture (carefully!) into little balls before everything cools and becomes hard. Serve up the candy goodness like you're not suddenly a majestic Sankranti pro, no big deal.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Burger Rings

Onion Rings + burger patties = endless possibilities. These are stuffed onion rings that can be used as patties for a slider or as onion rings to serve up at a party or a game night! Get creative.

Cut two large onions horizontally to create large onion rings; put about 12-16 of them aside. Mix 500 g of minced meat/chicken with two spoons of chopped garlic, half a cup of chopped parsley, paprika, salt and pepper to taste, and half a cup of chopped chives. Separately, cut 12-16 little cubes of cheese measuring a little less than 2 cm each side (bite sized).

Set up a breading station with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Set an onion ring flat on a clean surface, and stuff with minced meat/chicken mixture; press to the insides of the ring. Stick a cheese cube into the middle. Coat the entire ensemble in flour, then beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs, before deep-frying until browned to your satisfaction. Serve up with Caribbean jerk-mayo, by itself or in a little dinner roll with slaw as a slider!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The New Year Splurge Part 2

2017 began with butter chicken. It's only natural that 2018 begins with dal makhani! Happy new year guys.

Soak 1.5 cup of kali dal for 24 hours; drain and wash. Boil in low heat with salt; set aside.

Heat 2 spoons of butter, to which add 2 spoons of garlic paste, a spoon of chopped ginger, 2 spoons red chilli powder, 1 large tomato paste (or puree 4-5 spoons). Mix well until everything comes together. Then add dal, and stir vigorously. In the last 5 minutes of simmering, add a spoon of crushed kasuri methi. Garnished with fresh slices of ginger and a dollop of butter. It isn't "makhani" for nothing!

Utterly butterly delicious.