Don’t worry I will and am still a Mumbai girl at heart, just need to be more global
”One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virgina Woolf
It was Valentine’s Day a few days ago and I being the eternal unromantic did not do anything. However since I blog about food, the first thing I thought was I must do something for my blog and also uttered that out loud. The husband looked at me and laughed because he knows I am not the kind of girl who likes to do celebrate any kind of Love day but I would celebrate food.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in love. Whether it is the love that I feel for my mother because she is my mother and is the only person in this world who loves me unconditionally Or whether it is the love I feel for my little nephew who I miss tremendously and who is growing up everyday without knowing an aunt who adores him or whether it is the husband whose green eyes remind me of what a kind man he is.
All the loves in my life are subjective to the fact that I am either related to them by blood or by matrimony. However there are 2 great loves in my life Books and food that are not bound to any terms and conditions.
I have loved reading since as long as I remember and food, well what do I say about it. I have made friendships with people over books and food. I have fallen in love with people who love to read and eat. Discovered passion with someone while talking about a book we have read growing up in different cities without knowing each others existence or falling in love with someone over a plate of “Momos” (dumplings) talking about everything and anything and then ordering some more Momos because we could not get enough of the momos or each other.
And these are the only loves that have lasted. I have rekindled my romance with books and read atleast 2 books every month and food gives me such a high that I cannot get enough of it. I love discovering new cuisines and enjoy spending time in the kitchen even when I am dead tired.
So since I do not believe in celebrating the day of love, the day after Valentines day I made a delicious meal for the man who has been kind to me and has been with me through bad times and good times and has been my friend in all these years. Because I believe that even when love doesn’t last friendship does and one can live in harmony if one is with a friend.
Hope you had a nice day with your loved one and ate some great food. I made some “Coriander Chicken” from the lovely blog “Mix and Stir” which we both enjoyed a lot. I have divided the recipe into 3 sections, alternatively you can visit the original post and read the recipe there.
Recipe (Cooking time 45 minutes, serves 5 -6 )
1 Kg Chicken (cut into medium pieces)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red Chili powder
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
3 Green Cardamoms
1 inch Cinnamon stick
1 large Onion finely sliced
3 Green Chilies
1 large bunch of fresh Coriander (Cilantro) leaves
½ tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
1 large Onion finely sliced
1 tbsp fresh Garlic paste
1 tbsp fresh Ginger paste
Salt to taste
Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry. Add the lime juice, salt, red chili powder to the chicken. Toss it and mix it well and let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes.
In a deep pan add 1 tbsp of oil and heat it up. Once oil is ready, add the green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves.
Once they are aromatic, add the sliced onions. Sauté till the Onion becomes transparent. Add the chopped cilantro and chopped green chilies.
Stir well and then add the turmeric, Kashmir red chili powder and coriander powder. Cook it until everything is well mixed. Cool and make a fine paste.
Add 1 tsp Oil to the same pan and heat it up. Add the Onion and sauté till transparent.
Add the marinated chicken to the pan and sauté it for 5 to 7 minutes. Then add ginger and garlic and mix well (use only fresh Ginger and Garlic). Over and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the Chicken doesn’t burn.
Add the Coriander paste from Marinade 2 and mix well. Adding Salt and a cup of Warm water and letting it cook on a medium flame covered.
Once the Chicken is tender, turn off the heat and serve hot with some Rice, naan or bread.
I haven’t baked for a while now and people who love to bake will vouch for the fact that they get baking pangs when separated from their oven at long periods of time. I get them occasionally too when I am apart from my oven and baking tools.
So while I was tottering about the house doing my usual chores images of cakes and cookies kept flashing my mind disrupting my day. Now I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, even if I may bake, I will resist from eating the sinful goodies a lot. I desperately wanted to bake something so I could just have my house smell of cake or any other baked goodie.
I did not have a lot of time at hand so the easiest way to gratify myself was by baking cookies. Cookies are so easy to bake and even though I am not really big on eating them I will bake the occasional cookie for my cookie monster husband. But since we were on a health kick he had not eaten cookies in a few months now and I felt it was the right time for us to get the Cookie back in the house.
So I made “Honey & Oats cookies” that has even me asking for seconds. The cookie is deliciously chewy and soft, melting in my mouth in the first bite. Because I still wanted to have some semblance of being healthy I substituted the Brown sugar with Coconut Sugar which I use very often now giving the Cookie hints of Caramel along with the deliciousness that a soft Cookie usually has.
Here is the very simple recipe that you would love.
Cooking time (12 – 15 minutes)
Butter 150 Gms
Coconut Sugar 240 Gms (You can substitute it with Brown Sugar)
Honey 15 Gms
1 Egg (around 60 Gm)
Plain flour (120 Gms)
½ tsp Baking powder
Oats 150 Gms
1) Cream the Butter with Sugar and Honey.
2) Add the Egg and beat the mixture a little. Now add the Flour, Baking powder and Oats mixing well.
3) Refrigerate the mixture and let it cool for atleast 30 minutes.
4) Preheat your oven at 180 degrees C. On a baking tray lay down a baking paper and then using an Ice cream scoop place single dollops of the Cookie mixture keeping some space in between each cookie as they will expand while they bake.
5) Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, cool before dipping them in some Milk or Tea and enjoy them.
While traveling home from work today I realized I haven’t blogged in days. I have a whole set of pictures of food that I have been cooking and recipes that I feel I should blog about but I am just not able to gather my thoughts and write them down.
Not sure when my mind is lost. So to break the monotony I will talk less today and just post a very simple recipe of a spicy dry Prawn dish that I love to make and relish. The recipe is very basic and a complete tongue tickler tantalizing your taste buds.
And it is so easy that you can do it with your eyes closed. I love serving these prawns with some plain boiled rice and Dal but the husband enjoys eating them on their own with a chilled Beer watching his favorite game on the telly. However you eat them, you will certainly thank me for introducing this lip smacking dish in your kitchen.
Here is the recipe (Cooking time 10 minutes, marination 10 minutes, serves 2 or in my husband’s case only 1)
300 Gms fresh Prawns (I used Banana prawns)
3 cloves of Garlic thinly sliced
10 Curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Red chilli powder
Juice of a half a Lemon
1 tsp Mustard seeds
2 tsp vegetable oil
A small handful of freshly chopped Coriander
1) Clean and wash the prawns leaving the tail on. Pat them dry and then marinade them with Salt, Turmeric and Chilli powder for 10 minutes.
2) When ready heat Oil in a pan and add the Garlic cloves and Mustard seeds let them sauté for a minute before adding the Curry leaves.
3) Now add the Prawns and mix well letting them cook for a few minutes. Once the Prawns look almost done sprinkle the Lemon juice and fresh Coriander on top letting them cook for a 1 – 2 minutes more.
4) Serve hot with anything you like.
I am sure every home has home remedies that have been passed down by generations for a variety of aches and pains. And my mother is no exception. She is always reading books on herbal home remedies and trying something or the other. Whether it was a herbal paste to get rid of my unsightly pimples as a teenager or take care of the numerous stomach cramps I got due to a severe acidity problem when I was in college.
During those painful times she would wake up in the nights with a groaning me rubbing some oil on my stomach diligently to help me sleep and make the cramps go away. She would also shove down a very bitter tasting herb called “Ajwain/Carom seeds or Bishops weed” down my throat with a glass of water to help ease the pain.
And I would always refuse to eat the herbs, so she started putting them in Parathas and serve it to me with Curd. The Parathas had a little bit of Ghee, Salt and Red Chilli powder along with the Ajwain and the bitterness of the Ajwain would be hidden in with all the different flavors till obviously I would unexpectedly take a bite of the bitter seed and then curse everything around me. But thankfully it always helped and I would be able to relax and sleep after that.
And thanks to the local Indian store I am able to buy Ajwain and use it whenever I have stomach cramps or just add it in dishes that can cause bloating like Rajma (Red Kidney beans) or Chole (Chick Peas curry) or just any parathas that I made as it aids digestion.
I have tried to do a step by step recipe which should help you in making the parathas. The best thing is that the Paratha doesn’t have to be round. You can give it any shape, mine usually looks like a triangle. If you have kids you can make some funny shapes for them to enjoy their meal.
Recipe (cooking time 5 minutes for each paratha)
For the dough
2 Coffee cups whole wheat flour
enough lukewarm water to knead the dough
Salt to taste
some more flour for dusting the parathas as we roll them
For the filling (the filling quantity is for each paratha)
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch Red chilli powder
A little more than a pinch Ajwain (If using for the first time just add a pinch as it can be really bitter)
Less than 1/2 tsp of Ghee or Vegetable Oil
Some more oil or ghee for brushing the paratha as we cook.
1) Knead the dough till it is soft and elastic. The fresher the dough the easier it is make parathas.
2) Take a small portion of the dough and roll it out a bit. Add the salt, Red chilli powder, Ajwain and Ghee and mix them gently on the rolled dough with your fingers.
3) Roll the dough back into a rough triangle.
4) Dust it with some flour on both sides and start rolling it into a thin paratha.
5) Cook on a hot Tawa on both sides for a few minutes, brushing it with Ghee or Oil. Serve with some Curd and Pickles.
Some information on Carom seeds : http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-carom-seeds-for-skin-hair-and-health/
Disclaimer : I do not make any claims on the health benefits of Ajwain. This is a home remedy that we use and has worked for us. Please use it sparingly and read about the benefits and disadvantages if you wish to incorporate it in your diet and have never eaten it before. It is a very common herb in every Indian kitchen.
I am celebrating 3 things today, “Australia day” for the country I now call my home and have grown to love and respect. “Republic Day” for the country I was born and raised in and the news that my blog has been ranked as number 19 on “Perth’s Hottest 100 Food Blogs 2014”.
I cannot believe this has happened and my humble little blog which I started just out of passion has grown to this space where hungry foodies like me can go and find simple comforting recipes to satisfy their souls.
When this year started I promised myself that this year will be a year of achievements and learning’s. I set up a list of tasks for myself and pinned it on my fridge to read and reinforce it every day that I have to work towards achieving my goals. My blog is number 3 in my list of things I need to achieve in 2014 and I have always aimed at keeping things easy and simple with no fancy shenanigans and have tried to make my blog non intimidating and easy for everyone to follow. I just love to cook and take not very professional pictures of the food and write whatever I feel like.
And the fact that my passion is being recognized has given me the much needed boost and confidence to become better at what I love. And Australia is the place where it all happened. My dreams got wings and I got the time and opportunity to relax and follow my dreams. I remember when I had just moved here from the maddening hectic life of Mumbai I found it very difficult to relax. I stayed with my very Australian boss and her family. One day she took me to the beach and dragged me in the water despite me not knowing how to swim. She held my hands and told me to learn to relax and float in the water while she held me. So I slowly let go raising my hands in the water and trying to float while she held my shoulders. I knew being in this country would change my life and it did.
While I tried to adapt my new country and culture I held on to my roots and made Indian food to remember the smell and taste of home. And that is what my blog stands for an Indian girl who cooks in Perth and loves the place she is in.
To celebrate all the happy things today I decided to make something really cold and delicious for the searing hot summer’s day and give it an Indian twist. Presenting the very delicious Berry Banana Lassi Popsicle’s. As a punjabi, Lassi is part of my staple diet and I can drink it almost every day in summers. So what can be more interesting then turning it into a Popsicle with Summer berries and a very fresh Australian Bananas and Honey. I have used low fat Greek yogurt and honey instead of Sugar to make it a bit healthier. It hardly takes any time to get together and tastes summery, tarty and full of flavors, perfect for the day.
Here is the recipe (assembly time 10 minutes, freeze for 4 – 6 hours before you serve)
2 cups fresh or frozen berries
1 cup low fat Greek yogurt (make sure your yogurt is not sour)
1 tbsp honey (you can add a bit more honey if you want it to be sweeter)
1) Blend everything together in a blender and pour into Popsicle moulds. Freeze for 4 – 6 hours before you get them out and eat them.
Oh my god it is 24th again the time to make the Bread for the month for the “Knead to Bake” group and I had completely forgotten about it till I saw a delicious looking “Focaccia Caprese” appear on my facebook timeline from “Spiceroots” blog. I checked my calendar and almost let out a groan that I had missed the date completely.
Focaccia is a my favorite Bread not because it is so easy to make but it is also very rustically Italian. I have an affinity with Italian food because it reminds me so much of Indian food. Every region in Italy has its own cuisine just like India, Italians are loud like us, love food and do a lot of hand gesturing like we Indians too and the food, oh the food is to die for. So what is not to love.
The theme for this month was a “Focaccia Caprese” where the Caprese is a topping of fresh Mozzarella cheese with Basil & Tomato from the region of Capri. Unfortunately I had waited too late to bake and I had no Mozzarella cheese in fridge, infact I had no Cheese at all. Nor did I have any Basil. But by now I was in the mood to smell some fresh Bread and desperately wanted to make it. Thankfully with Focaccia you can really go wild with your toppings and try any variation that catches your fancy. so I decided to just pluck some fresh rosemary from my garden and sprinkle that on the bread.
And the result I must admit was mind blowing. The bread was so fresh and delicious that I was almost thankful of having the opportunity to make something so beautiful . Between the husband and I we finished the entire Bread in one go. Strangely it was not very heavy either and the Eggplant Parmigiana that I made it in fresh Tomato sauce was soaked up the Bread greedily. I personally feel that everyone must try this Bread once just to feel how freshness tastes like. It will definitely be your go to Bread for any occasion.
For the actual recipe of Focaccia Caprese please visit Aparna’s blog. I have followed the same recipe for the dough just changed the topping. You can also just use the Herb oil detailed in the original recipe as a topping, I tried it and that was also very good.
For the Dough:
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour (I used plain flour)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil, use very good quality Olive oil, I never compromise on this)
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more olive oil for brushing the dough
For the Topping:
Sea Salt and good quality Olive oil to garnish
1) Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky. Alternatively you can just knead the dough with your hands.
2) Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well-oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.
3) You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones. When ready to bake roll each portion out (or press out) evenly and then transfer the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.
4) Sprinkle the Olive Oil, Rosemary and Sea Salt on top of the bread and bake at 210C (410F) for about 20 – 25 minutes till done and is beginning to turn golden brown. The best way to check if your Bread is done is my tapping it to check if it makes a hollow sound. Serve warm with Soup, on its own as a light snack or as a sandwich bread.