Monday, April 24, 2017

Curd Rice: Thayir Sadam



Honestly I never had curd rice before; it was a year ago when I first ever tried it. My office colleague who is from Chennai introduced me to curd rice and its goodness.  She explained me that curd rice is a solution to any problem-be it bad tummy days, after greasy food to just a lazy meal idea.

Yogurt or curd or dahi as we call it in hindi is one super healthy ingredient. Like all milk or dairy product curd is also rich in calcium which offers us healthy bones and teeth. Curd has ‘good bacteria’ present in it which strengthens your immune system by fighting against several microorganisms that are present in the body. Consuming curd can go a long way in maintaining a healthy heart, it reduces cholesterol levels. Lastly yogurt is great booster for healthy digestion.

Rice as we know when eaten in moderation can be a good source of carbohydrates. It also contains some amount of proteins, folic acid and phosphorus. What I like about rice the most that even little quantity of rice can make you feel full.


So, when these two ingredients curd and rice combines together to form this easy peasy south Indian dish called Curd Rice the outcome is just amazing. Every now then when I want my stomach lining to cool down from the spicy Indian food I only think about curd rice. From the time I have returned back from Dubai my health hasn’t been well, from stomach problems to toothache to headaches to feeling weak-everything is going on; it is only Curd Rice that comes to rescue.

Now, I am not from south India so may be my recipe is different. I would suggest all my non south Indian friends and followers to have curd rice once in their lifetime (if you haven’t, like me ;-). It is a perfect summer meal when you don’t want to slave yourself in the kitchen. Serve it with some pickle or chutney and a papad-just perfect.

Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cups yogurt/curd/dahi
2 cups boiled rice/chawal
5 tablespoons milk/doodh
2 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida/hing
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds/sarso/rai
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
6 curry leaves/kadi patta
3 green chillies slit
2 tablespoons coriander leaves/dhaniya
Salt to taste

Method:
In a large bowl, add yogurt, milk and rice. With potato masher, mash the rice. Add salt and keep aise.
In a pan heat oil and add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida. Let the seeds crackle.
Add in green chillies and curry leaves. Mix.
Pour the oil tempering on curd rice mixture. Give a nice stir.
Add in coriander leaves. Mix and serve.


Notes:
Never ever serve curd rice hot. It should be served at room temperature.
You can add chopped green chillies; I added whole chillies so that I can remove it easily.
You can add channa dal or urad daal in tempering as well. I kept it as simple as possible.
Some people add water instead of milk. Feel free to add water as well.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

5 Off-Beat Things To Do In Cambridge


Summer is round the corner and it is the best time to explore UK. On our Easter long weekend we planned a day trip to Cambridge. I have been to Cambridge during peak winters with my girl friends, but spring in Cambridge is just amazing.

Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam. You can reach Cambridge from London in less than 1 hour. If you will Google on what to do in Cambridge, visiting college campus will be the first thing that would come up. But I feel that there some offbeat things that you must surely do in Cambridge, so here is my list.

5 Off-Beat Things To Do In Cambridge

Punting:
Punting is Cambridge tradition, I would say. You don’t need to book it advance, right on the high street you will find many students offering punting tours. The price is between 10 pounds to 20 pounds per person depending on how busy they are. Just sit back and relax while your chauffeur punts and narrating the tales of Cambridge colleges, scientist and kings. 


Canals/Bridges:
Hop on from one canal to another; from one bridge to another. See mathematical bridge (famous Einstein Bridge, the first pic below). Walk to the lanes as you cross from one canal to another. See the spring in full bloom and bed of tulips in between. Sit by the canal and enjoy the punting and boats' magical world unfolding in front of you. If the weather permits, do not forget to open up your picnic basket here.



Market Square:
When in Cambridge, do not miss this market. Monday-Sunday, 10am-4pm, you will find stalls selling a wide range of goods including: Street Food, Books, vinyl, jewellery and bags Fruit and vegetables, second hand bikes, garden plants and so much more. My tip would be to try a Venezuelan Food called Arepa. Arepa is corn meal bread (gluten free) and you can choose your own filling. We had mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil, topped it up with incredible tasty green sauce/chutney.


Petite Cafes:
Oh yeah, I love small, little lovely cafes in Cambridge. If eating street food is not your forte then grab yourself a cup of coffee, ice tea or ‘soup of the day’ in one of the petite cafes. My suggestion would be to visit Indigo Coffee House. Situated in narrow lanes, away from crowd lies this cafe, which has quirky feel to it and food choices range from sweet treats to hot snacks. We had Hot Chocolate, Lemon Ice Tea and Toasted Buttered Bagel.



Free Fudge:
You can not only taste the free fudge samples here but see them make it live. Fudge Kitchen is a fudge heaven. I have tasted their Raspberry Meringue and Salted Chocolate Fudge-both so amazing. After all where do you get to taste warm fudge, right? This is place, I liked it so much that I am listing it as one the thing you must do in Cambridge. 



Below are some random pics that I clicked in Cambridge






Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Mint Chutney: Pudhine Ki Chutney: Hari Chutney:Green Chutney



What is chutney? Chutney usually contains some mixture of spice, vegetable, and/or fruit. Chutneys may be either wet or dry, and can have a coarse to a fine texture.  If you are an Indian, you will understand and know that all the snacks are accompanied with chutney. We just can’t have snacks without chutney-it is like a necessity. Serve daal pakodas (lentil fritters) to us without chutney and you will see only frowns. So be it Bombay sandwichaloo tikki or dhokla we need chutney.

Green chutney also known as Hari Chutney (dhaniya ki chutney) and  is the most preferred one. I have posted two other green chutneys before, one with raw mango (kacha aam/kairi/ambi) and lastly the one with the Indian gooseberries (amla). Today’s chutney is the mint version- made with coriander leaves, mint, green chillies and some spices.



Mint Chutney or Pudhine Ki Chutney is my most chosen one for summers. Mint and summers go hand in hand for me. The menthol (minty) cold taste is something you crave for hot days and that’s what makes this chutney even more summery and special. If you will Google the recipe for Pudhine ki chutney you will find a complicated recipe with long ingridents list like peanuts, coconut and garlic; but my recipe is a simpler one with few things.

Just handful of ingredients and this chutney gets ready in jiffy. The best way to serve (I believe) this chutney is with hot snack/meals. For instance I wouldn’t recommend this chutney for chaats or cold snacks –like bhel puri, dahi vada or sev puri. But instead it would compliment and balance a hot meal really well, think- tava pulav, veg kebab, spinach muthiya or any kind of paratha.

Ingridents:
1 cup mint leaves/pudhina
1 cup corineder leaves/dhaniya
1 inch ginger/adrak
3 green chillies/hari mirchi
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
2 tablespoons yogurt/dahi
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice/nimbu ka ras
1/2 teaspoon black salt/kala namak
Water as needed

Method:
Wash and chop coriander leaves and mint leaves.
In blender or grinder, add coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, cumin, green chillies and blend.
Mix in yogurt, lemon juice, salt and black salt. Blend again. Add water if needed. The consistency should be fine.
Put in a airtight container. This will remain fine for 1 week in the fridge.


Notes:
You can add more green chillies for a spicer version.
Add salt carefully, as you are using two types of salt.

Make sure not to use any stalks/stems of mint. Stalks will make the chutney bitter.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sev Tameta Nu Shak –Gujarat Way




Rajasthan and Gujarat are two Indian states located in western India sharing borders with each other. I have a deep connection with both these places. While I was born and brought up in Rajasthan, I did my graduation and eventually got married to a guy from Gujarat. If you are wondering why I am talking about this then let me tell you. My idea is to talk about one dish that is equally popular in both the states.

Sev Tamatar Ki Subji or known as Sev Tameta Nu Shak in Guajarati. I have marwadi/rajasthani style sev Tamatar ki subji before but today its Gujarati way. Now what’s the difference you ask? Well, Rajasthani one is loaded with garlic and lots of chillies. Gujarati way is sour and sweet, made with jaggery (gud). Honestly I like both the ways equally-it just depends on my mood. Mostly in Gujarat this subzi served with bhakri.


Now, sev is deep fried gram/chickpea flour vermicelli. The curry is made with garlic, chopped onions, tomatoes and Indian spices to which finally sev is added. There is no hard and fast rule on how to make the curry but I would say that please add sev just before serving otherwise it will become really soggy and mushy.

So few days back I got an email when someone asked me about the consistency of the sev Tamatar ki sabzi- well, it is again a personal choice and taste. If you like runny gravy, add more water. If you like dry, reduce the water. I like it semi-thick which means you can see the water but not too much.


Which kind of sev should you use? Any kind but which is thicker then nylon sev. Best is to use Ratlami Sev or thick sev. Here is how to make Sev Tameta Nu Shak –Gujarat Way!

Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes, chopped finely
1 medium tomato, blended
5 cloves garlic minced or grated
1 medium size onion chopped finely
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust as per taste)
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons grated jagery/gud (or adjust as per taste)
2 cups water
1/2 cup sev/namkeen/bhujia
2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

Method:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add cumin, let it splutter.
Add garlic and chopped onion. Cook for 1 minute or till onion turns soft.
Add chopped tomatoes and blended tomato.
Add the spices. Mix and cook tomatoes covered till they turn soft and mushy.
Add 2 cups or water and jaggery. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
Add sev and coriander leaves. Mix and serve.

Notes:
You can add sugar as well instead of jiggery (goor). Also please adjust the sweetens as per you taste
You can use any kind of sev-bikaneri bhujia, ratlami sev, thick sev, massala sev.
Please add or reduce water as per the consistency you decide.
Add sev just before serving.




Monday, April 3, 2017

Watermelon Lemonade: With Indian Twist





Some days just call for drinks.

Summer coolers.

Citrus sweet sips.

Saturday was that kind of day.

I don’t want to go on and on today so I am keeping things pretty simple.

I made us one of the best classic summer drinks and I put my own little spin on it… AND, I made it very healthier too!! YEAH!!

Watermelon Lemonade! When life gives you watermelon, make watermelon lemonade.
No extra sugar or honey, just watermelon juice, lemon juice, ice and some Indian chaat massala-oh yeah baby.



Wait, do not begin to scratch your heads yet, do not worry, you don’t need any fancy juicer for this recipe. A good old mixer/blender is just fine.

My own spin is use of chaat massala. A detailed post on chaat massala and the recipe is hereHonestly this is one easy peasy summer drink with just 4 ingridents-great for parties and get-togethers. Feel free to make this in advance; pop it up in your fridge and serve for later.


Makes:
2 tall glasses

Ingredients:
3 cups chopped watermelon
Lemon juice, adjust as per taste
1 teaspoon chaat massala+ 1 teaspoon for glass
1/2 cup ice

Method:
Put chopped watermelon in a blender. Pulse and blend till watermelon. Sieve the watermelon juice through a sieve.
Mix in lemon juice. The overall taste should be sweet and tangy. If the watermelon is very sweet then balance the quantity of lemon juice.
Finally mix in chaat massala.
Dip the rim of glass into water. Spread the remaining chaat massala on  flat plate. Dip the rim of glass in the chaat massala. The rim should be coated well with chaat massala.
Put ice in the glass. Pour in the watermelon juice and serve.

Notes:
Chaat Massala is easily available in indian grocery stores.
For a fizzy drink mix in equal quantity of plain soda.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quick Pressure Cooked: Rajma Massla



What is that one advice you will like to give to someone who is attempting to cook indian food? Most of my non indian friends love to eat indian food but they never want to or are too scared to cook indian meals in their kitchen. Reason- it’s complicated. It’s no lengthy and time consuming. Well, to all those people I will opine one thing-please buy a pressure cooker.

Pressure cooker is a simple utensil that cooks food within minutes without compromising the flavours. Today’s recipe- Rajma Massala is also cooked in pressure cooker which takes half less time to traditional style rajma massla. So lets call this recipe Quick Rajma Massla.



So rajma comes from our north India/Punjab cuisine where red kidney beans are the star ingredient. The most conventional way to serve rajma is with white rice or Rajma Chawal as we call it hindi. Honestly there is nothing better then rajma chawal on a gloomy wet day. Scoops of rajma mixed with the rice is the taste I can die for.

Red kidney beans are very hard and would take hours if you are boiling it in open pan but with pressure cooker you can do it in 5-8 minutes. Also I have used only one bowl/utensil that is cooker to make this. So no kadai/wok or extra pan; just throw everything in cooker, wait for whistles and you are good to go.

Ingredients:
1 cup red kidney beans/rajma
3 cups water
2 tablespoon oil
2 medium tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies slited
2 cloves/laung
1 bay leaf/tej patta
1/4 teaspoon cumin/jeera
1 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya powder
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
1/4 teaspoon garam massala
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves chopped, for garnish


Method:
Soak rajma beans overnight. Next day drain the water and set the beans aside.
Heat oil in cooker. When oil gets hot add bay leaf, cloves and cumin seeds. Cook for 5 seconds. Turn the flame to low.
Add in it chopped garlic and onion. Cook till onions become pinkish-brown.
Add in chopped tomato, salt, turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam massala and green chilli. Mix well.  Add 1/2 cup water. Cook for 1 minute or till you hear your pressure cooker is just about to whistle.
Open the cooker carefully. Add in remaining water and beans. Cook on medium-low flame till 7-8 whistles.
When the pressure is released, open the cooker. Mash some beans with a spoon to get thick consistency.
Garnish with ginger and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with steamed rice.



Notes:
Instead of garam massala you can use rajma massla mix (available in Indian stores as well)
Please feel free to add more red chilli powder as per your taste

The quantity of water will depend on the size of your pressure cooker.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Kala Channa And Palak Subji. Brown Chickpeas And Spinach Curry



Growing up, I was a huge fan of Popeye and that me a complete spinach devotee. I am always looking for an excuse to include spinach in our recipes. Obvious reason is that it is super healthy. Spinach is very high in vitamins, fibre, folic acid and iron. And the other reason is the lush green colour it provides to meals.

So if you are looking for inspiration or ideas to include palak or spinach in your recipes then see the below recipes:


Today’s recipe is Kala Channa And Palak Subji. Here, I have tried to mix two iron loaded ingridents-kala channa or brown chickpeas and spinach. Rest I would say that the recipe is very much similar to Chole Palak (Chickpeas/garbanzo beans and spinach) curry.
There is sharp taste of garlic and ginger  followed my peppery tang of onions, everything finally smothered with chopped tomato and handful of spices . Homemade garam massala is must in this recipe as it gives the aromatic climax to the curry.



Ingriedents:
1 cup brown chickpeas/kala channa
1 cup spinach/palak, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic/lehsun, finely chopped
1 small onion/pyaz, finally chopped
2 medium tomatoes/Tamatar, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin/jeera
1 teaspoon coriander powder/dhainya powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/4 teaspoon garam massala
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon kasuri methi
4 cups water

Method:
Wash the chickpeas. Soak it overnight in water. Next day drain the water. Pressure cook the chickpeas with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt for 4-5 whistles. Drain the water and keep the boiled chickpeas aside.
Heat oil in a pan. When oil gets hot, add cumin seeds and let it crackle.
Add garlic and onion. Cook till onions get soft and raw smell of garlic fades.
Throw in chopped tomatoes, coriander powder, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam massala. Add 1/2 cup water. Cook covered on medium flame. The tomatoes must become soft and mushy.
Add chopped spinach and lemon juice. Cover and cook again for 4 minutes.
Add boiled chickpeas and remaining 1/2 cup water. Cover and let it cook from 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook again for 2 minutes. The consistency should be semi liquid-which means you should be able to see just enough water in the subji.
Garnish with kasthuri methi.
Serve hot.

Notes:
Be careful while adding salt as spinach contains salt as well.
You can increase or decrease the ratio of spinach and kala channa as per your wish.





Friday, March 10, 2017

Microwave Doodh Peda, Indian Milk Fudge


Happy Holi everyone!!

Some things are best good old style. May be that’s why retro and vintage is so ‘in’ these days. Same goes in flavours I guess. Recently near my office, Dairy Milk guys were giving out samples to try newly launched flavours. Oreo, triple chocolate crunch, toffee nut and what not, I tried all three but I missed the old charm of plain simple Dairy Milk.

Yes, some flavours are best when untouched. Today’s post is also about one such sweet- Plain Peda (milk fudge). Last year during Janamasthmi I was india and there were many flavours available for peda-rose, chocolate, pineapple, thandai, mango etc. What I enjoyed the most was the Plain Doodh (milk) Peda.



That’s why for Holi I bring before you the easy and microwave recipe for Doodh Peda. With busy weekdays in office I tend to look for quick Indian sweets' recipes and this peda fits perfectly in that condition. Like me if you manage office and home together then this speedy recipe is all what you need.

Traditionally making milk peda will take 3-4 hours. Milk is evaporated on a low heat and constant stirring is needed. But this is a new generation peda and is made in microwave. All you need is 4 ingridents and 5 minutes.

Here is how to make Microwave Doodh (Milk) Peda. 


Ingridents:
1¾ cups Milk Powder (I used full fat)
1 Can (around 400 gms) Condensed Milk
2 tablespoon ghee
½ teaspoon cardamom powder/elaychi powder
Few Dry Nuts of your choice (optinal)

Method:
  1. Take a microwave safe bowl. In it add ghee, milk powder and condense milk. Mix well.
  2. Microwave the mixture on high mode for 1 minute. Take it out, and add cardamom powder. stir with sturdy spoon.
  3. Microwave again for 1 minute. Take it out and stir. Do this 3 more times. (total 5 minutes).
  4. The mixture should be thick. It should be able to form a shape. 
  5. When you are able to handle the heat of the mixture, form the balls. Flatten it slightly and poke your finger in the centre to form a dimple.
  6. Garnish the dimple/holes with chopped nuts.
  7. Let the pedas cool and serve.


Notes:
Do not let the mixture cool down, else you wont be able to give it desired shape.
You can also use edible rose leaves to garnish.
Some like to add saffron infused water to give nice orangish colour to the peda.



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Posh Choc Nibbles Review



Posh. What does that mean? Posh means -elegant or stylishly luxurious. How about posh some nibble? To be precise-posh chocolate nibbles. Sounds exciting? Imagine the most comfortable sofa, your favourite kind of book and chocolate. Now broaden your imagination, and think about luxurious chocolate that are meant specially for nibbling. Hmm! Now you are thinking.



Choc Nibbles sent me very stylish and elegant Posh Choc Nibbles and it was love at first sight. the combination of chocolate, caramel, biscuits, nuts and milk chocolate makes so perfectly balanced that it’s not too sweet and not to bitter. Every bit is bathed in chocolate- rich, velvety and so desirable that you just can’t stop.

Posh Choc Nibbles are apt as the go-to snack if your sweet tooth is craving something a little more indulgent. Posh Choc Nibbles earned their posh title after they received a tasty upgrade. Building on the delicious recipe of best-selling ‘Original Choc Nibbles’ they have been all poshed up with a classy coating of smooth milk chocolate.



The idea for review was to show your posh style. To enhance the beauty of these ‘little melting moments’ I served it in my high-class Red Candy cups. I feel that these cups were designed to serve chocolate. These chocolate nibbles and my posh cups are a marriage made in heaven. While many might find it not-so-classy to serve nibble/snack in a cup, I, on the other hand feel it is important to break the stereotypes and do things out of box.



Coming back to these chocolate nibbles, below are some fun ways you can use it (other than nibbling, ofcourse!)
-Top it up in your daily morning cereals, porridge, granola or oats.
-decorate your favourite cupcakes, cakes, mousses or desserts with these.
-Fold it in your crepes or sprinkle on pancakes.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Green Apple Fizzy Smoothie



Anyone who follows me on instagram would probably know that I am a huge sucker of cafes. I like to try out cafes, the petite ones, the cozy ones, the classy ones. What I love the most about cafes is fresh food. Unlike Costa, Starbucks or any other big cafes, these not-so-famous cafés will serve you fresh food.  Whenever I enter into very famous cafes I miss that personalized touch, that homely feel; above all food rolled in cling film which is later re-heated and served is a big no-no for me.

Living with me for 7 years I guess Mr. Husband has also fallen in love with little cafes. Together sometimes we will go and have a laid back lazy kind of a lunch. On rainy days we would explore another café in some narrow street and try their coffees, hot chocolate or something sweet like crepes, pancakes or waffles. Oh not to forget-soup of the day is another favorite thing about cafes.




If you are wondering why am I ranting about cafes then this why? Probably like a year back we had fizzy smoothie on a sunny day when we went to Lake District. A fizzy smoothie-yes! A perfect thirst quencher, I must say. Recently when I was sent to try out Sparkling Ice sparkling water I knew I had to make a fizzy smoothie.

First created in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990’s, Sparkling Ice® makes a portfolio of Refreshingly Bold TM sparkling waters, teas and lemonades. Bursting with real fruit flavour and just the right amount of fizz, Sparkling Ice delivers 19 irresistible fruit combinations, without all the calories. I used Peach Nectarine to make this smoothie. What’s the difference between peach and nectarine? It doesn’t matter, because they took the best of both and made sweet, juicy bliss.

I feel that there is a perfect balance or fruity taste, sweetness and zing. What’s more, with Sparkling Ice alone containing only 12 calories and packed full with victims and antioxidants - it also fits the bill for those who are trying to watch their well being.  To add in more nutrients I present before you a healthy Green Apple Fizz Smoothie.

Green Apple Fizzy Smoothie is a perfect on-the-go smoothie, I confess. Just put everything in the blender and you are good to go. If you are more on sweeter taste then add honey. Feel free to add in any flaxseeds, almonds, oats, chia seeds to boost the health benefits.



Makes: 1 tall glass

Ingredients:
1 green apple
1 cup of Peach Nectarine
Pinch of black salt
Lemon wedge/slice to garnish

Method:
Chop apple into small pieces. Take 2 tablespoons of apple cubes and keep aside.
In a blender, blend salt, apple, sparkling peach nectarine and blend.
Serve in any tall glass. Garnish with chopped apple and lemon wedge.

Notes:
Make sure that sparkling water is chilled before use.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Sparking Ice and Wcommunications  for sending Sparkling Water  for review.