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.

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

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.

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 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. 

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.

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

2 tall glasses

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

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.

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