06 December, 2018

Quick and Simple Palak Paneer Curry Recipe | Quick and Simple Paneer Recipes

Learn how to make quick and simple Palak Paneer Curry ~ Indian cottage cheese in mildly spiced rich and creamy spinach gravy

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. A pearl of wisdom by my grandmother who not only lived a simple life, but also beautifully incorporated the art of simplicity in her cooking as well. With so many produce; fresh, exotic and vibrant, available with a click of a button, we sometimes forget how a simple food can really be uplifting and soul satisfying. After all, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, isn’t it?

Ingredients for Palak Paneer Curry

As I am recovering from a nasty flu, hubby took over the kitchen and cooked simple meals for days which nourished my aching body and comforted my troubled spirit. His cooking is very much like the person he is; simple, straight forward and down to earth with a touch of humour and little madness to make it anything but boring. It is during this time I realised how my cooking has evolved over the time and how complicated it has become by adding one too many ingredients. Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex but it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. Simple ingredients prepared in a simple way is the best way to take your everyday cooking to a higher level.

26 November, 2018

Vegan Carrot, Cauliflower and Tomato Soup with Optimum Vac2 Vacuum Blender Review

Learn how to make Pressure Cooked Vegan Cauliflower, Tomato and Carrot Soup

When Froothie contacted me in April to try their latest Optimum Vac2 Vacuum Blender, I was in a middle of packing and moving houses from Cornwall to Yorkshire. They sent me the blender as soon as we shifted to our new house but it took me over a month to give it a try. I was so caught up with unpacking, turning the house into a home, buried under a pile of paper works and settling the kid into a whole new place and school that before I could blink it was summer holiday and we left to India to spend all of the summer break with our family. When we returned from India, I finally got time some time to try the blender to its full potential by making smoothies after smoothies along with using it for making nut butters, curry pastes, spice blends, pasta sauces and even dosa and idli batters. So here is the detailed post about my experience with the Froothie Optimum Vac2 Vacuum Blender after using it rigorously over the last 3 months.

Optimum Vac2 Vacuum Blender

Froothie Optimum Vac2 Vacuum Blender comes with a blender base, BPA free 2 liters jug with 6 stainless steel wet and dry multi-purpose blade assembly, two-part lid, heavy duty tamper tool for improved processing and mixing, spare vacuum seals and instruction manual. It also comes with a recipe book with over 70 mainly vegan recipes. Vac2 blender comes in 3 colour choices (red, black and silver) and has 8 different speed settings and has some preset buttons that will set the time and speed for you like smoothie, veg and fruits, pulse, nuts, and soup. It has the option to turn the dial to set the timer yourself. The bright blue LED screen on the blender base shows the speed and time setting. Pretty straight forward.

13 November, 2018

Mixed Vegetable and Tofu Thai Green Curry Recipe | Vegan Thai Green Curry Recipe

Learn how to make Mixed Vegetable and Tofu Thai Green Curry

Who doesn’t like a bowl of fresh, highly aromatic and warm curries on a cold days?! Especially when it is a highly fragrant and beautifully flavoured Thai Green Curry? Personally, I find its perfect balance of fresh green chilli heat and sweet, calm coconut has no other competitor for comfort. A bowl of hot curry with an array of colourful vegetables on top of steaming, fragrant Thai jasmine rice is what dreams are made of… It’s serious food heaven!

Ingredients for Thai Green Curry

My husband K and I are not great fans of eating out or takeaways. We opt to cook and experimenting in our kitchen than shedding unnecessary money on plate of food that we don’t enjoy. There are very few restaurants in our neck of wood that serves good food and that may be one of the reasons why we enjoy cooking. Also, having handful of friends who love our simple home cooked meals is also another reason for not eating out that often. Whatever reason it may be, we both are kind of people who enjoy spending quality time in kitchen, doing things together and having lots of fun with experimenting and tasting new cuisines.

01 November, 2018

Hyderabadi Dahi Bhindi Masala Recipe | Simple Dahi Bhindi Recipe

Learn how to make Hyderabadi Dahi Bhindi Masala ~ Crispy okra cooked in creamy and spicy yogurt gravy

There are many advantages of cooking from food blogs than cook books. One you get introduced to new cuisines with simple as well exotic ingredients. Second you get to see how the actual dish looks with drool worthy photos posted along the recipes. For me the best part is you can easily reach out  the blogger and clear all your doubts/queries which otherwise is not possible with cookbook authors. And not to forget, you get all these services without costing you a penny. Yup, the buzz word is free. ;)

Ingredients for Hyderabadi Dahi Bhindi Masala

Since twelve years of blogging, I have tried many recipes following the recipes posted in blogs. Very few times the end result ended up in garbage but many a times it was licked clean from plates, spoons and even the serving bowl. When I think of those recipes which have become my family favourites, I realised I haven’t posted most of them. So with this new mission of mine, I will be posting all the recipes I had tried and tested from bloggers and most importantly, loved by my family will be posted under the tag called  Recipes from Your Kitchen to Mine.

17 October, 2018

Thai Red, Yellow and Green Curry Paste Recipe | Trio Of Thai Curry Pastes

Learn how to make trio of Thai Curry Pastes; Thai Red Curry Paste, Thai Yellow Curry Paste and Thai Green Curry Paste

"Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements."
~ Marcel Boulestin

One thing I have learnt from my over a decade of kitchen adventure is learning how to balance and harmonize flavours. Even the fresh ingredients, such as herbs, spices and vegetables, can differ depending on their freshness, the soil and climate condition where they are grown, the way they are packed and stored etc. Same chilli I had bought few days back was less spicy and the tomatoes were more juicer than the one from my previous shopping trip to same old supermarket. Similarly, tamarind puree from same brand may differ in degree of sourness depending on how thick or thin it is made while the colour of chilli powder may be brighter than the last pack you consumed.

Thai Red, Yellow and Green Curry Pastes

Thai Green Curry Paste

For any cook, amateur or experienced, it is important to make adjustments in the quantity used to bring out the right flavour of the ingredients to suit your taste buds rather than blindly following the given recipes religiously. Recipes should serve as guidelines as they cannot speak for our taste preference or the variance in the ingredients we get from different places. Rather following the cooking instructions, I follow my instinct and my palate as it is these two which tells me what I would like in a particular dish, a hint of this a dash of that which creates a perfect harmony between flavour, aroma and the complete satisfaction of creating something which my loved ones enjoy.

13 September, 2018

Aate ka Laddu | How to Make Wheat Flour Ladoo

Aate ka Laddu | Learn how to make Wheat Flour Ladoo flavoured with ghee and cardamoms

Wishing you all who are celebrating, a very Happy Ganesha Chathurthi!

Being not very religious person, I share a very close relationship with this elephant headed God who has always looked after me and lifted my spirit when I was at my lowest point. He has pulled me from the dark hole and brought me into light which is very humbling to say the least. So it’s no surprise that, this festival is and will always remain my most favourite and closest to heart. Although I had plans of cooking a strom, literally, I am keeping it simple this year with these delicious Aate ka Laddu for my Bappa!

Aate ka Laddu or whole wheat flour ladoos is one of LD’s most favourite Indian sweets made by his Ajji (Paternal grandmother). This simple Indian sweet is made using just 4 ingredients; whole wheat flour, powdered sugar, ghee and cardamom powder. Really! That’s all it needs…

21 March, 2018

Gujarati Methi Thepla Recipe | How to Make Methi Thepla

Learn how to make Gujarati Methi Thepla ~ Gujarati multigrain flatbread made with fresh fenugreek leaves and flavoured with ground spices and sesame seeds

My friend was surprised when I told him I find cooking very relaxing and therapeutic. How can getting out pots and pans, chopping and grinding, sautéing and stirring be considered therapeutic, especially when you have to not only cook, but also wash, wipe and put them away was his question. Well, cooking becomes just a task or chore when you think it that way.

Ingredients for Gujarati Methi Thepla

For me cooking is more than day to day chore. While I find chopping vegetables and fresh herbs quite relaxing, the heady aroma of roasted spices makes me slow down and enjoy little pleasure of life has to offer. The steam coming out of pots and pans gives me free facials every day and the flexibility of adding or substituting any ingredients of my choice gives me a sense of freedom. The colour of various fresh leafy, green, yellow, red, orange and multi-colored fruits and vegetables fascinates me and makes me happy. The process of transforming raw, solitary ingredients into a savoury amalgamation of flavour, taste, smell, texture and colour is always magical. And the ultimate pleasure is when you are rewarded by ohh’s and ahh’s, great positive feedback from the people you love busily licking the food you cooked. This kind of therapy is priceless, fun and also delicious! Well, not every task or chore gives you this kind of pleasure. Do you think I am right? What makes you relax and enjoy?

15 March, 2018

Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda Recipe | How to Make Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda

Learn how to make Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda ~ Onion fritters in a delicately spiced creamy yoghurt gravy from Punjab

Everyone has some food that speaks to them, conveying security, exultation, and are the universal cure to any bad day! One bite and all your worries seem to disappear, and you sink into a sense of oblivion. One bite, and it can positively change your mood and make you feel better as they work their magic! That is the power of comfort foods!

Comfort food can be something simple, complex, rich, healthy or downright indulgent! There is no right or wrong kind of food when it comes to comfort food. Any meal that conjures up feelings of joy and safety, memories of childhood or good times, or brings simple pleasure is what comfort food is all about. If you are feeling lonely, food can be your new best friend; if bored, let food be your entertainment; if you are stressed, food can be your luxury spa treatment. Whatever the feeling, you can seek help through comfort foods.

15 February, 2018

Veg Seekh Kabab Recipe | How to make Baked Vegetarian Seekh Kebab

Learn how to make Veg Seekh Kabab ~ Vegetarian Seekh Kebab with assorted vegetables and paneer (Indian cottage cheese) flavoured with homemade aromatic spice mix

Flavourful. Succulent. Melt-in-mouth. Delicious. Seriously addictive.

That’s kabab or kebab for you. If you think vegetarian food is boring, then think again! This Veg Seekh Kabab or Vegetarian Seekh Kebab is a serious contender for their meaty counterpart and will give run for their money. Made with minced vegetables, cottage cheese and carefully selected spice blend, these kababs are a fine example of how a strong and complex flavours can work beautifully when they are carefully balanced to create a dish where the flavours in the end blend harmoniously without any one ingredient overpowering the other. This labour intensive dish is a result of my labour of love over many years as I have tried and tested over and over until I finally got that perfect blend of flavour, aroma, texture and taste by carefully measuring and balancing the ingredients and spices.

During my quest for perfecting the recipe for Vegetarian Seekh Kebab, I came across couple of interesting articles that gave an insight into the history of these much loved food around the globe. This is going to be one word heavy and photo heavy post and I must warn you well in advance so that you can skip the lengthy post and jump to the recipe post. But if you are a sucker for food stories and the rich history, stay with me as I take you on a culinary journey into the world of kebabs and the stories about the birth of kebabs, how they travelled around the world and how every country adapted them.

18 January, 2018

Arachuvitta Sambar Recipe | Tamil Brahmin Tiffin Sambar Recipe

Learn how to make Arachuvitta Sambar ~ South Indian lentil and vegetable stew flavoured with fresh roasted spice and coconut mix and tamarind extract

People who know me tell me that I turn little crazy when I start missing certain food. Food has that kind of effect on me and some days, it can turn my life upside down! It is especially so if I don’t get to eat full-fledged South Indian breakfast of Idli, Vada and Sambar at least once a week and begin to show withdrawal symptoms. Notice that gorgeous bowl of Sambar up there? It’s called Arachuvitta Samabr. This little tongue twister is a wonderful Tamil Brahmin Tiffin Sambar recipe where fresh ground roasted spices and coconut mixture is added to the simmering pot of vegetable and lentil stew with tamarind extract. Unlike other sambar recipes, this one uses fresh ground spice instead of ready to use sambar powders which makes it finger-licking good!

Ingredients for Arachuvitta Sambar

The ingredients which we find in sambar powder has dried red chillies, which surprisingly came to India only in the 15th or 16th century by the Portuguese from Mexico. Not just the chillies, but also tomato, potato and onions were not part of ancient Indian cuisine and were introduced by the western settlers and invaders around the same century. It is quite interesting that these ingredients have become a staple in many food preparation all over India and Indian subcontinents and are as Indian as it gets. Prior to red chillies became an integral part of cooking, it was the black peppercorns and ginger which added the heat to the curries and other food preparations and to this date, many South Indian recipes still uses black peppercorns and ginger (both in fresh and dried form) to spice up the dish and also for their immense medicinal properties and health benefit. We are so used to seeing the red or orange hued curries, it is bit difficult to imagine pale coloured sambar or other curries and this just shows how Indian cuisine has embraced the chillies as it is their own home produce! And so are the potato, tomato and onions without which it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the current Indian cuisine!

11 January, 2018

Vegan Tindora Masala Curry | Ivy Gourd in Peanut and Coconut Curry

Learn how to make Vegan Tindora Masala Curry ~ Ivy gourds cooked in a thick and creamy peanut, sesame seeds and dry coconut gravy

Time and time again I am on a self-created mission of learning, developing and sharing recipes which you will never find in any Indian restaurants. These recipes are lovingly created, tweaked and then perfected after many trials and errors by the home cooks and are passed on from one generation to the next with in a family. They are fiercely guarded like some precious treasures and most often, never shared with someone outside their family! So if ever by any chance someone outside the family asks for the recipe, you can be rest assured that only a part of these treasured family recipes will be shared…And oh, half-heartedly! When someone says, “Oh, it’s quite simple you know. You need a handful of this and a spoonful of that. Grind them all and cook with the vegetable!”, you can be sure that the finished dish will never come close to the one you fell in love with. Consider yourself lucky to have had a privilege to taste such family heirlooms and be mindful of their uneasiness to share their family’s secret recipe.

Ingredients for the gravy

A decade ago, I was invited for a lunch by a friend of mine. Students who live in a hostel will know what it means to be invited for a home cooked meals when one has to eat bullet proof roti dipped in watered down red chilli paste with 2-3 chunks of sorry looking vegetables that was passed as a ‘curry’! My friends family were originally from a southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (now divided into two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) which was known for their amazing regional food and fiery hot pickles which enslaves your taste buds the moment it touches the tongue. On that particular day, my friends mother had lovingly cooked a festive thali and one dish that made a big impact on my taste memory was the Vegan Tindora Masala Curry where ivy gourds were cooked in a creamy peanut and coconut gravy.

03 January, 2018

Spicy Roti Noodles Stir Fry Recipe | Vegan Indo-Chinese Recipe with Leftover Roti

Learn how to make Spicy Roti Noodle Stir Fry ~ Indo-Chinese style leftover roti noodles stir fried with rainbow coloured vegetables and sauces

When the Chinese introduced their cuisine into India, little did they would have expected to see that the ever-adapting Indian would re-invent some of their most time-tested recipes to suit the sub-continental palate. Indo-Chinese cuisine is believed to have originated with the Chinese migrants who settled in one of the metropolitan cities of India, Calcutta or currently known as Kolkata. India has one Chinatown, Tangra in Calcutta and the Chinese have been living there for more than a century. It is believed that over a century the food is adapted to suit local ingredients and adjusting the flavours to reflect the local palate. So, my friends, in simple words Indo-Chinese cuisine is just an adaptation of Chinese seasonings and cooking techniques to Indian taste and in my opinion one of the best cultural remix.

Ingredients for Spicy Roti Noodles Stir Fry

Popularly known as Indo-Chinese food, it is one of the most popular street foods in India sold on roadside in a small wooden push carts. You can never miss the irresistible smell of frying garlic, onions and chillies which will grab your attention even from 500 meters distance and you will be drawn to these carts with sudden hunger pangs. Price-wise the food is dirt cheap for a plate of very filling and utterly delicious Indo-Chinese food. If you are worried about eating from roadside carts/stalls due to hygiene, then fret not as most of the small and big restaurant in India has Indo-Chinese food on their menu and even star hotels have their own take on Indo-Chinese food. But in my opinion the best Indo-Chinese food I have ever tasted are from these roadside stalls which are not just tasty and cheap but real fun to eat. But there is no denying fact that homemade ones are much healthier as they are loaded with rainbow coloured vegetables, with less oil and with no artificial flavourings.