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Easy as pie? My foot!

Just when my Ma decided to let me have my way in the kitchen and my dad chose to wait in eagerness for my pie instead of submitting to his worst fears, which primarily involves physical damage to myself, I cooked up my first ever kitchen disaster.

I was doing just fine. 15 minutes into the baking, it looked great. The smell, the aroma, filled my senses. Only thing, it looked a little dull, wheatish, not the perfect golden brown you see on TV or magazines. So I put it back into the oven. By the time I got the color right we had to hammer our way into the pie. **** the food designers. Me the photographer should have known better.

But then, Team India came to my rescue. Sachin went on to score yet another hundred and we looked good to reach 350. Easy match! Just then Sachin fell and the rest came tumbling after. 9 wickets in 29 runs! Now that’s a master act. South Africa won and by the end of the day no one remembered by pie.

Oh! I have to tell you this. While my mother was helping me with the pie she started singing “Sheila ki Jawani”. She returned my cold stares with a beaming smile as I made a futile attempt to make her stop. She did, but to my horror, soon started on “Munni badnam hui”. And I surrendered.

Well, I guess nothing is as easy as a pie… least of all instilling corrective behavior in your mother. But got to admit, they are always embarrassingly sweet.

Burnt remainings of my pie

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It took me 3 decades to prepare my own birthday dinner!

My parents freaked out, constantly asking me if I could take it on.
Well, I did… and here is how it went:

Ingredients

  • Chicken – 2 kg
  • Curd – 500 gms
  • Basmati Rice – 1 kg
  • Onions – 250gms
  • Garlic – 100 gms
  • Potato – 1 kg
  • Chilli powder – according to your taste
  • Cardamom – 10 gms
  • Cinnamon – 10 gms
  • Jaifal – 1 pc
  • Jeytri – 5gms
  • Alu bokhra – 20 gms
  • Milk – 250 gms
  • Mitha attar – a few drops
  • Kewra jol, Rose water – 1 teaspoon each

This is the first time that I could mention the quantities with some amount of precision. But the truth is, I hardly follow it. You’ll know why very soon.

3-4 hours before cooking, marinade the chicken with curd, ginger garlic paste, grated onions, cinnamon and cardamom paste, salt and chilli powder. If you are making mutton biriyani, make it 7 hours.

The next step requires you to overcome disgust. 1 hour into the marination, I dip my finger into this, taste it, and if anything is missing, I add it.

I decided to take a nap after lunch before heading for the kitchen at 4. When my husband came to wake me up at 4, I asked him to give me 30 more minutes. Well, at 4:30 I did the same thing. Finally, at 5 he shook me out of my slumber fearing the biriyani may not come by at all.

Back to cooking… Boil water, add 5-7 pieces of clove, 5 pieces of cardamom, and the rice. Add some salt. After the rice is half cooked, strain it and keep it aside.

What is a biriyani without an alu? (Well, there ARE some who think adding pedestrian potatoes is an insult to the royal biriyani…) Anyway, take as many of them as you want. Half boil them in water by adding salt and a little bit of colour.

Fry finely chopped onions (2) until brown. Crush 1 jaifal.

In a bowl take a little milk, add a pinch of saffron, a few drops of mitha attar (biriyani scent), 1 tbsp of kewra jol, 1 tbsp of rose water, little bit of colour and mix it.

Oil the bottom of a cooking pot, much like greasing a baking tray. You may put some bone pieces in the centre (a small area which will be on top of the burner) or sacrifice a handful of rice. Choice is yours. Add a layer of rice. Put the potatoes on top. Sprinkle little bit of salt, jaifol, 1 jeytri and the milk mixture. Drop 1 alu bokhra. Add another layer of rice. Place the chicken on top. Sprinkle salt, jaifal, 1 jeytri, 1 alu bokhra and milk mixture. Add the remaining rice on top, sprinkle salt and the milk mixture. Place the fried onion on top. Sprinkle the remaining jaifol, add 1 jeytri and alu bokhra. Add a little bit of refined oil on top. Close the lid and seal it with dough.

Put it on high flame for 10 mins, and then on low flame for 30 mins. And you may spend these 40 minutes in your bedroom watching a movie while the biriyani cooks itself.

Shake it up a little before serving.

A special thanks goes to my friend Faisal’s mom for sharing this recipe with me. I simply added a little tweaks here and there. It looked great and tasted even better 🙂

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Sweet Sunday

Woke up to the smell of a steaming cup of coffee made especially for me. Followed by an early morning show of IRON MAN 2 @ INOX. Had a great lunch..followed by an awesome dessert I made yesterday.

Do you ever feel like cooking when everyone else in your home is sleeping? I do. Just me, the food and pin-drop silence. It’s bliss.

I had a little milk, custard powder, lots of fruits and a bar of dark chocolate. And, very little unused choco chips.

And, thus I began my nightly adventure. It turned out so good, I thought you might also want to try it out.

I added a spoon of custard powder to a cup of cold milk and kept it aside. I brought the remaining milk to a boil, added sugar while constantly stirring. When it started to thicken, I added the mixture of milk and custard powder. Stirred them well and turned off the heat.

While the custard was cooling down, I started slicing up mangoes, bananas and lychees. I melted the the bar of dark chocolate in microwave.

Then, I took a bowl, placed a large spoon of custard in it, followed by a layer of bananas, again added 2 spoons of custard, followed by a layer of mangoes, followed by a final layer of custard. Then I poured the chocolate on top of it. Circled the sides with slices of lychees with a final touch of choco chips. Then I put it inside the refrigerator for overnight cooling. This is how it looked like.

I have the sun shining on me right now, with its warmth muted to a perfect temperature by air conditioning. With the chocolate still sweet on my tongue, I’m going to go and get some sleep. I have another adventure coming up tonight. If  it’s a success, I’ll share it with you. Promise!

P.S. – I can’t write recipes too well, because I do not know how much of what I keep adding. I just go tasting all along 🙂

Yum Yum!

Suggested reading: Like Water For Chocolate

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Fooling iHusband

When you want to get your husband back in shape, you need to cook up delicacies with just one tablespoon of oil. Oh yeah, you heard me right. Just one spoon. Here is one such item straight out of my kitchen.

Add 250 g of low cal pasta (enough for 4 people) and 1 tsp of salt to warm water. Let it boil. When it is soft (yet firm) drain and wash it with cold water. Keep aside.

Take water in a pan and heat it. When the water is hot (not boiling), turn off the flame. Add 4 sausages to it, and leave it for 2-3 mins. When they are soft, take them out and slice them up in 1 inch circles. Keep aside.

Add 1 tsp of  olive oil in a hot pan. Add finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic to it. Add chopped capsicum, onions and 1 finely chopped green chilli and stir fry over low flame.

When the onions are colourless, add 1 tsps of white vinegar, 2 tsps of worcestershire sauce, 4 tsps of arrabbiata sauce, and a few drops of tobasco. Let the veggies cook in the sauce. Add 1 tsp of salt, a little pepper and basil leaves. Add the sausage and mix them well.

When the veggies are cooked add a handful of pasta, mix well. Again add one handful of pasta. Taste and add salt accordingly. Keep repeating till you have finished adding all the pasta. Take a pinch of oregano, crush it with your fingers and sprinkle over the pasta. Mix them well. Turn off the heat.

Now take a baking try, pour the pasta in it. Take the smallest possible cheese cube available in the market, grate it and spread over the pasta. (Will definitely look like you added a generous helping of cheese). Sprinkle some basil leaves on top. Bake it in the microwave for 2 mins. Serve hot. Tastes yum yum… and no one gets to know you have served a low cal delicacy.

P.S. – He loved it. That’s a difficult thing to acheive since he eats, drinks, and sleeps only Apple.

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Need to organize your tax paper? Have tons of pictures in your camera waiting to be transferred to your machine? Your shoe needs a polish? Need to go to the laundry? Scared of the stacks of books and CDs on your table? Weary of digging into your wardrobe to find your favourite shirt?

We all have a ‘To Do List’ which we keep evading for days, months, sometimes even longer.

Imagine, one such task everyday would mean 30 of them done before you get your next paycheck.

Sounds like a dream come true?

Don’t THINK! ACT!

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I just tried Yakisoba. It turned out so good, I thought of sharing it with you.

INGREDIENTS:

1)      Stir fried Egg Noodles / Wheat noodles

2)      Sauce – Ketchup, Soya Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Mirin and Tabasco.

3)      Vegetables – Cabbage, Carrots, Onions, and a lot of Ginger and any other veggies you like.

4)      Nicely sliced boneless chicken

5)      Best of Hawaiian music in the background.

Noodles- Boil them, wash them, and then toss them with a little oil so that they don’t stick together.

Grate ginger, shred cabbage, shop the carrots and onions.

Heat the oil, put the ginger first, and then add the chicken. When the chicken is colourless and tender, add the vegetables.

In the meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Take 2 spoons of ketchup. I used Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Ketchup. It’s my favourite.  Add 4 spoons of Soya Sauce, 4 spoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 spoons of Mirin Sauce and Tabasco, depending on how hot you want it to be. If you don’t have Mirin, add a little bit of sugar. Bottom line is, the sauce should be salty, sweet and spicey. Mix them well.

The chicken and veggies should be nicely cooked by now. Add the sauce and then the noodles. Mix them well. You can add the noodles first. But I find it convenient to add the sauce first. That’s how I make Maggi too. I add the masala first in the water, then the noodles. Do it whichever way you like.

And, it’s over by the time I have listened to all of my favorite 22 Hawaiian numbers.

I know I have probably got it all wrong, but it tastes so good. Why the hell is it called YAKI-soba then??

Yakisoba

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Breakfast @ Flurys

It’s the weekend…if you are a dessert person, in Kolkata and hungry, this is THE PLACE for you! They have these wonderful cakes and chocolates…

I just had biriyani for lunch and i’m already feeling empty inside…can you believe that?

Ok then, see you there 😉

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