Thursday, 29 December 2011

Red and Green Peppers Pizza

For the first time since i started blogging, i got inspired to cook for a blogging event. The event is "Lets cook for Christmas - Red and Green". I didn't even read the blog rules that apply for participation, i simply wanted to cook something using red and green ingredients and with a finished product that looks red and green. I was so very happy when the pizza came out of the oven the day after Christmas, and not just because during the previous week i had baked my first inedible pizza (I really don't want to talk about that disaster. It happened because i decided i didn't have to knead the dough, at all! Yeah, after baking about two dozen pizzas, i baked one that went straight to the trash can). This one though was miles ahead of the last one, the thin crust with whole wheat flour included was not only healthier, it was delicious too. And staying with sauteed bell peppers, without overloading with all sorts of toppings, brought out those delicate sweet flavours absolutely perfectly. When the soft mozzarella was bubbling away without burning during the last two minutes of baking, the house smelled amazing too. One of the best pizzas i have eaten in a long time.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Bottle gourd kofta curry (Sorakaya Kofta kura)

Maybe I am getting lazier, or maybe i am taking mom for granted, or both. Why else, as one who stays at home all day, everyday, would i ask mom to type in the recipe and send it to me by email, when i was right next to her when she made this for me on my last trip there. I have surely become lazier. And taking advantage of the fact that moms are always trying to be there for their daughters, even when the said daughter has quit her job after a mere five years in the corporate world. And  then when the said mom is having a one week leave from her day job (one that she has kept at for almost thirty years), she is asked to kindly type in the recipe because her daughter is too lazy. OK, i hope you get the point that i am very guilty right now. But can i be forgiven, please? I am not saying i deserve it, I am simply asking you to be magnanimous. Its the season for that too, right? Pretty please?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Coconut milk pudding with vermicelli (Kobbari palu payasam)

An incredible thing happened last week. My mother-in-law had an evening snack. Now before you start wondering if i might be a little crazy, you need to listen to me some more. She never has an evening snack. In her own words "even if you give me gold, i will not eat anything between lunch and dinner". And this rule she has been diligently following for as many years as she can remember, probably more than a decade. When i give her samples of my cakes, cookies or other speciality foods i make, she will eat them as part of her main meal, lunch or dinner, reducing the rice portion. She usually has one cup of tea in the afternoon (substituted by milk earlier this year because the doctor advised her to eat more when recovering from a serious illness). Even at that stage she staunchly refused to eat anything between lunch and dinner. Then last week, coconut milk pudding happened. Every time i cook something new, i get my feedback from her. And I couldn't stop smiling when she told me how she broke her rule of no evening snacks, how the aroma lured her to taste one spoon, how she came back for a second spoon within minutes because she was now distracted with how good it tasted, how she finally relented and served herself a cupful, and how my father-in-law followed suit. It was incredible, people!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Simple Tomato Chutney

If you are regular reader, you might think that i have talked enough about my love for chutneys, but then you probably still don't know me too well. As i recently found out what the husband discovered about me - that i tell a story with such gushing enthusiasm, then get a little disappointed when i notice that i am not getting the expected reaction, it usually turns out i have told him that same story at least twice already. Either my brain's getting old before i even turn thirty, or i have a childlike enthusiasm,despite advancing years, where i can talk without worrying about my audience's reactions. You decide if that's good or bad. I mean for me. Of course its not the best of things to happen to an interested audience, so i shall try to keep my memory good. Otherwise you will remind me, no?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Amla Murabba - Gooseberries in sugar syrup

I have always been one to identify my situation with songs, one who loved to express her current state of mind with a song; singing aloud when i was by myself because the poetry of the songs sounded so apt and beautiful, even if not originally mine. And when i had company, understanding friends would put up with my bad singing, i could never sing a song in its original tune. And as much as i profess to like songs, i can't really appreciate music. Its the lyrics that get me. When i was first introduced to old Hindi movie songs by my Rajasthani friend (who had a great voice and sang beautifully) i couldn't have enough of them. I would make her sing for me and ask the meaning of difficult words and I so loved the lyrics of those songs, that i can now sing along a lot of those old songs. And all this ranting is because i happened to listen to one such song a little while ago - main zindagi ka sath nibhata chala gaya. I was just starting a new blog post and wondering what to write about, paused to check my email when i found a friend sent me a link to this song on the Internet.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Pressure cooker in action

This was a picture i clicked in my mom's kitchen, a couple of months ago. The colour photo has very little difference from its black and white counterpart. Its just the wall that has colour, a reddish brown granite. The pressure cooker and the frying pan themselves are made of white aluminium and black plastic. (This was cooking in that frying pan on that day). As far as i know, mom has been using these utensils for everyday cooking for more than two decades. They don't make them like that anymore is what i hear these days with both mom and mother-in-law still using kitchen utensils and appliances from when they got married and first started cooking. Now-a-days, the husband and i expect our kitchen utensils to last about two years and appliances to last some five years. Half of my frying pans have already lost their handles, and its just about two years since purchase.
I have missed Black and White Wednesdays the last few weeks and i am happy to be back.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Cauliflower Pickle - Andhra Style

I was sipping delicious sweet water with a straw from a fresh tender coconut a little while ago while staring into the sunset from a window at my home. And the idea of a tropical beach holiday described in some book or television or somewhere on the Internet flashed into my head. This was the not first time i had coconut water straight from a tender green coconut, nor was this the first time i admired a sunset at home (having even tried to capture it with my camera several times, precariously balancing the camera outside the third floor window), but it was the first time it struck me as something romantic. That a lot of things in everyday life seem interesting only when they are described in beautiful words by a stranger. That our perspective of everyday events can determine our happiness, not the events themselves. And i am surprisingly happy today, maybe just happy to be surprised at what my mind can throw at me to ponder.
Hello everybody and seasons greetings to you all.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Beerakaya Senagapappu Kura/ Ridgegourd Curry with Bengal Gram

Anybody like ridge gourd? I mean like, love ridge gourd. Jump and squeal when you hear that's the curry for the day. OK, maybe not jump and squeal but really love it. I for one had never been in that category. For as long as i can remember when mom was cooking our meals, i wouldn't turn to look under the plate that was was covering ridge gourd curry. I knew it was easy to cook, i knew it had great many nutrients and was light on the stomach (making it a perfect curry for convalescents). Those were just not enough reason for me to eat this green vegetable. I mean when made into a curry. Of course i would devour the chutney made with ridge gourd. That's because i am very partial to chutneys, but you already know that. So what convinced me to eat ridge gourd in curry form finally. Well, i have not one but two reasons. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Home-made Rasgulla/ Roshogolla

I told you about my huge sweet tooth in my last recipe post. But i wasn't always this fond of sweets, and definitely not when i was a kid, so i pondered about it some more. I think my love for all things sweet came from my stay in the eastern state of West Bengal for four years, two years for study and two years in my first job. Until my stay in Kharagpur, i was this good, traditional South Indian girl who always finished her meal with rice mixed in plain yogurt, with maybe a pickle or chutney on the side. And in Kharagpur i discovered mishti doi (yogurt prepared in an earthen pot with melted sugar mixed into the milk) and i was converted. So much that during my first semester holidays back home, i refused to eat plain yogurt with rice anymore and insisted on adding sugar to it in a small cup to enjoy as a dessert. Till date that is how i enjoy eating yogurt, with some sugar or honey sprinkled on top. And only because i don't have a Bengali sweet shop around the corner to sell me some mishti doi.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Carrots prepped for juicer - Black and White Wednesday

I liked this picture from the minute i first downloaded it from my camera. It was clicked in natural light in the morning close to my kitchen door. The light and dark sides are clearly visible and i loved the delicious shade of orange on the carrots, which you will now have to imagine as i chose this for Black and White Wednesday. It looked artistic, even if that thought was only mine. 
I had washed the carrots, scraped the skin, sliced off the heads and tails, and sliced them in half vertically so they could pass through the juicer without too much coaxing. They were all prepped and ready to go into the juicer when the food blogger in me woke up and said, don't you want to photograph this? That's how this photo got its place here.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Honey Baked Figs with Cinnamon and Almonds

I didn't realise how big a sweet tooth i have until quite recently, i guess until i started blogging and started talking to you so much. Truth is i do have a huge sweet tooth. While I love my chocolate desserts very much, i am not picky at all. I don't think i would ever refuse any kind of sweet you want to offer me. Unless i am on a self imposed sweets ban that is, like i was for two months in 2008 when i found out i had gained too many kilos in too few preceding months. (so many in fact that unsuspecting colleagues with whom i only made polite conversation were telling me i look fat!) And as far as i recall, it was a while ago, that restriction was only that i should not buy any more sweets for myself. Which means i gladly ate a piece of cake at work, one that was brought to celebrate my boss' 50th birthday - it would have been rude not to, right? After all the man rarely spoke in office and had just confessed that he had spent more than half his life in that same company. One had to raise a toast (i mean eat cake) to this man's commitment i say, whether you were on a self-imposed sweets ban or not.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Grilled Red Snapper Fillet

This dish was from a little while ago, late august if you must know. I immediately wrote up the ingredients in a draft blog post, because i was cooking many new things around that time and lest i gave you the wrong recipe a couple of days later. But for many reasons, i did not go back to it the expected couple of days later. 
I hesitated in posting this because the pictures were not what called to you. The fish tasted delicious, no problem there. We cleaned up the whole thing in less than 10 minutes, with the picky husband accepting the larger share. But i wasn't sure anyone would be tempted by the pics i had clicked. Actually i was sure many would decide my blog didn't merit another visit. I didn't want to risk that. But then i also did not want to leave it in drafts forever, such a delicious thing had to see light, especially if it has been patiently waiting for me for this long. So i came up with a compromise,

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Pomegranates on Tree - Black and White Wednesday

I am back for another black and white Wednesday. This is another photo from grandma's village. I realized recently that it is an old habit of mine to carry my 'point and shoot' digital camera around ever since i bought my first digital camera about seven years ago. And the village folks are generally amused when they see a young woman walking around the village with a camera in her hand, clicking at everything she sees. It so happened that six years ago when i visited this village i clicked some photos of a mother hen with about a dozen new-born chicks. They were really cute to look at. Apparently the lady who owned them still asks grandma about me and every single time they talk about how i went around those chicken for good photos. Don't know where i lost those old photos now. At least this time around, i have this blog to preserve these memories and to share with you.
The above picture has two little pomegranates on the tree. There is also a guava tree growing right next to the pomegranate tree and there is one little 'not yet ripe' guava amidst the large guava leaves. Can you spot it?

Happy Dussehra friends :-)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Plantain Skins Chutney/ Aratikaya Thokku Pachadi

Did you say "what?!" and read it again? I almost did a double take when mom mentioned what she was making for lunch three weeks ago. Green plantain curry and a chutney with the plantain skins. Really, they are edible? Turns out not only are plantain skins edible, they are also quite tasty when combined with yogurt, tomato and some curry leaves. To think of all the times i threw away plantain skins. Not long after i got my first taste of this plantain skins chutney at lunch that day, i was eager for second and third helpings. Much to my mom's amusement, i had hardly touched the actually plantain curry (hello, i can make that curry myself too, why waste my appetite on that age-old  curry when i have this delicious new chutney in sight). And i have already told you about my addiction to chutneys. So i took to this new chutney as fish to water. While i cannot guarantee that you will be as excited as i am with this new chutney, i can at least assure you that if you like yogurt based chutneys or raitas you will like this one. You have nothing to lose (you were going to throw those skins away anyway, right?) and everything to gain by giving this at least one try.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Peanut coconut chutney/ verusenagapappu kobbari pachadi

My favourite part of a south Indian breakfast is the chutney that accompanies it. While these chutneys are meant more as dips for the idlis and dosas, i eat them the other way round. I heap on double servings of chutney before i go for another serving of the actual breakfast course. And i love them so much that i bring them to the lunch table to enjoy with my rice and ignore the curries until the chutneys are gone. And i like them plain, like the picture you see above, without getting it cluttered by the zillion ingredients of tempering.
While i love all kinds of spicy chutneys, i especially love the white ones. The peanut chutney, coconut chutney, roasted Bengal gram chutney, and this one - peanut coconut chutney. Once its made, every visit to the kitchen will see me sneaking small spoonfuls. Its not just a delicious side dish to south Indian breakfasts, but goes perfectly with the deep fried evening snacks and if like me you can't get enough of it, pairs perfectly with rice too.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Cooking in an Indian village two generations ago

I have told you that i recently went to visit my parents in Vijayawada. My grandma lives in a small village nearby, so i usually also go visit her whenever i go to Vijayawada. Also because she loves me to bits and asks me when i am coming to visit her again only a week after my latest visit. My aunt's family also live in that village and my aunt usually does the cooking part now that grandma has become quite old. Coming to the picture of discussion today, this was how the rice was cooked that day, that was eaten with fish and chicken curries.
This is similar to the basic three stone cook stove mentioned here (My friends tell me i have an addiction for wikipedia, possibly caused by an obsession for perfection). Bricks are set up on three sides to balance a cooking pot and firewood or dried cow-dung cakes are used as fuel and pushed in from the open side. Food is cooked on the open flame and controlled by the amount of firewood placed under the pot. This was how my grandma always cooked, she had two such cook stoves side by side and managed to cook delicious meals on them during our childhood summers spent in that village. I guess this type of cooking is almost non-existent today, even in villages, because everyone now cooks with LPG or natural gas or electricity.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Mom's Simple Fish Fry

My mom makes the best fish fry. OK, i know that sounds like such a generic statement. Let me personalise it and say that only mom makes the kind of fish fry i love. Even i can't cook a fish curry that i can eat. My dad loves fish among all the non-vegetarian options and somehow that did not pass on to me, unlike the sweet tooth and the general foodie thing. While fish curry (chepala pulusu) is the Andhra favourite, i cannot eat it with any hint of enthusiasm. Even when my grandma lovingly prepares it  for me. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Wholewheat Oats Raisin Cookies

I can't say which i love better, baking cakes or baking cookies. Cookies are easier to bake, more difficult to get wrong and store for longer. So they are great for gifting. Cakes need a little more attention to pull them off correctly and so would have taken second place, except that i now have the cutest cake mould and i want to try out more varieties of cakes. This battle within me continues, while the winner may ultimately announce itself on the blog based on the number of blog posts dedicated to cookies and cakes. Today makes them even.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

This Flower is a Chocolate Cake - Black and White Wednesday

I can't believe its Wednesday again, already! Time for another black and white Wednesday and i have not done a single recipe post since the last one. What can i say, i have been busy and time flew. To give you some context - My dad retired from his job last month after having completed almost thirty five years of service. He had a single employer all his life, the state government. Those were the days when private employers weren't big in India and a young man was deemed eligible for marriage only if he had a government job. And so he kept at it for the better part of his life, where colleagues became family friends.
And when he was throwing these friends a farewell party at the end of last month, i couldn't be with him on his big day because i was going to spend it with my in-laws celebrating the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. I can't even type this without feeling extremely guilty about it. My way of making amends (to myself, mostly) was to visit my parents a week later, and bake my dad some sweet goodies. My dad has a sweet tooth (a huge one) and loves everything sweet. So, i baked him this chocolate cake, another orange chocolate chunk cake, a bunch of peanut butter cookies (that were promptly shared with some of his now ex-colleagues) and a larger bunch of wholewheat oats cookies (the recipe will come soon).
The recipe for this chocolate cake is the same as the one i have posted in June and have referred to in many posts since then, it has become a family favourite. What's new about today's post is that i got myself a new silicone cake pan recently that is the shape of a flower and i have baked all my cakes in it since then, i had to share with you. Today i am traveling back to Hyderabad and once i settle down, hopefully the recipe posts will start coming soon. Oh yes, i have been clicking photos of mom's dishes in the kitchen the last few days - you will have to wait a little more to see them.

This photo goes to Susan's Black and White Wednesday event. An event i now look forward to.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

My burger takes many sides - Black and White Wednesday

We had this chicken burger for dinner one night before i started blogging. This was one of the first photos i clicked after having taken a fancy to photographing foods. I was also previously not too keen on presenting foods well, i would just throw whatever i cooked on a plate and hand it over to my husband. Then during one of our usual chit-chat sessions, my mother-in-law told me how much her son liked well presented food. This was news to me, and i was appalled at the way i was serving him lunches and dinners with zero thought to presentation for a whole year. So this photo was from that time when i started giving presentation a little thought and wanted to click a photo to remember my humble beginnings.
The burger is made of grilled chicken breast fillet (cooked similar to this) and the sides are grilled pink onion slices, fresh tomato slices, small scoops of avocado, fried fresh green chilies, pickled jalapeno slices, and grilled green bell peppers.
Since i don't have the process pictures for this dish, this never made it to the blog till today. And today this gets to see light because of Susan's Black and White Wednesday event.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Watermelon Granita

I was eating a lot of chocolate ice-cream during the last few months this year and it all started because Baskin-Robbins was offering one box free with every box you bought at the supermarkets. And we loved their Bavarian Chocolate flavour - silky smooth, had a few crunchy bits in between and real dark chocolate flavour. I could lick the box clean if no one was looking, or even if someone is looking (depends on who is), that's how much i liked it. And then once those people knew i was addicted, they took back the special offer. You can guess i was not too happy, and to register my protest i stopped buying them. But did the cravings for something ice cold and sweet stop?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Coriander/ Cilantro/ Kothimeera chutney

The festival season has started in India but i am not yet in the mood for festive dishes. I want to try new dishes, alright. But i find that i have bookmarked too many recently and can't decide which ones to try first. Or maybe its just that i am still gloating over the success of my last venture. The peanut butter cookies became such a hit, more so than the chocolate chip cookies, that i am still jumping in joy every time i remember it. How could something so simple please so many people so much? My neighbours and their little girl liked it, my father-in-law who usually doesn't like anything crunchy liked them so much that there weren't any left for my mother-in-law to taste. And last Sunday my cousin and her friends kept eating one after another when they only started out with a small piece for taste test so they could politely tell me they liked it. I can't remember being happier about cooking/baking anything else, the only exception is probably this cake . So now i am eager to make something that beats those cookies. Suggestions anyone? Nothing too difficult though, OK?
Meanwhile, because i still have to feed myself and the guy i live with, i can't really stop cooking until i find that next big thing.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Starfruits and Pink Guavas and South Indian Temples

On Janmashtami (also called Krishna Jayanthi or Krishnashtami) which was last Monday this year according to the lunar calendar, me, the husband and his parents went to a visit the temples at a nearby place called Chilkur. One is a temple of multiple Hindu Gods and is called the Swami Narayan Temple. This Hindu temple is present in many countries abroad too and the largest Swami Narayan temple abroad is in London. I went to the London temple and it is exquisite with beautifully carved interiors and statues of Gods and Goddesses, and so peaceful. You should definitely visit if you have the chance.
Swami Narayan Temple at Chilkur
The Vedic school (Gurukul) adjoining Swami Narayan Temple

Friday, 26 August 2011

Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies

There's a little girl who lives across the street from us and we can see each other when i come out into our balcony and she comes to their kitchen balcony. And every time she sees me, she gives me a cute smile and an excited wave while shouting 'tataaa'. Their family moved into the apartment opposite our house about a year ago, when the kid was about 6 months old and she grew up before my eyes. She now shows off her bangles and her dress and any other accessories pointing at herself and then pointing at me to make me look. Her mother tells me how much the kid loves bangles and wears them for the whole length of the arm if allowed.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Chicken Burger with minced chicken

I have been a lover of junk food, for as long as I can remember. When instant noodles first came into the market, I had to pester my parents to buy me some. I loved the street side samosas and mirchi bajji in my hometown so much that when I came home from my college hostel during my engineering days, dad would oblige me by bringing these street snacks on his way home from office. And on such days, I would be allowed to have my fill of such deep fried ‘nothing good for you in it’ junk food to the extent of skipping home-made dinner. I haven’t changed.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Capsicum Fry/ Bell pepper curry

Of late i find my mother and mother-in-law both experimenting with foods, trying out new combinations of vegetables for curries, that is almost surreal. They have no access to the Internet and my mother is a working woman who rarely watches TV (she most definitely believes it is the idiot box). And i find them dishing out delicious curries with never-heard-before combinations, and i am the one reading through dozens of food blogs. I was talking to my mother during the week and after some usual chit chat, she generally asks me what i made for lunch and if i have nothing to blabber about, i ask her the same. And she shocked me with a curry she made with chukka kura (sorry, but couldn't find the English name for this. It is a sour leafy vegetable and usually cooked with lentils similar to spinach) and sorakaya (bottle gourd). Has anyone ever heard of this combination before? I know I never did. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Indian Chicken curry

When I call this Indian chicken curry, i mean it as opposed to Caribbean or African or Thai etc, because we now know that there is curry in so many different parts of the world. I refrain from giving a region specific name within India, like calling it Andhra Chicken curry, because i am not cooking this from any recipe and would be reluctant to pass it off as an authentic local item just because i hail from there. This rather is the curry i spoke about here, the one i learnt from my husband and the only variety of chicken curry he seems to prefer.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Varalakshmi Vratam - Ulli Garelu/ Vada

In continuation with my previous post, this one is to share with you my recipe for vada. These are called garelu, minapa garelu or ulli garelu in Andhra Pradesh. It is a mandatory offering to the Goddess Lakshmi for Varalakshmi vratam and after the worship (puja) is over it is also offered to another married woman assumed to be the Goddess.
Other than as an offering to Gods, it is also kind of a royal breakfast item. If you visit an Andhra household and you are served Garelu for breakfast, it means that you are being treated as King or even God. When the bride-groom first (and every subsequent time) visits his in-laws' house, he will be served Garelu along with lots of other foods of course. Garelu are a favourite in my family, both before and after marriage and i seemed to be the exception. It was only after i started making them myself that i started to appreciate the taste, texture and richness of this fritter type snack. Now i look forward to making them, for more opportunities to serve to my husband and in-laws, and to eat them too :)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Varalakshmi Vratam - Semiya Payasam, Pulagam

Varalakshmi vratam is considered an auspicious day for married Hindu women. It is observed on the second Friday in the month of Sravan of the Hindu calendar and Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth and prosperity) is worshipped on this day. The details on how this festival is celebrated is written very well here, so i won't re-write the whole thing again. I would only like to share with you how i have celebrated it in my home with my mother-in-law, what we cooked and recipes for some of those. It is considered auspicious to offer the Goddess five varieties of cooked delicacies and five varieties of fruits. We made Purnalu (Boorelu), Payasam, Garelu (Vada), Pulihora (Lemon Rice) and Pulagam. And the fruits were bananas, apples, grapes, pomegranates and sweet lime.
My mother-in-law made Purnalu as i am yet to learn the process for it and i cooked the remaining four items. The recipe for lemon rice, i have already posted here. Only this time, there were lots of cashews in it. In this post i will tell you how i made payasam and pulagam. And you need to wait till my next post for the recipe for Garelu.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Mushroom Manchurian - Wet and Dry - step by step

On the last day of our recent holiday, an hour before boarding the train, we went to a nearby restaurant to have some snacks and to get dinner packed for the overnight journey. Having had our fill of dosas and puris over the previous three days, we ordered a plate of Mushroom Manchurian which was listed under 'Chinese snacks'. Indianised version of Chinese food is huge in almost all parts of India. From small mobile street stalls to fancy restaurants, there are many who serve "Chinese" food in India. But if you have ever been to China, you would know that it is something completely different. No is the answer, if you are asking me if i have ever been to China. But i talked to a good friend who did go, who was there for a few months for an IT project. And heard him complain about how there was nothing to eat in China. He never expected a problem when going there because he was eating "Chinese" in Kolkata (or you may know it as Calcutta) all the time. Eventually, he did adapt quite well and bragged about being able to eat peanuts with chopsticks. Apparently that's not the easiest thing to do.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Tandoori spiced chicken legs

My go-to chocolate cake is in the oven as i begin to write this. I needed to do some baking so i could coax myself back to cooking. Back from the short holiday, i have become a reluctant cook. Suddenly i want to be served hot food without having to cook it. Not that i had to start cooking as soon as we came back. I wasn't even asked to cook the day we returned. We went out for lunch and the husband generously bought me my favourite biryani even though it wasn't his favourite. Or maybe it was (t)his pampering that turned me into the reluctant cook. To see how much more pampering i could get away with! Didn't have to wait long to find out. I had to cook lunch yesterday and today but we have plans for Sunday. (We finally booked our tickets to watch the Harry Potter finale in 3D on the largest screen in Hyderabad. I can't wait!) So to get me through the rest of today and tomorrow, i am baking. Somehow baking has always felt like fun. Unlike cooking that can sometimes be a chore, especially when cooking the same curries for lunch repeatedly week after week. And it is not the repetition that i am complaining about, because i can bake the same chocolate cake every week and not get tired of it. Any thoughts on why that is?
I was digressing. Anyway, about the whole reluctant cook thing, last night the husband surprisingly understood my predicament and said he would cook the tandoori chicken legs by himself for dinner, the chef didn't even want a helper. And i think for the first time in two years, i accepted the leave granted and sat in the living room watching the new season of Masterchef Australia.
Since i didn't go into the kitchen, i don't have clicks of the husband's masterpiece from last night, though he repeatedly told me what delicious juicy chicken he had prepared. The pictures you see here are from a few weeks ago. And i was so hungry at that time, i could not bring myself to get an extra clean plate for the final pic. Excuse the laziness, please.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Simple Upma with Semolina/ Rava

We have been away on a short trip early this week. To visit the Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala, Tirupati. The richest God in India for many decades until quite recently when the secret treasure of Lord Padmanabhaswamy was unearthed. The train trip to another city meant no cooking for three whole days and eating lots of the South Indian breakfast items not just for breakfast but for lunch and dinner too. I love south Indian breakfast items. As much as i love rice, i can go without it for days if you feed me poori, dosa, upma, idly and variations of them and not necessarily in that order. You would think three days of eating them would be enough for anybody. Oh no, not me. It left me longing for more. So much that i woke up this morning with a craving for a hot breakfast. And served in bed, preferably. OK, who am i kidding. That's not going to happen anytime soon.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Crispy Fried Prawns

I usually try to record the happy and funny things that happen to me in this blog, and sometimes think for ages wondering what will make interesting reading, am i boring my occasional readers? And especially the odd reader who comes back. And in this quest, i read a lot of blogs. So many that my husband is amused at my addiction. And sometimes not so amused when i forget to cook lunch or dinner losing myself in a really interesting read. Two days ago, i somehow found my way into this non-food blog that wasn't telling you the happy things. It was about talking truths that people usually would not talk about, mostly because it is not considered polite conversation. I loved her writing so much, i ignored all else, my own blog included, and spent a whole 72 hours going through her archive and old blogs. I am glad there is a person like that who shares her experiences to the world, making it easier for people like me who will never open up as much.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Easy Indian Potato Curry

Potatoes are possibly the most ubiquitous food. I am yet to hear of any cuisine that never cook with potatoes. And with all that starch, a real comfort food too. There are possibly a million ways to cook potato and i may have tasted a few dozen. In the cities of west bengal in India, and i have lived two years each in two cities, potatoes are used in almost all their meals. During my student days in the city with the longest railway platform, our meals were cooked in the canteen of the student hall of residence, we had very little say over what was served to us. The only choice was eat or don't. (Wow, suddenly makes me realise how much luckier i am now to be able to cook and eat all this variety of meals!) Yes, we did have student body meetings and decide a weekly menu for the next month, but more often than not, the cook would make what he wanted. When confronted, he always had the same excuse - couldn't get the ingredients of the set menu within budget. So he added potatoes!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bachali kura pappu/ Malabar Spinach curry

The weekend was hectic. I made mushroom pizza for Saturday lunch. Dad was in town on Saturday and i cooked him some dinner. I made him some plain Naan and served it with chicken curry. And later made myself some masala Naan that i had with the potato curry leftover from here. And since i also wanted to give him something special to take home to mom, i baked this cake again earlier in the day and packed it for him. On sunday, we went to a housewarming get-together and i got to eat my favourite Hyderabadi Biryani for lunch there. The recipes for the new stuff i cooked on the weekend will have to wait, because i have decided that i will first tell you more about what i cooked for lunch today.