Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2009

Rainbow Sushi

Peppers for Red
Babycorn for yellow
Paneer for white
Leeks for green
Scallions for a lighter green
Beets for purple
And black nori to wrap it all up

I thought that rolling six vegetables in such a tiny sushi will present a challenge so I first rolled the veggies in nori and sealed it with a little water to make a cylinder. Then, on a longer nori sheet, I spread sushi rice, placed the nori-veggie roll on one side and rolled it into a rainbow colored sushi.

Rainbow sushi makes it's way to Lavi who is hosting AWED : Japanese this month.

Tropical Fruit Tart for Jane Austen

April is Jane Austen month at This Book Makes Me Cook. Instead of picking one of her books, we decided that all members of the book club will read their favorite Austen and create something inspired from it. I've read all her books many times before, and for this re-reading I first chose Mansfield Park. The least known of her books, it's the story of Fanny Price who comes to Mansfield Park, home to her rich relations, as a child. I think Fanny has to be the meekest of Jane Austen's heroines. Aside from that, this is a typical Jane Austen with society dinners, gentlemen suitors and plenty of scandal for company. However, there is not a single recipe inspiration to be found. There are references aplenty to teas and dinners and suppers; but not one dish by name.

I then read a second Jane Austen. Emma, the antithesis of Fanny, the strongest heroine Austen ever created. And even in the story of fiercely independent Emma, there wasn't a single reference to be found. I'v…

Microwave Nuts

When Mythreyee announced nuts as this month's theme for Srivalli's Microwave Easy Cooking, my only thought was that I can now finally try making masala peanuts at home. Why wouldn't I make them otherwise? Well...no idea really, it's just something that remains on my to-do list but never gets done.

After browsing through several recipes, I decided to follow the Jugalbandits, even though they had made their version in an oven and advised against making it in the microwave. It's five minutes of my time, so how could it hurt.

So I mixed 1/2 cup chickpea flour with salt, ajwain, amchur, crushed black pepper and 1/2 tbsp cornflour. Added water to half of it to make a thick paste and mixed it into a cup of peanuts. Then sprinkled the rest of the flour mixture and mixed it in. I oiled a microwave safe plate and spread the peanuts on it, trying to break the clusters as best as I could (not that I succeeded). Then microwaved it for two minutes, took it out to check everythi…

Bibimbap

This is the reason I love taking part in Taste & Create. There is so much new to learn and try when you meet new partners. This month, I am visiting Kitschow in Vancouver for a course in Asian cooking. She also tries a lot of other cuisines, but wok is her favorite way to cook. I first thought I'd find very little vegetarian choice at her place. But as luck would have it, she has recently done a lot of vegetarian cooking and eating for lent and I had a virtual rainbow to pick from. Everything looked so delicious it was tough to pick one. I picked the one with the cutest name : Bibimbap.

Bibimbap is a Korean rice, usually topped with beef and vegetables but Kitschow made a vegan version for Lent. The recipe has three parts. First you cook the rice. Then, when it's almost done but is still moist, you arrange vegetables on top so it looks colorful and pretty. For the vegan version, Kitschow just put raw veggies there and let them cook in the steam. But I liked the idea of s…

We have a visitor

Some weekends just pass you by; but this sunday was memorable. Aparna is in Mumbai for a vacation so Harini and I decided to meet her. It was great to finally see someone I've talked food and books to for so long. And it was really great to meet her lovely daughter and food-tester Akshaya - she really is too sweet. I went to see another friend right after meeting them and from both of us : A Big Thank You for the cake and the really delicious Guava Cheese you got us from Goa. Between meeting friends, this was a sunday afternoon well spent.

And sunday morning, that was spent baking cookies that Aparna and Harini hopefully liked. And making watermelon sorbet, for what could be better before venturing into Bombay heat.



It's just plain watermelon. Chop it carefully so that you remove all traces of seeds; then puree two cups of watermelon pieces in a blender. Freeze for an hour then blend to a smooth semi-frozen watermelon ice. Freeze again for half an hour, blend. Freeze and blen…

The Udupis of Matunga

An udupi can mean different things to different people. A town in Karnataka, a vegetarian cuisine that first started there or a barebones no-frills cafe serving South Indian food. In Bombay though, an udupi restaurant can also be any neighborhood cafe you can eat familiar, homely food at no great expense.

But if you really want to see an udupi (the cafe, not the town), the only place to head to is Matunga in Central Mumbai. They are all the same, these cafes with metal chairs and tables, quick and efficient service and the best South Indian food on earth.

The first time I went to Matunga's King Circle, which probably has ten udupis next to each other, I settled on Cafe Mysore. It was not a choice really, for I went early in the morning and they were the only one that seemed open and in business. I've since been to Cafe Madras and Idli House and A. Ramanayak and countless others. All of these offer the snacking choices of idlis, dosas and uttapams. Some also offer the thali, d…

From A Year in Bread : Pesto Rolls

I've reached June in my travels through A Year in Bread. Which is perfect timing because the trio of bakers out there baked summer breads then. Summer comes early to Bombay, and this is just the time to make Beth's Pesto Rolls.

I first tried making these rolls last week. But I made pesto a day early, and then promptly went ahead and ate half of it. So this time, I started by mixing the starter last night and leaving it overnight in the fridge. Mixed the dough this morning and while it was going through it's first rise, I made my pesto - no chance to eat it all this time!

The dough was just as smooth as Beth claimed it will be, and my halved quantity was easy enough to roll into a rectangle. Then spread it with pesto, rolled it up and cut it into rolls. I got 10 rolls, while Beth got 15 out of double the dough so I am sure I cut them smaller. But baking them was a breeze and they browned in about 20-25 minutes.

Fresh pre-sliced bread meets pesto - that's as close to br…

Soul Kadhi

In an ideal world, you would read a recipe and buy just the ingredients you need. What actually happens is that I buy a few hundred grams where I use a teaspoon. Just finished a kitchen sanity check, and I count five souring agents. That's just the dry spices, even before I count vinegars. I know what to do with most of them, but kokum presents a challenge. It's not what I use in anything except one recipe I tried, and I don't know what to do with the rest of it.

On to google for "kokum recipe" and all of first page says sol kadhi. Interesting concept, lovely color and you know I happen to have coconut right now. So sol kadhi it is!

Start with 1/2 cup of grated coconut. Add a smashed garlic clove and a small chopped green chilli and blend for a few seconds with a cup of warm water. Strain to get a thick coconut milk. Put the grated cocunut milk back in the blender with another 1/2 cup water, blend and strain again. This time, the coconut milk will be thinner so …

Maharashtrian Food Festival

My cook is originally from Mumbai, which means that she knows more about the Maharashtrian cuisine than I ever aspire to. Usal is one of her specials. But because I don't know how to break open and grate a coconut, and she hasn't volunteered either, this is not something we make often.

Every few weeks, when I manage to get hold of some grated coconut in the supermarket, it's usal time.



Buy bean sprouts or make your own. For a cup of sprouts, you need 2 cloves of chopped garlic, a small onion chopped finely and 1/3 cup grated coconut. Parboil the sprouts. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add garlic and stir till lightly browned. Add the onions and stir fry on a low heat till softened. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp of cumin-corainder powder (sold as such in Mumbai, but you can make your own with half of each). Now add the sprouts, coconut and salt to taste. Stir, add a little water (very little, just a tbsp or so) and cover the pan. Let cook on a low heat for a few mi…

Fantasy on My Plate

My friend got me Farfalle Fantasia from Italy almost a year back. Bow ties (my favorite shape of all) in harlequin colors, this pasta looks like something that came visiting from a distant fairy land.

I've held on to the pack for as long as I could. But it looks like my friend won't be coming visiting for a little while, and temptation finally got the better of me. So here it is; Farfalle of your dreams with my favorite sauce.

No Knead Success

A few weeks ago I tried unsuccessfully to bake the no knead bread made famous by New York Times. It was embarrassing. No, it was more than embarrassing. As far as I know, I am the only person in history to bungle up this super easy idiot-proof bread pioneered by Jim Lahey.

Never the one to give up, I changed tacks and put my faith behind the other no knead bread revolution taking over the food blogging world. I refer to Artisan Bread in five minutes a day, the book published by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The concept is simple enough - you don't knead the bread, but let the slow rise in the fridge do the job of gluten development.

Here's the recipe, if you can call it one. Mix flour, yeast, salt and water to make a wet dough. Let rise for 2 hours until doubled. Then leave in the fridge overnight. Next morning, dust with flour and shape into a loaf. Let it rest for 40 minutes, then bake in a 220C oven for almost 30 minutes until the bread is golden. There are detailed ins…