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Showing posts from November, 2015

In praise of ID

You will rarely hear me talking about specific food brands on this page. But this one brand in particular needs to be talked about. Because unlike Zomato or Tiny Owl, ID hasn't pulled in zillions of dollars in investment funds. Nor do you see them roping in Shahrukh Khans of the world and advertising on TV.

Quietly, simply, one day the packs of ID idli-dosa batter showed up on the racks of my neighbourhood supermarket. Bombay's used to buying packs of dosa batter already so let me tell you what ID does better. The batter is sealed in a thick, ziplock bag that you can pop in the fridge. It's also already salted, so you can pour ladlefuls of batter out directly onto idli moulds or the dosa tavaa. The batter is also perfectly fermented every single time.

ID batter works equally well for idlis and dosas. Also, on the days you are feeling fanciful or have sudden guests, you can drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil and deep fry into the vadas you see above. Then a few months b…

Thanksgiving Bread

India does not have a Thanksgiving tradition. But then, tradition or not, what's the point in ignoring a festival devoted almost entirely to eating and shopping. As a vegetarian, the turkey meal at thanksgiving is not of much interest to me. But there are so many sides to pick from and so many variations on the pumpkin. So for today's thanksgiving special, I bring you a bread roll that's not only shaped like a tiny, squat pumpkin but is also chock full of pumpkin puree and flavour.

The pumpkin bread was the bread of the month at my bread baking group 'We Knead to Bake'. Every recipe I have baked with this group has been a winner and this is no exception. The rolls that come out of the oven are super soft and amazing with a pat a butter. Plus the house smells of cinnamon and ginger and nutmeg for hours. The original recipe makes 8 rolls but I halved it so the one below makes 4 tiny pumpkins, just enough for 1-2 people.

Ingredients3 tbsp. warm milk 1 tbsp. honey
1 ts…

The Soul of Punjab

The moment you mention to someone that you are a Punjabi and a foodie, you are likely to hear one of the two things in the sentence that follows: 'Butter Chicken' or 'Sarson ka Saag'. Of these two iconic dishes, butter chicken is a year round phenomenon and of little interest to me as a vegetarian. But let's talk of sarson ka saag or mustard greens that are just coming into season and will be a staple diet in Punjab for the next three months.

Before I get to the recipe, I need to add a little preface about the food in Punjab. We are an agrarian state, which means that most of our traditional dishes are peasant food - simple to make and hearty enough to help the men and women brave a hard day of work on the fields. Even though most folks I know no longer sweat it out on the fields, not much has changed food wise. Dainty dishes, small portions and fancy food doesn't really go down well in my hometown and literally everything gets served with a large dollop of ho…

Happy Diwali

The last few days, my drive back from work has been brighter than usual with buildings and malls all lit up. The markets are all full of people scrambling for last minute gifts. And any minute now, the air will get thick with smoke of firecrackers, the sky will light up with shooting stars. No wonder then, that Diwali is my favourite time of the year.

Our family has always bought rather than cooked diwali sweets so we don't really have a tradition of any special diwali dishes. This year though, I wanted to create a special dessert. I chose to take on my favourite jalebi. Typically, jalebi spirals are deep fried and then immediately dunked into sugar syrup, making them way too sweet. When I fried my jalebis though, I added a tiny bit of sugar into the dough itself so they were crisp and lightly sweet. And then I spooned over an orange caramel sauce, adding some citrusy goodness. There is more sauce to dunk your jalebis in if you want them sweeter. To round off the hot jalebi with …

Winter Panacotta

We are at that time of the year that's the cusp between summer and winter. It never really gets too cold in Mumbai but the air will start getting a little nippy in the evenings soon. Even when everyone is starting to talk about pumpkins and gingerbread, right now it feels too early to let go of the bright fruits and vegetables of the summer. Which is why this panacotta is a perfect dessert.

The panacotta itself is the 'warm' and wintery element in the dessert, full of cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger. To complement the creamy panacotta, I have added two more components. Well, three if you count the fresh pomegranate seeds. In addition to the pomegranate seeds, there is a pomegranate syrup, made fresh at home and tangy enough to cut through the panacotta's sweetness. The final element - the chocolate soil - provides the much needed textural contrast.

If you have never made panacotta before, let me assure you that this is the easiest dessert to whip together. No good pan…