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Showing posts from 2020

Cooking in the Time of Coronavirus

In the last month, the world seems to have gone crazy around us. Not only has coronavirus created an unprecedented health emergency, it is causing us to relook at our lifestyle and life choices like never before. Most people I know are working from home and because I live in Mumbai and work out of a startup hub, I am getting increasingly aware of another kind of panic gripping my friends and colleagues.

If you think that eating out puts you at risk and you have never cooked before, chances are you are scratching your head on what to eat for dinner. I know of some fine folks stocking up on copious amounts of gin and 50 packets of maggi right now. But in case you are looking for a bit more variety and nutrition, here are some ideas for things you can cook even if you are an absolute novice cook. Also, read to the end for a nifty list on what to shop for when you have a pantry devoid of any supplies. It's a short list and I'm going to show you how to cook a whole week of meals w…

The Bread Whisperer

What do an electrical engineer, a monk and an IT trainer have in common? These are all the things Abhilash was before he turned his attention to bread baking. Not the one to pick an easy path, Abhilash started with the most temperamental of breads - the sourdough - as his baking adventure. At first, he was baking these loaves for himself. Accolades from friends and family quickly followed and much to the delight of this writer, he turned his passion into a full time career six months back.

For the uninitiated, a sourdough bread is made by fermenting the dough with naturally occurring yeast, making it harder to perfect than the bread made with commercial yeast. The bread's signature tang and the open crumb, with lots of holes, is only made better with a high hydration dough that is super tricky to master. While extremely popular around the world, good sourdough is an elusive commodity in Mumbai and there are only a handful of bakers I would trust when I am looking for bread.

Thoro…

The Perfect Polenta

This polenta is like a hug in a bowl. Coarse cornmeal cooked until creamy and then topped with cheese, honey and mint, this dish is as perfect for breakfast as it is for a lunch or a lazy dinner. What I like best though is that the porridge present a perfectly blank canvas for other flavours. On other days, I've topped polenta with a creamy mushroom sauce. Once, I felt fancy and set the polenta in a tray and cut it into dainty squares that were topped with whipped feta and caramelised onions.



What's most important though is that base. Polenta can very easily go wrong so here's my tips for that perfectly cooked, creamy flavour:
1. Use a lot of liquid. This recipe used 6 times the volume to cook polenta in. And while there's nothing wrong with using plain water, mixing in something richer (milk in this case) gives you better results.
2. You want to add polenta slowly, almost like it's a rain shower, and you want to keep whisking it while you are adding the grains so…