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{Eating Out ~ Review} Bengali Food Festival, Kanak, Trident Hyderabad

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Yet again I found myself seated at a dinner table with a few others at Trident, Hyderabad. Recently I got asked if I was associated with the hotel. My answer was no and yes. No, I am not employed by them or receive any payment in return for my review. Yes, I get invited to sample their food too.

When someone is invited to eat - to a home, a hotel or anything else, they know the guest is expected. During a review, I make it very clear that what I write is my own experience and the words and language is non negotiable, since you expect the guest, please do all that you can to ensure the food and the experience is what you would like it to be.

With that out of the way, let me tell you about the food I had. Bengali food and I don’t really have much of a history. I have heard of the food and its glorious description and tales of its origin much more than I have eaten it. The few times I have eaten Bengali food is at a restaurant in Hyderabad (I loved the food and the ambiance), at a home (disliked most of it and put it down to being badly made) and in Calcutta where I fell in love with the street food and was on a rinse and repeat mode for the duration of my stay, developing sincere feelings of love for the katti roll-wala and the phuchka-wala I frequented on Park Street.

We start with an array of appetizers. Fish Kabiraji ~ river salmon flakes, seasoned and breaded and then dipped in beaten egg to give it a lacy egg net. The flavour of the fish is full and unhampered by the spices or the breading. This one is worth a repeat and I loved each bite of this cutlet.

The little orange tail of the Chingri Macher Chop was a giveaway that it was a prawn dish. What I didn’t expect was the potato masala that it was wrapped in before being batter fried. This was the first time I tasted a prawn item made this way and while there are prawn pakodas and appetizers galore, who would have thought that potato masala would lend itself so beautifully to a prawn. The surprise element does not take away from the succulent prawn.

The Chicken Cutlet was disappointing. Dense and a little tough, I didn’t get through more than a few customary bites of it, served with kasundi (mustard paste) and a home made tomato sauce.

Vegetarians appetizers were served next, and the humble beetroot really surprised me. Beet and Gajur Chop was a croquette (cutlet if you insist) and the flavour of beets was fresh. Beetroots are not easy to work with. They can either be overpowering or completely tasteless depending on how they are cooked. I loved this preparation, seasoned just enough to allow the flavour of the beets to shine through.

The Mochar Chop which was the banana flower cutlet was good too. Banana flower is a much loved delicacy among Bengalis and this use in a cutlet is apt for a special occasion considering that cleaning of a banana flower is quite tiresome.

I lingered over the Fish Kabiraji and the Beet and Gajur Chop and considered seconds, then decided to leave some space for the main course that was to follow.

The names from the main course were familiar, one has heard unendingly of dishes that now have cult status. I was excited to taste a good Kosha Mangsho ~ Bengali home style mutton curry. The gravy was densely brown, the aroma very characteristic of golden browned onions. The first taste of it was of deep flavours and the traces of it being slow cooked. However the meat was dense, tough and inedible. I tried the couple of pieces on my plate I realised I was terribly disappointed with its texture. I expected the meat to be succulent and falling off the bone. The gravy still remains delicious. Possibly an off day for the meat, I would definitely try this dish again to decide if the meat is supposed to taste like that or it was just an off occurrence.

The Doi Murgi, made in the same style as the Doi Maach is a curry cooked in a gravy of onion paste, garam masala and yogurt. Chicken was chosen over the usual fish because it is a more neutral meat and appeals to a larger audience. This is going to be a crowd favourite and is very reminiscent of the kormas that are prepared in Indian cuisine. Each bite flavoured well and at several layers. This goes well with steamed rice.

Bhetki Macher Paturi ~ Fish marinated with poppy seeds and masala paste, steamed in a banana leaf. The flavours of the masala well incorporated into the fish fillet and steamed just right, this dish delivered on its promise and it is easy to see why it is so well loved. The novelty of presentation, unwrapping the banana leaf parcels at the table and the faint flavour the leaf renders the fish is all a nice bonus.

For the vegetarian selection, there was the Dhokar Dalna ~ channa dal koftas, soaked in a gravy. The onion and tomato gravy was nice, but the koftas themselves were chewy. I am not a big fan of channa dal anyway. So I would not miss this if it was not served.

Panch Mishali Shukto ~ a mixed vegetable curry cooked in a mustard paste dominated gravy is surprisingly good. The use of sweet potatoes, raw banana and bitter gourd is a surprising choice for mixed vegetables (one is used to potato, carrot and beans!), despite the use of the strong flavoured mustard paste, the gravy is very subtle and delicate.

My pick from the vegetarian main course has to be the Aloo Jhinge Posto ~ ridge gourd and potatoes cooked in a poppy seeds paste with nigella seeds. The sweetness of the ridgegourd (really did not see this coming!) and velvetty texture of the poppy seeds paste was terrific. This is a home style preparation and the subtle texture and flavours are soothing and comforting. I tend to be partial to dishes which present more than one texture and flavour. The multiple layers as you eat the dish always delight me as I keep guessing the ingredients or the way they were cooked and how that particular ingredient or cooking process rendered itself to the final dish. I find uni-dimensional dishes boring. And really, who expects ridge gourd to surprise you? Not me atleast!

Cholar Dal Narkel Diye ~ Channa dal cooked with fresh coconut and sugar and asafetida. Like I previously mentioned, I am not a fan of channa dal, having said that, the flavour and sweetness of the fresh coconut is really the star of this dish. I know my dinner partner enjoyed this. The tempering made from ghee brought in specially from Kolkotta adds a nice angle to this dish.

Of the breads that were served, something I cannot wrap my head around is the hype over the Luchi, for a poori made out of maida, it sure gets a lot of mileage. The Radhaballavi on the other hand, like a soft kachori, is a luchi stuffed with urad dal, fennel (saunf) and asafetida is a superior option for a bread. The flavours and the stuffing so subtle, it again surprised me when I was least expecting it.

What can one say of a Biryani that delighted me despite my loyalties lying with the land of my birth? The rage over the right / correct/ original biryani rages on and while my sibling believes that there is only one true biryani, the one he makes, following the recipe of a Master chef from an illustrious Hyderabadi family, I am of the opinion that there is no holy grail and as long as a dish is true to its ingredients and brings out the flavours, I am agnostic to its name. Needless to say he scoffs at me and I don’t take him too seriously! I must say when I did eat in Kolkotta, at a place highly recommended by the locals, I gagged and found the biryani oily and unpalatable. Forget flavours or seasoning, I felt like an oil slick was in my mouth. I just put it down to an overhyped eatery and left it at that.

Kolkotta Lamb Biryani ~ made in the Lucknow style, was a flavour bomb in my mouth. The kewra hits a sweet spot, the spice so subtle that what you actually taste are the flavours and not the heat and the meat so succulent, you wonder why you ate anything else at the meal! I loved this biryani and I must compliment the Chef who oversaw its preparation. Chef Sandip Bhattacharjee who traces his lineage from Bangladesh and learnt the nuances of Bengali cooking from his grandmother and mother, is the name behind this well put together menu. Cooking for more than 13 years in commercial kitchens, he finds the process therapeutic. The food for the festival is drawn from three broad categories ~ Mushalmanderi Aahar (Food with Islamic influences), Jamindar Khabar (recipes from the zamindari households of Bengal) and Grameen Aahar (peasant food). His culinary journey includes conducting several Bengali food festivals and the attention to detail is evident. He stopped by for a chat, but unfortunately, I was so busy eating, I didn’t take his picture!

The love of their sweets is legendary about Bengalis and while I don’t care much for the celebrated Sandesh, I love their jaggery flavoured offerings. As a child, I would have to be peeled off the glass panes of sweet shops by my mother because I would want one of each of the attractively coloured bengali sweets which were versions of the cham cham, stuffed with coloured cream and nuts and raisins.

I tasted a trio of desserts. Mishti Doi ~ sweetened yogurt which is dense and almost like eating dulce de leche. The milk is cooked down till the colour is deep. Served chilled, this is as classic a bengali dessert as one can get.

The Komola Bhog ~ Orange flavoured rosogulla was nothing novel but for the flavouring and while I don’t care much for the rosogulla, I love its cousin the cham cham.

Nolen Gurer Ice cream ~ jaggery flavoured icecream to me was the show stopper. Rich and creamy and the deep flavour that only haggery can give a dish, this one was to die for. The freshness of the home made icecream is evident. I had an emergency call back from home and had to leave before I finished my dessert.

Overall, a delightful meal. The Bengali Food Festival at Kanak, the main restaurant at Trident Hyderabad ends today. If you want to savour Benagli food that is lovingly made, do not miss this one. Various personal upheavals which most personal contacts already know have prevented me from posting this review even though I should have done it a few days ago.

{Eating Out ~ Review} Parsi Food Festival at Firdaus, Taj Krishna

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After browsing through numerous photographs of Parsi food across the interwebs, reading the elaborate descriptions of their slow cooking process, the blend of spices and the traditions and food stories, I was very excited to be invited to try the food at the Parsi Food Festival at Firdaus, the Indian restaurant at one of Hyderabad’s most beautiful hotels, Taj Krishna.

A weekday is always made better with the prospect of good food and company and despite declining many previous invites from the good folks at the hotel, I made the trek half around the city to sample what I expected to be a gastronomic treat. I’ve only eaten Parsi food made home style and have sampled a few of their most famous dishes. I’ve always loved their Brown rice and have made versions of it in my own home several times. Their desserts are legendary and there was nothing to stop me from plunging headlong into many thousands of calorie laden decadent sweets :D

Firdaus is a fine dining elegant restaurant that is cocooned by huge gardens. The setting makes for a very pleasant dining experience.

Chef Manoj Vyas of Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Chef Manoj Vyas of Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Chef Manoj Vyas, from Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai is helming the kitchens for the festival and comes with the experience of dishing up exotic Parsi dishes which still retain the flavours of the West coast and blend with it the original influences of ancient Persian cuisine. The specially designed menu showcases some of the most well recognised favourites.

We begin with the starters. Parsi cuisine loves its cutlets and kebabs. This was on full display with the assorted appetizers that were served.

Appetizers ~ Cutlet

Appetizers ~ Cutlet

The Chicken Farcha a cutlet made of minced and mildly spiced chicken, coated with beaten egg and shallow fried to give it a  crisp and delicate papery exterior. Served with the khatta meetha sauce, this was the first item served. I found the sauce overwhelmingly sweet and completely overpowered the delicacy of the cutlet. Had on its own, the cutlet is a nice contrast of textures from the batter coating

Lacy Cutlets made with ground mutton was similar to the chicken version, the spices again mild and subtle.

Kolmi nu Kebab this was minced prawn meat, spiced and batter coated before being shallow fried. The flavour of the prawns lends itself very well to this dish and I would recommend this if you like sea food. As a blanket rule, skip the sweet and sour sauce, unless you like dousing your food with jam.

Khatta Meetha Paneer Kebab

Khatta Meetha Paneer Kebab

For the vegetarians, the Khatta Meetha Paneer Kebab which is batter coated tangy paneer bites shallow fried was pleasant. The Vegetable cutlet, though it had a nice crunch with small chunks of vegetables as against the homogenous mash one usually encounters in cutlets, was very densely coated and needed a little more seasoning.

Over a few glasses of red and white wine and conversations on how the Parsis in India are famed for their interest and possession of the best antiques, rubies and automobiles, we moved on to the main course.

We were served an assortment of side dishes, with rotli (roti) and brown rice. A crescent shaped plate with bowls of Saas ni macchi, Mutton dhansak, Salli marghi and Zardaloo gosht arrived. Next came the Patra ni Macchli and Papeta par Edu.

The Main Course Platter

The Main Course Platter

The names are exotic and exciting, but the dishes didn’t exactly live up to my expectation. First up the pale yellow sauced Saas ni Macchi ~ Parsi style fish fillets in a gravy made out of eggs and flour (similar to a roux) the tang comes from vinegar and it has the by now expected balance of sweet and salt. I felt like I was eating lemon custard with pieces of fish. Tis dish has a very continental vibe to it.

The Mutton Dhansak is tur dal cooked with spices and simmered till it is almost mashed, mutton is added and this is slow cooked till all the flavours blend well. I loved the flavours, deep and rich and very comforting. I could draw parallels between this dish and Hyderabadi Daalcha which is a lentil and meat dish, cooked with spices. The vegetarian version of Dhansak also did not disappoint.

The pick of the lot was the Zardaloo Gosht ~ succulent pieces of lamb meat, slow cooked to perfection in a mild gravy, sweetened with apricots. I spooned out almost all of my portion.

Salli Margi

Salli Margi

The Salli Marghi ~ spiced chicken curry with fine fried matchstick potatoes was similar in taste and flavour to the zardaloo gosht, the matchstick potatoes adding the crunch and texture to the dish. This too paired well with the Brown Rice ~ Rice flavoured with deep fried onions, goes well with any of the side dishes, and flavourful enough to be eaten on its own

The Papeta par Edu is another classic potato and egg preparation which I instantly liked because the eggs baked sunny side up on a bed of curried potatoes, looked so good! This is definitely a dish I would want to recommend and also try making in my own kitchen.

The dish I was most disappointed with was the famed Patra ni Macchli ~ supposed to be fillets of fish marinated with a green herb and coconut chutney, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. This is a classic Parsi preparation and has a legion of fans. It is a dish that is a must have for all festive occasions. I found the dish too sweet even tho the palette was now expected a hint of sweet in all savoury preparations. I assumed this was how it was meant to taste, but when my lunch mates some of  who were not new to the cuisine pointed this out to the chef, we got a rather blase comment about how native Andhra / Telangana palettes, accustomed to loads of spice would not like this delicate dish. I protested, because I found the explanation ill informed and in very poor taste. Also one has travelled enough, eaten at many places, not to mention countries and tried enough variety in food to know the difference between a dish that has subtle undertones of sweet and one that is overpowered by jaggery. To me this dish tasted like a coconut jaggery sweet made with a tasteless fillet of fish. I would like to taste this again at an authentic Parsi joint to check if my expectation was incorrect or my taste buds un-evolved.

the yummy pickles

the yummy pickles

A special mention to the delectable range of pickles, both vegetarian and non vegetarian, piquant, tangy and very fresh tasting!

For the vegetarians, Parsi cuisine is a tricky place. The cuisine is meat heavy and it was interesting to see what was in store. We were promised that the vegetarians would not be disappointed. For the main course, we were served a sampling of the Lagan nu Stew which was a mixed vegetable sweet and sour stew. The base seemed to be made of tomatoes and that comes through quite strongly.

Vegetarian Main Course

Vegetarian Main Course

The Khara Papeta looked and tasted like a home style potato curry and I was beginning to tire of the meal by now.

The Dhansak dal which was made minus the meat was just as flavoursome as the non vegetarian version and was the stand out dish in the vegetarian platter. Like its fish friend, Ravaiya whole brinjals stuffed with the herb and coconut chutney and cooked was disappointing, no flavour, not fully cooked and full of seeds.

Just as I was mentally checking off this meal, a major change of pace happened when the desserts appeared. I imagined I wouldn’t be able to eat another mouthful of anything sweet considering how much of it was had during the main course. But how wrong I was. We were served a trio of much loved Parsi desserts – Lagan nu custard, Parsi Sev and Parsi Kulfi.

IMG_7918

The Parsi sev was a subtle sweet dish of fine vermicelli, roasted golden in ghee and garnished with finely sliced pistachios and almonds. This reminded me very much of one of the sweets made in Hyderabad during Ramzaan. I enjoyed the simplicity of this dish.

Lagan nu Custard is everything it ought to be, rich, creamy, decadent and so indulgent that one needs to crawl onto a couch after eating this dish. It is thick and creamy and full of richness and yet that doesn’t stop you from gulping it down. Sort of a cheesecake made with condensed milk and eggs, which give it a pale yellow colour.

Parsi Kulfi, again sweet, rich and made with condensed milk is a treat for sweet lovers, the basil seeds and vermicelli used to garnish it adding texture to this dessert.

By this time I was fairly happy with the end to the meal. The desserts really were the stars of the meal experience.

Read what my friend Siri has to say about her experience here.

PS: All photos in this post are courtesy of Siri. As is characteristic of my forgetful self these days, I landed up for lunch minus the battery for my camera.

Nutella and Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

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Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

For some reason, I am terribly preoccupied these days. I lose track of what I was doing and the only way to stay sane is my multiple to-do lists. I am spending a lot less time at the laptop, but my phone bills are testimony to the amount of time I am connected online, monitoring the FB page and emails and other stuff.

Such is my preoccupation, that on the last trip to the bank, I wasted not one, but three cheque leaves because I either entered wrong numbers or signed where I wasn’t supposed to! I spend over 45 minutes gazing at the stuff on the shelves in the supermarket and will forget to bring home something basic like sugar. Not that I am overworked, I am just forgetting stuff.

I’ve been posting recipes here with a lot more frequency than this blog is used to, and yet forgot to tell you something important that I am part of. Sometime in March, when I went to Goa on vacation and met up with two of my favourite bloggers Aparna and Revati, we decided to finally make a blogger’s meet happen. We had been talking about it for a couple of years, but this time we decided to stop talking and start doing. If you are connected with me via FB you will know, that the first ever Indian Food Blogger Meet is happening in Bangalore. It will be held in August on 1-2 and promises to be a two day celebration of blogging and bloggers. We have a lot of interesting and useful session lined up and I cannot even tell you how excited I am that an idea that I had in my head is actually taking shape in front of my eyes. If you want to know more about this, connect with us on FB or follow us on twitter. We even have a blog which will have all the updates.

For each one of us involved, with a different sensibility, skill set, located in a different city, with multiple things happening in our offline lives, yet we have managed to do all the main things and invite people who will add value by sharing their blogging journey. There is a lot more to do in terms of typing up loose ends, but the agenda has been put together after much thought and aimed to be of value to the participants. I am delighted that speakers, some of them very respected bloggers are travelling from across the country to be at this meet. If you are a blogger and would like to be a part of this, here is the information on how you can participate.

Thank you for the overwhelming response to the post about Amma’s operation. I am happy to update that she is recovering well and is active. Each comment both here and on FB was read to her and she has expressed her thanks. I had friends and family calling me all through the day of the operation. My classmate from college when to a temple and dedicated 1008 chants to her, Amma’s best friend was at the Kanakadurga temple at Vijayawada when I texted to tell her that everything went well and offered special prayers in thanksgiving. Some friends and family woke up at 4 AM and prayed through the time of her procedure. Aunty E was praying and waiting by the telephone for an update. My MIL stayed by my side, carrying water and sandwiches that FIL had made so that I would have moral support.  I am overwhelmed with the goodwill that Amma enjoys. Whatever be your faith, the circle of love, prayers, healing energies and spirit enveloped us as a family and Amma especially is something I am extremely grateful for it.

After all that heavy duty information sharing, here is a fun recipe that will be a hit for a child’s birthday party or as an adult dessert option/ after school snack or a treat for good behaviour :D

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Nutella and Fruit Pizza

Fruit and Nutella Whole-wheat Pizza (Makes 2 personal pizzas)

Whole-wheat flour     11/2 cups

Instant yeast     1 teaspoon

Sugar     1 teaspoon

Milk     ½ cup

Water     ½ cup

Butter     1 tablespoon

Nutella     4 tablespoons

Fresh fruit     11/2 cup (use mango, banana, strawberries, apples or any other firm seasonal fruit)

Dried nuts     a sprinkling

Warm the water and the milk to the same temperature used to set yogurt. Add the sugar and yeast, stir and set aside till the mixture is frothy and doubles up. This should take about 10-15 minutes

The yeast must activate for this recipe. If the yeast does not froth, the pizza won’t be puffy and soft.

Mix the flour with the salt. Add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour and knead into a dough. It should be softer than chapati dough, but not soggy.

Put the dough onto a surface with some dry flour and knead it gently for 3-4 minutes till it becomes soft and spongy. Add the butter and knead it completely.

Put it in a clean bowl, cover with foil or a damp clean towel and let it rise to double, for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Prepare a baking sheet by brushing it with vegetable oil.

Divide the doubled up dough into two or three parts. Make it into a round ball and flatten gently. Sprinkle with some dry flour and roll into a round, like a roti. The thickness of this should be about ⅓ inch. Prick it with a fork and place it on the baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining dough and place on the baking sheet so that the pizzas don’t touch each other.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 6-7 minutes.

Spread nutella on the top of the cooked pizza, arrange fresh cut fruit on top, sprinkle the nuts. Cut into triangles and serve immediately.

 

A simple summer spaghetti recipe and a long story

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Some days Most days, I cook just to get done with a meal and don’t put too much thought when my only aim is to whiz in and out of the kitchen. I always wonder how my mom did it. These days, I have far greater respect for her than she could imagine. As a working woman in the 80′s with school going children, a bed ridden mother in law, a blind brother, rambling house, pets and assorted creatures living and a retinue of permanent and semi permanent house guests, I wonder how she managed. Not that I or my brother gave it much thought, but we always had a welcoming if sometimes messy home, hot freshly made food on the table at all meals and some non negotiable rules about things such as eating what is on the plate and rudeness quotient for behaviour.

Everything else was pretty much flexible. We didn’t have maddening schedules but we had to help around the house. I cannot remember not being a house / kitchen help since I was 5-6. We had strict rules about eating as a family at the table and no TV while eating. Duties were gender neutral and included bathing and dressing ourselves, laying and clearing the table, filling bottles with drinking water from the blasted water filters and feeding and bathing the pets.

I cannot remember her asking for ‘me time’ or ever laboring over what to cook. Favorites were made by rotation on the weekend, but that apart no fuss about food was entertained. She discharged her duties with utmost responsibility and made sure everyone was taken care of without feeling smothered.

What's an occasion that isn't marked with a selfie? Enroute the hospital for the surgery

What’s an occasion that isn’t marked with a selfie? Enroute the hospital for the surgery

Yesterday Amma had an eye surgery for cataract. This is in today’s time a simple 15 minute procedure. In her case, it is far more complicated because she has only one eye. A few years ago, after multiple operations to help her with her eyesight failed, Amma became fully blind in one eye with an irreversible damage to her optical nerve. The last couple of surgeries had to be abandoned because of complications and contributed to the rapid loss of her eye. The other eye has 30% vision and that made this operation even more critical.

She travels between my brother’s home and mine alone, manages her daily routine, even reads the newspapers with a magnifying glass, chops vegetables and cooks full meals. She is determined to make the best use of whatever vision she has and not be a bother to anyone around. She has a busy circle of friends and family that she keeps in touch with. Watches her favourite TV programs sometimes relying only on the dialogues to figure out what is happening and freely gives her opinion on everything from how clumsy I sometimes am to football teams in the current world cup :). We were fortunate to find a doctor who invested almost 2 years to understand her case and gain her trust. He reassured her that he would operate only when it was absolutely needed and only in her interest.

So last week when the doctor told her at the end of a routine check up that it was time, though she was anxious, she agreed. She spent the week preparing mentally for being sightless for atleast 6 hours post operation. She counted the steps from her bed to the washroom and dining table and back and practiced with her eyes closed. She made little packets of her medication and kept them ready so that I wouldn’t have to help her figure out which ones to take. She told the doctor that she was in his hands and that he was in God’s hands as she walked in for her procedure.

After a half day’s stay at the hospital, we came back home yesterday. The procedure went well and the doctor has said that he was happy with the outcome. He was able to successfully remove the cataract and some growth that would help her see a little clearer than before. Amma is recovering well. She has eaten all her meals by herself with a spoon, seated at the table. While I was busy in the kitchen, she found her clothes, freshened up, changed herself and combed her hair. I am scanning all phone calls from her close circle of trusted friends and family who are checking on her progress. She is tenacious and determined not to ask for help unless needed, yet she knows her limitations and wont jeopardize herself by taking unnecessary risks.

If I turn out to be even a fraction of what she is as a person, I will be very happy with myself.

The recipe I am sharing today is unlike what Amma would have rustled up. On the busiest day too, the table would be laden with rice, rotis, dal and atleast one vegetable or meat dish, all made from scratch. The kitchen appliances and other conveniences I so much take for granted were not available, no pastes, no frozen masalas, no fuss.

I turn to pasta when in doubt. When I need to feed just myself, when I couldn’t care less about what to cook. This is an ingredient that lends itself so well to any situation. It is a summer pasta and inspired by what I saw my current TV chef obsession David Rocco cook in an episode while travelling in India. My fellow salivator over David Rocco, R too made something similar and when I saw her post, I thought I should post this recipe of easy pasta (do I ever post anything that I don’t claim is easy to make?) too.

Summer Spaghetti

Summer Spaghetti

Summer Spaghetti Recipe (serves 2)

Spaghetti or any other dry pasta for 2 servings

1/2 piece of Green Zucchini (About 4-5 inches, sliced)

6-8 button Mushrooms, washed (yes they are dirty in India), wiped and quartered

1 large Roma or other firm ripe tomato, chopped into 8 pieces

2-3 tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil (be generous)

a small sprig of fresh basil (1/2 teaspoon of dried)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 pods of garlic, peeled and sliced finely

2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (optional, I never have this on hand)

In a wide pan, bring about 2 litres of water to a rolling boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt to it.

Add the spaghetti and cook stirring till done the way you like it. I do not like it al dente, so I cook it 1 minute more than that. By all means cook the pasta the way YOU like eating it :D

Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the water. Set aside the cooked pasta.

In another pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and fry the garlic till just turning a shade darker. Add the zucchini slices and cook till they are turning golden around the edges, turn over gently and repeat. Remove the zucchini slices to a plate.

Add the tomatoes and mushrooms to the remaining hot oil and toss till they are beginning to wilt about 2 minutes but retain a crunch. The idea is not to cook them till mushy so cooking time is flexible as per your taste. Add the cooked spaghetti, zucchini slices and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste and the torn basil leaves. Toss well. Add a little of the reserved cooking liquid if it is very dry.

Turn off the heat. Drizzle on the lemon juice and toss well before serving it out into bowls and top with some parmesan cheese if you have it or drizzle the remaining olive oil. Serve.

This is a simple dish and can be served with a nice soup or salad on the side. For a non veg version, grilled chicken or prawns can be added to the mix. The simple flavours are so refreshing from the loaded with tomato / sauce / cheese pasta dishes that we usually reach out for.

Breakfast Ideas ~ Egg Salad Rolls

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Stop stealing my eggs!

Stop stealing my eggs!

I find myself dipping into Sage’s share of boiled eggs once in a while for a quick snack, an idle time eat, to pimp up my salad or just dunk into a tomato onion gravy. Having a couple of boiled eggs on hand has always allowed me to be fed on days when K is travelling or I am feeling particularly slothful.

I had to come up with an easy kid friendly breakfast recipe for my newspaper column and decided I had to pay homage to one of my favourite ways of eating boiled eggs – egg salad.

There is nothing much to ‘making’ this breakfast roll. Unless boiling an egg and toasting bread counts as cooking in your books (which it sometimes does in mine ;P)

Egg Salad Roll

Egg Salad Roll

Egg Salad Roll (Makes 2 rolls)

Wholewheat bread roll           2

Boiled Eggs                                 2

Mayonnaise                              2 tablespoons

Tomato Sauce                          1 tablespoon

Cucumber                                  ¼ chopped fine

Tomato                                      ½ chopped fine

Coriander leaves                   a small bunch

Salt and pepper                      to taste

Chop the boiled eggs into medium pieces, toss with the chopped cucumber and tomato in a bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, tomato sauce, fresh coriander leaves and salt and pepper and gently mix.

Slice the rolls in two lengthwise, gently warm them on a tava. Place a few spoonfuls of the filling along the length of the roll.

Cover with the other half. Secure with a toothpick. Serve with some tomato sauce on the side.

*This mixture can also be used to stuff a paratha or roti like a frankie and served.

 

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