There’s a café attached to a fabulous bookshop in Hyderabad is one of K’s favourite places to hangout….typically friends meander there at the end of a day’s work or sometimes even in between when they can’t take the rut anymore….what more does a guy need when he is allowed to puff away indoors and is on such terms with the staff that he can tell them exactly how long he wants his chai simmered?? As a result many evenings and weekends have been spent here over books and banter….. Having said that, this place thankfully serves very good fare at rates that don’t burn a hole in your pockets and can give any self respecting continental restaurant a run for its money…… as a result I have had all that they have on the menu over the last few years and have microscopically tried to take apart how everything is put together…inspecting not just the preparation of the item but its presentation as well………though I have never till now attempted to reproduce any of them……they make a good vegetarian steak which is essentially a veggie pattie served with a sauce and steamed veggies on the side with either garlic bread or saffron rice…K loves this and has this pretty often, so I tried my hand at it the other day for dinner…….turned out pretty good and I was quite pleased with the result. I used a new product called vegit potato flakes which is dehydrated potato flakes that look like poha or beaten rice…I generally am not a great fan of processed anything but the claim that this product made was too much to resist … It called for just adding water to the flakes and mix for mashed potato…after carefully reading the package I picked it up and while I won’t substitute this for fresh potatoes…it is a great time saver/standby when you need boiled and mashed potatoes in a jiffy…..they do need a bit of a binding agent tho, but made for patties in a jiffy….the package comes with a small recipe booklet of a few items that can be made using the product…..all in all dinner was quite a hit….plus it was healthy as all those veggies can’t be bad for you………we’re not big on valentine’s day or any other ritualistic “show me how much you love me” days…. but for the effect I lit the candles and laid out red placemats…. K rolled his eyes but indulged in me anyways!! I hope everyone had a good time too…..this will be my entry to two events, and Sia’s Ode to PotatoCulinary Bazar’s Potato fe(a)st
for the patty
2 cups boiled and mashed potatoes (I used 1 ½ cups of potato flakes)
2 T bread crumbs
1 T finely chopped fresh coriander
1 t finely chopped green chillies
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T oil
Mix together all ingredients for the patty. Adjust seasoning, shape as patties. Heat the oil on a tava, fry till each side is golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain before serving.
For the sauce
4 T chopped spring onions (green and white parts)
1 ½ cups roughly chopped ripe tomatoes (microwave on high for 2 minutes, cool and make a puree in a blender, sieve and set aside) or ¾ cup readymade tomato puree
1 T finely chopped garlic
½ t red chilli powder
1 t oregano
Salt to taste
1T olive oil
½ t sugar
Heat the olive oil and add the green onions & garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes till translucent. Add the spices and sugar, sauté for another few seconds. Add the tomato puree and cook till it thickens and seperates from the oil. Check for seasoning and take off the heat.
Steamed and sautéed vegetables
3 cups of vegetables (I used cauliflower and broccoli florets, carrots, French beans, baby corn) peeled, cut, and steamed till crisp (about 3-4 mins in the microwave oven)
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil, add the steamed veggies, salt, pepper and sauté on high till they are well coated with the oil and seasoning and get a glaze.
On a plate, place two of the patties, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the tomato sauce on them. Add a few spring onions for the garnish. Arrange the sautéed vegetables on the side and serve with sliced and toasted bread. I served lightly toasted bread with a dab of butter and oregano.