RSS Feed

Category Archives: fusion

Its been a long separation from food ~ A recipe for Burmese Khow Suey

Posted on

This blog has seen more restaurant reviews in the last 6 months than in all the 8 years that I have been writing it. I think it is safe to say that I have lost my cooking / writing mojo. My blog always gave me joy. A space to document what I cook at home and save some of the recipes for posterity because I cook on impulse and rarely stick to a recipe. Increasingly I have come here, opened up a new post and closed it with a few unfinished sentences, buried as a draft.

I realise this has been happening a lot and try as I might I am unable to shake it off. Usually it is a week or a few days maximum and I can shake myself back into my “good moods”. This time I am unable to. I am unwilling to give up the blog or shut it down either.

I haven’t picked up my camera in months. I browse through the photographs on my phone and realise how boring they are, and yes I am brave enough to admit that. I wonder if I am turning into more of a social hermit. I do spend a large amount of time online, but increasingly have less patience with it or people.

Anyway. The only exciting aspect of my cooking / kitchen these days is my 6 month old black board. In april this year, when my brother’s family was visiting, my niece and I painted a wall in my tiny kitchen with blackboard paint. I use it to make shopping lists, to do lists and meal plans. I have been doing some sort of meal planning for the past few years. Since the beginning of the year, I hand wrote it on paper and put it on the fridge with magnets. It has simplified my cooking and helped me use ingredients more efficiently than I had imagined.

This weeks meal plan

I graduated to the black board in April and cannot recommend it more. None of those fake black board apps for me. I am someone who needs something to be in my face to be able to take action! And yes we do eat a lot of Idli and dosa. My meal plans are pretty standard. K and I prefer south Indian breakfast, I grind a huge batch of idli/ dosa batter at the start of the week to last me 5-6 uses. For lunch it is mostly roti, with two vegetable dishes or one dal and one vegetable. This is except on the weekend when we eat at home and not carry our dabba and hence eat rice for the mid day meal. We try and eat a light dinner, usually soup, stir fries or sometimes again a breakfast item. I even have designated leftover days to clean up the fridge.

Anyways, I think I should do a post on meal planning and the black board soon (if I ever get down to it). It is a joke these days, for K to point out the board to anyone visiting us and tell them, “macha (term of endearment between two guy friends) check what’s for dinner da (term of endearment again), that’s all we’re going to get, no deviations from the daily meal planner”. When Amma is here, K and she will gang up and force me to write “order food” or “food truck” on it and break into peals of laughter.

Why am I writing this? I don’t know, but I feel like telling you the story.

But this is a recipe blog, and a recipe I shall give you. Khow Suey is a Burmese broth eaten with noodles. The broth is very accomodative and one can add any vegetables that are at hand. I’ve used sweet potatoes, yellow pumpkin, coloured peppers and usual vegetables one adds to a stir fry and loved it every time. I teach this same recipe in my Gourmet Soups and Salads class and the students love it.

Burmese Khow Suey with garnishes and noodles

Burmese Khow Suey with garnishes and noodles

Khow Suey (Serves 4)

Grind to a smooth paste the following:

2 inch stalk of lemongrass, crushed lightly or 2 teaspoons of dried Lemongrass

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced

2 pods Garlic peeled

½ teaspoon Turmeric

½ medium Onion, sliced

For the Curry:

2 cups Vegetables of choice, cut into similar sizes (mushroom, carrot, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, yellow pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, bok choy etc)

2 cups Cooked noodles of choice (soba, glass, egg, rice noodles) – cooked according to the instructions on the pack

1 tablespoon Vegetable oil

200 ml Coconut milk

1 teaspoon Sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 lime leaves, torn

1 cup water

1 tablespoon gram flour / besan

For the garnish: To be added while serving the soup

Basil, mint and coriander leaves – a few sprigs

1/4 cup Fried onion

roasted and coarsely powdered peanuts

fried garlic chips

Lemon Wedges to serve

red chilli flakes

Boiled eggs, cut into quarters

Method:

Steam the hard vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and beans for 3-4 minutes, drain and set aside.

In a pan, heat the oil and add the curry paste, cook stirring for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell disappears.

Add all the vegetables (including the steamed ones) except the spinach/ bok choy if using and the lime leaves and ½ cup water and cook for 4-5 minutes till the vegetables are tender but not overcooked.

Add the coconut milk, salt, pepper  and sugar, stir and adjust any seasoning if needed.

Dissolve the gram flour in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the curry. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, add the bok choy / spinach at this point.

Adjust the thickness of the gravy, this will be your main soup so adjust as much as you prefer. Turn off the heat.

To serve the soup, spoon out some cooked noodles into a bowl, top with the curry sauce, garnish with fried onion, garlic, crushed peanuts, basil, mint, coriander leaves, boiled egg and a wedge of lemon.

The curry and the noodles should be refrigerated separately if storing. Assemble before serving. Keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Note: you can add 1 cup of boiled chicken / prawns while cooking the vegetable curry for a non veg option.

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

Posted on
Wonton Wrapper Samosa

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

I’ve had wonton wrappers sitting in my freezer since err….I can’t really remember. Actually I buy a lot of stuff at the grocery store which I don’t really needand when I am in the act of buying it, I have visions that include dreamy, beautiful and totally stunning plating of the end product. What happens in reality is that they languish in the deep recesses of my fridge, freezer or pantry cupboard and after a few months, depending on their state, they get used in something totally ordinary or they get trashed.

A packet of wonton wrappers was one such item I picked up imagining great parties being thrown around wontons and spring rolls. But like a blot on my conscience, every time I opened the freezer, the pack of wrappers would guilt trip me! This weekend, I made samosas with them. I usually do not deep fry at home, I am terrified of filling a kadai with oil and God knows I don’t need to eat anything deep fried. But I felt those wrappers had patiently waited to come out of the freezer for so long that they did deserve their own kadai of hot oil.

I was doing an Iftar food coloumn for Hans India, the paper I write for and wanted to include a recipe for samosas which are one of the most popular Iftar foods (in Hyderabad). These wonton wrappers make samosa making a breeze, if you have a dry leftover sabzi or even some chicken or mutton keema, it can be shredded and used as a stuffing. The wrappers make for a terrifically crunchy outer covering which is my favourite part. In fact the outer covering is very much like the Hyderabadi Chota Samosa. For those of us who have eaten and relished onion filled Chota samosa, being able to replicate the taste and texture of them in a home kitchen is a big score!

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

Wonton Wrapper Samosa

Wonton Wrapper Samosa (Makes 20)

20 wonton wrappers (easily available in the frozen food section of a supermarket)

1 cup filling of choice –

(I used a dry Aloo filling for half and a chicken mince filling for the other half. The recipe for chicken mince filling is mentioned below)

oil to deep fry

1 tablespoon flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to make a ‘glue’

Method

Spread the wonton wrapper on a flat surface covered with a kitchen towel.

Fold one corner of it over the rest of the wrapper to form a triangle, fold over again to form a pocket. Here’s a helpful video on samosa folding.

Spoon in 1 tablespoon of filling into the pocket, cover the loose flap and seal with the glue, set aside. Repeat with all the wrappers.

Heat the oil in a kadai drop the samosa into the oil carefully, fry till golden, turning over to cook all sides. Use a spoon to remove the golden samosas, place onto tissue paper to drain and serve when still hot.

Chicken Mince for Samosa Filling

250 grams Chicken mince

1 medium onion finely sliced

1-2 green chillies chopped finely

¼ cup fresh coriander leaves

½ teaspoon ginger and garlic paste

¼ teaspoon cumin powder

2 tablespoons oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

 

Heat oil in a pan, wash the mince and set aside.

Add the onions and green chillies to the hot oil and saute till they are just turning golden brown. Add the ginger garlic and saute for a minute.

Add the Chicken mince and saute till the colour changes to opaque.

Add the salt, pepper, cumin and coriander leaves, mix well, cover and cook on a low flame for 10-12 minutes or till the mince is turning a light shade of brown. Turn off and cool.

 

Day 2 ~ Spicy Asian Style Vegetable Broth with Buckwheat Noodles

Posted on

Wishing all my readers A Very Happy & Warm Diwali. May your homes and hearts be filled with the love of your family and friends, your tummies full and your lives happy.

Spicy Asian Broth

Spicy Asian Broth

There is nothing that punctures the ego of a food blogger better than a set of terrible pictures! If you know me well enough, some of my best experiments, trials and efforts never make it to the blog because it would have been demolished even before I reached out for the camera. Sometimes, I would have made something which I felt was not blog worthy and after spooning in a mouthful, reached out to take a picture because the recipe / dish surpassed my expectation. Such is the life.

This Asian Style vegetable broth with noodles was made after a tired day, when the last thing I wanted to do was to slave in the kitchen. I put together whatever vegetables I had, seasoned it well and threw in some noodles for a carb kick. It hit home all the right spots and made for a very satisfying dinner. Please pardon the crappy pictures, trust me when I say this soup was excellent.

Buck wheat noodles have a nice texture because they are thicker than refined flour noodles. I happened to have a pack which I used, replace with any noodles of your choice.

Spicy Asian Style Vegetable Broth with Buckwheat Noodles – Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium Onion (sliced into semi circles)

1/2 cup Yellow Pumpkin (Remove the skin and slice into 1/4 inch thickness)

1/2 cup Mushrooms (I used King mushrooms, use any kind you have)

1/2 cup Spinach (remove the tough stems and chop roughly)

1/2 inch piece of fresh Ginger

1 small fresh red chilli (use dried red chilli soaked in a bit of warm water, discard water before using), crushed with a mortar and pestle

2 sprigs of fresh Basil

1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

freshly crushed pepper to taste

1 teaspoon sesame oil (or vegetable oil)

1 cup cooked Buckwheat Noodles

1 teaspoon of lemon juice (adjust to taste)

Method

Wash and slice/ dice all the vegetables.

Skin and crush the ginger roughly.

Cook the noodles as per the directions on the packet, drain and set aside.

In a deep saucepan, heat the oil and add the crushed ginger & red chilli. Fry for a few seconds, add the sliced onion, pumpkin and mushrooms and saute till the onion has turned translucent. Season with half the salt and pepper.

Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 10-12 minutes or till the vegetables have cooked through. Skim off any scum that comes to the top with a spoon.

Add the cooked noodles and spinach and take off the heat, cover and let sit for 4-5 minutes.

Spoon into serving bowls, serve hot with a dash of lemon juice and a sprig of fresh basil.

{Vegan MoFo 2013} Quick Schezwan Style Cauliflower Recipe (with ready made bottled sauces)

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

I love cauliflower in most forms. The first reason being, the vegetable lends itself beautifully to any recipe and absorbs flavours and spices very well. It can also be chopped into any size large or small and takes very little time to cook. A lot of Indian style preparations, overcook cauliflower and make it mushy. I like cauliflower to be firm yet cooked through and I find that depending on the cooking time, the texture can be preserved.

I made this as a party appetizer, but this is a versatile dish and can be served on the side with fried rice or noodles as well. Most grocery stores stock an array of readymade spice mixes. I stock a few to be able to make a few recipes at short notice. One of the mixes that I like is the Schezwan spice mix. there are several brands available and a teaspoon of this adds a nice kick to oriental style gravies, fried rice or even noodles.

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Cauliflower (Serves 4)

Cauliflower Florets                 2 cups

Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil                                                2 tablespoons

For the Sauce

Tomato Sauce                         4 tablespoons (I used tomato chilli sauce)

Soy Sauce                                 2 tablespoons

Garlic                                          2 pods, chopped

Ginger                                       1 inch piece, chopped tiny

Red Chilli Powder                  1 teaspoon

Schezwan Spices                   1 tablespoon (Available at all leading supermarkets)

Green Onion                           3, sliced, green and white parts separately

Onion                                        1 medium, chopped into large pieces

Method

Steam the cauliflower in sufficient water with salt for 4-5 minutes, drain and set aside. Do not overcook it.

Heat oil in a pan and sauté the cauliflower on high heat till it begins to get golden edges. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Remove the cauliflower pieces to a bowl.

In the same pan, add the finely chopped garlic and ginger and fry for a minute. Add the chopped onion and sauté till it turns translucent.

Add all the other ingredients except the green parts of the spring onions. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Add the sautéed cauliflower to this sauce and toss well to coat. Garnish with the green onions and serve.

Dosa Spring Roll

Posted on
Dosa Spring Roll

Dosa Spring Roll

A few weeks ago, I was browsing for recipes that use Dosa batter and found Dosa Spring Rolls. I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to giving food a Chinese makeover. For too many “items” including Chaat have gotten a Chinese makeover with disastrous results (according to me). I prefer mixing wheat or oat flour into leftover dosa batter and making dosas, or making appams with chopped vegetables and seasoning. The spring rolls looked easy enough to make and I am not one of those people who will talk without trying out something at least once. I had to try it. The fact that it made it to the blog means it got a thumbs up, for variety and ease of preparation.

I saw this on Nag’s blog and from what I see a lot of people have made and liked it. So if you are looking for a way to glam up your dosa, add vegetables and sneak them into the diets of unsuspecting or fussy eaters in your family, or just a nice light dinner option, make this.

Dosa Spring Roll

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Dosa Batter                             2 cups

Oil                                            2 teaspoons

Cabbage                                  ½ Cup, shredded fine

Green Capsicum                     ½ cup, cut into juliennes

Carrot                                      1, chopped fine

Onion                                       1 medium, sliced finely

Salt and Pepper to taste

Ginger Garlic paste                  ½ teaspoon (optional)

On a hot pan, add ½ teaspoon of oil and add the ginger garlic paste (if using) and sauté for a minute.

Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté on medium heat till the cabbage is just wilting. The vegetables should be crisp and retain their colour. Remove from the heat.

On a dosa pan, add one ladle of batter and spread as thin as possible to make a 6 inch dosa. Drizzle oil and fry till golden brown.

In the centre add 2 tablespoons of sautéed vegetables and roll like a spring roll. Remove onto a plate, cut using a sharp knife into 2-3 pieces.

Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Serve hot with sauce or chutney

Falafel ~ Non Deep Fried Version & NaBloPoMo Finale

Chickpea dumplings

DSC_0060-1

For the longest time, I loved exotic (read non Indian) food for the simple reason that they had such awesome names! When I discovered Falafel at the lone hyderabadi restaurant, I fell in love with these crispy fried protein packed goodies. I couldn’t get enough of them. I was also amazed at how a simple preparation, could be made so glamourous with just the addition of a few other items. I’ve served falafels on their own as appetizers, as a meal with hummus, tzatziki and pita bread. Whichever way you choose to serve them, they are always appreciated and polished off.

Learn to make your own Pita from this post of mine. If you have not been able to plan the yeasted dough or don’t have it handy, use readymade store bought pizza bases to serve it. It works just fine.

Falafel (makes about 14-16 small ones) 

Chickpeas – 1 cup (dried ones)

Onion – 1 large, finely chopped

Garlic – 2-3 cloves

Fresh Coriander  – 1 small bunch, chopped

Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon

Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon

Fresh bread crumbs or Maida – 2-3 tablespoons

Salt – to taste

3-4 tablespoons oil for shallow frying, or use the paniyaram chatti to make them in lesser oil.

  • Soak the chickpeas in enough cold water for 6 hours or overnight. Drain, add 3 cups fresh water, pressure cook for 4-5 whistles till they are cooked but not mushy. Drain the water (keep this water for other uses, it is high in nutrients).
  • Add the chickpeas and the garlic into a jar of the mixer and pulse 6-7 times in short bursts to get a coarse mixture. Add a little of the drained water if needed, but do not add too much.
  • Take out into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • In a non stick pan, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat on a medium heat.
  • Using your hands, make lemon sized balls of the chickpea mixture, shape it smoothly by rolling between your palms and flatten just a little bit. Place them on the hot skillet and fry till it is browned evenly. Gently turn over and fry the other side too.
  • To make them with lesser oil, use the paniyaram chatti / pan or aebleskiver pan to make them, shaped into balls and drizzle a bit of oil on them to fry evenly.
  • Remove onto a plate with a paper towel and drain till needed. Serve as an appetizer with hummus and tahini dips or use to assemble into a sandwich with salad and pita bread.

Falafel

To assemble

4 mini pizza bases or 6 pita breads

toast the mini pizza bases on a medium hot tava and cut into quarters, slice horizontally not cutting all the way, but creating a flap.

put a generous amount of hummus and stuff with a few leaves of lettuce, one falafel, add a bit of tzatziki, cucumber and tomato slices and serve.

This marks the end of the NaBloPoMo. The first ever disciplined writing project I have attempted. I dragged my feet a bit, posting late on a few days and back dating. But i was determined to have all 30 posts. I realised I have a lot of food related stuff, pictures and recipes in my archives and it was easy to dip in and use them. I didn’t make anything exclusively for NaBloPoMo. It requires terrific amounts of discipline to do this nonstop. I am so glad and awfully proud I managed to do it.

November has been a month of tremendous discipline for me. Not just posting here, I also did a non stop one month photo project. If you would like to check it out, click here. Offline, I didn’t miss a single scheduled workout the results of which are showing, I have been on a very testing diet to help with some metabolic issues and was off shopping completely. Phew, made me realise that I can accomplish anything if only I applied my mind to it.

Thank you for reading and commenting and cheering me along, could not have done it without your support my dear readers.

I do not think I have the energy to sustain this kind of blogging again for a while. But I hope to be more regular than usual!

Quesadilla ~ From Scratch

quesadilla

quesadilla

I used to stuff leftover rotis with whatever curry of the day was available, grate cheese onto it and pan toast it till the cheese melted, not knowing that they had a fancy name! Imagine my joy when I realised that it was a very popular Mexican preparation! I love quesadillas. Usually with nice warm melty cheese inside. They are easy to make especially if you have lunch/ brunch with friends as you can make the components ahead of time and just assemble toast on demand.

I had a girls night out a few months ago and we made a Mexican spread… needless to say, the tortilla wraps and these quesadillas were a huge hit.

I’ve slacked off on the blogging …. catching up!

spinach and corn quesadilla

spinach and corn quesadilla

Quesadilla (Makes 6 servings)

Flour Tortillas                       6

Spinach                                    1 large bunch, washed and finely chopped

Corn                                           ¼ cup (fresh or frozen)

Cheese (such as cheddar)  1 cup, grated

Salt and pepper                      to taste

Onion                                          1 medium, sliced

Cumin powder                        ¼ teaspoon

Red Chilli Powder                  ¼ teaspoon

Vegetable Oil                           2 teaspoons

In a hot pan, heat one teaspoon of oil and add the onion and sauté till translucent. Add the corn and cumin powder and cook till the corn is half cooked. Add the finely chopped and well drained spinach and cook for 4-5 minutes till the water from the spinach has evaporated but the spinach is still a bright green colour. Cool this filling.

Heat the flour tortillas on a medium hot tava. Add the spinach and corn filling to one half of the tortilla and spread a few tablespoons of grated cheese over it. Fold the other half over it and press down with a flat spatula or a steel plate for 10-20 seconds.

Turn the tortilla over, drizzle a little oil on the edges and press down for 5-6 seconds till the cheese is melting. Remove from the tava, slice into wedges and serve hot with a salad, salsa and guacamole dip.

Repeat with all the tortillas. You can use any spicy curried filling instead of the spinach and corn one. Mushrooms, sautéed peppers, chicken or even curried Paneer can be used.

%d bloggers like this: