HBR- Not the scholarly kind

My taste for hot rum developed in my hostel days when we guys used to gather around on most evenings with a bottle or two ( or three or more) of Old Monk. Cola being a lavish extravagance on a student’s budget, the rum was had with steaming hot water procured from the Hostel Bathroom geyser (where else?). The hot rum protected us from coughs, colds and helped us cope up with the intense work pressure.

As I moved on in life, the taste buds got  more sophisticated and perceived hygiene levels higher (Bathroom geyser….ugh). The taste for hot rum has now evolved into a keen fondness for Hot Buttered Rum, which is the HBR I refer to here.

While many variants exist, the recipe below is my current favorite. You can get creative and come up with your own individual signature drink.

To make 1 drink, you will need:

–          45-60 ml Dark Rum (I use Old Monk or Captain Morgan. Both have their own unique character. I have even made this with whisky without losing out on the soul of this drink)

–          A pinch of Cinnamon

–          Half a pinch of Nutmeg (optional)

–          A pinch of cardamom powder

–          2-3 peppercorns- crushed

–          1 teaspoon Sugar/ Demerara sugar/ Honey

–          At least half a teaspoon of salted butter

–          Vanilla essence (1/4 teaspoon)

–          Cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)

–          Boiling water


1.       Pour 30-50 ml of hot water in the coffee mug and add all the ingredients except the Rum.

2.       Stir with a teaspoon till the butter is fully blended in, and all the sugar dissolved. This is the most important step to ensure that your drink is smooth and creamy.

3.       Add the Rum

4.       Top with hot water

5.       When taking photos for the blog/ facebook, garnish with the Cinnamon stick as a stirrer

Serve Hot in a coffee mug. Close your eyes and inhale the flavors as you sip the hot drink slowly. Notice the blend of sweet and bitter tastes on your tongue and savor the creamy smoothness as it passes your palate. Don’t forget to lick the salt from your lips.

This drink is an ideal nightcap guaranteed to take your mind far away from the insanity of daily life and get you back in touch with the simple pleasures of life.


Of real life monsters and French(???) rice

Fairy tales are so naïve. There are tomes written about monsters that are perpetually hungry and need to be fed all the time. Sigh…. No such luck in real life… As far as my experience with real life monsters (I have a 6 year old)  goes, they do not eat food and prefer to survive mostly on thin air with some chocolates and sweets for dessert.

Having read Julie and Julia recently (I loved it), I was itching to try out some French cuisine. So I tried out a very simple recipe for French rice. I was pleasantly surprised to see my monster gobble up the rice and ask for a second helping…I nearly fell off my chair.

Here is the recipe. Nothing hard and fast. You can interpret it liberally. Very easy to cook.

You will need:

  • Rice -2 cups (will suffice for 3-4 adults)
  • Water – 4 cups (depends on the variety of rice. Twice normally works. Slightly more is better than slightly less)
  • Onion – 1 medium size- Cut thin and long.
  • Garlic- 1 Clove peeled(you can use Appa’s patented method) and chopped fine.
  • Butter- 2 Tablespoons.
  • Chicken/ Veg Soup cubes- 2.  A word here on Veg soup cubes-While the ‘Maggi’ chicken cubes available everywhere work well, do not use the normally available ‘Maggi’ Veg cubes. They are good for Indian dishes- with turmeric, chilly powder and all. Use the imported Maggi cubes (you get small packets with some Thai lettering) that you get in select supermarkets. These are pretty good.
  • Heavy bottom pan with lid which can hold the rice and water and have at least 1.5 to 2 inches on the top left over.


1.       Wash the rice well in another pan. Drain and add the water. Add a teaspoon of salt.

2.       Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the pan and lightly sauté the onions.

3.       Add the Rice with the water

4.       Powder and add the soup cubes.

5.       Wait for the water to boil. Give one nice stir and reduce the flame to a simmer. Cover the pan.

6.       DO NOT OPEN the lid for 20 mins. After that, switch off the flame and let it stand for 5 mins.

7.       Uncover the pan, fluff the rice with a fork.

8.       Add a tablespoon of butter and mix well.

9.       Serve hot.

10.   Cheating method- the first time I made this, I did not have any soup cubes at home. I cooked the rice as above without the cubes, rushed to the shop and got the soup cubes. I then boiled half a cup of water separately, added the powdered cubes and butter and mixed it well into the rice. It smelled and tasted heavenly.

A word of caution on the nomenclature- I served this rice to a French friend of ours who came over. While she politely ate it, when I told her that this was French rice, she vehemently disowned it. So I am not sure about the origin. However my monster loves it and this is enough reason for me to make it more often.

Bon appétit!