Mumbai my new abode

I never thought I would ever get an opportunity to sample working and discovering a new city but thanks to a great boss and husband moving bases, this opportunity landed in my lap. So here I am in Mumbai, trying out new stuff to cook for dinner and trying out new tastes. I am consciously avoiding chains that I can get to eat in Delhi so that my food horizons broaden. Will be writing my reviews soon so far I have had Parasi, Gujarati, Mexican, Italian, only in Mumbai cafes and street food here. A few places get my likes , some don’t impress me much contrary to what some people might say.

I have another handicap- as much as I would like to try new places I’m avoiding being too adventurous so that I don’t get Mumbai Belly (read Delhi belly) here, so I try to be innovative for dinner at home. A few experiments that I try on husband have been as follows

1. Garlic bread- All time favourite

Ingredients

1 French loaf or Garlic bread loaf

2 table spoons of butter (I use Amul)

2 small cloves Garlic crushed (depends on how strong do you want it)

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Pinch of Oregano

1 tea spoon Olive Oil

Mix garlic, Olive oil, Oregano, Salt and Pepper in softened butter. Cut the French loaf diagonally into 8-10 pieces. On top of each piece of loaf spoon out the butter mixture, spreading it across the pieces equally. On a baking tray arrange the pieces and let it bake till the bread top is crisp and brown but should be soft from inside.

If the tray is not non-stick  spray a little bit of Olive oil before putting the pieces on the baking tray. You can also jazz up the bread by putting alternate juliennes of tomato and capsicum after you’ve put the butter mixture and bake. Or you could also put a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella on top of the tomato and bake till the cheese has melted and is slightly brown.

2. Vegetable Au- Gratin

1 cup par boiled vegetables- carrots, mushrooms, baby corn, french beans, broccoli, capsicums (red, green and yellow) and potato (all veggies are to be cut into cubes)

2 table spoons maida

2 table spoons butter

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

¼ cup milk

Ina non stick pan put the maida and sauté it with butter till the maida is slightly brown. Add milk to the pan stirring it constantly so that no lumps are formed. You can add water or more milk if you feel that the sauce is thick or will not cover the veggies. Add salt and pepper to the sauce and pour it over the par boiled veggies, hope the veggies are in a bowl that you want to bake the dish in. On top of the veggies in white sauce add generous helping of cheddar and mozzarella mixture and put it to bake. I usually use  100 degree Celsius for pre heating  the OTG and then keeping the dish at the same temperature till the cheese has melted and has become brown (approx. 5-10 mins) depends if your using a microwave with grill make sure you are using both microwave and grill so that the veggies are hot and the cheese slightly brown.To be served immediately.

3. My take on Cesar  Salad

For the dressing

2 table spoons olive oil

1 table spoon mayonnaise

1 tea spoon white vinegar

Salt to taste Pepper to taste

¼  tea spoon Oregano

1 tea spoon tomato ketchup

For the salad

¼ Ice berg lettuce torn into pieces and put in drinking water with ice

¼ carrot cut into cubes

¼ capsicums cubes (green, yellow, red)

5-6 Cherry tomatoes cut into half

4-5 pieces of Bread croutons

Drain water and dry the lettuce leaves on a kitchen towel , add carrots, capsicum and croutons. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Mix dressing and the veggies together make sure the dressing is not runny and coates the veggies. The salad is ready to eat, you could keep the salad in the fridge as well, it tastes best when served cold.

To add Hawaiian touch to this, you can also add a few pieces of canned pineapple cut into same size cubes as the rest. For non-veg add cold cuts of chicken or cold fried beacon and mix in with the veggies.

That’s it for now, I would be writting my reviews soon, let me know if you would like a few recipes that I have tried so far

1. Golgappa jaljeera home made (gol gappey ka pani)

2. Phirni

3. Pizza including the pizza base

or

4. Moong Dal cheelas

 

A year, and back again

It’s been more than a year since this blog was posted to. In the interim, the cooking, trying out new recipes, eating and drinking continued unbroken, but somehow I never got around to blogging about it. Maybe the first flush of enthusiasm from the initial months of this blog last year had faded somewhat. I’m told many blogs face this fate.

And so a year and a bit went by. Saturday, 14 April was Bengali new year’s day (or Poila Boishakh). And a day before that was Vishu, the Malayali new year, and Tamil New year’s day. And Baisakhi in Punjab, and Bihu in Assam. It seemed like a mighty fine time to get Foodnama going again. Hopefully this time around, the infatuation would have given way to something more steady, less ephemeral, and the output on the blog will reflect that.

Image courtesy - http://bengalicuisine.net/2009/mishti-doi/

On Poila Boishakh as I wolfed down sweets through the day and later went out for dinner with the family I was reminded of an article I’d read a few months back. Mihir Sharma had written in the Indian Express that Indian festivals lacked distinctive foods to go with them, unlike the turkeys at Thanksgiving, or the cakes at Christmas. I wasn’t entirely convinced then. I believe the range and diversity of occasions in our festivals make it unlikely that they would necessarily have typical foods associated with them. Also, some of our biggest festivals have underpinnings other than food – think Diwali and Holi for example. Secondly, festivals that do have foods associated with them are sometimes the minor or lesser known festivals, that are not nationally known. Poush Sankranti (also known as Makar Sankranti) is a Bengali event that readily comes to mind. ‘Puli-pithey’, a range of outstanding sweets that are traditionally home-made and not often sold by merchants of Bengali sweets, are integral to Poush Sankranti. I would also posit that Durga Puja (not exactly a minor festival anyway) is typified by the glory of Calcutta street food, certainly in celebrations outside Bengal.

I cannot think of too many other examples right away, however (Ignorance is the main culprit, and enlightenment in this area is certainly a cause worth pursuing). As a result I’m not sure if Mihir’s point is the more correct one and Poush Sankranti is the outlier, or we simply do not know of enough festivals that go with specific kinds of festive foods. It may also well be that festival foods are gradually fading away, unable to command the attention and time to recipes and traditions from people today. And that would the sadder thing surely, than not to have foods linked to festivals to begin with.

Samosas— Yaaaay!!!

I have already conquered the gujiyas… and very close on its heels (like the same day)…. was the mighty Samosa!!!

So here’s the dope on that….

Filling: We made VEG peas and potato filling. Very simple, non-spicy so kids could also have it. But I’ll tell you some alternatives. Masalas we used: Salt, garam masala, jeera powder. Use a little oil and put the masalas, add the peas and diced potatoes (small pieces), stir around till light brown. The cover and cook till the veges are done. If there’s any water/ moisture, heat till its dry.

Dough: (see the Gujiya post)

Sticking glue: (see the gujiya post)

Now step wise process (with pics!!):

Step 1: Roll out into a round shape. Cut into 2 halves. One half for each Samosa.

Step 2: Need to make a cone shape. Use your hands to hold it open to stuff the filling in.

  

 

Step 3: Once the filling is in, flatten it a bit on your palm into a triangular shape, with some space around the edges

 

Step 4: Paste edges, put in kadhai to fry till golden brown

  

Step 5: What else? SLURP!! 🙂

P.S.: Alternatives – For better taste, add finely chopped coriander, grated ginger and finely chopped green chillies. Also a good Non-veg option is mutton keema and peas. You’ll have to pressure cook and dry the filling.

Holi is gujiya time… :)

So this Holi I tried Gujiyas at home… with Mom, and maid’s help of course… I was a bit scared to try it on my own… Mom gathered up the initial enthu!!

Well… to my surprise it quite easy !! (Funny how that comes to you when you have been avoiding it for years)!! So I thought I should pass on my newfound wisdom, and easy recipe, of course.

Now, the recipe is by ‘andaaz’… you know how we all cook but never really know how much of what we are putting…. but seriously, give it a try, tweak it around to suit your own fancy… the process is not tough. And when you eat the warm gujiyas…. yummmmmmmmmmmmm! 🙂

For the filling this is what we did:  dry roast   (keep aside), add 100 gms khoya to kadhai with some ghee and stir till it turns light brown, then add dry fruits, stir a bit more. Add 1 or 2 tbsp sugar till it melts and becomes soft, and lastly grated desiccated coconut about 2-3 tbsp. Add the suji also at this time. Now everyone doesn’t like the coconut flavour, so choose accordingly. You can up the Suji content if you are not putting coconut. The consistency should be a bit crumbly and a bit powdery in places.

For the dough: Maida kneaded with oil/ghee. First rub the ghee/oil through the maida till its crumbly. Then add a bit more till it holds in your palm when you close it tight. Add just a bit more water to make a soft dough and comes out clean from the vessel. If its sticky, just a hint of more oil/ghee should do the trick.

For sticking the ends together: Just prepare a little mix of maida and water. Maida doesn’t dissolve, so you’ll have to stir it with your fingers each time you are trying to use that as ‘glue’ to stick the ends of your gujiya together.

So now step wise:

Step 1: Roll out the dough in small round shapes. Take it on your palm.                 

Step 2: Add enough filling to ensure you can fold over the filling into a semi-circular shapes, but still leave enough space around the edges to stick the edges.                

 

Step 3: And then try pinching it all around to seal it and give a nice shape (the nice edges come only after you’ve made about a million of these… so don’t be critical of mine… or yours when you make them!)

Step 3: Put in hot oil and fry till light brown

Step 4: Eat and enjoy!!  🙂

Trying out Chicken Saltimbocca…

Ok, here;s a recipe that I improvised from Rouxbe (http://rouxbe.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&type=recipes&q=chicken+saltimbocca) 

It’s much easier to cook recipes from cookbooks and websites now : 1) Ingredients are now more easily available and 2) The authors make sure they provide the Indian name, or a recipe to make something (so there are recipes within recipes)… it still took much longer than I expected. But it was surprisingly fun… layering stuff, pounding it to flatten… interesting aromas and flavours, and lots of cheese and meat!! What else does one need?

I substituted the cambozola cheese with Gorgonzola. I went to Godrej Nature’s Basket and didn’t find Cambozola (very sad), then googled and found out I could use Gorgonzola (http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Dictionary/C/Cambozola-cheese-5786.aspx) … so i did. I managed all the other ingredients fine. But forgot the unsalted butter. So I went ahead with normal butter, and went easy on the salt. I used normal white wine, didn’t bother with a cooking wine etc. And for the sauce, i didn’t follow exact measurements… there may have been a little more wine! (HIC!)  🙂  Just tried to get the consistency right.

Try it… it’s quite easy… and the prosciutto makes it taste absolutely fantastic!!!! Here’s two pics….