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

 

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

Method

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.

Cheers!!!

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.

Method:

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!