Archive for May, 2010

When Sophie Became My Best Friend


2010
05.21

Popular and loved among her friends, a teacher’s pet all her academic life, my sister Sophie, carries her name around with a big capital S. As a young girl, she was unanimously voted as the school captain and her fan list could put any rock star to shame. In college, she graduated with flying colors in ‘tronics engineering, and from what I’ve heard, she ran quite a revolution there as well. Today, she is a proud mother of two charming girls, loving wife and a top class professional.

Having spewed all these praises, would it surprise you if I said, she used to be my sworn enemy while growing up? Yes, we were. The worst kind one could find. She calm and accepting of the whole world, found her only source of irritation to be me. Anything I did or said she couldn’t digest. Of course, the feelings were mutual. Mediocre in school and college, I wasn’t someone any parent could be proud of. In fact just the opposite was true. Notorious for my time, robbing spare change from my mom’s kitchen and and forging dad’s signature on poor scoring test papers, my reputation often preceded me. But, where the usual scientifically proven sibling rivalry had to be, there stood a proud me. Yes, in spite of only pure hatred towards her, I secretly reveled in her glory and fame. Here’s why – Except for my folks, the rest of the world, because of our similar looks, assumed that the genealogy carried into character and grey matter as well. Teachers liked me just as much as they did her. I had no dearth for friends, though that had nothing to do with Sophie, she sure gave me ample subject matter to boast about.  Where ever she was invited, by sheer virtue of association I got invited too. And since I lacked the wisdom or self respect to refuse such invites, I got to enjoy all the fortunes of the better privileged ;). Obviously such shamelessness on my part only aggravated the situation further. Her detest increased in multifold and I reciprocated the same with every fiber of my being.

So, how did she transform from the antagonist in my life, to a person I need to speak to or speak about every single day? Honestly speaking, I don’t know. It could have been, when we moved away from each other to study in colleges far away from home. Or, when we sort solace in each other while helping dad fight the big C. It might have been, while we struggled through the usual comical/tragical episodes of a dysfunctional family, or while  I stood by her through the agonizing Indian(arranged marriage) process of finding a suitable boy. Or, was it, when she lent a listening ear while I battled with a broken heart or when she let me buy more stuff for MYSELF than she did for herself, while we shopped for HER wedding? I’m not sure.

But, whatever it was that brought about the transformation, I’m glad it happened. Because, if not for her, I wouldn’t have ever known that anyone could actually blow up their entire(almost), first meager paycheck, to buy you a jacket just because you were too arrogant and said, that was all you liked, and she loved you too much, to refuse. At the risk of sounding too sappy I have to admit that, she is my mirror and my very opposite.

I Love you, Sophie. Happy Birthday!!

Simple Biryani with Whole Spices

IMG_7330The kitchen at Sophie’s is always open round the clock!. Ok, I take it back. There might be a quiet time between, say around 12 midnight to daybreak 5. But [read more] 

 

 

 

 

 

 Bangalore Style Carrot Sandwiches

IMG_3069Anyone growing up in Bangalore in the 80s  would have eaten or seen these sandwiches in any of the Iyengar bakeries found in every nook of the city.  Though [read more]

 

 

 

 

Red Coconut Chutney – Kerala style

IMG_2918One of the most commonly made chutney or chamandi, as they are popularly called in Kerala, is the Red Coconut Chutney. Served often with idlis and set dosas, this is super simple to make [read more]

 

 

 

 

Mango Pickles – Kadugu Manga

IMG_7317

The best thing about these Pickles are that, they can be eaten immediately and contain no preservatives. They come together in very.. [read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Sandwiches – Bangalore Style


2010
05.20

 

IMG_3049

Anyone growing up in Bangalore in the 80s  would have eaten or seen these sandwiches in any of the Iyengar bakeries found in every nook of the city.  Though I love most of the stuff from these bakeries, the sandwiches were probably the only healthy food you could find in these places then. My sister Sophie, takes it up a notch by using whole wheat bread and adding a few other vegetables. And I must say, I love these more than the authentic ones.

Ingredients

whole wheat or white bread
2 tsp refined oil 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds 
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 finely chopped tomato 
2 cups grated  carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper(optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli (optional) 
1 tbsp chopped green chili
1/4 tsp 3Cs spice mix
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste 
a pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp chopped mint
1 tsp finely chopped curry leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp (or to taste) sugar

butter for toasting the bread
salt to taste

Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add green chilies, curry leaves, onions and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, spice mix, mint and sauté until the tomatoes turn soft.
  • Add the carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cilantro and sauté for a few minutes until the veggies turn tender, take care not to over cook them.   
  • Add sugar, mix well and and turn off the stove.
  • Apply a little butter on slice of bread, spread some carrot filling and top it off with another slice of bread.
  • Toast it in a sandwich maker or toast for minute on both sides in a pan while pressing down the sandwich using a spatula.
  • Serve for breakfast or as a snack.
  • Carrot Sandwiches – Bangalore Style


    2010
    05.20

     

    IMG_3049

    Anyone growing up in Bangalore in the 80s  would have eaten or seen these sandwiches in any of the Iyengar bakeries found in every nook of the city.  Though I love most of the stuff from these bakeries, the sandwiches were probably the only healthy food you could find in these places then. My sister Sophie, takes it up a notch by using whole wheat bread and adding a few other vegetables. And I must say, I love these more than the authentic ones.

    Ingredients

    whole wheat or white bread
    2 tsp refined oil 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds 
    1 cup finely chopped onions
    1 finely chopped tomato 
    2 cups grated  carrots
    1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper(optional)
    1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli (optional) 
    1 tbsp chopped green chili
    1/4 tsp 3Cs spice mix
    1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste 
    a pinch of turmeric powder
    1 tsp chopped mint
    1 tsp finely chopped curry leaves
    2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    2 tsp (or to taste) sugar

    butter for toasting the bread
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add green chilies, curry leaves, onions and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, spice mix, mint and sauté until the tomatoes turn soft.
  • Add the carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cilantro and sauté for a few minutes until the veggies turn tender, take care not to over cook them.   
  • Add sugar, mix well and and turn off the stove.
  • Apply a little butter on slice of bread, spread some carrot filling and top it off with another slice of bread.
  • Toast it in a sandwich maker or toast for minute on both sides in a pan while pressing down the sandwich using a spatula.
  • Serve for breakfast or as a snack.
  • Simple Biryani with Whole Spices


    2010
    05.18

    The kitchen at my sister Sophie’s, is always open round the clock!. Ok, I take it back. There might be a quiet time between, say around 12 midnight to daybreak 5. But the rest of the time, a stove is always lit. It might not come as a surprise to you, knowing how greedy I am about food, that this is one among the many things I look forward to when I visit India. And like I have mentioned before, Sophie is a fine cook and I’m one of her biggest fans. This simple Biryani recipe that she often makes, uses whole spices and it is amazing how different, spices taste when ground, and when used as a whole.

     IMG_7329

    Ingredients
    1 lb skinless and boned chicken cut into medium sized pieces
    1 large  or 2 medium sized onions finely sliced
    4 large tomatoes, diced in chunks
    5- 6 green chilies, slit length wise
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 tbsp grated ginger
    2 tbsp diced garlic
    1/2 tsp black pepper corns
    8 cloves
    6, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
    1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds/saunf
    3 cups jeera samba rice
    1/4 cup curd
    pinch of saffron
    refined vegetable oil
    2 tsp sesame oil or ghee (clarified butter)
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
    1 tbsp chopped mint
    1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    Salt to taste

    Directions

  • Marinate the chicken in lemon juice, curd, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, pepper corns, green chilies, chili powder, mint, cilantro  and salt over night in the fridge.
  • Soak washed rice with 5 cups of water and set aside for an hour.
  • Heat 2 – 3 tbsp of oil  in a wide bottomed  hollow pan, make sure the pan can be fitted with a tight lid that doesn’t let steam escape.
  • Add fennel, and let it splutter.
  • Add 3/4th of the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Crush the grated ginger and garlic and add them to the pan along with the green chilies and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Add in the chicken along with the marinade and sauté for 5 -10 minutes and then reduce the flame to low let it cook until chicken is done.
  • Add 2 tbsp of sesame oil or ghee, salt and cook the rice until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
  • Gather all the chicken and the masala mixture together and flatten it at he bottom of the pan
  • Dissolve a pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp of milk and add to the boiling rice and mix it.
  • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
  • Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
  • Remove from the stove and mix in the rice and masala
  • Deep fry the remaining sliced onion and sprinkle on the rice as garnish.
  • Serve with raitha or baingan masaledar.
  • Kadugu Manga – Fresh Mango Pickles


    2010
    05.18

    The best thing about these Pickles are that, they can be eaten immediately and contain no preservatives. They come together in very little time and have a good shelf life when refrigerated. They taste best and last longer when made with really sour mangoes.

    IMG_7317

    Ingredients
    2 cups of mango diced small 
    2 tbsp red chili powder
    1 tsp cut julienne style ginger
    1 tsp cut julienne style garlic
    1 tbsp salt 
    big pinch of asafoetida 
    ½  tsp turmeric powder
    ½  tsp black mustard seeds
    ½ tsp roasted fenugreek powder (dry roast fenugreek seeds and powder them)
    2 tbsp sesame or refined vegetable oil
    2 sprigs of curry leaves

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida and mustard and when the mustard pops, add curry leaves, fenugreek,ginger, garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Reduce the heat and add chili powder and stir fry for another couple of minutes on very low heat.
  • Turn off the heat, add salt and let the mixture cool.
  • When cool, add this mixture to the raw mangoes and mix thoroughly. 
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate in air tight containers.

  • Kadugu Manga – Fresh Mango Pickles


    2010
    05.18

    The best thing about these Pickles are that, they can be eaten immediately and contain no preservatives. They come together in very little time and have a good shelf life when refrigerated. They taste best and last longer when made with really sour mangoes.

    IMG_7317

    Ingredients
    2 cups of mango diced small 
    2 tbsp red chili powder
    1 tsp cut julienne style ginger
    1 tsp cut julienne style garlic
    1 tbsp salt 
    big pinch of asafoetida 
    ½  tsp turmeric powder
    ½  tsp black mustard seeds
    ½ tsp roasted fenugreek powder (dry roast fenugreek seeds and powder them)
    2 tbsp sesame or refined vegetable oil
    2 sprigs of curry leaves

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida and mustard and when the mustard pops, add curry leaves, fenugreek,ginger, garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Reduce the heat and add chili powder and stir fry for another couple of minutes on very low heat.
  • Turn off the heat, add salt and let the mixture cool.
  • When cool, add this mixture to the raw mangoes and mix thoroughly. 
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate in air tight containers.

  • Red Coconut Chutney – Kerala Style


    2010
    05.18

    One of the most commonly made chutney or chammanthi, as they are popularly called in Kerala, is the Red Coconut Chutney. Served often with idlis and set dosas, this is super simple to make and lip-smacking in taste.

    IMG_2918

    Ingredients
    1 cup grated fresh coconut
    6-7 shallots finely sliced
    1 tsp red chili powder
    salt to taste
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    3 dried red chilies torn into 2 pieces each
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    2-3 tsp of coconut oil or refined vegetable oil

    Directions

  • Grind together coconut, red chili powder, 1 tbsp of shallots and salt along with 1 cup of water. Add more water after grinding to get desired consistency.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chilies
  • When the mustard pops add the remaining shallots and sauté until they are caramelized and crisp
  • Add broken red chillies and curry leaves and sauté for a second.
  • Pour the seasoning over the ground mixture and mix well. Adjust the salt.
  • Serve with dosas or idlis.
     
  • Red Coconut Chutney – Kerala Style


    2010
    05.18

    One of the most commonly made chutney or chammanthi, as they are popularly called in Kerala, is the Red Coconut Chutney. Served often with idlis and set dosas, this is super simple to make and lip-smacking in taste.

    IMG_2918

    Ingredients
    1 cup grated fresh coconut
    6-7 shallots finely sliced
    1 tsp red chili powder
    salt to taste
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    3 dried red chilies torn into 2 pieces each
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    2-3 tsp of coconut oil or refined vegetable oil

    Directions

  • Grind together coconut, red chili powder, 1 tbsp of shallots and salt along with 1 cup of water. Add more water after grinding to get desired consistency.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chilies
  • When the mustard pops add the remaining shallots and sauté until they are caramelized and crisp
  • Add broken red chillies and curry leaves and sauté for a second.
  • Pour the seasoning over the ground mixture and mix well. Adjust the salt.
  • Serve with dosas or idlis.