Monday, June 30, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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One of the reasons that I have been late in posting the 5 must see recipes this time has been the intermittent net connection which has been troubling me. Finally I'm up and alive on the cyber space and it is such a relief to be floating online. Without wasting any more time, these are the must recipes for last week:

White Peach Gelato - A perfect way to bid goodbye to summers and do it while we can. This is going to be a great dessert, fruity, creamy and very light. As the author points out, replace the water with milk for making it more creamy.

Fried Chicken - A very simple way to make southern fried chicken. Franks Sauce has been known to work wonders and I always use it to make chicken wings. The only close substitute would be Anchor Bar's sauce. Add in a dash of curry powder to get that little kick.

Onion Dip - Great dip for parties. I have always wanted a recipe to make this. Finally I have it and its not too difficult. You can also use to stuff this into some backed jacket potatoes and sprinkle some ham on top. Yum!

Chicken Curry - Rather than putting it as another chicken curry, I would say chicken curry with a difference. Very, very unlike an Indian chicken curry recipe. And that too a little mild for a curry and a little creamy. Add in some ginger and red chili powder, if you want to make it more spicy. Worth a try as it is.

Seasoned Potato Wedges - Great for a poolside barbeque (alongside your lamb chops) or a last minute snack when some friends drop in. You can even match them with the onion dip on top.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hot Garlic Chicken

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Chinese food has been an evergreen favorite in the household. After having eaten chinese food across the world, must say, that the chinese food made indian style has its own charm and I'm a self professed die hard fan of it. My wife and my managers will actually swear by the number of times I have gone looking for American Chopsuey, even for breakfast :)
DimSums obviously are a second favorite for me and the number one favorite for my better half. The quality of chinese restaurants are judged by how good their Dim Sum's are.
This particular dish was made one sleepy weekend when I felt the craving for chinese food.

Hot Garlic Chicken


1/2 pound Chicken, cut into pieces
Garlic, chopped - 1 Tbslp
Red Chilli Powder - 2 Tsp
Tomato Sauce - 2 Tblsp
Salt, to taste
Sugar - 1 Tsp
Chicken Stock - 1/2 Cup

Cornflour - 1 Tblsp
Oil - 4 Tblsp
Vinegar - 1 Tsp
Bell Pepper, cut into small pieces - 1
Red Chillies- 2
finely chopped Onion - 1/2
Finely chopped Spring Onion (Scallions) - 3

Marinade -
1 Egg
Salt - 3/4 Tsp
Cornflour - 1 Tblsp
Oil - 1 Tblsp


1. Marinade the chicken with all the ingredients (for marinade), and keep aside for 30 min.
2. Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a wok and stir fry the chicken for 10 min in medium heat. Drain and keep aside.

3. In the same oil add garlic, red chillies and red chilli powder. Fry for 3 minutes and add tomato sauce.
4. Add bell pepper, onion and spring onion. Stir fry for 3 minutes in high heat. Add fried chicken. Stir-fry and add salt, sugar and chicken stock.
5. Mix the cornflour in 1/4 cup water and add to chicken slowly, stirring continuously to thicken the sauce. Finish with the vinegar.
6. Serve with fried rice or noodles.

Addendum : I have had a few requests asking for recipes for Momos. Here's the one I posted quite some time back. It has an okay video shot with a mobile at my friends place whose wife makes amazing momo's.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jhinga Samarkand

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Crude oil prices continued to rise, inflation finally touched the double digit number, N-Deal still hangs midway, Portugal got booted out of Euro'08 ( I never supported them anyways) ...So, what's good in the week that's gone by...well, I had some nice tandoori prawns for Dinner :) ...sums up the little joys in life that matter so much even in the face of some big issues faced by all. Food, good food makes one forget how hard the day was, and all the problems one's facing, atleast for the time being.
I came across this recipe in a cookbook some months back and had jotted it down separately to try out. Made a few changes and tried out. Makes for a good starter.

Jhinga Samarkand

Ingredients -

Jumbo Prawns - 10

Ginger-Garlic Paste - 2 Tblsp
Vinegar - 2 Tblsp
Water - 2 Cups

Marinade -
Gramflour (Besan) - 50 gm
Cornflour - 15 gm
Onion Paste - 2 Tblsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tblsp
Garam Masala - 2 Tsp
Carum Seeds (Ajwain) - 1 Tsp
Kasoori Methi - 1 Tsp
Yogurt - 1 Cup
Egg -1 No.
Lemon Juice - 2 Tblsp
Oil - 2 Tbslp
Salt - To Taste

Method- Pre-Preparation -
1. De-shell, devein & wash prawns under running water.
2. Mix Vinegar, water & ginger-garlic paste. Soak Prawns in the paste for 10 minutes. Drain.
3. Mix all ingredients for the marinade.
4. Marinate the drained and dried prawns in the marinade for 30 mins.

Preparation -
1. Heat the tandoor, oven, grill or microwave.
2. Skewer the prawns. Baste them with oil.
3. Roast on slow heat.
4. Serve Hot sprinkled with chaat masala and alongwith Mint Chutney.

Note: Keep turning prawns to ensure they cook evenly on all sides.
Baste with oil when half done.

Friday, June 20, 2008

5 Must See Recipes for the Week

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Another week gone by, another selection of recipes. The week has been a mixed one. I managed to catch a movie in between ( actually had seen half of it and watched the other half this week). The movie in question was Lucky number Slevin and it was a good movie. I would recommend it highly. Starring stalwarts like Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley and few known names like Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu and Stanley Tucci it had some good moments especially the ending. Looking forward to completing the rest of the movies I have had on my must see list and which are gathering dust on my shelf, notably, Pedro Almodovar's 'What Have I done to deserve this' which is the next on my see list. I am still waiting for the latest from Sam Rockwell who happens to be one of my favorites and yes! Farhan Akhtar's Rock On.
My two posts last week were fairly controversial and they elicited a wide range of emotions from all those who did comment. I loved it, and would really want to do it again. Watch out for me trying to ruffle some more feathers.
Work has been demanding and exciting both. Home front is much the same as work. Thinking of doing some justice to my other hobbies as well now that everyone in the household is busy with their lives.
My weekly selection this time is a little different. It's in the form of a menu that you can cook up or take your pick and only cook the ones you want to :)

(Thick, creamy and healthy. You can use a vegetable stock instead of the chicken broth. Asparagus are really cool and once you get hooked to them...this by the way is one way to do can experiment with them)
(After a nice chilled conti soup, transport yourself to some spicy morrocan affair. The mint yogurt will cut the mild spiciness.) Serve with some nice peas pulao. Veggies can substitute Paneer (Ricotta) in place of Lamb.
( Regulars on the blog know my obsession with cheesecake and nothing better than this one. The original is heavenly. If this one even comes close to it, it'll be a winner).

Hope you like this selection for the week. Also, check this post on how to taste Olive Oil.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Simbly Sambarlicious - Vengaya Sambar (Lentil with Shallots)

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Let me start this post with a disclaimer that I had nothing whatsoever to do with this one apart from clicking the photo and posting it on this blog. Infact, as far as people know me, I can have nothing to do with Sambar, apart from the fact that I'm married to a Sambar loving Woman.
A few months ago I made an epic journey to Chennai. It was epic on several grounds. I was making a train journey after 6 years in India and this was due to the fact that we wanted our son to experience a train ride ( this was the shortest possible journey that presented itself in recent times). Knowing my claustrophobia and immense cleanliness disorder this was going to be a struggle. And it was to an extent, but we enjoyed it. Secondly, it was the southernmost in India I was traveling to. I had heard horror stories about Chennai from a few people, and here I was, ready to experience it. The horror stories about the weather were true. It was extremely sweaty, and that too in February. The traffic was a nightmare and without my wife besides me I would have been lost in translation. Lastly, I was experiencing a true blue tambram wedding... my sister-in-law's, and everyone knew the punju guy coming to attend it. Hence, I was more a center of attention than even the bride groom. You could guess my amazement when I found no chicken or paneer dish at the wedding. No dancing, no pranks, no groom on a horse ... just a plain simple affair with plain simple food...and yet it cost as much as a north Indian gaudy wedding. It was a great experience. I loved wearing the veshti and gorging on Chettinaad food at restaurants. During the packed trip I even stole a day to visit Mahabaleshwar. It was amazing. Thankfully to my wife's relief I did not buy a 4 ft stone sculpture that I always wanted to get from there. Sadly, the great site will not remain forever, with the sea winds eroding the sculptures and rock cut temples on the shore.
Getting back to the dish for this post, Sambar is a delicacy, both in Chennai and in our home. Infact, they have a course which consists of Sambar with rice that is had after a course of Rasam with rice and before a course of Curd with rice.
Sambar is an extract of Thuvar Dal (Pigeon Peas) soured with tamarind. However, certain regions also use other souring agents like tomatoes. It is called Pulusu in Andhra and Huli in Karnataka. There are various types of Sambar that exist too. There is the Keerai Sambar, which has prawns added to it, then we have the Rayar Sambar which is green in colour and is extremely common in places like Thanjavur and Kumbakonam, we have a buttermilk sambar and we have the Vengaya Sambar which is made with Vengaya (shallots). There are many more versions that exist.
Personally, I love the Kannadiga style of Sambar and on weekends at the golf course where it is served, I polish off a bowl or two of it.

Vengaya Sambar


Thuvar Dal ( Split Pigeon Peas), boiled and mashed - 150 gms
Shallots / Madras Onions, peeled and skinned - 100 gm
Asafoetida (Hing) - 1 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 6-7 Sprigs
Tamarind - Lemon Sized soaked in 4 glasses of water
Dried Red Chillies - 4
Chana Dal (Bengal Gram) - 1 Tblsp
Corriander Seeds - 3/4 Tblsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 2 Tblsp

1. Heat Oil in a pan.
2. Fry Dried Red Chillies. Add Bengal Gram and Corriander Seeds. Fry for 2 minutes.
3. Coarsely grind them.
4. Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle add curry leaves and asafoetida.
5. Add in the shallots and fry for 2 minutes or till Shallots turn transparent.
6. Add in the tamarind pulp alongwith Asafoetida. Add turmeric powder and let it boil for 3 minutes.
7. Add the powdered red chilli, bengal gram and corriander seeds paste and salt.
8. Add in boiled mashed Thuvar Dal.
9. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add in the curry leaves.

Addendum : I visited Mahabalipuram and not Mahabaleshwar. Thanks to Bhags for pointing it out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Screwdriver - What's a nice evening without it ?

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Cocktails I must say are a dying breed. As in how many times do we actually go out and get ourselves a cocktail unless we are feeling plush or sitting in one plush place. These are the days of simple drinks either had straight up or with common mixers. Screwdrivers are another story though. We mostly end up having them, without even knowing it's a very popular cocktail called screwdriver. Why? 'cause it's simple to make and just has 2 ingredients. Vodka and Orange Juice.
My own stag parties echo the above mentioned sentiment. I'm usually found begging people to try out some cocktails. Can't help it. Have been in love since I made my first one. Infact I first made a mocktail...which is a cocktail without the alcohol in it :). There was no looking back thereon. I bartended my way through college. It was good money and you saw all the who's who. It wasn't such a glam profession to have then, else might have just continued with it. Interestingly, even after I became a management trainee with the one of the top 3 in India, I earned less than what I made bartending and I worked 6 days to get paid in the company.
Last weekend though was different. Sri J had put down his papers and was finally moving back to B'Lore. Naturally for being a great guy to have as a part of your team and making his life miserable right through, it was but natural to have his sending off at my place. With a great stock of spirits, mixers and a great crowd, cocktails had to be the norm. My crystal collection though was locked up after the glass breaking incident the last time we all got together. Sri J had been the culprit though he still maintains he didn;t do it (Sri J, I told you I'll post this). It was a wild party that only got over at the Kakatiya Sheraton in the morning, with some having the breakfast and the rest feasting on the yum! Chocolate mousse.
Getting back to screwdrivers, It got its name allegedly in the 1950's for oil riggers in mid-east who couldn't find stirrers, so they used their screwdrivers to stir this drink. Some also say it is named so because of the screw (orange juice) and the driver (Vodka). Ideally the next time you feel like having a drink, fix yourself a nice cocktail and figure out the story behind it. Screwdrivers have a whole varied variations to it, from mocktail ones to the very potent ones. Here's a list of them. There are some personal variations too. If you have any, feel free to lemme know and I'll fix myself one of those.

The Original Screwdriver

Glass - HighBall

Ingredients -
Vodka - 60 ml
Fresh Orange Juice - 150 ml

Garnish - Slice of Orange

1. In a chilled HighBall glass, pour vodka and orange juice over ice.
2. Garnish with slice of Orange. Cheers !

Kentucky Screw Driver

Substitute the Vodka with Bourbon. Also goes by the name of Black-Eyed Susan and Yellow Jacket.


Vodka - 1 Part
Orange Juice - 2 Parts

Mix the same way as the screwdriver.

Harvey Wallbanger

Glass - Collins


Vodka - 30 ml
Orange Juice - 120 ml
Galliano (Herbal Liqueur) - 15 ml

1. Pour Vodka and Orange Juice into a collins glass over ice cubes and stir.
2. Float Galliano on top with a spoon. Serve.

Variations of the harvey wallbanger exist. If you replace Vodka with Tequila, it becomes a Freddy Fudpucker. If you double the quantity of orange juice, quadruple the quantity of Vodka and triple the quantity of Galliano and serve in a beer mug, its called a Harvey Wall Climber. If you replace Orange juice with Milk, it will be called Harvey CowPuncher (I personally will never try that).

Southern Screw

Substitute Vodka with Southern Comfort in the original Screwdriver.

Slow (Sloe) Comfortable Screw

Substitute the vodka with Sloe Gin in the original screwdriver.

Replace the Orange Juice with orange soda ( say Fanta).

Fuzzy Cosmonaut
Substitute Orange Juice with Tang in the original screwdriver.

Sonic Screwdriver
Replace Orange Juice with Blue Gatorade in the original screwdriver.

It's also called Vaderade.

Cordless Screwdriver

Glass - Shot Glass

Ingredients -
Chilled vodka - 30 ml
Cut an orange wedge and coat with superfine sugar. Keep aside.

Method -
1. Pour Vodka into the shot glass.
2. Drink the vodka in one shot.
3. Bite into the sugar coated orange wedge.

Very Screwy Driver

Glass - Collins

Ingredients -
Vodka - 30 ml
White Rum - 15 ml
Tequila - 15 ml
Gin - 15 ml
Orange Juice - 150 ml

1. Pour all ingredients over ice in a collins glass.
2. Serve (Hic!)

Screwless Driver (Finally a non-alcoholic one)

Glass - Highball
Ingredients -

Ginger Ale - 45 ml
Orange Juice - 150 ml

1. Mix over ice in a highball and serve.

Monday, June 16, 2008

5 Must see recipes for the week

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You must say of late there have been only roundups on this blog. It's true. Work has been ensuring I do not get the time to post anything else. Home front hasn't been kind either with the better half starting her new job and my elder son's school starting. Not to forget my broadband that has not been working for the last one week. Finally had to ask my sweet wife, if I could use her laptop and post this one.
Here I go with this week's collections with a promise that there will be more of my usual stuff apart from this very soon.

1. French Onion Soup - Very classical indeed. Incase you are planning to throw a nice continental dinner for friends. This is a great soup for the soup course. The recipe listed is simple and the soup looks inviting. The secret as the author says is a good stock and nothing like a beef stock to give that perfect flavor. I have personally tried it out with different stocks, but beef stock is best.

2. Red Wine & Tomato Lamb Stew - Truthfully, the photo reminded me of Roganjosh.But this is tasty, healthy and full of flavor. A good combination of lamb, wine and chickpeas. I would ahead a little curry powder to get that bite and work up a sweat.

3. Meatballs : This is a great concoction cooked up by Melissa. The use of Harissa is sure to set tongues on fire. Made some Harissa for myself last month and it was fiery. If you are making Harissa yourself be sure to add Carum.

4. Napa Cabbage & Pork Steamed Bun ( Choy Yoke Pau) - Have always wanted to know how to make steamed chinese buns, till I hit jackpot with this recipe. You can use mutton mince or chicken mince if you don't want Pork.

5. White Chocolate Mousse with Green Lemon - A perfect way to round of the weekly selection. A delicate dessert that is easy to make. I must say I was a little confused on the green lemon part though. Please add in some rind of green lemons into the mixture.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

5 Must see recipes for the week

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Last week has been dog crazy with the Cab operators strike almost paralyzing the offices in the city. Hardly found the time to post anything with just spending most of the time running around to ensure work goes on as smoothly as possible.
So, without wasting any more time, here are the 5 must see for the week. Now I could not miss this for anything, could I ?

1. Tea Sauce - Scouting around for some recipes involving the use of tea, I came across this recipe. Fairly versatile and can be used for marinades and as a dipping sauce. Would go excellently with some Drums of heaven or maybe use it for your chicken wings next time.

2. Rose Tea Rice Pudding - Now this has got exotic smeared all over it. It looks great esp. the rose buds and must taste good too. I'm trying to get my hands on some rose tea, so the next time someone travels to China, I know what to get myself, and yes! after sampling the tea on its own, this is what I'll try out. I guess, I'll use regular milk instead of soy milk.

3. South American Fishcakes - An amazing fishcake recipe by the master of the kitchen himself. I've always loved watching Jamie Oliver because of his connect and his ability to take the simple and make it look so exotic ( yet simple to make). This one is a damn good variation that I'm bookmarking for my next bash. I'll also throw in some cilantro and bell pepper to this.

4. Banana Lemongrass & Coconut soup - This is a great site with some great recipes and insights into different chefs. All the dishes were great be it Tuna Tartare to inspiration ( a delicate blend of chocolate and sea salt). I chose this one because it was a great combination of so many tastes, cuisines and ingredients one never thought could be married together in one dish and that too a soup. Prepared by Chef Ashley James at the Gardens at Four Seasons, this one is a real winner.

5. Puritan's Pride - A great refreshing non alcoholic mocktail. Must try for those sunday afternoon parties ( that's unless you are having beer :D). The cranberries, ginger and cider would be a whacko combo. Saving up for my wife.

Parting Notes :

A great article on testing meat for doneness and another one on the right way to shell peas. Surprisingly, bought back old memories from college. I still follow the same guidelines as in these articles and as I was taught decades ago (only 1 ).

One whole week without awards is killing me. Actually thanks to all you readers guess I'm a little spoilt by now :) ...though the bloggers choice awards option is still open. All you need to do is click the link and search by my blog name. :))

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Anything for some Prawn Curry

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This weekend had a great golfing weather. Summers typically present a challenge to play after the 9:00 AM and some showers the night before Saturday ensured we did not have the sun beating on us. Plus it was only 2 of us, so we teed off early and wrapped up by 9:00 AM and I was ready to take the long drive back home and spend the weekend glued to the TV. It was then Harry, my colleague and golfing buddy gave me a call. He hadn't joined us for the round of golf and was lazing on Saturday morning. His fish supplier had just paid him a visit with 6 Kgs of some huge sized prawns and Harry insisted that I pick up some of them. At first I refused, since I was planning on having chicken. After some time, he called again and insisted. His words, "I'm generally not too pushy, but these are good large prawns."
I turned the car and headed straight for his house and after I saw the prawns I didn't regret it. The prawns were huge, as in huge. We had them shelled, deveined and cleaned. In the meantime we chatted and I had some good ol' Roohafza and finally started to proceed home planning on having a good prawn lunch.

Prawn Curry

Jumbo Prawns(shelled, deveined and cleaned) - 9
Kokum Syrup - 1/2 Cup ( You can substitute with Tamarind)
Garlic Paste - 2 Tblsp
Ginger Paste - 1 Tblsp
Red Chilli Powder - 2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 Tsp
Garlic Cloves, chopped - 4
Onion Paste - 1 Cup
Green Chillies, chopped - 2
Cilantro, chopped - 2 Tblsp
Coconut Milk - 1/2 Cup
Water - 1 1/2 Cup
Salt To Taste
Oil - 2 Tblsp

1. Marinade the prawns in Kokum, ginger garlic, red chilli powder,salt and turmeric powder.
2. Heat Oil in a wok. Add Garlic and let it brown slightly.
3. Add in the onions and fry for 3 minutes or till they turn translucent.
4. Add in the prawns and fry for a minute.
5. Add in green chillies, cilantro and coconut milk, followed by water.
6. Bring to a boil.
7. Serve hot with rice.

Footnote: Now everyone pairs food with wine/beverages. Here's my take on it. I'm gonna sample food with music. Have this dish listening to sleepwalker (wallflowers) followed by Otherside(Red Hot Chili Peppers) ...tht's wht I did .....the feeling of satisfaction was heavenly!

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