Frankies/Kaathi Rolls

•October 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It is again that time of the year when events and festivals keep piling and you have to run from one occasion to another. There was the Indian Dussera and Diwali, then there is Halloween, soon it will be thanksgiving and then a lot of slacking until it is Christmas!

It has started getting colder here in Chicago and frankly I have my doubts as to how I am going to survive the snow and the wind. So far, it was just visiting over a weekend, choosing a good time to be in IL, and running away back to CA before my butt froze off :) But now it is different. I am going to be around here through thick and thin :) As long as me and my car make it through the winter, all will be well. I am deathly scared of being inside a spinning, sliding out of control car!!!

Its ok, sometimes you just have to hit the ground running.

Speaking of mental blocks, I’ve always thought, it is not an easy task to make great tasting frankies. How wrong was I on that? Supremely!

I admit, it takes a bit to get everything in order if you are starting from scratch to make the chutneys, guacamole, tortillas, veggies, etc … but the final product is so good, you really forget the hour you spent multi-tasking to get everything ready.

I used Sailu’s recipe for reference, but really, frankies and wraps are so versatile, you can choose to fill in whatever it is that you like. Bellpeppers, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, fennel, paneer, chicken, etc … Just saute and spice the filling and you are good to go!

I used coriander-coconut chutney and guacamole for extra zing!

We scarfed away the whole plate of frankies in a matter a minutes. If you dont mind the prep time and effort, this is one dish you should really make at home and enjoy!

Ek plate batata wada please!

•October 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Its been a while that I had eaten wada-paav, the most awesomest street food of Mumbai! I remember the time when it was sold only for a rupee and every street corner had a lahri or shop selling them. And oooooh, with the spicy hot garlic chutney, it was like heaven! Of course, the heaven where the eyes and nose were watering but the wada was still delightful!! The joy would be compounded, if out of nowhere, it would just start to rain!

ohh … those wonderful childhood moments!

So here they are, back again, by popular demand (mine and my BH’s, namely) … tada!

Wada Ingredients:

2-3 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 small green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 lime
Few curry leaves
Oil
Salt

Batter Ingredients:
2 cups besan flour
Salt
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 pinch baking soda

Method:

1. Boil, peel and mash the potatoes and set them aside.
2. In a pan, add some oil, add the mustard and cumin seeds until they splutter. Add the curry leaves, ginger garlic paste and onions and green chillies. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the salt and turmeric and then the mashed potatoes and combine and leave it on low for 3-4 minutes, Add lemon/lime and stir until its all well combined.
4. Turn off heat and let cool.
5. Once you can handle the mashed potato mixture, gently make small balls and set aside to prepare the batter.

6. For the batter, add the besan, salt, chilli powder, baking soda in a bowl. Slowly add water to form a consistent flowing paste. Not too runny, not too thick :) Like pancake batter.

7. Now is the time for the final frying step. Heat oil for deep frying in a large vessel. Dip one of the wada balls into the batter, cover it on all sides, allow excess batter to fall off and then place it carefully in the vessel for frying. Make sure oil is hot, so the potatoes do not seep in excess oil while just sitting there.
8. Fry for about 3 mins on one side and then turn them over and fry until they are golden brown.
9. Remove and set them on a napkin or something to get rid of excess oil.
10. Serve with green coriander chutney, or tamarind chutney or garlic chutney or simple mango pickle!

Enjoy!!!

 

 


Paneer Kulcha

•October 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I am quite at a loss of words today. Nothing seems to come to mind as I stare at this post draft. I switched staring at the walls, the curtains, the BH sitting next to me, but nothing … nada!

So anyways, Ill jump rightaway into food, because there is never a food block :)

Last week I made these awesome Paneer Kulcha’s, turned out pretty good too. Had to be, Sailus recipes never fail :) :)

The filling is very easy to make, grated paneer, chopped onions, lots of cilantro, chopped garlic and spices. The dough needs some settling time, almost 2 hours, so needs a bit of planning ahead of time. I missed making these a couple of times for the same reason, remembered last minute at 7:00 that I cant make these for two more hours!!

Typically I just like to make parathas, etc … with wheat flour, but these taste best with Maida dough or all purpose flour.

We ate it with a side of super thick daal, I know unusual, it goes much better with chhole or jalfrazi or something, but no matter. This was good too :)

Here is the recipe on Sailus blog. Enjoy!!!!

Fried Stuffed Okra

•October 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have finally come around to read “The Girl. …” trilogy. I am on the first one, some 200 pages down and I must say it is quite gripping. Narration is good, but for the life of me, I cant seem to pronounce the names of all the Swedish people and places. So I just make up my own names and read on :)

I have fallen all over in love with Sailu’s blog. I have a bunch of basic recipes bookmarked for this week, the first one among which is Fried Stuffed Okra. I’ll admit, I am not the biggest fan of okra, I rather eat plain rice than sticky okra ;) The few times I actually do cook it, I load up the pan with lots of onions and completely caramelize the whole ensemble – so you cannot point out exactly, where the okra is :)

Inspite of all this, I do like to eat okra, when it is fried crispy. And stuffed okra with fresh grated coconut filling does just that. Its super-easy to make, needs basic ingredients from home and doesn’t take that long either. So here you go …..

Ingredients:
1 pound of okra – washed, wiped dry
Oil
1 tblsp Curry leaves
1 tsp asafoetida

Stuffing:

2 tblsp cumin powder
2 tblsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tblsp white sesame seeds
1 tblsp ginger-garlic paste
3 tblsp crushed peanuts
4 tblsp fresh grated coconut
1 tblsp sugar (brown)
Few twigs of coriander leaves
Salt

Method:

1. Wash and wipe the okra. Slit them vertically to create an opening to stuff in the stuffing
2. Mix all the ingredients for stuffing.
3. Fill 1/2 to 1 tsp of stuffing in each okra. Depends on the size of okra. I couldnt find those nice long ones, mine are really tiny.
4. In a non-stick pan, heat 3 tblsp of oil. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida powder.
5. After a minute, place the stuffed okra in one layer in the oil in the pan. Add the remaining stuffing if any to the pan as well. I love the cooked crisp stuffing so much, I always make more and sit around eating the stuffing, while the BH eats the okra :) :)
6. Cook on one side for about 8-10 mins on medium to low heat.
7. Turn the okra carefully on the other side and cook for another 5-10 minutes. The okra should be soft. I leave it longer to make them really crisp. Depends on how you like it.
8. Serve with rice or rotis. I made some masala rice on the side.

Enjoy!!!

ZNMD poetry

•September 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Its amazing how sometimes you miss out on something and when you actually come around to doing it, it feels like, how the hell did you ever miss it.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is one such movie. I just watched it, months after the release and hype. I am so glad I did, its a wonderful movie, light-hearted and sensitive all at the same time. I particularly like Imran’s poetry in the movie.

Pighlay neelam sa behta hua yeh samaan
Neeli neeli si khamoshiyaan
Na kahin hai zameen
Na kahin aasmaan
Sarsaraati huyi tehniyaan, pattiyaan
Keh rahi hain ki bas ek tum ho yahaan
Sirf main hoon meri saansein hain aur meri dhadkanein
Aisi gehraiyaan
Aisi tanhaiyaan
Aur main sirf main
Apne honay pe mujhko yaqeen aa gaya

———————————————-

Ik baat honton tak hai jo aayi nahin
Bas ankhon say hai jhaankti
Tumse kabhi, mujhse kabhi
Kuch lafz hain woh maangti
Jinko pehanke honton tak aa jaaye woh
Aawaaz ki baahon mein baahein daalke ithlaaye woh
Lekin jo yeh ik baat hai
Ahsaas hi ahsaas hai
Khushboo si hai jaise hawa mein tairti
Khushboo jo be-aawaaz hai
Jiska pata tumko bhi hai
Jiski khabar mujhko bhi hai
Duniya se bhi chupta nahin
Yeh jaane kaisa raaz hai

—————————————

Jab jab dard ka baadal chaya
Jab ghum ka saya lehraya
Jab aansoo palkon tak aya
Jab yeh tanha dil ghabraya
Humne dil ko yeh samjhaya
Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai
Duniya mein yunhi hota hai
Yeh jo gehre sannate hain
Waqt ne sabko hi baante hain
Thoda ghum hai sabka qissa
Thodi dhoop hai sabka hissa
Aankh teri bekaar hi nam hai
Har pal ek naya mausam hai
Kyun tu aise pal khota hai
Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai

——————————————-
Dilon mein tum apni betaabiyaan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Nazar mein khwaabon ki bijliyaan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

Hawaa ke jhonkon ke jaise azad rehna seekho
Tum ek dariya ke jaise lehron mein behna seekho
Har ek lamhe se tum milo khole apni baahein
Har ek pal ik naya samaan dekhein yeh nigaahein

Jo apni aankhon mein hairaaniyaan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Dilon mein tum apni betaabiyaan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

Flounder Fiasco – what’s with the bloopers??

•September 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Speaking of fiasco’s, I wasted some of my precious flounder last night – to think of, I switched to baking/poaching the fish instead of grilling/frying it and blew it! I thought it would be healthy, but I am made some very very basic mistakes, which I hope never to repeat. Hence the vivid documentation, you know just for the record :) :)

The process: Placed the fish fillets on a bed of fresh tomatoes, celery, spring onions and spices. Topped with some lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Closed the package and left it in the oven to bake for some 15-20 minutes.

Blooper #1: Did not dry the fish completely. The fish sort of, gave out quite a bit of water in the packet, basicallyit shouldve been completely dry so that it could cook and sort of roast.
Blooper #2: Shouldn’t have used tomatoes. You know … more water!
Blooper #3: Shouldn’t have added pepper in the package. Should’ve sprinkled it on later. For some reason, it always seems that pepper tastes hotter when it is hot :)

All in all the taste was not that bad, but the flounder was way too soft. I like the fish better when it is nice and flaky and can stay together.

Well, all in a day’s work. Will do a better job next time :)

Fondue Fiasco and Fast Fried Rice

•September 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The other day the BH took me to a really nice French fondue place. Seriously, Ive never been to one before. Ive been to places where the chefs cook in front of you and what not, but this was my first, where I was expected to cook on my own table and then pay for it too!!

The appetizer was great but the server’s instructional lecture on what was coming up next was long. In hind sight though I feel I should’ve paid more attention to him while he was explaining, atleast I wouldn’t have ended up goofing up the whole dinner as I did. He brought in a simmering pot of broth, lots of veggies, shrimp, chicken, beef and an array of sauces to the table. I was just getting ready for a hearty meal, but he left all the raw stuff on the table and left!

It took me a few minutes to understand that we were supposed to cook all these items ourselves in the broth as it boiled on the grill.

This second part is more hilarious than anything so far, because out of all the idiotic things I couldve done, I did the one most idiotic thing. I dumped everything in the pot all at once!!! I know I know, how much more stupid can one get than this.

Everything cooked all at once, and I had to fish out all the veggies and chicken, etc … out and dish it on our tiny aluminum plates. It looked like a four year old’s plate, where all the food was mixed up, sauces were running all over the place and the worst part was, when the server asked me what you liked best, I just had to say “Everything!” because I had no idea exactly what I was eating with what!!!!

Arrghhh …. it was such a major major fiasco, I cannot believe what I did. All this while my poor BH was sitting there, staring at my own little circus, while enjoying my on-the-spot-shameful-cooking.

Anyways, the evening was splendid otherwise and all this happened in Buffalo, where I wont be going back anytime soon, particularly to this restaurant, so no harm done and all is not lost, but this is one embarrassing situation I wont be forgetting about, anytime soon :)

Talking about cooking everything at once, this is one fried rice is one of my backup plan recipes when I have veggies in hand and not many ideas in my head.

There is no real recipe to it really, just a great deal of chopping of whatever you have, bell-peppers, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, etc … Sometimes I add tofu or chicken, whichever is thawed and ready for use.

Add some oil to a wok and cook the chicken (or brown the tofu pieces) and set them aside. In the same wok and oil, add the veggies and cook them for a good 7-8 minutes until they are soft. Add soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, salt and pepper for seasoning. Add pre-cooked or leftover rice (I use basmati generally – bigger grain, non-sticky). Stir in the chicken/tofu and add a scrambled egg if you like. Check a final taste and you are set!

Add in some basil or mint if you have some lying in your veggies drawer for an extra kick!

 
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