Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Garlicky Brown Rice

My daughter's exams are on and I am one harried mom. Nah, she ain't a 10th or 12th grader - Far from it. But I have slowly realised that even the 5th grade exams are nothing short of a nightmare. Makes me wonder if I went through the same grind back in school. Gotta ask my mom about that! On a random note, I have been completely MIA vis-a-vis my blog. Blame it on my lethargy or a hectic work schedule, my blog's attention deprived. To set that right I am back with a no brainer of a recipe. This rice is a simple but heavenly affair when paired with a gravy that's hot and exciting. Remember the Thai Green Curry dished out by hubby dearest? Well that had to go with something fresh and earthy.  

While on a trip to the super market a few months back, my 'stay healthy' alias went all berserk. Packets of brown rice, millet and soy granules were grabbed off the aisles like no tomorrow and has been languishing ever since. Save for this sporadic recipe, my health bug seems to have scooted off. It reminds me to put more health into my Sunday menu. Coming back to the brown rice,  I was pleasantly surprised that the rice was well received by family. This rice is power packed with nutrients and beats the white rice hands on. I pressure cooked the rice giving it 2 whistles. The rice came cooked just right - fluffy and not mushy

The recipe can be tweaked to suit your palate. You can add whole spices or your choice of veggies too !

What's in it :-
  • Brown Rice - 1 cup
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic - 15 pods - sliced
  • Green Pepper - 1 sliced
  • Mint leaves - a small bunch (chopped)
  • Soy Sauce - A dash - for the flavour
  • Pepper powder - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste

Here's How:-

Cook the brown rice as per instructions in the pack. In a separate kadai, add olive oil and as it warms up, tip in the sliced garlic and saute till the raw smell goes. Add the mint leaves and give it a good swirl. Add the soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Finally add the cooked rice and mix well. Serve hot with your choice of gravy or other accompaniments. I served it with Thai Green Curry.

E.N.J.O.Y !

Monday, March 3, 2014

' Shake & Sip' - Paper Boat Drinks {A product review}

These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours and not to reach any destination – Rabindranath Tagore

Paper boats invokes happy memories of the days of the yore when tearing papers and folding them in to submission yielded joy unsurpassed. Those were the days when playing actually meant stepping out of the house and having unabashed fun. And when it used to rain, it was like a cherry on the ice cream. Out came the papers and our nimble hands would make dainty boats that would then set out on its remarkable though short journey in puddles of glory. Aaah; such happy memories....

I had almost forgotten the joy of such small things and a few days back, when I saw my daughter teach her little brother how to make a paper boat it was nostalgia galore. No, the rain god did not make an appearance, rather it was 'how to kill time' moments that had enveloped its gloomy pall on my daughter. Making paper boats became a good pastime and guess where her boats sailed - On the bathroom floor some pretty messy looking puddles sprouted and her boats sailed rather proudly :D

I had already seen pouches of 'Paper Boat' beverages on the shelf of our local mall. The flavours of Kokum & Kala Khatta had my attention. And my palate had a whiff of Kokum. Around the same time the team behind Paper Boat asked me If I was interested in reviewing the product and my answer was an instant yes! So the courier containing the following beverages arrived in a pretty looking jute bag :-
  • Jamun Kala Khatta
  • Jaljeera
  • Aamras
  • Aam panna

The very first beverage we tasted was Jamun Kala Khatta 

Kala Khatta - a flashback to my younger days, Delhi a sweltering cauldron during the torrid summer months, slurping gorgeous ice golas. The flavour that I particularly loved was the spicy kala khatta. Interestingly I had always thought that that jamuns were blackberries. My ignorance was given a brisk thwack by a roadside juice vendor in Mumbai a few years back.  While sipping in to the tasty jamun drink I had in my all knowing glances commented that they were blackberries; to my surprise the vendor simply said 'madam, they are jamuns and not blackberries; both the fruits belong to different families'

Coming back to this drink, the beverage tingled our senses and was immediately liked by all. Hubby felt that the beverage could do with a stronger hit of the jamuns but nevertheless it was a roaring thumbs-up! This drink existed as early as 100 AD and was called as Raga - music for the taste buds. A winner alright!

Jal Jeera

This quintessential beverage is one of my favorite drinks. The best thing about this drink is that it can be served as an appetiser or as a heavy duty after meal drink. An instant party pleaser, this cumin infused drink was a total knock-out. The taste buds sang a lilting tune and hummed a satating rhythm. The family felt that it was a little too strong. Could have been a tad milder.

Aam Panna - a Heat Buster

The scorching summers we experience gets a major boot with the Aam Panna. A staple in my kitchen during those long dry months, I quite looked forward to how this would taste in a packed avatar. Quite surprisingly, the drink despite having added flavours tasted quite home-made. 


The name spells silky surge of the pulpy mango. Mango undoubtedly rules our hearts and is a delight all along.

This beverage was not part of the package from the Paper Boat team. But I had wanted to taste it because kokum despite having a wealth of health benefits is an acquired taste. And inspite of my earlier trysts with kokum my heart doled an average tune while hubby liked this one.
Looks & Cost :-

The drinks come in attractive looking pouches.  Weighing about 250 ml, each pouch is priced at INR 30/-

Thumbs-up to:-
  • Anytime & anywhere - just shake & sip
  • Highly appealing beverages that are sure to quench the scorching throats
  • Aesthetically packed 
  • Promises real drinks with no junk
  • Drinks & Memories - I surely had a few nostalgic moments
Serving Suggestion:-

Shake well and serve chilled. I used salt rimmed glasses to give the drinks an added shot of pep and zip. I served Jaljeera with a lemon wedge and Aam panna was given a shot in the arm with a good sprig of mint.

Final Word:-

The website of the paper boat team oozes oodles of passion and attitude and it reflects on their products too. The 4 variants we tasted contained added flavours (as mentioned in the packages) due to which we can't call them 100% authentic. However kokum was clean of the extra flavours. Is it economical ? - prices could be a little less to reach the mass market, but for me, well on those heat scorched days when all one can think is just lazing around with a drink in hand, getting busy in kitchen would be the last thing on mind. Yes, on those days, the drink would be a welcome and refreshing change.

Touching our hearts with heady Indian drinks I am looking forward to them launching an umbrella of other drinks native to other parts of India.

Thank you Team Paper Boat for sending me the beverages for review. The views expressed here are strictly my own

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hubby's Thai Green Curry with a twist

Recently a good friend of ours, spouse in tow, dropped in unexpectedly and stayed on for dinner. We caught up over a lot of things and the time just slipped by. It was when the clock turned a little over 7 PM did I realize that we had not yet decided about dinner. While we dilly-dallied as to where we could head over, my gallant hubby volunteered to dish out something funky. Of-course I had to be his sous-chef; the 'chef' had to have his mise-en-place and I scurried around getting things up and running. My kitchen slowly started singing to the lilting Thai tunes with a twist. 

The guests hummed a satiated melody and went back home singing paeans about my hubby's skills. I preened and trilled as if my very own limited (ahem) culinary prowess had been accorded heavy appreciation :D

The veggies and fruits in the fridge found a place in the dish and added the zing!

The pics I have clicked does no justice to how it tasted. I served the gravy/curry with Garlicky Brown Rice, which btw was my humble effort. And no, there were no great praises heaved on the rice but then it was collectively agreed that the combo was a smashing hit :). I will put up the recipe for the rice some time soon!

{Serves: 4, Prep Time: 20 mins, Cooking Time: 15 mins}

What's in it :- 
  • Olive Oil - 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tsp
  • Black Cumin Seeds (shahi jeera) - 1 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Roasted peanuts - 1 medium cup (roughly crushed)
  • Milk - 1 1/2  cups
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Tomato - 1 large (cubed)
  • Green Peas - a fistful
  • Brinjal - 1 large (cubed)
  • Cauliflower - small (small florets)
  • Onion - 1 large (cubed)
  • Green Curry Paste - 2 to 3 tbsp {I used store bought}
  • Apple - 1 medium (cubed)
  • Orange - 1 medium (peeled and cubed)
  • Sweet Lime - medium (peeled and cubed)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch

Here's How:-

In a kadai, add oil and as it warms up, add the dried fenugreek leaves, cumin, shahi jeera and fennel seeds. Once they crackle, add the milk and water and bring it to a boil. Dunk the cubed onions, cauliflower, green peas, brinjal and tomatoes. Let the vegetables cook. Then add the green curry paste and let the whole mix simmer for a while. Add sugar and salt to taste and finally dunk the fruits. Let it simmer till it thickens and then take it off flame. Now add the crushed peanuts and mix well. Serve hot with Garlicky brown rice.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hello 2014 and Rustic Chocolate Almond Cookies

I often make resolutions and see them ditched half-way. My hubby jokes that my making resolutions is like the pins on a bowling alley - waiting for a slight nudge to fall all over the places. Around the same time last year I made a list; a 4-point something which I called a Get Better List. Happy to say that I ended up achieving 1 of the 4 (spending less time online). It was possible not because of any conscious drive on my part, rather my getting back to work made a woeful dent on my online time. So this year again, I am back to making a get better list with the same points of 2013 and a little more. However, I would love to spread a little more happiness, share some more sunshine in my own little way. And that's something that does not need a resolution at the beginning of the year :) 

What immense joy kids find in small things. It need not be anything fancy or new ; a little something is enough to put a spring in their steps. My bundle of joy often teaches me the joy of little things.The other day he found so much happiness with a cloth bag. For a whole 30 minutes he was so much amused by letting himself in and out of the humble bag. I have never seen him more joyful in recent times . I wish that such innocence and happiness never leaves us

On a relevant note,the Coco cola jingle is doing the rounds yet again and its feel good melody is currently playing in my mind, on a loop ! What better note to welcome 2014 than the foot tapping and meaningful lyrics of the song. Come let's hum along cheerfully  ~

"Ummeed wali Dhoop
Sunshine waali Asha
Rone ke wajah kam hai
Hasne ke bahane jyada
Tho kulkar kushi lutao
Yeh kya hai aadha-aadha"

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.
(Oprah Winfrey) 

The festive spirit of the season came knocking my kitchen too. I made a plum cake for the Christmas and baked a couple of different cookies too.

One of them was the rustic and earthy choco-almond cookies from Roxana's space. I must say that the cookies were so delightfully tasty. My son who is otherwise not fond of the nutty almonds, could not get enough of the cookies

The rich nuttiness of the cookies is from the almond flour in the cookies. The almond meal gives the cookies a whole lot of texture and substance.

I never knew making almond flour was so easy. Blanching almonds is the first step which simply involves boiling almonds for 2 minutes. Now take them off heat, drain the water and simply rub off the skin using your hand. Let the almonds dry completely before putting them in a processor to grind it to a flour. Almonds are blanched to give it a better taste. Store unused flour in a cool place.

What's in it :-

  • Butter - 125 grams
  • Sugar - 100 to 120 grams (1/2 cup)
  • Egg white - 1
  • Vanilla extract - few drops
  • Finely chopped almonds - 1 cup
  • Cocoa powder - 40 grams (1/2 cup)
  • Almond flour - 150 grams (1 1/4 cup) {see above}
  • Salt - a pinch

Here's How:-

First tip in the butter and sugar and cream it until light and fluffy. Now add the egg white and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl mix the chopped almonds, cocoa powder,almond flour and salt. Add them to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours. The dough I made stayed in the fridge overnight.

When the dough is chilled heat the oven to 160 C/ 325 F. Pinch small quantity of dough and shape it and place them on greased baking tray. Continue for the rest of the dough.

Bake in preheated oven for about 15-17 minutes. You can decorate the cookies or simply enjoy them the way it is.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Garlic, Ginger & Onion pakodas - When back to back movies is the plan

Think of a holiday and think of lounging on the couch with a good book, munching something and also mindlessly surfing the idiot box. If you are a movie buff like my hubby then you can be assured of a good stock of nice movies on DVD to enjoy. Precisely what we did the last weekend. Hubby and me decided to spend a good part of the sunday evening doing nothing but just huddling together and watching a movie or two. What good are watching movies without anything to snack on. Having that in mind hubby donned the apron and dished my favourite snack - the sizzling garlic,ginger & onion pakodas. 

I have to tell you what we ended up watching - 'The Internship' and yet another ok Tamil flick. Vince and Owen were so charming in the cool comedy film. We were thoroughly entertained. Adding to the magic was the yummy pakodas. Hubby dished out the pakodas and also waited patiently till I finished clicking the pics. 

The recipe is no rocket science - a breezy pantry-friendly munchie that is deep fried. It is ok to indulge in such snacks every once in a while and I say the weighing scales be damned ! 


  • Onion, Ginger,garlic {equal quantities of each} - 1 cup each (julienned)
  • Green Chilies - 1/4 cup (sliced)
  • Gram Flour(Chickpea Flour/Besan) - 1 1/2 cup
  • Rice Flour - 1/2 cup
  • Salt- to taste
  • Red Chilli  Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Water - if required
  • Oil - for deep frying

Here's How :-

Tip in the julienned onion,garlic,ginger and the green chillies in to a wide bowl. Add the flours along with the spices mentioned and mix well. Add salt to taste. Now sprinkle water if required to bind. In the meanwhile heat oil in a thick bottomed kadai. Sprinkle the mixture into the oil and fry till golden brown. Serve hot with a hot cuppa.

Enjoy !

Monday, December 16, 2013

Around the world with the Tadka Girls - A review and the Irish Soda Bread

It's no secret that I am an avid reader. Add to it the fact that besides the usual fiction stuff, I also hoard cook books like there is no tomorrow. No wonder that the modest looking book shelf I have croaks and groans pitifully every time I add to its bulgy self. Can you blame me for that? Flip-kart & ilk have made buying books so easy that every fortnight or so there is some worded happiness delivered to a grinning me. Recently I came back home to a devilishly smiling hubby who had taken the day off. He welcomed me with an impish look. Wondering what was all the smiles about, I looked at him suspiciously.He told me merrily that 3 books (Millennium Trilogy) which I had ordered had come and was waiting for my attention in its new home. And then my trouble smelling sensors were up! What do I find. Hubby had carefully cleared my wardrobe and transferred all the books in to it. I was amused thoroughly. Yeah, my wardrobe got in to a not so satisfying shelf but the books now have a bigger and better home. It could only mean one thing- that I could get back to my ordering spree and I did exactly that! And guess what I ordered??-- Around the World with the Tadka Girls.

Ranjini & Ruchira the popular food bloggers go by the peppy name 'Tadka Girls'. R&R are passionate foodies and are close pals to boot. They bring their love for food and their exposure to a wide palette to pen this book. I am no stranger to their recipes - their blog Tadka Pasta is a well liked space. The book is a charming collection of over 80 recipes. Each recipe is penned delightfully and is pepped up with a small tale, an interesting anecdote or a fond memory.

The book gives a lively and aesthetic visual appeal and like the authors put imparts a scrapbook-esque feel. Their 'Where do I start' gives a quick run through the recipes and 'How to use this book' is welcome. The contents summarizes the recipes into funkily titled broader sections such as Funnibles, Fiesta Fare, Bites & Brews etc. The Glossary at the end and the measurement cheat sheet at the beginning is welcome.

Coming to what I dished from their interesting array of recipes - I am a hesitant baker and more so of breads. Their non-yeasted Irish Soda Bread from the section 'Bread Basket' appealed to me and that's what i made. The raisin speckled bread was rustic and earthy. 

Unfortunately the power died out on me after 22 minutes (the recipes says anywhere between 25 to 30 minutes). The bake could have done with a 3 to 5 more minutes on the oven but it did not take away the flavour and taste.

The ingredients were all pantry FRIENDLY and the recipe itself was a breezy preparation.

Here's my little one relishing a slice of the bread with a generous smattering of chocolate sauce.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gupshup Galore over Mom's Tomato Rice

Look who's grinning from ear to ear ? Yours truly is in the Pearl City happily basking in the collective love and attention from her parents and sister ----incessant laughter, din and cacophony are ruling the roost and the elegantly furnished pad of my sis looks proudly Tornado hit. I am meeting my 'lil' once upon a time partner-in crime after almost six years and yes it is a whole lot of catching up. Regular phone calls or occasional Skype hellos haven't the same magical allure of face-to-face meets and hence ceaseless banters, mindless giggling & ilk are in perpetual loop. Flashbacks and endless nostalgia follow happily too.

And you know what's the best part ? Our parents who incidentally are here have added to the zing and there is gupshup galore. Chatting away to glory we the four musketeers are also dunking down finger licking food in truckloads. It is a recipe guaranteed for groaning weighing scales and not so accommodating old jeans. But then who's complaining ;) 

Amidst these amiable times, mommy dearest is bombarded with culinary requests varied. So i am either neck deep in piping hot mysore rasam one day or the very hot n happening paneer mattar the other day. I so wanted to eat one of my favorite comfort food - her simple but yum packed Tomato Rice. It boasts of fuss free flavors and one happily purring tummy :D

The spice in it is our quintessential sambhar powder and a smattering of garam masala. Sambhar powder is nothing but a medley of coriander seeds,red chilies,cumin seeds,bengal gram,fenugreek etc. The spice powder is  store bought though it can be easily pulsed at home too. 

What's in it :-

To temper :-
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli - 3 (to taste)
  • Garlic Pods (large) -  6 to 7 (finely chopped)
  • Curry Leaves - a few
For the paste :-
  • Onion - 4 (medium) - roughly chopped
  • Tomato- 3 (large) 
Other ingredients
  • Sambhar Powder - 2 tbsp
  • Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  • salt - to taste
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2tsp
  • Cooked Rice - 2 cups
Final Garnish {optional} :-
  • Roasted Peanuts - a fistful (roughly pulsed)
  • Coriander Leaves - few - chopped finely

Here's How :-

Grind the tomatoes and onions well and set aside. In a big kadai/pan, tip in the oil and after it warms up let the mustard and cumin seeds sizzle and crackle. Add the curry leaves and red chillis and saute it for a few seconds. Dunk the chopped garlic and let its divine aroma waft all over. Then tip in the ground paste. Let it simmer for a few minutes till the rawness of the onions and tomatoes begins to evaporate.

Finally tip in the sambhar powder, garam masala and turmeric powder. Saute well and let the whole mix be on low flame till they come together and thicken considerably. Take off flame and season it with salt to taste.

Add the cooked rice to the mixture and combine it well. Garnish it with coarsely pulsed peanuts and coriander leaves. Serve hot with choice accompaniments.

We enjoyed the rice with a whole lot of elements thrown in. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Midnight Masala with Oats & Tomatoes

'If we're not supposed to have late night snacks....why is there a light in the fridge ?'

~This quote fits me and how! I love late night snacking. I get booed down when I talk about my late night e(at)scapades. But then the thrill of gulping down that solitary scoop of ice-cream at an odd hour is too irresistible. I am happy to add that I have a solid partner-in-crime happy times! Who else but my Hubby Dearest. He has genuine (?!) reasons for snacking. The thing is, he comes home by 11:00-11:30 P.M and is generally game for some light snacking and occasional heavy stuff. He is however not the anytime and every-time peanut butter / nutella licking species and hence {not surprisingly} his tucking in at odd hours does not affect his waistline. Yours truly however has no such luck. All the late night hungry pangs rains havoc on my not so bulging curves. I can vouch that the nutella & peanut jar cans are such vicious seducers.  Sigh! Hubby and me also enjoy some healthy and ready in a jiffy yummies. Sample this - Masala Oats & Tomato juice. 

One of our favourite dish for that late night digging in is; this full on combo of masala oats & tomato juice. Ready in 10 minutes, the dish is a winner! So this weekend when a hunger pang hit me, I was quickly dishing out this healthy yet tasty dish. After doing full justice to the dish and the drink, I quickly got started doodling  as I remembered the doodle contest at Blogadda. Let me clarify that I am not a doodler; however a little prompting, a lot of creative inputs and a slight nudge from hubby resulted in these doodles!

The best part about the dish is that all the ingredients are very pantry friendly and yes the weighing scales will not complain either :D (wink! wink!)

And here's me settling on my favourite couch with my late night snack buddies! Health = Guilt free Indulgence indeed ! Enjoy the dishes; what are you waiting for - go make the dishes and dig in!

My doodle recipe is part of Easy Doodle Recipes Contest at Blogadda in association with  TastyKhana.com

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Health Ahoy! Red Rice Kozhukattai (Steamed Dumplings)

Sweating it out in the kitchen has never been my favourite things to do. At the risk of sounding lazy (ahem!), I always look for an easy way out! Ouch! On a serious note, I look forward to keeping my kitchen time to the minimum. Of course, I do understand that a lot of hard work also means a whole lot of yummy delight. Case in point, the Wheat Halwa . Yet another example of happy tucking in after flexing the muscles is this dainty looking dumplings. 

I spent the Navrathri weekend in Chennai and had a whale of a time. Shopping, eating out and a few personal errands were packed into the 3 day trip. Besides all this, I also tucked in unabashedly to the yummy delights dished out by mom-in-law. The kozhukattai was one such dish that was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. I loved the way my MIL went about making these dainties. If she was tired after continuously stirring the batter into submission she did not show it. Mouthing Madhuri Dixit I would say she was puurrrrrrrfect !

Delightful it looks ain't it? It tastes lovely and pack quite a punch too as the dumplings are made of Kerala Red rice also known as Matta rice. This indigenous variety of rice grown in Kerala has a very earthy taste and flavor. Also it is power packed with nutrients and is rich in fibre content. 

My kitchen has been exposed only to the easier upma kozhukattai or the Pidi Kozhukattai variety. Those dumplings are tasty indeed and is a comparatively quicker fix affair but the kozhukattai that is made by grinding the rice to a batter and then thickened on medium flame has its own taste and if it is made of red rice it rightly screams H.E.A.L.T.H 

What's in it :- (Makes: 25{depends on the size})
  • Red Rice - 2 small cups
  • Red Chilli - 1 or 2
  • Grated Coconut - 1 cup
  • Water -  as required
  • Salt -to taste
For tempering:-
  • Mustard Seeds, Urad Dal - 1 tbsp each
  • Coconut Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Curry leaves (finely chopped) - a few sprigs
  • Asafoetida - a pinch or two
Here's How :-

First wash the rice well and then soak it in adequate water for 2-3 hours. Grind it finely to a pouring consistency with as little water as possible. In a thick bottomed kadai add coconut oil and as it heats add the mustard and urad dal and allow it to splutter. Add curry leaves and asafoetida. Now add the batter, salt, grated coconut and bring it to a boil while continuously stirring it to avoid any lumps till it becomes thick and becomes difficult to stir.

Allow it to cool a little. Meanwhile keep the idli moulds greased and ready for steaming. Once the mix is of bearable heat take a small amount of it and gently hold and shape it oblong. Repeat for the rest of the mix. 

Steam these kozhukattais in high flame for 15 minutes and let it steam for a few more minutes on a low flame.Take off flame and serve hot with chutney or any other accompaniment of your choice!! Options for accompaniments are - Coconut Chutney, Sambhar or Gun Powder mixed with hot ghee.

E.N.J.O.Y !