Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Moving to wordpress

Hi guys...Today I decided to move to wordpress. Hopefully it will be a good move. We will see. So visit me here from now on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A different take on mattar paneer

There have been innumerable posts about mattar paneer. VK of My Dhabha, Jen of Atabela and Tony of Anthony's Kitchen had blogged about it. And I was determined to make it soon, just that I was not as enthusiastic about making paneer. I didnt have the cheesecloth to drain the paneer or for that matter I couldnt even find any piece of cloth that would fit the bill. So on my regular shopping day at the grocery store my eyes fell on Tofu. It would serve as is white, kind of soft and so I decided to try mattar tofu. Then comes the difficult decision..there were I think three different kinds of tofu-firm, extrafirm and I think the other was soft. The description on the firm type said that it was perfect for stir frying and I thought that would do. So the container of tofu left the store with me.

I felt that same exhilaration when I attempted my mutton biryani...the same feeling of confidence flowed through me and I finally did it...I made mattar tofu. Did I like it? I loved it but Satish wasnt that excited...he wasnt sure of the silky texture of tofu and how it didnt have the same bite as paneer. I tried it with rice and also rotis and it went will with both.

The recipe was an adaptation of VKs.
I left half of the tofu unfried just to see how it would taste different. I liked them both ways!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Treasures from home

Had a lot of catching up to do after my vacation. It was a very hectic 3 weeks but time well spent. Got to eat food cooked by someone other than me and S and it was such a bliss! Havent cooked anything so far to blog I thought I might share with you some of the stuff that accompanied me from India.

First and foremost the star of the show is homegrown vanilla bean. For the first time in my life I saw how a vanilla plant looks like, certainly not what I imagined. It is a climber and has long vines that needs to be supported. Hope to write more about vanilla in a seperate post.
Then I brought this clay pot called 'chatti' in Malayalam. I am proud of my packing skills that I was able to bring this over intact. This is excellent for making fish curry.

Then I brought a filter coffee maker. Dont really know how to use it...could use some help here.Also there are loads of plantain and jackfruit chips...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Off for vacation!

Officially my vacation starts today. I am off to Kerala for 3 weeks starting tomorrow. It has been a long awaited trip and the thought of seeing my family after such a long time is overwhelming. Hope to enjoy some home made cooking and some quality time with my family.
For the New Year there are some ideas hatching in my mind regards my blog. I am thinking of doing some kind of a series, trying out recipes from different regions. This is just an idea and hope to work on it more when I come back.
Happy cooking for my fellow foodies.
Wishing everyone a happy Xmas and a wonderful New Year.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dinner for two

Todays dinner was S's responsibility. We had leftover butternut squash laying in the fridge from almost a month ago. A split down its middle declared that it was still good and looking fresh. We also had fresh pasta from the nearby Italian store. And we also had the recipe. So S ventured alone into pasta land and created this.

How was the dish? It was nice and comforting. Just what we needed on a cold December night. We devoured it to the last bit.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

'Least popular recipe' turns out to be the favorite in our house

I was browsing through some blogs when I stumbled upon this post. Dont be misled by the post's heading, it is one great recipe! Anchovies are among the favorite things in our house. One of S's best recipes is his coconut anchovy chutney. He is in heaven when he is enjoying these little darlings. Anyway so when I saw anchovy mentioned in the recipe I was excited, and although S doesnt like cauliflower I thought this dish was worth giving it a try. Now what to serve this with?
We had leftover Pita bread from an Arabian meal we had the previous day and so I combined it with a raita and was a wholesome dinner. It was so good and S declared," This is my only favorite way of eating cauliflower and we should make this again". Now I would call that is an enthusiastic response. We finished the whole dish in one sitting.

This is a breeze to put of dishes to wash was one (the serving dish)and the mini food processor where I blended the anchovies.Everything else gets cooked in the oven and is quite healthy too. Just olive oil, salt and pepper. No fattening agents here..Throw the cauliflower in the oven and u can forget about it for an hour. The bread crumbs go very well with the roasted cauliflower.
I did not have fresh lemon juice in hand and I substituted vinegar. I am sure the lemon juice would have been definitely much better but I didnot have it and the cold deterred me from venturing outside. It was still delicious, I can only imagine how much better it would have been with fresh lime juice.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Entering the world of risotto

Risotto for me was this gooey looking rice concotion that almost looked repulsive. Anytime I am in an Italian restaurant I have shied away from this concotion but recently I saw something on TV that made me want to attempt this dish. Just to know what all this hype about risotto was about. And so I tried and then I understood...It is more creamy than gooey and as the Italians say 'very comforting'. It doesnot feel that heavy either....

So, I went to the store and bought some arborio rice. They are different from the rice that we usually use in Indian cooking...more starchy and more globular I would say. This was the recipe that I followed, and I consulted this article too before I started. But I understand that there is no standard rule for what goes into a risotto. So your imagination is the limit. But risotto making is not for the impatient. There is a lot of slow stirring and waiting..but the results are worth it.
This is the method I followed:
To begin the process use a pan with enough space to do the stirring. At the same time warm up some chicken or veggie broth in a sauce pan and keep it in reach.
Heat a mixture of butter and olive oil. Saute some onions till golden.Add arborio rice right from the bag into the onions and stir till the rice is well coated with the oil and butter. The rice grains almost glisten with the coating.Then add the wine.

Now comes the part that tests your patience. Add the broth 'slowly', one ladle at a time to the rice. Make sure the pan is at the right temp. or the rice will stick. If it sticks to the bottom, turn down the heat. So keep adding the broth and stir so that the rice doesnt stick. So it is a continous process of adding broth and stirring. You dont have to stir all the time but after adding the broth u can take a very small break. After a while u will know how long to stir and when to take a break. After about 20 min the rice will be ready, taste it...and now is the time to add the peas..cheese and some butter right before serving. Spoon some broth just before u remove it from the fire and serve it immediately with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

I totally loved this dish for its simplicity and how delicate it was. But S said, maybe we could add some red pepper flakes next time...Alas, the 'Indian' in our palate always need that extra kick in whatever we eat..

The risotto was preceded by this wonderful hearty soup. The recipe can be found here