Bombay Sandwich-Style Paratha Frankie| Using Up Left-Overs

Often, for dinner, I put together these sandwiches with slices of boiled potato and beetroot, onion rings, cucumber and a spicy green chutney. Sometimes there is cheese, sometimes there isn’t. These sandwiches are typically called Bombay Sandwiches because, it is widely believed, they originated in Bombay.

I have often had these sandwiches off a road-side stall near our house in Ahmedabad (the guy used to make some amazing ones, I remember!). Slowly and gradually, watching the guy at work, I learnt how to make these sandwiches at home. In fact, these Bombay sandwiches are one of my specialties, and people say I make them exactly the way street-side vendors in Bombay and Ahmedabad do.

If you are interested in the recipe for the Bombay sandwich, do check it out here.

When I recently came across a video on Awesome Sauce India about using the very same stuffing to make sandwiches with left-over rotis, I got all excited. This was such a lovely way to use up extra rotis, a healthier alternative too! I absolutely had to try out my hands on making them, and I did just that yesterday. I made a few little variations to the original recipe, though, and made paratha-based frankies instead of sandwiches, too. The end result was scrumptious, loved to bits by everyone at home.

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Here is how I made the frankies.

Ingredients:

  1. Left-over whole wheat flour parathas (I used flour ground in the mill)
  2. Onion, peeled and chopped into rounds, as required
  3. Chaat masala, as required
  4. European cucumber (the ‘seedless’ variety), chopped into thin rounds, as required
  5. Capsicum, chopped into long slices, as required
  6. Potato, boiled, peeled and chopped into rounds, as required
  7. Beetroot, boiled, peeled and chopped into rounds, as required
  8. Tomato ketchup, as required (I used Heinz)
  9. Grated cheese, as required (I used Amul)
  10. Butter or oil to toast the frankies, as required (I used Amul butter)
  11. Spicy green chutney, as required (Here is the method I followed to make it)

Method:

  1. Put a thick dosa tava on a high flame, and wait for it to get heated up. Meanwhile, prepare a frankie.
  2. Spread a tablespoon of the spicy green chutney on one side of a paratha, evenly.
  3. Place the paratha on a plate or board, chutney-side up.
  4. Spread a few boiled potato slices in the centre of the paratha, towards one side.
  5. Layer some boiled beetroot slices, onion rings, capsicum pieces and cucumber rounds over the potatoes.
  6. Add some grated cheese on top, as well as a couple of dollops of tomato sauce.
  7. Sprinkle a pinch of chaat masala on top of everything.
  8. Close the paratha, making a semi-circular shape.
  9. Brush some oil or butter on the dosa tava, which should have gotten nice and hot by now.
  10. Place the folded paratha on the hot tava. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes.
  11. Open the cover, and flip the paratha onto the other side. Apply more oil or butter if required.
  12. Cover and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes.
  13. Remove from the tava onto a plate, and serve immediately.
  14. Prepare frankies out of all the parathas, in a similar manner.

Notes:

  1. The original recipe calls for using rotis, but I think they might become a tad too soggy with all the stuffing that goes in. So, I used parathas instead, and was happy with the results.
  2. You could use other vegetables of your choice – like corn, for instance. Other toppings too – like pineapple, olives, mustard sauce or jalapenos – could be used. That said, the stuffing in a typical Bombay sandwich consists only of beetroot, onion, cucumber, potato, tomato and spicy green chutney, sometimes capsicum.
  3. I am not too fond of tomatoes in my sandwiches, so I did not add them. If you like them, of course, you could go ahead and add them too.
  4. Sometimes, when I am in too much of a hurry, I make a simpler green chutney by grinding together just some coriander and green chillies, with a little water. The taste of that chutney, however, is nothing like that of the mint-onion-ginger-garlic-coriander chutney that I have linked up to here. Take your pick!

You like? I hope you will try these frankies out too, and that you will love them just as much as we did!

 

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Boondi Chaat

Because we love chaats so very much, and because we had nothing other than boondi handy, this recipe happened. It turned out to be a beautiful in-between snack. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you will try this out, too!

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Here is how I made the chaat.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 3 cups boondi (I used store-bought boondi, MTR brand)
  2. Sweet chutney to taste, I used about 6 tablespoons (Here‘s how I make the chutney)
  3. Spicy green chutney to taste, I used about 2 tablespoons (Here‘s how I make the chutney)
  4. 2 pinches of roasted jeera (cumin) powder
  5. 2 pinches of black salt (kala namak)
  6. 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  7. 1 small onion, finely chopped
  8. A few fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped
  9. 1 small potato, boiled, peeled and chopped into cubes

Method:

Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. You could add other vegetables – like raw mango, beetroot and cucumber, for instance – to this chaat. I didn’t, because I didn’t have any other veggies on hand. The chaat tastes lovely with just carrot, potato and onion as well.
  2. To make the roasted jeera powder, dry roast about 2 tablespoons of jeera (cumin) on a medium flame till it emits a lovely fragrance. Let it cool down completely, and then grind to a powder in a mixer. Store this in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle at room temperature, to use as required. This chaat needs just about 2 pinches.
  3. You could add other ingredients to the chaat too, like fine sev or pooris, but then it would become bhel and not boondi chaat!
  4. If you do not have black salt on hand, use ordinary table salt. That said, I would strictly recommend using the black salt, because it lends such a beautiful fragrance to the chaat.

You like?

 

Anniversary Lunch At Nasi And Mee Asian Canteen

The husband and I recently celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary, and we decided to head out for lunch. We chose to lunch at Nasi And Mee Asian Canteen in Koramangala, an eatery that has been on my radar ever since it opened, some time in 2016.

Location and ambience

Nasi And Mee is located on the hip-and-happening 80-foot Road in Koramangala, quite easy to locate. (I just got to know they have another outlet in VR Bengaluru Mall near Whitefield, too.)

It is a small place, with about ten tables, and, I hear, it gets quite crowded on the weekends. Prior reservation is, therefore, advisable on weekends.

The moment we entered, we were struck by the beautiful decor of the place – it is contemporary, simple and classy. There is a warm and friendly vibe to the place. There is plenty of natural light inside, and it is far from being dark and dingy.

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The interior of Nasi And Mee

Cuisine

The eatery’s name, ‘Nasi And Mee’, literally translates to ‘rice and noodles’ in the Indonesian language of Bahasa. The place serves Asian food (of course!), a selection of items from Indonesia, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, including street food from these places as well as time-tested classics. The menu includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

This isn’t a ‘fine dining’ spot, but an ‘Asian canteen’. As per their website, they aim to provide good food and unforgettable experiences to their patrons, and pride themselves on using the freshest of ingredients.

The husband and I had a lovely, relaxed time here, gorging on some delish food. It might not be a place for fine dining, but it is surely a place for a leisurely, nice meal, we can vouch for that.

Food

From the extensive menu, we first opted for a Nasi And Mee salad, an in-house specialty.

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Nasi And Mee salad, an in-house specialty

The salad was juicy and delish and just beautiful, and we loved it to bits.The veggies were super-duper fresh and crisp, and the dressing was just the right mix of sweet and sour and spicy. It was light, but satisfying, a perfect appetiser that stimulated our taste buds and prepared them for the next course, I would say. The portion size was good for only one person, though.

Next, we went for a plate of Mushroom And Water Chestnut Dumplings, another in-house specialty.

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Mushroom And Water Chestnut Dumplings at Nasi And Mee

The dumplings were very well done, and the filling was, again, fresh and juicy. The water chestnut-mushroom stuffing inside was very mildly spiced, and was just perfect. This dish, too, was light but soul-satisfying. Again, the portion size was good for just one person.

To go with the appetisers, we ordered a Chendol drink, a Malaysian specialty, apparently. This is one of the eatery’s signature drinks, too.

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Chendol drink at Nasi And Mee

The Chendol, a coconut milk-based drink, turned out to be very beautiful, too. We had initially thought it would be quite heavy on the stomach, but it was light and flavourful. It made for a perfect in-between drink, for sure.

For the main course, we opted for Pad Siew, a food straight off the streets of Thailand.

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Pad Siew noodles at Nasi And Mee

The Pad Siew was strictly okay, as per both the husband and me. It was an interesting experience eating those flat rice noodles, but we felt the dish lacked flavour. The sauce it was made in (a mix of soya sauce, sugar, and vinegar, as far as I understand) didn’t feel enough, and the noodles, sort of, felt quite bland. The portion size was good for one.

Next, we ordered a plate ofย  Nasi Goreng, Malaysian fried rice flavoured with sweet soya and chilli. This was an in-house specialty, too.

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Nasi Goreng at Nasi And Mee

The fried rice was lovely, just the right amount of spicy for us. It tasted beautiful! We especially loved the on-the-skewer babycorn grilled with Hoisin sauce that the dish was served with. I believe these babycorn beauties are part of the restaurant’s ‘Asian Grills’ section – we are so going to order some of those the next time we are here! The portion size of the fried rice was good for two.

For dessert, we chose to go for one of the many home-made ice creams on offer on their menu. We opted for the Kaffir Lime flavour.

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Kaffir Lime Ice Cream at Nasi And Mee

The ice cream was brilliant! It was infused with the fragrance of kaffir lime, something which I adore. There was no sourness in the ice cream, though – it was beautifully sweet.

And that was how we ended a beautiful, beautiful meal at Nasi And Mee.

Service

I have heard loads of good things about the service staff at Nasi And Mee, about how friendly and interactive and helpful they are, and now, we can vouch for these qualities, too. We loved how the service staff was courteous and friendly, without being overbearing. We were asked, after eating each dish, whether it was to our satisfaction. All of our questions and doubts were addressed so well. The staff here surely knows their job, and are well-informed as well.

Price

The prices here are at par with fine-dining establishments in the city. We paid about INR 1600 for our meal, including taxes, which I didn’t mind paying considering the quality and taste of the food and the wonderful hospitality they offer.

My verdict

We loved the experience of lunching at Nasi And Mee, food, service, experience, et al. We are definitely going back to this place again! There are so many more items on the menu that we would love to try out!

If you have never been to this place before, I would definitely urge you to go.

Green Pepper Pickle

Both the husband and I are big fans of green pepper pickle, the way we Tam-Brahms usually make it. This is such a simple pickle to make, yet so delish! Every time I make this pickle, it never fails to astonish me as to just how easy-peasy it is to make – it hardly takes a few minutes to put together.

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Green pepper!

I am not sure if green pepper is a winter-special treat, or you get it throughout the year. We typically make this pickle during the winter months only, because it is said to generate heat, and is just perfect for the cold, cold days of winter.

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Green pepper pickle

Here is how we make the pickle.

Ingredients (yields about 1/2 of a medium-sized jam bottle):

  1. 100 grams of fresh green pepper
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. Juice of 3 lemons

Method:

  1. Wash the green pepper thoroughly, ensuring that you remove all the dirt off it. Place it on a cotton cloth, and pat dry completely. There should be no trace of moisture on the green pepper, once you are done drying it.
  2. Once dry, cut the green pepper bunches into 1-inch long pieces. Alternatively, you could strip all the pepper off the stems, so there are no stems in the pickle at all. The first alternative is relatively easier and works just as well as the second alternative. The second alternative is slightly more tough, but makes for an easy-to-consume pickle. So, take your pick.
  3. Take the peppers or 1-inch long pieces in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to taste, as well as the lemon juice. Mix well, using a clean, dry spoon.
  4. Transfer the pickle to a clean, dry bottle with an air-tight lid, preferably a glass bottle. You can begin using the pickle after 2 days of using it. It makes for a wonderful combination with curd rice!

Notes:

  1. The freshness of the ingredients makes a huge impact on the quality of the pickle, as is the case with just about any dish you cook. Make sure you use the freshest of green pepper and lemon, for the best-tasting pickle.
  2. The juice of 3 lemons might seem a bit more for 100 grams of green pepper but, trust me, you will need them! Green pepper is HOT, and the sourness of the 3 lemons will not go amiss.
  3. Since we are not using extra salt or any kind of preservative in this pickle, it stays good for 7-8 days only, if stored at room temperature. Refrigerating the pickle might help it stay for a slightly longer duration.
  4. Make sure you shake the bottle/jar every day, which will make sure the pickle is thoroughly coated with the lemon juice and salt. The pickle will stay longer that way.
  5. Ensure that you use only a clean, dry spoon to use the pickle.
  6. Store the pickle in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, if you plan to keep it at room temperature.
  7. Make sure the green pepper is thoroughly dry before you begin the pickling process. Similarly, make sure the lemons are also washed neatly and thoroughly patted dry before you begin making the pickle.
  8. I am guessing you could use vinegar in place of lemon juice, too, but I have never tried that out myself. The vinegar would, I suppose, increase the shelf life of the pickle a bit.
  9. This is the way Tam-Brahms typically make green pepper pickle. This might not be the only way to make this pickle, of course.

If you pickle green pepper at home, too, I would love to know how you do it!

If you have never had pickled green pepper, I would urge you to try out this recipe!

What’s In My Shopping Bag?

These days, I turn into a sinner every time I go grocery shopping.

No, I’m not talking about the shop-lifting type of sinning, dirty minds!

Ever since I became a food blogger, I have begun to comb the shelves of departmental stores more thoroughly. This little bottle of juice or that packet of biscuits always tempts me, and I end up indulging those temptations of mine.

I am, commonly, not one to regularly use packaged, processed stuff but, I admit, my excursions to departmental stores do see me picking up some of exactly such stuff. The food blogger in me wants to try out these interesting products and write about them. These are, therefore, mostly, one-off purchases, for the purpose of trial, not for regular consumption.

Here are some such recent foodie discoveries of mine, little temptations that I have indulged in, while out grocery shopping. Find out how I fared with them – whether I liked them or not!

Bisleri’s Pinacolada and Spyci Cola

Sometime in 2016, Bisleri launched a few new flavours of soft drinks, including Pinacolada, Spyci cola, a Limca lookalike called Limonata, and a mango-flavoured drink called Fonzo. I recently picked up a couple of bottles of the Pinacolada and Spyci cola, to sample.

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On the left: Bisleri Pinacolada, on the right: Bisleri Spyci Cola

I found the Pinacolada strictly okay – it didn’t exactly bowl me over.

I loved the Spyci Cola, though. As the label on the bottle suggests, it is a ‘twisted cola’, cola with a hint of spice in it. I found the mix very interesting and different and delicious, something I wouldn’t mind having again at all. This is a big thing, you see, coming from someone who has given up on all kinds of aerated drinks for more than 2 years now.

I am now eager to try out the other newly launched flavours of soft drinks by Bisleri, too! I highly recommend you to try out the Spyci Cola as well.

Price: INR 15 per 200 ml bottle, which is quite reasonable.

Amul Choco Cracker

I am a huge fan of Amul’s Tropical Orange chocolate. Recently, I discovered another of Amul’s new chocolate-ey offerings, Choco Cracker, and promptly proceeded to fall in love with it, too!

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Amul Choco Cracker

This is a milk chocolate that tastes just perfect. The little kid in me loved the way the chocolate squares ‘pop’ in your mouth, quite reminiscent of something called Magic Pop that we used to get back when I was a school-going girl.

Love! Highly recommended!

Price: INR 150 for a 150 gram bar, reasonable considering the good quality

Chef’s Basket Khow Suey Noodles

I usually give the ready-to-cook packages at the departmental stores a wide berth – I hate the chemical, artificial feel of the food they produce and I am fearful of the huge amount of preservatives they might come loaded with. I recently made an exception for a packet of ready-to-cook Khow Suey noodles by Chef’s Basket.

The packet said ‘No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives’ and I decided to believe it, just this once.

I liked the way the ingredients were packaged – everything that one would need to make the dish, including noodles and taste-maker, were packed in neat little pouches that could be easily opened. The package came with an easy-to-follow instruction list, and the end product was super easy to put together. I added my choice of vegetables to the dish, along with some tofu, and was pleased with the final product entirely. There was no artificial, chemical taste to the noodles; they tasted quite great, actually.

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On the left: Chef’s Basket Khow Suey noodles kit, on the right: The final product that I prepared

For someone like me, Khow Suey noodles from Burma and Northern Thailand are an exotic meal, and this is a great way of enabling one to prepare it at home, without too much of a hassle. Without a kit like this, I might never have gotten around to making a dish like this at home, I think.

Price: One box contains approximately 180 grams of noodles, is all-vegetarian, and cooks enough to serve one person. It is priced at INR 75 per kit, which, I think, is pretty reasonable.

Check out my review of Chef’s Basket’s Thai Green Curry And Jasmine Rice kit here.

Monaco Cheese Cracker Sandwich

A sandwich made of two salty Monaco crackers, with a cheese-y cream filling in between – what is to not love? I picked up a packet of these ‘sandwiches’ at a nearby grocery store, recently, and loved them to bits. Highly addictive!

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Monaco Cheese Cracker Sandwich

Price: A 100-gram packet of these biscuits is priced at INR 30, good for the quantity and quality involved.

Shreya pickles

I had never heard of Shreya pickles before I spotted them at the little store selling unusual products (along with a lot of Patanjali stuff) near the Hwealth Cafe in HSR Layout, Bangalore. There were some really interesting variants – like wood apple, sweet lemon and turmeric pickle – and I absolutely had to pick a few of them up.

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The Shreya pickles that I bought – bitter gourd, wood apple, sweet lemon, turmeric root and tamarind chutney

I loved every single one of the pickles I bought! They tasted homely, not dunked in oil or overloaded with chilly powder and salt, the way some store-bought pickles do. They tasted fresh and nice and delicious, with no artificial or chemical smell to them. The best thing about these pickles, I felt, is that they come in little packages that you can empty in a few days’ time, unlike those that come in big glass bottles that you buy, but then don’t seem to get over endlessly.

Apparently, these pickles are made in Pune, Maharashtra, in the Maharashtrian way of making pickles. Lip-smacking! I am so going to try out all the other delish stuff they have on offer! One grouse, though, is that the labelling is only in Marathi, a tad tough to read for people who aren’t fluent in Hindi. I wish that could be changed and English labelling also included, to make the product acceptable to a wider audience – I so vouch for their taste and the homeliness, otherwise!

Price: All of these packets of pickle were priced between INR 25 to INR 35, which is highly reasonable, considering the quality and taste involved.

That’s that for now, folks!

What have your little discoveries at the grocery store been like recently? Tell me all about them!

Disclaimers:

  1. I do not normally buy or recommend the buying of packaged, processed stuff, like I was saying in the beginning of the post. I do, however, get tempted by such products and, sometimes, give in to my temptations. Most of these products, though, are one-time buys and not items on my regular shopping list. I would urge you to use your own discretion before you buy these or similar products.
  2. The views expressed herein are entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone. I do not stand to receive any kind of gain by recommending any of these products to you.
  3. Each of the products mentioned above were purchased and paid for by me in entirety, personally.

Raw Mango Salsa Chaat

I spotted some lovely-looking raw mangoes and (some ripe ones too!) at the vegetable vendor’s, while recently out veggie shopping for Pongal. Already?, I thought. It’s only January! I couldn’t resist picking up a raw mango for myself, unseasonal though it might be.

I went on to try out a raw mango salsa chaat with it, which turned out beautifully well. All of us at home are chaat lovers, and loved this one to bits!

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Here is how I made the chaat.

Ingredients (makes about 20 pieces):

  • 1 medium-sized raw mango, peeled and chopped into small pieces (Use a semi-raw Totapuri which isn’t too sour)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chaat masala, to taste
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 20 pooris (the round, fluffed-up pooris that we use to make golgappas)
  • Fine sev (ompudi), as needed for garnishing
  • Spicy green chutney, as needed (Here‘s how I make it)
  • Sweet-and-sour imli chutney, as needed (Here‘s how I make it)

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the chopped raw mango, coriander, onion and tomato, along with salt to taste. This is the base step for one to make raw mango salsa. Keep this aside.
  2. Put a little of the raw mango mixture into each poori, at the bottom. Don’t fill up the entire poori with it, just about 1/4 of it. Add a dollop each of the spicy green chutney and the sweet-and-sour imli chutney over it. Sprinkle some fine sev over the chutneys, and add a pinch of chaat masala.
  3. Serve immediately.

Do you like the idea? I hope you will try this out, too!

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It is no secret that I love raw mango! I absolutely love adding it to this and that.

Here are some other raw mango-based recipes that have been tried and tested in my kitchen, and much loved.

Maangaai Paruppu

Aamba/Aambe Daal

No-Coconut Raw Mango Gotsu

Kaachi Keri Ane Dungli Nu Kachumbar

Kerala-Style Instant Mango Pickle

Thengaai Maangaai Pattani Sundal

Quick-Fix Raw Mango Chitranna

Raw Mango Chaat

Raw Mango Salsa

Thai Raw Mango And Onion Salad

Raw Mango Pachadi With Neem Flowers

Sankranti/Pongal/Uttarayan Special: Simple Vegetable Pulao| One-Pot Meal

Come January 14, every year, and I start missing Ahmedabad. The city is at its grandest best during the Uttarayan (Pongal in South India) season after all! Chikki, undhiyu, jalebi, kite flying, bonding with family, chilling out in general.. Uttarayan in Ahmedabad is all of this and more. It is something that you have to experience in person, I would say. It is a feeling, something that cannot be effectively described in words.

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That said, I am, slowly and gradually, beginning to fall in love with the way Pongal is celebrated in the south of India. Bangalore doesn’t have large-scale, grand celebrations the way Madras does, for Pongal, but there is a good-enough celebration for sure. I love how the markets here seem to come alive with sugarcane and turmeric roots and all kinds of winter veggies, around Pongal. I love how the people here let milk boil over and flow out of a big pot (paal pongardhu, in Tamil), and then proceed to make sweet sakkarai pongal for the family. I love the way turmeric roots are tied around the Pongal pots. I love how some people celebrate Pongal by harvesting the first paddy of the season in their farms, and then go on to use it in their kitchens for the first-ever time to make pongal. As a hard-core foodie, I love how Pongal is a harvest festival, celebrated to thank God for a bountiful harvest and to pray for the same next year. I love how it is an occasion to cook beautiful, beautiful dishes using the loads of veggies that are available this time of the year.

The following pictures are a small representation of the way Pongal is celebrated here, in Bangalore.

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This Pongal, Amma made sakkarai pongal and a mixed vegetable kootu for all of us, along with venn pongal (savoury pongal). I wanted to make something loaded with veggies, my way of thanking God for the abundance of vegetables that we get these days, and so, I made a very simple pulao.With Amma’s sakkarai pongal, venn pongal and kootu and my vegetable pulao, we sure had a veritable feast!

This was the first time I made pulao this way, and all of us loved how it turned out. This is definitely not going to be the last time I make it. It tastes awesome, is nutritious, and is a one-pot meal. What more could you ask for from a dish? ๐Ÿ™‚

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My simple loaded vegetable pulao

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Here’s how I made the pulao.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1-1/2 glasses basmati rice (I used Daawat)
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. A handful of shelled green peas
  4. 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  5. 7-8 French beans, strings removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  6. 1 medium-sized onion, chopped length-wise
  7. 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  8. 2 green chillies, slit length-wise
  9. About 50 grams of paneer, chopped into cubes
  10. 1 medium-sized capsicums, chopped
  11. A handful of fresh double beans
  12. 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  13. 4-5 cloves
  14. 4-5 cardamom pods (elaichi)
  15. 2 small bay leaves
  16. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  17. A few mint leaves
  18. A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  19. 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  20. 1 tablespoon ghee/butter/oil

Method:

  1. Place the basmati rice in a colander, and wash it thoroughly under running water. Drain out all the excess water. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the ghee/butter/oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom, along with the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add the paneer, chopped carrot, capsicum, French beans, double beans, green peas, onion and green chillies. Saute for a minute.
  4. Now, add in the tomatoes, the washed and drained basmati rice, and 2.75 glasses of water.
  5. Add salt to taste and red chilli powder. Mix well.
  6. Shred the mint leaves with your hands and add them to the other ingredients. Add some of the chopped coriander as well. Mix.
  7. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on.
  8. Cook on a high flame for 3 whistles.
  9. Let the pressure release naturally and then open the cooker. Fluff up the pulao and garnish with the rest of the chopped coriander.
  10. Serve hot. This pulao doesn’t really need any accompaniment, but you could serve it with raita if you want.

Notes:

  1. I commonly use 2 glasses of water per glass of basmati rice, to make plain rice. That comes to 3 glasses of water for 1-1/2 glasses of basmati rice. Since I wanted a grainier pulao, I reduced the quantity of water used. Increase or decrease the amount of water that you use, depending upon the texture of pulao that you want.
  2. If I am using Sona Masoori rice to make this pulao, I would use about 3.25 glasses of water for 1.5 glasses of rice + the veggies.
  3. I used the vegetables that I had on hand to make this pulao. You could add or deduct the vegetables that you use, as per your preference.
  4. I used home-made paneer, which retained its softness even after being pressure cooked. If you are using store-bought paneer and are worried about it becoming stringy with pressure cooking, saute it in a little oil and add it to the pulao later, after it has cooked entirely.
  5. If you don’t have ginger-garlic paste on hand, you could pound a 1-inch piece of ginger (peeled) and 4-5 cloves of garlic (peeled) in a mortar-and-pestle, and then add this to the hot oil.
  6. If you want the pulao to be all-white, you could skip the chilli powder entirely and up the quantity of green chillies that you use.

Do you celebrate Pongal in your part of the world? How?

Do you like the sound of this pulao? I hope you will try it out, and that you will love it as much as we did!

Dates Stuffed With Blue Cheese & Nuts

After I attended the GoCheese tasting with Chef Ranveer Brar last year, I have been tempted to try out more and more dishes that use cheese. Before the event, my usage of cheese in the kitchen used to be limited to pizzas, sandwiches and, at the most, cheese parathas. Now, though, I look at cheese very differently – I do a lot more with it.

Here is one cheesy experiment of mine that turned out to be a huge hit, recently – dates stuffed with blue cheese and nuts. I got hold of some lovely, big, fat and juicy Nabud Sultan dates from Ajfan Dates & Nuts, the store that I love so very much. I had on hand some beautiful blue cheese from The Creamery. Serendipitously, I found this recipe by Martha Stewart for cheese-stuffed dates, and the two beautiful ingredients came together to make a gorgeous tea-time snack.

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The lovely, juicy Nabud Sultan dates from Ajfan Dates & Nuts

Blue cheese has a rather strong, pungent smell, which makes it a cheese that isn’t meant for everyone. The appreciation of blue cheese requires an acquired taste, they say. However, I took to blue cheese the very first time I tasted it, spread in a little quantity over a pizza at Toscano. This is the first time, though, that I have actually made something with blue cheese at home.

Without further ado, now, let’s move on to the recipe for the cheese-stuffed dates, shall we?

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Dates stuffed with blue cheese and nuts

I made my own little variations to the original recipe.

Ingredients (for 6 pieces):

  1. 3 big dates, seeds removed, cut into two
  2. A few walnut kernels, chopped into small pieces
  3. A few roasted and salted almonds, chopped into small pieces
  4. Soft blue cheese, as needed

Method:

  1. Make a layer of some chopped almonds over each date half.
  2. Spread a little blue cheese over the almonds.
  3. Garnish with some chopped walnuts.
  4. Serve immediately. Yes, as easy as that!

Notes:

  1. The dates I used were quite big, so I cut each one into two to make the appetiser. If you are using smaller-sized dates, use six full, de-seeded dates to make the dish.
  2. Make sure you use only a little quantity of blue cheese, as the smell can be quite overpowering.
  3. Use good-quality, soft blue cheese for best results.
  4. I used almonds and walnuts to make this appetiser, because those are the only two nuts I had on hand. You can use any kind of nuts to make this dish – the nuts give it a nice crunch.
  5. Use juicy dates like Nabud Sultan or Mejdool to make this dish, for best results.
  6. If you are not a big fan of blue cheese, you can use any other sharp-flavoured cheese, like Gouda for instance. If the cheese you are using is hard and not soft, grate it before you fill it into the dates.

Try this out to believe just how simple yet gorgeous it is!

Luxury Italian Modular Kitchens By Stosa Cucine, Now In Bangalore!

I was recently present at my first event for the year 2017, the launch of Stosa Cucine, luxury Italian modular kitchen store, at Jayanagar in Bangalore. Little did I know, when I accepted the invite to attend the event, that I would end up not only gawping at some gorgeous, gorgeous kitchens, but also gorging on some very beautiful food.

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The venue, all decked up

About Stosa Cucine:

Stosa Cucine is an Italian firm that specialises in creating luxury modular kitchens of the finest quality, customised to your home and your tastes and preferences. The firm, with a 50-year-old legacy, has now entered the Bangalore market, after having a strong presence in several other Indian sites, including Indore and Rajasthan.

Stosa Cucine operates in collaboration with Mirius Interni in India, aiming at providing a complete kitchen solution to Indian families. The launch party of Stosa Cucine in Bangalore was organised by Mirius Interni, in association with Good Homes India magazine.

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The philosophy by which Stosa Cucine abides

The launch party

The launch party was very well organised, with some extremely beautiful decor. It showcased some of Stosa Cucine’s best kitchen designs, like Maya and Infinity Diagonal. Each one of the kitchens we saw at the launch was simply beautiful, executed perfectly, with some cleverly designed instruments.

Once you get in touch with Stosa Cucine with a request to do up your kitchen, the team comes and inspects your home. Then, within the range of your budget (the luxury kitchens are priced upwards of INR 3.5 lakh), the team designs a kitchen for you that is in harmony with the rest of your home and staying true to your personal tastes and preferences. They assure the use of the finest-quality fittings and materials.

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One of the luxury kitchens by Stosa Cucine, on display at the launch party

There’s something for everyone with Stosa Cucine – for those who would love a farmhouse-style kitchen, those who would love a kitchen with stark and clean lines, and for those who desire a pop of colour in their kitchens.

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I gawped and gawped and gawped at this kitchen – totally my style!
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Another luxury kitchen on display, for those who love colour!

Post the grand ribbon cutting, the food and home decor bloggers present at the venue were explained, very patiently, by the Stosa Cucine team, about the firm’s design and work philosophy.

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In conversation with Ashita Parmar, the COO of Mirius Interni
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The Stosa Cucine team, including Mr. Leonardo Sani, Export-Sales Director – Stosa Cucine, who came down from Italy for the occasion

While the speeches and ribbon-cutting were in progress, we bloggers got to gorge on some very lovely appetisers.

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Some of the appetisers at the launch party

We were thrilled to know that the appetisers and (later) dinner was catered by Broadway – The Gourmet Theatre of HSR Layout, Bangalore, an eatery that has been making news in the foodie circuit of late and which I have been dying to try out. Chef Tanvi of Broadway stuck to an Italian theme for the appetisers and dinner, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚ We also had the pleasure of meeting the very humble Chef Tanvi.

The food was finger-licking lovely, as were the desserts. We loved the live pasta counter at the venue, and the cute little carts on which the food was presented!

Stosa Cucine contact details:

Address:

770, 10th Main, Jayanagar 4th Block, Bangalore 560011
Phone:
099201 01200
Facebook:

New Year Day Lunch At Forklore, Koramangala

We had a rather quiet New Year celebration, the kind the husband and I always enjoy. Not for us are those loud, boisterous parties, dancing and ringing in the new year with a lot of (unfamiliar) people.

New Year Day – January 1, 2017 – saw us heading out to lunch at a nice little bistro that I love – Forklore in Koramangala. I believe that food on the first day of the year should be special, as it should be with any occasion in your life. The little child within me likes to believe that if I eat good food on the first day of a new year, I will continue to get good food for the rest of the year. ๐Ÿ™‚

I recently had a lovely time at Forklore at a bloggers’ table, and I wanted the husband to experience at least some of that magic. The husband was excited to try out the food I had so raved about, but I was skeptical – I was at Forklore earlier as a blogger and, this time around, I was just an ordinary patron. Would the food and the experience this time be just as good?

I needn’t have worried. We had a beautiful experience at Forklore the second time around as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, what did our New Year Day lunch look like?

For appetisers, we opted for their Vegetarian Lettuce Cups, which I adored at the bloggers’ table too. Again, they were scrumptious!

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Vegetarian lettuce cups at Forklore Bistro

I went on to order a Virgin Sangria all over again – I ordered the same at the bloggers’ table and loved it to bits. The husband got himself a Virgin Mojito. Both drinks were beautifully done and tasted lovely.

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Left: Virgin Sangria, Right: Virgin Mojito, at Forklore Bistro

For main course, we chose a Hawaiian pizza (another dish that I had sampled and absolutely loved at the bloggers’ table) and a Ravioli in Red Sauce (our first tryst with ravioli). The Hawaiian Pizza was gorgeous, just like it was earlier. The ravioli, though, didn’t win us over. The latter was a tad too oily for us, the pasta felt under-cooked, and the filling was just about okay.

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Hawaiian Pizza and Ravioli In Red Sauce at Forklore Bistro

We opted not to have any dessert, considering we were way too full. Now that I think of it, I didn’t get to have ANYTHING sweet on New Year’s Day, a situation that I am not fond of. ๐Ÿ˜›

They did take a whole lot of time to deliver our orders, in spite of there not being much of a crowd present. That said, we weren’t really in a hurry, and took the time to relax and chat. The service staff was courteous and friendly.

The meal cost us about INR 1700, including taxes, which we felt was on the higher side.

So, that’s how our little New Year Day celebration went. What did you do for the occasion?

Disclaimer: This meal was entirely paid for by us personally. We visited the bistro anonymously, unlike the bloggers’ table at the same place that I was a part of earlier. The views expressed herein are entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.