Methi Nu Shaak| Fenugreek Green Curry With Chickpea Flour

A dry curry with fenugreek greens (methi) and chickpea flour (besan) is a traditional Gujarati preparation. You will surely find this dish on the dining table of a Gujarati household, especially during the winters. The chickpea flour and the sugar added to the curry even out the bitterness of the fenugreek greens, making the taste absolutely fantabulous. It is a great, great way to incorporate the greens in your diet, I think.

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Amma learnt how to make this curry from one of our Gujarati neighbours, back when we were staying in Ahmedabad. And then she went on to teach me how to make it. This curry has always been a hot favourite with me, and it still is.

Ingredients (2 servings):

  1. 1 large bunch or a medium-sized serving bowl of fenugreek (methi) leaves
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. Red chilli powder, to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 2-3 tablespoons sugar, or as per taste
  6. 4 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
  7. 4 tablespoons oil
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  9. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method:

  1. Place the fenugreek leaves in a colander. Wash them thoroughly under running water, ensuring that no dirt remains. Keep aside, and let all the excess water drain out.
  2. Meanwhile, dry roast the chickpea flour in a pan on low-medium flame, till it turns slightly brown and begins to emit a nice fragrance. Stir constantly. Take care to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Transfer onto a plate. Keep aside.
  3. Squeeze out any excess water from the fenugreek leaves. Chop finely. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and allow to splutter. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add in the chopped fenugreek leaves to the pan. Turn flame to low-medium, and cook till the leaves are well wilted. This should take 3-4 minutes.
  6. To the pan, add salt and red chilli powder to taste, sugar, turmeric powder and roasted chickpea flour. Mix well.
  7. Cook on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes more, ensuring everything is well incorporated together. At this stage, if the curry feels too dry, you could lightly sprinkle some water or add a spoonful of oil to the pan. Done!
  8. Serve hot or after bringing to room temperature, with rotis and daal or kadhi.

Notes:

  1. This is a dry curry and, hence, best served with a liquid-y accompaniment.
  2. Initially, you might feel that the quantity of fenugreek leaves you are using is way too much. When you start cooking them, though, they really wilt down to a very little quantity.
  3. While this is a very simple curry that needs very few ingredients, getting it right might need a bit of practice. I would strongly suggest you keep at it, though, for the taste is totally worth the effort you might be putting in.
  4. Using slightly more oil will give you a curry that isn’t very dry. I try to limit it to about 4 tablespoons, though, usually.
  5. This curry tastes best with sugar. Trying to substitute sugar with jaggery alters the taste of this curry, so that isn’t something that I would recommend.
  6. A dash of coriander and cumin powder OR garam masala can be added to the curry, too, but I like keeping it simple.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is ‘cooking with greens’.

 

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Introducing Purganics: For Eco-Friendly Menstrual Care And More

If you have been reading my blog regularly, you would know that, as a family, we are consciously working towards a more eco-friendly, simpler and healthier lifestyle, one little step at a time. We are constantly looking out for sustainable, chemical-free alternatives for various products we use for ourselves and for our home, that are made conscientiously.

I am all too aware of the loads of chemicals that go into the making of the sanitary pads I use, and have been looking out for a better alternative for quite some time now. So, I was super happy when I recently discovered Purganics, an organic cotton no-chemicals sanitary pad. They were kind enough to send across samples of their pads for an honest review, along with a bamboo toothbrush.

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The Purganics heavy and moderate flow sanitary pads and tampons, and the cotton bag they come with

My experience with Purganics Organic Cotton Sanitary Pads

What I loved:

~ These sanitary pads are made out of 100% good-quality organic cotton, sourced from around the world. I love the fact that organic cotton has less of a negative impact on the environment as opposed to the regular cotton.

~ They were super comfortable to use, a far cry from the skin-irritating plastic-like pads that are commonly commercially available today.

~ They are free of chlorine, plastics, synthetics, perfumes, super absorbent polymers (a harmful petroleum derivative that is commonly found in several commercially available sanitary pads), or chemicals of any kind.

~ They did not bunch up with use and, at the same time, were quite breathable. They did not stick to the skin, something I have experienced with most disposable sanitary pad brands.

~ They were soft, light and thin, with wings attached, and were quite easy to carry.

~ Absorbency was really good in case of both pads.

~ These pads come in various sizes, so there’s something for everyone – irrespective of whether you are a woman with moderate, heavy or very heavy flow. I tried out the ‘heavy flow’ and ‘moderate flow’ pads at different times in my menstrual cycle.

~ They are disposable, so there is no hassle of soaking and washing which comes with cloth sanitary pads. If, like me, you don’t think a menstrual cup is for you and are not comfortable with the processes of caring for a cloth sanitary pad, this is a great middle path.

~ They are biodegradable, and even the backing is made of plant-based material.

~ They come with a cute little cotton bag, which comes in handy to carry a couple of pads in your purse while stepping out of home.

The cons:

~ Priced at INR 399 for 10 Moderate Flow pads, INR 420 for 10 Heavy Flow pads, and INR 450 for 10 Super Plus Flow Pads, they are quite expensive. That is almost twice the cost of most commercially available disposable sanitary pads. I do understand how superior in quality and eco-friendliness these pads are, but I don’t think they are affordable for everyone. If you are the sort of person who wouldn’t mind shelling out some extra money for an eco-friendly, healthier pad, these are just great! There are no other cons that I can think of.

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Purganics bamboo toothbrush

My experience with Purganics Adult Soft Bamboo Toothbrush

What I loved:

~ Bamboo is completely bio-degradable. I love that by using a bamboo toothbrush, I reduce my plastic footprint and do not contribute to the ever-increasing pollution of oceans and teeming landfills. Also, even the packaging of this toothbrush is entirely bio-degradable.

~ The bristles are made of Dupont Nylon 6, a faster degradable form of nylon as compared to the other lower nylon grades. They are free of the toxin called BPA that is present in most commercial-grade toothbrushes. The nylon is used because there is simply no natural alternative to help create a toothbrush that you can use effectively for the dentist recommended 3 months’ time.

~ These toothbrushes are available in different sizes and softness levels – Soft and Medium for adults and Soft for kids. You can take your pick. I love that the brushes are available with different-coloured bristles, to make brushing fun.

~ The design of the handle makes it very comfortable to hold and use.

The cons:

~ After a couple of days’ usage, the Adult Soft bamboo toothbrush that I was using developed black spots on the handle, in spite of being kept open on a shelf in our bathroom. I am not sure what caused it, but it does make me slightly uncomfortable with the brushing.

~ I am very, very particular about the toothbrushes that I buy considering that I have very sensitive gums that bleed very easily. Though it was a Soft toothbrush that I tried out, the bristles were a tad harsh for me – they were softer than those of most commercial brands, but still a little hard for me. It would be great if a Super Soft toothbrush could be introduced, for people like me.

~ At INR 165 per toothbrush (both the Adult and Kid version), these are indeed expensive. That’s almost double the price of a good-quality Super Soft toothbrush, which I am not sure everyone would be ready to invest.

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If you have been looking out for better, healthier alternatives for your home and personal care, too, Purganics is definitely one brand that you should try out.

Other products: Apart from sanitary pads, tampons and bamboo toothbrushes, Purganics also offers panty liners.

Availability: The Purganics products can be purchased off their website, or from Amazon or Flipkart.

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I was sent free samples of the above-mentioned products to use and review honestly, and that is exactly what I have done. The views expressed herein are completely honest, entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure Cooker Sem Ki Sabzi| One-Pot Double Beans (Lima Beans) Curry

I am a big, big fan of double beans in the dried form. Recently, I spotted fresh double beans (also called sem or lima beans) at the Jayanagar market, and couldn’t resist picking up some. I used them to make this beautiful pressure-cooker curry to go with rotis, for lunch today.

The curry tastes absolutely delectable, if I may say so myself. I made it in a pressure cooker, something I often do with curries, a super-duper easy way to cook stuff. And.. the best part? The curry used just 1 teaspoon of oil in all its entirety!

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Let’s check out the recipe now, shall we?

Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):

  1. 3/4 of a medium-sized serving bowl fresh double beans (aka lima beans or sem)
  2. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 medium-sized onion
  4. 1 teaspoon oil
  5. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  8. Salt, to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. Red chilli powder, to taste
  11. Sugar, to taste
  12. 3/4 tablespoon chana masala, to taste
  13. A few fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

Method:

  1. Wash the double beans thoroughly under running water. Place in a colander, and let all the excess water drain out.
  2. Chop the tomatoes into large pieces. Puree in a mixer. Keep aside.
  3. Finely chop the onions and coriander leaves. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a 3-litre pressure cooker bottom. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them sputter. Add the asafoetida and cumin seeds, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Add the chopped onions. Saute on low flame till they begin to turn brownish.
  6. Now, add the tomato puree, along with salt and red chilli powder to taste, as well as the sugar and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on low-medium flame for a minute or so.
  7. Add in the washed and drained double beans, along with the chana masala.
  8. Add about 1 cup water. Mix well.
  9. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Turn the flame to high. Let the curry cook for 4-5 minutes on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.
  10. Once all the pressure has come down, add in the finely chopped fresh coriander. Mix well.
  11. Serve hot with rotis.

Notes:

  1. Garam masala or pavbhaji masala can be used in place of chana masala.
  2. Omit the sugar if you don’t like a hint of sweetness in your curry.
  3. You could add a dash of lemon juice to the curry after preparation, too.
  4. After preparation, if you think the curry is too thick, you could add some water, adjust spices and salt, and let it simmer on low-medium flame for a few minutes.
  5. A tablespoon of thick curd added to the curry (while adding the tomato puree) will improve the taste drastically. You could add a dollop of fresh cream, instead, as well.
  6. If you are afraid of burning, you could add slightly more water to the curry. Post cooking, you could simmer the curry on low-medium flame to make it thicker.
  7. If fresh double beans aren’t available where you stay, you can use dried ones to make a similar curry. Just soak the dried double beans in water overnight, discard the water in the morning, pressure cook them for 4 whistles in just enough water to soak them, and then proceed with the above recipe.
  8. If you want, ginger-garlic paste can be added in the curry, while adding the onions.
  9. You could even add in a 1-inch piece of cinnamon, a few cloves, cardamom and a couple of bay leaves, to make the curry more flavourful. If using, add these in along with the chopped onions.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Recipes with just 1 teaspoon oil’.

Lunch At Misu: An Extremely Satisfying Affair

Considering our love for Pan-Asian food, the husband and I had been eagerly waiting for a chance to visit Misu on St. Marks Road. The place had been on my must-check-out list ever since it opened up, recently. Rave reviews of the food here by several food bloggers ignited the fire further. We decided to descend upon Misu one weekend, for lunch, and were not one bit disappointed. We absolutely loved the food we had here!

Ambience

The vibe at Misu is nice, warm and welcoming. The eatery is medium-sized, neither too cavernous nor too tiny.
The decor is simple and elegant. The mirrors on the ceiling, the long windows letting in the sunlight, a mural of a lady holding a fan across her face – everything adds to the charm of the place.
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Left: A view of the interiors at Misu; Right: A close-up of the lady with the fan, whom I loved
We found the seating here to be comfortable.

Cuisine

Misu serves Pan-Asian food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. There are plenty of options on the menu for both varieties of patrons.

The food and drink

Most reviews of Misu mention their Rainbow Dumplings – colourful, pretty, bright, happy little things. I love the look of them, and so the vegetarian version of these dumplings were the first thing we ordered here. The dumplings came to our table looking pretty as ever, but sadly, they weren’t really our cup of tea. We weren’t bowled over by them. The bok choy stuffing within was something that failed to excite our tastebuds.
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Left: Fried Turnip Cake; Right: Vegetarian Rainbow Dumplings, both at Misu

The Fried Turnip Cake that we ordered next was brilliant, and we absolutely loved it. Never would I have thought that something with turnip in it could be as beautiful in taste as this savoury cake was. The balance of sweet and sour and spicy was just perfect in this dish.

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Left: Sweet Lemonade; Centre: Virgin Mojito; Right: Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup, all at Misu

To go with the starters, we ordered a Sweet Lemonade (without soda) and a Virgin Mojito. We loved the Virgin Mojito, and felt it was very well done. The Sweet Lemonade was good too – not extraordinary, but not bad either.

The Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup that we ordered next was absolutely lovely. It was just perfect, neither too watery, nor too thick, very different from the watered-down stuff you get in the name of Tom Yum Soup in most Asian eateries.

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Left: Vegetarian Khao Suey at Misu; Right: Assorted pickles and dips we were offered at Misu

Next up, we ordered some Khao Suey, which was, again, just perfect. The coconut milk broth was extremely flavourful, and we loved it to bits.

Most Asian restaurants bring you the Khao Suey in a bowl, all ready. Quite unlike that, at Misu, the various components of the Khao Suey are brought to your table – the broth, the peanuts, the veggies and the noodles – and you get to mix them up just the way you would like. That is something that initially overwhelmed us, but an experience that we came to love eventually.
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Left: Mango With Sticky Rice; Right: Chocolate-Chilli Truffles, both at Misu

We were presented with some Chocolate-Chilli Truffles post this, something that isn’t on their regular menu, but only offered to diners on a complimentary basis. They were brilliant too, so very well done. We loved everything about these truffles – the Bournvita-and-sugar-coated exterior, the gooey chocolate interior, the hint of bitterness, the beautiful fragrance of good-quality chocolate, the chilli that kicked in after the sweet taste of the chocolate had almost left our tastebuds! Yum!

We also ordered Mango With Sticky Rice, which was lovely too. It was simple and elegant, mild but delish, the way it is supposed to be.

Service

Service was quite fast, we felt. We reached Misu just a bit before lunch hours closed, and everything we ordered arrived at our table super fast. The staff was courteous, polite and helpful.

Prices

The prices here are on the higher side. We paid about INR 2500 for this meal – high, but we are definitely not complaining about the quality or taste of the food here or the experience we had. We’d definitely love to come back here to sample more of the Pan-Asian delicacies on their menu.

Have you been to Misu yet? If so, how was your experience? What are your favourites on their menu?

Mixed Vegetable Idlis| Healthy Steamed Snack Recipe

For this week’s Foodie Monday Blog Hop, the 103rd edition, the theme is ‘steamed dishes’. I decided to try out something I have always wanted to – Mixed vegetable idlis! And they turned out so, so good!

Foodie Monday Blog Hop

Mixed vegetable idlis might be a common breakfast dish in a lot of homes, but that is not so in our case. We end up making the good ol’ plain idlis over and over again, serving them with a variety of chutneys and sambar. Now that we have tried and loved the mixed vegetable idlis, I am pretty sure we will be making them more frequently.

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Mixed vegetable idlis – healthy steamed snack

These idlis have the goodness of urad daal and veggies in them, and are a nice, welcome change from the regular idlis. They taste delightful, and can be served as is – they don’t really need an accompaniment. What’s more, they are steamed and, therefore, super healthy, too. This is a great kid-friendly breakfast or snack dish, a lovely way to sneak veggies into their diet, I think.

Here’s how I made the mixed vegetable idlis.

Ingredients (for about 12 idlis):

  1. 3/4 of a medium-sized serving bowl idli batter
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 1 green chilly
  5. A small piece of cabbage
  6. 1 medium-sized carrot
  7. A few florets of cauliflower
  8. 6-7 beans
  9. 1 small onion
  10. 1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum
  11. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves
  12. 2 tablespoons shelled green peas
  13. A pinch of asafoetida
  14. Red chilli powder, to taste
  15. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  16. 1 tablespoon oil + a little more to grease the idli moulds

Method:

  1. First, let us prep all the veggies. Chop the cabbage, cauliflower, onions and capsicum finely. Remove the strings from the green beans and chop them finely too. Peel the carrot and chop it very finely or grate it. Chop the coriander finely.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is nice and hot, add the chopped cabbage, cauliflower, onions, capsicum, beans, carrot and the shelled green peas, along with the asafoetida. Stirring intermittently, let the veggies cook on a medium flame for a minute. Now, add turmeric powder, salt and red chilli powder to taste. Mix well. Sprinkling a little water if needed, cook on medium flame for a minute or two more, stirring intermittently. Switch off the gas. The veggies should be cooked, but not overly tender – they will be steamed later, with the idli batter, anyway. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Keep aside and allow the vegetables to cool, while you make the other preparations.
  3. Grease the idli plates using a little oil, and keep them ready.
  4. Add salt to taste to the idli batter.
  5. Peel the ginger and chop it into small pieces. Chop the green chilli into small pieces. Grind the ginger and green chillies into a paste, in a mixer, using a little water. Add this paste to the idli batter.
  6. When the vegetables cool down completely, add them to the idli batter. Mix well.
  7. Now, pour a ladleful of the batter into each of the moulds in the greased idli plates.
  8. Place the plates in a pressure cook and steam them, on high flame, for 10-12 minutes. Do not place the pressure cooker weight.
  9. When done, remove the mixed vegetable idlis from the plates, using a spoon. Transfer them to serving plates. Serve hot, as is or with sambar or chutney of your choice.

You like? I hope you will try out these healthy and tasty mixed vegetable idlis too!

Ripe Mango Hummus With Sriracha

Ripe mango hummus with Sriracha has been doing the rounds on Pinterest lately. I didn’t get tempted enough to try it out, though, till I came across a simple recipe for the same by Monika Manchanda. And then, I absolutely had to make it.

I loved, loved, loved the way the mango hummus turned out – creamy and just the right mix of spicy and tangy and sweet. It makes for a great spread on toasted bread, a lovely base for sandwiches. It goes as a beautiful dip for lavash, chips, murukkus (yes!), nachos and khakras, too. Try it out to know just how versatile it is, yet how easy to make!

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Ripe mango hummus with Sriracha!

Here is how to make the hummus. I used Monika’s recipe as is, only substituting the paprika therein with red chilli powder.

Ingredients (yields 1 medium-sized bowl):

  1. 1-1/2 cup boiled kabuli chana (chickpeas)
  2. 1 cup of ripe mango chunks
  3. Salt to taste
  4. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  5. 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  6. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  7. 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  8. 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  1. Take all the ingredients in a mixer jar. Blend till you get a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight box. Store in refrigerator and thaw before use. Serve the hummus with toasted bread, in sandwiches or as a dip for khakras, murukkus, lavash, chips or nachos.

Notes:

  1. Increase the quantity of lemon juice if you want the hummus to be more tangy. Similarly, increase the quantity of Sriracha sauce if you want a spicier hummus.
  2. I used Sriracha sauce from Thai Heritage.
  3. You could use any variety of mango that isn’t too fibrous. I used a Banganapally.
  4. Use a ripe, sweet and juicy mango that isn’t too sour. The mango should be firm and not too squishy.
  5. If you don’t have Sriracha sauce on hand, you could substitute it with red chilli sauce.

You like? I hope you will try out this Sriracha and mango hummus, too, and that you will love it just as much as we did!

A Very Mexican Birthday Lunch At Chinita, Indiranagar

For my birthday this year, the husband and I decided to head to Chinita in Indiranagar for a Mexican lunch. This post is about our experience at the eatery.

Location and ambience

Chinita is a small place in Indiranagar, one among the multitude of restaurants that the locality boasts of. The eatery had been on my hit-list for quite some time, though, because of the rave reviews I had been hearing about the food here. We decided to head to Chinita because we wanted to try out the ‘authentic’ Mexican food that we heard that this place serves, vis a vis the fare at Mexican food chains like Taco Bell.

The eatery wasn’t tough to locate. We went in just a bit before the lunch rush had started, so we got seats immediately. Very soon, the place got quite crowded (it was a weekend when we visited), and I hear weekends are always like that here. They don’t accept reservations over the weekends, so you just have to head down and try your luck, like we did.

Chinita has a nice, relaxed vibe to it. It has the feel of a casual dining area, with its brick walls and wooden benches and tables. The small potted plants on each table charmed us, as did the arrangement of plants alongside the door. We also loved that the place is bright and airy, and not dull and dingy.

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Mexican music was playing in full swing while we visited and, with the lunch hour noise of patrons, it was tough to hold a conversation as we ate. I wish this could be rectified, though, I must say, the music was lively and energetic and beautiful – something I’d like to listen to.

The food and drinks

Like I said before Chinita serves Mexican fare, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

First up, we asked for an Almond Horchata, a traditional Mexican non-alcoholic drink made of almond meal and rice. We were told that a horchata is not for everyone and that liking one needs an acquired taste, but we decided to go for one all the same. I took one sip and realised that it wasn’t for me. The husband loved it, and so the drink was duly given to him.

I went for a Virgin Margarita, with fresh lime juice and pineapple. I loved this, and sipped on it through our meal.

drinks
On the left: Almond Horchata, on the right: Virgin Margarita

Then, we ordered an appetiser of Mexican-style grilled corn which is, apparently, all the rage on the streets of Mexico. The corn came beautifully done, with just the right amount of cheese and chilli powder smeared on it, served with wedges of lemon. Both the husband and I loved this dish to bits. Both of us would need one full plate of the appetiser for ourselves, though!

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Mexican-style grilled corn

Then, for the main course, we opted for Roasted Cauliflower Tacos which, we were told, wasn’t a part of the regular menu, but became quite popular with the patrons when the eatery served it at Christmas-time, resulting in them still making it. The tacos were good but, we felt, the stuffing lacked the ‘Wow!’ factor – it could have done with some more flavour.

We also ordered a Sauteed Green Peppers And Onions Burrito, asking for it to be divided into two portions. Overall, we liked the burrito, but we felt, again, that the stuffing could have done with more flavour. It had too much rice in it, too. Good, but not great.

The tacos weren’t very filling, but the burrito was.

main-course
On the left: Roasted Cauliflower Tacos, on the right: Sauteed Green Peppers And Onions Burrito

We had a little space in our tummies left by then, so we went for a Roasted Zucchini And Corn Burrito Bowl. Again, we felt that the dish was good, but not great because it lacked flavour. The dish was quite filling.

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Roasted Zucchini And Corn Burrito Bowl

We finished up our meal with some churros (how could we not?!), served straight off the stove in a mug, with a liberal dosing of cinnamon sugar on them, along with a small cup of molten chocolate. The churros were just lovely, and both of us loved them. They were nice and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside – just perfect. The chocolate was so delicious I licked off every last bite of it!

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My first-ever tryst with churros – can you believe it?

Service

Service was quite fast, we felt. The staff was attentive, friendly and courteous, offering suggestions and enquiring whether we liked the food at every stage through the meal.

Price

Prices are on the higher side. We paid about INR 1600 for our meal, inclusive of taxes.

Overall experience

We loved the place and the service here, but our overall experience with the food was a little disappointing. Value for money, this meal didn’t feel like, sadly. 

Everything we ordered was very, very fresh. However, our taste buds probably need more of a punch than that, I think. 

I might go back to this place, maybe once, to try out their nachos, toastadas, enchiladas and guacamole, of which I’ve heard good things. 

South Indian-Style Raw Turmeric Pickle 

Summer is slowly closing in on Bangalore, and the days are getting hotter. There’s still a nip in the air in the mornings, though, and sometimes in the evenings. I think I should tell you all about the winter-special raw turmeric pickle that I made about a month ago, before winter leaves us once and for all. 

Bunches of raw turmeric sold in the Bangalore markets, just before Pongal

Come Pongal, and bunches of raw turmeric start making an appearance in the markets of Bangalore. They play an important role in the Pongal celebrations, tied around the pot in which sakkarai pongal is cooked on the day of the festival. The turmeric makes for a beautiful pickle too, which is believed to generate heat in the body, much needed in the months of winter, and help internal wounds to heal. 

I make the raw turmeric pickle the traditional South Indian way, the way it has always been made in our family. I am sure there must be other ways of pickling raw turmeric, but this is the way we have always made it. 

South Indian-style raw turmeric pickle, the way my family always makes it. Hand model: Amma

Here is how we make the pickle. 

Ingredients (makes a small bottle) :

  1. 100 grams raw turmeric 
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons oil
  4. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  5. A pinch of asafoetida
  6. Juice of 2 lemons
  7. 2 green chillies, slit

Method:

1. Wash the turmeric roots thoroughly under running water, ensuring that they are completely free of dirt. Pat them dry using a cotton towel. Make sure no moisture remains on the roots. 

2. Peel the turmeric and chop it into small pieces. 

3. Take the chopped turmeric in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste, the slit green chillies, and lemon juice. Keep aside. 

4. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the mustard seeds. Let them pop. Switch off the gas, and add the asafoetida. Let it stay in the hot oil for a second, then add all of the seasoning to the other ingredients in the mixing bowl. 

5. Mix well. Let the pickle cool down completely, and then transfer it to a clean, dry bottle, preferably glass. 

Notes:

1. The pickle can be stored for 4-5 days at room temperature, slightly longer if refrigerated. 

2. Always use a clean, dry spoon to take the pickle out of the bottle. 

3. Store the pickle in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. 

4. This pickle has a rather strong taste of turmeric, so not everyone might like it. Also, one can eat this pickle only in small quantities, thanks to the strong taste. It makes for a wonderful accompaniment to curd rice. 

5. To tone down the strong taste of turmeric, some people pickle it along with mango ginger and raw ginger. I prefer making the turmeric pickle separately, though. 

You like? How does your family pickle raw turmeric?

Dates Stuffed With Nutella And Nuts

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! If you are looking for something sweet, something simple, yet something classy to make for the occasion – if you are into that sort of thing, that is – your search ends here. This beautiful dessert is perfect, though, to brighten up just any day, Valentine’s or not.

Here’s how you make these stuffed dates. 

Ingredients:

  1. Dates, as required (Choose a variety that is large, soft and juicy – I used Nabud Sultan) 
  2. Roasted almonds, chopped, as required 
  3. Nutella, as required 
  4. Walnuts, chopped, as required 

Method:

1. De-seed the dates and slit them on one side. If the dates are too big, cut them into half. 

2. Put a few chopped walnuts along the bottom of each piece of date. 

3. Carefully, spread a little Nutella on each piece of date, above the walnuts. 

4. Decorate each piece with a few chopped almonds. 

5. Serve immediately. 

Notes:

1. I find that walnuts and almonds go very well with this dessert but, really, you could use any kind of nuts that you have handy. 

2. Grated chocolate, milk or dark, can also be used in place of Nutella. 

Do try this out, too, and let me know how you liked it! 🙂 

Bajri Methi Na Thepla| Gujarati-Style Pearl Millet And Fenugreek Green Rotis 

Come winter, and bajri na thepla start making an appearance in Gujarati households. With all the ginger, garlic and sesame that goes into them, these rotis are said to generate heat in the body, much needed in the winter months. They make for a hearty, filling meal, especially paired with a mustard-y carrot pickle, a blob of butter, or some curd and chopped onions. 

Made the Gujarati way, with sugar, these rotis taste fabulous. Do I need to tell you I love them to bits? 🙂 

What’s more, these rotis travel well, too. If let to cool fully and packed in a clean, air-tight box, they keep well for upto five days. Any wonder, then, why Gujjus carry these theplas with them on long train journeys? 

Make them sans the sugar, and they make for one of the healthiest lunches you could ever have. You could reduce the quantity of oil you use in the theplas, too, if you want. 

I tried making these beauties at home, for the first ever time. I learnt how to, from our relatives, who are visiting from Ahmedabad. I absolutely had to, before the winter here completely comes to an end. I am happy to report that they turned out gorgeous – just perfect! 

Here’s how I made them. 

Ingredients (for 15 theplas):

  1. 1-1/4 cups bajri atta (pearl millet flour – I used store-bought flour) 
  2. 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used flour ground at the mill from whole wheat) 
  3. 2 tablespoons gram flour (besan
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1/2 cup thick curd, preferably sour 
  6. 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 5-6 green chillies
  8. A 2-inch piece of ginger
  9. 7-8 cloves of garlic 
  10. 4-5 tablespoons of sugar, or to taste
  11. 1/4 cup oil +more for making the theplas
  12. Red chilli powder to taste (optional –  only if you need the theplas to be more spicy) 
  13. About 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  14. A medium-sized bunch of fenugreek (methi) greens, cleaned, chopped and thoroughly washed
  15. A small bunch of fresh coriander stalks and leaves, cleaned, finely chopped and washed

Method:

  1. Peel the ginger and chop it into small pieces. Chop the green chillies into small pieces. Peel the garlic cloves. Grind the ginger, green chillies and garlic to a paste in a mixer, using a little water. Keep this paste aside. 
  2. Take the bajri atta, besan and whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (if using), sugar, sesame seeds, 1/4 cup of oil, green chillies-garlic-ginger paste, chopped coriander, chopped fenugreek, and curd. 
  3. Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl well. Bind into a firm but soft dough, adding a little water if necessary. Normally, you will be able to bind the dough even without using any water, thanks to the water content in many of the ingredients. 
  4. Let the dough rest, covered, for about 15 minutes. 
  5. Heat a thick dosa tava till drops of water dance on it. While the tava is heating up, take a small piece of the dough and pat it, using your hands, into as thin a roti as you can. If you are able to roll out the dough into a roti using a rolling pin, you could do that too. 
  6. Place the roti on the hot tava and reduce the flame to medium. Spread a teaspoon of oil around the roti and let it cook on one side. Then, flip over the roti, and spread another teaspoon of oil on the cooked side. Let the other side cook thoroughly, and then transfer the roti to a plate. 
  7. Make rotis out of all the dough, in a similar manner. 
  8. Serve hot, with pickle, curd and chopped onions, or a pat of butter. 

    You like? I hope you will try this out, too!