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!
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.
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):
3/4 of a medium-sized serving bowl idli batter
Salt, to taste
A 1-inch piece of ginger
1 green chilly
A small piece of cabbage
1 medium-sized carrot
A few florets of cauliflower
1 small onion
1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum
A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves
2 tablespoons shelled green peas
A pinch of asafoetida
Red chilli powder, to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon oil + a little more to grease the idli moulds
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.
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.
Grease the idli plates using a little oil, and keep them ready.
Add salt to taste to the idli batter.
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.
When the vegetables cool down completely, add them to the idli batter. Mix well.
Now, pour a ladleful of the batter into each of the moulds in the greased idli plates.
Place the plates in a pressure cook and steam them, on high flame, for 10-12 minutes. Do not place the pressure cooker weight.
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 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!
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):
1-1/2 cup boiled kabuli chana (chickpeas)
1 cup of ripe mango chunks
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
Take all the ingredients in a mixer jar. Blend till you get a smooth paste.
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.
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.
I used Sriracha sauce from Thai Heritage.
You could use any variety of mango that isn’t too fibrous. I used a Banganapally.
Use a ripe, sweet and juicy mango that isn’t too sour. The mango should be firm and not too squishy.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Prices are on the higher side. We paid about INR 1600 for our meal, inclusive of taxes.
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.
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.
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.
Here is how we make the pickle.
Ingredients (makes a small bottle) :
100 grams raw turmeric
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
Juice of 2 lemons
2 green chillies, slit
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.
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.
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.
Dates, as required (Choose a variety that is large, soft and juicy – I used Nabud Sultan)
Roasted almonds, chopped, as required
Nutella, as required
Walnuts, chopped, as required
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.
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! 🙂
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):
1-1/4 cups bajri atta (pearl millet flour – I used store-bought flour)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used flour ground at the mill from whole wheat)
2 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup thick curd, preferably sour
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
5-6 green chillies
A 2-inch piece of ginger
7-8 cloves of garlic
4-5 tablespoons of sugar, or to taste
1/4 cup oil +more for making the theplas
Red chilli powder to taste (optional – only if you need the theplas to be more spicy)
About 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
A medium-sized bunch of fenugreek (methi) greens, cleaned, chopped and thoroughly washed
A small bunch of fresh coriander stalks and leaves, cleaned, finely chopped and washed
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.
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.
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.
Let the dough rest, covered, for about 15 minutes.
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.
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.
Make rotis out of all the dough, in a similar manner.
Serve hot, with pickle, curd and chopped onions, or a pat of butter.
Ice Cream Sandwich At Nutty Squirrel, VR Bengaluru
The husband and I were in VR Bengaluru mall, near Marathahalli, to see the Christmas decorations, and that is where we spotted this cute little ice cream outlet called Nutty Squirrel. I remembered a foodie friend of mine telling me about the ‘ice cream sandwiches’ that he enjoyed at this very place, and so we decided to give it a shot too.
We tried out their Vanilla Sandwich, because the husband is a big fan of vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was super duper fresh and tasted lovely, and it came sandwiched between two brownie wafers. The wafer was a little tough to break into and a tad too bitter to eat on its own, but the wafer and ice cream together made for a lovely combination.
Apparently, they also serve sandwiches with other bases – like brandy snap tacos, cookies and cinnamon doodles – and I can’t wait to try them out!
Next up, we ordered a Chikkoo & Cheddar ice cream, which was, again, very fresh and delish. I could taste the chikkoo in it, but there was no hint of the cheddar.
They do have some really interesting flavours of ice cream on offer, such as Pudina, Salted Pistachio, Peanut Butter & Banana, and Dark Chocolate With Chilli. Apart from this, they also have some nice-sounding milkshakes. I am surely going back to this place to get my hands on these flavours and milkshakes!
These two delicacies we sampled at Nutty Squirrel cost us about INR 300.
Momo Sizzler at Wow! Momo, Phoenix Market City
A while ago, we tried out some zany momo innovations – like a momo burger and a chocolate momo – at the Wow! Momo outlet in Marathahalli. This particular outlet didn’t have the momo sizzler that I was eager to try out. I was thrilled when I finally found the sizzler at the Wow! Momo outlet in the food court at Phoenix Market City, Whitefield.
We opted for a Veggie Momo Sizzler which, sadly, turned out to be highly disappointing. The bed of noodles and roasted vegetables the momos were served with were bland and tasteless. The momos lacked flavour, too.
I am not sure if the sizzler would have been equally disappointing had we tried it out at another location, but this one sure was bad. A big-time miss for us!
The momo sizzler cost us around INR 250.
Choco Blast Waffle At Waffle Stories, Orion Mall
Neither the husband nor I are fond of the two big sensations in the dessert world right about now – waffles and doughnuts. We have tried them out a few times, and haven’t really grown fond of them. That said, when we came across this outlet in the food court at Orion Mall, Rajajinagar, called Waffle Stories, selling a variety of waffles, we were tempted to try at least one out.
We chose a Choco Blast Waffle.
The waffle came loaded with warm chocolate sauce, chocolate ice cream and chocolate chips, dusted with powdered sugar. It tasted delicious, in spite of the eggy flavour of the waffle (which was as it should be, of course!). There wasn’t much of a ‘choco blast’, though.
Our non-love for waffles notwithstanding, I think we will still be giving the other types of waffles here a taste.
The Choco Blast Waffle cost us around INR 200.
I have never had an ice cream sandwich before, nor a momo sizzler. So, these two make it to the list of seemingly crazy food stuff we try out!
A while ago, I was part of a bloggers’ table at the newly opened Forklore Bistro in Koramangala. We were invited to lunch at the eatery, to sample the food and drinks on their menu. Here are my impressions about the place.
The Back Story
Forklore is a family-run business, started by a lovely couple, Sanjay and Trupti. Sanjay is a musician, in charge of the music at Forklore and the overall look (of course!), while Trupti is the head chef in Forklore’s kitchen.
Sanjay and Trupti returned to India after a stint in the USA, came across this old house in Koramangala, and decided that they just needed to get their hands on it. They bought the place, renovated it, decorated it with quirky odds and ends, and launched the eatery they had always dreamt of launching. That is how Forklore came into being. Charming, right?
The eatery’s name, Forklore, is a play on the word ‘Folklore’, signifying its intent to become ‘lore’ (i.e. talk of the town) thanks to the power of the ‘fork’. The ‘lore’ in the name also signifies ‘Bangalore’.
The bistro is a new entrant in town, only about four months old, but it has already received some rave reviews. We, sort of, figured out how within a few minutes of entering Folklore and walking around the place. By the time we were done with our lunch there, we were sure why.
The bistro mostly serves Continental and Mediterranean fare, and is famous for its sangrias and hearty breakfasts and brunches. It has recently started a Sangria Festival, where you buy one sangria and get one absolutely free.
It serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
Forklore is located on the hip-and-happening 80-Feet Road in Koramangala, in the midst of a whole lot of other eateries. It is quite easy to locate and to commute to.
We were struck by the charm of the decor the minute we walked into Forklore. Like I said earlier, it is a house converted into a bistro, done up with quirky furniture and odds and ends. A lot of plants add to the effect. The end result is quaint, a lovely place that emanates a warm and friendly vibe.
When we visited, Forklore was decked up for Christmas, and looked all the more gorgeous!
The eatery is a medium-sized place, with outdoor as well as indoor seating.
Forklore surely is the kind of place that you’d like to bring a date to, or where you’d like to hang out with your close friends. I surely am going to do just that!
The bistro plays some lovely retro music, all thanks to Sanjay, which takes you back in time.
Food And Drinks
As if we weren’t charmed enough by the bistro already, the food and drinks came in and charmed us some more. I’m not exaggerating – most of the stuff we were served was absolutely beautiful!
What is even better is that there is a decent selection for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
First up, we were served some pancakes.
The non-vegetarians had the Maple Bacon Pancakes, while the vegetarians were served their Smurf Pancakes (with white chocolate and blueberry spread!), Chocolate Pancakes, and Carrot And Spring Onion Savoury Pancakes. Every single one was much loved. I, not a great fan of pancakes myself, loved the savoury ones.
Then came the sangrias! Yours truly had the Virgin Sangria (yes, such a thing exists!), which she loved to bits. All the other alcohol-based sangrias were thoroughly enjoyed, too, especially the Red Dirt Girl and Fruity Booty.
While we sipped our respective sangrias, we were served an assortment of starters from the menu.
The non-vegetarians loved the Fried Calamari, Chicken Satay, and Pan-Seared Fish. The vegetarians amongst us got lucky because they got to lay their hands on such gorgeousness as Chilli Cheese Fries (heavenly!), Lettuce Cups (a house specialty), and Sweet Potato Fries.
I loved, loved, loved the Chilli Cheese Fries – they were cheesy and full of spice and just lovely, quite unlike the lame things I have had in the name of Chilli or Cheese Fries elsewhere.
My most favourite starter, though, would be the Vegetarian Lettuce Cups – cups made of lettuce, served with falafel, hummus, olives and ricotta. What loveliness!
Mini sliders and quesadillas
Next came some mini sliders and quesadillas.
The Chicken Quesadillas and Nutty Mushroom Mini Slider went on to become huge hits with everyone. I liked the two vegetarian dishes in this category – the Chilli Spinach And Mushroom Quesadilla With Goat And Cheddar Cheese and the Nutty Mushroom Mini Slider – but they didn’t win my heart.
Then came the main course!
The non-vegetarians went gaga over the Beef Steak and Pulled Pork Pizza. The vegetarians went equally gaga over the Hawaiian Pizza and the Mujaddara.
The Hawaiian Pizza was just glorious – the pineapple and in-house BBQ sauce used in it made the taste top-notch. Honestly, this has to be one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had! I couldn’t keep my eyes and hands off it!
The Mujaddara – a Lebanese preparation that uses rice, lentils and caramelised onions – was simply beautiful. It was so light and perfectly done, yet so tasty and wholesome. And the name ‘Mujaddara’- ah! This is something I have absolutely got to learn how to make at home!
We were also served an Aglio e Olio (vegetarian), which was good, but didn’t really bowl me over.
By this time, all of us were way too full and threatening to sleep at the table, but, of course, we couldn’t leave without trying out the desserts!
Folklore has four, very different, desserts on its menu. We were served all four of them.
Monk In The Middle – with its centre full of Old Monk – went on to be an instant hit with everyone. It was too rum-my for someone like me, who doesn’t drink, though.
My personal favourite was Strawberry Fields Forever, which was a light, slightly tangy dessert topped with strawberry sauce. The walnut-hung curd mixture that made up the dessert took the flavour to a whole new level. And, of course, I cannot not love that beautiful, romantic, poetic name!
The Chocolate Cheesecake was too chocolate-ey, even for a chocolate lover like me.
The Holly Berries was good, somewhat similar to Strawberry Fields Forever, but not as ‘Wow!’.
Every single thing that was put on our table – from the starters and the sliders to the main course and the desserts – was plated so very beautifully. Full marks for presentation!
Considering the ambience of the place and the top-notch quality of the food and drinks (not to forget, finger-licking delish!), the prices here are on the higher side. A meal for two at the bistro would cost around INR 1500, including a starter, two main course dishes and a dessert.
Folklore Bistro is such a charming, happy place it is easy to fall in love with. The food is beautiful, priced well too. What more do you need out of an eatery?!
I lunched at the bistro free of cost, along with a group of other food bloggers, by invitation, in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed herein are entirely my own, and not influenced by anyone. Forklore really is the kind of place I would love to frequent, with or without my loved ones, and I do plan to do exactly that in the times to come. I do not stand to any kind of gain by recommending this eatery to you.