Of Haldi Milk and Thai Food

And so some time was spent in delhi trying to nurse a sick sister back to health and then it’s been this crazy circus of a go live weekend and frankly quite traumatic experiences with paperwork and digital work and a migration from an old laptop to a new laptop that have all successfully managed to keep away from experimenting much and sticking to the tried and tested..!

Nursing the sick sister to health turned out to be tons of fun with making pasta and risotto and chocolate biscuit pudding and corn bake and of course.. Haldi wala Doodh aka Haldi Milk aka HM!

And then through it all there were also these…

If this one’s Love at First Sight…Β 

then what do you call this…?Β 

The Extra Marital Affair!!!

Coming back to the real business of life… try making an elder sister fussy about the smell of warm milk drink HM and all your nightmares will seem small! So there we were following instructions to the tee.. while the milk is heating up put in 4 freshly wounded (yes wounded and not crushed) peppercorns into the milk… find a cup of any size you wish for it will eventually be negotiated to a smaller one come what may… add in an exact half tsp of sugar and an exact half tsp of haldi to the cup… boiling the milk and the haldi can make for quite a disaster when it comes to your olfactory nerves… so warm milk, haldi in cup and remember to seive the malai off when pouring the milk! (haldi flavored malai… ~eeyyuuu!) And then stir it all and give it the special halwai touch by pouring it back and forth between cups and find in you the patience to stand over the patients head as he/she rants about not wanting to drink it till it’s in their hands! ~phew!

(Dearest Diu… Get ekdum perfect super soon! HM works well for the physiotherapy so please please DIY! πŸ™‚ We luv you!)

That said… I was taught some wonderful shortcuts to some lovely thai food and when I came home and tried them… they worked like a charm!!! πŸ™‚ Hat tip to Dipali Chachi and Diu!

So we woke up on this wonderful thursday morning thinking that the worst is now behind us in terms of work and paperwork and we can put back in place the ritual of taking food to office! There was broccoli, green, red and yellow capsicum (yeah yeah.. bell peppers! ~sheesh!), carrots and green beans and a knife desperately waiting to go at them! So bright and early with a cup of black tea to keep me company these happy veggies were chopped up!

Then came the surprisingly easy part! Just follow the instructions on the pack!! πŸ˜€ A lil bit of oil, the curry paste, a tetrapak of homemade’s coconut milk, a lil bit of water, all the veggies… one happy boil and there it is!

Thai Green Curry just as they would serve it in your gully-ka-high-end-thai-restaurant! And one helping of steamed rice.. butter it up if you wish! (it does do wonders… one happy dollop of butter!) Anyone who tasted it at work thought I had laboured in the kitchen and kept trying to guess the ingredients.. someone went ginger.. another went lime… a third just smiled and dove into it!

Lucky for me I wasn’t putting in too much effort in the kitchen for the Boss called and said ‘hey you’ll be there by 11 right?!’. Poor lil me looks at clock and decides to have a bath and skip breakfast.. packup the food and run for it was 1015 by then! (Crime, shame, torture to make people run to office when their first planned action of the day is only at 230 in the afternoon!) And if I was complaining about the Thursday here’s to the Friday where Super Boss calls at 8 AM and goes hey come in ASAP! ~sheesh! (Now it’s a different story that the a couple presentations to people really high up went really really well… and on zero notice! pats self on back! but also continues to crib!!)

By Friday’s morning fiasco boss owed us lunch so it was a glutton fest at the food court.. and a coffee and sandwich nicely sufficed over a long pending dinner conversation with the Pinchester! πŸ™‚ Costa and Pincha – always very chilled out! Lovely Bangalore weather and a warm cup of the Cafe Mocha as the breeze takes over!

After the mad crazy week it’s only natural that coffee will also put you to sleep! Knocked out cold and awoken only by 12 noon on Saturday and pretty much dying of hunger.. knowing only 100 bucks in wallet so can’t order takeout food either without going through the pains of changing and walking to atm! (and the chinese food guy is right next to the atm..!) so no.. not happening!

Open Fridgesame! Half of the broccoli and bell peppers were still there calling out to be chopped and cooked!

And there was that pack of the Pad Thai Noodles! Nice very very straight, flat, white sticks for noodles I must say! Anyways.. put those to boil while you chop the veggies and brush your teeth! πŸ™‚

Roast some peanuts to perfection and keep aside for the garnish.. and then again..

… follow instructions on the pack! πŸ˜€ A lil bit of oil… stir fry the veggies.. I had some sprouts begging to be eaten as well so in they went too and well… Β it’s a nice touch if you’re a sprouts person! Then goes in the masala in the pad thai pack.. a lil bit of water… some more stir frying… ! By then the noodles should be boiled… drain in colander… wash down with cold water to avoid them sticking together and becoming noddle halwa… add them into your stir frying wok and again… stir fry for a couple more minutes! Toss in the roasted peanuts… yes – stir fry..! And you’re done!

I settled down with this and an episode of My Family and went right back to sleep! πŸ™‚ Ahh.. the joys of a supra lazy saturday!

Sunday shall find me experimenting with Dahi Vada’s and Lauki ka Halwa..! If it turns out well I shall tell you about it… if not I shall sit in a corner and mope over the bowls as I find the courage to eat them! wish me luck!


Of Corn Bake and Aam Panna!

so it’s been a few tumultuous days and i haven’t really been in my den hence there has been less of me on this blog… and less food that i have been cooking even though it continues to be yumm dumm yummm de dumm and home cooked!

so sexy sam paid a visit to namma bengaluru and was to drop into humble barsaati with ocean blue floor tiles and pink walls at 8 in the morning! Called for grand breakfast morning now didn’t it?

and so we set about making the lovely passed on from dad recipe of corn bake! ~ ahh of simplicity and complexity in the same bowl as it finds a way to finally melt in your mouth in it’s nutmegged happiness!

take fresh.. absolutely fresh corn still on the cob… break it in two and call on the services of the infamous paanch litre ka cooker! put in in.. add a pinch of sugar (yes sugar.. it brings out the natural sweetness of this beautiful corn and adds millions to the taste – that one tiny pinch!)

Give it about a whistle and a half and wait for the cooker to open! Ahh… such wonderful smells of steamed yellow joy! Scrape of the lovely boiled corn from the cob using a knife and voila… fresh corn!

What you have done in the meanwhile is utilized the efficiencies of the food processor… (for future reference this one shall be called GurrPurr) and belted out these lovely thin sliced onions!

And what’s life without simla mirch! So there she sits all nice and chopped waiting to be stirred into wholesomeness! (Personally I have thought that capsicum by itself is rather incomplete however when mixed in with other lovelies it is too good to be true!).

There it begins… a weeny bit of olive oil boiling away with a few peppercorns spilled in (i used black and white both!)…

As those begin to cackle, in go the onions… and as they turn this pretty pink in goes the corn and the capsicum! Let it bhuno for some time and then sprinkle about 2 fistfuls of maida on it!

Let it turn into this wonderful warm light brown and add in a packetful of milk… it should just about cover the mix in the old faithful aluminium ka kadhai.. add in salt to taste… lots of freshly ground pepper, a pinch (yes a tiny pinch of nutmeg! with nutmeg less is more!) and bring in one tiny boil! It’s best to keep stirring this thing to avoid the white sauce from sticking to the sides (and that my friends was also your secret encounter with a shortcut white sauce!)… simmer it for a bit and take it off the flame!

I normally end up ending it here and start the devouring… however I had a guest! So it went into this beautiful porcelain bowl inherited from mom and got two cheese slices on it and was all shoved in the microwave and put to bake! About Β 5 minutes is magical enough! And there it is.. this wonderful, hot, comforting, loving, steaming bowl of ‘corn bake’ served with brown bread and some strongly flavored cold coffee! πŸ™‚ Fatness is happening!

Days turned to nights and nights to day and I found myself inΒ Delhi! Dilli ki sardi ka to pata nahi however the dilli ki garmi had instantly gotten to me and when I found myself in the sabji market in the evening going happy with the greens I also found myself over joyed to find kachcha aam! An instant phonecall to mommy dearest made me realize this really is the simplest thing on this planet to make!! And there I was happily buying these 6 medium sized ambi’s and some gorgeous green pudina!

Now my mother knows the shortcut loving freak that I am! And so she says put the lovely green mangoes in the cooker.. cover with enough water and let the cooker have fun maaroing chaar seeti’s at the hari bhari kaeris! And let it stand overnight! So that’s what we did!

Then morning morning after the lovely cup of adrak wali chai and the breakfast of an easy peasy omani omlette (we shall leave that for another post since I quite love the short cutted healthiness of it to keep making it!) we got around to opening the cooker and smelling the khattaas of the boiled mangoes! Just roll up your sleeves and dip your hands and as you remove aaaallll the pulp and remove the peel and the seed! This slushy mush should then be put in parts into a blender and well… blended!! It becomes this even spread thick paste like thing in fairly large quantities! Here is when if it’s too pasty you add water and bring it to drinkable tendencies… In go about 6-7 large tablespoons of sugar… free flowing fresh bhunoed and peesa hua jeera, lots of black salt… and you remember that pudina we bought? Wash it and crush it in a mortar and pestle and dunk it all in! Stir away to let the chaos in your mind settle as your soul and your taste buds both find their peace! Keep adding in the sugar and the masalas and the pudina as needed till desired level of peace is attained! πŸ™‚

Chill! The aam panna and the self! Serve on the rocks!

Of Burgers and Parval and Shortcuts!

Been crooking along but just not been finding the mind space to sit and tell you about the exploits!!

With a movie marathon pledged to and friends in town eating out is but natural… it was a weekend of burgers! The first serving found us at a McD… and the kungfu panda toy led us to the happy meal of a McVeggie! It indeed is one of the better veg burgers around!! And with Po staring up at us as we ate… it indeed was a Happy Meal!!

What’s a movie without popcorn right? So there it was… the perfect mix of salted and caramelized fresh popped corn… Hat Tip to Ruchi Pincha for introducing me to this divinely perfect taste… the salt was so wonderfully balanced with the caramel… it melted… and it stayed… it left that wee bit of extra longing… it added that perfect ounce of satisfaction!

A movie marathon directly implies enough brain and body dead-ness to not cook at all! It involved an iced tea craving as well for the strangest of reasons and hence found us at the nearest barrista enjoying a corn spinach club sandwich, green apple iced tea, the dark temptation and a cheese croissant! Holy fatness!!

You would think we had had our fill… lo and behold the next day had us staring into the face of the world’s largest humus and falafel burger!! Take a look yourself! This wonderful tasting mustard sauce, french fries and coleslaw accompanied beast resides at a place called Thulp in Namma Bengaluru! THIS with a vanilla shake! (If you do end up at thulp.. the vanilla milkshake is a must must must have!)

Is sabke baad the shaam ki chai was bahut zaruri! So there I was in Ruchi Pincha’s kitchen tinkering away to make the adrak elaichi wali station jaisi chai! (I guess I managed it!) Aur fir… shaam ki chai aur duniya jahan ke kisse… kuch tere hisse.. kuch mere hisse! (missed a very dear friend jab vo chai ki pyaali pakde hum ek dusre ki zindagi samajhne lage!)

And so… after a crazy mad junk fooded weekend the soul craved for simpler home cooked food! Simple ka to pata nahi… but parval aaloo it was and for the first time ever in my life! Warning: Nobody tells you that if you have a weak wrist scraping off the parval can screw your hand for the day!

So there they were… little scraped off green slimy seeded things! (Yes… I read a calvin and hobbes today about how gooey green food is toxic waste that can turn you into a mutant!)

Heat some oil… sprinkle in lots of jeera just for the love of it… add in some garlic… and then dunk in your long and fine cut parwal…! I have discovered the thinner i cut the parwal the more i love it! Just as it starts to sizzle around in the old faithful aluminium kadhai in goes the longly cut potato! This is the perfect time to add in whatever masalas you feel like… but again remember… this is NOT the time for the garam masala! As I have said before… garam masala should be steamed and not all crooked up! Breathe in the wonderful early morning smells of spices in a clean kitchen and add in a dash of mustard sauce.. (you will soon discover that I am a mustard sauce freak! anything and everything can be set right in the pan with a dash of mustard and a sprinkling of pepper!) Stir it all in… cover it up and let it cook on a wonderful slow flame!

Naani used to leave food on the slow flame for hours on end… jo subah subah pakna shuru hota tha vo just in time for lunch gas se utarta tha! And yes… slow cooked food has a taste all its own! But worry not… the time involved here cannot be that much… it’s on slow fire while you do up some masala parthas, some raita and a glass of kokum to go alongwith it!

Lo and behold… as the effort of a monday morning starts to find its way into the tiffin box the parwal gets done and this is when you sprinkle on the garam masala, cover it and let it steam and go for a bath! πŸ™‚ And it is done!

The first time effort was successful enough for me to want to make it yet again inspite of the scraping and cutting involved!

The Tuesday morning found some goonda hua aata on it’s last life in the fridge and thus came to rescue the potatoes i had boiled and refrigerated over the weekend! Take one large on.. add in the chopped onions, the pudina, the salt, the red chillies, the green ones, lots of dhaniya powder, some anar dana if you have it handy, aamchoor and really whatever you feel like! Mash it all together and you’re all set to make nice well stuffed aaloo parathas!

Team it with the very basic, yet very lovely yellow dal tadka (i like my tadka with garlic, chillies, tomatoes and a plethora of lightly sprinkled masalas!) and you’re all set for a lunch you know you will eat at your desk for want of a long day at work!

Given that the day was so long really how much energy do you have left to manifest a dinner? I never get how much of the aaloo masala i should make for the aaloo parathas and it is but always extra! Convert that into yumm short cut stuffed snack toastied and team it mustard sauce and you have a winner! I do like coating the bread with olive oil instead of butter (hat tip to Mitesh Shah)… so breathe in the fresh smells of pudina, brown bread, oilve oil and mustard… pour ypourself some nice beetroot juice and well… bon apetit!

My senses had me wailing for a mango tonight… so the indulgence was but natural… there it was all green and red on the outside and a wonderful orangish red on the inside! And there I was cutting it up like a pineapple and having fun slurping it off from my hands!

(as for yesterday’s dinner… that’s a whole other story that shall repeat itself soon and will then duly be told!) Meanwhile.. Happy Fooding!