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  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! 🙂 Fatness is happening!

Days turned to nights and nights to day and I found myself in 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! 🙂

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

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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! 🙂 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!

Methi ke Parathe

and then on a day when you’ve been bored out of your guts because you’ve been made to work from home there comes a savior dressed in green and black and a thick ponytail with a satchel holding in it a box of yummy mummy methi ke parathe!!

not too many people in my world have been able to get these parathas right… they shy away from the salt and water routine that methi is supposed to be treated to to get rid of it’s bitterness and then that screws it up all.. You just can’t be in a hurry with these green leafy bunches!

but there they were… all yummy and tasty and ghee’d up… and then there was gajar ka achar made by mommy dearest and some excellent mirchi ka achar from Mother’s Recipe

teamed with a cucumber spinach juice (from Real) (sounds awful i know… but is one of the freshest things that come in a tetrapak on this planet!) it was heaven on a full moon night as the food giver stared endlessly into the lava lamp!

such is everyday nirvana!

Risotto a la colors!

It starts with opening the fridge to find inspiration..! And this fridge had just been stocked up yesterday so carrots, capsicum, parsley, garlic pods, tomatoes, mustard sauce, some milk and some cheese were all easy to find! Bored of masala khichdi it was time for a veggie delite risotto!

On came the flame under a tiny good for one person aluminium ka pateela and in went a dash of olive oil… now with olive oil less is always more! And as it expanded in went a few fresh peppercorns and a one super tiny star anise (you don’t want a large one.. it’ll over flavor!) As the pepper begins to pop about insanely add in the finely chopped two pods of garlic… and stir.. stir furiously till the garlic is glazed! It shouldn’t burn.. it shouldn’t turn brown! The minute you see the lazy glaze coming over throw in the chopped tomato (yes just one does quite fine and is essential to counter the sweetness of the carrots you will throw in in just a while!)

Let the tomatoes lose a little of their juice and then topple in the carrots and the capsicum! Enjoy the fragrances of fresh spices and vegetables play havoc with the stress of a bad day as it all spirals out! Add in as much oregano as you like, a lil salt, some chilli flakes and a dash of mustard sauce (yes mustard sauce!) Now… stir in the rice.. i typically never have the so called arborio rice that is supposed to be oh so perfect for risottos so i make do with regular or basmati or whatever i can lay my hands on!

Add one and a half times the water than that of the veggies and rice and about 3 tablespoons of milk and cook on medium flame… it’ll all turn into this happy pool of bubbly mush in sometime… add in the fresh parsley (it’s an acquired taste.. so if you’re better off without it just let it go!) and roll in a lil less than one tbsp of cheese!

Feel the magic! Forget about the food on the flame and go outside to take a peek at the clouds moving away to reveal a beautiful moonshine… breathe in some fresh air… lay your table and then shut off the flame! Cover and let steam till you listen to your favorite song and then settle down to a plateful of comfort!!

Bon Apetit!