Kachumbar in Hindi loosely means 'crumpled'. Referring to a mixed raw salad of finely chopped vegetables [never with Avocado though!], it is served alongside mains and is probably one of the only salads traditionally used in Indian cuisine. Bhatura, on the other hand, is a deep fried flatbread eaten with rich & spicy chickpea curry. A much loved (and reasonable) street food for the masses. The combination of the two - unheard of! And that is exactly where I come in.With a crisp chewy base, and a mushy topping with subtle spices, there is nothing not to love about this combination. Think India street food meets Aussie avo smash!Read More
“I love biting into a ripe peach
That smells of summer, and the beach,
With juices that trickle down the chin
As I bend over the kitchen sink.
I eat one, then two, then three
And wish I had a peach tree,
I’d then dip them in syrup, bake a pie
Blend into a smoothie, or try in chai
Make chutney, perhaps pickle a few
Brew up this rasam, and serve to you!”
4 ripe peaches - peeled, de-seeded and quartered
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes or paprika
½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
½ teaspoon dry mango powder
¼ teaspoon black/rock salt
Pinch of salt
Sugar to taste (only if the peaches are not sweet enough)
2-3 mint leaves, roughly torn
Blend the peaches with ½ cup water.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and cook till they begin to splutter. Stir in all the dry spices, mint leaves and peach puree. Bring to a slight simmer & remove from heat immediately. Adjust sugar/seasoning and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.
“Chicken so tender
It melts right through,
With flavor & spices
Oh-so fool proof.
Baked or pan-fried
That’s your call,
But the taste takes you back
To that late-night tikka stall!
Munch away, no guilt
It has not much oil,
But superior in every way
From that [yawn] soup on the boil…”
6 chicken drumlets (skin on)
2 tablespoons full cream yogurt
6 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 green chili, finely diced
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chili powder or paprika
1 heaped teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Juice from one lemon
Handful of fresh coriander , roughly chopped (leaves & stalk)
Salt to taste
Olive oil to cook
Wash the chicken pieces and pat try on a kitchen towel.
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Rub the mix all over the chicken pieces, making sure you rub under the skin as well. Refrigerate overnight or for 6-8 hours.
To cook, you can follow either of the below.
Pre heat the oven to 400 F. Grease a cookie sheet/ baking tray and line the drumlets, skin side down. Drizzle some olive oil over the pieces. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover, turn the drumlets skin side up, and bake for another 30 minutes, till the skin begins to brown. Give it a quick 5-6 minute broil in the end to crisp the skin. Remove from the oven and let it rest covered for a few minutes.
Stove top method
Heat 2-3 teaspoons olive oil in a non stick pan. Once hot, line the drumlets skin side down (they should sizzle immediately!). Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes on medium flame. Turn the pieces around and cook for another 8-10 minutes or till full cooked. Remove cover, turn up heat to crisp up the skin. Remove from heat and let it rest covered for a few minutes
Serve hot with a dash of yogurt or sour cream and your favorite salad.
Leftover tip: Remove the meat from the bones and refrigerate for a second treat the next day! Can be turned into a delicious lettuce salad, chicken sandwiches, nacho cups or a topping on your favorite pilaf or biryani.
“Green juice green,
You’re bitter & mean,
I am moving on today
I never took to you anyway!
This drink so refreshing
Has given me wings,
As good as a sip can be
Oh! that hint of lemon sneaky.
It’s health in a gulp
With or without pulp,
Makes me hum a new tune
Come on, let’s drink up June..”
1 large cucumber
7-8 leaves of fresh mint
½ cup ice water
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon dry mango powder
Pinch of fresh black pepper
Pinch of paprika
Salt to taste
Wash the cucumber, with skin on, and slice into 2 halves. Scoop out the seeds & discard. Cut the remaining cucumber into smaller pieces and transfer to a blender. Add ½ cup iced water along with the mint leaves, and blend till smooth. Transfer to a strainer and separate the pulp from the juice. Skip this step if you prefer your soup to be chunky.
Mix the remaining ingredients into the juice, adjust salt and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes (or you can add an ice cube before serving). Serve chilled with a little dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
- If you are straining the soup, don’t discard the pulp! You can use it in your raita (spiced Indian yogurt) or add it to your salad. It has much nutrient value that don’t deserve in the bin!
- Make it fancy by serving with little chunks of frozen watermelon. Not only does it keep it cold for longer, the watermelon adds a great flavor!
"Egg oh egg, in all your might
Cook in seconds, and bind everything tight
Baked or fried, breakfast or lunch
You're pretty darn famous, that's my hunch!
Curries, salads & more, you have a special way
Asparagus might come & go, but you just stay.."
One of my biggest discoveries after moving to the US was how conscious people are about what they eat.
At first I thought it was a fad. But as I scanned grocery aisles, read unfamiliar brand names and suffered a few allergic reactions, I began to understand why people were so particular. Unlike Asia, where packaged food still has limited use in households and is very much limited to commercial dining, the US pretty much runs on it. And with that comes the safety associated with food labels. Thus, I'm always on a mission to create at home all that we see & love at restaurants - like these delectable mini taco shells!
Eggs, unfortunate for me as others say, have never been my favorite. Call it a grudge I carry from boarding school, or the sharp unique smell that has me staying miles away. But I do like experimenting with them - because they're so versatile, amazing in baking & can be adapted to taste. I noticed that if you sneak in a little masala into a regular egg recipe, it makes them much more [for me that is] palatable.
In the past I have baked a few brownie bites, scrambled some in my weekday fried rice, whipped up some quick macaroons, made my husband's favorite brunch frittata & even made a jar of mayonnaise, but these bite-sized appetizer with a filling of subtly spiced boiled egg salad made me reach for seconds. Yes, me!
You could just be lazy and use store-bought taco shells, but the marriage of slightly Indian [almost samosa like!] crust with a spiced eggs is one that, I believe, will make it through the tough times.
But hey, don't take my word for it. Try the recipe and decide for yourself!
For the Tacos [I made my own but you could just use store-bought]
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon carom seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Water to knead
Oil to fry
For the Egg filling
2 large eggs, boiled
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
Make the Tacos
Mix the flour, salt, soda & carom seeds. Add the oil and mix with your fingers till it reaches the consistency of course sand. Add water, little at a time, and work into a smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 mins. Roll out the dough into a thin round and cut out 2-3" circles using a cookie cutter [the size depends on how large you'd like your tacos to be]. Coat with a little oil and line them up on a wire rack [see pic] so as to let them bake in a taco shape. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, till the shape is retained, and then drop into the hot oil for a quick fry. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.
Make the filling
Mash the eggs well with a fork and mix with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning and then add a dollop of the mixture into the taco shells. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.
A simple & delicate way to entertain a crowd. The recipe works so well for a canape brunch, or a simple cocktail party!