Tandoori Chicken Drumlets

“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.

Baking method

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.


4 Culinary Finds in & around Durban, South Africa

DrankensbergPanoramaWhen people think of South Africa, they think apartheid, history and a few scattered beaches. Rarely does anyone think food. But after traversing miles of sun-bathed vineyards, conquering grueling hikes & engulfing waves, jumping off cloud-high bridges & driving down spotless roads, people get hungry for more than just adventure. Thus, knowing places that serve up delicious fare in my 'hometown-in-law' always comes handy.
I spend at least 2 weeks every year in South Africa. Housing the big five, it also happens to be home to my husband's family ;)! My trips are always about quality time with the in-laws, baking gooey brownies for the nieces & nephews, exploring the Drakensberg mountains near Durban and of course, letting the sleuth in me dig out those tucked away cafes and culinary spots! To me, no holiday is complete without any of it. 
Below is a list of some places I have loved visiting. Whether it's the food, coffee, decor, ambience, the crowd or a simple memory, each place has a special place in my heart, and today I'd like to share it with you.
Puppy Love at Freedom Cafe: An old shipping container houses this quaint coffee shop and brunch spot for the Durbanites. Nestled away in the popular & artistic Musgrave district of Durban, this is surely a midday go-to date spot. With a distinct love & theme of dogs, the cafe is adorned rustic seats and plenty of colorful curios. And as though the concept wasn't creative enough, each cup of coffee comes with little dog-bone shaped biscuits. Just the sight makes you go 'awwww..'. I'd go back just for those!  
Coffee & Cakes at I Want My Coffee: Yes, I absolutely do. This quirky spot near the Gateway mall in Umhlanga is the place to go for a tall iced latte & a light bite - all while soaking in the relentless Durban sun. With communal tables, plenty of books, wall-full of writings and a range of sweet & savory options, you will never feel alone here. The cafe also boasts of unique home-made coffee flavors such as orange cinnamon or chili chocolate (what!). Oh, and their lamingtons are delish! So, next time you're in surf city over the holidays, gather some cheer with their ever-smiling baristas and give this little birdie a try. 
Beer Tasting at Claren's Brewery: A short trek from Durban, but totally worth it. Situated in the quaint & arty town of Clarens in the Free State, this bar-cum-brewery is surrounded by everything that should surround a beer - mountains, art, color, sun & smiling faces. With an in-house roastery and a range of beers & ciders to chose from, this is exactly the boost you need at the end of that breathtaking hike!
Oh, and if beer isn't your poison, there are also an aromatic roastery next door churning out the best coffee in the region - the popular Highlands Coffee!

Bunny Chow at The Grove, Chatsworth Centre: Bunny chow! Where do I even start. Legend has it when Indians first migrated to South Africa, as laborers in the sugarcane plantations, they required a meal that was not only wholesome & flavorful (yes, we Indians have very strict palates), but also easy enough to carry to the field. Think grains, meat, bread etc. That's when the ladies decided to hollow a loaf of bread, and package the curry inside for them to carry. Pretty brilliant if you ask me. And definitely delicious! Anyway, Bunny Chow is somewhat of a culture in Durban. With each spot vouching to serve the 'hottest curry in town', there are a handful that the locals love. The Grove, situated in the old Indian area of Durban, is one such place. Don't expect an ambience when you go here. Walk in, take your pick from the extensive menu, wait with bated breath for it to arrive and then devour it with all your might. You might need a few bottles of water and a handful of wet wipes on the side. But the feeling in the end of it all will make you float. Spice lovers, your satisfaction is guaranteed. 

29. Dining Experiences : A Visual Journey

It's the 29. Busi-versary! {err, do you have a better word for it?}

Last year on this very day I launched the 29. Private Kitchen. Without a firm idea of the direction I was headed in, I decided to just cook my way through it. And that is exactly what I have been doing!

With a busy start to the year [in a good way!], more & more people are rolling up their sleeves to dig in to some Indian Tapas. Well, high time! Thus, the 29. kitchen has been anything but untouched. And although I might have been less-than-prompt at posting recipes, I always have enough photographs to keep you occupied. Here is a snippet of my culinary journey through Jan & Feb 2014...

[Unless otherwise mentioned, all photography is copyright of 29.Calories]

Pickled Potato Cracker Cups - Photo Courtesy Suite3-Oh-6

Sweet Potato Chaat - Photo Courtesy Suite3-Oh-6

Vegan Fritters - Photo Courtesy Suite3-Oh-6

29. Business Cards

Water Station

Spicy Potato Cups

Tandoori Shrimp Cakes

Eggplant Kulcha Bites

Choco Coconut Tarts

Red Bean Salad Cups

Spouts & Kulcha Chaat



Tandoori Meatball Chaat


Sweet Potato Bites

Appetizer Buffet

Mint & Veg Biryani

Carrot Halwa Custard Parfait


Date Tea + White Chocolate Truffles


This Week in Food Pictures

"A busy week it's been
Successes, failures & new challenges seen,
A lot of cooking, yes lots
From little puddings to flavorful pots,
Trials & errors, recipes that repeat
Bites with crunch, and those with heat,
Events & dinners, people new
Reviewers, readers, and comments few,
Here are the snippets, simple & clean
Of food, colors, and the week that's been..."

It's been one busy week! While I work on the recipes, here are some pictures from all the adventures this week. If only these could fill you up eh!

Come try my food at one of the upcoming dining experiences! Got a large group? No problem! Contact me to discuss a private tasting.

Carrot Pudding with Burnt Sugar Pot De Creme

Event Buffet Table

Curried Cauliflower Soup 

Vegan Semolina Halwa with Orange Compote

Masala Minced Chicken Sliders with Beer Shooters

Popcorn & Chocolate Bread Pudding

Mint Chicken Tikka Salad on Bread Cups
Vanilla Cupcakes with Pomegranate Swirl

Top 10 Recipes & Tidbits From 2013

From exciting experiments to fearless failures, 2013 was a momentous year in the kitchen for me. It was also a year of my first half-marathon, lots of travel (4 different continents!), buckets of coffee, never-ending TLC from family, some downs but many many many ups. 

And as I welcome 2014 with new resolutions, earnest smiles, test recipes and you - my ardent readers, I can't help but look back fondly on some of my favorites from last year. Here is a list of my top 10 recipes (in no particular order).

Make me happy and leave me a comment with your picks will you?

1. Savory Jalebi for the beer guzzlers
2. Caramel Bread Pudding for those with a sweet tooth
3. Curried Guacamole for them Guac fans
4. Carrot Halwa Cheesecake or Parfait for those who love a twist
5. Okra Chips for the healthy
6. Masala Gobi Pizza for the experimental
8. Truffled Mushroom & Cheese Samosa for the bite-sized
9. Whole-Wheat Gougeres for the fancy french
10. Wonder Tea Recipes for all those who need to stop calling it 'chai-tea'!

Not to mention the fun I had creating, plating, feeding and [not] cleaning up for all my dining events! For memory sake, here is a photographic recap of some past events from 2013 - makes me pull my collar up high ;)

A big 29. shout out to all of you who made 2013 more-than-memorable! And remember, keep eating your way through 2014. 

Christmas Colors - The Meal That Closed 2013!

"To those who came
And smacked their lips,
To those who thanked
And taught me tricks.
To those who support(ed)
And taste it all,
To those who fearlessly
Told me to get some balls.
To those who are patient
People old & new,
To those who with me
Bid 2013 adieu!
I love you much
With a heart so true,
Here's to 2014, and cooking
Many more storms for you..."

29. wishes all it's readers, supporters, commenters, criticizers a very very happy Holiday season!
Today I hosted the EatWith Management team for my last meal in 2013. Personally, it was a great deal. The team who has been monumental in helping me grow, market and keep working on what I love were actually in my living room. And thankfully, did not leave disappointed.

My meal was inspired with the colors of christmas - Red, Greed and a touch of Gold. And no, I don't believe in food colors. Why use artificial 'helpers' when nature offers so much. Don't believe me? Scroll down for the pictures and you'll see!

I started the team with warm Lentil Soup with a dash of Chili Sesame oil. Sounds strange? Try it - the Indian spices with a slight chinese kick was quite a combination. Be careful though, don't add too much. The soup was paired with spoons of curried chickpea hummus & homemade wholewheat crackers (baked namak paare). Notice the red, green & golden?

The conversation started just as the courses were heating up. I served
- Spicy Spinach Chicken in Bread Cups w/ a dollop of cream cheese. Inspired by all things green and similar to my Spinach Corn Deep Dish Pizza Bites.

- Masala Gobi (cauliflower) with Potato Fritter Nests & smashed Avocados. Yes please! My take on a sort of a deconstructed Aloo Gobi. This was an experimental dish but the combination did wonders, specially the spice from the gobi, crunch from the fritters and the creaminess of avocados! One satisfying bite. Inspired by the gold twinkle of the season. I also served some chilled Pomegranate & Mint tea along for those who might need some help with that tingling heat. 

- Last but not the least was the South Indian Tomato Brown Rice w/ Mint yogurt & homemade wheat crisps. Inspired by the happy red, I think this won the show - both by taste & presentation!

(PS-I was too excited to get pics of the first two, but will upload them when I make them next time!)

I ended the afternoon with Fig Milk Pudding Truffles dipped in a gooey dark chocolate ganache. And of course,the sprinkles for added happiness. I sneakishly grinned as I watched the guests play which-sprinkle-color-do-I-like-more? I think red won. Paired with some warm Cardamom Masala Chai, this had holiday written all over it!

The best part. The sunset decided to join in the fun and co-operate with my color theme! Bye bye 2013.

To try any of these dishes or teas, join me for my upcoming Dining Experiences in 2014, or contact me for a private tasting! I'll see you there.

Leftover Lesson : Tomato Chicken Puff Pastry

“Another kitchen trick for you
For that pile of thanksgiving meat,
Transformation is key
To a great new treat.
Warm and crusty
A mid-afternoon winner,
Dip in your soup
And add zest to your dinner.
Bite & savor
Lick those fingers clean,
After this leftover makeover
None will left to be seen..”

This time of the year I feel overwhelmed with leftovers. In the excitement of the holiday season, I am entertaining (and experimenting) continuously. So there are bound to be spillovers that no one can stomach. Also, I hate repeats during my dinners, so that usually adds to the pile up. Leftovers, on the other hand, are great to be creative with - specially for appetizers and quick snacks. Here is one of many ways to use that turkey/chicken roast shreds from your thanksgiving dinner. After this, hopefully, you shall not see them for another year!
1 cup leftover chicken or turkey roast, shredded
½ cup leftover grilled vegetables, diced – I used green pepper, red pepper & carrots
1 large plum tomato, diced
1 spring onion, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled out

Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the ginger, garlic chili and both onions and sauté till transparent. Stir in the tomatoes along with all dry spices. Cook till tomatoes are tender. Now add the vegetables & meat, and cook on high heat for a few minutes till all ingredients are well mixed. Remember the meat and vegetables are already cooked, so you don’t want to overcook it. Remove from heat and cool.

Put a few tablespoons of the mixture on the rolled out pastry and roll into a disc. Cut into 2 inch pieces and bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, till the pastry has puffed and is light brown. Serve hot with chili mayo.

The Last Lunch : A Thanksgiving Photo Journey

"Here's a little jingle
To start your holiday,
Food, fun & family
Or whatever makes you yay!
You don't have to be special
To enjoy a meal warm,
Eat with strangers 
And still soak up the charm..
Put on your best shirt
And grab that festive cheer,
Celebration is about you
So come make friends dear!"

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I hosted the last EatWith lunch in my apartment. No, I am not quitting. No ways! Just moving apartments.

In the true spirit of the holiday, my menu was an Indian-Inspired-Global-Style-Thanksgiving-Tapas : if there ever were such a thing! The idea was to go beyond America while enjoying Thanksgiving, and bring in that global palate in an authentic 29. style - by fusion or presentation. Thus, each course was served in a style popularized by another country/cuisine, but boasted of Indian flavors. Confused? Read on, you'll know what I mean.

We started on the streets of India. A warm Chicken Chili Soup with winter spices, paired with crisp Cumin Sweet Potato Poppers. 

It was a small group this time so I tried my hands at a sit down meal as well. It was different, and quite enjoyable actually!

The mains courses were:

1. A truly American inspired Turkey Fritters served with a sweet spiced mango chutney and Alfalfa sprouts. It's Thanksgiving, there had to be Turkey!

2. Traveling to Mexico, the guests had a go at Roasted & Spiced Eggplant Tacos with a cold carrot slaw.  [recipe coming soon]

3. Ending the savory courses with an Italian take on pilaf was the Curried Cauliflower Orzo Pilaf, served with some sprinkles for a crunch.

The journey had to bring you back to India eventually. So, the sweet showcase was a Semolina Coconut Pudding with a pomegranate burnt sugar glaze & cinnamon cream. A warm, silky end to a great holiday lunch. Thanks to all those who came, and hello to all those who I'll be seeing at my next few meals...

29. Dinner Recap : The Warmth of Spice

Another dinner. Another menu. And another hell-of-a night! 

I know you're all itching to see the pictures so without saying too much, I'll jump right into the star of the show - the 29. table. 

The welcome bite was themed to bring warmth on a cold autumn evening - a Hot & Sweet starter combo of Spicy Red Cabbage Rasam Soup & Sweet Mango Chutney Crackers. Delish! Both were 29. first timers and more successful than I had anticipated them to be! No complaints there.

The mains were:
1. Grilled Tilapia and Curried Cauliflower Puree served in Gol Gappas. A perfect combination of silken warmth and that ever endearing crunch.

2. Roasted Eggplant Pinwheels sautéed with vegetables & spices, served in a chaat form. The little boats made it look rather cute - if I may say so myself! The flavor of roasted (almost charred) eggplant sure did a dance in everyones' mouth. A sure keeper for future events.

3. Chicken & Lentil curry served atop Brown Rice Ajwain Pulao , finished with warm Alfalfa sprouts. A slight asian touch on an otherwise typical Indian dinner dish. If anyone was still hungry, this filled in the gaps just right.

The sweet end to it all was my second experiment of the day. A smooth Carrot Chocolate Pudding served with Cinnamon Cream. I usually make this with rice, like kheer, but decided to use a bunch of sweet winter carrots instead that were threatening to take over my refrigerator. The result was, to say the least, a great end to a creatively enjoyed meal. And the sprinkles brought an early christmas cheer to my gathering. Oh joy! [recipe coming soon]

Was this my most-loved menu yet? Someone did ask for an autograph, so perhaps it was. But only till the next one.

Want to try the next 29. menu? Sign up for one of my upcoming events!

October on a Plate : A Photo Essay

"A warm greeting
With a touch of spice,
Feeding strangers
29. does like!

Colorful soup shots
To begin the treat,
Then a few sticks, cups & rolls
Sans any meat.

While the wine does air
The fritters come out,
Talking and mingling
With flavors all around...

Moonlight on the bridge
With water sparkling bright,
The flavorful chicken next
Is just as great a sight!
Conversation grows loud
There is humor in hunger,
The warm curried bowls
Cause a mini stir!

With tummy's growing full
The end is [sadly] nigh,
With a sweet ol' sigh...

And as we wind up
Another night of celebration,
I get a few hugs
And an imaginary ovation.

Thank you to those
Who love my unique feast,
I know I'll cook forever
If you just promise to eat...."

Check our upcoming events or contact us to book a private tasting today!

29. Let's Lunch Event - EatWith Your Eyes

Curried Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup Spoons. A delectable way to begin a Friday. Don't you agree?

29. opened it's doors to a truly diverse group this afternoon. A retired teacher from Argentina, a student from upstate NY, an HR consultant from London/Korea and a Wall st journalist from right here, NYC.

I greeted them with some Iced Clove & Mint Tea & a spoonful of Curried Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup. Yum! My surprise nibbler for the day was a roasted pepper and cream cheese dip served in little Tostitos scoops. I find these things so cute!

The main act was:
1. Grilled Mixed Veg Kebabs - marinated in cumin, coriander, garlic, fresh mint & lime juice, these are a light & colorful way to start a mid-day meal.
2. Fishcakes with Tomato Chutney - as always, a crowd pleaser! 
3. Chicken & Pea 'Sticky' Biryani w/ Cumin Yogurt - In favor of [always] experimenting, I served the yogurt in little glasses on the side. Oh, and I stuck a coriander stalk in each biryani to make it look like a little bonzai pot. How fun & adorable! 
4. Indian Trifle Parfait - with luscious layers of sponge cake soaked in milk, raspberry jam and a personal favorite, chocolate custard! Remember what I always say about chocolate? It's a miracle waiting to happen in your mouth.

A lunch should always be this special. Specially if it welcomes the weekend.

Come join me in my next culinary adventure. You will leave fascinated, full and with a range of new ideas you never thought you needed!

Hello Sweden! A Night of Transformations & Tapas

"Down from Sweden
Picturesque & green,
To the jungle that's NYC
With skyscrapers mean.
Marvels & buildings
That beg to be seen,
Tours & studies
From Brooklyn to Queens.
Amidst the work
There were treats in mind,
A tingle of taste buds
Seeking that unique find.
So in quest of adventure
For fun, food & wine,
This great group of Swedes
Stopped by 29..."
A team from the biggest Swedish architectural firm in NYC? A study themed on "Transformation" in the boroughs? Well, 29. just had to have a peek. I'm quite nosy like that.

Transformation is really the foundation of what I do. So it was an absolute pleasure when a group of 10 visitors wanted to carry that very theme from their tour to their taste buds. What an honor! Not to mention fun.

The night started with a call from the Swedes saying they have gotten off at a wrong subway station. Oh hell, a 20 minute walk in an unknown part of town - not to mention the humidity? Not a great way to start an experience I'd say. But all smiles at the door, they were the most conversational, comfortable, curious, receptive & beer-loving group I have fed. And thankfully they were hungry too.

I greeted them with little shots of spiced buttermilk with celery sticks - a rather cooling treat after the long walk. While they munched on slight variations of mince chicken & potato chaat bites, I started on the menu. With each dish themed around their study and showcasing it's own 'transformation', the night finally went uphill....

1. Curried Eggplant Sliders - my version of the Indian Pav Bhaji made with curried eggplant & a mixed salad for that slight crunch. The warm & soft brioche buns only added to the melt-in-the mouth taste. Yes, there is a slight french fusion here!

2. Tilapia Fishcakes w/ Tomato Chutney - these did a vanishing act. Perhaps it was the combination of tangy chutney with a smooth & spicy fish cutlet that worked the taste buds. Or perhaps the bite sized portions were just too convenient to pop in. All I can say is I will definitely be making these for future events. (Psst, notice how I didn't even manage to get a pic!)
3. Beans & Chicken Biryani w/ Cumin Yogurt - I don't have a recipe for this (yet), simply because it was an experimental (read accidental) discovery. I cooked basmati rice in a chicken version of my Indian Chili and voila! I love yogurt and I believe in adding it to everything - in this case it was the flame fighter for those who needed it. Try cooking your rice/grains in a pre-made (or leftover) Indian curry next time. You will be surprised at the flavors that develop. 

4. Kalakand Truffles w/ Chocolate Ganache & Crushed Nuts - something I have made over and over and over. And always received the same reaction - 'OMG! what is this!'. My proudest showcase of how you can transform any Indian sweet into something low on sugar, lighter on the palate and in a form recognizable to all. And what I can say about chocolate. Chocolate is chocolate. Sneak a spoon of it anytime, anywhere.

Amidst the view and tapas, one of them fell asleep on the couch. Overfed? Bored? Jetlagged? Whatever the reason, I couldn't be happier that they made themselves at home.
[Update] - And they revisited! Read all about the second dinner here.
Check out my upcoming events to plan your own night of Indian Tapas!

29. Navigates NYC : A Tale of 3 Tea & Tapas

Tea time is about introductions, food and conversations. So what better a way to get acquainted to something new, than over a few cuppas?

Today, a few ladies who are new to New York (much like myself) visited the 29. kitchen. Held in collaboration with NYC Navigator, it was a Tea & Tapas Pairing afternoon. What is that you ask? A quirky way to make people have 3 varieties of Indian teas, along with some flavorful (a.k.a slightly spicy) bite sized treats. With questions and curiosity, stories and sharing, wows and wondrous looks, we pretty much talked about everything under the sun. Women.

It was also a great way for me to tell others that Indian tea is not only Masala chai, and Indian food is not only curry. Here is why.

The menu was short and simple, but each pairing had a story.

1. Tangy Corn & Pea Crackers paired with Cardamom Black Milk Tea : We started our afternoon on  the streets of North India. A place where swarms of tired shoppers relax with a cup of 'masala chai' and roadside 'chaat' (street snacks). The combination of sweet milky tea with a crunchy snack is enough to wake the dead, leave alone perk up a dissatisfied spender. Gotta keep boosting the economy I say.
2. Spicy Chicken Mince Cups paired with a chilled Fresh Mint & Clove Tea : Our journey then moved to a sophisticated Indian restaurant that doesn't exist. The spicy chicken mince curry that sat atop crusty bread cups did not need selling. With no signs of leftovers, the cool mint tea was a a fire extinguisher for those weak at the heart of spice- including myself! A refreshing palate cleanser, before the grand finale....
3. Carrot Milk Pudding Truffles paired with Ginger & Date Tea : We then headed towards our last stop. The sweet market. If nothing else makes you happy, this surely will. The warmth of ginger and subtle sweetness from the dates, made this pairing truly candied. And the best part? It's good for you! The combination of dates, ginger and carrots made this course a wholesome one, and while you were licking your fingers clean, your body was smiling back at you. Oh, and the dollop of chocolate on the truffles was my wild card - everyone needs a little treat now & then.
Want to taste this menu? Join me in my next Tea & Tapas Pairing!

Indian Tapas with EatWith

Yesterday, the EatWith team came to visit the 29. Kitchen. 

Celebrating home-chefs and home-cooked meals, EatWith urges you to dine in homes around the world. Much like what I am trying to do with 29. in NYC.  Oh joy! So I just had to have them over.

With a nip in the air welcoming fall, I set out to prepare a unique 4-course menu that showcased a variety of Indian flavors. We started with a Tangy Corn & Peas Chaat (cold) and Chicken Keema Bites (warm). Having a warm and cold starter ensures that there is something for every palate. Lucky for me, the ladies enjoyed both!

Conversations trailed to the smell of Spiced Lentil Quinoa served aside a fresh-off-the-pan garlic sautéed Prawns. Dal is a lovely way to cook this grain, and replace that everyday oh-so-boring rice. With a side of fish, it's a complete meal! Amidst all the laughter, I know they were waiting for seconds., and the look when I got it to them? Precious. I live for such moments. 

We ended the meal with a layered Carrot Halwa Parfait. With mushy carrots slow cooked in milk and sandwiched between crunchy biscuits and coconut flakes, what's there not to love? Did I mention it was topped off with a dollop of maple whipped cream? This was one of my better dessert success stories, and I am dancing all over again for it.

*You can get a taste of this very menu at the next available 29. eventCome in for a bite!

2. Spoons of Chicken Keema Bites
3. Spicy & flavorful Lentil Quinoa Pilaf with Garlic Prawn Skewers (recipe only on EatWith)
4. Shots of sweet Carrot Halwa Parfait

Slow-Baked Chicken & Oats Stew : The One Pot Wonderdish

"Lazy to cook
And stir and fry?
It's time you gave 
This dish a try.
Nutrition in a pot
Bakes while you rest,
It cooks itself
And gives you it's best.
Simplicity in summer
Autumn, winter or fall,
In fact so simple
That it needs no recipe at all!"

Cooking can't get any easier. It just can't.

Incurring a head injury has its benefits. It forced me into creating quick and simple recipes that were nutritious, without compromising the flavors you crave. After all, who wants to eat bland food when unwell! This was a food miracle. Do try it, I promise it will not disappoint.

1 pound chicken breast, cut into cubes (change to meat of choice)
1/2 cup black eyed peas, soaked overnight
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 carrot, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1/2 cup snow peas, halved
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 green chili, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon paprika or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoons whole wheat flour (optional - used to thicken the stock)
1 tablespoons light olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Pre heat the oven to 375 F.

Mix all the ingredients for the stew in a deep baking dish. Cover properly with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before removing the cover.
Dish out and enjoy! 

Castello Moments - A Tale of 3 Cheeses


I'm cheesed. It's been one hell of a satisfying month. 

With the samples I received from Castello Moments, namely the nutty Classic, melting Weissbier and the rich Hirten, I have been making mouth-watering, dream-worthy goodies all month long. My waistline might be complaining, but the head isn't listening. All's fair in food & cheese I say.

From a cheesy twist to the classic Indian dhokla to an everyday Pasta dinner, cheese does make the world a slightly better place to live in. We also had some friends over for a wine and cheese gathering, and made little cheese & vegetable fritter appetizers (recipe to be up soon) to go along. Wine with cheese, and more cheese. How could it go wrong! It was rather hard to share the cheeses I have to admit, but I suppose it had to be done. I also recently met with an accident and was on bed-rest for a week with a head injury. I somehow never thought that the doctor would recommend eating cheese for concussions. Ok, I exaggerate, but I just needed an excuse to keep me going. And a Castello Moments adaptation on these Gougeres did wonders for my recovery! Made me question - Is there anything you can't make with cheese?? I can confidently say, No.

And while the 29. kitchen has been bubbling with melting moments, my fellow bloggers have had their own share of fun and experimentation. Click on the links below for some exciting recipes, cheesy substitutions, intriguing ideas, random musings and more.

And while you read, don't forget to make yourself that perfect Castello Moments grilled cheese to go along...
  1. Potato Gratin from Lemon-Sugar
  2. Savory Cheese Crackers from An Edible Mosaic
  3. Cheese Tasting & Pairing from Girli Chef
  4. Spinach & Cheese Bake from The Village Cook
  5. Cheese Inspiration & Recipes from Taste Food Blog
  6. Cauliflower-Au-Gratin from Foodie Fiasco
  7. Cheese Cookies from Funand Food Cafe
  8. Three Cheese Flatbread from Itsybitsy Foodies
  9. German Picnic Salad from Daring Gourmet
  10. Roasted Sausages & Summer Veg with Garden Fresh Pesto from My Humble Kitchen
  11. Wine & Cheese Pairing 101 from The Roasted Root
  12. Four Creative Crostinis from Shared Appetite
  13. Cheese Ice Cream and a Cheesfest from The Colors of Indian Cooking
  14. Cheesy Grits, Shrimp Tacos w/ Classic Castello and Tomato Crostini from 30a Eats
  15. Cheese Platter Perfection from Cooking with the Books
  16. Lemon Artichoke Pesto Pasta from Anecdotes And Apples
  17. Chive Chili Cheese Souffle from Camille
  18. Brocolli & Red Onion Quesadillas from Cooking Westchester
  19. Paignets from From Brazil to You
  20. Cheese Souffle from Home Made Delish
  21. Alpine Pizza from Fritos and Foie Gras
  22. The Gooey Affair from The B Critic
  23. Gougeres from Blogging Over Thyme
  24. Beer Cheese Pairing from Kitchenette Blog
  25. Braised Short Rib French Onion Soup from Sea Weed & Sassafras
  26. Cheese & Caramelized Onion Biscuits from Chef Karolina
  27. Wine Tasting, Toas-tite Grilled Cheese, Chicken Couscous and Truffle Mac&Cheese from Where and What in the World
  28. Roasted Garlic Beer & Cheese Dip from Lizzy Pancakes

Win a Private Cheese Tasting in your own home - enter by clicking on the banner below. Castello Moments and this post is a collaboration between the blogger and Arla Foods USA. 
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Easy Meatball & Vino Pasta Bake

"One of those days
When my mind is blank,
I can’t think or write
Hey! at least I'm being frank!
The recipe is all I have
To convey the flavor today,
You’ll just have to try it
And do as I say..
Melted to perfection
Disappoint this will not,
Layered pasta surprise,
A.k.a magic in a pot.”

Ever had one of those days when you wish you could throw everything in a pot and it cooked by itself? Today was just that. I wanted to make a quick, flavorful dinner that was simple, tasty and yet had a slight sophistication to it. And what speaks sophistication better than wine. I used a basic white wine pasta recipe, threw in some veggies (always!) and added a quick bake in the end - for that warm gooey goodness that sinks till the last bite. God bless whoever invented the oven!

Sadly, it finished before I could take my post-bake-finished-dish pic. Perhaps, that says it all.

2 cups short tube or shell pasta, par boiled
½ red onion, sliced lengthwise
8 frozen chicken meatballs, sliced (you could also make fresh like these, replace with beef/pork etc)
½ red pepper, diced
½ cup brocolli florets
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ cup chicken stock
½ cup white wine (any kind that you like to drink - I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (lots more if you like it hot!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup grated cheese – I used Castello Weissbier since I had it in stock but typical cheeses like gruyere, cheddar or gouda would work well too.
Some fresh coriander/basil, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add onions and garlic, and sauté till onion begins to turn translucent. Add the red pepper and broccoli and sauté for a quick minute till the broccoli turns dark green. Pour in the wine and let it simmer for a minute. Now add the chicken stock and dry spices. Let the sauce simmer till it becomes slightly thick and then stir in the pasta. Mix well and cook covered till the pasta is al dente. Once done, uncover and turn heat to high so any excess liquid gets absorbed. Leave a little moisture as we are also going to bake the dish and you don’t want it to turn too dry.
Transfer the pasta to a baking dish. Top with half the sliced meatballs, followed by grated cheese and then the remaining meatballs. Sprinkle some fresh coriander/basil on top and bake at 375 F till the cheese has melted and begins to bubble. Turn oven to broil and let the cheese brown for 30 seconds.
Remove from the oven and dig in.... A relatively quick and mouth watering weekday dinner.
[Tip: Bake in individual ramekins to create an appetizer size portion!]