Watermelon & Cucumber Chaat (Salad)

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"I know I know, summer is over, but can't we celebrate anyway?

Slurp, crunch, savor, the red we love all May...

Spiced like the streets, on a scorching Indian afternoon

It's like those childhood treats, during holidays in June

July has come & gone, and Autumn is taking over the sun

So we'll hold on to the warmth, in this little glass of yum.."

Ingredients

1/2 watermelon, cut into cubes or rounds (using a melon baller)

2 large cucumbers, de-seeded, peeled and cut into 1inch pieces

Juice from 1 lemon

Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped (the more the better!)

12-15 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon black/rock salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika or chili powder

1/4 teaspoon dry mango powder

1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder

Salt to taste

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Mix the watermelon, cucumber, coriander & mint and chill for 30 mins. When ready to serve, toss with lemon juice and spices.  Eat fresh. A quick, simple, super healthy spiced fruit salad that will change the way you see watermelon!

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Roasted Carrot Salad

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"Fall is warm, fall has a chill

It's sometimes green, with an orange frill,

With pumpkins & carrots, everywhere

Halloween, and scary faces that stare,

It's comfort, before winter sets

The last of picnics, on a grassy bed,

But what remains, is the food affair

So lets celebrate, like we don't care!"

Fall is orange. And lovely. But the cool evening breeze reminds me that winter is approaching, and makes me crave all things warm. Not hot, just warm. This salad, with the sweetness & warmth of fresh roasted carrots and a drizzle of chilled yogurt is my perfect fall dinner (or snack if you may!). The combination of warm with a cool is like the weather itself. And the flavors, ah the flavors were a match meant to be eaten. Trust you me, and give it a try. What've you got to lose (other than a plateful of carrots I suppose!?)

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Ingredients

For the dressing

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup mint leaves

Few stalks of coriander

1 small clove of garlic

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/4 teaspoon paprika or red chili powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

For the Salad

1 bunch of carrots, cleaned and sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 stalks of spring onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon chat masala [indian mixed spice]

2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Salt to taste

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Make the Dressing

Mix all ingredients for the dressing, except the yogurt, with 1/4 cup water and blend in a mixer. Add the oil, a tablespoon at a time, and blend till you get a smooth-ish chutney. A few chunks are ok! Meanwhile whip the yogurt till smooth and creamy. Add the chutney with the yogurt, a few teaspoons at a time, till you have a light green color. Adjust salt & refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

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Roast the carrots

Heat oil in a flat non-stick pan. Once hot, add cumin powder and mix for a few seconds. Stir in the carrots and turn heat to high. Let the carrot brown on the underside, and then give them a quick toss. Finally add salt, chat masala and spring onions, mix and remove from heat. Cool slightly.

Serve the warm roasted carrots with chilled yogurt dressing & a sprinkle of fresh coriander.

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Fresh Peach Rasam

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“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!”

 

Ingredients

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

 

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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.

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Dinner Under The Bridges - A PopUp Picnic

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"It's September! see what a season brings, a cooling breeze, and your heart does sing

Changes to the plate, and that sullen mood, it's time to reconnect with your food

Take a gamble, give a new cuisine a try, perhaps a spiced fritter in lieu of that french fry?

Whatever you dare, it'll be oh-so neat, for there will be new storytellers you'll meet

There is magic on a table that shares, moments of unparalleled freedom from worldly cares

So eat, smile, give a compliment or two...nothing like happiness from a taste new!

When you're done, take a look around, count the new friends you just found

Wasn't this as simple as just being you? and that my friends, is a dining experience true!"

You know those weeks when you wake up everyday and something seems to go wrong? This, is definitely NOT it. This week I feel elated, accomplished and pretty exhausted. Go on, ask me why.

On Wednesday, in a collaboration with Komeeda NYC, I hosted a popup picnic dinner under the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges. The setting was perfect, the wind was on our side, the sunset gleaned brighter than usual and along with my wonderful co-host, the guests were just the kind of bunch you want to spend a random NYC Wednesday evening with. In short, it was magical. And I was so glad to be a part of creating it all.

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In a true 29. style, the meal consisted of a 5-course indian inspired menu. The guests were welcomed with mini spicy rice frittata bites smothered in mint yogurt and curried eggplant toasties. Not a bad way to begin eh? While they said their hellos, got to know each other, and prepared for the surprise that awaited, we lit some candles, spread out the cushions and worked our way to the highlight of the day - the dinner.

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As the sun set over the Brooklyn & Manhattan bridges, our popup came to life. The courses, seasonal, balanced and apparently scrumptious (duh!), started with a raw Chilled Green Grape Soup with with mint, ginger & spices. A roasted Chickpea Chaat in a tangy tamarind vinaigrette colored the plates next. Then came the Fishcake Sliders - my personal favorite - and complementing it was a little game to keep our guests in the spirit (and occupied while I plated the next course!). The fourth and final savory course was a trio of Turmeric Pilaf, Masala Chicken & Spiced Lentil Broth. I had to respect the carrot season so the dessert was one of my regulars, Carrot Halwa drizzled with gooey homemade burnt sugar caramel & coconut dust. (Mmm, I might have some leftovers as I type..)

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Chickpea Chaat (©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com)

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Sliders (©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com)

Pilaf Trio (©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com)

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Needless to say I had fun. And as I leave with you with a more visuals of an event that we would've loved to meet you at, a BIG shout out to all those who came! Especially my collaborator-in-crime and the brain behind Komeeda, Jabber, and our shutter-eye for the evening, Felix, who's photos reflect the very essence of the event! (Check out his photography at Cooperfield Weddings)

Oh, and there is much more where this came from. 'Nuff said. Watch this space!

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©Komeeda

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©Komeeda

 

©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com

Challenge Yourself with Recipe Bingo!

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The 29. Private Kitchen was born out of a love of Indian flavors, yet while the tapas and meals you find in our kitchen will have tastes reminiscent of Northern India, each recipe will be something new entirely. The recipes served by 29. are all products of culinary experiments, and you too can try your hand at creating wonderful flavors with a quick bingo game!

Bingo has often been used to add variety to mundane tasks, with games like Exercise Bingo and Yoga Bingo being created to try and vary set routines. The game itself has also seen many different varieties. While 90 Ball Bingo, which is defined by award-winning bingo portal, Iceland Bingo as “the most famous version of bingo” remains a crowd favorite. North America has a variation called 75 Ball Bingo and even High 5 Bingo, and even these variations have different themes as well. We’ve seen games like Bridal Shower Bingo come to life, and a modification of the classic bingo game can also help you with your forays in the kitchen.

Enough said! Let's begin. Create a list of five items for each key element of an Indian meal : Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent, Astringent – that is, make a list of five items that fall under each category. Sweet can include onions and chick peas – staples of Indian cuisine; Sour can have tomatoes and lemons; Salty doesn’t just have to be salt – you could use soy sauce or dried fish; Bitter, the freshness of your favorite herbs; Pungent, ginger and garlic and other similar vegetables, or chili peppers; and Astringent: turmeric, apples, lentils, and even tofu.

Once you’ve assembled this list, you can then move on to creating a bingo card. You can do this by hand, or with the help of any bingo card generator you find online. List down the items in a row, label each item 1-5, and once you’re ready to play, roll a die for each category. The number you roll corresponds to the ingredient you need to use to represent the element in the dish you’re creating. At the end of the game, you should have six items that will play key parts in your culinary experiment. See what kind of dishes you can make from these ingredients! You’d be surprised how easily inspiration comes to those who are willing to take a few risks.

Now wasn't that fun? Post your recipe combinations in the comments!

Summer Story - A Photo Essay

Every summer has a story. Mine is soaked in spice, color & laughter.

Yes, it may not be over, but the end of warm months is nigh. And before I go on holiday, I want to leave you with glimpses of some of my past dinners. The flowers, berries, sunny days and sweet compliments sure inspired me to roll out one event after another. And with that came many a new dish. Some good, some amazing and those that just got by. But each plate was a learning experience.

"It starts with the lists, grueling with many a slip...

The Preparations

The Table

On to the little wins, that welcome the guests as they step in...

Chickpea Profitrolls

Colorful Fryums

Brussels Slaw w/ Sour Cherry Raita

I might be the host of the night, but it's the food that steals the show at every bite

Masala Fish w/ Bean Puree & Carrot Slaw

Spicy Chicken w/ Fenugreek Flatbread

Beet Salad w/ Cinnamon Plum Compote

And sometimes I am caught in a moment deep, or a note that makes me weep! 

At work

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And when the sweet does come into sight, you gotta see the guest's plight!

Ginger Chai Custard + Banana Pops

Chocolate Chai Pot De Creme

Hopeful, happy or just hungry, whatever your emotional yearning may be

Don't wait for a friend or two, come join my table already will you!"

Chilled Raw Cucumber Soup

“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..”

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Ingredients

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

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Method

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.

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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.

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Notes:

- 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!

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Wheat Gnocchi in Spicy Coconut Tomato Sauce

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“I said it before, but I say it again,

Rolling up some Gnocchi, will never go in vain.

Freeze for later, or finish it right away,

A weeknight dinner, that’ll make you stay.

Little pillows of comfort, that flavor take well,

A mild warm curry, or hot sauce from hell!

Floating to the top, I awe at the sight,

A meal you didn’t need, till you had the first bite..”

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[Adapted slightly from this recipe]

Ingredients

1 cup wholewheat gnocchi

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut (fresh or dried)

1 dry red chili, broken in half

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, crushed

1 small green chili, finely chopped

1 plum tomato, diced

1 tablespoon dry coriander powder

3/4 teaspoon cumin powder

¼ cup whole milk

2 tablespoons heavy cream (you can substitute the milk+cream with ¼ cup thick coconut milk)

4-5 tablespoons light olive oil

5-6 fresh mint leaves, roughly torn

Salt to taste

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Cook the gnocchi, drain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet and add the mustard seeds & bay leaf. Once the seeds begin to splutter, add the garlic, ginger, dry red chili, green chili and coconut. Cook for a minute or two and then stir in the tomato, along with all the dry spices. Mix well, cover and cook on medium flame till the tomatoes are tender and the oil begins to separate. Slowly add the milk and cream and mix well. Finally add the gnocchi and cover for a few minutes. Turn heat to high and braise for another quick minute. Sprinkle with chopped mint and serve hot.

 A warm comfort meal inspired by South Indian flavors.

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Sausage & Green Lentil Curry

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“Green lentils with a kick

Taste-worthy of every lick

A stew for the cold

For the mighty & bold

Herbed & spiced

With vegetables diced

With crusty ol’ bread

For a yummy dinner spread!”

Ingredients

1 cup green lentils, boiled [don’t drain the liquid]

2 Italian chicken sausages, casing removed and crumbled/finely chopped

1 small red onion, sliced lengthwise

2 plum tomatoes, diced

½ cup carrots, diced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small green chili, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 dried red chili, broken in half

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons light olive oil

A small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Salt to taste

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Method

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf & dried chili and cook for a minute. Add garlic, ginger, fresh green chili and cook till the garlic begins to brown. Stir in the onions along with a little salt. Cook till they turn translucent. Now add the tomatoes, along with remaining dry spices. Cook covered on a medium-low flame till the tomatoes are tender and oil begins to separate. Crush any big tomato chunks and add the sausage & carrots. Sauté till the chicken is fully cooked and then add lentils, ½ cup water & fresh coriander.  Cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with a dash of cream / yogurt & warm crusty bread. Healthy, wholesome & absolutely delish!

Try this, and other scrumptious dishes at my upcoming dining experiences!

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Peach & Rum Trifle

"Through my recipes and words,  I'll relive my mum,

She who taught me to cook, and make it a chore fun.

As she sifted, measured & baked, raising an eyebrow to me

'Would you a spoon a dollop, and lick the batter to see?'

Hell yes, the best part of being sous chef it was!

Life in the kitchen, she said, is a life without laws...

So today, as I remember her smiles, frowns & rage

Wishing she was here, to taste my batter for a change!

I whip up a colorful treat, for mums everywhere, 

Those that are, will be, or love one who endlessly shares.."

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My mother was very particular about her tools.

From the day she enrolled in a baking class, to the day she lived, she owned just one hand mixer, blender, cookie pan, measuring cups & spoons, food weighing scale, sewing machine.....etc. She insisted that if you took care of things, no matter how expensive or cheap, they will last you a lifetime - however long or short that might be. So, amongst other things, I inherited her mixer. A lovely Moulinex, that, in those days, was considered rather fancy.

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It was rare to travel out of India when she was growing up. So, when my aunt was returning from Algeria, she jumped on the chance to ask her for a 'dough maker'. For making 'chapati' dough I suppose! But my aunt, having never heard of such a thing, got her this instead. Just as well, for she used to whip the batter by hand till that day!

I remember using it for our chocolate cake sessions during the school holidays, and was quite disappointed that it won't work in the US. But lo and behold, it did. Life sure has funny ways to make you happy.

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One of her favorite desserts was a Trifle - a cake dessert that [i think!] was inspired by the British rule in India. She told the neighbors about it, scribbled varying versions of it in her cooking notes, took it for pot lucks and served it at plenty a gathering. And when I got a bit older, she would ask me to help as she assembled it, and later tell everyone that I had made dessert that day..... Talk about pride.

So this mothers day, I could think of nothing more than to whip up a version her beloved treat. Using her special tool ofcourse! The mini trifles are soft & boozy bundles of sponge cake slathered with layers of custard, cream & sweet rum caramelized peaches.

The bites makes you happy, and the rum makes the happiness linger. Magic or love? You decide.

Ingredients

1 medium round sponge cake [I used this easy recipe but you can buy one off a bakery as well]

12 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon dark rum

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons maple syrup

6-8 fresh ripe peaches, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup warm milk

For the custard [ I like making it from scratch, but you can use a custard mix as well]

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

5 green cardamoms, crushed

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

A pinch of salt

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To make the custard, mix the milk, cream & crushed cardamoms, and bring to a simmer. Make a paste with a teaspoon of the warm milk mixture, corn starch & salt. Slowly add the corn starch paste to the simmering milk, stirring continuously, till the milk begins to thicken. Let it bubble for few seconds and then remove from heat. Discard the cardamom skin, and stir in sugar and vanilla essence. Keep aside to cool.

Beat the cream with maple syrup till soft peaks form. Refrigerate.

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Put the peach slices, along with a teaspoon of brown sugar, in a non stick pan on high heat. As the sugar begins to caramelize, add 1 tablespoon of rum and give it a quick toss. Remove from heat and cool.

Cut out 2 inch rounds from the sponge cake and slice each round in half. Layer one half at the bottom of your serving dish. Soak it in some warm milk & a teaspoon of rum, and press it down slightly. Put a dollop of custard, followed by a dollop of whipped cream, and then a slice of the caramelized peach. Top with the other half of the cake and repeat the layers. Do this with all the rounds from the cake.

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Oh and don't throw away the remaining corners & crumbles from the cake! Make extra portions with those. Just use broken up cake instead of rounds and do the same exact thing.

This dessert tastes great after 24 hours, and even better after 48! Trust me, it's worth the patience.

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Baked Eggplant Fries

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“Eggplant, what can I say

You’re my hero true,

I put you in pasta

Or curry for two.

You are filled with iron

And that I like,

You char & sizzle

And soak up spice!

Now you’ve taken on fries

In an avatar new,

I’m not a stalker

But I’m so in love with you!”

Ingredients

1 small eggplant, washed and cut into strips

2 tablespoons gram flour (besan)

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchoor)

2 teaspoons chat masala (Indian mixed spice)

5 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon light olive oil

Salt to taste

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Toss the eggplant with all the dry ingredients [except the chat masala] and 5 tablespoons of olive oil, till the pieces are evenly covered with flour. Line on a baking tray and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil evenly across. Bake in a 400 F pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, turning once in between. The pieces will turn brown and crisp on the outside, but will remain slightly soft on the inside. Cool slightly [will crisp up more] and eat it all up with some Sriracha or garlic aioli. Quite yummy!

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Hosting Tips & A Photo Essay

With spring in full bloom, it's time to dust off the cobwebs from that pile of party invites.

Whether you are a pro-host, or one who struggles with putting out an appetizer table, these simple tips will help you make your night just a tad fancier.

Also check out my latest recipes for inspiration, some upcoming supperclub meals and my very first PopUp dinner in NYC this June! And if you can't be bothered entertaining, but love a feast, contact me & join my table instead. It's always dressed to host you!

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1. Spring is all about color. Not only should your dishes be dressed up with fresh produce, even the table deserves a little love. Use old wine bottles to create DIY vases that look oh-so-adorable with a swig of flowers!

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2. Be creative. Use wine tumblers to serve entrees like rice based dishes. Why you ask? Well, why not! Isn't it simply beautiful?

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3. Mix & match ingredients. Play around with food - sometimes the strangest of combinations create the most mind blowing bite. The jar of olives in your cupboard, the almost-stale bread, the endless bunch of kale ....are not quite as unworthy as you think. This dish - a spicy chicken dumpling served atop a creamy curried cauliflower puree was an absolute hit at my dinner!

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4. Get people in the mood. The only thing worse than bad food at a party, are bored guests. Get the happiness started with little shots that help break the ice and get the conversations flowing. Trust me, it'll work.

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5. Something fresh. Salads - an element that most Indian meals are devoid of. Add an individual sized  seasonal salad, like this squash & cucumber 'spaghetti' w/ pickled radish & cilantro lime dressing, to your buffet table. Not only is it uber simple to put together, but it will also add a vibrant crunch to your meal. Oh, and chill your dishes before serving - it will keep the crunch that much longer!

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6. A Giveaway. Who doesn't love a little competition. Incorporate an easy game into the evening, with a winning gift of something edible, something handmade or something you prize - like a cookbook. Not only does it encourage interaction, it shows you off as the power host you now are...

Maple, Yogurt & Olive Oil Cake

Maple Yogurt Pound Cake2“Have it at tea

Or with a dollop of cream,

Grey will turn to blue

And winter to spring serene.

Happiness will return

With a mouthful of cake,

There is no place like home

For this magical bake.

So roll up your sleeves

And get covered in flour,

Soft, moist, gently sweet

It’ll be gone in an hour!”

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Adapted from a Food52 recipe

Ingredients

¾ cup grade A dark amber maple syrup

¾ cups non fat yogurt

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla creamer (or vanilla essence)

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

½ cup light olive oil

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Pre heat the oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs slightly and combine with the syrup, yogurt and creamer. Stir till the mixture is smooth. Mix the flour, salt & baking powder separately and add to the wet ingredients. Stir till just combined. Finally add the oil and fold with soft movements till the oil is fully incorporated in the batter (there should be none floating on top).

Pour into a greased bread or cake pan and bake in the centre rack for 45-50 mins. The edges will turn brown and crisp, and a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean. Cool slightly and cut into pieces. Enjoy warm with a cup of cardamom chai. Delish!

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Kale & Farro Fried Rice

Kale & Farro Fried Rice2“Farro is nutty

Farro loves spice,

It is my solution

To something other than rice.

Cooks in minutes

And blends in well,

Be it soup or curry

Or a bake so swell.

With a grainy bite

And a fragrance mellow,

I now turn everything

Into a version A-la-farro…”

Kale & Farro Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 cup Farro, cooked as per instructions on the packet [can be substituted with barley or brown rice]

2 cups kale leaves, roughly shredded

8-10 snow peas, halved

1 small red onion, sliced lengthwise

4 cloves of garlic, diced

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

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Heat sesame and olive oil in a non-stick pan. Keeping the heat to high, add the ginger, garlic and onions and sauté till the onions just turn transparent. Stir in the snow peas, farro and sauces and stir continuously till the farro is coated with the oil & sauces. Lastly add the kale, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper and continue to cook till the leaves just start to wilt – a quick couple of minutes. Remove from heat & serve hot. A quick, healthier alternative to fried rice packed with flavor and nutrients.

Notes:

  • Add your choice of vegetables like red/green peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, asparagus etc. Leafy vegetables should be added with the kale, but hardier ones can go in with the farro.
  • To include meat, simple add it before the farro, cook till tender, and then continue with the recipe.
  • Add a few dashes of hot sauce if you cannot eat a meal without a kick.
  • Love eggs? Fry one for the top!

Okra Lentil Curry

Okra Dal3“Make a pledge, starting today,

To add a vegetable, to your lentils everyday.

Wholesome & tasty, it adds something new,

Without complicating, your daily stew.

Experiment to taste, peppers red or leaves green,

Chop em all up, so they can’t be seen.

I know you’ll love it, get ready to be surprised,

And worst case? just eat it with french fries!”

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Ingredients

¾ cup yellow lentils (toor dal), soaked for 1 hour in warm water

1 plum tomato, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, crushed

1 small red onion, diced

1 cup okra, cut into 1 inch pieces

5-6 stalks of fresh coriander, stems removed and roughly chopped

1 dried red chili

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon cumin powder

2 teaspoons coriander powder

½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchoor)

¾ teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ teaspoon red chili powder (more if you want it spicy)

A pinch of asafetida (hing powder)

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

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Heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds and wait for them to start spluttering. Add the garlic & ginger and sauté for a minute. Mix in the onions and cook till they turn translucent – a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, along with all the dry spices. Mix well, cover and cook on medium-low flame till tomatoes are soft & tender. Crush them well with a spatula and then add in the okra. Stir for a few minutes and stir in the lentils [you do not need to drain them]. Mix well and add approximately 4 cups of water. Turn heat to medium-high till the mixture comes to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer for about 45 minutes-1 hour, till the lentils are soft and fully cooked [the time does depend on the quality of lentils and the hardness of water]. Continue to cook for 5-6 extra minutes till the consistency is thick and creamy. Sprinkle fresh coriander, remove from heat and serve hot with rotis, rice or bread.

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