Street Treat : Bun Omelette

Bun Omelette, true to it's name, is a soft bread roll smothered in butter and stuffed with the most delicious, spicy, omelette ever. It's a common street food in Northern India (although not the most hygienic!) and was a sporadic late night treat for us when my brother & I were home for the holidays from boarding school.

Read More

Goodbye 2014 : A Food Photo Essay

It's the 29th! What better a date than this to recap the 29. endeavors in 2014.

2014 was a special year for me.  I completed my first full year as a chef. Yay! Swapping careers took a while, and despite the many times when I questioned the decision, I am happy to report that I am indeed exhilarated. This year was about growth, learning, accomplishments, partnerships and tiny milestones that mean a lot, yet keep me humble. The only drawback of being your own boss is that there is no team to throw a holiday party with! But I'd like to believe that I'm in part celebrating with hundreds of new friends I made in 2014. Wherever in the world they might be. (Are you listening folks?)

Read More

Apple, Cardamom & Mascarpone Doughnut Holes

Apple Doughnut Holes4

“Like gulab jamuns, only not,

Like doughnut holes, not store bought.

A warm bite, with a dollop of cream

Life seems perfect, and not a wild dream.

Pop one in, before it rolls away

Drizzle with honey, on a warm Saturday.

Make them once, share a few

A recipe old, in avatar new..”

When life gives you Mascarpone, Tiramisu [however delicious!], is not all you need to make.

Staring at a bag of apples, a tub of mascarpone and a cupboard full of spices, I got thinking - spiced doughnuts! The only thing I did not want to use was cinnamon, since apple-cinnamon combo is such an overkill. So I went with cardamom - a favorite in every Indian pantry. Out popped these airy bite-sized donuts, with a warm crisp exterior, not too sweet, and subtle flavors of cardamom & apple. Almost like Kheer in a disguise. Mmmm...

The recipe is a keeper as you can make it with different flavors and serve with a variety of sprinkles & syrups to make it seasonal/suite the palate. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they're so darn easy to make!

Apple Doughnut Holes3

Ingredients

2 eggs, lightly beaten

4 oz mascarpone, at room temperature

1 red apple, grated

4 green cardamoms, crushed

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted

1 tsp vanilla essence

1.5 tsp baking powder

¼ cup brown sugar

Coconut flakes/powdered sugar for sprinkling [optional]

1 teaspoon olive oil + Canola oil for deep frying

Apple Doughnut Holes5

Heat a non-stick pan and add 1 teaspoon olive oil along with the apples, sugar and cardamom. Cook on medium-high flame till most of the liquid has evaporated, and the apples turn brown and pasty – about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Discard the cardamom skin.

Soften the mascarpone by mixing it slowly so it resembles whipped cream. Stir in the apple mixture and fold. Do not mix vigorously or over mix as the mascarpone might curdle. Mix enough just to combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours to let the cardamom infuse.

In a bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Add the egg, essence and cardamom infused apple mascarpone prepared earlier. Mix until just combined. The batter will be quite thick & sticky, but don’t worry, that’s just how it’s supposed to be!

Heat oil for frying in a deep bottomed pan. Using a mini ice cream scoop, drop scoops of batter into the oil, and turn occasionally. Remove when golden brown. Drain on kitchen towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar or coconut flakes. Enjoy with a dollop of cream, chocolate syrup [yum!], jam or your favorite caramel!

Apple Doughnut Holes6

Apple Doughnut Holes2

The 29. PopUp in Pics

"On the nineteenth day of June, we played it chic

In a space downtown, neat & slick

The table was laid, candles lit

Smiles were in, and frowns didn't fit

People twelve, came for 29.

Foodies at heart, and souls so fine,

They talked & laughed, over courses five

Left happy, with a little bag of spice

The night that started 2 months ago

Ended with pride, and much more

And after all the gratitude & love

All I want now, is to "pop" my feet up!"

DSC_0017

The first of 29.'s PopUp dinners was a huge success! 12 people, 5 courses, and an experience that you can't put a number on.

The preps were grueling (specially for a single pair of hands!)

photo 2

photo 3

But the outcome? Well worth it all...

DSC_0033

DSC_0020

DSC_0013

DSC_0012

DSC_0007

DSC_0005

DSC_0003

DSC_0001

I did some rummaging around NYC for fresh off-the-tree (literally) berries & flowers, and I think the love showed on the plates! The food, bearing the usual 29. style, was well received by all the hungry guests. Phew...

DSC_0014

fishcakes

DSC_0031

DSC_0030 DSC_0027

DSC_0024

Thank you to all who came, trusted me with their meal, and left with a smile that made me believe in myself just a little bit more. Here's to much more PopUp fun in the days to come!

Looking for a unique way to celebrate that special occasion? 29. can arrange a private PopUp dinner in lower manhattan for a group of 8-12 pax. Contact me today for details!

Mini Curried Egg Tacos

Egg Tacos8

"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!

Egg Tacos4

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!

Egg Tacos7

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!

Ingredients

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.

Food21

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!

Egg Tacos5

Egg Tacos9

Egg Tacos6

 

Apple Coconut Kheer (Pudding)

Apple Kheer6“Peeking from the leaves, looking as red as love,

They tempt me to be evil, and reach out to pluck.

Juicy & luscious, in my arms they lie,

Some I eat, some I save, for that oh-so-scrumptious pie!

But as I to my kitchen go, in pursuit of a treat mid-day,

I yearn to be creative, with my friends on the tray.

So I roll up my sleeves, and bring you this sweet,

That is just as much magic, as an apple on a tree…”

Ingredients

2 red apples, washed and grated

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

½ cup whole milk (optional)

½ cup water

1 teaspoon vegetable/coconut oil

1 teaspoon palm sugar, jaggery (shakkar/gud) or maple syrup (adjust to taste)

Apple Kheer1

Apple Kheer4

Heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan and add the grated apples. Cook stirring continuously till the apples become softer and most of the moisture has evaporated. Add the sweetener and cook for another 4-5 minutes till the sugar melts and apples soften further. They should start to get soft & pasty, almost like stewed apples. Now add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook till the coconut milk has halved, and the apples are completely cooked. Now add the whole milk [optional] & water, and continue to cook on medium-low flame to bring to a second simmer. Let the mixture cook till it begins to thicken. Remove from heat, pour into serving dishes and chill for 1-2 hours. Sprinkle with cinnamon (or nuts) & serve chilled.

A gluten-free, sugar-free sweet treat that will make you wanting more!

Apple Kheer2

Notes:

Cook the apples only in coconut milk & water for a delicious vegan/paleo version!

Apples naturally contain a fair bit of sugar, so add less sweetener in the beginning, and adjust to your liking towards the end.

Apple Kheer5

Life in Little Bites : Food Photos

"Plates of bites savory, and those with spice

An echo of claps, or a room of smiles

Thank you notes, praises & song

Meeting strangers, bringing a friend along 

Birthdays and reunions, food for thought

This is my life, the one I always sought..."

Dinner1803

Working in the Investment Banking world was tiring. But only till the day I decided to swap it for a frying pan.

Running your own business, specially one related to food, is not child's play. From a multi-person corporate support system, you're suddenly down to being your own admin, sales, technician, social media specialist, event organizer, caterer and... dish washer. Hours of standing, less than plump pay checks, no public holidays and always having to smell of food are truly balanced by the little things my guests do. They don't know it, but every tiny gesture goes a hellafa long way. That request for a signed menu, laughing at my attempted jokes, an almost standing ovation, a flattering blog post or a simple gratifying smile - these are the things that make me do what I do. These are the things that make being a chef worthwhile!

And if it isn't already fun enough, along comes the visiting best friend who happens to also be a brilliant photographer. In a month that is swamped with dinners & events, I could think of no better way to show my love, than to make her work a little ;). Below is proof of the stunning genius that she is, a master of capturing every tasty moment! Oh, and she also makes a remarkable sous chef! Do give Gayatri Nair Photography a look, and for those about to get married, you should know that you need her there for your special day.

Some people call my work face serious. I call it focus for deliciousness. Happy Thursday!

Check out some recent reviews of my dining experiences via Sanura Weathers on her award winning blog: My Life Runs on Food & Ohneka Farm's most talented blogger: Navriti SoodContact Me to setup a private tasting or visit Events for upcoming dinners in NYC.

[Follow all the scrumptiousness on FaceBook, Twitter & Instagram]

_WBG3880 _WBG3981

_WBG3961

_WBG4401

_WBG4409

_WBG3904

_WBG3987

_WBG4404

_WBG4006

_WBG4005

_WBG3990

_WBG4420

_WBG4433

_WBG4438

_WBG4423

_WBG4487

_WBG4474

_WBG3934

_WBG4062