Spicy Breakfast Muffins

"I want muffins, and I want them now,

Sweet, savory or spicy, i'll devour them any how!

A cold winter storm, and baked so fresh

Melted cheese and butter, and soft soft flesh

A bite or two, and boy I was hooked

Never did I ever, for spicy muffins look!

Now breakfast is served, and lunch & dinner

I think my friends, we have a baked winner!"

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Herbs Dal (Lentil Curry)

"Herbs" Dal meant nothing to me till a few months ago, when I made a simple spinach lentil curry and my husband says "Oh, this reminds me of our Herbs Dal". Being of South African Indian origin, my husband's foodie language is sometimes just as confusing as their mixed culture, so I decided to dig deeper. I discovered that Indians households in SA make a version of spinach lentils with a bunch of mixed greens & sour leaves. I couldn't exactly find all the 'herbs' they used, so decided to make my version with a few favourite seasonal greens.

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Raw Grape and Ginger Soup

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"Grapes are a favorite, and not only as wine,

I love them as a snack, natural & fine

Sweet as Fall, they create a soup swell

Raw, vegan, glutenfree, and sugar-free as well!

Just blend it all up, with spices favorite few

Leave it to chill, and there's a recipe new

Not complicated, doesn't take all your time free

Delicious & easy, as easy as cooking can be!"

 

Ingredients

1 pound seedless green grapes

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

6-8 fresh mint leaves

1/4 teaspoon paprika/chili powder (adjust to taste)

1/4 teaspoon black salt/rock salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pinch of salt

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Wash the grapes and remove from stem. Put in a blender along with ginger, lemon juice & mint. Blend till smooth. Stir in all the dry spices (adjust seasoning to taste) and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Serve chilled.

Yes, that's it!

A refreshing, raw and uber healthy soup to accompany your fall table.

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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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Sliders

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

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…”

 

Ingredients

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

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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.

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Spicy Corn Salad (Chaat)

“I walked streets

Of vendors full,

Frying & tossing

Aromas that pull..

A quick squeeze

For a perfected snack,

Spice, masalas & lemon

No flavors lack!

Chaat for family

Or when you’re lone,

A delicious memory

Re-created at home..”

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Ingredients

2 cups frozen corn kernels

½ red pepper, finely chopped

½ green pepper, finely chopped

1 green chili, finely chopped (remove seeds if you don’t want it too fiery!)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped

Bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped (leaves & stalks)

2 tablespoons white vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon chat masala (or dry mango powder)

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon light olive oil

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Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add corn, salt & paprika and roast on high flame for 10-12 minutes, till the corn is tender and all the moisture has been absorbed. Continue to sauté till the corn kernels start turning brown. Remove from heat & cool completely. Once cooled, stir in the green chili, peppers & tomatoes. (make sure you don’t mix the vegetables when the corn is hot, or they’ll wilt & become mushy).

Put the mint, coriander, vinegar, lemon juice in a mortar and pound to make a chunky wet paste.

Once ready to serve, toss the corn in the vinegar mixture. Season with chat masala, cumin and pepper. Adjust salt & serve fresh.

Try this, and other delicious creations, at one of my upcoming dining experiences!

Corn Chaat

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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