Roasted Carrot Salad


"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!?)



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


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.


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.




Roasted Chickpea Salad w/ Tamarind Vinaigrette


"Light & hearty, perfect for fall

Serve as a salad, or simply eat it all

The tang, that replicates flavors of the street

Busy, noisy, with a crowd of Indians at your feet!

An everyday snack, or Chaat as it's popularly known

Oh, for this how many miles I have flown!

Now right at home, I have a healthier clone

Though, I will still jump on a chance to go back home..."


For the Salad

2 cups boiled chickpeas, liquid drained

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1 small red onion. diced

1 green chili, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder

1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

2-3 stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

For the Dressing

2 tablespoons Tamarind chutney (available in all Indian grocery stores)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Bunch of coriander (leaves + stem), finely chopped

1 tablepoon light olive oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

Salt to taste


Make the Dressing - Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors fuse.

Make the Salad - Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the fennel seeds and cook till begin to brown. Stir in the remaining dry spices and roast for a minute. Add the chickpeas, mix well, and cook on medium-high flame till the chickpeas begin to turn crisp - approx 10 minutes. Make sure all the moisture has been absorbed. Turn off heat and cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, add all the chopped vegetables and mix well. Add the dressing, a teaspoon at a time, and mix well. Adjust seasoning and serve fresh.

A sweet & tangy [vegan, glutenfree] salad that compliments the colors of summer and the flavors of fall.

Try this and other delicious 29. creations at our social dining events. Don't like strangers? Simply book a private event!

Raw Grape and Ginger Soup


"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!"



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


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.




Fresh Peach Rasam


“I love biting into a ripe peach

That smells of summer, and the beach,

With juices that trickle down the chin

As I bend over the kitchen sink.

I eat one, then two, then three

And wish I had a peach tree,

I’d then dip them in syrup, bake a pie

Blend into a smoothie, or try in chai

Make chutney, perhaps pickle a few

Brew up this rasam, and serve to you!”



4 ripe peaches - peeled, de-seeded and quartered

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes or paprika

½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder

½ teaspoon dry mango powder

¼ teaspoon black/rock salt

Pinch of salt

Sugar to taste (only if the peaches are not sweet enough)

2-3 mint leaves, roughly torn



Blend the peaches with ½ cup water.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and cook till they begin to splutter. Stir in all the dry spices, mint leaves and peach puree. Bring to a slight simmer & remove from heat immediately. Adjust sugar/seasoning and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.


Dinner Under The Bridges - A PopUp Picnic


"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.



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.


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..)


Chickpea Chaat (©



Sliders (©

Pilaf Trio (©


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!









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

Bean Sliders

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!"

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..”



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


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

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..”

Cucumber Soup2


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

Cucumber Soup4


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.

Cucumber Soup1

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.

Cucumber Soup3


- 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!

Cucumber Soup5


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!"


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...









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...




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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!


For the Tacos [I made my own but you could just use store-bought]

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon carom seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Water to knead

Oil to fry

For the Egg filling

2 large eggs, boiled

1 teaspoon Sriracha

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

Salt & pepper


Make the Tacos

Mix the flour, salt, soda & carom seeds. Add the oil and mix with your fingers till it reaches the consistency of course sand. Add water, little at a time, and work into a smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 mins. Roll out the dough into a thin round and cut out 2-3" circles using a cookie cutter [the size depends on how large you'd like your tacos to be]. Coat with a little oil and line them up on a wire rack [see pic] so as to let them bake in a taco shape. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, till the shape is retained, and then drop into the hot oil for a quick fry. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.


Make the filling

Mash the eggs well with a fork and mix with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning and then add a dollop of the mixture into the taco shells. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

A simple & delicate way to entertain a crowd. The recipe works so well for a canape brunch, or a simple cocktail party!

Egg Tacos5

Egg Tacos9

Egg Tacos6


Baked Eggplant Fries

Eggplant Chips6

“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!”


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

Eggplant Chips2

Eggplant Chips3

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!

Eggplant Chips5

Eggplant Chips1

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!



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!

photo 1

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


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!


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.


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!


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...

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..."


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]

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Quick Recipe: 5-Min Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry

"If you hate these

Little balls of green,
You must must try
This recipe mean.
Quick 5-minutes
Is all you'll waste,
And it'll be worth
The new-found taste!
Your world will change
Thank me you will,
Most people I know have a love-hate relationship with Brussels Sprouts. And I can understand why. These mini cabbages are slightly bitter in taste, and the centre is quite stiff and doesn't cook easily. There was a time I used to dislike them too. But that's the very reason I had to find a way to cook them my liking. A little patience and technique is all it takes to transform them into the most delicious stir fry side! 
Don't believe me? Ask my husband, he is a complete convert.
10-12 Brussels Sprouts, shredded (this is key - shredded cook way better than halved!)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cooked chicken sausage, casing removed and diced (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat oil in a pan. Add the garlic and cook for quick minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients, cover and cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes - this will make the brussels sprouts lose some of their unwanted crunch (not all of it). Remove cover and saute on high heat for a minute till the ingredients brown on the underside and you can smell a heavenly buttery fragrance. That my friends, are your brussels sprouts telling you they've become delicious! Nice & charred. 
Eat with quinoa or as a warm side with a main such as Chicken or Fish. Tastes even better with a dollop of yogurt on top!


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

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!

Fig, Bean & Quinoa Salad

“Sweet & tangy
A marriage of taste,
Put those veggies
Don’t let them go waste,
With a crunch
That does sing along,
Your heart is happy
And creates a song,
A meal in minutes
For the busy few,
Time to skip take-out
And prepare your own menu!”

Ready in minutes, a meal was never this easy. I used some leftover quinoa, chopped in some colorful fresh veggies and added figs and beans only to discover this sweet & tangy salad, that was not only healthy but rather fulfilling!

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons red pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons green pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed and roughly torn
6-8 medium sized dried figs, diced
1 teaspoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
3 tablespoons kidney beans, cooked and drained (use a lentil/bean of your choice)
Juice from ½ an orange
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra light olive oil
2 teaspoons dried peas (or walnuts/almonds) for a crunch
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix the olive oil, orange juice, lemon, salt, pepper, paprika and fresh coriander and let it sit for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator.

In a large bowl, toss all the other ingredients for the salad (except the dried peas/nuts). When ready to serve, drizzle with the dressing and top with the dried peas/nuts. 

Simple, isn't it?!

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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29 Indian Tapas in 29 Days - A Recap

March 1st to 29th were exciting, yet trying days for me. I made a promise to the virtual food blogger world that I will come up with 29 new & original recipes for Indian Tapas in the 29 days that followed the launch of my business

Did I succeed? You tell me! And be kind - I am petrified of failure. 
How did it feel? Apart from aching arms (from the cooking), numb taste buds (from all the tasting) and sore eyes (from all the photo taking & editing), it was quite a ful-'filling' experience. 

For those who missed it, or are lazy to search for the recipes, here is a quick recap. 

29. will be taking a short break for an upcoming event. More recipes to follow after that! Till then, try these and tell me which ones were your favorites? Please comment on this post and let me know!
  1. Mint Chicken Dumplings
  2. Curried Guacamole
  3. Indian Macaroons
  4. Hakka Noodle Petites
  5. Drunken Semolina Cakes
  6. Indian Sushi
  7. Beer Bread Pakora
  8. Peach Gujia Parfait
  9. Rice Cake Bhel Puri
  10. Samosa Cups & Mini Naans
  11. Paneer, Edamame & Carrot Stew
  12. Onion Parantha Cones with Pickled Tomato Chutney
  13. Okra Chips with Yogurt Sriracha Dip
  14. Eggless Caramel Bread Pudding
  15. Brown Rice Kimono Balls
  16. Hot Chocolate Barfee
  17. Shrimp Red Curry Idli Pops 
  18. CousCous & Mint Chicken Tikka Cups
  19. Spinach Corn Deep Dish Pizza Bites
  20. Cucumber Boats
  21. Masala Chai Cookies
  22. Paella-style Spinach Biryani
  23. Farro Dosa with Curried Chicken Salad
  24. White Chocolate-Thandai-Malibu Mini Mudcakes
  25. Chicken & Farro Siu Mai
  26. Mango Phirni on Edible Spoons
  27. Broccoli Pakora (Fritters) Sticks
  28. Masala Gobi (Cauliflower) 'Pizza'
  29. Turkey Poori Rolls with Chili Mango Chutney

Curried Guacamole

“Hole Guacamole
What did I do,
I called the Mexican
And gave him a new hairdo.
Slightly tangy
With fennel & spice,
It tasted kinda good
So I suppose it’s no vice.
Dip in the pita
And lick fingers too,
Here my folks,
Is an appetizer brand new.”

1 ripe avocado
1/2 onion, sliced lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder
1 tablespooon olive oil
1 tomato, finely chopped
Some coriander, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & pepper

Heat oil in a pan and cook the onions till slightly brown. Add the cumin, mustard and fennel seeds and cook till they begin to splutter. Mix in all the dry spices and cook for a minute. Turn off heat and keep aside.
Scoop out the avocado and mash. Mix in the tomato, coriander, lemon juice and the onion mixture. Mix well and serve with pita chips.