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 Chickpea Salad w/ Tamarind Vinaigrette

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"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..."

Ingredients

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

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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

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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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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!"

Frozen Watermelon Spritzer

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"I sink my teeth in, spit out the seeds black

Happiness in all it's glory, oh gee summer is back!

Juice it, eat it, mix in salad or freeze for fun

All the things I can do, to beat the cruel sun.

And it's healthy, oh boy the nutrition within

The juice that drips with each bite, keeps away all sin!

Filling, refreshing, a delicious snack of  choice

Love thy watermelon, says my inner voice...."

Watermelon is summer.

Crisp, juice & full of nutrition, it is not only a thirst quencher, but also an excellent cocktail mixer, hors d'oeuvre bite and 1-ingredient popsicle! Not convinced? Go ahead and try it for yourself....

Ingredients

1 medium watermelon

1 small cucumber

6-8 mint fresh leaves

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Soda water

1 bottle of a light, crisp & fruity white wine (sauvignon blanc / pinot grigio)

A pinch of rock salt

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Method

Cut 1/2 the watermelon into small 2-3" cubes and freeze in an ice tray for 5-6 hours. These, in itself, makes pretty delicious popsicles, so make sure you save some for the cocktail! Cut the remaining watermelon into larger pieces and keep aside.

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Slice the cucumber in half, discard the seeds and cut into smaller pieces. Blend the cucumber together with 6-8 frozen watermelon cubes, bigger watermelon pieces, mint leaves & lemon juice. Pass through a sieve to discard any solids, and season with a pinch or two of rock salt.

When ready to serve, fill your flutes 1/2 way with white wine, top with the watermelon juice and finish it off with a splash of soda. Garnish with mint leaves and a couple of watermelon cubes - this not only keeps your drink chilled for longer, but also is quite a satisfying bite in the end.

There it is, summer in your mouth!

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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

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

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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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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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)

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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!

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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.

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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..."

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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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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!”

Okra Dal1

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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Farro & Chickpea Risotto

Farro Chickpea Risotto

"Creamy yet not, with a nutty bite

Wholesome yet flavorful, and a colorful sight.

Healthy too, for gluten there is none

Mix & match your veggies, have some fun!

With hints of spice, it craves the hunger

Ah! a warm welcome, on this day of thunder."

Ingredients

1 cup chickpea curry (recipe : either this or this. Leftovers from your favorite Indian take-out will do as well)

1/2 cup Farro, thoroughly rinsed

1 cup mixed vegetables (I used carrots, asparagus & red radish)

1/2 cup spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped

2 teaspoons fresh coriander, finely chopped (for garnish)

3/4 cup low sodium vegetable stock (chicken/beef stock can be used as well)

1 teaspoon light olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt, pepper to taste

Mix the Farro with the stock and bring to boil. Once it's half cooked (about 5-6 minutes), reduce to a simmer and add the chickpea curry. Let it cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, till most of the liquid has been absorbed by the Farro. Once done, remove from heat, cover and leave for another 5-6 minutes.

In the meantime, heat oil in a non stick skillet. Add the cup of veggies, along with the dry spices and saute for a quick 1-2 minutes, till they just begin to brown. Stir in the chickpea Farro cooked earlier and give it another quick stir. Finally add the spinach leaves and saute till they're just wilted. Garnish with chopped coriander and enjoy hot.

A delicious gluten-free & vegan weekday dinner!

Roasted Red Pepper Almond Chutney

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“Smooth like silk, and of buttery feel,

But without the calories, Oh! what a steal.

Slightly sweet, with a tang within,

A condiment for all, minus the sin.

Serve it on canapés, or for a lick at home,

Keep it in the fridge, for that midnight scone!”

Dressed in red, your new found friend,

Whip it up quick, before it becomes a trend.”

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Ingredients

1 red pepper

¾ cup raw unsalted almonds (or you  can use 1/2 cup store bought almond butter)

¾ teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon dry mango powder

½ teaspoon red chili powder

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon light olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

Put the almonds in a food processor and pulse till the pieces are all broken up. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and continue to blend on a low speed. Keep scraping the sides of the blender and let it work as the almonds release natural oils and break down completely. It will start to resemble peanut butter in about 10-12 minutes . If it’s too dry, add a few teaspoons of water. Be patient, it takes some time. You can see some step-by-step pictures on the Natural Noshing blog.

Meanwhile, roast the red pepper on a direct flame, turning continuously, till it becomes soft on the inside and the skin begins to char. Remove and cool completely. Once cooled, strip off the skin and seeds, and chop it into small pieces. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a non stick pan. Add the red pepper along with the dry spices and roast for a few minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Once the almonds are creamy, add the roasted peppers in and continue to blend till you get a smooth consistency. A few almond bits are fine, but if you prefer not to have those, just add another teaspoon of oil and blend for a little longer. Once done, stir in the lemon juice and store in an airtight container.

A great vegan spread for breads, crackers, parathas or idlis!

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29. Dining Experiences : A Visual Journey

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Potato Chaat - Photo Courtesy Suite3-Oh-6

Vegan Fritters - Photo Courtesy Suite3-Oh-6

29. Business Cards

Water Station

Spicy Potato Cups

Tandoori Shrimp Cakes

Eggplant Kulcha Bites

Choco Coconut Tarts

Red Bean Salad Cups

Spouts & Kulcha Chaat

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Tandoori Meatball Chaat

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Sweet Potato Bites

Appetizer Buffet

Mint & Veg Biryani

Carrot Halwa Custard Parfait

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Date Tea + White Chocolate Truffles

 

Indian Poppadam Tacos

“Papad & veggies

Look so hip,
In their new avatar
With a Mexican twist.
Spiced, with a crunch
Of fresh salad crisp,
It shatters in form
When touched to the lips.
Bring out the margaritas
And celebrate the feel,
For these Tacos make
A party of every meal…”

Ingredients

10-12 round Poppadams
1 carrot, grated
½ cup red cabbage, grated
2 teaspoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Toss the coriander, mint, carrots and red cabbage in lime juice, salt & pepper and keep aside.

Heat a non-stick pan. Lightly roast a Poppadam on both sides while pressing down with a cloth so it doesn’t fold. Once it turns lighter in color [i.e almost cooked] and becomes soft, remove from heat and fold halfway into a taco shell shape. Hold it like this for a few seconds till it takes shape and becomes crisp. Do this with all the Poppadams.
Put a dollop of the eggplant, top with carrot slaw and serve crisp. Your Indian Tacos are ready!
Try one on the next 29. menu! Sign up for one of my underground dinners in 2014.

 

Beetroot & Chickpea Pancakes

“A little red wonder

That shows colour,
Packed with nutrients
Zest & flavour.
A mellow mouthful
To boost the appetite,
If you’re about to binge
Start it right.
Leave it chunky
That's the way,
Go away infection

Beets are here to stay..”

Ingredients
1 small beetroot, grated
1 1/2 cups leftover chickpea curry
5 heaped tablespoons whole-wheat flour (atta)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Salt to adjust taste (Note: the curry already has salt but approx. 1/2 teaspoon should adjust the seasoning of the batter)
Light olive oil to cook
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt and keep aside. Blend the chickpea curry with 1/2 cup water. Add to the flour mixture and mix to form a smooth batter. Stir in the grated beets and mix well. 
 
Heat a non-stick pan. Put dollops of the batter on the pan and pan fry both sides with a little oil. The batter might be sticky so only flip once one side is cooked to avoid breaking the pancakes.
 
Enjoy warm with some yogurt, cream cheese and a steaming cup of coffee. A healthy, vegan breakfast that is sure to drive those chills away.

Vegan Date Truffles

“Why celebrate love

A day each year we live,
When hugs & cuddles
Don’t measure & give.
Be different, be bold
No gift? Stop sighing!
Scoop up some cocoa
And get messy trying.
And when you wrap this
Homemade, not from a store,
It’ll hold all that you want to say
And a little bit more…”
Everyone wants to do a V-day recipe post. So I thought I may as well join the bandwagon. 
 
But guys! I am making it super easy for you. All those out there who cringe at making any home-made treats, this IS the one for you. There is no significant measures, no kneading, rolling, frying, braising, waiting on the timer etc etc....and the result is decadently sweet (although sugar free), moist and melt-in-the-mouth good. And they'd look rather cute as a gift too. 
 
If you're nodding your head at all the ingredients, then go pull them out and give it a try right now. Oh! and a penny for your thoughts. Please leave a comment!

Ingredients

1 cup pitted dates
½ cup walnuts or almonds
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons coconut cream (the thick part of canned coconut milk)
1 tablespoon olive oil (or any tasteless oil)
Coconut flakes to coat

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend till you get a thick smooth paste. A few chunks here and there are fine. If the mixture is too dry to blend, add a teaspoon of water but make sure it doesn’t become too wet.

Transfer the mixture into a airtight container and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Once slightly firm, oil your palms and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into small balls. Toss in coconut flakes and enjoy!

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.
 
Ingredients
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!