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Showing posts from September, 2010

Panaka Punch

This post would have never occurred to me, had it not been for a recipe for panaka  I came across in Madhur Jaffrey's James Beard award winning book 'World Vegetarian' (p. 644) . Its hard to retire quietly at 1.15 am when you see something that is so much a part of ones life, listed as 'Extinct'. A death knell so loud, that I had to vent about it immediately!

The Hindu festival 'Ram navami' is celebrated in the month of April all over India. One of the traditional festive offerings in South Indian temples & households for this event is 'panakam', a refreshing punch like drink made with ginger, gud (jaggery) and lime & flavored with cardamom. A time honored tradition kept alive for the past 3000+ (yes, three thousand) years.

Ideally I should have thought about posting this delicious refreshing beverage in the height of summer, but hey... summer or fall, it makes for a great drink.The recipe varies from household to household, b…

Book Review.

http://www.peppertrail.com/php/displayContent.php3?link_id=186 - 33k 


I heard about this book from another Blog that I follow (indianfoodrocks.com), took my own time ordering it from Amazon.com & when it finally arrived today, I was like... 'what was I thinking, putting off buying this book'.


 I don't believe I have ever curled up on the couch & read a recipe book from cover to cover in one sitting. but then, calling this book a recipe book would be severely shortchanging the sheer nostalgic thrill it gave me. Of course, I plan to go back to page 1 & start all over again!

 This book would have been a best selling memoir had it been written by a high end celebrity chef from Food Network but the stories told by this author about her childhood in Kerala are no less in terms of captivating the imagination.

In the first 1/3rd of the book, Ms. Ramachandran talks about her idyllic childhood growing up in Kerala as a member of the  Kochi royal family. Contrary to the…

Tortellini a la Travancore

The term 'Kerala' to most South Indians, brings to mind a verdant pristine land lush with Coconut, Cashew, Banana & Jackfruit trees, an image of prosperity combined with a certain sense of inner calm. To the rest of the world, it is the land of spices, that indispensable cornucopia of Natures bounty that makes food palatable.
Traditional Kerala Cuisine makes use of jaggery / 'gud'( unrefined sugar before the molasses have been removed) which has a certain 'winey' depth of flavor. This adds an extra dimension to the taste profile of any dish its added to. Other staple ingredients are Coconut, Plantains, Mangoes & Jackfruit.
Today's dessert presentation is dedicated to all those of you with roots in Kerala. It consists of fried tortellinis stuffed with 'Chakka Varatti' (A jam like sweet primarily made with jackfruit & jaggery) to be served with a 'Vella payasam' made with toasted mung & coconut milk, sweetened wit…

Avialtouille

Recall the scene from Disney Pixars movie 'Ratatouille'. The one where Remy the rat prepares the ultimate Provencal peasant comfort food ratatouille, The sauce layer at the bottom of the pan with uniformly sliced veggies layered over & baked to perfection.. The expression on Anton Ego's caricatured face sums up the ecstasy that many of us have felt when biting into that particular comfort food that we all grew up with.
For many of us, Avial is one such food. At its dismissive best, the term 'Avial' implies a hodge-podge of various veggies cooked together & bound by a coconut gravy. & yet it was the vegetable of choice for many a South Indian mother for any special occasion.
The uniqueness of Avial lies in its elegant simplicity. Cumin & Green chillies bound together with coconut & possibly a dash of soured buttermilk. That's it! It leaves you free to add whatever combination of vegetables you prefer.
This variation of Avial has …

Gajar (Carrot) Halwa Blondie (or redhead?) bars

With the approach of Fall, the temptation to nosh on something warm, chunky & satisfying is overwhelming! (for those of you Down Under, One last chance to indulge before the warm weather sets in!)
Winter in New Delhi means usually heralds the advent of warm comfort foods like Jalebi, Coal grilled sweet potatoes & decadent Gajar Halwa, none of which may be defined as soft & melt in your mouth, These are foods to be masticated well to extract every bit of flavor before they go down the hatch. Over on the other side of the Suez canal & the atlantic, I associate fall in NYC with warm chestnuts & those amazing honey roasted nuts that are sold in almost every street corner & decadent hot chocolate from Godiva!.
The flip side of Gajar halwa is that it isnt something that you multitask with, No leisurely stroll with a cuppa joe in one hand & a sticky brownie like treat in the other while window shopping!
This weeks offering combines the satiating fe…