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A Dish - a - Day..Finale!

There is a fable in the Ancient Hindu text, the Shiva Purana. Shiva, the lord of destruction  tells his other half, Parvati, that nothing in the world (including food) is really necessary since the entire world is but Maya or illusion.  (turns out Neuroscience actually verifies this from a certain perspective, but that is another story). Upset by his statement (he had, after all renounced the world and preferred not to have any attachments and had overcome the pervasive, all consuming EGO), Parvati, the goddess of all things material leaves his desolate abode, Mt. Kailash and moves to the ancient city of Kashi (Modern day Benaras / Varanasi). In due course, pangs of hunger start gnawing on Shiva and he goes looking for sustenance to appease his hunger, only to discover that there is simply no food to be found. He hears that no one ever goes hungry in Kashi because the resident goddess there provides food to all those who sought it. He reaches Kashi, to find Parvati, in the form of A…

Day 365.. technically a year.. Celebrating with a plate of Samosas

I'm actually breaking into song as I write this up. Albeit in my head, Frank Sinatra is crooning his timeless classic.. My Way..


Jan 1st 2012, Siri Pulipaka , the author of cookingwithsiri.com was just winding up her own daily blog ( of everyday events) and was encouraging others to experiment with similar projects. On a pure whim, I got myself a blogger page, with nary a thought about how I was to complete 366 dishes. It was never my intention to add recipes for classic day to day fare, just links  if a particular dish was made using a recipe from other sites.

But, just as a new mother forgets everything about the intensity of her labor pain after seeing her infants face, I cannot recall anything hard or negative about this annual project. In fact, the support I received from everyone of you simply increased my motivation to kick back any lethargy and support every dish I could with recipes. The effort has paid off in terms of a repository of recipes that I hope to fine tune fo…

R.I.P Fearless Angel...

As I type up this post, clueless about what my next words will be, I find nothing but rage, frustration and pure anger welling up in me. My planned dish for today was completely messed up as my focus was solely on that beautiful girl, who lost her valiant fight after having been preyed upon by ghouls who masquerade as human beings.  Anonymous in terms of the moniker her loving parents gave her, but collectively christened by multiple terms, Nirbhaya (Fearless ) Damini (Lightning), Amanat (cherished treasure).

To me personally, I prefer to refer to her as 'Bharati' (Indian) . She represents each and every one of us Indians,  women in particular, who have just discovered that their worst nightmare (for themselves, their mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters) has just manifested into a terrifying reality.

My religion teaches me to revere  the female form, literally on a pedestal. She is Saraswathy, The goddess of knowledge, without whom creation is impossible, She is Shri Devi (god…

To God's own country, Kerala - Puttu & 'kadala' curry

Continuing on my final spin, I've finally been able to muster the courage to tackle a dish that I've been secretly so in awe of. I'm referring to that classic Kerala dish - Puttu , A steamed cake made with fragrant toasted rice flour and coconut. The dish requires a specific tool to make it. An instrument called a 'Puttu kudam' which is essesntially a little container fitted with a cylindrical inset that holds the rice flour and coconut mix. Traditionally, Puttu was steamed in bamboo logs which conferred a unique vegetal flavor. For more details about Puttu, just follow this link to Ammini Ramachandran's guest post in Shalini's blog 'A Cookery year in Coorg'.

It may be that I put off making this signature dish simply because I did not have the required tools. The realization that I may have serendipitously stumbled upon a perfect hack, just means that I won't be craving a puttu kudam even if I came across it in a store. (naah, I'll still pr…

A culinary spin around the 4 corners of India - Kothimbir Vadi from Maharashtra

So now, I'm down to the final five dishes for Dish a Day.. and strangely enough, I feel I'm in the culinary equivalent state of 'I have nothing to wear'. A part of me is scrambling to come up with some supercalifragilistic creation that I can post with a flourish, -- but then again, Dish a day was never meant to be about Alinea or French Laundry like creations (with due apologies to Grant Achatz & Thomas Keller respectively). Its all about what the average home cook (& I'm going with what I'm familiar with, i.e the Indian household) with an affinity for cooking does for her family. An array of different flavors  and tastes, some a rocking hit of a favorite for the whole family, some that evoke a 'Oh no!, not this..' and then the others that we don't even give  a second thought to before scarfing it down. It takes all kids of dishes to nourish a family!

I have no clue what the next four (make that the last three) days will bring, but today,…

Countdown Day 6, and Food52's Secret Santa Swap!

When it comes to gifts under the tree, I think I morphed into a child as much as my kids, if not worse.. (I 'm officially guilty of tearing open into my secret Santa Gift on Christmas Eve, rather than the next day morning). My gift was from my Secret Santa 'gingerroot' from Hawaii. She is a Food52 superstar, having contributed some timeless classic recipes to their two volume book.
For the past two years, 'Enbe' a graduate student from Tuscon has been instrumental in organizing a wonderful Secret Santa food swap amongst members of the Food52 community. She sends us each a name amongst those who've signed up and we have the privilege of sharing foods (mostly cookies and condiments) and little gifts with someone with whom we've forged a bond online through Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs' unique venture.

I loved each and every thing that gingerroot had so thoughtfully put together in my box.  A bag of the biggest & best Macadamia nuts, Native Haw…

Countdown for my ' A Dish - a Day ' blog - Day 7

December 25 is not really a day to spend in front of the laptop, trying to compose a post about a new recipe. This is a day to revel in the joy of watching the kids opening their presents and the jaw dropping realization of how quickly they're capable of  trashing a room in minutes, but then again, my resolution is getting the better of me. As Indian style breads go, there is no dearth to what may be mixed into the dough and with each new ingredient , there is a different unique  flavor profile.

Countdown for my ' A Dish - a Day ' blog - Day 8

Its Christmas Eve, so in the true spirit of things, there is the enevitable flurry of excitement that only Kids can excel at. First there was the Class Christmas party that I had helped out. Got the kids involved in a fragrant project that they seemed to love, making a little single serve mulling spice sachet for their parents, complete with a recipe instruction.


Countdown for my 'A Dish-a-Day' blog - Day 9

One of the oft repeated dishes at home has been a Rajasthani variation of  a chickpea curry, using the smaller brown Bengal chickpeas. This variety of chickpea is smaller than the Mediterranean one  with a brown skin that adds a lovely texture to the finished dish.


The recipe for Jaisalmer chana as the dish is referred to is a classic one with multiple variations of spice combinations. The constant ingredients however, are  the brown chickpeas, and the gravy consisiting of a yogurt and chickpea flour (Besan) blend. I've deliberately worked my way through 3 different recipes in a search for my favorite. Recipes from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, an old recipe book by Nita Mehta and the third by Tarla Dalal. Nita Mehta's recipe is delicious, but calls for a detailed list of dry whole spices that one may not have on hand every time. Tarla Dalal's recipe is a total disaster. Yes, I know I'm being blunt and may invite harsh comments and protests, but unfortunately the ingredient l…

Countdown for my 'Dish - a - day blog' - Day 10

Of all the countless New Year's resolution I've made over the past decades, I cannot really recall a single one that I've kept and seen through over the next 365 days. And when I started my other daily blog 'A Dish a Day'  on a whim on Jan 1st 2012, I honestly never really expected to go past April (counting all the dishes I had whipped up for this blog and the numerous community picks that I've had the privilege of testing for Food52). This is not taking into account the inherent lethargy that I was sure , would make me skip days at my whim.

Deconstructed Gobi Paratha

One of the quirkiest statements I've heard my dad make (& he had his fair share of quirky but true observations about life that never failed to elicit a chuckle or two) was that when he was old and had lost his teeth, he hoped that his fondness for murrukku (a crunchy deep fried savory South Indian snack) was satiated enough  that he wouldn't have to ask anyone to grind up the murrukku in a coffee grinder  to feed him. Its odd that my recipe for this week could be interpreted as exactly that by those who are familiar with the dish in its original form and its deconstruction.

As American as.. (Cardamom, Ginger & Saffron flavored) Apple Pie!

As much as I look forward to the finished product, Pies are something I never seem to get around to trying. Its always been the fear of the pie crust, what if its too soggy, too lumpy..and until last week, these niggling doubts have always sent me packing to the supermarket freezer aisle in search of a great frozen pie crust that did not involve lard.

Turns out, it was Food52 to the rescue again. I came across thisultra simple recipe for pie crust . So unbelievably simple, I kept pinching myself as to the usual, what? how? and 'no way' threads of pleasant surprise that were swimming through my head while I cut up the apples for this years Thanksgiving dessert. The inspiration for the filling was a trip to Terhune Orchards in Princeton  to pick up some fabulous organic apples and the consequent reminder of the fabulous Kashmiri Chai style mulled apple cider I had cobbled up.






Cardamom, Ginger Saffron flavored Apple pie
For the pie crust: (From Food52.com)
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 …

Happy Thanksgiving - Roasted Yam & Butternut squash Gnocchi

Come this Thursday, i.e, Thanksgiving day, I'll be one of the few who will retire in a stupor that decidedly will NOT be induced by that 'Turkey-philic' amino-acid, Tryptophan. Mine will be a blissful state of lethargy brought about by sheer Carbo loading, despite my best efforts to acheive a balanced feast.. All it takes is the dessert pies to upset that apple cart!.

I'm far from deciding what I'll actually make for our Thanksgiving family dinner except that I plan to definitely include the traditional ingredients as far as possible. Squash, sweet potato, corn & beans..and a cauliflower soup that I had made a month ago and still crave.

Its been a while since I tried my hand at making gnocchi and I had a little gnocchi shaping gadget that I was itching to try. There is absolutely no potato involved in this pasta, but the results were better than I expected. The sweetness of the roasted squash and Sweet potato is offset not by heat from chile pepper,but from th…