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Showing posts from June, 2014

Dishes from my Other Blog - Foccacia 'Upma' (Day 180)

You say Panzanella, I say Upma... Ever bought something from the grocery store and stashed it away in the refrigerator and almost forget about it? as in, by the time you remember about that  loaf of bread you were looking forward to noshing on, Its gone semi stale. That happened to me this week. Brought home a  foccacia bread (this particular loaf had a generous sprinkle of Za'atar) and spotted it 4 days later in the fridge, by which time it was rather dry. No worries, just sauteed an onion, added a tempering of cumin and a pinch of garam masala and Paprika. You need: 1 loaf of stale Foccacia bread, diced. 1 large onion diced 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric 1/4 teaspoon  Paprika (or cayenne if you like the heat) Salt to taste Cilantro for garnish Lemon wedges Spritz the diced Foccacia with water to moisten it slightly.  In a wok, heat the oil and add the cumin when the oil begins to shimmer. Once the cu

The 'We Knead to Bake' Project 2014 - 'Komaj' (Persian date bread with turmeric & cumin)

I've racked up about 1/2 a dozen of my dishes perfected and photographed, and yet, when it comes to actually writing them up to publish them, it appears that I've been afflicted by a kind of writers block. I seem to be having a hard time trying weave in interesting anecdotes to the recipe (which has been promptly jotted down faithfully in one of my notebooks I keep stuffing into cabinets and shelves in almost every room, so that I don't forget exactly what went into it. I get my breaks from these blocks with the baking projects thankfully. Aparna picked out a Persian bread for this month and gave an advance notice that there wasn't much historical information she could dig out, other than the fact that the recipe from Greg & Lucy Malouf's book 'Saraban' - A Chef's journey through Persia. There was something intriguing in that combination of Cumin Cardamom, turmeric and dates, so much that I did not even try to add any of my quirky touches to

Dishes from my Other Blog - Kalamata Olive and Feta Focaccia ( Day 175 )

The Summer holidays are here and I've started getting a daily list from my 8 year old on what he wants for Lunch / Dinner. He'd been asking me to make Pizza for the past week and in true Panfusine style, it meant the original, as in make the dough from scratch, proof, make Pizza sauce from first principles.. At least I'm not expected to boil & curdle milk to make the cheese! I struck a compromise and made him a simple focaccia instead, with home canned tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and used the other half of the dough to make this focaccia with Kalamata olives, Feta, Greek oregano and a sprinkle of Aleppo Pepper for the slight hint of heat. You need: (makes two 9 inch Focaccia pies) 1/2 the quantity of dough from this recipe ( ) 3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese 3 tablespoons dried Greek Oregano 1 Tablespoon Aleppo Pepper (or regular Red chili flakes) Extra Virgin Olive Oi

Dishes from my Other blog - Peach and Thai basil salad (Day 166)

I love eating salads as much as I try to procrastinate making  them. You spend a good deal of time carefully dicing the produce, whisk together a dressing, chiffonades of herbs yada yada, and POOF, it takes half the time to polish it off! but all said and done, salads ,especially with those that contain fresh summer fruit, are a pleasure to nosh on. I made these with some firm peaches I picked up at Trader Joe's yesterday, you know, the kind that are ripe, and yet not soft enough to give in easily when you press them. I peeled and diced them,  a simple dressing of freshly squeezed clementines and Pistachio oil,  a pinch of citrus salt and finished off with a chiffonade of Thai basil. The end result was simply divine! You need: (Makes 1 serving) 2 ripe yet firm peaches juice of 1 clementine 2 teaspoons Pistachio oil pinches of citrus sea salt 8 - 10 Thai basil leaves Peel the peaches and dice the flesh into small cubes. Whisk together the clementine juice and the pist

Dishes from my Other blog - Quick 'Moar kuzhambu' / yogurt soup (Day 165)

This is something no self respecting host will ever allow near a guest. No siree.. these are reserved for those lazy days, when the mere mention of cooking induces a severe face scrunch. Its usually paired with refrigerated rice thats been quickly reheated in the microwave along with some papads. It takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. You need: 1 cup yogurt 2 cups water 1 tablespoon garbanzo flour 2 tablespoons sesame oil 1 teaspoon mustard 1 teaspoon Cumin 1 Arbol chile broken in two 1 sprig curry leaves, torn sliced serrano peppers (optional) 1 pinch asafetida Salt to taste Whisk together the yogurt, water, salt & the garbanzo flour, so that there are no lumps. Heat the oil in a pan, and once it begins to shimmer add the mustard, cumin, fenugreek & the arbol chile. When the mustard sputters and the fenugreek and the arbol chile turn brown, toss in the curry leaves, serrano and the asafetida  and give the mixture a quick stir. Pour in the yogurt

Dishes from my other blog - Grilled Halloumi and Bell Peppers (Day 164)

There's a simple dish I love to pair my roties with. Its known as Paneer Shimla Mirch (Shimla Mirch is the Hindi name for Capsicums/ bell peppers. I personally have no idea if it grows especially well in the town of Shimla). It basically involves sauteing onions, tomatoes bell peppers & Paneer together with some seasoning that usually involves Garam Masala. I was on a Grilling binge today trying to grill the peppers & paneer before tossing them into a dry 'subzi'. I also had some Halloumi that I was hoping to pair with some grilled figs for an appetizer. To cut a long story short, the salty Halloumi sort of ended up eloping with the Bell peppers instead, and it turns out, The figs were all the more happier for it! You need: 1 block Halloumi cheese cut into 1 cm thick slices 3 Bell peppers (preferably different colors) 1 teaspoon Fennel seeds 1 teaspoon Bishops weed (Ajwain) 2 tablespoons Oil Juice from 1/2 a lemon Fresh cracked peppercorn to taste Gri

Dishes from my Other Blog - Quinoa and Lentil stew (Day 162)

I probably should have done this 161 days ago, but better late than never. I also write a daily blog that occupies  a lot of my time, These are dishes that I make for my family's daily sustenance, a l'il bit of this, a pinch of that.. and if it tastes good, I take a photograph & post the recipe (on most days, if my lethargy doesn't get the better of me). A no frills blog. You can catch up with all the recipes by clicking on the Dish a Day Tab on the top of the page. I made this as a protein rich vegan stew to be made in the pressure cooker in one shot. In the end, I blew it by adding a dollop of Labneh. I'd also added 1/4 cup of dehusked urad dal, in the original version, but did not care for the glutinous texture it yielded. You need: 1/2 cup each of quinoa & split red lentils (masoor dal) 2 cups crushed tomatoes 1 tablespoon minced ginger 1 green chili, slit lengthwise 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/4 cup powdered ca

Going Seasonal - Asparagus Pitlai

 South Indian cuisine technically does not exist. And I'm NOT being flippant or trying to get a chuckle out of anyone. In terms of cuisines being defined by Conquerers and their influence, It does not stand a chance. We never had martial interactions with other civilizations, like the Greeks and the Persians, or the Catholic influence that spread from Goa to South America via the Phillipines (Ref: Rachel Laudan). That is not to say that Intra nation (if there is ever such a term) influences did not shape the cuisine. The most significant of those influences was through  the Marathas, a valiant , martial clan from Western India, who ruled Tanjore in Southern India.  As a result many of the recipes  that arise from this region of South India have share similar sounding names for dishes from both Western India & Tanjore, the most common examples that come to mind are Usal/Usli and Pitla/Pitlai. Speaking of Pitlai, Its a flavorful savory, nutty thick stew spiced with coriand