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Showing posts from July, 2016

Jul 30 - 'Amma' Subzi

This is a family recipe that owes its origin to my paternal Grandmother, who was an amazing culinary queen.  Her attention to detail and stickler for perfection is something I'll never be able to match. This dish doesn't have a name, we've just always called it 'Amma Subzi'. This particular stew includes a paste of coconut, coriander and dal, its very 'south Indian' in flavor and yet, when paired with plain roti, its a match made in food paradise.

Jul 25 - Pan fried potatoes and peppers

Summertime means a myriad variety of peppers in the market, Just take a stroll along the Union  square market to see what I mean. I tend to go overboard whenever I visit and these peppers were quite a revelation, I had a batch roasted and scarfed down as is and it was delicious. so I used the rest in this dish, and my ears exploded - turns out there was one devious pepper in that lot that completely ruined me for this gorgeous looking platter. (I salvaged it by slathering it with yogurt, chat masala & Tamarind - date chutney)

Jul 19 - Banana Stem 'Kootu'

Banana plants (technically they're grasses, which makes your breakfast staple a cereal of sorts) are the classic case of being edible from stem to seed. First, obviously the fruit, and the green version is also used as a vegetable and as a dietary starch staple. The blossoms are cleaned and cooked up into curries and the core can be treated the same way as an artichoke, the leaves are used as thatch and as disposable plates, the central veins of the leaf and the outer layers of the stem are a useful source for ropes and twine. That leaves the core stem and the underground Corm. The corm regenerates into a new plant so I guess humans will want to leave it alone, but the core has a mild vegetal grassy flavor that pairs beautifully with coconut, the texture and crunch is similar to Jicama, but with a certain directionality' (kinda like a steak).. The diced core is boiled in water along with turmeric and salt. and a blend of fresh coconut, cumin and arbol chiles is added to it.

Jul 18 - Green Curry with Home made Seitan

My kid loves Seitan / Wheat gluten in his bowl of Thai green curry, until a couple of months ago he just happened to read the list of ingredients, replete with a cornucopia of preservatives that positively made him gag. After a couple of Seitan deprived green curries, he mustered up the courage to suggest that we make our own, and I had no clue about how to execute on that request, except that one needed Wheat gluten. That I had plenty of , a couple of boxes to be precise and they even had directions. In the next half hour, I had this stretchy mass of protein all set to be grilled. and a Iphone shot even had some of my Instagram buddies wondering when I'd started making Chicken at home.

Jul 16 - Starfruit Liqueur

Yet another one of my successes that I never got around to blogging..Probably because as fun as it is to steep & infuse your own, I'm not a fan of liqueurs by a long shot. I just serve it up to guests. making these is easy enough, thinly slice a ripe starfruit, place in a tall weck jar with one cup of vodka. Let it steep for 2 weeks, then strain through a coffee filter. Combine with an your specific preferred volume of simple syrup. Add about 1/3rd cup and thereafter keep adding by the tablespoon until the sweetness is to your liking. Of course discretion is called for while testing/tasting. Allow the liqueur to rest for about 3 weeks before serving it.

Jul 15 - Lime rice noodles with toasted Pecans

Aaah, whats an Indian pantry in the US of A to do without a stash of rice noodles. It occupies the same level of stock up priority as pasta in its myriad shapes. Chow fun, Mei fun, every shape & size. Its handy for Thai, Chinese as well as the classic Indian Sevai. As with the great triumvirate of rice dishes in the Tambrahm kitchen, they all have a rice noodle (Sevai) equivalent, this version of rice noodles was seasoned with lime and toasted pecans instead of the traditional peanuts.

Jul 13 - Home made Pizza with sweet peppers

Making Pizza has ceased to be a recipe for me, thanks to Jim Lahey's no knead Pizza dough. its a sure fire winner and all that limits me is the ready availability of ingredients like fresh Mozzarella on hand. Beyond this, your imagination sets your limits. This version was made with home made Pasta sauce that was canned last year. A fine julienne of sweet peppers in different colors and a sprinkling of herbes de Provence. Baked at 450 F for about 10 minutes.

Jul 12 - Strawberries in Champagne

Ever wonder what happens to the  scraps & dregs left behind after freshly churned ice cream or sorbet is transferred to a container and allowed to claim its place in the freezer. In real life I take a silicone spatula and scrape every extra bit from the frozen ice cream bowl, no tossing it into the sink to get washed and cleaned up. that kind of waste is OK for the small screen, I'm brazen enough to say that I'm capable of licking the bowl clean, but will not because I do not want to rip out my taste buds. I'd posted the strawberry sorbet recipe yesterday and got about a quarter cup of extra puree that wouldn't fit in the freezer, and plus, it had melted down by the time I was done. So that evening, it was a fabulous cocktail made with this very leftover. A tablespoon of  Strawberry kumquat puree , topped up with chilled Brut (dry) Sparkling wine / Champagne. Cheers!

Jul 11 - River Cafe's Strawberry Sorbet - A kumquat variant.

Fresh strawberries personally handpicked, the inherent pride ensures that you want to showcase the berries at their purest. This recipe is nothing short of genius, and is included as part of Kirsten Miglore's book 'Genius recipes' . I did play around with the ingredients. Instead of using lemons, I preferred kumquats (cut and de seeded). Here's the link to the recipe,  use a cup of de seeded kumquats instead of the 2 - 3 lemons for this particular version.

Jul 7 - Foraged greens rice with Fresh Black eyed peas.

I have lettuce and curly mustard growing sporadically on my back lawn and at some point of time really felt that I should use it in food, since my yard is completely pesticide free. there was a mix of spinach, chard, sorrel, curly mustard and lettuce. Sauteed the Green Black eyed peas (I know it sounds like a color clash, doesn't it?) with sliced onions along with some plain garam masala. Then steamed the greens, pureed it and stir fried it into some cooked rice along with spiced Green black eyed peas. The end result? an incredibly flavorful lunch offering. straight up from Nature.

Jul 6 - Barebones Rasam with Rice noodles

My 7 year old's most favorite food in the world is a simple broth seasoned with cumin, coriander, curry leaves and tomato. I expressly hesitate calling this 'Rasam' as refers to the traditional South Indian dish, since this was a quick hack version I could whip up in the time it takes to boil water. I add ingredients as I go along if they're within reach, slivers of ginger on one day, crushed peppercorns on some days, a couple of cherry tomatoes. but the barebones recipe is always the same: a mix of cumin, coriander, tuvar dal and arbol chiles prepared every week and left in the coffee grinder. just add it to water, a knob of tamarind , tomato paste, salt, turmeric and a pinch of asafetida. I love adding readymade rice noodles to the mix similar to a Pho, My kid prefers rice.

Jul 4 - Roasted beets and Sunflower sprouts salad.

I prefer salads with body any day to those 85% lettuce offerings, no matter what exotic greens you added to the mix, I still don't find those leaf  heavy bowls filling. When I make my salads its usually filled with a lot of the toothier, chunky vegetables, nuts and cheese. I love adding sunflower sprouts , since the tiny leaves are almost cactus like in thickness and have a fantastic burst of flavor. A generous sprinkle of crumbled Feta and avocado slices dispenses the need for adding any added oils to the salad as a dressing. Simply drizzle with honey, a crack of salt and pepper does the trick.

Jul 2 - NY Dosas

I doubt whether I've ever had a vending cart lunch that was so sublimely delicious. you may expect this in every street corner in Indian cities, but this is the Big Apple, A.k.a New York city I'm referring to, and right in the heart of the campus of my Alma Mater NYU. The NY dosa vending cart is operated by  Mr. Thiru Kumar , A Sri Lankan Chef right in the middle of Washington square Park, The menu items are simple - Dosa or Uthappams, with multiple variations. The quality of the dishes is amazing, the dosas are perfect, not a spot of extra oil, the right amount of crispness yielding to a mild flavorful potato filling mixed with dry coconut chutney and a mix of fresh greens, bell peppers and carrots. Truly a comfort treat in the middle of Manhattan. I'm going to stop at this point since I'm on the verge of drooling over the laptop and  refer you to this article for further details!

Jul 1 - Skillet Cheese toast.

Sometimes the best dishes are those that require no recipe. I make this cheese toast on a skillet set on low heat just add the toppings to a good sturdy slice of bread, like a Tuscan or multigrain loaf (none of those assembly line preservative foam blocks of bread please), microwave just enough to melt the cheese and then let it sit on the cast iron skillet with a lid on. When the bottom is crisp and golden, your toast is ready.