Papaya Peanut Salad

16 Sep

I make this papaya peanut salad when the fruit is somewhere between green and yellow, having a hint of sweet but still crunchy. A light dressing works well when the papaya is at this stage. No garlic or strong sauces, more fruity goodness.

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You Need:

  • Semi-ripe papaya – 500grams
  • Roasted peanuts, shelled – 1/2 cup
  • Green chili – 1 or 2
  • Fresh coriander leaves – a few sprigs
  • Chaat masala* – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fresh lime juice – 1/2 tablespoon

*I use store-bought MDH chaat masala. If you want to try making your own, I suggest eCurry’s chaat masala recipe.

How To:

Peel and deseed the papaya. Grate using a grating surface with wide slots.

Chop coriander leaves and green chili finely.

papaya-grated 

Mix together grated papaya, coriander leaves, green chilies, lime juice and peanuts. Just before serving, sprinkle chaat masala and mix again. Enjoy papaya peanut salad as a light standalone snack or on the side with a bigger meal.

Notes:

For a crunchier salad, chill the grated papaya for an hour before combining with the other ingredients.

Adding chaat masala makes the papaya give off water, so do not store after adding it. Serve immediately.

Semi-ripe papaya lends natural sweetness to the salad – no added sugar is required.

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The Easiest Homemade Orange Marmalade

9 Sep

This orange marmalade recipe is for those who want a small jar of it to eat up within a week or two, without the rigors of canning and bottling for preserving till eternity. No pectin, no fancy equipment, no complex sterilization of storage jars. Making orange marmalade at home doesn’t get easier than this!

Ever since I’ve started making marmalade in my own kitchen, I wonder that I ever bought it from the market. I get far superior stuff at a fraction of the cost, with hardly any effort. Plus the activity leaves the kitchen smelling wonderful for hours! The bittersweet bite of rind, the real fresh citrus taste, the golden-happy translucence of homemade orange marmalade – there is just no match for it.

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Capsicum Cherry Tomato Curry

4 Sep

Capsicum and cherry tomatoes are tailor-made for worknight meals, with simple chopping needs and small cooking times. Combine with some pre-cooked tomato masala and you have a capsicum cherry tomato curry that looks so regal, it’s hard to believe how easy it was to create.

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Quick Weeknight Dinners with 3 Make-Ahead Food Parts

31 Aug

Weekdays are busy times for many of us who come back from work late evening and then fix a meal. We want weeknight dinners to be easy to put together, taking little time to move from kitchen to plate. [Not counting the blessed few like Rohit's boss with the gusto to whip up a fancy meal at that hour ;-)]

One could cook loads on Sunday and freeze for the week. But that’s not so exciting, is it? So how does one reach that elusive balance between easy+quick (pre-cooked) and tasty+interesting (freshly cooked)?

Here’s a middle ground.

Make-ahead food parts. Mix and match. Embellish.

Use the Pareto Principle to your advantage: identify the steps in cooking that consume a majority time and labor, and do them beforehand. The chopping of greens. The slow-frying of spices. The boiling of dal. When the time comes to make your weeknight dinner, all that remains to be done is the remaining 20% of cooking that produces 80% of the result.

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Spiced Fried Onions

26 Aug

Few things compare to the taste and smell of just-fried onions. What’s usually an embellishment to pulao or a minor ingredient in curries plays starring role in this recipe.

Spiced onion strips – a mélange of fried onions with an aromatic spice mix. Try it!

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Sattu Paratha: Stuffed Flatbread, Bihar Style

18 Aug

Till about a decade back, a mention of sattu in conversation with a non-Bihari audience would be greeted with puzzled stares. Things have changed today. The world around is more health-conscious, and sattu has gained currency for its great nutritional benefits. Rich in minerals, proteins and fibre, low of glycemic index – sattu is said to be the most economical antidote to diabetes.

The better-known style of consuming this miracle food is probably in the form of a cooling drink, but my favorite way is as sattu paratha – flatbread stuffed with a spiced sattu filling.

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Curry Leaf Pulao

11 Aug

Seeing that a nutty ingredient does a great job of taming the bitter notes of other ingredients (think curry leaf peanut chutney or sesame fenugreek chutney), I dared to make a rice dish seeped in curry leaf, with a load of cashews for good effect. And I loved the result.

Here’s my curry leaf pulao recipe – for those who share taste buds similar to mine :-) How many of you?

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