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Pua: Dessert from Bihar

14 Oct

Each festival in Bihar has a signature sweet linked with it: thekua for chhatth, pidukiya for teej, tilkut for Makar Sankranti – and pua for Holi. But when the goodies are this good, why wait for an occasion to cook? Build your own reason for sweet celebration.

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Fresh Fruit Rabri (No Refined Sugar)

20 Apr

Fresh Fruit Rabri

A healthy fresh fruit preparation that you can serve as a snack or an after-meal dessert.

Traditional rabri can be pretty heavy with its high content of sugar and condensed milk. Its usual pairing with malpua and jalebi (while delicious!) doesn’t help either if you’re watching your weight. Enter my recipe of fresh fruit rabri – the best sort of dessert to satiate your sweet tooth even on a healthy diet. No refined sugar, no tinned condensed milk –this rabri is sweetened only with natural nutrient-rich dates and apricots. No canned fruit either – only wholesome seasonal stuff. 

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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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Chana Dal with Raisins

11 Jul

In my pre-teen years, food mentions in books would send my senses into overdrive visualizing them. The less familiar the food, the more vivid the imagined details. "Hot buttered scones", said Enid Blyton, and I pictured mildly sweet nimki-like snack twisted into conical shape, dripping with melted butter. "Lemonade" to my mind was a cross between nimbu pani and Limca. "Red radishes" were slender, graceful and blood red, more alluring than the humble white we had access to.

Reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake, I realised I am not much changed today. Ashima makes "thick channa dal with swollen brown raisins" for her party. What can that be like?  Now I don’t just imagine, I cook my interpretation of it :)

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Aamras: Flavored Mango Pulp

20 Jun

Aamras literally means "mango nectar" and that’s exactly what it is – flavored pulp of ripe mangoes. A summer regular on any Gujarati thali, aamras is unusual in that it isn’t an end-of-meal dessert – it is part of the main course, eaten with pooris and parathas.

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Chai: Indian Tea

31 May

My initiation into the kitchen was with tea-making – chai is all I knew how to prepare for many long years.

Chai is Hindi for tea, a word unknown no longer outside the Hindi-speaking diaspora – it’s usual for people to say "tea" when they mean Western-style tea, and "chai" when they’re talking about Indian-style tea.

As an ardent tea lover, I am especially excited to share this recipe with you. I hope you enjoy this aromatic tea made the Indian way as much as I do.

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