A goodness-filled glass of fruit juice to start my Sunday.
How I made it: Blended together an apple, a large orange and a stick of ginger with ice cubes, then sieved the mix through a wide strainer.
Chutneys give the innovative chef wide scope for play. Blend together myriad ingredients, vary proportions, add this and that – with caution and creativity, you invariably come up with a delicious accompaniment for your meal.
My grandmother used a mortar and pestle to make chutney, lovingly grinding coriander and mint and more to lip-smacking paste. We have the electric blender now which reduces the hard work to a couple of seconds. But truth be told, the electric blender does not replicate the mortar and pestle texture. If you have a mortar and pestle and some time to spare, try grinding the chutney by hand. The difference shows. The workout for your arms without hitting the gym is an added bonus.
How to make yogurt at home, in five easy steps.
1. Start with the correct "jodan"
"Jodan" is what we call the little amount of yogurt that cultures and sets the full thing. For yogurt to turn out thick and tasty, the foundation – its jodan – has to be right. I generally save some jodan from my previous batch of yogurt but if you don’t have any handy and live in India, I can suggest Nestle’s plain white yogurt. I have tried other brands like Britannia and Amul – they taste great on their own but don’t work as well when used as "jodan". Other options: the local dairy, or borrowing a bit off your neighbours.
In the western world, Indian cuisine is mostly equated with rich, spicy gravies – kofta curry and chhole bhature and shahi paneer and their ilk. In reality, Indian cuisine is far broader than that. Indian food can be simple and minimalistic, as this dish I’m going to write about today – roasted moong dal with a green vegetable combination. A recipe I picked up from a friend from Andhra, it’s been a regular in my kitchen since.
Ridge gourd and moong dal are both very gentle on the stomach, as are asafoetida (hing in Hindi) and lemon, the prime flavourings in this dish. Hing is a strong spice and, I suspect, an acquired taste. If this is the first time you’re cooking with hing, I’d suggest using very little of it. If you like it, use more another time. I do recommend it warmly, especially for its wide array of health benefits.
Beat the heat with this cool drink packed with the goodness of mint and yoghurt.
- Fresh plain yoghurt – 2 cups
- Fresh mint leaves – a small bunch
- Pepper corns – 6
- Roasted cumin powder (bhuna jeera) – 1/2 teaspoon
- Black salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Ice cubes – 8
A nifty tip I picked up via Mahanandi – pre-cooking roasting for yellow moong dal.
Here’s what to do: Take the dal in an iron skillet (or if you don’t have one, a tava). Put it on a medium flame and roast, tossing gently, till the yellow dal begins to turn golden-brown and gives a toasted aroma.