Palak Parathas: Pan-Fried Flatbread with Spinach

9 Aug

I cook with spinach quite a lot – in curries, as a base for green pasta sauce, in spinach dal and spinach rice. Here is yet another use of this lovely green vegetable. Spinach parathas or palak parathas.

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Dabba Chaukore Aur Paratha Gol? Bahut Nainsafi Hai!

7 Aug

Do you realize that if you stack round parathas in a square lunchbox, then even with the largest paratha size your lunchbox can accommodate you leave more than 20% of its surface space unused?[1]

Does this er…criminal wastage bother you?

You can’t beat geometry. But you can pack parathas in your square lunchbox without an inch of space going waste. Let me show you how.

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Curry Leaves and Peanut Chutney

30 Jul

Inspired by the chapter on curry leaves in Ratna Rajaiah‘s fascinating book How the Banana Goes to Heaven, I recently resolved to eat curry leaves as much and as raw as I possibly can. The prospect wasn’t enticing, let me say up front. Though I like curry leaves, I find their taste overpowering and use them sparingly even in tadka. I would have to steel myself to eat curry leaves raw, or so I thought.

How wrong I was.

A tentative stab at making curry leaves and peanut chutney turned out to be hugely successful. Peanuts balance out the bitterness of curry leaves, making this chutney not only palatable but also delicious.

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Pan-Fried Baby Potatoes with Sundried Tomato Dressing

23 Jul

Till a month back, I had had sundried tomatoes only in the bottled, preserved form. Much as I liked it, I was cautious of its salt and preservative content and would use it sparingly.

I never knew how delightfully simple and light sundried tomatoes could be till I got myself a pack of Ladakhi sundried tomatoes – they are chewy, tomatoey (as opposed to pickle-y), and induce no "junk food" guilt pangs.

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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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Tinda Masala: Apple Gourd Curry

3 Jul

Tinda gets its English name from its visual similarity to green apples. A member of the gourd family, tinda has a mild flavor, high water content and lots of vitamins/minerals. The vegetable is ubiquitous in Delhi – at arm’s reach in the local market, cooked every other day in office cafetarias. Not so in Bangalore. Here this gourd graces only the bigger stores, cellophane-wrapped and stocked with imported veggies like yellow peppers and Chinese cabbage.

I didn’t realize I’d crave for tinda till it became scarce. As with parval (pointed gourd), my love for this vegetable has been a recent change of heart. Whoever said that absence makes the heart grow fonder knew what he was talking about. 

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Osaman: Moong Bean Stock with Ginger Pepper Tadka

25 Jun

Osaman is Gujarat’s answer to rasam: a light broth with ‘dal water’ as base. It gets its kick from the high-power tempering – salt, sweet, sour and hot all at once.

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