Toor Sabut Moong Dal

31 Jan

A simple lentil dish to go with Indian meals – toor dal (arhar dal/pigeon pea split) with a fistful of saboot moong (green gram or whole moong, with the green skin on) in it. The yellow and green of toor sabut moong dal makes for a bright-looking colorful dish.

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Tomato Olive Capsicum Pasta

27 Jan

Tomato Olive Capsicum Pasta

They talk of "trial by fire" as a true test of character – instances of it abound in medieval Europe as much as Indian mythology.

While one may question the veracity of such a test with reference to people, it does throw up interesting results when applied to fruits and vegetables.

I’m referring to roasting.

Placing raw whole vegetables on an open flame and slow-cooking them brings out latent attributes that you wouldn’t even know existed. Roasted capsicum becomes juicy and sweet, shedding much of its pepperiness; tomatoes take on a delicious smoky note.

This tomato olive capsicum pasta – with its key ingredients roasted – has a lot of character. It has been through trial by fire, after all.

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Aloo Baingan Bharta: Potato and Eggplant Mash

26 Jan

When onion prices skyrocket, as they have in India nowadays, what better than to switch to dishes that don’t use onions at all? Here is the recipe of aloo baingan bharta (that is, potato and eggplant mash) that I made today, using no onions.

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Mint Cashew Pulao

3 Jan

Mint Cashew Pulao

A plus of cooking only for yourself is the chance it gives you for daring experimentation. Do whatever. Relish it if it turns out brilliant, commit it to memory (and blog) for treating others in future. Shrug it off if it does not; it is only one that suffered through it.

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Paneer Capsicum Curry

21 Dec

This lovely concoction of colors and flavors is surprisingly easy to cook. Paneer capsicum curry goes very well with chapatis.

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The Ultimate Chapati Cheat Sheet

16 Dec

Chapatis

In olden days I’m told, the first test of the new Indian bride’s ability to cook was based on how she would make chapatis. Did she roll them round and even, cook them just right (no patches raw or charred), get them to fluff out beautifully? Could she roll out a chapati and watch the one on the stove at the same time?

The in-laws would scrutinize the final product, tear off a portion, bite and pass their verdict.

Those days of “judging” the bride are over (or so I hope!), but the fact remains that getting the chapati right is an instant indicator of the chef’s experience. Someone with a flair for cooking can possibly prepare any dish (like a curry) first time right – instructions and instinct guide them well – but one cannot make a perfect chapati until one has made several not-so-good ones before. Making chapatis is easy once you know how but it takes a few stumbles to get there.

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