Thursday, 25 April 2013

Garlic Salt

I was in Hyderabad for a couple of days last year. We went to a shopping mall to pick up some supplies and I went completely insane. There was so much to choose from. There were even things that you wouldn't think existed! I came across a section that was entirely devoted to salt - garlic, onion, coriander, ginger, celery and so on. Not being a millionaire, I chose from all these options and picked up a jar of garlic salt. It got finished in two weeks!

I have a close affinity with garlic, the flavor of garlic speaks to me and I use it extensively in my cooking. Therefore, I decided to try making a batch of garlic salt. It worked out perfectly! This makes a small bottle garlic salt.

Ingredients -
  • 3 pods Garlic
  • 4tbsp Salt
Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Cover the garlic with salt and place on a tray. Let it dry out completely in the sun for a couple of days. Blend the garlic and salt to a fine powder in a food processor; store in an airtight jar. 

Aloo ka Paratha

Parathas are a type of roti. They are layered which makes them heavier than normal rotis. You can have plain parathas which are layered with oil making them flaky and crisp; or, you can have stuffed parathas. The most popular fillings being potato, cauliflower, white radish/daikon (mooli), cheese, even left over rice! Parathas are best when they are piping hot, the traditional condiments are yogurt or raita, chutney, butter and pickle.

This is a basic recipe, you can add some grated ginger or garlic, aromatic spices, and tweak the measurements around to suit your taste-buds. This recipe makes 7-8 large parathas.

Ingredients -
  • 6 medium sized Potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 2 medium sized Onions, finely chopped
  • 4 green Chilies, finely sliced
  • 1tsp Salt/Garlic Salt
  • 1tsp red Chili powder
  • 800g Atta
  • Water
  • Oil for cooking
Mix the mashed potato, onions, green chilies, red chili and salt together. Taste the mixture and you can add more spice according to your taste. Let the flavors be a little strong as they will become subdued once you stuff them in the atta dough. Divide the potato mixture into 8 even balls

Place the atta in a large dough, add enough water and knead to form a soft dough. You will need about a glass and a half of water. Divide the dough into 8 even balls.

Take one ball of dough and flatten it out slightly, place one ball of the potato mixture in the center and bring up the sides of the dough to get a large ball (potato on the inside, dough on the outside). Flatten this potato-dough ball out with your fingers, and use a rolling pin to roll out to a thickness of about 1/2cm. Cook the paratha on a non-stick frying pan for a couple of minutes on each side, then add half a teaspoon of oil to each side and cook till it is golden brown. Serve hot.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gooey Center Chocolate

The paternal side of my family is massive. My grandfather had four brothers and three sisters, each having a couple of children, who then went on to have some more; so you can imagine how many cousins I have! Every couple of years, the family tries to come together for some event - a wedding, an anniversary or even a funeral! It was in one such event that I met my cousin Rashi after years.

After a few days of gossiping and exploring; we entered the kitchen. Rashi enjoys cooking and eating just as much as the rest of the family. She's the one who taught me this simple recipe, which has an incredibly fancy result!

Ingredients -
  • 4tbsp Condensed milk
  • 20g Butter
  • 250g Chocolate
Melt all the chocolate over a double boiler and keep aside. (I will upload a post on how to temper chocolate properly later).

Beat the butter till it is smooth and slightly pale. Add the condensed milk and 100g of the melted chocolate. This mixture will form the gooey centers.

Pour little amount of chocolate in your molds and swirl around so that all the sides are completely covered. Upturn the mold over your bowl of chocolate and gentle tap to remove any excess chocolate. Allow these shells to set in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Pipe small amounts of the previously made chocolate mixture into the shells till they are three fourth full. Allow to set again for a few minutes. Cover the shells completely with chocolate and set till the chocolate is completely firm. Pop the gooey center chocolates out of the molds and enjoy!

Spicy Lemon Pickle

Any kind of pickle or achaar can spice up a boring dish. My debut with pickle occurred for a very random reason. I was walking out of my society when a lady stopped me and handed over a bag full of lemons. Confused I asked her who they were from; my neighbor had sent them for my grandmother. That's when inspiration struck! There wasn't much I could do with a kilo of lemons apart from make pickle of it. This is an incredibly simple recipe and the amounts can be tweaked according to your tastes. The advantage of making your own pickle is that it will taste exactly how you want it, and there are no preservatives. The measurements that I have given make a rather spicy pickle, incredibly delicious!

Ingredients -
  • 20 medium sized Lemons, quartered
  • 3tbsp red Chili powder
  • 5tbsp Sugar
  • 5tbsp Salt
  • 1 cup of sliced Ginger
  • 3 green Chilies, sliced length-wise
  • A large glass bottle
Soak the bottle in some hot water to sterilize it. Allow it to dry completely in the sun.

Squeeze the juice from the lemon quarters into the bottle and throw the skins in as well. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Close the bottle tightly and shake till everything is combined completely. Place the bottle in the sun for a week shaking it occasionally. The pickle will be ready in about two weeks.

Note - if you want the pickle to mature faster, you can further halve the lemon quarters!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Banoffee Pudding

Ingredients -
  • 1 tin Condensed milk (400g)
  • 4 Bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup crushed Biscuits
  • 20g Butter
  • 200ml fresh Cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 50g Chocolate, grated
Put the condensed milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook on a low flame till the color darkens slightly and the mixture thickens to a sticky toffee like texture.

Mix the crushed biscuits with the butter and line the base of a glass dish with this mixture. Pat the mixture slightly till you have a rather firm base.

Arrange the sliced bananas over the biscuit base. Spread the toffee over the bananas; cover completely with the whipped cream. Sprinkle the grated chocolate on top. Allow the pudding to set in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours. Serve cold!


This recipe makes about 8 medium sized, thin crust pizzas.

Ingredients -
Pizza dough
  • 800g Maida
  • 200g Semolina (suji)
  • 2 1/2tsp Yeast
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • 650ml Water, lukewarm
Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Onions, roughly sliced
  • 5-7 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 3tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 750g Tomatoes, blanched
  • 5 green Chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1tsp Sugar
  •  Salt and pepper to taste
  • 500g Cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Sausages, sliced
  • 1 cup Capsicum, diced into 1cm squares
  • 1 cup Jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Onion, diced into 1cm squares
  • 1 cup Salami, diced into 1cm squares 
Pizza dough

Mix the flours together in a large bowl. Mix the water, salt, sugar and yeast together in another bowl. Allow it to froth up a little; this could take about 5-7 minutes. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and combine till you have a sticky dough. Lightly dust your workspace or platform with some flour and tip the pizza dough onto it. Knead the dough till it is smooth and elastic. This will take about 10 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the pizza dough into it. Cover with cling film and allow to rise till double - about two and a half hours.

Tomato Sauce

Fry the onions and garlic in a large wok till the onions are golden. Add the blanched tomatoes and green chilies; allow to cook for a couple of minutes. When the mixture has slightly reduced add the tomato ketchup and gently stir through. Pour this entire mixture into a food processor until it is relatively smooth. Pour it back into the wok, add the sugar, salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to simmer on a low flame for about ten minutes.

Punch out the air from the pizza dough and divide into eight segments. Take one segment, and flatten it out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pizza out to the size of your baking tray, about 1cm thick. Lightly dust your baking tray with some semolina (suji). Place the rolled out pizza onto the tray.

Spread about 2tbsp of the tomato sauce evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle a little bit of each topping over the tomato sauce. Cover the entire pizza with cheese. Cook in an oven preheated to 250C for about 15 minutes. Serve hot!

Note -

Sprinkle your workspace and baking tray with semolina instead of flour to get a crisper pizza.

Don't overload the pizza with toppings or the pizza will become soggy. The measurements that I have given are enough for 8 pizzas.

You can put whatever toppings you wish to; this is just an idea, and what was available here! Some options could be bacon, meatballs, paneer, chicken and so on.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Chicken and Corn Bake

A bake is incredibly comforting. Warm and delicately flavored, it is the perfect combination to a roast chicken, or you can even eat it on its own.

A few days ago, I got a call from my brother. I was at work so was talking incredibly softly, he insisted that I come home that instant. I cut the call saying I would see. Instantly, my sister called me. She was adamant that I come home. I wasn't left with much of a choice, I told my manager that I had to run and went home. My siblings are awful. They wanted me to make a chicken and corn bake!

Ingredients -
  • 3 cups Corn, boiled
  • 300g Chicken, preferably breast pieces
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 50g Butter
  • 4tbsp Flour
  • 500ml Milk
  • 200g Cheese, grated
  • Dried herbs (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Egg white
 Place the chicken in a shallow saucepan and pour enough water to almost cover the meat. Add salt and pepper to taste and the garlic. Allow to boil the chicken is tender and cooked through. Strain out the liquid and keep aside. Remove the bones from the chicken and chop into small pieces.

Mix the butter and flour in a deep saucepan. Cook for a minute or so till the flour becomes 'furry'. Slowly add the milk while vigorously beating, making sure no lumps form. Add the grated cheese to the sauce till it melts through. Add the chicken broth you kept aside in the previous step. Allow the sauce to gently thicken while stirring occasionally. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Add the boiled corn and chopped chicken to the sauce. Sprinkle some dried herbs and salt and pepper to taste on top. Pour the entire mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle some cheese or whipped egg white on top. Bake in an oven preheated to 250C for about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

Note - if you are not happy with the thickness of the sauce then you can mix some more flour in a little bit of water and add this mixture to the sauce. If you feel that it is too thick then you can add some more milk or the water in which you boiled the corn. Do NOT add plain water, using broth enhances the flavor while water will merely dilute it.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Meatballs - Indian style

There's a little eatery in Ahmedabad called Famous. Only three things are available there - meatballs, meat samosas and freshly baked buns. No matter when you go; there will always be a crowd at Famous. No wonder; the food is amazing!

Understandably; I wanted to try and replicate the meatballs from Famous. They are crisp and crunchy on the outside, and melt in your mouth on the inside. The flavors are rather intense, slightly spicy, with lots of mint and aromatic spices. I tried this recipe in Bengal, but put too much salt! I tried it again in Ahmedabad, perfect!

Ingredients -
  • 250g Mutton, minced
  • 2tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 2tsp Pepper, ground
  • 5 Cloves
  • 2 pods Cardamom (elaichi - green)
  • 1tsp Cinnamon powder
  • A handful of roughly chopped Mint
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Egg
  • 2tbsp Semolina (suji)
  • Oil for deep frying
Grind the cloves, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon together. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Take a marble sized amount and fry it to check for taste. You can adjust the spices accordingly. Form the remaining mixture into small balls and lay them out onto a plate. Heat the oil in a deep wok and fry 5-6 meatballs at a time. They take about 5-7 minutes to cook. Place them on some tissue to soak any excess oil. Serve hot!

Note - use a teaspoon or two of mint and coriander chutney mixed with a bowl of yoghurt as a dip. This dip counters the spiciness of the meatballs perfectly!

The Jackfruit Fiasco

Jackfruit (kathaal) is an interesting vegetable. It grows like leeches on a tree and has a tough; prickly skin. Even peeling the vegetable is a task. You need to oil your knife and hands and hack away until the whitish flesh is unearthed. I actually like the texture of jackfruit; its similar to meat, and if you make it properly it can be quite delicious. My family in Bengal cooks this vegetable quite often; but because I'm a spoiled brat there, I've never seen how they cook it.

I was on the way back from work when I decided to stop at the Dilli Darwaza Sabji Mandi (vegetable market); and pick up some supplies. I got some lovely tomatoes, onions and potatoes; when my eyes fell on the jackfruit. My friend Palak urged me into picking some up, but I was still skeptical. I had never cooked the vegetable before! She re-assured me by telling me how simple it was and that she would come home to help and direct. I fell head-first into the trap and went home with a smile on my face and a bag of jackfruit in my hands.

Jackfruit is NOT easy to cook! Palak did NOT come to help! I chopped the vegetable into inch sized cubes and removed the seeds and the sticky gunk around the seeds. I had been told to fry/boil the vegetable till it is soft and cooked through. I did both. I then chopped up a huge amount of onions, garlic and tomatoes. I fried the onions and garlic in some mustard oil and added the tomatoes. I then continued to make the masala in the regular way; adding red chili powder, coriander and cumin powder and whatever masalas I could see in the kitchen cabinet. Cooking the masala till a little oil had released. I then mixed the cooked jackfruit into the masala, added some water, and waited to see what would happen. After about five minutes; I decided it was time to taste, certain that it would be absolutely amazing. I dipped my spoon into the kadhai (wok) and popped a piece into my mouth. The very thought of that moment brings tears to my eyes. It was bitter! Horribly so! I don't think I have eaten anything so bitter in a terribly long time. Cursing under my breath I called my paternal grandmother; she laughed when I told her what had happened. Said that you always have to taste the jackfruit after boiling it to make sure it isn't bitter. Why oh why didn't I know that?!

Moral of the story - call Sudha Ma when in doubt!

Although this round of jackfruit was such a disaster; I am definitely going to try it again. Maybe next year, or in 2020. Either way, I shall keep you updated!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Cheesy Garlic Bread

The old city in Ahmedabad is a true treasure box. The 'Teen Darwaza' market is fabulous. Think of a product, and you will find it there. From incredibly useful things to the most random things too!

I have wanted to bake my own bread for years now. Unfortunately; I've never managed to find yeast in any of the kirana stores or supermarkets even. Predictably; I managed to come across some dry yeast in the city at a place called Bhagwati Stores. Experimentation was bound to start!

Bread is suspiciously easy to make; as with doughnuts, you just require plenty of patience, and a wee bit of muscle. This is a basic bread recipe, and you can tweak it to your tastes. Additions of sun-dried tomatoes, preserved meat or even slices of onion could be interesting! The advantage of making your own bread is that you can do whatever you want with it.

Ingredients -
  • 500g Flour
  • 250g Atta
  • 2 1/4tsp Dry Yeast
  • 2tsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2tsp Salt
  • 450ml warm Water
  • 200g Cheese, grated
  • 4tbsp minced Garlic
  • 60g Butter
Pour 150ml of the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. You will know that it is ready to use once the mixture looks slightly frothy.

Mix the flours, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Rub 40g butter into the flour mixture till it is slightly crumbly. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture; add enough water to bring the dough together. It should be slightly sticky.

Sprinkle some flour on your platform or workspace, and tip the dough onto it. Knead the dough till it is smooth and elastic. This will probably take anywhere between 10-15 minutes. Place the dough in a large bowl (lightly greased), and cover with cling film. Leave the dough to rise till it's double in size in a dark, warm place. This could take anywhere between 2-3 hours.

Once the dough has doubled; tip it onto your platform and punch out the air. Knead it for a couple of minutes and allow it to rest for a further ten minutes before you start to form your bread. Flatten the dough out into a rough rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Smear the remaining butter on the dough, and evenly sprinkle it with the grated cheese and minced garlic. Roll the dough into a log. You can now push and pull the dough till you have the desired size and shape. I just pressed both ends till it was rather nice and stout. Place your rolled dough onto a lined baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow it to rise till double in a dark, warm place. This should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 170C and bake for 35-40 minutes. The easiest way to check if its ready is to tap the bottom of the loaf. If it makes a hollow sound then it is ready! Let the bread cool for a couple of minutes; slice and enjoy!

Chewy Fudgey Cookies

Cookies are oh so comforting! The fact that they're incredibly easy to make, gives them even more appeal. Crisp and crunchy on the outside; with an incredibly fudgey, gooey texture on the inside. If you love chocolate; you will love these.

The discovery of these cookies happened last night. After having a satisfying meal of a juicy mutton burger
(recipe coming soon); we wanted something sweet to eat. Considering that it was already past midnight; it also had to be fast and easy to make. That's when these cookies came to the rescue!

Ingredients -
  • 1 Egg, cold
  • 150g Chocolate, melted
  • 200g Chocolate, chopped into small pieces/chocolate chips
  • 130g Flour
  • 110g Sugar, granulated
  • 2tsp Baking Powder
  • 125g Butter
  • 1/4tsp Salt
Beat the butter and sugar together till the mixture becomes pale and fluffy. While continuously whisking, pour in the melted chocolate; and then the egg. Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder till you have a thick, creamy batter. Fold in the chocolate bits/chips.

Preheat your oven to 170C. Line a baking tray with some foil or parchment paper (you could also just grease the tray with butter and then dust it with flour). Scoop out large mounds of the cookie dough and place on the tray; at least 3 inches apart. These cookies spread to 3-4 times their size while baking. Bake in the oven for about 15-16 minutes. Let them cool for a couple of minutes on the baking tray and then let them cool completely on your wire rack. They are amazing when they are warm; and just as yummy the next morning!

Note - you may think that the cookies are still raw after 15 minutes; trust me, they are not. They should still be incredibly soft on the surface but the base should be slightly set. They will harden as they cool. If you bake them for too long then they are going to lose the fudgeyness!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Doughnuts (donuts)

Doughnuts are delicious morsels of fried dough. They are crisp and crunchy on the outside; and amazingly soft on the inside. Traditionally doughnuts are formed into a ring; but you can make them in whichever shape you like! You can fill them with cream or fruit preserves; or glaze them with chocolate; or even just roll them in sugar and cinnamon. What I'm getting at is - doughnuts are versatile! This simple recipe can be tweaked according to your tastes; whatever they may be! The dough is made with dry yeast, and then left to rise till double. You then punch out the air; shape your fried goodness, and leave to double again. The only thing you need with this recipe is patience; everything else is easy peasy!

This recipe has been requested by my friend, Krishna :)

Ingredients -
  • 300g Flour
  • 4-5tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 1/2tsp dry Yeast
  • 1 Egg
  • 120ml warm Milk
  • Oil, for deep frying
Mix the flour and yeast together in a large bowl. Rub the butter into it till the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse bread crumbs. Mix the sugar and salt through this mixture. Create a well in the middle, and put the warm milk (not too hot or the egg will curdle; not too cold or the yeast won't activate) and egg into it. Bring the mixture together with your hands or a flat spoon/spatula, till you have a slightly sticky dough.

Sprinkle a little flour onto your platform or workspace, and place the dough on it. Knead the dough till it becomes smooth and has a small amount of elasticity in it. This will take about five to seven minutes. Put the dough in a large (lightly greased) bowl; and place in a warm, dark place till it has doubled in size. This will take about 2 hours (depends on the weather and the temperature of wherever you place the dough!).

Once the dough has doubled, punch it a little to remove the air; and roll out to 1cm thickness. Cut it in whichever shapes you want. I used a large glass for the main circle; and a bottle cap for the inner hole. You can use cookie cutters as well. Gather up the left-over dough, and keep rolling and cutting till you have used it all up!

Line a tray with some paper, and place the cut doughnuts on it. Cover the tray with a clean tea-towel and place in a warm, dark place till they have doubled in size.

Heat up your oil in a deep wok. When you put in a small amount of dough it should color immediately and swell up slightly. Fry 2-3 doughnuts at a time; being careful not to overcrowd the wok. The doughnuts will only take about 30-40 seconds a side; remove from the oil when they are golden brown all over. Place on some tissue paper to soak up any excess oil.

You can roll the doughnuts in a mixture of ground cinnamon and icing sugar; or glaze them with some melted chocolate and sprinkles. You can also use a piping bag to 'inject' fruit preserves or whipped cream into them. Enjoy!

Note - I don't know how long these last as they got gobbled up in 15 minutes flat :)

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Ah cookies... What would the world do without them! Come in different shapes and sizes, taste amazing warm and equally so cold, can be chewy and soft or crunchy or even both! Can be iced or coated or just gobbled up straight out of the oven. Can put a smile on absolutely anyone's face!

Cookies have been around since the beginning of recorded baking history, the first signs of them dating back to the 7th century AD in Persia! In the hundreds of years that it has evolved the cookie is now one of the most popular foods in the world.

The cookies shown in the pictures here not only look amazing but taste even better! I can honestly say that the chocolate chip (chunks rather) cookies that Regina makes are by far among the yummiest things I have ever eaten!

If anyone in Ahmedabad, Gujarat would like to place an order for cookies or chocolate please feel free to contact us on