Wrap up of 100 days healthy eating challenge!

I am happy to announce that I am finally done with the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I’ve posted all 100 recipes on the blog as well as the facebook page so you can check and be assured that I am not cheating. If ever you’re stuck and want some ideas or inspiration for a healthy recipe, hop on over to the blog or the facebook album. You will find that my list of healthy recipes includes biryani and curd rice and noodles and everything in between. Honestly I do not believe healthy food needs to be un-interesting or skinny. In my world healthy food needs to make you happy all over. That means biryani has to figure in the list. One of the best things to come out of this challenge is that I naturally gravitate towards healthier alternatives these days. I feel hungry less often. I feel more in control of what I am eating. Combined with intermittent fasting, I’ve been able to lose about 3 kilos during this period. I exercised very irregularly during this period. So I wouldn’t really attribute any of my weight-loss to that. A more disciplined person would have probably lost more weight. My definition of healthy is very expansive. Except desserts and deep-fried foods, everything is fair game. So my healthy food list includes thali meals, biryani, schezwan noodles. tawa fried fish and chipotle rice bowls. The one constraint I placed for myself was to make sure every meal was homemade. So you’ll find smoothies, grilled chicken recipes, easy tiffen recipes, curries, roast vegetable recipes, rice varieties, traditional breakfasts… just about every kind of dish. To access the day wise recipes, head over to the 100 days of healthy eating challenge page. Here’s the list of things that you’ll need to keep in mind when you want to eat healthy. When you’re trying to eat healthy or go on a diet, the entire world will conspire to sabotage your attempts. Unknown relatives will get married during that time and will have their reception during your fasting period and your so-far-indifferent family and in-laws will on that particular day goad you to eat. Your friends will shamelessly stuff themselves with samosa and fries. You’ll get invited to birthday parties, booze parties and outings all involving lots of eating. Everyone will urge you to eat. “It’s just one day, one meal”, “This cutlet...
Chicken lollipop

Chicken lollipop

You know how all the crazy stuff you admired in your boyfriend, come back as worries about your son? That’s called payback. Your boyfriend lied expertly at home to hang out with you, made you laugh, rode super- fast, sweet-talked you into stuff and smoked stylishly. Yuvan was about 4 when he defiantly withstood an entire evening’s gentle prodding and questioning, claiming he had not scribbled on his sister’s drawing. All of us knew he had. He has his grandmothers and aunts thinking they’re his favourite girl. They have no clue he has said the same line to all the women in the family. They each secretly buy him ice cream thinking they’re the closest confidante. He compliments me when I wear a saree. He says I look cute. Last weekend he burped loudly. I :  “Ippadiya asingama yeppam viduvaange?” (How can you burp so nastily)?” Yuvi: “Seri, cute’a vidatuma?.. koo” (Ok, Shall I burp the cute way?.. koo) I laughed so hard. Jagan is mostly amused to see a smaller, possibly niftier version of him practicing his antics. He is prepared. He says I shouldn’t expect anything else. I worry. I am not prepared for this. Yuvan’s single most favourite order at restaurants is Chicken lollipop. He’ll not shy away from trying to order it in Saravana Bhavan also. That and biryani together make his favourite meal. When he was much younger and shorter, he stood up on his chair at the fancy schmancy burger place to get close to the waiter’s ear and told him “Biryani’ um pachadi’ um eduthitu vaange” (Bring biryani and raita). The waiter smiled in understanding. I make chicken lollipop every few weeks at home because he loves them so much. When I ask him how the chicken lollipop tastes, he doesn’t just say “It tastes very good.” He says “Did you make it amma? Really? It tastes so good, so much better than the restaurant lollipops”. He does finish his plate. So Yuvan’s flattery and charm notwithstanding, these chicken lollipops are really lip-smacking and are as good as the restaurant fare. These chicken lollipops are incredibly quick and surprisingly easy to make. You really can’t go wrong with these. Let me know if you make these. I’d love to hear your story. Print Recipe Chicken lollipop Lip-smacking chicken lollipops you can make at home in 30 minutes. Course Appetizer Cuisine Indo-Chinese Prep Time...
Paneer kothu chappathi

Paneer kothu chapathi

I am a big believer of signs. Last week, one morning I woke up singing “Oru poongavanam”. I set up the Bose Soundlink on the kitchen counter and played the song on repeat while I cooked. I let the onions blacken busy singing and mimicking the swimming action in the song. I had to drop off the kids at their grandma’s house before work. I switched on the radio and what song does it play? “Oru poongavanam pudhu manam…” We looked at each other open mouthed. It was a sign. It definitely was a sign. A sign of what I didn’t know but it was a sign. I sang to it in the car delighted. Only the previous day I felt like nothing was going my way, that I wasn’t doing things right. Then god plays my mind-song on radio to tell me I am doing fine. The traffic light turning to green as soon as you reach the junction, waking up early when you have to, you think you’re looking pretty and someone compliments you on how pretty you’re looking, a selfie that turns out to your liking, somebody brings you food, somebody buys you ice cream, somebody has a tablet when you have a headache.. are all good signs. Hasini has a great knack of finding out when I’ve upcycled something and I do a lot of that because I hate seeing food go waste. I don’t usually tell them because I don’t trust them to be open minded about it. Hasini makes sure to find out and announce it to everyone. This Paneer kothu chapathi however went down well with everyone. It’s super quick to put together if you have leftover chapathis or rotis in your or parathas in your fridge. You can use even the hardest, stiffest of your old rotis in this recipe. The liquid in the recipe helps soften your rotis just enough and the oil adds the delicious fried taste to it. You can add in scrambled eggs, cooked shredded chicken, peas, chopped carrots or anything else you fancy. I happened to have paneer so I made paneer kothu chapathi.  Make it your own. Don’t let another old chapathi go waste. Print Recipe Paneer kothu chapathi Delicious kothu chapathi to make the best use of your leftover rotis/chapathis! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 3 people...
Mexican style chicken

Mexican style Chicken

It takes just a handful of common place ingredients, a nice rub, a good sear in a well-greased pan, shred and toss together for a just saucy enough, juicy, flavour-packed chicken that can be scooped into tortillas, tacos, layered between bread or served alongside rice.
Pasta in creamy garlicky sauce

Pasta in creamy, garlicky sauce

Last week, my friends and I put to test one of our beloved childhood love-tests – FLAMES. If you’ve never heard about this ingenious little game then I am sorry to say you’ve really missed it. For you poor fellows, let me explain this path-breaking logic. You write down your name and your favourite person’s name and strike out all the common letters. Then you count up the remaining number of letters, say n. You then write the word “FLAMES” and strike out the nth letter. You keep going with the remaining letters until you have just the one letter remaining and that one letter is your relationship with that person – F – friends, L – Love, A – Affection, M – Marriage, E – Enemy and S – sister. Now that we’re married, if the test really works, the test should give an “M” for a married couple. As you rightly guessed, none of the real-life couples got an “M”. One theory that seemed to support this result was that none of the couples had any business being married to each other. All of us agreed to this at some level. The other theory is that there is no one absolute right path. There are multiple paths and we happen to have married ­­one of the possible candidates. The third theory is that FLAMES is bullshit which we were not ready to accept just yet. We continued to check our compatibility with some of our other favourite people. With Thalapathi Vijay, I get an F – friend and I am happy with that. Come to think of it, I need not have been as worried in college when my name didn’t go with the cute guy’s in the other class. It didn’t have to, for me to go talk to him. We’re always trying to find reasons for not doing the things we’re scared of doing. We’re afraid of failing, of being embarrassed, of being rebuffed. We should try anyways. We’ll laugh later about what stopped us today. It may be a formal degree, someone’s approval, public opinion, past mistakes, caution… I hope I managed to say something profound from all of that. You need some breathtaking pasta while you try FLAMES with all your favourite people. I made this creamy, garlicky, parmesan kissed pasta last week. I kid you not when I say that all seven people...
Chicken tortilla wraps

Chicken Tortilla wraps

These tortilla chicken wraps are unbelievably simple and quick to put together. It’s best had fresh off the stove – simple, earthy cumin spiced chicken, fresh coriander and melty cheese all wrapped up in warm, olive oil toasted tortillas!
Kurumba resort, Coonoor

Kurumba village, Coonoor | Travel Guide

Last year, after considering Scotland, Switzerland, Dubai, Bali, Sri Lanka and Shimla in that order, we zeroed in on Coonoor for a family trip. We were travelling with my best friend Menaka and her family. For the activities that the men had in mind for the trip, we decided that the setting would make no difference. We might as well save on costs. We were looking for an itinerary-less trip too – a trip that wouldn’t need us to move our butts from point A to point B, unless point B was the restaurant. I wasn’t looking to shop even. Aah, the pleasures of a zero activity vacation! If you’re considering such a vacation this summer, look no further.   Kurumba village in Coonoor fit the bill perfectly. There was nothing very remarkable around there that we were under pressure to tick off our list. The Kurumba resort is nestled in the foothills of Ooty which saves you a steep mountain ride as well. So win-win-win. Coonoor was roughly a 10-hour drive from Chennai including breaks. We started at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am. We always do on our road trips in order to put maximum distance behind us. We reached Coonoor around 2 pm, just in time for lunch. The restaurant has the most spectacular views of the mountains rising just across from where we’re seated. There is a faint drizzle and it is pleasantly chill. There was a huge array of dishes for lunch and everything was delicious. It was all so near perfect, there was little else you could ask for. And then somebody ordered beer. Kurumba resort is set in the most picturesque location, the rooms are located on winding paths that lead down the hill right down to a little waterfall that thunders right outside the rooms. This waterfall happened to be right outside our rooms. It was a short climb down from the balcony and up the boulders to the waterfall. We picked our way to the bottom of the waterfall and took turns to sit under the waterfall. Whoa! Icy chill sheets of water pounded our backs. Nothing prepared us for the onslaught. We looked at each other, laughed and shivered together. We couldn’t talk above the sound of the water. Playing in the waterfall made us hungry. So we dried ourselves, dressed and climbed up the hill to the restaurant. Swimming...
Thai yellow curry

Thai yellow curry

I love me my Thai curry. Jarred curry pastes just won’t do. I always make mine from scratch. I of course don’t have the authentic ingredients – Galangal ginger, kaffir lime leaves & birds eye chillies. Like a good Indian, I adjust.