Aloo gobi roti

Aloo Gobi roti

It’s December already and I am seeing lots of 2018 lists all around– the best celebrity weddings of 2018, the worst fashion trends, best movies of 2018, the most trending hashtags on twitter and so on. I am tempted to make my own lists. I am amazed at all the things that seem just the same this year as they were last year and the year before and before that. Here is a list of things that haven’t changed this year. HDFC bank guys called me every day in 2018 just like they called me every single day in 2017 asking if I wanted a personal loan or credit card. I am basically a kind person so I don’t snap at them. I tell them I am not interested when I hear “HDFC”. But not yelling makes me super furious. I’ve therefore come to not pick up calls from unknown numbers. I’ve then had to explain myself to many an Amazon delivery guy for not picking up the phone. I still wake up 1 hour before the school van arrives. I go 15 minutes late to the 1 hour yoga class. Everybody at the gym is the same size I saw them last year. Strangely I’ve never met the weight-loss achievers on the pin-up board. All the books I intended to read this year are still unread. I am somewhere in the middle in each of them and I’ve forgotten what I’ve read so far. I make a list of the outstanding books to read and promptly misplace the list. I can’t resist the books I come across. I strategize that if I buy an interesting enough book and read it fully, that will give me the momentum to finish the rest of the books. I fall asleep on the 5th page. I’ve not acted as Vijay’s akka. I’ve not lost 10kilos yet. I am still paying EMIs. Overall I’d say it’s been a good year. I hope you had a great 2018 too. What was just the same for you this year? I’d love to hear. Please feel free to share in the comments. The recipe I am going to share with you today is a simple Aloo gobi roti, a kind of all-in-one dish. This Aloo Gobi roti is not a stuffed roti. In a stuffed roti, there is the possibility that your stuffing is not evenly distributed...
cabbage paratha

Cabbage paratha | A kindness Challenge

Tell me it’s normal to not want to read the newspaper because it makes you sad. If you’re here for just the cabbage paratha bit, please feel free to jump right down to the recipe. If you have a bit more time, please read on. I cried last week when I read the stories of the wives, mothers of fishermen from Kanyakumari who are waiting, praying for a miracle after cyclone Ockhi. They are fighting despair as each day passes, hoping that their loved ones would return alive somehow while also wondering how to make ends meet, how to explain to the little kids at home who are asking for their “Appa”, how to pay back the loan they took for the new boat, how to pay the school fees. I pray for all those families. I urge you to pray too, for them. I am a huge believer in the power of prayers. I think it can make a difference. It is hard to be kind Too often we underestimate the value of a kind act, a small prayer, a tiny favour. We’re doing these things so rarely these days because we’re very busy being enraged about the news. There’s rarely anything positive or happy in the news anyways. I can barely contain my despondency when I read about another rape, another hate crime, the lifelong court trials that suck the life out of the people before tilting in favour of the powerful. Add to that, the self-righteous, sweeping generalizations and twisted up narratives that people serve up on social media attacking their favourite people to hate. I don’t know if everyone has an Aadhar card, if everyone has a bank account. Everyone sure has a group they hate. Women, men, hindus, muslims, Christians, low-caste, high-caste, brahmins, devars, non-brahmins, Sanghis, Commies, Congis, Leftists, Thalapathy fans, Thala fans. It is hard to be optimistic. And precisely because it is so difficult, I think we need to try extra hard to stay hopeful, to be kind and to do good. Kindness, generosity and cheer are like muscles. We need to work them constantly so that we can put them to use when we need them most.   Goodness There was a friend in school who complained about being left out from the gang and acted up from time to time being frosty and even rude. I remember being miffed by the...
Chapathi dal grilled chicken - Diet meal

Chapathi, Dal and Grilled chicken – Diet meal

At times it’s hard to believe that something as good as it tastes could be good for you. It was so with this Chapathi, Dal and grilled chicken combo. Delicious, wholesome and satisfying. I wouldn’t mind having this meal again and again. Except for the chapathi, the rest of the components of this meal are almost no effort.   There are hundreds of flavours for your grilled chicken. I happened to have some leftover Thai red curry paste which I rubbed into the chicken and let it marinate for an hour before placing it on a cookie sheet in the hot oven and grilled for 30 minutes, flipping half way through. While the chicken cooked, I pressure cooked toor dal with salt and green chillies till soft, mashed it and finished with a simple tempering of mustard seeds and oil. I cut up a couple of carrot and beans into long strips and steamed them in my idli steamer. I made chapathis last. You can buy Thai red curry paste at stores if you don’t want to bother making it at home. If you are not crazy about Thai red curry flavour, you could try Tandoori style, Teriyaki or a simple lemon-salt-black pepper version. This is a meal you can serve your whole family. But good luck with the steamed vegetables. I ate most of them. Happy Dieting! Let’s do this – Project 50k!
Sprouts stuffed paratha

Sprouts Stuffed Paratha

I always feel responsible when my maamiyaar seems cross. She may have had some disagreement with Jagan. She may be upset that the maid retorted defiantly. Relatives may be giving her grief. She may have an upset stomach. I still feel responsible. Most times I don’t know the reason but because I feel responsible I don’t ask. I need to know though. So I rewind and play the day’s happenings in my mind stopping to scrutinize at every step – Did I say the truth? Did I make seppankezhangu fry? Did I not react cheerily enough to something? Did I react cheerily to something? Last week she seemed particularly morose. I felt I was responsible. I didn’t ask. But I worried. I pondered aloud to Jagan who admonished me for being irrational and dismissed me as an obsessive worrier. He triumphantly told me later that day “She was unwell. She had had an upset stomach yesterday night and that is the reason she looks dismal. I told you, you are wrong. This is the way you screw up things.” Taking the opportunity, Jagan went on about how my instincts were not always right. I needed to be more chatty, I needed to text her, call her and generally act sweet. Sweet?! How do ya be that to the Maamiyaar? Somebody please (don’t) teach me. Hmm, Maybe I am overanxious. Maybe, I am over-reacting to everything. Knowing it wasn’t me I asked her that night “I heard you were sick. What happened?” “Was a terrible case of food poisoning. It was the tamarind rice I had at lunch.” I stutter “Puli Puli sadam? Maybe it was the medhu pakoda we bought yesterday”. I had made the tamarind rice (puli sadam) the day before. “No, it must be the Puli sadam. The Puli kaachal in the fridge was too old. I should have thrown it out.” “Hmm.. Oh” I slink off. I had not made the puli kaachal. She had. I had used the leftover puli kaachal sitting in the fridge. I had wronged. She had an upset stomach and I was responsible. I made these sprouts stuffed parathas in a fit of health consciousness. I realized I wasn’t replacing everything with millets. I wasn’t substituting all purpose flour and granulated sugar with ragi and beetroots. I reckoned a little bit of sprouts stuffed inside parathas would compensate in some way.  ...

Easy Homemade Milk Bread – Hokkaido | Tangzhong way

I see the dough has risen beautifully and I call out to Yuvi to show him. He waits for me to finish gushing. He politely peers in when I show him the bowl. He then says ‘Yes, yes. Nice’ and runs off to where he left off with his hot wheels race. He has been there, seen that – well risen dough gives me a high, perfectly separate perfectly cooked grains of rice makes me smile all day, flaky pastry makes me sing, well balanced curry soothes me, burnt vegetables make me swear, dinner parties leave me sleepless and anxious until they’re over, dry cake makes me yell and failed biryani breaks my soul. He gets me, my son. He plays it well. I recently switched over to instant dry yeast and it has cut down my insanity by 50%, almost. Before instant dry yeast, I used the little pellet type dry yeast that I had to first proof and it rarely ever did. I’d stir in more sugar, peer real close, swear, peek in again, yell at anyone around, search frantically for another packet, ask Jagan to run to the Nilgiris for some “bloody working yeast” and generally act like an ass. Not anymore. Thanks instant dry yeast! When I spotted the instant dry yeast pack on Amma Naana’s shelves for the first time, a happy peppy montage of beautiful golden crusted bread, pillowy soft bakery style buns, pizza crusts, rolls and baguettes ran through my mind like the dream sequence in movies. I wanted to try an easy, foolproof basic bread recipe because of said insanity. So I looked to my blogging marathon friends who are baking up a storm the whole of this month. I was spoilt for choice but I finally chose this Hokkaido milk bread from Priya’s blog – “I camp in my kitchen”. I have to tell you, it really is a foolproof recipe and really simple to make. The bread turned out great with a gorgeous soft crumb and lovely golden crust. I’ll be making this bread many more times. I might add more sugar the next time as we like our milk bread a little on the sweeter side. I wouldn’t change anything else. This is a great first bread recipe to try for madcaps and for normal people too. Give it a go.   Prep Time: 20 minsBaking Time: 1 hourRising...

My shortcut Palak Paneer with Radish parathas

Ratha thadha the the , Ratha thadha the the.. Yennai Arindhal! The song’s been on my mind ever since I saw the movie a few weeks back. I have one question for Gautam Menon, many questions, but one most important one – Where are the real life versions of Dev.. Satyadev, Anbu Selvam and Raghavan? Chivalrous, desirable guys opening doors, saying all the right things, cooking meals, spending time with girlfriend’s kids (Jagan checks his records if it is in fact his turn to take the kids to the toilet before bed)! But mine is a ‘Mounam Pesiyadhe’ Surya, an ‘En Rasavin Manasile’ Raj Kiran. So it doesn’t apply. If somebody’s really got a ‘Varanam Aayiram’ Krishnan, ‘Vettayadu Vilayadu’ Raghavan do let me know in the comments box (below the post). I am curious. And by the way don’t you think that’s a great way to describe someone – short, crisp, spot on and everyone gets it. Imagine these matrimonial ads: “Want an “Idhayam Murali” type doctor maapillai (instead of “soft-spoken, sincere, sensitive, doctor cum poet”)” Or Want a “Suryavamsam” Sarath kumar (village side, dhuttu party) for a Devyani type IAS aspirant. Succinct, don’t you think? Now, where was I? I like watching his movies. It is just that the men in his movies are too good, too nice, too gentlemanly and the setting unrealistically perfect, stylish, wishful. And rarely ever any interfering family around except maybe a doting “Daddy”. The women are IIT/UCLA grads or in seemingly important positions but carry empty laptop bags. Everybody speaks flawless English, women wear starched cotton sarees and FabIndia outfits, people live in Anna Nagar or Adyar, the men are cops or romantics or both. They get down on one knee, play the guitar, fly overseas to meet you (how many times did you have to catch an auto because your husband couldn’t take a detour to pick you from office? All the time!), propose instantly and say insanely sweet things like so:        Radish Paratha to Palak Paneer: Ivlo azhagu! I am in love and you are responsible. Palak Paneer:  I didn’t think much of parathas but now I want to spend the rest of my life with you radish paratha. I see in his movies things I had written in college slam books, wishful romantic fantasy stuff (Rom-fan?!). But I really did think the radish paratha and palak paneer went extremely...

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

There is almost never a dearth of blackening bananas on our dining table. Just like there’s never good news when it’s appraisal time. Ok that’s the worst analogy ever but couldn’t contain my “Outsourced under-paid Indian employee” anguish. It’s that time of the year when you hear the words “Ownership”, ”Visibility”, ”Initiative” bouncing around your office corridors and you know that soon you’ll get what is widely called a “hike” which you won’t notice unless you look really hard and with which you can’t even settle your tea-kadai account. This time he might just give me a ten rupee note from his pocket as my hike. You can never say. I am not looking forward to it. I’ll take a slightly lesser paid samayal-kari (cook) job if there is one. Let me know if you know one (but not on linkedIn, I may not even get the 10 rupee). Back to the bananas. There are at-least a couple of them in various stages of over-ripeness and nobody at home even bothers to toss them into the bin, usually. But remember I am notoriously unlucky with things like these. The one day that I look up a banana recipe, mentally check all the ingredients and come home dreaming of baking some banana goodness, I find that somebody has suddenly become over-responsible and has thrown away my precious over-ripe bananas. I cannot go to the potti-kadai and ask for over-ripe bananas. Already word is out that I am a crazy nut who asks for funny sounding ingredients (try asking for Badam Pisin with a straight face; I can’t). The point behind all this is you need really ripe bananas to make good banana bread. The rest is trivial. This whole wheat banana looks more like a plum cake because of the dark brown sugar in it. It smells heavenly when it bakes and is remarkably soft and light for a whole wheat bread. I was hasty and did not let it cool fully before shoving it in the fridge. The resultant condensation I think makes it look a bit denser that it originally was. The original recipe in Maida Heatter’s book also had walnuts in it. I skipped it as my kids don’t dig nuts. But if you have walnuts, chop them and fold them in at the last moment before popping the pan into the oven. Bananas and walnuts are classic...
Pesarattu & Ginger chutney

Indian Statewise food – A Roundup of the past month

Here’s a short recap of the last one month’s statewise blogging marathon conveniently compiled in a single page. I’ve put together all the regional foods from all over India that I posted over the last one month. Feel free to click on the images of specific dishes to get to the recipes.  After this non-stop marathon month of blogging, I am exhausted, but inspired and restless. I hope it has inspired you guys to try new dishes in your everyday cooking too. Tiffen and Snacks Andhra’s Pesarattu has always been a family favourite tiffen but this time I made Pesarattu along with it’s best friend Allam Pachadi (ginger chutney) and the duo is unbeatable. I had a great time deep frying my way through Dal pooris of Jharkand, the sel roti (sweet batter rings from Sikkim) in the strangest of shapes, the tasty egg shoap from Nagaland and the lovely bhaturas (the stuff of dreams). Chhattisgarh’s rice Pakoras are the easiest pakoras you’ll ever find. Badeel was Uttarakhand’s version of poricha paruppu urundais – a yummy anytime snack. The vegetable momos and red chilli dip transported me to north-eastern India. Curries The curries were all a grand success – the Punjabi chicken Tikka being the best curry forever (BCF), the creamy luscious Pondicherry Fish Assad, the everyday Oriya Dalma (will be a regular on our menu), delicious Bihari Gugni, Delhi’s famous street food Matar Kulcha, Goa’s famous Vindaloo, the absolutely magnificent Mutton Rogan Josh of Kashmir (that can give any restaurant rogan josh a run for its money) and the simple and elegant Sana Thongba from Manipur (a light Paneer and Peas curry). Kerala’s Pal Appams bombed (I waited and waited for the batter to ferment, checking every now and then more eagerly than I waited for my engineering results) but the vegetable stew saved the day – it was just about perfect. Soups, Chutnies and Dips The red chilli dip is a real keeper – perfect for so many things. The Tomato oambal of Tripura was a revelation – a wonderful fusion of sweet, tangy and hot notes in a simple salsa like chutney. The Thukpa, a himalayan noodle soup is full of fresh, simple flavours. Rice dishes Maharashtra’s Varahadi Masale Bhaat was a wonderful spiced one-pot rice and vegetable meal – easy and tasty. Karnataka’s Bisi Bele Baath was a thing of beauty. This would be my go...

Egg Shoap – Nagaland breakfast

Egg shoap was among the few north eastern foods that Jagan and kids enjoyed thoroughly. Egg shoap is a little like our potato bonda but without the besan and  with egg in it. Egg shoap I read is a popular Naga breakfast. It is easy, quick and yummy. Anything with potatoes, that is dipped in egg, rolled in bread crumbs and is deep fried has got to be delicious. Nagaland is among the smallest Indian states. It is mostly mountainous and is home to several tribes majority of whom are now christians. Nagamese a form of Assamese is the most widely spoken language in Nagaland. Naga food involves meat and fish which are usually smoked or fermented apart from rice, boiled vegetables and chillies. I really am not sure where this egg shoap fits in that picture but I found it on the net saying it is a popular Naga breakfast and I clung on to it. I really couldn’t risk putting another veggie broth before my family, although we enjoyed the thukpa quite a lot. Jagan liked the egg shoap he had them for lunch. He placed a couple of egg shoap in his chappathi, drizzled some ketchup and rolled it up to make a egg shoap wrap. It was a pretty nice idea and it tasted great. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 15-20 mins Makes: 12-15 egg shoap balls Ingredients Potatoes – 2 medium, boiled, peeled and mashed Eggs – 2 boiled, peeled and mashed roughly Onion – 1 small, chopped fine Green chillies – 3 chopped fine Cumin powder – ½ tsp Garam Masala powder – ½ tsp (optional – I added) Turmeric – ¼ tsp Salt to taste Egg – 1 beaten lightly Bread crumbs – 1 cup Oil – for deep frying Method 1.       Boil two potaoes till tender. Cool, peel and mash them. Set aside. 2.       Boil 2 eggs. To boil eggs, place them in a pan, cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 8 minutes. Switch off and cover. Let sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Open the lid, run the eggs under cold water and peel them. 3.       Mash the eggs. Add them to the mashed potaoes. Throw in the chopped onions, green chillies, spice powders and salt and mix everything together. Don’t add any water. Makes sure the mixture is thick. If...

Dal Poori – Jharkand

I love fried anything but I am very skimpy with oil. I feel terribly guilty emptying a quarter of the 1 litre oil pack for making vadais or pooris. I sometimes overcome my “fried-manic-oil-phobic” concerns and go ahead and fry away. I did with this dal poori I found at gayathri’s blog and I loved it. The dal poori is beautiful. These are golden pooris stuffed with a subtly spiced channa dal mixture. The dal poori has so much going on on its own that it really didn’t need an accompaniment but if I did serve it with something, the something had to be fresh and simple. I made a tomato oambal and it seemed to be the best thing that happened to the Dal Poori. They were lovely together, the two of them. Cutest pair ever. Made for each other. I conveniently used Bihar’s Dal Poori for Jharkand as I’ve heard they’re very similar. After all Jharkand was part of Bihar up until 2000. Jharkand means “Land of forests” and it accounts for 40% of India’s mineral resources. Funny that many of the newly formed states are rich in mineral resources and majority of the people are poor. A convenient combination. Nevertheless, Dal pooris are delicious and are a must try. Prep time: 30 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 4-5 Ingredients – Poori Wheat flour – 2 cupsBlack sesame seeds – ¼ tspSalt – a pinchWater as neededOil – for deep frying Ingredients – Stuffing Channa dal/Kadalai paruppu – ½ cupOnion – 1 medium chopped fineGreen chillies – 2 chopped fineCumin seeds/Jeera – ½ tspTurmeric powder – ¼ tspSalt to tasteGaram Masala – ½ tspOil – 2 tsp Method 1.      Combine wheat flour, salt and sesame seeds in a bowl and add water little at a time to make a soft firm dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for half an hour. Meanwhile prepare the filling. 2.      Pressure cook channa dal till soft. Drain the water and mash the dal. Set aside. 3.      To a pan, add oil and when hot, add the cumin seeds. After about half a minute, add the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté till the onions turn translucent. Then add the mashed dal, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt and mix well. Cook on low heat till the dal mixture is quite dry and starts leaving the sides of the pan...