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!
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.
Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng

We have two more exams to go before the end of the school year. The school whatsapp group is buzzing with notes exchanges and exam paper doubt clarifications between mothers. We have a study holiday in between. Afternoon I was scrolling through SPI cinema to see which movies I’d watch next week after the final exam. I can’t wait. I need to watch a movie to mark the successful completion of the school year, to unwind, to feel alright, to reward myself. I came home from work and Yuvi tells me this – “Shall we please watch a movie tonight? I just feel like it. Viswasam?” He is my son alright. Am I a good mother? I don’t know. We watched Viswasam, on Amazon Prime. There are some scenes that were a real treat. There weren’t a whole lot of them but I really liked those. Ajith is the George Clooney of Indian Cinema and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that nobody else can rock grey hair or an unfit body like he does. What I loved about the movie was how Ajith does all the right things, says all the right things and makes it look good. He has quit drinking and he beats up anybody else who dare drink when he doesn’t. He is wearing his helmet when he swerves and does his stylish bike wheeling, he wears his seat belt when he sits in the car, he smiles and brushed aside his wife’s reprimand saying that’s the world order. Ajith commands respect, but Vijay steals my heart and Jagan is waiting on the phone. I’ve got to go. So I’ll quickly share with you a lipsmacking recipe for Mee Goreng with you my dear readers. As you’d have it, I didn’t have kecap Manis, the key ingredient in Mee Goreng and most other Malaysian dishes. I am an Indian and I know there is a substitute for everything. So I made my own Kecap Manis. I simmered soy sauce, brown sugar and star anise till it reduced to a thick syrup and used that as Kecap Manis. Mee Goreng is a hot and sweet kinda noodle dish, bursting with flavours and packed with all the good stuff – eggs, chicken and your favourite veggies. Top with a fried egg to really take this Mee Goreng over the top. Hasini and Yuvan loved this Mee...

Paniyaram from leftover Dosa batter

Kids of lazy moms will know that Milagai podi and Kissan Jam are universal side dishes. One of the two will go with anything. That’s what these kids have been raised to believe. Ask Hasini and Yuvan if you wish to check. In my book, milagai podi is game for all kinds of idli, dosai, oothappam, paniyaram, upma or adai. I smear jam on dosai, chappathi, poori, bread, use it as a topping over oats, porridge, ice cream and sometimes eat spoonfuls straight from the jar when I am craving something sweet. I got caught doing just that. Since I am a responsible mother, I don’t let them eat out of the jam jar but I’ll do it when no-one’s around. When I got caught, I had to explain my veto powers and how nobody else can be trusted to handle the jam jar the right way. The other day I made paniyarams and served it with milagai podi with no qualms. I’ve always made paniyaram with leftover dosa batter. There is a point in the lifetime of a dosa batter when the dosa turns too sour and rubbery. That’s the point when wives and mommies unleash their creativity and come up with all sorts of ingenious recipes to make use of that leftover dosa batter. This paniyaram is one of the recipes I make often when I am left with sour dosa batter. I also make vengaya dosai, podi oothappam or these sweet and sour leftover idli batter fritters. These paniyarams are dumb-easy to make. Prepare a tempering of some basic ingredients – onion, chillies, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Mix this into your leftover batter, pour into paniyaram moulds and cook. As simple as that. These paniyarams are convenient to pack in tiffin boxes too. Print Recipe Paniyaram from leftover dosa batter Dumb-easy to make, these paniyarams are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Yum! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Servings 15 paniyaram Ingredients 3 cups Leftover Dosa batter 1 Onion, chopped fine 1 Green chilli, minced 1 inch Ginger, minced 1 stem Curry leaves 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds 2 tsp Oil, for tempering 3 tbsp Oil, for paniyarams Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Servings 15 paniyaram Ingredients 3 cups Leftover Dosa batter 1 Onion, chopped fine 1 Green chilli, minced...
Prawn pulav

Prawn biryani

Sunday morning, I was deveining prawns in my kitchen. It seemed to take forever. I wondered how many hours in life a person would spend deveining prawns. They must have statistics for that surely, like they have for how many hours in life we spend at traffic signals, how many pads a woman goes through in a lifetime, how many hours people spend on whatsapp debates… Somebody somewhere must have thought of quantifying the time spent on deveining prawns. I made a mental note to google it later when my hands were not yucky. The deveined pile was still small. I felt I was going too slow. I needed to set myself a goal. I decided I’d have to finish deveining the prawns before I picked up Yuvan from his class. I was quite pleased that I finished in half an hour. I was late to his class by 10 minutes though. I reckoned he would have enjoyed the extra time to run around with his buddy. His bud had left and he wasn’t pleased. It also meant I was late to pick up Hasini too. I braced myself for her grumbling. She didn’t notice me. She painted away and let me wait 10 minutes before she packed up. What do you know? It happens all the time when I want to fix a bug or send a particularly verbose mail before I go to the restroom. When I finally finish, the restroom is busy. The reason people spend all that time deveining prawns is because it adds an unbeatable flavour to any dish. I made prawn biryani. Let me tell you this. This Prawn biryani is just about perfect – just spicy enough from the green chillies, fragrant from the whole spices and kissed by the delicate coconut milk goodness. Everyone who ate it loved it. That includes Yuvan, Hasini and my dad. That’s one hard bunch to please. I served it with raita, boiled eggs and tawa fried fish fillets. Let me know if you make this prawn biryani. Print Recipe Prawn biryani Perfectly flavoured Prawn biryani made in a pressure cooker! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 40 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Servings 5-6 people Ingredients 1/2 kilo Prawn/Shrimp, shelled and deveined 400 gm Basmati rice, soaked in water for 20 minutes 2 Onions, sliced thin 2 Tomatoes, chopped 10 Green chillies, sliced lengthwise 2 inch...
Schezwan noodles

Schezwan Noodles | “Who’s the right one?” tips for Valentine’s Day

Jagan is going to be away for 2 months on a business trip. He left last week. 2 months is a long time. We’d miss him. Romantic and ever thoughtful guy that he is, that evening he suddenly pulled me aside and showed me.. .. .. How to disconnect his car battery. He also showed me all the places under the hood where I should place the rat repellant. He made me practice opening and closing the hood. That reminds me – Happy Valentine’s Day! Never one to honour stereotypes, he has never recognized Valentine’s day. Jagan not in town also means lazy breakfasts, lunch leftovers for dinner, less chicken and little to no restaurant hopping. Hasini is already sad about the restaurant bit. As if on que, the day after he left, the light bulb in the study died and needs changing now. I read in bed till 3 am the other day like back in my single days. I woke up shrieking because I had to pack lunch for 2 kids in 20 minutes. If Jagan had been here, he’d have grumbled enough for me to switch off the lights by 12 and I would have woken up with a full 30 minutes in hand. I’ll need to wait 2 months to change my Mookuthi. Jagan is my official Mookuthi (nosepin) changer. It’s too tricky for me to do it on my own. He comes armed with two sets of pliers from his tool set to change my teeny mookuthi. He triumphantly changes my mookuthi and sits back. I look in the mirror and don’t like the new one and want to go back to the old one. He knows from experience and hasn’t put away his tools. He deftly does his thing one more time and switches up the mookuthi again. He’s an engineer after all. I write unhindered. The music is on the entire time. I am catching up on my reading. I am left to administer cough medicine to the kids and take full and complete charge of making them study for the exams. I have stories to tell him but I can’t remember them all by the time our timezones intersect. I have the TV remote when I manage to bully the kids. I need to drive everywhere and park myself. You cannot do with or without him. That means he’s the right one....