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...
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!
Carrot coconut milk

Carrot coconut milk

Mornings I wake up early to the sound of birds before everyone else. I brush my teeth and brew coffee. I read the paper while drinking coffee from my coffee mug. I take a shower, dress up and with my wet hair wrapped in a towel, I head to the kitchen to make breakfast and lunch. I then wake up the kids and husband. I gently chide them for being lazy. Kids smile and go get showered and dressed. I lay the breakfast on the table. Kids say their prayers and sit down for breakfast. Jagan is reading the papers. Once done, kids hug me, say bye and walk over to wait for the van. The van arrives and they climb inside and wave to me. I wave back and walk back home. That is my morning routine – said no one ever. The actual morning routine has all of these elements but inside out and upside down. I wake up last along with the kids. So it’s kind of a tie. I head straight to the kitchen to make breakfast and lunch. There’s no smiling in the morning. There’s a lot of yelling, blaming, searching for socks, shirt, jatti and science classwork but no smiling. Nobody dare sit down for anything least of all to eat breakfast. You may sit down to put on your shoes but that’s about it. We don’t wait for the van; the van driver waits while we scoot across the road. He always turns onto our road when I am tying Hasini’s first ponytail and we can see him from the balcony, so I have to hurry downstairs while still tying the second one and it ends up being a bit lopsided. Hasini seems to go with uneven ponytails on most days. Hasini is sometimes angry I haven’t given her money for the canteen. She doesn’t wave to me. Yuvan is not pleased that he doesn’t get the window seat. He doesn’t wave either. I walk back home marveling that I’ve somehow managed to send them off successfully to school yet another day and take my first bathroom break since yesterday night. Jagan is reading the papers. The bird call happens last. Our neighborhood crow calls out to me from outside my kitchen. He hops aside while I place his breakfast. He eats once I walk way. I then make my morning drink. I...
Murghir Jhol

Murgir Jhol – Bengali chicken curry

I am still on the movie subject. People go to a masala movie and complain that it’s just masala. People go to a movie with a solid script and fret that it is slow. They go to a movie like 2.0 and tut-tut that it’s too absurd (the very same ones who rave about the transformer series). They’re disappointed that gangster movie A does not have all the elements of gangster movie B, different story notwithstanding. All of them will claim that they thoroughly enjoyed “Inception”. I am surprised that people do not employ simple everyday logic in movie criticism. A movie is what it is. Take it as it is. Do not ask for Nasi Goreng in Saravana Bhavan. Don’t complain that the sushi place has very few vegetarian options. They are what they are. A masala movie cannot be an art movie, an animation movie and a “Hey Ram”. Comparing movies and expecting one to be the same as the other is dumb. If it’s the same, it’s a copy. Every gangster movie need not be like “Godfather”. Let me say it. I wasn’t as taken by “Godfather” as the rest of the world. Just my opinion. See I am not comparing “Godfather” to “Billa” or “Basha”. That Hollywood movies are by default the better, superior versions – I refuse to accept. Nitpicking little details in the movie and taking offence is absolutely ridiculous. I cannot imagine what people would do in a Karan Johar movie? I suppose they’d do the reverse of what they do in a regular movie – sit in for the songs and go out to smoke the rest of the movie. Enough about movies. Let’s move on to food. I am drawn to Bengali food the way I’ve been drawn to Kerala food. I’ve never eaten Bengali food before. I just know I’ll like it. I stocked up my pantry with Nigella seeds and mustard oil. I’ve been reading about Aloo Posto, Murgir Jhol, Chana bhapa.. I am smitten. I started with Murgir Jhol. It seemed like just the kind of thing to make for a Sunday lunch. I was weary of Sunday biryanis.  Also my last couple of experimental biryanis did not turn out too well. I was wincing from that memory and I wanted to take some time out from biryani until we could both reconcile. As much as a Sunday...
Mixed vegetable curry

Mixed vegetable curry

I realized recently that I am quite possibly irrevocably infatuated about food forever. The minute I decide I am going to go on a juice fast, the smell of the parotta kadai korma beckons me, I notice a lot of just-what-I’ve-been-looking-for recipes on Instagram/in my inbox, I am beset by a sudden desire to cook everything and my mother arrives with a dabba of vazhaipoo vadai. How does she know? I saw someone on facebook who had lost a lot of weight. Lots of eager fat friends asked him how he’d done it in the comments. Many other fat but shy friends didn’t ask but went through the comments to find out the secret. He had been on a diet of just fruits and fruit juices for 2 months. Wow. I thought I could do that. 2 months would be brutal. Maybe 10 days or a week. I could see how much I lost and then do it again after a break. Now go back and read the 1st paragraph. It’s like the whole world is conspiring to keep me fat. If you’re still eating healthy, do give this mixed vegetable curry a shot. It’s light and creamy and beautiful with phulkas or crusty bread even. You can use any combination of vegetables. Everything goes. It’s a king of clean- your-fridge kind of recipe.   Print Recipe Mixed vegetable curry Creamy, veggie-packed curry to sop up with your favourite bread! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Servings 4-5 people Ingredients 200 gm Baby potatoes, halved or quartered 200 gm Baby corn, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces 1 capsicum, sliced into large pieces 1 Onion, sliced into large pieces 1/2 cup peas 1 large tomato pureed 2 cups cups Coconut milk Salt to taste 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder 1-1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder 1 tsp Cumin powder 1/2 tsp Sugar 1 tsp Kasoori methi 3 tsp Coconut oil (or preferred cooking oil) Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Servings 4-5 people Ingredients 200 gm Baby potatoes, halved or quartered 200 gm Baby corn, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces 1 capsicum, sliced into large pieces 1 Onion, sliced into large pieces 1/2 cup peas 1 large tomato pureed 2 cups cups Coconut milk Salt to taste 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder 1-1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder 1...
Pineapple kesari

Pineapple Kesari

Happy new year! I hope you didn’t party too hard to not be alive. I’d hate to die like that. It’s such a silly way to go. Since I am not the partying kind and since I could not get myself excited about it all and since I am crowd-phobic and most importantly since I am very very lazy, I stayed at home like I do every year and watched TV. I waited for “Sagalakala Vallavan” at 12 but none of the channels played it. I walked to the balcony and looked out. Bells were ringing and people were crowded around the little pillayar koil in the corner. Bikes were whizzing past. I saw fireworks in the distance. It was way too cold outside. I went to bed. That was my new year eve. To start off the year on a sweet note, here is pineapple kesari. I promise I didn’t eat more than 3 spoons. You have to trust me. I made it for others. I am still on the healthy eating challenge. As always, ever hopeful that I am, I make resolutions and plans for the new year. I hope this will be the year I begin to wake up early and be writing by the window in the early morning light, before everyone else wakes up. I hope this is the year I will reach my target weight. Here are some broad plans I have for the new year. Learn a new skill every month. There’s plenty of interesting stuff I’ve always wanted to learn and I believe pursuing something for a set period helps keep you creative and passionate about everything. Top of my mind are – learning to whistle, roller-skating, swimming & making sushi. Minimalism with stuff. This is something I’ve been practicing to some extent. I intend to continue. Clothes, books, toys, cosmetics – anything I don’t anticipate using in the next few months will need to go. Reading & writing every day. Visiting more temples. Experimenting more. I want to say yes to things that I am not really prepared for, that I am not good at. The key to making a ghee oozing, soft, ‘manal-manal’ consistency of kesari is keeping in mind the important ratios. 1:1:2:3 – Rava:Ghee:Sugar:Water. You’re adding as much ghee as rava. Don’t die yet. That’s the only way to get that melt in the mouth ghee-laden taste in...
Red rice puttu

Red rice puttu|Sweet puttu

What you wear when you drop orpick up your kids from classes speaks of how much you care for public opinion and how unbelievably lazy you can be. The majority of people hover around the respectable average. But there are the ones who wear possibly the oldest usedT-shirt & mukkal (three-fourth) pant. Me. The ones who wear mix-and-mismatched churidhar sets. Me. There are a few like-minded lazy bums likeme out there. Our tribe put comfort over public opinion and laziness over propriety. I urge you to try it sometime to feel really and truly liberated.You’ll get inured to stares and judging looks. You’ll think less of others when you want to take the less trodden path. With that great piece of life advice, I am going the share the recipe of red rice puttu. I hope you’re eating healthy. Red rice sweet puttu is my favourite puttu among puttus. I have a thing for sweet breakfasts. Jagan doesn’t have that thing. So that must mean we’re the right match. I look for signs everywhere. He enjoys the puttu too but just not for breakfast. I can have this anytime of the day. The best part is it can be served at room temperature. You can prep a big batch of the red rice puttu flour up to “breaking up to the soft puttu texture” part and then refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can pull it out anytime, let stand for a bit to get to room temperature and just mix in sugar, coconut and ghee. I know that this recipe has quite a bit of sugar but remember this is for the entire recipe. In one portion, it is going to just a little bit more than what you putin your daily coffee or tea. Skip your coffee or tea the day you’re making this puttu if you’re very particular about sugar intake. This puttu is worth it. Print Recipe Red rice sweet puttu This sweet red rice puttu breakfast will sweeten your mornings! Fluffy, soft puttu studded with coconut and sugar and laced with ghee, yum! Cuisine Indian Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 4 people Ingredients 250 gm Red rice puttu flour 1/2 tsp Salt Warm water as necessary 1/2 Coconut, grated 6 tbsp Ghee 3/4 cup Sugar Cuisine Indian Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 4 people Ingredients 250...
Corn and Spinach sandwich

Creamy Corn & Spinach Sandwich

You know how our minds are tuned to think of certain things certain ways but there is usually a simple, kinder explanation. If the woman in the house is sitting and scrolling on her phone, she must be whiling away time gossiping with friends, ignoring kids & household work. Or The woman may be relaxing after finishing her chores. If she dresses well, she probably doesn’t cook well or take care of the house. Or She likes to dress well. If she doesn’t dress well, she is a slouch. Or She is not really interested in dressing up. If she has had a successful singing career, she must have used the men around her. Or She may sing really well. If the guy doesn’t drink alcohol at the party, he is a loser, he must be scared of his parents/wife. Or He may not need alcohol to have fun. If the woman is drinking alcohol, she must be a rich, arrogant, bitch. Or The woman may need alcohol to get over her heartbreak, to get over Gemini Ganesan. If the woman watches movies all night, she is a no-good mother. Or That’s the only time she gets the remote. Vijay movies are a waste of time. Or This movie of Vijay is not great, but Vijay is a wonderful actor. Foodbetterbegood has only a few thousand followers. So it is no good. Or This little gem has not been discovered yet. If it is tasty, it can’t really be healthy. If it tastes bad, it must be good for me. Or Anything in moderation is fine. And if the body really needs the biryani, it probably knows best. Corn spinach sandwich may not at first sound like the healthiest option, not as healthy as Quinoa bowl or cabbage salad. However corn spinach sandwich actually has everything going for it. It is by far the tastiest way to eat spinach. Corn is everybody’s favourite and the creamy sauce is so light and easy to put together. Use whole wheat bread to up your fibre intake and a healthier option. There. You have yourself a healthy and tasty sandwich! Enjoy! Print Recipe Creamy Corn & Spinach Sandwich Light yet creamy, tasty yet healthy this corn & spinach sandwich is super quick to put together! Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Servings 4 sandwiches Ingredients 1 cup, packed Spinach, washed and...
Nasi Goreng with brown rice

Nasi Goreng with brown rice

I hope your Deepavali preparations are going great. Whether it is making 3 types of sweets and 4 types of murukkus, whether it is buying all of this in stores and putting your feet up at home, whether it is shopping till you’re knocked out and colour-blind and squeezed thin, whether it is sleeping in to shut out the chaos, whether it is buying all the “sara-vedi” (Red fort electric crackers) that you can afford, whether it is about making plans to visit all the relatives or staying in to avoid all of them or whether it is about focusing all your energy into getting your hands on Sarkar tickets; whatever you’re doing, however you’re doing..  I hope you’re having a good time. The honourable supreme court has so thoughtfully provided the 2 hour window for bursting crackers. As a mark of respect for this landmark ruling, some friends plan to burst atleast one bijli every hour. Salute these great people. Now there are only 2 kinds of people – the ones who have tickets to Sarkar and the ones who don’t. I don’t. I hope those who’re watching this week can keep their spoilers to themselves for some time. Until l watch. Deepavali is definitely the time for good food and indulgence. Just remember to eat small portions, single helpings and to eat slowly. You won’t feel guilty later on and you won’t slip from the 100 days of healthy eating challenge. I’ll be making Mutton korma and idli too this Deepavali. I am just going to make sure to eat a small portion of it. If you’re looking for a healthy, yummy fried rice recipe look no further than this Nasi Goreng made with brown basmati rice, loads of veggies, sprouts for some added crunch and protein and an absolutely irresistible hot-sweet flavour blend. Brown basmati rice is nuttier and slightly chewier. It is shorter and stouter than regular white basmati rice but is just as flavourful. Brown rice packs more fibre and is a good alternative to regular white rice. You can substitute chicken with Tofu or paneer for a veggie version of Nasi Goreng. Nasi Goreng is hot and sweet and everything in between. It’s a complete meal in itself. Nasi Goreng is one of my very favourite dishes. This Nasi Goreng with brown basmatic rice is healthier and just as yummy. Try it. I am...
Cucumber egg sandwich

Cucumber egg hung yogurt Sandwich

Waking up 40 minutes before the school van arrival is the status quo at home. I wake up with a start, shriek in panic which serves to wake up the kids and get them scurrying to the bathroom to escape from their crazy mother. I scrunch my hair on top of my head and go straight to the kitchen while frantically working out lunch ideas in my mind. I don’t always have a plan. Today was one such 40 minute frantic cooking session. I managed to make this egg-cucumber hung yogurt sandwich and a simple lunch and pack in time. I obviously did not have the forethought of leaving yogurt in the strainer overnight to make hung yogurt. I brute forced yogurt into hung yogurt in 20 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend that to you. This sandwich is so unbelievably easy and quick otherwise, it is great for rushed mornings, as a snack or as a last minute addition to a menu. This is an un-toasted sandwich, the kind you make with soft bread. I used soft whole wheat bread. I am calling this a healthy meal because there’s no butter and no toasting. I used hung yogurt instead of calorie laden mayonnaise and whole wheat bread instead of white bread. You’ll not miss the mayonnaise though. The hung yogurt is creamy and delicious. These sandwiches are best eaten as soon as they are made. Enjoy!   Print Recipe Cucumber egg hung yogurt sandwich Creamy, delicious cucumber egg sandwich with hung yogurt and none of the guilt! Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Servings 6 sandwiches Ingredients 12 slices Whole wheat bread, crusts removed1/2 cup Yogurt, strained overnight to thick hung curd1/2 Lemon, juicedSalt to taste3/4 tsp Black pepper powder1/2 tsp Sugar1 Organic cucumber, chopped4 Hard boiled eggs, chopped Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Servings 6 sandwiches Ingredients 12 slices Whole wheat bread, crusts removed1/2 cup Yogurt, strained overnight to thick hung curd1/2 Lemon, juicedSalt to taste3/4 tsp Black pepper powder1/2 tsp Sugar1 Organic cucumber, chopped4 Hard boiled eggs, chopped Instructions Line a strainer with a cheesecloth and place inside a container. Pour yogurt into the cheesecloth lined strainer and place inside the fridge. Leave the setup overnight. In the morning the liquid would have drained away and you should have thick hung curd in the strainer. Scoop the hung curd into a large bowl and...