Author Archives: archkumari

About archkumari

In love with life and everything about food!

A last minute addition

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Sometimes, you learn a few new things due to necessity. Like learning to drive a car for example……..Frankly, I am not too enthused about learning to drive a car but in order to be independent, I need to.

I have also learnt while experimenting in the kitchen that mixing up a few ingredients which I have not worked with previously gives an entirely new taste which is not that bad! Like yesterday night for example, we had a guest over and as usual appetisers were pretty last minute. I had wanted to make some fish cakes but the paste smelled a bit iffy so had to chuck it in favor of some lamb keema balls. I usually bake a batch of them so me and S can have it over a couple of weeks.

Usually they are pretty moist but this batch was a bit dry maybe because I had not added the usual set of masalas but was trying out Shan’s BBQ Seekh kebab masala. Anyways, to counter the dryness, I decided to make some tzatziki. Then i realised that I was out of curd! And no way, S was going out in the snow to get a new tub for me!

After rummaging through the refrigerator, I found some cream cheese, cucumber and mayo. So decided to mix it and see how that goes….and voila, I ended up with a very tasty dip which went perfectly with the kebabs!

And the guest was of course very happy with the tasty spread before him!

Menu

Appetisers: Lamb Balls, Lamb dumplings

Main: Chicken Dum Biriyani

Chutneys: Onion Raita, Pickled Onions

Dessert: Sheer Kurma, Rice Paper Sweet Paan(a new experiment)

 

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Moving forward………..

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I have never found myself at a loss of words to put forth what I am feeling and what I want to express but recently I have found that I am lost…..it is not that I am reading less books than before or i am conversing less but everytime I take a pen to paper or in this case, start typing – I lose track of everything I want to put forth across. I feel that I need to start carrying a small tape recorder around with me to which I can talk to everytime i have these brilliant ideas going through my head!

I used to be a major blog writer – have had atleast 4-5 blogs, each an online diary chronicling my life over the last 10-12 years. I have had anonymous friends reading my blog and appreciating my poetry skills and prose. But when I asked a close friend’s relative to have a look and give me tips to improve my blog(she has a very successful politicio blog on her own), lets just say that it has been 2 years and she has yet to get back to me – this after a couple of reminders. People close to me have never been very encouraging – infact i had someone remark recently that what the hell was i thinking when i wrote a few of my thoughts instead of just posting a recipe???????? It does hurt when I think of such negative remarks. The only ray of sunshine is my partner S here – in fact he is a little sad that I have not been updating my blog recently!

You must be wondering why I am suddenly being so open about my emotions on my blog. All I can say is, I needed to get this off my chest and move forward! I realised that these things have been holding me back in some way – maybe because I have’nt expressed this to the concerned individuals………

Having said that, I plan to be more active on my blog, improve my photography skills and post more recipes of the food I love to cook and eat!

A few new things……..

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I have been extremely lazy for the last few months in updating my blog – mostly because of my work load  which did not show any sign of slowing down until very recently. But all this while, I have been trying and experimenting with different dishes as I cannot eat the same thing all the time! My husband has become so used to this that anytime i suggest we go out, he says that I might as well make it as i have everything at home to make that dish!!!!!!!!! Yes, I have been stocking up on my sauces, spices and marinades along with other ingredients to make all the different things that I drool over in others blogs or which I have tasted at some restaurant!

I can say that at this time, I have everything i need to make chinese, vietnamese, indian and korean dishes, so you can imagine the vastness of my pantry! 🙂

So while I decide what next to update, have a look at some of the dishes i have made in the past year………

Nutritious Paneer (cottage cheese) and Alu(potato) Paratha

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It has been a long time since I have been online to post a recipe – not that I have not been cooking or trying out new recipes, but more like being too tired and too lazy to type out! But seeing the response I have received for this dish, I thought it would be good to post it and have people try it at home!

As usual, I was craving for something that would tingle my tastebuds and at the same time not be unhealthy. And raiding the refrigerator got me a chunk of paneer, a couple of potatoes and a few chillies……so decided to make paneer alu parathas

Ingredients

Paratha Dough

3 cups whole wheat dough

1.5 – 2 cups warm water to mix dough

oil (for frying and for the dough)

a non- stick frying pan

Filling

1 red onion diced very fine

2 green chillies diced fine

2 potatoes boiled and crushed

1/2 a pack of panneer crumbled or torn into v v small chunks

salt to taste

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp coriander powder

finely diced fresh coriander leaves

1/2 – 1 tsp lemon juice

Method

For Dough, mix the 3 cups of flour with 1 cup of warm water in a bowl. Mix partially and add more water as required until you have the dough in a ball. add a teaspoon of oil and mix further to ensure the dough does not stick to the bowl. Cover and keep aside for 30 mins.

Get the filling ready by mixing all the ingredients together.

Take a medium sized ball of the dough and spread it out on a flat surface. Use some flour to ensure it does not stick to the surface. Put a small ball of the filling in the centre of the dough, cover it from all sides. Invert the new ball now formed and spread it out.

Take a pan, put a few oil drops and fry the paratha. Invert it and fry again until it is brown on all sides. Serve with pickle and curd!

Easy Tacos

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I dont know if I have mentioned this before but food network is my favourite channel. And recently there has been a lot of news on tacos………so i decided to make some at home but without too much fuss. And once I found some corn tortillas at the grocers, I knew I had to make some.

Ingredients

4 corn tortillas – heated

shredded lettuce

diced fresh tomatoes

diced red onions

leftover chicken curry/vegetable curry/grilled vegetables

fresh coriander (optional)

Lemon Juice (Optional)

Method

Take the reheated tortilla, place the grilled vegetables/leftover curry on it.

Add the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and coriander on top

Squeeze some lemon juice

Enjoy!!!!!!!!

Pollock, corn and cornflakes patties – with a wasabi twist!

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One good thing about S is that no matter what, he never stops me from experimenting with food! Or rather I should say he never manages to stop me!hahahhahahah! Jokes apart, he has been very encouraging about me trying out different recipes and feeding him! In fact, he was saying that all this is just leading to him putting on weight!

But no matter how many different styles I make, S is still vary of any fish patties I make. One time I had put in just a little bit more of oregano which made it pungent! Or maybe it is because he is not a big fan of seafood…..

I love seafood –even sashimi. S is just the opposite. In fact he would not even eat anything apart from lamb and chicken. It was only after I made shrimps at home that he started to like them and keeps asking me to make them again. Except that since I usually make up recipes on the fly and do not have them written down anywhere…..I do not remember the initial recipe, though I have made them in other ways since then.

Recently, we started buying frozen fish as S does not like to have to remove fishy bones while eating! We then cook them in different ways and usually end up with a tasty dish. I have to say that S did make a very tasty fish fry once. I will post it up soon! During one of our shopping sojourns, we happened to get some frozen Pollock fillets and I tried making a baked Asian fish dish which was a disaster. Not only is this one of the most tasteless fish I have ever eaten, but it does not even absorb any marinade! –  atleast that has been my experience. As I did not want to waste the remaining fillets, I started thinking of how I can use them up. As I had already used potato once and then breadcrumbs another time while making cutlets, I wanted to try something different this time and saw the box of cornflakes lying on the kitchen counter.  And so the idea of using cornflakes in these fish patties was born….

And I experimented……..though it was slightly better than the baked fish, the Pollock is not something I would like to eat again.

Ingredients

2 frozen Pollock fish fillets (thawed)

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 small onion finely diced

2-3 tbspn mayo sauce

2 cups roughly crushed cornflakes

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

½ tsp wasabi paste(optional)

Oil for frying

Method

First you need to bake the fish. I just sprinkled salt and pepper on top of the fillets and baked them for 15 minutes at 350F. If it needs to cook for longer, go ahead and do it.

Rinse the frozen corn and blanch them for 1 minute in the microwave. Set aside.

Once the fish is baked, remove from oven and let it cool. Then flake the fish into a bowl and add  the corn, 1 cup crushed cornflakes, diced onion, the mayonnaise, the wasabi paste, salt and pepper and mix. If the mixture is not wet enough, add more mayo to it.  Now spread the 2nd cup of crushed cornflakes in a wide plate – this will be used to coat the patties.

Make round shaped patties, coat them in the cornflakes and place it on a baking tray covered with foil. Once all the patties are ready, let them rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Take a pan and heat oil in it. Shallow fry the patties in them. They will not take a lot of time to cook. Once done on one side, turn over and cook the other side.

Serve with more mayo or ketchup or eat as is!

Note: You can use egg as a binding agent in the batter but I do not like the eggy taste it gives. I liked the spicy tang the wasabi paste gave to it. It actually made the fish taste much better than it is!

Mexican Fried Rice – Easy Peasy and Tasty

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Sometimes I just get into a lazy phase where I cannot be bothered to do anything……….hence the silence on the blog. Its like I am in this fog where I have all the words and devices required to express it but cannot get myself to do it. I still carry on with the daily routine but anything that requires me to write, call or email someone – sometimes even important calls – I cannot be interested enough to do it….. I keep thinking and thinking about what I need to do and thats all I do……..

So today being a better day than most days, I decided to put up a recipe that I experimented with on the weekend. S wants meat and fried rice/biriyani on the weekends. I am fed up of eating the same thing all the time – the only exception being dhal which I can eat for days on end – and the only dhal I will eat that way is made by me. That recipe should go down in the hall of fame of recipes for no matter who and how many eat it, they cannot stop raving about it for it is that tasty.

But coming back to this post, I was at the library the other day. Usually I pick up a bunch of fiction novels and get back but that day I felt like checking out some of the cookbooks at the library. So after enquiring at the information counter and being told that they have a huge collection of books – I started checking them out. I was on the lookout for some Asian cookbooks considering my penchant for the food…….but did not find them very interesting. A flashback is that while shifting to C from A, I had to literally hand a couple of cookbooks to strangers at the airport as there was no space for me to store them in my luggage. One was an Asian cookbook with pictures for all the recipes and the other an amazing curry cookbook by Madhur Jaffery. All I can hope is that someone is really enjoying having those books! If not, I would’nt mind getting them back!!!!!!!!!

Anyways, while browsing through the different cookbooks available, I happened to chance upon Rick Bayliss (I might have the name wrong!) Mexican Everyday book. Pictures looked interesting and so I got it home.

Shift to Saturday Night – S is playing virtual cricket and I am bored out of my mind so decided to start browsing the cookbook. And chanced upon a few interesting recipes. One of them was a simple Mexican Garlic Fried Rice. S was not in the mood to have plain rice and wanted a simple fried rice and this seemed to fit the bill. And after tweaking the recipe a bit and making it , I realised that it really was a very simple but tasty rice…..I am definitely going to make it again!

Ingredients

3 cups Basmati Rice

1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste

6 cups stock or 3 cups water and 3 cups stock

2 Bay leaves

1 medium onion diced

3-4 green chillies slit

salt to taste

Oil for cooking

Coriander for garnish

Method

Heat the oil and fry the onions and chillies in it, Once they are slightly browned, add the bay leaves and fry for a couple of minutes. Now add the ginger garlic paste and fry till it is fragrant. Add the washed rice to it and fry till the rice pearls become slightly transparent. Now add the stock and water to it. Taste and add more salt if required. Add a few sprigs of coriander to it (optional)

Let it come to a boil. Then close the lid to trap the steam in – I use aluminium foil to cover the vents in the lid, reduce the heat to medium low and cook till the rice is completely cooked.

Garnish with coriander and serve!

Note:You can use any stock – Chicken or veg or Beef. I used Chicken stock which I had at home. I also used a mix of stock and water – so the taste was not too chickenish but gave a mild flavour to the rice which complimented the baked chicken I served it with. The rice appears slightly yellow because of the turmeric I use to preserve the ginger garlic paste I make in advance and store in the refrigerator.

Spicy Egg and Shrimp Noodles

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My favourite dish in the world is Char Kway Teo which I can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No matter how many different dishes I have and like, I always come back to this dish – it is like a comfort food for me. Since my arrival in Toronto, I have been trying to find a good Malaysian Restaurant but as has been evident from my previous searces, there is a major dearth of authentic asian restaurants which serve street food or even some authentic tasting asian food.

There is Restoran Malaysian very close to my house which is a pretty decent restaurant – spacious, tasty food, good ambience and friendly staff but their Char Kway Teo is not upto the mark. Their Nasi Goreng is pretty good and fried rice is good. For some reason, people here equate asian food to be sweet! Otherwise, I cannot understand why the dishes all have a sweetish taste rather than spicy!!!!!!!!

Recently, me and S have been trying to empty the cupboards of the food that we hoard! Dry noodles, rice paper rolls, cous cous, cracked wheat, semolina, maggi noodles, vermicelli etc are just a few of them apart from the spices and masala mixes! So that day was the day the egg noodles was chosen to be cooked but as usual I did want it tasty and spicy! So did all the preparations – cut onions, garlic, ginger etc along with mushrooms, cooked an egg, stir fried all together, added the noodles, then the sauces and voila – a masterpiece was created!

Ingredients

1 medium sized onions – sliced thinly

2-3 garlic cloves chopped fine

2-3 chillies chopped fine

1/2 an inch ginger chopped fine

1 cup mushrooms sliced

1 cup carrots and peas mix (I used frozen)

2 eggs

2 tsp sesame oil

fried tofu (optional)

salt to taste

aji -no- moto(Optional)

soy sauce to taste

fish sauce to taste

sriracha chilli sauce

plain vinegar or rice vinegar to taste

To garnish and serve

few slices cucumber

few slices tomato

a slice of lemon

coriander for garnish

finely chopped chillies (optional)

Method

Take a wok and heat the sesame oil in it. Now add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few seconds. Then add the chillies and onions and fry till the onions are lightly browned. Then add the mushrooms, a bit of salt and cook them. Once they are done, move them to one side of the wok and crack the 2 eggs in it. Fry it and keep it aside. Then add the cup of peas and carrotsto the wok and fry for a few minutes. Then add the tofu and fry again.

While the vegetables are cooking, you need to cook the egg noodles in boiling water until al dente. Once they are done, drain them and run cold water to stop the cooking. Then add these noodles to the wok and mix well. Now add the fried egg back to the wok.  Add the MSG, more salt if needed, sriracha chilli sauce and mix the noodles till evenly coated. Then add the fish sauce, vinegar and soy sauce and mix the noodles well.

Now take a plate and place the noodles on it. Then garnish it with the chopped chillies and coriander. Serve with a few slices of cucumber, tomatoes and a lemon slice next to it!

Enjoy!

Note: I enjoy my noodles very spicy and soury – thats why I add the fish sauce and vinegar but you can skip the vinegar.

Chicken Souvlaki or Gyro – III

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This post is related to the last 2 posts – I and II.

Now that you have both the recipes for Chicken meatballs and the garlicky tzatziki sauce, lets go ahead and make the gyro

Ingredients

Chicken Meatballs

1 Pita Bread warmed

Sliced red onions

1 tomato deseeded and cubed

Shredded lettuce

Garlicky Tzatziki sauce

Coriander leaves for garnish

Method

Take a Pita Bread – large or small depending on what you want to eat, cut in half. Take one half and seperate the two faces of the bread pocket keeping the ends intact.

Now take one meatball. slice it into medium thick slices. Keep aside.

Taking the pita bread,  fill the pocket between the two sides with the onions, tomato and lettuce. Once it is 3/4ths full, add the chicken meatball slices on top, then add the sauce. garnish with corainder leaves.

Eat and Enjoy!

Note: Alternately, you can take a warmed large pita bread, add the salads, meatball slices and sauce and roll it up like a wrap!

Garlicky Tzatziki Sauce – II

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To go with the Chicken Meatballs, I made this sauce so I could make a Souvlaki out of it!

I love garlic sauce and Tzatziki. So I did what I do best in the kitchen. Experimented a bit and made a sauce which gave me both.

Ingredients

1 cup thick yoghurt

salt to taste

a pinch of cumin powder

a few drops of lemon juice

1 clove garlic finely minced

1/4 cucumber deseeded and cut into small cubes

Method

Mix all the ingredients together. Taste. Add more of any ingredient that seems less. Serve!

Note: I try to be as healthy as I can but you are welcome to add a tbspn of sour cream to the mixture as some people prefer the taste of sour cream. You can also skip the garlic and cumin and have a simple Tzatziki sauce.