Sunday, March 27, 2005

Making Pani puri

Pani puri, a traditional bombay chat/snack, is my favorite when I need something to pep up our dull weekly meals. Me and S eat it as a meal although it is best if you serve just six puris per serving. This dish is really spicy and tongue-tingling. Not to mention, it burns your tummy too. I serve this along side yogurt rice seasoned with mustard seeds and ginger. The yogurt is great at putting out the fire in your stomach. If you are not yet open to trying out the pleasures of yogurt rice, you can serve this with a good lassi.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A loyal follower of blogs

I follow most culinary blogs closely and have a whole folder full of bookmarked blogs. Cauliflower is a hot item nowadays. Debbie at Words to eat by has a recipe for roasted cauliflower pasta with figs and mint. I love figs in savory dishes especially with salty cheeses. This recipe seemed to show some promise since cauliflower, even when roasted, is pretty ho-hum. I also used some roasted garlic instead of the non-gourmet kinda chopped garlic. I used orzo and also some fresh english peas. I luv fresh peas and cannot get enough of these. Their season is so brief like fava beans. I used some thyme instead of mint and also some feta cheese on top. The end result, I should say, was probably nothing like the original. It was alright but nothing extraordinary. I think I used too many figs and so the product was a little sweet. But the use of feta was the life-saver. Almost a paradox, isn't it.

Cauliflower orzo Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Aloo Achari in the tradition of gosht achari

I made aloo achari last night to eat with rotis. The plan was to make a paneer jalfrezie but the paneer had become moldy and stinky (I did smell it even after seeing the black gunk, hah). I have aloo achari at a near-by restaurant. Of course, they make use of a real mango pickle as a flavoring and I think they deep-fry the potatoes. But this is the actual way of making an achari curry. Lamb is the choice for this but we do not eat meat (there are some inconsistencies here but about that, later). I love the flavor the spices give and they really elevate what could be normal jeera aloo to something that is extraordinary.

Here is the recipe:

4 medium red-skin potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp onion or nigella seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 Tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp oil

Heat oil in a pan. Add the seeds and let splutter. Add onion and saute on medium high heat. When onion become transparent, add ginger-garlic paste and saute everything until onions are caramelized. Add the potatoes along with turmeric, chili powder and salt. Sprinkle some water on top. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft. Uncover and let the bottoms of the potatoes brown a little. Check for salt and add more if required. Reduce heat to low. Add the yogurt and mix well and let sit on heat for a minute. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.

I wish I had remembered to take some photos. I will next time, I promise...

Making a focaccia

I have made focaccia several times but this is my first using a starter. I recently bought a book from Overstock that goes by the same name. I love focaccia mainly because it resembles its cousin PIZZA, without the guilt. I hate saucy, cheesy pizzas and love the ones that have weird specialty toppings such as capers, arugula and cheeses such as gorgonzola and fontina. Yes, without the cheese you can eat more of the focaccia if you are not on a low-carb diet that is. I made the biga yesterday morning. I used 1/2 tsp yeast and almost 3.5 flour and let it mellow down at room temp until today. I have chosen to make a roasted red pepper focaccia or rather a schiacciata as known in Tuscany and Umbria. I can't wait to see what difference the starter makes to the taste of the focaccia.

The recipe is very finicky compared to my usual focaccia experiences. It needs 3 risings and also weighing the flour and the starter. Pastry chefs may adore working with such recipes but I don't. I constantly doubt my cheap weighing scale and also hate the additional cleaning up of the weighing bowl. I don't have a maid after all and my sink will not fit all the clutter this cooking is creating. This better be good...

I have screwed up as usual by not having my baking stone ready. I am just baking in a sheet pan. I have to spray the oven with water 3 times, so I have to hover around the oven with my timer. I will use some roasted garlic and roasted red peppers as the toppings.

Update- The focaccia was ok but it seemed to taste the same as ones made without a starter. Much of the effort was in making the starter, weighing it and freezing the rest. I made a normal focaccia recipe once as shown on Food 911 on FoodTV. It was far superior, IMO.

But most focaccia recipes seem to call for a lot of oil and this makes me cringe. It is easy to eat a lot of focaccia 'coz you do not see the oil in the end product.

Before Posted by Hello

After... Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

Chocolate chip cookies for the best husband on earth

In keeping with the traditional Sugar High Friday theme, I have decided to start my first public baking attempt with chocolate chip cookies. Just kept the first batch in the oven and already I feel something is going wrong. Stupid me, I just had 8T of butter and started to make a recipe that calls for 12T. How organized is that? I substituted 4T of crisco for the rest of the butter since so many recipes seem to call for shortening. I have had numerous interruptions from my 11mo old daughter. The batch is browning too quickly and spreading too much. I will keep you posted on where this goes- into our stomachs or er.. into our stomachs? We set ourselves mediocre standards in this house when I am baking something. My most disliked choco chip is keebler and hope this does not turn out worse given the fact that it is a Bakers dozen recipe.

I really wanted to make something from one of Alice Medrich's books but due to S's sacrilegious dislike for chocolaty stuff, this is the compromise I am making since he likes chippers. My line of reasoning goes like this- if 1 stick of butter goes into a cake, gluttons that we are, it will be in our body in 2 days. However, it will take us at least 4-5 days to finish off these cookies and so we will be distributing our fat (and sugar) intake over this period, which is a good thing. Hope I don't screw this by baking something else or buying commercial shit.

Update: The cookies tasted nice (show me a chipper that doesn't, except Keebler). They spread too much and were a thin, lacy but chewy cookies with the chips showing through, if that makes any sense. It is definitely not what the recipe claims. I used Ghiradelli chips and added a 1/4 cup more than what the recipe says. With so many substitutions and mistakes, it may not be the recipe's fault. Surely if you expect a forgiving recipe, this is not one. But the end product, however bad in texture and shape, will taste good. I might give this recipe a go again with the right ingredients and see the difference. The cookies, I felt, were a little too sweet and also slightly greasy may be due to the crisco. The more I chilled the dough, the more it spread. Maybe the chunks of butter that I could see in the dough played a role in this. Here is a link:

Thursday, March 17, 2005


have sincerely been following several foodie blogs and so glad to finally have one of my own. I plan to use this blog as a way to present my culinary adventures (or misses) to myself & y'all.