Where it all started

It is hard to trace back when did I exactly start loving food and everything about it. Since the time I can remember it has been always. A Malayalee who has grown up all over India loves  all the Indian cuisine be it Bengali (Kolkata being my birth place explains it all), North Indian,Punjabi, Andhra or Kerala. Food is just awesome in every part of India. But to be honest I was not a big fan of Mallu food, except when I visited my Aunts during summer breaks, where they would be making my favourite food to make me happy. And I would be bugging them to show me how its made.

I have always been a big foodie and that led me to the kitchen doors :). I would offer help to Amma only to cook (no clean up or cutting, just stirring and tasting) and fussing about taste. Amma would obviously chase me out of the kitchen as her only goal was to get done with kitchen work. There had been days as a child when I would literally refuse to eat because I did not like the taste of the food or the omelette was not round etc, I know very fussy of me. And as years passed I started my kitchen experiments on my own , obviously with unconventional stuff. By then Amma had hoped I might actually start helping her in kitchen with the routine cooking but I had different things in mind.

Over the years I have experimented with cooking and eating and due to hectic work life (when I was working in Bombay) I had stopped experimenting at all. When I realised that, I had to pull my socks up to keep my passion going. This blog will remind me to continue my passion.So here I am taking this passion to next level by letting people know what I do in my kitchen along with what new joints I try out in each city I visit.

Currently I reside in Dubai and have a fulfilling career in fashion as a buyer for one of the retail brands. I have got more time now to pursue my passion and through this blog I am extending that love.

Home made rasam powder

Rasam is one of the dish with medicinal properties. You can term it as a spicy-sweet-sour concoction.

A good warm bowl of rasam can give you relief from cold, can help you with digestion and is also very light on stomach.

I had followed one or two recipes from net and my mother’s too. In the end I came to the below recipe as per my tasting.

Ingredients

  1. Toor dal – 1/2 cup
  1. Red Chillies – 1/2 cup
  2. Coriander seeds – 1/2 cup
  1. Cumin seeds – 1/4th cup
  2. Curry leaves – 1/4th cup
  3. Pepper corns – 1/4th cup
  4. Turmeric powder- 2 tsp

Please note picture is representative of ingredients only not actual quantity.

Method

Dry roast each ingredients separately (except the turmeric) till nice aroma is released of each ingredient.

Curry leaves to be roasted till it becomes crispy and can be easily crushed with your hands.

Let them cool.

Put all the ingredients in a mixer , add turmeric and run the mixer till fine powder is formed . If you want to keep it coarse you can keep it coarse.

Store in tight container.

You can add 1-2 tsp of rasam powder to two cups of water while making rasam.

Peanut Poha

Growing up I was exposed only to South Indian breakfasts, and was very happy and content as there is a plethora of choices. Once I was in Pune for my Fashion Designing course I was introduced to a range of Maharashtrian food, poha being one of them. But it was not until I had it from a friends place (obviously cooked by her mom) that I relished it entirely.

Ingredients

  1. Flattened rice flake – 1 bowl
  2. Onions chopped finely – 1
  3. Green Chillies chopped – 2
  4. Ginger chopped – 1 tsp
  5. Curry leaves 1 sprig
  6. Peanuts – 1/4th cup
  7. Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
  8. Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  9. Hing (asafoetida)
  10. Turmeric powder- 2 tsp
  11. Oil or ghee – 2 tbsp
  12. 1/2 lemon
  13. Salt to taste
  14. Pinch of sugar
  15. Coriander leaves to garnish

In a Kadai heat oil. When hot add mustard seeds, once it crackles add cumin, hing, green Chillies and ginger. Cook for a minute. Add curry leaves.

Add the peanuts and cook for two minutes till the peanuts are brown and cooked. Next add the onions and let it cook for couple of minutes.

While the onions are cooking clean the poha with water. Keep it aside to drain, poha will be soft now.

Once the onions are translucent add turmeric powder. Stir in the drained poha, add salt and sugar. Mix well, don’t use a spatula , if possible close the Kadai with lid on and toss. This is the best way to mix without breaking the poha. Squeeze in the lemon and turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Tastes best when served with ginger tea.

Idli a humble breakfast

Growing up in South Indian home, Idli was a staple food. May be due to it being a regular at home I had never appreciated this simple and one of the healthiest dish.

But it’s never too late. Once I learnt how to make a home made batter, I have started valuing this humble dish even more.

Full proof Amma’s recipe.

Ingredients

  1. Ponni or idli rice – 1 cup

  2. Whole urad dal – 1/2 cup

  3. Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp

  4. Water to soak and some to grind

Method

Clean the rice and dal well. Soak the rice separately. Soak the urad dal & fenugreek seeds together. Water should be be double the amount of rice and dal. Soak over night or for 6 hours.

Drain the water and rinse again. Add adequate amount of water. Grind in a mixer the dal first with little water , it needs to be thick consistency. Next grind the rice, rice batter needs to be medium consistency. Mix them together , give a whisk and set aside to ferment. Overnight fermentation or 6-8 hours required.

Fermentation depends on weather and time of the day. A warm weather boosts the fermentation but when cold slows the process (yes even the Dubai cold). If weather is cooler you can keep it inside a closed microwave or oven (room temperature) , helps in speeding the fermentation.

Once fermented mix in the salt and whisk the batter.Grease the idli pans , pour the batter and place in the steamer.

Steam for 15 minutes. Turn off the gas. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then scoop to serve with your favorite side dish, sambhar or chutneys.

The recipe of the sambhar and chuttney will follow soon.

Shri Krishna Bhavan restaurant review

Wanted to try a new South Indian breakfast joint in Dubai as I have exhausted all the options. This was one of the best South Indian breakfasts I have had in Dubai after a long time. What ever was ordered was exceptional tasted authentic and fresh.

The things that stood out was the tangy tomato chutney and a ginger flavoured chutney which the server brought especially for us seeing our enthusiasm for the food. The filter coffee was served piping hot (which is very rare to find in Dubai) and was very authentic and strong as I wanted.

We ordered standard idli vada set, Rawa idli, pesarattu (green moong dosa). I am personally not a pesarattu fan, but the taste was authentic, they made it crispy as opposed to the softer versions I have tried.

Rawa Idli was soft delicate and filled with flavours of coriander. It was served with khorma and white chutney.

Best part of the idli and vada was that the batter tasted fresh and did not seem like a soda fermented batter.