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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Food Trail In Tenerife

This May, I made a trip to my family home at Tenerife, Canary Islands. I have lived in this town for over 10 years and I am fond of some of the Canarian Cuisine. Initially it was difficult for me to eat their bland food. Spanish don’t eat chillies at all, the closest they come to spicy food is garlic and capsicum. But over the years I have developed a taste for some of the well known dishes. I decided to try only my favorite ones during this one month trip.

I called my brother and told him that I would like to go directly from airport (before going home) to the Venezuelian restaurant (Carejita, my favorite) at Los Realejos, where I enjoy their Areperas. Interestingly, areperas are like big sandwiches , the bread is made of corn, it is deep fried and stuffed with different patties (veg or non-veg), cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and serve with chillies sauce and avocado sauce. My journey from Mumbai to Tenerife was quite long of three flights and transit at two stops. I was too tired to enjoy this meal of Chicken arepera, tequienya and yuca.

Went to visit my family (who were living on other side of the island) after few days and the dinner is must. Da Canio Pizzaria Italanio atSantaCruzDeTenerife has a typical Canarian and Italian food. Papas arugadas, padrones pimentos and championes a la ajo are typical Canarian cuisine enjoyed by locals. Whereas Pizzas, Rissoto campesia, brinjals with tomato and queso and buenueli de avocado gambas aand pollo are italian cusine.

On the day when I went for a drive with my nieces up the narrow slopes of Icod de los Vinos, and then drive down closer to the shores during sunset, we decided to stop by the petrol pump that also has a restaurant with a beautiful view called Mirador. We stopped by for cappuchino, sandwiches and a plateful of french fries dripping of cheese sauce, tomato sauce and ham

Then the day arrived, which was the main reason for making this trip. My nephew’s graduation day celebration at La Ecologia at SantaCruzDeTenerife. Pizza is the favorite of my nephew and the pizzas served in this restaurant were all organic. There were four different types of pizzas like pizza de louigi, capsicum egg plant, basil cheese and almonds and they all were amazing. Besides that I even loved the crispy fried brinjals in caramel sauce.

Las Rosas at LasEspernza is the restaurant where we celebrated the mother’s day. Although we had booked the table, we still had to wait for more than a hour. It was very crowded and this restaurant is well known for roasted meat and tapas (snacks) I specially enjoyed the cheese platter that had different types of cheese and coated with tomato sauce, avocado sauce and cheese sauce…so very rich. Their meat was so tender and juicy. And of course their lovely salads. Since the restaurant did not have much variety for vegetarians, we had taken vegetarian food for some members that were heated in their ovens.  

My niece was particularly eager to have some sushis, so we went to this Asian restaurant at SantaCruz called Daresashu. This seemed to be run by one close knit family with all members working in the restaurant. The service was quick and food was excellent and they even had in-house chilli sauce. We had Phillipino spring rolls. Sushi tempuras. Chicken ramen japanese and chicken tonkatsu.

One day I spent at Corte Ignes mall, shopping all day and tried some typical Canarian cuisine at their food mall on their top floor. Enjoyed the sardines sandwich and tortilla. And that wonderful churro chocolate.

How much can one eat outside if food cooked at home is also equally delicious? Tried my hand on various cuisines that my family enjoys in the evenings. I started going to the store with my brother every morning. There is a restaurant just opposite my brother’s store (Bazar Tejban, thats my brother's shop). Everyday I would see lots of tourists visiting this restaurant opposite our shop, called La Parada. They had Canarian cuisine. I went alone across to taste their food. Just ordered one dish (Squids in Ink with rice and potatoes) for me and the chef prepared specially for me. He understands that Indian prefer spicy food so he added few chillies too and gave me some hot mojos.

Just outside my brother’s store, Bazar Tejban, is a walking plaza. Every Saturday, farmers and natives come with their local produce of breads, sauces, cakes, herbs and fruits. There is cultural program held here with people in traditional dresses singing togather. It’s a tourists attraction and there is some local street food too. I bought papas arrugada and carne de cordero. The gravy was bland but the meat was quite tender.

My family enjoy asian cuisine and they wanted me to try one Chinese restaurant near their house that they frequent a lot. So one evening we went to Tian Li Asiatic Restaurant. They have good vegetarian variety and the vegetarian Sizzlers that had soya chunks, shallots and mushrooms. They were really good. I had my chicken in almonds and noodles. They serve prawn crackers to munch on till the food arrives. Loved those crisps.

There were many invites too where I had free food…lol.. Friends were happy to serve Indian food..mainly fried food and snacks. And we went to this Indian restaurant at Puertodelacruzcalled Indian Express Tandoori and Curry. We had chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, tandoori express platter, bombay aloo and some vegetable cutlets. I would suggest that if you are Indian travelling abroad, don’t bother dining in an Indian restaurant. Their food is cooked to suit the resident’s and tourists taste and is equally bland. It cannot be compared to Indian cuisine back please don’t.

There was good food everywhere. At the restaurants and even at home. The trip was good and am back now..tummy happy.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lets Celebrate #MasalaDay Again

Cooking for self is a feast, you use whatever ingredients you like and feel happy whether the taste is good or bad, and will try again to improve the taste. You can try all the crazy dishes yet receive no complains from self because mistakes are the part of experiences. But cooking for family and friends is a responsibility. We have to be careful and know the taste of the persons for whom you cook. You cannot cook Indian food for European friends who avoid spices nor can you cook Chinese for your conservative people who hate to try new stuff. 

The other day, I cooked cauliflower for my family. I have come to spend some quality time with my family in Spain. I used red chiili powder and my family found my food too hot. I was feeling bad that they could not eat (although I found it quite tasty). But using red chilli powder is risky. There are various kinds of red chilli powders, some are just for color and some very hot. It makes no difference to me, because I have high resistance for hot pepper but my family in Spain avoid chillies for health reasons. Here, in Spain, garlic and capsicum is considered as spicy and is eaten in moderation. In India, red chilli powder is the ingredient used in many garam masalas. Kashmiri red chiili powder is used mainly to give the rich red color to the food. But in families that enjoy spicy food, super hot red chiili powder is avoided, green chilies is preferred ingredient and is healthy too.

In month of May, many Indian families start to grind Garam masala to stock up for the year. Special help is called to dry the spices in the sun and they manually pound the dry masalas. I decided to ask my family and friends about the different masalas that they use in their daily cooking and have found some interesting results.

Most of my friends are using Aseofitida (Hing) in their daily cooking, specially in dhals.  Other ingredients that are regularly used in their cooking are coriander powder (Dhania), cumin powder (jeera) and Turmeric powder(haldi).

Bengali friend uses panch poran that consists of Ani seeds (saunf), Caraway seed (ajwain), Mustard seeds (rai), Black cumin (kalonji), Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) and asefitida (hing).

Parsi friend uses Cumin seeds (Jeera)  mustard (rai), chilli powder, Coriander powder (dhania), turmeric powder (haldi), khambati sambhar  Aseafitida (hing),  and curry powder.

North Indian friend uses Cumin seeds (Jeera), cardamom (Elaichi), black pepper (Kali mirchi) coriander seeds (Dhania) fennel seeds (Saunf) cloves (Laung) Cinnamon ( Dalchini) Bay leaves (Tejpata) Caraway seeds (Shahi jeera) and dry ginger powder (Soonth)

South Indian friend uses mustard and coconut regularly,

My Sindhi friend roasts and grinds Whole Black Cardamom, Whole Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Jeera, Javatri, Nutmeg,Tejpatta and stores in the containers.

It was interesting to talk to my friends about the ingredients they used in their kitchen. One friend uses pink Himalayan salt in her daily cooking. “Pink Himalayan salt has minerals in their natural form, therefore is good for health, it is not processed like table salt.” She said.

Another friend is using organic turmeric in her daily cooking. “I prefer this because of Turmeric's anti - inflammatory benefits . We get this produce from special health food shops who import from India.  They come with certificate of authenticity for purity and non use of pesticide before and after harvesting. Also the consignment is not scanned through X-ray machines.” She said when I ask her for this special choice. “I love the strong aroma.  Only downside I find is the color of the organic turmeric is on the darker side as compared to one available in the normal grocery shops.” She added.

My cousin made a special mention of masala she used for making a drink to stay fit.  It contains 200gms cumin seeds, 100 gms dried coriander seeds, 100 gms fennel seeds. They are mixed well in one litre of water and kept it overnight. Next day they are boiled, strained and is sipped throughout the day.

Many different kinds of masalas are made in my school by differently abled at our CBD and Uran centres. In our school, children over eighteen years are graduated to vocational and home science unit. Parents of the children help children earn their living by helping them learn different techniques like cleaning, drying grinding, measuring and packing. the masala are sold, children earn a regular stipend and it gives them incentive to work.

Masala are used in almost all the recipes, but on daily regular cooking, minimum spices are used. Sharing the recipe my SIL made today for lunch.

Pumpkin and Spinach


200 kg pumpkin
1 bunch spinach
1 medium Onion
1 inch Ginger
1 tbsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 pinch aseofitida
1tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
Coriander for garnishing


In hot oil crackle mustard seeds. Add ginger and cumin seeds. Add chopped onions and fry till light brown. Add turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Add chopped pumpkin, stir till tender.. add chopped spinach. Cover and cook till tender. Add salt. Garnish with coriander leaves.

I have been celebrating #IndianFoodObservance days with Rushina whenever I could. Last year too I had blogged about Garam Masala used in Sindhi Cuisine. You can find the recipe HERE

I am so happy that my friends and family cooperated in my research. My special thanks to Pakeeza Merchant, Deepa Betrabeth, Taruna Goyal, Vijaya Das, Poonam Desai, Renuka Mir, Usha Galani, Vimloo Shivdasani, Maya Mirpuri, Rani Ramchandani, Devka Mansukhani, Aruna Doshi, Dhana Tiwari, Lata Sharma, Nalini Poduval, Kasmira Balsara, Bela wanwari, Anita Mantri, Sonal Manjalani, Pooja Mohinani

Thank you so much......

Monday, April 2, 2018

To Market, To Market, To Celebrate #SabziTarkariDin

One more day to celebrate with Rushina, this time #SabziTarkariDin, one more reason to blog……

You can only see what is in season when you visit your local vegetable market. There will be many carts selling same selected vegetables or fruits at very reasonable price. I never like to bargain with these vegetable sellers and most of the time I don’t even ask them the rates, I just buy what I want. If they make extra money from me, its their karma.

We don’t bargain at big Supermarkets so why haggle over the price at the local market? Let them make the money nah, they too have family to support.

When we go for shopping at the big food mall, we are likely to see whole range of fruits and vegetables, fresh and exotic, some food mall stock all the vegetables from all over the world..some of them frozen to the core and quite tasteless too..having lost their nutrients while travelling from one country to another sometimes. Have you checked price? might faint. Many a times, when I have picked a packet of some exotic vegetable or fresh herb, I have put it back to the shelf when I eye at the price label. 

“Are you mad? You will spend Rs300 for just this vegetable? Put it back” I scold myself.

But the local market place will always sell fresh fruits and vegetable..Especially if you go to a small town market away from the main city. Recently I went to Karjat for a weekend and was surprised at the rate of the veggies sold there. All the vegetables were in abundance, very fresh and very economical. Most of the vegetable were at Rs20 a kilo. My friend, who has a farm house in Karjat, regularly visits these markets and comes back with car full of veggies for her family and friends. Not only were these fresh and seasonal  but they were very tasty as well.

But no matter what season it is..bananas, celery and potatoes are always tasty and always a good buy

This morning my friend called me and told me that the flower of elephant foot yam is available in the market. Now I have never seen it although my other friends always cooks it when it is in season. I was curious (ofcourse) she told me that its expensive. Told her not to bargain with the vegetable seller and just buy it at whatever the cost (Rs200 a kilo).. she got me 400grams.

So here I was..went to google aunt to do some research on flower of elephant foot yam, spoke to few friends asking them how they would make it.

Then cut into pieces to see the inside

Then did the most foolish thing...I bit into it to get its raw taste....

Oops..not a good idea..because..i didnt even wash it at first..after a small bite..washed it properly, peeled and took a bigger had woody taste and lips and chin were scratchy and some blisters on my tongue..I spat it out..cleaned my tongue several times till the itching stopped.

But yes..I cooked..following the recipe of a mutton dish

I first cleaned all of it, peeled it.salted them for few hours….then deep fried it.

Then cooked it in black pepper and tomato gravy.

The #TarkariSabziDin was celebrated by food bloggers all over India and I was able to catch few live coverage..

Like I saw the organic kitchen garden of Saffron trail and she showed us how to plant veggies at home...without any fancy equipments at all.

Made a virtual tour of Pali Market with Rushina and Kalyan.

Some celebrated with a potluck of foodies of Mumbai  at foodblogger Shital Kakad’s cozy home..

I Loved watching Monika shopping in the Bangalore market with her son.

Also saw the live coverage of the walk with DFW to the whole vegetable market in Delhi, Azadpur Mandi, Asia's largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables 

I hate going to crowded vegetable markets because I am afraid of slipping on rotten leaves that lay scattered in the path but this markets that were visited by foodbloggers were quite clean and spacious and I was very happy to do the virtual tour with food bloggers.

Enjoyed #SabziTarkariDin and #IndianFoodObservance day with all the food-bloggers from the comfort of my home, while I was busy cooking the flowers of Elephant foot yam for my guests. I also made exotic salad, Guacamole from the buttery avocado, Sesame fragrant rice, roasted chicken and fried fish on that day


400grams Flowers of Elephant Foot Yam
2pods of cardamom
1tsp black pepper
1/2inch ginger
2 green chilies
1 bunch Spinach
1tsp turmeric powder
2tsp coriander powder
2 tbsp coriander leaves
salt to taste.


Salt the flowers, wash and deep fry. Keep it aside
In a pan, stir fry cardamom, black pepper, ginger and green chilies
Add the deep fried flowers , stir to mix it.
Add spinach, tomatoes, turmeric, coriander powder and salt.
Mix and cover on low flame till tender
Add coriander leaves and black pepper
Serve with chappatis.

I have been celebrating #IndianFoodObservance days with Rushina whenever I could and have blogged......

Waiting for another Food observance day….

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Exercising Away To FBAI Dialogues- A Conference: Part Two’

Hope you are back here again to read the second part of my blog on the event that I attended. 

One thing good about this conference was that It was very vibrant and entertaining. There were many distraction to keep you away from dozing off. For example- on each table, there was a box of ‘Soul flower’ emitting heady fragrance, there was a beautiful lilly at the table- a feast for the eye..then there was an hand santizer by Godrej, some sweets, water by Kelzai….all reminding us of the sponsors of this event. And also there were Zumba and Bollywood music to dance away the blues.

And the talks were interesting too

David Cananzi- F&B Wizard spoke about Curation of healthy menus at home. In India, we have privilege of having fresh vegetables and fruits, we should use it to our advantage. He spoke about most important facts that you must include in our daily diet. He stressed the need to cook with your soul, it must suit your life style, you must know your ingredients - their taste and their nutrient value, use fresh vegetables. If you have to save it, store it in freezer to retain their freshness. “If you wish to be healthy, you must follow your instinct” he said.

Rachna Chhachi – nutritionalist and cancer coach, cures people without medicines and works with autistic people. Its all about lifestyles that you adapt to discipline your mind. Reduce the quantity of food, don’t overeat, eat 30% less. Look at your plate, half of it should be raw. Eat right oil and fat, include nuts in your daily diet. Keep everything in view and think what you want to do. Take fresh look at why you need to be happy.. Nutrition, exercise and sleep are investment plan for health. Believe in 8 hours sleep, enjoy healthy meal and avoid junk food. “Learn to chill-enjoy your own company, eat slowly and enjoy food” she said.

Eefa Shrof- A fitness and lifestyle coach spoke about mind-body fitness. Being thin does not mean that you are fit. You can be thin but not healthy, you can be fat but healthy. Ask yourself as to why you wish to be thin? And if your reasons are convincing you to become thin that should inspire you to loose weight. Most importantly, remember that heart should be taken care of and you don’t have to reduce muscles to become thin. Follow the advise of an experienced trainer. “In giving out exercise and nutrition programs, a trainer aims to help, not please the client” said she.

Ranveer Brar – spoke about how he keeps fit as a celebrity chef. People ask him as to how can he be a foodie and still be thin?. He said that prayers can give fitness of the soul, but eating the right food at the right time gives fitness to the body. We were sent in this world to be happy and food is the essential instrument to happiness. Our ancient wisdom understood that food was the key. We all have memories of our grandmother who told us what and when to eat, without giving any reasons. Even if you protested and asked for answer, she would just nod and ask us to follow because she believed it. In today’s world we look for answers for any myth that has been passed down through centuries. We believe only if it is confirmed by western philosophy. We have to understand our relation with food. It doesn’t have to be tasty, it should also be nutritious. You must know its reaction and its usefulness to your body.”A true foodie will find the medicinal value of food, believe and find its nutritional value too.” He said.

Saloni Malkani hosted a Panel discussion on re-imaging modern Kitchen with Kalyan Karmakar, Smita Deo, Sujit Patil and Vaishali Shah.  Kitchens have changed a lot over the years. It used to be gathering place for whole family and now it is small space, specially in big cities. Kitchen should reflect who you are, the way you have styled it. The display of food jars, ingredients, gadjets that you use and the vairiety of things that one sees in your kitchen reflects your identity. Vaishali spoke about how she has remodeled her bedroom into one big kitchen where whole family meets. “Kitchen won’t be seen as close spaces in future, but as an open place for the whole family to meet” said Vaisali Lahoti Shah, the lead designer of Godrej Interiors.

Rushina Ghildiyal, the food consultant spoke about substituting Indian ingredients for exotic ones. Instead of cutting on food, its better to exercise. If we are grown up eating certain kinds of food, we tend to stick to that. The fact is that we don’t market our own products, we have forgotten to eat grains such as Millet, Ragi, which is more healthy. We should eat more protiens and eat food that is grown locally in your country, if we don’t buy local food then farmers might stop farming and move on to different profession. Just because certain food works best in certain eco system and envirnoment, it may not necessarily work for you in your country. “Its all about adapting knowledge. Whatever is suitable for you, use it to adapt to your parameters.” She said,

The day ended with Rumba. Music is not only for dancing at the discos. It can be adapted as an exercise for healthy living and lifestyle.

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