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Monday, September 24, 2018

Celebrating Chutney Day 2018

Today was a special day.

  • First because I was visiting this restaurant #OpenSodaBottleopenerwallah the first time,
  • Secondly that I was attending a IndianFoodObservation event at Powai and
  • Third that It was also clubbed with a book launch of 'Chutneys Adding Spice to Your Life’ by Aparna Parinam 

Last year, I had done an elaborate research of chutneys my family enjoys around the globe. I had interviewed all my cousins, asking them the details of the culture and the recipes of the city they have adopted as their own. ...hope u read it...have you??? if not…..then you better stop here...go to the link..HERE .... and then come back here to celebrate this Indian food observance day with me this year.

Coming back to my discovery of this restaurant at Powai in Mumbai..#SodaBottleOpenerwalla

This is an interesting place and I loved the Irani chai..malai brought back my childhood memories of my Pune trip (that I used to make so often) and frequent visits to the Irani restaurants. I really loved it. The decor is also good with big wooden tables and chairs, the walls covered with interesting designs and colorful bottles. There is art everywhere and one can sit there for hours and still be happy eating Mumbai Chaat like Pani puri, bhel and sipping  Chai.

I arrived early at the book launch and got opportunity to converse with the author Aparna Parinam, who is pharmacist by profession while cooking is her passion, so much so, that she has self published her book on chutney, preserving the traditional dishes of her family. The plus point of this book is that all her chutneys are pure vegetarian and they contain neither onions nor garlic. Good news for Brahmakumaris and Jains

I was there on a special invite by gracious Rushina Ghildiyal, who can churn out a new dish at a drop of a hat.

She brought to our notice that foodies are observing an ingredient of the month, where in the chefs around the city are trying and creating recipes on those ingredients during the month. Bananas and sea buckthorn are the chosen ingredients for this month and many chefs are creating dishes and have introduced them on their menu.. Rushina decided to demonstrate a new recipe using sea buckthorn and raspberry. She said that she was trying for the first time (having brought all the ingredients with her)  The result was very delicious that I was able to taste only a half teaspoon (why you may ask??...well because it was so yummy that it was licked off the plate before I could reach the table..i was busy clicking picture, you see)

Aparna Parinam demonstrated a chutney from her book.
you can find the recipe in her book on page no 103.

"Chana dhal chutney can be used as spread for the roti" she said. “This chutney does not need seasoning and all the ingredients need to be roasted. It goes well with idlis and dosas and has a shelf life of 2 to 3 days.” She added while churning the chutney in a thick paste.

 Do buy her book. It can be a good addition to your recipe bookshelf and has great varieties that include all kinds of chutneys such as coconut based, Curd based, vegetable based, fruit based, seed based, nut based and pulses based recipes. There are some food memories too that makes it an interesting read.

However, you must be curious to learn about the recipe that Rushina demonstrated

Sea Buckthorn Raspberry Chutney

This recipe was done in two parts.

In part one

Pour oil in a pan and fry 1 cup chopped onions and 1tsp garlic. Stir fry till light brown. Add 2tbsp of jaggery, 1tsp sugar, 1tsp salt and 1 cup of sea buckthorn puree. Add 1tsp red chili powder. Cook till oil separates. Transfer in a serving dish filling half the dish.

Make part two

Pour oil in the pan and fry 1 cup chopped onions and 1tsp garlic. Fry till light brown. Add 1tsp rock salt, 1tsp sugar, 1tsp jaggery powder and 1 cup raspberry puree. Cook till oil separates and pour it in the bowl containing the first part.

Mix it lightly. Garnish with coriander leaves

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Khichdi at Sindhi Homes

Khichdi..a comfort food, was a regular breakfast that appeared at our dining tables in my house during my growing up days. A combination of just rice and lentil cooked to very soft consistency, it was churned to mix it and then topped with a simple garnishing of burnt mustard seeds. We would eat with curds and fried papads or sometimes with pickle as accompaniment or would just sprinkle a spoonful of sugar and relish it.

Mom was very creative and made different breakfast everyday. Sometimes there was puri bhajji, other times masala loli or just salt n pepper loli, sweet sayyu, sweet wheat porridge. Bread, buns and oats were normally served to our NRI guests, mutton or kheema pav was for special occasions. Breakfast was always at home, nobody ever talked about eating out, except on very special occasions, that too never breakfast or lunch, it used to be only dinner in formal wear.

But did you know that Khichdi is as old as hills? It’s score: Nearly 2000 years!

Archaeologists have found burnt pieces of rice and green gram, aka moong dal, that were cooked together in Maharashtra in 1st century AD, indicating that the comfort food was equally savoured back then.    Source:  

I still savor Khichdi but not for breakfast, now it’s for light dinner. It’s humble no more because I have altered the taste too. Sometimes I add vegetables and sometimes the left-overs meat too.

On my last visit to Chicago, my cousin made this breakfast that was spicy and tasty. I had liked it so much that I asked him for a recipe.

He had shared with me verbally then, but of course, my memory always plays tricks on me and it stayed back buried in my grey cells until recently I saw the picture of the khichidi in the family watsapp group.

And so I asked him again, making sure to try it out and noting it on my blog. So here it is.

Boiled 1cup small grain rice with ½ cup green dhal till tender. Mix it well.

In a pan, fry 1tsp mustard seeds till they crackle. Add 1tsp cumin seeds. fry finely chopped onion, add 1tsp crushed garlic and 1tsp grated ginger. Add curry leaves and green chilies.

Add this to the mixture of rice and lentil.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot. 

Cousin says don't put coriander leaves. "arrey why? I like it and its good for my kidney too.... kidney ki safai hoti hai kotmir sey"... I told him.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Launch: Low Fat Low Guilt: Recipes & Lifestyle by Dr Namita Jain

Last month, we had a society meeting, the members requested the society to serve ‘good snacks’. What they meant was that they didn’t want to eat the junk food of mumbai like Samosas, Patties, Ragda, or any other oily stuff that normally appears at every social event. Everybody is getting health conscious with fancy gyms mushrooming all over the city and people watching their diet. So this is the good time to invest in books that educates you on healthy food. The book #LowFatLowDiet does just that. It educates you on how to enjoy ‘good food’ without guilt.

This week I attended the book lauch and the unveiling of Dr Namita Jain’s 12th book titled Low Fat Low Guilt: Recipes & Lifestyle at The Leela Mumbai. The book was unveiled by India's Tennis Icon and Fitness Extraordinaire Padma Shri Vijay Amritraj

Is Junk Food Bad Food?

No food is bad. But when food contributes more calories than nutrients, the problem of empty calories versus nutrition becomes something to consider. While junk food need not be excluded from your diet, the quantity and frequency of consumption must be controlled” writes Dr Namita in her book.

In conversation with Mr Vijay Amritraj, many elements of healthy eating were discussed. He started at a very young age considering that health and fitness are the critical elements of our living. He wanted to be a doctor but sports gave him more exposure. He enjoys food, and travelling around the world makes it difficult for him to control his diet. “The important part of sports is our ability to stay fit and healthy” he said. He spoke about his son who is health fanatic and he feels that our body is like a temple and we have to watch what goes into our body.

Dr Namita Jain feels that Indian food is the best diet one can have, for example in Thali you have dhal, veggies, rice, chappati, papad and sweets that covers all the nutrients that our body requires. She feels that you don’t have to overeat but just 80% is enough to leave enough space for digestion. A light meal at night before 7pm is advisable and it is better to stay away from fat. A long walk, exercise to burn off the fat and a visit to gym can be added to the lifestyle to stay fit.

A leaf from her book explain the food pyramid.

It was an interesting evening. The book has all the recipes that interests me. Its colorful, glossy with pictures that make you hungry

I wanted to buy this book immediately but I was lucky to get one free copy for me, specially autographed by Dr Namita.

Nowadays, all the recipes are available on u-tube, but still this book has been a complete sold out. Low Fat, Low Guilt is an essential guide to following a healthy diet without compromising on the taste. It features low-cal recipes of delicious soups, salads, wraps, toasts, rice dishes, pastas and dips, making healthy eating a pleasurable experience.

I think this book is a treasure and is the latest addition on my cook book shelf

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