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Monday, February 27, 2017

Product Review: iDFresh

There are many South Indian super stores in Mumbai where freshly ground Idly and Dosa batter is sold in plastic bag with a string tied around it, but the problem is that it should be used within two days or the batter might get sour.

Last week iDFresh send me their read-to-cook packets of idly Dosa Batter, chappatis and Malbar Parotas.

I normally don’t like to eat packed food but iDFresh company claims that it uses no preservatives, that it is 100% natural and authentic tasting Indian meal.

The chapatis are “Life savers”. One afternoon my maid forgot to roll rotis for me and I was too lazy, this was the day I decided to try these chapatis.

Good thing about these chapatis is that it can be roasted directly from fridge on to the hot plate, it fluffs like a balloon and tastes good with pure ghee. The only difference is that it becomes hard and stiff if kept for too long.

I took the frozen packets of Malabar and Wheat paratas to my sister’s house to share with her family

The parotas are fluffy and tasty. I would recommend these if you have too many guests at home, when you don’t have helper, when making a bulk is a tedious task. Just heat and serve is the best option.

The idly and Dosa batter was lying in my fridge for more than a week, till I convinced my friends to join me for a dosa party.The packets once opened should be used immediately, but I couldn’t possibly eat all that alone…needed a company to help me finish all.

Since we were a big group, my friend made home-made batter too, while I took the packet of iDfresh batter to her house.

This was a good opportunity to compare the packets with the home-made ones. My friend made delicious coconut chutney and sambar to pair it with idly and dosa.

Home made idlis were softer and also it was easier to get thin crispy dosa from home-made batter. With the packet batter, it tends to get lumpy and sticks to the hot plate. (if you are not expert in spreading the batter on the hot plate) Nevertheless, the iDfresh are equally good and the best thing is that it can be stored in the fridge till you are ready to eat. The taste is good, since there are no preservatives used, it can pass off as an instant meal.

“We are very clear about our brand philosophy and we will continue to add products to our portfolio which is fresh, natural, preservative-free, authentic, Indian home-style food.The future of ready-to-cook/ ready-to-eat industry in India is expected to grow exponentially with changing lifestyles, higher disposable income and increase in working population who are time crunched. Says Musthafa, the CEO of iD Fresh Food, who started this company with just Rs25000  and now is the proud owner of 100 crore company.

You can read his story here

I would recommend these packets for working people who have no time to cook and still want to try the home style recipes. Go on, save these iDFresh packets in your fridge for those lazy days.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fish Curry from Kochi

The first thing that caught my attention during my drive from Cochin to Peermedu was the number of stores selling fresh fish. While our car waited at traffic signal, I saw great variety of fresh fish, carefully displayed. In Mumbai, this sight is rare, we get fish only in fish market or in cold storage store.

So, I gathered that fish is the favorite meal in Cochin. We drove four hours away from Cochin to high altitude of Peermedu, surrounded by lush green tea gardens. We  stayed in a private bunglow and we were lucky to have three cooks on call. Kitchen was the interesting place to be, it always is, for me. It was well stocked with fresh organic vegetables from nearby farm and ofcourse fish. During our five days stay at tea gardens, we had fish almost everyday. My vegetarian friends wondered how we could eat fish everyday. They know not that taste differs from different fishes.

Moreover. Fish is good for health

Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a range of health benefits. White-fleshed fish, in particular, is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein, and oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the "good" fats. Since the human body can’t make significant amounts of these essential nutrients, fish are an important part of the diet. Also, fish are low in the "bad" fats commonly found in red meat, called omega-6 fatty acids.

One afternoon I decided to watch the cook prepare the typical fish curry. I am always interested in learning new traditional ways of cooking. Each region in India have their own style of cooking. This one was really tasty, luckily I had clicked pictures so now I will be able to reproduce the dish whenever I wish.

The helpers were most willing to teach us.

All the ingredients were kept ready for the demo. 
The fish cleaned and chopped in square pieces, 
coconut, turmeric powder and onions ground to a thick paste. 
Garlic, ginger and chilies chopped and 
chopped tomatoes ready for use.

Cooking becomes easy if all the ingredients are kept ready for use and within easy reach.

Step by step for making fish curry

Heat oil

Add musturd seeds

Add garlic ginger small onions and green chillies

Add tomatoes

Add turmeric, coconut and red chillie paste

Add kokum

Add fish

Add Salt

Add Curry leaves

Cover n let it cook

Add roasted, ground fenugreek seeds for garnishing

It tasted great with steamed rice and tomato chili chutney (cooked specially for me).

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Day At Thrisangu Haven Resort

During our five days stay at Peermedu in Kerala, we were completely cut off from outer world, surrounded by big stretch of tea gardens spread across acres of greenery. We had three cooks at our service at our bungalow, who cooked excellent Kerala cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

During our stay, one of our friends was celebrating her birthday and we needed to getaway to some resort for change of scene. We rented a car and drove to Thrisangu Haven, a resort at Peermedu, 30 kms from Thekkady.

The minute we reached the place, I was mesmerised by its scenic beauty. This place is totally embraced by nature. The beauty spreads as far as eye could reach.

We climbed up the spiral stairways to watchtower to get a better view. It was quite cold up there and windy too

We just clicked few pictures and climbed down soon to walk around a manicured path with colorful flowers and spiced fragrant air.

We had placed our order for lunch as soon as we reached, so while it was being prepared we ventured around to explore the place.

There were honeymoon cottages, garden cottages and many tents. It would have been a perfect place to spend few days away from city,  for somebody who was looking for getaway places in Cochin.  

We were mainly there for food- a proper traditional Kerala cuisine. . Our host at Peermedu had booked a table for us with special birthday celebration arrangement. A double decker round table with salad dressing at lower shelf and cake on upper level, was set for celebration.

The heart of the restaurant was quite spacious with big round tables fairly spaced from each other and that’s where we were seated. There were more tables placed closer to large windows that offered great view of the landscape outside the restaurant. A wooden staircase spiralled up to more dining rooms. We soaked in extravagance of splendour in the restaurant.

We ordered fish curry, coconut rice, pepper chicken, salad and mixed vegetables. The food was excellent. Specially loved the fish curry and coconut rice that was cooked to perfection.

The big birthday cake was wheeled to our table after lunch. The restaurant had Wifi facility so it was possible for us to share the live birthday celebrations with our friends on Facebook.

It was a pleasant afternoon to spend at this resort.
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