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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Chai Shai Aur Batein –Super Food- Rajgira

Now I have never known Rajgira nor knew Rajgira flour is known as Amarnath atta. So when Shital Kakad announced Ragjira as the superfood for this month’s potluck at Chai Shai aur Batain, I quickly clicked GoogleMaster to learn something more about this...

Amaranth or rajgira means “immortal” or “everlasting” in Greek because it contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and it is the only grain which contains Vitamin C. Rajgira also has far more lysine, an essential amino acid, which the body does not manufacture, compared to other grains. Lysine is needed to metabolise fatty acids, absorb calcium, and is essential for strong, thick hair.

But what to make when I do not know how it will behave? And what to make?

Rabia Patel, my friend,  made my task easier by asking me to make a #sindhicuisine Daal Pakwaan that she loves to eat.

Baas..that made things easier..kyun ki now I was set to make just pakwaan of Rajgira.

Doing research with family and friends also helped. Consulting with them, I learnt how it can be used...
"for making puris..add mashed potatoes” said one friend. 
You could add rava flour to make it crispy” said another..

That gave me idea that it might be tricky to roll out puris, finally I decided on adding maida on instruction of my cousin sister.

 Lets experiment” said my cousin who had come to spend some time with me. She made a dough taking equal proportions of maida and Rajgira atta..added 1tsp cumin seeds and salt. We added ghee to make a smooth dough. First two puris were soft and thick..whereas pakwaan are normally thin and crispy..and therefore, we rolled out thinner circles making dents with the fork

Voila!! We had crispy puris....

They were dark brown..but quite tasty.

Everybody raves about dhal pakwaan, but a novice will wonder what is so great about it? Its just chana dhal and crispsy puris...But the actual taste, my friend,  is in the is best enjoyed with mint chutney and onions soaked in tamarind sauce..that is the taste that you enjoy..sweet, spicy and sour dhal with crispy puris...

So, this was my contribution for the potluck this week with #homechefs at '#ChaiShaiaurBataain hosted by Shital Kakad at her beautiful cook studio 'ShitalFoodCottage

Sharing the recipe toh banta is how I make it

For Puris
Mix 1cup Rajgira Flour and 1 cup maida
Add half tsp salt
Add half tsp cumin seeds
Mix and make stiff dough add just half cup water
Roll out thin circular shapes
Prick it with fork or knife
Deep fry till crisp

For dhal
Soak 2cups channa dhal for 2 hours
In a pressure cooker, stir fry 1 tsp cumin seeds in 1tbsp of ghee
Add 1 pinch of hing
Add the soaked dhal
Add salt and 1tsp of turmeric powder
Add 1 cup of water and pressure cook with 2 whistles.
Garnish with red chilie powder, cumin powder, pomegranate powder and chopped coriander leaves.

For mint chutney
Mix a small bunch of corainder leaves and mint leaves
Add one small onion, few cloves of garlic, 5 or 6 green chilies, salt to taste
Grind to a smooth paste
Add 1tbsp of lime juice

For tamarind sauce
Soak tamarind for an hour, squeeze out the pulp.
Add finely chopped onions
Add salt, sugar, cumin powder

For serving
Top the dhal with onions in tamarind sauce, mint chutney and enjoy with crispy Rajgira puris.

The brownie point was the live demonstration by chef of Punjab Grill Official @amiteshvirdi who shared his nuggets of knowledge with us.He has good knowledge of cooking and is also obsessed with every ingredient that he uses, His live demo on sweet potato and bitter gourd was truly loved by all

The potluck event at ShitalFoodCottage was a success because everybody's dish was commendable, You can find their recipes at Shital kakad s blog

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The French Cuisine On #WildAsparagusTable- Version One

I have lost count of a number of years that I have been associated with Food Bloggers Community  We have attended potlucks, new culinary book launches, at new restaurants meet ups, new products entering the market and many such food events, 

A new chapter started this week ( an idea initiated by Salloni Malkani 
 and Chef AnanyaBanerjee, to meet up every month, and explore the world cuisine), starting with the mother of European Gastronomy – French was to bring the food bloggers together, to share the history and geography of a dish, which means that not just make any dish that bloggers are good at, but take an opportunity to cook something new ..but of course that would require research. Luckily, we live in times that we have no longer to go to city libraries to research..we can do so at the comfort of our home just by going online.

So, to make long story short..this month #Frenchcuisine was on radar and we were required to bring a french cuisine solely prepared by us.

Now I have not been to France except in transit during my Europe trips and I have just munched on quichès n macaroons.. To understand the local cuisine, I went on virtual tour exploring their eating culture. The trail of French potluck had me walk down the corridors of google for my research on cuisine, culture, names of the dishes and their pronunciation, and I stumbled upon a great chef Julia Child  who had me enthralled with her priceless videos and tips. I was completely bowled over. I watched more than twenty TV episodes of 'The French Chef  saw the movie Julian and Julia and also read about her life history and her cooking career spanning around 40 years of her life.. Of course I was fascinated by such an interesting person but was more interested in learning the techniques she used in her cooking. Julia Child uses lots of unsalted butter and cheese in her cooking but her style of cooking is very simple. She talks continuously during her live cooking show and her humour is what makes her show so interesting. there are common mistakes she makes ( like we do) making us realise that accidents do happen in the kitchen but you can correct it.

So I decided to follow her technique to make a vegetarian dish of carrots, Asparagus and mushrooms, the dish is called ‘Au Gratin’ in French I didn’t even know how to pronounce  the word but then Mr.Google is there, always ready to help.

A new Watsapp group was created, a format for the menu was made and there was continuous activity and interaction, whereby people were discussing about the dish they would be making. Every time I read a new name of the dish, I went to google to learn about the preparation and the technique used for making . (Luckily Google is quite intelligent, more than my family and friends, who sometimes don’t cooperate with some informations.. )  This was to be a small group of only 15 invites (since the venue was a small cook studio – actually a launch of Ananya Banerjee’s cook studio), although the Watsapp group had more than 50 members. The selection of the invites was on fastest finger first, (like Kaun Banega Crorepati)so I was quick to accept the invite and was able to attend this very first chapter of wild Asparagus Table. I am sure many more will be invited next time, if they find a bigger venue, but if everybody has to cook one dish each, then there will be too many dishes to try. If you wish to enjoy them all, then maybe you should skip at least two meals before the event.

Different logos were prepared and we proudly posted the logos on social media announcing our coming event that created lot of curiosity in our food community of Mumbai.

The day finally arrived, but skies were angry on that day, it roared behind pregnant clouds, poured gustily all day, streets were flooded, there was traffic jam. But this did not deter food bloggers and most of them managed to reach the venue against all odds, some were delayed and sadly, three persons could not make it. It was quite a trip for everyone to get there .

The table was set for 17 people with beautiful cutlery on the table and piece of art in the centre. The wine and water were kept on the side table. A big thank you for FBAI’s wine Partner Barton & Guestier from (Aspri Spirits) and Sucres Des Terres for the delicious Camembert ice creams.  and Veen waters

One wall had the menu designed in calligraphy with food doodles. Ananya’s cook studio is tastefully decorated with beautiful art pieces and it had one dark orange wall, that served as a back drop for most of our photography session. And yes, one more thing, French women are very fond of hats, so I had decided to make one for this occasion. I designed and hand-crafted a hat with a lace and it was much appreciated by my friends. So, at the end of the evening session, we donned a hat and had a photo-shoot against the back-drop of orange wall.  The enjoyment was profound.

We were asked to get ready dishes, that could only be heated in microwave, It was a sit-down dinner, with proper menu and order of the dish that would appear at the table, one by one, so that we could enjoy all the courses. Everybody was expected to serve their own dish after having discussed the idea behind the dish.

We started with soups, followed by bread and salad, starters, mains and desserts. This was the interesting part, as we learnt so many new things, first hand knowledge. All the dishes were cooked with much love and interest and I enjoyed them all. Everybody was dressed in style, and it was sit down dinner with every blogger serving her own dish after having shared their bit of research on #FrenchCuisine. I loved each and every dish that was cooked on that day. Even though we ate in moderation, there were so much variety that I could not finish the desserts.

We had a menu rolled up, with the name of the dish against the name of person making that dish, so it was easy to understand as to what we were being served. The food was absolutely awesome. It is commendable that the way everybody stuck to the theme and went out of their way to bring the best they could at the table.

Me, what did I make?

Au Gratin, a pure vegetarian dish of stuffed Mushroom, Asparagus and Carrot. I wanted to try my hand on carving a carrot into a bird that would sit on a Asparagus branch, chirping on mushroom and celery.

I enjoyed cooking this one and am happy to share the recipe.


For Mushrooms
2 packets of Mushrooms
1tbsp unsalted butter
2 Shallots
1tsp flour
½ cream
salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for garnishing

For Carrots
200gms baby carrots
2 finely chopped shallots
1 tsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

For Asparagus
100gms asparagus
1tbsp butter
1tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper for taste

For White Sauce
 1 tsp unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped cabbage
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
2tbsp cream
½ cup milk
4tbsp Gueyere cheese

Prepare Mushrooms, if you wear chef’s hat and apron during cooking then do it now before you start….

Separate the stems of the mushrooms slowly so as not to break. finely chop the stems and squeeze the juice out. (It seemed impossible to squeeze out water from mushroom ends, -like Julia Child instructed- but when I had finished chopping the mushroom stems and squeezed, half cup of water was extracted)

Heat 1 tsp of unsalted butter and add the squeezed stems..
Add finely chopped shallots..cook till stems separate.
Add 1tsp of flour and mix to roast  
Add 1/2 cup cream
Add salt and pepper
Add parsley.
cook the sauce   
Fill the mushrooms with the sauce (butter the.mushroom b4 filling them with sauce..)
Add little grated cheese on the top and bake them for 20 minutes

Prepare Asparagus separately, they taste good even when raw, you can munch it while you prepare…

In large skillet over medium heat add unsalted butter.
Add asparagus and cook until tender about 7 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper, parsley and lemon

Prepare Carrots, don’t just admire their fresh orange looks (I have used baby carrots)

Cut the carrots in french fries style pieces.
Put in the pot and add 1 cup water
Add 1 tsp unsalted butter
Add 1/2tsp salt and finely chopped shallots.
Cook till water dries up

Prepare White Sauce, I know u are tired (can sip a wine before you start…..Okay now?..
In a pan add 1tsp unsalted butter
Add cup finely chopped cabbage
Add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
Add 1tbp flour
Mix to roast
Add 2tbsp cream
Add ½ cup milk,
Mix it well
Add 4tbsp Gruyere cheese.
Melt to make creamy sauce

Now you are ready for action. Hold your breath you are finally there….

Arrange carrots, mushrooms and asparagus in a greased baking dish, top it with white sauce and bake for 10 minutes, till the top  sauce layer is browned dish is ready….. taste it..if you like it then its fine…

I am grateful to Salloni, who lovingly brings all foodbloggers together with her charming smile. A sincere thanks to Ananya for hosting the event in her lovely cook-studio. A special thanks to Sameer Malkani for capturing all our moods in his camera and his bubbling humour.

Lots of knowledge sharing , bonhomie and good food !!

Until next time..know not which country will we visit next time…

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk Spready

Interesting afternoon at Courtyard by Marriot Mumbai hosted by The FBAI, Mondelez India and Zeba Kohli..

 There was a dramatic launch of Cadbury Cookbook with music, lights and claps. The book promises chocolate to life and it covers everything. Seventy recipes are created and curated  by chocolatier Zeba Kohli for Cadbury’s 70 years of joy in India.

"Chocolate gives a moment of Love" says Zeba Koli, a science student who went on to join the 70years old family business of chocolates.

Pieces of chocolate cake were distributed to few people in the audience and they were asked to identify the product used in the cake.

But wait a minute..Zeba narrated a proper way to eating chocolates...

"You don't just dump the pieces of chocolate in your mouth for a quick has firstly to be held at arms-length, look at it, bring it closer till you squint and take in its fragrance..inhale..take a small bite- slowly- do not rush chocolates, let it go down the throat, let it roll around your palate, savour its taste, let it hit you and then you exhale with a sound and thats when you taste  the ingredient."...of course the product that was used was chocolate Spready

The event was about  a product launch of chocolate Spready

Spready is one of the fastest growing snacking segment in India. Anil Vishwanathan, marketing director of Mondelez said that he believes that this format enables them to enter consumer’s homes and their kitchens and be part of their in-home consumption experience.  It is a growing trend so naturally there is curiosity of using it innovational to make some interesting snacks. There is opportunity to experiment new recipes with this product.

This was followed by live cook-off  by four participants using Cadbury spready, nuts, ice cream, bread, etc. Participants were quite creative, using the ingredients to make sandwiches, rolls, multi-layered cakes. The winner MsPooja was awarded with Chocolate Cookbook on the cliteria of presentation of the dish, balance of the ingredients used and the taste.

In question-answer session, people wanted to know when they will come out with diabetic-friendly chocolates (very soon they said) and how much chocolate is moderate for children (limited) and whether it is already on market shelves

Yes it Rs200... the Cadbury Spready is there on the food shelf...go grab it and get creative...or..may be.. just dip your thumb into Spready and enjoy the taste..!!

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