To be very frank, I’m not a huge fan of Guacamole. Actually not a huge fan of Avocado either. The son, daughter and husband love it though!!
My son is on a full blown -I am going to build my body, and eat healthy – kind of streak, and he makes a lot of Guacamole, or Guac as the kids call it.
This here, is his recipe. Quick and super easy, and very filling. He made it for me last winter when he was here on holidays, and though my eyes don’t start shining in emotional gratefulness at the sight of Guac, I did dip a couple of nachos into it and I must say I was thoroughly impressed with it.
Avocado is not easily available where I stay. It grows in abundance in Bangalore, but the taste, texture and flavour is not as good as the one available in California. When I went to spend sometime with my daughter in San Jose – California, I accompanied her to the super market. My eyes popped out, seeing the gigantic heaps of Avocado, spilling on to the floor, overflowing from their baskets. And the price!! Oh! Boy, it was being sold for peanuts.
I wanted to take back a few with me to India, but my kid gave me a fairly accurate description of the way it would get squashed and then get in between my clothes and when I would try to pull them clothes out, I would have slimy, gooey flesh smeared on my hands ….. you get the gist, don’t you?! Disheartened I gave up the idea, but began a hunt in Bombay for good Avocados. It was quite a task. They would be either underdone or over ripe and always, always very expensive.
I finally found a store, and now I get ripe to be eaten – the day I want – type of Avocado whenever I so please. It’s still a tad expensive, but it’s exotic fruit (yes Avocado is a fruit!) in India, and we pay for the glamour.
Do try out this recipe. It’s super easy and actually mashing the fruit – I found it kind of stress relieving.
Guac gets black very fast, as it starts oxidising when exposed to oxygen in the air. Lemon helps keep its colour, but it still needs further help. As such it’s best to make Guac just before serving, but it’s not always possible. To store Guac without letting the exposure affect it, store in a air tight box, or in a bowl, and cover with cling film, letting the cling film stick right on top of the guac. When you serve the guac, you will have to scrape the guac off the cling film, but it’s worth the effort.
If you want to use only one half of the fruit, retain the stone (seed), push it back into the cavity of the left over half, and cling film it tightly and keep refrigerated. This helps to a certain level, but eventually you better consume the fruit as soon as you can.
Cheers! to good fat!
Another shout out from my daughter, for this recipe. I had made it for their friends when they were here and it was polished off in no time.
Well, many a good news hovering around me. The daughter got into Yale, my cooking classes have taken off and this darned blog has got fixed. There were some major issues, so all those of you who tried to come back for your favourite recipes and found gibberish in the ingredient section, my apologies. My very profound and heartfelt apologies. It could have got fixed earlier, but as usual, I was travelling.
I was in Mahabaleshwar, a small quaint hill station a few hours from Bombay. I have a home and a farm there, so this time the 12 days I stayed there, I ate off the farm, played with the new pup and chilled with my best friend Nishi.
We would wake up in the mornings, sit in the sun, (it was cold there!), and sip our tea and coffee. Then after a leisurely breakfast, we would put face packs (moisturising ones – like I said it was Brrrrr!) and jabber away for an hour or so. By the time the watch thought of turning both its hands to 12 – we would be sitting with our afternoon drinks – again yakking away to our hearts’ content. It was the most idyllic holiday one can have.
I plucked fresh Spinach, from the field and made this ultra easy and very delicious recipe. It needs very little preparation time. I have cooked it on a non-stick, with very little oil, but if you have a large party you can easily fry it in oil. I did it for the kid’s 21st birthday party and it vanished into mouths as soon as freshly fried plates were put in front of them.
I have also made a video, for a quick look-see. The first video I made was not “good enough” and my niece and son insisted I work a little harder and produce a better one. Well, they are not all that happy with this one either, but I lack patience so there is for all to view.
Unfortunately, I am not able to load the video here because of (temporary – I will fix it asap) data restrictions. But here is the Facebook URL
and there is the google drive URL.
I hope you will see the video and try the recipe. It makes for great cocktail snacks, lunch box sides, or sides.
Promise to get back with a recipe soon. I’ve been tardy!
The Daughter made another demand — I’m so pleased she has got into cooking! The chef in me feels fulfilled and the mom and me feel happy! 😛
I make this salad very often at home. It needs to be served really really chilled, so it is a good idea to make it a wee bit in advance.
It’s a messy salad though! Be prepared for a white moustache and a few drips down your chin! But it’s worth the dishevelled look you will sport while eating it.
Look for crisp cucumbers with a clean green interior. I always cut off the side of the cucumber and taste it before using it. Sometimes cucumbers can be very very bitter, and even one bitter cucumber in a salad of 20 cucumbers can spoil the entire dish. Taste it and throw it away if its bitter. (You can always chuck it in the compost pile of course!)
The yoghurt should be thick, so hang it for an hour or so if you want. There is zero neatness in this salad, so there really isn’t any right or wrong way to fill it. Slice the spring onions really thin and small. Garlic can be upped as per your taste. To my mind, too much garlic takes away the sweetness of the yoghurt and the original taste of the cucumber.
I add a little of chilli flakes, but you can always add some herbs too – parsley, thyme, oregano. Don’t use very strong herbs. Again – it takes away the original flavours.
The boats can get very wobbly, as the base is rounded. You can slice off a small part of the cucumber from the bottom to make a little steadier base. But – mostly, it will wobble and fall a little to the side, but if the yoghurt is not too drippy things should not slide out and drip into the plate.
I’m attaching a quick video for you.
I hope you enjoy this salad. Do write in.
As always – Cheers! and Happy Times!
It’s that time of the year when the farm turns green once more. Flowers, fruits and vegetables, growing over red soil, makes my heart soar. The thought of walking around the gardens and randomly plucking what is ready to harvest, tasting ripe strawberries on the way back to the house – and planning in my mind, what to make with the mud-encrusted produce in my hands.
I planted Zucchini seeds this year, hoping we will get some fresh organic ones to eat. Frankly, I am not a great lover of Zucchini. I was actually eyeing the flowers. I had eaten some delicious stuffed Zucchini flowers, in a restaurant long ago. These flowers are not available in Bombay markets. The only way to get hold of them was to grow them – so grow them we did.
And grow they did –Oh! Boy. How they grew!! Wild and unrelenting. An entire plot is covered with various sizes of Zucchini. I was completely delighted to see huge Zucchini’s hidden amongst the foliage. Sunshine yellow flowers, curling under the leaves, nestled next to the vegetable.
The flowers are very very delicate. I had my camera and some more equipment in my hand and bent down to pluck a flower. –And I damaged it. By the time I could stand up to see what I had pulled out, the poor little flower was almost wilting. I freed my hands and did what the flowers wanted to me to do. Show them some reverence. We were only two of us, so I slowly, with great care, plucked 5 more flowers from the stems.
The flowers in themselves, have a soft cosy mouthfeel, and a certain mild sweetness leant to it by the stamens. I had goat’s cheese at hand, so I decided to use that, with no additional flavouring.
I had to gently reach into the flower, (an not matter how careful I was, the petal tore at one end) and pull out the stamen. There is only one stamen per flower. Then I stuffed the cheese into the flower and gently, very gently closed the mouth. At this point, the flower should not be handled too much. Just a gentle two-fingered pinch at the mouth works. The cheese is a bit sticky, and will not come out, so this process is just to our satisfaction.
After this, I dredged the flower in egg batter, and then in breadcrumbs. I like the egg batter as it gives a lovely crisp edge. But I will also be giving you the recipe for eggless batter, which works just as well.
When you bite into soft petals, oozing with salty yet tart, goat’s cheese and the mouth fills up with a party of textures, just close your eyes and savour the goodness of this sunshine yellow very seasonal, and very difficult to get – flowers.
First and foremost let me be fiercely profuse in my apologies for just disappearing. I spent 3 weeks running around Europe having a mad time. First two weeks with my girlfriends in Ireland, and then with the husband and another couple in Germany. It was a sabbatical of enormous proportions.
Our farm in Mahabaleshwar is well on its way to being planted. The rains were particularly vicious this year. We lost many trees and shrubs. But well, that’s the ebb and flow of life, and we are looking forward to some organic, homegrown fruits and vegetables.
I had my best friend over in Mahabaleshwar, and we kindled up the wood-fired oven and made ourselves some pizza. I make the dough using fresh yeast. When it is nice and plumply risen, I roll out small rounds and give it an initial dance into the fire. Once it’s mildly pre-cooked, I add the pizza sauce, cheese and toppings and send it for another jig. As a result, I get thin – and I mean ultra thin pizzas, with a crunchy crisp bite.
This time around, the wood was still wet from the rains. The fire would not catch, the hearth would not heat and the pizzas would just not pre-cook. After a few exasperated tries (the dough was rising, and would have spoilt) I picked up the rolled out pizza dough and flipped it straight into the flames.
I heard a collective gasp from my helpers. One started dancing on his feet, saying “ It will burn, it will burn”. I just grinned and took a tong and flipped it over to let it cook the other side. All this took just a few seconds. And out came the most fantastic precooked pizza. It had blown up like a pita bread, but the results were sooooo good. Crunchy, with oozing melting cheese which stuck to our palates and teeth.
beer battered onion rings
What I am trying to say here is cooking is an art – agreed, but it is also instinct. When I give cooking classes, I always tell my students, don’t think too much. If you want to substitute an ingredient with another do it. If you want to increase the heat do it. There is no right or wrong in cooking. Some person somewhere must have had jam with goat’s cheese and then started the trend of serving preserves with cheese. To my taste buds – nothing tastes better!
Enjoy the beer battered onion rings. These are my favourite fried snack, and my kids love them.
Darned easy to make. Just a little planning, as the onions have to marinate at least for two hours before they can be fried.
I make a quick fix, cheat sauce with these onion rings. They taste way better than, some store-bought sauce (though mine is a mix of store bought sauces :P) The fried ring, with the tart hot sauce gives it an amazing balance. Of course, you can substitute it with any other sauce of your choice. But do give my recipe a fair chance too.
Baking powder is a crucial ingredient in this recipe, so don’t try to substitute or do away with it. It is what gives the onion rings the crisp and crunchy texture when mixed with a beer in the batter.
My friend and me feasted on them, in Mahabaleshwar. Hope you like them too – PS: they go really well with chilled beer!!!
I had Hummus for the first time as an adult. It picked up as a rage, and every party had a bowl of Hummus, with Pita. Then came the Lavash. Crisp flat wheat savouries topped with seeds.
I had Hummus for the first time some 20 years ago, in a restaurant called Olive. They had the typical platter of Baba Ganoush, Hummus and Tzatziki. At that time – I thought it was made with magic. How could something so tasty, so creamy be so amazing and healthy? When I learnt to make hummus, I was amazed at how easy it was, but I never seemed to like it as much as I liked the ones in a restaurant.
The fact is – I used terrible shortcuts. Sesame instead of Tahini. Sacrilege!! (my logic – Tahini is made out of sesame right??) Too much garlic, not enough creamy texture — blah blah!
I thought I would never be able to replicate the hummus, we have in good Mediterranean restaurants.I love the Hummus Beiruti. Its creamy with a mild tang of spice. Polishing off a small bowl is no big feat.
I tried Hummus again, (after my many not so good tries) and this time I used the proper Tahini. Another thing a chef friend of mine suggested was using cold water.
In this recipe, I use a little leftover water after boiling the chickpeas. I like to soak the chickpeas at night, and cook it the next morning and make the Hummus a few hours later. The water left over from cooking the chickpeas and the chickpeas itself are cooled down and refrigerated.
The hard work is soaking and cooking, after that its the quickest recipe you can make.
Serve it with a Rocket and cucumber salad, over toast with Avocado, obviously with Pita and Lavash. So many ways!! Do write in and tell me how you like to present it.
I made Hummus for my son last evening, thinking he could have it with Avocado. Confidently, I also made a small olive oil, garlic and Sumac drizzle for the top. Failure of failures! – the Avocado was not ripe enough and we had to chuck it. (Once cut it turns black quicker than a piece of charcoal rubbed on a face!) Then he suggested that we caramelise some onions, and top it with the same. Bigger flop. I had no brown sugar with me, and any case something made in a hurry not always turns out good. It was sticky …. basically – a flop!! I was flapping around about what he would eat, but he said the Hummus was good enough to eat on its own.. YAAAY!! Hummus saved the day!
Mom’s house has this huge mango tree. It’s not ours. It belongs to the next compound, but every single leaf and mango grow into our side. Those poor dudes watered the tree and looked after it, but we reap all the benefits.
As kids, we would make this huge stick, one tied to the other to make it as long as possible. On the edge, a blade was jammed in and using a sawing motion many a raw mangoes have been cut and taken down. Of course, we had to do it as unobtrusively and slyly as possible. But even then the gardener would hear his beloved tree rustle and run after us with a stick. He was not allowed to cross over to our side, so obviously we dangled our stolen goods under his nose and felt thoroughly pleased with ourselves. This was summer holiday time and a very seriously planned agenda in our schedules.
We would then proceed to cut open the raw mango (we never washed it!) and spread salt and chilly and lick it for hours. Then spread some more salt and chilly and bite into the tart fruit. Our palate would go pop, and eyes would tingle, but the taste is embedded somewhere deep in my soul. Now when I eat a raw mango, I am transported back to that spot under the tree, where I either helped to hold that huge stick and saw off the mango bunches, or I stood under the falling mango, to try and grab it so that it did fall and get damaged.
As I grew up, the love for raw mango became a love for mangoes. I still love raw mangoes, but I cannot go at it with wild abandon like I used to.
I saw my friend Rekha, (the one who has to lead me to this wonderful thing called food!) make a mango salsa. She whips up the most delicious of dishes, with the most absurd of combinations. When I first saw her make the mango salsa, I was stunned. I mean, she was adding olive oil and herbs and spices to a fruit. A fruit which is so revered in India, for its taste and limited availability? Weren’t fruits supposed to be eaten as is???
Very reluctantly I tasted the mango salsa and immediately landed myself under the tree, where we caught falling mangoes. I tweaked the recipe, but I cannot call it mine. It still belongs to Rekha – my mentor.
The sweet and mildly sour, and extremely wholesome flavour of the fruit will pop open your eyes. You might then pick up the spoon and wolf it down! That’s what my friend does, whenever I make it.
Serve it with nachos, or chips.
Its not an Indian recipe.The closest is Mexican Fusion.
I love it with my all time favourite – Whisky.
It’s garlic again folks, and I am very excited to share this recipe with you.
This almost pedestrian cousin of onion (yes, it’s first cousins with onion, shallots and leeks!) can add flavour to almost any dish.
It has its own health benefits too.
I love garlic, and it seems so does the world! There is a restaurant in San Francisco by the name of “The Stinking Rose”, which even serves garlic ice cream. I haven’t eaten there, but just for the sake of being a good foodie, I will definitely try it out once.
This dish was suggested by my mother in laws, a gym instructor. It intrigued me to no end, so I decided to try it out the very next day. Simple, easy and one of the tastiest tidbits I have ever had with a drink. So much so that I forgot the drink and kept eating the fried garlic.
It’s one of the quickest most simple dishes to make. Try and get new garlic, with the pink/purple skin. It tastes much better, as it is fried with the skin on and the thinner the skin, the nicer it is to eat it.
Chillies can be added as per your taste – I love spicy food, and it tastes absolutely yum with whisky!
When you bite into it, its crisp and then the tender garlic hits your tongue and causes the taste buds to do a nice little jig. And then the salt and chillies ping inside your mouth and the entire taste makes you want to go on and on eating fried garlic.
I’m going to try these with scrambled eggs, cheese toast and pizza!
Try variations – With wasabi and light soy sauce. Black pepper and sea salt. Fry some green chillies with it!
Do let me know if you try any of these variations. I would love to hear from you.