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!
It’s that time of the year again, when our farm in Mahabaleshwar is thriving and blooming. The entire farm is disrupted during the monsoons, which are heavy, non stop and torrential. In fact Mahabaleshwar gets the second highest rainfall in India, next only to Cherrapunji.
Just before the rains are predicted to stop, (and these predictions never come true!), we start planting some seeds in a sheltered area. Once the rains stop, the seeds are now seedlings and can be re transplanted in pots or beds. It’s a lot of work! The soil has to be turned, aired and new top soil has to be spread. Since we plant over almost 2 acres of land, it’s a busy time for all of us.
Seeing the seedlings burst forth into vegetables and flowers is the best thrill and pure fodder for my soul. I love the city but off late ever so often I just want to vacate my senses and vegetate with the vegetation.
This year started with a wild, wild and massive bush of Basil. So much that I did not know what to do with it. I plucked them and got them back to Bombay, still pondering in my head and actually stressing over not wasting this lot. It was fragrant, the leaves heavy with taste. I decided to make Pesto and sell it to my customers.
I came home and experimented with a batch. It was perfect, green and luscious. I bottled it and announced the sale, and it was gone within hours! All the bottles were booked!
Over time, the green becomes pale and dark. So if you want really bright green pesto, make it on the spot and use it. Making it a day in advance allows all the flavours to steep. But if you want to use it as a dip, or in an open sandwich, then make it on the spot.
Basil grows very easily in home cultured pots. And mind you, it can grow wild. Now when you have too much Basil, and your heart is breaking at the wastage, you know what to do with it.
We were all having fondue, and one of our friends did not like the smell of the cheese. So I made Pesto Pasta for her and her husband. I do believe the plate was polished off!!! 😀
I hope you enjoy making this recipe, because there is no better smell than that of, fresh basil, smooth virgin olive oil and fragrant new garlic.
We were in Amritsar recently, and the fresh vegetables caught my friends eyes and she really wished to take some back home.
Alas! We had all shopped so much (and hey! it was cold, we had heavy jackets as well!), that our bags were collectively over weight. My poor bereft friend had to let go of the farm fresh vegetables. But to make things a wee better we had true Punjabi Warian with us.
Many years back I had Matar Ka Nimona at my cousins place. I remember eating bowl fulls much to her delight and finally to her dismay. She was worried I would get an upset stomach!!
This is actually a dish famous in Uttar Pradesh. It is mostly made during the winters when the peas are fresh and juicy. Wadi (Warian is Punjabi) in Uttar Pradesh, is made with fresh white pumpkin, urad dal, and garam masala. It’s dried in the heat of summer and remains intact for the year round.
I made this recipe many times last year. It’s very suitable to the Indian palate. Too alien for foreigners. It goes well with any kind of Indian Roti. Even tastes good with rice.
You can easily avoid the onion and garlic and reduce the spice quotient. But some amount of spice is definitely needed, don’t do away with it totally. I prefer to make this without the onion and garlic.
There is something about this dish, which appeals to me greatly. The mouth feel of the pea paste and a subtle hint of flavour left behind by the cooking wadi, and then of course the wadi itself, along with a soft pillowy taste of potatoes cooked in the simmering gravy. The gravy tends to thicken as it goes, and thickens even more when it’s left till it is consumed. So, adding enough water is essential, and just before serving (if made a little ahead of time) add a little salted water and cook till boiling and serve immediately.
Try and get small fresh peas. That will lend to the dish an inherent sweetness, which when combined with the garam masala of the wadi makes it resonate in your mouth.
My grand mom made the best Chole in the world. It was a hand me down recipe from her mother who was according to me was an un hailed, un acclaimed legendary cook worth atleast a couple of Michelin Stars. Not only did she cook like her hands were blessed by the gods, but she also remembered amongst the dozens of grand and great grand children, who thronged at her home each summer, what each of us loved to eat. Our stomachs and souls were in heaven when at her home. Every morning, no matter how early we woke up, we would find her tinkering in the kitchen, singing bhajans to her beloved Krishna. I asked her one day if she has any recipes written down – and she looked at me like I was asking her if Krishna liked dance music. Every single recipe, and there were thousands in her repertoire, was stored in her head. And not once was there a variation in what we ate. Each and every time over the years the dishes tasted the same – tasty, heartwarming and soul stirring.
My nani, handed me this recipe of Chole, very casually over dinner one day. I scrambled up and wrote it down. Over the years, I have also perfected this recipe with trials and error. And while it still does not taste like how she or her mom made it, it stills holds good on it’s own….
If you have been following my blog, you would have realised that my favourite flavour is garlic. I have grown up in a family that cooked without onion and garlic, for religious purposes. Garlic is said to have “tamsik” qualities. Tamsik food is considered unhealthy, and it brings out the negative in you, gives rise to anger and other repugnant emotions. During the Vedic times, everything that was considered not good, was given a religious decree of non consumption.
I have realised over the years that a lot of do’s and dont’s of the Vedic ages are now being proven scientifically true. Take for example the benefits of turmeric. The world over, turmeric is prescribed for it’s qualities. But there is also the other side of science, which has proven some foods that were earlier considered bad, are now proven to have health benefits. Garlic is very good for the heart.
As for me – I like to live dangerously and garlic is very good for my soul!
I can have garlic in every single meal, and not get tired of the taste. I think I am still making up for my lost childhood!
Nishi enjoying the taste!
Lasooni Palak, or Saag as its called in some places, is my favourite version of consuming spinach. I like the smooth texture, but I also like the chopped version. So I came up with a recipe that was a mix of both. I like my food on the little spicier side (more Tamsik me!!) and somehow the taste of garlic, rough and smooth spinach with a hint of fire sets me in the absolutely perfect mood!
I experimented with this recipe in the green environs of Mahabaleshwar. The spinach was not fresh off the farm, but it was still from the hills of Panchgani, and as fresh as one could possibly get. But the spinach I grow in our farm, is far superior, completely organic and I pluck it when still in baby stages. The result is a sweeter taste, with a hint of bitterness and then of course we add the ever loved garlic and fiery spices. In the near future, when the garlic grows green and fragrant in my farm, I will try this same recipe with new green garlic stalks. The taste will be a little different – more herby!
The recipe goes best with chappati, made with whole wheat or jowar.
Fondue and a Picnic. That’s what the heading should be! We were in Mahabaleshwar, my friend Nishi and me. Every day, pre-lunch we opened a bottle of Prosecco and made short work of it. We would keep chatting and pouring a small finger worth (for two reasons- one – it felt like we were drinking less, and two – it kept chilled while we drank.)…
Some time back, the husband and I started on a diet with Deepika, who works with Luke. She has been in touch with me on a daily basis, and I cannot convey in words how wonderful we both started feeling within weeks of our nutritional plan. Unlike other “dieticians” they don’t nail our heads to a wooden plank, if we cheat or if we don’t follow instructions to the hilt. It’s actually a slow gentle coaxing to start changing our lifestyle and eating habits. So many small issues like sleeplessness, bloating etc are taken care of, using natural home remedies. And I must say it works, because now I sleep like the proverbial log, and in the mornings the bed and I are like lovers – loathe to leave each other.
Without realising, we have now changed our eating habits. The old hogging days no longer appeal to us, and on a very elemental level, we have started opting for healthy, nutritious and wholesome meals. Overeating even a little bit makes us groan and moan unbelievably.
This diet takes care of us very holistically. Small ailments are sorted almost immediately. Over the period of a year, my blood pressure and cholesterol are within normal limits.They care for our mental, emotional and physical health. After all this, we cannot return back to our old ways of eating aimlessly and only for taste. I now look for recipes that are healthy but tasty. This Seed Paté is one of the many such recipes.
It’s a very versatile recipe. You don’t have to follow it the way it’s written. The dill can be replaced with coriander or any other herb of your choice. Please read the notes following the recipe, before making the Seed Paté.
It can be used in many different ways. Eat it like a sandwich, mix it in vegetables as a gravy, dip with pita, layered with a salad — the options are endless and left to your imagination.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
You have all the right to give me a few kicks on the backside. Talking off which, I promise you, the lack of communique and posts were nothing to do with me lying on my backside. I have been travelling non-stop and in a good way. Went visited the son in San Diego, and then the daughter in San Jose.
Immediately after that, there was a quick trip to Delhi, Bangalore, Chikmanglur, UK and Scotland – so you tell me, other than amassing a repertoire of good food recipes to develop, where would I have found the time to write a post? HUH?
I sent the husband to Food Hall (our best gourmet store in Bombay), for a spot of food shopping. Foodie that he is, he went quite unhinged and brought me back so much food, that when I think of it even now, I break out into a sweat!
Within this shopping frenzy, he got back fresh Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese. Since it was staring at me from the fridge shelf for more than two days, I wanted to make something with it. Frankly, I was quite done and dusted with the typical Caprese Salad. Using the same ingredients, we went about trying something completely new. I first considered topping it with mango salsa, but it sounded so bleh! And – the son made such a face, I immediately gave up the idea. So while standing and staring at the Mozzarella for more than 5 minutes, I came up with this concept.
One can call it a Baked Caprese Salad, but somehow the word “melted” made it sound a bit exotic and intriguing.
You will need a cast iron skillet. Mine was too deep, so I used my sizzler plate instead.
I sliced tomatoes and onions and sautéd them in a non-stick pan with good old olive oil. Then transferred them to the sizzler plate. Then – added the mozzarella and popped it into a hot oven. The Mozzarella melted overwhelmingly, and Voila I had a brand new dish in my hands.
I could have set the sizzler plate on top of the stove and roasted the tomatoes and onions directly on it, but I found it easier and cleaner to use the non-stick and then transfer the contents.
I wanted to use basil leaves and/or pesto, but again not the same typical recipe. Instead, I made Basil oil.
Melted Caprese Salad, is different, outlandish and out of the box. But hey! It’s tasty, wholesome and the best thing is it’s not boring. Enjoy it as a starter, or even as a heavy serving of side dish. I served it with thin slices of toasted baguettes drizzled with aged extra virgin olive oil. Melted Caprese Salad is garnished with pickled green peppers, but I think even capers would add an additional piquant flavour.
My friend Ajit invented this absolutely unusual recipe on the spot.
We were all in Mahabaleshwar, wondering about the dinner menu. Naan and Kaali Dal were already in the picture, and he volunteered to make an Aloo (Potato) veggie. This jovial, happy – go – lucky, man waltzed into the kitchen at 10 am, fiddled around with pots and pans, and waltzed back out. Then at 7 pm, he took a stiff drink of whisky in his hand, asked for a bottle of rum, (leaving me wondering, as to how we will get him off the kitchen floor and into bed!!) and marched into the kitchen again. I confess to taking a few peeks into the kitchen, just to check if he was still standing. The one time I peeped in, I saw him drain the bottle of Rum into the pan of simmering potatoes. I heaved a sigh of relief, and went about my business grinning, impatiently waiting to taste these crazy Rum laden potatoes.
I really don’t need to tell you how good it was, because I know as soon as you read the recipe you will definitely want to try it at least once. After that, you will be hooked. And all those who eat it with you will be hooked. I have already made it thrice in a span of three weeks, and I am a very very happy person when mealtime arrives.
This dish takes a little bit of planning, a little bit of sweat and a great deal of Rum. I really suggest you make it just the way I have mentioned. Everything that Ajit, has put into this Rum Wale Aloo – a la Ajit – has a purpose and imparts some sort of flavour.
Get hold of the smallest potatoes you can. And please see that all of them are approximately the same size. This way, they will all cook uniformly.
Marinate it for an at least 6 hours. I did a huge boo boo, last week. I was asked to make this recipe for a friend’s party and so I marinated the potatoes, a night before to make it next morning, only to realise that I have miscalculated the dates. It was not due for yet another day. I just said a fervent prayer and popped the potatoes into the fridge and let it marinate for yet another 24 hours. So in all – 36 hours of deep marination. Whoa! It cooked faster, tasted bloody good and it did not smell like over worn socks.
So yay!! Go for it – marinate it for as long as you can.
Besides a long marinating time, it also takes a little while to cook. I would suggest good Jazz music in the background (Why Jazz? – well it just seems to set the right tone for this dish! All sultry and seductive. Something good waiting to happen!) A good drink in the hand, and a happy go – lucky nature like the inventor of this dish.
Oye Ajit – Cheers!!