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Friday, December 16, 2016

Gingernuts ~ Ginger Biscuits


The festive season is in full swing at my place. Been trying out various Christmas recipes this week and I am so excited to share them with you. I do hope you have been enjoying the 'Best of RR' ~ Christmas Series. If yes, do come back daily to check for more recipes. The recipes that I post in this series have been tried and tested and loved by thousands of readers across the globe and they are perfect for the season too so you can confidently give them a try :) In this series I will post recipes that are part of the traditional Mangalorean 'Kuswar' platter (Kuswar is a collective term given to homemade Christmas goodies that include sweets and savouries) and also Christmas favourites that I've been making over the years and lots of contemporary ones which I have recently discovered. So do come back daily for more recipes won't you?  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Barley Pulao ~ Diabetic Friendly Recipe


I was introduced to the health benefits of barley when I was expecting my son. I had edema of the feet and was asked to cut off salt completely from my diet. The days that followed weren't fun. Eating seafood especially without salt is terrible for the taste buds but then it was a small price to pay considering that I could have had many other complications like other women were faced with during their pregnancies. God was merciful. My mum fed me a lot of barley water during that time as it is supposed to be very good for overall health especially for those with high blood pressure. 

Now if you're wondering why I came up with a health recipe in the midst of all the festive posts, well, the reason is this. Over the past few years as a food blogger I have been inclined towards all things food even on social media. It is almost impossible to dodge the festive posts that bombard one's news feed. In some way I have contributed to this deluge too. However, this time I decided to post as many healthy recipes as possible during the festive season in order to help people with several dietary restrictions and special needs enjoy the season just as well as the rest of us do. Nobody should be deprived of good things to eat especially during the festive season cuz 'healthy' doesn't have to be 'bland and boring'. So here's today's recipe for you. A simple yet delicious pulao or a one pot meal made of an assortment of veggies and barley cooked to perfection in homemade chicken stock (you may use regular water, vegetable stock or coconut milk too!)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Marzipan ~ Cashewnut or Almond Confection


Marzipan is a quintessential Christmas sweet prepared in Goa and Bombay. It is nothing but a thick paste of ground almonds (traditionally) or cashew nuts (in most tropical countries) which is used in the preparation of sweets (using molds of different shapes or free hand molding) or rolled up to drape cakes (similar to fondant covered cakes). 

However, during Christmas in Goa and Mumbai the term 'marzipan' is synonymous to molded and coloured sweets that often take the shape of many Christmas symbols such as wreathes, bells, holly leaves, Santa's face, reindeers or a variety of berries. The sweets are bite sized and most times extremely sweet. Food colouring may or may not be added although the latter results in attractive sweets suitable for the season. 

Although I have tried to make it over the past few years the result was never up to the mark. Getting the consistency of the sugar syrup and then cooking the paste of ground cashewnuts in it was such a tricky thing for me! I eventually gave up as I was in no mood to slave over recipes that weren't accurate. This is when my dear Aunt Rosette came to my rescue and shared her lovely recipe with me. Thank you so much Aunty!! Her recipe is not just easy, the taste of the sweets is just right - the sweetness is not tooth tingling! The taste is velvety, creamy, nutty and it makes you want to eat one more and another one and another after that!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chocolate Truffle/Crinkle Cookies


Last Christmas I tried out the chocolate crinkle cookies and they were a super hit with kids! The  fact that they crinkle/crack on top is definitely the USP. My kids love to pull up their little chairs and sit in front of the oven and watch the science of cookies baking unfold before their very eyes. They can't seem to wait until the cookies are out of the oven and cool a bit before they dig into the slightly soft, brownie-like cookies with a molten chocolate centre (thanks to the choco chips sneaked inside!). These cookies are so irresistible that you won't be able to stop at just one! I love the fact that they are soft, crumbly and melt in the mouth unlike regular cookies! I have tried several recipes - most of them were complex and over the top but in the end I stuck to the good ol, simple and fool proof recipe that I found in a cookbook years ago. I have slightly tweaked it to add chocolate chips as they help give u gooey centers but you can leave them out.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Homemade Chicken Stock



With Christmas around the corner I am sure that most of us will be cooking several pots of biryanis and pulaos to celebrate. The best way to cook your rice dishes is to use chicken or vegetable stock which adds a great depth and flavour to them, something that plain water cannot achieve.  Since we are huge fans of biryanis and pulaos at home the use of bouillon cubes (stock cubes) was always a part of my grocery list until I discovered homemade stock. I never went back to using bouillon  cubes to flavour my rice dishes after that. I do keep a couple of them for emergencies (yep! guilty of that) but I almost always have a box or two of frozen stock. 

Trust me, the effort is almost nil and you have beautifully flavoured stock that is sans preservatives and excess salt. When you make your own stock you have full control over what goes in it. You alter the ingredients according to what you have in your fridge and pantry and ofcourse, you add only as much salt as you require. Most times I add very little salt to the pot and prefer adding salt to the dish that I am preparing using the stock. This is helpful if you are trying to cut down salt intake especially those who have high blood pressure and other health issues. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Marbled Mocha Whoopie Pies


There are days when I just want to bake something but its not a cake or cookie that I am craving for. On a gloomy day these pies helped satisfy my sweet tooth and also my baking obsession! Actually it was my son who was after me to bake these for him. I made them twice in a row and they were gobbled up in no time! The pies which look like large cookies are actually soft like cake and go very well with the filling sandwiched between them. I think they are a real treat for little ones. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quinoa Brownies ~ Gluten Free Brownies


Over the past few Christmases I have posted a large variety of recipes, ranging from traditional Mangalorean to contemporary, sweets, savories et al. I totally love this season and I am thrilled that we are inching towards Christmas. However, as much as I love to indulge and let people around me eat out of my hands (literally!) I receive a lot of mails asking me for healthier recipes. When I come to think of it, while the healthier lot enjoys all kinds of sinful stuff what do those with dietary restrictions do? I personally know many people who have a various reasons why they want to keep it simple during the festive season and so this Advent season and the run up to Christmas I am going to try and post as many recipes that can be easily tried and enjoyed by people with special dietary needs. I do hope you enjoy these recipes. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chilli Coriander Brown Rice with Mushrooms


The past one month has zoomed by so quickly that I can hardly tell where the days vanished! Everything seems to be a blur. All I know is that a ton of recipes were tried and tested and enjoyed but none were noted down (shucks!) ** except ** ofcourse, this recipe for a lovely one pot meal that I made several times in the past few weeks. Since we are trying to eat healthy as far as possible I found myself buying a bag of brown basmati rice sometime last month. I was hesitant at first as I wasn't sure how to cook it right and whether there would be any takers for it at home. To my surprise, my experiment was a success and the final product, a big hit. The first time I made it I served it with grilled salmon (recipe coming up shortly - still experimenting with the flavours). The combination of flavours was awesome! I did not add mushrooms to the rice at that time but had served it alongside the fish. Over a period of time I have tried adding different veggies to this preparation but I guess it tastes best with mushrooms or without them (simple and plain chilli-coriander rice). 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kadi ~ Mangalorean Wedding Style Besan Burfi (Chickpea Flour Fudge) ~ Gluten Free Indian Sweet


Happy Diwali to all my dear readers who celebrate the festival of lights!! May you be blessed with health, happiness, peace & prosperity today and always! I bet you are having a gala time this festive season. Most of you in India are enjoying a really long weekend too! I heard that Karnataka has an extra day off because of Rajyotsava (birth of the state)! I am totally missing the festivities and the joy of having an (almost) endless weekend! Anyway, since you have plenty of time on your hands (hehe) and if you have run out of sweets that you prepared you can give this new recipe a try. In Mangalore and only in select bakeries you get this very unassuming sweet that won my heart as a child. It is called the kadi and is nothing but besan (chickpea flour) fudge or burfi that is usually made with a small ratio of ground cashewnuts. However, since the time my friend Anupama Michael shared the recipe with me a couple of years ago, I've been meaning to try it out every Diwali and have been shelving the project due to lack of time! I also mixed up her careful instructions and ended up tweaking her original recipe slightly but the result was just as good. It reminded me so much of the stuff we still get in bakeries back home and lug around back to Dubai without fail every year. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

50 Festive Recipes You Must Try This Diwali !


Folks! Are you all set for Diwali? Well, although we don't celebrate Diwali at home I enjoy the festivities through what I experience - from friends who share pictures of the goodies they have been making to those that share them. Back home in India it was a delight to see the beautifully decorated homes and streets. Noise free crackers were wonderful to watch and a joy to partake in! I miss all this a lot but nevertheless social media is making up for it in some way. My newsfeed is usually filled with foodies sharing pictures of a variety of goodies and I simply couldn't resist but make a couple of dishes at home. While the recipe for the sweet I tried successfully is coming up shortly, why don't you take a look at these 50 recipes that I have hand picked for you? Do give them a try and bookmark them for the future too!

I wish all my readers a very Happy Diwali! 
Have a safe, joyous and beautiful festive season with your loved ones!! Wishing you health & happiness always!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Whole Wheat Banana & Yogurt Muffins ~ The Healthier Chocolate Muffins


It all started when I was drawing up my grocery list and noticed that the only fruit remaining in the fruit basket was this lonesome chiquita banana, the peel almost covered with black spots, not too ripe but not something that my kids would want to eat. All I had to do was peel it and eat it and the story would be finished. But no! There is something about over ripe bananas that triggers this manic urge to bake with them. Why waste it when you can taste it I say! 

When life gives you lemons there are tons of things you can make with them, but when it gives you over ripe bananas the only thing you should do is bake some yummy banana muffins that are healthier because you replace refined flour with whole wheat, butter with coconut oil and throw in some yogurt for good measure! Add some chocolate chips and you can win the hearts of your little ones!
Psst!Thanks to the cocoa and choco chips that masked the strong aroma of bananas, the little ones gladly ate them without a fuss. If you are a crazy mom who likes to sneak in fruits & veggies into baked goodies for her kids then you know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rava Idli ~ Steamed Semolina Cakes


Since the past few days I've been trying out new recipes for breakfast. Since we love to kick start our metabolism with something South Indian I usually stick to my usual recipes. However, on our recent trip to Oman my friend shared her recipe for rava idlis which she quickly made in the microwave. They were just so delicious! The term 'rava' is synonymous with semolina which is also known as cream of wheat or a fine texture of broken wheat. However rava is actually the term given to the texture of the grain (that is powdered to a coarse texture) and down South India, broken rice (also known as idli rava/rice rava) along with ground black gram (urad dal) is used in the preparation of rava idlis. This process is slightly longer as the black gram has to be soaked for at least 2-3 hours before being ground to paste and added to the rava which is then kept aside for fermentation.

Preparing idli batter using semolina, yogurt as the souring agent and soda bi carb (baking soda/meetha soda) or fruit salt (Eno) as a raising agent is a perfect way to eliminate the lengthy process and make healthy breakfast in a jiffy. This works perfectly well for those who are not looking for a gluten free option for breakfast (as semolina contains gluten unlike rice rava). It also works well for those who want to enjoy a nutritious and filling breakfast despite the mad morning rush as putting this whole thing together takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kartofel Khleb ~ Russian Potato Bread ~ #Breadbakers


I joined the Breadbakers baking group this month after a really long time and the bread of the month is anything baked with fall fruits and vegetables -apples, pears, persimmons, grapes, quince sweet potatoes, potatoes, figs, cauliflower, broccoli, squashes and cranberries. I picked potatoes as my choice as I had been eyeing this recipe for a really long time. Infact, two different cookbooks had two different recipes but I narrowed down and picked the healthier of the two. In addition to mashed potatoes, this bread is made with the addition of wholemeal bread flour that I picked up on sale at Spinney's a while ago. While I never go looking for bargains whenever I do my groceries, a 'sale' signboard got my attention. A lot of flours, especially bread flours were on sale as they had a month to go before expiry and at one third the price, the deal was a steal. I had never worked with bread flour before and this one was stone ground wholemeal flour, perfect for the recipe in mind. However, regular wholemeal flour (whole wheat flour/atta) will work just as fine. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai



Restaurant: Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai
Location: The Address Roundabout, The Promenade, overlooking the lake, Downtown, Dubai
Cuisine: Japanese - Robata & Sushi Bar
Price Range: AED 180-200 for two (without alcohol)
Date of Dining: 28th Sep, 2016

THE PLACE

Last week I was invited to the launch of 'Bubbles, Bites & Beats' which takes place every Wednesday at the uber chic and elegant Japanese restaurant, Katana Robata & Sushi Bar. In Japanese, the term 'katana' stands for the traditional, single edged and slender sword used by the samurai (a member of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan). The restaurant that originated and is frequented by celebrities in Los Angeles has now opened its doors to Dubai

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Apple Pancakes With Date Syrup Butter


Pancakes have been a favourite at my place since a while now. During my growing up years the only pancakes I've really known were our South Indian dosas and trust me, I always called the whole bunch of them as 'pancakes'.  The difference between the two would be that pancakes have some kind of raising agent (baking soda or baking powder) added to the batter to give them a fluff while crepes would be thin and flat with no raising agent added to the batter. So while dosa batter, which would be fermented overnight with black gram (urad) dal is the raising agent could fit the bill of a pancake or Mangalorean neer dosa would be called a rice crepe and not a pancake. 

Anyway, like I said before, these pancakes have become a hot favourite at my place now and sell like hot (pan)cakes (pun intended) the minute I make them. Usually my son is after me to cook him different kinds of tea time snacks. Pancakes are super easy and quick to put together and this recipe calls for grated apples that add to the taste and nutrition of this delightfully delicious and filling snack. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shaped Dinner Rolls


Baking has been my passion for over 10 years now and ever since I embarked upon this roller coaster of a ride it has been nothing short of exciting, satisfying and a great learning experience. I first began my trials in my microwave with convection. While the cakes evolved from undercooked to charred to near perfect ones, breads never really took off. I ended up with dense blobs of dough that failed miserably. Perhaps I was using the wrong kind of yeast, perhaps I didn't follow the instructions properly or my kneading wasn't upto the mark. Whatever the case, I just abandoned bread baking altogether and focused only on cakes, cupcakes and the like. Over the years I had tried my hand at baking with several kinds of ovens. From a microwave with convection I progressed to an OTG (my best bakes happened with it), then I started my experiments with a gas oven at my brother's place when we relocated to Dubai and now I own a large electric oven which I am pretty satisfied with. The best part about having a large oven is that you can bake large quantities of breads in one go. Breads like baguettes or even rolls and cupcakes (if you are making several at a time) can be made without having to wait endlessly. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that I am happy with my bread baking skills that have greatly progressed over the years (and you thought I was giving you a crash course on which oven to buy? Haha!) 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Kris with a View, Park Regis, Dubai


Restaurant: Kris with a View
Location: Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Dubai, U.A.E
Cuisine: Multi Cuisine restaurant with Theme Nights with an aim to showcasing Pan Asian cuisine
Price Range: AED 250-300 for two

THE PLACE

Early this month I was delighted to be invited for dinner at Kris with a View, a Pan-Asian restaurant located on the 19th floor of the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Dubai. This restaurant offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city as an accompaniment to a massive spread of Pan-Asian delicacies that are sure to delight every palate. The menu takes you on a journey of discovering some of the most popular dishes from Thailand, China, Malaysia, Japan, India and Arabia. This delightful array of delicacies is accompanied by live, popular music. 

Kris with a View offers Theme Nights as follows:

Mondays: Pot Around
From steaming Asian soups and noodles to exotic Oriental curries and coconut-gravy sweets

Tuesdays: Ochi Sushi Night
Featuring a selection of sushi and sashimi accompanied with soups, Asian salads and sweets.

Wednesdays: Seafood Night
Offering a wide variety of seafood selection ranging from calamari, prawns, lobsters, oysters, crabs, shellfish to salmon, sea bass and many other fresh fish.

Thursdays: Pan Asian Night 
Discover the very best of Pan Asian specialties buffet from Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan and India surrounded by the unique panoramic views of Dubai.

Fridays: Indian-Malaysian Flavours 
A buffet of authentic cuisines from India and Malaysia.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sambarballi Podi | Doddapatre Baje ~ Indian Borage/Cuban Oregano Fritters


This morning when I woke up I was thinking about the various chores I had to complete during the day and my thoughts ran to my blog. I hadn't posted a recipe in more than two weeks! I am going to conveniently blame it on the long holidays we had. A whole 9 days of Eid holidays (half of which we chose to spend in Muscat (Oman) with our family friends) was at our disposal. Like we did last year, we chose to drive down to the neighbouring country and I must say that the journey was splendid (couldn't think of a better word to describe it). A couple of days before we left I had made these fritters at home and decided to make them again at our friends' place but simply didn't find the time as we were busy doing nothing but chat endlessly and relax. Breaks like these are what we always welcome as it helps us unwind and get back to the grind feeling totally rejuvenated.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pajey Madipula ~ Rice Rolls Steamed in Banana Leaves


I make it a point to learn a few new recipes everytime I visit Mangalore. In the past I used to collect plenty of recipes and on some occasions even have them made in front of me. Then I would return back home and try them once again in my own kitchen before posting the recipes on the blog. This year too I managed to learn a couple of recipes, I came across something that I had never heard of before - Pajey Madpela, a term in the local language Tulu which roughly translates to 'rolled up carpet'. We had been to the Butterfly Park in Belvai, Moodabidri on a Sunday morning and enjoyed the scenic beauty en route. We started our journey pretty early as we intended to get to the park by 9 a.m., supposedly the best time to catch a glimpse of the several varieties of butterflies that live unrestricted there. The kids had a great time and thankfully the weather was great although it did drizzle during the journey. On our way back we stopped for lunch at a lovely seafood joint and I was introduced to the Pajey Madpela which we ordered along with Neer Dosa (plain rice crepes) and Pundi (rice dumplings).  

Friday, September 2, 2016

Yellow Rice



Goodmorning everyone! I woke up this glorious morning feeling refreshed and rested and now I am sitting by the kitchen window sill looking out every now and then. There are hardly any cars plying the roads - such a contrast to the scene that unfolds during the week. I live on one of Dubai's busiest streets and its only on Friday mornings that the roads are almost empty. Most people like to party on Thursday evenings and wake up late on Friday mornings. But for mums like me, every morning starts rather early. So after a simple breakfast I am wondering what chores to tackle during my free time. Should I try out a new recipe or go clean that closet? Sort out my blog posts or draw up a grocery list? Well, while I still debate on what I will do today maybe you should take a look at today's recipe.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Simple Meat Stew


The new academic year has begun for my kids and I am such a happy mom! After a long vacation it really feels great to be back into the school routine. The only thing I dislike is waking up at the crack of dawn to make breakfast and fix their lunch boxes but an early night ensures a great early start as well. There is tons you can accomplish during the wee hours of the morning and then the entire day somehow flies on auto pilot. While the first week was a little overwhelming in terms of juggling everything, I am hoping that the weekend helps me settle in and gear up for the coming week. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Party Menu Series ~ Party Menu#2


Another party menu is here to delight you today. This time we had just one guest and we decided to keep it simple as the food was not as important as catching up on stories was :) Well, whenever I host parties I usually keep the food preferences of my guests in mind. If they like to indulge in a variety of dishes or we are bitten by the bug to try out many dishes we do so, otherwise all our votes are in favour of a couple of starters followed by biryani and raitha. If the meal is elaborate, the dessert is a simple one and vice versa. 

Since my hubby takes his passion for cooking very seriously he generously helps me put together the party menu as well. Over the years it has become an understanding between us that we share the work load. While he sticks to making the starters, dips and red meat (if any) preparations, I make the breads (usually traditional Mangalorean rice breads like sanna, appams, neer dosa etc), curries, rice preparations and desserts. Culinary clashes (making a grab for the same utensils, chopping boards and knives and having a spat over it) are avoided as both of us decide our entry and exit timings from the kitchen. One of us is making ourselves useful around the house when the other is busy cooking. It really helps to have your significant other or kids to help around in the kitchen, even if it means to help keep the sink clear at all times. Trust me, this can be a big challenge and hamper your cooking speed if you have a pile of dirty dishes that threaten to take over precious counter space, especially if you have a small kitchen.

After some hits and several misses over the years I have concluded that it is best to have a few good dishes than a hundred mediocre ones. It is always best to present your tried and tested fare to new guests whether or not you are fishing for compliments. It saves you the stress of being worried whether the dish goes down well with your guests or not. Many years ago,

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Sana-Di-Ge, Goldfinch Hotel, Bangalore


Restaurant: Sana-Di-Ge

Location: Goldfinch Hotel, Near Shivananda Circle, Seshadripuram, Bangalore

Cuisine: Coastal cuisine from places along India's Konkan coast (West Coast). A good mix of Maharashtra, Goa, Mangalore, Kerala cuisines.

Price Range: Rs 2000 for two (approx)


THE PLACE

The term 'Sana-di-ge' stands for 'ceremonial brass lamp' in the Tulu language and should not be confused with 'sandige' which are a kind of mini poppadums that are popular in Mangalore. 


Last month, while we vacationed in Mangalore, we decided to make a quick trip to Bangalore. The hubby and I hadn't been there in years and it was a great way to show our kids around the city which was home to both of us when we kickstarted our careers. One of the perks of being in the garden city was that my friend and I were invited to lunch at this lovely coastal restaurant, an offer we simply couldn't refuse. Being Mangalorean foodies we enjoyed the time we spent at a place that was done up so tastefully keeping in mind the West Coast of India, especially Mangalore of the yesteryears.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bread Mocha Trifle


The weather outside is frightful - in the real sense! Super hot weather with the mercury threatening to touch 50 degrees C as of today is only making me want to cool my heels indoors. While we had some respite from the heat last week, the temperatures are soaring once again since the past 48 hours. Now when you have kids begging to eat something fancy what do you do? Well, you don your baking attire and bake them some goodies (I have a huge backlog of recipes for you folks!) and then when you are tired of baking and all that cleaning up that ensues you don't to be in the kitchen at all! At times like these some simple and interesting recipes come to your rescue. I had bookmarked this particular recipe a couple of years ago from one of my favourite books 'Coffee, 100 Everyday Recipes' but got around to trying it out only on Monday - August 15th, India's Independence Day. I was in the mood to make something delicious yet simple and I cannot think of anything that fits the bill so perfectly! 

The best part about this recipe is that its a no cook recipe and can be made ahead of time. So if you want to serve it for a party, just put it together the previous day or a few hours before the party. Secondly, it is so easy to make that even your kids can make it with minimal supervision! Your life gets easier if you use readily available whipped cream or you can always use heavy cream (like Amul Fresh Cream if you live in India, Al Marai Fresh Cream if you live in the U.A.E). If the whipping doesn't happen as expected, don't worry, you can still layer the cream and wait for the magicto happen

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Raaz Avalyache Jam ~ Star Gooseberry Preserve


Its been almost a month since we returned from India and getting back to the grind has been so very hard. Post-vacation hangover would be the right way to put it I guess :-( Anyway, to top it off this time I returned almost empty handed, in the sense that I didn't come back loaded with ingredients. Since almost everything is available here in Dubai (and plus I have tons of unused stuff from last year's haul) I decided to only bring the absolute must-have's in a Mangalorean cook's kitchen - turmeric leaves and bimblis  (botanical name: Averrhoa Bilimbi). This year however, I did bring back a few star gooseberries (Phyllanthus Acidus) which I planned to preserve in sugar syrup. My mother in law gave me some instructions on how to make this preserve and since I had prepared several varieties of jams before this one was super easy to make. 

Easy Tomato Saar/Soup


Folks! Folks! Folks! What are you guys upto? I am sitting by my kitchen window with my laptop perched on a collapsible table (which I so love!) writing this post in a semi sleepy state. I want to get back to blogging so badly but then laziness overrides every need to be productive whilst on a holiday. Well, the kids have another few days to go before the new academic year starts, so we are collectively making the most of it. Decluttering and cleaning is happening in full swing. Charity bags are making their way towards the doorway, ready to be hauled up and taken to the local charity. In the midst of this chaos I am hardly in the mood to cook up a storm in the kitchen. During such times I fall back on my tried and tested, simple yet delicious recipes. One such recipe is today's Tomato Saar (which roughly means clear soup/rasam) which I have grown up eating. My grandma always made it whenever we showed up for a meal and she didn't have time to make something elaborate. It helped that she had a steady supply of bouillon (pronounced as 'boo-yon') cubes which her children living in the Gulf would bring on their annual trips. All of my grandma's daughters, that includes my mum, carried the tradition forward - of falling back on the ever reliable, unassuming tomato saar when there was either no mood or time or inclination to make anything fancy. Now we, my female cousins and I have carried forward the same tradition and make the most of the bouillon cubes that we rarely use otherwise owing to the load of preservatives but won't bat an eyelid if we have to cook something to feed hungry stomachs in less than 10 minutes. Yeah, seriously, we are like that :-)

This recipe is suitable for the novice cook -  bachelors and newly weds who want something quick and easy. It helps if you have homemade stock but that would be asking for too much right? Just go ahead and use those soup cubes! And oh wait! It tastes best with a bowl of piping hot white rice and some fried fish to go with it!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Party Menu Series! ~ Party Menu#1



Hi folks! Yesterday I randomly posted a few pictures of the special lunch I was making at home for some guests on Instagram and Facebook and I was greeted with an avalanche of positive comments! I have now decided to post similar collages of whatever I cook whenever I have guests which will pave the way for a brand new series called as 'The Party Menu'. This hopefully will give you ideas about what you can put together when you are having people over. I will also mention the number of people I cooked for and what categories of food I cooked and what kind of palates I was catering to something in the below format. However, this series will be fueled the parties I host at home - whenever that happens, so it won't be a very frequent thing for obvious reasons. 

If you liked this idea do drop me an email at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and GooglePlus and leave your comments!


Party Menu #1 - Traditional Mangalorean Fare (well almost!)
Number of Guests: 2 adults and 1 child under 5

Category#1 : Breads (used to mop up the curries)
Sanna ~ Yeast fermented fluffy rice cakes/breads. Also called as Mangalorean idlis.
Prepared the quantity as per recipe above. Have tons of sanna leftover for dinner and next day's breakfast. 

Category#2 : Main course : Non Veg
Chicken Indad ~ Chicken in a sweetish thick gravy base 
Prepared 1 kg

Mutton Sukka ~ Mutton on the bone cooked with bafat spice blend and lots of grated coconut to make it a dry dish.
Prepared 1 kg

Category#3 : Main course: Rice
Sweet Pulao ~ Simple basmati rice cooked with whole spices and a blend of sugar and salt and garnished with fried onions, raisins and cashew nuts. 
Prepared using 2 cups (250ml measure) uncooked basmati rice 

Category#4 : Accompaniments: Veg
Kadai Chhole ~ Punjabi style chickpeas cooked in tea leaves and dried gooseberry and tempered with ghee and spices.
Prepared 2 cups (250 ml measure) dried chickpeas

Plum Chutney ~ A blend of an assortment of ingredients that gives result to a lip smacking riot of flavours that range from sweet, spicy and tangy.
Prepared as per recipe
Fresh Salad ~ Fresh cucumber and cooked beetroot slices - No recipe

Category#5: Dessert
Mango & Saffron Rasayana ~ A delicious, easy-peasy, no cook dessert that takes less than 5 mins to put together and can be served at room temperature or chilled. A big hit with kids and adults alike
Prepared as per recipe


Monday, August 1, 2016

Ghare Bazelle | Salted Raw Jackfruit Fries


Folks, I am back after another long break. Like most of you must have guessed, I was in Mangalore on a long vacation - 7 whole weeks that just flew by but not without rejuvenating me and prepping me up to take on the challenges of another academic year. When I landed in Mangalore it was still very hot and humid and the rains were not to be seen. But after about 10 odd days they finally made their appearance and for many days thereafter I enjoyed waking up to a downpour - the best feeling ever! On most days I woke up to a gloomy weather, but wrapped up in a few thousand blankets I would then snooze for a little more time. Such a lovely feeling to wake up and realise that is a lot more time to laze around. This is a blessing for moms who don't have to wake up early in order to pack the kids off to school. The onset of the monsoons brought the much needed respite from the horrible summer that Mangalore had experienced after many years. I was told about the huge shortage of water and how many people went without water for days on end. Well, this was unheard of in a quaint little town situated on the banks of the Nethravathi for many years and perhaps the alarming rate at which this lovely place is turning into a concrete jungle is to be blamed. Ultimately we bear the brunt of our own doing. Isn't it?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mini Pita Pockets


Sometimes some experiments turn out to be big hits and so it was in the case of the innocent pack of mini pita breads that the hubby got sometime last month. Since my little fellow loves snacking on anything that is not Mangalorean he enjoys little tid bits like this. I decided to marinate some chicken and grill it in my Air Fryer and the meal was ready in less than 30-40 mins. The only thing that took time was to patiently fill up each of the pita pockets. I decided to make it a tad healthy by replacing the cheese with labneh (thick, strained yogurt) and it was simply yum! Do give this a try as it tastes really nice and light. It makes for a delicious party snack option, especially for kids parties. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Frittata


I've always been fascinated with the idea of slow cookers and contemplated buying one many times. But then due to space constraints I never did. Sometime last year our family friends gifted us the airfryer which we have put to great use. We simply love frying kebabs and meatballs in it. It is great to reheat frozen chicken nuggets and strips too. I really believe that such innovative products really help simplify our lives by reducing the time taken to put a dish together and make it healthier by eliminating the use of excessive fat. 

In the recent months I began to hear a lot about multi cookers. Just when I was wondering if it was a slow cooker in a new avatar I received an email from BetterLife, Dubai about their yet to be launched range of kitchen appliances by Euron that were aimed at making life easier for people on the go. I chose to review the Euron Multicooker as it came with a variety of features such as 'Warm', 'Boil', 'Steam/Slow Cook', 'Saute/Grill', 'Roast' and 'Deep Fry'. I was all geared up to give all the features a try one by one. If this appliance was going to help simplify my life in the kitchen, I was going to give it a shout out! And here I am, presenting to you my first recipe that I created using the Euron Multicooker. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

'Inside Out' Themed Fondant Covered Cake ~ Celebratory Cakes


April was a busy month for me. My son turned eight and I had to bake a cake for his birthday. Like always, I wanted to squirm out of the deal and just place an order with a professional baker (you see, I get all jittery with baking cakes at home for occasions) but he would hear nothing of it. He said that since I had made a pretty one for his sister's birthday he wanted something special too. Now, knowing that my son could come up with the most complex of designs I set out my conditions before hand and asked him to pick something simple. I secretly decided to make a simple chocolate cake with some buttercream frosting but as always the man coaxed me into pushing my boundaries and trying my hand at fondant again. "Again??! I exclaimed with some eye rolling and head shaking. I wasn't going to be killing myself over rolling stubborn fondant again I said. My feeble protests fell on deaf ears and instead of showing some sympathy he asked me to make the figurines (cake toppers) too! He said we could always buy the plastic ones if my handmade ones flopped. Ok, so that sounded reassuring (or so it seemed at that moment - I didn't know if I was getting complimented or not) and I started my online research in order to finalize a design.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thato Amshi Thikshi ~ Mangalorean Style Whitecheek Shark In a Hot & Sour Curry


Over the years we have tasted a lot of fish curries, recipes from across regions have been tried and tested in our kitchen but in the end we love going back to our own cuisine. In the past decade or so we have mostly stuck to family recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the other and those that we have grown up enjoying. Today's recipe is one such gem from our repertoire of Mangalorean fish recipes that has a striking similarity with its Goan counterpart - the Ambotik or Ambot Tik which is nothing but 'Sour & Spice' or simply put 'Hot & Sour'. Ambot means 'sour' and 'tik' or 'theek' stands for spicy. So there, I decoded the obvious for you :-) Some Goan/Konkan recipes call for teppal (triphal/sichuan pepper) but it is pretty much non existent in our Mangalorean curries. You may add it if you want but it will change the flavour as teppal has a strong aroma and flavour. 

The amshi thikshi curry is best suited for whitecheek shark (also known as thaato in Konkani or Thaatey in Tulu, mooshi in Marathi and moosi in Gujarati) as this fish has a pretty strong flavour on its own and this gravy base counteracts it the best. You can also try this same gravy base to prepare other types of fish like kite fish (vagolem), croacker/jew fish (dhadiyare) or even mackerels (bangda) and sardines (tharle). 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Coriander & Potato Baaji


Since breakfast is the happiest meal of the day for me I make it a point to make it grand at least on weekends or holidays. Although we don't deep fry a lot, I do indulge in it occasionally as my family loves it. Sometime last year my co sister had prepared this amazing potato baaji when she was visiting us in Dubai. This recipe has loads of chopped coriander added to the potatoes as they cook under pressure. The taste is amazing and the texture of the semi mashed potatoes is perfect to be mopped up with freshly puffed up pooris. This is a family favourite now as everyone wants this dish as an accompaniment to pooris. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chocolate & Almond Marbled Bundt Cake To Celebrate 7 years of Blogging!


Last month my blog turned 7 and I decided to post something nice to celebrate this milestone. However, work got the better of me and I had to keep this post pending. I was wondering what to post and without having to break my head for too long I decided to bake my favourite chocolate and almond marbled cake which I have made at least thrice before and loved it every time. The best part about this cake is that the almond flour in it keeps the cake super moist even after a couple of days (if it lasts that long!) This is one of my favourite comfort foods as I cannot resist gorging on it till it gets over! My kids loved it as well and so did the hubby. 

Honestly, this isn't really a cake for a big celebration but it must be made and enjoyed if you want to celebrate the simple pleasures of life. It must be made and enjoyed with that hot cuppa when you are tired to the bones. It must be made and enjoyed when you are having old friends over. It must be made and enjoyed when you want to take something for that friend who's just recovering from an illness (or a heartbreak). You get the picture, just make it when you want to feel good about something. I felt good about having come this far in the world of blogging and despite the bumps on the road, the journey has been enjoyable. This cake is just to celebrate that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mangalorean Plated Meal Series - Boshi# 35 - Meatball Curry, Fried Brinjals, Salad & Rice

BOSHI#35


Since my son is inclined towards eating dishes that revolve around minced meat, I have been experimenting with a lot of new recipes of late. When I finally ran out of ideas I went back to my collection of recipes on the blog and found something I had made years ago - Mangalorean style meatball curry. This one calls for coconut to be ground for the curry base but the end result is worth it! You could add store bought meatballs or make some yourself and freeze them for times when you want to make a meal in a jiffy. I have tons of them in the freezer and use them in batches! If you are hard pressed for time then this is something you can do whenever you are free. There are tons of recipes you can use meatballs in! I'll share some recipes soon!

If you are new to my blog do check out the complete Boshi series here

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Garlic Butter & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups


Sometime last month I had made some herbed garlic butter that I so fell in love with! I used it as a filling for the garland shaped bread that I made and then I was wondering if I could use it up in something different. Since I had some boneless chicken breasts I decided to make some chicken roll ups. The idea was a hit as my son loved it. The meal was very simple in terms of taste and the presentation made sure that my son (who is a big fan of eating out) was happy too!  These roll ups are really easy to make if you have some garlic butter handy. If you don't you can still make some in a matter of minutes and you meal is ready within 30-40 minutes. So do give it a try!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sesame & Puffed Rice Chikki ~ Easy Snack Bars For Kids


Back to blogging after a long hiatus! It's been over 3 weeks since I last blogged and I've been caught up in a whirlwind of domestic dilemmas, from illness to last minute shopping for a family function. I finally found a breather yesterday and I wanted to do nothing but chill out. Now that normalcy has finally returned, here I am, pulling out recipes from my archives. It will be a while before I get back to my detailed stories but for now, I am happy to be here. Baking and blogging are huge stress relievers for me and I can't wait to get back to regular blogging and fill you in with the happenings of the past one month. 

For now, do enjoy this lovely and very simple to make chikki. Chikki is also called as a 'brittle' and is most popularly made with peanuts. This version is made with crisp puffed rice and sesame and makes for a delightful, low cal snack for kids and adults alike. It is really quick and simple to put together and tastes great! A perfect snack for lazy afternoons during the summer vacations! I do hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pachodi ~ Mangalorean Style Raw Mango Salad ~ When The Hubby Cooks!


Mangoes and the memories are like conjoined twins, aren't they? There is something that is so wonderful about that single whiff of a mango that can take you places, back in time. It is in some sense, a time machine that can transport you back to your childhood and back to everything you ever loved about it. Whenever I am greeted by a mango I just like to wrap my senses with its aroma and close my eyes to simply enjoy the memories. 

Today's recipe is a very simple one. It is made of raw mangoes chopped up and spiced up with some chilli powder. We used to have this a lot as kids, at home, eating leisurely during our summer holidays, sitting on the porch. Sometimes we sneaked in a steel dabba full of chopped up pieces of raw mango and mixed the rest of the ingredients (mostly without the onions as they really stank!) in school! During a boring lesson, the dabba would be passed around for anyone fond of raw mangoes. Seriously, those were the little pleasures of life. I don't recall ever getting caught for indulging in a mid afternoon snack such as this. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Multigrain Nutella Swirled Banana Bread


I got a huge bunch of bananas from the market a few days ago in the hope of making some banana halwa but the plans didn't quite materialise and after eating and eating several good ones we had to abandon the mission and watch them die quietly. What I mean by 'die' is that they turn almost black and nobody wants to do touch them let alone eat them, even if they are peeled and cut and served on a platter. Kids I tell you! Anyway, since mamas don't complain, they just figure out better ways to deal with over ripe bananas. Banana bread is always the way to go and this time was no better. I found a suitable recipe to use up the bananas and a jar of Nutella that was pretty much hanging around the kitchen. Yeah, we aren't such great fans of slathering Nutella on bread anymore. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I got over it the moment I made my homemade hazelnut spread. The commercially available ones are just bought as backup. So I decided to use it up at once. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mangalorean Plated Meal Series - Boshi# 34 - Crab Sukka Masala, Fried Fish, Daaliso Saar, Gosalem Thel Piyao & Rice

BOSHI#34


Folks, the much loved and very much in demand, boshi is back! As much as I would make it a weekly affair as I used to from the time I started this series, I am unable to, due to lack of time. I hope to get back on track in another few weeks. I have promised myself to make full fledged Mangalorean style meals at least once a week, for the pure satisfaction and sheer joy it gives! I am sure die hard Mangaloreans (irrespective of which community you belong to) will agree with this. There is no greater joy than to dig into a simple meal of piping hot rice served with two of your favourite types of seafood and some dal and perhaps a vegetable sauteed in basic spices. So for today it's the favourite of the hubby, cooked by himself ofcourse cuz I still can't eat crabs. The fried fish was made by me and so are the rest of the items you see on the plate. I hope this helps you plan your weekly menus. 

If you are new to my blog do check out the complete Boshi series here

Easy Pumpkin Soup


While my family loves soups we only make them for dinner and thanks to the dim lights in my home I've never really bothered about taking pictures. Just recently we got a nice table lamp from IKEA that provides some better lighting that the rest of the sources of light in the house so I thought it was now or never. These aren't the best pics and since the little fellow has been down with viral fever since the past few days I decided to serve him his bowl of piping hot soup right away. 

Well I am told that pumpkin soup is very good to get the blazing body temperatures down and thought of giving it a try. The nourishment was very essential for my son who didn't have an appetite for anything else. As a mom I found it naturally disheartening when he rejected all other food but was glad that he enjoyed the soup. Served with some croutons and garnished with a swirl of fresh cream this was the tastiest was of having the goodness of pumpkin in our tummies. You must try this recipe if you are a fan of thick soups!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Herbed Garlic Butter Garland Bread ~ #Breadbakers


I'm back with another bread folks! This time it is a pretty one (or so I think :P). During my days as a school girl I was the artistic one in the family. I would indulge in all kinds of art and craft but then gave it all up when I got serious about studies. Wonder why I did that! I thought I would be pretty bad at making decorative breads and although I haven't reached that stage of braided breads yet I think today's garland bread is making its entry into the world of decorative breads. Prior to this I had tried my hand at making the Hornazo De Salamanca, a stuffed bread that needed some pattern on top. 

So this month, our team of bread bakers decided to use garlic as an ingredient in our breads, in celebration of National Garlic Day in the United States which falls on 19th of April. We were asked to choose from black garlic, white garlic, elephant garlic, smoked garlic, powdered, roasted, raw, crushed or whole. Our host for this month is Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories - thank you so much for this lovely theme Karen! 

I am a huge fan of garlic and love to include it in most dishes I make. Indian food uses a lot of garlic so it wasn't hard for me to grow up liking the taste and incorporating it into a bread was easy too. I made the herbed garlic butter which was used as a spread on the dough before it was rolled and shaped into a garland

Monday, April 11, 2016

Herbed Garlic Butter


Garlic bread is a favourite amongst many. Our family is no different. When we were in Mumbai it was customary to order garlic bread along with our pizzas. We haven't done that at lot here as we don't order pizzas anymore - we make 'em at home! Yeah! There's no greater joy than to bake your own bread, you can trust me on this one! It's all about taking that plunge and then there's no looking back. Ok, so that brings us to the most essential ingredient for a garlic bread - the butter which is used to slather the bread, be it a regular loaf or a baguette. Back in Mumbai I have picked up the Amul Herb & Garlic butter on a couple of occasions and I thought it would be great to make it at home someday. It's just that the need didn't arise until now.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Aloo Papdi Sabzi


Sometime last month I found an abundance of broad beans in almost every supermarket I visited. I had never cooked them before and since I always like to try out new ingredients, I picked some. We loved them so much that I made them twice since then. This dish is pretty easy to make with just the basic spices and some potatoes tossed in and goes really well with chapathis. 

More stories will come up shortly :) I've been reaaaaally busy over the past few days, so do stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

25 Summer Recipes You Must Try!


While the weather is still a little pleasant here in Dubai, summer has officially set its foot in India and many parts of the world. From what I see, people are gearing up for it in terms of their attire and food intake. It is the time when the body craves for light foods and fluids to replenish those lost due to the hot and humid weather. We Mangaloreans prepare a lot of seasonal goodies and make the most of nature's bounty. From cashews, jackfruits, mangoes to love apples, jamoons & kokum, every fruit is welcomed with joy. 

I have grown up eating a lot of traditional food made with these fruits and have managed to recreate several of them in my kitchen over the years. Here is a round up of 25 dishes that I have handpicked for you - recipes that are traditional and contemporary and will give you an idea of what to make should you pick any of these ingredients. I have also included a few other recipes that are apt for this season, so go ahead and indulge in what this season has to offer!!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kele Sukhe ~ Mangalorean Wedding Style Raw Banana with Roasted Coconut & Spices


The wedding season in Mangalore is just around the corner and I can almost hear the groans :-) Those of you living in Mangalore will groan about the dozen a day Roce and weddings you'll be obliged to attend and those of us living outside India are perhaps groaning that we haven't been to one in ages. True yeah? Ok, you can stop smiling and nodding in agreement now. During my growing up years weddings and Roce ceremonies were few and far between so it was always a delight when I was the chosen one to attend it. I hear from many of the earlier generation of people that in large families of eight or more children lots were cast to see who would attend the upcoming wedding. This was during my mum's generation ofcourse. Things got better during my time and we almost always attended weddings but I usually liked to go to those where I knew that my cousins would also attend. The Roce ceremony was always my favourite one as it was more homely and casual. One could run up and down the house and watch the bride to be put the final touches to her makeup or giggle as the bridegroom to be was drowned in the last bit of the coconut milk after the ceremony. Being the foodie that I always was my eyes then roamed to the catering counter to see what was being served for dinner. It was always the same menu - large buns served with Mutton Polov, a lightly spiced, coconut based mutton and ash gourd curry, Kelen Sukhe, raw banana sauted in 'korpo' (dry roasted coconut and spices), Kaleez Ankiti, pork offal simmered in fiery spices and unpolished rice. The dessert varied from Kheer to vanilla ice cream to the more fanciful Gajar ka Halwa (carrot halwa)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Gingernuts ~ Ginger Biscuits


The festive season is in full swing at my place. Been trying out various Christmas recipes this week and I am so excited to share them with you. I do hope you have been enjoying the 'Best of RR' ~ Christmas Series. If yes, do come back daily to check for more recipes. The recipes that I post in this series have been tried and tested and loved by thousands of readers across the globe and they are perfect for the season too so you can confidently give them a try :) In this series I will post recipes that are part of the traditional Mangalorean 'Kuswar' platter (Kuswar is a collective term given to homemade Christmas goodies that include sweets and savouries) and also Christmas favourites that I've been making over the years and lots of contemporary ones which I have recently discovered. So do come back daily for more recipes won't you?  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Barley Pulao ~ Diabetic Friendly Recipe


I was introduced to the health benefits of barley when I was expecting my son. I had edema of the feet and was asked to cut off salt completely from my diet. The days that followed weren't fun. Eating seafood especially without salt is terrible for the taste buds but then it was a small price to pay considering that I could have had many other complications like other women were faced with during their pregnancies. God was merciful. My mum fed me a lot of barley water during that time as it is supposed to be very good for overall health especially for those with high blood pressure. 

Now if you're wondering why I came up with a health recipe in the midst of all the festive posts, well, the reason is this. Over the past few years as a food blogger I have been inclined towards all things food even on social media. It is almost impossible to dodge the festive posts that bombard one's news feed. In some way I have contributed to this deluge too. However, this time I decided to post as many healthy recipes as possible during the festive season in order to help people with several dietary restrictions and special needs enjoy the season just as well as the rest of us do. Nobody should be deprived of good things to eat especially during the festive season cuz 'healthy' doesn't have to be 'bland and boring'. So here's today's recipe for you. A simple yet delicious pulao or a one pot meal made of an assortment of veggies and barley cooked to perfection in homemade chicken stock (you may use regular water, vegetable stock or coconut milk too!)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Marzipan ~ Cashewnut or Almond Confection


Marzipan is a quintessential Christmas sweet prepared in Goa and Bombay. It is nothing but a thick paste of ground almonds (traditionally) or cashew nuts (in most tropical countries) which is used in the preparation of sweets (using molds of different shapes or free hand molding) or rolled up to drape cakes (similar to fondant covered cakes). 

However, during Christmas in Goa and Mumbai the term 'marzipan' is synonymous to molded and coloured sweets that often take the shape of many Christmas symbols such as wreathes, bells, holly leaves, Santa's face, reindeers or a variety of berries. The sweets are bite sized and most times extremely sweet. Food colouring may or may not be added although the latter results in attractive sweets suitable for the season. 

Although I have tried to make it over the past few years the result was never up to the mark. Getting the consistency of the sugar syrup and then cooking the paste of ground cashewnuts in it was such a tricky thing for me! I eventually gave up as I was in no mood to slave over recipes that weren't accurate. This is when my dear Aunt Rosette came to my rescue and shared her lovely recipe with me. Thank you so much Aunty!! Her recipe is not just easy, the taste of the sweets is just right - the sweetness is not tooth tingling! The taste is velvety, creamy, nutty and it makes you want to eat one more and another one and another after that!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chocolate Truffle/Crinkle Cookies


Last Christmas I tried out the chocolate crinkle cookies and they were a super hit with kids! The  fact that they crinkle/crack on top is definitely the USP. My kids love to pull up their little chairs and sit in front of the oven and watch the science of cookies baking unfold before their very eyes. They can't seem to wait until the cookies are out of the oven and cool a bit before they dig into the slightly soft, brownie-like cookies with a molten chocolate centre (thanks to the choco chips sneaked inside!). These cookies are so irresistible that you won't be able to stop at just one! I love the fact that they are soft, crumbly and melt in the mouth unlike regular cookies! I have tried several recipes - most of them were complex and over the top but in the end I stuck to the good ol, simple and fool proof recipe that I found in a cookbook years ago. I have slightly tweaked it to add chocolate chips as they help give u gooey centers but you can leave them out.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Homemade Chicken Stock



With Christmas around the corner I am sure that most of us will be cooking several pots of biryanis and pulaos to celebrate. The best way to cook your rice dishes is to use chicken or vegetable stock which adds a great depth and flavour to them, something that plain water cannot achieve.  Since we are huge fans of biryanis and pulaos at home the use of bouillon cubes (stock cubes) was always a part of my grocery list until I discovered homemade stock. I never went back to using bouillon  cubes to flavour my rice dishes after that. I do keep a couple of them for emergencies (yep! guilty of that) but I almost always have a box or two of frozen stock. 

Trust me, the effort is almost nil and you have beautifully flavoured stock that is sans preservatives and excess salt. When you make your own stock you have full control over what goes in it. You alter the ingredients according to what you have in your fridge and pantry and ofcourse, you add only as much salt as you require. Most times I add very little salt to the pot and prefer adding salt to the dish that I am preparing using the stock. This is helpful if you are trying to cut down salt intake especially those who have high blood pressure and other health issues. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Marbled Mocha Whoopie Pies


There are days when I just want to bake something but its not a cake or cookie that I am craving for. On a gloomy day these pies helped satisfy my sweet tooth and also my baking obsession! Actually it was my son who was after me to bake these for him. I made them twice in a row and they were gobbled up in no time! The pies which look like large cookies are actually soft like cake and go very well with the filling sandwiched between them. I think they are a real treat for little ones. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quinoa Brownies ~ Gluten Free Brownies


Over the past few Christmases I have posted a large variety of recipes, ranging from traditional Mangalorean to contemporary, sweets, savories et al. I totally love this season and I am thrilled that we are inching towards Christmas. However, as much as I love to indulge and let people around me eat out of my hands (literally!) I receive a lot of mails asking me for healthier recipes. When I come to think of it, while the healthier lot enjoys all kinds of sinful stuff what do those with dietary restrictions do? I personally know many people who have a various reasons why they want to keep it simple during the festive season and so this Advent season and the run up to Christmas I am going to try and post as many recipes that can be easily tried and enjoyed by people with special dietary needs. I do hope you enjoy these recipes. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chilli Coriander Brown Rice with Mushrooms


The past one month has zoomed by so quickly that I can hardly tell where the days vanished! Everything seems to be a blur. All I know is that a ton of recipes were tried and tested and enjoyed but none were noted down (shucks!) ** except ** ofcourse, this recipe for a lovely one pot meal that I made several times in the past few weeks. Since we are trying to eat healthy as far as possible I found myself buying a bag of brown basmati rice sometime last month. I was hesitant at first as I wasn't sure how to cook it right and whether there would be any takers for it at home. To my surprise, my experiment was a success and the final product, a big hit. The first time I made it I served it with grilled salmon (recipe coming up shortly - still experimenting with the flavours). The combination of flavours was awesome! I did not add mushrooms to the rice at that time but had served it alongside the fish. Over a period of time I have tried adding different veggies to this preparation but I guess it tastes best with mushrooms or without them (simple and plain chilli-coriander rice). 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kadi ~ Mangalorean Wedding Style Besan Burfi (Chickpea Flour Fudge) ~ Gluten Free Indian Sweet


Happy Diwali to all my dear readers who celebrate the festival of lights!! May you be blessed with health, happiness, peace & prosperity today and always! I bet you are having a gala time this festive season. Most of you in India are enjoying a really long weekend too! I heard that Karnataka has an extra day off because of Rajyotsava (birth of the state)! I am totally missing the festivities and the joy of having an (almost) endless weekend! Anyway, since you have plenty of time on your hands (hehe) and if you have run out of sweets that you prepared you can give this new recipe a try. In Mangalore and only in select bakeries you get this very unassuming sweet that won my heart as a child. It is called the kadi and is nothing but besan (chickpea flour) fudge or burfi that is usually made with a small ratio of ground cashewnuts. However, since the time my friend Anupama Michael shared the recipe with me a couple of years ago, I've been meaning to try it out every Diwali and have been shelving the project due to lack of time! I also mixed up her careful instructions and ended up tweaking her original recipe slightly but the result was just as good. It reminded me so much of the stuff we still get in bakeries back home and lug around back to Dubai without fail every year. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

50 Festive Recipes You Must Try This Diwali !


Folks! Are you all set for Diwali? Well, although we don't celebrate Diwali at home I enjoy the festivities through what I experience - from friends who share pictures of the goodies they have been making to those that share them. Back home in India it was a delight to see the beautifully decorated homes and streets. Noise free crackers were wonderful to watch and a joy to partake in! I miss all this a lot but nevertheless social media is making up for it in some way. My newsfeed is usually filled with foodies sharing pictures of a variety of goodies and I simply couldn't resist but make a couple of dishes at home. While the recipe for the sweet I tried successfully is coming up shortly, why don't you take a look at these 50 recipes that I have hand picked for you? Do give them a try and bookmark them for the future too!

I wish all my readers a very Happy Diwali! 
Have a safe, joyous and beautiful festive season with your loved ones!! Wishing you health & happiness always!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Whole Wheat Banana & Yogurt Muffins ~ The Healthier Chocolate Muffins


It all started when I was drawing up my grocery list and noticed that the only fruit remaining in the fruit basket was this lonesome chiquita banana, the peel almost covered with black spots, not too ripe but not something that my kids would want to eat. All I had to do was peel it and eat it and the story would be finished. But no! There is something about over ripe bananas that triggers this manic urge to bake with them. Why waste it when you can taste it I say! 

When life gives you lemons there are tons of things you can make with them, but when it gives you over ripe bananas the only thing you should do is bake some yummy banana muffins that are healthier because you replace refined flour with whole wheat, butter with coconut oil and throw in some yogurt for good measure! Add some chocolate chips and you can win the hearts of your little ones!
Psst!Thanks to the cocoa and choco chips that masked the strong aroma of bananas, the little ones gladly ate them without a fuss. If you are a crazy mom who likes to sneak in fruits & veggies into baked goodies for her kids then you know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rava Idli ~ Steamed Semolina Cakes


Since the past few days I've been trying out new recipes for breakfast. Since we love to kick start our metabolism with something South Indian I usually stick to my usual recipes. However, on our recent trip to Oman my friend shared her recipe for rava idlis which she quickly made in the microwave. They were just so delicious! The term 'rava' is synonymous with semolina which is also known as cream of wheat or a fine texture of broken wheat. However rava is actually the term given to the texture of the grain (that is powdered to a coarse texture) and down South India, broken rice (also known as idli rava/rice rava) along with ground black gram (urad dal) is used in the preparation of rava idlis. This process is slightly longer as the black gram has to be soaked for at least 2-3 hours before being ground to paste and added to the rava which is then kept aside for fermentation.

Preparing idli batter using semolina, yogurt as the souring agent and soda bi carb (baking soda/meetha soda) or fruit salt (Eno) as a raising agent is a perfect way to eliminate the lengthy process and make healthy breakfast in a jiffy. This works perfectly well for those who are not looking for a gluten free option for breakfast (as semolina contains gluten unlike rice rava). It also works well for those who want to enjoy a nutritious and filling breakfast despite the mad morning rush as putting this whole thing together takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kartofel Khleb ~ Russian Potato Bread ~ #Breadbakers


I joined the Breadbakers baking group this month after a really long time and the bread of the month is anything baked with fall fruits and vegetables -apples, pears, persimmons, grapes, quince sweet potatoes, potatoes, figs, cauliflower, broccoli, squashes and cranberries. I picked potatoes as my choice as I had been eyeing this recipe for a really long time. Infact, two different cookbooks had two different recipes but I narrowed down and picked the healthier of the two. In addition to mashed potatoes, this bread is made with the addition of wholemeal bread flour that I picked up on sale at Spinney's a while ago. While I never go looking for bargains whenever I do my groceries, a 'sale' signboard got my attention. A lot of flours, especially bread flours were on sale as they had a month to go before expiry and at one third the price, the deal was a steal. I had never worked with bread flour before and this one was stone ground wholemeal flour, perfect for the recipe in mind. However, regular wholemeal flour (whole wheat flour/atta) will work just as fine. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai



Restaurant: Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai
Location: The Address Roundabout, The Promenade, overlooking the lake, Downtown, Dubai
Cuisine: Japanese - Robata & Sushi Bar
Price Range: AED 180-200 for two (without alcohol)
Date of Dining: 28th Sep, 2016

THE PLACE

Last week I was invited to the launch of 'Bubbles, Bites & Beats' which takes place every Wednesday at the uber chic and elegant Japanese restaurant, Katana Robata & Sushi Bar. In Japanese, the term 'katana' stands for the traditional, single edged and slender sword used by the samurai (a member of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan). The restaurant that originated and is frequented by celebrities in Los Angeles has now opened its doors to Dubai

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Apple Pancakes With Date Syrup Butter


Pancakes have been a favourite at my place since a while now. During my growing up years the only pancakes I've really known were our South Indian dosas and trust me, I always called the whole bunch of them as 'pancakes'.  The difference between the two would be that pancakes have some kind of raising agent (baking soda or baking powder) added to the batter to give them a fluff while crepes would be thin and flat with no raising agent added to the batter. So while dosa batter, which would be fermented overnight with black gram (urad) dal is the raising agent could fit the bill of a pancake or Mangalorean neer dosa would be called a rice crepe and not a pancake. 

Anyway, like I said before, these pancakes have become a hot favourite at my place now and sell like hot (pan)cakes (pun intended) the minute I make them. Usually my son is after me to cook him different kinds of tea time snacks. Pancakes are super easy and quick to put together and this recipe calls for grated apples that add to the taste and nutrition of this delightfully delicious and filling snack. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shaped Dinner Rolls


Baking has been my passion for over 10 years now and ever since I embarked upon this roller coaster of a ride it has been nothing short of exciting, satisfying and a great learning experience. I first began my trials in my microwave with convection. While the cakes evolved from undercooked to charred to near perfect ones, breads never really took off. I ended up with dense blobs of dough that failed miserably. Perhaps I was using the wrong kind of yeast, perhaps I didn't follow the instructions properly or my kneading wasn't upto the mark. Whatever the case, I just abandoned bread baking altogether and focused only on cakes, cupcakes and the like. Over the years I had tried my hand at baking with several kinds of ovens. From a microwave with convection I progressed to an OTG (my best bakes happened with it), then I started my experiments with a gas oven at my brother's place when we relocated to Dubai and now I own a large electric oven which I am pretty satisfied with. The best part about having a large oven is that you can bake large quantities of breads in one go. Breads like baguettes or even rolls and cupcakes (if you are making several at a time) can be made without having to wait endlessly. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that I am happy with my bread baking skills that have greatly progressed over the years (and you thought I was giving you a crash course on which oven to buy? Haha!) 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Kris with a View, Park Regis, Dubai


Restaurant: Kris with a View
Location: Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Dubai, U.A.E
Cuisine: Multi Cuisine restaurant with Theme Nights with an aim to showcasing Pan Asian cuisine
Price Range: AED 250-300 for two

THE PLACE

Early this month I was delighted to be invited for dinner at Kris with a View, a Pan-Asian restaurant located on the 19th floor of the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Dubai. This restaurant offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city as an accompaniment to a massive spread of Pan-Asian delicacies that are sure to delight every palate. The menu takes you on a journey of discovering some of the most popular dishes from Thailand, China, Malaysia, Japan, India and Arabia. This delightful array of delicacies is accompanied by live, popular music. 

Kris with a View offers Theme Nights as follows:

Mondays: Pot Around
From steaming Asian soups and noodles to exotic Oriental curries and coconut-gravy sweets

Tuesdays: Ochi Sushi Night
Featuring a selection of sushi and sashimi accompanied with soups, Asian salads and sweets.

Wednesdays: Seafood Night
Offering a wide variety of seafood selection ranging from calamari, prawns, lobsters, oysters, crabs, shellfish to salmon, sea bass and many other fresh fish.

Thursdays: Pan Asian Night 
Discover the very best of Pan Asian specialties buffet from Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan and India surrounded by the unique panoramic views of Dubai.

Fridays: Indian-Malaysian Flavours 
A buffet of authentic cuisines from India and Malaysia.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sambarballi Podi | Doddapatre Baje ~ Indian Borage/Cuban Oregano Fritters


This morning when I woke up I was thinking about the various chores I had to complete during the day and my thoughts ran to my blog. I hadn't posted a recipe in more than two weeks! I am going to conveniently blame it on the long holidays we had. A whole 9 days of Eid holidays (half of which we chose to spend in Muscat (Oman) with our family friends) was at our disposal. Like we did last year, we chose to drive down to the neighbouring country and I must say that the journey was splendid (couldn't think of a better word to describe it). A couple of days before we left I had made these fritters at home and decided to make them again at our friends' place but simply didn't find the time as we were busy doing nothing but chat endlessly and relax. Breaks like these are what we always welcome as it helps us unwind and get back to the grind feeling totally rejuvenated.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pajey Madipula ~ Rice Rolls Steamed in Banana Leaves


I make it a point to learn a few new recipes everytime I visit Mangalore. In the past I used to collect plenty of recipes and on some occasions even have them made in front of me. Then I would return back home and try them once again in my own kitchen before posting the recipes on the blog. This year too I managed to learn a couple of recipes, I came across something that I had never heard of before - Pajey Madpela, a term in the local language Tulu which roughly translates to 'rolled up carpet'. We had been to the Butterfly Park in Belvai, Moodabidri on a Sunday morning and enjoyed the scenic beauty en route. We started our journey pretty early as we intended to get to the park by 9 a.m., supposedly the best time to catch a glimpse of the several varieties of butterflies that live unrestricted there. The kids had a great time and thankfully the weather was great although it did drizzle during the journey. On our way back we stopped for lunch at a lovely seafood joint and I was introduced to the Pajey Madpela which we ordered along with Neer Dosa (plain rice crepes) and Pundi (rice dumplings).  

Friday, September 2, 2016

Yellow Rice



Goodmorning everyone! I woke up this glorious morning feeling refreshed and rested and now I am sitting by the kitchen window sill looking out every now and then. There are hardly any cars plying the roads - such a contrast to the scene that unfolds during the week. I live on one of Dubai's busiest streets and its only on Friday mornings that the roads are almost empty. Most people like to party on Thursday evenings and wake up late on Friday mornings. But for mums like me, every morning starts rather early. So after a simple breakfast I am wondering what chores to tackle during my free time. Should I try out a new recipe or go clean that closet? Sort out my blog posts or draw up a grocery list? Well, while I still debate on what I will do today maybe you should take a look at today's recipe.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Simple Meat Stew


The new academic year has begun for my kids and I am such a happy mom! After a long vacation it really feels great to be back into the school routine. The only thing I dislike is waking up at the crack of dawn to make breakfast and fix their lunch boxes but an early night ensures a great early start as well. There is tons you can accomplish during the wee hours of the morning and then the entire day somehow flies on auto pilot. While the first week was a little overwhelming in terms of juggling everything, I am hoping that the weekend helps me settle in and gear up for the coming week. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Party Menu Series ~ Party Menu#2


Another party menu is here to delight you today. This time we had just one guest and we decided to keep it simple as the food was not as important as catching up on stories was :) Well, whenever I host parties I usually keep the food preferences of my guests in mind. If they like to indulge in a variety of dishes or we are bitten by the bug to try out many dishes we do so, otherwise all our votes are in favour of a couple of starters followed by biryani and raitha. If the meal is elaborate, the dessert is a simple one and vice versa. 

Since my hubby takes his passion for cooking very seriously he generously helps me put together the party menu as well. Over the years it has become an understanding between us that we share the work load. While he sticks to making the starters, dips and red meat (if any) preparations, I make the breads (usually traditional Mangalorean rice breads like sanna, appams, neer dosa etc), curries, rice preparations and desserts. Culinary clashes (making a grab for the same utensils, chopping boards and knives and having a spat over it) are avoided as both of us decide our entry and exit timings from the kitchen. One of us is making ourselves useful around the house when the other is busy cooking. It really helps to have your significant other or kids to help around in the kitchen, even if it means to help keep the sink clear at all times. Trust me, this can be a big challenge and hamper your cooking speed if you have a pile of dirty dishes that threaten to take over precious counter space, especially if you have a small kitchen.

After some hits and several misses over the years I have concluded that it is best to have a few good dishes than a hundred mediocre ones. It is always best to present your tried and tested fare to new guests whether or not you are fishing for compliments. It saves you the stress of being worried whether the dish goes down well with your guests or not. Many years ago,

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Sana-Di-Ge, Goldfinch Hotel, Bangalore


Restaurant: Sana-Di-Ge

Location: Goldfinch Hotel, Near Shivananda Circle, Seshadripuram, Bangalore

Cuisine: Coastal cuisine from places along India's Konkan coast (West Coast). A good mix of Maharashtra, Goa, Mangalore, Kerala cuisines.

Price Range: Rs 2000 for two (approx)


THE PLACE

The term 'Sana-di-ge' stands for 'ceremonial brass lamp' in the Tulu language and should not be confused with 'sandige' which are a kind of mini poppadums that are popular in Mangalore. 


Last month, while we vacationed in Mangalore, we decided to make a quick trip to Bangalore. The hubby and I hadn't been there in years and it was a great way to show our kids around the city which was home to both of us when we kickstarted our careers. One of the perks of being in the garden city was that my friend and I were invited to lunch at this lovely coastal restaurant, an offer we simply couldn't refuse. Being Mangalorean foodies we enjoyed the time we spent at a place that was done up so tastefully keeping in mind the West Coast of India, especially Mangalore of the yesteryears.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bread Mocha Trifle


The weather outside is frightful - in the real sense! Super hot weather with the mercury threatening to touch 50 degrees C as of today is only making me want to cool my heels indoors. While we had some respite from the heat last week, the temperatures are soaring once again since the past 48 hours. Now when you have kids begging to eat something fancy what do you do? Well, you don your baking attire and bake them some goodies (I have a huge backlog of recipes for you folks!) and then when you are tired of baking and all that cleaning up that ensues you don't to be in the kitchen at all! At times like these some simple and interesting recipes come to your rescue. I had bookmarked this particular recipe a couple of years ago from one of my favourite books 'Coffee, 100 Everyday Recipes' but got around to trying it out only on Monday - August 15th, India's Independence Day. I was in the mood to make something delicious yet simple and I cannot think of anything that fits the bill so perfectly! 

The best part about this recipe is that its a no cook recipe and can be made ahead of time. So if you want to serve it for a party, just put it together the previous day or a few hours before the party. Secondly, it is so easy to make that even your kids can make it with minimal supervision! Your life gets easier if you use readily available whipped cream or you can always use heavy cream (like Amul Fresh Cream if you live in India, Al Marai Fresh Cream if you live in the U.A.E). If the whipping doesn't happen as expected, don't worry, you can still layer the cream and wait for the magicto happen

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Raaz Avalyache Jam ~ Star Gooseberry Preserve


Its been almost a month since we returned from India and getting back to the grind has been so very hard. Post-vacation hangover would be the right way to put it I guess :-( Anyway, to top it off this time I returned almost empty handed, in the sense that I didn't come back loaded with ingredients. Since almost everything is available here in Dubai (and plus I have tons of unused stuff from last year's haul) I decided to only bring the absolute must-have's in a Mangalorean cook's kitchen - turmeric leaves and bimblis  (botanical name: Averrhoa Bilimbi). This year however, I did bring back a few star gooseberries (Phyllanthus Acidus) which I planned to preserve in sugar syrup. My mother in law gave me some instructions on how to make this preserve and since I had prepared several varieties of jams before this one was super easy to make. 

Easy Tomato Saar/Soup


Folks! Folks! Folks! What are you guys upto? I am sitting by my kitchen window with my laptop perched on a collapsible table (which I so love!) writing this post in a semi sleepy state. I want to get back to blogging so badly but then laziness overrides every need to be productive whilst on a holiday. Well, the kids have another few days to go before the new academic year starts, so we are collectively making the most of it. Decluttering and cleaning is happening in full swing. Charity bags are making their way towards the doorway, ready to be hauled up and taken to the local charity. In the midst of this chaos I am hardly in the mood to cook up a storm in the kitchen. During such times I fall back on my tried and tested, simple yet delicious recipes. One such recipe is today's Tomato Saar (which roughly means clear soup/rasam) which I have grown up eating. My grandma always made it whenever we showed up for a meal and she didn't have time to make something elaborate. It helped that she had a steady supply of bouillon (pronounced as 'boo-yon') cubes which her children living in the Gulf would bring on their annual trips. All of my grandma's daughters, that includes my mum, carried the tradition forward - of falling back on the ever reliable, unassuming tomato saar when there was either no mood or time or inclination to make anything fancy. Now we, my female cousins and I have carried forward the same tradition and make the most of the bouillon cubes that we rarely use otherwise owing to the load of preservatives but won't bat an eyelid if we have to cook something to feed hungry stomachs in less than 10 minutes. Yeah, seriously, we are like that :-)

This recipe is suitable for the novice cook -  bachelors and newly weds who want something quick and easy. It helps if you have homemade stock but that would be asking for too much right? Just go ahead and use those soup cubes! And oh wait! It tastes best with a bowl of piping hot white rice and some fried fish to go with it!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Party Menu Series! ~ Party Menu#1



Hi folks! Yesterday I randomly posted a few pictures of the special lunch I was making at home for some guests on Instagram and Facebook and I was greeted with an avalanche of positive comments! I have now decided to post similar collages of whatever I cook whenever I have guests which will pave the way for a brand new series called as 'The Party Menu'. This hopefully will give you ideas about what you can put together when you are having people over. I will also mention the number of people I cooked for and what categories of food I cooked and what kind of palates I was catering to something in the below format. However, this series will be fueled the parties I host at home - whenever that happens, so it won't be a very frequent thing for obvious reasons. 

If you liked this idea do drop me an email at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and GooglePlus and leave your comments!


Party Menu #1 - Traditional Mangalorean Fare (well almost!)
Number of Guests: 2 adults and 1 child under 5

Category#1 : Breads (used to mop up the curries)
Sanna ~ Yeast fermented fluffy rice cakes/breads. Also called as Mangalorean idlis.
Prepared the quantity as per recipe above. Have tons of sanna leftover for dinner and next day's breakfast. 

Category#2 : Main course : Non Veg
Chicken Indad ~ Chicken in a sweetish thick gravy base 
Prepared 1 kg

Mutton Sukka ~ Mutton on the bone cooked with bafat spice blend and lots of grated coconut to make it a dry dish.
Prepared 1 kg

Category#3 : Main course: Rice
Sweet Pulao ~ Simple basmati rice cooked with whole spices and a blend of sugar and salt and garnished with fried onions, raisins and cashew nuts. 
Prepared using 2 cups (250ml measure) uncooked basmati rice 

Category#4 : Accompaniments: Veg
Kadai Chhole ~ Punjabi style chickpeas cooked in tea leaves and dried gooseberry and tempered with ghee and spices.
Prepared 2 cups (250 ml measure) dried chickpeas

Plum Chutney ~ A blend of an assortment of ingredients that gives result to a lip smacking riot of flavours that range from sweet, spicy and tangy.
Prepared as per recipe
Fresh Salad ~ Fresh cucumber and cooked beetroot slices - No recipe

Category#5: Dessert
Mango & Saffron Rasayana ~ A delicious, easy-peasy, no cook dessert that takes less than 5 mins to put together and can be served at room temperature or chilled. A big hit with kids and adults alike
Prepared as per recipe


Monday, August 1, 2016

Ghare Bazelle | Salted Raw Jackfruit Fries


Folks, I am back after another long break. Like most of you must have guessed, I was in Mangalore on a long vacation - 7 whole weeks that just flew by but not without rejuvenating me and prepping me up to take on the challenges of another academic year. When I landed in Mangalore it was still very hot and humid and the rains were not to be seen. But after about 10 odd days they finally made their appearance and for many days thereafter I enjoyed waking up to a downpour - the best feeling ever! On most days I woke up to a gloomy weather, but wrapped up in a few thousand blankets I would then snooze for a little more time. Such a lovely feeling to wake up and realise that is a lot more time to laze around. This is a blessing for moms who don't have to wake up early in order to pack the kids off to school. The onset of the monsoons brought the much needed respite from the horrible summer that Mangalore had experienced after many years. I was told about the huge shortage of water and how many people went without water for days on end. Well, this was unheard of in a quaint little town situated on the banks of the Nethravathi for many years and perhaps the alarming rate at which this lovely place is turning into a concrete jungle is to be blamed. Ultimately we bear the brunt of our own doing. Isn't it?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mini Pita Pockets


Sometimes some experiments turn out to be big hits and so it was in the case of the innocent pack of mini pita breads that the hubby got sometime last month. Since my little fellow loves snacking on anything that is not Mangalorean he enjoys little tid bits like this. I decided to marinate some chicken and grill it in my Air Fryer and the meal was ready in less than 30-40 mins. The only thing that took time was to patiently fill up each of the pita pockets. I decided to make it a tad healthy by replacing the cheese with labneh (thick, strained yogurt) and it was simply yum! Do give this a try as it tastes really nice and light. It makes for a delicious party snack option, especially for kids parties. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Frittata


I've always been fascinated with the idea of slow cookers and contemplated buying one many times. But then due to space constraints I never did. Sometime last year our family friends gifted us the airfryer which we have put to great use. We simply love frying kebabs and meatballs in it. It is great to reheat frozen chicken nuggets and strips too. I really believe that such innovative products really help simplify our lives by reducing the time taken to put a dish together and make it healthier by eliminating the use of excessive fat. 

In the recent months I began to hear a lot about multi cookers. Just when I was wondering if it was a slow cooker in a new avatar I received an email from BetterLife, Dubai about their yet to be launched range of kitchen appliances by Euron that were aimed at making life easier for people on the go. I chose to review the Euron Multicooker as it came with a variety of features such as 'Warm', 'Boil', 'Steam/Slow Cook', 'Saute/Grill', 'Roast' and 'Deep Fry'. I was all geared up to give all the features a try one by one. If this appliance was going to help simplify my life in the kitchen, I was going to give it a shout out! And here I am, presenting to you my first recipe that I created using the Euron Multicooker. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

'Inside Out' Themed Fondant Covered Cake ~ Celebratory Cakes


April was a busy month for me. My son turned eight and I had to bake a cake for his birthday. Like always, I wanted to squirm out of the deal and just place an order with a professional baker (you see, I get all jittery with baking cakes at home for occasions) but he would hear nothing of it. He said that since I had made a pretty one for his sister's birthday he wanted something special too. Now, knowing that my son could come up with the most complex of designs I set out my conditions before hand and asked him to pick something simple. I secretly decided to make a simple chocolate cake with some buttercream frosting but as always the man coaxed me into pushing my boundaries and trying my hand at fondant again. "Again??! I exclaimed with some eye rolling and head shaking. I wasn't going to be killing myself over rolling stubborn fondant again I said. My feeble protests fell on deaf ears and instead of showing some sympathy he asked me to make the figurines (cake toppers) too! He said we could always buy the plastic ones if my handmade ones flopped. Ok, so that sounded reassuring (or so it seemed at that moment - I didn't know if I was getting complimented or not) and I started my online research in order to finalize a design.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thato Amshi Thikshi ~ Mangalorean Style Whitecheek Shark In a Hot & Sour Curry


Over the years we have tasted a lot of fish curries, recipes from across regions have been tried and tested in our kitchen but in the end we love going back to our own cuisine. In the past decade or so we have mostly stuck to family recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the other and those that we have grown up enjoying. Today's recipe is one such gem from our repertoire of Mangalorean fish recipes that has a striking similarity with its Goan counterpart - the Ambotik or Ambot Tik which is nothing but 'Sour & Spice' or simply put 'Hot & Sour'. Ambot means 'sour' and 'tik' or 'theek' stands for spicy. So there, I decoded the obvious for you :-) Some Goan/Konkan recipes call for teppal (triphal/sichuan pepper) but it is pretty much non existent in our Mangalorean curries. You may add it if you want but it will change the flavour as teppal has a strong aroma and flavour. 

The amshi thikshi curry is best suited for whitecheek shark (also known as thaato in Konkani or Thaatey in Tulu, mooshi in Marathi and moosi in Gujarati) as this fish has a pretty strong flavour on its own and this gravy base counteracts it the best. You can also try this same gravy base to prepare other types of fish like kite fish (vagolem), croacker/jew fish (dhadiyare) or even mackerels (bangda) and sardines (tharle). 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Coriander & Potato Baaji


Since breakfast is the happiest meal of the day for me I make it a point to make it grand at least on weekends or holidays. Although we don't deep fry a lot, I do indulge in it occasionally as my family loves it. Sometime last year my co sister had prepared this amazing potato baaji when she was visiting us in Dubai. This recipe has loads of chopped coriander added to the potatoes as they cook under pressure. The taste is amazing and the texture of the semi mashed potatoes is perfect to be mopped up with freshly puffed up pooris. This is a family favourite now as everyone wants this dish as an accompaniment to pooris. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chocolate & Almond Marbled Bundt Cake To Celebrate 7 years of Blogging!


Last month my blog turned 7 and I decided to post something nice to celebrate this milestone. However, work got the better of me and I had to keep this post pending. I was wondering what to post and without having to break my head for too long I decided to bake my favourite chocolate and almond marbled cake which I have made at least thrice before and loved it every time. The best part about this cake is that the almond flour in it keeps the cake super moist even after a couple of days (if it lasts that long!) This is one of my favourite comfort foods as I cannot resist gorging on it till it gets over! My kids loved it as well and so did the hubby. 

Honestly, this isn't really a cake for a big celebration but it must be made and enjoyed if you want to celebrate the simple pleasures of life. It must be made and enjoyed with that hot cuppa when you are tired to the bones. It must be made and enjoyed when you are having old friends over. It must be made and enjoyed when you want to take something for that friend who's just recovering from an illness (or a heartbreak). You get the picture, just make it when you want to feel good about something. I felt good about having come this far in the world of blogging and despite the bumps on the road, the journey has been enjoyable. This cake is just to celebrate that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mangalorean Plated Meal Series - Boshi# 35 - Meatball Curry, Fried Brinjals, Salad & Rice

BOSHI#35


Since my son is inclined towards eating dishes that revolve around minced meat, I have been experimenting with a lot of new recipes of late. When I finally ran out of ideas I went back to my collection of recipes on the blog and found something I had made years ago - Mangalorean style meatball curry. This one calls for coconut to be ground for the curry base but the end result is worth it! You could add store bought meatballs or make some yourself and freeze them for times when you want to make a meal in a jiffy. I have tons of them in the freezer and use them in batches! If you are hard pressed for time then this is something you can do whenever you are free. There are tons of recipes you can use meatballs in! I'll share some recipes soon!

If you are new to my blog do check out the complete Boshi series here

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Garlic Butter & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups


Sometime last month I had made some herbed garlic butter that I so fell in love with! I used it as a filling for the garland shaped bread that I made and then I was wondering if I could use it up in something different. Since I had some boneless chicken breasts I decided to make some chicken roll ups. The idea was a hit as my son loved it. The meal was very simple in terms of taste and the presentation made sure that my son (who is a big fan of eating out) was happy too!  These roll ups are really easy to make if you have some garlic butter handy. If you don't you can still make some in a matter of minutes and you meal is ready within 30-40 minutes. So do give it a try!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sesame & Puffed Rice Chikki ~ Easy Snack Bars For Kids


Back to blogging after a long hiatus! It's been over 3 weeks since I last blogged and I've been caught up in a whirlwind of domestic dilemmas, from illness to last minute shopping for a family function. I finally found a breather yesterday and I wanted to do nothing but chill out. Now that normalcy has finally returned, here I am, pulling out recipes from my archives. It will be a while before I get back to my detailed stories but for now, I am happy to be here. Baking and blogging are huge stress relievers for me and I can't wait to get back to regular blogging and fill you in with the happenings of the past one month. 

For now, do enjoy this lovely and very simple to make chikki. Chikki is also called as a 'brittle' and is most popularly made with peanuts. This version is made with crisp puffed rice and sesame and makes for a delightful, low cal snack for kids and adults alike. It is really quick and simple to put together and tastes great! A perfect snack for lazy afternoons during the summer vacations! I do hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pachodi ~ Mangalorean Style Raw Mango Salad ~ When The Hubby Cooks!


Mangoes and the memories are like conjoined twins, aren't they? There is something that is so wonderful about that single whiff of a mango that can take you places, back in time. It is in some sense, a time machine that can transport you back to your childhood and back to everything you ever loved about it. Whenever I am greeted by a mango I just like to wrap my senses with its aroma and close my eyes to simply enjoy the memories. 

Today's recipe is a very simple one. It is made of raw mangoes chopped up and spiced up with some chilli powder. We used to have this a lot as kids, at home, eating leisurely during our summer holidays, sitting on the porch. Sometimes we sneaked in a steel dabba full of chopped up pieces of raw mango and mixed the rest of the ingredients (mostly without the onions as they really stank!) in school! During a boring lesson, the dabba would be passed around for anyone fond of raw mangoes. Seriously, those were the little pleasures of life. I don't recall ever getting caught for indulging in a mid afternoon snack such as this. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Multigrain Nutella Swirled Banana Bread


I got a huge bunch of bananas from the market a few days ago in the hope of making some banana halwa but the plans didn't quite materialise and after eating and eating several good ones we had to abandon the mission and watch them die quietly. What I mean by 'die' is that they turn almost black and nobody wants to do touch them let alone eat them, even if they are peeled and cut and served on a platter. Kids I tell you! Anyway, since mamas don't complain, they just figure out better ways to deal with over ripe bananas. Banana bread is always the way to go and this time was no better. I found a suitable recipe to use up the bananas and a jar of Nutella that was pretty much hanging around the kitchen. Yeah, we aren't such great fans of slathering Nutella on bread anymore. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I got over it the moment I made my homemade hazelnut spread. The commercially available ones are just bought as backup. So I decided to use it up at once. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mangalorean Plated Meal Series - Boshi# 34 - Crab Sukka Masala, Fried Fish, Daaliso Saar, Gosalem Thel Piyao & Rice

BOSHI#34


Folks, the much loved and very much in demand, boshi is back! As much as I would make it a weekly affair as I used to from the time I started this series, I am unable to, due to lack of time. I hope to get back on track in another few weeks. I have promised myself to make full fledged Mangalorean style meals at least once a week, for the pure satisfaction and sheer joy it gives! I am sure die hard Mangaloreans (irrespective of which community you belong to) will agree with this. There is no greater joy than to dig into a simple meal of piping hot rice served with two of your favourite types of seafood and some dal and perhaps a vegetable sauteed in basic spices. So for today it's the favourite of the hubby, cooked by himself ofcourse cuz I still can't eat crabs. The fried fish was made by me and so are the rest of the items you see on the plate. I hope this helps you plan your weekly menus. 

If you are new to my blog do check out the complete Boshi series here

Easy Pumpkin Soup


While my family loves soups we only make them for dinner and thanks to the dim lights in my home I've never really bothered about taking pictures. Just recently we got a nice table lamp from IKEA that provides some better lighting that the rest of the sources of light in the house so I thought it was now or never. These aren't the best pics and since the little fellow has been down with viral fever since the past few days I decided to serve him his bowl of piping hot soup right away. 

Well I am told that pumpkin soup is very good to get the blazing body temperatures down and thought of giving it a try. The nourishment was very essential for my son who didn't have an appetite for anything else. As a mom I found it naturally disheartening when he rejected all other food but was glad that he enjoyed the soup. Served with some croutons and garnished with a swirl of fresh cream this was the tastiest was of having the goodness of pumpkin in our tummies. You must try this recipe if you are a fan of thick soups!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Herbed Garlic Butter Garland Bread ~ #Breadbakers


I'm back with another bread folks! This time it is a pretty one (or so I think :P). During my days as a school girl I was the artistic one in the family. I would indulge in all kinds of art and craft but then gave it all up when I got serious about studies. Wonder why I did that! I thought I would be pretty bad at making decorative breads and although I haven't reached that stage of braided breads yet I think today's garland bread is making its entry into the world of decorative breads. Prior to this I had tried my hand at making the Hornazo De Salamanca, a stuffed bread that needed some pattern on top. 

So this month, our team of bread bakers decided to use garlic as an ingredient in our breads, in celebration of National Garlic Day in the United States which falls on 19th of April. We were asked to choose from black garlic, white garlic, elephant garlic, smoked garlic, powdered, roasted, raw, crushed or whole. Our host for this month is Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories - thank you so much for this lovely theme Karen! 

I am a huge fan of garlic and love to include it in most dishes I make. Indian food uses a lot of garlic so it wasn't hard for me to grow up liking the taste and incorporating it into a bread was easy too. I made the herbed garlic butter which was used as a spread on the dough before it was rolled and shaped into a garland

Monday, April 11, 2016

Herbed Garlic Butter


Garlic bread is a favourite amongst many. Our family is no different. When we were in Mumbai it was customary to order garlic bread along with our pizzas. We haven't done that at lot here as we don't order pizzas anymore - we make 'em at home! Yeah! There's no greater joy than to bake your own bread, you can trust me on this one! It's all about taking that plunge and then there's no looking back. Ok, so that brings us to the most essential ingredient for a garlic bread - the butter which is used to slather the bread, be it a regular loaf or a baguette. Back in Mumbai I have picked up the Amul Herb & Garlic butter on a couple of occasions and I thought it would be great to make it at home someday. It's just that the need didn't arise until now.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Aloo Papdi Sabzi


Sometime last month I found an abundance of broad beans in almost every supermarket I visited. I had never cooked them before and since I always like to try out new ingredients, I picked some. We loved them so much that I made them twice since then. This dish is pretty easy to make with just the basic spices and some potatoes tossed in and goes really well with chapathis. 

More stories will come up shortly :) I've been reaaaaally busy over the past few days, so do stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

25 Summer Recipes You Must Try!


While the weather is still a little pleasant here in Dubai, summer has officially set its foot in India and many parts of the world. From what I see, people are gearing up for it in terms of their attire and food intake. It is the time when the body craves for light foods and fluids to replenish those lost due to the hot and humid weather. We Mangaloreans prepare a lot of seasonal goodies and make the most of nature's bounty. From cashews, jackfruits, mangoes to love apples, jamoons & kokum, every fruit is welcomed with joy. 

I have grown up eating a lot of traditional food made with these fruits and have managed to recreate several of them in my kitchen over the years. Here is a round up of 25 dishes that I have handpicked for you - recipes that are traditional and contemporary and will give you an idea of what to make should you pick any of these ingredients. I have also included a few other recipes that are apt for this season, so go ahead and indulge in what this season has to offer!!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kele Sukhe ~ Mangalorean Wedding Style Raw Banana with Roasted Coconut & Spices


The wedding season in Mangalore is just around the corner and I can almost hear the groans :-) Those of you living in Mangalore will groan about the dozen a day Roce and weddings you'll be obliged to attend and those of us living outside India are perhaps groaning that we haven't been to one in ages. True yeah? Ok, you can stop smiling and nodding in agreement now. During my growing up years weddings and Roce ceremonies were few and far between so it was always a delight when I was the chosen one to attend it. I hear from many of the earlier generation of people that in large families of eight or more children lots were cast to see who would attend the upcoming wedding. This was during my mum's generation ofcourse. Things got better during my time and we almost always attended weddings but I usually liked to go to those where I knew that my cousins would also attend. The Roce ceremony was always my favourite one as it was more homely and casual. One could run up and down the house and watch the bride to be put the final touches to her makeup or giggle as the bridegroom to be was drowned in the last bit of the coconut milk after the ceremony. Being the foodie that I always was my eyes then roamed to the catering counter to see what was being served for dinner. It was always the same menu - large buns served with Mutton Polov, a lightly spiced, coconut based mutton and ash gourd curry, Kelen Sukhe, raw banana sauted in 'korpo' (dry roasted coconut and spices), Kaleez Ankiti, pork offal simmered in fiery spices and unpolished rice. The dessert varied from Kheer to vanilla ice cream to the more fanciful Gajar ka Halwa (carrot halwa)