Opening a Jar of Sunshine

I was gifted a jar of home made marmalade recently. This special marmalade was  lovingly made by my foodie friend Alison Grayer. I must say that it is  the most lip smacking, gorgeous marmalade I’ve tasted in eons. It was made with orange, grapefruit and lemon  and had the perfect balance of sweetness, tang and  bitterness. Alison’s marmalade ticked all the boxes of taste, texture and colour. The juicy, chunky bits of  citrus are a serious delight. I’m someone who prefers a savory breakfast normally and not a huge fan of any jam or preserve save marmalade. My love for marmalade was cultivated in boarding school.   St.Hilda’s School in Ootacamund, India. The head cook in our school, Mari, made awesome marmalade, the taste of which I and my fellow Hildites still remember fondly.  Alison’s marmalade very much stands on that same lofty pedestal . Thank you Alison for your jar of sunshine. It sure has brought a lot of joy to our breakfasts. 14698899-Citrus-fruits-lemon-lime-orange-and-grapefruit-isolated-on-white-background-with-shadows-Stock-Photo

Canoodling with Kale

Shiv and I have  recently started a romantic threesome with kale. On shopping trips we’ve always regarded it with a lot of curiosity. We’ve bought a packet of chopped curly several times ,experimented and tried adapting it to various Indian recipes made with greens and have been disappointed with the taste. Not being happy with the out come I’ve been searching for exciting ways to cook Kale. I stumbled on a brilliant idea while watching BBC’s Countryfile.  The idea isn’t mine unfortunately, it belongs to a chef in Somerset, originally from Andhra Pradesh in India, who runs a small cafe in Somerset called ‘Lungi Cafe’. He made crispy pakoras with freshly harvested locally grown Kale. I thought that it was a brilliant idea and would make Kale more palatable and sexy. I made Kale pakoras at home the other day and  it tasted awesome. A sinful way to including the healthy super food in our diet.

 

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 500 g packet of chopped curly kale
  • 2 cups gram flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds
  • a pinch of powdered asafoetida
  • a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • water as needed
  • salt to taste
  • oil for deep frying

 

How much will I make?

Enough to serve 4

How do I make it?

Wash, drain and pat dry the Kale. Mix together the gram flour, rice flour, chilli powder, ajwain, asafoetida, salt, pepper, turmeric powder and enough water to make a thick batter. The batter should be lump free and of the consistency to coat the kale evenly. Put the Kale in the batter and make sure it is coated evenly. Heat oil to 180 degree C and fry the kale in batches till the pakora is golden brown and cooked through. Serve with a sauce of your choice. We like it with tangy tamarind sauce.

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Home Grown Tomato Thokku (Chutney)

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Goodness me! It’s been a while since I posted anything on our blog. Life has taken over. Both Shiv and I have been busy at work and our writing has taken a back seat. We have been cooking a lot but have not been very good with posting our recipes lately.

I had a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer and what best way to celebrate the lot than to make a yummy South Indian Tomato chutney called Thokku. This is my mother -in-law’s recipe which I followed and believe me it was delicious and is a great accompaniment to idlis, dosais, chappathis and even curd rice.

What do I need to make it

  • 11/2 kg Tomatoes
  • 200g  Ginger cut into thin long pieces
  • 1/2 cup Sesame oil (you can use any vegetable oil but I prefer to use sesame or gingelly oil for its authentic flavour and because sesame oil is healthy and is called ‘Nalla Ennai’ or good oil in Tamil .
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 10 to 15 Curry leaves
  • 5 to 6 Whole dried red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander seeds (Dhania)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Approximately 1 kg of chutney.

How do I make it?

Wash tomatoes thoroughly and dry well. Chop the tomatoes into big chunks. Wash, peel and cut ginger into thin long pieces. Use a mortar and pestle to make  the coriander seeds into a  coarse powder. Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan. When the oil is heated add the mustard seeds, wait for them to splutter and then add the curry leaves, fenugreek seeds,the coarsely powdered coriander seeds and the whole dried red chillies . Stir this around for a minute or so . Now add the turmeric and chilli powders. Saute briefly and lower the heat so that the spices do not burn. Add the chopped tomatoes, sprinkle salt and let the tomatoes simmer gently and cook in their own juices. It will take a while for the tomatoes to break down and cook into a pulp leaving their skins. When the tomatoes have cooked down completely, add the finely chopped ginger. Cook on a low heat till you see the oil leaving the sides of the pan. Adjust seasoning and cool before transferring the chutney to jars. It keeps well for 2 to 3 weeks if refrigerated. Enjoy as an accompaniment to dosas, idlis, curd rice , chappathis or even as a sandwich spread.

Hara gobi masala (dry green cauliflower subji)

Cauliflower is one of our favourite vegetables and it cooks fairly quickly.   The following started off as an experiment and we are quite happy with the outcome so we thought we would share it with you.

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What do I need to make  it?

  • 1 medium cauliflower broken down into florets
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 tsp panch phoran
  • Pinch of asaefoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Paste ingredients
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 3 green chillies
    • 1″ piece of ginger peeled
    • Handful of fresh mint and coriander leaves
  • Powder ingredients
    • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Use a pestle and mortar to grind the powder ingredients to semi fine consistency and keep aside.   Next use the pestle and mortar to grind the paste ingredients to a coarse paste.   Heat ghee in a pan and add the panch phoran and asaefoetida – stir for a couple of minutes and then add sliced onions.   Continue stirring on medium heat till onions turn golden brown – add the paste and continue cooking on medium heat for five minutes.   Add the spice and turmeric powder to the mixture, stir for a minute before adding the cauliflower florets.   Sprinkle a 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook on a low heat till the cauliflower is done.   Serve as a sided dish with Indian bread of choice.

Coconut & coriander chutney

We have both been very quiet for the last few weeks as we have  gotten quite engrossed in our daily routines.   Hopefully we will get back into the habit of sharing recipes on a more frequent basis.   Apologies for the multiple posts today as we clear some of our back log.   The first recipe we would like to share with you is a simple accompaniment for dosai or idli.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup of fresh coconut – grated or pieces
  • 1 Thai red chillies
  • 1 small red onion or 2 sambhar onions
  • Handful fresh coriander with stalk
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Around 1 cup

How do I make it?

Place all the ingredients in a blender  with a little bit of water and grind to a coarse paste.  Transfer into a serving dish and enjoy:-)

Chestnut flour chocolate pancakes

We are surprised it has taken us this long to make a chocolate based pancake.   Having made these a few days ago, we are certain to make it again and potentially serve it as a dessert pancake with a classic Chantilly cream or vanilla ice cream.

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What do I need to make it?

 

  • 1 cup chestnut flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of an orange
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp coco powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp muscavado sugar
  • 50 gms chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter to cook

 

How many will I make?

Around 6 depending on size

How do I make it?

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl to make a semi thick batter.   Heat a pan with some butter and spoon in a ladle of batter- cook on both sides and enjoy hot on it’s own or with a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Samo semolina upma

Samo is a type of wild grass originating from tropical Asia.  In India seeds of this grass are consumed during festival fasting days. In Gujarati it is also called  “Moriyo”, in Marathi it is called ‘bhagar’ or “Vari cha Tandul” and the English equivalent is “sawa millet”.   We bought some samo semolina at an Asian grocer a few days back and made a gluten free upma using it.   Texture wise it it very close to wheat semolina upma and taste is not too dissimilar either.   We think this seed could be a very good gluten free substitute for semolina based dishes.

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What do I need to make it?

 

  • 1 cup of Samo semolina – dry roasted for five minutes
  • 1 cup of mixed corn and green peas (if frozen – microwave before use or par boil if fresh)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 3-4 green chillies slit
  • 1 preserved lime finely chopped
  • 1 tsp urad dahl
  • 1 tsp channa dahl
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • Handful curry leaves
  • Handful fresh mint and coriander chopped
  • Salt  to taste

 

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat ghee in a wok before adding mustard seeds.  Once they start spluttering, add the urad and channa dahl and fry till they start turning golden brown.   Add the ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida – stir for 30 seconds before adding the onions.   Cook on medium heat till the onions begin to change colour.   Add the vegetables, preserved lemon, chopped herbs and season to taste.   Pour in 2 cups of hot water from the kettle and bring to a boil.    Then add the samo semolina and keep stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick to the sides.   Continue cooking for 10 minutes or till all the water is absorbed.   Serve hot.