Thursday, November 01, 2007

The love of my life

Rushing along lifes tempest ways,
Fighting to keep a bobbing head up
Above the crowd, above the rut.
Never the time to think or give up.

Always defensive, always scared
Never to let the wrong one ensnare.
Feelings, emotions quickly, tightly locked
By pragmatisms everstrong hold.

But as a zephyr, in you gently blew
Unplanned, unknowing, unassuming.
While I wondered what to do,
You opened your eyes, flashing a toothless smile,
Your tiny fingers curled around mine
Flinging your baby arms as if trying to hug
I melted into the most love I've ever felt.
My darling angel, the love of my life
I promise to care and protect forever on.

PS: Vinodh you are 1 week and 2 days old today. You brought about so many changes in mamma, daddy, thatha, amamma and chinum's life in just these few days. Mamma never thought she could ever function for almost 10 days averaging on 4 hours of sleep a day everyday. But the truth of the matter is, she misses you even those 4 hours that she does. You have just filled everyone's life with so much love, happiness and hope and all of our lives revolve around you and only you now. Someday, someday you will be old enough to read this (who knows blogs maybe obsolete then) and understand that no matter how much mamma might yell at you for not doing your homework or coming home late, its only because I'm so protective of my precious gift--you. Love you always baby!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

35 lbs and counting

I love food- cooking, eating and everything else thereof but have always been a wee bit of a health nut. Ok maybe sometimes bordering obsessive compulsion, especially when it comes to working out and keeping fit. So the fact that now I'm just packing pound after glorious pound with no end in sight really, really frightens me.

Now dont get me wrong I love (or am learning to love) the fact that I'm going to be a mom very soon. But sometimes I'm just terrified and shocked by all the changes that have taken place over a very short time. I dont understand how people can still look at me barely standing up and hobbling my big belly around, and say "You are soooooooo tiny, I didn't even know you were pregnant". Yeah right, you think I was born walking like an over-blubberified, crippled penguin??

And then, its always refreshing to hear words of utter support from the people I love-- my sister, "YUCK, you're fat!", my husband, "You are beginning to walk like a fat person now", family friend, "Awwww, you look so round and chubby". Really, with family like mine who needs enemies.

Not to say that this stops me from eating...I still eat as much as I always did, ie, resumed after morning sickness. Actually, my little one seems to be a bit of a healthnut himself--all I ever really crave for is cherries, peaches, gongura-mamsum (sp?, a traditional spicy Andhra dish of sour greens and lamb) and the very rare candy bar. I dont ever binge but my doctor still tells me to watch the weight gain (2 checkups ago I'd gained 10lbs in a month!). What is a pregnant food-loving health nut to do?? Well, I do what I most often do when faced with a complicated situation-- eat some more and sleep it off. Been working just fine so far.

BUT now...thanks to my crazy raging hormones, I've been having these mad, wildly vivid and borderline illegal dreams. Its just nuts-- my husband, people from days past and just random strangers doing strange, very strange things. So crazy and realistic, that I had a VERY embarassing situation (which will be repeated to NO ONE ever-- one of the few things that will be buried with meself) during my last visit home. My mother insisted that I sleep on her bed so she was the first person that day to feel the baby's early morning gymnastics, what followed-- divulging no details...was horrifying enough for mom to crawl out of bed before she even felt the baby!!! And this (I read) is all supposed to be normal-- NUTS I tell you, nuts! This baby making business is just plain hard.

And thats not even counting the morning sickness. 4 months, of regular spewing or near spewing sessions. Barely enough energy to drive to work and once you're back home all you can do is crash. Definitely not easy, I now have new respect for my mom and all the other women of the world who have had kids...KUDOS to you all!

But you know, I have to admit that everytime we go in for an ultrasound and see our little kicker (he goes berserk when mama has icecream) squirming all over the place, in random zen positions, its worth it, every bit of it. You have to admire and really cannot deny the miracle that is the creation and development of a new life. At the 18 week ultrasound, we saw the baby's spinal cord and that was more beautiful than any Monet. Fascinating.

Then at the nail salon today, having to wait 45 mins because of a mix up in sign-in sheets put me in a horrible mood TILL this gorgeous little cherub comes in. His mom said he was a month shy of 1 and weighed 25 lbs-- yeah, the fattest cutest baby in the world! Off went my bad mood and I went to the department store next door and went crazy buying baby books-- I've decided to read to my baby pudding to improve his cognition. Roller coaster emotions of the pregnant woman, I tell ya.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pan seared Salmon with Cumin crust

I am a big fan of individually wrapped raw meat- its just convenient, saves room in the freezer (especially a tiny one like ours) without having to touch slimy cold flesh and washing hands a million times after (I get a tad OCD sanitizing after handling meat). So, when we saw this huge pack of individually wrapped wild catch Atlantic salmon fillets at Costco- it was a no brainer. And I had the perfect recipe for it, fragrant, crunchy and absolutely delish, this recipe is great by itself, with your favorite sauce or with a side salad. I served the fish with a parsley- chilli sauce that hubby liked just fine, but I found it masking the lovely flavors of the fish itself.

PS: The two baby tomatoes in the picture are the first from our garden-- had to show them off!

You will need:

1 tbsp each of dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano and red chilli flakes (or mild paprika for less heat)

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp sea salt

4 portions salmon fillet

1 tbsp vegetable oil


Combine dried herbs, garlic powder, cumin seeds and sea salt in small grinder till fine. Rub generously into the top (not the side with skin) of each salmon fillets.

Heat oil in large skillet and on low- medium heat cook the salmon, spice side down for 3-4 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking till the salmon is cooked to your liking. Avoid overcooking, dried up salmon is no fun.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tuna-Potato Cutlets with Peanut-ginger sauce

My sister and I have very different food tastes. Shes an only-fish-eating-vegetarian and yours truly will try any animal- be it vegetarian or not ;) at least once. Barring starkly different diet preferences, pleading requests for our favorite school meal (our fifteen minute break around 11am can hardly be considered lunch), tuna-potato cutlets, were competitively fervent. We would eat this for dinner, in-school snack, after-school snack, lunch and then again dinner till all of it was gone! We might have even had them for breakfast, if our mom hadnt made a morning ritual of shoving eggs and corn flakes in HOT milk (YUCKY SHUDDER!) down our throat. There was no way we would trade these decadent pieces of kid heaven for pizza, cookies or ANYTHING, even if they did last till break.
Although, there are a zillion ways to appropriately dress a potato for Jihva, I couldnt think of a better recipe for my very first!

You will need:

For Cutlet:
3 potatoes (boiled/microwaved and peeled)
2 6oz cans solid tuna in water (drained)
1 onion chopped
4 green chillies chopped
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 cup cilantro chopped
2 tsp of cumin seeds (powdered)
2 tsp of corriander seeds (powdered)
2 eggs (well beaten)
2 cups breadcrumbs
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For Peanut-ginger sauce:
2 tbsp unsalted, unbleached peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped ginger
3 red chillies
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt (or to taste)


Peanut sauce:
Blend all ingredients together till mixture becomes pourable.

In a medium sauce pan, fry tuna, onions and ginger-garlic paste in 1 tbsp of oil till golden brown. Add cumin and corriander powders. Add potatoes and mash into the tuna. Mix on heat for about 5 minutes. The potato-fish mixture should be of "workable" consistency, ie, you should be able to make homogenous balls that dont crumble. If the mixture seems a crumbly and like it wouldnt hold together, add water till it assumes appropriate consistency. Add cilantro, mix and cool mixture. Once the mixture is cool, make oblong (about 4 cm long and 3 cm wide) balls (cutlet) and press gently to slighly flatten. Dip each cutlet into beaten egg and cover with breadcrumbs. Shallow fry in remaning oil till golden brown. Serve warm with peanut ginger sauce

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Chocolate mousse and Valentine's Day

The past February the 14th was our first Valentine's day. My husband is not romantic and meself is jaded into a cynic. Nonetheless, our being hitched for life warranted a semi-brokeworthy splurge into this oh so commercialized celebration. Hubby got me a basket full of flowers, chocolate and a diamond studded ring, all handed over at my work parking lot in the romantic confines of his car (swooooooon!). Later, he fixed us a fancy dinner- Greek Flank Steak, chicken kebabs, baked potatoes and olive bread and we spent the rest of the evening sprawled on the couch eating dessert and watching back to back episodes of Law and Order SVU. Just my idea of perfect! Dessert was this liquor-infused, classic Valentine - Chocolate mousse layered with coffee-raspberry liquor soaked cake and strawberries. If the name isnt enough to take your breath away, just try it...

For Chocolate Mousse:

1 cup of chocolate chips (I used well chopped Ghirardelli 100% cocoa chocolate bar)
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

For liquored cake layers
4 slices store bought butter pound cake
2 tbsps raspberry liquor
2 tbsps coffee liquor

1 cup sliced strawberries


Place chocolate chips, egg and vanilla in blender and chop. Heat cream until hot and small bubbles appear on the side (don't boil). With blender running pour in hot cream. Blend until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Just prior to serving pour raspberry liquor over 2 slices of pound cake and coffee liquor over remaining cake slices.

Layer cake, strawberries and chilled mousse in alternating layers in tall glasses. Serve.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Orange bowknots

We got this recipe book from B&N the other day, and it has to be the coolest ever! Its a compilation of Better Home and Garden's Test Kitchen Favorites from the '30s-'90s, with excerpts and write ups from every decade. I've been dreaming of trying the recipe for "feather-light Orange Bowknots-you'll be voted best cook in town" ever since I laid eyes on it. The only catch was that I've never baked bread or rolls before, and remembering what a process it was for my mom...I didn't look forward to it. But the method seemed easy enough and I took my time with everything making sure I stuck to instructions to the T (making slight modifications of course). Ohhhhh and were they perfect- everything I hoped for (unlike most candidates of the male gender-hmph). Mildly citrusy and melt-in-the-mouth softness...purrrrfect! If you are the kind of person who fills up with dinner rolls before the main course, you are sure to love these beauties.

You will need:

5 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 package active yeast
1 1/4 cups milk (I used skim)
1/2 cup butter, margarine of shortening (I used Land O' Lakes Light butter)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsps finely shredded orange peel
1/4 cup orange juice

For orange icing:

1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 1/2 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange peel

In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast; set aside. In a saucepan heat and stir the milk, butter, sugar and salt till the butter almost melts. Add to flour along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the shredded orange peel, orange juice, and as much of the remaining flour as you can (3 cups for me).

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (10 minutes). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 hour).

Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cover baking sheets with aluminium wrap and grease lightly; set aside.

Roll each half of dough into a 12 X 7 inch rectangle. Cut each rectange into twelve 7 inch long strips. Tie each strip into a loose knot. Place knots 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (30 minutes).

Bake in a 400F over for 12 minutes or until golden. Immediately remove from baking sheets. Cool on wire racks. Drizzle with Orange Icing. Makes 24.

For Orange icing:

Ina small bowl stir together sugar, peel and juice to make icing for drizzle consistency.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Buckwheat Crepes with Maple Syrup Bananas

I'm not a night person for that matter I dont even think I'm a morning person, I'm just a sleep person. Let me sleep from 8pm to 11am and I'll still have trouble waking up. Ergo, any and every incentive I get to rise and shine, I will take. A delicious breakfast usually goes a long way, the smell of dosas on the griddle, sambar and chutney, coffee... for more reasons than one it has to be my favorite meal, period. That's why The perfect start to your day Brunch by Simone Lloyd was a must buy. Having a ton of bananas and buckwheat flour lying around, I thought of trying out this recipe, and man oh man, was this yummy! The slight crunch and coarseness of the crepes beautifully complemented warm, sweet, mushy and slightly tangy bananas (and I don't even like the fruit!). This was as great a morning buzz as I could ever want.

You will need
1/3 heaped cup of buckwheat flour
1/3 heaped cup of all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp margarine
For maple syrup bananas
3tbsp margarine
3tbsp maple syrup
2 bananas thickly sliced diagonally
Sift both types of flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg, milk and water. Using a whisk, gradually mix the flour into the liquid ingredients, whisking well to get rid of any lumps, until you have a smooth batter.
Melt 2 tbsp of margarine in a small pan and stir into batter. Cover the bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.
Melt half of the remaining margarine in medium sized skillet. When skillet is hot, pour in enough batter to make a thin crepe (I used one rounded spoonful), swirling the skillet to make an even layer.
Cook one side until lightly browned, then using a spatula, turn over and cook the other side. Slide onto a warmed plate and cover with foil while you cook the remaining crepes, adding more margarine when needed.
Maple Syrup bananas
In a small saucepan, melt margarine and pour in maple syrup. Soon after, add bananas and cook for about 5 minutes or until the bananas have just softened and sauce has caramelized. To serve, fold crepes in half and then top with bananas.
Melt a little margarine

Grandma's weekend Egg Special

A quick glance at caller id.

Me: Hi ma!
Mamma: Hi baby, how are you?
Me: Good ma, what are you doing?
Mm: I'm at work, just going for lunch.
Me: mmm...what's for lunch?
Mm: I made grandma's egg curry, pappu (lentil gravy) and rice.
Me: Wow! Ma I want some!!
Mm: It's so easy. Just fry 2 big onions and chillies (about 2 slit lengthwise). When onions carmelize add tomato and karam (chilli powder), one tomato for 2 onions. When tomatoes are cooked and you see oil seperating, add boiled eggs, you know, with slits on the sides. Mix well, but be careful with the eggs. In the end add 2-3 more chillies (slit), chopped kothimir (cilantro), and curry leaves. Make some rice in the cooker and eat hot hot.
Me: Oooo. I'll make it as soon as I get home! I'll tell you how it goes.
Mm: Ok baby, I have to go, I'll talk to you later.
Me: Ok ma, bye!


It's sad the number of posts I throw away because the pictures don't turn out right. In spite of faulty pixels I have to share the recipe for Pappu (Telugu)/Parappu (Tamil)/Dal (Hindi)/Lentil gravy. It is a staple in Indian households irrespective of economic stratification. And for me nothing satiates better than a nice bowl of rice drowning in pappu, with a small mound of pickle or in this case, egg curry. I use my dad's recipe which is different from the traditional in that it has no turmeric or chilli powder but does have a touch of ginger-garlic paste lending a beautiful aroma.

You will need:

1/2 cup of onions (sliced)
1/2 cup of tomatoes (chopped)
1 cup of masoor dal (or any thin disc shaped lentil would do)
6 cups of water
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp each of cumin and mustard seeds (for tempering)
A few curry leaves (optional)
1 tsp vegetable oil
Boil or pressure cook lentil, onion, tomato, ginger-garlic paste with water till lentil is soft and mushy. If using a pressure cooker, cook sealed for about 20 minutes on medium high heat.
In a shallow pan heat oil and add cumin and mustard seeds. Wait till mustard seeds start and stop spluttering. Add curry leaves to pan. Add this "tempering" mixture to cooked lentils. Serve hot with rice or chapatis.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Radiotoni (pasta) tossed with Beef and Red pepper

Hidden under a shroud of modesty or just plain lethargy are my husbands excellent cooking skills. His steak meal, courtesy our humble backyard grill, could put the best of the best to shame. In less than a mere 40 minutes he can put together a couple of perfectly seasoned NY strips (medium well- just the way I like 'em), crusty fluff centered baked potatoes, grilled vegetables, garlic toast AND do the dishes. Yeah, the man is definitely culinarily adept. But he doesnt do it often enough, and when he does he doesnt wait to be asked. This recipe is the outcome of one such event. I was working in the study when I heard all sorts of clanking in the kitchen and on checking, saw pasta in a pot of boiling water and hubby completely absorbed in mashing something in a metal bowl. He has had no formal training in cooking and doubt (very unlike moi) has ever watched a single Food Network show, so his techniques and methods are unique but I can vouch that the outcomes are consistently YUM. If only I can convince him to do it more often :).
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Radiotoni tossed with Beef and Red pepper Ala Selvin!

You will need:
1 lb Radiotoni (or any other non stringy pasta)
1 lb extra lean ground beef (can substitute with turkey)
1 tomato chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1-2 garlic cloves finely minced
1 tsp Lawry's garlic pepper seasoning
1 jar Trader Joe's pasta sauce
Olive oil about 2 tbsp.

-Boil water and cook pasta as per box directions. Ours took almost 25 minutes to cook to dente.
-Meanwhile, mix ground beef with garlic pepper well and let stand for 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes to beef mixture.
-Heat medium nonstick saucepan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook beef-tomato mixture. Add garlic and salt to taste. When the meat is no longer pink add pasta sauce and let simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
-While this is happening, drain pasta making sure it is cooked.
-In a seperate pan sautee red pepper with olive oil till soft and cooked.
-Add pasta and cooked red pepper to beef-tomato sauce. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil and mix together. Let simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Top 3 Pet Peeves

3. English words in a Tamil song: When will my people realize that English rap and hip hop are best left out of Indian songs. The "yo-yo" and "whatzzup" dont have the same American street slang effect when sung in an accent soaked like a Vada in Sambar. For instance, in one of the new chartbusters is the word, Mobile made to sound like mo-bbiile-ahh. Further wince worthy is the current experimentation of interspersing Tamil with Spanish lyrics-- as if English wasnt bad enough!! Definitely NOT music to my ears.

2. Public Smoking: This has to be the most disgusting personal habit ever. Smoking in the privacy of ones home is fine, but NOT in already claustrophobic public shacks. Uncontrolled drinking or drugs pale in comparison if not for anything else but for their lack of being more dangerous, passively. I can't think of any other compulsion that is more deterimental for those NOT involved... other than ...maybe spitting (how did I come up with this, lets just say, my cousins and I were very much feared). But of course, this isn't socially acceptable and people are not given allowances of their work time for a nice relaxing spew-- then why for smoke??

1. Idiot drivers in Phoenix, Arizona: I hate these people with a vengeance. They're the most rude, ungrateful, cranky, slowpoke pains in all the wrong places on the face of the planet. People don't thank you for letting them in front of you, they hog roads driving side by side at 15 mph on a 45 mph limit road, they dangerously cut you off and drive at 15 mph in FRONT of you, they drive speaking on their cellphones with their head cocked 90 degrees to the side, they have to FACE their passenger when talking to them, they drive beat up trucks with all sorts of random crap flying out and sometimes on the very rare occassion (much to the relief other road occupants) the pickup will move at the 45 mph speed limit, a fact that the kids hanging from the sides of the open back don't seem to appreciate too much.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Donut fritters

Its Saturday evening. Hubby and I are driving around, running random errands at the same time recuperating from the events of our respective schedules. He from a busy day at work and myself, like a good docile desi wife, housecleaning. And then, as if a test of endurance, Fate lodged a nail snug in the warm comfort of our car's front right tire which we notice in the Indian store's micro parking lot. Ever so optimistic hubby, assures me that it is only a 15 minute impediment, but adding the reality multiplicative factor turned it to almost an hour plus semi-chilly weather. Not letting this minor hitch deter us, we completed ALL our chores for the day EXCEPT my favorite, dinner. It was almost 9.30pm and we were starving, so with little thought our resolve of eating a healthy home cooked meal was flung out the window.

Comfortably seated at the local TGIF, waiting on our food, we browsed through the dessert menu. And what do we have here... donuts! Not the glazed ones, not the jammy ones, not even my favorite custard filled Boston cream. Just plain cake donuts, the kind (I soon found out) both our mom's used to make growing up. Theres something strangely comforting in the thought that hubby and I share nostalgia inspite of growing up on opposite ends of the globe! Bonding over food is beautiful as bonding gets...famous words, will be surprised if I don't kill myself overeating at this rate. Anyhow, the next day, I just had to try my hand at donuts. Of course I don't have the 3 hours my mom would take, on a good Sunday I might have one sixth of that! So, I hunted and found a fritter recipe that I saw Giada once make--Zeppole. Now , this is nothing like the real deal but with sufficient manipulation, a dash of nutmeg and a sprinkle of sugar, it was a soft, mushy and more importantly hasty mamma's-donut-craving-satiator!

You will need:

1 stick of butter
3 tbsps of sugar
1 cup of water
1 cup of flour
4 eggs
2 tsps of powdered nutmeg
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
Sugar for sprinkling over fritters
Oil for deep frying


Bring butter, 3 tbsps of sugar and water to boil in a saucepan on medium heat. Remove from heat and add flour. Mix till a ball is formed, if this doesn't happen bring heat saucepan till a ball is formed. Transform this dough ball into a bowl, add one egg at a time and mix till completely incorporated into the dough (now slowly becoming batter). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till ready to fry.
In a seperate pan heat oil in medium heat. Oil is ready when the tiniest bit of batter dropped in rises to the top. Once warmed up, drop spoonfuls of batter into oil. Turn over fritters once or twice till golden brown. Remove fritters, drain out excess oil and sprinkle with sugar while still warm. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sesame Wasabe crusted Tuna

There is this real quaint family owned restaurant near where we live. It almost looks like a run down old outhouse till you catch a glimpse of the sign fighting nested creepers and vines that reads in cartoon letters akin to fallen tree trunks, Amano's. Having been there a few times before hubby highly recommended it, although he warned that sometimes they run out of food, but whatever they do have is usually very good. With that in mind, we parked and walked in, albeit a little apprehensive about the stability of the edifice. Inside, we were greeted by warm orange and yellow decor belying the southwestern landscaping outside and taking on the feel of a little Italian bistro. Lucky for us that day, they hadn't run out of any food. Not that I would mind even if they had, I can never make up my mind and a dearth would only help making my decision easier. Nonetheless, I'd settled on their fish dish, the exact name of which escapes me, but it was basically wasabi and sesame crusted tuna, which almost tasted like sushi. For best results and to make it sushi-ish, tuna should be eaten rare but you can cook it for longer if you really really want (or have) to.

You will need:

1- 8 oz Ahi Tuna steak (enough to feed 2)

1 tsp of wasabi (less if you can't handle it)

1 tsp Vegetable oil

1 tsp Kikkoman soy sauce

1/2 cup of roasted or black sesame seeds

Salt to taste


Rinse the tuna steak and slice into 2 halves. In a bowl mix vegetable oil, soy sauce and wasabi to get a homogenized mixture. Dip the tuna halves into soy-wasabi mixture and then coat generously with sesame seeds. Wrap each half in foil and throw on a grill preheated to high for about 5 minutes on each side. Unwrap, slice and serve over salad or with sushi rice and gari.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cumin-Mustard Crusted Baby Potatoes

I've come to the realization that I know more potato recipes than can possibly be healthy. But what the hell, I'm Indian (conveniently blame my roots) and we love our starch-- Atkins wouldn't survive a second in our society. A Telugu roommate from college used to make this HOT stir fry. The right way to eat this, is to press open the crusty coating of each baby potato till the fluffy cottony insides burst out and then, mush it into rice (more starch, naturally) drowned in Rasam. Rasam is this tangy, tempered soup made of pepper, tamarind, and tomatoes. My mom makes the best Tomato Rasam, ever and I really should get the recipe at some point, but for now I cheat and use MTR's ready made mix. Back to the potatoes, it obviously isnt compulsory to have Rasam, these potatoes make a nice side to just about any meal, Indian or not, what does not go well with pomme de terre...hellllooo! :)

You will need:

1lb baby potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp chilli powder (or less depending on taste)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish


Pour oil into pan on high heat. Quickly add mustard and cumin seeds and heat till they start and finish popping. Reduce to medium heat. Add chilli powder, immediately followed by the potatoes. Sprinkle salt and toss potatoes around till they are golden brown. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Molten Chocolate Lava cake

Just plain chocolate does nothing for me. The most exclusive, decadent creamy, filled droplets of truffle heaven could beckon less. But starchy, gooey, chocolate goodness in forms of brownies, double chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chunk cookies (Clear Flour bakery in Boston, miss you!), cake, yuuuummmmm.
Well, if truffles are heaven this recipe is just pure sin. And if you make sure you dont overcook it, you will have a deliciously perfect viscous end to a special dinner.

You will need:

5 large eggs, plus 5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
1 3/4 stick of butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
8 ramekins, buttered


Preheat oven to 350 F.
Beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (with an electric hand held mixer) till pale yellow (approx 10-15 mins).
Put chocolate and butter on top of a double boiler set over simmering NOT boiling water. Melt gently, stirring frequently. Remove the top pan with chocolate from heat. Add small amount of egg and sugar mixture, mix well till completely incorporated. Add the rest of egg mixture and mix well. Sift flour and cocoa into bowl and gently fold it in to chocolate and egg mixture until just mixed.
Stand the prepared ramekins in a roasting pan to stabilize them and spoon mixture into them. Mixture should be just below the rim.
Bake on middle shelf for 10-12 mins (if on higher altitude 17 mins). A simple test is that the top of the ramekins should be just firm. Avoid over cooking.
Run a round bladed knife around the inside of each ramekin to loosen the desserts, then carefully turn them out onto individual plates. Dust with cocoa powder and serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2006, in a nutshell

I need to catch up on my food blogging soon, I have loads of pictures and recipes that are itching their upload. But 2006, filled with evenly distributed mini explosions of unanticipated changes, deserves an apt postlude. So in the true spirit of Bridget Jones, here goes:


1 perfect 25th birthday.
1 amazing dream school Phd offer.

1 not so dreamy, long dying relationship buried.
1 loss of a best friend.

1 all expense paid NYC trip.
1 very expensive India trip.

1 and only living grandmother lost.
1 helpless fortnight lying by her death bed.

1 responsible, steadfast, non-commitment-phobe man.
1 proposal in one month.
1 PhD deferral.
1 engagement.
1 wedding.
3 inherited nephews.
2 inherited dogs.

1 massive cross country move.
1 huuuuge home (>1 bdrm).
1 whole lifestyle change.

1 activities buddy.
1 grand canyon hike.

1 major career change decision.
1 whole year ahead.