Mirch Ka Salan – A Royal Delicacy

After my previous post Eggplant Sambhar, we continue to explore the food from Southern India and our next stop is Hyderabad. Hyderabadi cuisine, a princely legacy of Nizams (rulers) of Hyderabad, is an amalgamation of Mughal, Turkish, Arabic and even Persian cuisines while having a strong influence of the native Telgu and Marathwada culinary traditions.

In the olden days, the royals and elites would have extravagant banquets and weddings where multiple courses of food were prepared and served as a feast. Most Hyderbadi recipes include meat, Biryani being the most popular. What accompanies the Biryani is ‘Burani raita’ and  ‘Mirch Ka Salan’.

Mirch Ka Salan is a vegetarian delicacy from Hyderabad and is prepared from peanuts, coconut, sesame and coriander seeds. The complex flavours blended together result in a mouth watering gravy that will make you come back for more.

You don’t need a biryani to enjoy this delicious Salan. Last weekend I made Pulao for lunch and to spice things up, I served it with this Salan. It also tastes great with Lachha paranthas. Want to eat like a King? Read more

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Eggplant Sambhar – the Perfect Lentil Soup

Sambhar is quintessential to South-Indian cuisine. There are so many different ways to cook it and the taste also varies from state to state. Sambar can eaten with rice, idlis, dosas or utthapams. Or you can have a bowl on its own as a warm comforting soup.

Lentils boiled with vegetables are mixed with little tamarind for the sourness, few red chillies for the heat, made pungent with a pinch of hing,  infused with aroma of fresh  curry leaves, finished with a dash of sweet jaggery to even out the slight bitterness of mustard seeds and fenugreek – an explosion of flavours in your mouth!  Do you relish Sambhar? Read more

Bircher Muesli – the Swiss Breakfast

Even though I hate eating cereals for breakfast, one thing I can have without complaining is Bircher Muesli. Imagine the goodness of whole grains loaded with fibre, combined with fruits rich in vitamins and minerals, coated in yoghurt high in calcium and topped with nuts and seeds packed with Omega 3 fats – all in one bowl of breakfast, so tasty that you can have it for a dessert – that is the Blissful Bircher Muesli.

And now that you have fulfilled all your dietary requirements for the day with breakfast, you can indulge for the rest of the day!!!

Would like a dessert for breakfast? Read More

Dal Makhani Revealed

Dal Makhani- the most celebrated dal in Indian cuisine. Regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, everyone loves Dal Makhani.  Slow cooked lentils mixed with a tangy tomato sauce, seasoned with aromatic spices, made rich with fresh cream and butter – hmmm tastes heavenly!

Even wondered why the dal in the restaurant tastes so different from your dal at home? I did. The secret lies in the recipe and if you follow this recipe right, you can have Dal Bukhara served out of your own kitchen! Want to know the secret? Read more

Kapurthale ki Gobhi Adraki

If you come from India, you would have surely eaten Alu Gobhi countless number of times. It is a common dry or semi dry vegetable dish cooked with cauliflower, potatoes and Indian spices in a onion and tomato gravy.

However, the recipe I am going to share uses only 4 ingredients: cauliflower, potatoes, ginger and green chilli, and of course, some spice powders for seasoning. This recipe has come down to me from my Grandma, who we adorably called Nani Maa. She, like all grannies in the world, was an expert cook. She was the reason my Mum developed an interest in cooking which she then passed on to me. That’s how traditions get passed on in the family, from mother to daughter, and cooking is nothing less than a tradition!

The two key flavoring ingredients in this recipe are adrak (ginger) and kasoori methi (dried fenugreek). My Nani came from Kapurthala, a city in Punjab (India). So, I have named it ‘Kapurthale ki Gobhi Adraki’! Would like a trip to Kapurthala? Read More

Veggie Wrap – the Perfect Picnic Snack

With the holiday season on, everyone is busy planning picnics, get togethers and, of course, parties. I always struggle to plan a picnic menu as I do not like to eat cold food and most picnic spots do not have arrangements to heat food. So this time, I tried to think of a recipe that is quick, delicious enough for a picnic and tastes great even when cold.

One recipe that ticks all these boxes is the vegetable wrap – fresh and crunchy vegetables flavoured in a creamy dressing and wrapped in a tortilla. It can’t get simpler and healthier than this. No advance preparation is required and it is ready within minutes. The kids will also love the colours. I took these to my daughter’s ‘Toddler Christmas party’ and they were all gone within minutes. Got a picnic to pack? Read more

Suji Ka Halwa – for every celebration

Halwa is a traditional, pudding- like Indian dessert that can be made using different ingredients. Suji ka halwa is one that is made with semolina. It can be prepared within minutes and all you need is three ingredients: semolina, sugar and ghee.

In North India, it is a tradition to make something sweet on auspicious occasions such as festivals, birthdays or when starting something new. Halwa being so easy and quick is most commonly cooked and hence, it brings back beautiful memories of so many new beginnings and celebrations. There is one such amusing story that I have heard in my family: The Indian cricket team was playing their first World Cup Finals against the West Indies at the Lord’s Cricket Ground, London in June, 1983. When the match finished,  it was midnight back home. India had won the title. My Mum made halwa to celebrate!!! Got a reason to celebrate? Make halwa

Bread Pakoda – the rainy day snack

Bread Pakoda is a very popular Indian street food. It serves great as a weekend breakfast, or as a tea time snack or even as a starter for a dinner party. Bread is coated in gram flour batter seasoned with spices and then deep fried. The best part about this snack is that you don’t any advance preparation to make it and is ready in less than 10 minutes. Hence, it is perfect for those unexpected guests or for those hunger late afternoon pangs when you need something filling quickly. Kids also love it, so great for lunch boxes too!

In India, it is almost a ritual to have pakodas with tea on rainy, cold days.Why? Just another ‘khane ka bahana’ or ‘excuse to eat’:)

You got an excuse too? Read more

Pasta in Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato Sauce

Pasta is the staple food in traditional Italian cuisine. It comes in a number of shapes and varieties with 310 specific forms known. Pasta sauces vary in taste, color and texture. Simple sauces like pesto are ideal for long and thin strands of pasta while tomato sauce combines well with thicker pastas as it clings better onto the holes and cuts of short, tubular, twisted pastas.

Supermarkets have aisles filled with ready to use pasta sauce but these are generally full of preservatives. Also, nothing compares to a fresh home made pasta sauce. Slow roasted capsicums are blended with fresh tomatoes and crushed garlic, a dash of fruity olive oil and seasoned with oregano and ground pepper. The result is a vibrant red sauce bursting with flavour! Got your taste buds tickling? Read more

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