Category: Indian

GMT: Chicken do-piaza with a Twist!

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Achaari Paner

They are here!

.

..

My parents are here!

ūüôā

And that is why the absence from blogosphere.

And that is why I am posting GMT on a Wednesday, instead of the usual Tuesday.

Well, its the first time my parents are visiting me.

I was and am super excited about it!

They have been here in my house for only two days, and already the house is looking so much cleaner.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Atte ka Halwa

Yesterday was Janmashtami, a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, an avatar of the god Vishnu.

Sri Krishna taught us Karma Yoga. He strongly dictated in Gita that a man is bound to get the fruits of his actions. If he has done good actions/deeds throughout his life, he will get good results. Karma yoga is action (karma) performed without expectations or thought of reward. This selfless service of karma yoga is the path by which the mind is most quickly purified and its limits transcended.

Growing up as a Sikh, Janmashtami was just another holiday for me. But for V, a Hindu, its always been an important festival. His parents keep a fast the whole day on Janamasthami, only breaking it after offering prayers to Lord Krishna around midnight.

Though I did not keep a fast, I did not eat anything till I took a bath and first offered some food to the idol of Lord Krishna (I know that’s no feat but I thought I’ll mention it nonetheless ūüôā ). Sweets and desserts are the most preferred dishes for Janamashtami offerings, because Lord Krishna was known for his sweet tooth and generally some kind of kheer or Halwa is offered to him.

So, I took upon myself to make Halwa (pronounced hull-wa).

Halwa is a popular Indian dessert made from various kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains and lentils. If using fruits in Halwa, they are grated finely and fried in ghee and sugar. Nuts and milk may also be added. Halwas have the consistency of a very thick pudding.

My trials with halwa making haven’t been too great. In the past I have tried making Sooji Halwa (made from semolina), one of V’s favorite desserts. The first time was a disaster and the timing of it couldn’t have been more perfect (read about that disaster here). Of course now I have a failproof recipe for Sooji ka halwa.

This time I thought I would make halwa from whole wheat flour- atte ka halwa (atta/atte is the hindi word for whole wheat flour). Personally, I prefer the whole wheat one to the semolina one, probably because that was generally what my mom made and carries with it a lot of memories.

After my 10th standard exams, my dad got posted to Delhi. Now 10th and 12th are crucial years for Indian students- the Board exam years. So when my dad got posted to Jaisalmer, (Rajasthan) during my 12th standard, in the middle of the school year, my mom decided to stay back with me in Delhi, and join him after I was done with my exams.

Now, like me, my mom used to get lazy to cook elaborate meals with my dad not there. Plus, I was fine with eating easier to cook one dish meals like parantha, and rajma chawal. And for dessert, almost everyday, both she and I would have atte ka halwa. She would just make enough for the two of us, with each serving consisting of 5-6 bites. But she would make sure it was made properly, with no skimping on the amount of ghee. It was a thing my mom and I shared and I will always treasure those afternoons for the fun we used to have eating and enjoying the halwa she made.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Kakori Kebab and Lehsooni Naan plus Giveaway Winner Announced

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”

‚ÄĒ Julia Child

While we celebrated India’s birthday (our country has completed 64 years of Independence), the culinary world was celebrating the birthday of one of the most famous personalities where food is concerned- Julia Child. She is the most prominent figure in revolutionizing America’s culinary scene, bridging the gap between the home kitchen and the professional one. For Mrs. Child, mistakes were not the end of the world, just part of the game. I guess even the big boom in food blogging can be attributed to Julia Child and the admiration that one person had for Julia Child’s cookbook. Julie Powell’s Salon blog¬†may be¬†the first cook-through blog. And of course, the movie itself introduced a lot of people to the food blogging world.

We have a lot to thank Julia Child for. Mostly, gratitude is due for the inspiration she gave to us home cooks to follow our passion and not to give up on something we are passionate about. Julia Child began learning to cook when she was thirty-seven years old. That in itself should be a testimony to the fact : It’s never too late to follow your dreams!

Coming now to this week’s Garam Masala Tuesdays. I have two recipes for you and of course, the winner of my first Blogiversary Giveaway !

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Garam Masala Tuesdays & Guest Post for Ram Pyaari: Lotus Root Curry

The other day, when my friend Ram Pyaari asked me to do a guest post for her blog, I was more than thrilled.

Imagine, someone else wants my random blabbering on their blog, and that too, someone who is the author of an upcoming book (translation: knows what writing is all about, unlike me who just goes on and on in unwinding sentences, mostly boring people with my mundane housewife life.)

Yup, I was beyond thrilled. Of course, a few seconds later I had nervous sweat beeds all over my face.

If I am writing on a writer’s blog– I have to do a really good post. And there was this 50 kg load on my brain- and I was busy scouting for ideas that would result in an interesting blog post- worthy enough to be put on a writer’s blog. But then Ram Pyaari assured me its my random blabbering that she wants on her blog, along with a recipe of course.

Poor thing, what can I say, she really did ask for it!

So, there I was thinking what I could guest post about.

My first thought was to share my experience of the first thing I made at my in-laws place right after I got married- halwa!

What a disaster it was!

Luckily, my in-laws weren’t at home when the kitchen catastrophe happened and more luckily enough, their cook was, who came to my rescue and made a great halwa. I masqueraded that as mine and scored brownie points! Well, actually I did not. The honest-me could not take credit for someone else’s work and told them the truth. Well, we all had a good laugh. They liked that I made an effort in the kitchen, knowing very well I had not cooked at all before. Yup, I did score brownie points after all!

But, then today when I started writing the guest post, I wanted to write something else. Also, I had made this lotus root curry that I wanted to post about for Garam Masala Tuesdays. So, I scrapped the original plan and since Ram Pyaari’s book revolves around arranged marriages I thought I’ll tell my “arranged” marriage story today.

Head over to Ram Pyaari’s blog for the story !

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Aam Panna

The weather is really confusing. It gets  quite pleasant at night, but during the day its HOT and humid, making it impossible to do anything. And to have a house that has no AC, just swamp coolers to cool you off, the humidity can be your worst enemy.

And when, your husband’s office decides to choose this as the perfect time to not send your husband home for lunch, you become too lazy to cook anything.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Aloo Parantha (Indian flatbread stuffed with potatoes)

Aloo Paranthas, where I come from, are comfort food at its best.

Parantha is nothing but a flat bread. Its an unleavened dough made from whole wheat flour and cooked on a tawa/skillet. Paranthas can be made plain or stuffed and aloo (potato) is most popular when it comes to stuffing paranthas. Paranthas can be eaten  just like that, on their own, but a really good way to eat is to pair the paranthas with yogurt/curd and your favorite pickle.  Aloo paratha is a great one-dish meal for the family that can be served anytime of  the day!

The best paranthas that you will ever find are served in small shops on the roadsides, called dhabas. Some of the best ones I have had, were outside the GE call center (BPO) in Gurgaon, India. The first time I had a parantha there, was when I was an undergrad and my cousin and his¬† then girlfriend (now wife :)) took me and my brother out partying. After a fun night, my cousin took us to this dhaba for paranthas. Even at 2am the place was crowded with people. My cousin ordered aloo paranthas for us and after a brief wait, a small boy came with our plates of paranthas with a cube of melting butter on top. The parantha was huge and I was sure I would end up wasting it- but one bite and I could not stop myself. I had to really restrain myself to not order another. I did take a few more bites from my brother’s second parantha! Well, I could afford it then!

The second best I have had were when my senior sneaked us out from our hostel during my first year in undergrad and took us to a dhaba next to the IGI airport, Delhi. You should all know Delhi is not a safe place for woman, even during the day and at night time it gets worse. So there we were- just us girls out at 2 at night in a place that was full of scary truck drivers, waiting for our paranthas. And boy, were they worth it. I would still not recommend any girl to go their alone- it did not look like a safe place. But, if you have bodyguards with you, do pay this place a visit!

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Garam Masala Tuesdays (or not): Cucumber Raita & Naan Pizza

Ok, I know I have been slacking with GMT. I did not post last week because I had other posts to catch up on (by the way, there are still 2-3 recipes in my drafts!) And this week again I could not post on Tuesday.

Its not that I did not have anything to post- I did make Indian- of course I made Indian– its what we eat everyday! But, I just did not get time. I would have posted on Tuesday- but then I was busy the whole day baking three layers of cake and in the evening we went to watch the new and final movie in the Harry Potter series (can’t believe it has come to an end!). Wednesday morning I was busy decorating those cakes- it was my friend’s daughter’s first birthday and I offered to bake a cake for her. In the evening was the barbeque she was hosting for all of us. I thought I’ll post on Thursday but our internet decided to give problems and I had no connection most of the day. Amidst all this I was also dealing with an ant infestation inside our house. Today, finally I found the root of the problem and sprayed tons load of insecticide and put a layer of turmeric powder (my mom says that helps keep ants away) on the crack from where these ants are coming. I hope I have solved the problem but any other suggestion is welcome for future reference!

Not that you asked, but for those of you were interested to know why I did not post, now know!

Since I have been slacking with GMT and haven’t posted for a while, I thought I would post two recipes today instead of the usual one.

And, I do realize its not Tuesday but well, we don’t need Tuesday to make Indian now, do we?

And since its a weekend I am posting recipes that you can whip up in minutes and have the whole day left to relax and unwind with your family! Read the rest of this entry »

Garam Masala Tuesdays: Tokri/Katori Chaat Station

So, I had an awesome 4th of July weekend. We went to the Grand Canyon. Spent the night in Sedona. Had a day trip to Flagstaff. Watched a Bollywood movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. Saw Transformers: Dark Side of the moon. Weren’t too impressed by it. On our way back home, got caught in a major dust storm and thunder showers. Overall, a tiring but fun weekend.

The weekend started with a night out with my girlfriends.

Now, the thing about me is that I just can’t hold my alcohol. My drinking capacity on most days is just a glass of wine. On certain days its a little more. But, most of the days its just one glass. When my body is a little brave, I can hold in 2-3 glasses. But, some god-forsaken days, I try to be braver than usual. And those days are followed the next day by a very horrible, sickening feeling called a hangover! The girls’ night out was one such day- where not only was I braver than usual, I was trying to be smart as well and mixed my drinks! Now, mixing drinks is a no-no especially if you want to avoid really bad hangovers. But, that night I tried to act too smart with my alcohol. And like anyone who tries to act too smart but actually isn’t- I fell down real bad the next day.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Missi Roti

Last week I did not post on GMT. Not that I had no recipe. In fact I had cooked three different Indian dishes that could have potentially been blogged about. But, I was not able to take any pictures. And, then I sprained my ankle and could not cook for a while, thus, taking a break from cooking and blogging. But, I am back this week with Garam Masala Tuesdays (I know I am posting this a day late on a Wednesday but I could not post yesterday as I do not practice BUI- Blogging Under Influence- yes! it’s a term..well, actually I just made that up but I do think there should be such a term and I do think it is not safe to BUI- you never know what secrets come out!)

Anyway, yesterday, we installed Indian channels. Its been a year we have been here and we hadn’t subscribed to them earlier because I was never a fan of Hindi serials- they all start off well and then drag on, and I could never follow or understand them. So, we thought it might be pointless paying so much for these channels. But, for the last one month we had been contemplating giving these channels a chance. So yesterday when the guy installed the dish and I switched on the TV to a bollywood number on our TV, I was nostalgic like crazy. And there I was. On my sofa. A tear in my eye. Nope these weren’t tears of happiness. But me, missing my home, my country, my people, missing the senseless lyrics of Bollywood songs, the colorful dresses, the bargaining for a Rs.10 (20¬†¬Ę) hairband, the food, the crowded streets, the blaring music, the non stop horns for no reason- I started missing it all.

There are¬† a lot of things wrong with my country. I am aware. But, like every mother who knows his kid isn’t the perfect one and still loves him/her nonetheless, I love India. The country is imperfectly perfect for me. And like every mother who is away from her child, I too ache to be back in my own country. No matter how comfortable life is here in the US and the independence I have in running my house the way I like, I miss the crazy life of India. I really do. I have never been a person happy away from India. I experienced the same feeling when I stayed in Moscow for two years. I did enjoy myself there too but there was a part of me that craved India, and that craving in me is alive, now and always.

Another thing I miss about India, a feeling that I have bandied about on the blog before, is the food. And thanks to the small town we stay in I miss eating Indian food in restaurants or from roadside vendors even more! So, recently, when our friends from phoenix were over, we went to Tucson and had dinner at this Indian restaurant- Sher-e-Punjab and it was pretty good. Some of the dishes had seasoning issues but the flavors were bang on target for most dishes. (All ten of us, though, are pretty convinced that there was some mistake with our bill because we ordered a ton of things and the total came to be very affordable, bordering around the lines of really cheap food, especially since its Indian)

The one thing that all of us loved at Sher-e-Punjab were the missi rotis (an indian flatbread), served with butter. Even though some people had stuck to their usual order of rotis and naans, the 2-3 of us (like me) who did order missi roti, convinced the others to try them. And, they were glad that they did!

Missi roti, pronounced “Miss-ee Row-tee” is a staple in Punjabi homes and is basically roti prepared from besan or gram flour/chickpea flour. Served with a dollop of butter and accompanied with any Indian vegetable or lentil dish, missi rotis are an excellent way of sprucing up the proteins in your diet. Missi Roti can be served for breakfast with curd or pickle.¬†Missi Roti is good for diabetics too because of gram flour added to it as an ingredient. Gram flour is said to keep insulin levels in check!¬† Missi roti makes you very thirsty, so be prepared to drink a lot of water after eating it!

Traditionally Missi Roti made in the tandoor but at home I make it on the tawa (cast iron skillet). My mom adds pomegranatae seeds and is supposed to be key to the missi roti flavor. I did not have it, but if you do, for sure add pomegranate seeds (anar dana). You can also change the ratio of besan (gram flour) to whole wheat flour but accordingly change the amount of water you will require for kneading.

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