Sharing some of the pictures of the food that I cooked in my Kitchen in the recent past. It was a great time creating this art on my food and thought to go ahead and share it today and not wait for the recipe post to be written. It will follow eventually but until then do enjoy these pics.
It has been so much fun to create these recipes and each of these food moments was memorable. Trust you all too enjoyed these images as much as I loved creating them.
Hope all are keeping safe and enjoying healthy eating.
Every year we celebrate Ganpati festival for five days with lot of enthusiasm and excitement, Puja invites and festivities and Prasads and not to forget all the decking up in the traditional attire. However, this year it was a bit different. This year my Bappa was travelling with me to a very beautiful place in India.
The runner me had first heard of the Ladakh marathon in September 2018 when my running friends posted their race pictures. I was still recovering from a running injury and had been on a break from running for almost six months. To motivate myself to return to running and feel confident about it, I set my mind on doing the 2019 Ladakh Half Marathon race. So I registered for this race event as soon as the registration opened in March 2019, the race was in September. As Leh is at a higher altitude 3500+ meters and with low oxygen levels, we are required to reach there a week to 10 days in advance to acclimatize ourselves before the run. This was my reason to travel to Ladakh a week before my run and this is how my Bappa ended up traveling with me to Ladakh.
This in how I celebrated my Ganpati festival 2019 in Leh, Ladakh, a bit of a small scale festivity than every year. The Modaks and other Prasad as offerings to the Bappa are all homemade and were carried by me on the trip. I did get to see very big Ganpati Murtis and visit temples in other cities that I visited after my marathon event was over. It was a great time spent roaming around Ladakh, Bappa celebrations, and then more traveling to meet elders of the family. More about the Ladakh travels and picture sharing in the next blogs to follow.
Wishing you all a great day ahead, and thank you for stopping by.
Hello and regards to all my blogger friends and readers. After a long absence, it is finally time to return to blogging once more 😊. Before starting anything new I always seek the blessings of Bappa morya, hence this post starts with sharing some pics of the Ganpati Celebrations 2018 at my place.
Will be back with more posts, pictures, and my stories.
This is my entry for this weeks WPC-Liquid. These photographs are from my travel to Prague last year.
For me it is always a joyful experience to capture images of any water bodies that I come across. The play of the sunlight or the sunset on the surface of the water makes it an interesting subject to capture and one never tires of it.
For this photo challenge I am including pictures clicked from and near the Charles Bridge (famous landmark of Prague) of the Vltava river water that flows below.
I am happy to share here glimpses of my time spent on that Summer evening in such a beautiful place. Do let me know your thoughts about my entry for this photo challenge.
As I stood facing the river at one of the corner walls of the Buda Castle, (towards the Museum end) I got this beautiful left-side Panoramic view of the Danube river, the Pest side landmarks (on the other side of the river), the magnificent Chain Bridge that connects the Buda and Pest sides of what we know as Budapest, and hence thought of selecting this as my entry for the WPC-Corner.
For this week’s photo challenge I have selected pictures of the setting sun that I had captured from the beach of a hotel where my Jr. used to attend swimming coaching. As he attended his professional swimming coaching at this location and I waited for his coaching to get over, I have been privileged to enjoy many evening walks by the beach and see the most beautiful sunsets.
The view of the vast horizon and the setting sun with layers of varied colors, the gleam reflected on the sea water was breathtaking, and I had to freeze the moment in this image captured on my iPhone camera and posted here as my entry for this challenge.
This below picture is also from the same beach but clicked on a different day at different time.
Do share your thoughts about the pictures, looking forward to read them. Thanks.
This year the Ganpati festival was celebrated from the 25th to 29th August, we celebrate it for only five days at my place. Sharing with you all some pics from the festivity at home. It is the most happy time of the year for me, and it is a blessing to be able to celebrate the festival with all the traditional fanfare even when residing out of our home country.
I make all the prasad or Naivedyam for the Bappa at home, it is always a happy feeling to give homemade prasad to all the guests, friends, and visitors who visit our home for Bappas darshan during the five days. Also, it is a tradition in my house to eat food in banana leaves after the first day stapna and puja of the Bappa, this mother’s efforts to keep her kids connected to the traditions observed during the festivals.
Wishing you all have a blessed year. Ganpati Bappa Morya 🙂
Finally, after a very long Summer break, the schools here have reopened on the 10th of September. This reminded me to make this post of my regularly cooked recipe, the most preferred school lunch snacks/meals, read it as food that is readily welcomed by my fussy eater. To keep lunch box as healthy, nutritious and as well as filling, I always have preferred to pack different types of parathas or wraps or rolls as part of the afternoon meal, using the ingredient list that my kids like. Sharing today my Paneer Paratha recipe, one of the favorite food of my kids.
I use the fresh paneer for making the filling and the wholewheat flour dough for making the outer paratha coat. The parathas are made thin and medium-sized and ghee roasted to make them crisper. I don’t like very big and thicker parathas, keeping them medium and thin helps to control the portion size and one avoids eating in excess. One should use these simple and useful tips and watch the quantity intake of the food they eat at any given meal. It is a general tendency with all of us to eat in excess when one likes something or is eating a favorite food.
INGREDIENTS: For Paneer Filling:
Fresh Paneer (cottage cheese) : 300 gm
Onion: 1 Medium
Green chilies: 2-3 nos
Green Coriander: few leaves
Cumin : 1 Tsp
Salt & Pepper : To taste
Ghee/Cooking oil: As per taste preference
Dough: (Click the link for fulka to make the dough)
Wholewheat flour: 200 gm
Water: 100 ml (or as needed)
Note: Follow the above given recipe link to make the paratha dough.
Filling: Grate the paneer and keep in bowl. Finely chop the onion, green chilies and the coriander, and mix with paneer. Add the cumin as it is or use a coarsely, roasted powder. To make the cumin powder, dry roast the cumin and coarsely crush it using mortar and pestle or simply ground it using the rolling pin. Season the paneer with salt and pepper as per taste. One can also add chat masala powder if preferred.
Make the medium soft dough of the wheat flour, and use lemon-sized dough balls for making the parathas.
Roll the ball to make a small puri and fill 3 tbsp filling into this.
Hold the ends of the puri and giving a circular twist close it tightly and cut away the excess dough from top.
Dust this paneer-filled dough ball lightly in flour and then using a rolling pin roll it into a medium-to-thin paratha.
Heat a Tava or fry pan on the gas burner, put the paratha on the tava and cook on both sides.
Then using a tsp of ghee on both sides, roast it to make it crisp and golden. One can also use any cooking oil for roasting the parathas.
Serve the parathas as is or cut it into triangles using a pizza cutter and arrange on a plate as shown. Serve with any chutney or tomato ketchup as per preference.
Give this paratha a try in your kitchen to find out if you all like the taste. Happy cooking and eating homemade food.
For this week’s photo challenge: Textures, I have selected the photographs from my recent travel to Vienna.
Can you guess the picture seen below??
These pictures were clicked in the Palm House Schoenbrunn, Vienna.
The textures seen on this log of wood that was lying on the floor in one of the sections of the Palm house caught my eye and I had to click this beautiful image. The bark of the tree with areas covered with moss, the growing Mushroom, the dried and decayed part of the log, and the pebbles made it too fascinating to click and here I am sharing it with you all.
For me traveling to different places necessarily also includes tasting the local cuisine and getting to know the names of their food dishes. During my recent Budapest visit, one of the days we ate at the local street food restaurant and the sight and taste of their flatbread totally made me think of our very own Bhaturas. They called it Lángos, it is the Hungarian street food that is a deep-fried flat bread made using refined flour, yeast, water or milk. They also use potato and sour cream or yogurt to make this and the name changes accordingly.
Through this post I wished to highlight the similarities of the breads that go by different names in two different countries, which are geographically far away from each other. In North India we have our Bhaturas that are made using refined flour and yogurt (I make use of this). I have been observing this very fascinating food fact about breads in different countries that I have traveled so far. The basic ingredients of the breads is very much common around most parts. (You can check out my older post about the Georgian breadhere.)
Sharing my Bhatura recipe and also the pictures of the Hungarian street food from my recent travels.
Refined Flour: 250 gm
Sour curd: 100 ml
Ajwain/Carom seeds: 1 Tsp
Water: 100 ml
Salt: 1 Tsp
Cooking oil: for frying
Take the refined flour and add the salt and Ajwain to it and mix. Add the curd and mix well, we get a lumpy flour mix.
Using the water make a loose dough, it will be sticky. Use some oil to prevent it from sticking to the palm and make a round ball and keep this in the bowl and cover with kitchen towel. Keep this bowl in a warm place for 2-3 hours. For these bhaturas I do not keep the dough in warm place over night. I prefer the taste and flavor of the bhaturas with short leavening time. (had seen a north Indian friend keep the dough overnight and then made the bhaturas).
Note: (I prefer to make them a bit smaller than the regular bhaturas seen in restaurants as then I do not need to pour too much oil in the Kadai for frying. It is not a healthy habit to keep the leftover heated oil for reuse)
Heat cooking oil in a Kadai and deep fry the rolled out bhaturas until they become puffed up golden on both side. Pressing them with the fry ladle skimmer while frying in oil helps to puff them up.
These were served hot with spicy masala chole.
Sharing below pictures that I clicked of the Hungarian Lángos displayed in the restaurant in Budapest.
This plate of the bread with the chicken goulash was very tasty, very close to my cooking style and taste preference. We enjoyed tasting this new dish and loved our dinner at this Budapest restaurant that evening.
I hope you all liked this post as much as I loved cooking the bhaturas and writing and sharing the pictures with you all here.
Enjoy home cooking and eating with the family at the dinning table and create memories 🙂
My entry for this week’s photo challenge: Relax are a few photographs from my visit to the beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai, UAE.
I enjoy and always look forward to visiting the beach. Just standing on the beach in the sand near the waves that are lashing the feet, the feet sinking further into the sand with me completely engrossed looking out ahead at the vast stretches of the sea and the distant horizon, totally lost to the world around, the perfect moments that make me happy and totally relaxed. Dubai and also some other places in the UAE have amazing beaches and parks to visit to.
For this entry I have selected pictures from my visit to the open beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel, one of the most famous Dubai landmarks. It also has a long jogging track, a fantastic place to visit for walking or jogging on weekends or on any other day for that matter 🙂 if one stays nearby.
The memory goes back to the days during Diwali time when early mornings Mom would restrict our entry into the kitchen. It was quite intriguing as when one was not allowed to enter the Kitchen that was the time when the urgency to get something from the kitchen would surface. Every Diwali on the Narak Chaturthi day, the early morning bath day was how the day is remembered as, my mother would make these Anarsas, a Maharashtrian sweet that is made of rice and sugar. It is one of my favorites, and the preparation involves a very tedious/elaborate method, I had never attempted it in my kitchen until last year. Whenever I visit my mom’s house she has always made this for me and always packs this sweet for me to bring home. This was another reason to never attempt it before. But there always was the nagging reminder by my ever eager mind to start making it in my kitchen, finally this happened from last Diwali. Last April mom had visited me here in the UAE and she had made the Anarsa at home and explained me all the details of its preparation. Finally I think I now know how to make them, and hence posting this here to document it for anyone interested to learn and also for my own future reference 🙂 as well.
Anarsa, is one of the sweet items of the Diwali Faral or snacks in the Maharastrian menu. The ingredients used are rice, sugar, poppy seeds, and ghee or oil for deep frying. Anarsa when fried in ghee tastes very delicious, though one could also use oil. I have modified my mom’s original recipe a bit here. As the use of poppy seeds is banned here, I have substituted it with Semolina.
We have to soak the rice for three days, change the rice water every day, then drain it away after three days, pat dry the rice and powder it. The powdered rice is sieved to ensure we get very fine rice powder. This rice powder is then mixed with the powdered sugar, and the mixture is given a round ball shape and kept in an airtight container or box in the cupboard. We leave this for at least a day or more before making the Anarsa out of it, this mixture lasts for many days without getting spoilt. One can refrigerate this mix to last for a month or two too, but must be kept in airtight box.
Rice: 2 Bowl /Katori (200gm)
Sugar: 1 &3/4th Bowl (175gm)
Semolina: 2-3 Tbsp
Ghee/Oil: 250 gm
Milk: 1 Tbsp
Wash the rice and soak it in water for three days. Daily change the water of the soaked rice.
Drain the water at the end of the third day and dry the rice with a kitchen towel or tissue roll.
Grind this rice in a mixer to get fine powder, use the finest sieve to get fine rice powder.
Grind the sugar too to get a fine powder.
Mix the rice and sugar powders, use 1-2 drops of milk, only if required, to form a tight ball shape of this mixture. The milk is used just to bind the two powders together. One might not even require the milk as the rice powder is bit damp, hence use self discretion to decide whether to use milk.
Keep this powder dough ball in an air-tight container or box. Keep this for at least a day before using it to make the Anarsa. This mix would last for many days to months too if refrigerated and kept airtight.
After a day or two take out the powdered rice ball and break it in a bowl or plate. Mix it well, add 1 tbsp milk to it and make a stiff dough. Knead it well, use only few drops of milk at first and go on adding more drops only if required, but the dough should not be too soft. It will be sticky, use ghee to prevent it from sticking to hands.
Roll out the dough and cut equal sized portions of it and give them round shape.
Take each round ball and press it on semolina giving it a round shape.
Heat the ghee in Kadai on medium flame. Picking up the round-shaped Anarsa slip it semolina side up into the Kadai for frying.
We give support to the shape by holding a sieve type frying spoon under the Anarsa and by pushing the ghee over it using another frying spoon. This ensures the even color and cooking of the Anarsa. If the dough is bit loose then the shape is not retained while frying in the oil and the whole dough disintegrates, the spoon gives it support until it becomes firm and cooked. Keep the gas flame from medium-to-low while frying the anarsa, for the even cooking and color.
Fry the Anarsa till it is cooked and an even reddish color is attained.
Drain the fried anarsa on a kitchen tissue so that all the excess ghee/oil is soaked on it. Keep these fried goodies in airtight box and enjoy them as and when you wish to eat.
This recipe is learnt from my mother, have modified it according to the ingredients that are available for making it here. This is prepared as a Diwali sweet so it sure holds a special place in the Faral plate that we serve to family and guests. I had always felt my Diwali snacks as being incomplete until last year, as my favorite Anarsa would not be seen in the plate, but not anymore 🙂 .
These were the snacks that I had served to my friends during this Diwali, last month 🙂 . It includes Chivda, Besan Ladoo, Andhra rice chakli, mom’s special chakli, savory and sweet types of Shankarpale, Besan sev.
It feels good to share this Anarsa recipe with you all. Looking forward to hear your thoughts on the post.
Living in the UAE we residents are aware of the life during summer time, venturing outdoors is not a good idea with the scorching summer sun with very high temperatures and humidity levels. So, as the weather starts becoming more pleasant after the summer, the outdoor activities, picnics, long drives, camping activities take precedence. Dubai is one awesome place to live. New theme parks and lot other attractions get continuously added to your ‘to visit’ list, one always has a new location or place that is yet not visited. Recently a new theme park IMG world has opened and one more place has got added to our visit list. I first heard of the Al Qudra lakes a year back, almost all the radio stations and local newspapers were talking about this great camping or picnic location. With the daughter having already seen the place and me having seen a couple of her clicked pictures, this was one place that I had been longing to go.
This weekend the Friday went picnicking with friends in Zabeel park and on Saturday an impromptu plan (with my hubby)to take a picnic lunch to Al Qudra happened. Al Qudra lakes are man-made lakes in the middle of the Saih Al Salam desert. It is quiet far from my residence, but if you live in the UAE no distance is far, we enjoy our long drives. If the weather is cooler, then long drives are preferred to enjoy the desert, the lush greens around, the parks, the beaches, and the various places in other Emirates. For us Google maps were handy to reach the place, we follow Al Qudra road till the tar road ends at this roundabout (seen below) and we are at Al Qudra. The picture below was clicked by me seated in the car while we were returning back from the lakes. Al Qudra has a designated cycling track and we see lot of bikers along the way.
At this roundabout if we are coming straight we reach the Al Qudra Bike shop, and a coffee shop too is seen. After this point the tar road ends, the desert is visible all around with the sparse and dusty plantation. We have to take the mud road to reach the lakes. One needs to turn left from the bike shop and drive ahead into the desert, no sign boards were seen as to where the lakes were nor the lake was visible. The coffee shop guy guided us how to reach the lake-‘just follow the cars that are driving into the desert :).
NOTE: Except a few, all pictures are clicked by my husband on his DSLR Camera.
So we did follow a few cars that were ahead of us on the muddy stretch of the desert road that saw many cars driven over and became a distinctly defined road. Through bushes and zigzag drive one finally is brought in front of the vast stretch of water, few cars parked near lone trees that gave shade for families to picnic. We had reached our destination. I could see lot of new plantation, and am sure in coming years this place that looks quiet and deserted would be having a completely changed look. Living in the UAE one is used to the developments taking place around, the efforts of the government to make the place more greener. Lots of trees were seen planted, these would grow up to make it a more green surrounding.
Al Qudra Lake:
As we drove ahead from the start of the lake, we followed the lake and this is were it ended. All the trees lined far away, as seen above in the picture, gave a beautiful necklaced view.
The area is home to many species of birds, we too saw a couple of these beautiful winged beings. I had read an article of Gulf News that stated that it is home to 175 bird species, some of which are endangered and threatened species too.
This place is a perfect spot if one wishes to get lost in the wilderness, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, the traffic woes. Sitting and eating our lunch by the lake side, it was most tranquil moment and the only noise heard was of the birds chirping away. Yes, one is sure disturbed by the dust whenever a vehicle passed by from near, people drove to search the perfect picnic spot for them.
I have always enjoyed being in nature, did go out for bird watching nature walks as a school girl and hence I loved being in this place. The best picture that I liked from the couple that I have clicked is the one below, the bird footprints on the sand. One gets to see human footprint everywhere, but this lakeside sand was full of bird foot marks, rare sight for this city dweller.
We were fortunate to click pictures of a few of the winged beings in the lake waters, most of them were busy catching fish, the lake seemed to be abundant in fishes.
I have used Google to help me identify the names of the birds, not sure if I am correct in identifying all correctly.
After the lunch and strolling around to see the number of different types of birds that we could spot and click pictures, we finally left the place. It was around after 5 pm that we left and it was still light and the sun was yet to set. As there is no street light or electricity in the vicinity it is advisable to leave before it gets dark as there are high chances of getting lost. We were clueless on how to reach the tar road, and after some zigzag driving we spotted another lake that was full of swans and ducks and even black swans. It was indeed an oasis kinda feel, and this place sure was crowded with visitors. I wondered whether this was the actual lake or picnic destination or the one that we had spent time exploring. The lake was too crowded with these birds, I felt it was over crowded in fact! I clicked few pictures in my iPhone, sharing them below.
As seen in above picture, it was almost dusk and in no time the sun would go done so we left this lake and again took the help of Google maps to reach to the tar road(roundabout picture that is seen at the start of this post). We drove a couple minutes and were soon at this roundabout and followed the road home, waddling 🙂 our way through the weekend traffic!
Point to Note: This is a good place if one is seeking the tranquil wilderness of the desert outdoors with the lake water near and birds chirping around. It is good for camping and having a barbecue meal, I think I did see a family doing barbecue as we were driving around the lakeside searching for a shaded place to park and eat lunch. The trees are the only source of shade here in the afternoon, not enough shade if many visitors are visiting. And if one is looking out for a more fun and comfortable picnic spot with electricity and concrete structures around to provide shelter, then this is not the place.
I am hopeful to make another trip soon to see if we are lucky and can spot some more birds at the lake site. Hope you find this post helpful if you are planning a visit to the lake :).
It has been over a month and I have not stopped by here to write any new post. Well, I can call it my sabbatical from blogging, never meant to be away for this long :). I know I have missed out reading lot of awesome posts of my fellow bloggers, will be catching up reading them all for sure.
October is the birthday month, so this Libran was tied up with family and the Diwali festivities in the later part of the month. Being a foodie and one who loves cooking a variety of food, I thought ‘let me share’ my food journey here for this October month :). With the daughter visiting home for a couple of days, the days were well spent in pampering her by dishing out a couple of her favorite foods and all the new recipes on her mom’s blog that she missed out in tasting and relishing. This month also happen to be my late dad’s birthday month, a day when I cook all the favorite food and cherish the old memories.
I also made a chocolate cake with a gooey crumble base of ripe bananas, raisins, black currants, almond slices, and chocolate chips, the cake was plated upside down, sharing the picture below.
My birthday dinner was a special meal for me as it was cooked from scratch by my daughter, it was the best birthday gift received. I had a lovely day that saw me being chauffeured by her to the Mall for some retail therapy :), the day spent in receiving phone calls from loved ones and the birthday messages, a Pizza Hut takeaway lunch, with an evening when I received a lovely flower bouquet from the hubby and an equally amazing food cooked and served by my darling daughter. It was indeed a memorable birthday.
This Caramel Custard for dessert was also made from scratch by her, steamed cooked, and perfectly cooled and served, the best way to end this yum & memorable dinner. Post dinner I was given my birthday gifts too :). What more could one ask for, right? and hence I wished to share my memories with you all.
I cooked vegetable Masale Baath, mattha, Palak puris, Basundi, and mint yogurt chutney for lunch on Dussera day.
Birthdays are incomplete if not celebrated with friends, called them over for brunch, made couple dishes and baked the fresh strawberry muffins.
The weekend after Dussera I was finally able to go to the Last exit on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, it has the food-trucks stationed. It is a carnival kinda experience, the different fast food joint food trucks, the ultra sophisticated and huge locomotives with modern kitchen gadgets are stationed and cater to the foodies who drive down to this last exit just to have that outdoor experience. The whole area is lit up in lights and the headlights of the vehicles entering the area makes the whole place flooded with light. I did try capturing some clicks of the locomotives but it was impossible to get a picture without the visitors and hence not sharing here. To name a few of the food joints that have the trucks-Burger and Fries, Al Karak – their kheema paratha was yum but too oily for my families taste, Poco Loco- ate their Tacos, Cafe Di Roma, Urban Seafood, Burgerpit, Bigsmoke Burger etc.
Dubai Food Trucks
From here we next went to Boxpark, Dubai, another foodie location that has the Container boxes converted into restaurants.
We dined at Kuai Restaurant, a Chinese joint. Few pictures below from that place and the main course dishes that were ordered. They serve rice with each main course dish.
This month saw another outing with my girlfriends, a dinner at the Absolute Barbecue, Deira branch in Dubai. It is a grill buffet place where they serve barbecue on the table, they have live grills that are placed on the table that have slots to hold it, the veg or non veg food skewers are then placed on this. The waiters keep serving a variety of appetizers on the table, there are also other chaat and tawa counters, saw a Daal bati Churma counter too as well as the dessert counter that had a chocolate fondue fountain, assortments of sweet dishes from bengali sweets to french pastries to cheese cakes, fresh fruits, ice cream, gulab jamuns, rabri too. The main buffet has an array of dishes laid out with both veg and non veg foods, salads, bread etc. The different Indian breads like Naan, Tandoor roti, etc can be ordered and they serve it on the table. It is a good dinning experience, and one definitely needs a large appetite to enjoy the numerous dishes served. They charge 85/- dirham for one person on the weekends, with a little less on week nights. The weekend nights here in UAE are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I need to mention here the desserts and the crispy corn that was served on the Veg menu, it was great. They had fried ice cream too on the dessert menu, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is shaped as a ball, rolled in desiccated coconut and breadcrumb mixture and dipped in cornflour batter and then fried in hot oil till outer coat is golden. This fried ball is then drizzled with either a chocolate syrup or strawberry one.
They even have deep-fried watermelon triangles that is later dipped in sugar syrup as dessert on the menu, had seen it on an earlier visit to the place. Intriguing menu options, but definitely are not my choice. The whole idea of something that is extremely cold getting subjected to high heated oil is a big put off for me, but heard that these are the latest food trends offered in weddings too in India.
The last week finally was the much awaited festivity time, the Diwali celebrations. This year it turned out to be a week-long socializing and partying time with get-together, Diwali dinners and parties, a total foodie indulgence week for me. Celebrations and the Indian festivals all call for homemade delicacies, and keeping with all the rituals and traditions that I follow, it was a great time, happy time. The Indian festival Diwali, which is also known as the festival of light brings with it the colorful rangoli patterns adorning the front door, the puja room, the puja setups, the oil diyas and the scented tea lights being lit for all the five days of this festival. The apartment balcony too gets decked up in the colorful series of lights, the whole atmosphere is bright, colorful and joyful. One can identify the Indian houses from the lights that are lighted and series of light bulbs seen adorning the building balconies on the different floors.
I tried giving a few pebbles that were collected during my beach walk a new look, tried coloring them but the brush was old and though I was not satisfied with the finesse, but it did bring on a cheer to see the final result of an hour of painting. Buying of utensils is a custom on the first day of Diwali, I used the stones to decorate my purchase and placed it on the living room glass top coffee table.
Anarsa and Methi gota Prasad for Laxmipuja
This Diwali too I have made the Anarsa from scratch. This is my second attempt only at making this, the first being last Diwali :). It is a lengthy and laborious rice recipe, an Indian sweet that is made during this festival in Maharashtrian households.
The Diwali Faral includes the Chivda, Besan Ladoo, Sev, Namkeen para, Shakarpara, Jowar chakli, rice and sesame Andhra recipe chakli, and Anarsa (as seen in previous pic). It was a week long celebration with rich food either at home or at parties for at least one meal of the day.
Starting November I am already busy shedding out all the extra kilos gained during Diwali, back to fitness regime of daily walks. Eating and working out needs to be balanced, right!
Hope you all too had a great festive time with your loved ones. Life is always fantastic, one needs to grab the moments and make them memorable.
Traveling, for me, is to embark on a path that is unknown. Whenever I am traveling to a new place, the foodie in me is very much keen and interested to taste and experience the local cuisine from that region. Though I prefer mostly vegetarian food as I am not a very fond eater of lamb or red meat in particular, but am always keen to learn new region specific recipes, the family does enjoy eating non-veg food.
The Georgia tour package included plans of eating lunch on one of the days at the local farmers house, we had booked it in our itinerary with the tour operator, and ate the Georgian feast which is called as Supra, at his place. We went to the farmers house on the third day of our tour after starting the day visiting Gremi and the Nekresi monasteries. We had informed our tour guide of eating only chicken and hence meat or pork was not included in the lunch. Visiting the local farmer for lunch is part of the Georgian tour package, it gives us visitors a taste of the local homemade food and wine, get to know the local cuisine and customs associated. As it is a country famous for its wine, wine plays an important role in the local customs. As we reached our host Mr. Gavazi’s house, we were warmly welcomed by him and his gracious wife. They could not speak English, but I found them to be very friendly and a humble couple. The table was laid outside in the porch area of the house, had already been set when we reached with various dishes. The numerous plates were filled with lovely homemade dishes, fruits and salad vegetables all fresh produce from their farm. When my hubby needed some spice and asked for green chili, immediately the farmer plucked fresh chili from his yard.
I will share some pictures of the our Georgian feast- Supra 🙂
The table had all the homemade dishes, even the honey and cheese was homemade. The farmer’s wife had prepared all the dishes, and on our request only chicken was served as part of the non-veg dish and hence other meat is missing from this spread of dishes.
I loved tasting this dish, it was the first time I was tasting beetroot in this preparation. The onion in it was giving a nice crunch to the soft bite of the beetroot. It was a sweetish tangy taste.
This is the famous Georgian cheese called as Sulguni, used in many of the dishes including the national dish named as Khachapuri. It is salty to taste and bit elastic, crumbles easily. It was a bit too salty for my taste, not used to eating such salty homemade cheese :). I am used to eating homemade cottage cheese i.e. Paneer, it is without salt, unless we add salt to the milk before curdling it.
This is the kidney beans or Lobiani as they call it. The above dish is mashed up Lobia or beans with onions. It had the Georgian salt, was without chili, and hence we needed some spice and hubby asked for the green chili 🙂 .
Ajapsandali, as per the guide, hoping I have spelt it correct :). This tasted very much like out Indian Brinjal and tomato sabji. This was the Eggplant cut into long thin slice, fried and then cooked with onion and tomatoes with the Georgian salts and herbs. It tasted good, but yeah this too was not spicy.
This is also regularly eaten, as in most parts and one of my favorites, fried potatoes sprinkled with the Georgian salt.
Khachapuri is the national dish of Georgia. It is flatbread filled with cheese filling, Sulguni cheese is used. It is called with different names as per the filling, cheese either used as stuffing or as spread on top and the names given accordingly. If it is filled with Lobia it is called as Lobiani Khachapuri. This was more like our Indian flatbread- stuffed Naan, with a very cheesy tasting filling inside. It is a very rich dish.
This walnut filled Eggplant slices are served cold, and the walnut filling is so tasty, bit sharper in taste with the added salts and spices, it perfectly balances the bland and soft fried Aubergine slices. I liked this dish and am going to include in my home menus, memories of our tour :).
This is the regular bread that is a must with all the meals. We saw many bakeries making fresh bread and the locals taking home the daily supplies of bread. Do check out my post on the bread here.
I do not have to remind you all how the freshly from the farm fruits taste, directly on table from the trees, they were the best and very juicy. It was great feeling to eat this fresh a fruit after ages, here we are dependent on fruits sold in the supermarkets which are flown from all parts of the world 🙂 !
Fried chicken is the simple rotisserie style fry chicken, with the Georgian salts.
This homemade honey was quite thick and very granular, tasted more like an Indian sweet. It was the sweetest granular sugar syrup I felt :), but this was very tasty.
The below pictures show the different drinks served with the meal, homemade Georgian wines. Chacha is the local name of Vodka. You can check out my post on the visit to wine cellar here.
The wine plays a major role in the Supra. All the different types of wine, the red and white variety, and the Chacha and the Cognac were kept for tasting, but as I do not drink, it was left untouched.
We saw the farm after our lunch and saw the fresh tomatoes dangling on the plants in the farm. The green chili was freshly plucked for us upon our request for chili in the salad. It was interesting to note that for salad they keep the whole tomatoes and fruits in the plates on the table along with the knife to cut as per need and not served as cut salad. Our International travels expose us to the different and unique cultures of this world, the best form of gaining knowledge and interaction with other folks, don’t you agree!
I have learnt that the spice level in Georgian food is very mild compared to our daily Indian cooking. They use salts or spice paste called as Ajika, a mix of chili, garlic, herbs and spices in their cooking. We have to place an order for the spicy chutney or hot sauces separately with our dishes in the Restaurants, it is not served or kept on the table as in most other places. This was not known to us on the first day when we landed and ate our first lunch in Georgia. I purchased a hot sauce to add to our food, later the guide informed us that we can order the Ajika sauce that is spicy :).
This was the lunch that we ate that day, it was way too much for us to finish up all that was served in the table. The food was served in the many plates that are kept on the table, instead of big serving bowls. It was interesting to note the whole table was filled-up with plates full of the served dishes, serving plates, types of glasses, bottles of drinks, and bowls of honey and trays including the whole fruits and salad vegetables. We had a good hearty and tasty meal, the farmer was very friendly and was happily chatting and answering our queries, clicking pictures with us. Our guide was our translator 🙂 as the farmer could not speak English. The lady of the house was inside the house, she had just stepped out for sometime to greet us and then to bid us goodbye, but she was too sweet and soft spoken. The farmers mother too had greeted us and again went inside the house. I too had shared some dried fruits, Pistachios and the gulf region famous Dates with the family, who were happy to receive the Dates :). We finished up the lunch and then drank some black coffee, it was good.
After the lunch we visited the farmland that was in the adjacent plot and opposite to the house. He grew Strawberries, the best that I tasted, had Peaches laden trees, the grape vineyards, could see them with green unripe grape bunches. He had farm animals too-saw two fat pigs near the fence. He grew tomatoes, Eggplant, and potatoes too. Saw a bee-hive too. This farmer too had kept the wines bottles displayed for sale.
The farmers father was cleaning up the strawberry patch, he gave me few of the strawberries that he plucked from the plants, they were the best that I have eaten so far in my entire life. I have never before tasted strawberries this fresh, eaten directly plucked from the plants. The old man was very happy to share them with us.
This was our visit to the local farmer for a scrumptious Georgian lunch and to visit his farmland.The whole family works in the farm. This visit reminded me so much of my hubby’s late grandmother and our rural area visit in our hometown. Farmers are people who are self sufficient, living a simple and humble life, daily working very hard in their farmland. I had the privilege of visiting our grandmother’s rice fields and to live few days with her in the village, my most cherished memories of her.
I feel happy sharing here the pictures of the Georgian dishes that I ate during my travel, and hoping to hear your thoughts about this post. Wishing to see you visit here again 🙂 for my next posts.
In continuation with posting of the recipes from the Tandoori platter that I had cooked for lunch last week, sharing here the recipe of the baked chicken. (You can check picture and the recipe links at the end of this post)
I am very fond of Tandoori food and it is a favorite food at home, the meat or vegetable may change but the Indian spices used for marination always remain same. But my Jr was after me for a long time to make something that is grilled but not using the Indian spices. Having tasted the recipes using chicken breast in some fast-food joints here, I decided to use the home available ingredients and dish out something new for him. As I stock up on my dried herbs, I have an Italian herb mix that I had asked my hubby to bring for me during one of his tours to Rome. It is my most favorite herb mix, it gives the Marinara sauce that I make at home for my Pasta dishes the perfect taste. Sharing with you all what I made the other day and it was the most delicious baked chicken meat that I ate.
BAKED CHICKEN BREASTS
Chicken- 2 chicken Breasts
Garlic- 2 cloves
Olive oil- 2 Tbsp
Bread crumbs- 75 gm
(Readymade) Italian seasoning mix- 2 Tbsp
Grated Parmesan cheese- 2 Tbsp
Salt- To taste
Note: Ingredients of the Italian seasoning used were-dried Garlic, Tomato, Oregano, salt, Onion, Carrot and Celery.
In case you do not have readymade seasoning available, then you can make a homemade mix of dried Oregano, basil, red chili flakes, salt, pepper, and dried onions, and garlic. If dried garlic is not available then simply increase the garlic cloves used in the recipe to 3 or 4 in number, depending on the size of the cloves. We want to impart garlic flavor to the oil, but it should not be too strong.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.
Clean and wash the chicken and pat dry using a kitchen towel or tissue.
Poke the chicken flesh with a fork, this will enable the oil and herb marinade to penetrate inside.
Take a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and then add crushed garlic cloves and the herb mix and switch off the gas flame. One could also use butter instead of oil, but my choice is always olive oil.
Mix the bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese and a pinch or two of the herb mix. Season lightly with salt.
Apply the herb olive oil to the chicken meat, it should be rubbed well so that the flesh is drenched with the herb mix and oil. Leave it to marinate for 15-30 mins.
Note: (If in hurry to eat, bake it without marination time 🙂 )
Coat this herb oil drenched chicken flesh with the bread crumb mix.
Grease a baking dish with the herb oil and put the coated chicken breasts and let the dish then go into the oven for baking. Bake for 30-40 min.
The chicken should be turned once so that both sides are evenly baked. It takes around 30-40 min for the chicken to get cooked. Once it is cooked, I turned on the top grill function of the oven for giving the chicken surface a grilled appearance. Grill it for 10 mins so that the top coat of the bread crumbs get crispy and gave the bite the perfect crunch.
The chicken was well cooked, perfectly marinated, with crispy outer coat. I also baked few baby corns and carrot cuts along with it.
Go ahead and try out this Italian herb seasoned baked chicken dish from ashusktichen 🙂 .
Alternative to oven: In case one does not have an oven, then use a frying pan to cook the chicken. Heat the pan and add 1 Tbsp oil to it and let the chicken cook in the pan for sometime and then only turn. Later tossing and turning it from time to time gives it a crispy outer coat.
If you would like to check out other recipes from the Tandoori platter picture below, do click the links (in red) given to open the recipe posts.
Using the ingredients that are available at home one can always dish out something new and interesting with just a bit of motivation. Hope you all liked this simple chicken bake and would go ahead and give it a try. Happy Baking 🙂
Last week, as already mentioned in my earlier posts, I had made a tandoori platter for my lunch. It had lots of Tandoori prawns, Paneer, Ghongura prawns and also baked chicken breasts. A sudden snag in the laptop functioning resulted with me having to take a forced break from my writing and posting up the remaining tandoori posts. Finally, after a gap of couple days, the laptop snag is corrected and now it is functioning fine and here I am completing the few posts that were well due last week, yeah I had made a mental note of posting them :).
For this tandoori paneer recipe I used the cubes of paneer. I prefer to buy fresh paneer for making any dish, but always keep a packet or two of paneer in the freezer for those occasions when I get sudden urges of cooking paneer dishes and cannot go to the supermarket to buy. The packaged paneer cubes come handy when we are adding few cubes to a recipe, mixing vegetables and paneer, or adding few cubes to any potato filling etc. Keep paneer packet in the lower compartment of the refrigerator overnight, it gets thawed well. One can also empty the contents of the frozen paneer packet and keep on the kitchen platform for an hour or so and the cubes easily get thawed and can then be readily used for cooking. One could also use the thawing function of the Microwave for that matter, but I never go for this option.
This is yet another simple and a quick recipe. You need paneer cubes, lemon juice, whole soaked Kashmiri Chili and Tandoori masala for this recipe. In case the store bought masala is not available at home you can use a mix of red Chili powder, coriander powder, chaat masala, garam masala, and cumin powder. You can either make a paste of the soaked Kashmiri chili and dried masalas as I have done here or can simply use the dried masala mixed with oil and lemon. If you have Kashmiri chili powder you can add a teaspoon of it to the dried masala, lemon and oil and use it as the marinade. Sharing here the method in which I made a wet paste of the chili and masala and ground it to smooth in a Mixie pot.
Paneer cubes: 250 gms
Kashmiri Red Chili: 2 no
Tandoori masala powder: 2 Tbsp
Olive oil: 1 Tbsp
Salt: To taste
Turmeric: 1 Tsp
Note: You can use any cooking oil of choice.
Soak the Kashmiri red chili in hot water, they are easier to grind after soaking as they become soft.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C on the grill and oven setting.
Grind the Kashmiri chili along with the Tandoori masala powder, salt, lemon juice and some oil. Adding oil helps make a smooth paste and we can easily coat this paste on the paneer and keeps prevent paneer from drying up in the intense heat of the grill. Keep the marinated cubes in fridge for 30 min before grilling, you can avoid this if are in a hurry to eat. The marinated paneer cubes taste better if we allow the marinade to soak in.
Put the marinated paneer cubes in the preheated oven for 10- 15 minutes, tossing in between, so that all sides are grilled to perfection. The oven time depends upon the oven used at home, use self discretion, do not over grill the cubes as they toughen and then taste like rubber.
These paneer cubes were bit crisp on the outside and soft inside with the perfect blend of tandoori masalas, Yummy was my Jr’s comment!! 🙂
NOTE: In case you do not have a grill or oven at home, you can use a fry pan to cook the paneer. Heat the frying pan, add cooking oil of choice and put the marinated paneer cubes and cook on medium-to-slow flame, taking care not to burn them. Cook the cubes for only 10-15 min, turning/ tossing once so that both sides become crisp. Do not cook for long as the paneer will harden and become rubbery. (I have used smaller cubes and hence the time needed for grilling was less, and the grill/oven was already hot.)
SERVING: Serve the piping hot grilled paneer cubes with a mint yogurt chutney/dip. You can check out ashus Yogurt dip recipe in the Archives.
Greetings to all my readers and blogger friends, and hope the weekend is going great :). As mentioned yesterday in my earlier post Tandoori Gongura Prawns (recipe link), I am posting my next post of the Tandoori Prawns. This is yet another simple and a quick recipe. You need shrimps, lemon juice, Kashmiri Chili and Tandoori masala for this recipe. In case the store bought masala is not available at home you can use a mix of red Chili powder, coriander powder, chaat masala, garam masala, and cumin powder.
Prawns: 250 gms
Kashmiri Red Chili: 2 no
Tandoori masala powder: 3 Tbsp
Olive oil: 1 Tbsp
Salt: To taste
Turmeric: 1 Tsp
NOTE: The shrimps used are small-sized, increase the ingredient quantity if using bigger sized Prawns. The Tandoori dishes are red in color and I do not make use of artificial food colors in my dishes and the hence the use of Kashmiri chili imparts the prawns the perfect red color. I prefer to make my recipes as healthy and nutritious, and as well as yummy too 🙂 !
Soak the Kashmiri red chili in hot water, they are easier to grind after soaking as they become soft.
Wash, devein, and clean the shrimps and pat dry with kitchen towel or tissue.
Apply salt and turmeric.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C on the grill and oven setting.
Grind the Kashmiri chili along with the Tandoori masala powder, salt, lemon juice and some oil. Adding oil helps make a smooth paste and we can easily coat this paste on the shrimps. Oil does not make the shrimps dry when being grilled.
Do remember that shrimps have delicate flesh and hence do not need long grilling time, over grilling will result in burning and making them hard. Also do not keep them very close to the grill. Theintense heat dries up the prawns, and do note that hardened and dried up tandoori prawns do not taste good. Hence adding oil to the marinade prevents the flesh from drying.
Line the skewers with the marinated prawns and insert them in the preheated oven for 10 mins. After 10 min. check if they are done, and if not crisp on the outside then keep for another 5 minutes and remove. They are perfectly done in 10-15 min, the time depending upon the shrimp size and the oven grill used for grilling them.
Once done remove them from the skewers and serve hot.
NOTE: In case you do not have a griller at home, you can use a fry pan to cook the prawns. Heat the frying pan, add cooking oil of choice and put the marinated prawns and cook on medium to slow flame, taking care not to burn them. Turn them over so that they are cooked on both sides and crispy too. Enjoy the tava or pan fried Tandoori prawns along with a yogurt and mint dip or with thinly sliced tomato and onion salad.
SERVING OPTIONS: They can be served with a tomato and onion kachumber/salad. This is the salad of choice for a tandoori dish. Yogurt Mint dip is also a favorite choice.
For the other Tandoori recipes from ashuskitchen, click the link below: