HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wishing you all a very wonderful 2017!!
I woke up on NYE, reflecting on how it was a wonderful 2016.
When I say wonderful, it was, with some complexity. It had its ups and downs. And when I say wonderful, I meant that I chose to focus on the wonderful things. I tried to focus on the positive things. I learnt how to heal myself and look at what I had in front of me. I learnt that there’s no right way of life, no right way of living, or a perfect life. Perfection is a perception. It’s what we make of it.
Indian food is quite simple, and this is a recipe which shows just that.
The vibrant, intensely colorful Indian food has found its way into many hearts. However, I do hear very commonly that “the spices are overwhelming.” I completely agree, especially for someone who is completely new to the array of spices Indian food has to offer, although it is not really too hard. In fact, I do tell many that you can always create an Indian flavored dish with ingredients you already have at home. It’s that simple.
I don’t exactly remember the first time I had it, but I do remember who taught me to make it. After that, I’ve never stopped. The best thing about this recipe is that you can use the spice mix for many vegetables: stuffed potato, stuffed cauliflower, stuffed bitter gourd, or you could even toss the spice mix in a beans curry! It’s all so good. This is a basic recipe, and a very popular one.
I definitely try to hold on to every part of Indian culinary culture I’ve learnt, and try to simplify it so that it’s attainable. I definitely think you’ll agree that this is one of the simpler recipes that’s still so authentic. I really hope you get to try it out.
Baked Okra stuffed with Spiced Peanut Mix
- 3 tbsp peanuts roasted and coarsely powdered
- ⅓ cup chickpea flour
- ⅓ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- ⅓ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp sugar(optional)
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- Bake at 400 degree for 20 minutes
- Prep the okra by wiping it with a damp cloth and trim off the ends and the top and set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing mix and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Slit the okra/bhindi in the middle but not fully, it still needs to hold it's shape. Stuff 1 tsp of the mixture in the middle and line all in a baking tray.
- Lower the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees.
- Drizzle oil evenly over the okra and bake them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the okra is completely cooked.
- Serve it with rotis or soak them in yogurt and serve it with some rice.
This spice mix c an be stored in a bottle in the refrigerator for upto 2-3 months.
Low and slow, is the mantra for a good Curry.
Curry comes in a variety of colors. Cooking is an art, curries are the colors.
Indian Curries are pretty time consuming, especially with the ones that involve meat. The pan or pot that a curry is made in also adds to its complexity. Everything must be slow cooked and sauteed without burning, and the meat almost always is cooked for long periods of time left unattended. For example, a good fish curry would always take a while to make. If it sat overnight before serving, the dish became exquisite the next day. A lamb/goat meat dish prep would start a few hours before lunch time and it was almost on Sundays. Cookers or slow cookers were never used. It cooked long hours leading to a ‘fall of the bone’ tender, flavorful and juicy meat. All these different curries really required a lot of time and love, but were so worth the wait.
We are thoroughly spoiled by where we live. Right in the middle of the bay, there are farmer’s markets every week, people with light casual clothes all year around. There are strawberry picking, the cherry festival, the peach trees, and garage sales which will close down the streets. Apple orchards filled with the most delicious ones to pick, tangerines and oranges everywhere. We are greedy every season and try to hold on to the harvest preserving it bottle by bottle. When there are snow and storms everywhere, we are trying to preserve the water because of the dry weather. Craving for exotic food, we have options: we can either make them because the international grocery stores carry everything and the restaurants here are amazing. There are mountains to one side and sea to the other. Ski resorts are a couple of hours north and Disneyland a few more to the south.
Eggplant is a love or hate kind of a vegetable. Most of our household belong to the latter. A reason that this is my first eggplant dish on the blog:). In the words of one of my friend, ‘this is a curry even a non-eggplant lover would enjoy’.
It’s just that growing up I was never fond of aubergines/eggplant and dad would sit next to me for hours staring and waiting for me to take a small bite. Time would go by slower than normal..tic toc tic toc. I didn’t give up, I didn’t eat. He gave up..poor dad. Although not a big fan then, now I am. I have found a formula that I love. Just that now, hubby will eat a burnt toast but not eggplant and he is the most non fussiest person I know. Oh well…to our post.
Why measure when you have your taste buds, right?!
As long as I can remember, my grandma and mom never measured anything in their cooking. There would be huge family gatherings and lots of food. Just watching grandmom(Amma) cook with a pinch of this, a teaspoon of that, tasting every now and then was pure joy. Despite all the chaos I would be called to taste and see if it was OK. Let’s just say, it wasn’t just O.K, it was all so perfect. Maybe because of their inconsistency in how they cooked and got it right always, inspired me to see what cooking was all about.
It’s October, it’s Autumn. To me, it’s the start of a lot of baking, cooking, festivities and entertaining. I hope everyone’s as excited for Fall, Pumpkins, Warm Spices, and Soups.
All of that can get overwhelming at times.
But, sometimes, even too much of a good thing is really good, like this soup!
You’ve heard it many times, read many experiences and you will hear it many more times.
When I stepped out into the cold chilly San Francisco airport as a new bride, I really had no clue what I was getting into….
I walked into a blank canvas in every sense. A large apartment with not a chair to sit on. No pots and pans, no spoons, I felt almost helpless. Really helpless and very thankful because for the name God, I could not make a decent coffee. Eating out was the only option until I got really bored of it.
There are many words to describe food. Three words to describe this chicken, no cliché here, are “FINGER LICKING GOOD.”
This recipe was definitely an accident, a happy and yummy accident.
This is a re-post from few years ago. I’ve made it a number of times. Yesterday I made a huge batch of the mango barbecue sauce and decided to click some better quality pictures, if you know what I mean. I haven’t deleted the old post. If you’d like to see the old pictures and how this recipe came to be, here’s the link for the original Mango Chicken.
I don’t experiment a lot with family recipes. I pretty much follow a step-by-step written formula. Recreating childhood memories is an experience quite special to me. Especially when being this far away, food makes me feel at home and close to family back home.
I come from a family of great cooks. They made some delicious food and some cringe-worthy exotic food too. Curries were almost non-experimental; they cooked what the family liked and that was that. As a result, a couple of next generation home cooks ventured and branched out into different methods of cooking and different cuisines, although the food made on Sundays were some of the best. We learnt the art of making Dum Aloo(potatoes in creamy sauce), chicken tikka masala(needs no intro), hariyali chicken(green curry chicken), aloo posto(Potato dry-bengali cuisne)and many more.