mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Gavar (Cluster Beans) with Peanuts

In Low Fat, south Indian, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm


It’s great when you discover a new way with regular ingredients.  It’s even better when the ingredients involved are few and the recipe is effortless.  My friend SK, who knows my love for Southern Indian food, is often my guide and shares new ideas or leads me to lesser known food-blogs that highlight the kind of food I like to cook.  She is a writer and is constantly engaging the characters, such as you and me, around her.  These ‘encounters’ make her a treasure trove of traditional recipes as well.  During one such chat with me, she sketched the dish the maid had put together for her lunch that day.  A basic, peasant-style approach to food, it involved the ubiquitous red chilli as the only spice.  The addition of roasted peanuts, of course, adds to the nutritional content while providing a hint of refinement to what is otherwise a truly minimalistic dish.  It is almost as if you were deconstructing the Maharashtrian-style gavar-bhaji, and trying to retain what is absolutely essential.  The two dishes are similar, yet it is clear that the peasant-style one has been pared down to its essence. Frugal, but, full of flavour.

The finished dish can work as a side to any Indian meal, or even as a salad.  You could replace cluster beans with another vegetable – french beans, peas, cabbage – endless combinations.  Or mix it into cooked rice, as Sangeeta said she did, with some additional oil or ghee, and you have a one-dish pulav/stir-fried rice that is perfect for a packed lunch.  It has won gavar-haters over to this side!

Haleem and some Spice Sorcery

In Gujarati on July 6, 2014 at 10:57 pm


The internet is teeming with food blogs and other websites and one can get lost in the wonderful world of food seduced, in no small measure, by accompanying pictures that make it all look so, so delicious.  Many bloggers present food from their everyday-kitchens that make my everyday-cooking varied and interesting.  I love to cook traditional fare that home-cooks feed their families. Food blogs are a great resource for such recipes, with detailed explanations and step-by-step pictures.  Also thrown in is an opportunity for a conversation. Many times, the comments section becomes a resource in itself with much discussion about a recipe, methods, and variations.

Who need cookbooks, right? Ah, but I love cookbooks.  Especially those with a theme (most have one).  A good cookbook can teach you a lot about the food you are cooking.  It can be a guide when you are trying an unfamiliar cuisine for the first time.

Spice Sorcery

Presently, the Indian market seems ripe for cookbooks; I see so many new ones coming out on a regular basis.  Since I reviewed Bong Mom’s Cookbook, I find a Harper Collins’ published cookbook in the mail every now and then.  Few of them have made me want to try anything from their pages, honestly.  So, you haven’t heard about any.  This week I received Husna Rahaman’s Spice Sorcery which is about the Kutchi Memon cuisine, a cooking style I know little about.  The fact that the author is a fellow designer (she’s an interior designer) made me look through the book with even keener interest.

A Table for Two at West View

In Eating Out on July 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I am impressed with how I am making time for the blog again!  Even with college off, I have been busy to the extent that I have worked through two weekends in June.  I was determined to take this weekend off and step back for a brief respite.

Mom wanted us to come and help with the mango harvest over the weekend but that was not going to happen.  We had TH’s cousin and family visiting us over the weekend on their return leg from Manali.  We hadn’t met in quite a while and were looking forward to catching up.  They were arriving early Saturday morning and it was best to plan an easy morning for that day; overnight bus journeys are not the ultimate in luxury.  If they were up to it in this muggy weather, we would take them to Dilli Haat in the evening.  Sunday evening they were expected to go check out some local sights while we visited my cousin to mark the auspicious start of festivities for his daughter’s wedding later in August. :-) The other cousin, TH’s only relative in town, was called and Sunday lunch was fixed for a family get together.  The weekend was looking busier than the workweek!

the view

In the inbox, had been sitting that invite from West View, ITC Maurya, the same place where we met David Rocco last year.  I had made a mental note while travelling to Ludhiana earlier this week but had too much going on to respond.  Boy, did I have a good meeting with the Commissioner there! The presentation could have gone either way with those really radical proposals we had come up with. But it was well received and we even had a small celebratory drink in that city.  I returned from Ludhiana late Thursday night.  Friday evening was the only spot where I could see an opportunity to squeeze West View in.


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