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

Archive for the ‘Eggs’ Category

Lime Cake for the Party

In Baking, Eggs, Tea Party on October 3, 2012 at 10:52 am

I sure botched up the invitation to the annual Party this time.  I published the announcement as a page and some of you missed it.  At least, that is the face-saving escape route I am taking.  It has been six years of blogging here.  In August.  Here I am updating an anniversary post more than a month late.  Like the White Rabbit in Alice, I am always rushing to wherever I’ve got to be.  As far as the blog in concerned, in any case.  I am never late for professional meetings or for my class.  Perhaps, I ought to set myself deadlines here as well.  But, won’t that make the blog more like work?  This is my space away from work.  Let’s keep it that way.  No deadlines; no stress.

lime cake with lime glaze

Even though I have slowed down here, the blog still manages between 800-1000 hits a day.  Some of those are from old-time readers and I cherish them.  New ones get added, some old ones drop out.  But, some, the really mad ones, stick.  And, this Party really is a celebration of that madness.  A welcome to new readers and a big thank you to the old ones – it wouldn’t be fun without you!

When the deadline for the event was extended for the late-comers (Manisha usually brings in the tail, and this time quite the tale she has!), I thought I ought to cook some more for the party.

September 28 was TH’s birthday and my sister urged me to not be my lazy self and bake a cake.  I too felt I ought to.  So after wrapping up a full day’s work in the office, I came downstairs determined to do something special for dinner where we would eat cake because I had no inclination to roll rotis. Read the rest of this entry »

Simply Italian

In Eggs, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on September 22, 2008 at 8:16 pm

pasta bianca
Comfort food. Different things to different people. But always disarmingly simple. A few ingredients, a basic recipe, but the final outcome is something that satisfies a craving that nothing else will. A dish that wraps you around your home, your family, your culture, and many times, around the various stages of personal growth.

I am always drawn to such fare – what people cook on a regular basis in their kitchens, curious about what fits the bill for others. For many a Kashmiri it will have to be haak-baateh (braised haak greens served over rice), the equivalent of what dal-chaval is to a lot of other Indians.

When Meeta asked us to cook authentic Italian I became curious about Italian comfort foods…

Nothing says Italy like its food, and nothing says Italian food like pasta.

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Fried Rice, Again!

In Eggs, Rice, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on November 13, 2007 at 8:23 pm

fried rice
At last I have a recipe using brown rice that the whole family will eat. I might also come out in the open about the fact that I love white rice. While I do on occasion cook brown rice, I find white rice is more suited to absorbing the curries we all love so much. You can mush it up with dal, or with dahi (yoghurt), and it feels right. Brown rice just refuses to soften up despite all the pressure-cooking I subject it to, and then it dares me to refuse. A lot like dalia (cracked wheat). But I put dalia in its place once I realized I could eat my cake and have it too, sort of. I needed a recipe for brown rice that would make it really sing instead of the forlorn ditty, “I’m good for you.”

I tried Musical’s mothaan di khichdi (using sprouted moth as Nupur had done) and reluctantly agreed with my teen son that it would have been better with regular white rice. My son will not touch brown rice with a ten foot pole. But lap it up he did with his 10 inch chopsticks when I made it into fried rice!

Now, who doesn’t like fried rice! I bet that all of us have our own favourite version of this classic Chinese dish. There are many traditional Indian avatars of this dish too using leftover rice – Maharashtrians have their phodnicha bhath (literally, rice with tempering), and the many South Indian rice preparations use the same concept too (chitranna, tamarind rice) – leftover rice mixed into seasoned oil, with or without the addition of vegetables.

While most of the dishes consumed in India under the “Chinese food” label have the most superficial of resemblance to the cuisine of that ancient country (Chicken Manchurian is as Chinese as Chicken Tikka Masala is Indian), I will wager that home-cooks serve a decent version of Chinese fried rice. That is because the home cook likely limits his Chinese pantry items to the generic soy sauce; and most Indian homes are never out of ginger, onion, and garlic. I have since also bought myself a bottle of hoysin sauce, and will be using it in this rice (and pray that it is not blasphemy); fermented beans are on my list next.

rices varieties
How many have you? Nine kinds of rice in my pantry: Clockwise, from bottom: Goan brown rice, fragrant white Basmati, black rice (a gift from a friend!), a mix of Kerala red rice (rosematta) and a dark red rice from Uttaranchal (from Navdanya) – I use the mix in soups, par-boiled rice for idli (from Madras Store, INA), short grain brown rice, brown Basmati; center -lightly fragrant short grain rice from Madhya Pradesh, which I have been saving for Ver)

The fried brown-rice happened quite by chance. I had (pressure) cooked a big pot of Goan brown rice, swearing to eat no white rice for a whole month. The following day I Google-chatted with a certain friend too late into the afternoon that cooking lunch on time was not likely.

My family will readily eat bread and butter, or bread and eggs, whenever I forget them on account of this computer affair. Only, I feel guilty if I do that more than thrice in a week. And there was that healthy bowl of brown rice sitting in the fridge…and since Kylie Kwong, I don’t ‘chop fine’ the vegetables for my Chinese recipes…Half hour later we were enjoying a delicious healthy lunch of fried rice – egg fried rice for the son.

fried rice
Easiest Fried Rice
(Serves 3)

4-5 C cooked brown rice (if using leftover brown rice, pressure cook or steam again to refresh)
2 + 1 T peanut oil
1 medium onion, sliced
a few cloves of garlic, smashed
1 T fresh grated/julienned ginger
2-3 whole red chillies (fresh or dry), sliced thin, on the bias
2-3 green chillies, sliced thin, on the bias
2-3 C prepared vegetables of choice (shredded cabbage, sliced carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli florets – I had only green peppers that day)
1 T soy sauce
1 T hoysin sauce (optional)
1-2 t vinegar (optional)
¾ t ajinomoto (or salt to taste) [yes, I do]
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

To a hot karahi or wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil. To the hot oil, add garlic and ginger and stir till fragrant but not browned. Add the red chillies and onions and stir it all around till the onions change colour (a minute or so). Add the prepared vegetables and cook, stirring all the time, for 2-3 minutes, till the vegetables have all brightened up. Add the hoysin sauce and the soy sauce and mix. Add the cooked rice and stir. Sprinkle ajinomoto (or salt), and stir till heated through. Mix in the vinegar before removing to a serving dish.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Pour the beaten egg (to which you have added a pinch of salt) into the hot oil, swirl the wok around and lift the egg slightly to allow it to spread and cook. As it starts to set, break it up into large chunks. Tip a third of the fried rice into the wok and stir to combine. Serve this portion to the egg-lover in the family.

Other takes on Fried Rice:

Kylie’s Delicious Fried Rice
Manisha’s Leftover Chicken and Rice
Inji’s Indian-Chinese Fried Rice
Sig’s sunny Sweet Corn Fried Rice
Japanese Fried Rice
Thai Fried Rice
Chinese Fried Rice

Tags: brown rice, fried rice, egg fried rice, rice, Chinese, egg, under 30 min!, vegetarian

A Piece of Cake…

In Desserts, Eggs, Tea Party on June 12, 2007 at 11:28 pm

lemon chiffon cake

Chiffon: a breezy fabric perfect for the Indian summer; lemons: refreshing, and in plenty from my parents’ trees; a birthday in the family. The perfect situation for a Lemon Chiffon Cake, just not the perfect weather to be in the kitchen. Far from it. Delhi has been an oven this past week with temperatures in the mid-40s. But already there are signs of some relief with cooler easterlies blowing our way.

But that was not the case when I was baking this cake. I made the cake a day earlier so that it would be ready for the frosting on the day of the big dinner. I wanted to incorporate some of the lemon bounty and decided to make this cake which is halfway between a true sponge cake and the heavier, more buttery, regular cakes. Using a little fat, and a lot of air from well beaten egg whites you get a sponge that is light but not dry.

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All the Goodness of Eggs

In Eggs, Low Fat, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on November 18, 2006 at 11:13 pm

Eggs 01

I have never been into fad diets. Nor do I reposit my faith in pretend foods. Why would anyone eat I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter when you can have the real thing which is Butter. But when I was younger I did attempt ‘altering’ my diet occasionally.

To find an alternative to tasty butter-toast, I would quick-cook a bunch of ‘green’ things – onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, sometimes mushrooms, lots of coriander, some mint and green chillies – season it with salt and pepper and serve it on toast. A delicious alternative you will agree.

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A Breakfast of Scrambled Eggs

In Eggs, Under 30 min! on August 19, 2006 at 11:33 pm

Eggs, cheese, and potatoes are what comfort foods are made of. And for all of them there are so many ways to cook – they lend themselves easily to different interpretations. There could be nothing simpler than a boiled egg. Though reams have be written on how to get the ‘perfect hard boiled egg’. I have done it a couple of ways and been satisfied with the results. But then again, I am not a chef.

For hard-boiled eggs put eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to boil and keep it at a rolling boil for 6 min. If the eggs were not at room temperature to begin with, I heat the water gradually and stir the eggs around till the water begins to boil. Drain immediately and re-fill the pan with cold water. This, friends, is the simple trick to avoid the greening of the yolk.

I learnt to make scrambled eggs, the American way, when I was a graduate student there. A friend of my sister’s took us to her home just before Christmas for a traditional meal of home-made waffles and scrambled eggs. And I realized that the moistness of the eggs is not from leaving the eggs undercooked but from all that cream and butter! Which was swell…Never, in my four years in the US of A, did I trust something that called itself ‘I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter’. It’s not. And, I think that there was also a fat free butter!

My approach is simple. If you think something is not very good for you, don’t eat it, or moderate your intake. Don’t substitute with something that is just pretending. All that glitters is NOT gold. Look at what they are saying (rather, hiding) about aspartame today.

Ayurveda advocates ghee and butter as good fats. In fact, if our brains are primarily fat…low fat intake makes us less smart? All those people on ‘fat-free’ diets…? Hmm…that explains a lot! :-)

Therefore, good creamy scrambled eggs on toast for a weekend breakfast is what the doctor ordered. Just follow the easy steps to make the best scrambled eggs you have ever eaten (so used to say my buddy Jim, and he had had some pretty good versions). Sprinkled generously with fresh ground pepper is my son’s favourite way to have eggs.

eggs and toast

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