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

Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

When Life Gives You Limes…

In Drinks, Fruit, Low Fat, Tea Party on June 30, 2007 at 12:07 am


When life gives you lemons…well, actually I got limes, Persian limes, to be precise…make limeade.  I have finally established that what we use in India are not lemons! The most common yellow nimboo (from Persian – limoo) that we use day in and day out, goes by the name Key Lime in the US. What my Dad has in his garden are two Persian Lime trees.


The crop is in – I have 90 kilos of Amrapali mangoes, and 20 kilos of the most beautiful limes to deal with! Usually, I have to tackle just about a third of this, but with my parents away for the summer I have to consume/process the major part of this lot. A third has already been sent to my sister who lives in the neighbouring city of Gurgaon. She is going to have to make her own pickles and jams this year 🙂 – I have too much on my hands.

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Axe Soup aka Bottle Gourd Peel Chutney

In Chutneys, Maharashtrian, on the side, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on June 25, 2007 at 1:02 am

doodhi peel chutney
Kulhadi ka dalia is the Hindi translation of the Russian folktale Axe Soup that I read many summers ago. It is a version of Stonesoup, and a story that I find similar to this bottle gourd peel chutney.

You’ve all probably heard some version of the story in your childhood. In Stonesoup the message is more about the pleasure of sharing and the good that comes from cooperation. The Axe Soup carries a subtle lesson about human management – how to use the inherent greed in fellow humans, of wanting to get something out of nothing, to get out of others more than they are willing to give.

But little do we expect to ever come face to face with legends outside of books of tales.

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Monjji Haak…at long last

In Kashmiri, Low Fat, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on June 21, 2007 at 2:04 am

monjji haak
For all their love for goat meat Kashmiri Pandits love their greens with an almost equal passion. There are many types of greens, wild and cultivated, that find their way to balance the daily meals.

If that be so, you might well wonder how come there has been no Kashmiri greens recipe on this blog yet. The fact is that the most common way with our most popular green, the haak, is also the least spectacular. In a matter of speaking, you may say they are just blanched greens. My non-Kashmiri side of the family didn’t think it was anything to write home about. So I didn’t. And my son and I continued to secretly also relish the fact that there would always be more for us!

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Goda Masala

In Maharashtrian, Masalas (Spice Blends) on June 15, 2007 at 1:27 am


goda masala

In my opinion nothing says Maharashtrian cuisine as does the Goda Masala, a spice blend so unique and complex that it cannot be replaced with any other combination of spices. Each family recipe may have enough differences that interchanging them makes a remarkable difference to the final dish.

I hardly delved deep into the masala that was used everyday in the house, being content in just learning to use it. I understood that it was a mix of many spices that were roasted and then ground. There were always large glass bottles filled with it that would get replenished annually when my mother-in-law returned from her visit to Pune.

She prepared it for the first time only a few years ago. It was her older sister in Pune who for years painstakingly prepared kilos of Goda Masala for her two younger sisters. My mother-in-law passed away a couple of years back but I still had the goda masala she prepared, for the first and last time, till a few months ago. The last half bottle I hoarded for special dishes only, using store-bought masala for other everyday needs.

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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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Whole Wheat Potato Bread

In Bread, Potatoes, Tea Party on June 7, 2007 at 12:21 am

Potato Bread

There are few smells that can rival that of fresh bread baking in the oven. I tried my first bread with trepidation many years ago. I was afraid not because I thought it to be a daunting task, but because I had no special ingredients – just regular maida (all purpose flour) and atta, Indian whole wheat flour. All those years ago it was difficult to find even reliable yeast granules. But bread baking has been easy and frequent since my sister became the yeast supplier. Thank you, Minnie.

But, potential bakers of the land, don’t despair. That problem is history too. I recently bought an industrial size half-kilo pack of yeast manufactured and packed right here in Delhi. So, you are all set. Don’t have fancy bread flour, gluten, or KitchenAid-type equipment – neither did the people who discovered bread making. Indeed, the French are trying to move back to pre-modern ways of bread making to recapture the taste of real bread. You will need a good oven though.

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Lentil Burgers and Flowers Wild

In Birds and Bees, Low Fat, Tea Party on June 2, 2007 at 10:59 pm

Lentil burger

It’s no secret that I love potatoes. Who doesn’t? And they make a swell burger too. But the veggie burgers my sister used to (have to) eat in the Union cafetaria were not made from potatoes alone. They had many grains and other indescribable things in it. I can’t describe them because I never ate those – there were perfectly good real burgers for me.

But in a family that is 50% vegetarian, real burgers pose a problem. Though the potato based vegetarian burgers I make are a perfectly tasty option that we all love, I was looking for a more meaty texture. After looking at Nandita’s burgers, I decided to finally give lentil burgers a try.

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