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

Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

Here’s to the old…

In Desserts, Drinks, Random Musings on December 31, 2007 at 1:49 pm

I hope it has been a good year for all of you. If it’s been a mixed bag, as most years are, you’ll find yourself looking back at it with much nostalgia soon enough. The past has a way of turning rosy.

There was much that was good with this year for me too. Even though I slowed down in the frequency of my posts, it was always fun to discuss with you, dear reader. I have to admit that you are the best part of blogging! After each post, I eagerly await your response. Since I usually post in the night, checking the comments is the first thing I do next morning, with my morning cuppa by the side. For some of the posts there is as much information in the comments as there is in the post… even if occasionally the discussion gets off topic 😉 .

gifts yay!
Thanks to some of you I got to taste many new flavours this year – some quite exotic!

Thanks to this blog I have made new friends at an age I never thought it possible; friends with whom I have found much in common, and much to learn from. What did The Learned One say about surrounding yourself with smart people? …some of it will rub off on you. So true.

hot chocolate

I am late for Nupur’s event: Best of 2007, but I do want to do the roundup… Come along, grab some hot chocolate (while it is still snowing here) like I did, let’s walk the year again together…

My ten favourite posts (and recipes) from 2007:

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In Masalas (Spice Blends), Vegetarian on December 22, 2007 at 4:55 pm


Just like the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern cuisine also shares similarities with North Indian cuisine. Common to both is the love of beans and lentils, and an abundance of spice that gives them life. Gastronomically, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon are the three countries that have had the most influence on this cuisine. Closely linked to these is also the food of North Africa.

I had been meaning to write about this wonderfully fragrant spice-blend from the Middle East-North Africa, ever since I made it as a house warming present last year. It is as much at home in my kitchen as is the garam masala. And just like for garam masala, there are hundreds of recipes for baharat too, likely changing from home to home.

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A hearty dish of Beans and Rice

In Low Fat, Punjab, Rice, Vegetarian on December 16, 2007 at 12:37 am

We are in the grip of winter here in Delhi. Not quite freezing but close; cold enough for a hearty dish of beans and rice.

rajma chaval

Our hills are home to an amazing variety of beans. If you remember I mentioned that on one of my visits I found 200 kinds of beans on display at Dilli Haat! I bought two varieties that time – one was chitre rajma, very similar to cranberry beans I received from a friend in the US, and another was a smooth tan-colour.

How many have you? Clockwise from top: lobia (black eyed peas), varya muth (black beans), chitre rajma, cranberry beans, Kashmiri rajma

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Punjabi Chhole (Chickpeas)

In Low Fat, Masalas (Spice Blends), Punjab, Tea Party, Vegetarian on December 9, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Punjabi Chhole/Chana masala with tandooru roti

Chhole bhature is an absolutely decadent treat that is a must-try if you visit Delhi. It is one of Delhi’s many Punjabi specialties. It is also something I cook less often. Only because of a personal preference for rajma (red kidney beans). I have been working on that for the last six months though.

Over the years I have tried many recipes for chhole, including one for the famous fat-free chhole served with Amritsari kulchas, crispy potato stuffed tandoori bread (not like a naan or roti). Now I have my very own recipe, and it is another family pleaser. And, I have to again admit, I don’t rely on the packaged chana masala, good though they are. And there is a reason for that.

A couple of years ago, we ate a delicious dish of chhole at a friend’s place and I, naturally, asked for the recipe. It was a simple recipe, one using all the usual suspects – ginger, onions, and tomatoes – but all cooked together (with chhole) instead of being bhuno-ed (frying in oil ‘till-the-oil-separates’ stage). She had used MDH chana masala. It was delicious, and I remember we all agreed emphatically as we went over the menu on our drive home. I wasn’t going to let a simple easier method pass me by. I got my pack of chana masala and proceeded to cook a few weeks later.

The verdict?

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