In Low Fat, Punjab, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on September 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm
I have been cooking a lot of express-Indian these past few months. In fact, my usual cooking is reasonably Express, and predominantly Indian. But this was additionally challenging because I was looking for 6 ingredients or less. I am going to take some creative license and add oil to the list of not-to-be-counted ingredients. There is just a tablespoon of it anyway.
Yes, really. And, no cream. Sorry to have been the harbinger of this disappointing information but it is true that in the ‘real’ palak-panir (pah-luk-pun-nir) there is no cream. The creamed-spinach is likely the contribution of some restaurant-cook to fulfill the expectations of Indian food (quasi-Punjabi-Mughlai in most restaurants abroad) shimmering in that layer of floating fat. You do serve sarson-ka-saag makhan mar ke (splattered-with-butter) but not palak panir. Or, maybe, the name-change that this dish underwent when it was exported to the Western shores might have had something to do with this. Palak-(ka-saag)-panir got mixed up with the aforementioned saag and somewhere along the way became saag panir. Saag is the generic word for ‘greens’ in Punjabi, but when used by itself usually refers to mustard greens. I believe I have come across recipes (on food blogs) for mustard greens cooked with panir. Inspired?
ConFusion? I will keep my counsel. Maybe Punjabi-kudi can shed more light on this subject… Read the rest of this entry »
In From the Garden, Low Fat, on the side, Rice, Vegetarian on June 28, 2009 at 1:02 pm
I know, I know – I have been neglecting the blog. I think i might have writer’s block. The thing with writing is that you must just keep at it; that’s the only way to get past it. You cut yourself some slack, waiting for inspiration to strike, and before you know it you have arrived at Writer’s Block! Sticky place, that.
Yet it’s not as if it has been an uneventful month. The Big News is that the son has graduated from highschool. Pappu pass ho gaya!! :D Not just that, he has also managed a place at a good college down South to study the subject he wishes to. Yes, if all goes as per plan, he is slated to become an engineer in four years.
This is also a month of birthdays in the family, and everyone is a year older. The son can vote now. As for me, well… I don’t think 44 is any kind of a milestone… After 40, they seem to whiz by.
Yet, this birthday ended up special in many ways. The day began with the usual phone calls from my Mom and sis. Then my neighbour T walked in to wish me and reminded me about our lunch appointment – yes, T took me out to lunch! It was after a very long time that I actually liked everything I had ordered at a restaurant. Thank you, T, for a wonderful afternoon!
Read the rest of this entry »
In Drinks, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Under 30 min! on March 29, 2009 at 1:15 am
Natural. Home made. Brew with a (nonalcoholic) kick. Lip smacking. Kanji.
Every winter I look at the black-purple carrots that appear in the vegetable markets of Delhi and the rest of Northern India, and make a mental note to track down a recipe for kanji. As far as I know, they are used only in the making of this fiery colourful end-of-winter drink. And every year passes just the same as the previous one.
Now, this blog has given me a lot of readers. Some of the readers have gone on to become good friends. Friends who share their views and opinions – and I am glad you are opinionated – share their likes and dislikes (of people, of colours and pictures on this blog and in general, punctuation and pronunciation, and of course, food related stuff). Some have been willing to risk sharing their blog… only to end up fuming later at some very persistent confusion regarding ‘the real owner of IFR’ as the movement spread! I wasn’t complaining about the unintentional link-love it brought. Especially, since I haven’t exactly been in the thick of it all this past year.
Read the rest of this entry »
In Low Fat, on the side, Punjab, Punjabi, Tea Party, Vegetables, Vegetarian on March 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm
Spring is here and Delhi is a riot of colour. There are the myriad shades of green and now the blooms. To all this, Holi added its bright colours this week.
It has been a while since we joined in the revelry that Holi is but a party is always welcome. My MIL would always make fruit salad on this day. But who can handle all that cream in this day and age. One Holi we ate homemade pizza and ordered ice cream. If I feel like I will sometimes make gujiya, the traditional Holi sweet here in the North. [Some other traditional Holi recipes here.]
This year all I did was cut up great looking purple carrots and start the process of preparing a cooling fermented drink… (yes, Pel are you listening?) As it turns out, it is a traditional drink for Holi second only to the frothy bhang! It is an apt one alright – with that deep purple colour…
While you wait for that recipe, here’s the one I promised last time – great party fare this one too. Read the rest of this entry »
In Low Fat, south Indian, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on September 14, 2008 at 10:05 pm
At the end of a more-than-full work day we all deserve to put our feet up and get the much needed rest. Recharge our batteries. Good wholesome food contributes much to this recharge. Many of us also admit to the therapeutic qualities of the act of cooking itself!
Roth – the baked kind. Crusty, you think?
This is my entry for the September edition of Click! the photo event at Jugalbandi.
The last couple of weeks have been more fast paced than ever for me. Work, work related travel, sister’s visit, Ganesh Chaturthi and the Pun Pooza, and the continuing house renovation, all came to a head. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate already, the maid had to make a sudden visit to her hometown – an extended three week visit. Which isn’t so bad actually. Now I can multitask – plan the meal as I brew my evening cup of tea, have all the burners going and cook the veggies as I temper the dal, or roll out roti, and not have to deal with less-than-perfect food prep. Much better.
Last night, after a grueling 11 hour work day (when I was lucky to have two additional people helping out!) I knew I needed a special meal. TH brought me a Toro Bravo while I was still at my desk. It needed to be a rice-night (that means, rice as the main starch for me), I could tell. Nothing short of the comfort of good old Kashmiri food would do. Though it was late, I prepared dum aloo along with my nani’s special mung dal and served it with steamed rice (and roti – for the undiscerning).
Read the rest of this entry »
In Bread, Chutneys, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 19, 2008 at 12:25 am
Please don’t mention Caronda* for some time…it is in every jar I had spare! There is no room for any more pickles or preserves…As I mentioned last time, I made some caronda chutney a week ago, to use up part of my Dad’d harvest from a bush I planted about ten years ago in the front yard of their house. I used the idea of a sweet-tangy Indian chutney such as saunth (sweet and sour tamarind chutney) or a mango chutney made with unripe mangoes. The effort was much appreciated. Since it was a trial batch I got just enough to fill two tiny jars that I sent off to my mum and sister. The next batch was a repeat of the recipe and this time the effort yielded a big jar – plenty, I thought.
There were still some carondas left which then went into a pickle, pits and all, along with some unripe mango, lotus root, and green chillies. I keep that stoneware jar in the sun, what little there is of it at this time, bring it in every evening, and give it a good stir. It is looking good.
So far so good. My mum liked the relish a lot. She doesn’t eat too much pickle because of the high salt content. I told her that pitting the fruit was a pain in the rear. She pitted about a kilo with the help of her maid and presented it to me. I had thought more like: ok, here’s a recipe you might like to try… But I came home and made my third batch of caronda chutney. This batch had fewer ingredients – I had already used up my dates; no gur – I couldn’t be bothered; less sugar – I had used up a lot of sugar in the past couple of weeks between the caronda relish and the mango jam, and was making statements with big exclamatory marks regarding the sugar content of the chutney. The fruit for this batch had ripened further on the plant, was a deeper pink, and there was a subtle change in texture too. What a pretty pink it turned in the pan! And the texture – why, it reminded me of sour cherries in syrup! The slight crispness as you bite into one was so similar! That made me Google for recipes using sour cherries and I found a bunch that hold promise for next year! I make no promises…but there might even be Caronda Liqueur on these pages one day!
Read the rest of this entry »
In Chutneys, Dips and Spreads, From the Garden, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on May 20, 2008 at 8:29 pm
A big chunk of my readers live outside India. And all of them will appreciate how I have tried not to rub salt on their mangoes wounds this year. There has been no talk of mangoes, whatsoever, on this blog so far this year; no debate on which mango is the King, or that mango is King.
But ’tis the season and you all have access to reasonably good unripe sour mangoes. Sour mangoes are loved all over Asia, cooked with dal, with vegetables (it is the perfect foil for bittergourd), or enjoyed as a relish such as Pel’s nam prik wan kap mamuang khiew. And when you don’t want to fuss, just slice them up, dip in salt, and taste nirvana. Not as much fun today when my teeth sour much too quick, but a favourite summer activity when we were kids. Read the rest of this entry »
In Bread, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Vegetables, Vegetarian on May 11, 2008 at 2:48 am
Usually, I love my time in the kitchen. More often than not, TH stays out, and is very appreciative of the food I put on the table (even when it is store-bought bread on days such as today when I am too rushed for even a 30-minute meal). But there are (many) days when I am not inclined to step into the kitchen at all.
One such day last year was my birthday. It is rather pathetic to have to cook yourself a special meal when it’s the perfect opportunity for others to show their love for a change. Yet, neither my son nor TH can be expected to bake a cake (not everyone is like Jai!). Every time I am not inclined to cook, the son is willing to order pizza and TH is only too happy to step out to get a fresh loaf of bread. But that day I insisted on a home cooked meal, and varan-bhaat was not going to cut it.
As it crawled towards dinner time and I showed no signs of getting off the couch, TH finally got the message and decided to grab the bull by the horns :D . Off he went into the kitchen and busied himself to prepare paranthas stuffed with my favourite vegetable – no prizes for guessing this time – potatoes. To bide my time till the paranthas were ready was a seasonal twist on my favourite drink – mango margaritas! Yes, he excelled himself.
Read the rest of this entry »
In Bread, Low Fat, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on March 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm
This month I have been mostly…
…buried deep in work. I want so much to surface, get a breath of fresh air, and share my notes with you. But work takes priority; it does, after all, help pay the bills.
I have been eating healthy…mostly. Fresh cooked breakfasts had been sacrificed for the convenience of industrial bread…till the guilt caught up with me, and I decided yesterday that enough (of white bread) was enough. And how much work is idli, right?! Wrong. If you want sambar and chutney with it. Still, in about an hour this morning, much of which overlapped with my morning tea-and-newspaper-time, I had fluffy healthful ragi idlies! And there are leftovers for breakfast tomorrow as well! Read the rest of this entry »
In Edible Flowers, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Rajasthani, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm
I seem to gravitate towards strong tasting vegetables – the pungent and very-brassica smells and tastes my husband likes to categorise as oogra. Nothing brings out the link between all the diverse members of the brassica family (such as broccoli, kohlrabi, haak, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, mustard, kale, and collard) like their flowers and seeds. All of them have the characteristic four-petal blooms (thus the name crusiferae – from ‘cross’ – for this group of plants, also collectively called the mustard family) and the brown-to-black oval-spherical seeds borne in tapering bean-like seedpods (a silique). Maybe now Nabeela will see why I first identified the mustard pods in her quiz as radish pods. The flowers vary in colour from white or cream to lavender or yellow, and are all edible! Read the rest of this entry »