Mango Froyo

Mango Froyo

The day temperature is starting to soar. Soon it will be mango season. As it starts to hot up the mind naturally turn to thoughts of mango. All winter the containers of mango pulp from homegrown Amrapali mangoes just sit forgotten in the freezer.

I was on quite a roll last year. I’d made two kinds of ice creams with the bought cream but still had half the whole milk. which I turned into creamy yogurt. Don’t you love the malai on top of whole milk dahi? The following day as I reached for dahi to make the morning mango-smoothie/lassi, I thought the creamy dahi would be even better in frozen yogurt. The dahi had been cut and about a fourth of it already eaten. I tilted the dahi pot to drain as much whey as I could. As I set about grabbing the blender and other things, I took more dahi (made with regular 3% fat toned milk, the one that does not come in plastic bags!) in my big metal strainer lined with muslin. This dripped for not more than 15-20 minutes. You can skip this step if you are pressed for time; I don’t always do it.

Thick Mango Lassi

I blended everything with a stick blender and chilled the mix in the fridge as the container of the ice cream maker chilled overnight in the freezer. Next morning I churned it for a mere 15 minutes and transferred it to the freezer to chill for a few hours. Remember to remove the frozen yogurt an hour or more before it’s time to serve. That brings it to just the right temperature and level of thaw to taste the flavours better and also makes it easy to scoop. Continue reading “Mango Froyo”

DIY Natural Laundry Cleaner

DIY Natural Laundry Cleaner

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I took my first step a long time ago. But the thing with taking such a step is that you may very well decide to walk the distance. I’m now coming a full circle. After decades of discarding indigenous methods as old-school I’m gradually returning to them in an effort to reduce my environmental footprint.

We were quick to adopt the convenience of industrial cleaners – soaps and detergents, shampoos and kitchen cleaners. The herbal cleaners fell by the side as we were convinced about the superior cleaning abilities of chemicals. All of these were marketed subtly to us as progress. We progressed to using the blue Vim detergent bar instead of that crude yellow cube of 555 (panch-sau-pachpan, remember?) which, by the way, continues to be manufactured and sold. You have to marvel at the incredible dichotomy that is our country. We then took the next logical step to foaming detergent powders. And then we got ourselves washing machines. Some of us with fancier machines now needed special low-foaming detergents which are more expensive. Machines that require these low-foaming detergents cost more; those who can afford to buy expensive machines might as well pay more for the detergent. Because they can. The burden of reducing the environmental footprint ought squarely to be on those of us who (can afford to) consume more.

Herbal ingredients on sale at the Street Market, Golf Course, NOIDA

Continue reading “DIY Natural Laundry Cleaner”

Slow-simmered Tomatoes

Slow-simmered Tomatoes


My Workshops are but an excuse for me to cook up new recipes for an unsuspecting crowd. Somehow I have never been afraid to try a new, untested recipe for a crowd of complete strangers who are yet to make up their minds about my cooking prowess. In fact, more often than not, I pick new recipes for grand meals where my reputation is at stake. Most of the time I sail through reputation unscathed.

As was with these slow-simmered tomatoes I selected to cook from an old Bon-Appetit cookbook bought a very long time ago. It was one of the few photographed recipes, duly captioned, yet missing from the index. I had to scan the book, page by page, to find the recipe which was simplification itself. Other than the oodles of olive oil and a really long simmer it asked for little else.

It was the month of December. I had spotted the most beautiful tomatoes and bought a basket full. I had a Pasta class coming up and these would make a great side. Continue reading “Slow-simmered Tomatoes”

Waste Matters – A Guide to Home Composting

It’s time to shed light on one of the 3 Rs I mentioned in the About section of this blog all those years ago. We have only one planet to live on and it is drowning in our waste. I carried this guilt around with me for a long time before I finally took the matter in my hands almost four years ago. I now convert all my kitchen and garden waste into nutritive compost which I get to use in my rooftop kitchen garden.

This post is about how little effort it takes to compost at home.

At the outset let me tell you that it is an additional chore. It’s not difficult but it does require changing how you deal with your waste and also 10 minutes of your time everyday, plus a little additional every few weeks. The kind of effort it will need depends on the amount of space you have. The more the space constraint the more you have to take care to make sure the waste is at an optimum moisture content to decompose quickly without the nuisance of stink or flies.

If you have a large backyard or kitchen garden then it is almost no work. As long as I can remember my father has maintained a compost pit as part of his kitchen garden where he simply dumps all the garden waste including fallen leaves. My mum brings out the wet waste from the kitchen soon after she has prepped for a meal and it joins the browns from the garden in the same dump. Once a year, usually around autumn just before Delhi’s main planting season, my father will turn the pit out, mix everything and have a pile of compost. Now he has a square one with brick walls on four sides that rise a foot above the ground. Its unlined bottom is a foot below the garden level. They live in a small house on a 600 square yard plot in which there is more garden than there is house. If you have the space you could make two smaller pits and use them alternately.

But if, like me, you live on a smaller plot of land with a house that occupies most of the ground, then the tiered system is more suited to you. It necessitates slightly more work than the almost-do-nothing approach above. Continue reading “Waste Matters – A Guide to Home Composting”