Showing posts with label potato. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potato. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creamy Vegan Borscht

I had heard about Borscht several years ago- from a Russian colleague. The way I remember that story was her complaining about having to change her mom’s signature Borscht recipe because her Jewish husband wouldn’t eat it. So she switched to her mother-in-law’s recipe; and wasn’t that great a fan of it as her own (obviously….). I don’t recall what went into particular version, but I remember looking it up online and deciding that I wouldn’t like it because it had Beets in it.

After all, I am a staunch beet-hater (even though I’d never tasted them in my life….until I made this Swedish pickled beet salad)

The second time I looked up Borscht was maybe a year ago…again, from a newly-arrived-to- US couple from Armenia. They were educating me about the many vegetarian dishes from their country that I could eat - all because not only had I tread forth and tried out their potato pancakes, but actually liked them. They gave me a quick run down too…and again I convinced myself that I would never eat something with beets- or cabbages…..

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Weekend Morning Brunch with Samosa

We grew up in a time when schools and offices in India dictated a 6-day work-week rule. To re-affirm Sunday as his day off from work, my dad did all the things that he normally wouldn’t on a week-day. He was always an early riser, but on Sundays, he made tea for mom and himself.   He also let her sleep that extra half-hour - a big concession since he was a stickler for time and schedule. My dad was also a foodie, as well as overtly conscious of hygiene. He loved eating spicy chaat and “gourmet" food; but then insisted that his digestion-related issues were because of the unhygienic conditions of the roadside stalls rather than his over-eating. In his mind, the perfect solution was to start a Sunday Brunch tradition where he insisted that we break free of the dal-roti-sabzi routine and cook something “special". My mom wasn’t too keen initially; but he promised her he would help her with getting the brunch started. And he kept his promise as far back as I can remember….

One of the first recipes I remember him bringing home is that of a Samosa. He had it on a piece of a greasy, lined notebook sheet, with step-by-step diagrams for my mom to follow. He said he’d given 10 rupees to his favorite roadside-samose-waale-panditji for the recipe. Mommy was so miffed, that she refused to make it for him. So him and I sat down with a bowl full of all-purpose flour and emptied a big jug of water to make the pastry dough. And then, we were stuck- for the recipe said to break the dough into balls while we had a river of white gooey stuff in our bowl…nowhere near a dough that you could break balls out of….The samose-waale-panditji, in all his wisdom, hadn’t bargained for complete novices trying to replicate his recipe. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ebinyebwa or Ugadan Peanut Stew: A New Twist to Navratri.


Food somehow has a way of bringing people together....

There have been times that I've had random strangers walk up to me, and comment on my home-packed lunch. Many times, I've done the same. A lot of students have asked to, or offered me, a taste of what we've got for lunch.  Many a times, I have picked up a recipe or two following our interaction over food. The two that immediately come to mind, and that I've shared on this space are Buckeyes, and Watergate salad. There are several others, random scraps of paper, that are just waiting to be tried.   Waiting for me to garner up my courage and take a dive....But rarely have I had a vision of the occasion that I would try the recipe at flash before my eye while hearing someone speak of it; until now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Simplicity at it's finest- Achaari Aloo

I find it pretty amazing that most of my "memories" of people and incidents are somehow also linked with food. Even when food is not the central focus in that memory; it is still prominent.  Not only does my mind take me back to the day that I'm reminded of, but sometimes the feel and smell of the day is revoked as well.  

Traveling with food comes naturally to most of the families from the Indian sub-continent. My MIL packs a stash of "Pooris" and a boiled potato.  After peeling and chopping the potato, she'd mix in some salt and pepper and it was ready to eat with her Pooris. My parents, and my grandparents before them, always travelled with their traditional  potato preparation called "Achaari Aloo" along with wonderfully crisp "Parathas".  As soon as the "tiffin" opened, the smell of this mix between an achaar (pickle) and a subzi permeated the whole train car.  I have these elaborate memories of us sharing our food with whoever happened to be our neighbor in the train car, or got drawn to our berth by the mouth-watering aroma of Achaari Aloo.  Not even my mom could make this dish taste like my grandma's. Towards the end of every summer vacation at my naani's, we'd get a letter from my dad (this was the pre-telephone era in India) requesting that she send him some of her Achaari Aloo and parathas. Naani always did. And daddy got to the food the moment we got home, and ate it all up. If, per chance, there was some left over, he'd tell my mom that he wanted it for breakfast - this from a guy who never ever liked leftovers......

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daily Dinner (14): Vegan Thali; Navratri special


The last day of Navratri fasting is today. Glad to have made it through one more time. These days are pretty easy as far as traditional fasting goes. You only give up grains and legumes for the 9 days; so there's a lot left outside of the diet to eat.  

I followed a one-meal a day diet, restricting my spices to sendha namak (rock salt), green chillies and cumin (can't think of cooking without jeera at all :-)). Also allowed myself 2 cups of chai or coffee a day- one for breakfast, and one to get over the 3o'clock sugar crash at work :-) And finally, I also permitted myself one or two fruits at around noon- some days were more hectic at work than others and even the colleagues could hear my stomach rumble ....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fasting For Navratris.


Navratris are upon us once again.....and with it, comes the added onus of fasting and observing. Whether you are a stickler for the festival season and fast for all 9 days; or a token 1-2 days; you need a special plan to get you through your day.  Traditionally, where I come from, you're supposed to give up all grains, legumes and lentils. An ideal fasting diet is largely fruit-based. Some people also restrict the spices to basic minimum. Dairy products are not restricted, and make up for protein deficit in the rest of the diet. Here's a short compilation of recipes off of this blog that you can have while you're fasting. This list is by no means complete, and I will update it a couple more recipes as I embark upon my fasts this week. Till then, Happy Navratris.


Thali....
1) Buckwheat vegetable pancakes
2) Sabudana khichdi: Linked to Celebrating Navratri/ Diwali event started by Jagruti and hosted by Nayna.
3) Masala Aloo
4) Singhade ke pakorae
5) Yakhni Lauki

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hasselback Potatoes.

I love potatoes. They're the base of my entire food pyramid. If there were no potatoes, there'd be no food on my table. I can't think of a life outside of potatoes. And just for that reason, I can not be a conforming "Jain" - ever :-))

My dad told me that my first word as a toddler was Wa...Wa - except he pronounced it as Wah Wah - which would loosely translate as "Very good"- and that I was pointing to a potato when I said it :-)). He also made it a point to add on that I got this from his side of the family; particularly him. For a very long time growing up, I'd only eat "aloo". Oftentimes, all my mother had to do to make me try some new dish, was to add a potato to it. And greasier the dish, the better I liked it. My favorites- aloo ki tikki, aloo-cutlets, aloo ki Poori, potato chips...and anything else aloo.  Over the years, I've added more favorites to my potato  obsession- Potato salad and  fries for example. And now, the latest- Hasselback potato

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Desi Sloppy Joe Or Paav-Bhaji

Very early on in our marriage,  I learnt that A was a huge fan of Western Indian cuisine - a consequence, he explained, of having lived there for a big chunk of his "after-school-life".

Very early on in my role as a mother, I learnt that Anya won't try A's favorite Paav-Bhaaji unless I could convince her (or  SHE could convince herself) that her 'non-Indian' classmates also ate the same thing. 

This is how the "Indian Sloppy Joe" came into existence in my house.  And believe it or not, it was actually Anya who coined the term.  She must've been in preschool when at sleep-time one day she excitedly told me that her classmate had brought a Sloppy Joe for lunch.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Creamy Potato Salad with cottage Cheese


I saw two of my former colleagues some time ago. They were both standing by a food truck outside ordering huge portions of sinful-looking delicious food with enormous sides of fries- french fries for one and onion rings for the other.  All the while, were excitedly pointing out to each others mid sections whilst bursting into giggles every second.  They were so immersed with each other that they totally did not see me.  I slid away unnoticed, and made a mental note of which one was having a boy, and who would be holding a tiny, pink bundle soon. 

Seeing them by those food trucks also made me nostalgic. When I was pregnant with Anya, I developed a serious sweet tooth. Not only did I crave sweets, I craved only one sweet- 'boondi ke laddoo'. At that time, there were no real Indian stores around campus that sold sweets. Yes you could buy dal-atta-chawal, but that was pretty much it. Both my mom and MIL tried sending me ladoos from India with friends- but one guy forgot them at home; and the other had to surrender them at the Airport Immigration. All my unfulfilled craving came to me in the form of a 5 pound 1ounce bundle who'd eat nothing, except serious sugar.  My mom said that my baby was so tiny and so fussy because I didn't get those ladoos..

Friday, April 22, 2011

Brunch with Bread and Vegetable Rolls

Growing up, I looked forward to weekends not only because the school was closed, but also because our day started with skipping beakfast (that is, the regular milk and cereal) in favor of a special Sunday brunch. Plus, we could eat together in front of the TV- watching epics like Ramayan or Mahabharat, not to forget Star Trek, Superman, Mickey Mouse and Tom & Jerry. All together, we're talking at least 2h of unrestricted TV and food time every Sunday morning. I especially remember the years that Ramayan and Mahabharat were being aired. My mom would actually bring her cooking supplies- everything except the stove that is- into the TV room. And dad and I would help her with the prep work while watching our program. So she rolled the flour while we filled the pastries for samosa or stuffed pooris, or dad and I made cutlets while she prepped the herbs for chutney. Then she ran back to the kitchen and cooked everything up in the 15 min. commercial break, and we'd eat together when the episode resumed to air. Even after TV ceased its hold over us in our teenage age years, we kept up with the Sunday brunch tradition.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Food For Hungry Soul: Chane ka Nimona

A decade ago, my marriage to a UPite (Uttar Pradesh, a state east of Delhi), outside the chartered territory of the Haryana-Rajasthan-Delhi tristate area, caused quite a furore amongst the older generation of my family.
'They have nothing in common with us' was an oft-repeated refrain from my uncles and aunts. 'You'll have a lot to deal with culturally', they warned. 'They eat very different food- it will be an inconvenience for Guddo' - reminded my naani, very gently, but worried enough to slip out the much-hated (by me) childhood endearment. 'How dare you agree to let our only grand daughter go across the river', thundered my naana referring to the the River Ganges, a geographical and symbolic divide between two of the most fertile, similar and yet disimilar, states in India. My dad fretted and fumed about his decision for days but then decided that his daughter had been brought up liberally enough in the huge metropolitan melting pot of Delhi to be able to take a few cultural diversions in her stride.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daily Dinner (5): Navratri Thali with Buckwheat Vegetable Pancakes


Day 2 of Navratri fasting, and I was already missing food...a lot. These 9 days of fasting eliminates all grains, legumes and a host of spices from our food, two-times a year. While I am pretty liberal when it comes to restricting my regular spices, I do make an effort to eliminate grains. Like all these past years, my initial promise to myself was that I'd only permit myself fruits during   Navratri - one; or maybe two, times a day. And just like always, this promise barely lasted the first day of fasting. A while ago I wrote about how fasting always seems to draw my mind's eye towards food. I actually proved this point yesterday when during the drive back home,every traffic light I crossed seemed to me a big plateful  of forbidden food- savory stuff, not the sweet-like-fruit food. The wheels in my mind whirred and started taking me to spots in my pantry and fridge that I'd vowed to forget about.  This wasn't going to work....and so my new resolution was to serve myself a full thali of Navratri food

Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Dinner (4) : Palak aur Khubani ka Kofta

The last few days went by in a blur. If I didn't have all the leftovers from the past weekend's Holi get together, we'd have eaten out all week. Yesterday night, it was time to take stock of the groceries again. Basically all I could find was a half-bag of spinach, 3 potatoes, one sad tomato and an onion. I definitely did not want to eat Paalak-aloo yesterday. Actually I was just not in the mood for a run-of-the mill everyday dinner. So just decided to experiment a bit. I remembered reading about a spinach kofta some time ago. Although I did not have the details of that recipe, I felt like I  could do it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thats Some Hot Stuff- stuffed Poblanos

My life's spiraled quite out of control recently. Both at the personal, and professional front. The last month went by so fast, with the major fasting (Paryushan and Das Lakshan festivals for us) and feasting going on. Both girls celebrated their b'days within a week of each other. We had parties for their friends from school, and our friends. Then came Ganesh Chaturthi, and another round of festivities. Even though traditionally Ganapati is not a big festival where I come from, I have friends who celebrate it with all the fervor that I've come to associate it with .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Semi-Baked Ideas..err Potatoes (Aloo Dum Pukht)

The produce store that we frequent is pretty predictable. And sparse, to say the least. But that's what we have, and he stays open much later than the farmer's markets in our neighborhood, so we just go him- most of the time. That means we pretty much have to choose between cabbage, cauliflower and bell peppers! So my excitement knew no bounds when I saw him expanding his selection beyond this. The story today begins the day I found these cute, precious, rosy baby potatoes in this sorry excuse of a produce store. I brought them home and they found their way in almost everything I cooked till the kids revolted against potatoes of any kind! I firmly believe that potatoes are the bestest thing ever created. My dad used to tell me that the first food word I ever learned to speak was 'wahwah'; and it referred to potatoes- boiled and mashed with a hint of salt, pepper and butter. I've grown up many decades since then, but potatoes still comprise the widest part of my food pyramid. I love them unconditionally, in all form, color and size. With these baby potatoes, I wanted to recreate another childhood favorite dish from my mom's recipes (of course..). At the same time, I've been attempting to eat healthier. So here you have my version of my mom's Aloo Dum Pukht.
Aloo Dum Pukht
Baby red potatoes 1lb Home made yogurt 1 cup Onion 1 medium, chopped Tomato 2 medium, chopped Green chillies 4-6, per taste, chopped Ginger 1 inch slice, chopped Salt to taste Red pepper powder to taste Dhania powder 1tsp Garam masala 1tsp Oil 1tbsp + 1/2tbsp
  1. Wash and cut the baby potatoes into halves, with their skin on. Dry them with a paper towel. Toss them with a pinch of salt and about a 1/2 tbsp oil. Shake to coat.
  2. Preheat the oven to roast at 400 degrees. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking dish and roast for about 20 min., turning them once in between. By this time the potatoes are semi-done. (In the original recipe, my mom used to poke holes in the whole potatoes and deep fry them).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. In a heavy bottomed pan, saute the onions till translucent. Add the tomatoes, and all the spices. Cover and cook till the moisture evaporates.
  4. Now, add the dahi (yogurt) and 1/2 cup water. Turn down the heat and cook on the stove top for 1-2 min.
  5. Pour this gravy over your semi-baked potatoes, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 20-25 min. Check to see that the potatoes are cooked completely before taking out of the oven.
My two cents: This dish is pure heaven when served with warm parathas or missi roti. Roasting them eliminated deep frying, but the crispiness was still intact. My mom slow steamed them for the dum in a pressure cooker without putting its weight on, the old fashioned way- not that it made any difference, in my opinion.
 This recipe is updated for the
LYRO-Potato event of Sindhi Rasoi.
Crazy For potatoes event @ Nivedhanam