Saturday, 12 December 2009

12th December 2009 - Lunch @ Claire's

What?
Wow, it's been 5 whole months since I posted on this blog! It's like this one huge pang of nostalgia...

Anyhow, I wanted to make at least some stuff in December, and Claire and I decided to do it this weekend. We went yesterday to DMart and did some shopping, and had lots of plans for today!

What I finally did end up making was Egg Curry (Dim-er jhol :P), Chapati and Gajar Ka Halwa. The Egg Curry was intended to be pretty bland so that Claire could have it sans prolèmes.

While I was zealously grating carrots, Claire helped chop all the stuff we needed, and was very enthusiastic about kneading dough too. She also volunteered to roll her first chapati, which, with its striking resemblance to the French map, was a display of her patriotism.

How did it look?

Again, the orange carrots
Claire making her first Roti

Halwa, ready. Somehow, I can never get the GkH feel unless it is red :(
Egg Curry
All, on the table, seconds before being devoured

A posteriori
So, more or less, it was great going back to the books! The Halwa turned out to be really satisfactorily and Claire enjoyed it too. The egg curry left a lot for the wanting, though. My attempt to make it bland ended up making it sorta lame. I over-zealously used the tomato purée, making it sour with nothing to complement the taste. I had made quite a lot, and had pinged CP, Baheti, Anasuya, Kovid and Kaustubh about this, so took some Halwa for them. Anasuya very graciously offered to take the rest of the Egg Curry, while Pragya got some Halwaa, and barring CP, who was busy somewhere down South and so missed out on the whole affair, the rest (including Anand, who got some) were generous in their praise, making me a bunch of smiles.

Next weekend, I am planning to make Raajma and a cake. Claire is also thinking of making Crumble, which is basically a sort of baked fruit pudding.

Do keep visiting and thanks for the support you have always given!

Ciao

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Parting Shots

Hi
My intern in Germany is over, and I am back to IIT. That does culminate my cooking adventures in Karlsruhe, but certainly does not end this blog. This summer has been best summer I have had so far, and it got only better with all the fun I had cooking. I had always wanted to learn how to cook, but somehow never found time.

This blog will be dormant for the moment, for IIT-life offers neither the time nor the facilities needed for cooking, but I will surely post updates whenever I go home and make something.

The blog recieved more readership and appreciation than I had expected when I started it. Thanks a lot to all you people who read, commented or just kept coming back. Special thanks to Anasuya, Piyush, CP and Sindhu.

My mother deserves a bulk of the credit. She supplied most of the recipes, kept up on the encouragement, and first and foremost, gave me an excellent standard for pitting my dishes against - her own cooking. Also, my grandmother (nani), whose fingers ooze nothing short of magic when it comes to cooking.

This is just a long and sentimental post, but I mean every word of it. So once again, thanks all of you, and I will definitely be back!

Cheers
Antariksh


Friday, 24 July 2009

24th July 2009 - Fest - Chocolate Cake


What?
I wanted to make some sort of a cake during my stay here and since this was the last day, and I luckily had some maida left over, I went for the plunge. For the chocolate, I used the Bourvita-esque drinking chocolate I had purchased here.

How did it look?

No, the white thing is not flour. It's powdered sugar
Improvement
  • The sugar here is not as sweet as the one we find in India, which I realized later; the cake could have done with more sugar. Apart from that, though, it was pretty satisfactory.

24th July 2009 - Fest - Besan ke laddoo

What?
Today is my last day here, and there's so much I want to make... I always wanted to try makin sweets, and rawa+besan ke laddoo are pretty easy. Also, that would help me finish the last bit of besan I have left. The recipe my mother gave looked delightfully simple, and yielded excellent results!

How did it look?

Improvement
  • I was told that the balls need to be rolled when the mix is still hot, or otherwise they will fall apart. In my case, the mix was too powdery, so I added some milk. I don't know if that was expected, but the laddoo came out fine after that.
  • I didn't have a lot of besan left, so I could make only 5 laddoos, but they turned out well, and that's what matters the most to me...
UP NEXT: Chocolate Cake

Thursday, 23 July 2009

22nd July 2009 - Dinner - Corn, Paprika and Peas!

What?
I bought a can of Mexico-Mix from the Supermarket. It basically had corn, red pepper and peas, and I just sauted them a bit with some garlic butter and mix-veg masaala, and tossed in cubed boiled potatoes. Boy, corn does make stuff very very tasty.

How did it look?

Improvement
  • You can experiment a lot with vegetables in this case. Today, I have carrots, beans, peas and corn, and I am gonna see how it turns out.
  • This dish did well with some drops of lemon juice.
  • The overall flavour is a slightly light, so I didn't spoil it by adding unnecessary red chilly powder

22nd July 2009 - Dinner - Gaajar ka Halwa

What?
I have a lot of sugar and ghee left, so what better way to use it than something sweet! So, Gaajar ka Halwa it was!

How did it look?


Improvement
  • What I made was pretty bare-bones. For better results, condensed milk must be used, and stuff like ilaaychi etc add to the flavour
  • I did make sure not to commit last time's mistake of adding too much milk, which had made the halwa soggy
  • The carrots you get here are orange in colour, not like the red ones common in India. So, obviously the halwa also turned out much less red than what we are used to seeing. Although that doesn't change the taste, it still makes the Halwa look, erm, unrealistic. Well, can't help it!

21st July 2009 - Dinner - Raajma

What?
The last round of Raajma. Saath mei.n chapaati and rice. Except, I only have maida now, so that chapaatis are nice, round, thin and white, and like chewing-gum.

How did it look?


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

21th July 2009 - Lunch - Suji/Rawa ke Cheele

What
Credits to Rohit Shroff (affectionately (?) called CP) again for suggesting the dish and giving a decent recipe. It was a cheela sort of preparation again, only with rawa/suji/semolina. I didn't have a lot of time, so I skipped the onions etc, and just filled it with mashed potatoes so that it would be filling for lunch. That, and half a litre of milk with cocoa would do nicely for Lunch!

How did it look?

Improvement
  • A lot can be done. Some chopped onions, better stuff to fill and so on.
  • To save time, I made thicker ones, which don't taste as nice as the thinner ones. Compromises!
  • FLIPS! Today was fun. As my time in Germany nears its end, I am desperate to try as much stuff as possible. I just had to do the flipping again. I practised more, just to be sure, and then took the video. Vanity! The first time I tried the flip, it was half-hearted, and resulted in a half-flip, which neatly folds the cheela. The full flip will lose points for bad landing though. It's fun practising this stuff. So, I tried to do that again, and voilà!
video

20th July 2009 - Dinner - Veg Frankie


What?
It was an attempt at making Veg Frankie, the sort they serve at canteens, with a few changes.
Credits to Rohit Shroff for the suggestion. I checked out the recipe at Tarla Dalal's website, but she would have had me fry both the Roti and the potato balls, which was just too much, so I by-passed the recipe a bit.

How did it look?
A bit messy
Improvement
  • I would only call the result average. The wrap wasn't thin enough, nor big enough (though that is due to the small pan), and would open up again and again.
  • For filling, I used boiled, mashed potatotes with cheese, and chopped onions and tomatoes mixed with the oh so awesome Jaljira. Some chilly sauce on top and some Bhujia sprinkled for the flavour.

Monday, 20 July 2009

20th July 2009 - Lunch - Besan ke Cheele

[This, by the way, is the 50th post on this blog. Yay]
What?
I think the names for this dish differ a lot, but many people recognize it by the name of Besan ke cheele, so that's what I am using. I had tried to make it in the first week of my stay in Germany, and it had been a complete disaster. Today, armed with more experience, and a lot of Besan, I decided to conquer it.

How did it look?
The pic isn't as good as usual, please don't mind.

Improvement
  • In all such dishes which involve making stuff like pancakes/omlettes, I have realized there are too crucial things: Making sure it's uniform, and making sure it doesn't stick and/or break.
  • This also makes it easy to screw them up. I ruined one even today (not pictured :P). But the sticking problem can be solved by first spreading a uniform layer of oil/butter/ghee on the pan, and then spreading the batter.
  • As for the breaking, I found it's best not to try to turn it when it's still quite wet. Once it gets cooked a bit and has some structural strength (!), you can go for the flip, making it as quick as possible.
  • I was always fascinated by the way chefs flip pancakes and stuff by giving that jerk to the pan, without using a spoon or anything else. I desperately wanted to try it, but was scared of losing a well-formed cheela! I tried it, et voilà, it was easier than I expected!
  • In my vanity, I even took a video of the whole thing, except I didn't have a decent vantage point for the camera, so you only see the cheela momentarily, but the flipping noise and the fact that you don't see it falling down should be proof enough :P. Check out

video

Saturday, 18 July 2009

18th July 2009 - Lunch - Chhole Tikki

What?
I had decided that the last week of my stay here would see as much variety as I could manage. So, today, I thought of making Chhole Tikki. I had purchased 1 kg. chick peas, so I had some left which I used today. The result was pretty satisfying!

How did it look?
OK, so let's go step by step!

2 down, 3 to go

Vaibhav wanted to be photographed doing the frying :)


All done



Jeera Rice on the side

All set
Improvement
  • This was really fun. The tikki had great consistency and there was no trouble with the shallow frying.
  • Potatoes are best boiled in the µWave. I mean, it saves time, energy and nutrients. In about 4-5 minutes, you can boil 4 potatoes without using any extra water! That's the beauty of it all. Potatoes contain enough water for self-boiling.
  • I had some jeera rice along with this, so I made sufficient gravy for the Chhole and then poured it and some chhole on the rice, while using the rest for the Tikki.
  • The whole thing works best with chopped onion, ketchup, imli ki chutney and some coriander on the top. After that, you can always add stuff like aloo bhujiya for additional taste. I used chopped onions, chilli sauce and a special type of salad dressing which tasted quite well.

18th July 2009 - Breakfast - Omlette

What?
I had made an omlette last week too, but didn't put it up. Today when I made it, it turned out exceptionally well, and I had to upload it!

How did it look?

Improvement
  • Making the egg blend is not tough at all, but getting a round and uniform omlette needs practice. I was thwarted often by the most crucial step, flipping it on the pan.
  • To ensure that it didn't stick, first layered the pan with lots of butter.
  • After spreading the mix uniformly, the best way to check if it is sticking is to shake the pan and the omlette should slide freely, which it did!
  • And of course, while flipping, it was necessary to ensure it didn't break.
  • A bit of milk in the blend does wonders; makes it all nice and fluffy.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

15th July 2009 - Lunch - Onion Paraathey

What?
After a few days, I decided to try my hands once more on Onion Paraathey, and the results were greatly exceeding expectations.

They turned out exactly the way I usually like them, were quite round and did not break on folding!

How did it look?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

14th July 2009 - Lunch - Halwa

What?
I made Suji ka Halwa (suji, rawa, whatever). We call it Sheera, and it turned out pretty well. I had made quite a few times here, but this was the first time I took a pic.

How dit it look?

12th July 2009 - Dinner - Daal Dhokla

What?
We call it by various names, Daal Dhokla being one of them. It is a pretty quick dish, and is slightly non-conventional, so makes for a nice change from the normal routine. Also, it is quite filling as it functions like a complete meal.

How did it look?
Improvements?
  • The daal got sligthly soggy and sort of made the whole thing look like yellow paste. Although the taste was fine, it would be better to cook it a bit less.

12th July 2009 - Lunch - Potatoes in Sunshine Gravy

What?
This was a repeat of the dish I had made last month. The gravy's made using yoghurt and is bright yellow in colour. This is a good choice if you are out of onions, as it tastes good even when plain.

How did it look?

Improvement
  • The best thing about this gravy is that it is minimalistic, yet tasty. The yoghurt gives a nice sour and tangy flavour, which can be slightly accentuated by a few drops of lemon juice if your yoghurt is lame.
  • If you make onion paste and add it to the yoghurt, you will get, more or less, the gravy they use in Gatte ki sabji

Monday, 13 July 2009

13th July 2009 - Dinner - PaaT Vadi

What?
This is a Maharashtrian dish, slightly similar to the Rajasthani gaTTe. You first make the vadi using besan and then mix it with gravy. I made the yoghurt gravy I make for gaTTe.

How did it look?

Before making the gravy

Finally

Sunday, 12 July 2009

11th July 2009 - Dinner - Chhole

What?
Shantanu Saathe was going to stay over for the night, so I thought of making chhole, although I had just come back from Paris. It was a set recipe, and turned out well.

How did it look?

9th July 2009 - Dinner - Aloo Gravy

What?
Another round at potato gravy, only this time I added tomatoes and onions too, and made it sour and spicy. Accompanying this were paraathey.

How did it look?

10th July 2009 - Lunch - Paraatha-Bhurji


What?
For lunch, I made normal Paraathe and Egg bhurji, and then wrapped it in the paraathe so as to make a quick meal. You can just pick one of the rolls and start munching. Plus, the Paraathe stay soft!

How did it look?
Comme ça


8th July 2009 - Dinner - Cabbage Kofta

What?
I reckoned the best way to make the purple cabbage look good was to hide it with loads of gravy.
So I made this Cabbage Kofta, fried balls made of shredded cabbage and besan.

How did it look?
It still had the black remnants of the cabbage, but it tasted fine!

Improvement
  • The problem was, the besan didn't get cooked quite well, so there was this taste and smell of raw besan, so I dunked the kofta in the gravy and boiled it along. Normally, that will make the whole thing soggy, which is did, but it was better than eating raw besan.
  • Cabbage has a fundamental problem: it smells vile when partially cooked. Whatever you do, you just can't escape from the nauseating smell of half-cooked cabbage, which makes it a risky thing to attempt to make unless you are very sure of it.

7th July 2009 - Dinner - Paav Bhaaji

What?
I decided to make Paav Bhaaji once more, but I purchased red cabbage instead of the normal one, so it looked quite gruesome, truth be told.

How did it look?
This one wasn't one of those dishes I am proud of. It smelled quite horrible and didn't look very great either.

Monday, 6 July 2009

6th July 2009 - Dinner - Raajma and Jeera Rice

What?
I went for another round of Raajma today. Along with it was some Jeera Rice. Ankit Jha was again invited, and it was another Happy Meal!

How did it look?



Improvement?
  • This is another set recipe now, and the result was very good. The jeera rice was a good complement. I added in some onions and pepper before boiling it and had made the raajma with more gravy than usual, so after finishing with the chapatis, we proceeded to the real punjabi combination - Raajma-Chaawal

6th July 2009 - Lunch - Paange

What?
I don't know what it is called elsewhere; at home, we call them Paange. It is nothing great actually, just a mini-chapaati albeit thicker and slightly salty. At home, we often eat it with guR. I took it for lunch today.

How did it look?
The picture's not all that awesome, truth be told. I realised later that the camera had shaken.

5th July 2009 - Dinner - Pasta with Tomatoes and Garlic

What?
We were pretty full after a rather late lunch, so I didn't want to make anything elaborate. I still had some fusilli left, so I just boiled it, dunked in butter, a chopped tomato, some garlic, some tomato puree, some Swiss cheese, a little milk, some oregano and pepper, and just mixed the whole damn thing on medium heat for some time, a bit like those Salads they serve in restaurants.

How did it look?

Improvement
  • This was a jhat-pat dish, really, so it leaves a lot of scope for creativity. I guess we can always tweak with ingredients.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

5th July 2009 - Lunch - Mashed potatoes with spices

What?
I actually wanted to make Aloo Vade, but I had little oil left, so I decided to be creative with boiled potatoes. Mashing them and adding in some spices and stir fried onion, I got a pretty neat dish!

How did it look?


Improvement
  • This was an experimental thing, no recipes, but it turned out quite well.
  • I stir fried chooped onions in garlic butter and added in oregano, salt and some chilly powder.
  • Dunking this into the mashed potatoes and mixing well made the potatoes nice and slightly crunchy (onions rock), so I topped it with some fresh lemon juice, oregano, pepper and some more of that wonderful garlic butter. And yeah, chopped onions too

2nd July 2009 - Dinner - Egg Curry


What?
This was another quick preparation. I quite like Egg Curry as it is both delicious and filling. Aaron joined us too for this one, supplying 6 eggs.

How did it look?
Voilà
Improvements
  • A pretty set recipe now, so I just went ahead and made it. So, nothing in particular

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

1st July 2009 - Dinner - Gatte ki Sabji


What?
The problem with typical North Indian dishes is that almost all IITB inmates who are from Maharashtra or further South taste them for the first time in Hostel Messes. Now if you can do one thing to ensure that a person develops mortal fear for a particular dish, it is to make him it that thing in the mess. Gatte ki Sabji (Rajasthani) shares, with numerous other North Indian dishes like Daal-Baati (Rajasthan, MP) and Raajma (Punjab) the misfortune of very very poorly represented.

It is hence with an exasperated tone that I defend these poor dishes against bitter criticism lashed out by my friends at IIT.

I remember Sameer Joglekar once complaining that I offered the same old explanation ("it tastes better in real life") for every dish that the mess managed to give him a bad first impression of. Anyhow, I wish he were here today. At least, I would have been able to win a point.

How did it look?
Compliments to my mother for the impeccable recipe which didn't seem to go wrong at all. It ended up exactly like I wanted it to be, and I hope a Rajasthani would have been proud. :D

The rice also obliged us by being just about perfect.



Improvements
  • The key to this dish is gravy with a yoghurt base. It is technically supposed to be made with onion-garlic paste, but since we didn't have a grinder here, we went for the simple alternative: we grated the onions with a very fine grater, and what we got would give any grinder a run for its money.
  • To substitute for garlic paste, I added Garlic powder to the grated onion paste and it blended in quite well.
  • I was a bit apprehensive about the gatte disintegrating when boiled, but luckily that didn't happen.
  • I realised that I had made the gatte too thick, so I cut them in half after boiling them. This did lead to some disintegration, but it only helped in thickening the gravy, so it was cool.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

30th June 2009 - Fusilli

What?
This was another go at Fusilli and the recipe was almost the same as last time, except today I didn't make the mistake of making too little. Ankit Jha was invited for dinner too, and I asked him to get a baguette along, and it was a nice, filling meal!

How did it look?
Improvements
  • I have made this sauce twice now, and I am sort of bored of it. Next time, I will definitely try to make the one with the white sauce, though it normally ends up being slightly bland for my taste.

Monday, 29 June 2009

29th June 2009 - Dinner - Chana Masala & Plain Dal


What?
I had lots kabuli chana left, so I decided to make Chana Masala today. Spicy and tangy, it is an awsome dish, and very filling too. Along with it, I had some plain daal, a preparation quite unknown to many North Indians

How did it look?

The chilly is going back to the refrigerator, can't afford chillies for garnishing :P

Daal, plain and simple
Vaibhav's pièce de résistance

Happy Meal

Improvements?
  • It's very simple to make. Chopped onions and tomatoes is all you need, and boiled chana of course, but with fresh lemon juice and lots of red and green chillies make it tangy, hot and spicy.
  • The quantity turned out to be bit less, but the Daal I made more than filled up for it.