Cabbage And Capsicum Salad

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This salad not only looks good, it tastes awesome too. The crunchy, delicious mix of raw cabbage and capsicum with sesame seeds and honey is too good to miss. And….it’s healthy too, which goes without saying really, veggies are so good for you, and salads definitely so.

Dont forget to wash the cabbage and capsicum before chopping them into thin strips, because the cabbage will get soggy if you wash it after chopping it.

You may also add some finely chopped green chillies if you enjoy your salad just that extra bit spicy.

Eat it as a complete salad meal when it will be enough for only you or eat it as a part of your meal with other food, and then it will serve 3 people.

Here is the recipe.

Cabbage And Capsicum Salad

Serves 3

Ingredients

250 gms finely chopped cabbage into thin strips

100 gms finely chopped capsicum into thin strips

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

2 tablespoons honey

Juice of 1 1/2 to 2 lemons

Salt to taste

Method

1 Mix the cabbage and capsicum and chill for 45 minutes to an hour.

2 Remove the cabbage and capsicum from the refrigerator and add all the remaining ingredients and toss lightly.

3 Remove into a serving bowl and serve immediately.

You can play with this salad. Add some chopped toasted walnuts or almonds to the salad if you want some more crunch and added flavor.

 

Fried Peanuts With Onions

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This is a true party snack. Those of us who have a defense background with our families in the armed forces will know it well. When dad was in the Air Force it was often served at parties with hard drinks for the officers and soft or hard drinks for the officers’ wives, which ever they preferred. We kids loved this dish too and so it became a family favorite.

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We made it for the parties we gave at home, and we did have so many parties in the Air Force. We entertained a lot. Our dads worked hard flying sorties at odd times of the day and night, and the armed forces wives were true uncut diamonds, with tremendous inner strength. Many a times the commanding officer would instruct his squadron pilots to fly off in the middle of the night on a mission that the families weren’t to be told about, but that was life in the Air Force.

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But these men and their ladies worked hard and played hard.  They were fearless and loved fiercely. The men touched the sky in glory, the ladies ran the homes, looked after the kids, sometimes all alone for long periods of time.

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Armed Forces kids are tough cookies too. They’ve travelled with their parents to places all over the country, small towns and big, and sometimes to foreign lands as well. They change schools every two or three years with every new posting and make new friends all the time.

So while it’s a tough life, it’s also a life full of adventure, sharing and caring- the camaraderie of the armed forces people is well known, with loads of love.

This I believe is the way with the people in the armed forces all over the world, not just in India. However having seen the pain as well first hand, I truly believe, that the world should dismantle its armies at the earliest and we should learn to coexist peacefully. There is no winner in war. War only brings grief and strife.

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Fried Peanuts With Onions

Makes  2 1/2 to 3 cups

Ingredients

3 tablespoons oil

200 gms or approx. 2 cups peanuts

1 finely chopped onion

2 finely chopped green chillies

salt to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

Some finely chopped fresh coriander

Method

1 Heat the oil on medium heat. Then lower the flame and lightly fry the peanuts. Do not let them burn. Take out from the pan and drain the peanuts of the oil on a paper napkin.

2 Put peanuts into a medium size bowl and add the onions, green chillies, salt and lemon juice and give the dish a good stir. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Green Chutney

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What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of chutney? Spicy 🌶! Maybe a bit sweet. And a bit tangy too. In Hindi we say aaaaah chatpata! Thika! Well in which ever language you say it, if you taste this chutney, you’re going to say…..delicious.

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This chutney is made of fresh coriander and mint leaves and is best had in sandwiches. Yes! This is the ideal sandwich chutney.

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Remember to wash everything that’s cut and chopped thoroughly, before it goes into the food processor.

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And don’t forget to dip a finger in it, when it’s ready (and when no one’s looking) and lick it!!!!

So here goes.

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Fresh Green Chutney

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups fresh coriander leaves and thin stems chopped

1 cup fresh mint leaves plucked

1 inch piece ginger

6 pods garlic

5 green chillies or more if you prefer

1 cup toasted peanuts

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon asofoetida

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon sugar

Juice of one lemon

Method

1 Put the coriander leaves, mint leaves, chopped ginger, garlic and chillies into a colander and wash thoroughly.

2 Into the food processor bowl, pour about 1/4 cup water. Into this put the turmeric, asofoetida, cumin seeds and salt. Now add the coriander mixture from the colander, and top it up with the peanuts and sugar and grind it. Add a little water if the chutney is too thick.

3. Remove from the food processor bowl, put it in a box, add lemon juice, give it a good stir, and there, it’s ready to eat!

You can store the chutney in a closed box in the chiller tray for 5 days.

Savvy Indian Cooking Tools

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When I googled ‘Indian Kitchens’ while writing this article, the page that popped up had articles on modern Indian kitchens and urban Indian kitchen design. Nowhere the old fashioned kitchens that we had in our parent’s times. However, kitchen tools haven’t changed much, except for a Teflon coating here and a plastic handle there, and the Indian housewife plays savvy magician with all these at her disposal.

There are so many cooking tools that I can’t explain all of them here but I’ll write about some of them.

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Rolling pin- Also known as the belan in Hindi, it is made of wood or plastic and used to roll chapatis, parathas and puris (Indian flatbreads eaten with meals). It’s better half is known as the chakla and is the base (made of marble, steel or aluminium) on which the flatbread is laid out and rolled.

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Tongs- Tongs or Chimta or Chimti, as they are called in Hindi, are used to lift hot vessels that don’t have heat resistant handles on them. Another lighter variation of tongs are also used to delicately flip chapatis on the gas stove and cook them. This flipping of chapatis is quite an art in itself.

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Slotted spoon- This kitchen tool is usually used to drain out fried puris or pakoras from hot oil, and it an important Indian kitchen essential.

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Tadka pan- This is a beautiful invention, a small pan with a long heat resistant handle attached to it which allows one to make tadka, or sauté spices to add to curries , dals and vegetables.

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Frying pan, wok, or kadhai– This is a deep bottomed pan, used to cook different dishes such as vegetables or biryani or even fry stuff.

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Thalis– Now a days most Indians eat out of plates made of glass, ceramic or melamine but on festivals they bring out their beautiful steel, silver or mixed metal thalis(plates) to eat meals from. These also have katoris which are about the size of 1/2 a cup each, to fill with dal and curries and sweet dishes.

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Spice box- The masala box is every housewife’s favourite companion in the kitchen. It has small katoris within it to store different everyday spices in it. It has a tightly fitted cover to keep the spices fresh.

There are many more kitchen essentials that play a part in the Indian housewife’s kitchen. Her kitchen is versatile, imaginative and a paradise to make magic while cooking for family and friends.

 

 

 

Cookbooks That Bring To You The Wonders Of Gujarati Cuisine

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Did you know that Madhur Jaffrey the queen of Indian cookery once proclaimed that Gujarati cuisine is the haute cuisine of vegetarianism? Yes she did! Gujarati cuisine is suave, elegant, and tasteful. The different regions of Gujarat, Kathiawar in western Gujarat, South and Central Gujarat, have each of them, different tasting foods. Surat’s   Undhiya is a delicacy you must have. The Gujarati thali with its full lunch or dinner meal is famous. And what about the  farsan or snacks that we have at tea time? They’re fantastic, including Khaman dhokla, Handvo, Paatra and Muthia, not to mention the delicious Khandvi.

Many of the recipes I’ve posted on the blog are Gujarati ones, handed down to me by my mom and in turn, her mom. These are mostly undocumented and so they come down from generation to generation, changing a bit along the way, with that special Indian way of andaaz or approximation, making them taste even better.

I am giving you the names of some books here that have delved into the wonders of Gujarati cuisine.

Gujarati cuisine is mostly vegetarian but you will find non vegetarian recipes too in Bhanu Hajratwala’s Gujarati Kitchen- Family Recipes For The Global Palette.

Tarla Dalal’s The Complete Gujarati Cookbook is the Indian diva’s take on Gujarati cooking. And the book has all the classic Gujarati dishes. It’s fantastic for a lover of Gujarati food.

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Bhojan no Anand-Your Friendly Guide to the Gujarati Thali- Compiled by Anjali Mangaldas, are all the absolutely delicious recipes of the food served at The House of MG, her son’s hotel in Ahmedabad. This series of books is a must have.

Master Chef’s of India- Gujarati Kitchen is from the Master Chef series of cookbooks and it won’t let you down. The book is a small pack of dynamite.

So those are some of the books that will give you a taste of the richness of Gujarati cuisine. I promise you can make many of these recipes at home, because Gujaratis have a knack of making delicacies out of the simplest of ingredients!

 

Peanut Barfi

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Peanut Barfi or Peanut Mithai is a sweet made of peanuts. It was one of my Masi’s (mother’s sister) favourite sweets to make. And I loved how it tasted made by her. She is no more, but it was her birthday on the 16th of July, and I decided to celebrate by making this sweet in her memory.

I never got to asking Masi how she made Peanut Barfi so now I have to improvise and make it myself. I’ve tried, tested, tried and tested again and finally made it my way. It tastes so delicious. You should try it too.

Here’s how I make Peanut Barfi

Peanut Barfi

Makes 25 pieces

Ingredients

1/2 tin/ 200 gms condensed milk

150 gms peanuts, roasted and skin removed

150 gms khoya

50 gms plain flour or maida

1/2 cup milk

Method

1 Grind the peanuts to a powder in the mixer grinder.

2 Mix all the ingredients and put to cook in a thick bottomed pan, on a slow flame, until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan. The mixture will form a ball.

3 Remove from heat and spread onto a greased rimmed plate, tray or thali. Spread in a thin layer. Cool and cut into squares.

 

Telia Batata

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Telia Batata or Potatoes in a mustard dressing. This recipe is to die for. Especially for those who enjoy the taste of mustard. I believe you should put enough of it so that the mustardy sensation shoots right into your head. Believe me, you’ll love the taste of this dish.

My grandma made this dish for the large joint family that mom lived in and they ate it with hot puris. The dish is spicy, mustardy and I promise sooooo yummy!

Here is the recipe

Telia Batata

Serves 3

Ingredients

500 gms boiled potatoes, chopped into quarters.

1/4 cup oil

3 teaspoons readymade mustard powder or 3 teaspoons ground split yellow mustard

Salt to taste

2 chillies finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

A handful of finely chopped fresh coriander

Method

1 Mix the ground mustard in the oil vigorously for 5 minutes. Add the salt and mix again.

2 Put the chopped potatoes into the oil mixture. Add the lemon juice, chillies and fresh coriander and give them a good but gentle stir. Avoid mashing the potatoes too much.

3 Keep in the refrigerator or outside for 1/2 an hour to let the flavours blend before serving.