Eating My Cake And Having It Too

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You all must wonder why I write so much, I write posts for my blog, I write posts on Facebook, I write all the time. I virtually drown myself…..and you in my writing. To tell you the truth I love writing, in fact before I started blogging about food, I used to be a content writer, writing articles for the net and writing content for websites.

Until of course I realized that I wanted to start my own food blog. So now I can eat my cake and have it too, pursuing my twin passions-writing and cooking.

I’m as passionate about adding delicious spices to my cooking as I am about punctuating my writing, after all, spices make cooking special and punctuation is the jewel in a written piece. In fact I’m currently rereading a funny, rib tickling book on punctuation called Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. Oh, by the way, that is  my third pleasure-reading. I absolutely must read a large chunk of pages from my current favorite of the day. I’m not crazy about books with pictures, I want good writing, although cookbooks with lovely photographs are welcome. But I do so love to read cookbooks that are interestingly written too. I love reading food memoirs.

If you visit Ahmedabad you’re welcome to come over to my place and share some of the food I cook. You must also check out my library. It’s got books on every subject and I also have a wonderful collection of cookbooks.

Those of you who read my Facebook page will know that my friend from school Manisha, who I haven’t met for 35 years now and who I got in touch with via Facebook, thank you Facebook, recently gifted me some lovely cookbooks to add to my collection.

So now, I’m ravenous and am going to raid the fridge. And munch on something tasty with what else but a book to read, while I watch the view from my window.

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!

 

The joys and pleasures of a food lover

Thank you for joining me as I embark on a journey to write my food blog. There is so much that I wish to share with you. I’m excited. It’s a great time to start a food blog, I feel, because winter is the time when fruits and vegetables are at their freshest and available in abundance too.  Other times we must bear with cold storage foods.

This blog as it says in the subtitle is, From India With Love. I’m excited about sharing the family recipes, my mom’s and my masi’s (mom’s sister) with all of you. My masi who is no more was a great inspiration.  I got bitten by the baking bug because of her. My mom is my biggest critic. I adore her cooking. Dad is always willing to be my in-house food taster.

There is a great pleasure in cooking, especially new dishes, and especially still for family and friends. Food shared, with a loved one, a cake when an elder is sick, or when it’s a little boy or girl’s birthday, or with a neighbour, is extremely gratifying.

From time to time I will also share recipes by well known chefs from around the world. I will share tips on cooking, stories about food, fun and friendships, and I hope you will enjoy this journey as much as I am sure I will too.