Cuisines

An Apology, Exciting News + #EatingBhutan

Starting a post with apologies seems to be the topic of the year, so instead of making excuses, I’d much rather share with you, what it was that’s occupied my mind and may heart for the last few months, and I hope that you will love it as much as I do! But before that – I have another beautiful part of my life I’d like to share with you – snippets from my happy trip to the country that measure progress via its GNH index – yes, you guessed it, Bhutan!

This himalayan kingdom is a lot more dependent on India than I expected, especially in relation to access to the outside world. Its raw and vast natural beauty combined with a happy bunch of people combined with rooftops full of chilli just made this short break feel like we had ventured into the unknown, exhilarating our lungs and bodies, and to top it all off, we even got to fly past the mighty Everest in all its supreme glory. Having just watched the namesake movie, I kept trying to peer and see if there were any people at the top
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#EatingBangkok

My love affair with Thai food is rampant, and I suspect it will continue to be. SS and I did a quick weekend getaway to the Thai capital with the agenda of eating top notch fare, receiving numerous massages and squeeze in a bit of shopping. I would have loved some time in the sun too, but Bangkok, like Bombay, experiences a lot of cloudy skies and wet afternoons. We stayed right in the centre of the action – well, in a lane just off the action. I am getting old, with the 30th around the corner. Wait. I mean 23rd. More on that later.

Our home for the weekend was ultra-chic newly opened Hansar, boasting a winning combination of Thai service with western etiquette, massive suites (fully equipped with a kitchenette, fridge, freezer and washer/dryer) and scrumptious breakfasts at Eve – including these Banana, Walnut + Green apple pancakes and rich 100% arabica Elefin coffee shade-grown in Chiang Rai. They also house one of the most popular new spas in the city, which I felt extremely guilt-free to test out! While the massages were great, one thing which was out of the ordinary was their welcome butterfly pea tea (blue chai) sweetened with stevia leaves. Yes, please!
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AirFried Vegetable Spring Rolls

My love for Thai food is something that can never be satiated, or so I’d like to believe. About a decade ago, my parents and I had a week long vacation there, with a few days at the beach and the rest in the bustling capital. What was clear from this vacation was that my mum and me gluttonously attacked Thai food at every meal (ok fine, barring breakfast, although even at breakfast our plates were filled with mangosteen) so much so that after 4 days, my dad actually ordered a sandwich from room service before we went for another Thai meal, because clearly, he had reached the brink.

Not for me. Every city I visit, always has me looking for at least one Thai pit stop. In Delhi, it’s always Ego Thai, a classic non fussy joint, packed with loads of comfort food. Even when we were in Croatia, we managed to find Pearl of Siam, which coupled with my desire to eat spice and flavour (the vegetarian food in the more touristy parts of Croatia were unimaginative) went so out of control, made us return there two nights in a row! In London,  Read more…

Sushi Rice Bowl with Miso Glazed Vegetables

In the last decade, I’ve made sushi a few times, the bulk being predominantly in college (and once, not so long ago). One Saturday in my third year, the Japanese society was holding a sushi-making workshop in a heavily (food & safety) regulated part of campus, and the fact that there were no open flames (rice cooker for the rice was the shortcut), just knives and raw fish (and some vegetables for the likes of just me), seemed to pass their safety standards agreeably. The afternoon that ensued was great, learning the tricks that have been passed down from generation to generation, not the chef’s secrets, but honest home versions of a world-famous Japanese favourite. The most intriguing part for me was the precision and linear way in which each filling was cut and prepared. One of the most essential tips that have stayed with me till now (even though I didn’t take any pictures or notes there) is the specific urgency in which the rice vinegar is fanned while being added and mixed into the hot sushi rice – it’s what makes all the difference and successfully elevates the sushi rice.
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Cuisine Quickies

It’s always wonderful to have meals made from scratch, with freshly bought ingredients, a meticulously curated menu, execution with much care and deliberation. But most of the times, we just need quick, safe and recipes that take no more than 30 minutes. So to help you all out there (especially the ones that keep slyly suggesting that I train their cooks or counterparts), here are 10 seriously simple recipes that even the most clumsy, non-fussy and lazy cook can make, to kick off your week on an inspiring note. And still, taste seriously amazing. I call them, Cuisine Quickies.

I’ve curated 7 fantastic savoury quickies, that rely on simple pantry basics and bread, nothing that takes you out of the ordinary. And 3 amazingly simple yet scrumptious desert quickies, one centred on chocolate, and the others on fruit, bearing the summer in mind! Here we go: Read more…

Quinoa & Black Bean “Enchilada”

I love quinoa. It’s one of those foods, like couscous, that doesn’t bore me, or leave my plate when another superfood gets all the attention. Adding some flavour with Mexican seasonings, enchilada sauce and protein-packed black beans just make it a perfect and balanced meal. The whole idea is to give the dish an “enchilada” feel by using an enchilada sauce, and topping with shredded cheddar, but without packing in gluten via tortilla. The standard enchilada we make at home has some kidney beans, which I find becomes too heavy when its layered with sauce, tortilla, salsa, lettuce and cheese. This version of Quinoa & Black Bean “Enchilada” has just those things – quinoa, black beans, vegetables, all baked in enchilada sauce.

I adapted the recipe, to make it a bit healthier (by cutting down the quantity of cheese) and adding in some amazing Mexican chillies, a variety of which are available from Sprig in India. I seriously am obsessed with a lot of their products (the bourbon vanilla is top notch, as is the beautifully infused demerara sugars they have and the Black Tellicherry whole black pepper mill), and no, this isn’t a paid feature (but I think I should totally get paid by them, the amount of references I give of theirs almost daily!). They have started a range of chillies, which range beyond the common Chipotle, and include Ancho, Guajillo and Pastilla. Read more…

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