Vegetables & Sides

Birthday Tikkis

I made these (birthday) tikkis a last week from the Indian Accent cookbook, which now dominates my kitchen counter (not only because it is gorgeous, but its also HUGE!). Not a day has gone when I haven’t opened the book and perused the recipes, salivated at the pictures, and read chef Manish Mehrotra’s stories that prelude each and every recipe. Some of the recipes are complicated, requiring a team of sous chefs to help you – while the others, like our tikkis here, may look difficult to make, but in fact aren’t as cumbersome as I thought – and taste fantastic. A real Indian Accent dish, from my kitchen and my heart to yours, marking the occasion of Joie De Vivre’s 6th year – this really is a treat worthy of the celebration!

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Sweet Corn with Miso Butter

Inspiration for the combination of miso + sweetcorn came while watching Masterchef AU, the episode where Sara makes a roasted quail dish, on a bed of miso sweetcorn puree with a blackberry vinaigrette. As usual, I look at the side elements on a protein dish that I can re-create at home, maybe not in the same exact form, rather as a flavour pairing that I can then create my own recipe with. Now let’s be honest, we’ve all eaten butter slathered corn on the cob, and even steamed corn with a dollop of butter and spices, and it is safe to deem the bowlful of goodness as a warming and comforting snack. Adding miso and some other relishes, well that just makes it burst with flavour in an understated and perfectly rounded way!

For some reason, a lot of people like to boil their corn before using it, or steaming it. I personally find this not only wasteful and cumbersome, but I find that repetitive cooking  Read more…

Scallion & Sprouted Mung Bean Sauté with Peanuts

SS and I just celebrated 5 years of being together, in Hong Kong. I mention this because while exploring Soho one sleepy Sunday, we stumbled upon a store called Pantry Magic, which transported me back to any good European or American kitchenware stores (picture a Williams Sonoma meets Divertimenti) – from where I took home the pictured gorgeous wok, perfect for cooking up Asian fare at home, without taking up too much space in my already congested pantry cupboard! Now, one Sunday after that purchase was made, I decided to use my Clean Foods cookbook (for much needed detox after last night’s revelry and general HK indulgences!) and repeat this Scallion & Sprouted Mung Bean Sauté with Peanuts which I previously made with some pak choi, but this time left it out.

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Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Sometimes, stinky cheese is just what the doctor ordered. Well in my case, any doctor that ordered me (any kind of) cheese would become my new favourite person. While I love adding cheese to salads, very rarely will I made a dressing, whose entire flavour profile is derived from the cheese. I also find that of all cheeses, it is blue cheese that most people shy away from, not due to lack of an acquired taste, but more due to preconceived notions. And the fact that it smells. Last evening, I just wanted a salad, without fuss and too much effort. So begins the birth of the Iceburg Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing.

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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…

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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