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154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

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149: A Day In The Lives Of Most Of Us

29 May

I woke up very early for a Sunday. Given that I had to go in to work as well, it felt oddly fine to get out of bed before 7am; after all, there’d just be more time to do the things I’d wanted to do. Sunday mornings, according to me, ought to be spent savouring the best the weekend has to offer – it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s pleasant, it’s the calm you need before the rush of yet another week begins. Therefore, in order for my Sunday to be perfect, it needs to be hearty in a subtle, non-overpowering way. For that, I have always imagined either sipping my tea whilst inhaling the aromas of a freshly baked cake rising in the oven or while digging into said warm cake as I have my tea. There’d also be the ambient sounds of chirping birds, the rustle of a newspaper, the crack of a biscuit or two (though they don’t really feature in this act when there’s cake around), minimal conversation, and perhaps the subtle seduction of a guitar playing in the background as well. I achieved some of this yesterday; except there wasn’t any cake fluffing up in the oven because I’d run out of baking powder and hadn’t bothered remembering to get a new bottle. I sought the company of my blog instead, when I still had tea to drink and was done with my papers.

Today was a different set-up. It did involve the appropriation of my Sunday morning fantasies, except, it looked and felt a little like this; something that may be all too familiar to you as well.

Please note that this is the dream I was trying to achieve – sipping on my cup of tea with A, while reading the newspaper in the ambience of chirping birds and the aroma of a cake.

I woke up and by default put on some water to boil for tea. In the meantime, I got the ingredients for my cake ready, and was just about to start on this process when; and I will use the now atrociously common phrase “but first let me…” (not take a selfie, but…)

…add milk to this boiling water for my tea.
…scoop this cream that’s collected on top of this bowl of milk and keep it aside.
…gather all the cream I’ve been collecting and make some ghee (clarified butter) out of it, since I already have the cream at hand.
…turn the tea off (it was done by then and was listlessly boiling away and becoming too strong for our liking)
…get the process of ghee-making started
…put my cake batter together
…oil my hair so I can let it rest while I have my tea, leaving me with enough time to wash it once tea is done.
…turn the tea back on (it had cooled down by now)
…wake A up, because I’ve become his alarm clock now.
…get our tea and biscuits on the table (the cake was in the oven)
…say hello to my plants which are now outside my house (as A opened the door to get the newspaper)
…read while I have my tea
…but wait, let me Instagram this perfect moment
…skim the ghee off the kadhai (wok)
…enjoy my tea-time. Babska, enjoy the present moment, always.

This is endless. This happens to each of us. This has become a regular feature of my life which, if given precedence over everything else, takes over my ability to do one thing at a time (is that necessarily a bad thing?!, you’d ask), or anything else that I might wish to do (like sleep, for example).

Some may call it the ants-in-my-pants syndrome; I just call it the this-domestication-gives-two-fucks-about-living-life-in-the-moment. Sigh.

Having said that, I did end up having my (still) hot tea with biscuits, as I instagrammed a photograph and then proceeded on to read, while enjoying the ambience of birds, the rustle of trees, the shuffle of the newspaper, and the smell of freshly baked cake and homemade ghee that was bubbling away, all in the company of A. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and a great Monday today. :)

142: Cheating

23 May

Today I’m cheating, and confessing about doing so. Yesterday was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long, long time. The school is at its fractional strength what with all the kids, except the senior students, already off. It was quiet, calm, serene, and it had rained. There was no clamouring, no crowding, no shouting, no hurrying. If this is a blessing, then I feel blessed. I even got to walk back home in a faint drizzle and under an overcast sky; there’s nothing more a Bangalore girl can ask for during a harsh North-Indian summer May Monday.

And then my internet died on me just when I was about to ease into some yoga which I haven’t been able to indulge in for an annoyingly long time. Therefore, out went my yoga and out went any chance I had of blogging as well. So here I am, writing about yesterday, today. And therefore I confess.

Yesterday was meant to be enjoyed in its entirety I presume. So there was some uninterrupted tree and sky-staring time, followed by a long conversation with P which ended a good hour later when her baby had a poop-blast situation. Because A also got back home much later than usual and I had time at hand, I did what most self-respecting domesticated wives do – cook. I made today’s lunch, dinner, and perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast as well, last night. There’s so much food in the fridge, A exclaimed, almost in fright. I’d say there’s no better friend than boxes of fresh home food to tide us through days when the last thing I want to do is cook.

There’s a box of black chana stew, dalia (a savoury broken wheat pilaf), cabbage stir fry (made in a mixed north-indian and south-indian style), mangalorean egg curry, leftover rice, dal, one piece of tandoori chicken, and some other essentials – that’s enough no? :P

133: Friday Feels and Saturday Spiels

13 May

I didn’t, or couldn’t write much at all yesterday because I had a dinner party to huff about even though it was clear that there was no cooking on my part to do. Barring throwing some fries into the fryer, ensuring we had enough ice to soothe six summer parched party souls on a Friday night, keeping the beers in our fridge chilled the way my family likes it (though that was A’s job to take care of), and figuring out where we wanted to order from, there wasn’t anything else I had to do really. Except, I still was flitting around in those feels (also why I posted the picture I did, yesterday).

And that’s because the host in me, and more importantly, the dessert-maker in me couldn’t digest the fact that I hadn’t got anything to offer my family who was spending dinner with us yesterday. It’s a blasphemous thought, especially when I’m everywhere on social media when I bake, and nowhere when I have guests over. So in went a stack of mousses that I’d infused with coffee and layered with toffee cake crumble, ready to set for when it’d be time for dessert.

Except they hadn’t set or weren’t even close to setting. To be fair, it wasn’t a dessert to be made on short notice, and expect to set especially quickly under the summer circumstances that we currently are in. 45 degrees is no joke. Anyhoo, a prompt banana sponge was baked which not just added some literal cushioning to my semi-solid but beautiful mousse, but also made my house smell like it was the place to be on a Friday evening. I promise there isn’t a more inviting smell than that of freshly made food.

I’ve no idea where the evening went – before I knew it, it was past midnight and we’d packed my tipsy happy family in their car back home. We have leftovers to party with today, so there will be no cooking whatsoever; just shameless after-party binging of butter chicken, butter naan, chilled sirke waale pyaaz (pickled onions in vinegar), and of course some beer and tv to go along with it.

I reckon this is how some weekends ought to be. With exercise, which A and I seem to be avoiding like the plague. What a killjoy that was.

127: A Day In Bed

7 May

I spent a large amount of my Saturday glued to my bed, risking the “in bed for too long” headache that almost always arrives in time to remind me of my lethargy. Having kept work at work, I had the weekend to my fancy, quite literally. Friday evening saw a barrage of random cooking that took place, without a thought and without much deliberation – I had a mutton curry going, a keema matar (mince + green peas prep) going, and an assortment of vegetables – to simply put it, the cooking bug had bitten me and there’s no other explanation for this sort of thing. Nevertheless, my meals for the weekend were more or less sorted, (but I still indulged in our Sunday rajma chawal prep), and there was time at hand to do exactly nothing.

So I called for some KFC (the nerve, especially after all that cooking!), sat on my bed and munched my way through the latest season of Scandal. Quite scandalous indeed, but one of the best I’ve seen so far. It also made me cry, which is a first. But then again, it isn’t surprising considering it’s Shonda Rhimes we’re talking about. How fantastically powerful each character has been. Needless to say, the feminist in me felt sated – because did you watch how fabulous that entire balance between men and women was? That’s what I think feminism really is; anything else just being too sickening to even stomach.

My binge tv-watching was all done, and while my head was relieved, my greed wasn’t. We hopped on to a neighbouring market which made me realise just how much I love being at home, especially during summer. Being surrounded by overly dressed people, so many of whom were my students I really didn’t want to even catch a glimpse of, the anti-socialite in me wanted to get back home and hang out with only my husband, and him alone. We’re glued to Designated Survivor, if I haven’t already told you. Chilled beers, mutton curry and rice, tv shows, and sharing a mini sundae, are according to me, one of the best ways to spend a weekend in. We are weekend-in people, because neither of us can stomach this 45 degree weather, nor malls bursting at their seams (which is all we really have here).

:)

91: Sublime Saturdays…

1 Apr

…are made of this

A breakfast of leftovers: chicken sausages, pork sausages, mushroom + pepperoni omlettes with toast and OJ to go.

this

Browned clarified butter + vanilla sponge cake.

and this.

Grilled begun(i) bhaaja (brinjal/eggplant fritters) to complement our lunch of daal (lentils) bhaat (rice).

18: What We’re Eating

18 Jan

There’s been a shift in the weather, this week. However, we’re still feeling cold, and I find myself wrapped up in no less than four layers. Come sunset, that becomes five. 

Given the weather, our diet has also naturally made way for the promise of warm, hearty, comfort meals. We’ve kept the concept of salads and cold foods aside, and welcomed dishes that I especially love – soups, stews, bakes. 

Yesterday I made this impromptu dish which featured in my kitchen for the first time since I got married. It’s a regular must-have dinner, otherwise. It needs an oven and whatever else it is that you’ve got in your vegetable basket. Baked vegetables. :)


I’d obviously fallen in love with it, as a child. In my opinion, I don’t think there’s a more hearty, and comforting way to have your vegetables. And they never taste as good anywhere else. 

In this pot, I added quite a basket of veges – handsfull of spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beans, and mushrooms (only because I had some in my tray). Along with it, I added chunks of chicken to make this more appealing to my non-vegetarian loving husband. 

We sat under our throws, had bowls full of this, accompanied with garlic toast, and  we have no leftovers to fall back on, today. Sometimes it’s great to not have leftovers, tbh. The best part is the thick, brown crust right on top, thanks to the facelift this dish got with a small grating of cheese, for good measure. :)

As much as it’s a pain to cook in winters, especially, I think this season has the best dishes to offer any kitchen and hungry tummy. 

14: Saturday Wins

15 Jan

See, I was supposed to come here and write yesterday, except that when it’s the weekend, things don’t necessarily go as per your weekday routine or schedule. Let me rephrase that to this: weekends never ever follow your weekday schedule. But of course you knew this rule of thumb, I needn’t have had to state it. Haha!

Yesterday saw wins on so many fronts:

I made dosa batter from scratch for the first time in my life, and finally, after over 24 hours of resting, for it to ferment, it was ready at the ripe time of Saturday morning. We had dosas and chutney, and there’s nothing more comforting to me than a good, crispy dosa. I’d say that I’ve a long way to go on this batter front because it wasn’t perfect – my dosas were a little drier than I’d have liked; but I feel immensely satisfied to have started somewhere and tried.

I then proceeded on to make a comforting batch of chole bhature the way my mom in law makes this dish. Again, this one was a win even though it wasn’t really perfect. I’ve begun to realise that chasing perfection comes only after having tried. Also, that it doesn’t really matter as much.

I watched LOTR 3 (we watched the second part the day after the first one was watched). That’s four hours of straight winning, if you ask me. Four hours for a movie is a little too overbearing, and I did wish it’d move faster at many points, but that the main purpose of the plot was met, made me feel better than worse. While I’m not a fan, I’m thankful to have my knowledge base expanded…in that if I ever have guinea pigs again, I’d name one Sam, and the other Frodo, that’s for sure.

While we were in the middle of the movie, and a little after we’d had lunch, the two of us stuffed our faces with some leftover cold pizza. If gluttony was an experience, that would be it a 100%.

And then we went out for drinks for the very first time this year; just the two of us.

I think the day can easily be summed up in two words – couch potato-ing.

So there wasn’t really any time to dedicate to writing, as much as I would’ve loved to. But no regrets, and no regrets at all. :)

14 September

14 Sep

I’m still somersaulting in the rainbow of ma’s words. She knows me more than I know myself, but you and I both knew that anyway. There’s no way our parents don’t know the real us, and there’s really no hiding from them spelling the minutest of those details out to us; especially the unpleasant ones. Haha!

R and I honoured our plan to meet each other and she stopped by for a quick but very welcome break, yesterday. With her did she bring not only lots of newness amidst the familiarity, but also an opportunity for the two of us to just be ourselves like old times. Sipping over cups of tea and munching through tales of our every day lives and reflections, we clocked time like I haven’t done in a long while. So many memories were shared, so many new facets of our lives exchanged. The camera and taking photographs were completely forgotten about; or maybe we just don’t really do that sort of thing anyway. It is always hard to say bye, but it’s beginning to dawn upon me that these byes are born more out of gratitude and happiness, than from sadness. The small gifts that come along our way in the form of conversations, chuckles and laughter, a lingering eye contact that speaks of untold yet familiar stories…they’re all for keeps and cannot be filed alongside sadness. R arrived with a gift of sorts for me too, and it has been a delightful sight ever since I laid my eyes on it.


I’m not very versed in cuisines as such, but the possibility of owing a book makes me feel like I have already travelled to the place of its origin. This one is filled with stories, chapters, pictures, and of course, the magical delight of food.


I love South East Asian food for there’s a sense of comfort and fulfilment that always overflows so generously from the steaming bowls and plates they come in. My very limited travails have taken me through streets of food and discoveries that have always been a must do on my list; there’s always so much to learn and grasp.


This book seems to have it all and more. Besides, those pictures. And that fish; oh my.


What a perfect buy.

The thing that really calls out to me are the numerous similarities in the ingredients and methods of cooking Indonesian and Indian food comprise. I cannot wait to discover the treasures in this book; equipping me sufficiently for whenever a travel stop does happen to this famed island. Happies.


S called me ever so randomly yesterday – she has moved countries – and our conversation was rife with peals of laughter and curses, memories and time standing still. I miss her dearly. The last time I went back home to Bangalore was to say bye to her and it was just like how we would’ve said bye anyway – complete with conversations, lots of dancing, food, music, laughter and jokes. Marriage changes things not just for the couple but for their friends as well. But everyone is on their respective journeys and we’ve to learn to incorporate whatever we can into these newfound routes. Mad times. I hope they don’t ever change.

Here’s a song S introduced me to which she played during her wedding, and which I love to bits. Also, it fits because it’s Onam. Onamashamsagal (happy Onam), my dear friends.


*afk, dancing*

From 15 Kilos To 20

17 Aug

I miss dosas — eating them, making them, smelling them, biting my way through them, watching my joy crunch its way through them. I miss dosas and I fondly remember the time I had not one but two benne (butter) dosas in one sitting at Airlines, during my visit to Bangalore last month. That was a first for me. And that was a downright shocker. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, yeah?

IMG_5688

Before I left Bangalore and ventured to that part of my country which sells this staple at exorbitant prices, I learnt how to actually make one, minus it breaking apart in front of my own eyes and my sense of dosa-making self esteem. Of course it only just took me over 28 years to figure the process out — I think that’s a fair time frame to pick up dosa making by, right? I’m those fussy, yet not-fussy dosa eaters because my preference lies in just two types of dosas – plain dosa and butter plain dosa. Sometimes it infuriates me to be so, erm, rigid, because I end up feeling this weird half-full sensation, unsure of whether I can eat my way through dosa number 2, but still desirous of dosa number 2; which wouldn’t really be the case if I ate a masala dosa in the first place. But I fall under that category of people person who thinks dosas and potatoes are just not meant to be together. I feel very secure in this community of one person. Do you feel the same way? If yes, that makes us two — so yay!

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I also came back armed with a suitcase overweight by five kilos, which I pretended was only 15 kilos. How that story at the airport went is better kept under wraps. So yes, these five extra kilos comprised masalas, masalas, masalas and filter coffee powder. One of my favourite and mandatory picks was a batch of rasam powder — enough to last me past the horribly cold winters we have, which are still months away, btw. But now that I’ve dived headlong into this rasam-making business over here, it seems highly unlikely that this rasam powder batch will last me till before winter starts. Wow. So much win.

So rasam was made this time and what an absolute thrill the entire experience was. The smells, the process, the feel of the ingredients, the anticipation, the tempestuous bubbling, the flavours, the sounds…the splutter, the gasp, the sizzle…it was worth it all. My kitchen felt like it was transported back to a Tam-Brahm’s house and I felt like I was walking down the lane of my childhood memories, filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of rasam. What a glorious moment, what a sublime experience. I’m sure to walk down that road again, and again, and again some more.

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This post has turned out to be more South-Indianish and food related (I’m not surprised), than I had planned it to be. The other thing I’ve been wallowing very shamelessly in and reaping the maximum out of is, of course, my very dear mug of filter coffee. No matter how judiciously I use this, I always go back lusting for more. This current potion of magic has been the cure to not just those random mood swings, but pesky headaches that appear out of nowhere, and also works wonders on relieving stress in a jiffy. All it takes is a whiff of its earthy aroma to encase my senses and make me feel better in an instant. And I’ve been trying quite earnestly to better my hand at making my desi cuppa joe better. This is what my coffee looks like on most days, and I’m stoked at how it looks, tastes, smells and feels. All senses spellbound – check!

It looks like I’ve brought back more of Bangalore with me than I did from my previous visits. Sometimes the memories of home; its sounds, smells, experiences, treats, sights; can be debilitating in that you need some form of instant gratification to reassure your leaving and moving on, which can be hard to find in a place so different from home. But it’s at times like these when you realize that home resides as much within you, as it does anywhere else. And with that thought, I came back to NCR with more Bangalore in me than before.