Friday, August 12, 2011

Thinking through food habits!

This really is just to share my thoughts about food. Nishka and I have spent 3 weeks in a Naturecure Institute, and come back a convert to being more conscious to our responsibilities as cooks. I cook everyday and normally produce pretty decent food as well. We experiment a lot and are willing to try anything new. Nishka and I had 3 weeks together and spent a lot of time discussing food and have decided to try and go really healthy, but 'tastefully' healthy! The institute has some very strict 'Sathvik' ideas and believes that food is only for nurturing, and we shouldn't worry about taste. I don't really subscribe to this, as I feel creating good food is an art in itself, so this blog is now going to carry our experiments with healthy foods!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

White Stew....Indian style

Another family favourite, white stew with an Indian flavour!

1/2 kg Chicken ( I use legs, thighs and breasts)
2 cups cut vegetables (I used carrots, broccoli, peas and mushrooms)
2 tblspns oil
1 onion sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chipped celery
Garam masala (comprising of 6-7 cloves, 2 piecies cinnamon sticks, 4-5 cardamom  large bay leaves)
1 heaped tblspn  flour
2 cups milk mixed with 1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Grind the garlic and celery into a paste.

Heat oil and add the garam masala. Fry for a few seconds and then add the sliced onion. Fry till the onions are brown and then add the chicken. Fry till chicken is golden, add the garlic and celery paste, salt and pepper. Stir well then add the vegetables, cover, put the flame on simmer and cook till chicken and vegetables are cooked. (The chicken and vegetables will give out its own water and this makes part of the gravy) Mix the flour into the milk mixture (add milk slowly to the flour to ensure there are no lumps). Put the flame on high and bring the stew to a boil and add the milk and flour mixture and cook for a few seconds till the gravy thickens!

IT tastes great with plain boiled rice!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A quick shrimp soup!

Since I cook myself, after a day's work, my energy levels only allow me to cook really simple dinners! Viveck and I love our soups, and these should be clear soups as far as possible! So I made this the other night, really quickly and it was delicious!

4 cups fish stock ( I used fish stock cubes)
250 gms cleaned shrimps (from a packet of frozen shrimps)
1 tblsp oil
1/4 cup chopped spring onions including the greens
6-8 button mushrooms chopped fine
1 carrot sliced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green coriander
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
some boiled noodles

Heat oil, add spring onions and cook till onions are tender. Add sliced mushrooms, carrots and seasoning. Cover and allow the vegetables to sweat on a low flame for a couple of minutes. Raise the flame , add shrimps and cook till shrimps are done, a couple of mins. (Remember overcooking shrimps will make them hard.) Add stock and bring to boil and simmer for a couple of mins. Add celery and coriander and simmer for a couple of mins more. (Adding celery at the end allows it to remain crunchy and tastes wonderful in the soup). Put off the flame and add the lime juice and noodles and serve hot! 

Seafood Risotto

I have been really keen to make a risotto and have been storing this Arborio rice for a while. Went with Nishka to Metro Shop and Carry and bought a huge bag of mixed here it is. The recipe was a mixture of some ideas from the net, Nigella and Jamie Oliver!

250 gms Arborio Rice
300-400 gms mixed sea food ( the frozen bag had a wonderful mixture of tiny shrimps, squid, octupus etc.)
3 tblsps olive oil
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 dry red chilli
1 cup chopped celery
1 small onion finely chopped
100 ml white wine
800 ml fish stock ( I made it with fish stock cubes)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tblsp fresh basil or parsley chopped

Heat oil, and add the garlic and red chilli. Fry for a few seconds till garlic changes colour. Remove the red chilli and discard it, now add the seafood . On a medium flame, fry for a few mins. (it cooks very quickly), and then remove and set aside. You are left with a wonderfully flavoured oil with the seafood juices. Keeping the flame medium, add onions and celery and cook till onions are translucent.Now add the rice and stir it to make sure it is well coated with the oil. Add the white wine and keep stirring till the wine has completely evaporated. (Its the first time I did this and it was wonderful how the grains of rice absorbed the flavour of the wine, so when you ate the risotto there was a subtle flavour of the wine in every mouthful!) Now add the tomato puree, and the salt and pepper, stir well. Start adding the stock a couple of ladles at a time. Once this gets absorbed, add the next two ladles. It takes around 15 mins for all the stock to get absorbed. Keep stirring so that the rice does not stick to the pot. The stock should be kept on a low flame, so that it remains hot when you pour it in. (This is a time consuming process but needs to be done to ensure the rice doesn't become a soupy sludge!!) Once all the stock has been poured in the rice should be cooked 'al dente'. Now add the seafood and raise the heat and cook through. About a minute. Add the chopped parsley or basil and serve hot. Risotto should be served 'al onda' (like a wave) which means it should flow a little when you serve it on to the plate. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

I always thought that chicken noodle soup had to be made in the ‘Chinese’ style, as that’s what its meant to be, or rather that’s the only way I have ever had it. I was pleasantly surprised to see on the net that it’s a very popular soup amongst the Americans. So I ‘thought through’ a whole lot of recipes and finally tried my own version of it. It was so quick to make and SO delicious, and really immediately came into the category of comfort food!
1 cup cooked noodles
300 gms boneless chicken cut into small strips
8 cups stock  (I have made the stock with chicken bones, but also cubes)
1 onion sliced
2 smallish carrots cut into small strips
½ cup peas
½ cup celery minced
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour mixed in ½ cup water

Put stock, onions, chicken, bay leaf, salt and pepper into a pot and allow it to come to a boil and then simmer till chicken is almost tender, aprox. 10 mins. Then add the carrots and peas and allow to cook till tender. Add noodles. Bring to a boil and add the corn flour water mixture, the soup will thicken in a few minute. Now add the minced celery. Serve hot. Its always a good idea to add the celery at the end, just before shutting off the flame, as then the celery remains slightly crunchy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


This blog was supposed to be for me to upload some of my recipes, to share with the kids, but then the kids themselves are such excellent cooks now, so we have decided to expand it to include contributions form all the girls, and a way of sharing our cooking experience! This one is from Nitasha who made this amazing looking cheesecake yesterday. She used Nigella's recipe for which I give the link, and used fresh strawberries instead of cherries and Brittania cream cheese!

Talking about cheesecake...Here's another one made by Mridula and comes out really well! Will make one in a day or so and post the picture!

For the filling

1 liter milk split into panir with 1 or 2 lemons (retain about a cup of the whey)   
¼ liter double cream
30 gms gelatine
rind of 1 lemon
juice of 3 lemons
2 eggs
4 tblsp powdered sugar

For the Base

1 ½ pkts of Krackjack biscuits
75 grams of butter (if the mixture is not holding you may need a little bit more)
3 tblsp powdered sugar

Base: Crush the biscuits into crumbs (not in liquidiser as they have to be crumbly, not powdery). Mix crumbs and sugar. Melt butter and put into it. Mix around from sides into center and press it down tightly into a pie dish. (you can use one with a false bottom if you want). Put into fridge.

Filling: Sprinkle the gelatine on top of the lemon juice and a little whey (about quarter cup) and let it stand for a while. Put on gentle flame and let it melt (it becomes translucent). Keep aside. Put panir, sugar and a little of the whey into the liquidiser and mix, it should be a thick custard consistency. Add egg yolks and liquidise again. Mix the gelatine and the lemon rind into the liquidised mixture. Beat cream till thick and fold into liquidised mixture. Beat egg whites till stiff and fold into mixture.

Pour onto base and set. You can decorate it with orange segments, or mango slices or anything else you want.