13 August 2018

Your Kitchen Robot

Is this an appliance? A machine? A gadget? Nope, Thermomix is a Kitchen Robot! A one stop assistant that's all you'll need..
The concept is simple - To simplify cooking and simplify life.
Thermomix TM5 is a premium product from the house of Vorwerk & Co., a company that was founded in 1883. Vorwerk is well-known for its premium appliances and household products across many countries.
Thermomix TM5 takes a bit of a learning curve, but once you have mastered it (which is fairly easy to do) you will thank your stars for it.
I was happy to be part of a demo arranged at their Bangalore office, called (aptly so!) the Pocket Kitchen. The premises is aesthetically designed with an open kitchen space, ample seating and a service center as well.
The appliance comes with, wait for it, Twelve in-built functions along with a weighing scale. So it takes care of:
1. Weighing
2. Timing
3. Sautéing
4. Melting
5. Steaming
6. Stirring
7. Emulsifying
8. Whipping
9. Chopping
10. Blending
11. Grinding, and
12. Kneading
Quite a handful isn't it?
The unit includes a Stainless Steel mixing bowl, a lid that mechanically closes once the function is selected, a simmering basket, the Varoma Steaming basket, butterfly whisk, spatula, measuring cup and the multi-purpose blade.
The front panel has an intuitive selection option that takes you sensibly and sequentially through the functions that you'll absolutely master after a few trials. The screen also doubles up as your recipe assistant. If you are using the appliance in Chip mode, you can simply read off the recipe steps at the touch of a button and cook as you go.
On that subject, you have the option to use Thermomix with a recipe chip that comes pre-fed with over 180 recipes and instructions thereof, or a recipe book, or the ever-growing online community on their facebook page.
I personally found the chip mode fascinating, especially when working with a new recipe and you will truly appreciate that guiding hand.
The best part about the Thermomix marketing campaign is that each unit is sold as part of a personal connect and after giving the potential customer a proper demo of the appliance, to help them understand that it ain't just another kitchen counter trophy!
The dishes that were demo-ed to us -
Pineapple Ice Cream, Pumpkin-potato soup, Risotto, Spaghetti in tomato sauce and Hummus. Just as an example; for the soup - from the chopping of the ginger, sauteing it, cooking the pumpkin, potato, shallots and then blending them - all of this happened in a single jar at a touch of a button at a fraction of the conventional time! How's that for efficiency?


In this day and age when efficiency, both in terms of time and space is valued, Thermomix comes as a culinary boon. Don't take my word for it, go ahead and book a demo today and see for yourself.
And yes, on a signing off note, you can be a part of the team too, join their recruitment campaign and win big! If you sell 6 machines in 3 months, you get the 7th one free of cost plus your commission.
Their address in Bangalore: 1st Floor, No. 105/90/1, Survey No. 9/1, Byatarayanapura Villlage, Bellary, Road,, OPP. GKVK Campus, Near Shell Petrol Pump, Yelahanka,, Hobli, Jakkuru Layout, Byatarayanapura, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560092
[Or just enter Thermomix, Jakkur into your Google Map]
Buying processhttp://thermomix.co.in/en/how-to-get-it/purchase-process/

1 August 2018

Dal Makhani

So much has been said about this recipe. It's a classic dish that almost everyone opts for from the menu. The true flavours come out if you are generous with the butter (hence "Makhani" i.e, Makhan like, buttery smooth).
I found many many versions for this dish so it was difficult to pinpoint any one authentic one. Only Shri KL Gujral would know it!! (I skipped the cream as I forgot to get some :( )
Here's the version I tried. Go ahead and enjoy it with rice or rotis.
1 cup Whole Black gram(sabut urad), soaked for 6-8 hrs
2 tbsps Kidney beans (Rajma), soaked for 6-8 hours
3-4 medium Tomatoes, chopped or pureed
2 medium Onions, chopped or ground to a paste
2 tbsps Clarified Butter (Ghee)
2 tbsps Ginger-Garlic paste
Chopped Fresh Coriander
1 tsp Coriander (Dhaniya) powder
1/2 tsp Cumin (Jeera) powder
1 tsp Red chili powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala(optional)
Salt to taste
For Tempering:
2 tbsps Ghee
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1. Pressure cook the lentils till well done.
2. Heat ghee in a pan, add onions and sauté till brown. Add Ginger-Garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes more.
3. Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes.
4. Add salt, chili pwd, dhaniya and jeera powder + few coriander leaves. Stir well and let simmer on low for 5-6 minutes.
Optionally you can pressure cook again for 2 whistles so the spices mix well together.
5. For tempering, heat ghee, turn off flame and add the chili powder. Give it a quick stir and add to the cooked dal. Stir and check for seasoning.
Serve hot garnished with coriander.

4 July 2018

Pineapple Halwa

½ cup Rava/Sooji
½ cup Ghee / clarified butter
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Pineapple, chopped
1 ½ cups Water
10 Cashewnuts, sliced
¼ tsp cardamom powder
Saffron strands, a few or kesar colour (optional)
1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee and roast cashews till golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
2. Heat ¼ cup ghee in a thick bottomed pan and roast the rava till you get a nice aroma. Remove and keep aside.
3.  In the same pan, add the water and pineapple bits and let cook till pineapple becomes soft.
4. Add the rava stirring continuously leaving no lumps. Now add the sugar and mix well till sugar melts and halwa starts to thicken.
5. Add the remaining ¼ cup ghee, stir. Add in the cardamom powder, cashewnuts, saffron and mix well. Give a final stir till halwa starts to leave sides of the pan.
Remove and serve hot.

23 June 2018

Pudina Pulao

       Weekend lunches are extra special, to be enjoyed with the family. But if you don't want to spend half the morning cooking and still whip up something yummy and interesting, then this Mint leaves pulao is perfect for you. Here's the recipe.. Recipe video on #IGTV - https://www.instagram.com/tv/BkXs-OvDG7a/
Mint leaves - 1 cup
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup
Green chili - 1
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Cloves - 8-10
Basmati rice, cooked - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Bay leaf - 1
Cooked vegetables (Peas, carrot, potato) - 1 cup
Salt to taste
1. Grind together mint leaves, dhaniya, green chili and ginger to a fine paste using very little water.
2. Coarsely grind cinnamon and cloves. You can choose to add them whole as well. I ground them to avoid wastage.
3. Heat ghee in a large kadhai. Add the bay leaf, ground cinnamon-cloves, mint leaves paste and vegetables along with salt. Mix well and let cook for 3-5 minutes.
4. Now add rice little by little, mix well. Check for salt and cover cook for just 2 minutes to let the aroma & flavours steep in.
Serve hot.

21 June 2018

Carrot - Cabbage Chutney

In a quest to look for non-raw food, working with chutneys and raitas is one of the biggest challenges. In that search, I came across this recipe at https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/carrot-chutney-recipe/ for Carrot chutney which suited my purpose.
I tweaked it a bit and added cabbage for good measure as well.
Sesame oil - 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Chana dal - 1 tso
Carrots, roughly chopped - 1 cup
Cabbage, roughly chopped - 1/4 cup
Green chili - 1, medium
Dry red chili - 1 medium
Asafoetida (Hing) pwd - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind - 1 pea size
Coconut, dessicated (readymade one works best than fresh) - 1/4 cup
For Tempering:
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves, a few
1. Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a kadhai, add the urad and chana dal, green chili and red chili along with hing. Fry a bit till lentils turn golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
2. Add another 1/2 tsp oil, now add in the carrots, salt and cover-cook for 7-8 minutes or till carrots are semi-soft.
3. Now add the cabbage as well and cook for 5 mins more.
3. Remove, let cool and grind to a paste. Transfer to a bowl.
4. For tempering, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add mustard seeds and let splutter. Add the urad dal and curry leaves and pour over the chutney.
Serve as accompaniment with Idli, dosas, or chapatis too.

Moong Dal Idli

Idli is one of the traditional Indian breakfasts that is guaranteed to give you that instant energy boost, thanks to its carbs content. While we have many options around for Idlis, using Idli rice, raw rice, Millets, let's try one with Green gram. I have used whole Green gram in this for added goodness.
The batter needs to ferment, as with any Idli batter. If you are going to make this at nite, then grind the batter in the morning itself. Best for use within a day.
Serve with this Carrot-Cabbage Chutney
Soaking time: 6-8 hours
Fermentation time - 6 -8 hours
Serves - 20 idlis approx
Whole Green gram (Sabut Moong dal) - 1 cup
Whole Black gram, without husk (Dhuli sabut Urad dal) - ¼ cup
Green Chili -1, medium
Ginger - ½ inch piece
Salt to taste
Fenugreek (Methi) seeds - ¼ tsp
1. Soak the moong dal overnight. Soak the urad dal along with methi seeds for 2 hours before grinding the batter. 
2. In a mixer jar, add the moong dal with a little water, green chili and ginger and grind till you get a frothy batter. Remove to a bowl.
3. Now add the urad dal + methi seeds to the mixer and grind to a smooth and frothy batter, as for idli. Add this to the ground moong dal, add salt to taste, mix well and leave to ferment for 6-8 hours.
4. Apply oil to idli plates, pour ladle-ful batter into each pocket and steam cook for 15 mins or till done. If you wish to add veggies to this, add it just before making idlis.

3 June 2018

Badam Burfi

Desserts or even simple sweets are even more special when we make them at home. In the beginning some can appear bit overwhelming, but once we try it it turns out to be a lot less complicated.
Here's a simple Badam Burfi recipe.
Whole almonds (soaked and peeled) - 1 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Saffron strands - a few, soaked in 2 tbsps warm milk
Cardamom (Elaichi powder) - 1 tsp
1. Grind the almonds to a fine paste using milk. You can grind them coarse too if you prefer the burfis to have a bite to them.

2. Add sugar and water to a thick bottom pan and keep stirring on low-medium flame. We need a one string consistency.

3. Once it reaches the desired consistency, add the badam/almond paste and stir well. Once it thickens a little, add the ghee and keep stirring on low flame.

4. Now add the elaichi powder and continue stirring till mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan completely.

5. Transfer to a greased plate or baking tray. Let cool slightly. Cut the mixture into desired shapes and let cool completely. Transfer to a clean jar and consume within a week.

8 May 2018

Pointed Gourd Kuzhambu

         There are several varieties of stews in our country, closest relative in Tamil Nadu being Kuzhambu. Sambaar, Vettral Kuzhambu, Ara puli, Iru puli, they all come under this category. Basic concept being the simmering of Tamarind extract with spices and in some cases, lentils too and vegetables of choice.
Today mum tried out this Aracha vitta kuzhambu, which literally translates to Stew with ground spices/paste. While it can be made with almost any vegetable - white pumpkin, capsicum, Okra and many more, she made it with Pointed gourd (Kovakkai / Kundru / Thondekkayi) Inspiration from Agrahara Recipes.

Pointed gourd / Kovakkai/Kundru - 1/2 cup, thin round slices
Dry red chilies - 4, medium
Bengal gram /Chana dal - 1 tsp
Pigeon peas, Arahar dal - 1 tsp
Fenugreek / Methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - cherry sized piece
Coconut oil - 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp
Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
For Tempering:
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Split black gram / Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
1. Pressure cook the kovakkai / pointed gourd using very little water.
2. Heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil in a kadhai, roast red chilies and lentils till aroma is released.
3. Now add the grated coconut and roast till golden brown. Finally add methi seeds and roast, taking care not to let it brown too much. Let cool and grind to a fine paste using little water.
4. In a saucepan, add tamarind extract to the cooked kovakkai along with salt to taste & turmeric powder. Let simmer till the raw aroma leaves the tamarind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
5. Now add a little water to the ground paste, mix well to remove lumps and add it to the simmering mix.
6. Pour 1 tsp coconut oil over the simmering stew. Let simmer for 2 more minutes, then remove.
7. For tempering, heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Add to the stew.
Serve hot with rice, rotis or Dosas.

27 April 2018

Food knows no Boundaries - Sindh Kitchen

 Some places don't find you, you have to discover them. A treasure tucked away on the 4th floor of Bloom Boutique hotel in Malleswaram, just a stone's throw away from the Metro station and Mantri Mall, The Sindh Kitchen is one such place that has everything going for it, from ambience, decor, and of course the food.
We visited this place in a group, which is always good as we get to taste a little of everything. And we were an all-veg group. So yep, it was going to be interesting to see what the chef had to offer! And it was more than a pleasant surprise when the chef made us happy with so many dishes that we were actually spoilt for choice! Right from starters to the dessert, the meal was simply amazing. 
What we were served:
Paneer tikka salad, Dhaniya coated crisp paneer, Soya chaap, Subzi seekh pao, Nawabi tikki, Stuffed karela, Stuffed mushrooms, Palak Patta chaat, Dal pakwaan, Mini kachoris and samosas, Afghani papad

Main course:
Afghani pulao, Subz lazeez, Bugha chawal and sai bhaji, Paneer Peshawari, Sunehri kofta, Makhan palak, Kadhi chawal and aloo tuk, Dal bukhara

Indian Breads:
Mirchi ka paratha, Baluchistani naan, Kashmiri naan, Khameeri roti

China grass, Angoori rasmalai with gajar ka halwa, Praghree

I must make a special mention here for the paneer varieties, and why not, because the paneer is sourced from Delhi, and you can tell that it's full fat milk! Palak Patta chaat was so delicate and crispy, fair warning, you may not want to share the platter.
Apart from that I cannot really choose just a few favourites here as all the dishes were truly amazing, especially the bharwaan karela. The kind of spices, the aroma and flavour that I relished that day are what that I have missed much since my days in Delhi and found recreated in very few places.
So Vegetarians and non-vegetarians, head to Sindh Kitchen Malleswaram to get pampered, if you havent already, the hot star North of town. 
And now, for the pictures!