Ever since I was a kid, I loved watching my mom in the kitchen preparing delicious and fulfilling meals with ease. My mom is a magician in the kitchen...(Read More)

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    Female/26-30. Lives in Canada/Ontario/Toronto, speaks English. My interests are cooking, art, design,/writing, reading, .
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  • Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Chinese food with an Indian touch...

    This has to be one of the most popular and tastiest dishes in the Indo-Chinese menu. You won't find it in any of the authentic Chinese restaurants, maybe because it must be an Indo-fusion creation that has been perfected by the hawkers on any street in India! But you will surely find it in any Hakka place around Mississauga. Till your next trip there, put on your apron and dish this up. It's as close to the real thing as it may get! Gobi Machurian (Cauliflower in a Spicy Sauce) Ingredients: 1 medium-sized Cauliflower broken into florets 2 tbsp cooking oil 2 tbsp chopped Spring Onions 1 tbsp finely chopped Garlic 1 tbsp finely chopped Ginger 1 tbsp finely copped Green Chili ½ tbsp Corn Flour mixed with 2 tbsp of water Salt, to taste 2 tbsp Soy Sauce 2 tbsp Tomato-chili sauce ½ cup of water For the batter: ½ cup all-purpose Flour ¼ cup Corn Flour ¼ tsp red chili Powder Salt, to taste Method: Combine together all-purpose flour, corn flour, red chili powder, salt and a little bit of water to form a batter thick enough to coat each cauliflower floret. Heat the oil in a pan and deep fry florets till golden brown. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add the spring onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Fry for a minute till fragrant and then add pepper, soy sauce, tomato-chili sauce and salt. Cook for a minute and add the corn flour and water mixture. Add a little water and let simmer till the sauce becomes thick. Add the fried cauliflower florets and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with chopped spring onions and coriander leaves.

    Eggplants so green...taste so good!!

    Eggplants have always been my favourite. And luckily for me, they are used a lot in India cooking. So needless to say, there are tons of Indian eggplant recipes out there to satisfy my palate. I learnt this dish from one of my close friends when we were both cooking to survive in a hostel. Like me she was crazy about eggplant and ate it atleast once every week. This recipe is so easy, you can't even guess how great it tastes!
    Hariyali Baingan (Eggplant in Corinader Sauce)

    Ingredients: 2 cups eggplants diced into cubes 2 cups chopped coriander leaves 1 cup chopped onion 1 cup chopped tomato Salt, to taste 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste 2-3 green chilies 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp fennel seeds Method: Put coriander leaves and green chilies with a little bit of water into a mixer and grind to a paste.

    Fry eggplant cubes in a little oil till brown on all sides and set aside.

    Heat oil in a pan and add cumin and fennel seeds. Add onions and fry till soft and slightly brown.

    Add coriander-chili paste, ginger-garlic paste and tomatoes, and cook for 5-6 minutes till tomatoes start to pulp.

    Add eggplant and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

    Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat.

    Chickpea Curry

    This is my recipe for a delicious chick-pea curry called, Chole . Chole in hindi ofcourse, means chickpeas. This dish is eaten all over India and is cooked in a different in every state. My recipe branches out from the North-Indian side, mainly Punjabi style of cooking chick peas.
    Chole (Chickpeas)

    Ingredients: 1 cup chopped onions 2 cups chopped tomatoes 1 can chick peas 1 tsp chopped ginger ½ tsp red chili powder ½ tsp coriander powder ½ tsp cumin powder ½ tsp garam masala ½ tsp dried mango powder (amchoor) ¼ tsp turmeric powder 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves 1 tsp cumin seeds Method: Add cumin seeds to hot oil and allow to crackle. Add onion and fry till lightly browned.

    Add ginger, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dried mango powder, and turmeric powder and fry for a minute.

    Add chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes pulp. Add chickpeas and a cup of water and cover cook for 10-12 minutes.

    Stir in lemon juice and sprinkle garam masala and coriander leaves as garnish. Spicy Notes: This dish is traditionally served with hot crispy puris and a side of sautéed potatoes, and is a huge favourite at weekend brunches.

    Must haves for every Indian kitchen...

    To continue with my previous post on the basics of easy Indian cooking, I'd like to give you an insight on what I have in my kitchen that makes Indian cooking seem like an easy task. Believe me when I say this is almost all that you will need to cook all these wonderfully delights that I share with you. Lets start with the basic spices. Most of these spices are now easily available at regular grocery stores. In fact, it is very rarely that I have to drop in on an Indian speciality store to get the ingredients I need. Must-haves in every Indian Pantry: - red chili powder - coriander powder - turmeric powder - garam masala - cumin seeds - mustard seeds - chaat masala - dried mango powder (amchoor) - cumin powder - black pepper corns - cloves - bay leaves - dried curry leaves - cinnamom sticks - green cardamoms Must-haves in every Indian Fridge: - yoghurt - mint-coriander chutney - tamarind chutney - fresh coriander leaves Must-haves for every Indian Stove: - frying pan - deep pan - deep soup pot - wok (called kadhai in hindi) Have all of these and you're all set to go on a culinary adventure with the exotic foods of the Indian sub-continent. Have all of these, and Indian cooking is child's play!

    On Indian Cooking...

    Before I continue to sweep you all with my delicious delectables delicacies, I'd though I'd dedicate a post or two on the basics of Indian cooking, my way - the easy way! I think I began cooking when I moved into a hostel about 7 years ago. Living on your own teaches you a lot, and cooking is one of them! The first few months, I survived mainly on instant noodles and the cafeteria food. Not long after, I decided that it was time I did somrthing about it. So I called up my mom, and that was the beginning of our regular recipe exchanges over phone (did I mention it was long distance?!). Everytime we wold talk, the topic of what each of had for lunch or dinner was an unavoidable question. With that continued the saga of how it was made, and what other variations could be added to make better. It wasn't long before I realized I enjoyed cooking, and why not, I was good at it! It was always a proud moment for me when I got a compliment on my culinary skills. And an even bigger one for Mom when they would tell her that I fall right into her footsteps. But there's a lot of difference between the way Mom and I come up with our creations. The taste might be very similar, but the way its made is not. Mom likes to use the traditional way, even if it means spending the whole morning to make lunch. And don't get me started on when we have those lavish dinner parties! I, on the other hand, love to find the shortest and easiest routes to get to my destination! I use products from a can or fresh from the freezer and make life so much simple by having a food processor. These are just little time savers, that when put together, makes cooking a breeze. And if you're a believer of the old and traditional ways of cooking, I'll encourage you to try out my recipes my way, and you'll see that they are loaded with the same flavours. Even Mom thinks so too!

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Look Mom!!! I made Biryani!!!

    Biryani is always considered a treat for special cassions. I'm guessing all the hardwork and not to mention time associated in making this luscious fullfiling aromatic meal has definitely got something to do with it. There are over 30 varieties of Biryani made in India - and I can confess I haven't tasted them all! For me, my mom has always been and always will be the Biryani Queen, for only she is fit to wear that crown. Her biryani is well known and loved among all the people we know, and that means every person each member of our family has ever invited into our humble home. I have never really tried making it, always thinking I just don't have that much time and patience! But today was different, very different! I came home from work more hungry for a lavish home-cooked meal than tired. And that's when I got to work. I knew chicken and lamb would take much longer to cook, so I opted for ground meat instead! Now, honestly, I really don't think anyone anywhere makes meatball biryani. But I did, and you know what, it tastes just as great with half the time! I think I should be next in line to inherit the crown from Mom! What say Ma?!
    Meatball Biryani

    Ingredients: 2 cups Basmati rice 2 cups finely chopped onions 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes 1tsp chopped green chillies 1 tbsp chopped ginger 1 tbsp chopped garlic 1 tsp red chili powder 1 tbsp coriander powder 1 tsp cumin powder 1 tsp garam masala salt, to taste a pinch of saffron 7-8 black peppercorns 7-8 cloves 2-3 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 1 tsp cumin seeds Fresh coriander leaves for garnish Sliced boiled eggs for garnish (optional) For the meatballs: 1/2 kg minced meat (I used lean ground chicken, but feel free to use any kind of ground meat) 1 beaten egg 1/2 tsp red chili powder 1/2 tsp garam masala 1/2 tsp chopped ginger 1/2 tsp chopped garlic salt, to taste 1 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp bread crumbs Method: Mix all the ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl. Make mixture into bite-sized balls and fry in a little bit of oil till meatballs are brown on all sides. Set aside. Par-boil rice and set aside. (You can use about 2-3 cups pf water to cook 2 cups of rice. Just make sure the rice is not fully cooked through, or else the Biryani will turn out mushy.) Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Add onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies, and fry on medium-low heat till they start to brown a bit. Add cinnamon, bay leaves, pepper corns and cloves, and cook for about 2 minutes.

    Add tomatoes, salt, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and cumin powder. Continue to cook on medium heat till it begins to dry up and starts to give out oil. Add meatballs and covercook for 5-6 minutes till it forms a thick, rich and dry gravy base. In a non-stick deep pan, put a layer of the meatball gravy, without the meatballs. Now add a layer of rice, topped with a layer of meatballs. Alternate layers of gravy, rice and meatball till everything is used up. Make sure that the top most layer is rice. Crush a pinch of saffron into 2 tablespoons of water and mix with your finger till the water catches colour. Pour the saffron water over the top layer of rice. Cover cook for 15 minutes on a low flame, without stirring. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and boiled eggs (optional) and serve alongside Minty Yoghurt Chutney!

    Just a little about me...

    Ever since I was a kid, I loved watching my mom in the kitchen preparing delicious and fulfilling meals with ease. My mom is a magician in the kitchen and my biggest inspiration. I still remember sneaking a wok and ladle into my room and pretending that I had my own cooking show, happily chatting away to the “camera” while I stirred and added the imaginary ingredients. Though cooking had always been a hobby, I only began to take it seriously when I moved out of home and into a hostel for college. Unwilling to survive on tasteless meals provided by the hostel cafeteria, I decided to wear the apron and armed with a ladle got to work. Nine years later, I am finally convinced of my talent. I stepped into the food blogging scene rather late, but have been able to build up a huge fanfare in a short span of time. This blog is my attempt at sharing my creativity and love of food with everyone. The encouragement to go on comes to me from all the lovely comments I get from fellow bloggers. I look at my blog as a food journal where I keep little notes that would come in very handy when I write my own cookbook. Now, if only that publisher would come along! Some of my recipes have been passed onto me from my mom, many of them have been created by me, and all of them have a story to tell. Like the Shakkarpare I made on the morning of our first Diwali (an Indian festival) together as a married couple, insisting that we had to start our own festive traditions. Or the Gobi Manchurian I managed to perfect, to taste exactly like those we get at hawker stalls in India. And especially my Meatball Biryani that I dished up because my husband is not too fond of pieces of chicken, with bones in it! Whatever it is, it was cooked and created to perfection. With my Mom being Malaysian, my Dad an Indian, me growing up in the Middle East and having been in Canada for the last few years, my recipes reflect the eclectic tastes that I have gathered along the way. I am currently working towards my diploma in Business Administration with a major in Marketing. I would love to step into the exciting world of advertising, but my secret ambition remains to have my very own restaurant!

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Another one from my Malay files...

    The weather cooled down a lot today in the evening. It actually got cold enough for us to get out our comforter and cuddle up on the couch while watching TV! The mood was set for something that would warm you up, not just from the outside, but especially from the inside. That's when I had this sudden craving for soup. But not any soup! The only one that would satisfy and comfort me would me my mom's special "Mee-hoon Soup" - a Malay spicy noodle soup!I remember having this soup on my trips to Malaysia. My grandma would always make it for us when it used to rain (which was every other day!), to keep us warm and avoid us catching a cold.I still crave for this soup on cold nights, and with the winters being horrid here, this easy to make soup is always a welcome guest!
    Malaysian Spicy Noodle Soup

    Ingredients: For the Soup:

    2 cups Chicken Stock/Broth 1-inch piece of ginger 2-3 cloves of garlic 2 red chilies Fresh basil leaves 1 stalk of lemon grass For Serving and Garnish:

    Thin rice noodles or vermicelli ½ cup sliced onions ½ cup fried pieces of chicken or tofu Freshly chopped coriander leaves ½ cup bean sprouts 1 tbsp chopped peanuts Method: Soak noodles in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes and set aside. Add ginger, garlic, red chilies, basil and lemon grass to chicken stock and bring to a boil. Strain the soup and add to noodles.

    Garnish with sliced onions, bean sprouts, chicken or tofu, and coriander leaves.

    I smell something fishy...

    Not many people know that I am half-Malaysian and half-Indian. My parents brought us up in a way that we would get the best of both worlds. And they did their job well! Food was a very important part of our daily life. With my mom being the most amazing cook, there was never any chance of us not getting delicious treats each day. Even though I love and almost eat Indian food everyday, my heart stills longs for my mom to come into my kitchen and cook me a scrumptious Malay meal, since I lack much knowledge in that area. This is my favourite Malay fish curry recipe that I learnt from my mom. She would always make this for me whenever I would go home, kinda like my welcome home lunch/dinner. I never knew how easy it was till I decided to make it on my own!
    Malay-style Hot and Sour (Asam-Pedas) Fish Curry

    Ingredients: 6 pieces of fish (I love Promfret the best, but Mackeral tastes good this way too. Feel free to use any of your favourite fish) 1 medium-sized onion 2 medium-sized tomatoes 2-3 pieces of dried tamarind (depending on how sour you like it) 1 teaspoon red chili powder 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 5-6 dried curry leaves 2 tablespoons light cooking oil salt to taste Method: Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves when oil is hot.

    Add onions and fry till slightly brown.

    Add finely chopped tomatoes and cook till they soften.

    Add salt, turmeric and chili powder and fry till spices blend in.

    Add 2 cups of water and bring to a slight boil. Add fish pieces and cover pan till fish cooks.

    Put in the dried tamarind pieces and cover cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add more water depending on the consistency you want. Remove from flame and serve with boiled rice and fresh cucumber slices.

    On memories from the Arabian desert...

    I spent the first seventeen years of my life in Kuwait, a small country on the Arabian gulf, in the Middle East. Unlike what many people think, Kuwait is not a only desert and no, I did not live in tents and ride on camels! One of my best memories of living in the Arab region is the exotic food. Just thinking of the luscious kebabs, crispy falafels and yummy melt-in-your- mouth shawarma sandwiches, makes me drool. One thing I never, and I mean NEVER ate during my stay in all those years is Hummus. I never knew why, but whenever my family would relish Hummus, I always thought that something that looked so creamy would obviously taste like, well, cream of course! And needless to say, I dislike cream in the raw. My first tryst with Hummus was here, in Canada, several years later when I decided to give it a try after my boyfriend (now husband!) looked at me with such suspicion on never eaten something that tasted so good! Well, I did give it a try, and yea, you guessed it...I loved it! So here's how I make this delectable dip. And served with Pita Chips, its a great conversation starter!

    Ingredients: 1 can chickpeas 1/4 cup tahini 2 cloves garlic 2 tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp salt Method: Put all the ingredients into a blender and grind into a fine paste. Garnish with fresh parsley and a few drops of olive oil.

    Put on a good movie and relish with seasoned Pita Chips!

    Why did the Chicken cross the road?

    Chicken is one of the most versatile things you can cook. No matter what you do with it or how you cook it up, chances are it will always taste great! In the process of writing my cookbook, I realised that I have tons of yummy treats that have chicken as the leading star. Most of these recipes have been passed down from my mom to me, the rest were created in my own little messy kitchen! This is one of my personal favourites, a treat at ever party!
    Crispy Chicken Strips

    Ingredients: 12 Chicken Strips (or 3 large-sized boneless chicken breasts cut into 4 strips each) oil for frying 2 eggs 1 cup bread crumbs For the Marinade: 1 tablespoon light cooking oil 1 teaspoon red chili powder 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchoor) 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste salt to taste Method: 1. Mix chicken strips in a large bowl with all the marinade ingredients and let sit for an hour. 2. In a bowl beat 2 eggs and set aside 3. Heat oil in a pan and wait till oil is really hot. 4. Dip each chicken strip first into beaten egg, and then into bread crumbs to nicely coat each strip. 5. Fry chicken strips till brown and crispy. Serve with big bowl or french fries and ketchup and enjoy!! Spicy Notes: If you want to avoid the use of excessive oil while frying, this dish can be altered by putting it in a 375 degree oven on broil for 15-20 mins till chicken is crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

    On blogging about food...

    I have long since wanted to start a food blog but never really got about to doing it. So when I finally got half the mind to begin one today, I started off by posting some of the recipes that I could type out in a flash! That done, I''l now have the reason to post all my wonderful concoctions! Cooking has always been a hobby and I have always found it refreshing and a way to unwind. I am on a quest to write and publish my very own cookbook. I have the whole concept planned out already. Now all I have to do is make a list of all my saved up recipes. And let me tell you, I really admire and salute all those who have made notes while cooking and have been successful in writing their recipes down to the very last ingredient with exact measurements. Writing down recipes surely sounds much easier than it actually is. Its one thing to cook up a fabulous meal, but another thing to write it down for others to understand!Now, when I cook, I use my intuition and sense of taste a lot. I don't necessarily add specified amounts of spice or seasoning. Everything is on a whim! So for me to sit down and write up my instructions is a very very back-breaking task. I've been working on it for a couple of days now, and I must say, I've come a long way from when I begun.Most of you curious ones reading my blog (if anyone actually does!) must be wondering who I am and where I came from. Well, as a brief intoduction, I am an enthusiastic cook who loves dishing out delicacies! I am Indian by birth, and most certainly at heart, so I love food that is spicy and full of flavour. It should come as no surprise that when I find an interesting recipe I like, I love to alter its taste to bring in the flavours I am so accustomed to and love, keeping the basic idea of the recipe the same. I like creating these indo versions and it won't be long till they appear on my blog! Till then, happy eating!

  • Hummus
  • Mint-Coriander Chutney
  • Spicy Mango Salsa
  • Tamarind Chutney
  • Tomato and Onion Chutney
  • Cucumber Raita
  • Hot and Sour Tomato-Chicken soup
  • Malaysian Spicy Noodle Soup
  • Palak Dal
  • Roasted Cumin Raita
  • Spicy Lemon Chicken Soup
  • Spicy Potato Salad
  • Pizza Rolls
  • Shakkarpare and Namakpare
  • Tangy Paneer Pakodas
  • Vada Pav
  • Sabudana Khichdi
  • Sooji Chilas
  • Strawberry Pancakes
  • Boneless Chicken Curry with Potatoes
  • Chicken and Bean Stir-Fry
  • Dahi-wali Chicken Curry
  • Coconut Fish Curry
  • Crispy Chicken Strips
  • Easy Chicken Chili
  • Kadhai Chicken
  • Keema Matar
  • Malay-style Hot and Sour Fish Curry (Asam Pedas)
  • Methi Keema
  • Mutton Masala
  • Pepper Chicken
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Egg Curry
  • Indian Scrambled Eggs
  • Onion and Egg Patties
  • Alu Bhaji
  • Alu Tamatarwale (Potatoes with Tomato)
  • Bagare Baingan (Stuffed Eggplants)
  • Cabbage with Peas
  • Chilly Paneer
  • Chole (Chickpea Curry)
  • Dal Fry
  • Gobi (Cauliflower) Manchurian
  • Hariyali Baingan (Eggplant)
  • Karela Masala (Tangy Bitter-gourd)
  • Masoor ki Dal
  • Matar Paneer (Cottage Cheese with Peas)
  • Paneer Matar Makhani
  • Paneer Shimla Mirch (Cottage Cheese with Green Peppers)
  • Spicy Tofu
  • Tadka Dal
  • Tinda Fry (Fried Round Gourd)
  • Malaysian Coconut Rice (Nasi Lemak)
  • Malaysian Stir-fried Noodles (Mee Goreng)
  • Matar Pulao (Peas Pilaf)
  • Meatball Biryani
  • Penne Arabiatta
  • Spicy Curry Fried Rice
  • Tomato Rice
  • Vegetable Fried Rice
  • Alu Parathas
  • Easy Foccacia Bread
  • Paneer Parathas
  • Plain Parathas
  • Chocolate Nut Tartlets
  • Chocolate-Strawberry Grilled Croissants
  • Sooji Halwa
  • Hot Mochalate
  • Masala Chai
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate