Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cooking with no purpose except for love for a friend and a mother

So its been some time since Ive written something, and it feels strange that the challenge is over, but my blogging spirit hasnt died, oh no no no, it hasnt. Maybe it does, maybe it never does. I dont know how to keep the blogging gods happy. Anyway, endure this post. 

So both dishes involve onions, find yourself four small ones, or umm, two big ones. Grr. 

First up is chicken. I dont have a recipe source, the source is my lovely friend across the oceans. I love you so, lets watch the flowers grow! Yoohoo. Hmm. This is called murgh malai but doesnt have anything to do with malai, but its called murgh malai anyway, so here goes.. 

(chicken with green things and no milk products whatsoever. none) 

What you need: 
Two small onions, chopped finely, lengthwise 
A handful of coriander, more root and stem, less leaves 
One or two green chillies, blanched 
Sugar to taste, approx one tablespoon should be your taste 
Salt to taste 
Half a kilo of boneless chicken 
One bay leaf, some cardamom, (big size preferred), some cinnamon sticks, I used one
Oil to cook 

What to do: 

1. Wash the chicken. Very important. 

2. Fry the onions in some oil, dont deep fry, shallow fry. Keep aside, and when they cool down a bit, blend them in your mixie. 

3. Blend the coriander, keep aside. I added some salt, because according to my domestic help, it would go black otherwise, and I dont really like black looking coriander. Also, you may need to add some water while blending. 

4. Blend the green chillies, keep aside. 

5. Now ready, steady, start. 

6. Heat up some oil in a wok, and add the bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom. Let them fry around. Before they burn, add some sugar. Then add the onion paste thing, and then the chicken. 

7. Kasso the chicken. "Kasso is when you keep stirring so that the chicken absorbs the flavor." That is said by the expert. :) 

8. Once youve done that, add some salt, then add the coriander paste and after some time, add the chili paste. 

9. It may get watery, but eventually it will dry up to lovely gravy consistency. Wait for it choons. 

10. Once you know its done, (cut one piece and check if its pink. If pink, cook more. If white, its done.) take it off the flame and enjoy. 

It was so good I ate straight off the wok, but you can be all shmancy, go through the rigmarole, and transfer it to a bowl. Blah. 

Ok so the next thing was a vegetarian tian. What is a tian? Here is what it is: A tian -- a layered, baked vegetable dish that originated in Provence but is also common to city kitchens. (source:

Here is what my mother wanted me to make for her. Dont get confused. The previous source is for another tian recipe, and this one is what I used today. 


What you need: 

Olive oil 
Two small onions, chopped finely lengthwise 
Garlic, smashed or chopped, to taste 
One large potato, cut into rounds, around a quarter of an inch thick, with the skin unpeeled
One largeish bottle gourd, (lauki), cut into rounds, around a quarter of an inch thick, with the skin peeled 
One zucchini (torI), cut into rounds, around a quarter of an inch thick, with the skin peeled
Salt, pepper, crushed oregano, crushed rosemary, to taste 
Some cottage cheese/parmesan for the top 

What to do: 

1. Grease a tart tin. 

2. Fry the onions and garlic together. Take off wok and add to the tart shell. 

3. Add the potato, bottle gourd, and zucchini alternately. This is what it looked like. 

4. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary. 

5. Bake for approx 20 minutes. Take out, add the cottage cheese, put back in. 

6. Depending on how hungry the mother is, wait for the cottage cheese to brown. I didnt really get to that stage. 

Eat it hot, soon you will cringe at the idea. Imagine, the sun had the gall to peep out today in Delhi. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 90/90

Ok so this is the final day, the final day of my 90 day challenge. On the long road of life, this has been a great learning experience! As I stand here, rather write here, I am patting myself on the back and doing a little happy dance, because I deserve both things. I am awesome, and I will continue to be. And modesty is my middle name. Hmm. 

Ok so today I cooked up a feast, and had great fun along the way. So here are some recipes and a lot of love and blah. 

First up, I made a mandarin orange cheesecake. I have these neighbours you see, and they grow these mandarin oranges on a tree in their garden, and they never ever give any to anyone, so my help made a pact with someone, and somehow got permission to get a ton of them, so I had these beauties sitting in my kitchen. I had to, just had to use them up today. So we made some marmalade. If you are caring enough to go through the 90 days, you will find a recipe. :) And then the logical conclusion was to collect ingredients to make a cheesecake. 

So here goes.. 

(oh, and its crumbly because it didnt set, which is ok really) 
For the base 
Around ten digestive biscuits crushed with a rolling pin, basically enough to make one and a half cups 
Six tablespoons of melted butter
A pinch of nutmeg 

For the filling 
Two packages of philadelphia cream cheese/450 grams of cream cheese 
One 400 gram tin of condensed milk 
As much orange marmalade as your heart desires 
Orange food color(mix five drops of yellow and two drops of red) 
One teaspoon of lemon juice  
Juice of half a kinoo/orange 
A teaspoon of rind (optional) 

What to do: 

1. Mix the melted butter, biscuits and nutmeg together. 

2. Grease a baking tin and add the biscuit mix. 

3. Flatten with a glass, and bake in a 200 degrees celcius oven for 10 minutes. As usual mine got burnt, so we had to scrape it off with a knife. Was saved so nothing lost. 

4. For the filling, mix everything together. Preferably use the mixie, unless you want to spend a bazillion years mixing everything by hand. You could also do a half and half technique, add half to the mixie, and mix the other half by hand in a patila. 

5. Add it over the base, and freeze for a long time. around eight hours. 

Now for the second dhissh.. 


What you need: 

For the sauce: 
Ten tomatoes, blanched and quartered 
Half an onion, finely chopped 
One bay leaf 
Salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary to taste 
Six cloves of garlic, smashed or wankered(as shay would say, this is completely unrelated really, just mince it, haha!) 
Tomato puree, optional 
Oil for cooking 

For the meatballs: 

250 grams of minced mutton 
500 grams of minced chicken 
One onion, finely chopped
A knob of ginger, finely chopped  
Two eggs 
Salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary to taste 
Ten tablespoons of breadcrumbs plus extra because I say so
Two teaspoons of minced garlic 
Oil for deep frying 

And most importantly, you need a hungry heart, and a generous amount of spaghetti, boiled with a pinch of salt and oil :) 

What to do: (For the sauce) 

1. Brown the onion and garlic. 

2. Once thats done, add the tomatoes and bay leaf. Let it be for a bit, say umm 20 to 30 minutes. 

3. When its almost done, add the salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary. 

4. If you feel its too thick, add the puree, if that doest work, add some water. 

5. Mix mix mix, and youre done! 

What to do: (for the meatballs) 

1. Take two separate pans or deep dishes, and add the minced chicken and mutton to each, along with half the onion, one egg, salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary to each. So one egg, half onion, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper to one, and repeat the same for the other. I really cant make it easier, like really now. 

3. Mix, and keep adding breadcrumbs as you go, depending on need. The mutton part took four tablespoons, and the chicken took six, plus extra for frying. 

4. Roll into balls, and deep fry or bake. I deep fried. I am happy. :) The mutton ones worked fine, but the chicken ones threw a tantrum, so we had to roll them in bread crumbs. 

5. For assembly, just add the spaghetti, then the sauce, then the meatballs. It looked like this when done. Obviously, put the chicken and mutton into two separate dishes. 

Now for the last and final! 


What you need: 

Half a carrot and cucumber, cut into matchsticks 
A handful of bean sprouts 
A handful of mint leaves 
A handful of basil leaves 
A tablespoon of crushed peanuts 
Three to four lettuce leaves, halved 
Four to five sheets of rice paper 
15 grams of glass noodles, first soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, then boiled for five minutes 
Thai sweet chili sauce, hoisin sauce and soy sauce as dip dip dip 

1. Keep everything together on a plate for easy access. The peanuts and glass noodles were also nearby, not featured in this photo. 

2. Wet the rice paper with warm water. 

3. Add a little bit of everything on a paper, and roll whatever way you want. Repeat with all the papers. 

3. Add the dipping sauces to three small bowls, and keep it on the same plate. Please. 

By now you have prepared three lovely things, so its time to eat it. 

I seriously cant believe I have actually finished 90 days of this. I have a new found opinion on cooking, which is, if it can be made anywhere in the world, you can replicate it in your kitchen. (with limitations, someone find me some blue salt please!) It is great to use new ingredients, fresh ingredients, imported and desi ingredients, local wisdom, cookbook wisdom, baby wisdom, dog wisdom, and sometimes, your own wisdom. :) And it has taught me that challenges are possible to complete, and it has been great for me to take this one up, everyone should do something for three months, if nothing else, just to show yourself that you can. Omg, im almost in tears. No, but I shall not cry, I shall sleep for some time. Have a long day today, and have to think of a new tactic to keep me going. Till then, ciao choons! :) 

Before I go, here is one last picture of today! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 89/90

One day left. Yes, just one day. And I realized, I have never ever, cooked for breakfast, throughout the 90 days. And today seemed perfect. So I cooked lovely little pancakes. :) 

I used one of my favourite sources, Wikihow. The recipe was totally to the point, and it was perfect for my uthapam making pan which I used today. If you dont have one, just use a normal pan. Here is the source:

I halved the recipe, and it worked well. 

So here goes: 


What you need: 

One cup of flour 
One and a half teaspoons of baking powder 
One tablespoon of sugar 
One cup of milk 
One egg 
Two tablespoons of butter 
Some butter for cooking 

A variety of toppings, we used nutella, banana, honey, and (home-made) home-made mandarin orange marmalade. 

What to do: 

1. Mix everything together, first the dry things, the flour, baking powder and sugar. Then the egg, butter and milk. 

2. After you have made sure its mixed well, add some butter to the compartments of the uthapam maker.  

3. Add the pancake batter into it. 

4. You will know its done on one side when the edges are cooked, and its easily lifting with a spoon. 

5. Brown it on both sides, and remove from gas. 

7. Add the toppings and serve! 

I know that this is a super unconventional way to make pancakes, with my uthapam making pan, but it just worked so well. Im sure this is possible in a pan, and probably a better idea because one big pancake is better than a bazillion small ones. Since they are small, you end up eating a lot more. But everyone loved them at home, and thats what matters really. So please make these, and make yourself and others happy! :)