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sigh. I forget every year. But for like over a month there will be no curry leaves to be found in any store in the region at this time of the year!! A friend said this is the "resting period" for the tree. sigh. I always tell myself to keep some dried ones in the freezer. And every year without fail, I forget. They do sell curry leaf powder but it's not the same.

So, next time I get a big pot, I am planting a curry tree. Because I am missing hot tomato rasam - which is nothing without the aromas of curry leaves roasted in a spoonful of ghee. And upmas are so sad without them.

And no - bay leaves are not a susbtitute. There is no substitute. Only reason I don't like spring! :P 
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A long time ago, I had a FAQ of questions I get about my country of birth (mostly out of amusement). I should add this one: What's your favourite Indian curry?

I never know how to answer this one. I absolutely love curry - you know the impression the British Raj had of South Asian food and spread across the world. Absolutely delicious. This generic spice mix they make a gravy of and then put different meats and call it curry? Tikka-Masala - oh yum!

But I also understand that for many they believe curry is all that we eat in India. But that's an impression of food from one state in India - Punjab. Personally, I don't take offense. I guess the Punjabis should, because I have tried their home made versions and boy are we missing out! I just don't know how to answer that question. Because, well, like many of us born and raised in India, we never would have heard the term curry being used.

So, next time you see someone from India, don't ask them about their favourite curry...or don't get puzzled at their hesitation of giving an answer.

ETA: This post is more of humour than anything. A lot of our food has great influences from the Moguls brought over from what is today Middle East/Persia... so yeah.
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Waiting for meeting to start and who can refuse talk about food?? :) My first Friday Five!

1. What is your favorite food?

Wait, you have to pick one? I guess anything with tomato (sauce/gravy) based is yummy!

2. What was your favorite food when you were a kid?

Idli with Sambar and idli/dosa with peanut chutney!

3. What is the best tasting, quick to cook meal that you make for yourself?

tri-color bell peppers, cheese, pasta!

4. What is your favorite food to order in a restaurant?

It depends on the restaurant, no?

5. If you could go anywhere in the world to any restaurant, what would you order for yourself?

Again, picking one is hard. In Mumbai, the streetside vendor's Mumbai chats; Bangalore - gobi manchurian; Malaysia (KL) - roti canai; and if it's still around, the food court in Takashimaya in Singapore's carrot cake - no, not dessert, it's these flatnoodle dish!! Oh my..absolutely delicious and miss it much!!


5K practice

Oct. 7th, 2015 10:43 am
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So, I walked/jogged an actual 5K today without feeling awful terrible at the end. yay! Don't ask for the time. It doesn't matter. Well, it was within a reasonable range that I will not be the last one crawling in! :P

And then I enjoyed this.... Indian omelete or maybe a Spanish fritata on a slice of bread., yellow, orange bell peppers, onions, green chili, and cheese!

Morning toast

And off to work I go....  
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D is on her third day of a fever over 100F. sigh. But it seems to be coming down. I actually enjoyed the two days with her. She gets so talkative with a fever! It's hilariously adorable! I got to know so much about her school life, and her thoughts and every thing else under the sun! Mom and dad laugh, as apparently I was the same! But this behavior has been around since birth. Her teething episodes entailed giggling sessions at 3am!! We were completely baffled! It makes sense now!!

And she makes a great patient! She's so independent in self-care. She announced on the phone to her pinni (it's a telugu term for mom's younger sister, literal translation - younger mom) that since she has a fever she has to rest, play, rest, play, rest, eat and play. And she has been doing exactly that! Her playing though has involved some TV, books read (even though she is exhausted with this too), her blocks and zingo with us.

And I am a sneaky mom. I made her a ragi drink without the cardamom though (sweet version with honey). She tasted the first few sips and made a face, of course. I don't really like the drink either growing up. It's an aquired taste and took me decades to like it. I asked her how it tastes like for her. Her response, chocolate & injera - two of her favourite foods! So, score! Not sure if she will try it again though. She is not a fan of chocolate milk either.

By the way buttermilk, Indian way would be chaas. N once got "buttermilk" here from safeway and made a sour face! lol... that's usually how we make paneer and I think we discard the watery part from the paneeer! Never knew.... hmm...wait, mom says we do use the whey for other stuff and can drink it too! hmmm... never remember doing either! But then I never spent time in the kitchen growing up, so who knows! She didn't mention what she uses it for! It has been decades since she made paneer at home! I have made it at home when the milk is in abundance and I think we might not finish before it goes bad, so usually I discard the whey anyway. hmmm... should try it for other things...

Yes, this post took all morning to type up!
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Day 5: Not mine

UntitledYesterday was such a nice full day! By the time I was considering sitting down it was 11pm and I chose to call my parents than browse the web.

For the preschool auction, we made a family donation of an Indian vegetarian meal at home. A family we had never met had bid for it and we met them yesterday evening at our place. They have three kids, a 7, 5, 2 year olds.

What a wonderful time we all had. D was an absolutely wonderful host! I have not seen this side of her in a while. We also haven't hosted anyone (with kids) at our place in a long time. How much she has grown.

The adults sat at the big table with the two year old on the high chair. The three kids sat at their table and they had such serious conversations all spanning which class they go to, how old they are, what they did in school! We just overheard some snippets of their conversations. Kids can really talk! Then they moved on to playing with blocks parallely. When D needed help with something, she asked me as usual. The 5 year old (who is the one who goes to same preschool) offered his help and they are likely to be friends for life! ha!

But my highlight, the two year old's passion for food! Oh my goodness! I have never seen a child more enthusiastic than him over food. The moment he saw there were parathas, rice, curry he just couldn't control his utter joy and came running to all of us in turn with an open mouth! Really, am not kidding! And he ate all the stuff, the spicy, the mild, the yogurt, the raita! For those who don't know, my daughter eats as to do a favor for me. I really couldn't stop staring! lol...

It's also been a while since I cooked seriously. Not just putting something together last minute. So, the whole day, while N entertained D at the playground and the car wash, I cooked and cleaned and enjoyed my peace. But I also offered something not made by me - different types of Indian bread - chapatis, paratha, and onion naan.
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#21: Your 10 favorite foods

mmmm…favorite food… how to list them all? (no particular order)

  1. Pizza - the most memorable pizza was when I was 4, it was in Petrolina (Brazil) - it was shrimp and lots of tomato based sauce with cheese. My first memory of food, I can still taste it!*

  2. Tomato rasam/charu - having some right now as I type. Simplest of dishes but the most comforting ever (with rice). Anything wrong with the world is just whisked away.

  3. Avocados - first time I tasted them was in Rome, when I was 13 years old! And then I was introduced to guacamole (forget when) and I thought I found heaven. These days the best guacamole is found at Oyamel (in Washington DC).

  4. Grapefruit - it is a fruit that took a decade to like. Now can't have enough! Yum…and the season has started!

  5. Injera & Ethiopian food. just yum and healthy too. The Orthodox Christians eat vegetarian food and so most restaurants have a vegetarian meal. The metro DC area has the biggest Ethiopian immigrant population in the country. You can't go wrong with any restaurant.

  6. Thai food - was always the favorite place to go. Until we found D's allergy to peanuts and coconuts. We just stopped going. Unless I go out with friends without her, which is a rare event.

  7. Lebanese food. What more to say.

  8. Red, yellow & orange bell peppers. Aside from daughter's favorite vegetable, I just love it in everything!

  9. Chipotle…. yummy

  10. Ragi mudde with generous portions of tamarind gojju - I never liked it growing up. But since we had to eat what was put on our plate, I ate it for 20 years before I liked it. Now it's the first thing and only thing I ask my mom to prepare when she asks for my requests! yum!

I have to say, I have to thank my dad for helping us explore new cuisines growing up. And mom who instilled that we had to eat whatever she put on our plates like it or not. Or as dad said, the kitchen was ours to prepare our own meals and clean up.

And I grew up in countries where food is such a big part of culture, India, Brazil, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia!

* Brazil has changed a lot today. Back in the 80's "vegetarian" was unheard of. We couldn't exactly live on red beans for a whole year! So, we consumed some meat while we were there!
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  • Cherry blossoms are in full bloom! It was beautiful! Went yesterday to meet a few other moms and kids! There were 15 moms and 15 kids spread out on 6 blankets at the FDR not only were the cherry blossoms focus of many of cameras but so were the kids as they ranged from a few months to under 3 years! We even recruited some new moms to the group!

  • Tourists..I have lived amongst them for the last 20 odd years. One would think I would be used to it by now. But by golly! The most common thing going through my mind: if you are going to jaywalk, pick up your pace so people behind you don't get stuck in the middle of the road, with speeding beeping cars coming up! many more things! ah well... we all have been tourists at some point.

  • MIL had crochet this dress two years ago! It finally fits! D loves it and wears it to bed too!

  • D helped make pizza and she loved it!

  • D's new sunglasses with her "I am so cool!" smirk/smile! We went for a picnic at the park by the airport. She is waving hello/bye to the planes overhead. I drove! It was great! Oh..avoided a multi-car collision..not my fault! But glad all are ok!

  • Went to Roosevelt Island for a nice walk around the trails on it. D loved singing and going at her own pace! Any thought of a peaceful quiet walk for any romantic couples on the trails were put out! She was just happy singing little girl!

It's funny how quickly the weather changed. Sunday we were wearing sweaters/windbreakers because of the cold wind and Monday we were sweating buckets! yeeks...spring can be so wishy-washy sometimes! 
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I made the chapati dough in the breadmaker! Oh and it came out beautifully! It took less than ten minutes what it would have taken me 20 minutes to do!

And for the first time I made it with avocados!! I got that tip from my cousin in Columbus, OH. And it seems others have been doing it too  Avocado chapatis!!

In my recipe, I added buckwheat flour, barley flour, jowar flour (60% whole wheat/atta flour, 20% jowar, 20% rest), tablespoon of yogurt as well. Usually this combination takes a long time to knead the dough well. So, the bread machine really helped! Chapatis came out nice and soft! yum!

I made Kale curry with it. D helped to "cut" the leaves from the stems and into small pieces. I used the palak-paneer recipe - but used kale, no paneer but red & yellow bell pepper. 
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Well, technically I got the ingredients together, put them in a pan and then let the machine do the kneading, rising, and baking! But hey, for one who has never done it before, it's the closest I have gotten to do baking!! 

I bought a bread machine! We have been thinking of getting that or a kitchenAid/Cuisinart mixer to help to bake all kinds of stuff! I had promised D that for her 3rd birthday I will bake her a cake! And now with her allergies and all, I really would have to! 

At Trader Joe's there was this blueberry pound cake that was absolutely delicious! It was also the only thing with no nuts in it at all and D devoured it! But by golly there was so much sugar! They also didn't use fine sugar (am sure they did it for a reason!). So, you could really taste the sugar in it! So, today I drastically cut the sugar level and had ourselves a great blueberry pound cake at home!!

It was a little on the dry side. Have to figure out why! N doesn't know I finally went and bought it. It was one of the He comes back tomorrow and so plan to surprise him with some fresh loaf of bread! Hope it comes out well! I was so confident, today I didn't buy any bread from the store! 

How exciting! 

Next purchase will be an Indian wet grinder so we can make up all kinds of batters to make dosas, idlis, etc.! Yum... Our mixer broke and the American blenders don't grind grain so well. Although my cousin was using a regular blender to make her batter! But it tends to overheat the machine and you have to let it cool, etc. Or you could just buy the batter from the Indian store, which is what we have been doing. But there are so many things you can do with a wet grinder! yummmm.... 

I always get inspired to get in the kitchen and do stuff after visiting Indian friends/family who have a mom figure visiting them! lol...


Aug. 21st, 2009 01:24 pm
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Why do leftovers have such a bad name? I am having "leftovers" (I don't call it leftovers because I cook lunch the previous night) for lunch as my hubby is enjoying lunch at home with in-laws. Yum. And now MIL is on a quest to make sure for as long as she is here we will never have leftovers for lunch. My FIL pitched in the reason, "The food will be cooked fresh in the morning and will be still lukewarm at lunchtime." This made sense in the days when we didn't have reheating devices such as a microwave and refrigerators.

Maybe they think I don't have access to a microwave at work and think I am eating the food cold? hmmm... that just hit me. Because they do eat leftovers and are not the type who will just throw it away for whatever ideological beliefs - there are people who do that! In fact, MIL finds creative ways to make a whole new dish with leftovers. Something I want to pick up from her.

ah heck. I am not complaining. Who will complain if mother is volunteering to cook you meals everyday?! :D I am not that stupid. In fact, people say my strength is that I know when to pick my battles.
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Today's lunch


In between the toasted bread: Avocado drizzled with lemon juice, tomato slices, mozzarella cheese slices, spinach, mustard and black pepper.
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veggie burrito

Guacamole - Avocado, red onions (chopped finely), Tabasco sauce, sautéed jalapeños, black pepper, lime juice - stir and refrigerate.

Stuffing - chopped garlic & onions, chopped red/yellow/orange peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts. In a pan, add a spoonful of olive oil, stir fry the garlic and onions, and add the peppers, and then the mushrooms and artichokes until cooked.

lettuce - washed.

Beans - black beans - I pressure cooked them, you can boil them in a pot.

Tortilla - warm up on a pan before eating.

Combine all above on the the warmed up tortilla, add Tabasco sauce as desired and voila... a veggie burrito is ready to be consumed!

I did and am now stuffed...
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I went to a doctor this morning for a checkup and I just loved the assistant who takes your weight and blood pressure. Alice was her name. She was awesome. Okay, she complimented me that I don't look a day over 20 and remarked how little I am as I weighed in their old-fashioned scale where she had to shift the weight (what is this type of machine called, anyone know?)! In a world obsessed with image and weight I do forget that I am little albeit out of shape (literally). But I am little. :D I like reminders like that...

I watched Bride Wars yesterday. A movie I know N won't like and I just wanted to watch a mindless movie. Well, it was excellent for a mindless movie alright. I guess I am not a big fan of extravagant weddings and so didn't really get attached to the characters much and just thought the whole thing was silly. Did laugh here and there but yeah. The friend who suggested this also suggested the Confessions of a Shopaholic - I think I will pass on that too. RedBox is just so cool. Of course, that comes in after the public library that has all the recent releases... you just have to wait in a virtual queue for quite some time if the movie was a huge hit!

I have been making yummy salads for lunches the last two days. Hubby has been rather amusing. Before his trip, I warned him to stay away from salads as one can't be too sure of the water. His answer, "why would I have salads outside when you make the best ones?!" cute and smart.
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We have been meaning to go catch a dollar movie at the local theater & drafthouse for the last year and half. We drive past it nearly every time we go out of the house thinking next week, next week. Something or the other had come up and we never went until yesterday evening! It was a first time for me. Comfy enough chairs and food being served as you catch the movie. We got to see what I thought was a horrible movie, Watchmen. Maybe if I read the comics it might have made more sense. But there was just too much violence for my taste, too many bones being broken, etc. than dialogue spoken. eeks.

The theater experience itself was cool! We will definitely go again another time. On Fridays they have wine-tasting as you catch a movie! And the prices are reasonable as well to go once in a while! Only grumble is that smoking is allowed indoors. Yesterday the theater was almost full and only 2-3 of 80 people were smoking. I think the ventilation is good but still it takes only one wiff to send me off with twitchy nose.

We did though enjoy a yummy brownie fudge sundae, which we needed to cool our stomachs down after having spicy vada pav at home for dinner! Tonight for dinner I am planning to make Chinese food Indian style with Malaysian/Singaporean style bok choy! My mouth is already watering!


May. 28th, 2008 07:53 pm
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As we did some shopping the other day and came back empty handed, N suddenly turned in and parked in front of an Ethiopian bakery & cafe. favorite food! He got us some injera (according to the history channel that's showing all sorts of breads around the world, is the healthiest bread!). He had some berebere spice at home, which he bought in his last trip to Ethiopia. And so we were ready. I made a few dishes in small portions and ate away two days ago. mmmmm..... yum.... my mouth is watering and craving for more. Too bad we finished the leftovers as well. sigh.

And a funny note, well kind of. As we parked and entered the bakery/cafe, there were quite a few locals (Ethiopians) having a good cup of coffee... N shared in Telugu, "see a lot of Ethiopians!" and almost at the same time I overheard one table go, "oh look, Indians!" We were the only foreigners in the cafe/bakery! N knows some of the local language too and so they were happy to hear! Ethiopians are friendly people to start off with anyhow!

oh yes... and we still have some injera in the freezer and can't wait till next time!

tonight it's burritos for dinner....

pizza pizza

May. 5th, 2008 08:13 am
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The other day we went to have dinner at Vapiano. The food was quite good! We had a large pizza & a pasta. We finished the pizza and a bit of pasta leftover was taken home. I had most of the pizza. N and I were surprised at that. But I felt satisfied and just full.

Saturday we got two large pizzas from Papa John's (we scored free pizzas from the basketball game the night before). One thin crust and the other regular crust. It was both one topping pizza. I had like three slices and I was stuffed. I wasn't hungry till following day lunch in the late afternoon. We finished the leftover pizzas yesterday and I am sitting here yearning for breakfast but my tummy is full.

Just strange....
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Last night hubby & I made butternut squash kofta using the recipe from here. It came out absolutely delicious! We had it with Singaporean/Malaysian rendition of paratha - roti prata (bought frozen).

We then watched Shivaji The Boss. If you ever want to teach anyone the meaning of hyperbole, this fits the bill. We watched the movie dubbed into Telugu. Oh dear lord! It was hilariously ridiculously entertaining. I mean who wouldn't love to see Rajnikanth eradicate poverty & corruption in India! Not just the storyline was extremely exaggerated, but so were the songs, the fights, and the mega-star himself. He's nearing 60 and he looks no older than 30 in the movie!! I admire him for his metabolism stamina!! whoa... this was my first Rajnikanth movie!!
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Our fridge went a bit moody and froze up a few things that were on the top shelf. We have no idea why. We had put three of the six bananas in the fridge to keep from over ripening. Well, its coat turned black when frozen. uggh.... We thought milkshakes but N asked me if I knew any pudding/custard recipe. I had never baked anything before. Not even the instant cake stuff. So I thought why not. I searched around and found a simple recipe that needed me to go get the minimum number of ingredients from the store that charges everything double but is nearby.

I found a recipe for Baked Banana Custard
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 1/3 cup milk, warm.
2/3 lime, juice of
2 2/3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
3 1/3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 dash nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a baking dish. Peel and puree the bananas. Add 2 tbsp. of sugar, the nutmeg and the lime juice. Mix. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and 3 tbsp of sugar. Add milk and mix well.

Pour banana mixture into the baking dish. Cover with bread crumbs. Add egg mixture. Bake until custard is set.

I of course had slightly other plans...

The recipe called for some bread crumbs... I made my own and had some on the side (the basil pesto spread is yummy).

the process in pictures )
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Pasta a la peperoni e salad

peperoni is not to be confused with pepperoni the sausage. This dish is 100% vegetarian! i am not sure where I got this recipe from. I would like to think I made it my own. As often I do get recipes but never follow them to the tee. So, I share the recipe as per[ profile] elodie21's request...

1 green bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 spoon of cumin seeds, mustard seeds (each)
3 spoons of olive oil
few cloves of garlic
1 carrot
1 small onion
4 spoons of tomato paste
3 green chillies (the ones I use are about 2-3 inches long)
grated parmegean cheese
1 cup of water (or less)
Italian herbs (find them on the spice rack in supermarkets) or fresh herbs is of course better!!)
salt to taste

to cook )


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