Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kalakhatta sorbet

It’s sweet, spicy, tangy, salty, astringent and will have you wanting for more. There are a very few dishes where you can find all the these taste in one bite ….Kalakhatta, black n tangy …purple as dark as deep darks, the flavor to match the color.
KalaKhattaSorbet-SimiJois-2015

Frozenberries-SimiJois-2015

KalaKhattaSorbet2-SimiJoisw-2015

 I found jamun recently in the frozen section of my Indian grocery store, not that I went looking for it, I just saw it in the freezer when I went to pick up some frozen drumsticks. I bought and it has been sitting in my freezer for the last two weeks. I wanted to make  something from it, but the flu season got the better of me. Usually when one is recovering from flu, you expect a good soup or herbal infused tea on the blog - not me, am done with hot beverages, soups… am yearning some good chilled food.

I don’t think we ever bought jamun, it was one of those fruits that was everywhere. My neighbor had a  tree and we always got some from their tree, even our mali (gardner) got us plentiful. But there were no takers, dad loved jamun and the only thing I loved about the fruit was the purple tongue one got after one ate them. He would feast on them, every day when in season and we would wonder what he liked about the astringent taste.

It’s been two decades and as I tasted one from the frozen packet, it flooded me with memories from childhood. I could hear my dad call out my name and ask me to wash some jamun and bring it. I could see myself taste one for the nth time and wonder why I even try….dad, relishing it with classical music on the record changer and newspaper in hand….what was another normal uneventful day, is etched so strongly in my mind. I took another bite and even though it lacked the sharpness of the fresh jamun it had enough punch to bring back some of the most cherished memories of my childhood.

My most obvious choice was kala khatta and as I improvised on the recipe, I decided to make a sorbet  instead of burf ka goal ( ice- cone). I did use a lot of frozen berries, as it’s so easily available and I think it adds enough sourness and sweetness and balances the astringent flavor of the jamun.

If you want to know about the health benefits of jamun, ask my dear friend google and you will be surprised. This rich color is all natural - no artificial flavor or color.

This is a post close to my heart for more than one reason, it’s my monthly mingle with Sophia  and Ilva. Favorite fruit/drink from childhood was the theme for this month.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A place called home - 52 weeks of creative exposure.

Week 10 and 11
DowntownChicago2-SimiJois-2015
The chicago river is green due to St Ptricks Day celebration 
GreenChicagoRiver-SimiJois-2015ChicagoDowntown-SimiJois2015
It was beginning to get dark and I had promised to be home for dinner, we were planning to go out to an Indo-Chinese place that had just opened in the neighborhood. This was the ira before mobile technology had percolated into households. I got out of work, it was sweltering hot even at 7pm and it was only March . The city was bustling with traffic…walking through the crowd, I waded my way to the auto stand and got in - South Dilli (Delhi) as he zigzagged his way through the traffic I held on to my dhupatta ( stole) and covered my face - the soot from the blue line busses were getting to me. These were days when Delhi was safe, you never thought twice walking on the streets.

In an hour after my auto drive I was sipping jasmine tea in a Chinese restaurant. It was packed to the core….the air smelled of spicy soy sauce and freshly cooked soup. The aroma was overpowering ( in a good way) and it was hard to wait for food to come in.  I was treating my sister and her family from my first salary. My little nephew was right next too me, sipping his chicken-corn soup….as his little fingers reached out to get the spring roll - there was a huge party of youngsters who made their way to the table next to ours - looked like a birthday celebration. They seemed to be charmed by the little fellow next to me, they asked him his name, his favorite color, his school….

StPatrics-SimiJois-2015


”April shower brings May flowers” there was still snow on the ground and the winds were bone chilling. “This is weird, it has never been like this, we don’t get snow in April”. I did not care, I was excited to see snow for the first time in my life, I felt like I lived in a snow globe - it was enchanting. Two years from a warm March evening in a Chinese restaurant in the heart of South Delhi, I was in Moline - a small city in the Midwest ,United States. 

B&W_SIMIJOIS-2015DowntownChicago-SimiJois-2015

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lentil, quinoa and wheat fritters or savory pancakes

It is  crisp on the outside and soft inside, beautiful texture, whole sum, flavorful and super easy to make. I forgot to add - it is like a super food, really healthy. You can call this fritter or a savory pancake too. Created by your truly . If you do use this recipe or blog it, please link back, it takes lots of effort to develop recipes and I love link backs. :)
#LentilQuinoaFritters #LentilQuinoaPAncakes #Healthy #Vegan #SimiJoisPhotography
#LentilQuinoaFritters #LentilQuinoaPAncakes #Healthy #Vegan #SimiJoisPhotography

#LentilQuinoaFritters #LentilQuinoaPAncakes #Healthy #Vegan #SimiJoisPhotography
Am looking at my kitchen and wondering at the mess. I am not interested in spending my evening cleaning up the mess I just created, but I guess I have no option.  Rewind a decade ago and I  was a clean freak - proper things in proper place, all labeled, everything well organized. Somehow the mess does not bother me any more. Yesterday, I was shooting glass refection ( don’t ask why) and my neighbor just walked in. Instead of being embarrassed by the mess, I pulled the white diffuser cloth from the chair and made room for her to sit and we enjoyed a coup of tea over a bit of gossip ( a bit of gossip here and there is really healthy). Am so proud of myself, I have evolved. You think I am exaggerating - NO! My father-in-law once told me he does not like to sit in one place in my house,  he’s afraid I might dust him and probably place him with  curios. Thankfully that never happened, but my love for super clean has been replaced by reality check.

Evolved I have and somewhere I think it is all because I have found a creative outlet that I identify with. I have discovered myself. Small things don’t bother me, I don’t feel the need to prove myself to others - I just want to enjoy the journey. Wow ! I sound like a perfect angle….well, far from it. It was in September that I baked a cake for hub’s birthday - it was a new recipe and it fell apart and I did throw a mini tantrum that I was the worst cook ever. ( looks sheepishly )

Thankfully this is NOT a failed recipe and I just love it - total added bonus that it is super healthy.

#LentilQuinoaFritters #LentilQuinoaPAncakes #Healthy #Vegan #SimiJoisPhotography

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

52 Weeks of Creative exposure - Week 9


#FoggyLandscape #Winter #Landscape #SimiJoisPhotography #FoggyLandscape #Winter #Landscape #SimiJoisPhotography

#FoggyLandscape #Winter #Landscape #SimiJoisPhotography

Never really execute what I plan, I was supposed to spend the morning running (boring treadmill), instead I found myself walking on icy pathways and breath taking views. It was a very foggy morning with quarter of a mile visibility. It was such a gorgeous painting of fog and deep earthy tones…it almost looked like a watercolor masterpiece. Time well spent, the fresh cold morning air filled my lungs, the view captured in my eyes, as I looked as far as my eye could  see, it was sheet of white mystic fog almost covering the landscape like a veil.
I always feel, I can never do justice to nature photography. I can never encompass the breath taking experience in one frame.

#FoggyLandscape #Winter #Landscape #SimiJoisPhotography

#FoggyLandscape #Winter #Landscape #SimiJoisPhotography

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Quinoa kofta curry - quinoa and potato balls in a rich curry

#quinoa #QuinoaBallsInCurry #QuinoaKoftaCurry #IndianVeganCurry #SimiJoisPhotography

I lift my head from my i-pad at the sound of the doorbell, teen is back from school. I heat the kofta curry and make hot chapattis as she narrates her day at school, she flicks her long straight hair from her forehead and I tell her to tie her hair before it dips in the curry . Déjà vu….. it seems like yesterday when in my gray school uniform I walk back home in anticipation of a hot yummy lunch. It’s kofta - my favorite, with hot chapatis, it’s not quinoa, I did not know quinoa then ..it’s bottle gourd kofta dunked in delicious curry. Hot chapatis, straight from the griddle to the plate.   My mother asking me to tie my hair else it will be swimming in the curry and me carelessly tossing my long (then) tresses. Twenty plus years,  it’s strange how we see our reflection in our children. I have a bitter-sweet feeling as I serve her hot chapati from the griddle, just like my mom did. I miss being a teen, running to my mother, confiding in her and eating food made by her …at the same time enjoying every moment of being a home maker. Making hot food, being there, listening to my teen’s stories of her school …life is indeed a full circle. 

It’s amazing how food connects us. It’s called comfort food for more reasons than one, I think more than anything it just fills your soul. Twenty years ago as a teen school girl if my mom had told me this, I would have laughed, “ t taste great, so it’s the world’s greatest comfort food". I can only smile at that younger me. You are truly what you eat, eat mindfully. Food is more than a meal at the table, it’s memories, it’s a connection, it’s a relationship that you make with your loved ones as you share your meal. It is the best part of the day. 

#quinoa #QuinoaBallsInCurry #QuinoaKoftaCurry #IndianVeganCurry #SimiJoisPhotography

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