Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
Spice is a tool, a powerhouse of flavors. You can mix and match, using your tools to create the flavors you want on your canvas, with no rules (I love the sound of that.) A small teaspoon can go a long way. Every time that I add masalas (spice blend) to my vegetables, I feel like I am breathing life into the dish.
Bland flavorless food is like watching a boring movie on a dull, rainy day. I have had the opportunity to to taste some pretty bland food and it left me with a rather dull empty feeling. Spicy is sometimes misunderstood as a synonym for 'hot'; however, spicy simply means flavored with spice. Spicy does not always mean it is sharp and/or hot. Cinnamon is not sharp, but it is a spice... Then there is fennel, which is sweet in flavor. It might be intimidating for some to embrace these flavors, it is indeed an acquired taste. If you are sniffing cumin for the first time, don't stick your nose into a bag of cumin, you might just faint (OK! that's a bad joke) But seriously, it does have a strong aroma, most spices do. But remember that you are not going to add a cup of cumin or any other spice, into your dish. It's going to be just 1/2 tsp or even 1/4th tsp. It provides flavor and mixes in with the other main ingredients to give a subtle flavor. A better way could be to rub the spice between your finger and thumb and sniff the aroma. I think spiced oils are a good way to start, as you can add a bit of the spiced oil onto your dish and try it. Also, I love customizing my
This particular spicy oil is a mix of red chili, garlic and a bit of garam masala. The oil I have used is a blend of olive and sesame. Sesame is pretty strong, the olive oil dilutes the flavor of the sesame and adds it's own sweet nutty taste. Why oils?? Well, it's the same reason why fried food is one of the best tasting foods. It's because fat devolves flavor (flavor solvents). I know you're probably falling asleep here, but there is serious science behind why fried food is more flavorful. So, don't blame yourself for gawking over french fries rather than apples. (no offense to apples here). Just one advice, don't drink it like a beverage... use a teaspoon.
My other favorite is olive oil with fennel seeds... coming soon on the blog.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Show and Tell : what's in your spice rack ?
I have been planning to write this post for a while now, and if you have been a regular on TNS you will know the reason why I have not done so - p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-o-n! My middle name, if you please... :) Well, with a few prompts and requests from some readers, here it is!! This is definitely a text heavy post, so if you want to get your coffee, do so now or forever hold your peace... Let me know your feed back so I know if a post like this one is appreciated by you guys. So be open and speak your mind. Thank you!
An Indian kitchen, as some of my friends tell me, is one of the most exotic as far as spices are concerned. Spices are a part of our lives - in our food, teas, drinks and even desserts. Some have medicinal properties too and are used as home remedies for common ailments.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
For this special week (Mother's day, duh!!) I wanted to blog two of my favorite recipes that have been passed on to me by my MIL (mother-in-law) and the other by my mother.
I have learned a lot of traditional recipes from my MIL, from small tips that save a meal, to expert advice on how to tackle challenging recipes in the kitchen. I was going through my recipe book to find the perfect recipe to blog about. I glanced over at the plate which, only moments ago, had housed hot rava idlis and malaga podi (MP) that I had lapped up in no time. I have lost count of the number of times I have made MP. It is as essential as salt in my kitchen. OK, not as essential as salt, but you get the picture. It is simple and a great accompaniment with a traditional south Indian meal. Some peanut oil mixed in with MP and hot fluffy Idlis...mmm. This is one of the first recipes that my MIL taught me. It was something that was totally new to me, but soon enough, I learned that I cannot go without it.
This one is for my MIL. Strong, determined and a true proponent of harmony either in the kitchen or outside. Happy Mother's Day!!
Saturday, June 4, 2011
There is nothing like the taste and aroma of freshly made masala. It does magic to the vegetable. It does not take much time but the end result certainly has a difference. My Mother would always make her own garam masala or curry powder. I have her recipe, I tweaked it a bit - since I like it more spicy and the result was amazing....I just love the aroma and the spicy flavor. There are somethings that never change, and pass on thru generations, am glad I have inherited the love for cooking from her and the joy of entertaining. There is nothing more relaxing than cooking....and when I roast and grind any kind of masala or powder .... it is like aroma therapy !! I am sure a lot of you will relate to me.
Bye for now... am going to do some blog hoping...before I call it a day!! Hope you are all are enjoying your weekend :)
Coriander seeds : 4 tbsp
Cumin seed : 1 tbsp
Black pepper : 4-5 corns
Cardamom : few seeds
Cinnamon: 1/2 stick
Red chili : 3
Red chili for color ( kasmiri or byadgi): 2
Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
Roast the above in 1/2 tsp oil, putting in the red chili last. Let it cool and powder it semi fine...!! Enjoy the curry powder with your favorite vegetable or curry.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
There are some spices, sauces and masala that are a "must have" and you really cannot do without them in your kitchen....for us chatni powder is one of them...its versatility is unmatched....great on a slice of toast or inside a simple butter sandwich, with plain paratha, with hot rice, with idlis, dosas ...the list is endless.... !! We have a couple of different versions of the same powder...this one is the 'original'...mother recipe!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Urad daal/ Horse Bean: 2 tbsp
Chana daal / Gram Dal: 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds: 2 tbsp
Pepper: ½ tbsp
Cinnamon: ½ tbsp
Red chili: to taste
Dry coconut / Dessicated coconut: 2 tbsp
Roast the above ingredients in ½ tsp oil (not the red chili and dry coconut). Turn the heat off and now add the red chili and dry coconut powder. Let it cool, grind the above ingredients in a blender. Make sure the blender is free of any moisture. Cool in a cool, dry space.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The taste of rasam is not only a treat to the palette but also an aromatic therapy in itself. The spices in the rasam powder just come alive the moment you bring it to a boil. The texture and the aroma of each of the spices used are so different, but put together they make a perfect blend for a healthy everyday meal.
Infused with therapeutic benefits, rasam or saaru is definitely a member of our ‘comfort food club’!. It is an important dish that always makes its presence felt at every festival, ritual, or weddings.
Ingredients for rasam powder:
• Pepper: 1 cup
• Jeera : 1 cup
• Methi (seed): 1 cup
• Mustard (seed): 1/4th cup
• Cinnamon: 8-10 sticks
• Coriander (seed): 4 cups
• Curry leaves: 2 stalks ( remove leaves from stalk)
• Red Chili (whole): 2 cups ( if you use chili powder it shld be about 1/3rd of a cup), and 3 cups for a more spicy rasam powder.
• Dry roast all the ingredients separately till golden brown and till the mustard and black pepper pop….enjoy the sound effects!! For red chili (whole) use 1/4th tsp of oil to roast in a hot pan, switch of the flame before you put in the chilli, just so that its fumes do not send you into a fit of cough!! Remove from the stove immediately for the same reason.…very quick action required, this is not the time to pick up the phone that is ringing! In case of chili powder, do not heat the chili powder just add them to the rest, the warmth from those ingredients is enough to bring out its flavor.
• Let it cool, grind the above ingredients in a blender or a burr grinder. Make sure the blender/burr is free of any moisture. Note: the burr grinder does not handle whole chilli or curry leaves too well. For easy grinding the red chilies should be crisp.
• Now mix all the powdered ingredients together with a ladle or feel free to use your fingers. Store in a dry, air tight container. Rasam powder has a long shelf life. It ages with time.
Enjoy your creation!