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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Egg Roll

I get ideas at the middle of the night and decide to put them on the blog. I have been lazy, I cook and then somehow dont take the photographs. So, now I have the recipe but no pics.

Here's the best snack I know, sometimes a fast meal. It's simple and fast and you will love the taste.

You need (for one person)-

  • Eggs-1

  • Tortila-1

  • Onion-1/4

  • Lettuce

  • Salt and Pepper- according to taste

  • Oil- 1 tablespoon
To do-

  • Heat a skillet in high flame

  • Beat the egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper to it

  • Add the oil in the skillet and pour the beaten egg in the skillet

  • Give it 5 seconds and before it settles down place the tortilla on the egg

  • Press the tortilla so that it sticks to the egg

  • Give it 5 seconds and then turn it over

  • When both sides are done, take it off on a plate

  • Add chopped lettuce, onions, salsa and hot sauce and fold it over.

Enjoy the egg roll , next time you need something fast you know what you can do.

(Pic: Courtesy Google images)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eggplant Feast

Food bloggers are everywhere, like me they love food and the power to share it on the web. If you have a soft corner for cooking and food, you will love the blogs. The home made recipes, the effort to make the food look nice in the pictures and the happiness in finding fellow food bloggers.

As for me, I have started writing a food column for a local Chicago magazine. Everytime I write something about my journey in the foodland, it ends up getting archived for the magazine.

So today, I'm going to post one my my special vegan recipes exclusively for 'Ginger n Garlic'. I love meat in every form but I love vegies as well. I love trying out new dishes and eggplant/brinjal happens to be one of my favorite vegies.

You need:

  • Eggplant- 1 (big)

  • Onion-1 (big)

  • Garlic- 5 cloves

  • Tomatoe- 1 (big)

  • Turmeric- optional

  • Curry leaves- 3/4 leaves (optional, it brings in a earthy flavor, mostly used in the South Indian cooking).

  • Green chili- optional

  • Salt & Pepper- as per taste

  • Oil-vegetable oil.

To do:

  • Heat a wide skillet in a high flame

  • Add oil to the pan and a few green chillies more for flavor than for the heat.

  • Add the eggplant because it takes the maximum time to cook.

  • Let the whole thing settle down and start cooking for a few minutes and stir it once a while.

  • Add the curry leaves and the garlic and onion to it.

  • Give it 3-4 minutes.

  • Stir well

  • when the eggplant is soft and breaking up, turn the flame to meduim and add turmeric to it and mix it well, till you get the yellow color spread evenly.

  • Add salt and pepper and let it cook.

  • When the eggplant is soft and everything is mixed well and seems cooked, add the tomatoes to it.

  • Mix it very well and stor at at times.

  • It is done when the eggplant and the tomatoe have mixed perfectly and has a slightly mashed consistency.

  • Taste to reseason, and serve with Pita bread, naan or plain rice.

Advantages- Tastes heavenly and perfect for bigger gatherings and very easy to cook, fewer chances of making mistakes.

Disadvantages- Takes half an hour to get it done, mostly slow cooked and cannot be done it one tablespoon of oil. Needs constant attention, you have to stir if often to make sure the bottom of the pan doesnt get burnt.

Enjoy with your friends over the memorial day weekend and store the left overs to make a great sandwich next day for brunch.Just add some lettuce and you are good to go. Hope you like it as much as I do. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunday Brunch

Last Sunday instead of heading for a brunch, I decided to take a walk to the nearby "Borders" store to flip over some latest cookbooks.
The cookbook section seems deserted, except once in a while visits and I decided to step into the space for the next few hours. You have to be there to realize there are cookbooks for about almost everything. From how to cook healthy meals, to the crowded Food Network stars, international cooking to baking- you have it all.

A few minutes into the store and you get the idea of buying a cookbook that fits your wallet. Recipe cards are mostly under $10; no frill, just plain recipe. The hard bound cookbooks with loads of inserted colored photographs can cost you $20 and above. If you want something in between, go for the cookbooks which have recipes but no inserted culinary photographs or food stylists ($10-$20). Browsing through the store, I also found this amazing audio book of Chef Anthony Bourdain called "Kitchen Confidential" (adventures in the culinary underbelly). Priced at $19.95 it's an 8hour 20 minutes audio that promises to leave you asking for more.

"Mangoes and Curry Leaves" (Culinary travel through the great subcontinent), catchy title, it sure did get my attention (see the photograph). An interesting collection of recipes and some amazing photographs, it tastes the subcontinent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) food from the out of the country traveler’s point of view. I truly admire the spirit in which it was done but it left me with this lingering thought, if including cookbooks about subcontinent cooking was best done with books by the sub continent authors to get the real taste.
I did like a few books and my votes go for Rachael Ray’s classic- 30 minute meals (the all occasion cookbook) for $19.95. It’s about simple cooking and is reasonably priced. The essential baking was too sweet on the eyes; I loved the cupcake feeling that got translated through the cute pink cover.

Do you have a favorite chef, a cuisine that you are partial towards or a cookbook you wish someone had the idea of gifting you?
( Pics courtesy: Borders,

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Indian Kitchen

Either you like it or you don’t. While some people go gaga over Indian food and rush to the Indian restaurants on weekends and I swear by Devon Street in Chicago ( the Indian hub), some are not a big fan of the excessive spice and the lingering after taste that even strips of Listerine fail to wash away.

Unlike the prevailing concept that Indian food is all about spices and loading up on calories which so many of us deny to make it a part of our lifestyle and constantly are on a hunting spree for recipes that satisfy our palette and at the same time don’t take a toll on our waste line.

While most of the eating joints are really not an attestation to the fact that Indian food could be a low calorie meal, it’s nothing but the truth. While “curry” is the only known lingo linked to Indian food, it should one among the many.

Indian food in its true original form is one of the best known ways to have a perfectly balanced meal. I don’t mean the over oily restaurant food or frozen quick Indian dinners available in the market, though I would be lying if I say I don’t enjoy them during my crazy schedules.

If you mastered the guts to visit India and tasted traditional meals you know what I’m talking about. Whether you have been to India or just visited a family here Indians treat their guests with lot of attention and food. Its part of the culture, you are fed till you belch.

The traditional meal is balanced with grains (typically rice or naan), lentils (protein), typically two or three dishes of vegetables (seasonal), fish/chicken/egg curry and yogurt or sweet to finish it off. The restaurant food typically available here are a version you would find in Indian weddings or lavish food events and not in an everyday household meal.

Regular meals are low in oil content and the use of different spices allow for the range of available flavor. Unlike the assumption that Indian spices are all about turmeric, curry powder and cumin; it is actually a lot more. I have to admit that after all the cooking that I have done for the last ten years which started in my college dorm to avoid the tasteless food, I am still not aware of the dozen of spices that exist in Indian cooking.

After religiously watching Food Network, I think that kitchens here restrict themselves to zucchini, spinach and broccoli. What about other greens- gourds, cabbage, cauliflowers and so many others? My great grandmother lived till she was 97 and the story goes that while she was visiting my parents, a friendly neighbor said that he hated green gourd. A week later, she invited him over Sunday lunch and he praised for the next five minutes how perfect the lunch was. She smiled and said “am glad you liked the gourds”. Two of the served vegie dishes were made of it and he never realized just because it tasted so different and good. I’m not sure if I can pull a similar trick but then she was one of best cooks ever. That’s what is so amazing about Indian cooking; you can keep the original flavor or tweak it to the extent you wouldn’t know what it is.

Indian food is not all about the spices; it is about cooking infused with love and care. As in most places, food is an integral part of the culture and cooking and entertaining is part of your daily schedule, whether you like it or not.

(Pic: Courtesy Google Images)