Vegetarian

Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli – Lentil Stuffed Sweet Roti

Diwali is the festival of lights , an occasion to celebrate the triumph of the good over evil. It is an auspicious day when one would try and please ….well pray to the goddess of wealth ‘Laxmi Devi’ .  Traders and businessmen celebrate Diwali by having  huge prayers at their place of work, give bonuses to the employees and distribute sweets to everyone you know. They organise parties , exchange gifts, lots of sweets and dry fruits. I remember the day after Diwali , we would be sitting there staring at fruit baskets, sweet boxes and dry fruits in addition to the cooked treats from the neighbours and friends not knowing what to do with all the food. But the women folk always had a plan , fruit salad for breakfast , smoothies and dry fruit laddus and  sweets sometimes have been recycled …oops!! There I go spilling the family secret J  . It was crazy looking at my mom running towards us when you are just about to open a new packet of sweets to stop ..I am actually chuckling while I am writing this ,  but looking back she had a point , what would you do with 20 packets of sweets which  you know won’t last more than a week. But as kids , we always want one sweet from a gift box, another sweet from a different gift box and never finish the whole thing. It’s basically the thrill of unwrapping and opening the gifts. Adding to that , we ourselves end up cooking so much at home, stocking up savoury and sweet meats weeks ahead of Diwali.

On the day though, you ought to cook at least seven different things as an offering to the goddess laxmi. This is where the home chefs want to get creative and strive and plan to cook something that different and unique to impress the friends. We usually did well at this task at ours but there has to be one thing that is to be made repeatedly in the name of tradition and for you to carry forward. We have the pooranpoli or Bobattlu, in our case as a must for Diwali. Now, I am not that keen on deserts and sweets but this is quite different. It is almost like a sweet parata , so the carb element in it does enough for me to keep making it again and again. The pooranpoli and bobbatu are very similar while the former is a north Indian version , the latter is a south Indian version. The cooking method and seasoning does vary from region to region. I personally prefer the south indian version , because its more luxurious and made with plain flour whereas most pooranpolis are made using wheat flour. So , while six of the dishes are cooked , offered to god and enjoyed by afternoon , we have to wait for these bobattlu till evening. Reason being, the dough needs to soak in oil for at least four hours …..yes, immersed in oil until its absorbs some of it. Now, you know why I called it luxurious 🙂 . So , the usuall practice is get out of the house and start on some lightweight fireworks, come back to eat bobabbtlu, sit there with a cranky dog petrified of the loud crackers and bombs. Poor thing , it used be exhausted at the end of the day. The crackers , bombs keep going off till really late. We used to take turns , lock ourselves up in a room and keep ‘Nancy’ (our dog) distracted  in our laps most of the time to calm it down. Fireworks  are fine but , the 1000 wala , 2000 wala 5000 walas , which are literally 1000 small bombs tied together  are just too much …how can one gain pleasure putting the labyrinths through that sort of sound, is beyond my understanding. As they say  there are always some things that can change and this is one of the things that should definitely change with Diwali. Well , along with the green movement ,  cleanliness movement, a lot of awareness towards a responsible Diwali has been promoted both by Ngo’s, private sectors and government and hopefully we will see some change soon.

Staying back home all night , means us chomping on more and more bobattlu . As I said I am not a big fan of sweets , so I used to ask for just the paratha  without the filling or with very little filling. My brother used to love the filling (I think he still does) so he used take away balls of the sweet lentil filling to munch on. Worked out perfectly with no fights and arguments for a change. I started making them for every Diwali in my kitchen as well and again my son just loves the paratha  J …just like me J . They can seem a bit tricky at first but as you make them , you will get used to it as with anything else and you will get the hand of it. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the bobattlu my family style, especially if you have tried the north Indian version of them and let me know what you think of them .

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You will need :

500gms Plain ( Maida)

650gms Yellow split lentils (Chana dal)

200gms Sugar

1 tsp. Cardamom powder

500ml groundnut oil

Pinch of salt

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Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli

Method:

Make a soft dough with the plain flour adding a pinch of salt and one tablespoon sugar.

Soak this dough in a bowl of oil ( Fully immersed ) for at least 4 hrs and keep aside.

Meanwhile boil the lentils in a pressure cooker and make a nice paste of it. Add the remaining sugar, cardamom powder and mix well, try and keep this thick with no added water. You should be able to make balls and handle it to shape the roti’s. Keep aside until you are ready to make the Bobbatlu.

When you are ready, divide the dough and the lentils mix in equal balls . Take a clear plastic sheet, smother some oil on it and flatten the ball of dough with your fingers to form a small roti .

Place a lentil mix ball on top of the dough and seal the lentils mix with the dough from all sides and make a parcel. Now press to make a roti with your fingers.

On a pan cook the roti with more oil if required on both the sides till it’s done. The lentils are already cooked so you don’t need to worry about the inside bits being cooked.

Enjoy hot Bobbatlu with desi ghee …Ah …the aroma is to die for !!

Some pointers :

You can make with whole wheat aswell , equally tasty and this definitely can be made without soaking it in oil , they just won’t be as indulgent.

For a clear sheet , I usually use the liners which in between frozen paratha’s , works perfectly. Or, you can shape the rotis on the back of an oiled plate.

Cardamom is optional, but it does add a lot of flavour !

Serving the bobbatlu with ghee takes the dish to a new level so try not to miss it J

I make cupcakes with the bobabbtlu/pooranpoli flavours and they are quiet good. So if you have some lentils mix left over after making these for Diwali , head over to my pooranpoli Cupcake post and make some delicious fusion cupcakes !!

Tilda Brown and Wild Rice flavoured with Curry leaves / Karvepaku Annam

Last year’s new year’s eve was slightly different for me. We were in India and the celebration was more a family gathering rather than a wild party involving alcohol. Well , this meal at a reputed five-star hotel did involve cocktails and spirits but we made sure we consumed alcohol is a more civilised manner to avoid things going out of control. I was really thankful for being sober that night as I could eat to my heart’s content and enjoy the massive buffet the hotel has laid out for the guests. The food was delicious and went on from the restaurant dining area to the garden and across the pool area. Street food, regional food, Indo Chinese, Italian , numerous desert stalls and everything was so delicious. Few dishes have stood out for me, Awadhi Chicken curry and a gongura rice which were very unique and extremely tasty. Out at the kebab counter , I got chatty with the chef who was making yam kebabs and upon enquiry the head chef was from Awadh. No wonder , the Awadhi chicken curry was spot on and the addition of gulouti kebabs made sense. Few minutes later, he introduced me to a telugu chef and we got talking about the Green rice. I was amazed of the different kinds of rice he mentioned and how popular these dishes are getting. The Craze is understandable because buffets have been typically serving pilau rice for so many years, it’s time for change and innovation .

He quickly shared the gongura rice and Karvepaku (curry leaves) rice with me and insisted I should try it at home. Both the recipes are quite easy and quick to whip up. Almost a year has passed and I remembered about these when I was brainstorming about what to do with the several Tilda rice I got given at an event/supperclub hosted by Tilda and Mallika Basu about which you can read more here . I cooked this literally hours before  we were catching a flight to India to attend my brother’s wedding. The intention was to write up the recipe  on the flight and post it immediately 🙂 . But as you can see, that didn’t happen. My laptop proved useless as the volts on the flight to charge was not enough for my laptop charger. There is my excuse to watch three movies in a row, a documentary about foodies while munching on the bread roll and butter Emirates served. As I landed in India I was bombarded with tasks to do for the wedding. Wedding preparations , especially for an Indian wedding in an unknown city managing so many relatives is definitely not a cake walk. However, in the end , it has been a successful event resulting in a very happy couple and our family picture is now complete with the new member joining in. We had the reception in the very popular Golconda resorts in Hyderabad and of course , my main focus was food ! We had two tasting sessions with the chef in order to come up with a perfect reception buffet menu. The chef was extremely cooperative and enjoyed creating specific dishes for us on request. We are really pleased how it all turned out in the end with deliciousness all over the party !

Coming back to the Karvepaku Rice , the main ingredient is of course ‘karvepaku’ ie, the curry leaves. The south Indian in me was already smiling with joy while I was picking and prepping the leaves for the dish because of the amount of leaves I was going to use. In most dishes curry leaves are used to garnish or you saute a few leaves into the curry. But here, the curry leaves are the main ingredient and you can imagine the flavour and aroma that will fill your kitchen shortly after you start cooking this dish. Curry leaves are known for their valuable medicinal values and are widely used in the Ayurvedic medicines. They are believed to aid in hair growth , reduce side effects caused by chemotheraphy, reduce diaherea, help with skin infections and many more. So, it becomes even more important to include the mighty curry leaves into your diet.

I used Tilda Brown Basmati and Wild rice because , we are a family who need their pure Bamsati for every meal. Now to make the transition from pure basmati to wholemeal, I need something delicious and full of flavour to coat the rice with and this curry leaf powder works wonders in that sense. Together with the quality Tilda wholemeal rice you will, even for one second, think that you are having anything less luxurious. So, pick up those curry leaves and get cooking !

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To make the Curry leaf powder you will need :  

1 Bunch fresh curry leaves

11/2 Tsp. Bengal Gram (yellow split gram)

1 Tsp. Seseme Seeds

3-4 Dried Red Chillies

1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1/2 Tsp. Coriander seeds

1/4 Tsp. fenugreek seeds

To finish off the dish : 

Salt to taste

2 Cups Cooked rice (I used Tilda Brown and Wild rice )

4 Tsp. Ghee (clarified butter)

2 – 3 Spoons Roasted Butternut squash cubes

Few roasted peanuts for garnish

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Method :

Heat the pan and dry roast all the lentils and spices except the curry leaves  and keep aside .

The same pan , heat a teaspoon oil and roast the curry leaves

In a grinder , mix all the ingredients and make a fine powder or a little gritty if  you like a bit of texture. Add some salt to taste and there you go , a nice blend of flavourful powder is ready for you to enjoy with rice.

To serve : 

Cook the Tilda Rice as per the directions on the pack and fluff it . While the rice is cooking , dice some butternut squash and roast them in the oven. You can use any seasonal veges in this place to add extra nutritional value to the dish. But the sweet  butternut squash worked well against the strong and spicy curry leaf flavour.

Stir in some of the curry leaf powder prepared into the rice and add generous amount of ghee and the butternut squash cubes and mix well.

Garnish some peanuts and serve Hot. We ate it with spicy lamb fry and was a treat.

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Few pointers : 

The Curry leaf rice can be enjoyed with a variety of curries and vegetable stir fries . So, it becomes a really versatile dish to serve up at dinners .

The powder can keep well and fresh for up to one – two weeks , so stock up for those lazy night and you could just heat up a ready made rice to cuddle up on the sofa with a hearty meal

I have used both ghee and coconut oil with rice and they are both my favourite . coconut oil works really well with the rice especially of you make the curry to with using coconut oil as well. You can use any oil you wish …like olive oil .

you can use any garnish with cashew nuts as well and some sautéed curry leaves

You can also temper the rice with mustard seeds and more curry leaves if you wish

I hope you like the super simple Rice and I am sure this will come in handy when you need something to lift you up taking only a few minutes of your time.

Take care

Gayathri

Beetroot Gnocchi & Castello white with truffle cheese

So when I trailed my way along with some girlfriends Suchi from Kitchen Karma, Nisha from Kitchenantics and Sandya Hariharan from Sandya’s Kitchen to the Castello Cheese pop up store event, little did I know that I will be so overwhelmed with all the cheese that is on show. The aim of the pop store is to introduce their amazing collection of cheeses from rest of the world to the deprived cheese lovers in UK 🙂 . Honestly, why are these cheeses not in UK? Anyway I hope the lovely people who visited the pop up store in Shoreditch have voted for some good cheese so that they can bring it here for us to devour. The event itself was so much fun and we were personally excited about the spread of different wine and cheese pairings along with other condiments. And to top it up, the pairings were all presented and explained by Matt Day who was very keen in sharing his ideas and giving us tips on how to choose our drinks. We were also handed out a chart which illustrates all the featured pairing which is quiet handy for people who do not take notes at events like this and only focus on eating 🙂 …yes, I have my priorities and I tend to stick to them most of the time :). Talking about priorities, we were also served delicious canapés while the one and only Sapient Gastranout, Stephen gate is showering us with all the information regarding the event and the concept store.

 

Canapé's and the Spread at the event

Canapé’s and the Spread at the event

That night, we returned home satisfied with our cheese and wine intake, lots of inspiration to use the variety of cheese in our culinary experiments, tons of enthusiasm to immediately host a cheese & wine party at home and a gorgeous goody bag filled with a complete set of cheese pairings. While I and my son gobbled almost all of the pineapple halo cheese as a midnight snack, I saved some white truffle cheese for something special which I am so pleased to share it with you today.

Real cheese lovers always argue that cheese has to be enjoyed as it is and usually do not support cooking it. But I am sure I can nudge them to agree with me that cheese sauces play a very significant role for most pastas. Especially, when I tasted the white truffle soft cheese, it was invariably piquant and I instantly decided that I could set it up with some sweet and mild gnocchi and the marriage will have lasting results J and so the story of Beetroot gnocchi and Castello white with Truffle cheese sauce has come into being and my dear lovely readers ……..it was a success.

CASTELLO® WHITE WITH TRUFFLE

CASTELLO® WHITE WITH TRUFFLE

The beetroot Gnocchi recipe was basically worked out looking at various methods out there, but if you want a reference and see what happens in between Indian Simmer has a nice video. Cheese sauce recipe is however, a standard recipe but I deliberately kept it very simple and did not want to twiddle with the flavour of the cheese itself.

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Let’s get cooking:

Ingredients:

Serves 4 portions

For Gnocchi

5 large boiled potatoes – Use good floury kind like Maris piper or King Edward

2 beetroots

1 Cup Plain Flour

1 Egg

For Cheese Sauce:

150 grams Castello White truffle soft Cheese

½ Cup Milk

2 Tbsp Plain Flour

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Method:

For the Gnocchi Let me warn you, it seems tricky and is a very messy job. But home-made gnocchi is always so much better than dried store-bought. The texture is entirely different.

Chop the beet into quarters, place them a sauce pan, cover the lid and let them dry roast on low flame. The moisture in the vegetable should be good enough to facilitate the cooking and should not stick to the pan.

Alternatively, place them on the baking tray and roast them in the oven at about 150 degrees. We need at least some of the juices of the beetroot to be retained. Puree the beetroots without any extra water and keep aside.

Mash the potatoes and run them through the ricer to make a smooth mash. Add the egg, beetroot puree and quarter of the flour.

Knead the dough and keep adding more flour as you knead. Use the rest of the flour only if you need. The dough will not be hard but you should be able to work with it with lots of flour on you worktop.

Divide the dough into 3 large balls. Roll it into a thick sausage shape and cut the dough further to form the final gnocchi.

Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi

 

Now, you can use a fork and run the gnocchi over it to form a shape or roll them into small balls or just leave them as it is like I have. Gives a nice rustic, homemade feel to it isn’t?

At this stage you can either refrigerate the gnocchi or freeze them untill you decide to use them.

Hand made - Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi

 

When you are ready to prepare the gnocchi, fill a deep sauce pan with water, bring it to boil and add the gnocchi . Your gnocchi is ready, as soon as they float to the top. Remove them from heat, drain the water , run them through some cold water and keep aside untill you make your sauce.

For the sauce, in a saucepan, add some unsalted butter. As it melts, add 2 tbsp. of plain flour and stir it for a minute or so, add the milk and keep stirring until there are no lumps. Now for the fun part, turn the heat to low and add the Castello  white with truffle cheese and stir until it forms a lovely silky sauce. Serve immediately, over the beetroot gnocchi and top it with some fresh ground pepper.

 

Beetroot Gnocchi - Served Cheese Sauce with truffle

Beetroot Gnocchi – Served Cheese Sauce with truffle

 

Plum Jam

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Hey hey my lovely readers. I hope you all had a great summer. Mine has been amazing because I took a break from work, from blogging, from even house keeping 🙂 to spend the summer holidays with my son. I have had so many instances l couldn’t be around for him. Although, my gorgeous little boy (ok lets call him GLB) never complained, it does hurt when you have to miss a christmas production at school, or a concert because of work. So, to compensate all that, this summer was filled with multiple visits to various museums, lots of tennis, park visits, visits to ice cream parlours and numerous sleepovers with his cousins and friends. Ofcourse, I kept out of sleepover’s …err most of the time :). This super indulgence has gone so far, that now my GLB suggested that I should go back to work and also thought it would be good if the work hours are longer so he can spend some time with his friends. Oh well, kids are kids, they don’t understand the sacrifice we parents make. Staying at home and trying to be with them 24 hrs is not easy Hehe 😛 …(actually it is fun !!) . Ok so one of our summer outing was pick your farm. Now, kids love picking fruit an veg. Even the one, they don’t enjoy eating. It is a fun excercise for them and then the real test is when we are back home, you have plan all your meals for the next 20 days around the fruit and veg you brought home. Something like that happened to us. We picked huge quantities of plums. 3 Kilos to be precise. Now for first 1 kilo, I have managed to stuff it up my husband in the form of fruit and smoothies. He is our food disposal system most of the time. The rest of the plums, are going too ripe, so I had decided to go Jamming …which of course was a lot of Jam but everyone loved it.

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Now for the part of making the jam. I have used the most easy method I know. My mum’s mantra for Jam is equal amounts of sugar and fruit. But, if she was making this Jam she would have pealed the plums, but I didn’t bother. They were too many of them. But trust me, it is just fine…if you don’t have the time or patience, just leave the skin on.

And for the sugar, normal sugar is ok to use but it is easy to find Sugar with pectin in the super markets these days. It speeds up the process and thickens the Jam quickly. Pectin is a jelling agent that is found is citrus fruits. So, if you can’t find sugar with pectin, just add a little extra lemon juice to compensate. Now for the procedure :

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Ingredients : 

1 kg Plums (Yield will be  close to 1.5 kG)

1 Kg Sugar with pectin  (if you don’t have pectin – then add about 1 TBsp. lemon juice)

25 grams unsalted butter

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Method: 

Halve  the plums and remove the seed. Put them in a deep pan on medium heat to cook slowly. Once they release all the liquids in them and start to cook completely, add the sugar and lemon juice. Let the mixture cook again on medium heat untill all the sugar is dissolved.

Keep stirring occasionally making sure the jam at the bottom is not getting burnt. After about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook again for 10 min. The jam should start to thicken at this point. Leave it to cool and repeat the process two more times of bringing the jam to boil on medium heat and cooling it down.

I do not use the thermometer to check the setting point etc. I don’t have the tools and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how think or runny Jam should be. I check the consistency of the jam when it gets to room temperature. It should be obviously start to look like …’Jam’, and when you run your finger through it should form a definite line. If you are in a hurry to do this test, then just pop a spoon of the mixture in a bowl, put it in the freezer for a min and check the consistency. If you are not happy with the consistency, just place the Jam back on heat and bring to boil again untill you get the desired thickness.

I hope you like my a little tedious but easy peesy summer fruit Jam recipe and I really would like if you try it and share your thoughts on this post.

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Vegetarian Chat Pizza

Inspired  by all the Indian pizzas I watched on master chef  India, I decided to try something aswell and boom came the  Home Bakers Challenge to bake pizza’s.

I had this Pizza concept in mind for a long time now which is based on the indian street food chaat and this is my opportunity to give it a try. I am more than pleased with the results. I used the ‘green chutney’ from the chaat as a pizza base sauce and also topped the pizza with crispy ‘papdi’ and a dash of ‘meeta chutney’ or tamarind and date chutney.
The pizza is spicy, sweet, tangy, crunchy, soft, cheesy altogether Deeeelicious. Do give it a go.

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Ingredients:

For Pizza Dough:

3 Cups Plain flour

1 Tsp salt

1 Tbsp Chilli flakes

2 Tbsp Active yeast

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Sugar

For the pizza Sauce:

Green Chutney :

1 Cup Mint leaves

1/2 Cup Coriander/Cilantro

6 Green chillies

1 Tbsp lemon Juice

Tamarind Chutney:

1 Tsp Tamarind Paste

10 Dates

1 Tsp Grated jaggery or Mascavado sugar

Pinch of Salt

1/2 tsp Coriander Powder

1/2 tsp Cumin Powder

For the Toppings:

5-6 papdi’s

Chopped Yellow Peppers

Chopped Red peppers

Mushrooms

Mozzarella Cheese Pearls or Grated

Method:

Pizza Dough :

Prepare the yeast by dissolving the sugar and yeast in 250 ml of warm water and leave to rest for 5 mins untill the yeast is active and frothy.

Mix the olive oil , chilli flakes and salt in the flour.

Combine the yeast solution along with some more water if required and knead the dough to a soft consistency. knead the dough at least for 5 mins. Leave it to rest in a warm and dry place for 30 mins.

The dough should be almost double the size after 30 mins. knead the dough again very well for 10 mins and leave it to rise for 30 mins again. Knead the dough again and divide the dough with a dough knife or a worktop scraper into 2 or 3 portions according to the size of the pizzas you need. Use plain flour for dusting and start shaping the dough to form a circle using your fist. Use your knuckles to form a rounded circumference. Lift the pizza base on to the stone, mesh or the pan you are baking and prepare to start topping. I made this pizza on a mesh and is my favourite method.

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For a stuffed Crust Pizza:

Just use mozzarella cheese along the sides and fold the sides of the pizza. I used grated cheese , but the natural mozzarella balls can be handled more easily to wrap the edges.

Green Chutney

Mix the mint, coriander,  green chillies and grind them to a fine mixture. Add salt and lemon juice.

Tamarind Chutney:

Blanch the dates along with the tamarind paste with little water till it forms a smooth paste. Process it in a food processor if the mixture is not smooth enough. Run the mixture through a filter which will give you a smooth puree.

Add the salt, coriander powder, cumin powder and mix.

Assembling the Pizza:

Spoon the green chutney on the pizza generously, top it up with the  peppers and mushrooms. crush the papdi and place them on the pizza. Top it up with mozzarella cheese and finally drizzle the tamarind sauce. Bake the pizza for 15 mins celsius.

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Enjoy hot pizza and relish the flavours coming through. Feel the heat of green chillies, the freshness of mint from the base, the crunch of the papdi  and the slight sweet and tangy -ness of the tamarind sauce. I just Love it ! You will too…

Spicy Cheese Bake

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Cheese is one of my favourites. I can have cheese with anything. And if that is a spicy mexican cheese filled with flavour and texture, I will go crazy to cook with it.Most of you will agree that the best form of cheese is when it is melted. whenever we go to mexican restaurants, a big bowl of nachos and cheese dip are a regular. And although, I did make the cheese bakes before, this particular recipe was such a great hit in the family. I didn’t give the type of cheese a great though when I shopped for this recipe. I just went for texture and flavour, So even if you have similar cheese as in my recipe in the fridge then just  go for it and have fun layering the cheese. But make sure the proportions are correct since you don’t want the bake to taste of just melted cheese with one of the cheeses overpowering the whole dish.This recipe  of course, is all about spicy Cheese bake, it is a plus if you have the spicy mexican cheese.

If you cannot get hold of spicy pepper cheese then the other variation you could do is that you can sprinkle some chilly flakes or chopped fresh red chilli between the layers would be just perfect and it will give a that extra colour and drama to the dish.I was so amazed when even the healthy eaters relaxed  their strict rules and enjoyed steaming hot and spicy cheese back with baked garlic tortillas and Nachos when I served it.

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Ingredients: 

125 Grams British Brie

225 Grams Extra hot mexican Cheese

160 Grams Mature Cheddar Cheese

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Method:

Cut the cheeses separately  as flat chunks so it is easy to layer them in the dish. In a baking dish layer the 125 grams of Brie evenly to form the first layer. Then continue with  about 200 grams of mexican cheese and top it with about 140 grams of cheddar cheese. Top it off with the remainder of the spicy and cheddar cheese together to give it an even taste and continuity to the dish.

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Bake for 15 minutes in the oven or till the cheese is melted completely and the sides are turning brown. Ah….How I love the dark browned cheese, scrapping it off the dish with a soft garlic tortilla! Well I loved it, Let me know what you think about the dish.

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‘Coriander – Makes The Difference’ Book Review And Coriander Tomato Chutney !

Have you ever stumbled upon a proverb posted by a friend on Facebook or read an article in the morning news paper on the way to work and thought someone has just peeped into your heart and narrated what is going on in there ? I am sure you would agree that those little sayings and words of motivation by someone who are unknown to you and your situation are so true and sometimes give you  that extra push to keep you going.Well, I have had lot of experiences like that but only a person with a great foresight like  Ms. Pinky Lilani who is the founder of  Spice Magic  will compile all the words of wisdom into a book to feed your soul


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It was two months back, when  my younger brother  mentioned about her book ‘Coriander ….makes a difference’ , and like the arrogant elder sister as I was…I just went  ‘OK  it’s a book with recipes using coriander, I can google and I will get 100’s’ what is so special about this book?’ . But when I learned it is a unique compilation of proverbs and sayings which can motivate you, guide you and lead you to success and has great recipes  I immediately showed interest. It was a unique idea to relate a certain herb to real life situations.And it only took me two minutes to order a book from her website and was waiting eagerly for the delivery while watching  YouTube videos of Pinky Lilani’s talks. I was full of admiration  by the way she talked about some essential traits that one  should possess to be able be satisfied with oneself at the end of the everyday.

My brother who is also an Art of living Volunteer later told me about a talk they were organizing by Pinky Lilani, I honestly didn’t want to miss but I was so under the weather that I just couldn’t pick myself up to the venue.Happy for the people who made it and congratulations to the team Yes+ London for organising such a wonderful event.Well again, thanks to my brother , I did get a gift wrapped Spice box from Spice Magic Bazar

The book draws the reader’s attention to these traits like Kindness, friendship, Enthusiasm, Appreciation through various proverbs from all over the world and sayings by  people who have achieved excellence in their respective fields. It feels so right when Pinky Lilani  compares Coriander to  a proverb or a personal trait where the former makes the difference in your dish and the later, in your life. And if you think about, it is so true when it comes to coriander, because most the times it is such an underated herb that it is often considered optional in recipes. Then again , add it to a curry even if it is 10 seconds before you serve the dish, the herb lifts the dish to a completely different level. And who knew Coriander, as a herb has many medicinal benefits? Rich in Vitamin A, C, K, folic acid and many more, the details of which you can find the book in a  section called ‘The herb itself’ and a lot more about how to store different forms of coriander ie..the seeds, the powder etc,.Guy’s it is a good book. I like  Originality,  I like Personality and I like the Power and this book and The woman behind it seem to have all three.AND I really like the way the book is called ‘Coriander ….makes the difference’ and not ‘Cilantro …makes the difference’ 🙂

For me when it’s about coriander and cooking, there is one dish which comes to my mind that my mum usually cooks in which the coriander plays the lead role and not  just an optional herb or spice. And Since we are talking all about coriander today, I would like to share the recipe of ‘Coriander and Tomato chutney’ with you guys. This is a very simple recipe with minimum ingredients and quick to make aswell. And you know what, reduce the quantity of tomatoes and the same recipe will make a great fresh pesto with indian flavours!

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So here we go, go ahead and try the recipe and fill your kitchen with the fresh aroma of coriander……..

You will need:

1 Bunch Coriander chopped

Salt To taste

4 Tomatoes halved

1 Garlic clove

4 Green Chilli

1 Tsp Cumin

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Method:

Heat oil in a deep dish and add the garlic clove, green chillies and cumin seeds. let them cook for 1/2  min and add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are starting to cook and letting the juices out, add the coriander and salt. Mix everything and cover the pan with a lid for 3-5 mins. The coriander will not take much time to cook. Take it off the heat and let the mixture to cool. Use a mortar or a mixer to make a chutney. Chutney’s usually are at their best when they are blended coarsely and not made in a smooth paste.That is the reason if I have time and patience I tend to do it in a mortar. Just look at how rustic, fresh and delicious it looks!

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