Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baingan..baghare waali!

I could call this one of my regional favourites. Baghara Baingan is a dish every Hyderabadi will identify with, and love. I tried it with great hestitation. You see, am not an 'all-types-of-baingan' fan. I like baingan in bharta, or in fries :P or in Eggplant Parmesan or in my granny's Vaangibaath. When I first tried the notorious Hyderabadi Biryani with Mirchi Ka Salan, I drooled. I love rice, I love chillies. I just did not need anything else. I ate Hyderabadi food like this only after I started working in Hyderabad. Otherwise, during hostel days, we'd go out to eat what our moms cooked in their kitchens. Atleast, something resembling that. My house has never seen/eaten Baghara Baingan and I was hesitant to try it.

Our office was known to provide amazing food and every Friday, it was Biryani day. Yay! I loved Friday for more than the idea of weekend coming close :) One day, the caterers did not make Mirchi Ka Salan, but instead made Baghara Baingan. I was wild. But I still ate it :D You see, am not known to grudge food all that much! And then it was helping after helping of only this curry! I never once thought of trying it until I bought Baingan from the Farmer's Market to make Undhiyu. Since I did not have all the Undhiyu ingredients (I'm ALWAYS like this. I get excited, buy the main ingredient, and forget the rest!) and the baingan or the brinjal or the eggplant or the aubergine (I just realized we have non-Hindi readers!) was rotting and A was complaining, I decided to make Baghara Baingan. I scanned the Food Blog Search for some ideas since I did not know what went to it, apart from the brinjals :D Finally, I chanced upon Asha's recipe for Baghara Baingan and then I went on to add some other stuff randomly that I my hands touched in the fridge. And this is how it looked :) We had it with rice and not biryani. It still was as good as ever and rekindled culinary memories of Hyderabad. Sigh.

While I did use Asha's recipe for making this dish, I added 1/2 cup peanuts and 1/4 cup of sour cream. I added the peanuts because I've noticed that a lot of Andhra dishes add peanuts. Sour cream, I added, because I loooooooove sour cream and just wanted to use it :P At the end, just before taking it off the gas, I added a dollop of ghee, and that just made the dish perfect. The aromas tantalizing, the taste buds tingling, A and I stuffed ourselves that night :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Birthday on a roll!

I celebrated my birthday last week. The first one after getting married! Previous birthdays started to flash across my mind.

* With my family - this means it was MY day. I was the emperor and every single wish I made on that day had to be fulfilled :)

* In the hostel - in this case, my batchmates used to proudly wear their thick soled and very heavy military boots just to give me birthday bumps. Its original purpose was for the NCC!

* In the U.S - here, my roomies spared no opportunities to throw eggs on me or to smear me with cake.

Back to present! I didn’t know what to expect! All of the above, perhaps ;) But my birthday began on a fantastic note when N came running with a huge baking dish at midnight. It was the best cake I've EVER had! A chocolate-cherry-nut cake…..when I dug my teeth into it, I exclaimed in my mind “Move over Kashmir….there is a NEW paradise on earth!” It was THAT good! And eggless on top of it! N later told me that she followed Mahanandi’s recipe. The cherry gave it a unique “liqeury” flavor and the nuts made it decadent and gave it that crrrrrrrrunch.

On my birthday, we had lunch at the Hindu temple of Atlanta (yes, besides a nerd, I am also a tad religious :)). For dinner, N made some fabulous lasagna rolls. She followed a Food Network recipe to perfection! Well, there were a few rolls too many for the amount of the rich sauce made, so, instead of the sauce she made for the rolls, she dunked them in marinara and they still tasted heavenly. I must admit that even though I was supposed the ‘emperor’ on that day, I actually ended up bowing to the culinary prowess of my significant other.

We didn’t stop cooking between lunch and dinner. The bakeware that we’ve purchased is placed strategically in order to meet our eyes ever so often! So, I gave into the temptation and decided to bake some stuff. I made some savory garlic conchs, mushroom squares, apricot-orange jelly stuffed bread and some chocolate spread bread. The dough was essentially adapted from the Challah bread recipe. For the sweet flavored bread, I added some orange zest to the dough whereas I added additional salt to the savory bread dough.

For the mushroom filling, I used:

1 can of sliced mushrooms (7 oz)
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1tsp Parsley flakes (dry)
1 tsp Rosemary (dry)

I heated the olive oil in the skillet and added the mushrooms and the spices. The herbs were added when the mushrooms were almost done.

For the garlic conchs, I prepared some garlic butter. I melted about 2 tbsp unsalted butter in a skillet and added 1 tbsp olive oil to it. I added 1 tbsp minced garlic and sautéed it for sometime. When almost done, I added some oregano flakes and chives to the butter to give it a nice aroma. I made sure that the garlic did not turn brown.

N and I also made some apricot-orange preserve. We peeled and chopped 6 apricots and added one orange (sliced, without skin) to it. We mashed the fruits with a wooden spatula, added ½ tbsp pectin and 2 tbsp honey and microwaved the mixture for 10 mins. The mixture was then closed and cooled in the freezer for 2 hours.

After the dough rose, I knocked it back and then made balls out of the dough. For the conch, I rolled the ball into a thick strand and then flattened it. I applied the garlic butter on one side. I started rolling the dough and while doing so, I applied some garlic butter on the other side too.

For the mushroom squares, I flattened the ball into a 1/4 inch circle. Using a knife, I cut some edges to form a square. I put some of the filling in the center and then folded over the edges towards the center.

For the apricot-orange jelly filled bread, I flattened the dough into an oval shape and then placed some of the jelly in the center. I folded the dough over in order to leave some room in the middle such that some of the jelly could be seen.

For the chocolate spread bread, I shaped the dough just like the conch. Since the dough was slightly stickier than the savory dough, it turned out like a croissant!

All these were baked at 400F for 20-25 minutes on a greased pizza tray. I brushed the tops of all these rolls with some milk. You could use egg too. And here’s how they came out…

Well the fun doesn’t end here! I was so blown away by the birthday bash that N threw for me that I had to do something in return. Since I couldn’t wait until her ‘real’ birthday (which is at least 5 months away, while the fake one was celebrated last month!), I decided to take her to Florida. We visited Pensacola, Navarre beach and Fort Walton beach near Destin. Here are some snaps of the beautiful beaches!

How is any of this related to the food blog? Well, we would like to recommend this place called Another Broken Egg Café. We literally hogged on French toasts and an “Earthquake” sandwich which had sautéed onions, mushrooms and sprouts with mayo. The sandwich also came with country style potatoes which were devoured within 30 seconds of taking its picture :D. They also make their own “tack” sauce which was really delicious! Nothing was overwhelmingly greasy. It was homely, and simple and delicious and fairly healthy which was quite surprising! Here’s a glimpse of our meal at the café.

Overall, I had a superb time! I’ll never forget my first birthday after getting married. And in the rare event of my memory getting feeble, I’ll just read this post :).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mother's recipe :)

Ever since we started frequenting the Farmer's Market in Atlanta, A'd point out the yellow pumpkin known as 'petha' in Hindi and talk about one of his favourite preparations made by his mom. His mom is a fantastic cook. I stayed at their place after marriage before coming to the US and all I did was eat. She cooks with a disarming charm, and thankfully is not obsessed about measuring food like A does, ALL the time. She is an amazing multi-tasker and finishes cooking way before anyone woke up! A has some very nice memories of his mom's cooking and like most men, believes his mom is the best cook. This time around, I agree ;)
This post really goes out to her because she graciously shared the recipe with me, so I can cook for her son. (Okay, the son pestered her every weekend :D) It is a recipe that I did not believe will work out. In fact, my sis-in-law does not like this particular dish and advised me not to try it. So on one of the Farmer's market trips, A and I bought a wedge of this pumpkin. I could see the glee on his face. So, two days later, I decided to make this for him. Here is the recipe for you guys.


1.25 lb orange/red pumpkin or 'petha'
1 can of Black eyed peas or Lobia
1 tomato
1 tsp Jeera
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp oil
1tsp ghee
Salt to taste

1. Chop the pumpkin into cubes and the tomatoes and set aside

2. Heat oil and once it is ready, throw in the Jeera, let it splutter

3. Add the pumpkin and allow for 5 mins

4. Add tomatoes and allow to cook for another 5 mins

5. Add the Lobia or the Black eyed peas, mix well

6. Add the turmeric, and the Garam Masala and salt to taste and close with a lid. Let the sabzi cook for a good 15-20 mins or until the pumpkins get tender.

7. Add a dollop of ghee in the end and mix. Switch off the gas :)

I added canned Black eyed peas which come pre-cooked. So, if you are using raw black-eyed peas, make sure to soak it for a couple of hours. I also added a little more Garam Masala accidentally :P But like my mother-in-law, I do not measure and just added the ingredients according to my whim ;) What a relief! I share atleast one of my mother-in-law's cooking traits ;)

This sabzi turned out so well, that I ate my words. I believed that this was a perfect combination of simplicity and superior taste. That is another reason I've not added coriander or done anything to the picture. I wanted to keep it simple. Every time A pesters his mom for a recipe, the perfect in-laws that I have, my father-in-law sits and types out the recipe into a Powerpoint and sends it titling the presentation N's kitchen, N being my mother-in-law's name's first letter too! Also, with this recipe, he said this for the last step: Add a dollop of ghee and mix. Serve with love :) So, here I am sending it to Srivalli's Curry Mela with love!

P.S.- Sorry, Srivalli, I'm technically challenged, so replicating your logo even if it is just Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V is slightcha complicated ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Challah: the Eat-away Braid...and a tag!

First of all, I am pretty new to the blog world and therefore not very familiar with the netiquittes :) So I'd like to address the unintentionally ignored tag. The responses are given at the end of this post. Also, we have tagged Nags and Shreya to keep the ball rolling. We know they like tags!

Coming back to the post, I think we've discontinued from the "Baking Binge" for a couple of posts, although we've been baking like crazy :) Take a look at this cartoon. I think we're at level 3 now :D.

This time we followed Rosa's Challah bread recipe. Once again, the ingredients were cut down by half (except the yeast....I shudder at the thought of a dough that doesnt rise!). And for the topping, we used sesame seeds. Her recipe worked like a charm!

The smell was heavenly and so was the taste! The bread had a nice, golden outer crust but was very soft on the inside. Rosa, you are a magician and nice enough to share your tricks of trade through your blog :) So I guess this is yet another -"tried and tested", approved, baked, photographed and devoured immediately- post after following the Focaccia! See it for yourself :)

Once again, for the detailed recipe please check out Rosa's blog. She also gives some excellent tidbits of wisdom every now and then :)

Disclaimer: The cartoon is meant solely to depict the stages of evolution with a lighter side to it. It is in no way, shape or form a comparison between Daring Bakers and Homer Simpson ...although the concoctions by daring bakers are certain to turn ordinary mortals into one in terms of appetite :D.

We've been tagged!

A- Baby Mama - at N's behest. I wanted to watch Iron Man!
N- Can I say that I have NOT yet watched 'The Sex and the City?' BTW, Baby Mama sucked, yes.

A- Principles of Nonlinear Optics by Butcher and Cotter. I think my geekiness has been exposed!
N- To Kill a Mockingbird

A- Scrabble!
N- Who will he play with? ;) Scrabble for me too!

A-Science Magazine, Nature, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Physical Chemistry (B and C), Materials Today and Advanced Materials. I think I am a certified nerd now!
N- list won't sound as hi-fi as someone else's. I'd say mainstream political magazines, oh, gossip ones will do too :P

A-Food, Jasmine.
N- Fresh coffee, Monsoon, smell of earth, bread :), chocolate cake, chai, and lots more!

A- Flute, mandolin, violin, acoustic guitar (peaceful vibes).
N- My voice ;) How vain can I get? But I do not listen, I just talk :P

A- Being dismissed/ignored.
N- Hearing a 'NO' to my offer to watch Sex and the City :(

A- Give me some coffee and bring on the day :)
N- Can't it be night again? Or, can I have 5 more minutes (read: forever)

A- Papa John's pizza (I order more frequently though)
N- Any road-side joint in India (this works for A too. He is just being pseudo ;)) and ya, Papa John's with an extra order of cheese is the only choice in the US no?

A- Haven't thought one yet.
N- Now, you know who thinks of sensible things and the future. Sigh. I want twins. Period. Nakul and Nakshatra... and...

A- Put it in a bank. Yup, I'm boring!
N- Hmm...ya, put it in a bank, or maybe, go on a world tour!

A-Yes I do :)
N- Do I have a choice in this country? ;)

N- No, not yet ;)

A-If I'm home, and if the storm doesn't cause electricity to fail, pretty cool! If I'm driving or outside, scary!
N- Cool all the time! Much fun to be had ;)

A- Camry
N- None of my own, but my dad's Premier Padmini for both good and bad memories :)

A- Ganne ka ras (Sugarcane juice)
N- Chai? Brings loads of memories

A- Travel across the world.
N- Me too!

A-If cooked well enough, yes.
N- No, coz they are healthy. For that matter, I hate broccoli

A-I like it the way it is. Absolutely no changes in its hue :)
N- Red!

A- Chennai, Jaipur, Delhi, Haldia, Panipat, Ambala, Karnal, Rajkot, Mumbai, Gandhidham, Surat, Gainesville Florida, Ann Arbor Michigan, Atlanta, Georgia.
N- Err... do you want to know this fact about me? Bangalore and Hyderabad before Atlanta!

A-Cricket, Baseball, Football (NFL), Basketball.
N- None after marriage, thanks to an overdose. Sigh.

A-Indranee.....very kind of you
N- Indranee - she's nice coz she gave me a chance to talk ;)

A-We dont want to go there...its not vacuumed very often :D
N- I send A there to clean up. So, I dunno!

A-Given the same parents, absolutely!
N- No. I'd like to be born with a good figure, and a creamy complexion :D

A- Morning person.
N- Night owl

A-Somewhere in between
N- Sunny side up

A- Home sweet home!
N- Hmm...near a water body :)

A- Pumpkin and Pecan
N- Is there a chocolate pie? :D

A-Oh come on, I cant name one! Butter Pecan and Praline cream are joint first.
N- I can name one. Chocolate is the word.

Err..Nags :D coz she LOVES tags, so says N ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Moong Dal stuffed Simla Mirch - Less Is More!

So, we were chatting online, and we suddenly realized we do not participate in blog events as much as we want to or should! We made a decision to get back home and work on various events :P and create deadlines for ourselves. Well, deadlines have never worked, have they? :) A came home to a super-lazy me who was ready with yesterday's leftovers for dinner and a sulk because I was just SO bored. We both unknowingly dozed off on the couch until we woke up suddenly (in hunger!) and realized we had to eat leftovers and just ate our dinner listlessly.

After being energized by the leftovers dinner ;), we started thinking of the Less Is More event. A came up with the idea of a stuffed capsicum. We rummaged in our fridge and found a capsicum. Yes, ONE capsicum. Less Is More no? :D So, we went about changing the basic recipe given by my mom and a recipe from Aayi's recipes (sniff, sniff) to this one! We later realized that it is super healthy too. Check it out yourself!


ONE capsicum ;) (keeping in line with the theme!)
1/2 cup Moong Dal - boiled in the microwave for 10 mins, so that it is cooked and the grains remain separate
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup onion
1 tsp Garam Masala
1tbsp oil

1. Heat oil in a pan, add jeera and hope it splutters (like I always do!)

2. Just when you are about to lose patience, add those onions and saute them, stir them quickly around the pan hoping that quick movements of hand over the onions make them cook faster ;)

3. Add salt and Garam Masala. Mix well.

4. Add Moong Dal, mix and allow to cook (this 'allowing to cook' is easy on your nerves, because you can do these things then - switch on the oven to preheat it on broil mode, and cut the top of the capsicum off and deseed it. You can even clean after your husband if he is helping you with this. :) So, you do not have to hover over the gas and wait and watch the onions get brown!) :D

5. Use this mixture to fill up the capsicum and put this on a greased baking tray. Take pictures, if possible ;)

6. Then pop in the tray and broil it for 15-20 minutes or until the capsicum is cooked. Then, do not dig into it. Take pictures, and rush to post your recipe :P

Note: Be careful and do not burn your hands like I do, everytime. I look like an abused woman with the burns on my hand. But I swear, A is really, really nice to me ;)

Oh yes, let me repeat, that was made with 5 ingredients and we are sending this to Nupur's Less Is More event. This was inspired by our enthusiasm :D and this recipe from Aayi's recipes. This recipe is the same as my mom's and my mom's mom's! :D

Thanks for this event, Nupur! I figured out how to cook a second dinner after my first :), all in 20 minutes flat, and that 'with enthusiasm.' Is there a healthy food event, or a cook in less time event, that we can send this to? :)

P.S - We are linking this post to Coffee too! (Thank God I read the rules this time around :P)

Monday, July 14, 2008

The weekend, kids and some yummy food!

No, we are not announcing that we have kids or expecting one! This weekend, we went to visit my cousin B and her family who've recently moved to Greenville. It was a perfect outing for A and me. Just 2 hours away from Atlanta, in desperate need for some weekend company, things worked out well. Meeting family, good food, conversations on warm couches with chai and crisps, kids running around, old photos, shared was just the thing we needed.

Oh did I tell you that my niece and nephew are the smartest and the cutest things in this world? I took a carrot-zucchini cake for them, and they totally enjoyed it. These kids are marvellous. They eat anything thrown at them. In fact, my niece takes after my dad's family and me ;) and eats just pickles. And she is all of 3 odd years! Here is her super smart son, a mighty 6 years old.

So, B kept on cooking wonderful meals for A and me, and finally on Saturday night, before we hit the downtown, we all craved for noodles. The Indo-Chinese ones :P Though A and I try out various cuisines and are foodies in the true sense of the word, we had not tried out noodles at home. B effortlessly threw in linguini and all other noodly looking food in boiling water and stir fried some veggies, and before I knew it, I had a steaming bowl of noodles in front of me! This post goes out to her - a super mom, and a responsible wife and a great cousin ;) Thanks!


1.5 packets whole grain spaghetti (linguini)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
Tomato- chilli sauce (as much as you want, really!)
4 tbsp Soy sauce
4 tbsp oil (more than enough for 4 adults and 2 hungry, 'we love
noodles' kids!)
Magic sauce ;) for which we need-
- Tamarind pulp
- Chilli powder
- Salt to taste
Mix these ingredients to make a watery sauce like mixture and pour when you cook these noodles!

Want to eat some? Here is how you make it!

1. Boil the noodles with 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt. Set them aside.

2. In a wok, heat 3 tbsp oil. Add the vegetables and fry them until well done.

3. Add salt, soy sauce, the tom-chi sauce and the 'magic
sauce' ;) Mix well.

4. Add the noodles and mix well. Let everything cook for 10-15 mins.

5. Serve hot without flipping it all over the table like I did!

The kids ate them with bare hands sitting on the table :) Just shows good they were! Well, we used forks but we were no less than the kids!

Of course, you could add cabbage or peas or spring onions in this recipe. She just did not have them at hand, so we did without it. Also, she did not add ajinomoto for purely health reasons, and we certainly did not miss it! In fact, we craved for more noodles and we came back home on Sunday night and ate Maggi noodles :D

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Let there be bread - Focaccia!

I guess a lot of us must have heard about this group of bloggers called 'Daring Bakers'. These folks bring to us exquisite baked goods that we believe exist only in fancy shops or delicatessen! They actually surpass them at times...

Apart from tasting amazing, they appear so surreal, like this form of art that has been so meticulously crafted out of mundane materials like flour, sugar, yeast and fruits. And they make it look so simple by doing it time after time after time again!

Well, we'd call ourselves "Barely Bakers" :) because we've tried our hands on the most basic breads a few times but haven't met with success unfortunately. Sometimes, the dough wasn't cooked all the way, sometimes the crust was too hard to be bit into, sometimes the temperature was too darn high and this one time the dough refused to rise! This prompted me to get in touch with a couple of such daring bakers and pick their brains a little bit. Deeba and Rosa, thank you so much for not letting the 'baking spirit' inside me perish for good :) After this endeavor, it is well alive and raring to try out new things!

So here it is: our first ever 'successful' bread. By that we mean:

* The bread was edible
* The dough was cooked all the way across,
* It was moist and
* The bread didnt turn into a brick the following day!

We chose to try out a Focaccia bread.

We followed Deeba's Focaccia recipe, although I am sure that there are numerous Focaccia recipes available across the blogosphere. However, we excluded the whole wheat from her recipe and cut down the amount of ingredients by half (except the yeast) so that even if the bread didn't come out successfully, we wouldn't end up wasting that much stuff!! Of course, we regret that decision now :)


3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1.5 tsp sugar
1.5 cups lukewarm water
some dry chives, oregano, basil and parsley flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Basically, we proofed the yeast by adding it to lukewarm water (which is already mixed with sugar). Then we added this to the other dry ingredients to form a not so sticky dough. Then we balled it up in an oiled bowl and let it rise until it roughly doubled in volume. Then ball was then put in a greased baking dish. We used an 8 inch porcelain dish which was 1.5 inches deep. We sprinkled the top of the dough with olive oil and let it rise for some more time (about 30 mins). Finally, we garnished with some onions (juliennes), freshly chopped garlic and dried basil on the top and baked at 400F for 35 minutes.

Here is how it looked like before I put it in the oven and started flitting around like a parent outside an ICU!

It was a nice feeling to see the bread come out fragrant and moist. It tasted great too :) We had some with a sun-dried tomato dip right away, fearing that the bread might turn from pillow to pallet the next day! I was pleasantly surprised when that did not happen :)

But I feel that I left it a couple of minutes too long in the oven and the baking dish was a shade small.

And now some more teases on the bakeware. We bought a bunch of stuff from a store called Ross. We bought a porcelain baking set (one rectangular tray, one circular tray used for the Focaccia and two ramekins)....for just $10.50 :) Thats just Rs. 500! This was followed by a 25 lb (11.3 kgs!) of all purpose flour. You get the drift ;) So stay tuned for some more baked goods on our blog :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Banana Muffins!

As I was posting my Thai Green Curry recipe, I could smell the rotting bananas on the dining table. Bananas have a strong smell and taste and I wanted to get rid of them somehow. I love bananas. They always bring back one memory for me. Of my paternal grandfather who is no more. From the time I was a baby, he fed me bananas :) We had this huge house in the center of the city. My grandfather would worship the Gods and his mother's photo(!) every morning and serve juice and bananas to all the kids around the area. Some of these kids were street urchins. In fact, my sisters and I were asked to serve juice and hand out bananas to these kids. After this ritual, he'd go on to dress up and leave home for work. When he came back for lunch, irrespective of whether I'd eaten or not, he'd feed me bananas. He'd make sure I ate them. He'd stuff them in my mouth and I loved them! These bananas were generally the over-ripe ones, with the black spots on the bananas :) I still love them that way. I treasure this particular memory of mine with him. I feel proud to date that I ate these almost rotten bananas while the same ritual with my ever-particular sis turned out to be a failure ;) I was proud that I was closer to my Granddad this way. Frankly, I no longer remember him that well. Except for very ripe bananas, chillies in his food (which makes me tolerant to very spicy food), the flowers he used to bring, so all of us could tie it up for God the next day, his generosity with those street kids, him making me write all the words I knew with all the letters in the alphabet. Aaah, memories... So, this banana muffin post really goes to my Granddad. Thank you, Thatha :)

Note: This recipe was adapted from a Food Network recipe. I did not adapt too much though ;) I'm not a great baker and wanted to be careful. I hate measuring stuff, so I usually bake with what I have in hand. It comes out quite well, though not perfect. This time, they were perfect. Patience pays, I've learned :) I added more vanilla essence, omitted the nuts because I did not have any and added more bananas and used a little less oil than recommended.

Of course, it helped that I bought new muffin trays and was dying to try them ;) Also, the batter was a lot for 12 muffins, so I also filled up the new RED (see! I told you about my obsession with colour) ramekin I bought with this batter and popped it into the oven! So what if ramekins are not used for banana cakes/muffins ;) We are all trying to be different no? Also, for the batter that I used in the ramekin, I topped it with a crumbly mixture of this:

3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp butter

Mix these well, make sure its crumbly. Make sure that the butter is soft.

(all this done in a hurry since I suddenly saw this bit from Ina Garten's show on Food Network on TV then :P She did this for a blueberry crumb cake. The impatient me, sigh! I did this in the last minute. Almost put the ramekin in, sighed, washed my hands, came out to the drawing room, saw the show, went back into the kitchen, took out the ramekin, and did this topping. Phew!)

All the impatience created these muffins and I was done with the whole thing including cleaning (and eating while clicking as you can see!) in an hour :) I do not see anything wrong with these results. Neither did A, for whom it was a surprise evening snack. Whaddya think?

P.S. - We bought new bakeware for DIRT CHEAP. So, this blog is going to see a flurry of baked food :D Yay!

Green Thai Curry - Off to Healthy Cooking!

While I racked my brains on what to submit to Mansi's Healthy cooking event, and almost gave up, Sireesha came along with an award for us (I cannot believe it, still, though) and I thought that we couldn't give up now! After all this! So, A and I concocted this Green Thai Curry for the event. Two days ago, we ate at Top Spice, a popular Thai-Malaysian restaurant here in Atlanta with my cousin and her family and I was a convert. I'm not the Thai food type while A pigs on Thai food. Tofu is his life saviour and I do not consider Tofu at all. Like, I do not think its food. Blame it on its colour or its texture!

Speaking of colour, I love colour in my food. I love chaat not just because of its taste, but because of the medley of colours on the plate. I love bright looking food than pale food. I like my food messy and colourful than neatly arranged and all that. Well, you get it. I'm not one of those perfect food blogga types ;) So, ya, getting back to the food! A came home from work and decided to make a Thai curry. I was game since I've started loving Thai food in the last two days :) Our fridge had remnants of veggies from a long-gone Farmer's Market trip. And this situation was perfect for a Thai dinner. So, here it is - the colours, the flavour, the richness, and all the proteins, vitamins that one can have on a plate, presenting to you the Green Thai Curry!

Ingredients (serves 2-3 people):

1lb (454g) Tofu
1 medium green bell pepper (capsicum)
1 medium red bell pepper
2 carrots
1/2 bunch spinach leaves
1 bunch spring onions
5-6 pieces dried red chillies
2-3 pieces of fresh green chillies
1 tbsp peanut butter (substitute with 20-25 pieces of peanut ground into a paste)
2 cups water
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Divide the block of Tofu into two equal portions. Grind one half with the spinach leaves, half of the red chillies, all the green chillies, lemon juice and ginger. This forms the 'green' gravy or base.

2. Cut the other half into cubes and saute them in 1/2 tbsp oil until they are crisp and golden. Set aside.

3. In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil and saute the spring onions and all other vegetables in that order. You can choose to add different vegetables to create your own curry. Broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, even potatoes! Add the remaining red chillies and let this cook for 10 mins. Add salt in between.

4. Add 1 tbsp peanut butter (or the peanut paste), water, honey and the gravy. Let this simmer for 15 mins.

5. Now add the crisp tofu cubes and let it cook for a few more minutes.

6. Finally, add the coconut milk/cream to the curry (take pictures ;)) and mix well and let it cook for a couple of mins. Once done, serve hot with steamed rice.

Thanks again Sireesha for the award! We received the 'Nice Matters' award from her and would like to pass it on to: Nags who is one of the inspirations behind this food blog and Mom's Cooking (another one I know personally!) and Sameera, two absolutely new bloggers like us :) So, there! Yes, I repeat again, this healthy Thai curry goes to Mansi's event - Healthy Cooking! Here is another picture of our wholesome dinner, little rice and loads of veggies: