Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cooking with mom...

One of the perks of settling back home is that you get to eat food prepared by your favorite my case, my mom ;) Typically, folks from our parents' generation are averse towards international cuisine. They're quite happy sticking to Indian food. But on one of my parents' visits to the US, N and I took them to Top Spice and they really loved the Kari Sayur Kampur served in clay pots and the Buah Mango Tofu. Since then they've at least opened up to Malaysian and Thai food.

My mom and I relived their visit to Atlanta and I told her that if one doesn't use real ingredients like Thai basil, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal etc. then one would have a tough time replicating the taste and authenticity.

Thanks to N and the information she sources from local Bangalore food bloggers, we found some really fresh Thai Basil at really low prices (Rs 10 for a coriander-bunch sized portion) at Namdhari Fresh. They also have Italian basil at similar prices. But that's a different post ;) Also, retail stores like M K Ahmed among others have started selling Tofu at prices lower than paneer so one doesn't have to rely on "Nasoya" brand, which is almost 5 times more expensive.

We decided to have some simple Thai inspired Noodles for lunch the next day. My mom and I did the cooking. She told me that it was pretty easy to make and she'd probably try it again at home ;)


Peanuts - 1 c
Coconut Milk (w/ cream) - 100-150g
Sesame seeds - 2-3 tbsp
Green Bell Pepper, chopped - 1.5 c
Carrots, chopped - 1.5 c
Onions, chopped - 3/4 c
Tofu, cubed and fried in oil - 1.5 c
Chilli Oil - 3-4 tbsp
Cooking oil - 1-2 tbsp
Thai Basil Leaves - 20-25 leaves
Salt to taste
Honey - 2-3 tbsp
Ginger, chopped - 1 tbsp
Pasta (sphaghetti) - 300 g
Red chilli powder - 1-2 tsp


1. Bring water (with 1-2 tsp salt) to a rolling boil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook the pasta until al dente.

2. Roast the peanuts and sesame seeds dry and powder them in a blender.

3. In a wide saucepan, add 1 tbsp oil and fry the onions. When they're half done, add the ginger and all the vegetables. Add salt, red chilli powder and 2 tbsp chilli oil and continue frying.

4. Once the vegetables are half done, reduce the heat to low and wait for a minute before adding coconut milk.

5. Add the coconut milk, thai basil leaves and let it simmer for 5 mins. Add the peanut/sesame powder and continue simmering for 5-6 mins. If the 'gravy' appears too thick, you could add some fresh coconut water.

6. Add honey and mix well.

7. Drain the cooked pasta and toss it with 1 tbsp chilli oil.

8. Add this to the gravy and mix well. Let it sit at low heat for 4-5 mins.

9. Serve hot!


We decided to skip the lemongrass/kaffir lime leaves and galangal. We could have added some lime zest to compensate, but we chose not to.

It came out pretty well. All of us enjoyed our dinner and topped it off with some
kadalai urundai for dessert ;) Well, only I did because my parents are trying to control their sugar levels!

N will be back soon and regular jabber, better stories, better writing and certainly highly opinionated posts will follow. Until then, I struggle to weave a story around a recipe and keep thinking how lucky I am to have married N.

P.S.- the last line in this post has been added by N. Obviously ;)


Shreya said...

Awesome!:) Would love to know more about the stores, I've been to Namdhari's, not the other. I did see lemon grass at Hypercity and galangal is mango ginger(isn't it?) which is easily available too.

Manisha said...

Well, obviously the last line has been added by N!

Did you try getting any flat noodles or rice noodles? They would work better with these flavors than spaghetti.

Aparna said...

Good to see you back. Wouldn't mind sort of a meal and dessert myself. :)
I was just going to ask you where you get kaffir lime leaves in B'lore? :D
You can grow Thai basil in pots, btw. I have it flourishing on my balcony.
Of course N had to have her say too. Only fair, that!

Nags said...

You guys are so cute!! loved the post :)

Arch said...

Great to see you post after so long...that line is so 'N'..we'd have guessed anyways :)

A_and_N said...

@Shreya: I'm not sure about mango ginger but it is supposed to have a citrus like flavor to's the wiki link:
I typically end up skipping lemongrass and adding lime zest instead ;) I also tend to top off my Thai noodles with some roasted peanuts and a nice squeeze of lime juice :)

@ Manisha: Good suggestion. I've tried it when we were in Atlanta. It's just that there are way too many 'buy a pack of spaghetti get one free' offers so they're hard to pass ;)

@ Aparna: you're more than capable of fixing one ;) And once N comes back we HAVE to get the secret of growing Thai basil from you :)

@Nags: Thanks :) Good to be back...hopefully we could be regular ;)

@Arch: Thanks! True...N's antics have their own unmistakable signatures :P

Anonymous said...

That looks good Nandini! I am gonna try this soon for sure. And if I enjoy it, I will share it on my blog as well. (With appropriate credit given).

Janna Renee said...

oh hello! who doesn't LOVE eclairs?!

Siri said...

Hey A, welcome back. Any recipe you guys try other than Indian, I am gonna try too as I can bug you guys where to get the ingredients.

Yum looking noodles. Bookmarked.

N, come back soon and your last line is just ROFL!