Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Momos and more...

We are back from a wonderful week of holidaying in Darjeeling, Gangtok and Kalimpong. I had visited these places many many years back, and couldn't recollect too much. It was a relaxing week, though we were on the road most of the time.

We could see the mighty Kanchenjunga from all these places, and at all times - sunrise, sunset and all the while in between.

Kanchenjunga at sunrise

We woke up at 3 one morning to drive up to Tiger hill from Darjeeling, to watch the sunrise. I though it was a bit over-hyped, standing in the freezing cold there, fingers numb without the gloves, so I could hold on to the camera. We waited, very very patiently for almost an hour in the darkness of the night till finally the Kanchenjunja began to shape up. The sun rose on one side and the Kanchenjunga reflected the light, standing tall and magnificent, making the cold numbing hour worth the wait. The valley below came to life and we could see the layers of mountain ranges between us and the Kanchenjunga. Never has the sunrise meant this much. Here's a bit of that sunrise.

sunrise at tiget hill

Momos were something I had eaten at fancy restaurants, I'd never imagined eating them off a roadside stall at 7 in the morning. There were these women standing with a table stacked with steamers, filled with momos and another pan of boiled and spiced black chana.

momos in steamer

The momos were shaped so beautifully and had a spicy filling. There were the vegetarian and chicken options


The momos were steaming hot and delicious. We were famished and these momos with a green chilli chutney were just what we need to beat the cold.
Can't wait to make these at home soon.

steaming hot momos

We also had a lot of chowmein and a whole lot of thukpa, a Tibetian soup with noodles. I tried the thenthuk, which is handmade pasta dunked in a flavourful soup, tasted pretty similar to the thukpa.
I picked a pack of homemade noodles from a tiny store up a hill. Its used in the thukpa, thats another one on my to-do list.

With the recommendation from friends on fb, and Gauri, I tried the humongous breakfast at Keventers and the awesome fruit cakes and jam doughnuts from Glenarys in Darjeeling. Thank you Kaajal and Gauri. That was the best breakfast ever !

This is my 200th post. A landmark of sorts for me, with my ever fluctuating interests in the various things I take up.

Blogging, frequently or otherwise, is something I really enjoy.It has helped me get into this wonderful community of food bloggers. You get to learn so much and make such wonderful friends.

Thank you my dear readers. It really means a lot to have you read my posts. Thank you.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chocolate balls made by my little chef !

My son will turn 7 in a week and he had made this butterless chocolate cake almost two years back. Back then, I had to read out the recipe and take the ingredients out for him and put it in the oven. This time he's made this himself, in fact its a recipe he learnt at school !


In his school, they have a parent interaction session once a fortnight, where a parent goes and teaches the kids something creative or shares a story with them.
Last week, he learnt about making chocolate balls and he was super excited when he came home. This is totally his recipe from what he remembers. I had to translate the actual measurements from what he showed me with the height of his fingers.

He never liked playing with clay or playdoh when he was little. He always found it too 'yucky' and hated to get his fingers dirty. Today, when he had to make this dough, he started with a bang, but then wasn't very sure since his fingers had dough all over. But he got the hang of it and managed just fine.


He adores the kids in Junior Masterchef Australia, and the movie Ratatouille is one of his favourites. Thankfully, he loves his food and isn't fussy about eating. He is open to trying new stuff and its a real blessing. I have seen mothers fuss over their kids and the kids always run away from food.
He has a big sweet tooth and always wants something sweet at the end of his meal.

He dressed up as a chef for a fancy dress at school sometime back and now nurses a dream of opening his restaurant one day !

chocolate balls with sprinkles

He made these and was very happy with the way it turned out. He said 'Mamma, can you put this on the Yum Factor'. There was no way I'd let a chance like that skip by, so here it is, from my little chef. Yes, I am one proud Mamma !!

chocolate balls1

Its super simple, takes less than 10 mins, and is great fun for kids to make. If you like involving kids in your kitchen, this is a great way to start. We coated some with sprinkles, some with icing sugar and some with cocoa powder. They turned out a bit too sweet for me, but kids will love it !

chocolate balls

We are off on a little vacation for Diwali and will be back in ten days.
Wish you all a wonderful Diwali. May this Diwali bring a lot of love, peace and happiness in your life. Enjoy your Diwali and stay safe.

Chocolate balls
(This recipe makes about 15 chocolate balls)

What you need -

20 Marie / digestive biscuits (about 3/4 cup when powdered)
3-4 tbsp milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
sprinkles, cocoa powder, icing sugar to decorate

What you do with it -

Pulse the biscuits to a powder and set aside in a bowl
Grind the sugar to a fine powder
Add the cocoa powder and stir well
Add the milk and stir once or twice. Add more milk if it is too dry.
Knead with your hand to form a smooth dough
Roll in the sprinkles, icing sugar or cocoa powder or even have it plain

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vegan banana bread

Vegan baking is something I discovered only after I started this blog. I knew what being vegan was all about and I knew that with Indian food, especially South Indian cooking, its easy to be vegan - we really don't use so much dairy in everyday cooking, but I really felt that people who turned vegan missed out a whole lot on baked goodies. Can't believe how wrong I was ! Vaishali's Holy cow has a whole lot for those of you interested in vegan baking.
I am not vegan and this bread happens to be vegan only because I ran out of butter.

vegan banana bread 2

In India, where you don't really get egg replacers or the various other options for dairy replacements, I really didn't imagine baking without it. Its just that if we open our minds a bit, and make a few conscious decisions, we can actually allow change. Not that I see myself turning vegan, but I am happy that I actually have baked cakes, brownies and cookies without eggs, which again is something I had never imagined. This happened after I moved here and found that most people I know do not eat eggs because of their religious beliefs and that opened out a whole new world of egg free baking, using various substitutes
This is also my first time using flax seeds as an egg substitute

The bread was a bit dense with the wheat and oatmeal, but it felt so healthy and made for a great breakfast. I didn't want it too sweet either, I like the natural sweetness from the bananas. My son enjoyed it with milk after his swimming classes.

What you need -

1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered oats
1 cup APF / maida
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon flax seed powder + 3 tablespoons water
3 ripe / over ripe bananas
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

What you do with it -

Mix the wheat flour, powdered oats, maida, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the baking soda and baking powder and stir well
Grind the bananas and sugar to form a banana puree
Blend the flaxseed powder along with water till it feels creamy. Add the mashed bananas and oil to this
Add the flour to this, stirring to incorporate all the flour. The batter will be thick, but if it is too dry, add 2-3 tbsp of warm water
Add the raisins and flax seeds
Pre-heat an oven to 170 C
Grease a loaf pan and pour in the batter. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the batter
Bake for about 50 mins and check by inserting a toothpick in the centre of the loaf. If it comes out clean, your loaf is done
Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes and then unmould carefully from the loaf pan. Cut into thick slices. Tastes wonderful when its warm

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oat crackers with garlic chives

Its a week before Diwali and the festive spirit is on here in Ahmedabad. People get their house completely spruced up with all the cleaning, painting and re-upholstering ! The Diwali shopping, party planning, buying gifts, buying new clothes, new jewellery and then there's the making of mithai(sweet) and namkeen(savoury) for Diwali. The shops here have every imaginable savoury snack for Diwali, but people here, especially the big joint families always make it at home. They either have a 'maharaj'(cook) come in or the women in the family get together and make a whole lot of it.

oat crackers

Sweets, especially the Indian mithai is really not my forte. I don't like eating it too much and I don't make it too well either, though for my son's sake, I plan to make sitaphal basundi soon.

Here is my slightly hatke savoury snack for Diwali. Healthy, crunchy and not sweet - that's really my kinda stuff. I had tried the garlic chive scones last time around and really liked the mild flavour of garlic.
This time I tried oat crackers with chilli flakes and garlic chives. It turned out crisp and spicy, goes perfect with tea on a cold wintry evening.

oat crackers with garlic chives

Oat crackers with garlic chives

What you need -

1 cup oats (I used quick cooking oats)
3 tbsp wheat flour
3 tbsp APF / maida
3 tbsp cold unsalted butter
6 garlic chives (use garlic powder if you don't find chives)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 coarsely ground pepper powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes

What you do with it -

Grind the oats to a really fine powder
Add the wheat flour, APF / maida, baking powder, salt, pepper and stir well
Ensure that the butter is cold. Cut into little pieces and mix with the flour
Mix with your hands, till it is like a coarse crumbly powder
Add the chives and chilli flakes, along with the milk and form the dough
Roll it out to about 1/4" thickness or thinner and use a cookie cutter to cut into rounds
Pre-heat the oven to 170 C. Grease a butter paper and place these crackers on the sheet
Bake for 8 mins and then turn over and bake for another 6-7 mins till slightly browned. This is with my oven setting, may vary in other ovens.
This dough should make about 25-30 crackers

Friday, November 2, 2012

Apple and Raisin muffins

The last couple of weeks have been terribly boring when it came to cooking. When it was time to cook, I would just blank out and never know what to make. There are days when I am not stocked with too many vegetables, but this was not one of those times. I had a fridge full of vegetables, but I just couldn't think of what I want to do with it.

apple muffin

TH was down with a viral fever and then my son had some gastric problem, and I was making the basic khichdi and raita for many days. Knowing me, I would have been waiting to make something more interesting now that they are doing fine, but it just wasn't working out. Even my new oven was waiting patiently for me to get out of the rut and do something.

For me, my kitchen is where I can constructively get rid of whatever is bothering me and it helps clear up my head. When I am low, upset or even mad at someone, I need to go make something that takes up my time and energy and the result is a calmer me and usually, a very tasty, elaborate meal ! So, it scares me when I don't feel like cooking, because that is a sign of something seriously wrong.

apple and raisin muffin

I hope to get my mojo back soon. Will leave you with these deliciously soft eggless apple and raisin muffins that I made from Madhuram's blog. My son and his friend loved it and I'm hoping this gets me back in the groove.

Apple and raisin muffins

Adapted from Madhuram's eggless cooking

What you need -

1/2 - 3/4 cup milk
1/2 sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup grated apples (I used 2 apples)
1/4 cup butter
a pinch of ground cinnamon
2 cups maida / APF
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

What you do with it -

Take 1/2 cup milk in a pan, add the sugar, grated apples, raisins, butter and the ground cinnamon
Keep it on a flame and stir till it starts thickening. Should take about 8-10 mins
Take it off the heat and allow it to cool
In a bowl, sieve the flour and the baking soda and add it to the cooled apple mixture
If the batter is too thick, add the remaining milk and mix well to get it to the right consistency
Pre-heat the oven to about 180 C and line a muffin pan with the paper cupcake moulds
Pour in the batter upto 3/4th level and sprinkle come chopped walnut pieces over it
Bake at 180 for 12-15 mins
These muffins are extremely soft and best when hot


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin