Roasted Eggplant with Zaatar and a Tahini Dressing
Eggplant/brinjal/aubergine, call it what you may but it is under appreciated. It’s easy to cook and soaks up all flavours really well. One of my favourite ways of using eggplant is roasting it – on a pan or in the oven. I can’t do the battered and deep fried fritters style because the grease on it makes me queasy. The way I make it, I barely use 2-3 tsp of oil in the pan and then it goes straight into the oven to cook through.
We all love a good nibble of French fries or plump potato wedges every once in a while. But the fast food kinds are such a put off with all that grease. Yes, such food is meant for comfort. The soggy mess that they turn into when you order in though makes you want to whip up a batch yourself. Well, with an oven and a nonstick pan, you can. While I’d love nothing more than to simply let the potatoes roast away in the oven till golden brown with a crisp skin, I realize I don’t have one of those big beautiful ovens. Mine is a small OTG and I get by with it.
Sriracha Honey Chicken Wings
Sriracha is one of my absolute favourite condiments. It’s spicy, yet not so hot that fire alarms are set off. I got my hands on a bottle recently and wanted to put it on everything. Well, I almost did. Who doesn’t like hot wings? We all love a good nibbling on some succulent wings. I made some with just 4 ingredients and boy were they delicious. Sriracha, chilli powder, ginger garlic paste and honey. Minimum effort and maximum flavour.
My friend spent the Eid weekend in Dubai. I asked her to bring me some zaatar since I’ve never cooked with it. The only times I’ve had it is at restaurants. Take my word, you’d want to ask family and friends who’re in the middle east to bring you back some zaatar. Zaatar is basically a mix of herbs, mainly oregano and thyme. This weekend I put it in my breakfast eggs and then went on to roasting some chicken with it.
Thambuli is from Udupi, as far as I know. Growing up we did have it made at home with different green leaves – spinach, coriander, amaranth leaves, methi leaves and more. Then there are kinds without the greens like ginger, methi and plain coconut. They all have two things in common – a coconut base and yoghurt. Ideally a summer side dish, thambuli is very cooling and delicious. For people who don’t like consuming yoghurt as it is, thambuli works great.
Yes, there are enough and more hummus and its variations. And you’ll find all their recipes online. I’ve made a couple of them myself – smoked beetroot hummus and peri peri hummus. But we all get excited when we try out a new kind and want to share it. I’m doing just that right now. My roasted pumpkin salad got me roasted a lot of pumpkin and I had saved enough to make a batch of hummus with it. It’s pretty straightforward and tasted delicious. The pumpkin adds sweetness to the hummus so I added some chilli oil along with the olive oil to balance it out. I also found some pounded chilli powder I used to sprinkle on the hummus.
It’s just a simple salad I put together in minutes (barring the 40 mins it took to roast the pumpkin in the oven). Pumpkin has never been a contender of favourite vegetable for me. I grew up picking the pieces out of sambar and curries while pulling my face. It still isn’t a favourite, but I learned how it can taste pretty good with other vegetables or in a luscious soup.
Oh, if you could only get a taste of this one. There’s researched, tried and tested recipes and then there’s completely accidental hits. This one’s the latter. Chicken in chilli and garlic is probably common in most households, but adding a couple of extra things made this one even better. Firstly, the chilli garlic paste was home made with only deseeded Kashmiri chillies and lots of garlic. I keep this in my fridge for those times of spicy needs. Then, I pounded some coriander leaves and stems with more garlic, peppercorns and coriander seeds in my mortar and pestle. Lastly, some maple and chilli garlic glaze on the chicken – all this gave my favourte roast chicken a glamorous makeover.
I’ve been on a clean and healthy eating spree (again). This time I’ve teamed it up with Crossfit sessions that make me want to eat better on a daily basis. My go-to meal would be a chicken stir fry with broccoli or paneer with other veggies. Sometimes I throw in some quinoa there if it’s lunch. I wanted something different yet healthy and so I ordered for some tofu which I hadn’t had before. I hate soy milk and I had this mind block about soy products. But as it turns out tofu isn’t that bad. Also, it has less fat than paneer which makes it ideal for dinner.
Too many curries have happened in the past so let’s just do a dry dish this time. I love my mutton and I love it with spices. I have no patience to slow cook mutton for an hour. I pressure cook it and it’s absolutely soft and delicious. This time I saved the stock to use it in a noodle soup and the mutton went into the dry dish. A simple spice mix of whole spices dry roasted and blended together made this simply perfect. It’s also quite easy because it takes a basic tomato-onion base and this spice mix with mutton.