Grandma always told me that with prawns, ‘the bigger the better’ doesn’t always work. She loved little prawns. She said it tasted way better than the big ones. And these were delicious little nuggets of flavour. Especially in my homemade chilli garlic oil. I’ve made bigger prawns in chilli garlic before and they too were super tasty but these little ones needed their own post.
Mutton curry with potatoes recipe:
Cooking without a recipe is a lot of fun. Given you know your way around techniques, spices, and flavours. A few days ago, we had a couple of friends over for lunch. They were anticipating a hearty and delicious meal since it was I who was cooking. Had to keep my reputation intact, you see. There was a kilo of mutton and a few potatoes. I figured I’ll make the usual mutton and potato curry. But then I changed my mind the last minute to try something new. And it turned out super tasty! So here’s the recipe for my Mutton Curry with Potatoes.
I absolutely LOVE pastes and marinates. Anytime I find fresh chillies of any kind, I make sure I pick some up. Throw in garlic and a couple of other ingredients and you have yourself something delicious and fiery in a jar. Ideally, something like this is great as a condiment, curry base or marinade.
Some of the best foods are the simplest with just a handful of ingredients and basic skills. One such is this Chilli Garlic Prawns. You must have had it in a pub somewhere or even at a local seafood eatery. It’s as basic as pan frying prawns in some oil, chilli powder and garlic.
Before anything, I’d like to declare that Chinita’s in Bangalore serves the best Mexican food. As it is there’s severe dearth of cuisine in ur country, let alone the good kind (I’m not going to say authentic because I’ve never been to Mexico and eaten there). And please excuse me Taco Bell doesn’t count (their quesadilla isn’t the worst thing in the world though).
This one is a result of experimentation! I would request you to assure yourself about the flavors and texture before trying 🙂 I stumbled upon one of the episodes of Masterchef, where Chef Wan was creating his own Kerabu. I could afford to gather only a few of the ingredients here, so I thought of creating my own interpretation of the ingredients.
300 gms medium sized prawns (cleaned)
2 bunches of fennel (you could substitute the same with spinach)
1 red chilli
2 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
3 pods of garlic
5 table spoons of Thai Seasonings
2 tablespoons of paprika
3 tablespoons of coconut milk
salt to taste
lemon lemon zest
Marinate the de-veined prawns with paprika, 3 table spoons of Thai Seasoning, a pinch of salt and some olive oil for about 15 mins.
Boil the fennel leaves and strain. Now mince it to a fine paste with garlic and red chilli.
In a hot pan, add some olive oil and lightly fry the marinated prawns. When they are slightly cooked on both the sides, mince them to a thick paste.
In a hot wok, gently fry the minced prawns and pour in the minced fennel. Lid it for about 2 mins. When the mixture is boiling keep adding the seasonings per the level of heat that you prefer. You could add the lemon zest and the coconut milk.
The Kerabu is basically a salad with a unique dressing. Feel free to serve the minced prawn in a bed of fennel and stripes of raw papaya with some dash of lime, cekur (which is rarely available here). Crispy spinach could be interesting as well.
This one’s for my vegetarian friends. I came to realize we have been so engrossed in meats and finding different ways of cooking them, the poor vegetables took a vacation from our lives. Sometimes it just takes a few vegetables and herbs to make a lovely meal for the evening. That’s what I did, of course with a heavy heart 😉
As usual the supermarket had far too many people for my liking, but I somehow managed fill my basket with vegetables like zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, aubergine and some fresh herbs like tarragon and oregano. I also picked a rustic looking loaf of sourdough bread.
Ingredients: (all vegetables to be cut into bite size pieces)
1 cup zucchini
1 cup bell peppers
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup aubergine
1 cup tomatoes
1 cup mash potato
½ cup chopped onions
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped oregano
1 tsp finely chopped tarragon
½ cup cheese
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Butter for cooking
Sauté the garlic in some butter till fragrant and slowly starts to change color. Tip in the onions and sauté till transparent. Now add the zucchini and aubergine and let it cook. When it’s cooked half way, tip in the tomatoes, bell peppers and mushrooms. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add the herbs now. You can add some dried herbs if you’d like as well. Once all the vegetables are cooked through tip it all into a baking dish. Top it with the mash potatoes, spreading it across the dish. Top this with cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or till the top turns nice and brown.
This smells really beautiful, with the herbs, butter and the different vegetables. I tore up some sourdough loaf to go with this vegetable bake and made a wonderful meal out of it. Who knew vegetables could taste this good with such few ingredients!
What a Sunday. What a Sante. This was a new age ‘Mela’ or as in Kannada ‘Sante’. Sprawl across. Tripura Vasini in Palace Grounds, Sunday Soul Sante had it all, or at least what we needed. Music. Food. Shopping. We spent a good half a day in there and it almost transported us to the Anjuna Flea Market in Goa. Colorful stalls of jewelry, bags, paintings, hand crafted shoes, quirky artifacts, books, decorative lights, tarot card reader, cupcakes, brownies, hats, you name it you see it! It was a photographer’s Disneyland.
There was a stage set up for the music concert and fashion show which was such a crowd pleaser. There was one band in particular that we thought took coolness to another level, Live Banned. Quirky and funny, the band was quite talented as well. There were other bands too but we were getting a little hungry and headed to the food court. Established restaurants like Pepper Café, Sukh Sagar and Counter Culture had their stalls there and had people lining up for a taste of their food. We tried out some Pandi Curry (Pork Curry) with buns from a stall called Pig Out. Rs 120 a plate and absolutely worth every dime. We also tried Grilled Lamb Chops and Grilled Butter Garlic Chicken. Delicious meat, grilled to juicy perfection! From the Pepper Café stall we opted for our all-time favorite Beetroot Hummus (!!) with Butter Garlic Pita. Fantastic as usual. Our Sante ended after being stuck in the rain for about an hour – totally worth it J
Ever wondered where can we find one of those Cafes with a beautiful display of perfectly lined baked goodies? Au Bon Pain is the answer. Au Bon Pain is an American bakery-café chain. They have 11 outlets in Bangalore and are looking to open many more. Good for us! The one newly opened was at the Koramangala Sony World junction. One couldn’t miss its happy yellow exterior with a Bagel Sandwich poster staring at you. Casual yet comfortable are the apt adjectives to describe Au Bon Pain’s seating arrangement. Beautiful pictures of the café around the world adorn the walls as you walk up the stairs to the floor above. This is a self-service café, pick up a tray, use the tongs provided to pick up whatever you’ve been eyeing, take it to the cash counter, pay up and grab a seat to enjoy your meal. The service at Au Bon Pain is definitely noteworthy. It is obvious they take special interest in making sure the customer is comfortable and has no hassle in getting his order right. There will always be someone at any given time, however busy the café maybe, to attend to you with a smile on their face.
Right in the middle of the café they have a soup station with the Soups of the Day with an assortment of breads and breadsticks one can buy for the soup. The chiller kiosk was lined with Aerated Drinks and other Canned/Bottled Juices, Desserts like Cake, Mousse, Fruit Bowls, Musili, Cold Salads and Cream Cheese.
The Bakery section was a treat, lined with all sorts of baked goodness. From Bagels to Cookies, from Brownies to Cinnamon Rolls they had it all. We picked the Cinnamon Roll, Pineapple and Black Currant Danish, Walnut Brownie and the Chocolate Chip Muffin. The Cinnamon Roll was soft, moist, rolled with cinnamon powder and bits and slapped with sugar icing. It was a sweet surprise melting away in my mouth. They could have toned down the cinnamon a notch since it was almost overpowering. Texture wise though, it was spot on. The Danish again, the texture and the sweetness was just right topped with the right amount of the fruit preserve, making it a perfect accompaniment with a cup of coffee. The Walnut Brownie, to be honest is definitely better than what we’d get at most cafes. Then again it wasn’t as memorable as the other baked goodies. It could have been a little more moist. Then came the Chocolate Chip Muffin. Although I did find it dense and on the heavier side, it would sure be a hit with chocolate lovers since they get pretty generous with the chocolate. The Chocolate Chip Cookie I found to be true to its form, moist, chewy, fresh and delicious. It had quite the ‘home-made’ feeling to it. That’s exactly how a cookie should be.
They also serve a good variety of beverages. We took to liking their Coffee Blast, which was a cold coffee with crushed ice.; smooth, creamy and delicious. They also serve Iced Teas, Slushes and a variety of Hot Coffees.
With the number of outlets opening at every other corner of the city Au Bon Pain is sure to stay and serve the city with more of their delicious food. Be sure to visit one of their many outlets in the city and you are sure to be a loyal.
My new ‘thing’ are Salads. It was very recently that I picked up two books by Jamie Oliver, since then the only argument in my head is, is he cool or super cool? ‘Jamie does…’… hello the Naked Chef! Flipping through the easy-make-at-home salads, I was totally inspired to try out something in my kitchen as well and getting my brother to have some veggies 🙂 The Dish that inspired me to cook up my own easy salad was ‘best chorizo and tomato salad in the world’. Well sad that I couldn’t find the right chorizo so I resorted to bacons and chickens.
200 gms bacon
200 gms boiled boneless chicken
2 large juicy tomatoes
½ a large zucchini
200 gms of purple cabbage
100 gms spring onions
5 pods of garlic
100 gms mushroom
Olive oil, butter and salt and pepper to taste
For the meat balls, first in a hot pan add 1 tbl spoon of butter. Now add the chopped garlic pods and wait until they turn golden. To it add the boiled chicken pieces and shallow fry them, add salt and pepper per your taste. After the edges turn a little golden brown, take them off from the pan and mince them in a blender into a thick consistency to be able form small balls. Keep aside.
Now, heat the pan again with some olive oil in it. Now, add the chopped mushrooms, zucchini (thin and long slices) and chopped spring onions. Be careful not to fry them for long as they are would become too limp to be in a crunchy salad. When it softens after a minute or two’s cooking, keep aside. Also, simultaneously throw in your bacon slices into you hot pan and let them cook in their own fat.
We are now pretty much done with the preparations; we just have to throw in all the ingredients into your favorite salad bowl and toss it at the dining table. In a large bowl, add the chopped purple cabbage, spirals of tomatoes, shallow fried spring onions, zucchini and mushrooms, fried bacon and the chicken balls. Season it with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Your salad is ready 🙂
Suggestions: You could enjoy your salad with a side of rustic bread with Garlic cloves rubbed onto it. Also, some good cheese along with it, does the trick.