Month: April 2015

Arugula, Fig, Almond, Feta Salad

A perfect accompaniment to any meal! The feta adds the saltiness, the figs the sweet, the greens add the zest and earthy flavour and the almonds the crunch!
A perfect accompaniment to any meal! The feta adds the saltiness, the figs the sweet, the greens add the zest and earthy flavour and the almonds the crunch!

For the last one month we’re thriving on a low-carb diet. It’s quite a task to think of innovative tasty dishes that can be mopped up without a bread or rice, but 20 days into the diet I’ve managed to add a delicious salad to every meal. :)  This is a super easy salad that can be tossed together in less than five minutes.

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Mango Salsa

I served my mango salsa with chicken kebabs...made for a splendid combination
I served my mango salsa with chicken kebabs…made for a splendid combination

I am not a mango fan, at all. I don’t like mango milkshake, or mango and ice cream, or even a mango cheese cake. The only way I eat this divine fruit is in a salsa! Yeah not quite the best ode to this king of fruits. Sorry. And it’s not that I am worried about the calories, given that one ripe mango has only 110 calories.

Anyway to cut a long story short, try this mango salsa with a protein of your choice and you will enjoy the sweetness of the fruit with the punch of chillies, onion, tomato and a lot more. The fact that the flavour of the fruit stands out despite the combination, makes me respect it a lot more!

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Almond Macaroons

Almond macroons: crisp on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside
Almond macaroons: crisp on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside

This is one cookie that’s always made of special request. As a 7-year-old, I remember my mom chomping on these and making all those orgasmic sounds that a child had never heard before. Each time we went to this particular store in the suburbs of Bombay (now Mumbai), she would stop and buy a few packets of those gorgeous Almond Macaroons. But over a few years, the quality dropped and our visits ended in the cookies being given away.

Last week was her 75th birthday and apart from cooking her favourites, I knew i just had to make these macaroons.

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Indian Chaat — Pani Puri

Pani Puri had the traditional way, from an earthen pot.
Pani Puri had the traditional way, from an earthen pot.

Does anyone anywhere in the world need any introduction to this dish! If you haven’t tasted, you sure have heard of it. And if you’ve travelled anywhere across India, you’ve for sure seen it being sold on the roadside. This is one dish that has many names, its called gol gappas in Delhi, Puchka in Kolkatta and Pani Puri in Mumbai and Gujarat.

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Indian Chaat — Ragda Pattice

Indian Chaat Ragda Pattice--best had with a dollop of tamarind-jaggery chutney
Indian Chaat Ragda Pattice–best had with a dollop of tamarind-jaggery chutney and some raw mango

Yet another street food speciality of India, the Ragda Pattice sells for anything between Rs 30 to Rs 300 a plate depending on where you indulge yourself. But I must tell you, the crispiest pattice are sold by the roadside where the potatoes are seasoned with chillies and crisped up in hot oil. may be even tossed in flour before it hits the smoking oil which renders it its goodness.

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Som Tum or Green Papaya Salad

papaya saladI was introduced to this dish as a 10-year-old. I hated it then. I hated the beans and cherry tomatoes that went in it. It was only when I entered my 30s that I developed a taste for Thai food and boy, has that been a revelation. I’ve tried to Thai-lise every dish I can make, mimicking tastes I’ve gathered over my many trips to Thailand. But the Som Tum will always hold a special place in my heart, I learnt to make it the authentic way from a road vendor on Soi 16, who even let me whip up the dish and use her wooden mortar and pestle to make it with her. :)  On that trip back home, my bag was full of food stuff–squid ink pasta, sticky rice, wild rice, sauces, salt, chilli and a wooden mortar and pestle.

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Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds

Yummilicious salad: a perfect accompaniment to any protein
Yummilicious salad: a perfect accompaniment to any protein

When I first read about this combination, I wrote it off as “eeks–cant be”. Then when I bought The Flavour Thesaurus and stumbled on various combinations that were supposed to be meant for each other, my thoughts were drawn to this recipe I had read a long time ago. I mean who in their right state of mind would combine spinach with strawberries and onion! But boy does it work…the textures, flavours literally play bursting bubbles with the taste buds.
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Grilled Chicken stuffed with Pepperoni and Cheese

Chicken stuffed with pepperoni, cheese and jalapenos
Chicken stuffed with pepperoni, cheese and jalapenos

Now this is a dish I can devour, no matter when it’s made. It’s simple, rustic and packed with flavours and has all my favourite ingredients. What’s more it gets put together in a jiffy and looks exotic even if it is served with a simple salad like the Sweet Potato, mint and Pomegranate Salad listed here. I’ve added a recipe for Gucamole, just to get the entree, rich in vitamin C.

My fridge is usually stocked with chicken breasts, its one of the easiest and most easily accessible protein element. This pepperoni came all the way from Germany, the last bit of our shopping :( and to add to my pleasure I had some mozzarella cheese again from Amsterdam. I love travelling only because I get to eat foods of the world and bring back home flavours I love to experiment with.

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