This one comes from my hometown, Diu a lazy little coastal town in Gujarat. For a long time Diu was ruled over by the Portuguese and they’ve left a smattering of beautiful structures all across this town and its neighbour Daman. My forefathers hailed from Diu, in fact we gain our surname Divecha, from here. We were rich land owners who had their own oil factory called oil-garni (place where they draw oil out of seeds) and an ivory business. Today, none of it exists and most of the family has moved to the metros. Sadly I’ve never visited Diu and the only part of it I am familiar with, is its cuisine.
It being a coastal town, fish is the main ingredient of the meals here. Yup unlike what people know of this is a fish eating Gujarati community. This one is my favourite recipe and it calls for fresh green garlic and fresh green onions. Though traditionally its made with loads and loads of oil, I prefer to make it with just a tablespoon of olive oil! It’s best enjoyed with a roasted green chillie and rotlas–made with millets–sorghum (jowar) or pearl millet (bajra).
Here’s another all-time Diwali favourite. You know its kind of strange no matter how many times I think of making these savoury items during the year, the only time I actually get down to doing it, is during Diwali, when I find the time (I don’t know how) to put together 11 different high intensity cooking dishes, and yet it doesn’t tire me out.
This version of the recipe, is specifically designed for Diabetics and those on a diet. I made 1 kg of the chivda with just 1 tablespoon of oil. 🙂 What’s more its ideal to munch on when hunger pangs hit.
As a child, I loved these fried crispy circles that I would devour layer by layer. What was even more exciting was to get the one entire ring out without it breaking midway and the tiniest ring was tried onto the little finger as a finger ring. And the name well, that was another story. We call the bird sparrow a Chakli in India! My sis and me had this ever lasting joke, we’d always tell our mom to fry sparrows for our snakes (snacks) and would giggle about our carnivorous lifestyle…but that’s all a good 30 odd years ago. These memories do however light up the tiring moment when you standing on your feet for two and three hours frying up these crispy bites.
There’s something about the Diwali festival, that gets me all excited and ready to pull out fried snacks and sweets that are otherwise a taboo. This entree is a speciality and the recipe comes down from the maternal side of my family. In the olden days, all the women family members would gather together in the huge courtyards and kitchens and create these delicacies over a couple of days before Diwali. These would then be divided among the family which would in turn be gifted to friends. It was called Diwali Nasta and people would be invited to partake in it.
Today, no one has the time or the energy to create these foods. People hire out maharajs (cooks) or buy ready-made sweets and savoury items. But my family, prefers to make a couple of entrees ourselves. This is one of them. It’s a laborious and time intensive process, but the results are superb.
There’s something about this deliciously fluffy golden bake that gets the heart all gooey with anticipation. Often hailed as the “dish to pray for” and a tough one to bake at almost all Masterchef Competitions, I’ve discovered this super easy recipe that never fails. All you need is room temperature ingredients, fresh cheese, precise measurements, a dollop of patience and a cool head.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, diet food is not always fun. And no matter how many recipe sites I go to or posts I surf through, I don’t usually find a recipe that brings a smile to my lips the way French Fries does! Why does diet food always need to be bland and uninspiring?
When I started off cooking for my diabetic husband knocking processed foods, carbs, fats and sugars was a priority. Salads became a must have. Then came the ordeal of making greens interesting and innovative. I mean how many kinds of salads can you make?
This, for me, is a sauce from heaven. There is so much you can do with it. Slap it on some fresh fish before you grill it or bake it, add it to cottage cheese and cook it in a thick-bottom pan or cook it with potato straws to create a mind-blowing starter. The Sweet Chilli Garlic Sauce has always been my last-minute super sauce to charge up any meal. Yup, I’m known to throw some of it onto chicken popcorn too!
You could buy this sauce in any super market, but I prefer to make my own, for the only reason that the ready-made sauces are loaded, and I do mean LOADED, with sugar. When you make your own, you need to make sure it is cooled before you store it in an air-tight bottle and refrigerate it. Shelf life for a home-made sauce, without preservatives, is about 15 days.
This is one dish that will always take me back to Goa, yeah strangely it’s Goa! This is where I was introduced to the Burmese speciality, Khow Suey. We, my husband and me, had recently moved to Goa and had been invited to dinner to a friends place for dinner. What excited me about the dinner was that I was told this entree would have 30 odd ingredients. WOW! that sounded exotic. Even before I had arrived for dinner, I had built up an appetite. But the wheels in my mind were stuck on that one phrase, “30 ingredients, all in one dish!” I couldn’t wait to indulge.
And I would be lying if I didn’t say I was open-mouthed flabbergasted when the table was laid down! And I didn’t know how to spell the name of the dish I was sure I was going to devour down! The host had 13 odd bowls of tiny bites laid down, to that she added 5 bowls of sauces, a big bowl of rice, one of noodle and then sitting plump in the centre of the table was a luscious smooth coconut gravy with chicken. It was a sight to behold.
I love desserts. And I like them even better if they are easy to make and come with fresh ingredients–something I’ve learnt to indulge in post my die-hard fascination for MasterChef. Yeah I am a sucker for food shows and to meet Gordon Ramsay stands very high on my Bucket List. But till then I am happy to devour every cookbook of his and lay my hands on every recipe he has published. He seems to have the right knack of simplifying the most horrendously tricky procedures and making it super simple! But enough about my gushing love for him…
This is not one of his recipes, but is a version of Martha Stewart’s creation. And what I like about it, is its simplicity. My first restaurant, Skie Grille, in Utorda Goa was all about food off the grill, may be that’s why this recipe is close to my heart. Or may be it’s just the ease in creating it–all it takes is 5 minutes and can be made with ingredients found in every pantry.