Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tamatar ki Chatney | Homestyle Tomato Chutney

The most amazing and fresh winter vegetables line the outdoor vegetable markets in Delhi. Beautiful cauliflower, okra, green peppers, spinach, radish, pumpkin, beets, red carrot, and of course, juicy red tomatoes!! The cheap and surplus of tomatoes in the market were always a motivation to make chutneys, preserves, and jams! Yes, I remember tomato jam from my schooldays, when my benchmate introduced me to home made tomato jam filled between slices of spongy white bread. But I digress.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Home Made Refried Beans

A staple of Mexican food, refried beans are by any standard a delicious indulgence. We love Mexican food here and I am always interested in creating healthful vegetarian alternatives to world foods that we try in restaurants every now and then. This recipe of refried beans has the authentic Mexican taste that goes so well with tortillas, tacos, rice, and dips. I used this recipe to make the refried beans for the Festive Seven Layer Dip.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Festive Seven Layer Dip with Home Made Refried Beans

Super Bowl Sunday had always been celebrated with a ritualistic fervour by my friends from across the pond when I lived in England. Somehow I never quite understood the enthusiasm. Most probably because I had not been exposed to the game, did not know the teams, or anything else about this annual event for that matter. I guess it was also because the time difference meant that the game one had to be awake past mid-night to enjoy the festivities - something my schedules would never permit.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Whipped Kiwi-Banana Frozen Yogurt

Kiwis are probably one of the prettiest fruits in the market. When I was growing up they were rarely seen in the fruit stalls of Delhi and Mumbai. My first memory of them is on chilled fruit tarts, sublimely green and rather exotic, sitting very prettily next to strawberries, and pineapples! When they first made an appearance in the local fruit markets, they were assigned a special place - imported and expensive. Interestingly they were also regularly confused with Chikoo or Sapota due to their dull brown-green skin!! The two fruits could not taste more different, though each is lovely in is own way:) I love the sweet-tartness of the Kiwi and when paired with banana, its simply divine.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Basbousa or An Egyptian Syrup Cake

Basbousa is the sweetest of sweet delicacies from Egypt and Lebanon. Soft, sticky, fragrant, and delightful is how I like to describe Basbousa. Basically, a Basbousa is a sweet semolina cake soaked in syrup redolent with lime and rose syrup! It is popular in eastern Mediterranean cuisines, and also widely available in various Middle-East countries where it is known as Hareesa. Though Turkish Delight, Halvah, Baklava, date pastry, and pistachios cookies are available in some stores or bakeries, you would have to find a speciality store for Basbousa.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Flowers & Falafel for Valentine's Day

Food from the Middle-East is delicious, nutritious, and above all full of variety for both a vegetarian and a vegan diet. It is a cuisine that I have enjoyed and shared for many years now. In London, I would head out every so often to one of the many Maroush restaurants, Ranoush, Beruit Express, or the local falafel sandwich shop for my weekly fix of falafel, olives, pickled vegetables, vine leaves, salads, hummus, and fresh baked pita! Now I regularly prepare a variety of middle-east style foods at home.

So when Michele proposed a Mezze meal for February, I was delighted. Michele kindly provided us (the Daring Cooks!) with 5 lovely recipes!! I chose to make the pita, falafel, hummus from her selection. And I added olives and seasoned cheese, a walnut-yogurt dip, and as it was Valentine's Day a dessert that I adore - Basbousa (An Egyptian Syrup Cake)!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Avocado & Pepper Salad with Lime-Roasted Cumin Dressing

We are seeing a lot of avocados in the market this winter. Avocados are a beautiful pear shaped green fruit, a berry really, with a soft buttery flesh. They are seen most popularly in guacamole, but you can eat avocados in sandwiches, sushi, use it pureed to thicken curries, in milkshakes, ice creams, and desserts. In a salad, they are divine! Pick a ripe but firm avocado for this salad. For the dressing I used a classic lime dressing with olive oil and honey. The roasted cumin adds great flavour and depth to its taste.