Life..a miracle

Life..a miracle

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cherished memories

Everyone I am sure has a particular restaurant or a food truck or even a good old stall around the corner of the road that they cherish in their minds for some of the best food they ever had. I have a few in my mind that I cherish oh so dearly and every India trip I make sure I go through that list even if I am suffering from an upset stomach. :P

This past weekend, I was missing the steaming hot idlis and the crispy buttery dosas from a restaurant in Mumbai that goes by the name Sadguru. Every person who has spend time in the suburban area of Chembur knows this restaurant and oh boy did they have huge waiting lines! What I loved about the south Indian food offerings in this restaurant was the fact that they served us three different kinds of chutneys to go with the main dish. I loved each of the chutneys because they weren't the watery kind and had a distinct flavor which made each of them stand out! Infact it was this assortment I was missing more than the actual dosas/ idlis. 

So of course, I got over the craving by making two differents chutneys to go with some instant mix dosas.. I know I know..I hear it..instant..really??? I was just too desperate to enjoy the sides and made way with the instant mix.. ;) One of these chutneys was something I made for the first time, I had the old flavor of the chutney lingering on my tongue and with a little bit of research online, I devised the recipe for this chutney with the help of this recipe. 

Tomato chutney

2 medium tomatoes roasted and diced
1/2 onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic 
1.5 tbsp sesame seeds 
3-4 dried red chilies
1 green chili chopped
2 Tsp urad dal
2 Tsp chana dal
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small piece of tamarind softened or 1 Tsp of Tamarind Paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp  + 1 tsp oil

For tempering:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
3-4 curry leaves
  • Heat a pan and dry roast the sesame seeds just until you can smell the aroma. Set aside to cool.
  • Heat 1 tsp of oil and add the urad dal, chana dal, cumin seeds and the dry red chillies until the dals turn in to a light brown color. Set aside and sprinkle some water onto this mixture to help soften the dals.
  • To the left over oil, add the green chili and the chopped onions. Once the onions are getting transparent, add the fire / oven roasted tomatoes and the tamarind pulp . Allow for it to saute well and until all the water evaporates. Allow to cool.
  • Grind the dal mixture along with the sesame seeds followed by the tomato mixture. Adjust the salt to you taste. 
  • Transfer the chutney to a bowl and season with the tempering. Enjoy with your choice of idli / dosas.
The tangy flavor of the chutney was truly delicious and even with the effort involved it was truly worth it! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Green fiesta

First and foremost, I wish everyone a very happy new year! May this year be filled with wonderful moments of joy and cheer! I have had a very fulfilling past year, it was the year I got married, it was the year where we overcame some big obstacles and it was the year we as newly-weds thoroughly enjoyed spending time with friends and of course with each other. ;)

The past year made me realize what marriage really is, its when you realize, 'you' means 'we' and that 'we' becomes the biggest support system you ever had. I am truly thankful for having a life partner, who not only sees the best in me but knows how to push me towards what I can achieve which I surely dont think I can. So with these lovely memories from 2012 of course with its fair share of sorrows, I have stepped into 2013 with great hopes and lots more ambition!

Talking of ambition, I am no different than any other person, who thinks this is the year I will loose a ton of weight! At least I hope so.. :P. So workouts have begun of course, but I am also researching on an easily adaptable healthy diet.. I know diets are never easy, but that's where the nerd in me is challenged to find out why not. :P Since the past year, we have adapted ourselves to eat healthy and of course cook healthy. And so today's recipe is one of those OMG kinds' I havent had in a while now!

Yesterday I went to bed with a question in mind, as to what do I do with one ripe avocado left in my kitchen! I started thinking of pairing it with something, of course spinach was something I had to use up and I put myself to bed asking, will they work together?

Today morning, the first google with my coffee was 'spinach and avocado recipes' and voila I wasn't the first one who tried that. The recipe below had to be tried and it was a true success!  I did not use any cheese or any cream in this recipe since the avocado gives it the needed creaminess.

Pasta with spinach and avocado sauce

2 cups Baby spinach
3 - 4 cups fusili or any kind of pasta you prefer
1 Avocado - pitted and cubed
4 cloves garlic
1/2 onion sliced thinly
1/2 capsicum chopped vertically
1 zucchini sliced
1/2 tbsp italian seasoning / dried herbs of your choice
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1.5 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
  • Blend the spinach and the avocado with one clove of garlic and a green chili if you like. Add water if needed. 
  • Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the box till al dente. In a sauce pan, heat some oil and add one glove of garlic. Remove the garlic once you smell it. Add the onions and let them cook until they become transparent. Add the capsicum and the zucchini and cook them well. 
  • Add the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes, followed by the herbs. Mix in the pasta and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with some parmesan cheese and red chili flakes. We enjoyed it with some home-made garlic bread! Yum!
This pasta turned out totally green because all I had in my fridge was green - spinach, avocado, green capsicum and zucchini. :P This combination has sparked several ideas in my mind and hopefully they will be inspiring me more to continue blogging.