Sunday, December 23, 2012

Noodle Bar, Phoenix Market City, Bangalore

For a long time I have been waiting for it. I have heard very good reviews about its other branches but it still eluded me. Finally I made it 2-3 weeks back. By the time I am writing this, I have been there twice and both times it was good experience.

Wondering what am I talking about. ? Its Noodle Bar which opened in Phoenix Market City Bangalore.

 Noodle Bar, owned by Pan India Solutions has opened its door in namma Bengaluru at Phoenix Market City.A true Oriental restaurant that caters to foodies from the exotic corners of Asia, it perfectly suits the palate of the new age Indian gourmand.

I have been there courtesy PRPundit for a review and also went back when I had guests over. First time It was special 3 course lunch with bloggers & friends. Perfect ambience and good service and tantalizing dishes  surely made the day. Starting with a variety of starters like onion pancakes, corn curd, wasabi cottage cheese(the chef assured its not panner or tofu,but actual cottage cheese) along with the usual spring rolls and wontons we attacked the 3 course menu.

 Each starter held on its own and was happily devoured along with the spicy fresh tomato dip, caramelized onion dip and a spring onion dip. Of the three dips, the third was the clear winner.Here I had a small complaint.I didnot notice it then, but going through the menu, I found that corn curd which is a deep fried ground corn fritter is usually served topped with a spiced black bean dip(this is as per the menu) which was missing when it was served to my vegetarian table but was miraculously present on the other. A case of missing beans!?

Anyway what matters was it was good but could have been better if its topping was present. We stopped the starters when we thought we would all burst and ordered the mains. And  we waited and we waited and we waited..... When we had digested most of our starters we got hot steamed jasmine rice with Thai Penang curry, Pad Thai Noodles and burnt chilli hakka noodles.The sides were Chinese Stirfried Greens and also Lion heart cottage cheese dumplings. My personal favourite was Penang curry with rice whereas others  along with me preferred Burnt Chilli garlic noodles. No worries, order both. You wont be disappointed. By the way the burnt chilli garlic noodles also come in a meatier version with lamb.Perfectly suited for non vegetarian.

Unfortunately I couldnot wait for desserts though I had definitely wanted to try the Lime n Lemon Creme Brulee.Clearly lemongrass in a sugary custard is a perfect winner. I would give the second place to coconut jaggery dragon rolls and sizzling nut & fruit brownie which comes with banana spring rolls topped with caramel icecream and caramel sauce.

To give them their due, it seems there is a waiting time between courses. No worries though. It was a time well spent. In between courses we went and talked to chef who showed us around the kitchen or the organized Chinese Kitchen.

Also there is a 'Toss it Up' menu which offers the gourmands space for experimentation & creativity. You can pair your choice of noodles with your choice of veggies, meats and sauces. You can check out few pics here or also on facebook.

Make sure you check out the Noodle Bar this holiday and festive season .

Meal for two would cost:
Rs 1000/- without tax
Rs1300/- with tax

No 27 First floor,
Phoenix Market City,
White field road Mahadevpura
Bangalore 48

Phone No – 67266466

Monday, December 17, 2012

Neapolitan Cake : Baking Partners Challenge #5

I know I have been late and lazy these days. Posts are ready, I keep on experimenting, but somehow I find myself running late while updating the blog. But don't worry, I am still around and am planning to be there in future as well. Anyways, the cake was supposed to be posted by Saturday, but here I am now with a  simple experimental cake with not so good decoration. 


For this challenges, we were given 3 recipes and though I had decided to try another one, somehow this neapolitan cake with 3 colourful layers by Susan Ungaro lured me. The problem, 8 egg whites . Now me being me, went with Ener G and Madhuram's advice and little research and the cakes turned out to be okay, but could have been more better if you are a seasoned baker.Also I couldn't find any whipping cream at the nth minute and went for a simple butter cream frosting. Also you might remember I  had talked about how I had whipped up Ener G for the first challenge. Here I added flax seed glue as an additional binder. But I suppose you can go with Ener G alone.

Cake Flour: 1 cup 
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Almonds Powdered: 1/2 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Egg Whites: 8 or 
Ener G Egg whites: 12 tsp powder  + 1 cup of water (1.5 tsp powder +2 tbsp water per egg)

Flax seed glue: 4 tbsp (optional) 
(Boil 1/3 cup of flax in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes. The liquid will turn gluey and thicken. This can be whipped up like a meringue as per one post I saw while googling, but have not tried that.)

Cream of tartar: 1/4 tsp (I added another 1/2 tsp as well)

Sugar: 3/4 cup
Almond Extract: 1/4 tsp

Green & Red food colouring
Strawberry Jam: few tbsp as per taste

Butter: 1 stck or 1/2 cup
Confectioners Sugar: 1.5 cups
Milk/cream: 2 tbsp +/-
Vanilla extract:1/2 tsp

Strawberry Jam
Sweetened coconut flakes


Mix the dry items together -flour,baking powder,salt and almond powder. 

In another bowl, whip up the egg whites along with cream of tartar and whip to soft peaks, Sprinkle in the sugar and fold in gently. Sprinkle the dry mix over the egg white and gently fold in.

I had used flax seed glue along with Ener G just to see whether ir 

Divide the batter into 3 containers of the same size and mix red and green food colouring to either bowl. Place the tins onto a baking sheet and bate in a preheated oven at 350F for about 12 mins till the cake is down and the springs back .Let it cool for  few minutes after which each one is ready for frosting.

For the filling, cream together butter for the first 2 minutes, after which add sugar and continue beating on low speed adding milk/cream to adjust the thickness of the liquid.

Take the green cake and place it on aprropriate dish. Spread about 1/3 cup of jam on top and spread another thick layer of cream on top of it. Place the white cake on top of this and repeat the jam and cream process. Finally frost the enitre cake as per your wish.

I am happy with the cake I got, but definitely it can be improved. Good point is I tried frosting. I am very bad at decoratiions and so this one was a success.

Thanks Swathi Iyer for the excellent cake. Looking forward to the next challenge.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Breaking Bread with Aditya Bal :Meet The Chef Session

As the awareness about food increases and the Indian tastebuds evolve to newer tastes and cuisines, the trend is cashed in by cookery shows and channels and prominent among them is NDTV Good Times. Among the several shows stands out the Chak Le ! India Show hosted by vibrant young chef Aditya Bal. Most of us are familiar with model turned celebrity chef & TV host. I had the opportunity to meet the energetic chef when NDTV Good Times conducted a Meet the Chef session at Le Meridien, Bangalore. The event was a run up to the third NDTV Food awards which were held on 3rd December 2012 and was a widely publicised one. And was so well attended as by the time I reached the venue, it was overflowing with people.

Nevertheless it was a nice session with the chef cooking up 3 dishes namely Delhi Style Aloo Chaat, Bal -style Doi Maach and  sweet Zaffrani Pulao. In between cooking, the chef managed to answer googlies from foodies and also essential cooking tips that were very helpful. 

While making Dilli ishtyle chaat, lucky blogger Valarmathi got a chance to toss up the chaat and thus share the stage with him. After an exciting cooking session, we foodbloggers got few exclusive minutes with the energetic chef and quizzed him regarding his future plans etc. All this was courtesy PRPundit who handle marketing for NDTV GoodTimes in Bangalore.

Be sure to catch up another exciting season of Chak Le ! India on NDTV GoodTimes.  Chef Aditya Bal is highly motivated during his food journey across India and be sure to learn newer dishes and newer versions from the host who has no formal training, but has made a mark of his own in food industry thanks to his love for adventure and travel and desire to find the hidden food treasures of our country.

Do check out  the 3rd NDTV Food Awards 2012 winners as well.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Steamed Pumpkin Puree &Pressure Cooked Pumpkin Butter

Now, I know I have been silent here for a while. Diwali came & went, I made something, but could find time to post. In between thanks to deadline posted my shaped dinner rolls. Now Thanksgiving also came and went and am eagerly waiting for Christmas baking. But still experiments are going on, and so I thought since pumpkin is the flavour of fall, why not pumpkin puree and butter my way. Its very simple also.

Pumpkin puree is rather puree made of cooked -steamed,boiled,roasted or whatever method you prefer - pumpkin. I think steaming is the easiest way and usually prefer this over roasting. You need to have a steamer or atleast a pressure cooker for this. It leaves less water and is over in minutes as well. 

Pumpkin butter on the other hand is concentrated and  optionally flavoured pumpkin puree. Atleast this is the impression that I have got while visiting several sites and recipes. I have adapted mine from this site though I had made using a pressure cooker. I had 2-3 sugar pie pumpkins and I had used them up for making these two. 

Pumpkin Puree: 

Cut the pumpkin in chunky pieces, scoop out seeds, wash well and place in a suitable tray that goes well inside your steamer/pressure cooker. Add water inside the steamer or pressure cooker and place the tray or dish covered with a lid inside and steam away to glory :D for 10 minutes atleast or until the pumpkin turns glossy yellow and will easily fall apart from the skins.  

Take out, cool till you can handle and peel off the flesh into a a vessel,mix in a pinch of salt (optional) and lo, pureed pumpkin is ready to be used in smoothies and bakes.

Pumpkin Butter:

For pumpkin butter, I peeled ,deseeded & chopped pumpkin to about 2 cup of pieces, added about 1/2 cup of peeled,cored & chopped apples,  about 4+ tbsp of demerara sugar,1/2 tsp + of fresh orange zest  and about 1/2 tsp+ of pumpkin pie spice. and another 4+tbsp of water.Mixed everything together and pressure cooked for 3-4 whistles until the pumkin and apples turn mushy. Take out cool till able to handle and blend to a thick brown butter in a mixer.

You can serve it as a bread spread or even use it in baking or as per choice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Baking Partners # 4: Shaped Dinner Rolls

I love baking breads especially dinner rolls. I was the happiest when this month Baking Partners had to bake dinner rolls that to in three different shapes. We were given two recipes -one with egg  -Lion House Rolls and an eggless one. I had already tried and posted the eggless recipe while the eggy one was very new. I as usual went for the eggy rolls recipe and tried it eggless. You might think I am stubborn!. But  the rolls turned out amazingly perfect.Out of the seven shapes I tried lion house, knots and crescent. Ofcourse me being me, tried making rosettes and others as well, but these three shapes came out better. I still feel I have got to improve a lot in shaping, but this definitely was a first step. My daughter had a gala time choosing each and every shapes and she loved the knotted ones.  We devoured the rolls fresh from the oven. 

Warm Water: 1 cup
Milk Powder: 1/3 cup
Instant yeast: almost 1 tbsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Butter/Shortening: 8 tsp
Egg or Egg replacer: 1/2 an egg . I used 3/4 packed tsp of Ener G with 1 tbsp of water.
All Purpose Flour: 2.5 cups +  more for dusting

In a large bowl, combine water and milk powder till the powder dissolves. Add in first the yeast, followed by sugar, salt, shortening, egg (half egg) and 1 cup of flour.

Mix on low speed until the ingredients are wet and then add another cup of flour  and knead for another two minutes and continue this process till you get a stiff dough. From this point onward you need to knead the dough by hands if you had been using a blender. Continue adding more dough and knead on till you get a soft moist but not sticky dough. 

Place the dough onto a greased vessel turning once so that it gets coated with oil. Let it rise until doubled covered with a plastic wrap for about 1 - hours.

Once the dough  has  risen, its time to shape the dough Place the dough onto a floored surface and divide it into small pieces which can be shaped into cloverleaf,crescents,lionhouse rolls etc.

Place the shaped rolls in a greased baking sheet and let it double covered with a plastic wrap.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375F/190C for 15-20 minutes until browned to your satisfaction. Take out,brush with melted butter and enjoy warm with or without other accompaniments.

Perfect bread rolls for snacking and the different shape it make it look exotic. Warm aroma during baking definitely gives you a high. I had gone for lionhouse rolls, crescent rolls and knots. Very easy to make if you are skilled :)

Crispy but not so hard crust and soft crumb makes this bread perfect for mopping your soups and subjis. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Orangy Chocolate Cookies

What do you do when you are busy with work and looking forward to just an hour break before the hell breaks out again? Especially when you want to satisfy your chocolate cravings ? Simple, bake a chocolate cookie. Thats what I did when I got time in between work and they were perfect for the occasion. I had tried to make  chewy cookies, but mine were turned out crispy. Maybe the cornflour I used to replace the egg made the trick. I was in a hurry and made just half of the original recipe found here


Unsalted Butter: 6 tbsp soft
Brown/ Demerara Sugar: 1/3 cup
Granulated White sugar: 1/3 cup

Egg: 1/2 or Ener G : 1/2 or 1 tbsp cornflour whipped with 2 tsp of water/Orange Juice. I went for OJ.
Vanilla: 1/2 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 10 tbsp
Unsweetened Cocoa: 1/3 cup
Baking Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: a pinch

Candied Orange Peel: 2+ tsp grated or Fresh Orange zest


Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg or Vegan Egg and vanilla. On a lower speed, beat in the dry mix of flour,baking powder,cocoa and pinch (1/16 tsp) salt. Fold in the orange peel / orange zest to get a moist, dark  dough. Pinch tablespoonfuls of dough, drop on an ungreased but lined baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190c/ 375F for about 8-10 minutes till the edges start browning. Pull out and cool for about 10 minutes on the sheet after which remove the cookies to a wirerack to cool completely.

Not so great texture I feel. The cookies look dark and rustic. But one bite and you are in heaven. Orange and chocolate /cocoa are perfect together. We can go for brown sugar and even use fully whole wheat flour I suppose. The butter can be reduced by the use of other alternatives as well. I tried topping it with coloured candy when I took them out of the oven. And my daughter loved it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Terong Balado - Indonesian Style Eggplant in Chili Sauce

When I made my sambal oelek, I was actually wondering how it could be of more use to me. It appears now that I was wrong. I have started using it on a regular basis and keep on accidentally finding such recipes as well. One such was when I came across Terong Belado in a magazine. A little googling as always and there I  made it. The name is quiet interesting actually. Terong is for eggplants and Balado is the spicy chili sauce. The dish is quiet simple. Sauteed/pan fried eggplants served/stirfried  with balado sauce. The dish can be served as a dry side unless you really want a liquidy sauce. 

The balado sauce or sambal balado is another variety of sambal from Indonesia.It is also a ground/chunky thick paste of fresh red chilies along with tomatoes,shallots, garlic,sugar and salt.Now how does sambal oelek comes into play here? Instead of grinding chilies fresh use the sambal oelek and major part of the work is done. Read through the recipe..

Eggplants: 2 -3 purple eggplants
Garlic: 2-3 small cloves finely minced
Shallot/small onions: 2-3 finely chopped
Tomato: 1 medium -big chopped 
Sambal oelek : 1-2 tbsp as per taste
Brown Sugar: 1-2 tsp as per taste
Salt: as per taste
Lime Juice: 1-2 tsp 

Chop the eggplants into small pieces and salt them and keep aside for atleast 15 minutes. This will remove bitterness from them if any. Saute them in little oil in a wok till they cook. Keep aisde. Instead of sauteeing you can grill/pan fry/fry/bake them.

In the same wok, sautee garlic and shallots till aromatic and then add in the sambal oelek and chopped tomatoes.Let it cook until the tomatoes start to become mushy. Add little water if  needed and simmer until it reduces down to a thick sauce.  Add and adjust salt,sugar and lemon juice to this. This is our balado sauce.

To the sauce add it the sauteed eggplants. Mix well and stirfry for another 12 minutes and its ready to be dished out with Nasi Uduk  aka coconut rice or even plain white rice.

An umami dish perfect with rice or breads. Make it to savour it. I am off to make another batch of sambal oelek.  If you do not have homemade or store bought sambal oelek, use fresh red chillies while making the sauce and grind the whole thing together into a paste before sauteeing with eggplants.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Curtido -El Salvador Fermented Cabbage Salad

Sometimes I am surprised how some dishes just come to me. I was searching for something else and then found this word 'curtido' and little more googling led me to several mouthwatering recipes of this El Salvador style coleslaw. This unless coleslaw is much lighter but equally tasty unless you do not mind the tanginess of the vinegar used. I had found that it traditionally uses pineapple vinegar which is fruity and tangy.  I had used regular white vinegar here though feel free to use a mix of vinegars. It is usually served with pupusas which is an El Salvador national delicacy. 

Shredded cabage: about  2+ cups
Shredded Carrots: 1 cups+
Finely chopped Onion/white part of scallions: 1/4 cup +
Jalapeno/Green chillies : 1 finely chopped (optional) (as per taste)
Oregano: 1/2 tsp + as per taste

Boiling Water: 1.5 cups

White Vinegar: 1/4-1/2 cups as per tartness needed

Salt & Pepper : as per taste

Finely shred cabbage and carrot and add in a big bowl along with finely chopped onion. Pour about 1 cups of boiling water on top of this and let it steep for 5 minutes. Drain and mix in with remaining water,vinegar ,salt,pepper and finely chopped chiles. Adjust the salt and seasonings.

Chill in the fridge for atleast 4 hours or overnight for the flavours to mingle. Serve as a crunchy tangy side salad. 

A tangy dish that requires a complimentary spicy mains. I liked the dish as I like tangy tastes.You too might like it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sinangag -Filipino Garlic Fried Rice

I love rice and can have it any/ all time of the day to be honest.But I found that its been a long time since I posted a rice recipe. I have been trying out several rice dishes but never got to post them though.So today I thought I will post a family favourite -Sinangag, which is Filipino version of the fried rice that is a staple of all South East Asian cuisines. And for a perfect version I didnot have to search more as I had already bookmarked dear DK's Sinangag. I served it with simple veggies in hot garlic sauce to make it more garlicky. You can go for your choice of  accompaniment though.

Cooked /leftover medium/long grain rice :2 cups 
Garlic: 4+ whole peeled cloves
Garlic Minced :2-3 tbsp
Scallions/Spring onion: 2+ sliced thinly, white and green separate.
Salt & Pepper: as per taste

Butter/Oil: 1tbsp 

Heat butter/oil or the combo in a deep pan and add whole peeled garlic cloves in it. Roast them until brown and then remove them and keep aside. This is optional step which I had liked and followed from the original recipe source.

To the same pan and in the remaining oil, add remaining ingredients of scallion whites,minced garlic and saute until cooked and a nice aroma emanates. Then toss in the rice and give it a quick stir. Add fresh grated pepper and salt.

Top with scallion greens and whole roasted garlic cloves and serve warm with a side dish of your choice.

Simple, easy to make and perfect. As per wiki, you can add even veggies and meat, but usually preferred with just garlic,salt and pepper. Also its a breakfast dish in Philippines. Who would have thought of having a fried rice for breakfast other than rice lovers like me!?. Anyways go and make it. It can definitely be done under 30 minutes including cooking time for rice.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spiced Whole Wheat Yogurt Cookies

Now that I have been rambling on about my cookie baking craze, I thought I could also share the simple cakey cookie that I had tried recently. I had seen and made several cakes with yogurt but had never tried a yogurt cookie. I was curious to see how it will turn out and tried adapting this recipe here. I had added little spice to these sugar cookies and they turned out cakey with a springy/puffy centre. Actually I made a test first batch which looked more raw/coarser in texture. Then later I chilled the sticky dough and with the second batch the cookies looked more refined and gourmet but still springy/cakey. Cakey cookies will be having the springy centre, I suppose!. I had tried one cakey cookies with banana as well in the past. Anyway these one are quick to put together and easy to bake. You can make and bake them in less than 30 minutes as I did with the first batch , but I would definitely advise chilling the dough for atleast 2 hours for getting more refined looking cookies.

Whole Wheat Flour: 1 cup
Brown Sugar :6 tbsp
White granulated sugar: 6 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Powdered Clove :1/4 tsp
Powdered Ginger: 1/8 tsp
Powdered Cinnamon: 1/4 tsp

Vanilla: 1/2 tsp
Yogurt: 1/2 cup Or Vanilla Yogurt: 1/2 cup 

Mix the dry ingredients together from flour to spices. Make a well and pour in the vanilla and yogurt. Mix well to get a sticky thick batter like dough. 

Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for atleast 1-2 hours or till 2 days.

Take out, it will still be sticky. Pinch pieces or tablespoonful of dough and place it in an ungreased but lined baking sheet . Slightly flatten it as well with your hands. Repeat the same till the dough is used up or baking sheet is filled. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 175C for about 10-12 minutes or more until you see the cookies turning brown at the edges and all puffed up. 

A simple treat which is easy to make and bake. Given above is the first batch and below is the more refined looking by slightly oily looking second batch.

But both were tasty and fine. And were immediately lapped up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No-Knead Cheese& Garlic Flatbread

 I have talked a lot of how when I am in a baking low -when bakes go wrong that is, cookies help me out of it. They come out perfect and act as antidepressant. But do you know what actually works as another happy  medicine - breads !! Surprised, don't be, kneading is therapeutic and there has been instances when my anger has been washed away after 8-10 minutes of happy kneading. But recently I found out not just kneading or cookies make me happy. Its the basic idea of baking especially baking fuss-free breads. This was after I baked an easy no-knead flatbread with loads of cheese,garlic and herbs. I have adapted this recipe from our master flourist King Arthur Flour and as usual knew it would be excellent.

All Purpose Flour: 3.5 cups
Instant Yeast: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1.25 tsp

Olive Oil :3 tbsp
Warm Water: 1.5 cups

Pizza seasoning/choice of herbs: 1 tsp + more for sprinkling

Cheddar cheese: chopped into small cubes : 1/ 2 cup
Garlic cloves: 5 or more minced

Mix together all the ingredients except cheese and garlic using hand or machine. You have to just mix it well for about 1 minute or so to get a sticky thick batter. 

Fold in the cheese and garlic and ensure they are distributed evenly.

Pour the batter into an appropriate baking dish which is greased and optionally lined.Make sure you push the batter to the corners of the dish. Let it rise covered with a plastic wrap,until puffy and almost doubled for about 1- 2 hours.

 I made half of the recipe and it filled an entire 8'x8' square dish after rising and it took just 45 minutes to rise. 

At the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375F/190C and sprinkle herbs or pizza seasonings evenly on top of the risen dough.

Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. 

Take out, after 5 minutes turn it out of the baking dish onto a wire rack to cool completely or till snack time.

Enjoy with a dip or sauce or as such cubed or quartered.

Easy to bake bread perfect with soup or as a snack or whatever way you prefer. And for me it was just perfect with tea and just right in time for World Bread Day 2012 which is celebrated worldwide today especially at Zorra's. Its an event I have not missed for the past 4 years and will be participating hopefully in coming years as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Chocochip Muffins

Pumpkins remind me of fall time in US. I know pumpkins are easily available here also,but cute sugarbaby pumpkins appear when in October onwards -when its fall and Thanksgiving time in US!. I was thinking that  seasonal vegetation changes in US do not reflect here but never mind, we can have the best of both worlds or it might be pumpkin harvesting time here also, but I love them in baked goodies.And this year the timing was perfect as pumpkin was the main ingredient in this months Baking Partners Challenge #3, a baking group by Swati Iyer. 

This time also there were 3 different different recipes given that starred pumpkins either as muffins or cupcakes and these 3 included even a vegan one but I chose the first one - Pumpkin Chocochip muffins from Joy of Baking ,originally adapted from Baking From My Heart by Michael J Rose and suggested by Reshmi of FunwidFud. They turned great and perfect snack. I am planning to tryout pumpkin in other bakes too and lets hope they turn out well too.

All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon: 1/ tsp
Ginger, Clove & Nutmeg: 1/8 tsp each 

Salt: 1/4 tsp

Butter:4 tbsp room temp
Sugar: 1/2 cup 

Egg or Ener G or Choice of Egg Replacer:  1 (1.5 packed tsp of EnerG + 2-3 tbsp of water beaten well )
Vanilla Extract: 1/2 tsp

Solid Packed Pumpkin Puree : 6 tbsp
Chocochips: 1/2 cup or more (I used a mix of white and milk)

Mix together the dry ingredients of flour,spices,soda and salt. Keep aside.

In a deep bowl,cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.Beat in Egg or Egg replacer Egg. The mix might look curdled but carry on. Beat in Vanilla as well.

Beat in the flour mix and pumpkin puree alternately at low speed and until just combined, beginning and ending with flour in 3 additions. Fold in half of the chocochips and save the rest for sprinkling on top. I mixed in white ones in the batter and sprinkled the brown ones on top.

Spoon the batter evenly into lined muffin cups,sprinkle the remaining chocochips on top and bake in a preheated oven at 350F or 175C forabout 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I can guarantee a nice aroma spreading around the house as well. Cool completely on a wire rack. 

What are you waiting for? Munch on. If I am there, you are not going to get any.
Spiced pumpkin muffins that are perfect snack and a forebringer of fall, of pumpkin or festivities or holidays.Add white and milk chocochips and you are in heaven.So Thanks Reshmi and Swati for a wonderful recipe.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tangy & Spicy Potatoes - Aloo Masala Chaat

I am usually attracted to any place that has a board labelled chaat. I would not care for the ambience or even the cleanliness of the place (upto an extent that is) if I can get hold of a bowl of chaat!. My friends in my residential complex can vouch for the fact as I drag them along for chaat the moment the neighbourhood chaat shop opens. This despite the fact that I make them at home!For me a chaat is like several fresh and sometimes cooked ingredients thrown together and flavoured with chaat masalas without going into too much cooking. So I was really surprised when I came across the Aloo Masala Chaat in Deekshas Kitchen for this months Blog Hop Wednesday: 21 by Radhika. I loved the tangy spicy and perfect potato and it will definitely be a regular now. 

Potatoes: atleast 2 medium: boiled,peeled and cubed

Chaat Masala: 1 tsp+ as per taste
Cumin-coriander power: 1/2 tsp + as per taste
Chilly Powder:1/4 tsp + as per taste

Oil:1/2 -1 tsp
Tomato: 1 medium  grated to a puree
Ginger: a small piece minced/grated
Green Chile: 1 medium :chopped
Ajwain/Carrom Seeds: a pinch
Anardana/ Dry Pomegrante Seed Powdered: 1/2 tsp+ as per taste


Boil,peel and cube the potatoes in a bowl. Add in the chaat masala -store bought/homemade, cumin-coriander powder and chilly powder and mix well and keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan/kadai. Add in the grated tomato and cook till the raw smell goes and the oil separates. The grated tomato will be automatically deskinned and deseeded - you can even substitute this with store bought tomato puree.

Once the puree is cooked, add in grated ginger, cook another minute and add in the anardana powder and ajwain and cook for another minute till the raw smell goes and flavours mix. 

Add in salt and the marinated potato pieces. Mix well. Cook few more minutes till the flavours mingle and the potatoes get coated in the thick red puree mix.

Serve hot garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and sev chaatwaallah ishtyle!

A red, tangy and spicy and comforting dish. YUM-O.Perfect for teatime but I love chaats anytime of the day. :P

Monday, October 8, 2012


There was a time when I hated baingans. I was not in love with the purple big eggplants/brinjal/baingans as I could not roast properly. I know its sounding ridiculous, but its true.I knew how to chop up and cook,but roasting over gas was something I started enjoying after marriage. I love the warmth provided by smoking and enjoy bhaingan and the bharta . Now I am trying out different eggplant dishes in other cuisines and find that there is surely some sort of connection between each cuisines. There are several ingredients common to each cuisine and each region/cuisine used it along with the region specific spices to evolve a dish. Look at the case of Yatimcheh which I found in the blog FigandQuince. Yatim is Urdu for orphans. How and why the dish got the name I have no idea. But its a simple  side of sauteed eggplant with a vinaigrette.And it was similar to Italian caponata. See I talked about connection, right?!. But enough talk. lets see the tasty dish.

Chinese eggplants : 5-6(long,thinnish,purple skin eggplant)

Onion: 1 medium finely chopped + 1 small for the dressing
Garlic: 1 small clove
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Ginger: 1 tsp (optional)

Olive Oil: 1 tbsp

Red wine Vinegar: 1/2 cup +/-
Dried Mint: as per taste

Salt&Pepper: as per taste

Skin the eggplants, prick it with fork and then sprinkle with salt and let it sit for an hour or so to remove the bitterness.Then rinse it, dry in paper towels and then cube them.

Heat oil in a deep pan and saute onion for a few minutes till transparent, then added minced/grated garlic,ginger, turmeric powder and salt and continue sauteing for a few more minutes.

Add in the cubed eggplant, mix well and let it cook on low heat for another 15-20 minutes or more covered until the cubes are cooked and tender.Add and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve topped with a mix of 2-3 tbsp of vinegar,minced/chopped onion and dried mint.

A simple ,refreshing and tangy side salad for your breads/rotis. Please adjust the quantity of vinegar as per your taste.Its a dry side salad unless you use a lot of vinegar which some might not like. Red wine vinegar and eggplant are a sure shot combination and this dish proves that fact as well.

The dish is also called Yatimcheh-e-Bademjan and is authentically/traditionally meatless.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

Do you believe the Mahabharatha War took place in reality? Its not just a myth? Did ancient sages knew about nuclear power,cloning etc? Do you believe in Krishna or the Dashavatars of Vishnu? Is it time for the last but never the least Kalki Avatar? Read the Krishna Key if you have answered most questions in the affirmative. Here science and mythology have been combined to produce a thriller.

I had wanted to read the first novel by Ashwin Sanghi -The Rosabal Line. I missed the second book also and  finally got to review the latest 'The Krishna Key'.  This was my first time with historical thriller. And from first page itself, I was hooked to it. This is big coming from a person who avoids thrillers and have always questioned mythologies.

Right from the first chapter we come to know about the murder of top archeologist  Anil Varshaney and who murdered him? But why? How is it related to Krishna? What is the Krishna Key?  The plots thicken as we go through several twists and turns,planned murders and from Dwaraka to Kailash to Somnath to Brindavan along with top historian Ravi Mohan Saini who is accused of murdering his best friend Varshaney.

The book picks up speed as we go through well researched characters with devious minds.The style of writing is good, like Bollywood flashbacks and entertainment is guaranteed. Except for stretching and dragging at few places and one or two errors at page 301 where the inspector's name is replaced by that of another character. Proof reading er,.. not done?Such errors are deterrant to a keen book worm. 

The book and the contents  shows how well or exhaustively the author has researched and woven fact and fiction to create a entartainment fabric. For the research and the mindset gone into it the author deserves applause.Overall the book is a good read. And I can't wait to catch up with the other two books that I've missed. 

For those who are surprised to see a non food post let me repeat that I am a book worm who chomps through all sorts of books. Though recently it has been restricted to food books, I wanted to review this book because I had missed the previous titles from the same author. Thanks BlogAdda for giving me the chance to review the book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trader Vics: Fine Dining Polynesian Style

Few days back, I was invited for Bloggers Meet at the newly opened Trader Vics restaurant @ Phoenix Market City, the new destination for Bangaloreans. The restaurant is a part of the TraderVics International Chain of restaurants. It is managed in India by JSM corporation who run the Hard Rock Cafe and the Shiro restaurants.  The restaurant launge is  supposed to cater Polynesian food to the Indian tastebuds and from what I saw that day ,I believe its already on its way to success.

From the moment you walk into this restaurant situated in a corner from the malls foodcourt, you will be trasnported into an another world. The ambiance of the resto-lounge with its tiki statues and wooden panelling lifts it up a notch. But this is to be expected in a lounge run by JSM corporation I suppose as I had earlier visited the Shiro restaurant at UB City as well. 

Coming to the food part, the restaurant has an excellent food and cocktail menus. We -I mean the bloggers who had been invited had a blast trying out several options right from the soups till desserts. For the soups we had tried the Tonga style corn bisque - slightly sweet thanks to the vanilla essence and also the spicier Tom Kha veg. I later tried the TV speciality Summer roll with its pickled veggies and Maui Waui dressing and also the veg pyramids. 

The major drawbacks I found with the starters was that the portions were small and they were blander for me unless you always dipped them in  the accompanying soy based dip. !  The summer roll was cold as preferred in summer, bite size but the spices and dressing were not up to the mark as per me.The complimentary starter of lavash bread was completely bland  unless you always dipped/drenched it in accompanying peanut sauce/dip.

But we mentioned about the portions to the staff and  were pleasantly surprised to see the large shareable portions of mains. Our table of veg bloggers had asked the staff for recommendation and we were told about the vegetarian chow mein and other Chinese/Malay dishes. Finally we settled for a Beijing Vegetable chow mein, a fried rice and smoked tofu bowl. The first two made no impact for me as they tasted just like the Indo Chinese food dished out every where whereas the smoked tofu bowl was the winner of the three. 

The bowl consisted of Chinese oven smoked eggplant,bell peppers, cherry tomato with Szechuan sauce served atop seasoned rice - a one pot meal. In one word it was excellent. Still, the drawbacks were, the sauce was slightly sweeter and the smoked pumpkin added to its sweetness.Ditto with the Thai Green Curry that had been ordered. Szechuan and Thai curries are normally spicy and NEVER sweet.May be it depends on the palate.!Also another dish to be mentioned is the Indonesian Vegetable Satay with potato cakes. The dish was served just slightly warm with cold and bland potato cakes and was a big NO-NO. But I might still order/recommend a smoked tofu bowl next time I visit. 

For dessert I went for a  Trader Vic speciality Chocolate Tiki - or a cake like nutty brownie. It was excellent. It actually made other dishes pale in comparison. The other dessert was snowball which was vanilla icecream with toasted coconut and chocolate sauce. To be honese, I found appearance can be deceptive. The presentation of snowball was excellent, but taste was just so -so. On the otherhand the chocolate tiki was definitely the winner. Perfect for a chocoholic.

I also had the opportunity to talk to the chief chefs Rahul and Priyank (who also manages Shiro @ UB City) and got to see the Chinese wood fired oven that they use for smoking. Its definitely different from the tandoor but the smoking was perfect as I had tasted the tofu bowl.

The staff is confident,warm and friendly but slightly less knowledgeable about the food. Lavash was passed off to us as Italian flatbread(!) and would not look beyond the Chinese Mains though  they knew the drinks.Also, our table had ordered two smoked tofu bowls, but only one came and despite telling several times and waiting another 20 minutes, it didnot materialise until I was ready to leave. 

Overall the experience was excellent. The ambience was spot on and full marks to it.There is also an outdoor dining area which was cozy and comfortable The food comes around Rs. 2000/- for two without alcohol. The portions are worth the money paid for. So what are you waiting for? 

Drop in at  TraderVics where decor, food, drinks and service come together to provide you with an amazing experience.

Trader Vics,
Phoenix Market City
Bangalore -48

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

It seems I am becoming a huge fan of roasting. Thanks to the cold weather and warmth and taste induced by smoking, I recently tried roasting cauliflower and turned it into a salad. And not just any salad, but a Calabrian style perfectly vegan salad which I adapted from here.It seems Calabria in Southern Italy developed its own style of cooking thanks to it being conquered by several nations.. The salad is supposedly adapted with changes from the "The Food of Southern Italy" by Carlo Middione.

Cauliflower: 1 small head
Garlic: 1 big clove minced

Olive oil: 1-2 tbsp divided

Black Olives : handful : chopped
Capers: 1 tsp
Italian flat leaf parsley: 2 tbsp+/- chopped
Red Chilli flakes: 1/4 tsp
Lemon Juice: 1 big squeeze or as per taste
Salt& Pepper: as per taste


Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets and thoroughly wash them. I put them in warm salted water for a minute or so ,so as to rid them of small worms if any. Drain the florets and thoroughly dry them in paper/kitchen towels.

Put them in a large bowl along with minced garlic and drizzle with 1-2 tsp of olive oil. Toss them and spread in a lined baking sheet.add a nice sprinkle of fresh grated black pepper.

Roast in a preheated oven at 425F for about 10-15 minutes or until they start browning. Switch off the oven and let them site so as they are nicely caramelized. Caramelization brings out the natural sugars of the vegetable and takes taste to another level. Make sure the florets have a nice flat base so that they start caramelizing and make sure your florets are almost equal sized.

Take out and cool the florets and then toss in with other ingredients of olives,parsley,capers,red chilli flakes, lemon juice and remaining oil. Adjust the seasonings and salt as per taste.

Serve as a side salad.

A simple fuss free salad. Roasting cauliflower definitely  its taste. Very flavourful, the sweetness and smokiness of the cauliflower balanced by the tangy capers,olives and lemon juice while the chilliflakes add the spiced and warmth.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rustic Apple Galette - Guest Post for Cakes& More

Some or most of you might have heard of a galette or rustic pastry or pie. Compared to pie its easy to bake a gallette which means we are tension free. You can go for sweet and savoury galettes as desserts or mains respectively. And hey, they save the day when you are doubting what to bake for the avid baker and dessert queen! 

What you curious.?... Bet you are. Stumped too when you go through her recipe/dessert menu.It reads like a huge enticing bakery menu and I am yet to go through the entire list.

 Psst... She is self confessed dessert lover! :)

Add to it, Matt Preston booming inside your head,"Is this dish Masterchef oops Cakes& More Standards? " 

Now you got it! So jump right into Cakes&More and dig into your portion of Rustic Apple Galette which I baked  for dear friend Suma of Cakes&More.

Thanks Suma for the wonderful opportunity. It was a pleasure writing for you.And galette topped it all.Hearty thanks for the nice words. They made my day.

What? Still here!, you are gonna miss it big time,... 

Thanks for visiting my Blog

/*TYNT script starts here */ /*TYNT ends */