April 29, 2014

Chutney spiced almonds and a cheese dip - many uses of chutney powder

Spicy roasted almonds

We always have chutney powder at home. Sometimes homemade ones and sometimes store bought ones. From store we usually buy the MTR store one. Which ones do you prefer? We use it for idlis, dosas, sometimes to spice up upmas or uttapams.

Couple of weeks ago on Sunday, late afternoon, when the kids were taking a nap I wandered into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, I saw Aswin roasting almonds. I asked him what it was. He didn't tell me, instead he handed me an almond. With the spice and the saltiness and the crunch, I was intrigued by the spice mix.

"What is it, it's great," I chimed. Chutney powder, he replied. Perfect combination. I mixed in some raisins (you can add cranberries or any other dried berries really) for sweet touch. The almonds were over with tea and immediately another batch was put in for the week.

The almonds make for a great snack when the cravings hit.

The same weekend, I added some chutney powder and fresh herbs in a cheese dip and that went well too.

Sometimes weekends turn out to be fun trying out new things. Even better when the new things are a hit (I've had not so good moments too.) What about you?

April 16, 2014

Sprucing up midweek dal with dill and tomato

Dill and tomato dal
Shubho Nababarsha! Happy Bengali new year to my friends and readers. Hope you had a great start to the new year.

Coffee grinder for spicesI think I may be the last person to discover coffee grinder for Indian spices. I finally succumbed and bought one. The first thing I made with it? Shorshe macher jhol with a fine grind of mustard and little bit of posto. The ease of cooking. I am so glad to have discovered it and am now converting my parents into using it as well.

Dill and tomato dal Lil A's new favorite food is tacos. With shredded cheese, shredded cucumber, grilled fish, we've made various combinations and he loves it. We've even sent it to school with him. One evening last week, it was taco night for us. I made some shredded chicken for adult tacos and topped it up with manchego cheese. How have you adapted some of your kids favorite with yours?

I am still boiling some dal and freezing for midweek use and was in a mood to spruce up the regular mooger dal. I had some dill leftover from the chicken rice and used it with tomatoes. The combination was just right. Dill was not overpowering, although be careful to use only leaves. The stem has a much stronger taste.

April 04, 2014

Playdate #5, tweaking Yottam's chicken with cardamom rice

Yottam's cardamom rice with chicken

I can't believe that it's been a year since we had the last playdate! After several cancelled plans (we both have little ones who keep us busy), we settled on a date in March. We looked through several recipes and decided on Yottam's chicken with cardamom rice.

I had forgotten how much fun it is cooking with a friend. We settled easily into our routine - chopping, chatting, and sipping a glass of wine.

The kids were absent for the first hour and it helped us prep most of the food for the evening. To go along with the rice, we had a chickpea salad, dill and cucumber raita, alphabet pasta for kids and lemon cookies for dessert.

Once the kids arrived, it turned out to be a playdate for them too! They had fun making lemon cookies and then played together after dinner. It was a fun evening overall.

We tweaked the recipe a bit adding some cumin powder, little bit of cayenne powder and adding juice of one lemon and then cooking the lemon with the rice. I added some whole cranberries and it worked well.

The rice, ah! It was so delicious. Flavorful and fragrant, it is one of the best one-pot meal I've made and tasted in a while.

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