Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Sorry, we don't serve that in Chennai" recipes

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.

This cookbook lists 10 recipes Chennai food guide ( Check out this vibrant community on Orkut)  members hanker for, but are not able to get in Chennai. All these recipes are greatly simplified so that a first time cook can easily cook them. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook :

 1.: Mirappakkaya Bajji (Stuffed and batter fried chilies) 

2.: Vada Pav (Indian hamburger)

3.: Thalipeet (Mixed flour pancake) 

4.: Nimma Soda (Lemon Soda) 

5.: Simplified Paradise Biriyani (Hyderabadi Biriyani) 

6.: Sheermal (Saffron flavoured, rich leavened flatbread)

7.: Ari Pathiri ( Rice chappati)

8.: Patrodo / Alu Vadi (Steamed leaf wrapped parcels)

9.: Achari Paratha (Layered flatbread) 

10.: Sabudhana Vada (Sago fritters)

Monday, December 29, 2008

10 Simple Corn Recipes

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook. 

This cookbook lists 10 simple recipes using corn. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook:

1.:  Microwaved Corn Cob  

2.:  Corn Raita

3.:  Simple Corn Salad

4.:  Sweet Corn Salsa 

5.:  Baby corn Salad

6.:  Corn flakes Muesli

7.:  Corn flakes Uppma   

8.:. Corn Sundal

9.:  Butter Popcorn

10.:  Makki di Roti  

And this goes to Cooking for Kids event.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

10 easy Saurashtrian recipes

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.

This cookbook lists 10 simple Sourashtra recipes. It is greatly simplified so that a first time cook can easily cook them. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook :

 1.:  Alla Chutney (Ginger Chutney)

2.:  Muttai Ambat (Egg curry) 

3.:  Thakkali Pilchar (Tomato Rasam) 

4.: Vangi Chutney (Eggplant – onion chutney)

5.: Dheyn Ounty (Yogurt stew)

6.: Spinach Ambat (Spinach curry).

7.: Limbu Pongal (Lemon rice)

8.:  Palak Dhal (Spinach dal)

9.:. Bhajji Chaar (Spinach thin curry)

10.: Kilangu Ambat (Potato curry)  

1001 Yogurt Parfaits

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook
This cookbook lists 1000 yogurt parfaits, greatly simplified, so that a first time cook can easily assemble them.
  10 different types of yogurt ( listed in column 1) is combined with ten different flavouring (see column 2) and 10 different additives ( column 3) to create a thousand different parfaits.  

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Made my day !

Was putting together a press kit for the Cooking Solo for 500 event, where I realised I need to fill a page with references. I compiled them from my Couchsurfing profile, and it sure gave me a warm glow :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Basic South Indian Curries Poster

Click the image on the left to view the poster.

This A3 sized poster, designed to be hung in your kitchen focuses on basic South Iindian curries, cooked across Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka. The following curries are listed :

0.: Dry vegetable curries  (Poriyal / Kura / Paalya / Kari)

1.: Raw Yogurt curries  (Thayir Pachadi / Perugu Pachadi / Mosaru Baji)

2.: Tamarind Stews (Kulambu / Pulusu/  Pulingari)

3.: Coconut Stews (Kootu)

4.: Coconut &  Yogurt  Stew (Aviyal)

5.: Plain lentil curries (Paruppu / Parippu/ Pappu / Thove)

6.: Soaked Lentils & Yogurt stew   (More Kulambu /Majjigae pulusu / Majjigae Huli/ Pulissery ) 

7.: Lentils &  Tamarind thick stew  (Sambar / Huli / Pappu pulusu)

8.: Lentil & Tamarind thin stews (Rasam / Saaru)  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cooking Solo for 500 - You are invited !

If you are in Chennai on the 17 Jan, Come on over ! Do treat this as an official invitation.

/See you here

Thursday, December 18, 2008

North Indian Recipes Poster - Roti, Dal, Poori & Paneer

Click on the image to view the poster.

This A3 sized poster designed to be hung in your kitchen lists the following cookbooks.

1. 1001 Rotis
2. 1001 Easy Dal
3. 1001 Poori
4. 1001 Paneer curries

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10 No cook Apricot recipes

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook.

This cookbook lists 10 simple no-cook apricot recipes listed below :

1.:  Apricot fruit salad 

2.:  Apricot Raita

4.:  Apricot Muesli

5.:  Apricot Chutney

6.:  Apricot Smoothie  

7.:   Apricot Lassi

8.:.  Apricot Milkshake   

9.:   Apricot Basil Pesto 

10.: Apricot Shrikhand

And this is my entry to Siri's AFAM Apricot & Maheshwari's event.

Monday, December 08, 2008

10 Simple stuffed Parathas

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.

This cookbook lists 10 simple stuffed parathas listed below :

1.:  Paneer Paratha  

2.:  Aloo Paratha   

3.:  Peshawari Paratha    

4.:  Cheese Paratha  

5.:  Achari Paratha  

6.:  Dal Paratha

7.:  Muttar Paratha 

8.:  Gajar Paratha   

9.:  Gobi Paratha  

10.: Mooli Paratha

And that's another one for Pallavi's Sunday Snacks.

10 Easy Microwave Halwa ( Indian fudge)

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook.This cookbook lists 10 Indian halwas listed below:

1.:   Carrot Halwa

2.:   Beetroot Halwa  

3.:   Kasi Halwa    

4.:   Kaju Halwa      

5.:   Bottle gourd  Halwa     

6.:   Badam/ Pista Halwa     

7.:   Mango Halwa    

8.:.  Jackfruit Halwa  

9.:   Pineapple Halwa 

10.: Papaya  Halwa  

And that's for Kamalika's MEC - Halwa.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

1001 Stuffed Paratha Pizzas

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.
Stuffed parathas :
Anything that can be shaped into a tight ball can be used to stuff a paratha. Anything wet and soggy will not make a good stuffing. This is why Paneer/ boiled potato / boiled dal/ boiled green peas make easy stuffings, but  grated radish / cauliflower take quite a bit of practice. For many vegetables, the juice needs to be squeezed out of the grated vegetable completely before using them as stuffing. Avoid mixing salt with such veggies as salt draws the water out, making them soggy. 

A pizza is just a flatbread topped with cheese, sauce, toppings and baked. Now we have a variety of breads used as a pizza base. All these are leavened ( using yeast / baking powder), because a thick bread will be tough and chewy without leavening. Parathas are not leavened – Traditional Indian cuisine uses neither yeast nor baking powder. Instead it invented its own technique to make a thick bread edible – by stuffing it with a variety of goodies. This unique invention led to an array of thick flatbreads – the stuffed parathas. 

The Paratha Pizza
So instead of using a leavened flatbread as a pizza base, we here use a range of stuffed parathas. These are softer and can be stuffed with virtually anything. 

The change I’ve made in the recipe is not to use oil while cooking the parathas so that they remain dry.

And that's my entry to Trupti's Winter Treats.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tamil Cuisine Calendar Part 2 download

Click on the image to view and print the calendar

This A3 size calendar focussing on Tamil Cuisine lists 4 One page cookbooks and has the July - Dec 2009 calendar. Hang it in the kitchen and you can cook almost all Tamil curries.

The following cookbooks are printed in this calendar.

1. 1001 Podis ( Spice Powders )
2. 1001 Traditional Tamil Curries
3. 1001 Poriyals ( Dry vegetable curries )
4. 1001 Thogayal ( Blended curries )

And that goes to Best of the year 2008 event.

10 Simple White Curries ( South Indian)

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook.
This cookbook lists 10 white curries cooked across south India. The following curries are listed in this cookbook:

1.:      Yogurt . This is by far the most loved ' curry' in south India. Not cooked ? It sure is - milk is boiled and is 'cooked' by bacteria into this delicious 'curry'. Still can't call it a curry because there are no spices? - Just add a tempering of mustard, chilies and curry leaves ( see sidebar of the cookbook)

2.:      Thayir Pachadi (Raw Yogurt curry) 

3.:      Inji Thayiru (Ginger – Chili – Yogurt  curry)

4.:      Thambuli (Raw Coconut- Yogurt blended curry)

5.:      Kobbari Pachadi (Coconut – Chili blended curry)

6.:      Aviyal (Coconut – Cumin- Chili - Yogurt curry)

7.:      Erissery (Coconut - Cumin curry)

8.:.     Sodhi  (Coconut milk – Lemon curry)

9.:      Olan (Coconut milk curry)

10.:    Kaalan (Coconut – Cumin – Yogurt curry)

And off this goes to Yummy Food's FIC- White event.

Tamil Cuisine Calendar 2009 Download

Click on the image to view and print the calendar

This A3 size calendar focussing on Tamil Cuisine lists 4 One page cookbooks and has the Jan - June 2009 calendar. Hang it in the kitchen and you'll never run out of recipe ideas.

The following cookbooks are printed in this calendar

1. 1001 Kulambu ( Sour curries )
2. 1001 Sambar ( Lentil Sour curries)
3. 1001 Kootu ( Coconut - lentil curries )
4. 1001 Rasam ( Thin curries )

And that goes to Best of the year 2008 event.

Get the big picture straight !

There is a big difference between learning a few recipes and understanding a cuisine. 

To understand a cuisine, you should get the big picture straight. You should know something about the culture, the history, the building blocks and the external influences that have shaped a cuisine.

For example, South Indian cuisine is built on Tamarind, tuvar dal, yogurt and coconut. Almost all the thousands of curries you'll encounter in Tamilnadu, Andhra, Kerala and Karnataka would be just various combinations of these building blocks.

Though most spices used are common, the emphasis on different spices vary between these four states. Each state also has its own set of favourite vegetables and cooking oil. This differing emphasis on the building blocks, spices and different oils lead to completely different set of recipes. However, at their heart, they are all alike, being built from the same four building blocks.

With this big picture in mind, you are less likely to get lost in the mind boggling array of recipes cooked across the south.

Get the big picture for each cuisine, stay true to it and you will find that it is very difficult to goof up a recipe !

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Announcing "Recipes for the rest of us"

I find nothing more pleasurable than introducing newbies to the joy of cooking. Watching their faces light up after their first successful dish is indeed a great reward ! My series of One page cookbooks are solely devoted to getting newbies try their hand at cooking. It is with this mission in mind that I announce the first "Recipes for the rest of us " event. 

I seek your recipes whose simplicity and extreme ease would motivate a first time cook.

The guidelines :
1. Cook anything simple and post the recipe on your blog.
2. Multiple entries / archived entries welcome. However, do edit the archived post, include a link to this event and post fresh.
3. Include the logo in your post if you wish.
4. Please send an e-mail to siramki at gmail dot com with the following details on or before Jan 10, 2009.
*Subject Line: Recipes for the rest of us
* Blog author:
* Blog name:
* Dish Name:
* URL of the post:
* A JPG picture of the dish 
5. Non bloggers can just e-mail the recipe and the picture.
6. The roundup of would be posted in Jan 2nd week.

A few guidelines for your recipes :
1. Please avoid exact measurements. Would be nice to have very simple measurements like a handful or a pinch.
2. Please avoid complicated steps.
3. Please avoid recipes demanding a good deal of manual skill.
4. Please avoid recipes demanding fancy kitchen equipment.
5. In short, it should be something a ten year old kid should be able to cook up.

A recipe like Mythreyee's Kosambari would be a good fit. I look forward to your participation. Let's get more people share in the joy that we experience on a daily basis !

Top 10 fish eaten in Chennai

Click the image on the left to view the Chennai Fish Guide.
The first time cook can easily get confused in the fish market. This guide can come in handy to spot your favourite fish, its English name, the indicative price,  prime sizes and preferred cooking techniques.

The top 10 fish preferred in Chennai are listed in this guide. The following are Chennai's favourite fishes :

Vanjiram : Seer fish / King fish. 
Koduva : Sea Bass.
Viraal : Murrel.
Karuppu Vavval : Black Pomfret.
Vellai Vavval : Silver Pomfret.
Sura : Baby Shark.
Sankara : Red Snapper.
Kilanga : Smelt.
Sudumbu : False Trevally.
Nethili : Anchovies.

Viraal is the only fresh water fish commonly consumed in Chennai. All fish are fried / stewed except Sura, which is always steamed  and Sankara which is never fried.

Fresh water fish curries are always eaten hot. They are never stored as they give off a fishy smell when stored. Sea fish curries can be eaten hot / cold. They actually get better after a day.

Tips on buying fish: Buy fish with bright, clear eyes, shiny, bright skin and flesh that springs back when pressed. Avoid fish with cloudy / sunken eyes or with overwhelming fishy odour.

Tips on cooking fish: Every inch thickness of fish requires 10 minutes of cooking. If your fish chunks are an inch thick, they will be fully cooked in ten minutes. To check if fish is cooked, prod the flesh with a fork. Cooked fish is opaque, flakes easily and has milky white juice. Undercooked fish is still translucent and has clear juices. Avoid overcooking as it will make fish rubbery. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

100 Simple Indian Fish Curries

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.
This cookbook lists 100 fish curries, greatly simplified, so that a first time cook can easily cook them. The principle is simple – fish is marinated (the lemon juice in the marinade partially cooks the fish) and this marinated fish is combined with ten different bases and 10 different flavouring techniques to create a hundred different recipes.
  The ten different bases are listed below:

0.: Onion - An extra dose of onions is used as a base in the famous Dopyaza ( Double onion curry)

1.: Nuts / Seeds - Using nut paste and yogurt as a base is a hallmark of  the Mogul cuisine. This is usually used to cook the Muglai fish curry.

2.: Herbs -  A variety of herbs are blended with tamarind paste and used as a base for Fish curries from Tamilnadu.

3.: Coconut milk is widely used as a curry base in all the coastal cuisines, especially in Konkan, Goa and Kerala. As coconut milk curdles on cooking, the fish is cooked ( pan fried) first and coconut milk is added at the very end.

4.: Yogurt is used as a base to cook the delicious 'Dahi Maach' in Bengali cuisine.

5.:  Kokum or Fish tamarind  is used as a base to cook up a variety of Keralite and Konkani fish and seafood curries.

6.: Tamarind is used as a base in the southern states of Andhra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka to cook fish kulambu / fish pulusu.

7.:  Onion – garlic - tomato stir fried and pureed with tamarind paste is used to cook the Chettinadu fish curry.

8.: Mustard paste is chiefly used by Bengalis to cook up tangy fish curries. 

Ten different flavouring combinations are listed in this cookbook. You’ll note that each flavouring technique calls for a different type of oil. However, you can safely substitute refined vegetable oil in place of other oils.

0.: Readymade spice mixes are a quick way to flavour the curry.

1.:  Mustard + Red chili  fried in coconut oil is chiefly used in Kerala cuisine.      

2.: Cumin + Ginger- Garlic  is a flavouring common in Muglai cuisine.

3.:  Mustard + Asafetida  fried in sesame oil is commonly used in Tamil cuisine.

4.: Panchphoran, a mixture of spices fried in mustard oil is the standard flavouring used in Bengali / Oriya cuisine.

5.: Mustard + Curry leaves + Fenugreek  is another southern flavouring combination.

6.: Cloves – Cinnamon  with ginger garlic paste and garam masala is commonly used in North Indian cuisine.

7.: The mixture of fried & ground coriander seeds, pepper and cumin is used across India.        

8 .: A special blend of roast & ground spices is used in Goa for the fragrant Fish Xacuti. 

Monday, December 01, 2008

100 Simple Omelets

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.
This cookbook lists 100 simple omelets from 00 to 99. Ten different bases are paired with ten different additives to create a hundred omelets. Each omelet can be cooked in six different ways (Thanks P!),  making possible 600 different omelets. 

The base:
A variety of eggs as listed in column 1 are used as the base.

The additives: 
Some of the most popular additives are listed in column 2.

And this goes to 101 recipe series

10 Simple recipes with Cherries

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook.
This cookbook lists 10 simple recipes using cherries. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook: 

1.:  Cherry Salsa 

2.:  Cherry Raita

3.:  Cherry Salad

4.:  Cherry Muesli

5.:  Cherry Chutney

6.:  Cherry Smoothie  

7.:  Spicy Cherry Spread

8.:. Cherry Lassi 

9.:  Cherry Milkshake  

10.: Cherry Pickle

And this goes to AFAM- Cherries, an event started by Maheshwari.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The perfect myth

Nothing is perfect. Have you read a perfect story, heard a perfect song or watched a perfect movie ? But we like to believe that perfection exists in the culinary world populated by perfect pizzas , perfect roasts and other perfect dishes. A 'perfect' recipe does not exist. Perfection is a myth. Perfection signifies an end and would actually become boring. It is the constant quest for better taste that is enthralling about cooking.

Perfection is always user defined. What is perfect to you will not be so to me. If something like the 'perfect food' existed, why eat anything else ? In the quest for 'perfect' dishes take care not to miss out on the simple joy of cooking.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

1001 Naans (Leavened Asian Flatbread)

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.

first recorded history of Naan can be found in the works of the genius Amir Khusrau (1300 AD) as naan-e-tunuk (Persianنان تنک) (light bread) and naan-e-tanuri (Persianنان تنوری) (cooked in a tandoor oven).

Naan ( meaning bread) is the one of the most popular breads in
Central Asia. It was the breakfast food of the Moghul royalty and is still a popular breakfast food in Burma. Naan is chiefly made from all purpose flour (maida) and uses a leavening agent ( yogurt, yeast, eggs or baking powder) to puff it up from the inside while being baked. This is what makes a naan light and fluffy.

Any thick bread needs a leavening agent. Without it, all you get on baking is a hard brick. All the numerous holes you see in white bread were made by gas generated by leavening agents. Yeast and baking soda are the most popular leavening agents in bread and cakes. It is the humble Yeast that gives us delicious breads and all our alcohol. It is no wonder we have been using it for over 6000 years.

Yeast breaks up sugar into carbon di oxide and alcohol. It is for this Carbon-di oxide yeast is used in bakeries and it is for alcohol it is used in breweries. Without Yeast, we lose both bread and wine ! 
Naans come in various shapes and sizes. They may be round, rectangular or triangular, palm sized or table sized, plain or stuffed. They are generally sprinkled with herbs / seeds and brushed with butter / ghee.

The first recorded mention of Naan is in 1300 AD by Amir Khusarau, the Sufi poet, a pillar of Hindustani music, originator of Qawali and famous for his tongue in cheek lines like

My beloved speaks Turkish, and Turkish I do not know;
How I wish if her tongue would have been in my mouth.

It was Khusarau who wrote the immortal
Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.
If there is a paradise on earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this (India).

Making Stuffed Naans :
Anything which can be shaped into a tight ball can be used to stuff a naan. Pinch off a tomato sized ball of dough, roll out into a disc, place a ball of stuffing in the center and gather the edges of the dough, completely enclosing the filling. Now roll it up again into a thick disc and cook.

Kheema Naan is stuffed with mincemeat, Peshawari naan is a dessert naan filled with nuts, dates and raisins, aloo naan is stuffed with potatoes & gobi naan with cauliflower. The various possible stuffings are listed in column 3.

Before cooking, the naan can be sprinkled with sesame seeds /poppy seeds / nigella ( black onion seeds : kalonji ), cumin or herbs like cilantro.

Though the master recipe calls for baking powder, you can use a pinch of active dry yeast instead. Yeast takes a 4-5 hours to work its magic and so the dough needs to be rested that long. You can also knead in milk / eggs / oil into the dough along with water. This makes naan a complete meal by itself. Naan's are usually baked in clay tandoors - which are highly impractical to use at home. The tabletop electric tandoor does a good job and is very easy to use. First time cooks can try cooking Naan with just a skillet.

Model Recipes
Mango Power Girl's Naan
Aparna's Tava Naan
Naan Video

International 'Naan'
All purpose flour is used across the world and many cuisines have their version of our Naan. All these flatbreads are baked in an oven ( or an electric tandoor) at the highest heat setting till brown spots appear on the surface.

Roll the Naan dough into a round, dimple all over the surface with fingers, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle sea salt and rosemary and what you get on baking is the Italian Focaccia.

Roll the naan dough to a round, drizzle surface with olive oil, spread a couple of spoons of tomato sauce and cover with grated mozarella. Bake and you get 
pizza. Use other toppings and you can cookup a range of pizzas.

Make makki naan dough, roll into thick rectangles, scour a few parallel lines with a knife , sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake. You now have the Persian 
barbari bread.

Roll out naan dough and top it with sour cream and onions before baking it and you’ll end up withFlammkuchen - the Germanic 'Naan'. This is also called as tarte flambée or Alsatian pizza.

The Turkish 'Naan' is cooked on a tava. Roll the naan dough into thick rounds and cook both sides on a skillet. What you get is Bazlama.

Off this goes to Bricole's Novel food.

Monday, November 24, 2008

10 Simple Indian recipes using Carrots

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook. 

This cookbook lists 10 simple Indian recipes using carrots. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook:

1.:    Carrot Thayir Pachadi ( Tamilnadu’s Raw Yogurt curry) 

2.:    Carrot Tambli ( Karnataka’s coconut-  yogurt blended curry)

3.:    Carrot – onion raita ( North Indian raw yogurt curry) 

4.:    Kosambari ( Udupi’s Soaked lentil salad)

5.:    Carrot Pickle ( Tamilnadu ) 

6.:    Carrot Poriyal  (Tamilnadu’s dry vegetable curry)

7.:    Carrot Kootu  (Tamilnadu’s coconut- cumin blended curry)

8.:.   Carrot More Kulambu (Tamilnadu’s Buttermilk curry). 

9.:    Carrot Pudina Chutney  

10.:  Carrot Payasam  

And this is for The cooker's JFI- Carrots.

1001 Cocktails

"There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth--
I think that perhaps it's the gin." 

Ogden Nash's irreverent lines are among my favourite poems. Here's my toast to Ogden Nash - 1000 more cocktails he'd want to sing about !

Mixing cocktails in India can be a pain. With no cocktail culture, most of the ingredients needed are just not available. So I've designed these cocktails around stuff available at most Indian stores.

Dressing up a cocktail is an art. The best way to learn cocktail dressing is to see them gloriously presented in one of my favourite blogs -
Ideas in Food by chefs Aki and Alex.

And that goes to Jukebox - Cooking challenge from Sunshine Mom.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1001 Easy Mocktails

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.
This one page cookbook lists 1001 mocktails. Mocktails are cocktails without alcohol. They look like cocktails, are mixed, garnished and served exactly like cocktails, but omit the alcohol. All recipes listed here are designed to be mixed from stuff easily available in most neighborhoods, Indian or western. Like cocktails, mocktails can be grouped into the major classes listed below.

0.: COBBLER is mixed with soda and sugar

1.: FIX has water, sugar and lemon juice.

2.: FIZZ is mixed with soda and lemon

3.: TOM COLLINS has sugar syrup, lemon and soda.

4.: DAISY is made from Lemon Juice, sugar and pomegranate syrup ( grenadine).

5.: FLIP is an acquired taste as it has raw eggs and sugar.

6.: MINT JULEP has both sugar and crushed mint.

7.: SOUR has powdered sugar, soda and lemon

8.: PUNCH is made from mixed fruit juices.

Creativity is the most important element in a mocktail. Play around with these recipes and shake up your own recipes ! 

10 Coloured Indian flatbreads

Click on the cookbook to view the cookbook.
This cookbook lists 10 coloured chapattis. Natural colouring agents are mixed in with the flour. The following coloured breads are listed in this cookbook: 

1.: Pale brown chapatti  does not use any colouring. The natural colour of all purpose flour gives a pale brown flatbread.

2.:  Golden yellow chapatti uses saffron soaked in warm milk to get its golden hue.

3.:  Yellow chapatti uses turmeric.

4.:  Pink chapatti  gets its colour from beetroot.

5.: Pale orange chapatti uses mashed carrots.

6.:  Green chapatti gets its colour from spinach puree.

7.: Speckled chapatti uses crushed black pepper.

8.:  Pale red chapatti uses tomato puree.  

9.:  Brown chapatti gets its colour from coriander - cumin powder and garam masala.

10.:   Speckled Red chapatti uses the bright red Kashmiri chili powder for its colour.

10 Simple Salsas

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook. This cookbook lists 10 simplified Mexican Salsas designed to be cooked in an Indian kitchen. The following Salsas are listed in this cookbook: 

1.: Salsa fresca (Fresh Sauce) / Salsa picada : (Chopped sauce)

2.: Basic Salsa 

3.: Mint Salsa

4.: Pineapple Salsa

5.: Mango Salsa 

6.: Cucumber Salsa

7.: Cilantro Salsa  

8.:  Watermelon Salsa  

9.:  Salsa de cocina (Koh – see – na) (Cooked Sauce)

10.:  Guacamole salsa (Gwak – ah – molay)

For more Salsas, see 100 simple Salsas and 1001 Simple salsas.

And this is reposted for  Tasty Palettes Vegan Ventures 2

10 Easy Mexican Breads

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook. This cookbook lists 10 simplified Mexican breads designed to be cooked in an Indian kitchen. The following breads are listed in this cookbook:

 1.: Tortilla (Tor – tea – ya) : is nothing but a chappati

2.:  Taco  (Ta- koh) is a chappati topped with a filling and folded in half.

  Burrito (Ba- Ree –toh ) is a chappati roll with filling.

4.:  Enchilada (Yen- chi –lada)  is a chappati roll drizzled with  chili sauce.

5.: Quesadilla  (K- say –di - ya)  is  two chappatis stuck together with melted cheese.

6.:  Pupusa  (Pooh- pooh - sah)  is a stuffed paratha.

7.: Sopapilla (Soap- ah – pee - ya) is a poori cut into wedges and dusted with sugar.

8.: Taquito (Ta- key – toe) is similar to a Chinese spring roll.

9.: Tlayuda (Tlay - uda)  is a Gujarati khakra, topped with refried beans and other filling.

10.: Nacho (Naa – cho)  is a khakra cut into wedges, and served with a cheese dip / salsa.

Reposted for  Tasty Palettes Vegan Ventures 2

Saturday, November 22, 2008

10 Easy Indian Chikkis ( Brittles)

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook. This cookbook lists 10 Indian Chikkis ( Brittles) . The following chikkis are listed in this cookbook:

   Peanut Chikki   

2.:   Cashew nut Chikki  

3.:  Almond Chikki   

4.:   Pumpkin seed  Chikki     

5.:  Copra  Chikki    

6.:  Walnut  Chikki    

7.:  Poha  Chikki    

8.:. Til  Chikki  

9.:   Rajgira  Chikki 
10.: Dry fruit  Chikki  

Reposted for Susan's All that glitters,    Jennifer's Sugar High Fridays, Vaishali's Sweet Vegan event and to All thingz Yummy's Festival feast.

Leave poetry to poets

I believe cooking is a basic life skill, like  language. Unlike language, basic cooking can be learnt by anyone, in under an hour. To gain confidence though, it takes time and there is no better way to gain it than to keep cooking. 

Each cuisine can be thought of as a language and I like to think of one page cookbooks as primers teaching the alphabet and the ways they can be  put together. A lucky few among you, dear reader, may later become poets, turning out food poetry. But for the others, just learning to communicate (cook edible food) would be a worthy goal.

This is the reason you won't find poetry in one page cookbooks. There is no place for it in a primer. You are unlikely to bump into lines like " this heavenly sauce with a tantalising undertone of garlic, a whiff of fennel subtly juxtaposed with just a breath of ginger and a kiss of vine ripened tomatoes". I'll leave poetry to poets.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1001 Bajjis ( Batter-fried chewy Indian fritters)

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.
Any edible flour can be made into a batter, into which a variety of goodies can be dipped in and deep fried. This is the logic behind all the
fritters,  North Indian pakoras, Japanese tempuras, American hush puppies, South Indian bajji, North Indian bhajias, South Indian bondas, Japanese kakiage, South Indian pakodas, French beignets., Italian frittas and all such recipes, which exist in virtually every cuisine. 

Understanding the principle behind deep frying is the only way to cook a light and crispy fritter every time. 

Bajjis are no different from Bondas, except for their shape and goodies used. Bondas are usually ball shaped, whereas Bajjis are flat. Edibles that can be shaped into a ball are dipped into a batter and fried into a bonda, whereas strips of vegetables are dipped in the same batter and fried into bajjis. 

The batter:
Though gram flour is commonly used for most bajjis, different flours can be used to make a variety of bajjis with a different flavour and texture. Column 1 lists some of them. Wheat flour gives a chewy bajji, rice flour gives a crispy bajji, rava gives a gritty bajji and so on. By changing the base, the following bajjis can be cooked up.

0.: Gram flour is used for the basic bajji.

1.: All purpose flour ( maida) and whole wheat flour give a chewy maida and godhi bajji.

3.: Nut flour (cashew / almond flour) gives a delicately flavoured bajji.

4.: Yellow Corn flour & Finger millet flour cook into differently coloured and flavoured chola bajji and ragi bajji.                                 

6.: Rice flour   gives a crispy bajji

7.: Cream of wheat is used for a gritty textured Rava bajji.

8.:  Almost all edible flours like water chestnut flour, soya flour, buckwheat flour etc. can be used for bajjis. It is easier to use them mixed with gram flour / wheat flour as some of them can't be made into a clingy batter. 

The flavouring                   
A range of flavouring agents listed in column 2 can be mixed in with the batter to cook up scores of variations. There are no rules here. Choose your favourite flavouring combination.

The goodies:
Anything that can be sliced into a thin strip can be fried into a bajji. A variety of goodies listed in column 3 can be dipped into the batter and deep fried. There are no fixed rules about the goodies & batter combination. Experiment with your favourite goodies!

 0.: Carrot gives us the carrot bajji

1.: Potato gives the urulai kizhangu bajji. 

2.: Banana ( raw / ripe- especially Nendram pazham, the Kerala plantain) is fried into the vazakkai bajji / Pazha bajji).

3.: Eggplant is fried into the Kathirikkai bajji.

4.: Capsicum gives us the koda molaga bajji.

5.: Paneer is fried into the paneer bhajji.

6.: Bread  is used to make the Bread bajji.

7.: Onion is fried into the vengaya bajji.

8.: Slit, deseeded and stuffed green chilies  give the spicy molaga bajji.

 You can experiment with chicken breasts,  sausages, prawns, fish slices etc, to cook a variety of bhajjis. 

Fry safe! 

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Cooking is fun - Duplication is a pain !

"It is extraordinary to me that the idea of creating thousands of recipes by mixing building blocks takes immediately to people or it doesn’t take at all. .... If it doesn’t grab a person right away, ... you can talk to him for years and show him demos, and it doesn’t make any difference. They just don’t seem able to grasp the concept, simple as it is". ( Thanks Warren Buffett !)

"What's angering about instructions in many cookbooks is that they imply there's only one way to cook a dish - their way. And that presumption wipes out all the creativity." Cook dishes your way - Download  1001 South Indian curries now and learn to cook, not to duplicate ! ( Thanks Robert Pirsig !)

"Recipe purity is no different from racial purity or linguistic purity. It just does not exist. Cuisines are alive and change all the time. What is traditional today was esoteric just a few decades back. So being a 'foodist' is as bad as being a racist !

About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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