Tag Archives: masterchef

Pulled Jackfruit Taco with Sugarcane tortilla

Standard

As you know I love cooking with what’s in season, go visit the local markets, pick up some produce, get some inspiration, bring it back to the kitchen and make something fun. This time when I visited India in Summer, although it was ultra blistering hot, I mean we are talking 108F and 90F at night, it did not stop me from going to the market.

I picked up some raw jackfruit, mangoes from the market and on the way home stopped off to grab a drink of fresh sugar cane juice. As I was driving home, I started thinking about my summer vacations growing up.

It used to be super hot where I grew up, but we still enjoyed our afternoons. A everlasting game of monopoly, carom board, playing cards and endless conversations were so much fun. Every summer we also visited my Nani (maternal grandma). She lived in Mumbai and the train ride to her place used to be another event we looked forward to every summer.

My Mom is a great cook and an amazing planner.  So she would pack perfect food for all our train journeys. One of the dishes was this roti/poli/tortilla made from sugar cane juice, called ‘Rasachi Dashmi’.  It not only tasted awesome but was perfect for the train journey as it stayed good without any refrigeration and tasted great cold.

My nani would always have alphonso  mangoes waiting for us along with other things from konkan and she would make the best Poli in the world. We would devour the mangoes with poli and ghee.

Kokam, Tadgola and so much more. Fragrant yellow jackfruit would fill the air. I will share more recipes using the ripe or yellow jackfruit soon.

One of those things was raw/green jackfruit. She would make the best bhaji with it, with lots of red chilies and tender cashews.

My nani is no more, but her memories I cherish through various foods. My kids are not so lucky to just hop on a train and visit their Nani, my Mom. The 10K miles is a long distance to cover. But we always take family trips in vacations, sometimes local, sometimes even staycations but always make time for family.

I know how important it is to spend time and make memories. We are all big time foodies so more often than not the destinations are picked based on the variety of food we get to eat. We love to explore local cuisines and produce, always a local market visit is included in the vacation plan.

One of the favorite destinations is Mexico, I just love Mexico. Its nice and warm, people are very friendly, I can speak the language and most of all, amazing food. I can visit Mexico many times and nto get tired.

Mexican food is probably my second most favorite food after Indian food. Whenever we visit Mexico, II make sure we go to the local markets and try some amazing dishes. Last time we visited this restaurant in Maztlan, El Precidio and everything there was incredible.

 

 

I love Mexican food as it highlights seasonal produce, perfect balance of spice, sweet, savory and just satisfying meal. I love the use chilies in many ways, I love how they use traditional cooking methods to get some complex flavors in dishes like Mole.

One of the most commonly known Mexican foods is Tacos. Simple yet flavorful, incredibly versatile.

Today’s dish is inspired by the  summer vacations, both mine and my kids’s and its tribute to the local produce.

Pulled Jackfruit Taco with Sugarcane juice tortilla

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’8′]

I would love to know about your summer memories and foods. Please share in comments.

 

Advertisements

Dahi Sabudana- tapioca pearls with spiced yogurt

Standard

Spring/summer  is here. The rain gods have been kind and hence all the mountains around where I live are still green.  Near my home there is a barn and they bring out their sheep for grazing at this time, with the rolling hills, and the sheep,  it feels like Swiss countryside.
In India, we celebrate Holi. During holi a effigy of a demoness is burnt in fire. This demoness symbolizes all the mean thoughts, all the resentments that one might be carrying, you burn it all in the fire of Holi.  This is the time when we celebrate New Year according to the lunar calendar. Interestingly around the same time Parsi’s and Iranis’s also celebrate Navrouz, which translates to ‘New Day’. In short its all about starting afresh, leaving all the baggages that you might be carrying and focus on the future.

In India we have Navratri ( which translates to ‘9 nights’) twice a year. Interestingly they both fall when the season changes from hot to cold and cold to hot. One is in spring time and one in fall. During this time you fast, you don’t eat meat, regular vegetables, no cereals. I think it is very much needed, it gets your body time to adjust and also get ready for the new season. Its like a cleanse, where you eat light foods, people also try not to eat garlic & onion.


Each region in India has its own rules of what to eat and what not to eat during these nine months, some eat spinach, some eat tomatoes, others don’t. A few things like tapioca, water chestnut, sweet potatoes, cucumber are eaten across the country.

I come from Maharashtra where Sabudana Khichadi is very popular. I recently did an Insta story on it. Whenever I ask my kids what they want special for breakfast, the answer is Sabudana Khichadi . My husband can eat bowls of it. I normally end up making enough so I have leftovers as he likes to eat it the next day again.

Everyone knows Sabudana Khicadi but might not know this recipe. My mom makes it so well, my sister can eat bowls of it for days and not get tired. I like it more than Khichadi because it feels kind of cooling and I love yogurt 🙂

Dahi Sabudana

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups tapioca pearls ( you can get them in any indian grocery store)
  • 3-4 green chilies ( I use the thai chilies that are super spicy)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanut powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you can not get buttermilk, you can churn 1/2 yogurt with 3/4 cup water)
  • 1 cup
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Method

  • Dry roast sabudana/tapioca
  • After it is cooled down, soak in some water for about 30 mins
  • Pound the cumin seeds and chilies to make a coarse paste. I prefer using mortar pestle but you can also use a chopper
  • After 30 mins, drain all the water and soak in buttermilk for at least 4-5 hours.
  • Now add yogurt ( preferably whole milk), roasted peanut powder, chili-cumin mixture and salt n sugar to taste.
  • Garnish with cilantro

Note:

  • You can also cook the sabudana in water until it is translucent ( instead of roasting and soaking in buttermilk).
  • Mix it with yogurt, roasted peanut powder, salt, sugar and the chili cumin mixture. You can also  add tadka of ghee jeera mirchi if desired
  • Garnish with cilantro

Lemon Goat cheese Ravioli

Standard
Lemon Goat cheese Ravioli

I have been a part of this cook book club and I am loving it. I feel its great because you are getting inspiration from the book and your co-chefs. Its amazing to see everyone’s take on the same dish, be it swapping out ingredients, cooking techniques or even plating.

This month’s author is  Yotam Ottolenghi and we are cooking from various books of his. I must tell you, you will fall in love with his book. I will be sharing many recipes, some just like he makes, some my variations.

Jerusalem is one of my favorite cook books, Yotam takes us down the lanes of Jerusalem. You can smell the breads from the bakery and halva on the streets.

I love the fact that he is so connected to his roots and that his cooking is simple. It speaks to you because the ingredients are honest and so are the techniques. There is a clear sense of sharing the recipes and it touches me. It focuses on various vegetables that we get through out the year and not limited to just carrots and bell peppers

Today I am sharing one of the recipes from his book Plenty. This has been my inspiration to making pasta and also make other things that I will be sharing soon.

cof

 

For the pasta

edf

3 tbsp olive oil
3 medium eggs
330g ’00’ flour, plus more for rolling
½ tsp turmeric
Grated zest of 3 lemons

For the filling

cof

300g creamy, mild goat’s cheese
½ tsp  sea salt
1 pinch chilli flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg white, beaten

To serve

2 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp roughly chopped tarragon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Lemon juice (optional)

Method

Mix the oil and eggs. Put the flour, turmeric and zest in a food processor, add the oil and egg mix, and blend to a crumbly dough (it may require extra flour or oil).

Once the dough has come together and is smooth (you may need to work it a little by hand, too), divide it into four thick, rectangular blocks.

Wrap in clingfilm and chill for anything from 30 minutes to two days.

cof

Dust a work surface with flour. Take a piece of dough and flatten with a rolling pin. Set a pasta machine to its widest setting and pass through. Repeat, narrowing the setting a notch each time, until you reach the lowest setting. Place pasta sheets flat under a moist towel, so they don’t dry out.

sdr

Use a fork to crush all the filling ingredients together, apart from the egg white. Use a pastry cutter (or rim of a glass) to stamp out pasta circles roughly 7cm in diameter. Brush each with egg white and place a heaped teaspoon of filling in its centre. Place another disc on top and, with fingers dipped in flour, squeeze out any air as you bring the edges of the discs together. You should end up with a pillow-shaped centre surrounded by a 1cm edge. Tighten the edges until you can’t see a seam. Repeat with the rest of the dough, place the ravioli on a tray sprinkled with semolina, and leave to dry for 15 minutes. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a day or two.

IMG_20170629_191556.jpg

To serve, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta for two to three minutes, until al dente, drain and divide between four plates. Sprinkle with pink peppercorns, tarragon and lemon zest. Drizzle with rapeseed oil, add salt and a squirt of lemon juice, and serve piping hot.

Kheer Pana Cotta with saffron sauce

Standard
Kheer Pana Cotta with saffron sauce

It will be one year since I auditioned for Master Chef India. It has been an incredible journey and I loved every minute of it. It started with just a casual conversation with friends, them pushing me to go for the audition. I never in my imagination thought that one simple audition could lead me to the most exciting time in my life.

When I got selected from San Francisco and reached India for the next rounds, I met so many wonderful people and little did I know that we will friends for lifetime.

I am so thankful to God for this wonderful opportunity. This post is dedicated to all that I am thankful for, my family, friends, food on the table, and here is many more such amazing opportunities to come!

I always have loved the traditional recipes, the history behind them, the love you feel when you eat them, all the memories they bring back. I feel it is up to us to preserve them and pass them on to the next generation.

But there are always new things to learn and expand your horizons. New spice, new technique, new way of plating or a new ingredient, it changes everything about the dish completely.

So today’s recipe is a new take on a age old recipe, Kheer. Made in many ways, but it always signifies celebration, joy, festivities. Rice, Milk and sugar cooked together, it is that simple and yet that comforting. So many cultures have variations of this, Isarel, Syria where its called ‘Roz Bhaleeb’, Iran and even Mexico where you get to eat ‘Arroz con leche’ which is flavored with cinnamon.

Its amazing to see how food connects people, does not matter what is your nationality, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation. One of my favorite books ‘Korma Kheer Kismet by Pamela Timms. It is a fascinating chronicle of the author who lived and experienced five seasons in Delhi and her food memories

Korma,Kheer and Kismet; Five seasons in old Delhi by Timms (2014-07-01)

Just like her I fell in love with Old Delhi. Old Delhi is a walled city established by the Mughal Emperor Shaha Jahan in the early 1600s. You must visit old Delhi if you want to some of the best delicacies. Especially during the festivals like Ramdan ( Eid-ul-Fitr), the whole area is filled with aroma that is so inviting. Fried chicken, samosa, Jalebi, Faluda and so much more.

IMG_4866.JPG

 

When I visited Old Delhi, I had to visit the Kheer shop, Bade Miyan ki Kheer. I must say that by far is the most delicious thing I have ever had. The shop only sells Kheer, and it is to die for.  My insta story says it all.

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 9.39.14 AM

Today I decided to take that Kheer and present it in a little differently. I have tried to keep the essence of the dish intact, I hope you all enjoy it.

Kheer Panna Cotta

IMG_20170623_183245-01.jpeg

 

Ingredients

Panna cotta

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3-4 star Anise
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  •  3/4 cup rice
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder

Syrup

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • water as needed

Method

Panna cotta

  • Take 2.5 cups of milk and whipping cream, sugar  and warm it in a sauce pan.
  • Slightly crush the star anise and cardamom and add to the milk mixture, until it almost comes to a boil. Turn the heat off
  • Let the mixture cool for a few hours.
  • While the milk mixture is resting, take 1 cup of milk and rice, and cook on low heat for at least 40 mins. You don’t want to rush this step and this is what gives you a creamy texture.
  • Stain the milk cream mixture and discard the spices
  • When the rice is almost cooked, add the spiced milk and cook more
  • While the rice is cooking, take 1/2 cup of Milk and warm it up to 100 F
  • Mix agar-agar in the 1/2 cup warm milk and mix thoroughly
  • Add the agar mixture to the cooked rice
  • Pour it in glasses and set it in the fridge

Syrup

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, use water if need to thin it to a pouring consistency

IMG_20170623_181916.jpg

To serve

When ready to serve, keep the glass in warm water to loosen it. Pour the sauce on a plate and gentle put the unmolded pudding/kheer on the plate.

I garnished it with dried rose petals and a pistachio tuile with rose. I will share that recipe soon.

Enjoy!

Eid Mubarak!

 

 

 
Read the rest of this entry

Mother’s day Challah

Standard
Mother’s day Challah

My mom is an amazing woman. Strong, caring, intelligent and yet loving. She is the strength of the family and we are so lucky to be born to her.

18423904_10213262390663762_2052790983658134974_n

She is my inspiration in so many ways. She manages home while handling the business just as well. I still remember to what lengths she would go ( and still does to make things for us. Be it a dress for a play in school, be it packing tiffin with special treats for the school trip, be it helping with math homework to be it helping us with the babies, she does it effortlessly.

She is a great cook, a great entrepreneur and so many more things, but the biggest things that stands out is her unconditional love towards her family. She brings every one together. So today;s recipe is dedicated to my Aai( Thats what I call her).

 

She always pushes us to challenge ourselves. As you all know I cook a lot but have not been much of a baker. So this birthday resolution was to learn baking.

Today I have made Challah. Challah is a jewish bread( said like halla). You would typically see this in a braided form. Since I am making this for mother’s day I wanted to incorporate something that is significant to my Mom. My Mom not only loves us all very much, she has also created a family where all of us love each other very much.We are four siblings and we are like a tight fist.

Today I decided to make a round challah with four ropes and top it with four different seeds. This represent how my Mom’s love has brought us together and sort of her arms around the four of us.

Mother’s day Challah

20170513111846_IMG_9736-01

The recipe comes from a very famous book, Breaking breads .  I am in love with that book and you will be seeing many more recipes soon. I love how he not gives step by step instructions but also tells a bit of a history as well.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1000 grams ( about 7 cups) flour sifted well
  • 400 grams room temperature water
  • 15 grams Active dry yeast
  •  100 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 15 grams salt

Egg wash and toppings

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup different seeds, I have used Nigella, Poppy, Fennel and sesame seeds

Mix all of these together to make an egg wash

Method

Make the dough

  • In a stand mixer, add water and yeast, whisk it till combined
  • Add flour, eggs, sugar and salt
  • Mix the dough on low speed till the ingredients are combined. Stop and sracpe the flour if needed to avoid dry flour patches. It should take about 2 mins for the dough to come together
  • Now increase the speed and knead the dough on medium for about 4 minutes.
  • Now take the dough on a lightly floured surface
  • stretch and fold the dough  for about a minute as shown in the picture below 

     

  • Rest the dough for about 45 mins. It should be about 70% risen
  • Heat the oven at 425 F
  • Shaping the dough-Today I am going to shape it in a circle with 4 ropes, representing my Mom’s four kids. 
    • Take the risen dough and gently put it on a floured board.
    • Make it into a rectangle, make sure you do not deflate the dough
    • Cut the rectangle into 2 pieces.  Keep one piece aside.
    • With one half of the rectangle, make four parts.
    • Roll each part into a 14 inch cylinder
    • Weave the four ropes as I call them into a round
    •  

  • Cover and let it proof for at least 40 mins. To check if the dough has risen enough , when you press the dough surface with your finger, the indentation should fill up about 1/2 way. If your dough is not risen, the indentation wont fill, if its over risen, it will fill up to fast
  • Decorating
    • Now comes the fun part, decorating the challah
    • Brush with challah with egg-wash
    • Sprinkle with seeds of your choice.
  • Here I have used four different seeds to decorate

 

  • Bake at 425 F for about 25-30 mins
  • Serve with butter & honey. I served it with a Apple -Honey Jam

WhatsApp Image 2017-05-13 at 11.39.03 AM

Churros

Standard

I love Mexican food, in fact the whole family loves it very much. Sometimes I wonder if I was Mexican in my previous birth, because just as much Indian food, Mexican food is a constant feature in my kitchen.

IMG_7003.JPG

It’s Cinco de Mayo and I love to celebrate it. I never need an excuse to make something tasty, but when it’s fiesta time, it’s so much more fun! Such celebrations remind us that we live in the land of the free where many cultures have blended so well.

Anytime I visit a new place, the first thing I do is visit the local markets. I feel like I can learn so much more about the culture and the people of that country. Sometimes, people outside a country get a very limited view of that country’s cuisine. There were so many things in this Mazatlán market that I had never seen in the US! I ate these amazing churros in that market. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the cinnamon sugar that they were dipped in was at the perfect level of sweetness to make you crave for just one more! Ever since I had those churros, I have been meaning to try them in my own kitchen.

IMG_5079

Most of the recipes for churro call for eggs, but the street vendor didn’t use eggs in his dough. So I am taking that vendor as inspiration and bringing you an eggless churro recipe. Seriously, this comes together in an hour from start to finish (including the cooldown time).

Today I am planning to pair these churros with something yummy. When you think of summer, the first thing that comes to mind is ice-cream, right? Today I am making an ice-cream to go with our churros. The contrast of crunchy churros with creamy ice-cream is just yummy.

I make a weekly trip to my local Mexican store and that’s where I picked up a can of ‘dulce de leche’ (which translates to sweetened milk). Dulce de leche is a smooth, gooey goodness that I can eat with a spoon directly from a can. It goes great on your ice-cream sundaes, you can make flan with it and so much more.

Today’s ice-cream is a Dulce de Leche Ice-cream. It is a super simple recipe. Also, just like the churro, this is also an egg-free recipe.

Back to our churros. Typically, churros are a straight stick but today, since I’m planning to use them to make my ice-cream sandwich, I am going to pipe them in a spiral. I have decided to use a gadget which is very common in a Indian household, a chakli/murukku maker. It is used to make many savory snacks as well as fresh rice noodles. I love it because it’s very easy to use and clean. It comes with many discs which help you make different shapes.  I have a video on youtube which show I made it.

18199097_10213191958703007_3017445048061251461_n

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2  tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup  unbleached all-purpose flour

Oil for frying

For

  • 1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder

Directions

  1. In a small pot, heat  water, 2 tbsp sugar, salt and oil on a medium flame. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Let the dough cool down till it’s ok to handle.
  3. While you are piping the churros, heat the oil on low heat. I have used regular vegetable oil for frying.
  4. Now it’s time to pipe out the churros. Since I am planning to make the cookies, I will be making churros with a smaller diameter. However, you can use a pastry bag with a large star tip if you are making big sized churros.
  5. Pipe out 3″ spirals onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I like my ice-cream sandwiches to be bite-sized, so I won’t make them huge.)
  6. If the weather is hot, you can stick these piped spirals in the freezer for a few minutes. This helps the spirals stay together, or you might end up with a long churro in your pan.
  7. Fry the churros until golden brown. Make sure you don’t fry them on high heat, otherwise they will stay doughy inside and burnt outside.
  8. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, ancho chili powder and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in the mixture.

Notes:

  • I made the churros two ways:
    • The ones I fried right after I piped them were soft
    • The one I froze before I fried stayed much crispier