Make Sherbet At Home: A Simple Recipe

By Nadia Vitari

Mumbai weather is always suited for indulging in an ice cream or sherbet! Be it the crazy rains or the sweltering heat, it’s always a good time for an ice-cold dessert.

What if you could make a tasty sherbet (an icy dessert) at home? Sherbet can be made into a milk-free dessert so if one is avoiding milk-based ice-creams, sherbet is a perfect substitute. And what’s more, it’s simple, tasty and pocket friendly too!

This is why I would like to share with you a very easy recipe to prepare sherbet at home, with no dairy or the need for an ice-cream maker. It is a basic recipe and you can create your own variants of it. It can be effectively used for regular ice cream or frozen yogurt too!

Watermelon Sherbet. Image source: dashingdish.com

For those of you who like alcohol, adding a tad of vodka to it can also make for a very nice digestive dessert at the end of a meal or in-between meals for a European style. In fact, this is often what happens at weddings in fancy restaurants, especially in Italy.  Isn’t it always nice to have a refreshing break in between indulgent main dishes?!

Coconut Sherbet. Image source: gourmandeinthekitchen.com

My homemade sherbet is made using the exact same logic and steps as ice cream recipes. If you don’t mind milk: you need an ingredient (frozen fruit, and thinking of the local produce mango works the best, you can also try with pineapple, watermelon, and guava but mind that those are more liquid and less pulpy so you’ll have to increase the thickening ingredient or mix them with mango or banana) to give you a thick base and add liquid sugar (for example condensed milk) to help it freeze.

Condensed milk is an important ingredient in this case else the sherbet will be just too watery. If you cannot buy it easily or prefer to have it non-dairy or vegan, you can use my very simple recipe with coconut milk, which is also more cost effective. Also, do keep in mind that the only difference in the recipe below is in the kind of milk used. So for your recipe, you could just use any milk – dairy or coconut, and there you have it!

To make condensed milk, just add some sugar to milk and simmer in a heavy bottomed saucepan till sugar dissolves completely and keep it over low/medium heat. What is important is that you don’t stir it until the mix starts to simmer otherwise it can crack and crystallize. Then, let it on for around 30-40 minutes or until milk has darkened to a grayish color and reduced by half. Let it cool and store it in a jar, be careful though, if there are sugary bits around the rim of your pot don’t stir them into your condensed milk, this can also crack your mix and let milk cool completely before putting on the air tight lid. Keep it in the fridge and it will last you for months! Easy right?!

Mango Sherbet. Image source: recipeshubs.com

The Recipe

So coming back to our sherbet, for four people use around 400 gm of fruit and 70 gm of condensed milk, put them in a blender/food processor until thick and smooth (adjust milk and fruit quantity accordingly), pour this purée into a freezer-safe bowl, a metal one is preferred but plastic is also fine. Here’s the crucial and the only tricky part: every 30-45 minutes for 4 hours, remove your purée and re-mix everything together, as this prevents the ice crystals from forming and turning your sherbet into a giant fruit ice cube. After this freezing/re-mixing step, let it cool for 8 hours or until hard. Finally here you have it, enjoy it!

Other yummy mixes are banana and chocolate; mint goes very well with cucumber, strawberry, grapefruit; lime is awesome with melon, strawberry and kiwi; orange with basil; passion fruit with mango, and, if available, wild berries are just great too! In Europe we also add plants and petals like rhubarb, rose and elder-flower! If you like frozen yogurt you can also use that instead of condensed milk.  Also, if you like it tangy, you can add some lime zest!

In fact, in case of sherbet, let your imagination surprise your taste buds!

About Nadia Vitari

Passionate traveler and backpacker, Nadia comes from the Lake of Como area in Italy (yes, where George Clooney lives!). She moved to Mumbai to work for an NGO. Being Italian and having lived, worked and studied in different countries, she is passionate about food and other cultures, especially anything Japanese! She also loves reading, football and rock music.

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected]

10 Cooking Methods You Must Know About

By Anushka Sahjwani

Everything we do, everything we are, boils down to food (no pun intended.) Ponder how each and every situation is about food. Someone is getting married, lets meet and greet over food. A funeral is in progress… after that food is served as prasaad. A first time blind date, well, we meet in a coffee shop and eat a couple of sandwiches while we suss each other out. A business meeting? Oh what a great idea to meet at the new restaurant and lock things down! Food is everywhere, in sickness and in health, for good or better, till death do us part.

Is it any wonder then that Chefs all over the world have come up with so many different ways to cook food? Gone are the days of “lets go and have Chinese” or “we must check out this new place which serves the best butter chicken.” Now –a- days you hear terms like… molecular gastronomy, or seared fish or cured meats, or souz vide, or drying. It can be pretty daunting for someone who is still living in the days of hakka noodles and tandoori chicken. I want to tell you this, I will simplify terms of cooking for you so that when someone says: “Oh I just send my son living abroad dehydrated food” you don’t gape at them in amazement. Here is a list of cooking methods I have learnt over the years. Even if you don’t ever use them, believe me, food knowledge is always a good thing to have!

        1. Searing

A technique used to grill food over high flame till a golden crust is formed. Especially used for meats and fish, it locks the moisture in so that the meat or poultry is succulent.

Searing meat. Source: www.outincanberra.com.au

       2. Curing

Food that is subjected to fermentation or smoking. This method can include adding salt (like our home made achars) or nitrate or sugar and letting the moisture out.

Fermented sausages. Source: en.wikipedia.org

       3. Sweating

The gentle heating of vegetables in a little oil or butter which results in tender soft translucent pieces.

Sweating vegetables. Source: www.seriouseats.com

      4. Caramelization

Caramelization is a common cooking method. It simply means browning the food, and thereby browning the sugar in it, for its distinct flavor.

Caramelized Onions. Source: www.recipeshubs.com

      5. Coddling

I know it sounds like hugging food, but its really a process whereby food is kept just below boiling point for quite a while to let it cook. The best example here would be coddled eggs.

Coddled eggs. Source: www.popsugar.com

       6. Drying

A food dehydrator machine removes all the moisture from the food and in that process preserves it. When ready to eat, all you need to do is add water. This is one of the cooking methods that are popular these days what with moms wanting to send home food to their kids studying abroad.

Dehydrated tomatoes. Source: dehydratorjudge.com

       7. Dum Pukht

This is one of the cooking methods where food is cooked at a very slow pace in sealed vessels, over a very low flame for very long hours. This technique came from the awadh region and is very popular in tandoor dishes.

Dum Pukht Biryani. Source: www.lassiwithlavina.com

      8. Liquid Nitrogen

Would you believe of cooking methods that use liquid nitrogen? Well, this chemical composition is used to flash-freeze food and sometimes to shatter it so that you get these funky looking shards. Mostly used in 7 star restaurants it has not yet caught everywhere.

Liquid Nitrogen. Source: www.finedininglovers.com

      9. Molecular Cooking

This is one of the most unique cooking methods, also popular in Michelin starred restaurants. This method uses chemistry and uses food as a scientific experiment. Sometimes carbon dioxide is used for adding bubbles and sometimes liquid nitrogen is used for freezing. Maltodextin can turn high fat liquid into powder and  chemicals are used to alter the size shape and state of food. Very exciting to look at and even more exciting to eat. Molecular gastronomy is a “must try” atleast once!

Source: www.specialmoleculargastronomy.co.uk

     10. Air Frying

This is one fad that has caught on with the health conscious people really fast. Air fryers are so easy to come by now- a -days. It literally fries your food with hot air and the benefits of this type of food are plenty. Who would’ve ever thought you could eat French fries without guilt! It is one of the cooking methods fast catching up in urban households too!

Air Frying. Source: gearpatrol.com

I do hope you have enjoyed reading the various cooking methods. Ofcourse, there are many more, but these are by far the most used in every country. I also hope you will try more different types of cooking and learn to differentiate a simple bake from a souz vide dish. Life is a journey and if one can learn a little as we go along it always becomes more interesting.

About Anushka Sahjwani

 

Anushka Sahjwani is an avid reader and foodie. A professional writer for many smash hit television shows and tarot card reader turned online entrepreneur with her website www.tarotinfinity.com. Her most recent hobby is blogging. Her two favourite things in life are writing and eating, and when the two combine – blog posts are born.

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected]

3 Tips to Communicate Your Vision To Your Team

By Amita Baheti 

Communication is to any organisation what blood stream is to a human body. If the blood supply stops to any part of the body, it first becomes inefficient and gradually dysfunctional. Organisations have always struggled with the challenge of communicating their vision to the last mile staff in their team. From town halls to traditional team meetings; from chain of emails to newsletters and from flipping magazines to streaming videos; organisations try every channel to communicate with their teams. The question to ask is ‘on scale of 1 to 10, how sure are you that what you wish to communicate is being understood the way you desire it to?’

“The greatest problem with communication is the assumption that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw.

As with most complex situations, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to vision communication. Here, I suggest 3 rules that will help you drill down the larger corporate vision to everyone in your team.

1. Go in this order: What. How. Why.

Once you develop your strategy, you need to direct your team towards making things happen. I suggest an approach which I call: What, How and Why.

WHAT: Communicating specific benchmarks and deadlines is important. Tell the team WHAT is that you intend to communicate in a very crisp and direct way. Telling WHAT first, prevents audience to mentally reach to conclusions that you may not even intend them to reach.

HOW: After you communicate what to achieve, give team the direction to reach the benchmark. Direction has to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Relevant and Timed. Setting a benchmark but not breaking it down into understandable chunks of information for the team in a ‘to – do’ format may lead to great intentions but clueless actions.

WHY: Focusing on the big picture enables buy-in of your vision and supports processing in the idea. The WHY brings in the much required assertiveness and confidence to set the team in action. It is important to give them a compelling reason to believe in your vision and also for that do let them know what’s in it for them.

This will ensure that the bigger company vision is now a combined vision of its people that they can clearly see and contribute towards. 

2. Visualize

Whether communication is written or verbal, retaining it becomes a challenge. Visualising and summarising your ideas in the form of a picture or video helps in making it more effective and memorable. The more visual it is, the better is the retention of the message! Desktop wallpapers, posters and meetings are traditional ways, having a great impact. Infographics and colourful flow charts are a few more interesting and crisp ways to summarize and support your ideas. A good method to make any visual communication is to order the ideas in a logical manner. It can be a cause – effect relationship or a timeline or a graphic representation. Simple videos, sticky notes, constant reminders never fail.

3. Brand your vision!

Branding your vision statement can be an effective way to crystallise your ideas and amplify the message to everyone in the team. Just as you give an interesting name to all your marketing campaigns, give an equally nice name and branding to your internal campaigns too. The nomenclature should be such that it directly arouses the core idea in minds of the audience. Branding the vision conveys a sense of new beginning and builds an emphasis on the criticality of the whole idea.

While communication cannot be a substitute for actual performance, it definitely is the first step towards giving a direction to the entire team. A thoughtful approach to communicating with teams can help build the much needed momentum to bring everyone together for value creation.

About Amita Baheti 

Amita is a potato-lover and works at Holachef. You can follow her on Twitter at @AmitaBaheti

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected].

Italian Tiramisu Recipe Made Easy

By Nadia Vitari

How does a rich and indulgent tiramisu sound? As foodies, you might have had the chance to taste a tiny and over-priced portion of Italian desserts at restaurants and might want to replicate them at home but you are not too sure how to go about it, especially if you would like to offer them as desserts to your guests and impress them. Or maybe you have always wondered what they taste like (they look so yummy and inviting) but you prefer an egg-less dessert or you would like to avoid the alcohol in the original recipes or may find the importehttps://holachef.com/files/blog_subdomain/category/d ingredients too pricey! let me help you; being an Italian, I can share with you the real recipes. Living in India, I have worked out several alternatives with are cheap on the pocket, made with the available ingredients and adapted to the local tastes/diet or religious requirements.

The Ingredients

So let’s start explore the original Italian Tiramisu! The real recipe uses Savoiardi (that’s the Italian name for the authentic version of Ladyfinger biscuits), mascarpone cheese, coffee prepared with moka pot (as ground coffee is more aromatic and tasteful than instant), eggs and sugar.

Ladyfinger (biscuit) or Savoiardi. Image source: en.wikipedia.org

 

Mascarpone Cheese. Image source: www.gourmetsleuth.com

The Recipe

So let’s try to prepare it without Savoiardi and mascarpone as they are not always available. In fact, let’s also look at an egg-less version. If you are not keen on using coffee or you have kids in the household, you can replace coffee with juice and add chunks of fruit in it (for example pineapple, papaya or wild berries). So you carefully imbibe the cookies in juice instead of coffee, but be careful not to dip them for too long otherwise instead of crunchy and spongy they get mushy and not so nice to your palate. Especially as the real tiramisu tastes better after being kept for several hours (overnight would be great) in the fridge and then kept out for 20 minutes before serving it, after sprinkling its top with powered cocoa. Also decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe as it might get too sweet and use less cocoa if you are using juice. Replace mascarpone with thick whipped cream and cream cheese. Use digestive cookies (better if square than round, as it is easier to cut portions) instead of Savoiardi; you can also use glucose biscuits but in this case I would suggest avoiding sugar altogether.

Tiramisu with Digestive Biscuits. Image source: www.cucchiaio.it

Be generous in your purchase of cream cheese and whipped cream, as you want to create thick layers to cover the cookies. Also add two tea spoons of vanilla extract if available. Whip the heavy cream, vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form; add soft cream cheese (the more you use the better it will taste). Then place a layer of biscuits at the bottom of a deep square casserole, after having quickly dipped them into juice or coffee. Spread a first layer of cream over them and repeat this layering at least three or four times as the cookies you are using are very much thinner than the original Savoiardi. Use a knife or a flat spatula to spread the top smooth. Cover and let it sit for upto 24 hours before serving.

Tiramisu. Image source: thewhoot.com.au

Most times, I let mine sit for as little as three/four hours and it turns out just fine. Take it out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving it and then dust top with cocoa or shaved chocolate. Also, if you decided to opt for juice and fruit, a yummy version can be prepared by adding think chunks of fruit over the top of each layer of cookies and then using shaved white chocolate instead of cocoa at the top.

Pineapple Tiramisu. Image source: fotogallery.donnaclick.it

For those who appreciate its “alcoholic” version, add liquor like Kahlua or Bailey’s to your coffee preparation, in this case avoiding sweetening it altogether.

You can also make a healthier version replacing some of the whipped cream and cream cheese with thick, Greek yogurt, plain or fruity, depending the variant you selected.

Voila’! or, as we would say in Italy Ecco fatto! Buon appetito

About Nadia Vitari

Passionate traveler and backpacker, Nadia comes from the Lake of Como area in Italy (yes, where George Clooney lives!). She moved to Mumbai to work for an NGO. Being Italian and having lived, worked and studied in different countries, she is passionate about food and other cultures, especially anything Japanese! She also loves reading, football and rock music.

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected]

Mutton Raan: A One-Man-Meal

By Vineet Rajan

The year 2003 was when a lot of things were happening around me. I had just moved to Bangalore, my brother was getting married, I was new to college and hostel life. Everything was quite confusing and overwhelming!

Much to my delight, my brother’s friends decided to throw him a bachelor bash soon after I landed in the city. And by ‘bash’ I mean a day-long road trip on the Mysore highway and back to Bangalore in the evening. We had two cars between us (I think) – the Maruti 800 had all the gentlemen and my brother’s Santro had all the good stuff – crates and crates of beer! There were 8 of us (I think)! The reason I don’t remember everything very clearly can be attributed to the goods carrying capacity of both iconic vehicles of the yesteryear’s, if you know what I mean.

There’s an old joke about Maruti 800:

Q) How many people can be seated in a Maruti 800?

Ans) The number of people in your group.

True to its word, there were 6 of us in the 800 and two in the Santro plus the two humble drivers we had hired; and we preferred it that way.

We took the cars out on the Mysore highway and we halted at every stop we could see along the way; and each stop was celebrated inevitably with a round of beers. By the end of the day we had polished around 8 crates; that’s one for each of us. We washed off the drunkenness with a dip into one of the many streams that dotted Bangalore. My mom had called me sometime then and I had to listen to her frowning upon me slurring too much while I spoke; but all I could think about was food. We were ravenous.

It was quite late by then and we were all hungry enough to eat anything that crossed our paths on the way to one of outlets of legendary ‘Hotel Empire’. We went to the branch in Shivaji Nagar. My brother noticed me drooling all the way into the restaurant and suggested a mutton raan. I asked for two.

Empire Restaurant in Shivaji Nagar. Source: www.hotelempire.in

They all grinned at me and my over-zealous, over-ambitious go at eating two portions of mutton raan in one meal. I was relentless!

Needless to say, I ate both of them, without sharing a single strain of meat with any of the 7 others; including my brother. I did not even spare the salad that came with it. While the waiters were amused with the spectacle they would not have had a chance in see in ages, I polished the two legs of a full grown goat with a grilled chicken. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the iron stomach I once had.

Mutton Raan. Source: finedinelove.com

It’s been close to a 12 years since that day and very few meals even came close to the one we had on that evening in Bangalore. I still reminisce that day with fond love.. for the raan of course.

Raan is a one-man meal, it’s not something you can share with anyone else. First off, it’s practically impossible to do that without making a mess out of it. Two, I think it’s just not legal.

So while my brother got married next week and became a one-woman man, I had something else to look forward to for the rest of the four years in Bangalore,  my very own one-man meals in the City of Gardens!

About Vineet Rajan

Vineet is an entreprenur and a road-travel junkie. He goes by the name @RoyalEnfielder on Twitter. He is married to Swati, who works with Holachef and manages this blog, among other funky stuff!

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected].

An Italian’s Experiences with Indian Food

In one of my previous blogposts, I described my experience with local restaurants. In this post, I would like to share some more interesting (and often hilarious) experiences with Indian food!

Potatoes

I think the funniest thing happened just a few weeks after my arrival. I was coming back from a day-long workshop and was very tired and hungry. I did not have anything ready at home and hadn’t had the time to go grocery shopping either. So I thought of buying some potatoes on my way home. What’s better than a potato-dinner when one is ravenously hungry, I thought! It was already quite dark and I found one vendor selling potatoes. I wanted to rush home very quickly so I bought half a kg and quickly walked towards my house.

When I reached my house and was ready to cook them… there was a suprise! The stuff that I had just bought only looked like potatoes (at least in the dark) but were instead some kind of fruits that I had never seen before… and you can imagine my major disappointment! I mean, looking forward to an all-potato meal and then not getting it can be extremely frustrating. However, being a fruit and vegetable lover, I thought I might give it a go anyways, and not like I had much choice at that point! To my bedazzlement, those ‘fruits’ were very woody and weird, and only after an internet search I realized I had, in fact, just bought wood apples! To open them, I had to use a pestle, only to discover a sticky, fibrous pulp, speckled with hundreds of edible seeds. I didn’t even like the taste, they seemed quite acidic. Only later, while talking to my tenant and laughing about my experience I found out that they are usually served with jaggery or made into jams, drinks or chutneys!

Wood Apple. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Needless to say, I went to bed hungry that night, dreaming of potatoes!

Pani Puri

The second incident was more of a ‘pani puri’ crisis! I had heard about this unique Indian street-food favorite from my friends and was eager to try it out at Juhu beach, as was recommended. I decided to finally eat them one afternoon after I spent a few hours lazing around at Juhu beach. Since I was soaked in sand, I thought it’s best if I took a parcel instead of having it at the beach itself.

Now that I eat pani-puri very often, I realize what a silly thing that was  to do – parceling pani-puri. First off, I had no clue how to eat a pani-puri at all (it was my first time, remember?), hence the packet with green water, some boiled peas and the puris that looked like beignets totally puzzled me. After ‘struggling’ with my imagination for a while, I ended up eating it like ‘chapatis’ – taking each puri and drenching it in green water and trying to scoop the peas onto it!

Pani Puri. Source: en.wikipedia.org

I liked it, since it tasted like a salad but didn’t quite get what the fuss was about, because all my friends seemed to swear by the dish! Only later did I find out the best (and only) way to enjoy pani-puris is to fill each puri like a water balloon that goes straight into the mouth!

This made me realize that something as intrinsic as pani-puris to the Indian palate can be so confusing for someone who hasn’t had them before.  I find such peculiarities very fascinating and that’s why food plays an important role when I am travelling and discovering a new place.

Pickles

Once, I was enjoying a shared thali of Indian food with my colleagues during a business lunch and ate a mouthful of pickles; thinking they were a regular curry. In my attempt to be polite at the table, I had to use all my energy (and cool) to not spit them out; they were extremely salty and spicy! I pretended that I was just fine, with everybody looking at me expecting my reaction!

Indian Pickles. Source: en.wikipedia.org

Buttermilk

I risked losing my face once when tasting butter milk, thinking that I was about to have something similar to lassi, sweet but enhanced with Indian spices! It was so sour for me (and even now I find it challenging to drink) that I really didn’t know how to hide my disappointment and swallowed it without blinking!

Jain food

It was also a great Indian food discovery for me when I finally learned the difference between Jain food and vegetarian food. Before that I could not have imagined any aversion to vegetables of any kind due to religious beliefs. To my understanding, you either ate meat / animal derivate or you didn’t. So it was nothing short of a fascinating discovery that Jain food meant no potatoes, garlic, onions, or any roots for that matter. There’s so much to learn and experiment when it comes to food!

Jaggery

I also didn’t know about the extensive use of jaggery in Indian cuisine nor had I ever heard of its existence before I got to India. Would you believe it that I have a sweet tooth and yet jaggery is too sweet for my palate? In fact, since moving to India, I don’t crave for desserts as much. However, Dudhi Halwa was an excellent find for me. I had never imagined that something as dull as bottle gourd could be made into such a nice dessert!

Jaggery. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Thank you, Mumbai, for teaching me so much about Indian food and I know there is still a lot more to learn and discover!

About Nadia Vitari

Passionate traveler and backpacker, Nadia comes from the Lake of Como area in Italy (yes, where George Clooney lives!). She moved to Mumbai to work for an NGO. Being Italian and having lived, worked and studied in different countries, she is passionate about food and other cultures, especially anything Japanese! She also loves reading, football and rock music.

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected]

Recipes of Nostalgia

By Samir Saxena

Food invokes nostalgia. As a 90’s kids from a small town and having grown up with my grandparents around, this nostalgia has become a mental benchmark in today’s times. Everything I eat or every place I visit, I keep comparing it to my childhood experiences. Recently, a spoonful of pudine ki chutney from a small food joint in Shirdi took me back to my childhood in Udaipur, when my dadaji used to make chutneys using freshest coriander & mint leaves in a rustic grinding stone. That was pure heaven!

Once, I had ordered a dish from a homechef on Holachef and the food came with a small box of tamatar ki chutney sweetened with jaggery. It took me straight back to those chilled Udaipur winters when I used to relish makke ki roti with gud; sitting under the sun in the backyard of my house – something that most kids in Mumbai would never experience!

For me, as a child, butter chicken was another dish which had great memories attached to it.

In fact, there’s a funny story when butter chicken inspired me to become a Chartered Accountant!

Once, an uncle of mine who was a CA took me to Barry’s, an old, legendary restaurant in Udaipur. It was my first time at Barry’s and I tasted the best butter chicken there. As innocent as it may seem, I thought to myself that if being a CA meant getting to eat such brilliant butter chicken more often, then that’s the profession I should pursue too!

Today I am not a CA and Barry’s is long gone (unfortunately); though the search continues for a butter chicken that would taste just as good!

Nostalgia and cravings

I sometimes get cravings for homemade white butter, to just relish those days when every aloo paratha made by mom was served with a healthy dollop of white better on top. Or I often immerse in the possibility of having that sweet khoya made at home with thickened milk. I think of how ghee shakkar ke chawal was the quintessential dessert after every meal and not cheesecake or mousse or brownies. Cheeni ka Paratha was one innovation by my dadi which drove us kids crazy and wanting for more.

Aloo Paratha with White Butter. Source: www.inhouserecipes.com

Bread or roti with Bikaneri Bhujia was an acceptable combination back then. Even today, I sometimes eat my entire meal with Bikaneri Bhujia. Poha was not poha without spicy sev on top. Back in the day, my pocket money used to be Rs 4 a month and that was enough for me to indulge. Cream Roll was the most coveted treat for just Re 1, which I used to eat every Saturday in my school canteen. I still have it sometimes in Bombay; purely for its nostalgic pleasure.

In those days, even Bournvita had its own special place in my life. I remember how my mom used to add a few spoons of Bournvita to a little sugar, water and milk in a small bowl. She would then swirl it using a spoon till it became a gooey delicacy. I loved having it! Sometimes I would get up in the middle of the night and make it for myself, devour it and go back to sleep! I even made a variation of it with tutty fruity, jujubes and sometimes attempted to make chocolate bars by freezing it.

Food was as much a part of my childhood as was growing up. It helped me deal with my difficult teenage years, examination fever, fear of growing up, fear of future, my teenage heartbreak, my first victory, my first loss and a lot more.

I miss all that. As I write this, I once again feel like that grumpy blue-eyed boy of the family who refuses to get out his quilt to get ready for school on a cold, wintry Monday morning without a mug of hot chocolate. I miss those winter mornings too.

About Samir Saxena

Samir loves to travel. He usually picks a direction and takes open roads either on his Bullet or his prized cycle too. Photography, football and FC Barcelona are some of his other passions. He can drink gallons of chai, is a day dreamer and recently started blogging at http://profusely-confused.blogspot.in. You can follow him on Twitter at @SamirSaxena.

Oh, and he heads the Operations at Holachef.

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected]

Childhood Nostalgia and Food

By Deepak Ananth

Food! Nothing brings back the memories of good old days as vividly as a plate of hot piping portion of a dish that you grew up on.

Remember the days when the entire family would gather around the table and eat mom’s creations together, the chatter, and the tingling taste buds after eating simple yet deceptively complex flavors, the love that is served along with the day’s menu.

As you grow up, the mind yearns for the same taste. We roam the world tasting one plate of food after another, one cuisine after another but still return home to the familiar taste that often forms the premise of our very personalities.

Vazhaithandu Thoran/ Banana Stem Stir Fry. Source: http://palakkadcooking.blogspot.in/

Farm to Table

I grew up in a south Indian family that prides itself in feeding its members and guests till they are more than stuffed. From the Palakkad region of Kerala, our food is predominantly vegetarian and has ingredients that are often not considered as food in other parts of the country. In some cases, multiple ingredients (and delicacies) came from the same natural source.

Take the banana plant for instance; my grandmother and mother would make curries from the raw plantain, use the flower to make a side dish, the stem to serve up a scrumptious and healthy “kootu” and the fruit to make sweet delicacies that are worth craving for!

Another delicacy in our home was the small jackfruit or the “idichakkai”. It is an acquired taste but one that our family swears by. Or consider lotus roots, which used to be dried and fried to a crispy brown and eaten along with rice. There are various other such dehydrated fruits that I can’t even hope to find the English names for! Most of these dishes took time and effort to prepare, and therein lies the problem today.

In our day and age, where the 10 minute meal is a luxury, where tastes are made-to-order through emulsified liquids and reagents, we have lost the freshness and tastiness of the organically grown produce, often in our very own backyard!

The writer grew up in Kerala’s Palakkad region and enjoyed food cooked by his mother and grand mother. Most of the ingredients were grown organically and cooked with a lot of effort..and love! Image source: www.mouthshut.com

It is therefore very heartening to see that more and more cuisines are now going back to the ‘organic’ culture. In fact, if a restaurant uses ‘organic’ ingredients, that becomes the biggest USP of the eatery. The concept of farm-to-table is catching up again, although it’s ironical that ‘farm-to-table’ used to be India’s very culture. It used to be the norm, not an exception. The ‘effort’ in cooking is what makes it complete. Putting ‘heart and soul’ into the food is what makes it good.

The hope is that when a child beseeches to her mother and says, “mummy bhookh lagi hai,”, the mother does not reply, “beta 2 minutes” and that will be the triumph of taste over convenience!

About Deepak Ananth

Over the past decade and half, Deepak has taken himself to the various nooks and crannies of India through road travel, interacting with the people, eating the local cuisine, creating memories through pictures and just plain roaming the country side. His Enfield, Theia and his car, Lucifer, vie equally for his attention. His ideal holiday would involve rains, nature, long winding roads, mouthwatering food and absolute strangers to share a drink and story with!

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected]

 

 

Indian Food That Resembles International Dishes

By Youthika Chauhan

We’re Indians, and let us just admit – we are absolutely, vehemently and undeniably proud of our food! Not only do we consider spices to be an integral part of our lives, but we also consider it our birth-right to ‘Indian-ize’ every other form of international cuisine we come across! We take immense pride in dipping our pizza slice in tomato ketchup and pouring spoonfuls of soy sauce and chilli vinegar in hakka noodles! What’s more? We even have our own ‘chinese dosa’ and ‘mexican bhel’! While travelling overseas, we get jump at the sight of an Indian restaurant. “We are toh like this only.” Yet, we have a palate open to wider cuisine options and the world is our kitchen!

Indian food, diverse in its own ways has a special place in our hearts. Food has an important place in every culture. It forms a part of our identity and distinguishes us from the rest, but at a global level it ties us together. Indeed, even some of our desi dishes have their videshi twins across the world! Don’t believe me? Check out some of the hand-picked dishes I have found for you:

  • Baingan ka Bharta versus Babaganoush

In India, we roast eggplant and cook it with spices in oil. In the Mediterranean, eggplant is grilled, mashed, and mixed with sesame oil and herbs. We eat it with Bhakhri or Roti, they have it with pita bread!

Baingan Bharta. Source: werecipes.com

Baba Ganoush. Source: www.skagitfoodcoop.com

  • Makai ke Papad versus Tortilla

Corn forms the staple diet in Mexico. The flour is usually roasted or fried into crisp tortillas. In India too, we have our own makke ki roti and makai ka papad. Have these with rajma and you will have your desi tacos and quesadillas all by yourself!   

Makke Ki Roti. Source: http://festivals.iloveindia.com/

Tortilla Source: www.wisegeek.com

  • Vaal ki Daal and Koukia Lathera

Broad beans, also called Fava beans are cooked like a curry in Greek. In India, we have a pulse, locally known as Vaal which is cooked to form a distinct, uncrushed daal. See it for yourself!

Vaal Nu Shaak. Source: werecipes.com

Koukia Lathera. Source: vegetus.nl

  • Kachumber and Vegetable Salad

The goodness of greens is appreciated across the world. For Kachumber ix up some tomatoes, cucumber, onion, carrot and add a dash of lime and your bowl of good health is ready. To that, add some lettuce and parsley and that’s what the West calls ‘Vegetable Salad’!

Kachumber. Source: www.purepunjabi.co.uk

Vegetable Salad. Source: www.thewickednoodle.com

  • Lapsi Upma and Cous Cous

Coarsely ground wheat is a great source of fibre and other nutrients. In India, we make fada ni khichdi, lapsi (dalia) upma and other dishes with it. Cous Cous is prepared in Turkey, Morocco and other Middle-Eastern countries using the same ingredient, there known as Bulgur Wheat. It is cooked with oil and topped with vegetables like onion, capsicum, tomato, zucchini, etc. while we cook it with onions, peas, carrots and others.

Lapsi Upma. Source: TarlaDalal.com

Couscous Salad. Source: www.newhealthadvisor.com

With a little twist our regular preparations from everyday cooking can metamorphose into their exotic avatar! And that’s one of the many things that’s special about food – it sustains us and bonds us in spite of our roots or perhaps, because of our roots!

About Youthika Chauhan

Apart from being a passionate food connoisseur, Youthika is a qualified food technologist and a nutrition expert. She writes as a hobby and has been a regular on Quora for food and related topics. Her writing experience extends to being the editor of a newsletter, UDAAN, which reaches to about 4000 alumni from her institute each year. Youthika is a regular customer of Holachef.

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This post is part of Holachef’s Write Ho! program which is open to Holachef’s fans, critics, customers and their loved ones! To participate, write to [email protected]