Monadarling’s Blog

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Adapted from Ashwini’s Blog

This dish has many, many memories attached to it. On our annual trips to Goa, we couldn’t eat fish until we had visited all temples. And it invariably used to be a short trip because we had to head to my uncle’s home soon after. So consider this

seafood lovers + seafood paradise + (4 to 5 temples x 1-2 rituals each) – no seafood = really cranky seafood lovers!!

I am exaggerating of course. It wasn’t that bad. Contrary to popular perception Goa has amazing vegetarian fare to offer and we didn’t feel deprived at all. I remember we used to eat this peas curry with freshly baked buns and it was sheer bliss! Goa’s bread deserves a post of its own. Poetry can be written on the subject and it would still not be enough.

This curry is an example of how legumes are cooked in the region of Malwan/ Goa. Roasted coconut, use of whole spices like cinnamon & cloves and the distinct lack of bedgi chillies sets this cuisine apart from its Kanara counterparts (though there are exceptions on both sides, so no angry emails please!).

The recipe is a specialty of my mother’s side and my ‘mausi’ (aunt) especially excels in making it. When family get togethers had to be strictly vegetarian, ‘hirvya vatanyachi amti’ was the unanimous choice. Only my aunt insisted on calling it ‘popti vatanyachi amti’ (parrot green peas curry)!

(serves 2-3)
1 cup dry green peas*
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp tamarind paste or 3-4 kokum
salt to taste
Masala –
1/2 tsp oil
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
5-6 peppercorns
3-4 dried red chillies
1″ cinnamon
2 cloves
3/4 cup grated coconut
remaining 1/2 of onion, sliced
Seasoning –
mustard seeds
curry leaves

Soak green peas in water overnight. Drain and add just enough water to submerge. Combine with chopped onion and cook until soft (but holding their shape). Set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet and roast the coriander seeds, chillies, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. Set aside. Add sliced onion and coconut and roast till golden. Grind everything to smooth paste with a little water.

Heat a sauce pan with oil. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafetida. Add cooked peas and masala. Adjust consistency of the curry with water and still until everything is well combined.

Add tamarind/ kokum and season to taste. Bring to a boil and serve with bread, or rice.

* You can use fresh green peas too, if you find the non sweet kind
* This masala is very versatile; use it for ‘chawli’ (black eyed peas), ‘moong’ (green gram sprouts) and the other famous dish from the region – ‘kale vatane’ (dry black peas)


– By Neha Mahajan

So What do divas eat? Damn! They have such fab bodies, they exercise.. of course even we do, but what is it that they do apart from toning and flexing their muscles that keeps them so fit and healthy? We might call it the new food fad, but frankly it is pretty easy to follow. Just a few changes in the way we perceive food and you’ll rediscover a whole new meaning to what we eat.

Microbiotic diet, this term essentially means long life. Based on a simple tenet advocated by the Greek physician Hippocrates “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” — the term is all about bringing the body and mind back into balance. It is an approach that encompasses not only good food but extends to cooking styles, lifestyle, daily exercise, even meditation to support a vibrant life.

A macrobiotic diet isn’t simply a diet plan. It’s a way of life. If you’re drawn to the concept of eating a natural, organic, plant-based diet (with a little fish) and embrace a Zen-like spirituality in both your life and food selections, then a macrobiotic diet may be for you. Although not scientifically proven, a macrobiotic diet of wholesome, nutritious foods may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
Some of the simple facts that microbiotic diet instills are:

The Right Balance: The diet that is reportedly followed by everyone from Alicia Sliverstone, Madonna, Gywneth Paltrow and Cindy Crawford, is all about finding the yin and yang in food. To achieve that balance, foods are paired based on their sour, sharp, salty, sweet, or bitter characteristics.

Yin foods are cold, sweet, and passive while yang foods are hot, salty, and aggressive. Some foods are prohibited because they contain toxins or fall on the far end of the spectrum, making it difficult to achieve and respect a Zen-like balance.

Imagine a scale. In it, alcohol and chemicals, sugar, coffee, honey, butter, oil (yin foods) are on one end. At the centre you have tofu, leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains, beans and vegetables. The other extreme tilts toward salt (table salt), eggs, red meat, cheese and poultry (yang). You shouldn’t be swinging toward either ends, and, if you do, that’s when the cravings for certain foods begin. In simple words, avoid anything too sweet, salty or spicy.

What You Can Eat: The food is preferred to be locally grown. Using traditional techniques of cooking. They believe that cooking styles can govern the way your energy will flow. Steaming encourages the energy to move up, while sautéing moves it outward, pressure cooking causes it to move inward, while boiling — to flow..

So you could stew some carrots to slowly settle your energy, or steam greens to move your energy upwards. Thus, you can prepare foods in a way that sends healthy living energy into certain parts of your body. Lots of grains, vegetables, beans, fermented soy, and soups — supplemented with small amounts of fish, nuts, seeds, and fruits — are the basis of the macrobiotic diet menu.

It is essentially a “flexitarian” diet plan — a mostly vegetarian diet that allows you to eat occasional meat or fish — with rules governing eating, cooking, and lifestyle practices such as eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly.

#  1 medium onion, finely chopped
# 2 garlic cloves, minced
# 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
# 2 tablespoons olive oil
# 4 cups chicken stock or broth
# 2 cups green peas, frozen
# 1 teaspoon dried mint OR 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
# Salt, to taste
# Black pepper, to taste
# Plain yogurt, for serving

Put oil in deep pot; add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender. Add potatoes and cook a minute or two, then add stock, peas and mint. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. PurÈe and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls with a swirl of yogurt. Makes 4 servings, each 479 calories (17 percent calories from fat), 9 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1504 mg sodium, 75 g carbohydrate, 27 g dietary fiber, 27 g protein.

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In this world of frugal living, every body wants nutrition but without really spending much. We all know about Oats, but what apart from them can energize brain cells and muscles with nutrition. Here are a few forgotten foods, our ancestors doted on, not to mention the importance of nutritional powerhouses that are a must in grocery list; all this more without pinching pennies.
Quinoa: Pronounced as Kee-noa, Quinoa seeds are easy to cook, have a fluffy texture when boiled, and a nutty-like taste. It has high protein content, is also an excellent source of essential amino acids, lower in carbohydrates, making it a perfect meat substitute for non-meat eaters. Quinoa is also an excellent source for phosphorous and dietary fiber, and has high levels of magnesium and iron. Quinoa can be used as an alternative in meals and recipes that call for rice, couscous, millet, or any other starchy food. Just add your favorite vegetables, meats or seasonings and enjoy.

Black Bean and Tomato Qinoa – serves 4 –


2 teaspoons grated lime zest 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup Qinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

2. Wash Qinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

3. Cook Qinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover Qinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

4. Add Qinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

1 block of firm tofu, cubed
2 large bunches of bok choy, chopped: green and white parts separated
a big handful of green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp light cooking oil
salt, to taste

Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a deep non-stick wok, and fry cubed tofu till slightly golden all over. Set aside. Add in remaining oil in the pan and saute garlic and onions till soft and lightly browned. Add in spices and fry for a few seconds. Throw in chopped tomatoes, season with salt and fry for a few minutes. Add in tomato paste and tamarind extract, and continue to fry, breaking up tomatoes till it starts to dry out and give out oil from the sides. Add in beans and tofu, and stir fry till beans are cooked but still crisp. Add in bok choy, and stir fry till it starts to wilt. Serve warm.

Spice up leftover cooked salmon in these simple, freezable fishcakes with cooling raita.
At a glance
600g potatoes , quartered if large
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 spring onions , finely chopped
1 red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 egg , beaten
100g cooked leftover salmon , flaked into large pieces
plain flour , for coating
25g butter and 1 tbsp sunflower oil
leftover avocado mayo, raita or mango chutney, to serve

Boil the potatoes. Meanwhile, dry-fry the cumin seeds for a couple of secs in a large non-stick frying pan. When soft, drain the potatoes, return to the saucepan, add the cumin, onions, chilli and coriander with plenty of seasoning, then mash well. When cooled a little, beat in 2 tbsp of the egg, then carefully stir through the salmon. Shape into 4 rough cakes, then coat in flour. If freezing, freeze on a baking sheet until solid, then pack up.
In the frying pan, melt the butter with the oil. Fry the cakes for about 2 mins each side until golden. Serve with the mayo, raita (recipe below) or mango chutney and some salad leaves.
Additional Tips

Relish with simple raita: Mix 150g pot natural yogurt with 1 tsp mint jelly, 1 tbsp chopped coriander and seasoning to taste.

“Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet”, released sometime during late 2007, is an everyday cookbook by Padma Lakshmi. It is full of international cuisine that is easy, elegant, and unforgettable. The book shares with origins of her latest exotic recipes after traveling to some of the most secluded corners of the planet. Even better, you’ll never have to travel the world to get the information in order to prepare them. The book makes it simple to impress guests with more than two hundred dishes

Padma provides her own recipes for mouth-watering international fare in this lush, lavishly illustrated everyday cookbook. Padma is no stranger to food; in 1999, her first cookbook, Easy Exotic, won not just the adulation of fans, but the 1999 Versailles World Cookbook Fair Award for Best First Cookbook. It established her as a gifted chef and served as the basis for her own show on the TV Food Network, Padma’s Passport.

Padma Lakshmi is also an internationally renowned actress and model, and the host of Bravo TV’s highly acclaimed Top Chef. She is the author of Easy Exotic, and former host of Padma’s Passport and Planet Food on the Food Network.

Padma’s love of food started at a very young age and has been further influenced along the way. An Indian by birth, Padma’s earliest childhood memories include shelling peanuts and eating pickles at her mother’s side in the kitchen.

Upon moving to New York, her palate was further shaped by the different personalities she met. Be it a babysitter or her mother’s Caribbean boyfriend or a playmate from the Philippines. The culinary field trips to a variety of ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Spanish Harlem further helped fine tune her culinary tastes. Trips back to India included stops in Singapore and Tokyo, which further aroused curiosity.

Studies abroad in Spain were followed by a globe trotting career as a model, including time in Paris and Milan. She was also involved with the movies and which took her to Cuba and Sri Lanka. She has eaten her way through in every city and through it all, her passion for food has defined her.

She maintains that the American palate is the most open and inviting audience for the world’s flavors and it is a blend of Chinese, a little bit Mexican, a little bit Italian and French. In short, most of their lives have all been touched by the many cultures that coexist among them.

I’m guessing that this chef has much experience with Asian and American cuisine. International exotic recipe ideas will surely broaden this chef’s knowledge. It will enrich the chef’s mind about what foods are out there that will really blow peoples’ minds away!

Some of the dishes in this book include “Hot and Sour Fruit Chaat, Tangy Jicama Salad, Purée of Roasted Aubergine, Couscous with Merguez Sausage, South Indian Spinach, Red Snapper with Green Apple and Mint Chutney, Roasted Citrus Chicken, Barbecue Korean Short Ribs, and Honeycomb Ice Cream.” Pretty interesting, I’d say. Many more recipes are included, from appetizers to entrées, soups to desserts.

Padma’s collection of simple recipes with complex flavors includes a myriad of stunning color photographs of both the food and a portrait of Padma career. Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet is the perfect book for anyone who wants cooking to be easy, elegant, and unforgettable.


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