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Monday, August 31, 2015

Guda Khiri / Gur Payesh (Rice pudding with Jaggery)

Kheer. Kheeri. Payesh. Payasam. Each corner of the country has its own name and version(s) for the delectable rice pudding. While sugar is the sweetening agent of choice for most folks, there is a tribe that swears by the rich flavor that can only be imparted by 'Gur/Guda/Jaggery'.

While the 'guda kheeri' has been on my list for sometime, I was waiting to lay my hands on some good quality 'palm jaggery', which is the best among all varieties of jaggery that one finds in the market. And I was lucky to come by it last weekend.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 liter milk
  • a fistful of jeera rice/basmati rice
  • 3-4 tbsp condensed milk
  • palm jaggery (as per taste)
  • assorted nuts
  • 1 tsp ghee

Preparation - Bring the milk to a boil.

Wash and add the rice to the boiling milk along with the ghee. Once the rice is cooked, add the condensed milk and nuts. Let it boil for 5-6 mins more.

Finally dissolve the jaggery in some milk to check if it curdles the milk. If not, then add the jaggery in small quantities and keep stirring till you get the desired sweetness.

Remove from the flame.

Allow to cool before serving.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Onasadya Series (Part 3)

The final part of the Onasadya series ...

Onam is synonymous with the 'Pookalam' or elaborate flower arrangements in every household . Big floral carpets are made with a variety of flowers in different colors. Most 'pookalams' are artistic ones and there are even competitions to pick out the best among them.

Today I am making a spicy curry with shallots ( this theeyal is among my favorites ), a coconut milk based mild curry and a simple mix veg stir fry !!

Ulli Theeyal

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 2 pinch cumin seeds
  • 2 pinch black pepper seeds
  • 2 pinch coriander seeds
  • 3-4 tsp grated coconut
  • 2 dry red chili
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 3 tsp oil 
  • 14-15 shallots (peeled)
  • 1 dry red chili
  • 2 pinch fenugreek seed
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 garlic flakes (crushed) (I prefer to omit it)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Heat 3 tsp oil in a pan. Add the fenugreek, cumin, pepper, mace, clove, cinnamon and coriander. Roast till they give off a fragrance. Then add coconut and fry it to a brown color. Finally add red chili and turmeric and remove from flame after a few seconds.

Grind into a mixture once the spices have cooled down a bit.

Cooking - Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Add red chili and mustard seeds. Add the curry leaves and shallots and fry for a minute.

Add the ground pasta and tamarind pasta along with 3-4 tbsp water.

After 2 mins, add jaggery, garlic, asafoetida and salt.

Cook for a few mins and then remove from the flame.

Serve once cool. 


Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cups ash gourd
  • a handful of beans (use any variety)
  • 2-3 green chilis
  • 2-3 chopped shallots (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp chopped ginger (optional)
  • a pinch of mustard seeds (optional)
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Preparation - Wash and soak the beans overnight.

Cooking - Cook the beans with a little salt in a pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add curry leaves, ginger, mustard seeds and green chilis. Follow this with the shallots. Fry till translucent.

Add the ash gourd pieces along with salt and a little water. Cook covered till soft.

Add the cooked beans along with thick coconut milk. Cook for 5 mins more.

Remove from the flame and serve warm.

Note - I added some red chili to the tempering and that caused the milky white olan to get this yellowish tinge. Most people just cook the olan without any tempering (a few green chili and curry leaves are boiled with the ash gourd) and drizzle the coconut oil right at the end.


Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 3 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped beans
  • 5-6 finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1-2 chopped green chili
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 dry red chili
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except for oil, salt, red chili, asafoetida and mustard seeds.

Let it sit for 20 mins.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok . Add mustard seeds, asafoetida and red chili. Once seeds start spluttering, add the vegetables . Sprinkle salt.

Mix well and cook covered for 10 mins or till done. Remember to give a quick stir every 3-4 mins.

Remove from wok and serve.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Onasadya Series (Part 2)

Continuing the Onasadya series...

Sadya or banquet always refers to a traditional vegetarian meal served on a plantain leaf. It incorporates all tastes like sweet, sour, bitter, salty, astringent and pungent/spicy. While some districts prefer to use the pink/red Matta rice in the Sadya, others use the white rice.

One of the biggest attractions of Onam, which is actually a 4 day state holiday in Keralal, is the snake boat race or Vallamkali ( it is still in my bucket list and looks like it will remain so for another year atleast ) !! Along with the annual rice harvest, the celebration also commemorates the annual visit of the Asura king Mahabali who was relegated to the underworld by the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu. Slightly diverging from the topic, I would like to add that Mahabali still commands a lot of respect in Kerala and is not the devil incarnate as people from North assume him to be. Those who like books can actually try reading Asura by Anand Neelakantan . It is a beautiful book about the 'asura' way of life and is sure to change your perceptions.

Coming back to the food, it is the very popular Avial (mix veg) along with the sweet and sour dishes of puli inji and pacchadi. Read on -


Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 raw banana
  • 1 carrot
  • 7-8 beans
  • 1-2 drumstick 
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 cup yellow cucumber
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • a few pieces of raw mango
  • 1 tbsp curd
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • a pinch of cumin seeds
  • 2 green chilis
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1/5 mustard seeds
  • 2 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tsp oil

Preparation - Cut all the vegetables into long pieces.

Grind the grated coconut with cumin seeds and green chilis.

Cooking - Boil 2 cups water in a wok. First add the carrot, green banana, potato, yellow cucumber and beans. Let it boil till half cooked.

Then add the drumsticks, pumpkin and raw mangoes. Sprinkle the turmeric. Boil till all the veggies are soft.

Add the ground coconut and cook for a few minutes.

Remove from the flame and add the curd. Stir well and return to flame. Cook for 3-4 mins.

Heat the oil in a tempering pan. Add curry leaves , mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Pour the tempering over the vegetables and mix in.

Puli Inji

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 5-6 finely chopped green chillis
  • a lime sized ball of tamarind
  • 4-5 tbsp powdered jaggery
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 tsp oil
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • Salt to taste

Preparation - Soak the tamarind in hot water for 30  minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice.Throw the pulp.
Wash and peel the ginger. Chop finely along with the green chillis.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds followed by the curry leaves.
Add the chopped ginger and green chillis. Fry on medium flame for 2-3 mins till light brown.

Add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and salt to taste. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame.

Finally add the jaggery and allow to boil till the consistency becomes thick and saucy.
Remove from stove and allow it to cool down. Goes best with curd rice.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last for a month.


Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cup chopped yellow cucumber
  • 3-4 finely chopped shallots
  • 2-3 chopped green chillis
  • 1/2 inch chopped ginger
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut 
  • 2 garlic flakes
  • a pinch of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp powdered mustard seeds 
  • 1 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Grind grated coconut with garlic and cumin seeds into a smooth paste. Beat the yogurt lightly and then add coconut paste to it.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add chopped cucumber, shallots, ginger, green chili, torn curry leaves and salt. Add about 1/2 cup water and allow to cook till soft.

Remove from flame. Add the mustard powder and the yogurt-coconut paste. Mix thoroughly.

Return the wok to the flame. Keep stirring for about 5 mins and then remove from the flame once the raw smell goes away.

TO be continued...............

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Onasadya Series (Part 1)

I am no expert when it comes to Kerala cuisine. The food from God's own country is quite delectable but goes up a few notches to turn into something heavenly during the Onam celebrations. I was first introduced to it during my school days when my best friend's family celebrated Onam. And so, when I set out to recreate the magic of the 'Onam Sadya', I took a lot of help from the cookbooks, blogs and of course my lovely next door Aunty. There might have been a few omissions as she hardly speaks Hindi and her English is not very good either.

I would have loved to do the whole thing (24-28 dishes) as it is a visual treat to watch all those colors come alive on a verdant canvas (banana leaf). But since I have a kid who is a handful and there is no helping hand, I decided to make it into a series. Apart from the regular sambar, rasam, avial and thoran, there are lots of special recipes that are cooked especially during Onam. Today's recipes are Erissery (a delectable Pumpkin curry) and Kalan Kerala Curry ( raw banana cooked in yogurt ) .

Read on for the recipes -


Preparation Time - 20-25 min

Ingredients -

  • 2 cups Pumpkin cubes
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut 
  • 2 pinch jeera seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2-3 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 mustard seeds
  • 1 red chili
  • 1/4 turmeric 
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste

Cooking - Cook the pumpkin with salt and turmeric till the cubes soften. Mash the pieces with a spatula.

Grind the coconut with garlic, green chili, turmeric, pepper powder and jeera. Add to the wok and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Heat 2 tsp in a pan. Add the broken red chili and mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering, add the chopped shallots and curry leaves. Add about 1 tsp grated coconut. Fry till the onion and coconut turns brown.

Add to the pumpkin curry and mix together.

Serve with rice.

Kalan Kerala Curry

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cups Raw banana
  • 2 1/2 cups yogurt
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 pinch cumin seeds
  • 2-3 shallots
  • 1-2 dry red chili
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch of fenugreek
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Mix the raw banana slices with salt and turmeric.

Grind the coconut, shallots, green chili and cumin seeds into a smooth paste with 2 tsp water.
Whisk the yogurt and mix in the coconut paste.

Cooking - Cook the banana slices with 2 cups water and the pepper powder. Let it turn soft.

Remove from the flame and stir in the yogurt-coconut paste. Mix thoroughly.

Return it to the stove and cook with constant cooking till it steam starts to rise.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add red chili, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering, add curry leaves. Pour it over the curry and mix in.

To be continued......

Monday, August 24, 2015

Food Woes Galore !!

Many many Apps ago, a young couple decided to ring in their one month anniversary with a movie and a dinner. As neither of them possessed any significant culinary skills, they were at the mercy of a cook, or Amma as they lovingly called her. A sweet old lady she did her best to accommodate their wishes when she was not foisting her idea of good food on them. The problem that was accentuated by the fact that neither understood each other's language. So, at times request for a khichdi produced a biryani or a simple 'baingan ka bharta' became 'baghara baingan'. Their initial bewilderment gave way to nonchalance which then turned in resignation after sometime. In short, they became immune to the surprises sprung on them by Amma. "At least the food is hot, fresh and passably good", they would tell everyone and a times, even themselves.

So, with the day being a special one, they wanted to do away with such surprises. Hence, the sweet old lady was given a day off in advance. The morning dawned all bright and sunny. The guy wanted to do something special for his lady and hence he decided to bring her breakfast in bed. Now the gal was feeling very lucky and had her hopes all soaring. But just then, her reverie was broken by the smell of something burning in the kitchen. She rushed to the scene of the crime just in time to see the guy struggling with a omelette which was stuck to the non-stick pan (??). The bread was still stuck in the toaster and it was definitely past the edible stage. Feeble attempts at a chocolate milkshake had resulted in a messed up counter and yielded a liquid concoction that resembled the muddy run-off after a particularly bad downpour. Still marveling at the special skills that could even make an omellete stick to the 'non-stick' pan, she did not take a moment longer to banish him from the kitchen.

Image courtesy : www.tripadvisor.co.uk

Image courtesy : www.sodahead.com

Cleaning up the mess took up most of the morning and by the time she was done, it was brunch time. After the morning debacle, they no longer had any inclination to put their culinary expertise to test. So, it was pizza to the rescue which thankfully gets delivered it 20 mins when the rain Gods are merciful. The hungry couple devoured most of it and refrigerated the leftovers.

Image courtesy : www.parkhillpizza.com

Cut to the evening. The movie started on time and tuned out to be eminently enjoyable. Such that they were left craving for more when it ended just after 9 pm. Their appetites had been whetted and all they wished for was a lovely dinner to conclude the evening. But their romantic thoughts quickly dissipated when they encountered the scene outside the multiplex. Exiting the parking lot, they joined the long queue of cars that were moving at a snail's pace. It had rained while they watched the movie and traffic had come to a complete standstill.

By the time they had negotiated their way though the ocean of slow moving traffic from Madhapur to Gachibowli, it was already 10:30 pm. And thanks to the incessant rainfall, none of the decent looking restaurants were open. After ducking in and out of lanes to find a place that was still open, they settled on a modest looking place called 'Raj Bar and Restaurant' (no reference to DDLJ but adding Raj to the name of every other establishment became quite fashionable thanks to the character essayed by SRK). However, it turned out to be a different story inside. The place was over-flowing with booze and strange looking patrons. They quickly located a table near the door (just in case any emergency arose) and gestured the lone waiter to come over. A liquor brochure was duly placed on their hands. When they insisted for the proper menu, a battered looking leaflet was handed over to them. Picking it up gingerly, partly to prevent it from disintegrating further and partly to avoid contact with whatever germs it harbored, the lady glanced over it. "Tandoori Chicken ?"."Khatam ho gaya". "Kadhai Paneer ?". "Khatam to gaya". "Chilli Chicken ?". "Hau. Time lagega". "Kitna time?". "Aadha ghanta lagega Sir". Now having spent a few years in Hyderabad, they were aware of the peculiar habit of the natives to underestimate everything ranging from a period of time to a specific distance. So, most of the time, 'aadha ghanta' stretched into hours while 'baju wali galli' referred to a lane more than half a kilometer away. Hence, keeping the time frame in mind and reconsidering the steadily thinning crowd in the restaurant, the couple decided to beat a hasty retreat.

It was now close to midnight and the downpour had significantly watered down their expectations. Their next stop was a tiny 'dhaba' that had an extremely limited menu which was displayed on a small blackboard. Battered Chickan - 80 Rupees. Tanduri Chickan - 110 Rupees. Tanduri Roti - 25 Rupees. Lassi - 50 Rupees. Dismissing any thoughts of cruelty that the chicken might have undergone and shrugging off the spelling errors, they ordered for a plate of Butter Chicken and tandoori rotis to go with it. With hunger playing tricks on their imagination, they visualized being served succulent pieces of chicken dunked into a aromatic red gravy and soft white rotis to go with it. Unfortunately the dish that appeared in front of them resembled bits of leftover chicken thrown into a serving bowl along with yesterday's gravy. In addition, an oil slick no less than 2 cm deep floated on top of it. The charred tandoori rotis perfectly complimented the disaster. Having no other option, they tried forcing a morsel into their mouth. It turned out to be full of chillis and they had to order lassi to douse the heat. The lassi was too sour and after 2-3 sips, they could no longer take it. Cursing their fate, they paid the bill and left for home.

The evening had left them with a bad taste in their mouth and a rapidly expanding hole in their stomach. The lady proceeded to warm the pizza leftovers and Mi-lord proceeded to make coffee (his only saving grace in the kitchen) and simultaneously raid the pantry/fridge. Finally, the evening that started with plans of an candlelight dinner ended with them having to appease their hunger with a mismatched meal of pizza leftovers, a Spanish omelette, a few cookies and an extra large cup of coffee. If only it had been TinyOwl to their rescue. They could have chosen the restaurant and cuisine even as they watched the movie and the food would have been delivered to their doorstep at their preferred time. But since this incident happened in the dark ages before the Apps appeared on the scene, our couple endured this horror and lived to narrate their story

Take precaution to save yourself from such a disaster and download the app for your Android (click here) and iOS phone (click here) respectively. Issued in interest of all netizen's convenience.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fast is Airtel 4G

Speed thrills but not necessarily kills. Yep, I am not talking about that number flashing on your bike/car speedometer but about super fast internet speed. And real speed is what you get with Airtel 4G !! Not convinced with the claims ? Still skeptical about what difference an extra G could make ?Then take the Airtel 4G challenge ! If your network turns out to be faster, then you will be rewarded with free lifetime mobile bills. And if you lose ? Well , you have nothing to lose as you can always switch to a faster internet network (aka Airtel).

Not only has Airtel become the first telecom operator to free us from the shackles of slow internet speed by introducing 4G, it has also made 4G available at affordable rates, namely, at the price of 3G data packs. That will put to rest any concerns that the 4G plan might just throw the monthly budget off balance. Changing to a new SIM is also quite easy. Just tweet #GetAirtel4G and the free SIM gets delivered at your doorstep. Just a small rider. This works only if you already have an Airtel connection . For others, a few necessary documents also need to be submitted while applying for the 4G SIM card. With the services already rolled out in 296 cities and many more in the pipeline, make sure you get onto the bandwagon before everyone else does. Once in a while, it feels good to get some exclusive bragging rights. Don't you think so ?

But make sure that you do have a phone that is 4G compatible. If not, browse through the new Airtel site for a list of phones that works with 4G.

Just imagine the endless possibilities when one has access to lightening fast internet speed. Smooth movie downloads (without all that time spent in buffering), finding a restaurant in seconds, checking out its reviews in another few (this is equally important if you do not want to end up with a bad taste in your mouth or a hole in your pocket) and beating friends hands down when it comes to finding any answer ( Google Baba ki jai ho ) ! It also means freedom from staying awake at ungodly hours and praying that everyone else is fast asleep so that you can download that latest bollywood/hollywood blockbuster in peace. And bidding goodbye to those frustrating transactions failures that happen due to a slow internet.

They say a habit good only till one is able to kick it. So, get rid of the bad habit of chronically slowly internet connection and experience true freedom. Test the limits of your multi tasking capabilities and explore endless possibilities with the thrilling speed of Airtel 4G. Download multiple files simultaneously and carry on a video chat without any interruptions. Experience a real time chat that actually feels like that is happening in real time.

This post is written for Airtel .

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Masor Tenga (A simple Assamese Fish Curry)

"Your place or mine ??". "Let's go to yours. I have spent most of the morning cleaning up mine. Don't want to mess it up just yet".

Before most of you start smirking at the impure thoughts that have started to form in your heads (thanks to watching repeated episodes of that immensely popular show Savdhan India), let me inform you that it was just a banal discussion about where the kids should play. It has become the topic of regular conversation among my neighbors ever since the Dengue infested mosquitoes have started swarming Bangalore.

It was on a day like this when I had ended up exhausted with a marathon cleaning session and did not want to do much cooking. I remembered the fish sitting in my fridge. Thinking about a simple fish curry to go with white rice, I jogged my grey cells which are dying off at an alarming pace thanks to the Saas Bahu soaps that I am forced to watch these days. Masor Tenga. I did not have elephant apple which is the souring agent of choice but I went ahead with lemon juice instead. And it was just what I wanted for lunch.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 pieces Rohu fish
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3-4 green chilis
  • 2 pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 1 /2 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • good quality mustard oil
  • lemon juice as per taste
  • cilantro for garnishing

Preparation - Wash the Rohu fish and pat it dry. Rub 1/4 tsp turmeric and salt to taste over the pieces. Let it marinate for 10 mins.

Chop the tomato into small pieces.

Cooking - Add sufficient oil for shallow frying the fish. When it is hot and just about to start smoking, add the fish. Fry on both sides to a light brown on medium flame. Remove from the pan and keep aside.

Add 2 pinch fenugreek seeds to the oil. When it turns brown, remove the seeds from the pan.

Add the slit green chili and chopped tomato. Cook till the tomato turns mushy.

Add the remaining turmeric and a little salt. Cook for 2 mins.

Add 1 1/2 cup warm water . Bring to boil and add the fried fish. Lower flame and let it simmer uncovered for 10 mins.

Switch off the flame. Add lemon juice as per taste and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve immediately with white rice.

Note - One can use the sour country tomatoes instead of lemon juice for better flavor !!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Broccoli Carrot and Baby Corn Soup

Today's recipe is a simple vegetable soup loaded with fiber and nutrients. As is typical of Oriyarasoi recipes, it is easy to prepare and tasty to eat !! This clear soup is sparingly flavored with some light soy sauce and chilli sauce. As I have mentioned before, soups are integral to any weight loss diet and act as great fillers in between meals.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20-25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup Broccoli florets
  • 1 carrot (sliced into 2-3 mm pieces)
  • 1 cup sweet corn ( chopped into medium sized pieces )
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 3-4 garlic flakes (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli sauce ( or as desired) 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Wash the vegetables thoroughly. Drain off the excess water.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a large pan. Throw in the garlic and fry till brown.

Add all the vegetables and stir fry on medium flame for 3-4 mins.

Pour in the vegetable stock and season with salt. Bring to a quick boil and let it simmer for 15-18 mins.

Remove from the flame and pour into the soup bowls.

Season with soy sauce and chilli sauce as per taste. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Interview with Chef BB (Founder FBAB)

Ever smiling, bubbling over with infectious energy and highly motivated !! That is how I would like to introduce Chef BB to my audience. Born Bibhuti Bhushan Panigrahy, he is one wonderful human being and a foodie to the core. He is the kind of guy who talks, eats, drinks and even sleeps with food on his mind. A fact that is corroborated by the huge fan following he commands of FB.

Having met him of a couple of occasions, I got the opportunity to know him better as an individual. Some excerpts about FBAB and the guy himself -

Q. When was FBAB founded and what is its objective ?
A. 06th JAN 2015.... It is a platform for anyyone who is directly or indirectly related with food. He or she can be a food blogger, home chef, restaurant owner, hospitality personnel, food journalist, foodie & food reviewer, etc......

Q. What is FBAB's social footprint (FB , twitter, other sites)? 
 A. FB Page 1200 +
     Twitter 150 + (in 3 weeks)
     Instagram 105

Q. Tell us something about the initiatives that you have undertaken.  Mention a few brands that are associated with FBAB.
A. FBAB is an NPO (Non-Profit Organization). It is a platform for each and every individual related with food. We are here to help each other and create a happier environment for everyone. For now we have started working on these things…
  • Sharing the profiles of chef, food bloggers and reviewers on FB.
  • History of food – in this column apart from the recipes we are publish how a particular food was introduced to the world.
  • Untold Stories of food joint – We are publishing the hard work and winning story of food joint/venture entrepreneurs. 
  • Helping Hand – We are trying to help every food bloggers by giving them a sharing platform as our Facebook group where they can share there blog links directly to get more traffic.
  • For home chefs who are taking cooking/mixing classes they can promote their classes with us without any fees. (They have to offer a nominal offer for members only)

In further day we are planning some food photography, professional blogging, blog designing workshops with the industries best ones.

 Q. How frequently do you guys meet and what's on the agenda apart from the lip-smacking food?
 A. Anything and everything that is even remotely related to food. 

Q. Share something about yourself.
A. I started my career as a pastry chef in one of finest hotels of India, the Leela palace, Bangalore. I have a degree in hospitality management from Indo American School of tourism, Vizag, AP. Cooking is in my blood as we have been a part of the food industry from the last 3 generations. From a very young age of 8, I started professional cooking with my father. I am from a typical Brahmin family. In my hometown in Odisha, it is a custom to employ Brahmin cooks during ceremonies. My grandfather started the trend and we have continued that. Now I am working in the industry as a professional trainer for Chefs and waiters from last 3 years.

Q. Who is your inspiration? 
A.There are so many inspirations in every one’s life. So I have to name them. I really inspired by some of them

  • My Father Shri Pravat Kumar panigrahy – 1st teacher for the trade
  • Shri Suresh Hinduja – one of the finest man on earth
  • Shri Issac Sudhakar – Principal, Indo American school of tourism
  • Shri Narayan Choudhary – Team leader while I am in Sales & Marketing 

Q. What is in the pipeline in the coming months? Can FBAB make blogging more lucrative for aspiring bloggers?
A. Yes we are planning all new website. The next stage is an e magazine (not Printed magazines for now). We will also start tutorials for how to start a food blog and how to attract more traffic to your blog.

Since it is NPO, we have in mind that we will not enter into business or commercial things at any point of time. Because wherever the money involved you can’t hear your heart. That is what I have been missing badly for the last 8 years. For now, it’s time to listen your heart and show your love for food.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Relishing Springtime with Pasta Primavera Reloaded !!!

1977 - A famous restaurant in New York. And an almost famous chef. A customer, who also happens to be an eminent citizen and loyal patron, walks in a few minutes before the closing time. He wants something light and fresh. The chef is in a fix. He casts a look at the almost empty pantry and sighs. He walks over to a window for some inspiration and is stuck by the colors of the spring .

He rushes back to the work station and looks through the fresh veggies that came in the morning. The emerald tones of the Zucchini and the broccoli, the ruby red of the cherry tomatoes and the yellow of the squash cheer him up. Why not put these beautiful colors on a plate along with some pasta and a light sauce? And voila !! Pasta Primavera was born .

2015 - Lady Multi-tasker is on a break. The man of the house is off to an offsite for the next two days and troublesome five year old has been packed off to spend a fortnight with his grandparents. Yesterday's presentation went off spectacularly and hence she is entitled to a few extra hours of sleep.

But she is up by 7 am. After her daily dose of detox, aka a glass of warm water with honey and lemon juice, she is ready for some power yoga. She had been skipping this ritual for almost a week and hence her limbs protested as she twisted herself into a particularly difficult posture.

After accomplishing the yoga and spending sometime on reading a few pages of 'Go Set a Watchman', she saunters into the kitchen. The domestic help has been given a holiday as Lady wants to do the cooking and cleaning herself. It is a part of her "De-stressing" ritual as she puts it. The fridge is not exactly stocked. She then takes a look at the cupboard and her favorite Delmonte pasta arrests her attention. She cannot help but smile as her thoughts travel back in time. In those first few blissful months after her marriage they would not wake up before 11 am on the weekends and then they would take turns to cook some pasta for brunch. She drew in a deep breath to shoo away the cobweb of nostalgia that had begun to engulf her. It had been a long time since she had stepped into the kitchen except for when she had needed some caffeine while working late.

Picking up the right pasta was a tough choice. Spaghetti happened to be her favorite as she was a sucker for simple sauces. And she instinctively reached for it. But instead on a whim, she picked up the unopened packet of Chifferi Rigati sitting next to it. The grooves would do a better job of holding the sauces. Thank God Del Monte has a pasta for every sauce and every occasion.

Something light yet delicious and with loads of fiber (read veggies). Her requirement was rather vague but as she stepped out into the tiny vegetable garden, the broccoli heads caught her attention. Her husband was addicted to organic farming and while she would have berated him another day, today she was plainly grateful. There was some parsley growing along the sides and a few bunches of cherry tomatoes hung from the overhead pots. And there was the zucchini that had been inching towards an edible size. Plucking a few of the tomatoes, a head of broccoli, a zucchini and a few curls of the parsley, she returned to the kitchen.

There was some red pepper sitting in the fridge and she decided to throw it in along with the fresh veggies.

As she put a saucepan on the stove to reduce some Balsamic vinegar, another larger pot was filled with lots of water and put to a boil. Keeping an eye on the vinegar, she chopped up the veggies. The water was coming to a boil.The broccoli was thrown in, scooped up a minute later and rinsed under cold water to retain their verdant glory. By then the reduction was also ready.

After throwing in a handful of salt, the pasta was also dropped into the same pot. After 5 mins, a wok was put on the other burner. A generous amount of a good quality EVOO was her weakness. The chopped garlic was thrown in into the cold oil itself to extract maximum flavor. The veggies meekly followed suit.

She scooped up a bit of the pasta and popped it into her mouth. Umm. It was cooked perfectly. Al-dente. With just the right amount of bite left to it. Saving some of the pasta water, she promptly drained the pot into a colander. Giving it a quick shake, she tossed the pasta over the veggies and sprinkled some of the pasta water into the wok to infuse the pasta with the vegetable juices. A quick stir was followed by the balsamic reduction, a wee bit of Demerara sugar, salt and the zucchini strips. Finishing it off with some chillis flakes, freshly ground pepper and dried oregano to add that extra zing, she tossed the pasta onto a plate. Garnishing it with some chopped parsley and pouring out a glass of chilled wine to go with it, she sauntered onto the terrace to enjoy the labor of her love aka 'Pasta Primavera Reloaded'.

Pasta Primavera Reloaded

Preparation Time - 20 mins
Serves - 1

Ingredients -
  • 100 gms Chifferi Rigati
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper (cut into 1 1/2" long strips)
  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 small zucchini (peeled and cut into thin strips)
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/3 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp EVOO 
  • salt (about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Demerara sugar 
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar ( to be reduced to about 3-4 tsp)
  • parsley for the garnishing

Preparation -

Preparing the Balsamic Vinegar reduction - Take 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar in a thick bottomed saucepan. Let it simmer on low heat. Keep stirring constantly till it thickens and just about 3-4 tsp of the liquid remains. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Cooking the Pasta -  Take about 5 liters of water in a saucepan. Wait till the bubbles begin to rise. Then add quite a bit of salt so that the water tastes almost like sea-water. Once the water gets to a rolling boil, throw in the pasta.

Give it a stir every 3 mins to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook the pasta till it is al-dente.

Scoop up a cup of the pasta water and keep it aside for later use. Transfer the pasta to a colander and give it a shake.

Blanching the Broccoli - Immerse the Broccoli florets in boiling water for a minute or two. Strain and wash under/put into cold water for another 2 mins.

Getting it all togather -  Put a wok on the burner. Pour the olive oil into it and throw in the chopped garlic. Once the garlic turns fragrant, add the blanched broccoli and stir fry for 2 mins before adding the other veggies.

After a minute, add the pasta and 2-3 tsp of pasta water. Stir fry for 2 mins or till the water disappears. Then add the reduction, Demerara sugar, a pinch of salt and zucchini strips. Up the heat for a few seconds while giving the pasta and the veggies a quick shake.

Season with freshly ground pepper, chilli flakes, dried oregano (rub it between fingers before adding) and switch off the flame.

Finally garnish with some chopped parsley and serve hot !!

A quick pictorial recap is shown below -

Trivia - Did you know that zucchini flowers are perfectly edible ?? Next time you have some on hand, do not hesitate to throw them into your pasta.

A special thanks to Del Monte India .

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August Style Spotting !!!

Every now and then I get bored with writing all that stuff. Hence decided to do a post where images do all the talking ...the text just serves as a punctuation but nothing else !!

What's hot right now ??
Co-ords and the double bagging trends are making a splash !!

Try Co-ords with an ethnic twist !!

Colors that are HOT right now ??
ORANGE without a doubt..it is being touted as the new black !!!!

My fav orange look at the moment -

Not a fan of the Orange look ?? Just carry a bag or wear a statement neckpiece in the shade .

Buy these looks at Limeroad.com !!!

Big Basket: A whole new concept renouncing the offline market (Guest Post)

An online grocery store is a savior for all those people who hate shopping for groceries. A lot of
people hate going traveling to the supermarket or the local market just to get fresh vegetables and fruits or buy some kitchen essentials. Most people dislike the stinking smell of the poultry and fish market and dread shopping at such places. BigBasket.com is the largest online grocery store in India, which has come to the rescue of those people, who dislike grocery shopping offline. Online shopping for clothes, accessories, medicines, jewelry are all very popular as more and more people buy these stuffs online. However, grocery shopping of fresh fruits and vegetables online is an innovation, in the field of online shopping.

Image source - snowhq.co.uk

People residing in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore can shop for their groceries online on BigBasket.com. It is an online forum which has more than 10000 products with a variety of brands. Big brands like Amul, Kelloggs, Britannia, Colgate, Horlicks, Haldirams and other popular brands are all available here. One can shop from the popular categories like Fruits and Vegetables, Basmati Rice, Dry Fruits, Bread, Diary and Eggs and so on. Shopping for groceries is not just easy but convenient as all the brands and products are available in one place and you do not need to go from shop to shop looking for the items in your grocery item list.

Shopping from an Online grocery Mysore, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Pune store is far more convenient than hopping to the multiple offline shops and store. Online shopping will save your time and energy and your traveling expenses. The traveling expenses can also be utilized in shopping for your essentials and necessary grocery items. You can definitely save at least one or two items worth money otherwise spent on traveling to supermarkets and local grocery stores. The most favorable advantage of online shopping is that you can order the products right from the comfort of your house or office without forgetting any item on your list. Another advantage is that these products are priced reasonable and some are even sold at discounted rates which helps you acquire them at cheaper rates and save money.

Image source - deliciousfood4u.com

Online grocery shopping is very easy and convenient and can easily save your time and money, which is the most sought after things, in contemporary times. People, today, are extremely busy with the work and do not even have time for themselves at times. Online shopping makes life easier for such people. A busy housewife who is extremely busy with kids and household chores can save a lot of time and energy, by ordering groceries online and getting it delivered right at the doorstep. Therefore, it not just saves time but also the hassles related to grocery shopping.

Time slot options for delivery timings, nominal charge for delivery of cart value below thousand
rupees and free for above thousand rupees, prompt and quick delivery and easy cash on delivery and credit or debit card option for payment makes it all the more convenient for shoppers online to shop. To top it all, all the products are easily available and are of the best quality. The fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and other raw items have all their freshness intact and are well packed. The flexibility of returning the products and getting the credit value in your account is a life saver. Environment lovers would love to shop online as online supermarket in Mysore, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune or any other city do not consume a lot of energy in the form of lights, refrigerators, air conditioners and freezers like offline markets and also cuts down on carbon emissions, by getting it directly from wholesalers and bringing it to your doorstep.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hotel review - Fortune Jp Palace (Mysore)

Sometimes even the best laid plans get laid. Hence this time we made some impromptu plans for the weekend. A trip made to the lap of wilderness (Bandipur Forest Reserve) that finally ended up in the lap of luxury when we were lucky to find a room in Fortune Jp Palace. Bless these guys who were happy to make a reservation for us even though I had called just half a hour before landing at the hotel.

A beautiful white structure that goes rather well with its royal name, it is located very near to the iconic St Philomena's Church. It is also located within jogging proximity (if you are health freak types) to the Mysore Palace and the zoo. By the way, I must mention that Mysore itself is a small town and everything that is worth seeing is actually within a radius of 5 km. Before I get carried away on a tangent, the hotel is most beautifully and tastefully done up. Hardly surprising given that it is part of the illustrious ITC group.

We had to pay the room rent in advance and then we were promptly led into our room. Everything about it was nice and welcoming. The furniture is dark wooden and very well maintained. Even the bathroom was very neat and fitted with a host of useful stuff that we girls cannot live without (facial tissues, hair dryer, make up mirror , etc).

The 8 hour long trip had left us starving and we ordered for a Biryani, Noodles and a Khichdi (quite a eclectic mix but we our motley group had failed to reach a consensus). Too tired to ventured out, we opted to have it in our room. The food was spectacular. While I could not identify the genre of the Biryani, it was too delicious as if everything that they had thrown in had worked together in perfect harmony.

High on the food and low on energy, we promptly took a siesta. It was evening by the time we woke up and ordered some tea. Unfortunately the tea did not make the cut. Venturing out of our room, we ambled along the poolside area and shopped for some knick-knacks in their in-house souvenir shop. After spending some time inside the hotel, we went shopping for Mysore Silk sarees in the city and ended up taking a buggy ride around the Mysore palace and even having an early dinner.

We were back at the hotel by 10 pm. And since we had a light dinner, we felt a little hungry by 11. We ordered for a Chicken pizza which was swiftly delivered within the next 20 mins. And what a pizza it was !! Guys if you are willing to deliver it to Bangalore, I will only be too happy to switch my loyalties from a certain D which has been monopolizing my home-delivered meals.

If the pizza was the harbinger of the good things that were to come, it sure lived up to its reputation. The breakfast that followed was something worth dying for. Croissants, Brioche, Danish pastry, Muffins, Frankfurts, Salami, Cornflakes, Museli, Pancake with maple syrup, French toast, assorted fresh fruits, Medu vada, Idli, Alu puri, Upma, Dosa, Omelette, and every possible breakfast favorite was on the menu.

We checked out from the hotel around 10:00 am. And it was a speedy process without any hiccups. After filling up the feedback form and promising to be back, I happily hopped into the car and moved on towards a new destination.

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