Monday, March 21

A Chocolatey Journey!!!

I don’t know y... but I did take a small sabbatical from confessing and writing... but I am back and that too with a bang... don’t know if anyone will be reading it or not, but I intend to post a lot of lip smacking recipes... easy but very gourmet... 
First of all.. a little catching up about me... u would be glad to know that I have started a cute little company which makes chocolates of all kinds... it goes by the name Antara @ the heart of Chocolates... and you can follow its lead and get to see all the pics when you click here. We deliver all across India with the help of our trusted courier company, Blue Dart... so feel free and tell us about your chocolate requirement, and we will make a beautiful package customized enough to suit your needs exactly... 
Ok now... don’t think I can post recipes of chocolate... sorry but that won’t b possible.. Though I will try and gift u amazing chocolate dessert which is damn fast and the easiest to make. So here we go with the first one:
Chocolate Spiced Pot de crème...
Yeah I know how tempting it sounds.. And it tastes divine too.. a perfect ending to a romantic dinner... 
4 oz or 1 cup bittersweet chocolate, cut into very small pieces (as small as corn kernels)
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
Very tiny pinch of salt
1 cup heavy milk made by mix 2 tbsp (heaped) milk powder with 1 cup water for this.
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Now mix the milk and sugar together and put it on heat to boil... don’t leave the sight of the pan as it will top over if left unattended. Now put the chocolate bits in a bowl and put in the salt, red chilli and cinnamon powder. Once the milk comes to a boil, tip over the milk in the bowl with chocolate and spices. Now comes the fun part!! Let it stay for three minutes, while u get hold of a spatula. After a while, start mixing in the chocolate and cream, slowly. It will come together in 5-10 minutes. Once u r happy with the result, pour it in small ramekins or coffee cups and refrigerate covered for at least 5-6 hours, more is welcome.
Serving instructions... well it’s so tasty, who cares to wait that long, but if u do want to, ten top it with some freshly whipped cream and a pinch of cocoa powder..
Bon appétit!!!

Tuesday, July 13

A Gourmet Affair in Hurry!!

Recently a friend of mine, who has exactly nothing to do with kitchen, (but loves awesome results out of it) thought to give Mrs. K a try for her loved one. It was a celebration time and so a simple Maggi wouldn’t have been enough. So she came to me.. Asking what do I cook which is easy and fast? And that got me thinking. Easy and fast is the motto of life today. Gone are the days of laborious work in kitchen all day to produce a decent evening meal. Today everyone is busy and so I got busy thinking about the easiest and the fastest meals which can actually make you slurp and burp around. Call it whatever you want, but I like to call it Easy Sausage Risotto!!
• Sausages: 3 – 5, depending on their size. I had Vienna sausages in my fridge. They are awesome but very difficult to get. Hence you may use any version, as you may please.
• Cooked rice: 3 cups. You can easily use the left over rice from the previous day.. ;)
• Tomato sauce: 3 tbsp
• Tobasco sauce: 3 drips
• Garlic paste: 1 tsp
• Ginger paste: 1 tsp
• One onion finely chopped or minced.
• Cilantro for garnishing.
• Oil, salt, sugar and pepper to taste.
• And last but not the least, some good quality wine.. it adds an awesome flavour
Pretty simple!! Start with the sausages. Heat some water in a pan and put down the sausages. Let it boil for a while.

In the meanwhile, make the basic tomato sauce. In a heated pan, take some oil, enough to fry the onions well. I personally prefer the chopped version as they don’t splutter much and doesn’t make the dish very-very spicy. Once the onions are done put in the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2-3 mins till the mix has cooked down and becomes brown in colour.

Check on the sausage, once it boils, it should swell up. Drain away the water once done but don’t throw the stock away. Put half of that water with both the sauces inside the pan with fried onion mix. Get the sauce to a desired consistency. If it thickens, add a little water. Cook till everything is mixed well and then season the sauce with salt, sugar and pepper according to taste.
Once you are happy with your sauce, put in the sausages, cut in small round shapes (as in the picture) and cook till the sausage absorbs the sauce a little bit. Add the wine in the last bit, and take it off heat. I like to smell the wine in my food. But if you want to tone down the flavour then cook a wee bit longer, till you are satisfied.

Now for the risotto part! Remember this is just a name and nothing else.. The rice and the sauce is cooked separately but served together..
Take the half of sausage stock and put it in the cooked rice and mash the grains a bit. Let it sit on the heat till the rice cooks down and flavoured. Remove from heat.
Let your imagination go wild and serve it the way you want. It should take you exactly 15 minutes to get this awesome meal together. And with a glass of wine.. It is just too awesome to be true.. Cheers!!

Tuesday, June 22

Mutton Dhansak and me....

Parsi khana had always intrigued me.. For one, the fact that they eat meat in all parts of meal, and yet, never get bored of it, is a mystery to me. But once I tasted their food, the reason was crystal clear. They cook meat in so many different ways that it always tastes different.

After hearing a lot of excellent reviews from friends and strangers alike, we thought of venturing into the very Parsi Britannia Cafe (BC) in south Mumbai, on a nice sunny afternoon. I would be lying if I said that I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The shabby little place is a little too hyped for its own good. Though the owners could afford Puma shoes and Reebok shirts for themselves, yet they could not afford to make the cafe habitable. It seemed as if the place wont survive this monsoon at all!! As far as the price goes, BC is not behind any A-grade restaurants in Mumbai. But when we talk of ambiance, service and food presentation, it is far far behind even the normal nukkar ka restaurant. Two people could easily rake up to 1500 to 2000 rupees which according to the appearance, was insanely expensive. Yet, I can’t comment anything on the food. If you forgo the flies around the plate and the rash waiters pushing your plate with every movement of theirs, the food on the plate was actually good. The berry pulav tasted divine and so did patrani machchi which was cooked and served in foil instead of traditional banana leaf (another thing which upset me quite a bit).

However bad the experience was, nothing stopped me to come back and try Mutton Dhansak in my own kitchen, and dare I say, it did turn out good. Mutton dhasak is a Parsi dish made with meat, vegetables and pulses. It is a wholesome meal in itself and served with plain white rice or brown rice. So all you people who want to try out this simple recipe would need all these ingredients:
* 2 large onions, chopped finely
* 150g tomatoes, chopped
* 1 small aubergine or brinjal diced
* 2 potatoes cubed
* 4 tbsp chopped fenugreek leaves or kasoori methi (depending on you taste buds, add either the fresh methi leaves or dried kasoori methi. Needless to say kasoori methi will add spice to the dish. I mixed both together and it tasted good.)
* 6 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
* 6 tbsp chopped mint leaves (optional)
* 150g split yellow lentils (toor dal or arhar dal)
* 150g masoor dal (orange in colour)
* 300g mutton, trimmed and cubed (with or without bones)
* 1 tsp turmeric
* 1 tsp chilli powder
* 1 tsp sugar
* 450 ml water
* 4 tbsp distilled vinegar
* 1 tbsp sunflower oil
* 1 tsp cumin seeds
* Whole garam masala (1"cinnamon, 4 green cardamoms, whole black pepper and bay leaves)
* Salt

For masala paste
• 3 tsp ginger- garlic paste
• 2 tsp red chilli powder
• 1 tsp cumin powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder

And the last but not the least, a handful of coriander leaves and lemon wedges for decoration if you want.


In a pan or a pressure cooker, whatever is available to you, put the meat piece with salt, red pepper and turmeric along with the vegetables, lentils and water. Now cook till the meat is tender. Take out the meat and mince the vegetables and lentils together to form a nice thick paste.

Heat some oil in deep pan. Temper the whole spices (garam masalas) in it till it is fragrant. Now add the chopped onions and fry until pale brown. Add the spice paste and the tomatoes and fry for ten minutes, stirring regularly so that it won't stick to the bottom. Now put in the half cooked meat pieces and fry till it gets a nice brown colour. The veggie dal mix can go in now with some vinegar and chopped coriander. Adjust the seasonings (salt, sugar and chilli powder as well as green fresh chillies) according to taste and let it simmer till the desired consistency is achieved. If it is too thick, heat some water and add it while mixing it well. Before getting it off the heat, mix in some dried kasoori methi (again if u had boiled the meat with it) and lemon juice. Let it simmer for a while before putting down the heat.

And as usual bon appétit!!

Monday, May 24

Extension in my starters list!!!

Recently I got introduced to the Arabic food. Sitting here as an outsider, I always guessed that desert food can b easily summed up with strong flavors of nuts and minimal use of water. But being there, I realized it’s a little more than that. Though I couldn’t explore the meaty part much, I tried the veggies and I liked what I tried.

First and foremost, let me tell u something about Dubai. As I had mentioned earlier, Dubai has very little to offer which is its own. The western influence on that part of the desert land is so great that u will get everything that could travel from the northern hemisphere. Be it Starbucks or Phat Burgers, u will surely get whatever u want. The few restaurants which strive to provide the indigenous fodder, they falter by hiring expats mainly from South East Asia, who know nothing about the culture and their food. The wrong information and pronunciation led to a lot of confusion in my head. And that is the reason why this post was delayed this long!!

But now that I have a clear idea, let me tell u an amazing dip that I figured out of all this. The incorrigible foodie in me couldn’t stop myself from buying a bottle of fresh tahina sauce from a local grocery shop there (even at the cost of paying extra at the airport to make up for all my purchases..). Though I never really knew what it was, still the thought of carrying something new back home was amazing. It is now that I realized that it can be so easily made here itself!! Tahina is just a fancy name given to a paste of lightly roasted sesame seeds. So all of you who want to try out this amazingly simple recipe of humus can either make tahina at home or try it in the gourmet section of your grocery store.

The recipe is fairly simple. But u need to plan ahead. The ingredients are:

1. A fist full of chick peas or garbanzo beans. These have to be soaked overnight so plan ahead!!
2. 3 -4 tbsp of tahina paste
3. 2 – 3 tbsp thick curd
4. 5 to 6 cloves of garlic crushed
5. 2 tbsp lemon juice
6. Red chilli powder according to taste
7. Salt
8. Sugar, it is one of my additions.. What I do is I give a little more lemon and then balance the taste with a little sugar. For our Indian palette it goes well. But if u want to make it the way it shud b... then forget about the sugar.

Boil the beans in a pan until it becomes soft. U can even have it raw as once made into a paste, the taste will not vary much. But I like my beans boiled and hence I always boil it before.

Now take a processor and put everything apart from tahina in and give it a good stir. Once u see that the beans are nicely minced into a runny paste, add tahina. Tahina will thicken the solution so according to your wish, add a little water if need be. The end result should be a nice and creamy thick mix which can be held in a plate.

Oh and of course, decoration is very important, so go wild and do whatever you like. I love to decorate my humus with some chopped cilantro and olives. I also put a little olive oil on top. It serves two purposes, one it keeps the humus nice and moist and second it makes my plate look really gourmet. Try it and let me know how it tasted with your chips. Bon appetite!!

Wednesday, April 14


Life in a big city is very simple... work days, weekends and daaru.. be it the sophisticated sparkling white wine or the very collegian old monk with coke, preferences may be a lot but need, boils down to one.. To be high and merry!!!

But no one is exactly a devdas or a solitary reaper that they will drink without enjoying it.. Come on its time to live the present and future with friends and lovers.. So what do we do?? Friday night, office over, good poison handy, someone by your arms and a kitchen to rummage through. Drinking without snacks is a crime. And thou shalt never commit that!!

So I am gonna dedicate this article to all those who want to learn how easy it is to be NOT a criminal. Order for your favourite flavour of chips and whip up a yummy and healthy hung curd dip to start with. How??? Pretty simple! Get that tub of yoghurt out and put it in a clean kitchen towel. Let it hang on your sink by what time; chop some olives, capsicum and carrots. Make really tiny pieces. Now whisk the hung curd in a bowl and add sugar and rock salt in it. Whisk it well to mix in all the soluble particles. Now add the tiny veggies and for that really cool tinge, add a hint of the solution in which the olives were kept. Season it with pepper and oregano, based on your taste buds. And viola!! 7 minutes flat and a gourmet hung curd dip ready. So why wait; quickly gulp down your first peg... Cheers!!!

Now for the second peg of the night, you can’t possibly be eating the same thing. A little alcohol in your system will guide you to your fridge and search for another delectable snacks. And as usual, i have a solution. Order for the new ‘hippo’ chips. Try their capsicum flavour.. now rummage thru your fridge and take out yesterday’s sabji. Anything without bitter gourd and eggplants is welcome. Now put it in a slotted bowl and wash away all masalas. Now chop one small onion and in a little oil fry it till light brown. In goes the sabji and mash everything well with your ladle. Now season it with your favourite spices, salt and pepper. Once its dry and looks a delicious mash, take it off the heat and spoon a little on the chips.. Enjoy your bruschettas made in seconds..

And now for the third peg.. Screw it!! At this point even frozen bread is an awesome snack!!!

Tuesday, March 30

Hey Dubai!!!

Absolutely a manmade wonder, an international city with expats. more than locals, its uniqueness can’t be put in words. While in Dubai, you may never feel home sick. Actually they have better Indian things than v find here in India. Starting from southern supermarket chain ‘Lulus’ to Iskon’s pure veg restaurant, ‘Govinda’ to umpteen saree shops in Meena Bazaar, you will never miss the ‘indianness’ of this international city.

The occasion was our first anniversary; the gift was a beautiful stay in the sea inspired Atlantis on a manmade palm leaf and the surprise was an early morning hot air balloon flight in the desert, yes the trip was planned amazing. And as was expected, it turned out better than my words can describe. The lush green parks or the amazing water parks, nothing makes you feel u are in a desert. You can actually spend a whole day in water parks and come out scratch free.

As for the food... olives, dates and sesame take a place of pride in Arabic food. And their bread is so soft in the middle and crispy on top. But the problem with Dubai is that everything else is so overwhelming, that you actually forget about food and immerse yourself in shopping, sightseeing and packing.

Sunday, March 21

Smart cooking for hostesses on a run...

In the yesteryears, parties were organised very meticulously, religiously and lovingly. To host a party meant a lot of research, sometimes involving the guests and sometimes involving the food. Everything was made to the perfection, even if it meant labouring over it for a week. But in the present scene, out of the three attributes, it’s only the last one which, till date holds the forte. Today parties are planned in a matter of minutes. And if you have the question ‘how’ on your mind, then please read on...

In big cities, even a fulltime home maker requires a cook. And by that logic, it’s a necessity for a working couple. And so the mighty ‘bai’, who cleaned houses with a little flair for cooking got a completely new and upgraded job to her. Seldom do we question their culinary skills and whatever good or bad they make, we eat. It’s the ‘sasta tikaoo’ way to survive in this city. But if your friends are coming over for a drink and dinner, she will be the last person to help you.

It had happened to me quite a lot. Getting out of the office and suddenly a friend who is visiting the town, says he is coming over to say hi. A common friend too wants to spend some time with him, which means you have a cocktail & dinner to arrange for four. Here is what I do in this situation and you can do the same to get a lovely spread organised in minutes.

For snacks to be served with cocktails, get a lot of Monaco biscuits and salami. And don’t forget to get some namkeen or simple potato chips as well. Once u have all this in place, start cooking and trust me when I say, it’s just going to take half an hour. Put some curd in a clean cloth and hang it on your basin. Take out the salami and microwave it for a min on medium heat. Now cut some chesses cubes and put them on a tooth pick with an olive in the middle. Salami-olives-cheese sticks are a great snack to offer with drinks. Serve it in any innovative way as u want.
Now take the dahi out of the cloth after 15 mins. Chop some olives and capsicum if u have. Put some sugar, salt and pepper. For a creamy texture add a little bit of cheese spread and the solution in which olives are preserved. And a great hung curd dip is made to be had with any kind of chips or namkeen like soya sticks, banana sticks, etc. And before your guest arrives, make canapés out of Monaco biscuits. Put some mayo and a cheese cube on it and season some with tomato sauce and some with mustard sauce. With this your snacks part is completely taken care of.

And as for a quick dinner, ask your cook to make a lot of rice and green chutney. Put everything in it like coriander, mint, ginger, garlic, a small onion and half a tomato, some peanuts, green chillies and coconut if you have. Grind it to a nice paste. In a pressure cooker, boil chicken with ginger garlic and salt and pepper and let it get almost cooked. Now in a kadai add some oil and sprinkle in some cumin seeds and black pepper. Once it stops crackling put the chutney in. Let it simmer for a while before u add in the chicken. If you don’t mind some extra calories then, shallow fry the chicken pieces before adding it into the sauce. Once the chutney has seeped into the chicken, add some fresh cream onto it. Sprinkle some garam masala on top and let it simmer for a while before removing from heat. Serve portions of rice with the chicken in green sauce on top of it and see your guests exclaiming in awe at your culinary skills.

And as for the desert, ask yr cook to chop in some fruits, whatever so, apart from bananas that you can lay your hands on. Now put them all in a big serving bowl. Take out some vanilla ice-cream and let it melt a little. Now with a fork mix in the lumps and make a smooth paste. Now mix it in with the fruits. Decorate it with dry fruits and let your guests lick it away to glory.

So there you go.. a party prepared in minutes. None of these recipes r gonna take more than 15 mins to make and all of them are finger licking good. Enjoy and let me know how it went!!!