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Posts from the ‘Main Course’ Category

My new favourite way with mushrooms

My grandmother (called chaachi by her siblings, children and grandchildren alike) was a formidable force in our family. In her white mundu, cotton top and large hoops of gold that dangled from her ears, she was ever the gracious, devout Syrian Catholic matriarch – Mother of 9 strapping lads and 2 girls, this was the real grip that kept the family, home, hearth and plantation going. Each of her kids regarded her with a mixture of fear, reverence and love. Each seemed convinced that s/he was the one she had a special bond with, her secret favourite. She had a proverb for every situation, advice for every concern, solution to every problem. What’s more, farm hands, cousins, neighbours..all sought out her secret Ayurvedic ‘green’ remedies to drive away pains, heal wounds and cure secret illnesses. To my young, citified eyes, chaachi was a rather intimidating figure. More the busy disciplinarian than the dada dadi ki kahaaniyaan type of grandmother, she was the last word on all things to do with farming, Catholicism, and upbringing of cattle and kids. And yet she was our last resort to get what we wanted out of our parents. If chaachi had agreed to a jaunt we had planned, no elder would ever have the guts to refute. Read more

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Asia gave me wings. And Banh Xeo.

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I love these steamed bao buns found all over Malaysia and Singapore. And red bean paste and BBQ chicken are as good as they come

Having grown up reading, much of my cooking inspiration came from the books I read. And since most of that was European or at any rate western, all those tea parties, fairy food, jam tarts, lemonades and the like are to answer for my incessant desire to eat, cook, bake, experience western cuisines (and my girth). On the other hand, I always considered Asian food to be vaguely but politely uninteresting. How foolish, blind and delusional was I.

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This image from a street in Penang is one of my favourite from last year and for me quintessential Penang.

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QuickCook – Spaghetti with golden breadcrumbs, herbs and shallots

IMG_1486I totally owe the fact that this post is up right now to Shanti from Riot of Flavours and my friend from NID, Meera Naidu. Honestly, I am notorious about procrastinating posts. Mainly because I want to tell you everything behind the recipe I am sharing – the story, the day, the mood, the flavour, the way the sun was shining, who said what…. crispness is not my best suite. But then you probably already know that. In the zeal to tell you everything I can, I end up taking far too much time to put up a post. Not this time though. Today, these two ladies kept me straight on facebook and even as I type, I am racing to ensure they have the recipe by dinner. Shanti, Meera, I hope you guys eat well tonight 🙂 Read more

Cooking in Penang and a Malay Recipe – Chicken Rendang

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The sight and fragrance of the torch ginger flower will now forever remind me of Penang. I was struck by how beautiful this flower is and quickly realised that this is one of the definition defying fragrances that linger all over Penang.


Honestly, I don’t know where to begin about Penang and food. This has been such an amazing revelation. The most incredible thing about the food in Penang is probably the beauty with which the different types of cuisines (Malay, Indian and Chinese) mingle to arrive at myriad variations of delicious ingenious dishes. The abundance of incredible fresh produce, mind-boggling variety of types and cuts of meat and poultry make, range of spices and a whole world of herbs make cooking in Penang an experience of beauty!

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Some rooting and my favourite Mutton Curry

IMG_0247There are some days for me when NOTHING hits the spot like a really good Indian curry. Not a generic add an MDH masala curry but the real deal. Made from scratch. Like a good fish curry. Mom style. Red, fiery, coconutty, tangy…with shiny curry leaves, crackling mustard seeds and plenty of spice.

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