Minty Broccoli Burgers

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One thing always surprises me when we eat out – the lack of vegetarian options in regular North American cuisine. Take burger joints for instance. There will be scores of non-vegetarian items on the menu, be it beef or chicken or pork. The ubiquitous cheeseburgers and hamburgers and grilled chicken burgers and crispy chicken burgers and pulled pork burgers dominate the menu. Pushed to some sad forgotten corner is usually an equally pathetic veggie burger. And its there, just so that the odd vegetarian in the group can be dragged to the place by his meat-eating friends. More often than not, the main ingredient of these veggie burgers is soy granules and result is often a dull, vapid insult to the taste-buds. Its almost a punishment for choosing to be vegetarian.

Again and again, I ask what’s in the veggie burgers and order something else. And again and again, I wish there were tastier and more creative vegetarian options available. And I’m not even a vegetarian! Can’t imagine what vegetarians eat when they go out there!

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Cream of Broccoli

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It was raining here in Toronto the last few days. Before that, it had been sizzling hot, July & August being the only time in Toronto when one might sweat, so the rains were a welcome break. The warm rains reminded me of the monsoons back home, which I can only hear about on the phone this year, so I was very glad indeed. We were visiting the 1000 Islands that weekend, and rain felt so good on the hot and sultry afternoon.

But thing with Canada is, the rains don’t really stay warm for long. By the end of 2 or 3 rainy days, the weather started getting decidedly chilly, the rains continued to pour and days remained overcast and dark. Fond as I may be of the rain, the fondness is mostly reserved for the good ol’ comforting Indian rain and this dreary damp weather was dragging my spirits down. I felt cheated. This was supposed to be summer. Summer is supposed to be warm. Why on earth is it already too chilly to even stand in the balcony without a sweater? Not fair! Cheating! My mood badly needed some picking up.

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Chutney Chicken Kebabs with Mushroom Avocado Salsa

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So, the chutney mania continues. I never can make just the right amount of chutney. My blender is partly to blame (yes, I am not above shifting the blame on to inanimate objects). It just doesn’t do a very good job with small quantities. So I always end up with bucket loads of chutney and then for a week or more, my menus revolve around it. I started with the Gola Bhaat, then made aalu parathas and umpteen chutney and cucumber sandwiches. And there was still plenty left. I needed something that would finally finish it, so that I could look beyond chutney, and not have a tiny green voice whispering in my ear ‘Don’t forget me‘ everytime I thought about what to make for dinner. I half-longed for my chutney-free days. Then I hit upon this recipe. And yet as I spooned the last of the green goodness onto the chicken, I felt a brief, mad qualm – no more chutney?! Oh how would life be the same without any more chutney in my fridge?

Ok, that was slightly dramatic.

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Green Chutney

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This is the same green chutney that I made for the Gola Bhaat. I’m giving it its own space here because I do believe it deserves it.

It’s a versatile little thing, adding zing to a lot of dishes as it sits inconspicuously on the side and steps up to add flavour to bland food. Or even tasty food. Have it with kababs, or make chutney sandwiches, add it to chaat or eat it with pulav. My favourite little chutney – easy to whip up and oh so spicy! Continue reading

Gola Bhaat

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What I am sharing with you today is probably my most favourite food in the whole world. Gola Bhaat. Food I would kill for if someone was keeping me from it. A dish, which when made, is my sole sustenance until there is no more to be had. It is something I am uncharacteristically fastidious about – the rice must be just so, and the golas must be mixed in it exactly like that, with precisely this much green chutney and that much lemon juice and just the right amount of tadka. Assembling it is an art. And eating it, I get the pleasure an artist must get while looking on a perfectly rendered  painting. Continue reading

Pink Lemonade

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It was boiling hot here in Toronto last week. No, seriously! It really was! No one outside Canada ever believes how hot it can get here. But it was like a sauna out there. In fact Wednesday’s temperatures broke some record set in 1949. The weather people even issued a humidex alert and the city of Toronto opened a few air conditioned centers for weary folks to cool down when it got just too hot to be outdoors. Again, I kid you not! And lest you think this is the desi-living-in-phoren syndrome where the NRIs complain of the heat and dust, let me assure you, it isn’t. Even my cousin, who is a pakka Bambaiyya and has come to Michigan (a measly 350 kms from here) for a month, expressed shock at how hot it was.

Now the heat doesn’t affect me so much, since I am sitting at home these days, hunting for a job and waiting like a good little wife for her husband to come home. But when he gets home, he turns the house upside down cribbing about the heat, cranking up the cooling and turning on fans full blast. And this on normal days when it isn’t even that hot. So when the heat wave set in last week, I thought I’d have something cool and spiffy waiting for him when he’d step in. Continue reading

Roasted Potatoes and Beans

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Deciding what the next recipe on the blog is easy – I eat something somewhere, am blown away by it, beg for the recipe, receive it and make it my own. Or, as is more often the case, I see a drool-worthy photograph somewhere, read the corresponding recipe, can’t stop dreaming about it and decide to make it, only to find I don’t have all the ingredients, giving rise to ‘my’ version of the recipe. The easiest part is of course, writing the ‘WHAT YOU NEED’ and ‘WHAT YOU DO’ sections. ‘MY NOTES’ is also fairly manageable – I don’t have to be witty or creative, just honest. The pictures are trickier. But with a reasonably good DSLR, good light and some patience (mostly on the part of the people waiting to eat while I click away), I can take passable photographs that won’t make me cringe. The most difficult part I always find, is writing about the recipe, personalizing it, making it interesting for the readers. (To be honest, even that is not the worst of it – the real agony is in obsessing over the blog statistics, but that’s after the fact, so we’ll leave that be.)

Only very rarely does inspiration strike. More often than not, I have everything else ready, but can’t write a single word. I sit and stare at the screen but it’s as if my brain is in stasis, unable to produce a couple of half decent paragraphs. Continue reading

Pecan Crusted Fish

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It seems quite incredible that we have been married for 2 whole years now. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were still dating? And yet, it also seem like we’ve been married for ever. Married or otherwise, we have known each other for 13 years, which, I keep telling Tanmoy, can not be a very auspicious number.

We’ve been friends for so long that when we got married, it was actually pretty weird. Before the weirdness of the situation could fully hit us, Tanmoy came to Canada. It was only when I finally joined him 3 months later that the reality started to sink in slowly. We weren’t ‘just friends’ any more. Nor were we ‘girlfriend and boyfriend’. We were now husband and wife, meant to live together always. Those first few weeks were strange – the feeling that this fun couldn’t last, that either his parents or mine were going discover us and be horrified to find us living together and order us back to our respective homes (much chastised) wouldn’t go away. That it never happened still seems somewhat strange to me, but we slowly got used to the idea that my parents now actually wanted me to ‘live with a boy’ (hawwww) and his weren’t checking on him to see if he was with me! Continue reading

Potato & Broccoli in a Honey Mustard Custard

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Are you all wondering what happened to Rashmi? Why is she keeping us away from all the scrumptious goodness in her life. Surely, even if the posts have gotten infrequent, the eating can’t have, can it?

And you are absolutely right, it can’t. And it hasn’t. I’m one of those crazy people who can not give up good food. Indeed, a good part of my day is spent on food related activities – when I’m not eating or cooking, I’m reading, talking or even simply dreaming about food. I spend hours and hours drooling over food photographs. Watching Food Network is even more engrossing. Tanmoy says it is more entertaining to watch me watching cookery shows than the shows themselves, because I look like a greedy pig feasting (alas only visually) on a variety of foods far beyond its little piggy imagination and sometimes there’s even a maniacal glint in my eye. The situation, in short, is getting quite out of hand. Continue reading

Fried Apples and Onions

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When I was a little girl, one of my cousins introduced me to the Little House series of books. She had just returned from a spell in the US and had brought along the entire set with her. I was completely and totally enthralled as I read about Laura Ingalls and her Pioneer family, about farm life for the small family while America’s wild west was still being settled.

My love affair with the Little House books started once again when I came to Toronto and browsing through the shelves of the public library, found one (I’ll tell you more of my library obsession in another post). The original books had all been written by Laura Ingalls Wilder about her own childhood in the 1930s. Other authors then took up her mantle and after much research, they enriched the Little House series further by writing books about Laura’s great-grandmother Martha’s childhood in Scotland, her grandmother Charlotte’s childhood near Boston, her mother Caroline’s childhood in Wisconsin and her daughter Rose’s childhood in the apple growing areas of Missouri. A total of 32 books. Continue reading