Hectic weekend went by..and I finally get a moment or two to myself. As Children's Day was being celebrated across the country, the color, happiness, and smiles on the faces of all the little ones brightened every nook and corner.

My son went for a school picnic on Friday to Dharamshi Resorts, Bangalore. He thoroughly enjoyed the swimming pool and toy train ride. The trip left him completely tanned and exhausted..but he looked absolutely refreshed and happy!!!

On Saturday we celebrated Children's Day in our apartment. There are around 50 children who stay in our apartment (which I had no clue!!!) and the organizing committee had planned for loads of fun.

To start off with there was a Fancy Dress competition for all the children below five years. Aryan was dressed up as a pirate and he was super excited about his sword :)))


There were other games such as Potato Race, Lemon and Spoon Race, Threading the needle, etc and all the kids had loads of fun. The parents also had a good time and it was so nice to see all the children laughing and screaming with joy.

I had made Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes and Chocolate-Walnut cookies for all the children.



They were super excited to see the cupcakes and jumped with joy!!!

Here's wishing all the Children and their parents a very happy Children's Day!!!

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I had some work in the bank today and on my way back, found a thela-wala selling corn cobs. I was immediately reminded of Bhutte Ka Kees and quickly bought a couple of them. I was super excited to try it out as I saw this recipe on the TV a couple of weeks ago. I was instantly drawn to it reason being this, apparently, is a famous cuisine from Indore and I've never had Indori cuisine before. This recipe was quite simple yet so different from anything I've had before.


Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to find out a little bit more about Indore and its food specialties while I went ahead with the preparation of the dish. Here is what I researched.. (source Google)

Situated south of Satpura Range on the Malwa Plateau, Indore is the largest city and commercial capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is also known as The City of Holkars. The city was built by a holkar, Rani Ahilya Bai, one of the famous queens of India. Formerly a major trading centre, the city, along with its satellite townships of Pithampur,Mhow and Dewas, has established itself as a strong industrial base. The overall outlook of the city is an amalgamation of young and old, historical and contemporary.

Indore is famous for its culinary range. People of Indore (and for that reason, the entire Malwa) are well known gastronomes. Sweets and Namkeen (tasty salted snacks – a typical Indian preparation) of Indore are famous all over India. Sarafa (Jewellery market, near Rajwada) and Chappan Dukan (56 shops) are the two well known gourmet hangouts of the city. A special dish of the Malwa region, including Indore, is the Dal Bafla.

The staple food (snacks) of the city is Poha-Jalebi. People are also fond of Sabudane-ki-Khichdi. Life in Indore starts early with cups of ‘Chai’ (tea) with Poha & Jalebi followed by lunch which invariably includes popular ‘besan’ (gram flour) preparations. Later in the day one can easily find snacks like ‘Khaman’, ‘Kachori’ – ‘aloo kachori’, ‘dal kachori’, ‘Dahi Chat’, ‘Tokri Chat’, ’samosa’, ‘petis’, ‘Baked Samosa’, ‘Bhel puri’, ‘Pani Puri’, ‘mathri’ etc. Numerous shops of sweets have enjoyed nice business in Indore. Late nights another market comes alive at 11:00 PM in Sarafa (in the heart of city) where one finds lots of delicacies to enjoy after a nice dinner like – ‘Gajak’,'Bhutte ka kis’, ‘Dahi Bada’ ‘Gulab Jamun’, ‘garadu’, ‘Rabri’, ‘aalo tikiya’, ‘Halwa (JMB Gajar, Moong)’, icecreams, milkshakes, rabdi (milk custard), malpuye, etc. and finally tasty ‘paan’ to end your day. Bafle-Gosht is a delicacy of Indore and Malwa Region.

Trivia:
-> The gates of Lalbagh Palace, Indore, are a replica of the gates of Buckingham Palace in London. They were cast in England and then shipped to Indore.
-> Indore has a huge cricket bat called “Vijay Balla” made out of concrete with names of the players of the Indian team who won the 1971 series against Gary Sobers’ West Indies team.
-> 40 feet (12 m) high idol at Bada Ganapati is the largest idol of Lord Ganesh in the world.
-> RRCAT(formerly CAT), Raja Rammanna Center for Advanced Technology is India’s main Research center on Laser and Accelerator Technology, under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India.
-> The famous Radio Mirchi 98.3(then 98.4) FM was started first in Indore, then spread to ten other cities of India including 4 metros.
-> Until the early 1990s, Bollywood movies were released on Thursdays in Indore, and released elsewhere on Fridays.
-> The first private landline telephone service in India was launched in Indore by Airtel by the name Touchtel.
-> Because of similarity between the lifestyles, fashion and taste Indore is nicknamed Mini Bombay.
-> The 250 year old Rajvada of Indore is the only structure in India which has been reconstructed as it existed using the similar materials and methods of construction in 2007 by architects Himanshu Dudwadkar and Shreya Bhargava.
-> Only city in India to have both IIM and IIT.


Phew!!! I didnt know so much about Indore before.. quite an insight!!!

Well the dish is ready and here is the recipe..

Ingredients:
5 medium-sized fresh corn cobs,
4 tbsp ghee,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
1/8 tsp asafoetida,
2 tsp ginger paste,
1 tsp garlic paste,
1/2 tsp green chilli paste, more if you want it spicy,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
Salt as per taste
1 cup milk,
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh coconut, grated (optional, I've not used)

Method:

1.) Grate corn cobs and set it aside.


2.) Heat ghee in a pan and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida and ginger-garlic-green chilly paste.
3.) Once its slightly brown, add the grated corn, turmeric and salt.
4.) Add the milk slowly, stirring all the time, and bring to a boil.
5.) Simmer until corn is cooked.
6.) As the moisture evaporates, the mixture will start to thicken and stick to the pan so keep stirring all the time.
6.) Garnish with coriander leaves and grated coconut. Serve hot immediately with any type of roti.


This is quite dry unlike what I had seen in the TV show. But probably it could be made into a gravy if you add more milk. You could also add kernels of corn to give this more density and crunch, though you will have to cook it a little longer. Another version of this dish, which is used more like a snack, can be found here.


Taste wise it was really nice. Very different from the regular cuisines that I make at home. It tasted very good when mixed with plain rice as well.

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I love to experiment with dal's as I feel its that one thing without which your meal is incomplete. It goes hand-in-hand with roti or rice. But sometimes having the same type of dal brings in monotony and I'm always in the look out for different variations to it. I've had Dal Pachranga in restaurants and weddings before and found it quite interesting. I have this book by Sanjeev Kapoor, Dal-Roti which has come to my rescue many times. I've tried out Dal Pachranga from this book a couple of times before and its quite good. Its called Pachranga because 5 differnt dal's are used in this recipe and all the flavors come together very well.

Its a gloomy day today..its been raining and haven't seen the sun since morning...Filter coffee was on my mind and made myself a hot cup.. Its the weather which reflects on my mood..dull, gloomy, and all I did was swap the channels to see if something interesting caught my attention..Was very lazy to cook myself a meal for lunch.. There was some left over rice from yesterday's dinner..so all I had to do was make a dal. I thought that Dal Pachranga would be perfect.


Here's the recipe...

Ingredients:
1/4th cup bengal gram (chana dal),
1/4th cup whole green gram (green moong),
1/4th cup black gram (dhuli urad dal),
1/4th cup pigeon peas (tuar dal),
1/4th cup red lentils (masooor dal),
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
4-5 cloves,
2 dried red chillies, broken in half,
1 tsp cumin powder,
1 tsp coriander powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
2 medium tomatoes, chopped,
1 inch ginger, chopped,
2 green chillies, chopped,
1/2 tsp garam masala powder,
a pinch of asafoetida,
3 tbsp oil,
Salt as per taste,

Method:
1.) Wash all the pulses and soak for atleast 2 hrs. Boil with enough water, turmeric powder and salt till cooked well.
2.) Grind ginger and green chillies to a fine paste.
3.) Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, cumin seeds, cloves, and red chillies. When the cumin seeds being to change colour, add ginger-green chilli paste and saute for a few seconds.
4.) Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, and red chilli powder. Add the tomatoes and cook until the oil sperates. Add cooked lentils and additional water if required.
5.) Cook for 8-10 mins stirring occasionally. Add the garam masala and serve hot with roti or rice.


Delicious afternoon meal on a cold rainy day!!!

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Last couple of months have been really hectic for me.. The business is slowly picking up now..plus it was the festive season..Its taken a toll on my health..with the most obvious dark circles below my eyes! To add to this, we had to attend a wedding in Mangalore which left me completely sun tanned..

Life in totality might be extremely hectic but I'm totally enjoying it. The chaos has not left me any time for myself, and but obvious its filtered down to my family as well. I haven't been blogging for a good 7-8 months now. Its not that I'm not stirring up something special now and then, just that I'm not motivated enough to take beautiful pictures and write down the complete recipe and post them.

Off late we've been eating out quite a lot, thanks to my hectic schedule.. but I try and cook at home as much as possible. Yesterday I decided to make some special food, since it was my day off. It was nice to just chill out and laze around the whole day. Went up to a neighbors house and chatted for almost 2hrs. I must mention, every time she would ring the bell to catch up with me, I'd be either getting ready to leave for office, or I'd be on the phone with a client..She really has been quite patient with me and I'm happy she didn't write me off as a snobbish, snooty business women!!!

Evening I decided to have a surprise meal for my family, just to let them know that I still do cook well and I can still make something special :) I had some spaghetti which I think I had bought almost 6 months ago. I actually had to check the expiry date on it..:) I had all the ingredients for an Arrabiata sauce, and I love mashed potatoes so I decided I'd make that as well. The neighbor during our morning discussion, passed me some very fresh beans, carrots, brinjal, tomatoes, which came from her native farm. So I also wanted to make baked vegetables. The menu came together so well which left me completely motivated to write this blog today :)


Here's the recipe for Arrabiata Sauce..

Ingredients:
2 onions, medium sized, finely chopped,
5 tomatoes, medium sized, pureed,
6-7 garlic pods, finely chopped,
2 tbsp olive oil,
1 tsp red chilli powder, (more if needed)
1 tsp oregano,
1 tsp parsley,
1/4 tsp rosemary,
Salt as per taste

Method:
1.) Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
2.) Add oregano, parsley, rosemary and saute gently. Add garlic and onions and fry until the onions have become golden brown.
3.) Add the tomato puree and mix well. Add salt and red chilli powder as per taste.
4.) Keep cooking for 10-15 mins. Set aside.

The next step would be to cook the sphagetti. Bring a big vessel full of water and 1tsp salt to a boil. Once the water is boiling add the dried spaghetti. This would take about 8-10 mins to cook. Keep checking once in a while if its cooked. Once cooked, drain the noddles and pass it through cold running water. This will prevent it from sticking to each other. Set it aside.

To assemble the spaghetti and sauce, just make a bed of spaghetti and pour the hot sauce over it. Grate your choice of cheese and serve hot.


Recipe for Mashed Potato can be found here


Recipe for Steamed Vegetables:
Cut your favorite vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Steam them in a steamer for 7-8 mins. Heat a pan with 1 tbsp of butter and add freshly crushed black pepper. Add the steamed vegetables and saute for a min. Add salt as per taste. Serve hot.


We had a great time and everyone enjoyed the dinner. I think its these special moments that make our life more meaningful....

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