Savoury Pancake Tower with Roasted Pepper, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Hmmmmm….seems like you two have abandoned the food cause…yet again…I know you guys are busy…so don’t worry, I will continue to bombard you and the world with my experiments and food ramblings :D. Lately, I have been a bit lazy about cooking elaborate meals and keep devising strategies to concoct quick and easy recipes.  You would wonder why this laziness has crept in….I think its because I am feeling a bit anxious about my own life these days. Yesterday I completed 1 year of stay in Melbourne.  A lot has happened in this last year…met many new people, made some wonderful new friends, explored new places and savoured new tastes…yes, it has been an eventful year…so I spent the last few days thinking about the highs and lows of the year…hence it made me a bit anxious…but don’t worry, the eternal optimist in your lil sister would never die and will echo what Meg Ryan says in ‘You’ve Got Mail’ – “I live a small, but meaningful life”. Anyways, as I said earlier, I simply didn’t feel like spending long hours on cooking…the result – some super easy meals!

In this post and the few to come I will share these easy meal ideas which not only look sinful but taste wonderful too..they are the reasons why Niloy didn’t complain about my laziness!! The first one is a Pancake tower 😀

Savory Pancake Tower with Roasted Pepper, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

Savory Pancake Tower with Roasted Pepper, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

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Wholewheat Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Eggs Chermoula (My version of a Maghrebian Dinner)

Dear Cousins!

Happy New Year!! What a start to the year..Daibi…2 back-to-back posts from you??!!! Wow, that is indeed commendable!! :D.  Your post on the healthy aspects of street foods should have been written some 15-20 years back when mothers like ours totally prohibited us from eating these things…uufff the reasons she gave for not letting us gorge on Papri Chaat or Gol Gappa were so convincing!! “You will get a sore throat..or You will get a stomach upset”!! Ma’s commandments on street foods however led to my secret missions to the market, eating few platefuls of Chaat, coming home and then again eating a full dinner!! You guys can very well imagine my condition, right? 😀 Burping and praying that next morning everything stays fine (especially stomach and throat), I would quietly go to sleep 😀 Till date Ma doesn’t know about those secret missions :P.  Reading your post now am thinking, if only I had known these amazing facts about spices then, I would have combated Ma’s decisions with them instead of the secret missions!! But I must confess, the kick one gets in such secret missions was and continues to be awesome…heehhehehehe!!

The pics in your second post on Pushkar Mela look awesome Man!! I wish I was there too….considering what is going on in India today, it “seems” to be the worst place to be…but trust me in all the travels and stays around the world, I still feel ‘Go East or West, India is the Best!’….the stories, the rich culture, the melas, the food, the people….OH!! there are so many reasons always for me to go back to India!! I will…I will one day….

Wholewheat Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Eggs Chermoula (My version of a Maghrebian Dinner)

Wholewheat Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Eggs Chermoula (My version of a Maghrebian Dinner)

Anyways, today I am writing to share this amazing sauce I recently discovered which I think goes well with our chaat plates as well.  Its called the Chermoula, a Maghrebian (Egyptian/Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian) marinade for fish, seafood and meats.  It looks like our simple mint chutney, but the blast of flavours you get with every spoonful, makes it awesome I think.  The day I saw this recipe, I only had eggs in the fridge and some veggies.  So I decided to make a Couscous Salad and Eggs Chermoula. Couscous is primarily a North African staple food made of semolina which serves as an accompaniment to the curries, tagines and meat/fish dishes.  One can make lovely salads as well with it. In keeping with the pact of being and eating healthy this year, I used Wholewheat Couscous instead of the plain one that’s made of white flour.

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A Winter Morning Tea with Egg n Cheese Pillows

Dear Rinki,

The barometer has been reading 14 degree C…its such a pain getting up in the morning, I just feel like burrowing deep into the quilt and hibernating till spring knocks on my window. Its not that I don’t love winters, I do. Especially now that the flowers are in bloom and there  is early morning fog…that’s a favorite. A foggy morning, with next to zero visibility, and streams of smoke enveloping each spoken word, never fails to transforms me back to childhood. Suddenly I am five again, walking to school with ma, holding her hand, and feeling transported to a strange land where around the next invisible corner, something magical waited to be discovered. I have never been able to shake that feeling for a more prosaic one, maybe I never wished to.

Yes winter mornings are definitely special, sans the early morning tiffin making of course! But Thursday was special, it was Ma’s birthday. Wanted to surprise her with a special something to accompany her morning cup of tea which she relishes. So I made these soft pillowy buns stuffed with cheese and eggs. The perfect savory snack to go with her Morning Cuppa.

Morning Cuppa with Egg n Cheese Pillows

Morning Cuppa with Egg n Cheese Pillows

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Juicy Honey-Sesame Chicken Drummettes, Fried Eggs with Tamarind Relish & Fish Tikkis

Woooooooow Daibi!!! What a walk!!! I sure miss Delhi on such days….when I visit next time, please, oh please take me there again..coz I see new things that I never tasted…me and Niloy together drooled over your Iftaar foods post and the other pictures on your DelhiByFoot Facebook page and took a pledge..WE HAVE TO GO TO DELHI 6 ON OUR NEXT VISIT!!

Didi, I too wish I was at one of Rizi’s B’day parties…managing kids or helping you clean afterwards would have been a cake-walk if I would have had the chance to fill myself with all the goodies you make for these parties…I still remember the pictures of the self-made burgers that you made last year…yuummmm!! But lemme not stray with old memories of food again (is there something about food & memories, good or bad, they tend to linger on, don’t they?)… So getting back to your last post, like you, some of my friends too have been asking me about a few starters that I keep making regularly..so here are some of my favorite recipes..please note that in this post the ingredients of the recipes are in italics.

Juicy Honey-Sesame Drummets with Grilled Butternut, Grilled Tomato and Avocado Salad

There are four amazing starters on this plate.  Grilled Butternut, which is basically half-inch slices of this buttery-textured pumpkin arranged on a grill pan and then sprinkled with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Just when the butternut slices are cooked (you can poke a knife in it to check) and slightly browned, sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Second is that beautiful Grilled Tomato where I cut the tomato in to half, cleaned the innards (Beauty Tip: don’t throw them..the juice and seeds mixed with one tsp of olive or almond oil and 1 tbsp whole wheat flour or black chickpea flour makes an awesome face pack or body scrub to reduce dark spots), stuffed it with lots of cheddar cheese and chives and then grilled it for 10 mins.

The third is an Avocado Salad or dip which as you know is called a guacamole.

The fourth is the very Juicy Honey-Sesame Chicken Drummettes! It is a bit different from the normal recipes coz I add a few extra flavors in it.  For the two of us, I take 8-10 drummettes with skin (A whole chicken wing has three joints – one is the wingette which sort of rectangular in shape with the two skinny bones & meat in between. The drumette is the section that is attached to the body of the chicken and resembles a drumstick. The wing tip isn’t eaten normally). If someone doesn’t like the skin, they can peel it off by soaking the pieces in hot water.  Then I marinate these drummettes in 1tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp ginger and 1 tsp garlic.  I also add grated lime rind and finely chopped coriander root in this (according to my Thai friend Paruedee to get the maximum flavor of coriander leaves, one must use the part close to the roots.  She washes them thoroughly and adds the green parts to her curry pastes or simply throws them in a boiling soup).  After marinating for 5-6 hours, I pan fry them with very little oil on mostly high heat till they are partially charred and yummily cooked 🙂 In this way, all the juices remain intact and you have these flavorsome soft and amaazing drummettes….gosh I am drooling!!!!

Fried Eggs with a Tamarind Relish

Fried Eggs with a Tamarind Relish

This is again a recipe from Paruedee and she used to produce this simple but totally delicious starter/main dish from thin air in what the Germans say, an augenblick (a moment).  So you pan fry boiled eggs and set aside.  Make a table tennis sized ball of tamarind and soak it in hot water.  In a pan fry some chopped red chillis (depending on how hot you want it) and then add the tamarind water, sugar and salt according to taste and boil. I like it hot, sweet and very sour..but you can tweak accordingly.  Then slice the eggs into halves and plate them.  Pour the tamarind sauce liberally all over them, sprinkle chopped coriander, mint and basil, and throw in a generous dash of fried shallots on top (here you get them prepackaged in the market, but you can fry some onions till they are crispy brown).  I drizzle some more sauce to add an extra kick 🙂 And you can serve these with drinks or as a party snack for kiddies or if you have made a lot of sauce, you can serve it with rice too!!

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Fish Tikkis

I made these fish tikkis or kebabs for Niloy’s b’day party.  It was again very simple…I made some 35 tikkis by mashing 1kg boiled Basa fish fillets (any boneless fish would do), 4 medium sized boiled potatoes, 2 medium sized onions and 4 cloves of garlic chopped finely, 2 handfuls of mint leaves & coriander leaves, 5-6 chopped green chillis, 1 cup breadcrumbs, 2 tsp homemade garam masala, 4 tbsp lemon juice and salt to taste.   You can do the maths if you want small amounts 🙂 With a clean hand roll out table tennis sized balls and flatten them into a shape of a tikki.  Pan fry these with few drops of oil.  The sheer exhilaration of producing 35 tikkis made me forget my blog and I didn’t take any pictures!! 😛

Let me know if you guys try these..sending lots of love,

Dakhina

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Hey Rinks,

I still remember those half-spheres of eggs and were they addictive or what…the sauce was to-die-for. Actually I always thought that the eggs were simply boiled, now I know that u did saute them a bit…

This is really simple, i am making this very very sooooon 🙂

cheers & take care

Ramit.