The Most Productive Meal Menu

What is a productive meal menu, you ask? Depends on what you are trying to achieve from your food habits, but I classified this week as productive because I managed to completely clean the fridge before I embark on my trip for two days and also didn’t order in even once! Not that anything is wrong with ordering in, in fact, its one of the things I enjoy, but you know what I mean.

You will notice as you go along in the list of things I ate over the week, that the consumption of protein was not as good as I would have liked, but that’s because I was focussing on using up stuff. In general, I am critical of food wastage and my fridge is usually easier to clean before a trip because its not filled with a lot of store-bought condiments or things like that which you can’t consume in one go.

Have a look at what I ate this Monday to Friday 😀 and I am thinking of doing this again soon, when I eat more of what I wanted to and didn’t focus on fridge cleanse. This week also had a lot of other things that are not part of my usual routine. For example, it was a chill work week, so I was waking up quite late which meant a heavier breakfast & a snack type lunch. Also, a friend was staying over, so lots of rice type one pot meals instead of roti (Indian flatbread) which require more effort.

Also, I enjoy Youtube content of meal plans and such a lot, do share your food related stories in the comments as I would love those!

Don’t forget to look beyond the picture for some explanation of the meal menu :D:

I created this table in my notebook especially for this post and I am going to give you some more context if you are not an Indian & some of the words don’t make sense. First of all, my husband and I usually can’t do without three proper meals. However, in this meal menu, you would notice two lunches as just chai (Indian milk tea) and something to munch on. As I already mentioned, that’s because I was waking up late and breakfast was heavier than usual. Aside this, I would like to incorporate a lot more protein and actually my other weeks are definitely better than this one in that regard.

Now, a glossary of sorts 😀 –

Roti is nothing but the staple Indian basic flatbread, I usually use multigrain flour for this, but its traditionally meant to be whole wheat.

Chawal is nothing but plain boiled white rice.

Chai is Indian milky tea, which some people call as masala tea, but just so you know, I hate masalas in Chai. Only ginger and tulsi (holy basil) for me.

Idli is steamed rice cakes, traditionally made in South India.

Sambar is a vegetable stew that goes well with Idlis.

Poha is cooked rice flakes, and I would say its an acquired taste, but its a staple in our home, especially because its filling but not as carbs heavy as bread and also because we make it with matar or green peas always, which are high protein.

Gobhi is cauliflower & paratha is a heavier Indian flatbread. So, Gobhi paratha is an Indian flatbread stuffed with cauliflower and then fried with ghee (clarified butter), again a winter delicacy but this is one of my husband’s favorite treat so its a regular with us.

Methi is fenugreek leaves, which is a gift of winters in India and both of us love it.

5 Indian things I appreciated after living abroad | Blogmas 2

I clearly remember how much I used to hate my mom’s habit of putting excessive coriander in everything. And then I went to Europe for around 10 months and I missed it’s presence in regular food terribly. I came back and became equally or more obsessed with coriander.

So, i dedicate this post to 5 such Indian things that I have only appreciated either when living abroad or with age. I am sure Indians who moved abroad to settle can add a lot to this list. If you are reading this, please do consider adding yours in comments!

1. Amla: Indian gooseberry is a superfood that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. I know you will say that it’s way more popular than many other superfoods but my point is just how versatile and tasty it is in so many dishes. Why people don’t eat it more often? Maybe because they don’t know how easy it is to incorporate in so many dishes! Apart from amla candy & murabba (preserve), nothing else seems to be super popular. I think I’ll do a post on some easy peasy recipes with amla.

2. Coriander: of course. No brainer . Chop and put it in any Indian dish and see its magic happen.

3. Spice box: just why do people elsewhere not use a spice box? Just why? If you are reading this and don’t know what this is, please Google. You will know its importance in a South Asian’s life. This point can also be extended to pressure cooker actually. Why are people buying canned legumes and not using a pressure cooker?

4. Fresh mangoes need i say more?

So this is my list but i am sure many others can be added to this list. Please do let me know in comments. Mine are a lot around food but yours don’t have to be. 😀

My Favorite Recipe from the internet | Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

Why I decided to write this post – we come across many recipes on the internet everyday and that too from so many different sources that I am sure all of us have bookmarked and saved recipes across portals. But this one stands out so much for me in many ways –

  • One, it turned out really amazing! It initiated me into not being scared of baking, because if your first recipe is so good, what can you not do? 😀
  • I found it online really long ago on a blog (details below). This was at a time when Instagram probably didn’t exist and I used to read many random blogs regularly. 😀
  • I made this recipe with multiple variations (one suggested by my brother which he also ended up loving the most) many times, but once I decided to make it after a long hiatus and I couldn’t find it again online. In baking, as many of you would know, knowing the right ratios & measurements is very important unless you are a seasoned baker, so I was really heart broken to not find it!
  • Ever since then, I have searched for this lady’s blog online and the recipe many times. I clearly remembered her blog name and her name also, this recipe meant that much to me. 🙂 I also saw multiple other recipes of the same dish but I wasn’t happy with their descriptions. It was totally a “she’s not Rachel” thing. 😀 And, then, one day I finally saw her old blog popu in some pinterest post on one of my Google searches for the recipe. It’s still not clickable but I took frantic screenshots & I am sharing them below.

On a separate note, I think the same person now blogs here – http://cakencurry.com/. Again, found out because of trying random searches of her name, user name and what not! 🙂

Here’s the recipe for you. Garlic, cheese & bread – what’s not to love?

Blogmas Day 5 | My 2020 Favorites! The year that was!

Ushering in the new year watching Mirzapur in bed (truly grateful <3). I had one more new year plan which didn’t quite materialize – put a besan (gram flour) face mask on with Rahul – this Rahul refuses because it’s cold. So, well, Mirzapur it is.

I don’t want to end this year without doing a roundup of my favorites, because it would be a nice recollection of the year that went by:

Favorite movie
Cannot say that I watched too many, but still from the limited ones, I don’t have a favorite. In fact, I would rather link this list of my favorite re-watches. I watched most of these in 2020 as well.

Favorite Show
I watched quite some shows online this year, especially with the lockdown. I know I am still far behind what with people consuming every new show on Netflix these days (something which you may have guessed because of my watching Mirzapur in end of Dec!) but by own standards, I watched quite some. Among these, Panchayat was my favorite, simply because it was a refreshing concept.

Favorite Food
Well, well, well. This is a tough one, because I love food too much to pick just one favorite. However, I am going to pick an unexpected one – Momos is one of my most favorite things on Earth and I didn’t expect to find them in Surat, but forget finding them, I got to sample some of the best ones I have ever had here in Surat. There is a ‘Darjeeling Momos’ stall right next to where I live and the people selling the momos seem to be from North East, some of the best ones I have ever had!

Favorite Outfit
I scored a pair of Zara formal pants at Brand Factory on great discount and it was everything I have ever wanted in a pant – well fitted but flared bottom and that steely Grey color! I love it and am itching to wear it to work, except that I don’t want to go to work, I am quite happy with wfh now!

Favorite Skin Care Product
None. I tried a lot of new stuff this year and I was so looking forward to chemical exfoliation changing the game for me but nothing really worked. As in, nothing bad happened, but nothing good happened either. On the other hand, this was an year of all the random make-up purchases working awesomely. The irony is that there were not much occasions to wear them to. 😀

Favorite Book
I am going to pick 3 here because I enjoyed all of them equally – 1) A Man called Ove – endearing & emotional, I have logged down my love for this one here at Instagram, 2) I’ve Got Your Number – nothing new here, it never happens that I read a Kinsella and don’t enjoy it to the core and 3) Shoe Dog – this was an unexpected one. Phil Knight’s autobiography on how he set up Nike was one of the best stories I read this year and a lot of people will relate to this feeling. So well written! As the testimonials on the book say, Phil is a great storyteller.

Favorite Event
One of my closest friends got married this year in November. This was a wedding which I was waiting for since the beginning of the year because it was the last wedding of my friend circle of post grad. We were really hoping that it doesn’t happen during Corona, but it did and while we were in extreme dilemma about attending, but since the beginning we knew it will be a huge regret if we skip this wedding. Hence, we went and it was truly one of the funnest times of my year. I just realized that even the other two of my friends from my post grad group got married to each other this year as well, in Jan, when Corona didn’t exist for us. Aside this, small joys like watching random things on tv with family when lockdown had just started counts big time too. I have always enjoyed watching Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana and it started airing like a proper show on TV during the beginning of lockdown. We recently went to a beach resort here near to Surat and it was a lovely experience too. I also want to give a special mention to an amazing product that I bought this year in the middle of lockdown – it was my first non-essential purchase after March. The below lovely Parama blouse.

While typing out this post, the new year has just begun. I wish you a very happy, healthy and successful new year! Hope this new year brings tons of luck and happiness for all of us! I couldn’t be more thankful for 2020, even though it was the oddest year that we have been alive for but still there’s a lot to be grateful for – being near to your parents more often, a healthy life, food and roof, a fulfilling life. Truly grateful.

#3 Missing my version of Tomato Chutney | Easy Recipes 101

I & the husband moved to my parent’s place slightly before the lock-down was established. South Indian food is not a regular occurrence here, while we, on the other hand, were idli regulars back at our place for two reasons – 1) we used to get really good quality ready made batter delivered at doorstep, 2) its the easiest thing to make once the batter is ready :P. A little side note though, I am too scared to try out Sambhar which goes really well with idli, I find it a bit overwhelming in my head, so much so that I never had the guts to even ask our cook if she can make it. So, our usual fare with idli used to be just coconut chutney, again store-bought, because it was difficult to find desiccated coconut on a whim where I live to make fresh coconut chutney. Again, I used to find tomato onion chutney which is a common occurrence in South Indian homes overwhelming in my head. This recipe gave me the impulsive nudge that I truly needed because as dramatic as it may sound, it has changed my life. I love me a good tomato onion chutney with South Indian food, I even love it on toasted bread, mixed with rice, you get the drift. Reading this post made me realize just how frigging easy it is! I am sure everyone knew this before me, but if you also fear making basic chutneys, please do try the recipe in the link out.

Funny thing, the moment I read this recipe, I literally took my wallet and phone and stepped out of the house to buy tomatoes for this recipe as we didn’t have any at home. Yes, that’s how much impulsive it was. Some of our friends were staying over that day and I had an aim in mind to get the chutney to the table before everyone gets ready to have breakfast. 🙂 I succeeded, so I again insist that it is super easy.

I think its important to mention at this point that you may feel bogged down because of the sheer number of ingredients in the chutney. I did skip a few basis my convenience and it should be okay for anyone. Just take a judgement call. I’ll tell you my case – I skipped buying/using whole red chillies because its usually sold in huge bags and I don’t think I’ll ever use that much so I just let it be, I anyway was going to add green chillies & red chilli powder. I also skipped tamarind pulp, something which is considered a sacrilege usually in South Indian food. I had Amchoor (mango powder) at hand so I added that for tartness. I loved the end result, so I guess its okay to not be too stuck up on ingredients. Just enjoy the process & the chutney. 🙂

One issue still remaining to be handled, the husband has never been big on tomato chutney, so I guess we do have to get over the fear of Sambhar to enjoy our South Indian food more wholesomely.

I didn’t click a picture of the chutney, will do it sometime later to update the post. 🙂

For other entries in the Easy Recipes 101 series, go here.

342 | Easy Recipes 101 | #2 My Sandwich Recipe

If organising thoughts are an effort, at least I can post a recipe. I love the idea of having all my favorite recipes over here. The best part about this one is that its a favorite among many. Friends & family (even people who aren’t big on sandwiches) love this.

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love sandwiches but the key is that its the homemade sandwiches! My mom used to feed me a basic one by slathering butter (one of my most favorite things on Earth, so she made sure to put a lot :*) followed by slices of cucumber & tomato with some salt & pepper. This is ultimate comfort food for me, but I realize now that I haven’t had it in a long while! Then, the Bombay sandwich – oh God! how I love it. I find the typical grilled sandwiches at cafes a bit average. Still, this recipe is of a grilled version but, but, it has all the feels of a no-fuss ghar ka (homemade) sandwich. Do try it once! (I’ll also update the pictures of this sometime later on this post).

Considering sandwich is a very simple thing, I wouldn’t call it the easiest sandwich recipe. It does require a bit of an effort for a sandwich but still not much. Let me get right into it.

What you’ll need:

1. Carrot – thin strips/julienned
2. Capsicum – thin strips {Edit: Lately, I have realized a lot of people do not like Capsicum also :P, so take whatever you want, the hero is anyway the 5th ingredient :P)
3. Onion – thin strips (optional, depending on whether you like onions)
4. Bread
5. Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese – you can replace it with any cheese if you don’t have Paneer, but tastes best with Paneer)
6. Salt & Black Pepper
7. Oil – preferably Olive oil – you need a tablespoon or more depending on your quantity of the veggies, you have to saute the veggies in the oil
8. Ketchup
9. Ghee/Butter
10. Sandwich Griller (Yeah 😛 it doesn’t taste as good if just toasted on a pan)

Steps:

1. Pour your oil in a pan, let it heat for about half a minute.

2. Dump your veggies into the oil one by one in this order – Onion > Carrot > Capsicum. Onion need to just start turning translucent when you add carrot. When you see the carrot is a bit cooked and doesn’t feel totally raw, add capsicum. When that is also cooked a bit, add salt & pepper as per taste. Switch off the flame. The idea is to cook the veggies a bit, but most of their crunch still retained.

3. Now its time to assemble. Take your bread, slather some ketchup on it, put the veggie mix.

4. Now comes the best part. Cut out a slice of paneer and top it on the veggie mix. If you are using any cheese, put a slice of that or grated cheese if that’s what you have). Add salt & pepper again if you wish, I usually don’t.

5. Cover with another slice of bread.

6. Put a bit of ghee or butter or oil on the outsides of both your bread slices and put it in the griller.

7. Grill for as grilled as you typically like a sandwich.

8. Enjoy!

Do let me know if you end up trying it, especially with Paneer.