Monthly Favorites | February

I talked about my impulse to share about some things I am loving here & got some really good suggestions on how I can make it interesting. Hence, I started with this monthly favorites series (literally the second post in a year but that’s because I didn’t have media storage space, I’ll hopefully be regular with my favorites now!). Don’t think I remember my Feb “favorites”, its just that I had this post in the drafts.

For my previous monthly favorites, go here.

Diving right into it, I do realize there’s a lot of personal care featuring here this time around:

  1. Coconut oil by The Moksha Life: As some of you would know, it is my friend’s brand, so you are bound to think that I am biased. It may be difficult to believe but its actually one of the best coconut oils I have tried. Admittedly, I didn’t go beyond a certain price range but within my preferred price range, this one truly stands apart. Its taste is incredible for using in dishes and when i apply it on hair, the fragrance and feel is better than any that I have used.
  2. Wide tooth neem wood comb by The Moksha Life: For this, I don’t really have a comparison as this was my first time using a wooden comb. However, I was expecting a lot more issues with getting used to a wooden comb. This didn’t take me any time to adjust and the best part which led to it being in my favorites list is that it has a very mild and soothing fragrance. I don’t know if its the fragrance of the wood or what but I love it!!!
  3. Boroplus cream : Completely clichΓ©, iconic Indian moisturizing cream! I mean its a child product of the old product, Boroline. Boroline works very well for moisturizing lips and so does Boroplus cream. I should not have actually listed it as a favorite because its not, but it reminded me of Boroline, which I love, not just for what it does but also because of the iconic packaging that stood the test of time!
  4. Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia: It was my favorite scent till I tried more of Jo Malone’s scents. I have not tried many designer scents, but I think Jo Malone is always going to be my favorite. I am loving all the new ones that I am trying.
  5. Jodhpur Jaisalmer trip: I think I should do a separate post on all the travel that I have done since some time, since not everything is documented here and I hope I don’t forget!
  6. Club Iraa: My dad was posted in Raipur since more than one year, he recently got retirement. So, we had visited this one restaurant/pub there when we were visited him once. It was so good! I mean, such an amazing vibe this place had and, in India, since usually tier 2 cities don’t have space issues, it was a huge place. We loved it. I wish we had gone there again in any of our follow-up visits but we did not end up doing that.

I know these are really old favorites, but I would love to know your current ones! πŸ™‚

If you liked this, check out more of my latest posts:

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. πŸ˜€

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 πŸ˜› 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.

37 | Easy Recipes 101 | #1 Dahi Aloo Sabzi

I see a lot of recipes on the internet which mention that most of the things needed must already be in your pantry. Well, when that’s not the case, I feel disappointed. More like, duped. Haha, I know its nobody’s fault, but you get what I mean right? Sometimes the recipe is more work than you expected and then the enthusiasm for something quick but delicious goes off!

I hope that’s not the case with this one. Its fairly easy and as all recipes must say: you have mostly everything in your pantry already. πŸ˜› Its my flatmate’s recipe and is really one of the quickest and filling things out there. Only issue is that only those people who like tart-y kind of food will like this. The best part? Since you can adjust the yogurt as per your taste, you can increase it for that extra protein and I usually reduce my number of chapatis to one with this dish to make it a low carb meal, because it already has potatoes for carbs. You can skip chapati as well if that’s your thing!

Oh, also, do let me know how you like this recipe segment on the blog which I was excited to start after this post. πŸ™‚ I have jotted down a couple of recipes previously on the blog, and I loved doing that, so here’s bringing it back!

Things you will need (for 2 servings/bowlfuls):

1. Boiled potatoes cut into cubes – 2 medium

2. Curd/Yogurt – as per taste, you will be putting it post potatoes, so you can choose how much you want to “cover” the potatoes, like, thick gravy or thin (guys, I will always be like this with measurements 😦 )

3. Kasuri Methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) – as per taste (This is the only ingredient which is slightly fancier and not everybody may have in their kitchen but mostly do :P)

4. Cooking Oil – 1.5 to 2 tablespoons

5. Jeera (Cumin Seeds)

6. Red Chilly Powder

7. Black Chilly Powder (Not necessary)

8. Coriander Powder

9. Turmeric Powder

10. Amchur (Mango Powder & Not Necessary)

11. Garam Masala (Not Necessary)

12. Salt

*All spices as per taste

How To:

1. Put oil in a pan and wait for it to heat up for around a minute. Heat should be medium or medium-low.

2. Add jeera and let it crackle.

3. To this, add the cubed boiled potatoes.

4. Add all spices except no 3, 10 and 11 mentioned above. Add them as per your taste & if you are just starting with cooking, half a teaspoon each for all these should do for 2 potatoes. You can taste once the dish is ready if you want to increase anything.

5. Mix everything so that potatoes are well coated with the spices.

6. Start adding kasuri methi to the pan. Again, you can decide how much based on the coverage you are getting on the potatoes, I feel 2 or 3 tablespoons maximum. A lot of people find it bitter when quantity is a bit too much, so you might want to start with little.

7. Now, turn the heat to low. Start adding yogurt/curd and stirring simultaneously so that curd doesn’t split a lot. For how much curd to add, go to point 2 in the ‘Things you will need’ section.

8. At this point, add amchur and garam masala if you have those. Again, as per taste or half a teaspoon each and give a good mix to the pan.

9. Taste the recipe to adjust for salt etc.

That’s it really! Do try this out once at least. Only thing remaining for me is to make Rahul taste this, who loves my regular yogurt sabzi (will post that someday). I am not a big fan of that one, but if he ends up loving this version, then it will be a win-win as I love this one!

33 | Getting food to the table

When I moved to Berlin in 2016, I started cooking proper meals. Not just for myself, but for 5 people. We were 5 friends living together, and the others used to take up different chores around the house while I took care of the cooking bit, with each of us helping each other as required, of course. When I started, I was fairly amateurish, but I improved, obviously due to practice. When you are making chapatis for 5 people almost every other day, you are bound to get better at it.

After our semester ended, we all relocated to different places in Europe and I was living alone in the new city (Ljubljana, Slovenia) in a shared apartment. This meant cooking only for myself. I really didn’t feel motivated enough to make chapatis for just one person, so I must have made chapatis maybe once or twice in a span of, say, 3 months. I think its pretty weird for an Indian who is perfectly adept at making chapatis. However, despite not getting my hands dirty with chapati making, I did not feel too lazy about cooking my own meals. It almost became second nature. At this point, I was clear that whenever I move back to India and start living on my own, I will not hire a cook till the time I can do without it so as to not lose my habit of cooking every day meals without feeling lazy. (I assume every one reading this post is aware that its pretty affordable to hire a cook in India compared to western countries).

Till this day, I have not kept a cook. This also includes a 6-month stint in Dubai where I had an office provided serviced apartment which basically has a kitchen with bare essentials. I was perfectly comfortable cooking my own meals there as well.

However, there is one thing I have realized in this bringing food to the table journey of mine. I am a very ‘jugaadu’ type of cook. This is a Hindi word which means someone who wants to do stuff the street smart way, without doing everything by the book. What I mean is that my prime goal while cooking is always to fix a meal in the shortest span of time possible with it being delicious. However, I am not too patient with following recipes, nor am I one of those who will rush to get that one ingredient to get the recipe right. If I don’t have it, I’ll mostly do without it. Why am I writing this post then? That is because I feel a little envious of those who carefully craft a recipe around me and it usually tastes fabulous. I don’t want to change the way I cook entirely, I am more of going with the flow kinds, but sometimes I wish I had that kind of patience on few days at least. (Only few days though, because I know these careful crafters will not be comfortable cooking such elaborate recipes everyday :P). For me, even when I am hosting people, I find it hard to cook patiently. :/

Do you cook? What are you – the patient & elaborate recipe cook or the fix a meal quickly like myself? Tell me below!

Also, on a related note, I am thinking of chronicling my quick recipes here! Do let me know how that sounds. πŸ™‚

Take care!

13 | What your Sunday looked like ?

Mine was more than decent. I spent the entire day taking things slow, at my own pace & not getting fed up of it even for a moment. I never skip my breakfasts on the weekends also, even though I don’t wake up that early. Today it was oats chilla (oats crepe of sorts) and scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese. Slightly more work than my usual fare (because I had to use the grinder to powder the oats for the batter), then watching ‘The Office’ along with breakfast, followed by another snooze. Showering, putting a hair pack for that extra indulgence :D. Then, lunch was lachcha paratha and chilke wali moong dal (if you are not an Indian reading this, please Google :)). Would you believe if I tell you that this was followed by another snooze? πŸ˜€ Then, I had tea and read for sometime.

Just when it could have possibly felt like too much time spent alone, a plan was made with friends. A lovely way to end the day! We went to this place called Urban Tamasha on 100 ft road, Indiranagar. Pretty good! And just before meeting them, I also happened to shop.

It feels like Sunday spoilt me a bit, but I do feel good. So, all’s good. πŸ™‚

Would love to know how was yours. πŸ™‚