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 πŸ˜€ 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 πŸ˜€ –

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.

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? πŸ˜€
  • 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. πŸ˜€
  • 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜€ 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! πŸ™‚

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

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!

Life Instagram-ed #12

Hi everyone πŸ™‚

I have nothingΒ to say right now, so I’ll just directly move to life snippets that I managed to capture since the past two months:

1. I tried this recipe from The PinkTrends here and I have one thing to say to you all: try it. πŸ™‚

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2. This is from a restaurant, Abbey Road in Cyber Hub, Gurgaon. I liked the fun vibe at this place, extremely good ambiance. However, I reached late here for someone’s farewell so I did not eat anything. Oh, by the way, they give you cupcakes when you leave. πŸ™‚

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3. Eating maggi with a sprinkling of Amul Mozarella cheese and Ching’s Secret Schezwan chutney. My dreamy and unhealthy life. :’) Just kidding, you should totally avoid maggi! I am trying too.

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4. The Navratri festivities in our society. This is the ‘prasad’ after the kirtan. For non-Indians, Navratri is a Hindu festival of nine days where we worship Goddesses. Some people hold events in which they sing hymns called Kirtan and prasad is like sweet little things given as gifts/favours after the event. Like, candies on Halloween? (Oh my God! this was difficult πŸ˜› )

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5. The Goddess idol from the same Kirtan in my society.

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6. I spotted these beautiful earthen wares at a roadside seller’s stall.

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7. Β Then, I tried this recipeΒ from Suraksha di’s blog.

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8. I went to Monkey Bar in Vasant Kunj, Delhi. Frankly, from the newspaper coverage when it inaugrated, I expected it to be a huge place. I was a little disappointed. I liked the food and I’ll definitely go again because there are many things on the menu that I want to try. It’s not exactly a value for money place but let’s just say it is not as pricey either as Delhi’s food scene overall is. :/ Overall, I had a great time (because I got to play foosball for the first time).

I don’t know if I have mentioned, but I am not good at any sports (except running?) so I am embarrassed to try games anywhere because I feel like a loser. As I was with people in front of whom I am never embarrassed, I finally went ahead. πŸ˜€ Now I’ll probably start using the foosball table in my office finally. By the way, this not being good at sports is one of the very few things that make me different from Monica of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. πŸ˜› Why I am writing so much random stuff is beyond me as well. πŸ˜›

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9. The book that I was reading. I know that you know which one it is. πŸ™‚ (If you don’t and are curious, feel free to ask in comments).

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10. Sam’ cafe in Paharganj.

Now, most people find this place overrated. I quite enjoyed my meal. I am definitely going here again. I tried the Lasagna (not in picture) which was very good, these fries and chocolate milkshake. These fries were a little bland for my taste but nothing a little salt on top can’t fix. The milkshake was super yummy. Plus, they have a rooftop seating as well. Paharganj is anyway one of the places I love going to, I am definitely heading here again. Did I mention this place is quite easy on the pocket? MUST TRY.

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11. Rangoli colors on Diwali.

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12. Rangoli part-1

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13. Rangoli part-2

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14. Ching’s Secret new soups that we tried. I liked it but maybe most people won’t. There was nothing exceptional to it but I enjoy all kinds of soups. I try to consume less of these instant ones though. However, they are easy to have and tasty too.

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That’s all! Tell me what all you liked or hated. πŸ™‚