During late night Twitter surfing after work, waiting for the drop cab, I saw this post of a photograph of baked buns filled with something that looked like eggs. A colleague asked me something in the meanwhile and when I got back to Twitter, the post had got buried under 100s of new ones and I never had the time to fish it out.
But the image stayed with me. My son loves burgers and I try making them at home for him. I had some buns lying in the fridge and thought of giving it a try. Out came the eggs and salamis from the refrigerator, and also some frozen peas, and mozzarella cheese, and my super breakfast dish was ready in 15 minutes flat. I posted a photo on a Facebook page for home cooks and boy, it was a hit! Within hours, I had people telling me they already tried the recipe, albeit with their own innovations, and loved it.
Here goes my recipe…
Food for thought: Omelet in a bun
Burger or any other buns: 4
Onions: 1 , small (diced)
Chicken/pork salami: 2 pieces (chopped)
Boiled peas: Half cup
Salt and pepper: To taste
Mozzarella cheese (grated): Half cup
Preparation: Preheat oven at 175 degrees C. Gently whip the eggs with salt, pepper, onions and salamis. Grate the cheese and set aside. Take the buns and scoop out a chunk from the middle of each of them. Now, pour the egg mixture into the holes. Sprinkle some cheese on top and put it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or till the cheese melts.
Last words: It’s an experimental dish and there is nothing that you cannot alter. An alternative way to make it, which I am definitely going to try out next time, will be to pour the eggs and other ingredients separately, instead of mixing them. The yolks will stand out in that case and should give more character to the dish. And yes, as far as the baking time is concerned, you can always reduce or increase it suiting your taste, depending on the way you want your eggs to taste — chewy or gooey
If you are in North India, winters are synonymous with gajar ka halva. I got to know this fact only after I came to stay in this part of the country 14 years ago. Not that I did not know of this sweet dish made of the healthy carrots but loaded with calories, but the cult status it enjoys in the region was kind of a surprise to me.
My mother used to put in great efforts to cook this dish. Grating the carrots was a must, because nobody at home liked the taste when it was cooked the easy way, by boiling and mashing the carrots. She would use all sorts of goodies to give it that heavenly taste.
A bowl of hot and tasty ghee-dripping gajar ka halva generously laden with dry fruits is all you need on a freezing cold day. The day I made the dish some days back was incidentally the season’s coldest day in Delhi.
Here goes my recipe of the winter beauty.
Food for thought: Gajar ka halva
Carrots: 1 kg
Sugar: 1/2 cups
Condensed milk: 1/2 tin
Milk: 1/2 litre
Khoya (Mawa): 200 grams
Cashew & raisins: 1/2 cup
Ghee (clarified butter): 4 tablespoons
Preparations: Grate the carrots and keep it aside. In a pan, heat ghee and fry the carrots till the ghee separates. The ghee will turn orange. Pour the milk and cook the carrots till done. Add sugar, condensed milk, khoya, cardamom and the dry fruits and cook till you get the desired consistency.
My 2-and-a-half-year-old son loves cakes. And I do not need a better reason to bake them. I have become so regular with cakes that my kitchen perpetually smells of the utterly-butterly calorie bombs. Well, maybe that’s exaggeration, but I do end up baking cakes once every fortnight if not week.
An unfinished bottle of wine had been lying in the closet for a long time and I decided to use it in the cake I was going to bake this time. I looked up on the Net for recipes and opted for a soaked cake for the simple reason that I did not want to completely deprive my son of it. I used the same batter to bake some extra that I did not soak in wine.
The recipe that caught my eye was one made with brandy. But I decided to substitute it with wine. Also, it was an almond cake, but I used vanilla instead. You can find the original recipe on allrecipes.co.uk.
So, here goes the recipe of the cake that earned me quite a lot of praise at a Sunday gathering.
Food for thought: Wine soaked sponge cake
Flour: 400 g
Sugar: 400 g
Butter: 225 g
Eggs: 4, separated
Milk: 250 ml
Vanilla essence: 4 teaspoons
Water: 450 ml
Red wine: 125 ml
Preparation: Preheat oven to 150C. Grease and flour your baking tin and set aside. Beat the butter and 250 g of sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, blending them well into the butter mixture. Add the flour alternately with the milk. Pour in the vanilla essence. Once your batter is ready, beat the egg whites in an absolutely dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Now, fold in the egg whites into the cake mixture. Don’t mix too vigorously, but ensure the egg white has evenly blended with the batter. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted into it comes out clean. It may take around an hour or so, but do check before that if it’s ready. Turn off the oven when it is and let the cake cool completely.
In a pan, bring the water and 150 g of sugar to boil (for at least 10 minutes). Reduce heat and add the wine and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow the syrup to cool down to room temperature. Now, prick holes in the cooled cake and then pour in the wine syrup all over it. Let it rest for some time and your wine-soaked sponge cake is ready to serve.
Last words: For best results, make sure the eggs you are using are in room temperature. Also, it’s better to use powdered sugar for the cake. It turns fluffy with butter faster. You can use granulated sugar for the syrup.
The Philadelphia cream cheese my brother brought from the US two months back was still resting in my fridge as I was still contemplating what to make with them. It was Christmas time soon and the heavenly Red Velvet Cake I had recently tasted at Elma’s Bakery cafe in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village was still fresh on my mind. So the cream cheese had to go into my Red Velvet Cake, I decided.
I scanned through a number of recipes on the Internet to find the one I could try at home. I did find some, but I still had to compromise on certain ingredients, which I could not manage to stock. Vanilla beans were over, so had to do with the essence. Couldn’t find Dutch-processed cocoa powder, so used regular cocoa. Didn’t have liquid colour, so had to use dry powder. But it had a disastrous effect, with the cake turning orange, though the packet said ‘RED’, yes in all CAPS.
The colour fiasco notwithstanding, the taste was good, and the way it should have tasted. Here is the recipe.
Food for thought: Red Velvet Cake
It was my first outing as a food blogger. I am glad it happened, for the experience gave me a chance to get back to writing.
With its “discover” theme, Opera Software organised the #DiscoverWithOpera food bloggers’ meet at Ahoy! Asia, a new Oriental restaurant in Delhi. Started by friends Arun Chanda and Satyajit Mukherjee, Ahoy! took me on a journey of cuisines I hadn’t tasted before.
A lot of travel has gone into the menu finalised by the restaurant, a menu way different from the ones you see at other restaurants serving Asian food in India. You will need a magnifying glass to find chilli chicken. Mukherjee minced no words in saying that they don’t serve “Chinjabi”.
From Okonomiyaki, the starter, to Banana Spring Rolls, the dessert, the food gave us a tour of almost entire Asia. But what intrigued me most was the Uyghur cuisine from Xinjiang region of China. An amalgamation of Islamic and traditional Chinese cuisines, it gives you a very different Chinese experience.
As food bloggers embarked on a journey of Oriental food discovery, Sunil Kamath, Vice-President for South Asia, Opera Software, compared it to the experience of browsing the Net with Opera to ‘discover’ content. “Opera gives an opportunity to users to get hot new content with no browsing necessary with the new ‘Discover’ feature available on Opera for Android and Opera for Windows & Mac.’ The feature allows you to get fed with new articles from whichever region you want to get inspiration from, right in your browser — all in one place. Users can pick and choose their category: news, food, technology or anything thing…” he said.
The Ahoy! menu boasts of a range of food from the Uyghur kitchen — from Tangjiao (a lamb dumplings soup in a meat broth) to Chuanr (spicy lamb skewers grilled over charcoal); DaPanJi (Chicken stew served with Uyghur rice pilaf) to Zhua Fan (pilaf of mutton, carrot, chickpeas and rice, served with curry & Uyghur style yoghurt) and stir fired spicy lamb with wok tossed noodles.
Dishes from Sichuan and Canton regions of China too rub shoulders with Uyghur cuisine at Ahoy! kitchen.
The other countries we “covered” on the gastronomical trip were Vietnam (Chicken Banhmi Sandwich), Malaysia (Lamb Murtabak) Japan (Chicken Yakitori) and Thailand (Tofu & Bell Pepper Satay). The menu also travels to Mongolia, Myanmar and Tibet.
Some of the other varieties we tried were Toho Kawap (chicken wing kebabs grilled over charcoal), Kung Fu Caesar Salad (greens with grilled chicken and garlic croutons tossed in lemongrass mayo) and Banana Spring Rolls with a vanilla ice-cream scoop & caramel sauce for dessert.
After tasting such delicious Asian fares, the first thing I had on my mind was if it was possible to replicate at least one of the dishes at home. The most doable one seemed to be the popular Japanese breakfast dish, Okonomiyaki — the pancake of different flavours served on a bed of cabbage. The recipe is simple, and since Chef Chanda said we could use our own ingredients to replicate it at home, it was all the more welcome. I instantly decided to replace the special mayonnaise he had used by the normal one I use at home, and Aonori (seaweed flakes) with bacon/chicken strips and the sauce with a distinct flavour with my good old tomato sauce.
Share my recipe with you.
Food for thought: Okonomiyaki
Flour: 1 cup
Stock (chicken/veg): 2/3rd cup
Cabbage: 4 cups
Spring onions: 1 cup
Boneless chicken (boiled): 1 cup
Ginger: 1 tablespoon
Bacon: 2 strips
Prawns (small): 4-5 pieces
Sausage: 1-2 links
Preparation: Cut the cabbage into thin slices and keep aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour and stock until smooth. Add eggs, onions, ginger, shrimp and sausage and lightly mix, seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste. Now, oil a hot griddle and make a bed of the thinly sliced cabbage. Add the Okonomiyaki mixture on to that and using a spatula flatten the mixture on the bed of cabbage. The pancake should be around 1.5 cm thick. Lower the flame, and cook until firm. Flip it over and cook for another minute or two. Flip it back if the cabbage side is not well browned yet. Remove from heat and serve hot with mayonnaise and tomato sauce topping.
Last words: Mine is not the original Japanese recipe, but for the uninitiated, this should work fine as a breakfast choice when you are not in a mood for your regular bread and eggs or dosa-sambhar or dahi-parantha. Please feel free to improvise and use the ingredients of your choice. For a vegetarian version of it, chicken or bacon can be easily replaced with mushroom or other interesting stuff.
Douzo meshiagare! (Apologies, if I am not using it at the right place and have not spelt it right)
I never thought I liked fish. But after I left home for PG studies 14 years ago, I realised I had taken this staple food for granted. I sorely missed the ‘maachher jhaal’ (fish fried in mustard oil tempered with kala jeera, slit green chillies and red chilli powder) and ‘doi maach’ cooked by my mother. And to my utter surprise, I would even find myself longing for that pungent and tangy ‘shorshe ilish’ — the ultimate Hilsa delicacy from Bengal. This is a fish for which a Bengali can even kill or die. While most Bengalis find its smell divine, it was the smell that would put me off. The smell that would not go from your fingers no matter how much you washed. It would stay with the utensils for days together, and just in case you kept the leftover in the fridge and forgot to cover it, the oranges inside would also start giving you the taste of Hilsa. But the same stinking Hilsa is now a favourite with me too as I started to appreciate its taste after being deprived of it for long. Here is the recipe.
Hilsa fish: 500g
Black/red mustard seed: 1/2 cup
Green chillies: 7-8
Mustard oil: To fry
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Juice of one small lemon (optional) Preparation: Soak the mustard seeds for at least half an hour, preferably in hot/warm water. Grind it with 3-4 green chillies and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and put 3-4 slit green chillies. Add the fish and turmeric powder and fry till cooked. Now add the mustard paste with a little water and stir for a couple of minutes. Turn off the flame and add lemon juice (optional) before serving hot with plain rice. Last words: You need to be a little careful while using mustard paste, which tends to turn bitter. Use freshly ground paste, and don’t cook it for long. You get readymade mustard paste (see photo) these days, which comes in powder form. You can use it according to the directions given on the pack. They taste quite authentic.