Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Depression Vs One Pot Penne, Indianized!!

So now that Indians have agreed on being the most depressed and the most addicted to chocolate, it is time to change that. Change because I feel a chocolate with its dark colour and addictive quality gets me more depressed, and oppressed, and stressed; and all pressed at the same time, every time (hee hee, yes I can’t stop saying this sentence again and again!). I hear you when you say cocoa has power to solve anything and everything, but this wonderfully vibrant pot of pasta have powers bordering supernatural which can cure even a broken heart. And I say so with a lot of conviction because a friend indeed with a broken heart was mended with this very pasta dish. Infact that was the birth of this recipe, a birth I cherish the most after my toddler’s. So this had be the star of the anti-depressant series that we are working on.

Now to talk about the recipe a bit, you will notice that it is quite an Indianized version of our Italian favourite pasta. If we have our own version of spicy Indo-Chinese cuisine, then we rather have a delicious version of Indo-Italian cuisine too. And this my friends, is my ode to the great new cuisine I am giving birth to. The idea is simple; the fusion is made to ensure we use ingredients that are easily available to us in our own kitchens. And obviously, the Indianized version appeals better to our palette. Its fast, it’s easy and its perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks and/or dinner. I have kept the recipe completely veg, but if you want a non veg version, just thrown in some bacon or sausages in it.  
A cup more liquid than this!


500 gms Durum/whole wheat pasta
2 small onions sliced
2 medium capsicum
3 big cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
A big pinch of roasted red pepper flakes
A bigger pinch of dried oregano
A handful of coriander leaves chopped
A handful of olives, chopped
3 big tomatoes, puréed
A splash of red wine vinegar
A splash of apple cider vinegar
A splash of balsamic vinegar
A splash of basic tomato ketchup
A splash of extra virgin olive oil
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

And enough water to submerge the pasta in.

For the Process as to how to make it, Click here- http://www.smartindianwomen.com

More from the series-

Thursday, 25 June 2015

3 Cocktails that Made me Dizzy!!!

Finally the rains have set in today, on the great northern parched lands of India. The capital was simmering hot and just these 2 days of drizzle is all we get before another bout of simmering heat takes up its place. It’s the time to live, sprout and give fragrance to all dryness around. I am new to this climate. In fact in Mumbai the stretch of monsoon sometimes took devilish look with flooding, water logging and what not. Here it’s not the same. Day long showers are a distant day dream. Yet the nightmare of water logging and flooding continues. The roads are like a battleground- a driver here screaming her lungs out because her car’s tyre got stuck into a flooded man hole, or another honking to glory as he is stuck in a big jam behind her. An elderly auto driver trying to help, but the lady feels unsure of his intentions. Basically it’s a typical day of the capital. And rain definitely brings out the worse in everyone here on a busy weekday. I wish the rainy season continues till the weekend for the simmering Delhites to enjoy the weather better.

To continue with my traditional Mumbai rainy marvels, I plan to set up a barbecue this weekend. I know, Delhi has its own barbecue season during the cold winters. But there is something really grand about a barbecue during the rains. The wind, the wet smell, and the hot soft morsels of flavourful meat- a match made in heaven. And to cool it all down, I need to make 3 of my most favourite drinks in the world. 3 Mexican inspired cocktails which will blow anybody’s mind away. These are customised drinks which were created for me by a very talented mixologist, Peter Sethi. I loved his imagination. All I had told him was to give me something that would surprise my taste-buds in directions impossible. And he very well managed to do that. My interaction with him occurred during my visit to Sofitel Mumbai; he was their star mixologist at that point of time. And he with the sommelier really kept me in a good company filled with knowledge throughout the evening. We ate and drank and had a wonderful time in the state of art wine cellar of Sofitel hotel. So without any further ado, here are the 3 amazingly delicious yet so unique cocktails for you to enjoy all year long, and for me to have this weekend!!


This one was my favourite. Being bred as the quintessential mustard loving bong, I adore the taste of wasabi much more than anyone I have ever seen (throw in a couple of japs too). Wasabi with tequila is a beautiful mix, and the pungent flavour just blows your mind off!!
60 ml tequila
½ tbsp. wasabi paste
15 ml of lime juice
10 ml simple sugar syrup
2 stick cucumbers juiced

Mix everything together with a lot of ice in a shaker. Shake well

Strain and serve in a chilled glass.

Curried Coffilla

If you think the name got your attention, then you can’t even imagine how much the ingredients are going to boggle your mind. Imagine curry leaves with coffee. The confusion that it would create on your palate would be very much worth all the efforts put in making it.
45ml tequila
15 ml Kahlua
15 ml lime juice
10 ml sugar syrup
5 pieces of curry leaves
6 pcs of coffee beans

Pound the Curry leaves and Coffee separately till it’s mushy and powdered respectively.

Transfer it onto a shaker filled with ice, and add all the rest of the ingredients.

Shake well and strain it on to a chilled glass.

Serve it cold.

Li diavola

This one was named by Peter himself, and he insisted that I keep it at that only. I played along, partly because I found the name quite cute sounding and, partly because I have no clue what it means in Mexican!
La Divola on the right with traditional Margarita  
6 chunks of preserved jalapeno
60 ml tequila
15 ml lime juice
10 ml sugar syrup
Pinch of salt
100 ml pineapple juice

Mix everything together with a lot of ice in a shaker. Shake well

Strain and serve in a chilled glass.

Cheers!! Hic hic!!
Literally chilling in the wine Cellar of Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Peter with all three of the drinks! 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Social Media & Antara!!

Social media is the only thing that is constant these days. And its a wonderful platform to meet and connect with individuals of similar interest. Now that I am busy writing this series upon depression, these social mediums suddenly gained more importance in my eye than ever. Its actually a great way to meet and interact with new people, controlling all the information that you would like to give or take. Blogging helps too, but Microblogging through your twitter Instagram and Facebook profiles are far easier and better. So, if you havent already, do subscribe onto my profiles to get many foodie updates. Feeling doubtful? Then check what all happened up there while you were not following me (and doubting me.. Sob* Sob*)...

To start with, lets start with this picture where I finished a whole handi of delectable biryani with the serving spoon.... Really I was that hungry!!!

And then the biggest #breakfaststories over a plate of Mushroom and cheese omlette and a potato hash tikki. 

And then the cheesy quesadilla or 

This spicy pickle of Bhut Jhalokia, which very sadly is missing out of my kitchen and I am desperately trying to find another one.... 

So you get the point right? There is a lot happening up there. Do LIKE, SUBSCRIBE and FOLLOW me on -

Monday, 22 June 2015

FoodVood and What Not!

The other day I was shopping at a hyper-super store in my neighbourhood. It had everything starting from grocery items to pillows to rugs, every damn thing under sun available. As we made our way into the grocery aisles, I saw this young couple with a paper in hand, strutting from one rack to the other. A bit of a busybody that I am, I had to curiously overhear their conversations. The lady was diligently going from 1 rack to the other to find all Mexican things in the store. The guy was given tasks one after another to find an ingredient from the aisles surrounding them. It was fun to look at them. Finally the great Punjabi vein of the guy gave off the big words, “won’t it be better to make some samosas instead of enchiladas?” He was positively bummed, not the most fun part of a Saturday I believe. Plus the cost of every ingredient added up to a huge bill for him. After leaving the store, all he wanted was a samosa, and nothing else at all.

If this is a story that you have lived through a couple of times in your life, then you know how irritated you become after such a visit. And those ingredients that you bought in full packets of 500 gms to 1000 gms are still rotting in your cupboard, never used after that very first time.  So the need of the hour is to have these food delivery systems up which gives out pre portioned neat packets of raw materials, perfect for a couple who need to make and eat exotic, but don’t want to spend a weekend amassing the raw materials; and then storing the unused materials to rot. These delivery guys get you exactly the ingredients required to make a perfect candlelight dinner, without any hassles.

The owners of 1 such delivery system in Gurgaon got in touch with me for a review. They came with samples of many lunch ‘dabbas’ of exotic nature that they deliver to various offices nearby. But I was most excited to look at the kitchen kit that they bought along. They got me a kit for Mushroom Risotto, with pre portioned Arborio rice, mushroom, unpeeled garlic, salt, white pepper etc. The young owner seemed very enterprising. It was lovely catching up with him over a cuppa and homemade crackers. His food was decent, not at all oily. But the spicy quotient was a bit unbalanced which left many of the dishes flat. Fat and slim salad had an overload of garlic, and so I rather have that on toast as a bruschetta than alone as a salad. Similarly, the chilly paneer was really hot and needed something sweet to cool down! But I was most interested in the kit that was given. Arborio rice was of good quality. But the recipe card, though quite detailed with pictures of each step; had given a wrong recipe. Risotto for me is to be cooked bit by bit, splashing a ladle full of simmering stock. Not at all by cooking the rice first and then adding into a white cream based sauce. Never the less, the quality of ingredients really stood out. I just feel they need a bit more thought into the recipe. But for a start-up I think they have done better than usual. It is a good option to pre order lunch from their website, especially when in office you crave a new dabba now and then. They deliver in Gurgaon and can be reached at Foodvood.com

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Depression Vs Strawberry Oats Bars!!

It seems we Indians are the most suppressed and oppressed and all pressed and stressed to be the most depressed in the world. And with Deepika’s confession; we all have started using this word even more lightly than ever. Being ‘Sad’ or ‘upset’ are losing its place in the English vocabulary; and has been steadily replaced with the newer, stouter words like “I am so depressed”. If just a bad ice cream can lead you to depression, then it’s a problem. A problem that cannot be solved by any medical practitioner. A bad hair day or a chipped nail or a walkout, none of these should lead you to depression. Use the word intelligently. Differentiate between being upset and being depressed. They are NOT same. And once you have established what you are, try making this to ward off the feeling. Trust me, the effort and taste would lift your spirits high.
If you have read so far, then you must feel you need these recipes. Yup, you got me; I am making a whol;e series of three anti-depressant recipes. My theory behind these dishes are to involve you in some activity which will get you off the ‘feeling blue’ stage. Now, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. You have read it, I have read it and trust me I have felt it too. So that night, when you can’t sleep, get up and ponder about in the kitchen instead. Keep yourself occupied at all times. Plus the physical activity will lead you to a better sleep easily. Eating something colourful and flavourful will fill you up with vibrant feelings. A chocolate on the other hand would just depress more, thanks to the darker colour. But again, cacao has many properties that makes it an anti-depressant as well. So my post today and in the coming days; would be about 3 dishes, which will lighten and enlighten your day (or night). All of it are guilt free, and requires enough grease to just tire you without scaring. Don’t believe me, check it out below then! For today, it’s my oats and Strawberry bars..

To learn how to make these little parcels of vibrant deliciousness, follow the link here- http://www.smartindianwomen.com/

Coming up next

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Equality & A Dinner Plate!!

Equality is a difficult thing to achieve in life. I almost always feel it’s utopian in nature. This month the new government celebrated #SaalEkShuruaatAnek on social media. I personally got 2 messages from our tech savvy Prime Minister’s office. Won’t lie, it did feel nice to see my name and his signature on a virtual piece of paper. But between all this shuruaat, have we got the basics right? Basics of equality, have we even got it in our heads right. I am not talking about the villages here. I am a hard-core urban girl, born and brought up in big capital cities. My family comes from a background of scientific research and education; and yet I don’t see an iota of equality anywhere I look around. Its saddening when I see a new age, educated couple not celebrating their first born girl child’s rice ceremony, but goes all out ga ga in celebrating their 2nd born son’s special day, with gifts of silver showered on guests. It’s saddening to see an MNC employee trying for a 3rd child after 2 daughters. It’s saddening to see a family break down over ego clashes where a wrongdoer doesn’t want to accept his mistake, as he is the first born son who wasn’t taught to be humble to his baby sister. These are the problems that plague the Indian society of today. Somewhere our education system has failed miserably, and there is no two ways about it.  When I look at my toddler, I see a new generation coming up. They need to know the truth, the bad and the ugly; so that in future they understand the “Right”.

Being equal is a right. And a right that has to be applied well. I can’t help but be saddened at whatever is happening to the girls around me. But, I can and I will preach and try to drill into you the importance of equality in your daily diet.

“When equality is found between food intake (calories taken in to the body) and physical exercise (caloric expenditure) a maintaining of body weight occurs.” Sourced

Equality doesn’t have to be socio-political in nature. In fact at times we need to be more open to the word than not. It’s a balance that we seek between all aspects of life. And food stands first on the order as that is what makes or breaks your health. Remember, we were taught health is your greatest wealth in life!

Personally I believe in keeping an equal balance between all nutritional content of my family's intake- carbohydrates, protein and fibres. But I know, at times it’s a difficult thing to achieve and that’s why I have a few pointers to help you out with. When you are out travelling on work for a month or so, or when you are constantly too busy to cook a healthy meal for yourself, it is these times of constraints when you need to practice the following points. Trust me, I write with experience. Recently I stayed 3.5 months in a hotel, and it was then that I came up with this plan for myself. I did not gain any weight, in fact lost some. But that didn’t mean I didn’t have calorie rich spaghetti in cream sauce with extra bacon on the side. Or my favorite biryani with a rich gravy. And I even got the chefs to make bong style cocktail samosa/shingara. I devoured it all with many glasses of wine, vodka and even some scotch. So you get the picture. I ate a lot, but intelligently so. And I want you to do the same as well.

  1. The first on your list is to make sure u eat every 2 hours without fail, equally dividing your food intake throughout the day. Get a small jar full of walnuts, almonds and raisins. Munch on a handful of these once every day. I used to get the hotel staff to send in some nuts right in the morning with breakfast. It was the best way to ensure my family gets a handful of nutrition every now and then.
  2. Soups are your best friend. Experiment with new kinds every now and then. Try to stay away from the cream soups. But if you absolutely have to have it, then have it as a full meal. I used to order a clear soup every evening at 8pm. It was to fill me up enough so that by 10 pm, when I sit for dinner I don’t over indulge.
  3. Make sure that one of your meal is light and steamed at least in 2 days. Idly is my first choice, but a Chinese style steamed fish is great too.
  4. Now comes the balance part of it. All your meals have to have equality in it. For a grown up sedentary life, you don’t really need a lot of carbohydrates, especially if you like to indulge in sweets now and then. So equality doesn’t mean equal amounts of every category, but that you need a good balance which should equal to your capability of spending it all. If you sit for longish periods of time, then all you need is food that burns down itself. A salad with a light vinaigrette or sprouts salad with every meal would do it. As a tip always have the salad first. When you are hungry, even the most tasteless of the lot will look as delectable as biryani. Tricking your mind into believing this would lead to a thankful body. And if you are too lazy in making a salad, then have 2 heaped spoon full of Isabgol- Fibre supplement. It would help as well, though it’s not as tasty as a salad maybe, but it would keep u at the right track.
  5. Instead of rice or brown rice which is quite tasteless to me, have daliya no 4. Its long grain broken wheat, which goes wonderfully well with any curry of your choice. Some hotels give out the option to customize menus, especially when they know you are giving them revenue for a month. Use that to let them get a pack for you to have for the stay. And do the same in your house too. Replace rice from your daily diet, and have the healthier whole version of grains instead. This small step will lead you to a long step towards healthy balanced eating.
  6. Now let’s tackle the bar. Here the equality is of the utmost importance. Equality between the liquor consumed and water taken during a period of time is really the key to be sane while drunk, and especially if you are prone to severe hangover. No one really likes to drink water midway having a drink. And I hear you, I myself don’t like it much. But, before you start drinking, have 2 glasses straight of water. Hear me out, hear me out. I am telling you it works! Have 2 glasses of water just before you start to have your drinks. And then there is no stopping you. To have more flavor as well as more water, take a lot of ice along with your drinks. Trust me that helps too. I at times have wine on rocks. I love it because it keeps my drink really cold and mellow at the same time. But it’s my taste and a lot of you might not even like to try it. So don’t! But have that couple of glasses of water before you start. You will definitely thank me the next morning.
  7. Make your breakfast the biggest meal of your day. It should start with a bowl full of fruits but can end with anything really. Even a pc of cake had in breakfast would be much easily digested than a chapatti in dinner. So indulge as much as you want in the breakfast. Pancakes are my favourite indulgence. What’s yours?
  8. Don’t get overly bitten by the WHOLEWHEAT bug. Trust me if the packet of your cookie or pasta tell you it’s whole-wheat, doesn’t mean it really is. It might just be 30% and rest be gluten rich all purpose flour mixed with many other preservatives and stabilizers and other artificial stuff. Instead eat your pasta at times but eat the real stuff. And have a big portion of salad with it. Trust me tats the only thing that will work.
Being equal in your perspective towards life is a good thing. A practice that will lead you up in your life. Socio politically, I really can’t do much. I can’t go up to those guys on the erring side and make them understand their deed. They are pretty much incorrigible in nature, and feel no guilt as they have absolved themselves off the wrong they committed. But I am more concerned about your plate of food instead. Maintaining an equality in what you eat and don’t, will really go a long way in keeping you away from health disorders. Even if one person feels and practices these little pointers mentioned up on the note, I will deem this article to be extremely successful.

Do let me know in a comment below how you keep your family healthy. Its always a pleasure to read your thoughts! Cheers!! 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

For the Starters, My Love!!

The weekend has finally set in. And a new house means a series of house warming sessions with friends and family alike. What better time than to write this article? Its a #TrueStory, that just naturally needed to come out in the article below. Read, Share and Subscribe to my site for more such fun reads. Cheers!! 

For the Starters, My Love!

Life in a big city is very simple!! Workdays, weekends and booze.. Be it the sophisticated bubbly or the very collegian old monk with coke; preferences may be a lot but need, boils down to one.. To be merry!!! Friday night, office-over, a handy preferred poison, someone by your arms and a kitchen to rummage through… But boozing without snacks is a crime. And thou shalt never commit that!!
So I will dedicate this article to all those who want to learn how easy it is to be NOT a criminal. Order for your favourite flavour of chips and whip up a yummy hung curd dip to start with. How??? There you go:

Get that tub of yoghurt out from your refrigerator and put it in a clean kitchen towel to drip off the excess water.
While the curd hangs on your sink (hung curd); chop finely some olives, capsicum and carrots. You may even process it in a food processor, if you posses one that is!! (Coughs out loud.. I don’t!! Donation, anyone??)
Now whisk the hung curd in a bowl with some sugar and rock salt, as to your taste. Now add the tiny veggies and for that really cool tinge, add a hint of the solution in which the olives were kept.
Season well with pepper, oregano, and viola!! 7 minutes flat and a gourmet hung curd dip ready. So why wait; quickly gulp down your first peg… Cheers!!!
Now for the second peg of the night, you can’t possibly be eating the same thing. The alcohol in your system will guide you to your fridge and search for another delectable snacks. And as usual, I have a solution.
Stack up on a stock of salted crackers. Now rummage thru your fridge and take out yesterday’s left-over veggies (anything without bitter gourd and eggplants is welcome).
Put it through a slotted bowl and wash away all spices. Now chop one small onion and in a little oil fry it till light brown. In goes the veggies and mash everything well with your ladle. Now season it with your favourite dried or fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Once its dry and looks quite like a delicious mash, take it off the heat and spoon a tsp of the mash on the crackers to make your signature bruschettas, made in seconds..
For the third peg; screw it!! At this point even frozen bread is an awesome snack!!!Cheers!!This article of mine, along with many more were covered in an E-magazine called Smart Indian Woman.  

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Mango-Fish curry, My way!!

My father in law hails from a simple house nestled in outskirts of Kolkata. His growing years were filled with rustic food made in old fashioned coal stove. My grandma in law had 8 kids in total, so that meant a full day in kitchen. She was a wonderful cook and believed in systematic cooking. She made 2 kinds of chapatti dough, one with ghee and salt to be eaten with vegetables in the tiffin. And one without anything added, to be had with milk and jaggery as a porridge. If you ask me, that was quite some dedication, which got lost in the next generation itself. This is how evolution happens. My mother in law never bothered to make separate dough and in fact, any chapatti which gets left behind in the dinner is had as a porridge next day. The system has evolved, and will keep doing so every time a new person is added to the family. In my house, I rather have porridge made with oats. And so there is really no scene of chapatti in milk.

This is how rustic food has evolved much to suit the requirements of today. In my house, I am constantly seeking and developing recipes from old times. My grandmothers in law are my biggest inspirations from where I get many ideas about how a dish should be made, the old school way. I don’t want that rich cuisine to die as well. I mean trust me, I am going to make ‘Tel Koi’ the old way with tomato juice and ginger juice rather than paste. It’s a celebratory dish, which has very important stand in our culture. It will be made and served with élan. But normal everyday food doesn’t have to be such a rich thing. A simple easy curry is all I seek when I get a friend over for dinner. I have used Indian Carp to make it, but any fish can be used for this dish. It’s a perfect summertime treat for non bongs too, as it has a nice tangy flavour to it.
This dish is best served with a light carbohydrate like rice. But I have given it a slightly healthier outlook by substituting rice with bulgur wheat. I feel, it’s the perfect carb to go with this light preparation. But you are the king/queen of your pallete. Whatever suits you, make that!
  • 6 steak size pieces of Fish on bones (river water or sea water, both would work)
  • 3 pcs of raw mango nuts with a little pulp on it (I used the pulp of these mangoes to make a separate chutney. The seed that was left behind was used for the dish- minimal wastage is the basis of a successfully functional home)
  • ½ tsp of onion seeds/nigella seeds/kala jeera
  • 1 dry red chilly
  • 3-4 tbsp of mustard oil
  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 inch of ginger root grated
  • A lot of water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp of whole-wheat flour
  • 3 slit green chillies
  • A big pinch of coriander leaves chopped
  • 2 potatoes quartered (optional)
To know how to make this incredibly easy and delectable rustic curry, click on SmartIndianWoman.com

Monday, 1 June 2015

Attention! Attention! Attention!

Its been a long time since I took to my screen. Had been really busy in setting up a new home in a new city. It is a tedious thing to set up everything from scratch. And all I have been doing is that, personally and professionally. So, in that regards, here I am announcing a few things I have been working on these past few months.

I have started writing for 2 new publications. Both of these e-magazines are wonderful reads and I would love for you to go through it on a daily basis.

Smart Indian Women- http://www.smartindianwomen.com/


Squapl- http://www.squapl.com

Along with that, I have also dabbled onto restaurant consulting, about which you would keep reading. Soon we will start a journey to find the perfect blend of tea to go with my ever so popular Multi-Grain Poha Cookies, recipe of which has been bought over by a reputed tea dealer in Delhi. And then we will go on a hunt to find the best street food in Kolkata. There are many such interesting projects lined up, and I intend to make all of you a part of it as well. I will keep documenting all that happens to me here, and I hope to keep receiving encouragements/suggestions from you. 



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