Ever since I began teaching myself to cook Indian food I’ve always measured myself against my favorite restaurants in the area. But the one measurement I hold myself in comparison to has always been and always will be Hubby’s mother, “Mummy-ji“.
Mummy-ji’s cooking has always been what I strive for. I have only been to Hubby’s family home twice now and both times I have been amazed at Mummy-ji’s ability to make the most humble and simple dish taste full, complex and completely satisfying. That ability to make a simple dish taste amazing is the mark of a great cook.Read More
This recipe is an adaptation from one of my favorite Indian food blogs called Veggie Belly. Veggie Belly is one of the blog I frequent a few times a week. Reading her stories, seeing her recipe ideas and learning from her stunning photography (one of the best features of her website) makes me even more excited to try something new or jump into the kitchen. Sala, the talented author, creates amazing vegetarian and vegan recipes ranging from Indian food to Thai, Mexican and anything in between. I usually can’t wait to try out her recipes. One evening Hubby and I were brainstorming our grocery list for the week and trying to come up with ideas for new foods to experiment with.Read More
We are Punjabis – I happily include myself in this statement – and because we are Punjabis, we eat chapatis.
Chapatis (pronounced chah-PAH-tees) are flat breads made from whole wheat flour, water and a little oil. If you’re feeling extra fancy you can add a bit of salt. If you experience Indian food mostly in restaurants, you may not be familiar with chapatis, since naan is more popularly served. But in our household, they accompany almost every meal. Basically, chapatis are like utensils – used for scooping up a bite of lentils or vegetables or smooshing items into bite-size pieces, even wiping a plate clean. A “real” Punjabi can tear off a piece of chapati, fold it into the perfect scooping device and scoop up a dish without ever getting their fingers dirty – all with one hand.Read More
I’m starting to learn to make things at home that I would have never considered in the past. Desserts and little snacks and treats for example have always been things we have gone out for. If Hubby and I wanted to treat ourselves to our favorite cookies, we went down to the corner store and picked up a package. If I wanted a fresh lemon tart, I walked over to the local bakery and brought it home to enjoy after dinner. I am now finding that if I want a special treat of cookies or a favorite childhood snack food, I’m looking up a recipe rather than driving directions.
Take for example, this recipe for cake rusk which is a tea cookie, a favorite accompaniment to Indian chai. Hubby and I used to buy boxes of these until I couldn’t resist having four or five of them each time I had a cup of chai. At that point we decided not to continue buying them. Realizing my weakness for no self-control, we banned the crumbly golden cookies from our kitchen and I haven’t thought about them in years. I’m actually quite proud that I kicked the tea cookie habit.Read More
As I’ve been teaching myself to cook Indian food, I have noticed there are certain types of dishes I am attracted to and eager to learn and then some types of dishes I avoid. The ones I enjoy learning are most often the more difficult dishes. I just seem to be more attracted to the show stoppers, the types of dishes usually bought at a restaurant because most people don’t make them at home. When I learn these dishes, it feels as though I have created something unexpected and special and it feels very rewarding. The dishes I tend to avoid are usually the easiest. They are the everyday meals most people know how to make and for some reason I avoid learning them and feel they are actually more difficult than the harder, gourmet dishes I tend to go for.Read More
Hubby and I look forward to our weekend excursions in Santa Cruz as if they were vacations. Having grown up “over the hill” (as the Santa Cruz locals call it), we have the wonderful advantage of having a place to stay for the whole weekend unlike many others who can only enjoy the cooler weather, idyllic beaches and laid-back lifestyle for a few hours before needing to head back home.
These days, most of our weekends are spent at my dad’s house, about fifteen minutes south of downtown Santa Cruz in the tiny town of Aptos. Usually if we are not in Aptos by 7 P.M. on Friday night, my dad calls and asks, “Where are you?” My mom and step dad live just 10 minutes further south in the foggy beach town of La Selva and weRead More
This is a nostalgic dish for me. It’s one of the first dishes Hubby cooked for me when we were in college together and it was also one of the first he taught me how to cook. Chole is a famous Punjabi dish (also known as chana masala in other parts of India). It’s made with garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) cooked in a tangy sauce and sometimes a very spicy sauce. Hubby had learned the dish from his mother. When Hubby decided to come to the US, Mummy-ji gave Hubby a crash-course in some simple Punjabi favorites that would be easy enough for a bachelor to cook. Chole was top of the list. It’s easy and mouth-watering.Read More
Ginger and garlic paste is used in almost every main dish. When I was first learning to cook Indian food, I got my ginger and garlic paste from Safeway. Then I started to get it from the Indian store because it’s cheaper. Now, I make it at home. It’s the cheapest version and it is by far the most flavorful, which is what really counts.
To a beginner cook or a cook new to Indian food, making your own ginger and garlic paste at home may seem like too much effort when it can easily be bought at the grocery store. The difference however is substantial. Using fresh ginger and garlic will improve the flavor of your dish immensely and isn’t that what cooking is all about?Read More
Living in the bay area of California, Hubby and I are surrounded with the best of what California has to over. We are only a few hours drive from Lake Tahoe. We are surrounded by some of the best restaurants and sources of “foodie” heaven. We get to spend almost every weekend by the warm and sunny beaches in beautiful Santa Cruz, and we are only a 40 minute drive from San Francisco, one of the most unique cities in the US.
I have always had a fascination with San Francisco. I love it’s rolling hills and picturesque views. I love the cable cars and the colorful row houses. I have also, unfortunately, been completely intimidated to explore San Francisco on my own. It seems big and unknown and I have a fear of getting lost. So I was thrilled when Hubby and I spent most of our Saturday this last weekend exploring San Francisco with our friend Nolwenn who has lived in the city for a few years and knows her way around.Read More