I’ve been having a curious desire to return from machine made to handmade. It all started from a realization with chapati dough. I had learned to make chapati dough by hand, using a traditional Indian dough pan. When the day came to make a new batch of dough, I dreaded it. The job was time consuming and tedious, mainly because the large pan was so shallow I wasn’t able to mix easily. Eventually I switched to the food processor and soon progressed to the electric mixer, complete with dough hook attachment. These convenience machines made the once daunting task quick and easy, with hardly any effort on my part; until it came time for cleanup. They may knead dough in record time, but every crevice and attachment had to beRead More
If you’ve been joining me in trying a hand at homemade ghee, you know I decided to carry out a little experiment to see how much it would cost to make my own ghee using butter bought in bulk from Costco. The results are stacked in my fridge…two large jars worth. The savings were so inspiring that I began to wonder what other ways I could cut kitchen costs.
My new curiosity: would this work with paneer? Twice a month, I buy two full gallons of milk at Costco. Even though Hubby and I are avid chai addicts, this is much more milk than we need, but it’s still so much cheaper than shopping at my local Safeway. So I decided toRead More
I’ve noticed it takes about half an hour to make ghee, whether I’m boiling two sticks of butter or sixteen sticks of butter. The first batch I made, I assumed it would take an hour. So I set the timer and walked away. When I came back the ghee had over cooked and all the butter was browned. It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for but it wasn’t a complete loss either. Browned butter has an intense flavor, which is somewhat sweet. So if you happen to over cook your ghee and end up with browned butter, don’t throw it away. It’s often used in pastries and is a great accompaniment to caramel desserts.Read More
Whether you want to save money, or you don’t have access to store bought ghee, making your own ghee at home is cheap and easy. I’ve always bought my ghee from the Indian store, being perfectly content getting it ready made. I never would have considered making my own…until I noticed the price of ghee slowly but surely increasing. The twenty ounce bottle of ghee I add to my basket every couple months started out around seven dollars and now costs me thirteen. I didn’t think much of it beyond wishing the price would stay put. Then on a trip to India, I saw so many people in the neighborhood making their own ghee at home. To them, store bought ghee was completely unnecessary, a waste of both time and money.
Tea fans are very specific about what makes a “perfect” cup. With that being said, I will share with you my favorite tea recipe and what our friends and family insist we serve to them when they come to visit. It’s almost exactly the same as my first recipe for plain chai, however, this has a strong kick of freshly grated ginger.
Like many of the Indian dishes I’ve tried over the years, I didn’t like ginger chai at first. This seems to be my initial reaction to anything I haven’t tried before. Now, I can hardly do without it.
This is a strong cup of chai and warms you all over. During the winter months…and by winter I’m referring to a chilly CalifornianRead More
Last week, I had my friend Daniel over to visit. Daniel and I know each other from my music school days where we sang in choir together. We hadn’t seen each other in a while as he had been in Germany for the last two years studying abroad at a music conservatory. The town he lived in while in Germany was small with a return to a slower and simpler life that Daniel adored. He told me how the experience had changed his life and he’ll be heading back as soon as possible. He shared stories about the tiny town where no one cared about Facebook or having a TV and everyone got together on an almost daily basis as their only form of entertainment. There was nothing else to do in the town except practice your music andRead 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
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
This tomato sauce is a type of flavor base used in Indian cooking called tadka (this one happens to be tomato tadka). Tadka is the flavor foundation of any dish. It’s a basic technique or process where oil is heated in a pan, whole spices are fried to bring out their flavor, onions are fried till they turn brown, ginger and garlic paste might be added, then ground spices are added and if you are making a dish which uses a tomato base as well, the tomatoes are added. If you have browsed through the recipes on this site, you’ll have noticed the first five steps to almost every recipe is the same.Read More
I have been buying almond butter (think peanut butter, but from almonds) ever since my very healthy and very fit twin sister told me it was good for me. I always believe what my healthy and fit twin sister tells me.
Every time I reach for the bottle of almond butter at our neighborhood Safeway, I feel a twinge of shame and anger as I willingly pay $7.00 a bottle for this apparently healthier choice.
I look over at the organic all-natural peanut butter I once bought only months ago, costing only $2.76 for an even larger bottle. I angrily shove the almond butter in my basket, wondering does this really make that much of a difference?Read More