Radish leaves Stir Fry, South Indian Style

Radish leaves stir fry with coconut

Radish leaves stir fry with coconut

Bargaining at the local produce market is a classic case of being penny wise pound foolish, according to the ever critical husband. But I do what I do. It’s a matter of self-satisfaction. The okra doesn’t just taste as good if not bought a rupee less. He calls me Cheapo. I take a bow.

Well, it was in this very situation, when I was haggling for a few drumsticks to be sold a penny cheaper, that a very chic lookin lady caught my eye. She came haughtily to the stall I was sweetly squabbling at.

‘Mooli chaiye, jaldi do’ she seemed in a hurry. Give me radish. Quickly.

The intimidated vendor dashes a pair of handsome radish, fresh as dew drop with glistening green leaves. Oh! yumm.. I must buy some too .. were my immediate thoughts. What she did next was so startling that both the guy and me were dumbstruck for a few seconds.

The lady tears those beautiful leaves with such fervor and tosses them aside, dishes into her purse, flashes a 10 buck and literally throws them at the vegetable seller’s face. With only the radish neatly tucked under her arms, she vanishes as soon as she appeared.

Oh! I sigh, the vendor regains his composure and we both look at each other. The first thing I do is pick up those beautiful green leaves and announce that I am taking these – for FREE :) He laughs. Hard. I bought some radishes too. I paid for them, don’t worry.
We cannot really change the world, but a few smiles here and there, just because of you seems like a life worth living.

Tossing the greens aside is like the most stupidest thing to do. Radish leaves have more of Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, phosphorous than the radish itself. The leaves of radish are diuretic, antiscorbutic and have a laxative effect. But maybe the poor lady didn’t know, lets give her the benefit of doubt.

The ingredients

The ingredients

Mother makes the greens in a typical north Indian style. She calls it mooli ki bhurji. I did not really care for it then, but now as we turn more aware and conscious of what we put in our mouth, the leaves take their place back in on our plates.
But dinner that night was rice and simple drumstick dal made the south Indian way. So I decided to try the leaves in a different style.

Taste best with rice and ghee

Taste best with rice and ghee

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped radish leaves
  • 10-12 sambhar onions/shallots or 1 big onion chopped
  • 4 pods of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of grated ginger
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste

Method

In a pan, heat oil. When slightly hot, add the urad dal and fry till they turn orange. At this stage add mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, green chilies and chopped onions. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Now add the radish leaves along with salt. Stir fry on medium heat till the leaves wilt and combine with the rest of ingredients into a soggy type mass.

Switch the flame off. Sprinkle grated coconut. Enjoy over a bed of rice and some fresh home-made ghee… ah so yumm!

Just a hint of ginger garlic

Just a hint of ginger garlic

Note: Shallots taste best in south Indian curries, although other onions would work well. But I like my kootus/poriyals etc with the shallots.

Note: You can have the stir fry just as a salad on its own, incase you are avoiding rice or other carbs.

Healthy and yummy!

Healthy and yummy!

I was on a Go green mission with my daughter the entire march, and using these leaves for my best out of waste dinner seemed just perfect for me. What do you think?

Photography Styling Challenge #10: Light

Photography Styling Challenge

Photography Styling Challenge

 

God said Let there be Light and So there was Light.

But with Light, comes shadows. Shadows are imperative, they give body and meaning and definition to things around us. I am enamored by both Light and Shadows.

To quote DaVinci:
Shadow is the obstruction of light. Shadows appear to me to be of supreme importance in perspective, because, without them opaque and solid bodies will be ill defined; that which is contained within their outlines and their boundaries themselves will be ill-understood unless they are shown against a background of a different tone from themselves.

An early morning trip to the beach helped me capture the gentle waking rays of the sun and the slight shadows it cast. While my girl played with her toys and dug pits, I tried hide and seek with Mr Sun.

Early morning Sunlight

Early morning Sunlight

she plays with light

she plays with light

If there's light, there has to be shadows

If there’s light, there has to be shadows

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. To check out the other participants, click here:

Redesigned By M
At the corner of Happy and Harried
Inge Kathleen Photography
A Woven Life
City Girl Searching
The Delicious World Of Chefette Spicy
A Tree Grows In The Bayou
I Live Under A Rock Called Table Mountain
Hooked on homes
Mera Kitchen
Miss Wang Photography

and a very warm welcome to my friend Sonal:
SimplyVegetarian777

If you would like to join in the fun please click on the photography styling challenge button in the sidebar!

To see my previous challenge entries, click here

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

Namrata

Disclosure, Photography Secrets Revealed – Guest post on The Tummy Tale.

Hello Dear Friends,

Elson asked me to do a guest post for his on-going How To series. I was excited and eager. Elson writes beautifully and his love for food is evident in his words and his posts. Well, he wants me to cover a topic which brings out the biggest critic in me. He loves the pictures that I take and I for one am highly critical of my own work.

We eat with our eyes first. A picture speaks a thousands words. Quotes like these kick me in my butt every time I shoot my food. If truth be told, I have drooled over and stalked many a sites purely for their outstanding photography. Desperately trying to figure out styling and photographing ideas, I struggle and stumble with my limited resources. They say you can take excellent pictures even with the most basic digital camera, you really don’t need an SLR. So with that motivation, I make use of the resources around me. I try to take shots where each picture tells a story of its own. I aim really high, and for those who frequent my blog know that I still have a very long ladder to climb.

Still, in spite of all this, the little that I have learnt in my one year stint, I would love to share it with you. Thank you Elson for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

Let’s get started -

1. The camera -

I have the most basic one. Learn to ditch the auto mode and start fiddling with the manual settings. Learn all about ISO, aperture, shutter speed and white balance. Read all about it here. Just learning the basics can have an alarming difference in the quality of your photographs.

Doesn't really matter what you have.

Doesn’t really matter what you have.

2. Light/Setting/Studio -

Ideal food pictures are shot in studios or you could make one for yourself. Since I don’t have the expertise or the space for it, I mostly go natural, that is, take my pictures out in our terrace garden or in the balcony.

I play by one basic rule… lighting. Too much light spoils a photograph, too little makes for a very dark one. Inside the house, there is glass and shiny surfaces which reflect a lot of light rendering a not so good picture. Evening or night times with the tungsten bulbs all on, again the picture quality suffers.

So, I prefer taking my food cutlery and all to the garden outside my house which is covered by walls on either side and a roof on top. Light flows in only through one side making it ideal for my photographs.
The best time I have noticed is mornings and early evenings as the sun rays are warm and not so harsh. Once it gets dark, I refrain from photographing.

The terrace is covered on 3 sides and only has light coming in from one. Ideal for photographs

The terrace is covered on 3 sides and only has light coming in from one. Ideal for photographs

3. Background Props/Boards and Work Surfaces -

You can surely make mundane boring food look sexy and gorgeous. I secretly lust for props like these. But we make do with all that we have and can find, coz buying antique and silver ware is not easy on our pockets.

What we can do is make optimal use of stuff at home. Do not ignore old well used scratched metal or wooden trays. My garden provides me with a wonderful wooden bench ideal for placing my food.

My work station :)

My work station :)

Old baking trays, an extra board of laminate left or your child’s wooden study table, all make great backgrounds.

They make great backgrounds. The older, the better!

They make great backgrounds. The older, the better!

4. Cutlery and China ware

Now for the food to be placed in. Silver, brass, antique and expensive crockery make great photographs – FACT. Decrepit copper bowls or cups make excellent pictures. Your red sauce would look more sanguinary in rich china ware. But since they are difficult to procure, I have found solace in inexpensive china ware, mostly in white!

White bowls, chutney pans, cake mounts, platters – buy them in white, as food displayed on it looks best. Visit your dollar store or your local market and pick one of all the serve ware that you use. It will be mostly enough to complete a pretty picture.

Keep an open eye for newer variety of cutlery or forks or platters, especially when you are traveling. I usually get very good stuff where I am least expecting it.

One look at my crockery section and you can see how WHITE it is :)

white dominates

white dominates

An attractive wooden soup bowl often makes very good pictures. Be it rice or some curry or stew or soup, it serves as a perfect container to be photographed.

One good pair of soup bowls is a must

One good pair of soup bowls is a must

5. Other props

So its been a year or so since I have started blogging, and I have collected twines, twigs, coils, brown shopping paper bags, ribbons … anything you name. My most prized finds are these small cute little gunny bags which we use here in India to gift or as wedding favors. One time, my MIL was coaxing me to take a pair of beautiful anklets which she got as a party favor, but I was more interested in the bag. :) I let her have the anklet and was ecstatic with the little bag.

Essential props

Essential props

Scarves make such pretty pictures! I use my colorful stoles as a mood enhancer in plain pictures. Your child’s little toys can prove to be a wonderful place to pick your ware from. I have used Milee’s toy spoons and little plates and no body could tell. :)

scarf in a basket

scarf in a basket

Crumpled baking paper or brown paper makes very good background for your baked food dishes. So you baked a beautiful loaf of bread? Now wrap part of it with brown paper and twine, set it against a well crumpled baking paper and there you have a great picture waiting to be captured!

Paper, Ribbons and Twines

Paper, Ribbons and Twines

Use your dish cloth, or apron or kitchen napkins and dinner napkins to good use by laying them in an informal way against the food.

Creatively use the dish cloth

Creatively use the dish cloth

6. Important Pointers/Tips

  • The first on my list is to pull back. A newbie photographer will have the impulse to “move in” on their subject. Get that beautiful crumbly crust of a muffin as close as can be. But really, the most beautiful shots are when you can “pull back” from your subject and make the intended focal point “pop” as opposed to “fill the shot”. It’s a simple phrase to remember when shooting: “pull back” – taken from here.
  • Think of what you want to do, how you would like to shoot, what cutlery you would like to use. Imagine. Create a scene. First in your head and later on paper. Roughly sketch it up, so that you have a clear vision when you execute it. I am going to be honest, I don’t always do this step, but all those times when I plan and create, the results are much better than expected.
  • Partial photographs of food look more enticing than the whole picture. I learnt this a tad late.
  • Rule of Thirds – The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. The lesson is that a direct face-on, centered shot is not always the most interesting or pleasing to the eye. You want your photo to have movement and flow. Basically it means, you place your focal point of interest not in the middle but on the intersections of the imaginary lines, that is, on the sides of the pictures. Here is a good tutorial on the rule of thirds.
  • Color and shapes are a great way to add beauty to your scene. But be subtle. For example, if it’s a very plain looking dish, try and season with a twig of some bright green herb or if it’s a dessert, which looks very boring, fruits or sugar dust or drizzled sauce can create a very inviting atmosphere.

So with all said and done, here is one of my most favorite shots -

Choliya / Fresh Green Channa

Choliya / Fresh Green Channa

Thank you Elson for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write and share my stint with photography basics. I would not have had the courage to do it ever but this guest post makes me contribute, share and help many a novice newbies out there, drooling and lusting after those gorgeous food photographs :)

Vegetarian Chili

It was a cloudy cold evening, the sun ready to bid us adieu. Outside the breeze was crisp and biting. The White Plains country side offered such majestic views that I for once sat awestruck and tongue tied throughout the drive. It was my first visit in the US. You know how it is with the firsts. We always remember those moments vividly. What is it about them that makes it so special… is it the visuals? Or maybe the setting sun or those beautiful stone imperial houses which carry a sense of mystery around them. The triggers are many. But for me, one thing that remains etched in my memory is the aroma. The divine cumin flavored fragrance which was so intriguing that it haunts me even now.

Vegetarian Chili with brown rice

Vegetarian Chili with brown rice

We were invited by his boss for dinner. I was to meet them for the first time. And I was anxious, not to forget vegetarian and exotic in my cuisine, 10 years back, included just chinese and pizza-burgers. I ate a bit before we left fearing that what would a firangi feed? Maybe canned food or some frozen pizza.

Well, we reach his august house, set in the outskirts of White Plains, NY. Dreading an anxious evening ahead, I was at my reserved best. I had decided to speak little, smile more and hardly eat.
Ah! well, preconceived notions about a culture or a country can be so misleading! It isn’t really what Hollywood or those silly sitcoms show you – realized it pretty soon.

The Spens family turned to be the most gracious hosts, ever! They greet us like they have known us all their lives, the man’s formidable appearance gets shadowed by his bear hug, the lovely delicate wife’s soft warm hands envelope mine in simple affection. The kids are so well mannered and amiable that I vowed to trash all my prized albeit deceitful DVDs. The house inside is warm, cosy and so inviting, a contrast to the august exteriors. The genial ambience made me chatty and smiley more than what I had planned! :)

Protein Packed

Protein Packed

Inside on the stove, sat a simmering pot. A pot which emanated such amazing whiffs of cumin and spices and tomatoes and garlic. The entire house radiated with its essences. Apparently Mr Spens is the cook in the family. And that night, he made us a bubbling pot of Mexican Chili, a vegetarian version of the famous Chili Con Carne. Chili is a spicy stew consisting of meat, spices, tomatoes and cheese. But te vegetarian version replaces the meat with a meat analogue, such as textured vegetable protein or tofu, or a starchy vegetable, such as potatoes. These chilis nearly always include beans.

Goes great with rice

Goes great with rice

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked red kidney beans or rajma
  • 1 cup assorted vegetables, zucchini, broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tofu – optional
  • 1/4 cup, mixed bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 2 tomatoes, red and ripe, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika or red chily powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp oregano powder
  • red chili flakes, optional
  • salt to taste
  • Cheese to garnish
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method

In a deep thick bottomed pot, heat oil. Saute onions, garlic and green chilies. Once slightly pink, then add the peppers. After a couple of minutes, add the tomatoes, along with some salt. Cover and cook till almost done. This will take about 10 minutes. At this stage add the chopped vegetables and pre cooked beans. Give it a mix. Add the tomato puree, along with paprika. Mix well and let the entire thing smolder for at least 15-20 minutes. Keep stirring in between to avoid burning.

Season with cumin and oregano. Just before serving, garnish with cheese and chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice or enjoy as it is.

Rajma with vegetables

Rajma with vegetables

“Simmer… simmer as long as you can.. thats what brings out the flavors of the spices..”, he advices. He served the delicacy with basmati rice and some red wine. Needless to say, our dinner was divine.

Memories

Memories

No matter how long I bubble, the spices I add or the beans I cook, I somehow fail to replicate the taste of the that night. Is it because it was my first, I wonder.

Photography Styling Challenge #9: Fashion

Photography Styling Challenge

Photography Styling Challenge

This month’s theme for the photography styling challenge is Fashion. Now fashion sure is interesting but really vast and comprehensive.
Ideally I would have loved, if I had some beautiful model to work with, but guess I need that kind of skill to photograph a stunning face too. And I, my dear readers, am still an amateur.

So I play safe and go with some of my favorite junk jewelry and my two most loved scarves for the shoot. I decided to picture on white background – a first for me.

Well, I have to be honest here, I have started enjoying these monthly challenges and it gives me greater pleasure when a theme challenges my creativity. I did enjoy the shoot this time but somehow am not that elated with the results. I think I could have done it better. Maybe I will do another shoot and this time with a pretty face :) But for now, this is what I have -

Charm Bracelet

Charm Bracelet

Hand Painted Scarf along with my favorite natural stone neck piece

Hand Painted Scarf along with my favorite natural stone neck piece

Big Ben on my scarf :)

Big Ben on my scarf :)

My favorite ring

My favorite ring

Junk Jewelry

Junk Jewelry

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. To check out the other participants, click here:

Redesigned By M
At the corner of Happy and Harried
Inge Kathleen Photography
A Woven Life
City Girl Searching
The Delicious World Of Chefette Spicy
A Tree Grows In The Bayou
I Live Under A Rock Called Table Mountain
Hooked on homes
Mera Kitchen

If you would like to join in the fun please click on the photography styling challenge button in the sidebar!

To see my previous challenge entries, click here

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

Namrata

Tawa Sabzi / Pan Roasted Stuffed Vegetables

The options were innumerable. Endless counters of almost every cuisine dotted the lush green lawn under a starry clear chilly night. A big fat Indian wedding settles for no less. Star restaurants and myriad masterchefs cater and treat you like royalty, kids usually go berserk in places like these.
Their dilemma ranges from picking a variety of chocolate fountains to fresh hot clay oven pizza to live pasta counters to dozens of steaming hot dimsums….

So when she pointed to a certain stall, I was surprised. I asked again if that was what she wanted. A humongous, thick red hot iron griddle hosted a variety of luscious mean looking vegetables on it. The man behind the griddle kept an active hand in tossing turning and serving the spice coated stuffed veggies. Okras, baby brinjals, potatoes, jalapeno, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli.. some stuffed, some marinated, all grilled on a flat thick red hot iron griddle! We love this spicy Indian side, eaten with soft hot phulkas or Indian bread. But for a 7 year old to ask for it? Perplexing!

Griddle Roasted Stuffed Vegetables / Tawa Sabzi

Griddle Roasted Stuffed Vegetables / Tawa Sabzi

Apparently she had eaten it sometime earlier in some other ceremony, with my mother. You know how grandmoms are…. they give all the food that we eat to kids to taste, whereas girls nowadays(this includes me!) are weary of trying anything new. We want them to eat healthy and nutritious all the time. Or we worry that a particular food might be too oily or too spicy. But my mom encourages her grandkids to try everything. Let them decide, she says.

The Vegetables

The Vegetables

Her newfound love forced me to try this vegetable dish at home. And oh! I pass with flying colors :) I pick some of her favorites, like okra, mini brinjals, potatoes and mushrooms. Fresh, tender and preferably small ones work best for this recipe.
sautéed garlic, onion and tomatoes makes a yummy stuffing. There is another one too.. where the dry masala and spices are roasted, powdered and then filled. But for this post I stuck to the onion tomato mix.

Combine the two....

Combine the two….

I got a huge batch of baby brinjals. The tinier the better.

Little beauties :)

Little beauties :)

She reserves a bunch of them just for herself, insisting, to be given in her lunch box the next day.

The cooked version

The cooked version

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of your choice vegetables, like baby brinjals, mushrooms, bell peppers, baby potatoes, okra, jalapenos
  • 2+ tsp oil

For the stuffing:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1.5 minced onions
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced
  • 2 big red tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves – yes! the more the better. Adds amazing flavor.

Method

For the stuffing –
Heat oil in a wok, once hot, crackle cumin. Throw in onions, garlic and green chilies. Saute till onions turn brown. Add tomatoes at this stage, along with all the dry masalas. Cover and cook very well till all the oil leaves the sides. It should not be of gravy consistency but that of a semi dry thick masala.
Season with salt, lime juice and coriander leaves. Mix well. Keep aside.

Stuffing, drizzled with lime

Stuffing, drizzled with lime

For the stuffed tawa sabzis -
Wash all the vegetables and wipe them with a towel to remove any excess water.
Using a sharp knife, make slits on brinjals, okra, jalapenos and potatoes. Make sure the slits do not reach the end of the vegetable. Just deep enough to fill the yummy masala.

Once the slits are made, using a small spoon, stuff the pre made, cool masala into it. Heat a flat-iron griddle, spread a tsp of oil. Place stuffed vegetables(only as many as can go on the tawa, don’t over-crowd) neatly on the hot griddle. Now, focus completely, keep tossin and turning the veggies till they are cooked.

Remove from griddle and serve hot with Indian rotis or flatbreads or rice or even on bread!

On the famous Tawa

On the famous Tawa

Note: Do not over crowd the griddle. If you have many veggies to be sauteed, then do so in batches.

Note: Do not slit mushrooms. Remove the mushroom stalk, scoop out a bit more, then stuff your masala. If you go to slit the mushrooms, they will all fall apart.

Roasted fresh veggies, hot chappathis, a bowl of curd and some salad by the side, a complete meal.

Oh so yummy!

Oh so yummy!

The following pic is styled and photographed by my spunky 7 year old. She insists on laying them on one side… make them sleep, she goads. Carefully she loops the heavy camera around her neck and under my vigilant eye, she clicks.
‘Put it up’ she orders. I comply. :)

Binge on Brinjals

Binge on Brinjals

Spicy Sesame Orange Vegetables, Chinese Style

It’s the middle of a busy week. Middle of yet another usual routine day and it is unusually quiet. Lethargy reigns the room. She sits beside me doing her homework, while I struggle to stay alert to answer her random queries which usually require superlative performance by my lackadaisical intellect. Then all of a sudden I just wanna let go. I shut the books, my abstractive answers and my mind and simply let go. I fall asleep.

The 20 minute power nap did it. It nudged my languorous senses and my long forgotten inactive taste buds to work. A little bit of sweet, a little bit of tang, a whole lot of spice and a slight crunch of vegetables… mmmm. Oh God! Have I started dreaming of food now?!
Now, that I will never be able to really tell, the only thing huge and apparent was my sudden irresistible urge to eat Chinese. Sigh…

With a wonderful recipe tucked away, patiently waiting to be tried and tested, I decided to satiate my scrumptious cravings. Vegetables coated in a spicy sweet tangy sesame orange sauce along with some burnt garlic fried rice was on the cards.

Spicy Sesame Orange Vegetables, made Chinese Style

Spicy Sesame Orange Vegetables, made Chinese Style

Burnt garlic fried rice is a fool proof dish that has never failed me till date. You can add any minced veggies of your choice, but a whole lot of garlic is mandatory. Since I like pretty lookin food, along with onion greens I decided to throw in minced red peppers. So the red and green beautifully compliment the white, and tiny minuscule dust of pepper powder adds the finishing touch!

Simple, flavorful and so light!

Simple, flavorful and so light!

Dinner that night -

Perfect meal

Perfect meal

The surprise ingredient: An orange. Its milder and sweeter than a lemon, which adds such amazing depth to the sauce, you will be stunned.

Sweet and sour

Sweet and sour

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup vegetables, like broccoli, babycorn, colored peppers, mushrooms.. whatever you fancy
  • 1 big onion, diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes or as desired
  • 1+ Tbsp Chings Schezuan Chutney or Asian Hot Chili paste or 2 tsp of Sriracha
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • Juice of 1 orange (1/3+ cup)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion greens to garnish.

Method

In a bowl, add cornstarch, water, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, red chili flakes, sriracha and orange juice and zest. Whisk everything. Keep aside.

Now heat oil in a wok, saute garlic and onions till the onions turn pink. Now add peppers and veggies along with salt. Stir fry till 3/4th done. You want a bit of crunch in your vegetables not a soggy mass. To this vegetable mix, stir in your sauce. Keep mixing till you get a boil and the sauce turns translucent and glossy. Stir in more water or orange juice if very thick. Check the seasoning. Add extra honey or salt if required. Garnish with spring onion greens and toasted sesame seeds.

Best when served warm.

Maple syrup and orange juice add so much flavor and texture

Maple syrup and orange juice add so much flavor and texture

Note: Sesame oil produces the best results, but you can make this with regular oil too.

Note: the original recipe calls for asian hot sauce or sriracha sauce, since I did not have any I used Chings Schezwan chutney(easily available in super markets). It worked very well.

Tempting Bite

Tempting Bite

Note: This sauce works very well with only tofu or paneer or mushrooms.

Note: Simple plain sticky white rice and this aromatic vegetable seals your dinner deal. :)

My favorite food

My favorite food

Well.. here I wake up dreaming of food in the middle of day and incorrigible hunger does nothing but fire my will to satisfy my random food fancies. Now does it happen to you too?

Veggies Stuffed Braided Bread – Yeast Free

Yeast Free does catch your eye, doesn’t it? For all of us who are fighting this love hate battle with this fermenter, this recipe comes as a welcome relief.

I find yeast moody. Sometimes it plays well and sometimes it just messes up my dinner.
Now I happen to find this yeast free dough formula, a patterned pretty lookin bread, some healthy cheesy filling and an assignment for my photography challenge, all in my lap at the same time. What do I do? I combine all of it and present you with this crunchy, super tasty, eye-catching stuffed bread – without the tormentor!! :)

Stuffed Braids

Stuffed Braids

I’ve always believed the fact that we eat food with our eyes first, but to make delicate patterns with bread is another story altogether! Some fine nimble hands, a good work surface, great ingredients and a whole LOT of patience is all that you need ;) I messed up the design of my first one – not even worth a picture. By then I had my 6 year old mildly amused and highly entertained. Homework ditched, she pulled a stool to try her hand.

bread patterns

bread patterns

I let her fiddle here and there with my not so proper braid, but when I gave her a bit of dough, she tried to fill them like momos. Now mother is impressed – what the little one did was cute and easier :)
So, we made two full braids, but soon half moon shaped little bites were more in action.

Playing with leftovers

Playing with leftovers

The Recipe:
Adapted from here:

Ingredients

For the yeast free dough:

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour or maida
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup curd/yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • salt to taste

For the filling:

  • 2 cups chopped assorted vegetables like carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower, potato, broccoli, sweet corn
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 4-5 pods of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 3-4 minced green chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp of crushed dried mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp of grated mozzarella

Method

For the Dough:
In a large bowl, sieve flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center, pour oil in it. Rub together with your fingers and palms. The oil flour mix will look like a crumbled coarse mix. Add curd at this stage and start kneading the dough. It might be messy and not pliable, but keep working on it and you will have a super smooth and soft dough by the end of it. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise for at least 5-6 hours.
The dough would have almost doubled at the end of 6 hours. Knead for a minute or two again and use as required.

For the Filling:
In a pan, heat oil. Saute garlic, ginger, green chilies and minced onions. Once almost done, throw in the chopped vegetables along with salt. Cover and cook till they are almost done. Now sprinkle herbs and pepper powder. Give it a final mix. Cool before filling it in.

For the Braided Bread:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a baking tray and keep aside.
Sprinkle flour on your kitchen top. Knead the dough for a minute or two. Now using a rolling pin spread the dough into a rectangular or oval shape of thickness between 1/4″ to 1/6″. Add more flour is required.
In the center, spread the prepared cooled vegetable filling. Place grated cheese over the vegetables. Now, using a sharp knife, make inclined cuts of 1 ” width along the sides of the rolled out dough. Repeat the same on the other side. for best results, try and make equal number of cuts on either side.

Ready to be patterned

Ready to be patterned

Now take two strips from opposite sides and place them overlapped on the vegetables maintaining a criss cross pattern. Stretch the strips to seal the beneath layer. To seal the edges, gently fold and press the top and bottom section. Then braid with few strips on it. Brush off excess flour.

Now gently brush the braid with melted butter. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, or till the crust is a beautiful brown.

Cool the bread completely before running a knife through it. Enjoy while it’s still warm.

Yummy Bites

Yummy Bites

I know it looks like a huge effort, but SO worth it once in a while. And if you have a dancing prancing little human monkey around you, then the whole process can be fun too!

They tasted like Vegetable Puffs

They tasted like Vegetable Puffs

The Year That Was – Blogversary Post

05/02/2014, a beautiful bright sunny day.

It has been a year. Already.
I distinctly remember that moment when my hands were unsteady, the thought so random and my gaze intent yet distant. Just how out of the blue, I decided to start a blog. With absolutely no expectations, no speculations and no definite idea or vision or plan, I set to write. My first post had me just express my wish to write new recipes and contribute to the existing ones. I had no notion of the kind of journey I was going to have. And oh.. what a journey!! Replete with new friends, new recipes, ardent interest in photography and a phenomenal medium to express my thoughts and opinions, I now have a clear road to walk upon :)

‘Do you get anything out of it’, is one query I get asked the most :). What they mean is, do I earn anything out of the blog. I was stumped the first time, but now I am so used to it that I have the answer memorized. Aww…no money, but I get immense creative satisfaction… blah blah, but saying it so many times makes it all a bit apocryphal… but the fact is, It is true. The kind of euphoria that this baby of mine garners cannot be compared to anything except maybe having real human babies of our own. I am so in love with what I do. Now this is a huge blessing as you all know, to find love in your chores or work or life is no small feat.

To celebrate this blogversary, I have listed my top 10 most viewed and favorites posts of the year that has been -

1. HERB CHEESE PULL APART BREAD

Herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

Herb Cheese Pull Apart Bread

2. MILEE’S 6TH BIRTHDAY PARTY

Little monkeys turn into cute chefs.

Little monkeys turn into cute chefs.

3. SPINACH CORN DIP AND SOME CANAPES

Tasty Finger Food

Tasty Finger Food

4. PITA BREAD AND A VEG GYRO

Gyro Un wrapped!

Gyro Un wrapped!

5. RAJASTHANI GOURMET – SKINNY DAL BAATI

Rajasthani Special - Daal Baati,  Spring Onion Stir fry and Garlic Red chili Mint chutney

Rajasthani Special – Daal Baati, Spring Onion Stir fry and Garlic Red chili Mint chutney

6. TANDOORI MASALA

Tandoori Masala

Tandoori Masala

7. THAI RED CURRY

Thai red curry with brown rice

Thai red curry with brown rice

8. DATE NUT ENERGY ROLLS

Date-Fig Nut Rolls

Date-Fig Nut Rolls

9. PURPLE RICE BOWL

Purple Rice Bowl - Chinese Style

Purple Rice Bowl – Chinese Style

10. BEET PESTO AND SOME PINK PENNE PASTA

Pink Penne in Pesto Sauce

Pink Penne in Pesto Sauce

A special mention for one of my most favorite posts.., I have a sentimental attachment with this one:

PHOTOGRAPHY STYLING CHALLENGE: MORNINGS

One of my favorite shots

One of my favorite shots

Recipes aside, my random contemplatives have also been a great way to let some steam off once in a while :)

I’ve had the best time contributing to this space, hope you enjoy reading my posts too. My efforts would all go in vain if you are not there to read and reply. So, thank you dear friends and foodies for your constant feedback and encouragement.

love,
Namrata

Photography Styling Challenge #8: Patterns

Photography Styling Challenge

Photography Styling Challenge

Patterns – this month’s theme for the photo styling challenge.
Wow! I loved the idea of stylin and shooting something creative and decorative. Yea.. so excited. But I did what I do… procrastinate. Now dear friends, we have to submit the first monday of every month, and here I am… staring at my screen, fidgeting, twiddling my thumb and getting easily distracted by my itchy painful throat and a very sore head. Oh! I am a day late.

I decided to do the challenge with food this time. I spotted a braided bread on one of the blogs I stalk, and I was so eager to try them out. What better way to utilize this month’s theme and give a go to a much awaited recipe?!!
My only hitch was that I could not make variations in the braids to add more to the pattern.

Since my numb head will not let me write any more, without much ado, here are the pictures:

Braids

Braids

Criss Cross

Criss Cross

I made some tiny bite size poppers too

I made some tiny bite size poppers too

petals on patterns

petals on patterns

If you wish to join this lovely challenge, please click on the Photography Styling Challenge button in the side bar.

To check out more creativity, visit my co participants:

Redesigned By M
At the corner of Happy and Harried
Inge Kathleen Photography
A Woven Life
City Girl Searching
The Delicious World Of Chefette Spicy
A Tree Grows In The Bayou
I Live Under A Rock Called Table Mountain
Hooked on homes

Would love to hear your feedback/comments/critiques!

Namrata