Month: September 2011

Pasta Salad with Cilantro Pesto

This one is inspired by the Pasta Salad that I have in Café Max every single time I go there. One rainy day I was craving for it, but the car was out of commission and there’s no way I was going to hail a rickshaw and pay triple! After pacing up and down the hall swinging between ordering something else or hailing the hell ride, I decided to make it myself. I generally have readymade pesto in the fridge for just such emergencies, but today was one of those days. Ok, no problem, I’ll whip up my failsafe Pesto. I opened the fridge to realize I also didn’t have Basil at home. Pesto without basil? Was I going to lose this battle? Necessity is the mother of all inventions. Cilantro looked like a good substitute for Basil (Ok, it was leafy and green, beats using a carrot!). The problem with cilantro though is it reminds me of Chutney. So after I wrestled the idea out of my mind, I finally got mixing. I must …

Sweet Corn Soup Chinese Style

I had a can of Sweet Corn cream style in the pantry. I had picked this up in the market to produce something exciting. But as it happens with most things in my pantry, the exciting recipe never gets produced and the expiry date on the can looms close. So one fine day when I look at the contents in the pantry (which happens to be a big drawer actually!), I find things that should have been thrown out six months ago and things that need to be used as of yesterday. The Sweet Corn, thankfully, belonged to the latter category. So I poured into my innumerable cookbooks for a recipe with cream style corn and I didn’t find anything I fancied. Finally out of desperation and hunger gnawing at my tummy, I did the unthinkable! I followed the recipe on the back of the can. *Eyes wide with horror*. Ok, I was just kidding, of course I don’t give a damn if the recipe is from the back of the can as long as …

Twice Cooked Rosemary Chicken

Rosemary is a woody herb mostly used in Mediterranean cuisine. In Latin it means ‘dew of the sea’. Apparently Aphrodite rose from the sea with rosemary draped around her. (Ahem Ahem!). The herb is also associated with Virigin Mary. Please go figure the dichotomy yourself! There are so many other tales around rosemary – curative, memory enhancer, love charm, protection herb, etc. etc.! But today, we will limit ourselves to its use in food. Rosemary is highly aromatic, so a little should suffice. When burned, it smells similar to burning wood, so it’s great for flavoring barbeques. If you want an easy recipe with five star results, it’s the rosemary Chicken. It’s simple enough to cook and elegant enough to impress. Perfect for busy bees and gourmands! Yes, I am both and therefore this recipe is my failsafe. The technique is essentially pan frying and basting the chicken with the herb, thereby allowing the flavours of the herb to mould with the chicken, then roasting it to seal the juices in. The end product is …

Divine Mushroom Risotto

‘Risotto is an Italian dish of rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based; many kinds include parmesan cheese, butter, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy’ – or so says Wiki. But in most of the restaurants in Bangalore it looks and tastes more like Pongal – which is the biggest insult both to the humble pongal and the exquisite risotto! This is the reason that I religiously bypass the risotto in any restaurant menu here. I hadn’t seen anyone who could get the final product creamy but not gluggy and still have some bite to it…. Until I ate at Graze.  Oh… my…. God!! It was like I died and went to heaven! So of course I begged the chef to tell me his secret. Let’s just say I now have the ingredient list! Ahem ahem…There arose the problem – the man was using truffle oil and pea sprouts and Enokitake mushrooms and all the wonderful, if …

Masala Fried Fish with Salad Nicoise-ish

If there is a French person reading this, I apologize for turning a perfectly authentic salad on its head. If there is a person on a diet reading this, I apologize for luring you in here with a salad and then saying it’s topped with ‘fried’ fish. The original recipe calls for tuna, which I replace with fried sear fish. (Go ahead and grill yours, if you want to be on the safe side of the scales). I also omit boiled green beans and add fried croutons instead for crunch. (Blasphemy, I know). At this stage you might understand why I called it ‘Nicoise-ish’. Should I have just called it ‘fusion food’? Or should I have called it ‘things I like to eat’? Like Shakespeare said, ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. Now, who are we mere mortals to argue with that kinda logic, right? It’s a fantastic meal in one and looks so freaking amazing. That said, I love this version of Salad Nicoise (Nee-sh-wah) more than the original! Gasp …