Friday, June 26, 2009

Italian Cuisine.. An introduction

Italian Cuisine.
My first memories of Italian cuisine goes back almost 12- 15 years ago.My parents used to often take us to a restaurant in Shivaji park,our neighbourhood which served Italian food.Since then I had developed this taste for Italian food .Infact now I cant imagine a life without Italian food. In Mumbai,people refer to pizzas and Pastas as Italian food.Infact Italian food goes much much more ahead of Pizzas and pastas.

First and foremost traditional Italian food has to be cooked in extra virgin olive oil. Secondly it uses varieties of ingredients right from legumes,vegetables,poultry,game,red meat,fish and fruits. Italian cuisine also uses flour and wheat flour to form dough for making of bread,or pasta which is one of the most important element of Italian cooking and food. Various herbs too are used. It also includes large variety of milk and milk products primarily cheese and cream. Again in the beverage section,both coffee and wine are also very important. Lastly,the desserts are different and mind blowing Lets discuss each in brief

1)Olive oil: No italian food is complete without olive oil.Infact italian food wont taste authentic unless you cook in olive oil.A true italian food tasting wizard will know the moment he took the first bite,whether it is cooked in olive oil or not Olive oil falls in many catagoeries viz
Extra-virgin olive oil ,Virgin olive oil,Pure olive oil,Olive oil,Olive-pomace oil etc( in the descending order of quality)

2)Ingredients: Italian food consists of all ingredients like legumes(peas,beans etc),Poultry,Meat,Vegetables(Bell peppers,Mushrooms,Olives,Asparagus) as well as Fish

3)Pasta: Pasta is ideally made of flour and cooked and served with the preparation as a part of it.Ideally there are 3000-4000 shapes of pastas including penne,spaghetti,fussililli,macroni etc Above explains the very few basic pastas

4)Herbs: Italians use many herbs basic being oregano,followe by basil,parsley,rosemary,thyme etc They put the typical flaour in the food.

5)Milk and Products: All Italian food is incomplete without cheese and cream

6)Breads: It includes both garlic bread and pizza breads

Garlic bread typically consists of bread topped with garlic and olive oil accompanied with pastas.Then comes Pizzas having origin in Italy,but now has become more of an international food

7)Coffee and Wine: Coffee as called cafe is a huge thing in Italy.

Caffè macchiato; ristrettocappuccino caffelatte café au lait, Latte macchiato.

Wine can be Rosso(Red) and Bianco(white)usually served as per the dish accompanying it

In our next post we shall discuss how are the foods served and related topics..

Till then Ciao!!


Green Tomato Chutney

This ones a mouth watering preparation by my mom in law... Tastes best with dal-rice

2 small green tomatoes

2-3 green chillies
4-5 cloves of garlic
some coriander leaves
salt to taste

Grind all the ingredients in a mixie. No need to add water.
A tangy and spicy chutney is ready.



This one's from my mom's kitchen.. Another Arabic dish, just like Muttable

She says: "As for the arabic recipes, hummus is one of our favorites. It's made of chick peas (kabuli channa) mixed with some other ingredients. "

Take about 200 gms (Approx half a pound) of chick peas and soak them overnight.
Boil these with a tblsp of oil till very soft. Let this cool. Then grind this in a mixer (with little water from the boiled peas) with approx 2 heaped tblsp. of tahini/tahina (sesame seed paste), 6-8 cloves of garlic, juice of one lemon or to taste, salt & a tblsp of olive oil. Grind this mixture to a smooth paste. The consistency should be somewhat like that of mayonnaise. After taking it out in a dish, add approx half a cup of olive oil & stir lightly. The oil should float on the top. ( Makes 3-4 servings).

Serve with pitta bread, oilves & salad of your choice. And for the non- vegetarians it goes well with dry/roast chicken & kababs

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Restaurant Recommendation - Gazalee

Pick of the time: Gazalee (
Location: Lower parel, Mumbai

Gazalee is located in the heart of the city and is a must for all sea food lovers.

The best part is the high quality sea food which they offer .The ambiance is excellent as well unlike most of the sea food hotels which have a traditional and unkept ambiance.They serve food on glass and melamine plates(except for thali), whih is again unlike most of the sea food restaurants in the city.

Dishes worth trying include Bombil fry which is completely fresh,well cooked , n crispy.The Fiush curries are good too.Must not miss the indian breads like Vade,Amboli n Ghavne along with fish curry.The chicken masala too is very tasty a typical desi taste.
Prawns Biryani too is a must must try.Sol kadi is good ,but not highly recommeded

They also have good mocktails like strawberry/peach/khus and so on.Lastly thne desserts are okay,not to swoon over

For those who dont want to spend so much on 4 course meal,the Fish thali is value for money which contains fry bombil +chapati+Curry+plain rice+ sol kadi.

In short good food,fresh fish,nice ambiance, and quick service

Also has branches in Vile Parle and Andheri

Sea food lovers enjoy!!!

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tortilla de patatas

Better known as Spanish omelette ,Tortilla de patatas is a quick n super tasty dish often mistaken for pizza by its looks:)

2 onions slices
2potatos sliced
Oilve oil
Salt as per taste
Additionally 1-2 slices of bell pepper s/tomatoes/mushrooms
2-3 raw beaten Eggs

Fry Onions +potatoes in olive oil.Fry till light brown.Remove them from oil and put them over tissue paper to soak of excess oil.
Separately keep raw beaten eggs and mix the above with it.Incase you want, put chopped bell peppers n tomatoes over it

Now take a pan,put some oil over it.Put the Egg mixture over it and fry
first on one side.Now toss it on a plate and flip it again over the pan to cook the other side

Its ready to serve now.Enjoy with tomato ketchup.
N yes dont forget to turn some Spanish music in background when u eat this

Chef's tip:
-Can be eaten with a bread as well.In Spain the tradition is to eat with a typical crusty bread
-Can put some cheese over it (grated) n allowed to melt

So Enjoy

Bon Appetit


Here's an Arabic dish, prepared frequently by my mom. Having lived in the Gulf for a few years, they love Arabic food..
And this one's on Ash's demand!!
1/2 kg big Brinjal

250 gms curd
4-5 cloves garlic
2 tbsp Tahini (sesame seed) paste
Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Hang the curd in a thin (muslin) cloth, and let the water drip away, leaving thick curd (as in shreekhand). Would take probably an hour atleast
Roast the Brinjal on fire (as done in making Baingan ka bartha) till all the sides are roasted.
Let it cool, and peel off the skin

Grind together the hung curd, brinjal and garlic cloves. Add to it tahini paste, a tsp of olive oil and salt to taste.
Its a bit putgent/tangy in taste

Serve with Arabic Pita Bread (Khaboos)!!You may get it from Oberoi Mall in Goregaon (E), Mumbai, but my parents ask friends to get it from Dubai!!
Tahini paste could be available in Crawford market!
Tahini paste reciepie:
2tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup lukewarm water
Place some seasme seeds in a blender or food processor and grind untill smooth. Add sesame oil and salt. Process untill combined with the running motor, add water very slowly, steady stream and blend untill smooth.


Achari Vegetable

This is a delicious preparation made by my sister in law.. Kanchan's been asking me the recipe, so here it is!

The Achari masala:
1 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup saunf /fennil seeds
1/2 cup dhaniya / coriander seeds
1 tsp kalonji/onion seeds
1 tsp rai/mustard seeds
Roast all the seeds, and grind to a fine powder.

This masala can be added in any vegetable, like your normal lady finger vegetable, potato etc.

1. Stuffed Achari Potato and Bitter-gourd
Take 4 small potatoes and 4 small Bitter-gourds
Tip: Apply salt water to the bitter goard for a while, and strain it in water to remove the excessive bitterness
Make slits the potatoes and bitter gourd and fill in the achari masala.
Shallow fry on slow heat in a kadai till well cooked

2. Achari vegetables
Small brinjal and potato (1/2 kg)
OR Bhindi and potato (1/2 kg)
3-4 spoons of achari masala
2-3 pinches of haldi, red chilli powder, garam masala
1-2 tsp of ginger garlic paste
Salt to taste
A few seeds of all the achari masala ingredient seeds (for tempering)

Heat a little oil in a kadai, and put the seeds for tempering. Add the chopped vegetables, haldi, red chilli powder, garam masala and ginger garlic paste.
When almost cooked, add the achari masala powder, so that it coats all the vegetables well.

And your deliciously aromatic dish is ready! Its even tastier to eat!
Conclusion: My sister in law cooks as amazingly well as my mother in law :)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thai Curry

This is the easiest Recipe of Thai curry.Quick n easy to prepare


Vegetables as per your choice.
Recommended ones
Bell Peppers 1 each of 3 colours,yellow,red,green
1 packet mushrooms
1packet baby corn
1/2 brocolli
1/2 ginger
1/2 Galangal if available(Galangal also known as Siamese Ginger, this root is an important ingredient in Thai cuisine) Lemon Grass leaves about 5-6 chopped
Coconut milk
Red chilly paste
2 spoon lemon juice

Chop all the vegetables finely
Put oil in a deep pan,let it get heated.
Add all finely chopped vegetables,saute them till cooked.
Add salt n red chilly paste(as per preference)
Cook it for some time.

In a grinder put the lemon grass ,ginger,galangal and alittle warm water.Blend it well till you get good juice
Now separate the juice from the remaining galangal ,ginger.Add the juice to cooked vegetables.
Add lemon juice

Lastly add the coconut milk..
Serve with steaming rice.

[Chef'sTip:You can substitute Red chilly paste with green chilly paste]

Bon Appetit

The World's Best Prawns

My mom-in-law is an awesome cook!! All of us know that by now!
Here are here trademark prawns, made in our typical North Indian style
Suzie loves these! And I'm sure, anyone who likes sea food will love these!

Prawns (may be 2 lots from the local fish market) - Cleaned and de-veined
1 medium potato (medium chopped)
2 big onions - finely sliced
2 medium tomatoes - chopped
1/4 piece of a dry coconut (sukha khopra)
1 pod of garlic
2" ginger
2 tsp: My mom-in-laws sp. red masala (its a mixture of red chillis and garam masala), similar to something called 'Sunday masala' at the masala wala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Tempering: 6-8 methi/fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste
Lots of chopped coriander leaves

Roast the coconut on the gas. Scrape of the excess black, and slice it into long pieces. (Be careful.. my mom broke her knife, while I was teaching her this.) Grind in a dry mixie.
Then add to it the ginger, garlic, all the masalas and water. Grind to a fine paste.
In a kadai, heat oil (more oil makes tastier non-veg.. sadly). Add to it the tempering. When it changes to dark brown, add onions. Cook till almost brown. Then add the paste. Cook till oil seperates. (Tip: The more you stir.. the tastier it gets). Then add tomatoes. Cook till they dissappear! (Squish them with the spoon you are using). Then add the potatoes and prawns. Once the prawns curl up, add water, and cover and cook untill done. Add lots of coriander and serve.

Writing this mouth watering.. so eating it is .. yummmmmm

Recipe: Nachni omlette

Here's an easy snack, which I end up making once a week. With the batter made the previous night (for convenience only..), it can be churned out as a quick breakfast

Nachni / Ragi Flour (2 cups)
Chopped tomatoes and onions (1 cup)
Some chopped chillies and coriander leaves
Ginger Garlic Paste (if you like)
A few pinches of turmeric powder, red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder (if you like)
Salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients, and add water as per the consistency you like

Grease a non stick pan / tawa with a little oil, and pour as if making an 'uttappa'

This is quite heathly, since it is not fried, and Nachni is supposed to be very healthy.

As a variant, you could use part 'gram flour / chana atta / besan' and part nachi.
Also, you can make the same thing using a mix of moong dal paste (soaked and ground) and/ or 'gram flour / chana atta / besan'


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Restaurant Recommendation - Just around the corner

I guess in a city like mumbai you hardly find anyone who aint a foodie.We all are foodies and thats the reason we came together to write this out.One of the best features of this blog is going to be recommended restaurants in Mumbai.We would recommend you once a while about every restaurant we know , so that all you have a ready reckoner with you

Pick of the time: Just around the corner

Location: Bandra (W), Mumbai

Located in the Suburb of Bandra in Mumbai this place is easy to access even for a non bandraite.What drives us towards this place is its versatality.We get best of salads from all over.It is a must for the health concious and the choosy.We can get a pleothra of salads along with some good soups and having something called as 'Soup of the Day'.Additionally they also serve amazing continental food including sandwiches pizzas,burgers,desserts and beverages

The ambience is a typical modern urban American one with Hollywood stars occupying the walls.

They have a self serveice menu facility wherein you can take as much as you want for one serving and pay in the end at the cashier

In short this place is value for money.Good for families,Friends and even for taking your date out:)

Highly recommended for lovers of continental food and health concious

So enjoy!!

Bon Appetit