Fried rice and a seven-minute* egg

*Eight-minute egg or what happens when you don’t pay attention to the timer.

Yesterday, I came *this* close to being in Goa again. Being near a package sent to me by my family through a friend visiting/working in Seattle for a week was my escape and even though I’m not literally there, I can breathe the curry patta (leaves) that grow from my neighbour’s compound to our top floor balcony and drop a red chilli in hot oil whenever I feel low. The homesickness has been on the uptick lately. This is the time of the year when I have a plane ticket and I’m all prepared to say “See you sucker,” to the winter. That’s not on the list this year and so, packages of dried food  with amazing labels made my mother will do. They are so professional. Airport customs has nothing on her.

Olfactory memories are comforting. They’re even more special because they don’t come easily. You have to put in the work to sniff them out (yuk yuk). In the case of food, you have to cook. I say this a lot, in varied ways, and maybe I do it so I don’t forget – food keeps me close to my tiny home state. I usually end up hoarding the bags of presents I bring back from India  but this time I won’t. I have a little project I started working on and these ingredients give me such a great headstart on it.

THANK YOU FAMILY (for EVERYTHING) and Rhea (for the tamaatar/tomato fabric) and Prateek, for bringing all these things to me, which he handed out one-by-one in his hotel room. I felt like I was winning all the awards.

If you’d like to hear more from me, I have a newsletter which comes out twice a month right now. Here is where you sign up. It will send you an email and once you confirm it’s you, you get more me. Yay.

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Julia’s Caesar + butter croutons + small victories

If I had read this book four years ago, I don’t know if I would have had the same reaction to it as I’m having now. I was still on the cusp of figuring out what I was going to be feeding myself after eating with solely Indian ingredients until then. I was a brand new immigrant, confused at all the options at grocery store and desperate for chicken with bones and vegetables I didn’t have to bag individually each time I picked them out. I was more insecure, easily led by trends and irritated by them deep down inside. I was doubtful of my ability to cook myself three meals while I waited in an apartment for my greencard and the subsequent opportunity to work it would come with. I was depressed. I used to be a journalist before the move. I wrote, edited stories by other reporters, designed page layouts and I had friends I could meet and speak the colloquial English I grew up with. I wanted to feel whole again.

In the middle of it all, it was these same grocery stores that became a sort of refuge for me. Cooking was something I had to look forward to regardless and ticking off items on a grocery list felt like I was accomplishing something again. I looked through blogs and learnt names of famous home cooks I had never heard even a year earlier. I could draw the line of familiarity at Martha Stewart. I didn’t see what I was doing as a privilege at the time. I was simply trying to save myself. This learning curve never led to an obsession with food. It was always a form of sustenance for me. I was thrilled to have new ingredients and at the heart of it all, I still sought the familiar. I imagined how things smelt and the relived the small tasks I did whenever I helped my parents cook. Recreating this food felt like a little celebration each time. Despite the distance, food kept me close to them.

All the small victories I had in my own kitchen until just yesterday when I trussed my third roast chicken without YouTube, are directly related to the love I have for this book, Small Victories by Julia Turshen. Even as I notice my growth as a home cook, there are so many things I feel silly about not knowing when I look at the work of others. Insecurity is real and despite a million conversations on how to quiet it down, it still pops up every now and then.

I read this book like a novel when I bought it on my e-reader (don’t EVER do this, unless you are trying to save some money. I was impatient). Finally I felt comfortable being who I was and all that I taught myself. I saw myself in every page, in the words she said. Reading the introduction to Small Victories reminded me of a cooking conversation I had just a few weeks earlier with a woman I knew in college but never spoke to because we were both shy. Small Victories is the “We Are Enough” of cookbooks. It has brilliantly written recipes and spin offs for each one, making for endless inspiration no matter what your skill level is. The ingredients used are kept to a minimal making it one of the few books I don’t hesitate to recommend to my friends and family in India. Perhaps the best part of it all is in the end – a list of national (USA), international and local New York non-profits and organisations you can make donations to that actively fight hunger and champion for social justice through food. “I firmly believe that if you have the privilege of eating however much you want whenever you want, you should spend some time ensuring that other have the same opportunity,” Julia writes in the “Give Back” section of her book. I found myself fist in the air, tears in my eyes that someone wrote a cookbook and put every single part of her heart in it.

I am simply glad that the first I heard of Julia is through her own words, in her own book (she is an accomplished cookbook writer who is modest about it). All this put together means I have little to compare Small Victories to. All I know is how it made me feel. I was encouraged, comforted and engaged. I felt lucky that I was able to have the skills and means to put meals together the way she described them and it had me dreaming of bigger possibilities for myself in this conversation around social justice. Few cookbooks I own have asked for my heart in this way. If I ever wrote a cookbook (never say never, right?) I would hope it would be at least as half as empowering as this one. Every time someone tells me they can’t cook, I am going to present this book as a solution. It’s true I might have been a little more stumble- y cooking from this book four years ago. But I know I would have been better for it.

If you can’t buy the book for whatever reason and you’re in the US, please check out your nearest library or borrow it from me. If neither is an option for you, email me and I can ship you the one I was going to buy myself.  

 Julia’s Caesar


I made the raw egg Caesar salad dressing only once after seeing it in Bon Appetit. I thought I had chanced up the most delicious thing ever. This dressing took all the fuss of a raw egg out of the recipe and handed it over to mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is the condiment second only to sauce (what Indians call ketchup) in my parents home in Goa. I remember eating mayonnaise for the first time in the 90s when it was bottled by a company called Sil and sold in the corner shop.  Mind-blown. I chide my parents a lot for eating it these days (adult child syndrome) but HOW CAN YOU NOT. I don’t think I can be the same person after this recipe. This small victory is really a big victory for me.

In place of the cherry tomatoes in the original recipe, I made my dad’s world-famous soup croutons. Lots of butter and stale bread to soak it all up. Also note that Julia’s recipe in her book has spin offs for making this dressing vegetarian (1 tbsp drained capers instead of anchovies) or vegan (Vegan mayonnaise, 1 tbsp capers and no Parmesan). The recipe instructions for making this without a food processor or blender are not in the book but written from experience and laziness.


Recipe from Small Victories by Juilia Turshen

  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 4 olive oil–packed anchovy fillets, drained
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup (25 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 hearts of romaine lettuce, trimmed, washed, dried, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

In a blender or food processor, puree the garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the Parmesan and give the dressing a few pulses just to incorporate the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, finely chop the anchovies, put them in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, and whisk everything together.)

Put the lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle nearly all of the dressing over it. Use your hands to mix everything together, making sure each and every piece of lettuce is coated with dressing.

Divide the dressed lettuce among four plates. Divide the tomatoes evenly among the salads and drizzle the last bit of dressing over the salads. Serve immediately.

If making the dressing without a food processor or blender

Grate the garlic on a microplane zester and set aside. If you don’t have a microplane (which frankly, I didn’t either until I realised I was hoarding too many lemon peels in my freezer), mince the garlic as fine as you can and then smash it with the back of your knife. Adding a pinch of salt as you smash down the garlic will act as an abrasive and it turn into a paste quicker as another dressing recipe in the Small Victories cookbook demonstrates.

Chop the anchovies into tiny pieces and using the back of the knife, flatten them as you chop to turn them into a paste. Don’t worry if it isn’t entirely smooth.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Add the mayonnaise to the bowl and whisk until combined. Add in the garlic and anchovies along with the Parmesan and whisk enough to help it turn into one creamy dressing for everything. Taste for salt and add more if required. Add pepper – how much depends on how spicy you like it.

Butter croutons

  • 2 cups day-old bread, torn into smaller pieces by hand or cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 or 2 tbsp butter (it doesn’t matter if the butter is salted or unsalted)

Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat and add the bread to it. Stir to let it absorb the butter it’s cooking in and then stir occasionally until it crisps up and turns a deep brown colour. This should take about 5-7 minutes. You can also substitute the butter with olive oil. I sometimes add minced garlic to the bread right at the end. It’s all perfectly acceptable.



A Goan’s tomato soup

You know you come here for the writing. I know I come here for the same thing. What if I flipped the script today? It would be the best day to do that, I think. I came back from a doctor’s appointment this morning and my sprained thumb is almost back to normal. Yes. Then my computer wouldn’t turn on. It has been acting buggy all week. It’s like someone knew I had these big plans to write but instead I got crabby and hungry and made myself some potatoes. Two eggs on top, please.

Life doesn’t always do things the way we want it to. I should know this by now. Instead I’m behind on my newsletter. Trust me to wait till the last minute. What I want to tell you most of all is that this is the most Goan post I’ve ever written. Right from the things in the photos, to the book (which I borrowed from my Uncle Edgar’s house), to the soup, which tastes exactly like every soup from my childhood. And I’ve eaten a lot of soup as this blog might give away. Soup is part of the baggage the Portuguese left us – the only kind I don’t mind. Soup is comforting and great. It’s how I feel productive when I’ve made no dinner plans. It comes together like magic and if I add rice to it, I feel like I won a million dollars. Except it’s disguised as dinner and there will never be any money.

This book was something I saw a lot in my mother’s stash of recipes in the kitchen. I’ve never made anything from it before this recipe here. Old cookbooks always assumed that everybody knew how to cook. The instructions and measurements are to the point. There isn’t any hemming and hawing over how to treat the ingredients. We’re already supposed to know. Since I’ve started to cook for myself in the past few years, books like this one have finally started to make more sense to me. File this under things I knew but didn’t know I knew. The laptop is probably going to shut down inexplicably again so before it does, here is that recipe. Hope you make it.  Continue reading


Flavour bomb carrots

Of all the things I thought I knew about myself, my getting offended by caterpillars on the beetroot seedlings I placed in recycled buckets of honey is a revelation to me. Note that I didn’t call them “honey buckets” lest you mistake one of my and a lot of people’s hobbies for a gardening fetish. I see these little green things crawl along the rib of the biggest green leaf on this baby plant and I think “you piece of shit”. Ironically. All of these emotions come as a huge surprise to me. I am the type of woman that considers herself a nature warrior deep in my heart. I get giddy over leaves and patterns I see on hikes. I eat all my vegetables happily and ask for seconds. Cursing at camouflaged bugs – I am learning a new side of me.

It takes a second to step back from the expectations I have as a gardener. I call myself one but with humility because as many online forums as I’ve scoured, I still can’t make the  squirrels not dig plants out of the ground  twice a year. They have to eat. And avoid getting hit by cars! I just have to pretend I know what I’m doing and then walk to a grocery store if it doesn’t work out.

As prime gardening season comes to a close, I’d like to tell you that I have a whole new bunch of tricks up my sleeve this time. A favourite motto has always been along the lines of “live and let live”. I put seeds in the well-fed ground, feed the plants that come out of them and hope for the best. There is always so much to learn. So I went out with a small piece of paper and lifted the miniscule caterpillar off the tiny little leaves. I covered the seedlings with one-pint containers that held cherry tomatoes not so long ago. Dig around squirrels. The course nature takes through us and all of its little ones is a lesson in patience. The beets are doing fine. It’s my dogs that are now eating the carrots.
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Green tomato and onion bhajia/pakoras

There are very few things that I miss about home more than afternoon tea-time. Few things fill the spaces in our day better than this humble beverage. What was once an ideal way to break the monotony of a day job has become a symbol (to me, at least) of what it means to yearn for home. Ironic since it’s a ritual and trade left behind by our former white imperialist rulers (Hi Britain, I’m talking about you).

I have had many, many cups of tea since I move to Washington. I have tried to make it with ginger, cardamom and whatever they’ve said I need for chai. It hasn’t worked. In my home, we had milk tea minus the spices, so I never knew that masala flavour growing up. In Bombay, the men who made us tea for a humble or no fare had their own secret way of doing so. From “kickass chai” to “Francis chai”, these are all the tastes I seek when I’m offered the chance to drink tea. Sadly, no cup I make or buy seems to live up to expectations when I do it here in the US. I don’t know what that’s about but I think it has something to do with the camaraderie of sitting around the table or on a makeshift plank supported on two dodgy bamboo sticks on the side of the road. Or maybe it’s the water.

Few things go better with tea than bhajia, especially when it starts to rain or during Ramzan iftar. My dad, who grew up in Bombay, introduced us to this and many, many other street foods right from his kitchen in Goa. The lane where he and his 6 brothers and their parents lived took on a life of its own as most streets in Bombay do. Called St Francis Xavier Street, it has a church and two Catholic-run schools, about 5 or 6 residential buildings – a couple of them in the style of a chawl, a pay-to-join member-only club called The Goan Institute, and a grain miller. Walk out to the main road and you’ll find yourself standing on one of the many lifelines that make this city’s heart beat. Whether to choose to go left or right, you will run into people running businesses that make up sub-cultures from all parts of the country. It might sound exaggerated, but it’s not. Bombay street food is like nothing else. Every metropolis claims theirs is the best but I’m biased.

Obviously, the first person I called to ask for this recipe was my mother. She’s a good cook, who would rather do other things with her time. She is the parent who asks my questions to my daddy-o and repeats his answers back to me. I can hear what he says through the phone but she says it again, anyway. For as long as I can remember, my father has been the snack maker in our house. After living in Bombay for 6 years as an adult, I realise that maybe he’s trying to remember it all too. He was there for much longer than I was and while he can never live there again, the pace at which he moves is testament that the city never leaves you.

I can’t speak for my sisters but bhajia in the afternoon – after school and in between homework – was my favourite thing. I’ve watched my dad make it so many times and have never once had a chance to make it in the same kitchen as him. I will always be too young and he will always be too fast. My love for potatoes and deep-frying comes directly from this besan covered goodness I watched him make for tea in what seemed like a matter of minutes. My love for this human, also lies somewhere in between.


This recipe was inspired by a majority of the tomatoes in the garden that aren’t going to ripen in time. Their firmness makes them a perfect candidate for this snack. You can coat most vegetable in this batter. Potatoes, onions and chillies are the most popular of this kind. Bread pakodas are also awesome (whole sandwich with a masala potato filling dipped in batter). In the US, “pakoras” is the word you’ll hear most commonly because North Indian food seems to be the restaurant thing to do. We call it bhajjas in Goa (DIVERSITY, FOLKS). Thank you, Sidharth for helping me clarify the words and their spellings. 

Chaat masala. What is that? It’s a sour, spicy, kind of sweet and salty spice mix. You can’t quite put your finger on it but when you’re eating it on something, the taste cannot be mistaken. I’ve used it in this raita recipe before and also on fruit, chaat and eggs (ok edlyn). Keep it in your spice cupboard for whenever you want to surprise yourself. Or wait until Bon Appetit writes a “MUST-HAVE” bs article and then you can buy it. Up to you. 


  • 280 gms or 2 slightly heaping cups green tomatoes, sliced in 1/8 to 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup red onion, cut into thin slivers
  • 1 tsp chaat masala + more to sprinkle on top of fried bhajji
  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2  tsp salt, to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Mix the tomatoes and onions in a bowl with the chaat masala. Let it sit while you make the mixture for the batter.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the besan, chilli powder, turmeric and cilantro. Add the water to the bowl a little at a time and stir as you go, until the ingredients form a batter. It should be a loose-ish batter but have enough density to coat the tomato and onion slices. Add salt to taste. I have mentioned 1/2 tsp, but taste a little bit of the batter and add more or less as you prefer

This step is optional: Prepare a wire rack and place newspaper or paper towels underneath it to drain the bhajias. This will help keep them crispier.

Add enough oil in a kadai or heavy-bottomed pan (I used a cast iron skillet) to come up to a depth of 3-4 inches. Heat the oil on medium heat. To gauge if the oil is ready, drop a small bit of the batter into the pan. It should sizzle immediately (complete with the sound). Dredge the tomatoes and onions in the batter and gently drop them into the oil. Cook for about a minute or two on each side or until the bhajias turn a deep golden-brown. Remove from the hot oil and drain on the wire rack. Sprinkle with chaat masala or a mix of salt and chilli powder. Serve hot with green chutney (recipe below) or ketchup. As we say in the homeland, “SAUCE”.

Alternatively, you can drop the bhajias onto a plate with paper napkins and eat as soon as you can manage to sink your teeth into them without burning your tongue.

For the green chutney

  • 1 bunch or 2 loosely packed cups of cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 small Thai green chilli (also called bird chilli)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2-4 tbsp water, to help grind the ingredients to a paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt, to taste

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until it turns to a paste. Scrape the side of the processor occasionally and if required, add a tablespoon at a time of more water until it all comes together. Add salt to taste.



Linguine and the cure for everything.

Food is a funny thing. I used Peruvian anchovies in an Italian style recipe made by an Indian with cooking skills strongly influenced by Indo-Portuguese traditions from the state of Goa. We are diverse, but there is something that ties us traditional coastal dwellers together. We eat fish – lots of it – and we shut shop for afternoon siesta. This isn’t an invitation to stereotype. Just observe. We love fresh, briny, vinegar-y things with spice. Sometimes all together, sometimes not. We all have a “person”, from whom we get the best fish and that will be our person for life. We sunbathe our seafood on the side of hot asphalt village roads and we pickle it in jars to eat all through the monsoon.  I’m going to make this my own someday but for now, here’s a close second of all those flavours that sit on my palate and hit all the right notes in my amygdala. It reminds me of my longing for the ocean and the balmy days I was close to it. One bite and I can’t help but cry.

Linguine with burst cherry tomatoes, anchovies, capers and their juices



If you’d like to attempt making your pasta at home, I have ingredient quantities here. I need to update that recipe with rolling pin instructions but if you’d like to beat me to it, a simple web search with the words “pasta with a rolling pin” will give you all the clues you need. There might even be a YouTube video for it. If you’re in Goa, my sister makes bomb homemade noodles and you can def buy some from her for this recipe. LUCKY.

Another note, I usually have about 10-15 cherry tomatoes uncooked and cut in half on the side so I can toss some fresh ones in with the cooked pasta. I like the mix of cooked and uncooked.

I added some fresh basil before serving but if you don’t want to do that, the rosemary scent/flavour does a great job of adding those herb notes to the dish.


Serves 4 or ravenous 2

  • 400 gms/1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic (about 1 tbsp), roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 stalk of rosemary
  • 4 anchovy filets + 1 tbsp of the oil
  • 1 tbsp capers, 1 tbsp of the brine
  • 255 gms/9 oz linguine (I used this brand and they paid me zero money)
  • Plenty of Grana parmesan, shaved on top
  • Fresh basil, to top (optional)

Make this in the oven

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a Dutch oven or a deep baking dish, add the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and rosemary. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. If using a deep baking dish, cover the top with foil.

While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare your anchovy-caper stir-ins. Chop the anchovy and capers to fine pieces and add to a small bowl. Toss in 1 tsp of oil and 1 tbsp of the caper brine and mix well.

About 10-15 minutes before the tomatoes are ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on high heat. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. If using dried pasta, cook according to package instructions. If using fresh, it should take 1-2 minutes for the pasta to cook. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Remove the pot from the oven and carefully open the lid. It will be steaming. Toss in the warm pasta and using a ladle, mix it well to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water if you want the pasta to be a little more saucy. Stir in the anchovy-caper mixture. Serve while still warm and top with Grana, uncooked cherry tomatoes (*see note 2, if using), and fresh basil.

Make this on the stove

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the garlic and rosemary to it. Stir to mix for about a minute. Add the tomatoes to the pot and toss them so they are coated with the oil. Cook the cherry tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until they blister, turn soft and are almost ready to burst, about 8-10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on high heat. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. If using dried pasta, cook according to package instructions. If using fresh, it should take 1-2 minutes for the pasta to cook. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Toss the warm pasta into the pot with the tomatoes and using a ladle, mix it well to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water if you want the pasta to be saucier. Stir in the anchovy-caper mixture (see instructions above). Serve while still warm and top with Grana, uncooked cherry tomatoes (*see note 2, if using), and fresh basil.



Something new + (Sort of) Shrikhand with granola, figs and honey

I started a newsletter about four weeks ago and never officially introduced it in my blog. I left it as a side note on a post or two ago and put in in the About section as well. I’ve been screaming my lungs out on Instagram and force adding my friends and family to the mailing list, in the hope that I won’t be shouting into an empty space, like writing for this blog makes me feel sometimes.

I’ve been doing this for more than a couple of years now and it’s only recently that I’ve noticed engagement – actual engagement with what I share. I’ve had a reader invite me to visit her in Victoria BC (Hi Ruth!) and I had a fellow RCRC volunteer ask me about a recipe. I knew of her but never officially spent volunteering time with her or introduced myself until this summer. It’s nice when people other than your mother read and share what you put out into the world.

These recipes I write are mere tools and inspiration to get people cooking because it really is so easy. I’m not an expert but when I find an interesting flavour or technique, I like to share it. I believe we all know the best way to feed ourselves and even if that’s a bag of chips or a bucket of fried chicken, that’s a choice you get to make as an adult. Do it for you.

As for the photos, I have begun to draw out how I want my photos to look before I make them. Most of them don’t follow the sketch but I notice I feel a lot calmer when I have an outline to work with. My inner critic is a lot quieter when I have a draft and I can do what I need to without putting myself down. It’s also taken a lot of confidence to share my simple style of cooking and I’m finally comfortable with my ideas. While they are easy to execute, there is a complex personality to them (ME) and I’m better at owning that. That is probably what is shining through. Is it weird to be proud of myself?

The newsletter is the best next step for me. I crave that connection when I write and as this blog evolves, I know I want to get to know my regular readers better. I am still trying to figure out how to set the newsletter apart from the .com. I’m hoping to cover more identity, food matters, entrepreneurship, literary topics and it would be awesome to have you along as contributors and readers. I’d love for you to read what I’ve put out so far and send me feedback or just say hi. If you’d like to discuss ideas, email me and we can set the ball rolling.

Here’s the link to the newsletter. I didn’t know whether to link it to “the link”, “Here’s” or “newsletter” so I did it for everything. To those who’ve voluntarily subscribed already, THANK YOU SO MUCH. You kill me, not literally.


Strained yogurt, elaichi (cardamom) granola with pistachios, fresh figs and honey



Any fresh fruit or ready-made granola or yogurt will work in this recipe. I’ve posted this recipe for those who’d like to try making granola on a stove. A majority of homes in India don’t have ovens and toast all their grains and spices on the stove. This felt natural.

As for the yogurt, if you’ve not heard of shrikhand, this is an introduction to it. Whenever I ate it, I could only manage a spoonful. It was too sweet for me and never sour enough. What I loved was the creamy, spreadable consistency – something you get by separating the curds from the whey. Shrikhand is traditionally flavoured with cardamom and sugar. To make it fancier, crushed almonds or pistachios and saffron may be added. It’s sometimes served with mango (amrakhand) and hot puri. In case you were wondering, it’s a dessert popular in the west Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

I used figs because no lie – my favourite flavour of Natural (ice cream of Juhu Scheme!) ice-cream is anjeer (fig)


For the strained vanilla yogurt

  • 1 tub (680 gms/24 oz) plain full fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 whole vanilla beans or 1 tsp real vanilla extract

Line a fine mesh strainer or colander with a double layer of muslin/cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Make sure the bottom of the strainer stays separate from the bottom of the bowl so the curds and whey don’t touch. You can also tie the cheesecloth into a bundle and hang it from a ladle over a bowl. The pressure will help it drain better.

Let it sit in the fridge overnight until most of the whey has drained out from the yogurt and collected in the bowl below. Lightly squeeze the cheesecloth to get rid of the last bits of whey. Add the yogurt to another bowl. Save the whey for a curry/soup or discard.

Using a pairing knife, split the vanilla bean in half length-wise and use the back of the knife to scrape the vanilla seeds into the yogurt. Stir to combine and set aside.

If using vanilla extract instead of whole beans, add it to the drained yogurt and stir to combine.

For the stovetop cardamom granola

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom seeds
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Heat a skillet on medium heat and add the oats, nuts and seeds to it. Toast them, stirring frequently until the oats turn light brown and the seeds start to crackle. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

Take the skillet off the heat and add the coconut oil, sugar and salt. Toss well to coat the oats. Put the skillet back on the stove and continue to stir, allowing the mixture to turn a deeper golden colour. Do this for 4-5 minutes. It goes from warm to burnt quite fast so keep an eye on it.

Pour the granola on a baking sheet and let it cool completely. You can add in coconut or any dried fruit at this point.

To assemble

  • 1/2 pint figs
  • Granola
  • Honey
  • Fresh thyme (optional)

Layer a small mug with chilled yogurt, fresh figs (or fruit of your choice), granola, and honey. Garnish with fresh thyme before serving