Pic5

Backyard peach sweet tea

These late summer evenings pull at my heart strings in ways I’m unprepared for. As it gets darker earlier each day, I find myself walking out into the golden light to listen to chirping birds and traffic that sounds like the ocean. Just as the light begins to recede, it colours the tops of the trees in fiery hues of yellow and ocre mixed in with the darkest leaf greens. The ground is parched (I refuse to water the lawn) and the sky is blue. The temperature starts to drop after a day of heat and this natural A/C fills the rooms – that were stifling just a few hours earlier – through the backdoor and cracked-open windows. I am floating.

I’m trying to think of the most poetic way to explain how sad I am that summer is almost ending. I want to grill food outside forever and drink iced beverages sitting off the edge of the deck. In the same vein, I am ready to slow down a little. To me, that’s what shorter days mean. While I’m not really looking forward to the cold, I’ll find joy in it somehow. Slow, deep soulful tunes, warm beverages on tap, soups on tap and a heap of blankets on the couch. Until then, I’ll have plenty more summer in my glass, please. Meet me in the backyard.


This recipe is part of the Drink The Summer virtual party some food bloggers are in on all day today. Millions of cocktails will clog your eyeballs all day and you may or may not curse at us but really, you should find one you love and make it your own. You can find the whole list right here or on With Food and Love, Sherrie’s wonderful blog.

Boozy
Regular fruity beverages
Pic9Collage1Pic3Pic1Collage2Pic6


This recipe was born out of a story my A. Kim told me about how she makes sun tea in the Arizona summer time. It doesn’t get as hot here in Washington but it was hot enough last week for me to make my own sun tea. That plus I have so many herbs growing like crazy in this heat. Maybe where you are in the world, you might also get a chance soon (hello, Southern Hemisphere)? If not, I have old school stove-top instructions/suggestions too. 

Notes:

I have just one note and that is to make this drink with as little or as much of everything. Some people like more alcohol than other and some don’t like it at all. In that case, simply substitute the alcohol with more tea and sparkling water.

Ingredients

Makes 2 drinks

  • 4 cups of water
  • 8 tbsp of loose leaf peach blossom white tea, or your favourite (iced) tea blend
  • 3 fl oz tequila (about a 1/2 cup)
  • 1 fl oz / 2 tbsp Triple Sec
  • 1 fl oz simple lemon syrup (recipe below)
  • Sparkling water, to top
  • A mix of fresh herbs like mint, thyme, basil and pineapple sage
  • 1 peach, halved and cut into thin wedges
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Add the water and loose leaf tea to a tall glass jar and let it sit in the sunniest spot outside for a whole day. Strain the tea leaves and refrigerate until ready to use.

If you’re going to make the tea on the stove, try to make sure your water isn’t over 185 degrees F while steeping else the tea could turn bitter. Bring water to a boil and pour the water over the tea leaves in the jar. Cover and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Strain the tea leaves and let it cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Add a little more than a 1/2 cup of the tea (4 fl oz), tequila, Triple Sec, lemon syrup, a mix of herbs to a tall glass jar or a cocktail shaker. Shake the mixture with ice and pour into 2 glasses. Top with sparkling water. Add 3 peach wedges to each glass and garnish with a wedge of lemon or a peach.

For the simple lemon syrup

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cups water

Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir to help the sugar dissolve. Let it boil for 1 minute without stirring and then take it off the heat. Let it cool. Pour in a clean bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Pic8

Standard
Pic7

How to be the best.

Here’s what I have to tell you as a blogger who loves food enough to make photos of it and write down a recipe for a post exactly like the one you’re reading right now. Ready? Okay. You don’t need props or the latest wooden utensils. You don’t need to learn Snap Chat. Really. I tried it for a week this year and a week last year and while I had a blast using all the filters (mostly being SIA), I think it’s okay to have a one or zero-dimensional social media presence.

Lately, I’ve been feeling incredibly rushed by food media. As a result of my clicking habits on facebook, I get an abundance of food posts on my feed (the irony). I scroll past these lush scenes of glamorised consumption and it sends a message to my brain that this is the right way to be, to eat, to shop. I know it’s not so I’ve trained (forced) myself to say “this is bullshit” and move past it. Not everyone has that same power.

Last year when Tasty became a thing, it seemed like this would be the next sensible step in bolstering the dusty old blog. Those videos with the perfect time-suck formula made us all believe that yes, it actually is so easy to cook when in reality it always has been. The videos are quick, no more than 60 seconds and the mise-en-place is always impeccable and in a style that is so far removed from how I cook. I have been told I should make videos too out of genuine concern for where this blog is going. As a confident woman in progress, I have recently started making peace with how my voice sounds in recordings. But this is not why I’m canning this option. Trust me, I am fully capable of making videos. What I’m not okay with is doing something just because everybody else is doing it. It doesn’t feel right to me. I’ll be late to the party but I will be coming as myself every single time. Just so we get this straight, I’m not calling other people frauds. I would never do that. I’m trying to show you that there are alternatives to everything.

I just recently figured out the perfect spot to take food photos. My setup (if you can call it that) consists of a nice camera and a shelf that we unmounted from the wall after buying this house, which serves as my table. It is literally (and typing “literally” is literally necessary) a foot wide. I am not making videos. Sorry. Not my thing. I will compromise and occasionally give myself a moustache in Instagram stories. This blog isn’t lost.

This blog post is more for the people like me – anxious, worried, busy (in a day job way) women who are just trying to get by. They want to start blogs but opt not to because it’s unrealistic to keep up with this circus. I hardly do much and I still need discipline to make this work. I enjoy photographing food and writing out my vulnerabilities. They don’t run my life but I want to show you that they are still there and I can function despite them. There will always be something precious about the time I started this blog and had just one expectation from it – to be funny. If you’ve read some other blogs and feel like you aren’t able “be like them”, I urge you to go look at more of my archives (noooooooo). I could be embarrassed about it but I taught myself so much in these past 4 years and met so many cool people too. There is nothing embarrassing about showing up and doing the work no matter what the template might appear to look like.

I do this all for myself first, but I also do it for my friends and family who have unknowingly moved mountains to help me to get to this place. My friends in Bombay who bought me my Diana F+ that taught me so much about photography when I moved to the US. I had no idea what ISO was before that. My other friend Lisa M whom I met through the Lomography group in Seattle because of my camera, went on to introduce me to Rain City Rock Camp for Girls. It let me practice my photography in a real world sense, which gave me the confidence to keep trying. Mandy at camp was the first person to tell me I could take good photos. These are all people I thought were too cool for me to even talk to at various points of my life but instead, they ended up being pillars for me to find out more about this person I was becoming. This could not made possible by social media or a new plate or a puppy dog filter (though those are SO CUTE). Maybe facilitated in some basic capacity, but the choices were mine to make.

My hope is that I always have the kind of blog that makes me happy to be read by people whom I care about the most. I want that group to grow too but I also want us to never be strangers as it does. My blog is me. In my opinion you just need one thing to make your work the best and it’s already beating inside of you


I recently started a Tiny Letter newsletter the reason for which I have explained in my first one that came out last week. If you’d like to be a subscriber, click here, enter your email and get in queue for the shiny new welcome edition. You email will stay safe and all you’ll get from me is insider food blogger scoop, inspiration, valuable topics we need to debate more and top secret recipes. The best feature in my opinion is that you can hit reply to any of my newsletters and write to me directly if you have any ideas or feedback you’d like to share.

Eggplant koftas with a poblano sauce

Pic8Collage1Pic3

Koftas are one of the foods that has become part of Indian cuisine over years of invasions and assimilation during the reign of the Mughal empire in the 12th century. It is of Persian origin and you can eat similar versions of it all over West, Central and South Asia. It’s most commonly seen in Indian restaurants as part of a vegetarian dish called malai kofta (“malai” meaning cream) – which was my favourite thing to order when the first “Indian restaurant” opened in our neighbourhood in Goa. In a malai kofta, the koftas are usually made with potatoes, cashew nuts, raisins and spices and served in a creamy gravy. I switched it up by adding eggplant, almonds, chickpeas and spices and no gravy because my dream is to make everything snackable.

This recipe brings the best of late summer goodness together in one delicious meal. You will need to turn on your oven on for this one but not for longer than 30 minutes. I’m trying to say that it’s worth it. Those little flowers you see in the salad were part of an onion blossom I pulled apart. They are so Dr Seuss. The things you learn when you grow things…

Notes:

I usually make extra koftas so I can use them as snacks or to add to rice bowls, curries or salads. Same goes with the sauce or any sauce for that matter. This would be the perfect amount to last the whole week. You can do a fry party and cook them all on one day. Refrigerate them and eat them all within a week.

The poblano sauce can be made a day or 2 ahead of time and will stay good in the fridge for up to a week. You can make it with other mixes of peppers if you want to change the flavour of the sauce.

Ingredients

For the eggplant koftas

  • 1/2 kilo or 1 lb eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and then half along the breadth
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp almonds, hand-chopped into small pieces
  • 4 tbsp red onion, minced
  • 1 cup (or 12 tbsp) chickpea flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.

Brush the eggplant with olive oil and place them on the foil, skin side up. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the skin is slightly wrinkled and the flesh is soft. Let the eggplant cool and then scrape the flesh into a colander or strainer and let the excess water drain for 5 minutes. Toss it back and forth to speed up the process.

Add the drained eggplant (you should have a heaping cup) to a food processor. Toss in the ingredients upto the lemon juice in the list above. Mix on low for 15 seconds and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix again until the ingredients come together as a smooth paste.

Add the eggplant mixture to a large bowl and mix in the onions. Add about half the chickpea flour mixture and stir it in until no spots of flour are left. Repeat with the rest of the flour and place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the mixture firm up a bit. You can also skip this firming up part if you’d like to fry it directly.

Cover about 1/4 inch of a deep heavy-bottomed skillet with vegetable oil and place on medium heat. Let the oil heat up and then form the eggplant mixture into bite-size patties (about an inch in diameter)  using your fingers or 2 teaspoons. I scooped some of the mixture into a spoon and the passed it back and forth a couple of times until it was somewhat round. As you shape the mixture, gently drop the koftas in the hot oil. Fry them until they brown on all sides. Soak the excess oil on a paper towel and serve with the poblano sauce.

For the poblano sauce

  • 1 poblano
  • 1 small jalapeno
  • 2 tbsp red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup each of dill and cilantro
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • Salt, to taste

Set the oven to broil (about 530 degrees F) and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Place the poblano and jalapeno on the baking sheet and place in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Turn the peppers at 2 minute intervals to ensure that it gets charred on all sides. The peppers are ready when they are blistered and dark on most of the skin.

Carefully seal the peppers in the aluminium foil and let them sit for 10 minutes to steam. It doesn’t have to be perfectly sealed. Open the foil packet and peel the skin off the peppers. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds.

Place half* of the jalapeno and the whole poblano in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Process the ingredients until they become a creamy sauce. Scoop the sauce into a jar and refrigerate or serve immediately along with the koftas.

*Save the other half of the jalapeno for a salad or if you feel daring, add it to the sauce.

For the accompanying salad

Cherry tomatoes, peppery greens, fresh herbs (I used mint, dill and basil), slivers of red onion, lemon juice and olive oil all tossed together with a pinch of salt. Add as much or as little of all the ingredients. It’s not really a recipe. It’s merely food that goes well together.

Pic6Pic10Pic1

 

Standard

A very belated birthday

Right before I could share photos from my birthday trip to Shelton, WA, I got new that my uncle had passed away in Goa. As sad as it was, I felt silly writing about how wonderful a time I had walking around Matt’s second cousin’s bathtub garden in front of their home. She done a great job with it. It was the peak of spring and everything looked so new, so full of promise. I liked that.

We got similar sad news from Matt’s side of the family and considering the circumstances, it has been even more painful. I had one of my most life-affirming moments with his Aunt Agnes in the most ordinary of times. I don’t know how to describe what might seem like the most trivial thing. It wiped my anxiety slate clean and it keeps doing so when I need it the most. I’ll tell that story when the time comes. For now, here is a healing part of our world. I will miss her so.

Pic28Collage3Pic9Pic8Pic7Pic30Collage5Pic39Pic38Pic37Pic27Pic21Pic34Collage2Pic35Pic14Pic10Pic5Pic12Pic32Collage4Pic13Pic19IMG_9164

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Standard
Pic1

Stay

The coming week will mark the birthdays of two of my favourite grandparents, who made a huge impact on my life growing up and still do to this very day. They are no longer alive but I see a little bit of them in everything I do. I remember that joy for life I had and that they nurtured every time we visited them. They let us make-believe till lunch and then make-believe some more till it was time to wash away the dirt. That was true freedom. That’s what I will always carry with me.

I don’t think I grieved for their deaths when it was all still raw. I tried but I was too  young for my grandfather’s death and my grandma’s passing was very surreal. Like the type of thing that wasn’t supposed to happen to people you knew. Except it does. When I find myself sitting in the quiet spaces of this life I am sometimes overcome with nostalgia and yearning for that feeling of joy we got by mixing mud with water. I miss that careless abandon. It’s the same life we pieced together by digging into my grandma’s cupboards and trying on all her clothes and jewellery, deliberately making her open her trunks so we could take some home with us. She always let us.

I don’t know for certain how grief is supposed to feel but there never was any template to begin with. All I know is that I’m a different person because of them. They gave my sisters and I love when we didn’t even know we needed it. They also were the first to show me this fear of losing someone I loved. They weren’t perfect but they gave us the perfect mother. I wish they were here.

Smoky beets with marinated chickpeas

Pic7
Pic2Collage1Pic6

Notes:

  • The chickpeas in this recipe can be made a day ahead. Same with the beets. Just keep them separate and toss them together right before serving.
  • Most important note: Have fun. There is no other way.

Ingredients

Inspired by Bon Appetit 

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp pearl onions, sliced into thin rounds or diced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch (about 4) of beets, greens removed + 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp kosher salt + 1 tsp pepper
  • Half an orange
  • More basil and thyme, to serve
  • Feta (optional)

Toss the chickpeas, herbs, pepper flakes, garlic, onions, lemon juice and olive oil in a medium-sized bowl. Let in sit in the fridge.

Heat a charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Toss the beets with the olive oil, salt and pepper and place on the hot grill for 30 minutes. Cove the grill. Turn the beets every 10 minutes to char evenly on all sides. At the last 15 minutes of cooking, place the halved orange on the grill. The beets are ready when a pairing knife runs through them without resistance. The orange is ready when it’s charred and fragrant. 

Let the beets cool and then peel the skins off them using either your hands or the back of a pairing knife. Cut the beets into wedges or cubes depending on how big they are. Place them on a serving platter.

Toss the chickpeas into the mix and squeeze the charred orange juice over it all. Add more fresh herbs and top with feta, if using. If not, just sprinkle more salt, if required.

Pic5

Standard
Pic6

Summer tomato cucumber salad

I’ve been volunteering making photos for Rain City Rock Camp all week so I have little to say other than my heart is full. I tend to feel things like a blur while I’m at summer camp but once it’s over, I miss all the good feelings. Plus do you know any other camp that has a lunchtime band? We got to listen to Mommy Long Legs, Spinster, Naomi Wachira, Skates! and Charlie and the Rays while eating/grooving. Then there was the showcase on Saturday which will take me a while to recover from. In a good way. Those songs.

Here is a recipe I made on Sunday before camp. I guess it could be classified as a (not) recipe but it’s delicious so WHO CARES. Those are the best kinds. Here is a related recipe from last year, also simple and great for summer lunches.

Pic3Pic2Pic4Pic5

Notes

Amchur or dried mango powder is used as a souring agent in some types of North Indian cooking. I’ve heard of taste comparisons made to sumac but since I’ve never tried it, I don’t know how true this is. Feel free to substitute sumac and let me know. If you don’t have either, add lemon juice instead.

I made a double batch of the first dressing because I like to have it in the fridge for the week. It works well with a variety of meals.

I’ve suggested an easier dressing for this salad if you don’t have many ingredients at home.

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta

Mix all the ingredients except the feta in a medium-sized bowl. Chill in the fridge until ready to use. Top with feta once the dressing (see below) is mixed in.

For the dressing

Makes extra

  • 1/2 cup dill
  • 1/2 cup mint
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp amchur (raw mango powder)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add the herbs, garlic, red pepper flakes, amchur and salt to a food processor and process on low for 30 second until the herbs and garlic are torn down. Add the yogurt and olive oil and process until combined.

Top the salad with dressing a maximum of 3o minutes before serving. Serve cold with some crusty seed bread.

For an easy riff on the dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until ready to use.

Pic7Pic1

Standard
Pic9

Spicy salmon kebabs with a creamy cilantro yogurt sauce + fluffy roti

I came this close to asking you to vote for me in the big blog awards thing that sweeps America this time of the year. This close. I thought about when I was in Goa, on one of my walks. I psyched myself up and said I would do it. I said I would list the things that would make me an ideal candidate for “Best whatever”. Of course, I would not be the best. There is no such thing. But for the sake of getting past these inner demons that tell us we’re inadequate, I’d do it anyway.

Then people died. It was all “deeply regretted“. Black men were murdered. The police who swore to protect them were shot. Women were killed for owning their womanhood instead of shutting up about it. People are turned to dust and everyday corporate news media makes the stagnant decision of ignoring it. All of it is man-made (literally).

And I was considering asking you to vote for me so my blog could win an award. F that.

As much as I view food as a form of sustenance – a routine more appropriately – I can’t forget how much of a statement it makes each time people come together. It’s the first thing we think about when gathering in a space – Will there be food? Will I get hungry? It’s also the cause of much of my cultural appropriation (inner) rage and confusion (I’ll rant about this some other time). It highlights my privilege in this country  and the homeland too. I find it hard to separate what I eat with all of this heavy stuff. It’s not my reality. Because food has become such a huge part of how I see the world, I am often left wondering why I got so lucky in relation to what’s on my plate each time.

I have become a better person for it though. I can still find immense joy at the bottom of a bowl of rice and soy sauce (I’m living out all my years deprived of good soy sauce). A lot of what I make might seem fancy through the photos but trust me when I say it’s all drawn from a place where I hope to feel the most connected to you, to my family and to my being. If not through the food, then maybe the writing. If not through either then maybe you can tell me and we can talk about it. I want you to tell me if you think I feel like a fake. Heck I feel like it all the time (womanhood amirite). If you’re moved, say that too. I don’t want this space to be sterile. It’s not fun if we’re always comfortable.

I know I say a lot about what I want this blog to be in many different ways each week. I love it when you read and share not because it gets me more views. I don’t care about that and in a way, that’s my downfall. I won’t be as successful as the other food bloggers because I have a difficult time understanding how/why ads drive content. I just know I want to write. I want to sit down with all of you who has ever connected with me through here and eat with you. I want to do this so badly. I promise I’ll do better at figuring out how. That’s when you can give me an award. That’s when I won’t need it.

Pic7Collage1Pic1Pic3Pic4

Notes:

  • The marinade, yogurt sauce and roti dough can all be made a day ahead.
  • I doubled the quantity for the yogurt sauce in the recipe below. It’s so delicious that I figured you would like having extra for at least a week.
  • The marinade gets less spicy after sitting in the hot oil and then cooling down in the fridge. You only get a very light kick of heat once the fish is cooked. It mellowed out even more with the yogurt sauce. Dairy, remember? If you’re still skeptical, use a dried chilli that has less heat. I’ve linked the brand I used in the ingredients list.
  • I gave you a recipe for the roti but you can easily use this chapati recipe, store-bought pita or naan or serve over your salad/grain of choice.
  • The salmon can be cooked on a skillet indoors but make sure the pan is hot before the fish hits it. It needs to make a loud sizzling sound immediately as it hits the pan. You also won’t need skewers if you go this route

Ingredients

Serves 4

For the kebabs

  • 5 dried red chillies, seeds removed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp rock salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave or honey
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2.2 kg/1 lb salmon, skinned and cut into 1 inch cubes

Place a skillet on the stove and let it heat up on medium heat. Add the chillies, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to the skillet and dry roast for 3-5 minutes, tossing the spices as you go. Once the ingredients start to get fragrant, take them off the heat and let them cool slightly.

Move the ingredients to a mortar or a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Add salt to the mix. If using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic in the spice blend, add the apple cider vinegar and agave and mix well. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid.

If using a spice grinder, transfer the ground spices to a glass jar. Grate the garlic on a small holes of a grater. Add the cider vinegar and agave and mix well.

Measure out the vegetable oil in a small saucepan and heat till the oil starts to get a sheen on the surface. Pour the hot oil into the glass jar, stir and let it cool slightly. Cover the jar and let it sit the fridge overnight or for about 4 hours.

Spoon half of the spice marinade on to the fish and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Set out of the fridge 10 minutes before grilling and arrange the salmon on skewers.

Heat a grill on medium-high heat and brush with an oil soaked cloth or paper towel. Cook the salmon for 6 minutes on one side and about 4 minutes on the other side. If the salmon is a little difficult to pull away from the grill, it is not ready to flip.

Place the prepared salmon on a plate. and then serve hot with the herb garlic sauce and fresh veggies.

For the herb garlic sauce

  • 2 cups cilantro, loosely packed
  • 14 mint leaves
  • 2 large or 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (if you can’t find Greek yogurt use plain)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Pulse the the cilantro, mint, garlic and ginger in a food processor or high speed blender until it’s chopped and combined. Add the yogurt and process for 15 seconds until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

For the roti (optional step)

Recipe adapted from Food Like Amma Used to Make

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour + more to roll
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ghee + more to fry the roti
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup warm water

Scoop the cup of flour into a bowl. Remove 2 tbsp of the flour and put it back in the bag. Replace those 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp of cornstarch and add the salt. Sift the flour mixture back and forth into another bowl at least 5-6 times.

Add the ghee to the flour and mix in with your fingers. Add a 1/3 cup of warm water to the flour and bring the dough together. If you need more water, add a little at a time. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it’s too sticky, dust with a little more flour. Let the dough rest in a covered bowl on the counter for 5 minutes.

Dust a working surface with flour and divide the dough into 4 balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and then using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a flat, round circle of 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thickness.

Heat a tawa or skillet on the stove on medium-high heat and add ghee. Once the ghee is hot, add the rolled dough to the tawa or skillet and cook for 20-30 seconds on one side. The dough should puff up a bit and be brown in spots. Flip it over and then cook for 20 more seconds and then place it on a plate under a tea towel. Add more ghee on top if needed.

To assemble

  • Spinach, arugula or greens of choice
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • Medium red onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • Lime wedges, to squeeze over (optional)

Place the roti on a plate. Spread some yogurt sauce in the centre. Add some of the spinach, carrot and cucumber on top. Place the salmon kebabs and top with more sauce. Sprinkle some onions and top with lime.

Pic5Pic13Pic8

Standard
Pic10

Fruit salad with cardamom custard and lemon jelly

I feel it sometimes, deep, deep down in the pit of my stomach. I wake up from dreams like I was there through the night. Sometimes I feel the vividness pulling me away from the place where I can walk on the streets and feel the most me. Those are the mornings where it feels like something is missing even more than usual. It does not paralyse but my feet feel a little bit heavier, my goals further away. It is hard to explain that feeling of “other”. It starts right from the way the air feels on your skin and how the light reflects off of it. Over there I’m the same, over here I feel different. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

I wasn’t this person as a teenager. I always wanted to spread my wings as far as possible. I couldn’t wait to travel the world and  I taught imaginary classrooms with multi-national students in the bathroom. To me, Goa felt small. It felt petty (it still does at times) and I wanted the people to talk about something more than what someone told them a few hours earlier. I still feel that way when I go there but I also notice all this other beauty and inconvenience that I hate and yearn for at the same time. It  will never feel the same anywhere else I go.

I will never stop longing for home. The more I hear people talk about all the things that are wrong with it, the more I know I’m the only one who can make it right. I feel jealous of you all who have roots where they’re supposed to be. For me, even nailing a photograph to the wall feels more loaded than it should.

There is however, always a chance to be content when the moment presents itself. Today (or yesterday when I wrote this) is one such day. For all the home I miss, I have this one great chance to breathe and fight out life’s good and bad. You can have your heart beating in two places. I know this because I live it. Right now, this very second, it is one heart’s birthday (Happy birthday, facehead!). We have finally put this house together after 3 years of doing beer and breakfast and TV and arguing over paint colours. This is where we’ll sort all the shit out. For now, this is where I will be me.

Pic1Pic3Collage1Pic5Collage2

This is a riff on the fruit salad that was served at the end of all Goan lunch and dinner birthday parties at my house except replace berries with tropical fruit and apples. I loved it all but the papaya (I am over that aversion) so I decided to make a fruit salad of my own to welcome easy summer desserts. You could bake the custard but I let it be a stove-top-fridge thing. This would also work well with crumbly cake bits, which we did with whole slices of birthday cake at said parties. We like to mix all our food together.

Ingredients

For the custard

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and place a medium-size bowl and a fine mesh sieve in it.

Add the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and ground cardamom to a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Bring the milk to a scalding temperature (don’t let it boil) and take off the heat. This should take 5-10 minutes. Pour the milk mixture a little at a time into the egg mixture whisking constantly and quickly as you do so. Keep doing this until all the milk has been added to the eggs. The mixture should look frothy and and smooth.

Add the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan on medium heat and whisk constantly as it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This should take 5-8 minutes. You will know it’s ready when you coat the back of a spoon. If you run your finger through this coating it should form a clean line.

Pour the custard through the sieve in the ice bath and stir to let it cool. Chill completely in the refrigerator before serving.

For the lemon jelly cubes

  • 2 cups lemonade
  • 2 envelopes gelatin (4 1/2 tsp)

Pour 1/2 cup lemonade into a medium-sized bowl and empty 2 packets of gelatin in it. Stir until combined. Bring the 1 1/2 cups of lemonade to a boil and then pour into the gelatin mixture.

Mix well until no lumps remain. Pour into a 10×7 sheet pan and chill for 3 hours.

Cut into 1 inch cubes once the jelly sets.

Charred lemon slices

  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Coat the lemons with sugar.

Place a skillet on medium-high heat. Put the lemon slices on the skillet and cook until they blacken on both sides, for about 5 minutes. Cut into halves with a kitchen scissor and add on top of dessert.

To assemble

  • 1 pint of currants or any fresh seasonal berry, cherries or other fruit

Spoon some custard in a small bowl. Add lemon jelly cubes. Top with fresh fruit and charred lemon slices.

Pic7Pic6

Standard