HOT DOG AND/OR CUTLETS Ⓥ

Vegan hot dog and/or cutlet

Photo cred: ghee and maida

If you have been following my recipes, you must have seen that my take on food is best described (by moi) as quirky at best.

Here I am fusing my idea with a chef’s idea.

HOW I CAME UP WITH IT

I was looking for a hot dog recipe. I saw Chef Ranveer Brar’s channel, and decided to give a go to his version of hot dogs and the sauce. The sauce that I smear on the hot dogs was made by him. It was HOT!!! I didn’t like how hot it was. I had to tone it down, somehow. Nevertheless, it is delicious. I love chef Ranveer Brar, and when he shared this recipe, I knew it was special.

But I didn’t go with the filling recipe. I saw an opportunity to use creativity to suit my taste palate like balance out the sweetness of the filling with the spiciness of the sauce?!?

I took inspiration from the sweet element of the Indian-style chaat: sweet potato In my recipe, I use sweet potato as the main ingredient for my hot dog filling.

However, I am so delighted to share his version of chutney with ya’ll. This recipe is incomplete without the sauce. So, please do look at his recipe. To know more about chef Ranveer Brar, read here.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE FILLING

1 CUPSWEET POTATO
1/4 CUPDEFROSTED CORN KERNELS
1/4 CUPDEFROSTED PEAS
1/4 CUPCHOPPED CAPSICUM
2-3 TSPSALT
3-4 TBSPOLIVE OIL

Please find the recipe of the sauce in the video. Chef has explained it in much detail. If you want the steps written down, please scroll down to the caption.

STEPS:

Step One: Steaming the vegetables

In a pot, boil hot water and immerse sweet potato, corn and peas for 25 – 30 minutes, until the vegetables turn soft. Remove from heat. Separate the skin from the sweet potato and start grating it.

Step Two: Mashing the vegetables

In a blender, transfer the steamed corn and peas. Once done, the mixture should be lumpy, not totally coarse.

Step Three: Sautéing the vegetables on the pan

Heat oil in a pan on medium flame. Throw in the capsicum and let it roast for a few seconds. Then, add the grated sweet potato and the mash. Let it all cook for 10 – 12 minutes, till it turns slightly brown.

Next, mix the sauce with the mash. Recipe on the left.

Step Four: Assembling the hot dogs/cutlets

Pat some oil at the centre of your palm and rub your hands. Take a dollop of the filling and roll it into a ball, then give it an elongated shape by rolling it on a chopping board. Heat oil in a pan and sauté the hot dogs/cutlets.

HOW COOKING AT HOME GOT ME EXCITED ABOUT NEW FLAVOURS

Green banana stir fry // tomato and mozzarella

Photo credit: ghee and maida

My mental health could not be any better than it is now. Ever since we have been forced to stay locked indoors, I have been seduced by the art of eating and cooking.

I have a tendency to eat out more, though I have been living with my parents for the past three years. I tried to accustom myself to Indian food which my mother makes. But there was a deep-seated need to nourish my body in other ways. I love food, of course, but I hated eating anything that my mom cooked.

I had a large appetite for croissants, pizzas, ice-creams and all other junk items because I could never convince my mind to stop getting addicted to bad eating habits. I put on a lot of weight of course. The last three years have been really stressful for me, as I didn’t know where to head after deciding not to pursue a career in the undergraduate degree I have. So, that led to a lot more stress-eating.

But the lockdown was a solid new opportunity to start my healing journey by making diet changes. I incorporated a lot more time to cook into my everyday schedule. From chickpea tofu to cashew cheese, sourdough to cardamom cakes, curries to kebabs, I tried to learn it all. To motivate myself to continue what I had willingly chosen to do, I shared pictures of my “kitchen experiments” on this blog – and it began to evolve. So did I!

Now I must say, during this time, I realised that my relationship to food is far more complex than I’d like to believe. I love it, but so far I have been abusing it. The need of forcing myself to change who I am has put me in this confusing state where I abuse everything I care about: I didn’t like my body so I fasted for years till I came home and hogged on junk. I didn’t like school so I made fake friends to feel happy. I didn’t like the degree I picked so I didn’t even try to let go of the depression it put me in. But I am officially done with that part of life. Everything could have been within my control, if I hadn’t been “out of control”. It was me who needed to change.

I like food just like anybody else, and I see how much I genuinely enjoy being around it but I must admit that I didn’t know how to nurture my love of it in deep and meaningful ways, So I must start doing it now. Weeding out the bad plants is very important for new flowers to grow.

I have made a pact with myself: that I’ll continue exploring this relationship with food in a healthy way, and go wherever it takes me. I know that I am very connected to it, though I did not realise it for 25 years. After giving it the attention it deserves, food has brought me peace of mind. Maybe there is more in store.

I feel the change that is coming into my life. I also feel the bad times fading away. I can never say that joy will be permanent, and there is always a lingering fear that there might be something out there that will hurt me. But I have to honour the pact and let love enter my heart again. So what if I wasn’t happy with my work earlier. I am excited to try the new flavours of life.

Never have I been more satisfied with where I am in my life. After much thought, it recently dawned upon me to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry. I just get excited by the realisation that that time spent in the kitchen was all for a reason that the universe disclosed to me now. Come January, I may be starting my journey into culinary school.

Food has not only taught me to be open to new experiments, it has given me a chance to start my life again. If we have the courage to go after what we love to do, the sky is the limit. I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that I may become a chef. I must be living a dream.

It’s true what they say: everything happens for a reason. When one door closes, another one opens!

WHITE SAUCE WITH DRY FENUGREEK LEAVES

Kasuri methi, also called dry fenugreek leaves, is one of my favourite ingredients. Simply methi, on the other hand, is used extensively in parathas when it is in season. In India, methi parathas are the order of the day every winter. When I started adding kasuri methi to cashew cheese, I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to add it in white sauce. After all, they look the same. However, I had no idea that it was already a thing here. So, I guess I am not the only person who thinks upside down and enjoys it. I think you’ll love this recipe!

Active Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 30 Minutes

Yield: Makes 1 Serving

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 CUPALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
2 TBSPBUTTER
1 TBSPDRY FENUGREEK LEAVES
1 TSPSALT
1 TSPPEPPER
1 TBSPCHOPPED GINGER
1 TSPCHOPPED GREEN CHILLI
1 CUPMILK

Step One: Making the White Sauce

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan. Once that melts, add all-purpose flour and stir vigorously with a whisk or spatula to avoid the lumps. Once the butter and flour have merged, slowly start adding milk and continue to whisk/stir. If you see lumps, add water which is technically incorrect, some might say, but prevents the sauce from drying out. Remove once the sauce has come to a boil.

**Milk should be at room temperature

Step Two: Adding Fenugreek

In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter on medium flame. Put ginger, green chilli and dry fenugreek leaves. Stir, till the fenugreek leaves and ginger turn brown. Finally, add white sauce and the pasta of your choice. Season with salt and pepper.

Suggested Pairing:

I have added bell peppers to my sauce, but you can go with mushroom or onion too.

by Aishwarya Khanna

Aishwarya Khanna covers food on her website: ghee and maida. She is currently pursuing culinary arts.

FUJIYA, NEW DELHI

Malcha Marg lies within the posh area of South Delhi, known as Chanakyapuri which is the affluent neighbourhood developed to accommodate official residences of politicians and civil servants of the Government of India. Malcha Marg is the one-stop, little feast corner for them and visitors alike. With an array of excellent choices in a row, here is an avenue that has managed to stay relevant at its own spot for decades. 

But when I went around midday, it was as quiet as a church. Offices are closed this year. 

Malcha Marg is full of delicious corners, and further in, one all-star ‘restro’ is Fujiya, its name splattered in red ink.

Fujiya is a casual dining restaurant, but inspite of the small space and the old-school feeling, it grows on you. A small air-conditioned room that cannot fit more than forty to fifty people, Fujiya is a restaurant most loved by older folks who now reminisce about their youthful days of the 90’s spent here. And so there was a slight murmur, mostly coming from the table behind us where a group of friends, roughly around 35 – 40, had gathered.

Once you are seated and poured water, the next thing that you shall surely notice are the beautiful Chinese (or Japanese?) paintings on the walls as well as the lamps that are suspended above your head. The yellowish-red colour looks quite attractive. I think it would be a great idea to come here around evening, and perhaps, scintillating conversations between old friends will echo through the air. 

The food is reasonably priced. Items that you should order are vegetable spring rolls, fried wontons soup, honey chilli potato and chopsuey. I did not try the non-vegetarian menu but I have heard it’s epically delicious. Vegetarian, hang on, the cheesy rolls are in fact filled with cottage cheese which was quite funny and I laughed a lot. 

Don’t skip dessert. Pair it with a fruity cocktail like punch. Wonderful finish.

Need more tips?

Tip: If you are driving through the parks and open spaces in close proximity, explore Panchsheel Marg, Shanti Path and Chandragupta Marg.

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HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHEESY TOASTIE?

This is a story of gouda, mustard, sourdough, cucumber and green apple. How would they all taste together? One answer – delicious.

All you have to do is build layer upon layer of cheese on the toast slice and then flip it upside down on the baking tray that has been greased with olive oil. We do this because when you turn the toastie around in a few minutes, unlike a toaster, the oven really gives you a nice finish.

Smear some green apple chutney and mustard to create a sticky base on the bottom before adding the cheese first.

I personally hate to see the cheese morph into an ugly, brown colour if I don’t turn it around quicker. But then, today I realised that it only turns brown when it sticks to the tray and falls off the toasties. So to avoid this faux pas, all you have to do is smear some scrumptious chutneys or sauces first with special attention to pairings – such as green apple and mustard – oh em gee.

Next, when you layer the cheese, the sticky jams and condiments will hold the bits together. Bake for 3-4 minutes with its face down, and voila! The sole reason why I decided to top it off with some chilled cucumber is that I live in a part of the world that is getting hotter by the minute, and cucumber makes me happy – even to look at.

If you have tried this bizarre idea, do let me know in the comments section below. That’s it! Bon Appetit!

DIGHENT BOULANGERIE: A REVIEW

Photo credit: ghee and maida

DiGhent Boulangerie is what I’d call a wonderful accident that shook Gurugram city when it opened its doors for the citizens.

That’s the effect of DiGhent. It may leave you breathless and set the aura bar really high; go and catch the vibe.

Di Ghent is food, environment and culture united by one boundary-pushing aim: to turn your muddy days into something a lot more rejuvenating. If you are looking for some downtime this week, look no further than cross point mall, second floor.

Bohemian sensibilities are changing the food industry today. People want to make dining areas look a lot more attractive and interesting by any available means which strike them as art – such as chic plants and retro-inspired decor featuring paintings of yellow cabs, and snapshots of New York City, that are a doe-eyed attempt to channel the same eclectic city rush of Gurugram.

Although those places may not be very respectable yet as they are new to the market and very amateurish in a critics’ eyes, the clarity set in the vision for DiGhent saves it from the scepticism and judgment that ‘new-agey places’ are often associated with. The camaraderie that the team aspires to build with their guests makes this place a popular choice among all age groups. As the owner Mr. Bal said, ‘we aspire to grow DiGhent in a very innovative manner.’

Spend some lovely free time that could be satiated in a unique environment that scintillates and dazzles the onlookers as they peep through the glass.

Click on the location below to find the address!

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ALOO PARATHA

Active Time: 30 Minutes

Full Time: 1 Hour

Yield: Makes 3-4 Servings

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH:

1 TBSPOIL
2 CUPSWHEAT FLOUR
1 CUPWATER

INGREDIENTS FOR THE STUFFING:

3MASHED POTATOES
1/4 TSPRED CHILLI POWDER
1 TSPCHOPPED GARLIC
2CHOPPED CHILLIS
1 TSPCORIANDER POWDER
2 TBSPCHOPPED CORIANDER
1/2 TSPSALT
1/4 TSPMANGO POWDER

STEPS:

Step One: Making the dough

Mix the oil and wheat flour. Start adding water to knead soft dough. Cover the dough for 15 – 20 minutes.

Step Two: Making the potato stuffing.

Mix the spices and mashed potatoes in a small bowl.

Step Three: Rolling the paratha

When the dough has set, scoop a small amount and roll it into a ball. Now shape it into a circle by rolling it out. To make sure that the edges are perfectly round, use a roller. Add the filling in the centre and wrap the paratha from the left, right, top and bottom.

When you get is a pocket-shape. So flip it around. Continue to use the roller to flatten it out – preferably in a round shape.

Step Four: Cooking the paratha.

Heat oil in a pan on medium flame. Plop the paratha on the pan and cook for a minute on each side.

Suggested Pairing

Add a cube of butter on the paratha. Serve with yoghurt on the side.

by Aishwarya Khanna

This recipe first appeared on Ghee and Maida.

SALTY RICH, MORE BITE…

STORY: 

Perhaps my father was one of them…and to him, I was a bit too salty-tongued. 

There is a joke in my family. My father, who is the Punjabi wordsmith, had once told me that people can be divided into taste groups when they speak. For instance, my words are very sharp, and thus one must take everything I say with a pinch of salt. But if I become too salty for people’s taste, I’d come across as a pessimist. 

Perhaps my father was one of them; only one could recognise the other and to him, I was a bit too salty-tongued, so much so that it sounded coarse. Strangely, while his tone is characterised as being too salty for people’s taste by a few of those who don’t know how to discern the humour, most people believe that his Punjabi is dappled with more love than anybody else’s refined, luxurious enunciation and makes way into your heart. I guess there are very few salty-tongued people left who can mix humour and wit.  

Tragically, I have gotten in trouble a number of times for speaking harshly, though I don’t mean any harm. As long as I can remember, my dad’s only worry has been that this issue with my tone may hamper growth in my professional life. I am a bit harsh with words when I speak. It is a personal trait. So I pondered over his opinion of me and concluded that amends can be made: when I change my tone, I think it should be flavoursome in a non-sweet way but it doesn’t have to be salty. It should be savoury.

Since I have started to turn away from salty language to become more savoury-tongued, I have developed a strange obsession with salty food. So it turns out that my father’s words reveal much more than I cared to admit: it tells me something about the depth of nature of saltiness: a salty item could also be savoury, but can savoury ever be the same as salty?

In an effort to become savoury-tongued, it was revealed to me that I am suppressing certain parts of me.

On an ordinary day, I would refrain from going to such extreme lengths to embrace a savouriness, but this was a day I wanted to evolve and so I’d made a decision.

Think of it this way: will a ham and cheese crepe ever have the same depth as a salted caramel or rich layers of salted chocolate? Will I ever like it that way?

Currently a food and travel writer, Aishwarya Khanna is also a graduate from The University of Edinburgh.

TWO-LENTIL BURGER Ⓥ

Active Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 1 Day

Yield: Makes 5

INGREDIENTS:

1 CUPCOOKED KIDNEY BEANS
1 CUPCOOKED GREEN MOONG DAL
1 ONION
1/4 CUPBREADCRUMBS
1 TSPCHOPPED GARLIC
1 CHOPPED GREEN CHILLI
1 BOILED POTATO
1 TBSPNANDO’S PERI-PERI SAUCE
A PINCHOREGANO
A PINCHPARSLEY

STEPS:

Step One: Drying the beans and dal

Heat oil in a pan on medium-flame. Once it begins to sizzle, add onion, garlic, chilli, cooked beans and dal. Using a spatula, mash the mixture so it leaves water. Wait for the liquid to evaporate. This should take 10-12 minutes. Lump the dal and beans together. Remove from pan and let it cool at room temperature.

Step Two: Making the patties

Once it cools down, add oregano, parsley and peri-peri sauce in the mix. Stir. Scoop the mixture with your fingers, and make balls. Flatten them with your palm.

**Refrigerate for 12-14 hours

Step Three: Sautéing in a pan

Take out the patties from the fridge. Coat them in a layer of breadcrumbs on both sides.

Heat oil in a pan on medium-flame. Put in patties one by one for a golden-crisp colour. Do not over-crowd. Add more oil, if needed.

by Aishwarya Khanna

Aishwarya Khanna covers food, films and travel on her website: ghee and maida. Please see this section to know more about her.

DELHI-NCR MANCHURIAN Ⓥ

I equate Indo-Chinese food with being an eclectic mash-up of Indian flavours and Chinese cooking style.

This manchurian recipe modifies tangra manchurian that is a famous dish in the Indian food scene. The cooking style has been tweaked slightly and spring onion, egg and cabbage eliminated completely though if you are more conscious about satisfying nutrition needs, throw them in. What I wanted to gain out of this cooking experiment was to make something as uncomplicated as possible, and manchurian was the perfect dish because I am slightly insecure about the idea of making manchurian. It’s too blurry in textbook. So I tried to give it a North-Indian touch that usually makes a whole lot of use of raw tomato and onion in food. The end result is that you can never go wrong with tomato and onion, the cornflour slurry adds thickness in the bubbling gravy and soya adds a higher percentage of protein. None of the other fuss about grating vegetables, making manchurian balls, frying and so on. So it is your call. I have also selectively made use of spice powders to elevate the taste palate.

This recipe hits right on the sweet spot.

Active Time: 50 Minutes

Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Yield: Makes 2-3 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 BOXBOILED NUTRELA SOYA CHUNKS
1 CHOPPED ONION
3 CLOVESCHOPPED GARLIC
1 INCHCHOPPED GINGER
1 GREEN CHILLI
1DICED TOMATO
1/2 TSPSUGAR
6 TSPCORNFLOUR STARCH
1 TBSPGREEN CHILLI SAUCE
1/2 TBSPVINEGAR
2 1/2 TBSPSOY SAUCE
1 CUP VEGETABLE BROTH
1/2 CUPCORIANDER
2 TBSP MUSTARD OIL
1 TBSPTOMATO KETCHUP
1 TSPCORIANDER POWDER
1 TSPCHILLI POWDER
SALT TO TASTE

STEPS:

Step One: Sauté soya chunks in a pan

Marinate soya chunks in 4 teaspoons of cornflour and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce.

Heat oil in a pan on medium-flame. Throw in the soya chunks with green chilli sauce. Mix for a few minutes stirring continuously, till the oil is used up.

Remove.

Step Two: Sauté your favourite vegetables.

In the same pan, pour oil again. Add ginger, garlic, chilli, onion and tomato on high-flame. Drizzle half a teaspoon soy sauce, another half of vinegar and all the sugar in it. Stir.

Step Three: Make gravy

Start adding the vegetable broth in small intervals to the pan, along with the remaining teaspoons of cornflour. However do maintain a low ratio of water to vegetables. You may also add tomato ketchup, coriander and spice powders at this point. When the gravy comes to a boil, add the soya chunks. Mix everything till the chunks are coated in gravy properly. Add salt to taste.

Tip: For more gravy, add more water but it is advised not to make a pool of water around the vegetables.

Suggested Pairing

Serve with multigrain noodles, or fried rice.

by Aishwarya Khanna

Aishwarya Khanna covers food, films and travel on her website: ghee and maida. Please see this section to know more about her.