Brinjal Pickle: Marking Achaar Din for Indian Food Observance Day


 

Pickling has several  connotations in many parts of the world. Very simply put it means preserving food in brine or a vinegar immersion. We find pickled foods almost everywhere, right from cucumbers, gherkins, kimchi, carrots to even meats and seafood. Now pickles can be quite diverse and can say a lot of one’s culture. For instance in most european countries picking could mean preserving the vegetables in a simple brine solution and hence tend these to be more acidic in flavours. Where as here in the Indian sub continent the process of pickling lends a complexity of flavours quite tart and mingled with sweet and spicy notes.

Pickling is an age old tradition in India, albeit a dying one due to easy availability of ready made pickles off the market shelves.I have very fond memories of my grandmother and my aunts looking forward to the summer months when Mangoes are plenty. The green mangoes especially along with a host of spices, sugar and oil makes up a delicious pickle which serves up as an accompaniment with our meals. There are various varieties of pickle here including Lime, green chillies,mixed vegetables and even meats and sea food.

Well recently we celebrated Achaar Day in India. This translates into Pickle day as a part of Indian Food observance Day here in Mumbai.This is a wonderful initiative by the lovely blogger pal Rushina. She messaged me to come and join her for her AchaarDin potluck last weekend. Unfortunately due to a prior commitment I was  unable to attend this event, However I promised her a Achaar recipe that evokes childhood memories for me and my family.

My Grand mom,Mom and aunts would often make this Brinjal pickle which we would relish as kids.With Anglo- Indian blood from my maternal genes this could well be coined under lost Anglo Indian recipes…This pickle takes me back to my maternal grandmothers kitchen where often the aroma’s of this pickle wafted through the house. I have tweaked it a bit by giving it my own touch. It’s just as good (so I think) Will have to send some across to my mom and my sister  to sample some.I’m nursing some allergies at the moment and all I can do is stare at this wonderful and easy pickle for the moment.
But I would love for you to try this recipe out. This can be eaten hot or cold and stays well for 3-4 when refrigerated.

Brinjal Pickle:

Ingredients:
1/2 kg small brinjals
3-4 pods chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
5-6 curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
5 tablespoons groundnut Oil
3 tablespoons White vinegar
2 tablespoons powdered jaggery (gur) or sugar

Method:

Wash the brinjals and cut into quarters
Add a little oil and fry the brinjals till semi cooked.
Remove them and keep aside
In the same pan add the balance oil and temper with mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
Add the chopped garlic and ginger garlic paste and fry for a bit.
Next add in all the powdered spices. and fry.
Add the fried brinjals and cook till almost done
Add in the vinegar and jaggery powder.
Cool and store in an air tight container.
Must consume within 2-3 days

Travel Diaries:Bangkok Revisited & A Thai Recipe Too

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return…

Leonardo da Vinci

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Our vacations most often are pre planned with a lot of thought into the destination,food,sight-seeing etc.However, I love it when a travel plan happens just out of the blue,spontaneously,sort of an impromptu one so to speak.Well the dear husband had work related travels to Singapore and suggested that my son and I come along and we could club it with a short trip to Bangkok too he said.

It’s always fun travelling to the Far East,for one the travel time is fairly short, and of course the food,night life and shopping,admittedly make it an alluring proposition,albeit revisited.We have travelled to  both cities a couple of times, Bangkok several years ago.The city has changed and modernised is what I heard from friends who travelled there recently.So yes of course, I jumped at the idea of a quick family vacay. Our time in Singapore was short and I  spent it  mostly catching up with some friends.  Of course the highlight was being able to watch the Broadway production of Les Miserables,which was a spectacular performance and a houseful one that too.

Our flight to Bangkok was a short one.My husbands colleagues recommended  staying around  the Ploenchit – Sukhumvit area as it is  quite accessible to shopping malls and easy to get around to various sight-seeing spots around the city. So we booked ourselves into the Novotel hotel.The location turned out to be just perfect as it had a Metro right outside and a short walk to most of the malls and areas of interest.

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50 Great Curries of India: Cook Book Review and A Recipe

Madras Style Lamb Curry: Recipe adapted from 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi

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Camellia Panjabi, cook book author of 50 Great Curries of India needs little introduction and is most certainly without a doubt one of my favourite Indian cookbooks.Fondly also know as the “Queen of Indian Cuisine”,her book is a delightful revelation of some traditional and authentic Indian recipes from various regions of India.

Now I had acquired her book probably a couple of decades ago,being a newly wed and on the look out for good Indian curry recipes,all to please the dear husband then. Winning his heart through his stomach was a huge priority then as much it is now,as we both are passionate about our food and specifically a good curry.Having lived internationally for many years,looking for specific  ingredients and getting the base for the curry right may have required a bit of scouting for ingredients.All though using substitutes have always worked well for most recipes.We have recently relocated to Mumbai and have no dearth of spices,fresh meats and vegetables and it’s something I look forward buying.

I refer to this book often and would perhaps christen it my “Curry Bible”, if I had to.The book starts of with the philosophy of

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Vallonne Vineyards: There’s Always Time For A Glass of Wine

 

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I’ve been contemplating a blog post on some quick getaway’s from Mumbai as Jd and I are quite the “Let’s just drive off for the weekend sort of folks”.  While I’m still in the process of  collating  the information and editing images,(as I’d like to add on a couple of good weekend destinations),I thought I may as well go ahead with the Vineyard tour that we explored recently.We decided to visit the Vallonne Vineyards on this trip.Nestled amongst the gorgeous Sahyadri slopes of Maharashtra,Vallonne Vineyard’s is a  premium boutique winery and  a great place to drive off to and unwind.The drive  is approximately 160 kms by road from Mumbai and just south of Nasik,the Wine capital of India.

Yes indeed, Nasik is a premium wine growing region playing host to some well branded wineries.Indian wines have certainly evolved in the past decade or so and this region can quite easily be coined as India’s Napa Valley.

Vallonne is definitely one to keep an eye on.This premium boutique winery aims at  bringing the “French Chateau” experience to India. Our main agenda was of course Vino sampling.We started off with some white’s.The Chenin blanc was refreshing and quite light bodied. The Sauvignon blanc also crisp and clean. Both the red wines, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were full-bodied and well oaked.

Ideal for a weekend,we decided to spend a night at this wine resort a couple of months ago. Continue reading

Thai Red Curry with Shrimp: 30 Minute Meal

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My blog seems to be forming a pattern ,or so I think.

I tend to write-up a post that takes you on a food journey of sorts,perhaps a culinary trail,a visit to an exotic land coupled with a food demo and a recipe.These posts are then followed by a tried and tested recipe that I  have experimented with in my kitchen.Well I quite like this format as it gives the reader a variety and my aim of course is to take you down some parts unknown with a guide to some unique culinary attractions.

Now there is a section that I had been meaning to start off for sometime now and well here it is.I want to add-on some fuss free,easy to cook up,ready in 30 minute meals that have less prep time and aim at making weeknight less stressful for all of us.So here we go with the first of the recipes.This is my to go Curry in a hurry for times where the family is craving a good quick fix Asian delight.It is a meal by itself as I serve this up with some sticky Jasmine rice and if time permits a quick raw papaya salad to go along with it.

I’ve chosen to use a ready Red Thai Curry paste for this recipe.There are various brands available,all though I do make up a mean curry paste from scratch,which stays well once refrigerated. This curry has an assortment of fresh vegetables and do feel free to add some of your own choice.The baby aubergines are optional,all though they do add a great texture and bite to this Thai curry.The use of fresh Thai basil is quite important here as it highlights the flavour very well.Another key ingredient that balance’s out this dish really well is the Thai Fish sauce.Take care to measure the sauce out before adding it into the curry as it is quite strong. Last but not the least is a squeeze of lemon juice that adds some zing to the curry.You may even use chicken for this recipe. Continue reading