Salads and More

I have been looking at doing a Salad roundup on my blog for ever so long.Well here it is! These are an assortment of my absolute favourite ones. With ingredients like Beets,Olives,Cheese,Chicken,Corn and an assortment of Shredded Cabbage and yes Minced Chicken too,these recipes are sure to complement any dinner table. They  are an absolute delight served as  main course salads,that work great on  week-nights with grilled meats or fish or perhaps  just as is with some soup.Our family for one enjoy’s a good hearty salad with every meal.

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Beetroot Risotto: A humble attempt at my Restaurant Favourite

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My nephew celebrated his 21st Birthday at Cafe Zoe,in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago.The entire family was invited to a sit down lunch.Cafe Zoe is a cosy resto downtown and serves up a great European fare.It’s amongst my favorite places for lunch,more so as they make an absolutely beautiful Beetroot Risotto.My sister who hosted the lunch was keen that the menu be planned up ahead so as to avoid any confusion, as we were a large group.Grilled Fish in almond butter and Capers,Beef Tenderloin,Roasted chicken with pink peppercorns and Beet Risotto were our choice of mains.I was ever so happy see the Risotto feature on the menu and settled for just that.

So well, let’s say I’ve had  Risotto making on my mind since the lunch and have been reading some great blog posts and recipes too.I had promised the dear son that I would make some for his lunch this afternoon.Now I do  make a fairly decent one with Mushrooms and quite happy the way it turns out.I was just looking at a variation,so decided on a twist on the classic recipe by using some Beets.

I must say I was quite happy with the outcome.A humble attempt to replicate the one I normally indulge in at Cafe Zoe,none the less a delicious one.I’ve chosen to boil the beets and just puree them,all though you may even roast them and roughly grate them if you wish.I somehow felt that the route to a good Risotto was cumbersome and trying.How wrong have I been!The key really is just a little patience.It’s very important to toast the rice in the butter when you start off so that each grain gets warmed up and only then one could go ahead with glazing it with some wine.I’ve actually used some red wine in this recipe as I thought it would go well with the beets.

This is really a simple yet impressive meal and the beetroots lend a gorgeous colour and a hint of sweetness to the Risotto.The Parmesan shaving and drizzle add a hint of style making it quite eye-catching and an elegant presentation.This recipe is for keeps and I can’t wait to try it out again.

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Ingredients:

  • 320 grams Gallo Arborio rice
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 2-3 pods garlic (minced)
  • 2 small beetroot (boiled and pureed)
  • 40 grams butter
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • Freshly grated Parmesan shavings
  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions till translucent.
  2. Then add in the minced garlic  and sauté further.
  3. Add the rice and let sauté till rice is transparent.
  4. Add in the wine and stir till it evaporates.
  5. Now keep adding spoonfuls of the stock and let it simmer on a slow flame.
  6. Do keep adding more stock as the stock is absorbed by the rice.
  7. When you have used about 2/3 rd the amount of stock,you may start adding the beetroot puree a little at a time.
  8. Continue adding the stock and bits of puree till  the rice is cooked al dente and is creamy in texture( approx. 20-25 minutes).Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the parmesan shaving and season with some salt if necessary.
  10. Drizzle with Avocado Oil.
  11. Garnish with Parmesan Shavings.
  12. Serve hot.

Tangy Onion Chutney & A Lazy Sunday Morning

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Yes and that’s how most Sunday afternoon’s land up being at our home.Lazy and with no  great plans for at least the earlier half of the day.Most often I declare that the Kitchen’s Closed .I  say this with every reason as,between getting a lot of meals together,cooking for my classes and all the recipe development and experiments that go on  through the week,I’m ready to have someone else do the cooking for me.

Well this past Sunday was an exception. We were out most of the previous days at various lunches & dinners and wanted the comfort of a simple home cooked meal. We all crave that especially as it a mix of nostalgia of one’s mum’s cooking,perhaps a childhood favourite or just something easy and hearty that evokes a sentiment of feeling totally comfortable at home.

Both the dear husband and son are quite fond of a South Indian fare.Now I did have some Ragi (finger Millet) dosa batter that was made up a day earlier.Well all I really needed was a filling and a dip to go along with it.I choose to go with an absolutely  easy and tangy Onion Chutney and a quick and easy Potato as the accompaniments with the Dosa.

Oh well ,I did land up in my kitchen on a Sunday and it didn’t turn out as Lazy as I expected it to be.All the same very worth  it as our lunch turned out be a delicious and a very satisfying one.The Not so Lazy Sunday ended on a perfect note with a discovery of a new recipe for my repertoire.

Do you cook on Sunday? If yes do share your Sunday special recipes with me. I’d love to hear from you.

Till then…Happy Cooking Always.

 

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Tangy Onion Chutney:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium Onions (chopped or sliced)
  • 2-3 dried Red Chillies
  • 1 small piece tamarind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon roasted Cumin powder
  • 7-8 curry leaves (lightly roasted)

For the Tempering:

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Urad Dal
  • Dash of Amchur powder
  • 5-6 Curry leaves

Directions:

  1. Finely grind the Onions,red chilies tamarind,cumin powder and curry leaves into a fine paste.
  2. Heat some Oil and temper with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
  3. Now add the ground paste and fry well for about 8-10 minutes or till the chutney does not seem raw.
  4. Add in a dash of amchur powder

Mirchi and Mime: Good Food served Quietly

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Now once in  awhile comes along a great and heart warming concept that stirs the soul and you think “Hey it’s a wonderful World”.Most readers of my blog are fairly used to my regular recipe posts and the odd product review along with a some  travel and culinary write ups. I must admit I’m not much of a restaurant reviewer,until my dining experience at Mirchi & Mime located in Powai Mumbai,last evening.This place certainly deserves a mention.

Mirchi & Mime also know as M&M is a new fine dining and modern concept restaurant ,recently opened its doors in the neighborhood of Powai. This place has every ounce of success written on it. Kudos to the owners Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah  for taking a giant step in employing an entire team of hearing and speech impaired individuals as their wait staff. A great initiative indeed in creating employment to the differently abled. The restaurant has a lively, warm and comfortable bistro like ambience, with a slight French appeal to the interiors. The open kitchen plan boasts of a variety of Tawa,Tandoori and Sigri styles of cooking.The staff is profusely cheerful, attentive and enthusiastic. They have been hand-picked from the Rochiram T Thadani Institute for the handicapped and trained for the hospitality industry.

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We were seated by our host and handed over the menu card, which very clearly and simply indicates the use of various sign language and gestures to enable the guest to communicate with the staff. Further more there are various sketches on the menu against each dish to ease the process of ordering. This place is abuzz at 9pm on a Thursday night with a constant turn around of tables. These guys certainly have a pulse on what ticks on the Menu. I would say the magic mantra for this place is the Co owner Prashant’s impressive 20 year hospitality background as General Manager at Chutney Mary’s and Amaya and various other top positions with hotels in India coupled with the expertise of Senior Sous Chef Sameer Bhalekar who has trained and worked under the likes of Ferran Adria’s Tickets and Chef Vineet Bhatia’s Rasoi in the UK.

The menu is simple and not very exhaustive, yet captures the essence of Fine Indian Cuisine. Perhaps not entirely progressive Indian, but veering  towards Modern Indian, with a twist.

Our Meal was recommended by the owner Prashant (who happened to be a batch mate of my friend Neil George from catering days) was as follows:

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For a drink I settled for a refreshing Cucumber and Green Apple Vodka Martini which was brilliant.
 Appetizers:
• White pepper Chicken: Succulent and juicy boneless chicken marinated in the best and finest of Tellicherry pepper. Mild and delicious flavors.
• Chicken Lollipop: A riot of flavors in here. Not for the faint hearted as a tad bit spicy. Smoky and bbq and hot and tangy flavors. Marinated with Bhot Jholokia.
• Duck Seekh Kebab: Combinations of minced duck meat with finely diced peppers, mildly spiced and a lovely refreshing burst of flavors lent by the orange rind garnish.
Tandoori Quail: Delicious and tender as ever. Delicate smoky flavors.

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2. Main Course:
Madras Mutton Curry and Naan: Really tender and melt in the mouth mutton cooked with madras curry.
• Thalappakatti Mutton Biryani: Brilliant south Indian medley of flavors. Interesting use of curry leaves and mustard seeds. More like a lightly hand tossed biryani. Delicate and mild flavors.

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3. Dessert
Crème Brulee: This hit the right sweet spot with creamy and light texture custard. Had a fabulous topping of coconut (filling used for traditional Modaks)
Sitaphal Pannacotta: A Sublime flavor of sitaphal infused with cream makes this a light dessert. Best part was that it was sugar free.
• Desi Cheesecake: With a Nankhatai biscuit base. Interesting however a bit dense for my liking.

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I had an excellent dining experience at Mirchi & Mime. Zomato rates this restaurant at 4.9 and I couldn’t agree more. A must visit.A double thumbs up for Mirchi and Mime…Their philosophy of Good Food served quietly certainly lives up to their  standards. Interestingly the T-shirts worn by the wait staff read “I know sign language, what’s your super power” Well done and Bravo for this great venture.

  • Located at:Address: G-6 , Ground Floor , Transocean House, Lake Boulevard Road, Hiranandani business Park , Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076
  • Phone:022 4141 5151  (Reservations recommended)

Disclaimer: I visited Mirchi and Mime on a friends recommendation and went their with my family and friends.The dinner was paid by me and all views about this review are my own personal experience. Thank-you.

Warm Beetroot & Feta Salad on Parmesan Crisps

 

Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends…

Darell Hammond

 

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It’s been over five months having  moved to Mumbai. Time sure flies! Also we are facing the onslaught of a very hot Indian summer,something one had all forgotten about. Well yes we’ve lived in the Middle east for over 15 years,but some how never bore the brunt of it. I guess the luxury  of being in  air-conditioned comforts all the time made a huge difference. I find myself being outdoors a lot more here in Mumbai with either making quick runs to the fabulous fruit and vegetable markets in the neighbourhood, or a stroll on the beach or just walking from point to point. Continue reading