Summer is officially here and even though summer comes with many sweaty woes, but as my fellow blogger Gayatri pointed out summer does come with its biggest perks- stone fruits! Mangoes, plums, lychees, cherries, peaches and the like. Which invariably means- pies, cobblers, jams and of course ice cream!
In my last post I mentioned about our trip to the indian store. Besides getting fenugreek leaves, I also brought home some lychees.
I took some time to like lychees. Probably because they require a lot of effort to eat. Peeling the skin and then spitting out the seed. As kids, our summer vacations were always at my grandparents house in Jalandhar, Punjab. My cousin sister would also spend her summer there with us. She and I have a ten year age difference and I looked up to her as a big sister, which meant I would imitate her habits quite a bit. If she ate musk melon, cut in half like a bowl, that’s how I started eating it. She is also the reason why I started eating lychees. She loves them and my grandfather would stock the fridge with lots of lychees during season. So when she got some for herself, she would share with me and even though I found it a lot of effort I slowly started eating and then eventually liking them.
Methi Parantha/paratha or whole flatbread made with fenugreek leaves, garlic and carrom seeds
Living in Dallas has its perks. One of them is that we don’t have to drive 4 hours to get indian groceries and indian produce. Even though we still have to drive 30 minutes for indian groceries (since all the stores are in the suburbs and we stay close to downtown Dallas), it still beats a 4 hour drive.
On our recent trip to the indian store I picked up some fresh fenugreek leaves. I use dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) all the time in my cooking. A tbsp of dried leaves, briefly rubbed between palms and then tossed into a curry gives a lovely flavor to gravies- and that’s why I always use them in my butter chicken and dal makhani recipe.
Fenugreek seeds are another way to get that sweet yet slightly bitter flavor to a dish. When adding seeds to a dish, add them in the beginning and use them sparingly and also make sure not to burn them as then they become very bitter and might spoil the taste of your dish. Using a combination of both- seeds and kasoori methi will give you the best results, especially when making butter chicken.
While I love cooking with fenugreek seeds and dried leaves, when I get my hands on fresh leaves, methi parantha is my favorite way to enjoy this herb. And I found out from my facebook post, a favorite of many others. Its popularity is completely deserved.
Parantha/Paratha is an unleavened indian flatbread made with whole wheat flour. They are not as thick as a naan, but not as thin as a roti- with their thickness lying somewhere in between. There are many variations of parantha. It could be stuffed with vegetables, aloo parantha being a popular stuffed variation or it could be plain. If there is one meal I could eat morning evening and night- it would be paranthas. After all, I am from Punjab, and our paranthas are very dear to us.
Tea is huge now. Even though as a kid I never enjoyed tea, I am now a big fan of it. And green tea is generally what I prefer, though, come winters, I don’t mind a cup of masala chai to warm my body.
A massive amount of tea is consumed each and every day in all corners of the world. Forget coffee — its production may be greater, but as a Springer study found three cups of tea are drunk for every cup of coffee, thus tea seems to be the preferred choice over a cup of java.
Not convinced? Consider this: according to a reputable UK-based digital bingo operator that specializes in having live callers, 31% of people in the UK drink five or more cups of tea a day, with the large majority of tea drinkers having their first cup at the age of 5. That’s not all — the UK isn’t even among the top 3 tea-consuming countries in the world, as China, Turkey and Ireland are the biggest tea lovers in the world. And here I thought Indians would have made the top list. My family is big on tea and their day doesn’t begin if they haven’t sipped on at least two cups of tea before breakfast. The count is even more when the whole family is together.
While I generally drink my tea, lately I have seen recipes where tea isn’t just used as a beverage. Tea leaves themselves can be used for spice rubs on meat and poultry. Steep them in hot water and you have a brew for everything from soups and grain dishes to sauces and marinades.
Some people even swear by green tea facials, and many people have incorporated the leaves into moisturizing products by extracting its medicinal properties. Other than soothing sunburn and delaying the signs of aging, a simple green tea bag can even help treat nasty bug bites! I use my used cold tea bags to combat puffy eyes and it always works.
I am still experimenting with recipes using tea but for today, though, I will share some I found interesting and that you can try at home.