I remember, a year back, when my friend, M, and I were both staying at my Bhua’s place, working on a venture that never kicked off, M made this amazing kadhi (a soup kind of dish made from gram flour and yogurt). I remember having a similar version at my friend B’s place when I was in school. I am not a kadhi fan. Well, let me rephrase that: I am not a Punjabi kadhi fan- the one that is generally really thick in consistency and has fried pakoras immersed in it. But I love the Rajasthani kind and loved M’s version. So, when I got married and moved to the States and started trying my hand at cooking I requested M to mail me the recipe.

Now, I could just give you the recipe in my boring step-by-step style or could post the recipe exactly as M described it. I enjoyed the way she explained each step and hopefully, she won’t mind me posting it verbatim here. Knowing her, she won’t. Thanks M, not only for the recipe but for everything else.:)

I have called it Erra aunty’s kadhi recipe because I think its M’s mom’s (Erra Aunty) recipe, but, come to think of it, it might be M’s own recipe too.

P.S: The italicized comments in the brackets are mine! Rest all is from M’s mail.

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I often wondered where did the name Caesar Salad come from. Was it named because Julius Caesar liked it? Well, duh, no! So I researched and here is some Caesar Salad trivia: the salad’s creation is attributed to Caesar Cardini (an Italian born Mexican- yes mexican!). He stumbled upon the idea to make this salad during July 4th celebrations, when most of his pantry emptied out and he had no choice but to make a salad with what was on hand. And, voila! Caesar Salad was born!

The salad is simple, quick to make and tasty to eat. The recipe I use is from a magazine I bought in India, published by Femina. All the recipes in that magazine have been great. The original recipe calls for mayonnaise but I use tartar sauce. I like the sharper flavor that tartar sauce adds. The original recipe also calls for anchovies, instead I add a few drops of worcestershire sauce. You can add grilled chicken as well, but I like to keep this salad vegetarian.

Unfortunately, I always forget to photograph the salad and by the time I realise, its all gobbled up!

CAESAR SALAD

DRESSING:

1 garlic flake, finely chopped

1 tbsp grated Parmesan

salt to taste

5 tbsp mayo (or tartar sauce)

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Few drops of worcestershire sauce

FOR THE SALAD

1 head Romaine Lettuce

Croutons, about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup cherry tomatoes, optional

Shavings of Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. The consistency should be that of yogurt. Just before serving, in a salad bowl, add the lettuce, cherry tomatoes and croutons and drizzle the dressing on top. Using tongs, mix well together. The salad should be well coated. Top with shavings of the parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

 

 


I am not fond of eggplants. Never have been. But, post marriage, since V likes them A LOT, I have been forced to change my preferences. (Yes! Marriage is all about the compromise). And now I have finally warmed up to this vegetable. So, the other day when we ordered Eggplant Parmesan at a restaurant, I did not mind trying it out. It was really good and that’s when I made a mental note to myself to try making it at home.

And thus, began the search for a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. I googled and one of the first search results had Bobby Flay’s version of Eggplant Parmesan. I remember watching the throwdown episode which showcased this recipe. Don’t remember who won, though, but I do remember Bobby Flay’s version was liked by a lot of people.

The sauce for this recipe is amazing. Roasted red peppers give a beautiful flavor to the sauce. It is time consuming to make it though and I would suggest to make the sauce a day or two in advance. And even though the recipe calls for fresh herbs, since I did not have any, I used dried herbs, with pretty good results. But, not having fresh herbs on hand gave me a brilliant idea to start my own herb garden (woohoo!). That’s going on my ‘next project to tackle’ list.

The recipe also calls for different kinds of cheeses and I am aware that such cheeses are difficult to find in India. Actually, even in the US, where I stay, its difficult to find such cheeses. So I used only Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. It worked out fine.

I served this dish at a get together we had at our place, and the ones who tried this dish, loved it- one called it ‘restaurant style‘ :). But, the fact that it was an eggplant dish did not sit too well with many others and they weren’t too adventurous to try it. (I know the pre-marriage me would have also not tried it.) Next time, I’m going to mask the inclusion of eggplant by calling the dish by its italian name melanzane alla parmigiana. That way, eggplant haters will get fooled into trying the dish and eventually end up liking it! (Gosh! I have such a brilliant mind- slightly evil but brilliant nonetheless :):)!)

The sauce can be made 2 or 3 days in advance. Although the dish is best when freshly made, it can be assembled and refrigerated the day before, and then baked before serving. Alternatively, bake the dish a day in advance, cover and refrigerate; the next day reheat in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 20 minutes.

Don’t get scared by the long list of ingredients, the result is well worth it! And do make the sauce in advance so that the workload is less on the day you decide to eat it.

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