A light and easy to prepare vegan Indian dish (varan) made of split pigeon peas/toovar dal from the Indian state of Maharashtra.
The days leading up to my dad’s retirement were full of farewell dinners hosted by many of my dad’s friends and colleagues. Each day my parents had a dinner engagement either at somebody’s house or the Mess and to a few of these dinners I, too, was invited. In that one month of dining out almost everyday, we tasted a variety of menus, ranging from a cheese and wine dinner to Kashmiri food to traditional Maharashtrian fare. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much, and of course the weighing scale made sure I never forgot it either. But then, I got to taste so many different things- some new, some old, some good, some very good. In the end it was all worth it.
As mentioned before, at one of the dinners we were served traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. It was all beautifully served, pre-plated in a Thali, a total of close to 15 dishes, each prepared by our very gracious hostess. My mom particularly loved the dal and the kadhi and asked for both the recipes, which the hostess was kind enough to share. While certain Indian dishes have been made more popular worldwide, there are a lot of Indian dishes that are unknown to most people and what you see being served in restaurants abroad are mostly North indian favorites. So, I hope you enjoy this recipe that I am sharing with you today, which comes from the western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital, Mumbai and to the famous Bollywood industry. Read More →
In our small mining town, we have a group of ladies who meet every Friday over coffee, drinks, tea and some cake, and cookies. It is a pretty eclectic group and had been my biggest support system in the US. For a short while we had an Australian in this group as well. I am sure I had tasted pavlova before, but it was the first time at her coffee that I truly started appreciating this meringue based dessert. She had made a traditional pavlova with strawberries and whipped cream and it was every bit lovely.
Ever since then I have wanted to try to make it at home, but somehow haven’t been able to. I have made something similar earlier (a msacarpone meringue layer cake) as well which was absolutely delicious, but that’s about how close I got to making a pavlova.
Even though an Australian/New Zealand dessert, it is named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, when it was made in her honor, probably during one of her visits to these countries.
For the most part Pavlova is an easy to make dish. Only tricky part is the low temperature long baking and of course the whipping of the egg whites.
Here are a few tricks and tips that I keep in mind whenever I whip egg whites:
Whenever you whip egg whites remember fat and water are the enemies. So make sure all utensils, tools that come in contact with the egg whites are grease free. Wipe your beaters, bowls completely dry. It always helps to take a paper towel soaked in a little vinegar and wiping your bowls and utensils with it to be doubly sure that it is grease free.
When you separate the eggs make sure no part of the yolk is in it. Separating cold eggs is easier than room temperature eggs. I always try to separate eggs the moment I take them from the refrigerator and then let them sit on the counter, covered, to come to room temperature. Always whip room temperature egg whites.
When separating more than one egg I recommend to keep 3 containers/bowls in front of you. Break the egg, separate the white and the yolk in two different bowls. And then transfer the clean, yolk-free white in the third bowl. Repeat process. This helps in cases where you screw up with one egg, and land a part of the yolk in the egg white while separating, you do not spoil the other separated egg whites.
In North India, we love our Tandoori Chicken, and I have grown up on the best Tandoori chicken recipes out there.
For a very long time, Tandoori Chicken was the only way I wanted my chicken. I even preferred it to the popular butter chicken. Though later came a time where the latter triumphed over the former, but now I have an equal liking for both.
Tandoori chicken- the preferred snacking choice when I have beer in my hand; butter chicken with roti or naan when sitting for a meal.