In our small mining town, we are a total of eight people from India; three couples and two bachelors, one of whom is actually a forced bachelor, since his wife is in California doing a one year course.
Its nice to have people from your country in the same city, especially in a place like this. And more so when it means you get to eat home cooked Indian food that is not cooked by your own hands. So every time we get a dinner invitation from our Indian friends I get super excited. And the joy is double since both the couples belong to states in the south of India, and since I am a complete novice with cooking south Indian food, I revel in their dosa, biryani, sambhar, and curd rice.
Its not that I have not tried my hand at South Indian cooking. During the first few months of our marriage, I tried making dosa, but it was a complete disaster that ended with me throwing the dosa batter away. After that misadventure, I have kept my distance from cooking anything that is south Indian totally relying on my South Indian friends here to satisfy my idli-dosa cravings. And it doesn’t hurt that my friend makes amazing food.
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I know I have mentioned this enough on the blog, but I’ll say it again for the ones who are here for the first time – V is not a sweet tooth kind of guy. I have managed to turn him a bit but still the dessert devotee in me doesn’t think it’s enough. He is quite the health freak and the kinds who doesn’t need dessert to conclude a meal. I, on the other hand, have been known to actually eat a meal so that I do not feel guilty for having just desserts on my plate. Probably that’s why I am constantly struggling with my weight, while V actually exercises to gain weight! Some guys do have all the luck!
But, V does have a weakness. Its strawberry ice cream. That he will buy even when I am not there. Something he will eat without me having to emotionally blackmail him to eat it so that I dont feel guilty of taking a bite myself.
So, it was only obvious that I had to learn how to make at home a dessert that he enjoys so much. It also gave me a chance to inaugurate the ice cream maker for this season.
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Yesterday, a friend of mine who is in India, asked me whether I was happy here and do I see myself settling here. She is thinking of moving to the States, but loves India too much to ever think of settling anywhere else and wanted my take on the whole thing.
To be honest, if given a chance I would move to India in a heartbeat. Not to discard the lifestyle I have here, its great. I have great friends, without whom I don’t think I could have lasted as long as I did in this place and I would definitely miss the luxury of certain food items available here, especially when it comes to baking. I will aslo miss the TV shows that you get to see as soon as they premier instead of hoping and praying for the Indian channels to think that the show is worthy of broadcasting in India and then only getting to see it.
But that said, India has always suited me more. They say you always do better in your habitat and well, India is my habitat.
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When Christianna had taken me into the Recipe Swap group (read more about the group here), one of the things she said in our initial correspondence was that she was excited to get an Indian perspective for the swap recipes. While all my swaps have not been with an Indian twist, I thought with the Indian festival season here, I would give this time’s recipe swap an Indian twist.
When I saw the swap recipe (for a carrot pie), my initial plan was to make this carrot souffle I saw in a magazine I had just bought. But then I am not much of a fan of pureed carrots. It reminds me of baby food, and even though the recipe sounded interesting, I wasn’t sure I would truly enjoy it.
So I thought of making something Indian. Now, I am not a big fan of Indian sweets. I like them but most of them I find too sweet. If I want something sweet I generally prefer a baked good over the traditional sweets. Though I don’t mind a piece of gulab jamun, or hot atte ka halwa now and then. And sometimes gajar ka halwa too makes the privileged list.
Gajar ka halwa (or Indian carrot pudding) is a dessert of creamy, thickened milk with softened carrots contrasting with the added crunch of nuts. Milk and grated carrots are cooked until they become a dryish homogeneous mass, and then cooked with a little clarified butter (or ghee) and sugar and subtly flavored with cardamom powder and sometimes saffron strands to make absolute deliciousness.
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My first week of gluten free, sugar free diet was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I got to eat GF chickpea crepes lasagna, GF parantha made from ragi flour, tandoori chicken with zucchini noodles and a black bean corn tortilla casserole. ; But from today onwards I go raw for a week. I have been posting about my adventures in gluten free and sugar free cooking on my Facebook page and this week you will see how my Going Raw cleanse works out. Today I made homemade almond milk and had it with some crushed cardamom, saffron and pistachios. For lunch, I made a raw cauliflower “couscous” salad which was pretty good, although I have to admit I miss eating something warm and cooked. It’s just my first day and I have six more to go. This week is going to be difficult.
And posting pictures of this potato salad is not helping. Not helping at all!
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If you have been following me on Facebook, you know today is Day of my gluten free and sugar free diet. If you “like” me on Facebook, I am sorry for the frequent updates (unless, you like these updates then I take back my apology). The reason why I have suddenly become so active on the Novice Housewife’s Facebook page is that if I let everyone know what I am eating, I become accountable and if I am accountable, I am more responsible in the choices I make for my diet and more likely to stick to it. So please bear with me this month with my constant updates. Because I really need to see myself through this diet. It’s not been so difficult so far. Thank god for the internet, google search, pinterest and Foodgawker. Finding gluten free sugar free recipes and making a diet plan has been so much easy because of these.
And thanks to Pinterest I am able to share the recipe I have for you today. I pinned these from “In Sock Monkey Slippers” blog. These beauties have been sitting in my files for a very long time, waiting to be shared with you all. And I am sorry it has taken so long to get to you.
Thinly sliced potatoes cooked with a creamy garlic and thyme cheese and served as individual sized portions. Sign me up for these anytime. They are a little messy to make (the muffin pan requires some clean up but nothing a good soak in hot water and a little muscle power can’t take care of), but the effort is oh so worth it.
Without much further ado, here is the recipe.
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