Wednesday, February 28, 2018

7 Unusual Delicacies Eaten Only In India


Travelling around the world brings in a lot of experiences. And in these experiences you may have discovered the unique delicacies native to the land. In all probabilities, you may have tasted some with a taste that is familiar to the food you eat back home and then there are others that are simply unforgettable! The melting pot of cultures that India is, features a long list of bizarre delicacies for the fearless foodie in you. Of course, a meat-eater's list is longer with weird yet staple dishes like Red Ant Chutney and Dog Meat making the cut, however, let me take you on a gastronomic journey of 7 such vegetarian delicacies that veggie eaters can devour.


1. Bhaang Ki Chutney - Uttarakhand

Bhaang Ki Chutney -
Image Source: https://calmlycookingcurry.blogspot.in/

Natives of Uttarakhand, particularly the Garwahli and the Kumaoni are proud of this delicacy made of roast bhaang (hemp) seeds If you are still in the dark as to why this chutney is bizarre, it is because of the use of a plant that is famously associated with the hallucinogen Marijuana. Though, contrary to the popular belief, the seeds are not psychoactive. I fact, it it said to have the perfect amount of protein thanks to the balance of fatty acids, fibre and amino acids. Undoubtedly, it as a chutney makes for a tasty treat and goes well with Bhaag Ke Pakode. Yes, it exists. Read on.

2. Bhaang Ke Pakode

Bhaag Ke Pakore -
Image Source: http://www.indianfoodrecipesonline.com/bhang-ke-pakore/


Pakode or fritters are perhaps every Indian's favourite tea-time snack. Come Shivratri and Holi and you'll find this fried snack being prepared in the homes of many North Indian households. Now, you may expect it to be as strong as the Bhaang drink, but in fact it is not. The batter is same as you make for making regular pakoras, added with the paste of the cannabis leaves. I also came to know that Bhaag Gujiya are also prepared

3. Pyaaz Ka Halwa



Pyaaz Ka Halwa
Image Source: http://ramyasrecipesandcrafts.blogspot.in/2013/12/onion-halwa.html

Onion in a sweet dish? Who would've thought! Pyaaz ka Halwa or Onion Halwa is a made by frying onions in butter and then cooking on sow heat with milk and sugar. So basically, it is like Gajar Ka Halwa, but with onions instead of carrots. If this seems intriguing and something you'd like to try out, you can check out the recipe here.

4. Gulab Jamun Ki Sabzi - Rajasthan

Gulab Jamun Ki Sabzi
Image Source: /www.morethancurry.com/

The favourite dessert of most Indians is also available in a savoury avatar. I bet the creator must have loved Gulab Jamun so much, that he/she ended up making it into a curry. The creators certainly belonged to Rajasthan as it is quite popular across Jodhpur. This Rajasthani recipe calls for making balls out of Khoya, deep-frying them and sliding them into a onion based curry.

5. Fermented Bamboo Shoot - Assam

Fermened Bamboo Shoot - Khorisa
Image Source: axomiya.net

The Assamese love this delicacy which they refer to as Khorisa. It is made of fermented Bamboo shoots that is either relished raw or as a pickle.


6. Rotten Potatoes - Eastern India



Wait before you think of throwing a rotten potato. As they say, on man's trash is another man's delicacy, this is true for Phyan Pyut, a delicacy made of rotten potatoes. That's right. Loved by several communities in Eastern parts of our country, potatoes are allowed to rot in soil, excavated and then mixed with spices. How does that sound?


7. Benami Kheer

Benami Kheer
Image Source: https://buzznomad.com/9-bizarre-food-items-around-world/

You may be wondering why is Benami Kheer called so? Though the word Benami has a negative connotation, here it refers to 'unknown' in Hindi. As to why it was named so, well, you have to taste this 'dessert' to find out. And the taste is unlike anything as it has garlic - yes, you read that right - as the main ingredient. Garlic pods certain have strong aroma and so they are boiled in water and then added to the milk to prepare the kheer. This is one kheer you shouldn't miss.

Now that you've gone through this list, tell me, which ones you have tried and which ones you are willing to try very soon?


Monday, September 18, 2017

Quick and Easy South Indian Style Rasam


To be very frank, South Indian delicacies are not my favourites - even though I am a South Indian, by birth. Though I grew up on South Indian staples like Idli, Dosa, Sambhar, Rasam and Coconut based curries, my taste-buds are more partial towards North Indian, Oriental and Continental flavours. However, there are days that I crave for a piping hot and satiating meal from the South. And the lazy person I am, (a total Garfield sometimes) I would rather make a quick and easy version of the otherwise seemingly arduous delicacies from the South of India.

And so, for the days when I crave a satiating rasam rice with a dollop of ghee on top, this recipe is what I stick to. I bring to you a classic, the quick and super easy recipe of South Indian style rasam.

Serves: 2
Time: 15 mins

INGREDIENTS:

For the rasam:
1-2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
2 teaspoon sambhar/rasam powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch asafoetida powder or concentrate, diluted with water
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

For tempering:
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
6-7 fresh curry leaves
Coconut oil

METHOD:

  1. Quarter the tomato and blend until lump-free and runny.
  2. Transfer into a bowl. Add equal amounts of water, or till desired watery consistency.
  3. Add the masala powders and salt. Mix well and set to boil for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Later, add the chopped coriander.
  5. In a tempering vessel, heat 2-3 tsp coconut oil. When hot add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add curry leaves and switch off the heat.
  6. Add the tempering to the rasam mix. 
  7. Mix well and serve hot with steamed rice, poppadoms and ghee.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

When is the best time to book flights?


Haven't you Google-d this question before planning your dream vacation?

Have you ever wondered if there is some kind of secret formula or pro-tip that only the secret cult of frequent fliers or travellers know about?

To be very frank, I have wondered about this fact whenever flight bookings have featured as a part of my travel planning. Given that air travel is the best way to practically get anywhere we want to, we want to seek the best possible rates to economize our travel costs.
Besides ticket price, we may also consider preferred flight timings, the duration of layover or seat preferences when booking flights online to our choicest destinations. Even if we get cheap flights, we may get a long layover or if are lucky to get the desired flight times, the price of the flight is too high.


Book flights to Bali
Beautiful Bali on your mind?
Image source: www.balimystique.com
or wanna gaze at the enchanting New York skyline?
Image source: www.cubebreaker.com

Now, Skyscanner did the research by asking 1000 Indian travellers if they were aware of the best time to book flights?

Results of this research:

  • 72% were clueless about the best time to book flights. 
  • According to 69% of travellers, the ideal time to book flights was LESS than 12 weeks before departure, which is in fact, WRONG.

For international and domestic ticketing, you would get the best deals on flights when you book tickets well in advance.

Skyscanner has made it easy for you to understand the best times to book flights in advance to top holiday destinations, in India and across the globe, and the savings you can enjoy! Just check out the info-graphic below:



Happy Holidays!

Friday, January 20, 2017

10 Moments you won’t have to miss if you’re smooth

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored Post

Epilation: 10 Moments you won’t have to miss if you’re smooth

It’s the worst! A last minute opportunity to have fun…an invite from friends, a fun party, a smoothie with your crush…but you have to miss out because you’re, how do we put it, not at your smoothest! We hate those in-between days when stubble means you can’t wear your favorite outfit, or you just feel you have to say no to that exciting invitation. Here we celebrate 10 moments you won’t have to miss out on if your skin is smoooooth; because with Braun epilators, you can be silky smooth at a moment’s notice!

POOL PARTIES-
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WEARING THAT NEW DRESS NOW!
It’s the one you’ve had your eye on for ages. The one that will catch your crush’s eye, and make you feel FAB-U-LOUS! But what an epic fail if stubble stops you in your tracks. You can’t possibly wear it until you are super smooth. No need to worry, Braun epilators can remove hairs as small as a grain of sand. Get that new dress on, and cause a sensation!




DANCING WITH YOUR ARMS IN THE AIR
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PARK VISITS
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ROLLERCOASTER PICTURES:
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LEG DAY AT THE GYM
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ROCKING YOUR FAVE SHORT-SLEEVED TEE.
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“LEGFIES!”
Sun? Having fun? Smooth legs? Legfie taken!



LAST MINUTE INVITE TO THE BEACH!
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Your crush has FINALLY asked you to the beach. But, hold on, how can you rock your cut-offs with stubble.



LAST MINUTE TICKET TO A GIG.
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Sunday, November 20, 2016

OLO Review: Burgundy Box - SERVED Meal Box


After reviewing the Burgundy Box DIY kit, I got the chance to taste one of their freshly served and ready-to-eat meals as well. Burgundy Box has now established themselves as one of the options when it comes to ordering from a highly curated list of gourmet meals. You can pick and choose from a variety of cuisines in meals, snacks or salads.

And so one fine Wednesday, I placed my order for a Konji Chicken with Hakka Noodles meal for lunch.


I was already starting to get hungry by the time I place the order through the website.


And as promised my served box was delivered to me within the promised time slot.

My food arrived in a neat and clean packaged plastic box with plastic cutlery like a fork, a spoon and a paper tissue.

What was in my Burgundy SERVED Box?

Konji Chicken and Hakka Noodles Burgundy SERVED Box

I was truly impressed by the hygiene and presentation maintained by them. A majority part of my box was the Hakka Noodles, which was tossed with colourful bell peppers and finely chopped spring onions. As you can see, there's also a sizable portion of dry Konji Chicken and Kimchi was also in my box.

My Review:

Taste: The Konji Chicken and Hakka Noodles combo worked for me. Though the chicken was a tad too dry for my taste, its tanginess blended well the freshness of the noodles. The Kimchi was a downer with the cabbage being a tad too soggy. Then again, to be fair, I've never really developed a liking for Chinese pickled cabbage.

Portion Size: For a meal for one, this meal is indeed perfect for a working lunch. Not too overbearing on the stomach, and at the same time will not make you want to place an order for something else.

Value for Money: I would say yes, considering the hygiene factor and the near perfect presentation, I would vouch for this particular box. (This comes from a person who more often than not relies on the oily, questionably healthy office canteen food during lunch-time.)
I paid INR 230 for this box.

Would I Try it Again?
Definitely. Will want to try the boxes in other cuisines as well.


Psst...A Tip: Burgundy Box also offers discounts from time to time. Currently they offer a sweet discount when you order your food on a Wednesday.







Monday, November 14, 2016

D'lecta HumBhiChef Desserts Workshop plus Baked Yoghurt Recipe


This year Diwali was a more savoury affair for me and my family. After being showered with spicy farsan and snacks, it is natural to crave for something sweet. Though my family loves ghee laden sweets, I am more of a chocoholic and absolutely adore a sublime cheesecake.

And when I was invited to D'lecta HumBhiChef Desserts Workshop, it was perfect timing.

I reached at their sprawling corporate office at Gokuldham in Goregaon East. I was one of the first of the invitees to arrive and took in their magnificent kitchen. Laid out on one of their counters was their range of products. D'lecta is better known for their beverage solutions that are used in various hospitality industries and workplaces. They are also one of the prime players that offer a variety of dairy products and bakery products that are available in various SKUs in large and small retail formats. 


Just looking at this rich product spread is enough to tempt any cheese lover like me!



My dear food blogger friends Shalini Digvijay of Baketitude, Uttpal Krushna of Fashionable Foodz and Aarthi B of Gastronomic Flight joined me in this workshop.

The D'lecta kitchen's professional chef, Ms. Priya Dikshit was most gracious in her interactions, promptly and courteously attending to all our littlest doubts. Needless to say we learnt a lot from her, especially for a dessert newbie like me. In the end, we all were awarded certificates for successful completion of the workshop and also took home loads of D'lecta goodies!



We learned to make Eggless Baked Cheesecake, Baked Yoghurt, Black Forest Cheesecake and Espresso & Dark Chocolate Mousse.



So here I share an interesting recipe for Baked Yoghurt that I have rightly term it as a lazy person's dessert, because:
a) It uses only 3 ingredients
and
b) it is dreadfully simple to make.

Moreover, it was surprisingly and utterly delicious that I just couldn't stop at one serving.


Recipe for Baked Yoghurt:

Serves: 6 small ramekins

What you'll need:

Condensed Milk: 200 g
D'lecta Creme: 200 g
Yoghurt: 200 g



Method:

Preheat the oven at 150 degree Celsius.

Mix the creme, condensed milk and yoghurt until smooth. (Make sure all 3 ingredients are at room temperature).


Whisk away till it has mixed nice and smooth.


Put in 6 equal sized aluminum bowls/ ramekins.
Put them in a baking tray with water.



Bake the yoghurt for 20 minutes.
Switch off the oven and let it cool in the oven for 10 minutes.


 Remove from the oven, cool it and chill it for 3 - 4 hours.


Take a spoon, dig in and Enjoy!

Note: If you don't have an oven, you can cover the ramekins with foil and steam them in a steamer.



Do let me know in the comments if you'd try this out at home!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Planning an ideal yatra

‘Life is a book. Those who do not travel, read only a page’  


What is it with mesmerizing sunsets that endlessly captivate hearts? It is difficult not to be enthralled with foamy waves kissing the shore, with every ebb and every flow. Nor is it easy to tear away your eyes from the snow-capped peaks that sit in the serene ambiance of mountain ranges. Or a babbling brook that runs its course from the icy glaciers through the wide plains and the winding valleys. It is simply magical to explore the world one destination at a time, isn't it?

The wanderlust in me never wants to cease discovering newer places to explore, be it in my home city or some corner of the world. There’s always an itch to discover more, rediscover oft visited places once more and venture into the path less trodden. After all, as they say, life is but a journey. 

There is certainly a want and desire in me to travel around the world to exotic and lesser known destinations on the drop of a hat. It is certainly tempting to drop everything and head out on an unplanned solo road trip to a tropical destination of my choice. And it would be a dream come true if I were to travel halfway across the world to reach my dream destination. But with me, it doesn’t happen often. 

I can bet while you read through the earlier paragraph, you too would have pictured many destinations in your mind. And given a chance (and a well-timed one at that) this is how I would like to plan my Ideal Yatra from Mumbai to Melbourne. These tips may come in handy for you too! 

Book Flights well in advance to get lower airfares 
To start off, I would start checking for International Flights that would take me from Mumbai to Melbourne. Perhaps the most economical flights offered by International Airlines are the ones that are pre-booked well in advance. Considering I would love to travel around my birthday in December, now would be the best time to book them. 

Book a Hotel closer to sightseeing places
Here I’ll browse through the various hotels available and pick according to the sightseeing opportunities - be it for the beaches or the nightlife or for the shopping. 

Check for passport and visa 
Getting the visa is of utmost importance, without which I won’t be able to enter the country. 

Plan a flexible Itinerary 
Here I would think of all the places I would go. Visiting The Gold Coast, The Great Barrier Reef and The 12 Apostles are right on the top of my travel bucket list! 

Pre-book a cab or a taxi to the airport 
Given the fact that I have my passport and visa sorted, nearing the date of departure, I would book a cab to ensure that I get to the airport well within time. 

Pack light. Fly with minimal cabin baggage
As much as it is tempting to carry multiple pairs of clothing, I would want to travel light. 
Upon reaching the destination, I take a few hours to relax before heading out and exploring my new destination.