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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Allow me to boast


Vangibath! That odd looking plate of which the cook in our college canteen would always make so well.. is conquered. And this time, no vangibath mixes/powders were used either. All-from-scratch. I know, I’m awesome :D. After a lazy Monday at work, I surprisingly find motivation to make dinner. A very thorough and good recipe from Sailu’s kitchen and some awesome music helped me along the way. So what if I burnt my mixie, cut my finger (and proceeded to pinch salt using the same), ruined my blue sweater, roasted already roasted peanuts and ran away when the mustard begin to splutter? It’s conquered, done with. A crispy papad along with the steamy rice and I’m back in that college canteen.. just this time, not wondering however do they make this thing :). 

Check out the recipe sometime if you can.

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Awesome Butter Biscuits for dummies


I’ve come a long way from my initial kitchen début (revisit the pancake fiasco). With the help of this awesome recipe book called the internet, I’ve learnt the art of not-having-maggi-for-dinner. And I must say I’ve enjoyed cooking much more than I thought I could. It’s a quiet pleasure, in having a kitchen and ingredients and making something that tastes just like what mom’s cooking did. Any guys out there who think it’s just a feminine thing are welcome to think so.. you just don’t know what you’re missing out on. I’m not concerned with the arguement of whether women belong in the kitchen. Cooking is very much like my work at a molecular biology lab. How much does pepper offset the flavor of other spices, and how much BSA will be too much for xyz restriction enzyme. (Ok, that’s kinda geeky). The fact remains that once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much make anything that you see in a recipe book. And as long as you have supportive neighbours to cook for, you’re well set :).

Watch out for my next self-help book titled “You can cook too!”. But for now, here’s one of my fav recipes, by popular demand. – Shortbread Cookies

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1) Mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence.
The best thing about these cookies are that they are so easy to flavor. Add powdered cinnamon, or elaichi (cardamom) powder to get some fragrant cookies. Grated orange rind makes it citrusy, and minced almonds makes your house smell simply awesome. Crushed peanuts also give a good flavor. I tried it with chocolate chips, but they didn’t fare too well in the oven. Feel free to try it out anyway. 

2) Soften butter (around 100g, unsweetened is better.. salty butter make the cookies less sweet, thats all). Cut up the soft butter in pieces and mix it in the dough nicely.It should end up a lil stiff, not soft.

3) Knead the dough into a long cylinder, that you can cut slices out to make circular biscuits.

4) Wrap the dough in wax paper, saran wrap, or just cover it and keep in the fridge for 45 mins. It turns from a malleable dough into a hard something.

5) Cut out thin slices with a sharp knife. The dough should be firm and not bend under pressure.

6) I put the cookies some distance apart in the over at 375F for 12-15 mins (until they brown at the edges).

.. and voila :).

It’s not hard at all, I just broke it up into points to make it seem as though the process is important.

How not to make a Pancake


Write about what you know the best :D.

Its unfair sometimes how I just can’t get cooking right. Everytime I forget the disaster of my previous attempt and try a new one.. I’m back to square one. The first chapathi I ever made caught fire. I had to chuck it in the sink and douse the flames. My mom didnt even know till that day that they were inflammable. Beyond being funny, this is nothing to boast of. Cooking is so basic yet essential, and it irks me that I just dont seem to get it right. My poor kids will have to survive on Maggi and peanut butter sandwiches (Hmm.. not too bad a proposition). Anyway, being in the US of A and in command of a kitchen I attempted a US breakfast and shall faithfully recount what should not be done, by personal experience of course.

Pancakes require very basic, distinguishable ingredients. Flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk, egg and melted butter. You can find good recipes online, and I suggest following them word-to-word if this is your first attempt.  

Dont’s #1: There is a fine distinction between tablespoon and teaspoon, very perceptable in the final product. Do not add too much baking powder, unless you want the pancakes to blow up.

Dont’s #2: Chose a bowl that you think will fit all ingredients, and when mixing will not throw it all out.

Dont’s #3: Salt and Sugar are similar in this country. Be very very careful adding them.

Dont’s #4: There is a fine distinction between tablespoon and teaspoon. Only 1 small teaspoon of salt please!

Dont’s #5: Melting butter is not a piece of cake and the microwave doesnt always work well with it.

Dont’s #6: Its not ok!

Dont’s #7: There’s a reason pancakes are small and not spread out like dosas. The larger you make them, the more likely they are to break when you flip, and the more eager they are to spread all over the pan.

Dont’s #8: Electric stoves do not sim immediately (I suspect they ever sim actually).

Do’s #1: Enough Chocolate syrup and a kind enough room-mate make awful pancakes seem better.

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All in all its a fun experience. I shall try again and not lose phaith. Perserverance, right? And anyway.. its always good to leave scope for improvements :).