May 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I live in Chennai, India. Now in south India, bread isn’t a staple. Rice is. It’s only recently that there are a few decent bakeries that make almost good bread. But bagels, bleh. There is just one baker who sells bagels, and they are just donut shaped chewy bread. I’ve always wanted to make good bagels at home, but then, I don’t get malt powder or malt extract here in Chennai. And I don’t think using honey or brown sugar (which would give the color, but not the oh-so-wonderful bagel’y’ flavor) was an option. So I kept postponing bagel-making until I found malt powder.

And then one day I was buying my kids regular drink mix, and I found Horlicks right next to it. Horlicks is a malted drink. It has a bit of milk powder and sugar, but not much, and I figured, why not try it? And I did. I used the recipe from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  I halved Reinhart’s recipe. I didn’t need a dozen bagels. I also reduced the sugar in the recipe a bit to adjust for what I was adding with the malt-powder substitute.

They were perfect!

Bagels, shaped, proofed, and out of their over night rest in the refrigerator.

Fresh out of the oven.

And with some hummus, tomatoes, cucumber and peppers, a bagel s/w for lunch!

Submitting this to Susan’s Yeastspotting.


Classic French Bread – Baguette

April 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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So while waiting for my sourdough starter, I wanted to start with a more basic recipe off Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day. I decided to make the Classic French Bread, and shape it into baguettes. I just followed his recipe to the dot. I even bought myself a kitchen scale, felt all grown up! And of course, set up unglazed terra cotta tiles in my oven. I couldn’t find a baking stone in my city. Hearth style baking is fairly new to me. But I think I managed OK.

Baguettes shaped.

Baguettes Proofed:

And baked!

I just think his recipe works like magic! Easily the best bread I’ve ever made.

Submitting this to Susan for YeastSpotting.

Dim Sums

April 13, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So, I kept my word. I’ve started on the sourdough seed culture. It doesn’t look like much. Hopefully it will in another 24 hours.

In other news, I bought a new bamboo steamer. S & I, we love dim sums. Our favorite dim sums in Chennai are from White Pepper, and Mainland China. We’ve had some inedible ones too. Lotus @ The Park had horrible dim sums. And so did Lemongrass @ Raintree. But I’ve always wanted to make them at home. Armed with my new steamer and some frozen spring roll wrappers, I made these.

I heart my bamboo steamer!

I used cabbage, carrots, green peppers (julienned and blanched), 1 green chili, cilantro, toasted peanuts, and a couple of drops of sesame oil. Pulse all of them to form a coarse mass (not watery at all), with a bit of salt.
The wrappers are frozen, store bought spring roll wrappers. Fill and shape as you wish.
Line your bamboo steamer with cabbage or lettuce leaves, so your dim sums don’t stick. Find a wok or pan on which your steamer will sit snugly. Fill upto half the pan with water (the bottom of the bamboo steamer should’nt touch the water). Boil water, steam for about 5 – 7 min.

Serve with any sauce. I served my dimsums with a simple sauce: soy sauce+drops of chili oil+ drops sesame oil whisked together

P.S. More on my starter tomorrow!

Secret Eatings

March 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Almost every person has something secret he likes to eat.

…It was then that I discovered little dried sections of tangerine. My pleasure in them is subtle and voluptuous and quite inexplicable. I can only write how they are prepared.

In the morning, in the soft sultry chamber, sit in the window peeling tangerines, three or four. Peel them gently; do not bruise them, as you watch soldiers pour past and past the corner and over the canal towards the watched Rhine. Separate each plump little pregnant crescent. If you find the Kiss, the secret section, save it for Al.

Listen to the chambermaid thumping up the pillows, and murmur encouragement to her thick Alsatian tales of l’intérieure. That is Paris, the interior, Paris or anywhere west of Strasbourg or maybe the Vosges. While she mutters of seduction and French bicyclists who ride more than wheels, tear delicately from the soft pile of sections each velvet string. You know those white pulpy strings that hold tangerines into their skins? Tear them off. Be careful.

Take yesterday’s paper (when we were in Strasbourg L’Ami du Peuple was best, because when it got hot the ink stayed on it) and spread it on top of the radiator. The maid has gone, of course – it might be hard to ignore her belligerent Alsatian glare of astonishment.

After you have put the pieces of tangerine on the paper on the hot radiator, it is best to forget about them. Al comes home, you go to a long noon dinner in the brown dining-room, afterwards maybe you have a little nip of quetsch from the bottle on the armoire. Finally he goes. You are sorry, but –

On the radiator the sections of tangerines have grown even plumper, hot and full. You carry them to the window, pull it open, and leave them for a few minutes on the packed snow of the sill. They are ready.

All afternoon you can sit, then, looking down on the corner. Afternoon papers are delivered to the kiosk. Children come home from school just as three lovely whores mince smartly into the pension’s chic tearoom. A basketful of Dutch tulips stations itself by the tram-stop, ready to tempt tired clerks at six o’clock. Finally the soldiers stump back from the Rhine. It is dark.

The sections of the tangerine are gone, and I cannot tell you why they are so magical. Perhaps it is that little shell, thin as one layer of enamel on a Chinese bowl, that crackles so tinily, so ultimately under your teeth. Or the rush of cold pulp just after it. Or the perfume. I cannot tell.

There must be someone, though, who understands what I mean. Probably everyone does, because of his own secret eatings.

– Serve it Forth
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher


March 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Lunch at Rasam. It’s an old bungalow, converted into a restaurant specializing in Kongunadu food (Kongunadu – Coimbatore), owned by Sri Krishna Sweets. It was warm and cozy, although a bit too warm since the air conditioning had failed. We tried the Special Kongunadu Thali (tasting menu), and I was surprised. No, not pleasantly surprised. It was extremely spicy, the aroma so heady that I could barely eat a bite, but a few dishes were nice. Vazhaipoo vadai (Banana heart and split chickpeas fritters), and Karuveppilai payasam (Rice cooked in jaggery and flavored with curry leaves) to name a couple. Of course, the Nellikkai Rasam (Gooseberry soup) was delicious. It would have been a disaster it weren’t, given that they call themselves ‘Rasam’. But I have to give it to them, they were so kid friendly, they made eating out with twin seven month-olds a pleasure.

I don’t think I’d go back;  of a tasting menu of 20 dishes, I liked just 3. As kid friendly they are, as delightful the bungalow is, it finally comes down to the food. Sri Krishna Sweets ought to stick to making mysorepas (made from chickpea flour, clarified butter and sugar).

Rasam @ Raja Annamalai Road, Purasawalkam, Chennai. Ph- +91 44 26616667

Hello world!

March 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This would be a blog about cooking. Be it mine or someone else’s. A medium to record and share recipes. Mostly my mom’s and a few of mine. Restaurant reviews. In Chennai and all around the world. Articles on cooking that I enjoyed or hated.

A place to talk about my obsession. Food.

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