Friday, March 27, 2015

Paneer Chilli Garlic Kebab

I don't tend to write about my father whom we affectionately call Pappa a lot around here. Apart from the fact that we grew up in a household where women solely managed and ran the kitchen, my father and I coherently had opposite views and values when it came to food. He, being a man of  small appetite, consciously calculating what and how much he eats, reluctant to try new flavours,  in general incurious about food. Whereas I, from the time I remember love food and was a good eater even as a toddler (which apparently my wee one didn't inherit). The first thing my Ammi told me when I got married and moved away was 'I miss cooking for you'.  

To be fair, some things do excite him. Fresh caught fish which he would scale and clean himself. Freshly caught wild rabbit that he would slaughter, skin and cut. Free range hen from his friend's farm and mangoes that he would pluck himself from my maternal grandma's farm trees. Considering our lives in Kuwait didn't allow wild rabbit or any of those things often, he was left with only his usual dal roti request for meals. Occasionally he would request mutton curry simply stewed with spices, tomatoes and onions for 3-4 hours. That was his guilty pleasure, red meat in moderation he often told us.

Of the many things he doesn't like (creamy curries, noodles, pastas and sandwiches) Indo-Chinese is high up there. And that, if you are Indian family can be catastrophic. Indo-Chinese, much like American-Chinese is a bastardised version of Chinese food, where the only common is use of soy sauce and high heat stir fry method.  Sweet, salty, garlicky, laced in oil and umami flavours of soy, Indians can get teary eyes talking about their love for hakka noodles, crispy chili dripping chicken, velvety brownish grey sauces coated manchurians 'curries', dramatically red hued szechwan 'chutney', fried rice, the list is endless. Each state has a slightly different version and has taken different influences from the Chinese. But my favourite is the use of curry leaves and mustard seeds down south in the Kerala-Chinese cuisine. But that's for another day - I have a family recipe from my mother in law which is to die for. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Easy Tea Time Cardamom Cake

In my late teens, the only time Ammi (my mother) would ever send me in the kitchen was when she was knee deep busy with wedding preparation of so and so cousin. She would call me, with perhaps four bags in both her hands, breathing heavy with harsh summer sun tingling and irritating her eyes I'll imagine. 'Please soak three handful of rice' she would say.  How much is a handful of rice? Isn't my hand much larger than your petite and slender hands? But there was no room for questions or explanations. She had to step into another store to buy more things.

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