Bacon and egg feel like such a natural combination. But do you remember when you had bacon for the first time? I do and very vividly. I was at my classmate Julien’s house, at their dining table, learning how to solve the Rubik’s cube. Julien was great at it and I was pretty shit. He’d do the I’m-not-looking-but-I’m-still solving-it trick. I was 16, and I wanted to do that. It was way cooler than my technique which involved peeling off the stickers and sticking them back on correctly. Julien knew he had a fanboy sitting in front of him as he set about demystifying the technique behind it very seriously like any teenager would do; by mystifying it more. Before I could wrap my head around how to solve for the white cross, his mum came in from the kitchen with some sandwiches. We set aside our cubes to discuss my technique, or lack of along with the sandwiches. I took the first bite and then I don’t remember what Julien said. I was pulled …
I’ve read a lot of definitions of umami, but somehow none of them completely describe my experience of it. For me, more than a taste, umami is a feeling: it is a kind of savouriness that makes the back of my jaw and throat feel a wee bit tight, my mouth salivate so intensely that I have to take a gulp and I feel my mind going into a zen mode where instead of ‘shivoham’, its saying a long breathless ‘mmmm’. And its all triggered by the first whiff. Actually, I am feeling it right this minute as I write this. Even the memory of it triggers this overwhelming feeling. Ufff! Do you feel it too? Now, if only everything one eats could have this feeling. It’s tough, but what if one can add a lick of it to everything? I did just that today with my sweet, sour and intensely savoury umami ketchup with a hint of desi heat. It was generously smeared over a floppy masala omelette I had for breakfast. After taking the …
If you love it, put an egg on it. But what if you LOVE, ❤️, 😍 and 😘 eggs, what do you put on it? Of course salt and pepper. But is salt and pepper always enough for those plump, creamy yolks and lacy whites? I think not. So are 5 fried egg toppings that up the game on salt and pepper. I think they deserve that. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Pssst: what are the toppings that you like over your fried eggs? Would love to read your comments.
Why do these heavy, cloud laden skies call out to onions fried with batter? Why?! Blame it on nature or nurture, it felt like a must this morning. Onion bhajias would have been the natural thing to do, but I went another way with Pajeon or the Korean Scallion Pancake with a lovely savoury, sweet and spicy dipping sauce. It hit the spot. If you want your onion fried with batter fix, read on.
I wonder why has oil in everyday cooking been reduced to just being a medium of cooking vs. it being that essential ingredient that adds its own subtle taste and flavour!? I know there is EVOO, and much has been spoken about it. But what about mustard oil or til ka tel (sesame) or unrefined groundnut oil or coconut oil. These aren’t just ‘better for you oils’, they make food taste better. Like the mustard oil in today’s breakfast of Nepali Aloo Ko Achaar with parathas. It gives this potato salad a beautifully rounded taste as it mellows the heat of all the spices that go into it. BTW, this Aloo Ko Achaar takes 15 minutes to assemble (if you don’t count the boiling of the potatoes) and just 15 seconds to polish off. Don’t take my word for it. Try it.
In a week I tend to some how collect a lot of ones – one baby aubergine that rolled off the bag that it was in, one green onion that was forgotten behind the tomatoes, one baby carrot that fell into a bag of methi and wasn’t discovered till methi aloo happened, one slice of cheese that slipped under the chocolates in the chiller post the nightly chocolate binge, one paratha that was forgotten in the dubba at the back of the fridge and one tablespoon of tomato or any gravy that was left for a little pre dinner snack and bowl mopping that never happened. Does it happen to you guys? It happens to me all the time. This mini roti pizza turns those ones into a delicious breakfast. Below what I’ve put down is more an idea rather than a recipe. There are very few thing you can do to get it wrong.
I’ve never got the craze around energy and granola bars. They all tend to feel so heavy and always sooo unsatisfying. Yesterday I had one that was especially bad. And that got me thinking about the energy bar, rather energy ball from my childhood, the murmura ladoo or puffed rice ladoo. Intensely caramelised and crisp, these always felt light and 100% satisfying. I loved the one’s my nani’s guy in Jamshedpur used to make. Hot off the pan in one corner of Bistupur Market I would devour a couple of them in one go (read 5). This morning I took inspiration from those classic energy balls from my childhood and gave it a little swag with pecan, cacao nibs and butter roasted puffed rice. It goes brilliantly with a cup of hot black coffee. And just as the classic, always light, but these are 110% more satisfying. Give these make ahead balls, bars and cookies a go. They take not more than 25 minutes to make.
Can butter, mustard and a few boiled eggs solve a Monday?! Maybe not, but these could if they were in this butter fried toast topped with my version of Sauce Gribiche; a classic French sauce made with boiled eggs that can also be an egg salad. Yes, the butter fried toast feels excessive, but to cure the blues one has to call in the big guns.
Dal ka Dulha or the groom of lentils. Its such a beautiful name. It conjures up images of lentils decked up in their finest at their wedding. hahaha! I think its probably called that because of the crown shaped whole wheat dumplings swimming in it. Whatever the reason behind its name, what I love even more about this Chhattisgarhi, Bihari and UP speciality is how comforting it feels before you get started with a long busy day. Give this a good. It wont disappoint.
Is there anything more satisfying than having something deep fried, crisp and sweet in the mornings?! Probably not. But there is one thing that is a balm to me, and thats the Nepalese doughnut called Sel Roti. Its super light, super crisp, and mildly sweet and more than that, its so much fun to make and shape. The more talented Nepalese makers of Sel Roti might call my skill in forming the doughnut like rings, amateurish. But I tend to channel my inner Jackson Pollock as I drop the banana, rice, cardamom and butter dough into bubbling hot oil. It’s purrrfect. If you feel your inner Jackson Pollock is calling out to you at breakfast for something deep fried, crisp and sweet, give this one a go. They say Sel Rotis lasts forever, but these won’t and you’d kick yourself for not doubling the quantities I’m going to be telling you.