Sweet Cranberry and Lemon Chutney

Posted on 15. Nov, 2018 by .

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Prep time: 10minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Makes 3 cups (800g)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
3 cloves
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 lb (500 g) cranberries, fresh
Grated zest from 5 meyer or regular lemons
Juice of 2 meyer or regular lemons
2 cups (400 g) sugar
6 cups (1.5 liters) water
Pinch of saffron threads
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, ginger, stirring, for about 30 seconds.

2. Add the cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, water, saffron, and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the vinegar, and cook until the mixture is thickened into a jam like consistency, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let cool, and serve at room temperature, or refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve chilled. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months

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Bleed Blue

Posted on 13. Mar, 2015 by .

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So the weather is finally warming up as is the race to the finals in World Cup Cricket! This weekend we have the India vs Zimbabwe match and instead of holding on to the edge of my seat and praying for India to win, I am looking forward to putting up my feet and enjoying the match sipping on a cocktail- thanks to team India having secured a comfortable seat in the Quarters.

Cosmopolitan is usually gender stereotyped into a woman’s drink- and unfairly so, just because it’s pink! Why can’t a man be allowed to enjoy his vodka with a little cranberry juice in peace? Talk about discrimination based on color! Anyhow, here’s my recipe for a Blue Cosmopolitan that celebrates the Indian Team and just like cricket, can hopefully be enjoyed by both men and women alike!

By the way, amidst all this cricket excitement, I came across a cool campaign that is being run by foodpanda.in in order to bring 1.4 million kids a mid-meal for a school year . I think it’s a great initiative and I wish them all the success! I thought I should share it with you all, in case you would like to participate and spread the cheer!
Here’s to Team India! Cheers!

Bleed Blue Ginger Cosmo
4 Parts Absolute Citron
3 Parts white cranberry juice (if unavailable, substitute with litchi or white grape juice)
1 Part Blue Curacao
1 Splash Ginger Flavored Lime Soda (Lightly crush a piece of ginger into your lime soda and shake it)
Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

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The Big Diwali Reveal

Posted on 18. Oct, 2014 by .

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coconut fudge (1)I am obviously excited about Diwali and I hope you are counting down to it as well!  I am planning the menu for my Diwali party next week and like every year, it will feature my special coconut fudge. It is such a big hit among both adults and kids that I have not been able to keep it off the menu! Since the recipe has also been much in demand, I decided to include this in my upcoming cookbook that is due to be released later this year by Tuttle publishing. I have included the first look to the recipe here as a Diwali gift for all of you. After all, it’s the season of giving! I hope you and your family and friends enjoy this dish as much as mine do. If you decide to give the recipe a try, do post some pictures!

In the meantime, don’t forget to take a look that everything Verizon has to offer here this Diwali.

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OUT for a DUCK in the West Indies!

Posted on 13. Oct, 2014 by .

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IMG_5634IMG_5682 IMG_5700 Growing up in India where cricket is somewhat a religion, the image that would come to my mind if you mentioned West Indies was that of Kallicharan, Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Brian Lara and several other Gods of cricket. Little did I know back then that I would someday visit this beautiful country so far from home and learn about its history, roots and culture while licking the last traces of a delicious home- made duck curry off my fingers!

My two day trip to Trinidad & Tobago was a culinary adventure right from the time I set foot on the island. I landed in Port of Spain as the sun was rising over the blue Caribbean sea and my first stop was at a ‘Roti Shop’ which was already bustling with people that early in the morning. I had my first taste of the ‘Doubles’ here which is a popular street food usually eaten for breakfast. Very similar to poori, it is two pieces of fried bread packed with Chana (curried chickpeas) and wrapped in newspaper. If you are Indian, you would ask what’s so special about it? The answer to that, my friend, is the hot Trinidadian pepper sauce- grown and made in Trinidad which has an undeniable addictive quality to it. I assure you, Indian or not…you cannot stop at one bite!

The food in Trinidad is a melting pot in its true sense, with a mix of Indian, African, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and French.  My obvious interest was to learn more about the strong Indian roots that were so abundantly present amongst the people, the culture, the food, the last names and the keen interest in Bollywood cinema! The Indians in Trinidad came from small villages in Northern regions (particularly from the states of Bihar & Uttarpradesh), in the early 19th century mostly to work in the sugar plantations as farm help.  Despite the alien conditions they kept their traditions alive specially in the form of their cuisine. They used local ingredients, produce and spices as substitutes to make their familiar home-cooked meals which has now evolved to a distinct cuisine of its own. The flavors are unique and zesty- just the kind of excitement you look for to fall in love! The Chana, for example – which is the local favorite, has a flavorfdoublesul mix of fresh thyme, chives , curry leaves and parsley; the spicy kick of habanero mixed with the local curry powder and a very special garam masala known to Trinidadians as Amchar Masala! If you are visiting my home in Jersey and cannot trace a particular taste in a dish to something you know, this spice mix is probably the secret! I could not leave Trinidad without buying a few packets of it.

Apart from the fantastic food, one of my favorite experiences was also the warm and welcoming hospitality of the Trinidadians. I was there just for a weekend and by the end of the trip the people I met there seemed very familiar from very long ago. One of them invited me home in the first few minutes of us meeting to experience traditional home cooked Trinidadian food over lunch. How many of us do that in these days of terror and caution? No way was I going to pass on that! And I have to say that it was the most interesting and educational lunches I ever had outside my culinary schools! I came back full…not just with a fantastically tasty meal, but lessons on cooking methods and spices, stories behind the evolution of the dishes, a tour of the local herb garden and even a firsthand experience of learning to cook a spicy duck curry from a Trinidadian local- right from scratch!

Other dishes that I got to cook and taste were some popular and staple vegetarian dishes in Trinidadian Indian cuisine like Baingan Choka (roasted and seasoned mashed eggplant) and Tomato Choka (roasted and seasoned tomato dip). As I stirred the ingredients in the pan, I wondered if the term choka is derived from the hindi word “chhownk” or tadka, which is tempering a dish with hot seasoned oil. Dal Poori – a flatbread stuffed with Indian peas- was the main accompaniment of the meal which is the Trinidadian version of Indian paratha. Interesting to note that Bengal too has a similar bread in its cuisine. It blows your mind to think a bread with the same name and similar stuffing has traveled 15000 miles and few hundred years of history to find its place in the Trinidadian mainstream cuisine today!IMG_5669

Coming back to the duck curry which was the obvious highlight of my meal and cooking class that warm Sunday afternoon- I really would never have been able to trace half the flavor if I had not learnt to cook it myself. Made with a mixture of lemon grass, curry leaves, amchaar masala, a spice paste made with garlic and habanero and chief brand curry powder (can be found in West Indian markets)- it is slow cooked in coconut milk that gives a subtle sweet balance to the zesty heat of the spices. With the duck simmering away on the stove and with yet another round of coconut water and vodka over ice, I made sure to pen down the ingredients with every intention of recreating the dish a few times in my kitchen..

To make Curry Duck – Marinate bone-in duck pieces with chief brand curry powder, garlic paste, lime juice, amchaar masal, minced herbs (cilantro, parsley, thyme) hot pepper sauce, salt & pepper. Sauté lemon grass, curry leaves, pimento peppers, hot pepper, sliced onion, curry leaves, curry powder, saffron (turmeric) , amchar masala and duck. Add coconut milk & simmer for an hour until tender.IMG_5813  

 

 

 

 

 

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Complete Menu of My Grand Trinidadian Indian Feast

  • Raw Mango Curry
  • Local Duck Curry with Lemon Grass
  • Amchar Masala Chicken
  • Shrimp & Peas
  • Chana Dal
  • Tomato Choka
  • Baingan Choka
  • Dal Poori
  • “Buss up shut “ Flaky roti
  • Trini Coconut Ice Cream

 

 

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Cooking, Not Shopping, for Diwali!

Posted on 11. Oct, 2014 by .

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cardamom brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I could have one wish for Diwali, it would be to spend the holiday with everyone I love around the world. Since that’s not physically possible, the second best thing would be to spend lots of time preparing my favorite traditional dishes or the Indian-inspired goodies that I’ve created with my signature twist. For example, these cardamom-flavored brownies will surely make an appearance on my Diwali tabl . You can get the full recipe here!

Food is one of the most important aspects of Diwali as is the tradition of giving gifts, which I enjoy! But if you’re pressed for time like me, you don’t have much of a chance to think about what to get for your loved ones, let alone go shopping.

I recently discovered that Verizon’s website is an excellent place to shop…from my house! They’re offering some specials and latest devices just in time for Diwali. I’ve got my eye on something in particular for my mom and something else for my wife. And I can buy those devices in just a few minutes—while I’m waiting for my butter to melt and my cardamom to toast!

Wish you all happy days ahead!

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