Tag Archives: Indian Food

A Delicious brEAKFAST made from the unloved end pieces of bread

Please don’t judge me. I do not like the bookend pieces of bread that come in every loaf. The thick, slightly stubby pieces that I eat with reluctance, only to not waste them. But this morning, faced with four of those slices that I had saved from two packs of the low carb 647 bread, I decided to do something a little different; something that turned out to be super delicious. I have always loved the dish called poha, flattened rice flakes made into a delicious savory breakfast with onions, tomatoes, spices and more and that’s exactly what I decided to do with the four lonesome pieces of bread. The result was a delicious breakfast that I totally enjoyed with a steaming cup of cappuccino. Oh and one nice benefit of this dish was that I used a bunch of odds and ends lurking in my fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/4 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • A handful of baby spinach finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 end slices of bread with crust cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • A tbsp of fresh, grated, coconut (optional)
  • A tsp of lemon juice (optional)

How to:

1. Heat oil in a pan for a minute and then add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafetida.

2. When the mustard seeds stop crackling, add the green chilies, ginger, and yellow onion. Sauté for five minutes.

3. Add the tomato, baby spinach, turmeric powder, and salt, and sauté for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the bread cubes, and toss so all the veggies and spices are mixed in well with the bread cubes.

5. Turn off the heat, garnish the dish with the finely chopped cilantro, freshly grated coconut, and the lemon juice (if using).

6. Divide into two bowls and enjoy hot with a cup of coffee or tea.

Pinch me and tell me this is for real!

If I rattle off the following words in no particular order – lucky, amazing, beautiful, incredible, unbelievable, memorable, special – does it conjure a certain visual imagery for you? For me, it is these words along with the Hindi word  “kismat” that sum up how I felt last Saturday night walking out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York City.  It was almost a “Cinderellaesque” moment, except I wanted the night to linger on as I descended the steps of the Met and got into my cab to head back home.

So what was it that led me to this happy, blissful state?  First and foremost it was clearing a wait list to take part in an event.  Not just any event, but one that brought together Madhur Jaffrey, the prolific actress, chef, and writer with Yotam Ottolenghi, the man whose recipes I’ve been creating joyfully in my kitchen since discovering him during our time in the UK.  These two stalwarts were coming together with Floyd Cardoz, yet another luminary on the Indian food scene to host a “Feast of India” at the Met.  Tickets had been sold out since April and yet through some magnificent stroke of luck, I cleared the waiting list a few days before the event.   Not only did I come beaming ear to ear, but lady luck blessed me with front row seats where I sat within arm’s length of my beloved chefs and next to their families and the curators of the event.  And that was just the kick off to a brilliant evening that had me pinching myself in disbelief at every turn.

Since the lavish evening banquet was in conjunction with the brilliant photography exhibit Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs, the event was kicked off by the talented Mia Fineman, Associate Curator in the Department of Photographs at the Met who spoke eloquently about Raghubir Singh’s talents, a topic that was deftly woven into the discussion on vibrant  food and flavors throughout the evening.

As dishes from the north, south, east and west of India were brought out family style and the audience dug in, Yotam embarked on a Q&A with Madhur, asking questions about each dish and Madhur waxing eloquence in fluid prose with a little story and factoid on each dish followed by a video that demonstrated the dish being prepared.  Periods of audience silence were followed by animated chatter where each of us tried to pick our favorites.  Over the course of two hours, Yotam and Madhur paired up playfully to take the audience on a beautiful journey through the tastes of the Indian landscape. From bhelpuri to aloo parathas, pesarattu to jhalmuri, the food straddled the line between familiar and unfamiliar tastes.

As someone who can talk, eat, dream and cook food around the clock, I was just latching on to every word that came from Yotam and Madhur and truly had my fangirl moment when I got to speak to each of them and take pictures too! Floyd Cardoz who supervised the kitchen and was the vision behind the food served talked at the end about his experience creating bolder flavors for the American palate.  He affirmed that the world of bold, bright, deep flavors is here to stay and the world has shifted to a more adventurous mood in terms of food and eating habits.

It is incredibly hard to take a country like India with its kaleidoscope of colors, emotions, people, and flavors and bottle it into a two-hour experience, but the event curators at the Met really did a beautiful job of making the most of this enriching, informative, delicious event.

I’m still basking in the glow of happiness, recreating the evening in my head and trying to source the perfect green chickpeas that as a seasoned Indian and a decent cook I had never tasted in my life till the Met opened my eyes!

!

 

 

The Biryani Cart- Delicious NYC Street Food

Biryani Cart NYC
(http://newyorkstreetfood.com)

By Siddhi: 

In a city whose street life is fashioned by at least two food carts a block that serve the same snacks and fall into overwhelming mundaneness, saying that one of the most authentic meals I’ve had in the New York was from one of these carts seems absurd.

The Biryani Cart, which has been nominated for Vendy Awards and took home the People’s Choice Awards two years in a row, is situated in front of Europa Café at 46th Street and 6th avenue in Manhattan. Its exterior is beyond deceptive, and other than the small newspaper and magazine clippings with elite critiques fastened to its metal walls, it looks like any other food cart in the city.

The menu consist of both vegetarian/non-veg traditional and distinct regional spices and flavors of the Indian subcontinent. You can look at the offerings here:

 http://menupages.com/restaurants/biryani-cart/menu

The Kati Rolls simply dissolve in your mouth with a genuineness that I’ve never tasted anywhere but home kitchens. Hot mint habanero sauce, mango pickle, and a wide selection of curries are among the additions to choose from to make your “dining” experience even more memorable.

As someone who has never been a fan of rice, the Vegetable Biryani blew my taste buds away. I don’t think I’ve ever loved rice that much, and growing up in an Indian family that cooks traditional meals on a near daily basis, that is a huge statement to make!

The only aftermath of the Biryani Cart experience is that the “fast food” greasiness of the meal yields a necessary lounge period while the food settles in your system. But hey, for a great meal, that’s a small price to pay.

So if you find yourself in Manhattan and want to grab a quick but delicious meal, check out the Biryani Cart.

It’s cheap (four to six bucks can snag you two rolls and a filled, content stomach), it’s convenient, and it’s too good. Could you ask more of street food?