Tag Archives: Indian

Tangy meets spicy in this apricot chutney

I bought a batch of apricots from the farmers market and while they were yummy, they had a level of “new to the season” tartness to them.  Contemplating a variety of baking projects to use up the apricots, I hit upon an idea; could they take the place of tomatoes in a favorite, spicy chutney?

My excitement kicked up a couple of notches when I saw the farm fresh red onions waiting to be invited to this party.

Quickly, I assembled the ingredients.

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A few quick steps and out emerged a chutney which was fiery, tangy and super yummy!

Ingredients:

4 farm fresh apricots, seeded and cut into small chunks

2 farm fresh red onions, leaves removed and finely chopped

3 green chilies, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 dried red chilly

1 heaped teaspoon hot curry powder

2 tbsps oil (I used avocado oil)

Salt to taste

1 heaped tsp cilantro leaves for garnishing

How To:

Heat the oil in a flat-bottomed pan or wok and when hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and dried red chilly.  When the mustard seeds stop crackling, add the onions, green chilies, ginger, and garlic and fry till the onions turn brown.

Add the chopped apricots, toss with the onion mixture and cook covered till the apricots are close to done.  They should be easy to smash with a spatula.

Add the salt and curry powder, mix well, turn off the stove and garnish with fresh cilantro.

The chutney is ready in 15 minutes and goes beautifully with steamed rice, flatbread, as a spicy condiment with eggs and more!

PS: Everyone’s spice tolerance varies, so please feel free to adjust the chilies and curry powder to suit your palate.

Spicy garlic naans – the keto way…..and no, I’m not kidding!

Indian breads are simply divine, especially steaming hot naans as they make their way from the oven to the table, waiting to be dribbled with butter and consumed with oodles of spicy vegetables.  But there is a caveat – they use a ton of flour which is not keto friendly at all.

Continuing in the spirit of one meal for all family members with a special adjustment for the hubby, I created these spicy, mini garlic naans.  They are totally yummy and pretty easy to turn out from prep to table.

Ingredients:

100 gms of fresh mozzarella cheese, broken into smaller pieces (you can also use shredded mozzarella cheese if that is easier)

50 gms almond flour

One tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Two cloves garlic, crushed

3 tiny slices of harbanero pepper (or chili pepper or any sweet pepper if you don’t like your food spicy)

Salt to taste

How To:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.

Put the shredded or cut up pieces of mozzarella cheese in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 40 seconds or till mozzarella is melted (if a few bits remain, that’s okay).  Add the almond flour, cilantro, garlic, peppers and a wee bit of salt to taste and use your hands to quickly mix the ingredients into a soft dough (see picture below).  Set aside dough for 10 minutes.

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Divide the dough into five equally sized balls.

Spread a piece of parchment paper (cookie sheet size) on a cutting board, put a ball of dough on the paper, fold the parchment paper over the dough and gently roll it into a disc about 4.5 inches in diameter.  Gently lift the disc with a spatula and set it aside on a plate.  Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

Now take the parchment paper you have just used and put it on a cookie tray.  Lay down the breads on the tray as shown below.

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Bake on the lower rack of the oven at 450 degrees farenheit for 5 minutes.  Gently turn each bread over with a spatula and cook for one additional minute.  Remove from tray and transfer to a plate immediately.

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Serve warm!

 

Mumbai: Stuck in the Middle

When you step off the plane at Mumbai’s sleek international airport, a few things immediately happen:

One, you’re instantly overwhelmed by the city’s scale. Before stepping out of the terminal, you get a sense for just how massive the experience that awaits you is. After all, this is a megacity of 25 million people crammed into a space that’s half the size of London. If you’re used to the New York minute, the Mumbai minute will take you by storm.

Two, the coexistence of massive wealth and massive poverty. The flashy logos of Gucci and Louis Vuitton live alongside children begging for scraps of food. Walking through Bandra, you can book an ultra-luxurious hotel room at the world-class Taj Land’s End Hotel only to see families living in tin shacks not half a block away.

Three, Mumbai stimulates the five senses and doesn’t let go. The smells of freshly fried street food, the purring of rickshaws weaving through otherworldly traffic jams, and the vibrant colors seem to echo into all parts of this global city.

For me, I was hit by one more thing– the notion that I was arriving in a city where I was neither a tourist or a local. As I observed my surroundings, I thought back to comedian Aziz Ansari’s piece in The New York Times where he describes a trip to his ancestral home city of Trivandrum. He recalls being stuck in the middle of two cultures. The India he identifies with is a country he’s never lived in, only one he hears about through stories, relatives, and artifacts.

I, like Ansari, grew up with an Indian name, with Indian parents, in a household where Indian languages were regularly spoken and Indian food was regularly consumed. But there I was in a coffee shop in central Mumbai, in India’s most cosmopolitan city, and I felt lost. I wasn’t an outside observer with no knowledge of the country and its customs but I was in no way a Mumbaikar.

“Sure, I appear Indian, but my clothes and sneakers were clearly American. Even in India, I was kind of an outsider.”

Aziz Ansari, The New York Times

I was stuck in the middle.

A whirlwind of thoughts flooded my brain. Just because I have Indian heritage, does that allow me to critique the country’s practices? Since I stuck out as an American simply by the way I walk, does that mean I don’t belong here? That I’ll never truly fit in? That even if I dive deep into my roots, staying in flats and eating the cuisine I grew up on, I would still be viewed as a foreigner?

I wrestled with these questions on my flight home and I continue to do so to this day. It’s bizarre to see New York on one side of your boarding card, Mumbai on the other, and knowing that home lies somewhere in the middle.