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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Plum Chutney

Plum Chutney ~ Indian Plum Chutney
The air is crisp and the mornings are cool. We’re surrounded by an array of plush green leaves that smell divine in the cool afternoon breeze. The Indian monsoon plays a daily game of hide and seek with the inhabitants of the subcontinent and cooler days beg for warmer or should I say crunchier and crispier foods.

Its a given that we the people of the east love our snacks, in fact a survey highlights this fact, that 67% of all food consumption here in India is that of snacks, we Indians certainly take our munchies very seriously and come monsoons this seriousness is at an all time high!

Every known and available vegetable is copiously coated in seasoned chickpea batter and tossed in woks of hot oil, the end result is savoured in 45 secs flat or a minute if you have a lot to say to your chai time buddy.

I however am not a lover of deep fried stuff, Gasp!!, yes, true, I rather substitute the wok with my little oven or my new found love the appe patra (a.k.a the æbleskiver pan), what I do love however is anything that is tart and tangy be it sweets, main courses or even snack time chutneys (dipping sauces).

Now since stone fruits (read peaches, plums and cherries) are available in abundance in the market of late, my fruit loving mind started to churn its rusty wheels and an appropriate recipe was concocted.

Ideally here I would have made a large batch of jam, but I'm consciously trying to control my dessert making urges (which come very naturally to me all the time) and focusing on cooking seasonal but savoury produce.

A great recipe to make with plums is what I found in an ancient art of Indian cooking book that I purchased for a pittance from our good old neighbourhood second hand book seller (the gems you chance upon at such places I tell ya!)

The recipe is really simple to put together and ingredients can be added or deleted as per ones personal preference, checkout how I customised the recipe to my pallete below...

You will need:

500 gms (1 lb) fresh plums (any variety will do)
1/2 cup crumbled or powdered jaggery
1/2 tsp rock salt
1 tsp red kashmiri chilli powder (use less if you do not prefer a lot of spice)
1 whole kashmiri red chili (optional)
1/2 tsp cumin seed (jeera) powder
7-8 cloves (laung/ lavang)
Salt to taste
Salt to taste.


Wash and pressure cook the plums in just enough water to cover them for three whistles.

Turn off the gas and allow the cooker to cool down.

Once cool remove the plums and set aside the cooking water, de-seed the plums.

In another pot add in the cooking water (from the pressure cooker) along with the de-seeded plums and bring to a boil.

Once the plum water comes to a boil turn down the heat to medium low and add in all the remaining ingredients.

Mix will and allow to cook till most of the water evaporates and your are left with a sticky and runny jam like consistency.

Switch off the flame and allow to cool down completely.

Fill into airtight jars and refrigerate.

This chutney stays good for a good number of months.

Serve with your favourite munchies, I like mine by the spoonful with my dinner.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Quatayef/ Atayef - Middle Eastern Pancakes {Ramadan Special Bloggers Colab}

The holy month of Ramadan is not only a great time for fast and feast for those observing the fast but also for us local folk of Mumbai city.

Come evening, Muslims breaking their fast and Mumbai’s foodies head to the the South Mumbai locality of Mohammed Ali Road where each night the gullies (by-lanes) off the road erupt into a food frenzy, with a multitude of small stalls jostling for space with the road’s heavy weight regulars.

What’s all the fuss about? Well, each evening marks the end of a day of fasting for Muslims; a time to eat delicious food and prepare their bodies and souls for the next day of fasting to come. However, even if you’re not observing Ramadan but just seeking good food, the stalls will welcome you with open arms.

A must try dessert here is the malpua, a pancake-like sweet that is a happy yellow, doused in sugar syrup. Also, bite worthy is the mawa jalebi which is indigently more heavy and sweet than the regular jalebi.

Now though I do love an occasional peck from my cousins or uncles I'm not really a fan considering the fact that I'm a nibbler and huge portions of foods in one sitting aint my thang!

What I do love though are desserts that are light as air and have a very minuscule amount of sugar added to them.

Something about Middle Eastern desserts has always held my fancy, perhaps its the use of rose water and pistachios because it reminds me of my childhood and my grandmother who lovingly sprinkled rose water on my head on any happy occasion.

Qatayef or Atayef is an Arab dessert commonly served during the holy month of Ramadan, it is a sort of sweet pancake filled with cream or nuts.

Quatayef is the general name of the dessert as a whole, but more specifically, the batter. The result of the batter being poured onto a round hot plate appears similar to pancakes, except only one side is cooked, then folded. The pastry is filled with either unsalted cheese or a mixture of any of hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. It is then deep-fried or, less commonly, baked and served with a hot syrup or sometimes honey.

Atayef are usually sold in bakeries in most Arabic countries during the holy month but some people like to prepare them at home as well.

Combining my love for light food and desserts here is a delectable recipe that I urge you to try out, I promise you will love it.

Makes: 15 - 18 small sized Quatayef's

You will need:

For the dough:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup semolina
1 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs rose water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 + 1/4 cup warm water

For the Cheese filling:
100g block cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbs icing or powdered sugar


For the filling
In a bowl whisk together the cream cheese, softened butter and sugar till soft peaks form.

Set aside.

For the Atayef pancakes
-In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients.

- Gradually add water till you get a smooth, foamy and runny batter.

-Cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 45 mins to an hour.

-To cook, preheat a heavy non-stick pan, or cast iron skillet on a medium-low heat, have damp kitchen towels ready to stack and cover the atayef as they cook.

-Pour batter on the center of the pan (to make medium size atayefs measure 3 tablespoons of batter, for small atayef measure 2 tablespoons of batter) . Cook the atayef on one side, one at a time for 25-35 seconds till the top is dry when touched.

- Transfer onto a kitchen towel and cover to keep them soft, otherwise they will dry out and it will be difficult to fill them.

- Repeat with the remaining batter.

- Cool the atayefs for 15 minutes before filling them.

- Once cool, put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle and fold over the circle to form a crescent shape, pinch from one corner till the next one, until completely sealed.

- Cover again and repeat with the rest.


Also do not forget to checkout how to make, refreshing Anar Gulab Sharbat! by Oriya Rasoi!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Homemade Hazelnut Spread a.k.a. Nutella

Scene 1: A Humid day in July, the Indian monsoon season is in all its glory, our cousins and our family are travelling to the interiors of Maharashtra for a fun weekend at the one of the countries popular vineyards.

Reaching there in a span of six odd driving hours we camp at the Vineyard's uber chic restraunt, candle lit ambiance, graffiti sprayed walls, liquor bottles of all imaginable brands and cosy barnyard furniture greet us cheerfully. The niece picks picks up a tea light from a complex maze of a candle holder and examines it with the enthusiasm of a true engineering buff, then declares that "We can easily make this at home!", meanwhile the nephew also an engineering student rolls his eyes and asks, "Must everything be made at home?", this is met by nonchalant stares by his sister.

Scene 2: We are back home with full tummies and lighter wallets. A day of rest before the cousins move onward to their Mumbai home, I'm making a simple red wine chocolate cake with a drizzle of ganache and bring out my trusty tools, a turn table and an offset spatula.

The niece picks up the turn table and examines it with her usual curiosity, ""Aunty I can can make this for you, easy che", to which her brother quickly jumps in, "Must you make every thing at home?, let others also earn some money, how will they feed their families?" and the not so friendly banter continues.

I laugh at their antics and get back to my happy place, assembling the cake and a thought comes to me, don't I do that too?, try making everything at home? food related of course, unlike our maverick engineer. 

Ever since I can remember I've always wanted to give my spins to all foods, especially desserts, a major reason being the sheer dearth of fruit flavoured desserts (my favourite you see) that are available to us. Why didn't anyone spike a black forest cake like it should be?, Why don't we ever have cherry or plum flavoured goodies at dessert cafes?, What if boring soya "fresh" cream were replaced by tangy cream cheese frosting over a Banoffe Pie? (been there) , how about decorating a back forest cake with mousse instead of the said cream (done that)? are questions that regularly plague my out the box mind.

It was one such such hurried morning, when my son wanted nothing but Nutella spread over his toast and I like any mother the world over cringed at the thought of it.

After all, Nutella is more sugar and fat than hazelnuts - its true content of hazelnuts is low at only 13 per cent. Sugar is the first ingredient and thus the main by weight of all the Nutella ingredients. In fact Nutella is 55 per cent sugar! That puts Nutella on a par with chocolate.

The vegetable oil in Nutella is palm oil, a semi-solid fat that’s needed to give Nutella its spreadable texture, Palm oil is free of trans fat but is still high in saturated fat so it’s not good for you. It’s a no-win oil choice that many manufacturers face.

Nutella provides very little in the way of good nutrition, not much protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals – the nutrients we are lacking. We don’t need more sugar and fat.

So what can a mother do?, Well she can at least make a hazelnut loaded spread for her child with a little chocolate and good quality vegetable oil and reduce her guilt by a fraction if not much.

Interested?, recipe below...

You will need:

100 gms hazelnuts
50 gms milk (cooking) chocolate
1 tsp powdered or icing sugar (do not use granulated sugar)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp flavourless vegetable oil
A pinch of salt


Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave for 20 sec intervals, remember to stir between zaps. Set aside.

Next, blend the hazelnuts in the chutney grinder of your blender or in a small food processor, keep blending till the nuts release their oil and resemble peanut butter.

Next add in all the remaining ingredients along with the melted chocolate and blend till smooth.

You are done.

Slater your freshly made spread over toasts, cookies, crepes or cake, or make your favourite Nutella desserts with it.



Nuts that are old will release more oil, in this case we want that, so look for a slightly old date of packaging (within expiry period of course!)

Hazelnuts are available online on websites like Amazon in India, Foodhall and Natures Basket outlets too stock them.

In Mumbai the dry fruit stores at Crawford market stock hazelnuts.

In Pune, Dorabjees supermarket stocks them.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Chocolate Bark

"So, back to school haan!, are you happy?" I asked my son's little classmate as we met at a supermarket one day, "Yes aunty I'm very happy", "You know I loved school too.", I told her, "the smell of fresh new books, the fresh weather, new teachers, new classmates!, what do you like best?", "I like chocolate!", "So sweet I said, but what about school?:, "Yes aunty, when Ill go to school na, Mummy will give me kisses and Daddy will get my favourite chocolate and then they will ask me to take a bite and then say have a nice day...", "Oh I see", I said, "Hmm I agree with you my little friend sweet food on way to a new beginning! I wish you all the best, bye!" and we parted.

Simple, innocent and uncomplicated, children make the world a happy place each day with their quirks, attention to detail and insights, but more importantly with their ability to say it as it is. What a sweet thought (no pun intended) to love school reopening because, well chocolate!

Gets me to think, dont we all, adults, teens, tweens brighten up at the thought of having a little chocolate? Its not known to be the food for the Gods for nothing and a little chocolate never hurt anyone!

Now, I'm someone who derives inspiration from the most mundane of things, like things people were talking about, the colours of flowers, rain clouds the list goes on, so coming back home I thought of making my own personalised chocolate bark, one that perhaps isn't as easy to find and customised to my own taste.

Now oddly enough, I had on hand small packets of pistachios, almonds and cranberries and more white chocolate, than dark or milk and in my head white chocolate pairs beautifully with both cranberries and pistachios. Thirty minutes were all I needed to whip up a batch, checkout the recipe below to find out how I made it.

You will need:

250 gms white cooking chocolate
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup (50 gms) melted dark cooking or milk cooking chocolate (optional)


Start by dry roasting the almonds and pistachios for 30 secs on high power in the microwave or in a dry pan till they give out a nutty aroma.

Once roasted roughly chop the nuts and cranberries and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each).

Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally.

Add the pistachios, almonds and cranberries and stir to combine.

Spread the chocolate mixture onto the prepared pan in an even layer (depending on the size of the pan and how thick you’d like your bark, you may not need the entire surface of the pan).

Drizzle some dark or milk chocolate if desired

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until set.

Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into pieces.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


You can make barks with your choice of chocolates, and toppings, just use whatever your like.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Chicken Baffat (A fiery Parsi style curry in Vinegar)

Koi bi ghere jaine bafat na kartu, badhdha fatafat khai leo ne chaalo  (None of us are to go home and spill the beans of our little secret okay?. Eat fast and lets go!). This was one of us group of friends enjoying ice filled fruit flavoured pops, we called them pepsi cola and they were the sweetest fruit of our childhood summer vacations, why?, because they were made of questionable water and flavourings and were notorious for giving us sore throats.

A Parsi is asking you to keep a secret or not to spill the beans when you are asked to not do a bafat!, no thats not the only time we say Bafat, but also use it in reference to a deliciously fiery and tantalizingly delicious curry made with mutton or chicken.

Now how this gem of a recipe became a part of our cuisine is out for debate, but a large part of our minuscule community agrees, that it was introduced to us by the young lads and dames who worked as cooks at Parsi households.

Mostly hailing from coastal regions like Mangalore and Goa, these exceptional cooks not only whisked up a mean Dhansakh and lip smacking Patra ni Machchi as instructed by the home's oldest matriarch (whom they referred to as Pila, Ola or Vila Bai), but also introduced their own type of food to the Parsi repertoire.

Bafat happens to be one such dish. Hailing from the city of Mangalore, Baffath or Bafad is a hot and tangy curry, usually made with pork and had as a Sunday lunch, post church by Mangalorean Catholics. Once a basic powder is made, Mangaloreans use it in a wide number of recipes.

Now like most recipes, when adapted from one diversity to another, the later gives it their own special twist/ touch and makes them their own to be passed on from generation to generation and preserved for posterity.

Lets take a look at a recipe for Parsi style Baffat below,
Serves 2

You will need:

500 gms chicken thighs
2 cups water or chicken stock
Salt to taste

For the masala or paste
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 medium potatoes
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 inch knob of jaggery (can be substituted with sugar as per taste)
2 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)
6 - 8 dry red kashmiri chilies (use fewer if you dont like the curry to be very spicy)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1" piece of cinnamon (taj/ dal cheeni)
3-4 cloves
3-4 green cardamoms
1 tsp black peppercorns
50 ml (1/4 cup) sugarcane vinegar (use any other vinegar if sugarcane is not available)


Marinate the chicken in salt and ginger garlic paste and set aside.

Next grind all the spices along with the vinegar to form a paste.

Now heat half of the ghee and fry the onions till light brown.

Next, fry the spice paste and add in the tomatoes, jaggery and salt and cook on a low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add in the chicken and potatoes and cook till half done.

Add water or chicken stock, mix well and simmer till chicken and potatoes are fully cooked.

Allow the moisture to reduce to form a thick gravy.

Your Baffat is ready!

Serve with steamed rice, hot chappatis or ladi pao (dinner rolls)


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Mutton Biryani (in four steps) {ADOT's Second Anniversary}

Waddling through blogosphere,
I've made friends a few,
Sharing forgotten recipes,
Today I turn two!

That's right folks, its ADOT's Second Anniversary today!!, phew two full times the earth went around the sun that is.

Okay enough of that, Two years ago before I began my journey as a food blogger, the idea of making something exotic like a three layered frosted cake for a loved ones birthday or a from scratch biryani for a party of six were only distant dreams, things I often thought of but never quite had the courage to execute.

This blog has not only widened my horizons but has constantly made me push the envelope in more ways than one. I often mention this in my posts and will do so today too, that in addition to the clicks, likes, shares and comments from my readers, what I truly value are all the lovely friends I've made along the way, you all know who you are and I want to take this opportunity to thank each one of you lovely ladies for being my friends, you guys make blogging a true joy for me.

Now though I've always loved inventing my own recipes, something that I've always stayed away from was preparing pilafs (pulao's) and biryanis. The former because my pilafs always ended up turning mushy and the sheer steps and ingredients in any biryani scared the living day lights out of me. Then one day I started this blog and every thing changed. 

My better half a true blue rice lover dared me to make him a huge pot of biryani and the wife would have wiggled her way out but the blogger just couldn't pass up the challenge.

Now like me I know how a lot of others are scared of making biryani too and since I found no solution from the world wide web I thought of putting together recipes myself and document them in easy steps for newbies like me.

Today on ADOT's second birthday I share a simple recipe for Mutton Biryani for it reminds me of happy days spent rejoicing with friends, cousins and colleagues and a birthday is a happy occasion isn't it?

Read on for the recipe,

You will need:

For the marinade

1/2 kg Mutton

1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste

1 tbsp red chilli powder 

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 cup dahi or yogurt

A handful of mint and coriander leaves(each)

1 tbsp biryani masala

1 bay leaf

3-4 cloves

1 black cardamom

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp shahi jeera

Juice of half a lime

1-2 slit green chillies

1/2 tbsp desi ghee

Browned onions 1/2 cup(remaining to be used later)

1 tsp Kewra water(optional)

Other ingredients

2 cups Rice - basmati or any long grain rice (approx 450-500 grams)

2 - 3 onions chopped thin and fried till golden brown

salt to taste

water(for rice)

1/2 tbsp oil

1 bay leaf

1/2 tbsp shahi jeera 

2-3 cloves

2-3 green cardamoms 

1 tbsp milk

1/4 tsp saffron

1 tbsp water+ few drops of orange food colouring

remaining fried brown onions

Handful of coriander leaves

Handful of mint leaves

2 tsps kewra water

1/4 cup melted desi ghee

Wheat flour dough to cover lid(as per the lid of your pan)


Step I (Marinating the meat)
1) Take washed mutton in a bowl and  add ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and salt to taste also add 1 cup of yogurt, a handful of mint leaves, a handful of coriander leaves(washed) 1 tbsp biryani masala and mix well. 
Now  in add 1 bay leaf, cloves, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, shahi jeera, half lime juice and green chillies mix all of these well also add 1/2 tbsp desi ghee and mix well.

Lastly add your golden brown onions(half of them) along Kewra water which will give a beautiful aroma to this biryani

2) Allow this marinade to sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Step II (Frying the onions)
1) Soak the onions in water for 20 mins so they are not bitter when cooked and don't make you tear up while cutting

2) Now cut the onions into thin slices

3) Heat a pan and deep fry the thin slices of the onions on medium heat till they get golden

4) Take them out on an absorbent or tissue paper and continue to deep fry the remaining.

5) Once all the onions have been fried, remove into a box and refrigerate.

Step III (Cooking the rice)
1) The next day wash 2 cups of basmati long grain rice and soaked them in water for half an hour, then drain them.

2) In a large pan let water boil and add salt (if salt isn't adequate here, the biryani won't taste good).

3)  Add 1 tbsp oil, let it boil again and add the rice along with 1 bay leaf, shahi jeera, cloves and green cardamoms, stir well.

4) When the water boils and the rice are half done, drain out the water and add 1/4 tsp saffron strands soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk and set it aside.

Step IV (Layering and final cooking)
5) Layer rice onto the marinated mutton (in a large heavy bottomed pan)

6) Now pour in the saffron milk, and food colouring mixture of 1 tbsp water+few drops of red/orange food colour. (this is optional.)

7) Now add in the remaining fried onions along with 1/4 cup of melted desi ghee.

8) Cover your pot with a tight lid to make sure no steam escapes.

9) Cook on a medium-high flame for 20 minutes.

10) After 20 minutes cook it on a low flame for 30 minutes, make sure once again that the lid is sealed off properly and there's no way any steam will escape so that the mutton infuses with the aromas and cooks well.

11) Switch off the flame after cooking for 30-40 minutes, now open the lid and check!

Serve hot and garnish with dry fruits and boiled eggs.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Smoked Pineapple Mousse (Eggfree)

My maternal family often reminisce of simpler times, when extended families weren't all that that extended and neighbours were simply a part of ones own clan who lived next door. A day that my grandmother and mum often joked about was when they on a whim decided to have a frugal BBQ on our second storey balcony. So the humble desi grill a.k.a sigree was brought out, fresh pieces of coal were bought from the raddi wallah at the end of their colony and a small fire was lit. Pieces of chicken that were marinated overnight were brought to the fore and some fifty odd neighbours were invited to partake in their rustic fun filled evening.

The food they said was cooked to perfection and the taste was beyond compare, the evening made way for night and friends left for the day, the mess of merriment was cleaned and the coal fires extinguished but what never left was the smell of smoke, they tried tens of different options but to no avail, for the next two months all of my grandmothers students were welcomed by the tell tale smoky smell reminding the family of an evening long gone but its memory, in mood to leave.

Its been over three decades since that smokin hot day, but the silent resolution of never ever burning another grill at home has stuck on.

Now smoked is a flavour that I enjoy in all kinds of cuisine be it Indian or continental and as weird ideas often visit my brain I was struck with one such weird one on a rater uneventful summer evening. 

My four year old (easily the pickiest of eaters) made me make a small batch of custard which he then decided (like he usually does) that he wanted nothing to do with. This left me with a half eaten dessert and half tins each of condensed milk and heavy cream, not wanting to chuck either of them in the bin I thought of making this easy eggfree pineapple mousse and gave it a smoky twist in memory of my dearest grandmother and her unending love for the kitchen and its inhabitants.

Here's how you make it!
Makes 4 mini chai glasses or ramekins 

You will need:

4 -5 slices of canned pineapples - pureed
100 gms (1/4 tin) condensed milk
100 ml heavy whipping cream
5 gms agar agar (china grass) flakes
1/2 cup water
A pinch of salt
A small piece of coal (Available in India with a local ironing guy/ press wallah)

For the garnish:
1/4 cup whipped cream
2 sprigs of mint
1/4 cup chopped pineapple pieces


Break the agar agar into small pieces and soak in 1/2 cup of water for about 10 minutes until it becomes soft.

Pour cold whipping cream into a cold bowl and beat with an electric beater till soft peaks are formed, next add in the condensed milk and beat again till stiff peaks are formed.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the pineapple puree (donot allow this to boil)

In another saucepan place the agar agar and water mixture and stir on low heat until it melts completely. This can take about 10 minutes. Do not allow this to boil.

After the agar agar melts completely, pour the hot agar agar solution into the hot pineapple puree, stirring all the while.

Slowly add the pineapple mixture into the cream and condensed milk mixture and beat well with a wire whisk until well blended.
Now make a little cup from some aluminium foil and put it on the surface of the pineapple mixture, gentle put in a hot piece of coal into the cup and add a little butter on the burning coal, it will instantly start to sizzle and give off smoke, immediately cover the bowl with a plate or lid and allow to stand for 30 seconds for a mild smoky flavour or longer for a more potent one.

Remove the plate and the coal and pour into serving glasses or ramekins.
Refrigerate for two hours.
Garnish with a whipped cream rosette, some mint leaves and pieces of pineapple.
Serve and Enjoy!