Two Bean Salad with Wild Rice, Blackberries and a Spicy Tahini Dressing

two bean salad I boxofspice

I went away this summer and I think the highlight of visiting the many countries I touched was visiting their local grocery stores. I obviously couldn’t come back with perishables but I did manage to bring back these absolutely stunning pink beans. Well the beans themselves were not pink but their shell was. I was lazy getting their picture but I looked online and they look a lot like what are called cranberry beans. They look awfully like what we Indians have been making rajma from. Say rajma to any Indian in India and abroad and you will see their faces light up! I think the only thing I can compare it to is chili but without meat. It used to and still is my favorite thing. Ma used to make every Sunday as we grew up and I remember making myself sick with it. Eyes being bigger than my tummy etc.. :) I intend to post it on the blog one of these days. My moms recipe because no one and I mean no one made it like she did.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw these. And these were fresh beans. Never before seen by my eyes! I had to have them even though I knew they might go bad by the time I got back. And on some minor research work on the net and it turns out these beans are the fresh version of my childhood favorite dried chitri beans or rosecoco beans. I loved the idea of using them in a salad since I didn’t buy enough to make rajma with.

So this salad is so pretty isn’t it? And it is so fresh and sooo healthy too. I love garbanzo beans or channa and the cranberry beans or rajma beans as I call them are just delicious with a lovely nutty taste. This salad is just perfect for lunch and very filling. So if you are looking to be healthy and get some important nutrition inside of you, this is a wonderful salad. And super super easy to make.

You can replace the cranberry beans with red kidney beans if you like or just add them on.

This post has two versions of this salad. One without some Indian ingredients and one with. Both are delicious. both have the same basic ingredients. So you get to pick which one you’re going to make!

two bean salad I boxofspice

I’ve also never used tahini paste before. I saw it at my grocery store and decided to use it for this salad. I’m Indian and just cannot not use a spice we use in our kitchen almost everyday! I adapted the recipe for the dressing from one of my favorite bloggers here. I’ve used ingredients from a famous Indian dish, the bhelpuri. You could say this is a modern day Rakhee’s twist on the bhelpuri. The ingredients for bhelpuri are easily available at any Indian store.

two bean salad I boxofspice

two bean salad I boxofspice

two bean salad I boxofspice

two bean salad I boxofspice

two bean salad I boxofspice

for the salad
1 cup cooked wild rice
120 grams garbanzo beans (from a can, drained)
120 grams cranberry beans (cooked – I cooked them in a pressure cooker and gave one whistle. They turned out perfect)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 green chilies (add more or add less according to how hot you like it)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
handful of blackberries

bhelpuri ingredients
1/2 cup deep fried sev
1/2 cup puffed rice
1/4 cup papdi
handful of roasted peanuts

for the tahini dressing
6 tbsps tahini (white)
juice from half a lemon
juice of half an orange
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsps olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp hot sauce
water to thin out the dressing

to prepare
Combine all ingredients for the salad, except the blackberries, the bhelpuri ingredients and the chopped cilantro. Refrigerate for around 30 minutes.

Whisk all ingredients for the dressing together. Add water only if needed to thin out the dressing and one tablespoon at a time.

Spoon out in individual bowls and top with blackberries and the chopped cilantro. Sprinkle the dressing generously.

two bean salad I boxofspice

note: You can totally leave out the bhelpuri ingredients if you want to. The salad will still be gorgeously delicious! If you do use them add them only before serving otherwise they will become soggy.

 

Tri-Colored Lamington Cake

lamington cake

I can’t believe it has been weeks since I was here. It’s because I have been sitting on my couch, with my thinking hat on.

To think about life and my place in it is not a new thing for me. I have questioned my existence for as long as I can remember. But several years ago, seven to be exact, it went into hyper drive. Was it an early advent of middle age or was it the realization of true love? That I will never know. I would like to believe that it was both. I’ve always been far older in thought than my peers yet the dearest person in my life would say I never matured further than 15. Both are true I’m afraid. I treasure greatly the idea of my self declared multi faceted personality. I am hardly concerned with others discovering me, apart from the one that I hold closest to my heart. Self discovery keeps me plenty busy. My older readers will surely understand this.

I come from a country that imposes every possible social conditioning onto the female gender. I have always been determined to break them all. It proved harder than I thought. It is so deeply ingrained in my rebellious body. How insidiously it entered my brain. But I live every day in the hope of crushing those voices in my head telling me to judge a situation by what someone decided was right or wrong. In essence there is no such thing. There is no such thing as a blanket or generalized right or wrong. And, let me point out, I exist because of my principles. I exist because of the rights and wrongs I created for myself. And, I believed I created them myself. But its not true. Any which way I look at it I was not the creator of my own values. That’s a hard blow. One I am reeling from.

It happened when my best friend asked me why I keep some principles alive. What do they bring you, he asked? Keep the ones that keep you happy and re-evaluate the ones that bring you only pain. Because isn’t living all about making ourselves better versions of ourselves? Versions that we are happy with? That can only come with constantly looking into the mirror and perhaps often having to say, “hey, I think I went wrong there for myself” For myself, because no one else matters. THAT is progress.

In the end I’m a mortal and one day this will all end. I wonder how many of those useless principles I continue to hang on to will make my journey pleasurable. Love is the only thing, as cliched and as stupid and mushy as it may sound… love is the only thing that gets us through. Love not principles. By no means is it a cake walk, that today I say “hey stupid principle, go bite the dust” and miraculously tomorrow I wake up skipping. Quite the opposite. Its a deep struggle with myself which results in me slowly scraping out the true version of me.

As I combat this deep seated malaise, and this reorganizing and reinventing of my being, it is important not to sink into myself. Easier said than done. Cooking not only saves me from sitting on my couch for weeks on end not noticing the world go around me but it is an important part of my self discovery.

This cake, the Lamington Cake, is an Australian delight. It is usually served as square sponge cake bites, drowned in melted chocolate and then rolled around in coconut. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? I can’t resist anything with coconut in it anyway! I decided to make a cake out of it. Three layers of sponge cake. Each layers soaked in a different sort of sweetness and then covered with toasted coconut deliciousness. This is an extremely easy cake, laborious for me since I don’t own a kitchen machine but if you have one, this is as easy as it gets.

lamington cake

lamington cake

lamington cake

lamington cake

lamington cake

lamington cake

DSC_7403

DSC_7412

DSC_7417

for the sponge cake
320 grams fine sugar
320 grams self rising flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
6 eggs
150 ml milk
220 grams butter

3 cups toasted shredded coconut (for decorating)

to prepare
Preheat your oven to 170°C/350°F. Butter and flour 3 cake tins. I used 7″ round tins.

Over a pot of slightly simmering water, heat the sugar and the eggs in a double boiler until they are hot to the touch. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk for around 25 minutes on a medium/high speed until the egg mix is pale, fluffy and can hold a peak. If you have a kitchen aid this will take roughly 8-10 minutes. While you are whisking, heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat until the butter starts to turn a toasty brown. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and set aside.

Gently scrape the egg mix into a wide, large mixing bowl. Sift over half the flour/salt mix and gently fold in with a spatula. Fold in the remaining sifted flour until it has been fully incorporated. Slowly pour in the warm melted butter mix and fold in. Lastly add the milk.

Scrape and divide the mix into the prepared tins and smooth the tops a little.

Bake until lightly bouncy in the center and golden brown about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.

Cool completely.

Once cool, trim the tops so you get and set aside.

chocolate sauce
200 grams icing sugar
50 grams cocoa
35 grams water
50 grams butter
50 grams heavy cream
1 tsp coffee

to prepare
Stir the icing mix and cocoa together in a bowl. Heat the water, butter and cream until boiling and pour into the bowl. Whisk well to make a smooth icing. Set aside.

pink sauce
200 grams icing sugar
35 grams water
pink food coloring

to prepare
Mix the icing sugar with the water. Whisk well to make a smooth icing. Set aside.

white chocolate sauce
200 grams white chocolate
100 grams heavy cream

to prepare
Melt the chocolate and cream in a double boiler. Whisk and mix till a smooth icing forms. Set aside.

to put cake together
Dip each layer of cake in each of the sauces. You can set the layer on a wire cooling rack and just pour on the sauce and then flip the layer to cover the other side. Once you have the layer fully covered, dab the coconut on generously.

I put the chocolate layer on the bottom, the pink layer in the middle and finally the white chocolate dipped layer on the top. Stack them on however you like though. I also used some extra large coconut chunks on the top. You can skip this if you like. Let sit for a while and then cut your slice and go to heaven!

I don’t like refrigerating sponge cakes, and I think they are best eaten right away.

lamington cake

lamington cake

Chocolate Coffee Cake Topped with Dried Rose Petals

chocolate coffee cake

With spring/summer in full force here in Holland, flowers are everywhere. Holland is known for its flowers, not only flowers you get at a store but also flowers people plant outside their homes. There is such a burst of color everywhere you look. It is virtually impossible not to feel some sort of joy when looking at the beauty.

This season I have suddenly fallen in love with roses. I never did like roses because of  everything cliched that they represent. Looking around me, seeing how wildly beautiful they grow at every street corner, I have fallen in love with them. The roses in a store have a different appeal, but these that grow so free are so incredibly irresistible.

chocolate coffee cake

It all started when Charlize and I started smelling all the roses we saw around us. Her idea, to find the most beautiful and the most fragrant rose. As beautiful as they all were or are, and had the promise of the delicious fragrance that a rose must possess, they all disappointed. Till we suddenly saw a pale orange rose desperately trying to show itself amongst the bush of other flowers in our very own tiny backyard. By now we were quite sure this rose, as beautiful as it was, would not have the fragrance we were so desperate to find. I plucked just one of it luxurious petals and held it gingerly to my nose. I was knocked off of my feet when the fragrance, so sweet and so intoxicating wafted into my senses. The rose in hiding or should I say in plain sight, was our perfect rose.

And then I left the petal on a table and forgot all about it.

Several days later, I saw that pale orange petal transformed to a flaming dried red one. How the color changed I have no idea. It was as if that lone petal sucked all the color around it. In death, it became yet more beautiful. Nor did it sacrifice its scent.

This event was too beautiful to not try again. Maybe it would not happen again. So I tried with yet one more petal. The exact same thing happened again.

For me roses go perfectly with chocolate. This cake happened because of that rose and not the other way around. I love that because of the way it surprised me. I patiently looked at all the petals from 2 roses from the backyard, turn to a flaming red.These are the petals you will so on top of this cake.

chocolate coffee cake

The rose also gently reminded me of how love, beauty comes to us in the most unexpected ways, by accident and most often by things or people right under our noses.

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

chocolate coffee cake

I found this cake on Vogue Living and it really is a deep rich soul satisfying cake

for cake
85 grams Dutch cocoa powder
320 ml sour cream
4 large eggs
1/3 cup strong coffee*
3 tsps vanilla extract
320 grams plain flour
2 cups fine sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
400 grams unsalted butter, softened (should be very very soft and not just room temperature)

for the coffee ganache
2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/3 cup cold espresso coffee**

to prepare cake
Preheat oven to 175° C/350° F.

Grease a bundt cake pan of your choice. Lightly dust with flour.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cocoa, sour cream, eggs, coffee and vanilla extract until just combined.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of butter to cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Add remaining flour mixture and butter, in batches, beating until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Set aside for 20 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

to make coffee glaze
Combine icing sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in coffee until mixture reaches a pouring consistency.

* I made the strong coffee by mixing 2 tbsps of instant coffee granules into 1/3 cup hot water.

** For the cold espresso coffee, mix 1 tbsp instant coffee into 1/3 cup cool water.

chocolate coffee cake

 

 

 

 

Apricot Meringue Tartlets with Amaretto and An Almond, Date, Coconut Crust

apricot meringue tartlets

I’m working on this project with a group of some very talented young people who are total foodies. It’s the reason why you may not see me on this space so often the next coming weeks. I will try my best to put up as many posts as I can but developing recipes for this new Indian food portal is hard, exciting and time consuming work!

You will see the full range of recipes here too as soon as it goes live.

Now I came up with a recipe that required me to make almond milk. The milk came out delicious and maybe at a later date I will post it here but for now I wanted to use the left over almond bits in a crust for a tart. So, I go to the store to see what fruit appeals to me most. Apricots were on sale! And that began it all.

The apricots can be replaced for any fruit of your choice. I also used dates just as a natural sweetener for the almond milk so they also form part of the crust. I just thought the meringues were just the cutest little addition on top of it all.

If you like your dessert to look pretty (which in my opinion all dessert should!), then make these. Pretty easy to make too.

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

apricot meringue tartlets

 

Lets get started.

Inspiration from What Katie Ate

for crust
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
150 grams almond flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsps corn starch
2 tbsps coconut oil
2 tbsps dessicated coconut
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsps maple syrup or honey
5-6 dates, cut in small pieces

to prepare
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Combine all the ingredients except the coconut oil and maple syrup in a bowl. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup. With your hands, work the dry ingredients towards the center until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm, then chill for at least 30 minutes.

Press the dough evenly onto 6 mini tart shells. Shape the dough flush with the edge of the pan. Prick the bottom with a fork and pre-bake for about 10 minutes.

apricot amaretto filling
2 tbsps very fine sugar
500 grams apricots, deseeded and skinned
1 tbsp amaretto

to prepare
Place the apricot halves in a pan with amaretto and 2 tablespoons of the very fine sugar. Turn the heat to medium and cook till the apricots soften and dissolve into the sugar and amaretto. Take off the heat and place in fridge for 30 minutes.

for the meringue
5 egg whites
250 grams fine sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cream of tartar

to prepare
Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer to soft peaks. With the motor running, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next, until stiff and glossy. Add vinegar, vanilla and cream of tartar, then whisk briefly to combine.

Transfer meringue to piping bag.

to put together
Divide the apricot mix between your small tart tins. I got 6. Pipe the meringue on top of the apricot mix. You could also spoon it on. Place tartlets on a baking sheet and bake for around 10-15 minutes or till the tops of your meringue are a soft brown. Keep a close eye!

Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving warm or at room temperature.

Note: If your apricots are not ripe enough you may have to cook them in water for a short period (around ten minutes) to get them soft enough to peel off their skin.

 

Chocolate Espresso Cake

chocolate espresso cake

I made this cake last weekend. And since then I have been staring at the computer screen wondering what to say. I go through periods like this a lot. When I have nothing to say. I open my mouth and nothing comes out. Days like this are spent in self reflection. Sometimes with the person dearest to me. And only with someone who really understands me. With this person it all comes out as in a verbal vomit but with others I feel like I am a blur. As if they move in slow motion and I too fast. Or is it the other way around?

Nothing holds any importance in our lives but the love or the passion we have. Especially if you think of how temporary everything is. Only true love defies time and space.

I watched “Lucy” on the plane back from India recently and it left a deep impact on me. If we really did use more than the 10 percent of our brains as we do, the possibilities are endless. We become without form and shape and emotion has no place in this state. A person becomes just energy. As cool as it sounded, I’m not sure I want to feel nothing. Even if it comes at the cost of not having superhuman powers. I want to love deeply, unconditionally and I want to bear any pain that comes with it.

Nothing comes easily. Not for me anyway. And, I am suspicious of anything that does. If it does come too easily, I feel no joy in having it. Working hard and then achieving something has a satisfaction like nothing else. Maybe that’s why I try and look for the tallest cake or the one with the most work in it. You will also rarely see me baking the same one twice. I refuse to buy a kitchen machine because I feel I am cheating. I know I know it isn’t but that’s how I feel. Making buttercream with a hand held mixer is not so easy and many times it goes wrong, but I’d rather toil than not.

This cake is a lot of work and I loved it. So if you are up for a challenge and have time on your hands, this is the cake for you. This cake is so tall, I was actually scared to cut it lest it fall apart. I am happy to report it did not and that effect when you do cut it, is stunning!

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

chocolate espresso cake

 

adapted slightly from here

300 grams all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsps espresso powder
2 tps baking powder
1 1/2 tps salt
85 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (50% cream and 50% whole milk)
1/4 cup espresso vodka (I made my own from here)
1 1/2 tbss vanilla essence
255  grams unsalted butter, room temperature
420 grams granulated sugar
7 eggs, room temperature

to prepare
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.

Butter and flour three 7-inch cake pans. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk until the dry ingredients are evenly combined. In a separate small bowl, combine the cream and milk, espresso vodka and vanilla essence.

Cream the butter and sugar together on low speed for 5 minutes (I only have a hand mixer but if you have a kitchen machine go ahead and use that). Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer still on low speed, swiftly alternate between adding the dry and liquid ingredients over the course of a minute. Scrape down the sides well, making sure to reach the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Distribute the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans, using a spatula to even out the tops.

Bake until the a toothpick comes out of the center of each cake clean, approximately 30-40 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan.

for the chocolate espresso italian meringue buttercream:
350 grams granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsps water
1 tsp agave syrup
5 egg whites
450 grams unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
85 grams unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tbsp espresso vodka, room temperature
1 tbsp brewed espresso, room temperature
to prepare
Add sugar, water and agave syrup to a medium sized sauce pot. Cover and turn the heat to high. Once the liquid begins to simmer and steam has developed, remove the cover (this helps prevent crystallization). You can use a candy thermometer, cooking the sugar to the soft ball stage, 235-240°F. I however did not have this thermometer and all you need to do is to let the mixture cook for for 5-10 minutes and if you then drop a drop of this mix into cold water it should form a ball and float. That’s the soft ball stage.
While the sugar is cooking, whisk the eggs on high in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until a soft peak has formed.
Turn the mixer speed down to medium low and very slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Don’t pour the hot syrup directly into the meringue.
Once the syrup is completely incorporated, turn the speed to high and allow the meringue to continue to form a stiff peak while cooling down. Mix on high until the meringue has reached room temperature. To speed up this 15-20 minute process, ice packs can be placed around the bowl. This really helps and cuts down the time to half.
Once the meringue is room temperature, slowly begin incorporating the soft butter on medium speed. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to high and very slowly add the chocolate, espresso and vodka.
to put together
Place the first layer of cake on a stand. Spread approximately one cup of buttercream on the cake and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Add more buttercream as needed to reached the desired thickness. Repeat with the second and third layer. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set this first layer of buttercream. Cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting. Decorate as desired.
Cake is best when served at room temperature.
notes
I just want to say that even though with a kitchen machine making this buttercream is much easier, I did mine with a hand held mixer and it is possible!. The key is to not stop whipping, so make sure you have all ingredients prepared beforehand and close at hand. Adding the butter slowly is also key.

Coconut Cake with Coconut Rum

coconut cake

So it was my birthday last week. And I made this amazing cake with coconut and more coconut. I was sad when it got polished off.

I want to talk about love today. Because I am brimming over with it. I am so thankful for all the love in my life… sometimes it comes in the most obvious ways and other times in an unexpected manner. Whatever it is, I would like to embrace it. And I do.

This trip of mine to India was amazing in the amount of love that I received from the people that I met. The love that I received from my friend Priyanka that gave me the opportunity to shoot her important day. The man in her life that without even knowing me welcomed me in his life just because I am her friend.  The new and very funny people that I met at the wedding.

My old friends that I again connected with as if the years in between hadn’t happened.

And the love that I came back to. Love that needn’t be voiced (even though is so wonderful to hear) but is just felt.

This cake is therefore about love. Love for life. Love for cake + coconut! :)

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

coconut cake

adapted from here.

for the cake
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup oil
1 1/3 cups well shaken canned coconut milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
1 tsp coconut rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

coconut cream cheese frosting
12 oz. cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp coconut rum
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cups shredded coconut

to prepare
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
Butter and flour three 7-inch round cake pans and set pans aside.
Sift cake flour into a large mixing bowl, then add baking powder and salt and whisk mixture for 20 seconds. In the bowl blend together granulated sugar, butter and the oil on medium speed until well combined. Add in egg yolks one at a time and mix until combined after each addition (reserve the 2 egg whites), then mix in coconut rum and vanilla extracts. Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/2 of the coconut milk and mixing just until combined after each addition. Lastly add the shredded coconut.
In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip 6 egg whites with cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold 1/3 of the egg whites into cake batter at a time and fold just combined after each addition (don’t over-mix and deflate egg whites). Divide batter among prepared cake pans. Spread batter into an even layer and bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 19 – 22 minutes. Allow to cool in cake pan 5 – 10 minutes then run a knife along edges of cakes and invert each onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely.
for the coconut cream cheese frosting
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter with cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Mix in coconut rum. Add powdered sugar and whip on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Chill as needed if frosting seems runny (slightly runny is fine).
to put together
Spread the cream cheese top of one layer, add another layer and apply more cream cheese then top with last layer and pour the rest on top. Sprinkle cake evenly with shredded coconut on top (you can also add the shredded coconut in between the layers).

 

 

 

Sesame Kale Chips with Kale Stem Pakodas + the 100th post!

kale

As you know I am in India. And as I had mentioned in my last post briefly, I am here on emotional matters (my mom) and for work. I say work but it was more pleasure. A dear friend was getting married and she asked me if I’d like to take pictures of her special day. I, of course said yes, not only because she is a friend but because I am always so pleased when someone appreciates my style of photography, which is as real as it can get.

Now she was getting married to a famous Indian cricket player. Now I may not watch cricket actively but cricket runs in all our Indian veins. Even if you don’t really watch it, it is always playing somewhere in the background, or is in an advertisement or billboards. It really is everywhere around you. Everything you eat or drink is endorsed by some cricket player or the other. My fondest memories are of mom, sitting us down on her lap while she eagerly heard the commentary on the radio. There was no pulling her away from that radio set.

Everything in India revolves around food. We all know that. But when something as special as cricket is on television, then of course all the Indian snacks come out. The pakodas, the samosas. It is not unlike the Super Bowl in the US I guess. Cricket is a religion here, in India. As soccer is I suppose in Brazil or Argentina. It gives people hope and most importantly brings people together.

Well, food I think does the same.

I had a great time shooting the wedding. And I fell in love with the great darling that is Suresh Raina to the nation. When cricketers are treated as Gods, it is truly amazing to see someone, who as one of the best players on the national team, is as humble and kind as he is. He is the only cricketer to have hit a century (100 runs) in all formats of cricket. So it is only fitting that he should grace my 100th post!

So here I am, bringing the pakodas out. These are made from the stems of the kale leaves that we usually throw away. Don’t! Make pakodas!

And then make yourself some chai and sit back, put up your feet and enjoy a good game of Indian cricket! :)

kale

kale

kale

kale

for the chips
250 grams kale leaves
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
rock salt as desired
a good splash of olive oil

to prepare
Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.

Wash the leaves and pat dry with a kitchen towel. With a sharp knife cut the hard stems off and set aside. Do not throw these!

On a baking tray line with parchment, lay out out your leaves. You can either tear them into pieces of the size you want or you can leave them whole and crack them later.

Splash on the olive oil and massage into the leaves. Sprinkle the sesame seeds, the chili flakes and the salt.

Bake for 15 minutes and take out to cool.

for the kale stem pakodas
1/2 cup gram flour
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds
a pinch of baking soda
salt as per taste
water for making batter
the leftover stems from your kale leaves
oil for deep frying

to prepare
Heat enough oil in a wok for deep frying the stems.

Mix the gram flour and the water to make a batter of pancake consistency (as you can see in the picture).

Mix in all the spices and whip with hands till there are no lumps. Dip the stems into the batter and make sure you cover the stems evenly. You could also could also cut the stems in rectangular pieces if you find that easier.

Drop a bit of batter into the hot oil. If it sizzles and rises your oil is ready.

Deep fry for a few minutes till golden brown.

Eat hot!