Friday, November 18, 2011

Frozen Fruity Passions

Recipe: Passion Fruit Frozen Yoghurt

In my childhood days, even though my mother had a full-time job which took up 9 hours of her day, I remember her slaving over a hot stove before she left for work to ensure that her family had good and nutritious food to eat. Since we had ravenous appetites, we would eat up whatever she made for us. After that, when she was away at work, my brothers and I would raid her kitchen cupboards :) This is not because we were hungry or anything. But because we knew for sure that she would have stashed away some goodies like nuts or dried raw mango pieces or jaggery in order to cook something special for us when she got time.

After our kitchen-cupboard-raiding-and-gobbling escapades, we made it a point to keep everything back just as they were. Later, when she would look for the stashed stuff to cook something with it, the boxes and jars would be much lighter and when opened, they would be empty most of the time :) And we all would have a hearty laugh when she would claim that there isn't any corner in the house where she can stock food items for longer than a day thanks to super sleuths like us.

My personal favourites from mom's stashes were olives in brine, tamarind in gooey jaggery syrup and dried raw mango pieces. Yes, I loved all things that were sour and tangy (and no, not just pregnant women crave for such things). This love of sour and tangy foods runs in the family - mom, grandmom, my cousins, my son, all of us love it.

Passion fruit is one among the favourite fruits in my house and the passion fruit variety that grows in my parent's farm is very sour and tangy. Its sweet and fruity fragrance is so wonderfully intoxicating.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creamy Greens

Recipe: Palak Paneer / Pan-grilled paneer cubes in a creamy spinach gravy

Palak is not very common in the traditional cooking of my hometown. Amaranth on the other hand,  is very much favoured - infact it is cutivated in every home garden and periodically harvested for quick stir-fries with coconut and light spices (commonly known as "cheera thoran" and "cheera mulagittathu" in my native language). And hence for a long time, "spinach" meant amaranth leaves to me and we never ventured into having any palak dishes.

One fine day, long ago, I was out with friends at a restaurant. Palak paneer was ordered by one of them.  The moment I tasted the luscious, creamy green gravy with buttery paneer cubes, I loved it immediately.  And I could hear the foodie in me say - move over amaranth, palak is here to stay! Since then, palak shared the same position in this foodie heart of mine as the other green leafy veggies. And I absolutely love my greens.


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