Ghee (clarified butter) is undoubtedly the lifeline of Indian cuisine. We Indians use ghee in almost everything that we cook – curry (sabji), chapati, lentils, paranthas, laddus and so and so forth. Traditionally, ghee has been prepared, in some form or other, in all Indian households through milk; but now the usage of branded ghee has taken over. When we moved to London five years back, I found it hard to pick up a good quality ghee from the supermarket shelf; some well-known Indian brands were also available but the price premium was too high. I did try couple of local UK ones but failed to get the taste of pure ghee. But then I discovered the art of making ghee from (unsalted) butter – and I have not looked back again 🙂
Dosa is another gem coming from South Indian cuisine with an equally strong standing in rest of Indian states. For all my global friends, Dosa is essentially a rice and lentil fermented crepe. Masala Dosa is simply the filling based version of the plain Dosa. Dosa/Masala Dosa is best enjoyed with Sambhar and Coconut chutney – made perfectly, the combination is a bliss for any food lover !
Continuing the Makar Sankranti theme, the next in line after the Til Papdi is another lovely and nutritious snack – Peanut Chikki (could be termed as Peanut Brittles). Peanut Chikki is a healthy, and delicious candy made from peanuts and jaggery. Apparently my husband and his friends ate/enjoyed them in Pune/Lonavla during their MBA days 🙂
First things first – this post is dedicated to Tilkuta Chauth / Sakat Chauth, a revered day for fasting, which comes on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha, in the month of Magh (January) according to the Hindu calendar. This vrat (fast) is mainly observed in North/West India and it is believed that fasting on this day removes all the obstacles from life and Lord Ganesha blesses his devotees with health, fortune and good children. For the benefit of all, Til is the Hindi word for Sesame seeds. On this Sakat Chauth day, sweets made up with sesame seeds and jaggery like Til Papdi, Til Laddu or Tilkut (meaning grounded sesame seeds) are offered to God – hence the day is also termed as Tilkuta Chauth.
Continuing my journey of experience, this is my 1st take on Indo-Chinese food – I prepared Vegetable Hakka Noodles last evening. For the benefit of all my friends, Indo-Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. It is said to have been developed by the small Chinese community that has lived in the city of Kolkata, India for over a century. Today, Chinese food is definitely an integral part of the Indian culinary scene.
Complying with mother nature’s season of warmth and cosiness and with my Indian genes, I am presenting one of the most devoured winter-essential food item – Methi ke Laddu. To be exact, Methi (Fenugreek seeds in English) Laddu is mainly is a medicinal food item as compared to other usual Indian Laddus. It is perceived to give the much needed warmth to our bodies during winter (and so it is not advisable during the Indian summer) and also provide strength to our bones and joints. Indians mostly above the age of 40-45 consume Methi Laddu in winters as the first thing in their morning, usually with a glass of milk.
For all my global friends – festive season in India is in full swing with Diwali (festival of Lights) falling in the coming week (on the 23rd of Oct). So, like all Indians, I am into the festive mode and am preparing rich, heavy, favourite foods nearly all times of the day! So I am starting the day with a wonderful breakfast of Amritsari Chole and Bhature.