Category Archives: breakfast

In a Jam!

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OurĀ home was raided by monkeys! It’s a true story!!

We live in a pretty, green part of the City & every couple of months in the year our terrace & the ones of neighbouring homes are “vacation resorts” for roaming hoards of our primate cousins. A few years ago our terrace was a nursing / maternity home for a monkey family. We would wake up with the noise of them jumping up & down on the roof. “Daddy” Monkey once even managed to stare down my otherwise intimidating husband, when the latter yelled at the baby monkey swinging on the cable! While the babies are absolutely adorable, & it’s lovely to observe them through the window grills… It’s a bit scary when you walk into the room to see tiny, dusty almost human paw prints on the chest or TV & notice missing apples!! And you know you have been raided! One morning we woke up to the sound of my sister-in-law running round with a broom, trying to coax a tiny, frightened baby monkey out of the house. The poor creature must have snuck in through an open window & forgotten how to get out šŸ˜¦ We somehow managed to get him out the front door.

Since then, they pretty much stopped visiting. Until this afternoon…

Bombay’s actually got a winter happening this week. So of course I make the most of the crisp, cool weather by keeping all the windows wide open! And I definitely wasn’t expecting any visitors of this kind! I had lunch, checked on the dinner that was made for tonight. The food was still too warm to pop it in the fridge, so I made sure the bowls were covered & went to my room to watch The Truth About Cats & Dogs (sucker for romcoms!) & get a little shut eye before I started on my baking adventure of the day. I came down to the kitchen about 2 hours later & saw a pack of biscuits & another of chips strewn open on the window pane. The steel box ofĀ chapatisĀ (whole wheat flatbread) was lying open with at 4 missing & one lying on the table! The bowl of spiced potatoes with peanuts was uncovered with nearly half the contents gone, with bits of food all over the table! And of course the creepy telltale paw prints. I freaked out! A quick look around the house… I was alone! Thank heavens! And thank the stars for making me lazy today… elseĀ the monkeys would’ve been in for a treat! I usually place things to cool by the window… well never again!

The recipe I’m going to share today has nothing to do with primates! The only thing that’s relevant here is that the key ingredient is from an areaĀ known for its notorious monkeys! My parents brought in the New Year with friendsĀ at a hill station called Panchgani, about 280 km from Bombay. And when they returned they brought back 4 kg of strawberries!! Now we are a family of strawberry lovers & I love using them when I cook, like hereĀ or here. But still 4 kgs?! Well anyway, after distributing (some), indulging in strawberries & cream (a lot!), we still had quite a bit leftover. So Ma said, “Let’s make Jam! (To be translated as, “YOU make Jam!”)

I looked up a recipeĀ or twoĀ online that didn’t require pectin, jam sugar or any preservatives.Ā From ones I liked, one used cornflour / corn starch & the other was made in the microwave. So I merged the 2, added my twist & here it is…

Homemade Strawberry Jam!

Ingredients

  • 250 gm fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • Juice of 1 small Lemon
  • A lot of patience!

Method

  1. Wash, hull &Ā cut the Strawberries. I left the smaller ones as they were, as it’s nice to bite into a whole strawberry, once in a while!
  2. Mix inĀ the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, & leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes in a sauce pan.
  3. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till the sugar dissolves.
  4. Bring to the boil & then reduce the heat to low.
  5. Now patience needs to kick in as you stir occasionally & wait for the jam to thicken. This could take up to 30 to 40 minutes.

And there you have it!

Note

Ma is a bit of a purist, so I made 2 batches of jam. One wasĀ with the above recipe & the other had “my twist”! I cut down the amount of lemon juice & added some orange juice along with mint & spices. I think it worked šŸ™‚

This recipe yields about 250 gm of Jam & was absolutely delicious with:

  1. Candied Orange Peel & Rosemary Pancakes made with fresh cream as I ran out of milkĀ and buttermilk! Can you believe that!Ā 
  2. Raisin Scones I followed the recipe from my super talented friend Lidia’s blog. They were light, crumbly & yum!
  3. Peanut Butter & Jam Cookie Cups the baking adventure of the day when the monkeys attacked!

Moong Dal Pudlas (Split Green Gram Pancakes)

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I’m back home!

After a month of TLCĀ at my parents’ following a brief illness & ban from the kitchen, I’m up & about & ready to take on the world! I did start making up for the 3 weeks away from my favourite space by makingĀ this, &Ā thisĀ & of courseĀ thisĀ overĀ at my parents’!

And now…I’m back in my Odd Hour Kitchen, planning menus, packing lunches for the husband… fun stuff!

Here’s my first dish back šŸ™‚

PudlasĀ (Gujarati), Uttapams, Appams & Dosas (South Indian), or Chillas (North India) are various Indian Pancakes or Crepes. The South Indian ones are made with a fermented Rice Flour batter or with Semolina (Rawa). The Gujarati & North Indian ones are made with various Lentils (Dal)Ā or non-fermented Rice Flour batter & even Semolina.

This recipe that I’m going to share with you, is my maternal grandmother’s. She would use Whole Green Gram Beans or Moong,Ā which she soaked overnight. But I didn’t have any Ā yesterday & I wanted to keep the batter ready in the fridge for this morning’s breakfast, so I want ahead & used the Split Green Gram orĀ Moong Dal.

Moong Dal

These Pancakes are very easy to make & perfect for a heavy breakfast or a light-ish dinner. They use a little oil, but are Carb & Gluten Free… so they aren’t bad for you either! In fact they are high in Vitamins A, B, C & E & Minerals like Calcium, Potassium & Iron. TheĀ DalĀ is rich in Protein & Fibre & a perfect food to help you in your weight-loss regime šŸ™‚

Ingredients

Soaked Moong Dal

  • 3/4 cup Moong Dal /Ā Split Green Gram (soaked for 4-5 hours)
  • 2 small Onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 inch piece Ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 Green ChilliesĀ (finely chopped)
  • 4-5 cloves GarlicĀ (finely chopped)
  • 2 TomatoesĀ (finely chopped)
  • CorianderĀ (finely chopped)
  • Cumin Seeds /Ā Jeera
  • Salt
  • Oil

Method

The Batter

  1. Grind theĀ DalĀ in a food procession with the ginger, garlic, green chillies & 1/4 of the onions. Do not add any extra water.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the remaining onions, cumin & salt.
  3. The batter is supposed to be a bit thick, like porridge. But, if you feel it is too thick, add a little water.
  4. Heat a flat non-sitck pan or skillet & grease it with a little oil. Drop a ladle-full of the batter as you would normally for pancakes. Sprinkle some tomatoes & coriander. Once you see the edges come away from the pan, drizzle a little oil around the pancake.Carefully flip the pancake to cook the other side.
  5. Serve hot with a Sweet Chilli Sauce or Mint Chutney or Yogurt.

This Recipe makes about 16 Pancakes.

The batter can be stored in the fridge & used over the next 2 days.

Chocolate & Banana Pancakes

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It’s summer time in Bombay! And that means it’s time for Summer Workshops all over the City! And thatĀ means I am employed for the month! When you freelance… thatĀ isĀ a big deal!

I am trying to get back to my old early morning routine… up by 5.30 am & out of the house by 8.15 am… & using the time in between to exercise (still trying to be regular about that!), make & eat a good healthy breakfast & pack an equally good & healthy lunch for the husband & me.

What I love about being on a diet at this point in my life is that I do have the time to cook! (Even with theĀ occasional project like this one!)Ā  Up until now, whenever I was on one (& there have been many over the past 12 odd years!) I never could spend much time planning & making the kind of meals I would’ve liked. So I was stuck eating quick fix meals like steamed veggies or soup made for a week & frozen or boiled egg whites or… did I mention steamed veggies? Boring!! Now that I am totally giving in to my food obsession & I can dream up, plan & cook whatever I want… making sure it’s healthy andĀ delicious šŸ™‚

MyĀ foodie partner in crime, Priti,Ā like me, constantly struggles with wantingĀ to eat food that isĀ oh so good! & the needĀ to healthy. Most of our lunch dates start out with good intentions to eat light, eat right & eat healthy… & end up with the two of us in a blissful food coma! Seriously… no regrets! But recently, once again we have been trying to support each other towards healthier goals.

The other day Priti called, saying she gave in to a pancake craving… I don’t blame her, I’d give in to one any day of the week! Now pancakes are always delicious, but they don’t have toĀ be unhealthy, right?

So this one is for Priti, me & all of us that crave a Pancake BreakfastĀ (or lunch, or dinner) without the guilt šŸ™‚

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Oats (ground coarsely)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Ā 1/4 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 Egg
  • 1 small Banana
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Honey
  • 1 – 2 squares Dark Chocolate (chopped into pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon Sugar

Method

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together, except the last 2.
  2. On a non-stick pan melt a teeny, tiny, next-to-nothing smidgen of butter & pour in half the batter.
  3. When little bubbles start forming on the surface of the pancake, sprinkle 1/2 the chocolate pieces over it & flip it.
  4. Once cooked serve it hot with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon sugarĀ sprinkledĀ over it.
  5. Use the remaining batter, chocolate & cinnamon sugar to make the 2nd pancake.

A filling, satiating breakfast, very satisfying breakfast… the dark chocolate complements the sweet banana & honey beautifully…. mmmmmmm šŸ™‚

This recipe makes 2 yummy-licious, totally guilt-free pancakes!