Mum's end to tiffin box tantrums......

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Mombasa- the hub of business and culture of Kenya!




Mombasa , the best white sand beach in Kenya
 Mombasa is the second biggest city of Kenya and the oldest trade route that connects India and African hinterlands. My journey started from Nakuru and it took almost 10 hours by road to reach Mombasa. It was a hectic one but I was truly excited to have a detailed view of the changing topography across the width of the country. Mombasa is connected to Nairobi by air, road ways. The national highway is too good and provided with distant petrol pumps and eateries, rest houses whatever needed for a traveler’s refreshment.


We halted at the Hindu temple at Makindu, which is a holy shrine where the devotees stop to bow down to the Sikh God, have lunch and again start for journey. While I reached the port city of Mombasa it was almost dawn. The view of the Port Reiz was truly wonderful, especially when the sodium vapor lit city dazzled at midnight. We crossed the Niyali Bridge to reach our hotel where the best of hospitality services was waiting for us. Mombasa is a very popular destination for the European people and the hotel rooms seem to have cent percent occupancy during the peak hours. There are series of hotels near the beach which will cost you almost (350- 500) $ per day to get a full day package for a family of 3-4 members including entertainment. In fact the best of the hotels are always competing to give the best marketing package and hospitality to the esteemed guest. It’s the right place to get yourself pampered……….sun, sand and seclusion.



Sun, sand , seclusion ........and hospitality!

Beach activities are truly awesome. In fact you may have series of entertaining activities on the water and beach. People play beach volley ball, camel riding while some like to have a stroll on the white sand and pen down some awesome experiences. If you are a lover of sun then you may sun bathe the whole day enjoying the sun to play on your tanned skin. Water activities like swimming, water skiing, yachting, speed boat drive are truly popular. One has the full right to bargain with the agents before enjoying these awesome experiences. The most interesting is the coral island situated on the Indian Ocean. This place gets submerged under the sea during high tide. The best time to plan a visit is during the low tide when you can take a stroll among the coral reefs. Mombasa has the best of the views of fishing area. Perhaps it has the best of the colorful fishing. It’s a great experience to feed the fishes. If you are good at swimming then scuba diving can be a very interesting activity. 2 – 3 hours of ride in the speed boat along with scuba diving facility will cost you almost 2000KSH. The white sand and the blue ocean will pamper your senses and it’s the worst part to say goodbye to the ocean after a full day activity.


Coral reef island, Mombasa.




Sea Urchin



Glass bottom speed boats




Visitors enjoying scuba diving

We stepped for a city tour the next day. We saw prominent sites like the lighthouse, Fort Jesus, old port, age old parts of the city which showed Arabic influence as depicted clearly on the structures of the building. Some buildings were as old as 500 years which speaks of the proud history of Mombasa. We had a view of the old port which is as old as a century. We had tasted the traditional Arabic bread at one of the oldest eatery in old Mombasa. Port was one of the oldest ones of the world and spice trading being one of the oldest professions. I felt like experiencing history while standing at the harbor. We had a view of the railway line connecting Kenya and Uganda. The dominance of Muslim culture is quite prominent in Mombasa and there are many non Kiswahili speaking people at large who had come and settled down at Kenya for ages.

Fort Jesus


Portuguese soldier resting in his grave.


We had a view of the Fort Jesus which has a historic site. The guide told us about the history and explained the Portuguese and Arabic influence on the country. How the country was invaded by both the races and how the language Kiswahili came into being was explained in a nice way to us. Fort Jesus bears glimpses of the archeology, painting, architecture and engineering which are evident from the reminiscences. The government of Kenya has put up the best of the efforts to conserve the proud history of the country inside fort Jesus.


Club house of Mombasa

It was a Sunday evening and we had good ‘Mugo chips’ and ‘sweet coconut water’ near the seaside. Modern Mombasa is the epitome of business, culture and a learning centre. The presence of golf course, clubs , shopping complex , multiplex bears the fact that Mombasa was the epitome of business n development in the past and present as well. Many businessmen from around the world want to invest in Mombasa till day as it’s a hub for profitable business. It was nice watching the cosmopolitan crowd enjoying the sweet sea breeze on the weekend. We returned to the hotel, enjoyed the mouth watering dinner. The hotel management arranged for a special entertainment after 9: 30 pm when Masai dance was performed by a group of artists, almost everybody danced on the tunes.

Masai dance at hotel premises

The next day we set to visit Malindi which is a town of historic importance situated about 120 kms from the city of Mombasa. I took us about 1.5 hrs to reach Malindi. Malindi is basically a place which has experienced the dominance of foreign power in Kenya. Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese traveler had signed a contract with the Malindi authorities in 1498 and had hired a guide for a voyage to India. The coral pillar build by him stands the test of time. Malindi was established as a port and a stop that served as the resting spot between India and Kenya. The town even bears resemblances of Chinese visit during the 14th century which is evident from the paintings. There are many traditional buildings situated here which speaks of various invasions in pre historic times and the foreign invasions which influenced the culture of Kenya. Kenya was treated as the gateway to Africa and other Western countries from centuries back. It was a nice experience to feel as if I was standing amid history experiencing the rich culture of Kenyan heritage and why it’s called ‘the gateway to Africa’.


Water skiing activity...truly fun!

Whenever opportunity strikes I will surely visit Mombasa for its hospitality, rich culture and the friendly nature of the people staying there.







 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Chicken n butternut soup- A healthy start to a wonderful day!



Goodness of chicken and veggies.


This recipe 'Chicken n butternut soup' is dedicated towards all my health conscious friends. Soup is a healthy way to life. Combining the goodness of vegetables and chicken, cooked with the minimum amount of olive oil, it’s not only a healthy but a tasty treat as well. Butternut combines the goodness of vitamins and other essential minerals which is widely available in USA and eastern Canada. When you are in a mood to enjoy a light meal, I guarantee that this sort of soup dish will definitely satisfy your appetite and your heart to a large extent.


Ingredients: (for 3-5 persons)

Boneless chicken (350 gms.),

Butternut (a medium sized one peeled and diced into medium pieces),

Garlic (2 cloves),

Extra virgin olive oil (2 ½ tablespoons),

Baby corn (100 gms. chopped into thin circular pieces),

Spring onion (white part only),

Tomato (1 ½ pieces grated),

Chopped basil leaves,

Ground black pepper powder (½ teaspoon),

1 scoop of butter,

Salt according to taste.



Procedure: Boil the boneless chicken in a stock pan for 30 minutes. Separate the stock and keep the chicken pieces separate. Simultaneously heat the butternut in a container till it becomes soft. Heat olive oil in a stock pan. Add crushed garlic cloves to it. Add the pre boiled chicken pieces, spring onions, tomato, and baby corn to it. Cook for 5 minutes till the vegetable becomes soft. Add the pre boiled butternut to it. Add the chicken stock. Cook the entire content for 7-8 minutes, allow simmering in medium heat. The butternut should be mashed and the soup should get a thickened texture. You may add salt according to taste, chopped basil and black pepper for the ultimate flavor.

Ladle the soup in a bowl. You may add a dollop of butter on the top. The topping along with chopped basil leaves and black pepper will simply look awesome. Enjoy this awesome delight with bread/breadsticks.











Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Avocado and coconut- for a glowing skin !



If you want to have a glowing skin, you should be aware of your food habits as well. More of fresh green vegetables, fruits and stuffs like avocado, coconut will prove good for your skin in stipulated amount. But apart from consuming avocado and coconut directly, you can make a palatable curry to enjoy during your meals. Let’s see the method of preparing a curry with avocado and coconut milk.


Ingredients: (for 4-6 persons)

Avocado (2 medium sized ones cut into pieces),

Coconut milk (100 cc.),

Carrot (2 medium sized ones cut into smaller pieces),

Onions (1 medium sized one diced into pieces),

Tomato (1 medium sized one grated),

Turmeric powder (½ teaspoon),

Red chili powder (½ teaspoon),

Ginger paste (1 teaspoon),

Coriander powder (1 teaspoon),

Salt as per taste.


Procedure: Heat oil in a container. Add ginger paste to it and cook for 2 minutes. Add onions, tomatoes to it. Cook well till they become soft. Add the diced carrots, avocado to it. Add the spices (turmeric, coriander, red chili) to it. Cook well and then add 1 cup water to it so that it becomes absolutely soft. Add the coconut milk. Add salt for the ultimate taste. Cook for 5 minutes in covered condition.

Coconut and avocado is good for health and this is a tasty treat.

















Monday, 18 June 2012

Khatta Baingan- the awesome , tantalizing taste of brinjal!


Awesome tantalizing taste of brinjal
 If you are a Vegetarian, then you have best of the health. For a person who’s a Vegetarian, sometimes it is a challenge what variety to prepare everyday? With the same ingredients but just by working out different permutation combination, you may prepare exciting food which will simply tantalize your taste buds. Brinjal (eggplants) is a tasty vegetable and when prepared with different ingredients then it might give marvelous tasty dishes. Last week I tried Khatta Baingan or sour eggplant. Let me share the recipe with all my readers.


Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 persons)

Brinjal/Eggplants (8-10 pieces of moderate size),

Onions (3 medium sized grated),

Coriander powder (1 teaspoon),

Cumin powder (1 teaspoon),

Ginger-garlic paste (1 teaspoon),

Red chili powder (½ teaspoon),

Turmeric powder (½ teaspoon),

Yoghurt/Curd (2 tablespoon),

Tamarind paste (prepared by soaking 10gms.of tamarind in 10cc of water and extracting the liquid)

Salt as per taste,

Oil for frying.

Procedure: Procure farm fresh eggplants/brinjal from the market and cut into longitudinal pieces. A single eggplant may be cut into 4 equal sizes. Marinate with little salt and turmeric powder for about 5-7 minutes. Heat little oil in a pan and start frying the eggplants. This dish does not require lot of oil as eggplants release its own water content and softens in a few minutes. Cook for about 7 minutes till the eggplants become soft. Remove them and keep apart. Dash grated onions into the oil in the frying pan. Add ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt into it. Cook the spices nicely till it emits a nice mind boggling flavor. Add yoghurt/curd to it. Add the eggplants which were already fried. Mix the ingredients well with the eggplants. Add the tamarind extract to it. Your very much desired Khatta Baingan (sour eggplants) is ready. You may serve it with chapatti.

You will love the sour taste of brinjal/eggplant. I guarantee that this is a nice combination and you may enjoy it with chapatti/paranthas as well as steaming hot rice. Enjoy vegetarian food; enjoy the different spice of life!









Monday, 11 June 2012

Baked Nile Perch- African wonder ; awesome taste.



Nile Perch is a kind of predator fish available in the rivers of Africa- Nile, Niger, Congo, Senegal and Lake Chad. This fish is widely available in fresh water even brackish water. It needs large amount of oxygen for breeding and normal functions. It’s found in large sized that may go up to 10 feet in height. Its flesh is sold in form of fillets to East African and Central African countries. Extremely nutritious in food value, this fish can be cooked in various forms with veggies and enjoyed along with family. My experiment with Nile Perch last week was extremely successful and my entire family enjoyed Baked Nile Perch. Let me share the recipe along with my readers.


Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 persons)

Fillets of Nile Perch (400 gms.),

Ginger garlic paste (1 teaspoon),

Tomato sauce (2 teaspoon),

Green chili Sauce (1 teaspoon),

Mustard sauce (1 teaspoon),

Onions (1 medium sized one grated),

Capsicum (1 medium sized one grated),

Lemon juice (1 teaspoon),

Salt as per taste,

Mixed herbs (a pinch) [Standard form available in the market a combo of oregano, basil, rosemary and parsley leaves in dried condition],

Ground black pepper (a pinch),

Oil (1 teaspoon).

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Procedure: The fish fillets are to be cut into pieces of 3”- 3”. Marinate them with ginger-garlic paste, tomato sauce, green chili sauce, mustard sauce, lemon juice, salt and 1 teaspoon oil. Keep the fish in marinated condition for 10 minutes. Place the grated veggies (onions and capsicum) over it. Place the entire content in an aluminum foil and wrap it from both sides. Then put it in oven at 220degrees for 30 minutes. Remove it after 30 minutes and serve it with rice/ugly. The fish becomes extremely soft and the veggies taste truly awesome along with it.

This is an extremely healthy food with the least amount of oil/calorific compounds used here. A typical African preparation enjoyed people of all ages.





Saturday, 26 May 2012

Methi corn vatata vada; Wonder how different it can be?


It's fun trying varieties in life.
 There comes certain moments in life that you wander what’s new in my life? The same routine, the same food and the same way back to home. So either you look for variety in life or your kitchen. Leafy vegetables are very good for health as they are rich in essential vitamins and other minerals. But the regular way to prepare this may bring boredom and drudgery to the lives of your family members. Last week I tried a different way to a mouthwatering palatable snack out of fenugreek (Methi saag) which turned out to be truly excellent. Let me share this recipe with all my readers.


Ingredients :( for preparation of 30 pieces)

Fenugreek [Methi saag] (3 bundles regular size available in the market),

Potatoes (5 medium sized ones boiled and mashed),

Boiled corn (30 gms.),

Cumin powder (1 teaspoon),

Chili powder (1 teaspoon),

Ginger garlic paste (½ teaspoon),

Mixed pickle (1 teaspoon) [Indian condiment made of all seasonal vegetables],

Corn flour (little to be used while binding the vadas),

Salt according to taste,

Oil for frying.

Procedure: the procedure is shown schematically with the help of pictorial representation.










Step 1: Boil potatoes and keep aside. Wash the methi leaves well under running water and then wash with hot water to remove the minute stains of dirt present in it. Boil the methi leaves till they become a soft dough.











Step 2: Mash the potatoes, mix with methi, boiled corns. Fry cumin powder, chili powder, salt, ginger garlic paste and mixed pickle in ½ teaspoon oil. Mix the fried spices with the dough. You will observe that a nice mind boggling smell comes out of the methi mixed dough.











Step 3: Prepare smaller doughs . Use your hands to make flattened circular structure. You may use little corn flour in order to avoid sticking the balls while preparing.










Step 4: Heat oil and shallow fry the rounded structures. Remove from the kadhai; serve it in a palate along with green chutni/sauces of your choice.

This can be a very much desirable snack and you may have it with tea, as a starter during parties or alternatively as a tiffin item for your kid’s lunch box. Ensure good health to your beloved ones and decipher the variety of life through your culinary skills.





Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chicken spring roll- yummy treat for the party tonight!!


The crunchy , crispy mouthwatering deal.

Introduction: Chicken spring roll is a delicious item and a palatable snack. It’s a very popular food item nowadays available in almost all the food joints in India. Chicken is a very wholesome, nutritious item and cherished all over the world for its different forms of consumption. Let’s see the method of preparation of Chicken spring roll.

Ingredients:

Samosa covers (standard size of 25 packs available in the market),

Boneless chicken,

Onions (2 medium sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Capsicum (1 medium sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Tomatoes (2 medium sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Garlic crushed (2 cloves),

White flour ( 10gms.),

Water (1 tablespoon),

Salt as per taste,

Oil for frying.



Procedure: Boil boneless chicken for 10 minutes in a pressure cooker. It should be pressed with hand to make dough. Heat oil in a frying pan. Dash capsicum, tomatoes and onions in the oil. Add the crushed garlic to the mixture. Add salt according to taste. Now remove the mixture and allow it to cool down. Prepare a paste with white flour and water which will act as a natural gum to close the stuffing’s. Take samosa leaves separately and place it on the cutting tray. Start filling the chicken stuffing’s in a longitudinal manner and then close the end of the samosa cover with the flour paste. Keep in this condition for 15 minutes. The flour gum paste should dry up so as to make a very rigid covering. Deep fry the prepared structures for 3-4 minutes. You will obtain crispy, tasty chicken spring roll. This can be a very good tiffin item for your children. Prepare the structure and store in refrigerated condition the previous night, remove in the morning, fry and pack for your kid’s lunch box. Procedure shown schematically with the help of pictorial representation.











Step 1: Prepare the chicken fillings











Step 2: Prepare fillings with the cover.











Step 3: Start rolling the cover along with the fillings.











Step 4: Rolls prepared to be fried.




Serve it with hot chili sauce/sauce of your choice.




Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A guest post from freeindianrecipes.com

Chicken n corn sandwich


Love the mind boggling appearance


Mommies of school going kids are always wondering what to prepare for her darling’s lunch box the next day. Nothing can be a more easily available item other than bread. Perhaps sandwich with various permutation combinations can be the best option for any school going kid. Last week when I was on the challenge to create the very best out of the limited resources in my kitchen, the idea of 'Chicken corn sandwich’ clicked my mind and it was a wonderful dish out of the easily available ingredients in my house. Let’s share my experience with all my friends.


Ingredients: (for preparing 6 sandwiches)

Bread,

Chicken (300 gms. boneless),

Onions (1 big sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Tomatoes (1 big sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Capsicum (1 medium sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Boiled corn (1 medium sized one),

Garlic (1 clove crushed),

Dried oregano powder (1 teaspoon)

Green chilies (2-3 pieces chopped into smaller pieces),

Salt as per taste.

Equipments used:

Sandwich maker,

Brush for putting oil.



Crispy, crunchy deal



Procedure: Boil boneless chicken for 15 minutes till it becomes soft. Mash it with the help of a spatula. Keep it aside. Boil maize in a container till it becomes soft enough. Heat oil in a container and dash the vegetables (onions, tomatoes, capsicum) into it. Add crushed garlic and chopped green chilies to it. Add salt and boiled corns to it. Allow the mixture to cool down. Take bread and put the chicken stuffing’s inside. Sprinkle oregano powder on it for the ultimate flavor. Cover it with another one. Prepare stuffed bread like this and bake it to a sandwich maker for 5 minutes. You may use a brush to apply oil on both sides. After 4 minutes, remove the sandwich from the electric gazette. Tasty, crispy sandwich is ready to romance with your tongue.

This may be a good tiffin item for your child’s lunch box. Well, this can be a solution for some quick snacks for some guests who give you a surprise visit.







Friday, 4 May 2012

Jhinge aloo posto- perfect start to a bengali lunch


Jhinge aloo posto is a traditional Bengali food item. For a Bengali it’s a very common dish for his lunch. Jhinge (Ridge gourd) has got immense nutrition values and the high water content in it. Poppy seeds help to keep your brains calm. Whenever you go to a Bengali restaurant, a thali will always have jhinge aloo posto as a must item. I am sharing this for all my non Bengali friends.



Ingredients: (for 4 persons)

Jhinge [Ridge gourd] (6 pieces, medium sized de-skinned and chopped into medium pieces),

Potatoes (2 medium sized, chopped into medium pieces),

Poppy seeds (30 gms. approximately),

Mustard oil for cooking (preferably),

Turmeric powder (¾ Th teaspoon),

Green chilies (2-3 slit in between),

Salt as per taste.



Procedure: Soak poppy seeds in water and keep for 15 minutes. Grind with the help of a mortar and pestle or even you can grind in a mixer grinder. Keep the paste aside. Heat some mustard oil in a frying pan. Dash the vegetables (jhinge and potatoes) into it. Cook well for 5 minutes till the vegetables become soft. Add the paste of poppy seeds into it. Mix the veggies well with the poppy seeds. Add salt and green chilies. You may add ½ cup of water to obtain an even paste.

Jhinge aloo posto, steaming rice and ghee- a perfect start to a traditional Bengali lunch.









Saturday, 28 April 2012

Spicy Lady's finger; Healthy way to life


Lady's finger in selected spices
 Lady’s finger (bhindi) is a great source of active protein. People who are on restricted diet and on the verge of struggling against obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other illness opt for healthy food. But it does not necessarily means that healthy food has to be tasteless. With the incremental percentage of health hazards, people have shifted to spicy health foods. Inspired by one of my friends staying in the US who’s a culinary expert, I have tried a dish with lady’s finger which turned out to be extremely delicious.


Ingredients: (for 2 persons)

Lady’s finger (250 gms.),

Cloves (5 gms. crushed),

Cardamom (2 pieces),

Mangosteen juice,( 1 tablespoon),

Salt as per taste,

Black pepper powder (1 teaspoon),

Olive oil (2 tablespoon).



Procedure: Mangosteen is a tropical fruit found in south East Asian countries. It has got anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. Boil the lady’s finger for 5 minutes and drain the water. Prepare a paste of crushed cloves, crushed cardamom, mangosteen, black pepper in olive oil. Blend the mixture of spices with the lady’s finger and then toss in a pan for 3 minutes. The vegetable along with the spice will give a nice taste. This health food can be tried by people who suffer from all sorts of health problems. Moreover, use of mangosteen is a preventive measure against all the health hazards mentioned above.

You may enjoy this as a salad.



Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chicken in South Indian style- love the fiery coconutty taste


Yummy chicken in coocnut gravy.

Chicken is the ultimate source of protein. It has high dietary fiber content. Rich in Niacin and Selenium, chicken is categorized as lean meat that protects against cancer and age related deterioration. Chicken can be cooked in a marvelous way when combined with ingredients like coconut. One day I went to a friend’s house who was a South Indian by origin and I was bewildered by the South Indian style of cooking. Chicken cooked with ground coconut, Kari leaves and mustard added a different degree in taste, aroma and I must say that the taste was simply superb. Let me share the recipe with all my readers.



Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Whole chicken (medium sized about 750 gms, cut and cleaned nicely),

Curd (3 tablespoons),

Turmeric powder (1 ½ teaspoons),

Kari leaves (2-3 streams),

Green chilies (10 pcs.)

Mustard seeds (about a pinch),

Coconut oil for frying (preferably),

Grated coconut (1/2 piece),

Saunf or Fennel seeds( 10 gms.),

Poppy seeds ( 10gms.),

Salt according to taste.



Procedure: Cut the chicken into medium pieces and marinate it with curd, salt and turmeric powder for about 10 minutes. Make a blend with ½ pieces of grated coconut, saunf, poppy seeds and green chilies in a mixer grinder. Keep the paste apart. Heat coconut oil in a container and dash mustard seeds, Kari leaves to it. Release the already marinated chicken to it. Cook it for about 5-7 minutes till the chicken gets soft. Add the blend of coconut, saunf and poppy seeds to it. Cook for about 4 minutes till the mixture gets an even blend. Add green chilies slit from between. Add the rest of the curd to it. Cook well till the chicken gets well mixed with all other ingredients. Add ½ cup of water to it. You will get thick gravy which is yellowish white in color. The aroma of Kari leaves is simply mind boggling and you will get the ambience of a typical south Indian cuisine from your kitchen.

You may enjoy this with rice /chapatti. I bet you will enjoy the hot taste madly.








Monday, 16 April 2012

Palak Mushroom- the truly mindblowing innovative experience!




The use of mushroom is becoming popular among the majority of Indian population. The success of a housewife/ chef remains in the fact that how efficiently she combines the ingredients to obtain innovative mouthwatering dishes. Apart from traditional, noveau recipes with an ‘out of the box’ savor are what very much desired out of daily cooking. One such experiment lead me to a great creation of non- traditional recipe ‘Palak mushroom’ which ended in a nice, mind boggling flavor. Let me share the recipe with all of my friends.


Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Button mushroom (1 packet about 250 gms.),

Spinach (4 bundles, normal size),

Ginger-garlic paste (1 teaspoon),

Onions (2 medium sized grated),

Tomato (1 medium sized grated nicely),

Cumin powder (1 teaspoon),

Coriander powder (1 teaspoon),

Green peas ( 20 gms, optional).

Turmeric powder (1 teaspoon),

Chili powder (1 teaspoon),

Garam masala (1 teaspoon) [it is a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves]

Salt according to taste.



Procedure: The spinach has to be cleaned under running tap water in order to clean the least amount of dirt attached with it. Boil water for 5 minutes and then dip the spinach bundles into it so as to disinfect from the least strain of bacteria /germs present in it. The spinach becomes soft. Blend the spinach in a blender so as to obtain a smooth paste. Keep it aside. Take the button mushrooms and put it in boiling water. Boil it for 5 minutes till it becomes soft. Remove the water and allow it to dry. Heat oil in a container and dash the vegetables (onions, tomatoes, green peas) into it. Cook till the vegetables become soft. Add ginger-garlic paste to it. Add the spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric powder, garam masala) to it. It will emit a nice flavor. Cook well till all the ingredients take a nice blend and then add the mushrooms to it. When the mushrooms are nicely cooked then add the palak/spinach paste with it. Cook well for about 10 minutes. The spinach should be well cooked and blend with the other ingredients. I will take a nice green texture and a very even contour. Remove it from the cooking pan and it’s ready to be served.

The taste is really awesome and I guarantee your family will enjoy this new dish. For mushroom lovers it is a heavenly dish. Try the variety of life and enjoy every moment of it.















Thursday, 12 April 2012

Soyasambu Conservancy; Simply Heaven on Earth indeed



The peak resembles a shape called Delamere's nose

Kenya is a place of natural wonders. Nowhere on the world can you get such a combination of wildlife, picturesque nature, ravishing waterfalls and prehistoric remains. My recent visit to the Lake Elementeita gives me a fresh lease of opportunity where I could experience the nature from such proximity that I felt myself truly pampered in the lap of Mother Nature. Soyasambu conservancy was created in the year 2008 with a view to protect the flora, fauna of the life bordering Lake Elementita which is to the North West of Gilgil, Rift valley province. Hardly a drive of 2 hours from Nairobi will take you to the land of magical fauna. This place is quite close to Gilgil, a prominent landmark. Soyasambu conservancy which shares it’s boundary on the west with Nakuru National park and is spread over an area of 48,000 acres of land.




The famous Mereroni river

The entry fee at the gate was about 35 $ for the foreign tourists which was a narrow steep road that lead us to the lake. The lake is said to be the home of the pelicans which feed on the Tilapia grahamii available in the water. They breed in the Kekopey hot springs This is a perfect place for bird lovers and a commercial package for this Bird watchers’ sanctuary is a real value for money. The hill at the background of the famous Mereroni river is called the Delamere’s nose. This has been named after Lord Delamere who is the founder of the Soyasambu ranch. The sight of bird catching its prey from the serene water is a very exciting sight.



Glimpse of the wild beauties

Nearly 50 species of mammals are found in the Soyasambu conservancy which includes jackals, hyenas, Rothschild giraffes, Giraffe Manor, Columbus monkeys and other grass eaters. Carnivores are there, but  we were  not lucky to get a glimpse of these wild beauties. Zebras and giraffes were seen hopping and crossing the roads.



Beautiful lodges built beside the serene lake

This famous game drive has been commercialized by famous lodges which provide all facilities for a tourist to spend his day, relax and enjoy world class cuisine over here. The famous Elementita County lodge is surrounded by the Kariandusi prehistoric site where fossils of pre historic animals, axes, and cleavers were found in the year 1928 by the famous archaeologist Louis Leakey. The typical cottages built for tourist represents Afro- British structure and are quite attractive in architecture. We halted here for some refreshment and lunch. The rates of these lodges vary from 150 to 260 US dollars per person per night.



Air ballooning at Soyasambu

For fun loving tourists, there are arrangements for balloon ride. Half an hour ride will give an exciting experience and the view of the entire game drive from several hundred heights above the ground level is a treasured asset. Balloon rides are generally conducted during the morning and afternoons.


There is a famous site called Sleeping Warrior Camp, which is a dormant volcano spread in an area of 20,000 hectares of land. While observed from a distance the partially eroded crater resembles a sleeping warrior. There are accomodations for tents here.




Soyasambu conservancy records visits of famous personalities like Winston Churchill, Evelyn Waugh, Jomo Kenyatta, and Prince Amyn Aga Khan. In fact it’s said that a part of the film’ Tomb Rider ‘was shot over here.

The number of wild beauties in Kenya had gone down tremendously due to illegal poachers and ecological imbalances. But the government has taken strict steps to protect them; laws were enforced so that the merciless killers are prosecuted. So, I must say that nature is at her best in Kenya. I love to visit her treasured wealth and watch the wild beauties again and again.





Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Vermicelli Upma- exceptionally good, innovative dish! Variety is exciting;



Every one of us is bore with the same type of food, ingredients and combinations. I was watching a game show when an idea of an exceptional dish came to my mind and I thought, let’s give it a try. A fusion of the Western and the Indian culinary art- cooking vermicelli in the style of traditional upma of south Indian style. The blend of vermicelli with Indian spices and herbs were simply superb, and it gave a melt in mouth experience. Let me share this easy yet delicious recipe 'Vermicelli Upma' with all my readers.


Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Vermicelli (1 packet),

Mustard seeds (a pinch),

Kari leaves (about 2 streams),

Tomatoes (1 medium sized chopped),

Onions (1 medium sized chopped),

Potatoes (1 medium sized chopped).

Oil for frying.



Procedure: Boil the vermicelli sticks in hot water till it becomes soft but should be over boiled. The best way to avoid sticking of the vermicelli strips is to boil along with 1 teaspoon oil. Drain the water and allow it to dry. Pour oil in a frying pan and heat it. Dash the chopped vegetables (tomatoes, onions, potatoes) into it. Cook till they become soft. Dash Kari leaves and mustard seeds into the container. You will hear the sizzling of mustards seeds. Add salt according to your taste. Add the already boiled vermicelli into it. Mix well till the whole of the vermicelli mixes well with the vegetables till it gets the aroma of Kari leaves. Remove it from the frying pan and serve it to your family.

It’s quite easy, takes minimum time and a very mush desired item for lunch box. It’s wholesome and convenient. Being a woman of 21st century it’s mandatory for you to adopt easy, smart ways to wholesome food.







Friday, 6 April 2012

Apple Pie - simply irresistible treat for this Easter!


Easter is approaching and it’s high time that the family should sit together to enjoy special delicacies. Let’s make a sweet introduction to this festive season and experience something very different and westernized - Apple pie. Believe me my friends, baking item like this is simply superb in taste but it’s really an easy task to prepare them. All you need to do is put it inside the oven and relax. Your favorite apple pie is ready …………………..indulge yourself to get a bite of the very desired awaited masterpiece culinary creation of yours. Let me share the secret of this recipe with all of my readers.


Ingredients: (for preparing a medium sized one)

Apples medium sized (4 nos. sliced into equal longitudinal pieces),

Lemon juice (squeezed out of 2 medium sized juicy ones),

Sugar (150 gms.),

Cardamom powder (1/3 rd teaspoon),

Unsalted butter (250 gms.),

White flour (350 gms.),

Baking powder (1 teaspoon),

Baking soda (½ teaspoon),

Equipments used:

Pie tray,

Brush to apply oil on surface,

Oven.



Procedure: The process for making apple pie is depicted in a step wise manner with the help of pictorial illustration.











Step1: Prepare a white flour dough with little oil and water. In case if you are not using self raising flour, please use baking soda and baking powder in the dough. Peel the skin of apples and marinate with freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar (you may even use honey 4-5 teaspoons) and cardamom powder. Keep this marinate for about 20 minutes.











Step 2: Roll rounded dough and place it in the pie tray. Apply unsalted butter on the sides of the rim with the help of a brush. The size of the rolled dough should be such that it should hang over minimum 1 inch on the sides of the tray.











Step 3: Blend the already marinated apple slices. It should be roughly blend and then carefully put over the pie.










Step 4: Place another rolled dough over the apple mixture in such a way that it covers the same. This layer also should be minimum ½ inch spread over the pie tray. Then close the two ends in the way shown in the figure. The ends should be folded outside so that they take the shape of a half crown.











Step 5: Preheat the oven at 150 degree Celsius. Bake it inside the oven at 120 degree for 75 minutes. Meanwhile you should check the color of the pie cover. You may apply extra butter over it from time to time. This may be repeated up to four times. You may check with the help of a fork.











Step 6: Make sure that whenever you remove the pie from the oven it should be crunchy and turn to a golden brownish color. Place it on a plate. If you cut from the middle it will be crunchy from outside.



It will be a lovely Easter this time. Enjoy apple pie with your family and friends. Discover the never before taste this festive season.







Sunday, 1 April 2012

Oyster mushroom peas curry- Wow! Can simply knock off any non vegetarian item





Taste uncomparable- Oyster mushroom peas curry
Oyster mushroom is growingly popular food stuff available in departmental store. It has got very high nutritional value can be prepared easily and is quite tasty. Well, the western countries are acquainted with the use of oyster mushroom and it marks a different degree in taste while used in sandwiches, soups, stuffed or baked items. I thought in my mind; why not give it a try with the regular Indian spices? I prepared an item which can very well be relished with rice, chapatti and of course can give a blow to mutton, chicken or any non- vegetarian items. Believe it or not, Oyster mushroom peas curry it was simply unparallel in taste. Let me share the recipe with all my readers.


Ingredients: (for preparation of 4-6 people)

Oyster mushroom [1 packet, consists of 350 gms.],

Onions (2 medium sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Tomato (1 big sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Yoghurt/curd (2 teaspoons),

Ginger- garlic paste (1 teaspoon),

Coriander powder (1 teaspoon),

Cumin powder (1 teaspoon),

Potato (1 medium sized chopped into medium pieces),

Green peas (about 20 gms.)

Turmeric powder (½ teaspoon),

Red chili powder (1 teaspoon),

Salt as per taste.



Procedure: Boil water in a container and dip the oyster mushrooms into it. Keep for about 4 minutes and drain the water. This will help to make the mushrooms soft and remove any dirt/germs retained inside. Drain the rice and allow it to dry in open air. Marinate it with ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder for about 10 minutes. Heat oil in a container and dash the vegetables (onions, tomatoes, potatoes) into it. Stir till the vegetables become soft. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, and curd into it. Add the already marinated oyster mushroom into it. Mix well with the help of a spatula till the mixture gets an even texture. You may add ½ cup water to it so that the mixture gets a thick gravy appearance. Cook for 5 minutes till the mixture gets a very nice reddish brown color, and then switch off the gas. You may garnish it with slit green chilies and fresh coriander leaves.

You may serve it with chapattis, rice, fried rice or naan. This is a quick item, very nutritious and I guarantee your guests will finish it off to the last stain. Explore the easy culinary skills with easily available food items and get unbelievable results.

















Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Rohu fish with Veggies[ Rui Maach er patla jhol]- the tasty way to beat the heat!


Rohu fish- identity of a typical Bengali cuisine


Rohu is a favorite fish and quite popular amongst the Kolkattans. No Kolkattan ever leaves his house without relishing Rohu fish n rice. The summer season is quite scorching and I thought of preparing something that suits the taste buds as well as soothes the tummy. Veggies like beans, bottle guard, parwal (pointed gourd) are always a good match to beat the heat. This episode is dedicated to all my Bengali friends and their mommies as a tribute. Hope fully all my NRI Bengali friends will truly feel nostalgic after observing this article and the photographs.’ Rui maach er patla jhol’ [Rohu in veggies] is what the Bengalis call this dish popularly. Let’s share the recipe with my global readers, eager to experience varieties of culinary updates.


Ingredients: (for 4-6 people)

Rohu fish (a medium sized sweet water carp fish cut into equal pieces after being scaled and cleaned),

Mustard oil for frying,

Turmeric powder (1 teaspoon),

Kalo jeera [black cumin, Nigella Sativa sp.] (a pinch),

Coriander powder (½ teaspoon),

Tomatoes (1 medium sized chopped into smaller pieces),

Green chilies (slit from between)

Parwal [Tricosanthes dioica sp., or green potato/pointed gourd called popularly] (deseeded and cut into quarter pieces),

Onion (1 medium sized, chopped into smaller pieces),

Salt according to taste.



Procedure: Take a little mustard oil in a container and heat it. Marinate the pieces of Rohu fish with turmeric powder and salt. When the mustard oil starts boiling, release the fish into the hot mustard oil with extreme caution. Fry one side of the fish for about 3-4 minutes and then turn the pieces. Fry the other side also for the same time till the fish becomes golden brownish in color. When the pieces of fish attain a firm contour you may remove from the frying pan and keep them aside. Dash some kalojeera in the container and vegetables (tomatoes, onions, parwal) to it. Cook till the vegetables become soft. Add spices (turmeric powder and coriander powder) to it. You will get a typical essence (mustard oil n vegetables) which will make you spellbound. You will feel the ambience of a typical Bengali cuisine. Add the pieces of fish into the vegetables and cook well till the fish mixes with the vegetables. Add about 1 cup of water so that the fish boils well along with the vegetables and get the perfect contour of a typical Bengali fish soup. You may add slit green chilies to it.

Enjoy the Rohu fish soup along with steaming rice. I bet vegetables like parwal, tomatoes, onions will help to beat the heat and fresh Rohu will be an unforgettable experience. Enjoy sweet water fishes and discover the typical taste from the land of Bengal.









Monday, 26 March 2012

Cauliflower stuffed Indian bread[ Gobi ka parantha]- simply can't resist!


The Northern side of India is especially famous for all sorts of mouth watering parantha (stuffed Indian bread) recipes. Indian bread has a unique recipe and taste that is quite easy to prepare and nutritious as well. I remember the famous ‘Paranatha wali gali’ in Delhi where you can have tongue licking exceptional recipes and a range of mind blowing paranthas. Combining vegetarian as well as non vegetarian delicacies as stuffing, Indian breads are simply awesome. Indian recipes are truly mind-blowing. Let’s see the recipe of cauliflower stuffed parantha popularly called ‘Gobi ka parantha’ in the entire Northern region of India.

Ingredients: (for preparation of 10-12 paranthas)

White flour (250 gms.),

Cauliflower (1 medium sized chopped and boiled),

Turmeric powder (1 teaspoon),

Coriander powder (1 teaspoon),

Cumin powder (1 teaspoon),

Ginger paste (1 teaspoon),

Red chili powder (1 teaspoon),

Tomatoes (2 medium sized).

Procedure: The process is demonstrated in a step wide manner schematically with the help of pictures.











Step1: Mash the already boiled cauliflower. Heat oil in a container. Dash tomatoes, cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder into it. Stir well with the help of a spatula till it takes an even contour. This will be used as a stuffing inside parantha. Allow the mixture to be cool.










Step 2: Prepare dough out of the white flour adding little salt, oil and water. Press the dough evenly with the help of your hands and make equally shaped rounded balls.











Step 3: Scoop a little of the cauliflower stuffing with the help of a spoon and put it inside the dough, then close the two extreme sides.











Step 4: Roll the dough with the help of a rolling pin till it becomes a flat rounded structure.











Step 5: Put the rounded structure in a tawa (flat container) and heat evenly from all sides. Apply oil till it becomes golden- brownish in color. The parantha takes a crispy appearance.











Remove to a plate. Serve it to your guests with chutney, pickles or curry of your choice. Simply love the delicious, crispy delight with cauliflower stuffing inside. Wow, its taste and nutrition at the same time.