Hop Right In!

I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!




November 3, 2012

Sabakki Sandige | Sabunada Papad | Tapioca Fritters

If you know anything about making papads, appalams or any type of sandige then you must be wondering how in the world I managed to make them when Bangalore just faced the wrath of Cyclone Nilam (Those of you in Chennai and surrounding areas, I hope you are fine after the havoc). 

Now, back to the crunchy side dish that will perk up every meal. One of my mother-in-law's friend was nice enough to lend us her expertise to make these for us. All we did was follow her instructions.

We made this  way back in Summer. I just did not find the time to post it. But hey, you have enough time to read and memorize this recipe until next summer. And, try it!! Just make sure you're up early in the morning so you're not working on your roof-top in the hot mid-day heat of Summer.

These fritters are more than just a side dish. They stay fresh in an air-tight container forever! All you need is to cook up a good South Indian meal (Think drumstick sambar, rice and a dry vegetable on the side) and deep fry these babies to perfection. Yum-O!

Ingredients

1.5 kg Sabudana/Sabakki/Tapioca pearls, soaked for about 6 hours
12-15 Green chillies, very very finely chopped (add more if you desire)
3-4 tbsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
2 small Onions, finely chopped (Optional)
A large sheet of plastic to dry the papads
And, some salt to taste!

Method

This is probably my first step-wise pictorial recipe description. So just go with the flow and drop me a line if you think I've missed something out.

Making this is no rocket science. Just needs a LOT of patience and an equal amount of sunshine!!

STEP 1 - Soak the sabudana for about 6 hours



STEP 2 - Place the soaked sabudana on a stove, over medium flame, continuously stirring, allowing the little pearls to cook.


STEP 3 - Add the chopped green chillies, jeera, onions and salt to the hot sabudana mix and stir to mix. Add more water if you find the mixture becoming too thick. Sabudana has a tendency to absorb water and thicken. Transfer it into a dish with a handle. Yup, we used a bucket!


STEP 4 - Haul your dish to your roof-top terrace. Don't forget a spoon. Lay a mat/bedspread on the floor. Place a large plastic sheet of paper over this and fastened on the ends with something heavy. The sabudana mixture has to be hot while you're at this step. DO NOT DELAY!

STEP 5 - Spoon little circles of the sabudana mixture onto the plastic sheet. Now, the waiting game begins! Allow the sun to do his job and let the papads-in-the-making get bone dry.


STEP 6 - As the papads dry, they tend to peel of become transparent, bubbly and fragile to touch. When they peel off easily from the plastic sheet (takes a whole day), pick up a cut of tea and a air-tight container and hit your terrace again.Sip tea as you peel away the papads and store them into your air-tight container.
Ensure that they are completely dry. If they're not, you might want to lay them out in the sun again the next day.


Once completely dry, the papads are ready to be deep-fried. Make that scrumptious meal and get chomping away. Now! 

June 1, 2012

Indo-Chinese Style Chicken Lollypop

As much as you're stuck up with the notion that India still fancies those little cart-style joints that churned out the most delicious Indo-Chinese food - Think again. They've moved on. The food scene in India has changed. So much so that I was left dumbfounded when I saw pasta at a popular Pizza chain. Oh yes, I was fully stumped when the waiter offered me a choice of Fusilli or Penne with my alfredo sauce, since I did not want fettucine. Now, why am I discussing Italian cuisine when we're here to deal with Indo-Chinese? Oh well... End of the day... Food is food is food! And, in truth, this post is to update all you people who were ignorant (until now), like me, in estimating India's culinary growth. Be enlightened!

Coming to the availability of world cuisine. All you got to do is ask for it. There's probably some place in some corner of every city that imports, makes or grows the ingredient or food you're looking for. My joy knew no bounds when I discovered I can get the freshest of cold cuts from a store cum deli very close to my office. Oh yes, that's another thing that's kept me off the blog. I landed myself a job a couple weeks ago. Just getting into the groove of work-life after a sabbatical of six years, really. So now. Back to the topic. The office is so beautifully located, I seem to find restaurants serving just about all cuisines in the world. I've downed Italian and Mexican and I can say, the taste is very authentic (or at least as authentic as these cuisines are in America).

All the while that I was at home before I took up the job here in India, I tried to put in efforts to prepare different types of dishes. It is certainly nice to see everyone enjoy something off the monotony. On one such Sunday, I dished out these uber-succulent indo-chinese style spicy chicken lollypops to go with fried rice. Yum-o!



If I've given you enough reasons to go beyond Indian cooking, then you should probably try out this currently-in-vogue-everywhere dish. Perfectly trimmed chicken wings, appropriately cut and formed into little pops, marinated in a spicy sauce, dipped in batter, deep-fried to golden crunchiness and then bathed in a seasoning of soy sauce, onions and chillies.



Oh my gosh. Someone please either make this for me NOW or buy it from somewhere. I am DROOOLING!!


April 30, 2012

New Beginnings

Vehicles honk past on the main roads, waking us up. Street hawkers giving their best hollers, reaching out to a prospective buyer. The maid renders her stone-washed look to clothes. Milk coming to a boil on the stove-top. It's morning. It's India.

Just when you concluded that I've banished my blog, I am back here. And at the risk of sounding non-promising, let me tell you I may not be as regular. Life is certainly a lot more hectic here. But all said and done, this is home. And, we're here. Now!

It's taken me a good two months to settle in. I was itching to blog. I did miss you after all, you see! So, I thought let me share with you something as fresh as the mornings. 

Here's a picture of the hibiscus plant on our terrace - A place I visit every evening to refresh myself in the cool breeze of the evening, once the sizzling sun has blazed us down. Summer has been killer, to say the least. And, our terrace mini-garden is quite a retreat for sore eyes.


Here's a close-up of the pretty pink that captured my heart.



On this fresh note, I plan to restart Some Salt To Taste - with more vibrant, fun-filled stories and recipes, of course. Isn't that what we're here for? India - Here we are!

December 26, 2011

Citrus Golden Sangria

I told'ja I'd see you around New Year's, didn't I? Here I am. For starters, how about we have a rapid-fire round of questions before we close this year's posts? Here we go!

Ever had a sip of a drink and wanted to jump into it and live in there forever? Ever wanted to go all the way and make your own drinks for guests rather than just pick up readily available wines, beer and soda? Ever wanted to quench your thirst with something home-made, yet with the right amount of 'hiccity-hic'? Ever wanted to feel like it is summer when it is bone-chillingly cold outside with some cheery looking drink?

Sangrias are the answer! Inviting hues ranging from blood red, fiery oranges, pretty pinks, golden yellows and clear whites - These are down-right amazingly flexible wine based drinks. And talking about color, let me mention to you that I bring to your party this drink only because of the Free-Spirit Bloggers (pun totally unintentional).

This winter, FSB-ite Mridhubhashini decided to throw more than a snow-ball at all of us. The chirpy young lady gave us a theme fit to liven up any occasion. It being New Year's and all, she made this one really vibrant. She randomly assigned colours of the rainbow to numbers and asked us to pick one each. Next she said, go ahead and make food/drinks which would finally look that colour that we picked. We FSB-ites sure love such games. And, it was my turn to paint it orange!


Many on-board FSB have chosen to make a three course meal using the colour they picked, but I decided to make just a drink, not due to shortage of orange coloured foods, but simply due to shortage of time and some other reasons (which I will fill you in shortly).

And so...yes, Sangria! They're basically wine punches supposed to have originated from Spain and Portugal and have found their way into pitchers across the world. Fresh fruit, wine, sweetener, soda and a hint of brandy if you like, is all it takes. Oh and yes, about a day for all these wonderful flavors to get to know each other well in your refrigerator.

Coming to a wee bit of news from my end - We're moving back to India for good from the US sometime early next year. So this might well be the last post from me for a long while now, unless I sneak in some sit-down-and-write time amidst all the packing that's going on. I'll certainly see you all back, but for now, I'll be taking a break. So, until next time, here's sending you and yours good luck, best wishes and good health in the coming New Year and always.

For now, go ahead and finish that pitcher of Sangria!