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October 2011

September 2011

Broccolli and Mushroom with Yogurt sauce



Broccoli is available everywhere in Pune  but I think its a waste to use it as an ingredient for Indian food.It tastes best steamed lightly and served almost plain with a sauce. Try this for a quick accompaniment to something like Shepherds pie-


350 gm broccoli

200 gm button mushrooms

 1/2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp mayonaise

2 tbsp yogurt/dahi

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp lemon juice.

Salt and pepper to taste


Steam the broccoli, Saute mushrooms in the butter for 2 minutes. Do not overdo or let the water release from the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.Remove to a dish and cover with steamed and seasoned broccolli

Mix the mayonnaise, the yogurt  and the milk and heat on a low fire.Add the lemon juice at the end. Pour the sauce over the brocolli and mushrooms and serve warm.

The Joy of Cooking


Years ago, on my wedding, I was gifted not one but two copies of The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer  and Marion Rombauer Becker.I gave one away and kept the other as it had greater sentimental value, coming from a dear friend of mine, Rani, who is a super and a happy cook.

In them thar distant days I could not cook anything beyond cornbread and scones, rice in a rice cooker and very rigid chapathis. Other activities and interests outside the kitchen took most of my time.

Several years passed before I opened the covers of what has proved to be one of my most referred to cook books. The-Jpoy-of-Cooking-page

Its condition today is testimony to the use it has been put to.Minus a spine,falling apart, stained with milk and flour, eggs and other ,now hard to identify, ingredients.

You may wonder how it helped to have a book which had recipes for American and European food when presumably I cooked only Indian food.

It began with me checking out how to recognise ingredients and how to deal with them. With a wonderful section called " Know your ingredients" I was able to identify different vegetables, how to cut them and how much they should be cooked before being edible.  Lots about herbs,about oils, beans, cheeses, fats, curds,flours and lastly  about substitutes...all invaluable information at a time when  things like dark cooking chocolate,sour cream, ricotta, and a million other ingredients were not available in India.

With lovely little sketches to illustrate everything from making citrus zests to  croutons this 100 page section taught me so much.

The book was also  an introduction to cuts of meat, and had much about poultry and fish. Living, as I did , close to Sassoon Docks the shellfish chapter was great for a person who had little to no knowledge of how to prepare crabs, lobster and prawns.

My favourite part was the breads and coffee cakes chapter which  I still dip into all the time.The weights and measures pages made it possible to cook anything I wanted to, changing quarts into litres and ounces into grams,  in days without the internet to answer every question. I still enjoy  poring over parts of the book and love its ' cooking from scratch ' methods.No "packet of this'" or "tin of that" sullies its pages.

I think what I liked best was the fact that almost every recipe I tried, succeeded. There is nothing so off putting as initial failures in the kitchen. It can put a stop to all endeavours if you are impatient like me.

My daughter has learned to love cooking making a beginning with this book, as a text where she had to refer to no one to find out what she wanted,least of all her mother. A new updated edition of "The Joy Of Cooking" was her engagement present. I know it will stand her in good stead all her life, especially in this new world where global food  and new tastes are a reality but good old fashioned food made with your own hands never goes out of style.


Jamie Oliver's Shepherds Pie Indian Ishtyle


I dont quite know how and when Shepherds Pie entered the family cook book. It was something I grew up with .

Perhaps it was part of the colonial legacy to khansamas who cooked many Indo Anglian dishes for us army brats as we criss crossed the continent from one station to another.

Perhaps it was a leftover favourite  from my fathers days as one of the first Indian army gunner /aviators at the Air Observation Post training at Larkhill in the UK.

In any case it was always greeted with hungry delight.

Here is my version of Shepherds Pie or Gadariya ki Khichadi. Actually this is a mix of what we used to eat and a good Jamie Oliver version.

Ingredients for 4:

4 potatoes

1 tbsp butter

100-150  ml milk

1 bunch of spinach, chop

1 tbsp olive oil

500 gms mutton mince

4 cloves garlic

1 medium onion

4 spring onions

1 simla mirch

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp mixed dried Italian seasoning( optional)

2 Maggi chicken cubes

1 1/2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

A handful of basil leaves, torn

1 handful of fresh brown breadcrumbs.


Wilt the chopped spinach over medium heat in a pan. Remove and mash a bit. Place in the bottom of a baking dish.

Boil the peeled and cubed potatoes. Mash with a knob of butter .Add milk and mash again till smooth.Add  salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil and fry the garlic and onions till golden brown and soft. Add the mince and saute for a few minutes. Add the chopped spring onions and green peppers. Mix well and add the cumin and worcestershire sauce, seasoning and maggi cubes.Stir well. Now add the torn basil leaves. Turn heat low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the spinach with the mince mix and top with the mashed potatoes. Smooth down with a fork. Sprinkle two handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs on top and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

This tastes so good and even better next day.

(No photo right now as we ate it up before I had time to take a shot.) P.S Photo added.