A Midnight Food Market in the heart of India? Bring it!

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For many years, I have only been hearing stories of the Sarafa Indore Night Food Market, and how rocking it is. Finally I got to witness it first-hand, thanks to the enthusiasm of #blushingbride Rangeeli Ruchi and the #unstoppable Swetta Rao. And gosh was it every bit as thrilling as I imagined it to be! 😍

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The place is just one, longish lane of food stalls that only open around 9.30 pm once the jewellery shops there shut shop for the day (something like Mumbai’s iconic Zaveri Bazaar and its ‘Khau Gully’ where I had done a food walk last year #shamelessplug)

But Sarafa is only much larger, more crowded, buzzier, and dare I say cleaner? Well, with Indore being declared the cleanest city in the country for the second consecutive year, I think I might just get away with a little treachery! 

And so back to the food…. Here’s a taster of what to expect, so hang on to your hearts and your bellies 😈


Samosa Chaat, Kachori Chaat, Dahi Bhalla, Bhutte Ka Kees, Garadu, Sabudana Khichdi, Chips Chaat, Pani Puri (with 10 different flavours of ‘pani’, which basically means you gott have at least 10 Puris, if not more!), Dal Bafla, Egg Benjo, Kanji Vada, Doodh Chana, Poha Jalebi, Jalebaa, Malpua, Indori Shikanji, Mawa Gulabjamun, Rabri, Petha Paan, and my find of the century, Coconut Crush 

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The burning question is… did we eat it all? Well, at 40 plus temperatures, surrounded by thronging crowds and large ‘kadhais’, ‘degchis’ and ‘tawas’ adding to the chaos and heat, it literally was a burning question. And the groaning reply is, ALMOST! 

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Then there was the added thrill of watching the ‘magic tricks’ of the world famous Dahi Vada wale Joshiji, who flings a whole plate of Dahi Vada – vada, chutney, liquid curd and all! – high up in the air, and the plate lands back perfectly, intact, in his waiting hands. And then he proceeds to sprinkle 5 masalas, each one separately with a twist of each finger!! Just fascinating 

As fascinating as the food vendors here… because they make you feel like you are invited guests at a big fat Indian wedding, complete with chirpy relatives and mind-boggling buffet options, and they are as happy to feed you to the gills as the warm and coaxing wedding hosts. Some even refuse money in exchange for the lip-smacking deliciousness that they serve! 

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Hindustan Ka Dil? Yes… a very large and cheerful one at that!

 

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4 Insanely Simple Hacks To Be Kitchen Cool This summer!

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With the summer season upon us, we are trying out different ways to keep our cool and to look cool in soaring temperatures. But one place that always eludes our cool zone is the kitchen. Fire from multiple burner stoves, heat from the baking oven, latent heat from the fridge, and trapped heat from the steam of pressure cooker ensures that we all have a nice n steamy time in the kitchen, and not in a nice way! 😬

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Let it out this summer! PC : http://www.daily mail.co.uk

And God help you if you enter the kitchen to poke around when Mom is at her sweatiest best, with hair and temper both flying high…

So here are a few quick ways to keep your cool, your Mom’s sanity and to restore the balance in the universe this summer! ☺️

  1. Ventilation: Throw open your kitchen windows and switch on your exhaust fans as soon as you enter the kitchen, even before you start with cooking. If you have a fan, or a chimney switch it on while you chop vegies, marinate, use the blender etc… actions that don’t require the flame to be on. Basically keep the cool air circulating for as long as is possible.
  2. Hydration: Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Make yourself a jug of lemonade and keep sipping a glass while you cook. And since it’s summer time, no one will fault you if you guzzle down the bright red, rose-flavoured Rooh Afza by the glassful. I personally prefer the Kokum Sherbet, while I know quite a few friends who are still crushing on Rasna! Whatever your drink, keep it non-alcoholic (just in case alcohol blocks your judgement of salt in your cooking, just saying!) and chug away. Alternatively, you could snack on a few sticks of cucumber with a little bit of black salt sprinkled on, or a few cubes of fresh, juicy watermelon which will cool you down instantly!
  3. Timing: Morning hours are cooler for cooking, so finish all your cooking and prepping, even for dinner, by around mid-morning. This will cut down on the discomfort you face cooking in higher afternoon temperatures, and will keep you looking and feeling cool in the evening for dinner too.
  4. Multi-cooking: Use as much of the table top/kitchen top appliances as possible to prep, chop, blend, steam etc. Stack up those bowls inside your pressure cooker or steamer and boil or steam your vegies, meats etc. at one go. This not only lessens the heat in the kitchen but also saves time and fuel/electricity. Get clever with the oven too… throw in your jacket potatoes, casseroles, roasts, breads etc. all at once, in different racks to keep track of time. This way you can leave the kitchen and sit under a fan or in the nice aircon room nearby, and count the number of pressure cooker whistles, or keep track of the timer in the oven without baking yourself up in the kitchen heat!

So thumb your nose to the heat outside. Try out these quick hacks this summer, and watch your cool quotient and your cooking  rise up in the cool factor, even as the mercury levels rise! 😀

 

 

 

Beet Greens – The best kept secret!

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Did you know Beet Greens or Beetroot Leaves are a thing?

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Beetroot and Beet Greens (Pic – fuelixir.com)

Rich in vitamins, high on fibre, low fat and amazingly versatile is what you get with Beet Greens. You can use the slightly-peppery, bright-green leaves with beautiful red veins as salad leaves, in place of, or mixed in with, lettuce. You can blanch them in hot water and drain and use the wilted leaves in Pilafs, Soups, Stews and Dals. You can make Indian ‘Saag’s or Curries with them, or add a texture to your everyday Sauted Vegies. You can even turn it into a yummy Pesto to use as a healthy dip for your lavash crackers or breadsticks, as a paste on bruschetta, or tossed in with your curly pastas as a pasta sauce. Got your creative foodie juices running?

And now for the best part…

Where I live in Bandra, I see shopkeepers and shoppers alike wrenching off the stalks and leaves of the beetroot and chucking them, before putting the blood red beet bulbs on the weighing scale to buy. Nobody wants them, because they don’t know what to do with them! So I always ask the guy behind the counter to fish out the discarded leaves for me, and I stand in a corner and pick out all the nice, crunchy, fresh good ones to bring home with me… absolutely free!!! 

Up until now, I guess, because by letting you into this secret, I am sure more and more people will start reaching behind the counter for those discarded greens, and the shopkeepers will get wiser.

But hey, I am all for sharing something good, and would love it if you shared your something good in return. Come, get creative with me… add your own Beet Greens recipes, drop in suggestions or ideas here. Let’s ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, and have some fun AND get healthy doing it!

Pictured here is my first Beet Greens Dish of the Week… I have used them simply as a zingy, green salad bed, topped with crunchy, fluffy Quinoa, and a slightly indulgent broth – a stewy mix of Pancetta and Peas – for this light and healthy meal-in-a-bowl! What’s your first Beet Greens dish?

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