Delicious Kerala Style Lamb Curry

Indian food is as diverse as its culture, regions and people. Each region has its own distinct cuisine that may be similar in some aspects and at the same time, completely different from each other. The cuisine of Kerala where my family is originally from relies heavily on seafood, vegetables and coconut. Given the large Christian minority in the state, meat also forms an important part of our food culture more so than any other state in India.

Though I’ve learned the basics of South Indian cooking from my mother who’s an excellent cook, I’ve been looking for ways to expand my repertoire of Indian recipes. I am now pretty comfortable with cooking up a few North Indian dishes as well thanks to my North Indian friends and excellent online resources.

In my quest for new Indian recipes, I chanced upon an Indian cookbook by Atul Kochhar titled, ‘Simple Indian: The Fresh Tastes of India’s New Cuisine’. It’s a collection of recipes from different parts of India and gives a refreshing insight into flavours from various regions of the country. A welcome change from the usual ‘rogan josh’, ‘butter chicken’ type recipes 😉 So far, I’ve tried a few recipes from this book and all have turned out really delicious. The only issue I had with one or two of them was with some of the instructions not being clear enough, especially, with things like the time required to cook something or whether the pan should be left covered or uncovered while cooking, etc. You’ll see what I mean when you read the method for the lamb curry.

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Dutch Spiced Loaf

Baking has always intrigued me and ovens were always mysterious electrical appliances never to be played with. The only oven I was ever familiar with while growing up was an old fashioned contraption my mom used to bake an occasional cake. Once that broke down, that was the end of her baking experiments. Unfortunately, my father in spite of being a food lover,  had no interest whatsoever in freshly baked goods simply because baking was not really part of our food culture. This meant that the poor oven was never repaired or replaced and we never had a home baked cake ever after that.

Years later, here I am in Ireland and in the process of adapting to Western ways of life, I’ve slowly and surely grown confident of using the oven on a regular basis. To keep this confidence up, I felt the need to bake something, a loaf of bread, a cake, something that would give me a smug sense of satisfaction. That’s how I decided to try a recipe from Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra’s gorgeous book, ‘Warm Bread and Honey Cake’. It’s a wonderful collection of baking related recipes from different parts of the world and brings exotic flavours and their stories from around the globe straight into your kitchen.

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A Great Weekend Dinner

Last weekend was a blur of rain, sun, cooking and catching up with friends. We had two very good friends over for dinner on Sunday. The one thing that both Peter and I knew we wanted on the table was a nice roast leg of lamb. We’d made this for the first time as part of the main course for our Christmas dinner last year and have fallen in love with it ever since. Making a roast at the start of spring may sound a little odd but believe me, slowly roasted, meltingly tender meat can be had anywhere, anytime. And, isn’t roast lamb a part of Easter tradition? 😉

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Inspired by MasterChefs

The BBC ‘MasterChef‘ series is one of my favourite tv shows. It’s a competition for both amateur cooks and professional chefs (in mutually exclusive series of course) and a new winner is crowned the MasterChef Champion each year. I really enjoy the witty banter of hosts/judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode while the contestants are scurrying around trying to create master pieces in the middle of utter chaos. It makes for some exciting, nerve-wracking, awe-inspiring moments that makes you want to get into the kitchen and whip up a MasterChef-worthy recipe immediately!

So, you can imagine my joy when we were in a bookstore recently and I found ‘MasterChef at Home’. The book brings together some of the best recipes from winners and participants of the 2010 competition. It also has recipes by Michel Roux Jr, the renowned chef, who’s a judge on the MasterChef Professional series and some handy kitchen skill masterclasses from his trusted aide, Monica Galetti. [Read more…]

Celebrating the World Cup with Samosas & Tea

April 2nd, 2011 will go down as a momentous day in the history of Indian cricket. On this day, the Indian cricket team trounced the Sri Lankans to bring home the cricket World Cup once again after 28 long years.

And how did we witness this great event unfold? Unfortunately, not a single sports channel on our Irish cable network was showing the match. We watched it via online streaming which wasn’t the best experience but we savoured the various heartbeat-stopping, nail-biting moments along with some hot samosas and cups of steaming hot Indian tea. Whoever said cricket is a boring, long and slow game! [Read more…]