A Gastronomic Experience…

It’s been a while since I posted something. Life’s been busy. Both work and play make life worth it. A few days back I had a chance to leave the peaceful simple small city life to venture into the hustle and bustle of New York City. The city that never sleeps – The glitz, the glam, the swarm of faces, the food and the jungle of skyscrapers rocketing high up. It wasn’t a first visit but this dynamic city offers you something new each time to you see it.

city

(Image from: http://www.homedsgn.com/)

My motivation was meeting a couple of old friends and to spend a good time but a chance of gobbling up loads of authentic Indian food was the driving force. You name it you get it. Small Mithai shops lining up streets of Jersey City take you back home. The aroma of those familiar spices brings back all the nostalgia that was kept tucked in somewhere. Kebabs, Bhature chane, Dal makhani, Naan, butter chicken and my typical Punjabi instincts wake up as if I had a splash of ice cold water in my face. Edison, New Jersey is a foodie’s heaven.

250px-Chicken_makhani

It’s not only the Indian food that would take you on a gastronomic ride. Street food of New York City has its own charm. Walking through the city, cutting your way in the crowd, you might stop by a roadside food van for a hot dog, some Falafel, lamb gyro or the special Chicken over rice. We had this amazing dish at the Halal Guys.

 Chicken rice

(Image  from the website)

Walking at the Times Square in the middle of all the fun and flare, when the clock struck midnight, we knew our tired bodies needed to be refueled. It was a little walk from there to reach the 53rd street on 6th avenue. H( that’s my better half) had a chance to relish this feast on one of his trips to the city. He literally had dragged a party of 7 including kids to this spot just to get a spoonful of this delicacy. There was a queue long enough to be seen from far in front of this small cart. I could see how popular this was among the locals who are up till 1:30 at night. A few packed it and flew, a few took a refuge on the benches by the side of a fountain to enjoy it and then there were others who were desperately waiting for their turns. It was an empty stomach, fun attached to a midnight roadside meal or just the whole atmosphere, I truly enjoyed my portion. If you get a chance, don’t forget the fiery hot red chutney and the milder white sauce that accompanies this plateful.

I had started this post with something else in my mind about this visit but again the foodie overpowered the thinker. I’ll be spilling out those thoughts soon but for now let’s put them on hold.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Mango Nostalgia…

Food is a vibe that connects the most disconnected people. It’s not just a form of matter that goes into our mouth and triggers the taste buds. It’s a science that has its own basic principles. It’s an art that requires plenty of passion to bring out the best. For foodies like me, it might actually drive your mood. Indulging in creating a sample of this craft (or let’s just call it Cooking) might act as an amazing stress buster.

A few days back I came across my favorite fruit while browsing through a local Farmer’s market: Mangoes!! Being a native Indian, I’ve fond memories of gulping down the fresh yellow pulp straight from a ripe mango. The harsh hot Indian summer brings with it a variety of the fruit. It would come in all sizes. No matter it’s ripe or not, Mangoes are an integral ingredient of summer cuisine in our homes. Aam Pana (a drink made from raw mangoes to beat the heat), chutneys, ice creams, sweets (oh yes I’ve had mango burfi!), pickles, salads… it all depends on your culinary creativity.

Mangoes

So a few days back I tried a simple recipe of Mango Raita. You might find it similar to lots of recipes out there but this was totally instinctive. Fortunately it turned out well… well enough to be shared on a recently started blog J

All you need is:

1 ½ cup of low fat Yogurt

1 ½ tsp oil (Any cooking oil you have)

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp Paprika or Red chilli powder

2-3 curry leaves

3-4 tbsp finely chopped Mango (Any variety of the fruit you get)

2 tbsp boondi (Available at any Indian grocery store, Haldiram is a famous brand)

2-3 chopped fresh mint leaves

Salt to taste

It’s not a complicated recipe. Just a few simple steps:

  • Heat oil in a pan on medium flame.
  •  Add mustard seeds. You need to be a little careful in case you are not used to these, they splutter and fly out of the pan. Nothing to get scared though 😉
  •  Add curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add chopped Mango. Again sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add the paprika or chilli powder and a pinch of salt. Once the mango softens, turn off the flame and keep aside to cool.
  • Until the mangoes cool down, blend the yogurt to dissolve the lumps. You might add a few tsp of water in case the consistency of yogurt is too thick.
  •  Add boondi, salt and the cooled off mangoes. Be sure the mangoes are not hot.
  •  Finally add the chopped mint leaves and chill the yogurt for a while.

It takes just a few minutes to prepare and around 10 minutes to chill. We loved to have it with a spicy Indian curry and hot rotis. In case you try it out, let me know how it turned out for you. Apologies for no pictures, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth clicking until I actually had it.

Thanks for sharing a few minutes!