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Pasta alla Vodka

Probably one of my best ever pastas, this was again an adaptation which was way better than the original especially since I incorporated some of my favourite ingredients(mushrooms and onions).

Ever since my sister said she had tried out a Vodka pasta back home in one of the restaurants, the idea of using Vodka in a pasta was quite enticing. And I just had to try making it at home. And it was every bit delicious and mouth-watering.

And the law of diminishing marginal utility went for a toss right out my kitchen window.

Ingredients:

Fettuccine (Or any pasta of your choice) – 500 gms
Chopped Onions – 2 
Garlic – 6 cloves
Chopped tomatoes – 3 [Drain if tomatoes are juicy]
White Button Mushrooms – 1 cup
Red Chilli flakes – 1 tsp
Vodka – 1/4 cup
Heavy Cream – 3 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
Dried Mixed herbs – 1 tsp
Fresh sprig of parsley right from your garden
Grated Parmesan cheese
 
Method: 

Place pasta for cooking as per instructions on the cover and then get your pasta sauce going.

Heat Extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Add garlic, onions and red chilli flakes and sauté till turning a slight golden brown. Try not to brown your onions.

Remove saucepan from the stove, set aside and add the vodka. Place saucepan back on stove top and simmer for a couple of minutes till vodka reduces to half.

Then add mushrooms. Cook until slightly soft. Turn the heat up and throw in your tomatoes, cook well. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and add heavy cream. Season with the dried mixed herbs. Let it cook for about a minute.

And if your pasta is cooked to the right consistency by now, drain and wash with cold water in a colander and  add your pasta to the sauce and coat well.

Garnish with fresh sprig of parsley and grated parmesan, serve. Voila!!!… your Pasta alla Vodka is ready to be enjoyed!!!

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Has always been one of my favoured dishes whenever I went to a Dhaba /North Indian restaurant. The Dum Aloo again is a special dish that has special memories that I associate with home and my childhood.

Racing against time to complete the end of the month reports, it was a tradition to not cook dinner on the last day of the month because all four of us would be busy as bees. As much as it was busy it was also memorable and a treat for us back then. We ordered our night’s dinner from the Kwality Riviera Punjabi Dhaba in Adyar. Our standard order used to be Butter naan, Palak Paneer/Kadai Paneer (there has to be atleast 1 paneer dish) and the Dum Aloo.

Realising it had been ages since I had tasted Dum Aloo, especially since I am now keen on making dishes that I enjoyed eating, but never made before, I decided that this would be something I will do for a get together. It is risky for a first attempt. But what the heck! What is cooking without a bit of risk and adventure? – I ask!

Yummy Dum Aloo

 

Ingredients

1/2 kg Baby potatoes/regular potatoes cut to the size of baby potatoes – boiled and peeled
3 tbsp Lemon juice
Chopped Coriander leaves
4 tbsp cup Ghee
Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup milk.
Oil

For the masala paste
2 tbsp Coriander seeds
2 Red Onions chopped
A small knob of Ginger
1/2 cup Desiccated coconut
8-10 Cashew nuts
2-3 Green chillies
2 tsp red chili powder
6 cloves of Garlic
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Garam Masala

Method

Boil and peel the potatoes. Prick the potatoes making 5-6 holes with a toothpick or a fork to allow the potatoes to absorb the flavour later. Shallow fry the potatoes until it turns golden brown to give it a crisp texture on the outside and set aside.

Grind all ingredients of the masala paste into a smooth paste.

Heat ghee/oil in a pan. Add the masala paste. After the rawness of the paste is gone and the ghee starts to separate from the gravy, add milk and water. Let it simmer for a while. Add the lemon juice to the gravy and then add the potatoes. Add sugar for the balance in flavours.

Cook covered partially for 8-10 minutes to allow the masala to seep into the potatoes.

Garnish dish with chopped coriander.

Dum Aloo

 

 

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The Not-So-French Soup

Vichyssoise Soup - Source BBC

So yesterday evening I was mulling over what to cook for supper. Was so stumped for ideas on what to make for dinner, I thought to myself, well atleast I am sure that it has to be something light and easy to make. After the heavy brunch at Saffron, I didn’t think I could handle another round of heavy duty food again.

Then I suddenly remembered reading the recipe for Vichyssoise in my sister’s blog -“http://dibribac.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/voila-im-in-french-soup/” and I thought -“Now thats an idea. I have always wanted to experiment with french cuisine and what better time to start than the present”.

I quickly scanned through the link and I felt so excited that I was finally about to foray into some french cooking. I dove head on with the preparation for the very French Vichyssoise soup.

Me being me, I have this compulsive habit of improvising and straying from the original recipe. Sauteed the onions in butter with a sprinkle of salt, and after it became a deep golden brown, I threw in a splash of South African white wine called Obikwa to add just a bit of oomph to the soup. And the aroma was simply gorgeous, and I went “hmmm”. And I thought food had a musical quality to it. Just to share one of the examples – one of my friends who had the good fortune of working in one of the coffee powerhouses once told me the sound of milk being frothed is very important in the preparation of coffee and influences the taste of the coffee.

Well, coming back to the wined up onions sizzling in the saucepan, I boiled the potatoes separately to save some time, and I checked to see if they were cooked enough and poured it into the saucepan with the onions. Thereafter I let it stew for a couple of minutes extra and took it off the stove so it can cool a bit before I pureed it. So after pureeing the potato onion mix, I added the milk and seasoned with salt, pepper and garnished it with chives fresh from my garden. And Voila, the soup was served. The creaminess of the potatoes and the sweet pungence of the onions and chives was just beautiful. But it definitely wasn’t light as I had wanted it to be.

Today, I was telling a colleague that I had tried Vichyssoise, he corrected me and said it was pronounced “Wish-E-Swah”, I disagreed and told him that it was pronounced “vee shee swahzz” like my sister had taught me.  And I came back home with that thought niggling on my mind. I googled the pronunciation and pulled out the correct pronunciation and I was happy to find that I was right. I went onto read some more information about the Vichyssoise  when I came across a bit in the article about the origin of the soup that caught my attention. Surprise suprise! And it said that -“very few people realise that Vichyssoise was invented not in Paris or Lyons or even in Vichy for that matter but was created in New York city at the beginning of the 20th century”. Vichyssoise, the French soup didn’t seem very french anymore.

But french or not, I loved every single drop of the Not-So-French Vichyssoise soup. You oughta try it!

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