I welcome all of you to The Chef's Favourites guest post for the month of February. First I would like to thank each one of you who appreciated this new series happening here and also for giving such lovely comments for a wonderful post - Butter Cashew Biscuits by Sangee Vijay. A special thanks to Sangee for starting off this series with an amazing post :).
The Chef for this month is Priya Mahadevan of Now Serving. When I started Good Food, I had no clue about blogging and initially I didn't have any blogger friends. Priya is one of the first bloggers who stopped by my space and left some very encouraging comments for my initial posts. Her comments inspired me to move forward in this blogosphere and I have reached this far now. I owe you a lot Priya :). I don't think I will ever forget you :). I still remember sending entries to your Fast Food, Not Fat Food event, which was one of the first events I participated :). Most of you will know that Priya always encourages and supports the newcomers . I am so glad that she is a good friend of mine and has supported me all the time without fail :). Thank you Priya !! Thanks a lot for agreeing to do a guest post, sending it so quick (I must say super quick ) and its an honour for me to present you here.
Chef Priya of Now Serving is sharing with us one of her favourite recipes, which is very healthy and delicious too. No Fry - No Bake Pakodas...sounds great rt ? :) . I know you all are waiting to know about this interesting recipe :)
Presenting Priya in her own words....
Thank you Sobha dear for doing me this honor to be part of your The Chef’s Favourites series. I know you started blogging after I did and I have watched your blog grow and become a repository of wonderful recipes. Congrats dear and keep up the great work. It has been so awesome to be blogging with you and I hope we will for a long time.
Let me introduce myself as a mom first and foremost, who delights in cooking different kinds of foods – One thing I know about myself is I am not afraid to experiment with my spices and flavors and my rationale for that is if you like certain flavors, playing around with it sometimes leads to amazing new flavors and recipes. I am also trained as a journalist and was with a prominent Indian newspaper before I got married and moved to North America. Now I cook, blog, and do other types of writing.
Favourite Recipe here @ Good Food
Being a diehard vegetarian and a stauch advocate of vegetarianism, the fact that Sobha’s is an all veggie blog make me confident that I can comment on them – sometimes it is difficult for me to make an informed or sensible comment about non-veg dishes so I try to find a veggie dish that has been made recently by my friends who blog both to leave a comment.
I enjoyed this exercise because it gave me a chance to browse in greater detail Sobha’s Good Food and I found several dishes that I loved on sight – I mention a few that especially made me drool – Her Aval Payasam – The pictures present a perfect payasam that I want to pick up and drink right away.
The other recipe that I have bookmarked to try soon is her Oats Spinach Dosai – Sounds healthy, looks delicious – check it out – a third unique recipe I discovered was Bread Laddus – How cool is that – there are many others do browse at leisure.
Meenakshi Ammal is the one lady whose cook books I refer to for all my traditional recipes – Cook and See is the ultimate for a good recipe and a good laugh since she measures things in Ollocks and I have still to remember what an ollock is even after referencing it so many times on google – but her recipes are accurate and the end product fabulous.
Like Sangee who did this before me, and like 90% of the bloggers whose bios I’ve read, I must say that the tastes and flavors that my mom grew my tongue up with are the ones I have carried with me all my life and although I know I have built upon these tastes and recipes of my mom. The basic understanding of how to use spices and the subtle nuances of using just the right amount are definitely from her exacting expectations of herself and my father’s uncanny ability to say just what is required – he was the official taster and my son has now taken the role.
I have to definitely say Coriander Seed – I am under the spell of its freshly ground fragrance – nothing to beat it :)
In India this is a difficult choice as there are so many favorites in different categories – Saravana Bhavan for South Indian, House of Ming in Delhi for Chinese, Cascade for Thai, The Dhaba Express for Punjabi/North Indian
In the US, our options are very limited – but I like the Italian joint called Vinny’s close to my home – they have a very decent standard of taste which is highly suitable for the Indian palate. I love Basheer’s Taverna, a Lebanese restaurant – he makes some of the best Baklavas :)
My favorite cuisine of all I decide by asking myself – what do I least tire of eating if I make the same cuisine for a whole week? And the answer is too cinchy – South Indian, hands down – too many varieties and so many different ingredients and flavors!
Favourite Food Show
I don’t watch much TV at all – and if I must pick, I love the recipes I see on Dr. Oz’s shows.
This is a very tough question to answer since I have many many favorite dishes which I make often – but if I really must pick, it would be Rasam. That is one dish we never tire of – we make these long trips and vacations, and when come back out tongues are dead from not tasting what we are used to and the first thing I do is make a good rasam with some rice and spinach dish on the side – Our comfort food. Rasam has flavours in it that hits all the spots of the tongue that need pleasing – the only dish that can do that for me.
But here I am sharing with you a favorite dish I like to prepare which is Pakodas – that is like rasam and quick fix if you ever are dying to have a yummy snack – except as I am becoming more health conscious and mind what goes into my mouth, I have devised several different ways in which to enjoy the same snacks/treats without compromising on their healthfulness.
I have recipes for Fried Pakoda and Baked Pakoda on my blog. Here I am presenting a No-fry No Bake Pakodas – interesting na? and it turned out just as tasty as it is loaded with oil – so do give it a try!
No-fry No Bake Pakoda
1 cup besan (kadalamavu/chickpea flour
1 cup rice flour
1 red onion chopped
3-5 green chillies
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp olive oil for lightly sauteeing the onions
Olive oil cooking spray and Paniyaram pan (bagel pan)
Lightly fry the chopped onion in tsp of oil.
Add water in tablespoons (about 3) until you've reach the right consistency to bind the flours but not make it soggy (see pictures)
Make into firm balls to fit the dips in the pan
Heat pan on low flame and pray the dips
Place the balls in the dips and spray lightly once more
Close with lid and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes before turning them over.
With another light spray, cook the top side for a couple of minutes longer until the entire pakoda is a pleasing golden brown crisp.
Serve hot - This is what I call having my pakodas and eating them too :)
My Cooking Tip / Advice / Quote
1) For this I want to quote the tagline that my good buddy, Priya Sreeram of Bon Appetit has - Cook with passion, serve with love and the food tastes good and makes you feel a lot better.
2) If it does not come out exactly how you imagined it would, please give it several more shots – remember the Scottish Fable about King Bruce and the Spider?
3) Measurements work best for baking, but for Indian cooking esp, they are merely guidelines to tweak around to your satisfaction.
Love you all and thanks for being in my life - Hugs to you Sobha!!