Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Contest 1 : Cookbooks and Food books

There are cookbooks and there are food books. Whats the difference? Cookbooks have recipes whereas food books tell stories starring food as a central theme.

I was never a cookbook collector. I cook a lot from the internet as it is so easy to search. I just Google for a recipe and there are scores of recipes with pictures and sometimes step-wise pictorials too. I mostly give away other books and novels I buy and have finished reading.

But cookbooks are reference books so they stay. Also cookbooks have curated recipes so lesser chance of failure in the kitchen. The one which is yellow and torn in the picture above is "Annapoorna" by Mangala Barve, it is the only one I had until couple of years ago. What you see here is my collection in the last 2-3 years, some are gifts from cookbook author's like Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal  and Saee Koranne-Khandekar and other friends, some I bought recently and a few booklets that came with appliances which I added to my kitchen over the years. The square book on the top left is the Desi Health Bites ebook that includes two recipes contributed by me.

In the picture above there is one that is not a cookbook, which one is it?

Since this is a contest, there has to be a prize!

Leave your answer in the comments on this post.

1. The first three correct answers will be chosen winners.

2. Pick any ONE product of your choice from the AnnaParabrahma Eshop and mention it in the comment along with the answer.

This giveaway can be shipped to any address in India. Which means you can answer the quiz from any location and request to ship to you or your family or friend anywhere in India.

3. Also tell us which is your favorite cookbook or food book and bring back the conversations to this blog.

4. Contest is open until midnight IST, 7th July 2015.

Have fun while you play and win!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Peach Jam

It is the time of the year when peaches fill the markets after the mango recedes from its prime place. I love cooked Peaches than ripe peaches. The sweetness gets concentrated and peaches bring a peachyness on my cheeks.Would you believe that? ;)

I decided to try a small batch of peach jam couple of years ago. This draft was lying unpublished for years I thought I must share an easy recipe with you. 

The color of the peach jam you see in the pic is original and real. The taste was unmatchable to anything  store bought. Try making it, atleast a small batch.


300 gms peaches
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice

In a saucepan boil water. Immerse the whole peaches in the water and allow to cook for 3 mins. Remove them after that and immerse in ice cold water. The peaches will leave their skin. Peel off the skin and cube the flesh. Separate the seed and discard.

Now in another large pot add the cubed peaches, sugar and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Boil till sticky. Test if the jam is set after 20 mins. For this chill a plate in the fridge for 20 mins. Drop a little bit of jam on the plate. Try to move the jam drop. If it forms a skin and moves aside then the jam is done. Let it cool a bit and transfer it to a clean dry jar.

Enjoy it with a buttered toast for a heaven on a slice experience.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rajapuri Mango Pickle

Can you believe these pictures are from 2-3 yrs ago. When I had returned from BLR and was so excited to do all the things seasonally typical of Mumbai. We had bought 5 kgs of Rajapuri Mangoes at APMC and had to pay Rs.5 per kg for dicing service. 

Rajapuri Mangoes are large about 4 -5 inches in size and are fleshy and not much of fibers. This makes them wonderful for pickles and chunda.

The sun has gone but raw Rajapuri mangoes are still on the market and even if you make this pickle indoors it still turns out good without suncooking it. Try a small batch if you haven't yet made your pickles this season.


5 kgs Rajapuri Raw Mangoes diced
1/4 kg red chili powder/ lal mirchi powder
4 cups salt
100 gms asafoetida / hing
1/4 cup fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
400 gms turmeric
1.25 kgs mustard seeds split / rai dal
1.5 liter oil

  1.  Wash, drain and dry each diced piece of raw mango with a napkin. This is important as we got the mango diced at the market in unwashed condition. Washing it after cutting and bringing it home removes the grit from the dices. Wiping dry the diced cubes helps remove the excess water and ensures that the pickle will be well preserved.
  2. Apply turmeric and some salt to the diced raw mango and allow it to drain on the mesh overnight.
  3. Next morning. Toast the methi seeds and powder coarsely.
  4.  In a large Parat or large deep dish remove the salt, red chili powder, split Mustard seeds, methi powder and hing. Arrange all these in concentric circles with hing in the center. 
  5. Heat oil till smoking point. Let it cool for 10 mins. Then pour half of it over the spices.
  6. Mix all the spices. 
  7. Fill 2 five liter jars with the salted and turmeric treated diced pieces of mangoes.
  8. Now add the spice mix over the diced mangoes and give a shake to the jar to ensure every piece of the mango is coated with the spice.
  9. Pour the remaining half of the still hot oil over the diced spiced raw mango. Ensure there is enough oil covering the mango pieces so as to seal the mango pieces from fungal infection. 
  10. Let the pickle mature for atleast 15 days before you start eating it. This pickle lasts well for a year and if you maintain enough oil above the mango pieces by topping with heated and cooled oil it last well into the second year too. 
I cannot do without a pickle when I eat rice and dal or even parathas and theplas. What about you? Are you the kind that likes an array of chutneys and pickles on the dinning table?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mirchi Poppers

May was so much fun, a wedding, Maharshtrian Mejwani event, a hotel review, an engagement and finally it ended with Chinmaya Naada Bindu. It was a blissful experience at Chinmaya Naada Bindu. This year the performances of Begum Parween Sultana, Shivkumar Sharma, Malini Rajurkar, Abhishek Raghuram, Jayanthi Kumaresh and Vidha and Abhimanyu Lal's kathak touched us, we left Kolwan promising to go back again next year.

After such a high, June is passing away in a dull. Is it just me or the heat, can't say. I made these Mirchi popper just to bring in some excitement to a simple meal.

The stuffing is simple yet flavourful not all the way like a stuffed vegetable dish in a regular meal. These mirchi poppers are quite the snacky type and can be enjoyed on their own too may be as starters?

8-10 green mild big chilies
1 cup grated fresh coconut
1/2 cup fine chopped cilantro
2 medium onions chopped fine
salt and sugar to taste
Oil to brush on

In a bowl add together the fresh grated coconut, cilantro, salt and sugar and crush with hand the chopped onion in and mix. Keep aside.

Meanwhile wash and clean the chilies, slit them and remove the seeds to reduce the heat. Sometimes the seeds near the calyx can be really hot.

Stuff the split chilies with the mix and line them in a baking dish. Brush oil on the chilies and bake them for 30 mins at 250 deg celcius or till they are golden tinged. 

The chilies are still crunchy and juicy with the coconut and onion mix at 30 mins baking. The way we like it here. If you like totally wilted ones then bake further for 15 mins.

Serve as a side with rice and curry or as a starter on a crusty bread.

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