Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kanda Papeta per Eedu - A Parsi Classic

Parsi food is not always lavish and complicated. There are plenty of simple comforting dishes that will make you weep with pleasure. Kanda Papeta per Eedu is definitely one of them.

K asked me to have Kanda Papeta ready so he could make Kanda Papeta per Eedu for breakfast. The Parsis' love for eggs is legendary and their repertoire of egg dishes is vast. Kasa per Eedu or eggs on something is a huge category in their cuisine and the something can range from a simple onion tomato base to the elaborate kheema or lamb mince, the crisp and crunchy sali or the delicately flavoured kanda papeta.

Kanda papeta is simply onions and potatoes slow cooked with minimal spices or oil. It's delicious with rotlis or bread and is often part of a simple dinner at home. The addition of eggs takes it to a different level.

Kanda Papeta per Eedu

Serves two

2 potatoes, peeled and sliced finely
1 Onion, chopped medium
mustard seeds (optional)
1 or 2 green chillies, chopped fine
a few sprigs fresh coriander
3 eggs

Heat up your nonstick pan and splash some oil into it. Splutter the mustard seeds if you're using them and then reduce the heat. Add the sliced potatoes and chopped onions along with the green chillies. Spread and tamp down slightly and let it cook slowly. Add salt. Cover the pan and stir every five minutes. Add the pepper.  Take care not to brown the onions. The potatoes must be sliced finely so the cook quickly and the onions don't risk getting brown. Once the potatoes are nearly cooked level it all across the pan. Sprinkle the washed and chopped coriander all over. Cover and cook for another minute or two and your Kanda Papeta is done.

There are three ways of adding the eggs to this. You can add the eggs whole cracking them on the kanda papeta layer. Sprinkle salt and pepper and cook covered till desired done-ness. Garnish with extra coriander and chopped chillies.

I prefer the Faetela or beaten version. In a bowl whisk the eggs with a little salt and pepper and then simply pour over the kanda papeta in the pan. Cover and cook till desired level of done-ness.

Now within the faetela version you can either tightly pack the base to prevent the beaten egg from running through so you have two distinct layers or you can leave the base a little loose and let the beaten eggs seep through the gaps. Let the bottom brown a little - the top layer will soft eggs, onions and potatoes and the base will give you a delightful crunch.

All three versions are divine!

Serve hot with rotlis or bread. I like to have it on it's own :)

Marathon Bloggers Project 52

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

You're Still Here Even Though You're Not

Katy, K's mom, died four years ago. Today is the date and it has come by as it relentlessly does every year and will come every year in the future. Dates... they become the markers of how long the precious people in your life have been gone.

Yesterday was K's dad's birthday - the first one without dad himself. It was hard to get through and we tried not to be too melancholy. When the dates are back to back it gets even harder maybe because the memories overwhelm you and the holes seem to huge to fill. But they do fill. Slowly but surely. A filled hole doesn't mean that someone is forgotten, it just means that the memories are still sharp but the pain is a little less severe.

As I look at my life with K I see them both so strongly woven into the mundane actions of our daily lives. The enamel saucepan that Katy once used, the dinner set they bought together in Dubai, the dining table dad brought over himself from Lonavala, the towel with Katy's name embroidered on it, the books she tried out recipes from, the coloured glass bottles I found under their bed, the painted bowl that's been in the family that dad gave K, Katy's dressing table that she happily gave me, the praise that dad lavished on my cooking, the chocolates we bought for him because they were his favourite,the plants on the window sill that dad admired, the mutton dad bought for me all the way from Lonavala, the wonderful man that K is because they made him so...

Katy and Feroze...You're not here but you still are. You will always be.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cafe Monza - A Gem in Kharghar

It's a rare day when K has even a holiday free. He usually has a lecture somewhere or has client meetings so we don't really get a chance to just relax and be with each other exploring local eateries. Yesterday he had the morning free and told me to get dressed because we were going out for breakfast. Music to my ears!

We went over to Cafe Monza in Kharghar itself. This place has been around for about a year now I think, and is one of the absolute gems of Navi Mumbai. The menu covers a whole lot cuisines from around the world and though you might have doubts about how authentic each recipe is, the food is delicious.

We walked in around 9.30am and I was happy to see the place quite full even that early. K already knew what he wanted to order so I left it to him. He asked for the Kheema Ghotala for me and for a mushroom and cheese omelette for himself. We also indulged in a plate of french fries :)

The kheema ghotala was superb. Flavourful but not overwhelming, it was delicious. Served with toast and butter, this is quite a treat. The ghotala should have eggs scrambled into it this one seemed quite low on eggs. But it was so good I forgive them.

The cheese and mushroom omelette was lovely. A perfectly fluffy omelette with a generous amount of cheese and mushrooms, also served with toast and butter.

French fries - hot and crisp served with ketchup. These disappeared in no time!

I'd just had coffee at home and didn't want another so soon so I asked for their ginger lemon cooler. It was tangy and had the just enough of the sharp bite of ginger. I would go back to have just this again.

We sat there and read the newspapers, chatted and just chilled. K had coffee which he said was quite good.

We paid around Rs.500 for our breakfast and it was completely worth it.

The waiters are friendly and service is relaxed but not slow. The place has a young feel with bright interiors and a huge mural across one wall. They also have a small seating area on the mezzanine. The menu is extensive covering breakfast, snacks and starters, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, mains, fresh coffees, coolers, and a good range of desserts. The vegetarian options are extensive.  They also have Free WiFi and a clean loo. And they do local deliveries too.

If you're travelling to Lonavala or Pune and are tired of jostling around at McDonalds, try Cafe Monza instead. It's just off the highway as you pass through Kharghar.

Cafe Monza
Shop 15, Plot 5/6
Bhoomi Heights
Sector 8
Navi Mumbai

9022224253 / 9022224259

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ham, Cheese and Leek Quiche

The hubby spied leeks in the veg box in the fridge and asked me to make a ham and leek quiche. I had, of course, scant memory of what lay in that veg box and was quite surprised to find out that we had leeks. Well, there was no excuse and I set out to make the quiche.

I have never made quiche before and had absolutely no idea where to begin. Vague ideas of sautéed leeks and chunky ham baked in an eggy custard floated around in my head and I had no clue how the crust should be. Puff pastry seemed requisite but it turned out that shortcrust would do as well.

I trawled the Net for some basic recipes and then looked through my cookbooks for more ideas. I cobbled together a workable recipe for the pastry case and the filling and this is what I made.

Ham, Cheese and Leek Quiche

1 cup grated cheddar or Grano Padano cheese
250gms ham, diced or in chunky cubes
1 cup sliced leeks
2 tbsp Olive oil

3 eggs
200ml Amul cream

1 1/2 cup maida or white flour
100gms butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
2 tbs chilled water
1 egg

Start with the tart shell. In a clean bowl put in the flour and the cubed butter. Combine with a fork or a pastry mixer till crumbly. You can also do this in a food processor. Add the egg and a tbsp of the cold water and mix gently to form a loose dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly to bring together into a ball of dough. Work it minimally and quickly with just your fingertips. It just needs to stay together. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 to 30 mins.

Dust your work surface lightly with flour and roll out the chilled dough into a large disc at least 15 inches in diameter. Lift gently and place over your loose bottomed pie ring. Gently press the dough into the sides and the base of the ring. Trim the edges with a sharp knife or simply pinch off with your fingers. Press into the sides so the dough sticks to the fluted edges of the tin. Cover the pie shell with parchment and fill it with dried beans, rice or baking beads - whatever you have. I used black eyed peas.

Bake the tart shell blind at 200C for 15 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove and take out the beans and the parchment paper carefully.   Put the tart shell back in the oven and bake for another 7 to 10 minutes till it is a pale golden colour.

In the mean while  heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the leeks and then the ham lightly. Remove to a plate and set aside. Grate your cheese and keep it ready. In a clean jug whip the cream with the eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the pie shell is baked to a pale gold it is time to assemble the quiche and put it to bake. First scatter the cooked leeks and the ham. The sprinkle the grated cheese to cover. Finally pour the eggs and cream all over. You can add some fresh or dried herbs if you like.

Now bake the quiche at 180C for 20 to 25 mins. It will be puffed up considerably but will settle as it cools.

Let it cool for 5 minutes and then remove to a pretty plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

You can use a slightly smaller pie ring so the filling is deeper. You will also have some pastry left over. Just pop it into the freezer and use it later to make a mini quiche or a fruit tart or something. Be careful while handling the baked pie shell. The constant putting it in and out of the oven is a delicate operation - I cracked my pie a bit and so some of the egg custard dribbled out leaving me with a flatter filling than I would have liked. But this was my very first time and it's a lesson learned :)

Use a jug to pour the egg custard. This is something the hubby saw Jamie Oliver suggest on one of his programmes and it's a genuinely handy hint that ensures less mess.

The egg cream custard is a must in a quiche. You can fool around with different combinations for the rest of the fillings - use chopped and cooked salami, chunky sausages, vegetables, shredded chicken, whatever you like.

Marathon Bloggers Project 52

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Basil, Garlic and Sundried Tomato Bread

I tried out a recipe from a bread recipe book I've had for ages. I just wasn't aware that the author was a much respected one among bread recipe writers. Bread making is a seductive activity and it can turn into an all consuming passion if you're not careful. I'm in the throes of it right now... every new recipe looks inviting yet challenging and scary too. The thrill of a successful bread conquers all those fears ultimately. But not always.

I know I will try out the recipe from Paul Hollywood's book again soon but before that I had to bake bread for an outing with friends. I'll tell you more about where we're going after the event but today I'm going to tell you about the bread I made for my friends. Once again, I turned to Saee and her blog MyJhola. I looked through her list of easy breads and settled on this one - Olive, Basil, Sundried Tomato and Garlic Bread. And it has turned out perfectly as you can see!

As always, I have followed her recipe as closely as I could. I didn't use olives as I didn't have any. I also used fresh yeast instead of dried. I have doubled the recipe to make two loaves.

Basil, Garlic and Sundried Tomato Loaf 

450 gms plain flour
4 tsp fresh yeast
1 cup warmed water
2 tsp sugar
good quality Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes with the oil
1 generous tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
1 pod garlic, peeled and chopped fine

In a glass bowl put the yeast and the sugar together and pour the warmed water on top. Give it a gentle stir and leave it to froth. Once the yeast has frothed and you can see bubbles it's ready to be used.

Pour the measured flour into a large mixing bowl and pour in the yeast water. Mix briskly and bring together to form a dough. Turn it out on a lightly floured work surface and start kneading the dough. On one side of the work area take place the salt and pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil. mix quickly and then incorporate into the dough. Add another tablespoon or so of olive oil later as you knead. Pull and stretch the dough and fold it back on itself as you knead it. Ultimately it will be smooth and soft. Shape into a ball and leave covered to rise till double. This should take around 20 minutes.

In the mean while you can prep the flavourings - wash and chop the basil leaves, mince the garlic and chop the sundried tomatoes if the pieces are too large.

Once the dough has doubled punch it down, add your flavourings and incorporate them into the dough. Divide into two. Shape into free form flattish circular loaves and leave them to rise till doubled again.

Bake in a 200C oven for 30 minutes. Brush generously with olive oil as soon as they're out. I baked my loaves on after the other. You can leave the waiting loaf without refrigeration if you're going to bake it immediately like I did.

This bread has a soft Bombay Pav like crust and is delicious as it is or warmed slightly and then slathered with butter.

Marathon Bloggers Project 52