Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Upma (Namkeen Sooji)

Upma is a very popular and simple breakfast dish which is made of semolina. You can add a variety of vegetables to it like carrots, peas, french beans, bell pepper or just onions. Here, I have made this dish with onions and peanuts.


2 tbsp Ghee
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
7-8 Curry Leaves, roughly chopped
1-2 Red Chillies
1 tbsp Urad dal
1 cup Sooji (Samolina)
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
1/4 cup Peanuts/ Cashews
1/4 cup Raisins
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups Water
1 Banana, Sliced (optional)


Heat the ghee in a large pan. When it is very hot then add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. You can cover the pan with a lid as the mustard seeds will spread everywhere. Now add chilies, curry leaves, urad dal and saute them till they are slightly brown. Mix the sooji to this mixture and roast it till it gets a nice light brown color.

In a small skillet heat the oil and saute the peanuts/ cashews till they are slightly brown. Then add the raisins and saute for 1 minute.

Add the roasted peanuts, raisins, sugar and salt to the sooji. Heat the water in the microwave for 2 minutes and slowly incorporate it into the sooji mixture by stirring it constantly. It will look lumpy and will not stick to the pan. Serve it warm with sliced bananas.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Forcella Eatery

334 Bowery New York, New York 10012

NoHo is almost as chic as SoHo and especially the Bowery area which is now truly easing itself into the modern upscale versions of luxury lofts and a quaint restaurant scene. Gentrification brings its rewards and this time it is in the form of an Italian Pizzeria that is staking its claim to the traditional Neapolitan style. On a Sunday afternoon I found myself there observing the giant black and white tiled oven that was bringing out fresh pizzas.

Just to make sure that I did not gorge myself on the pizzas straight away, I decided to start with a nice 'Amalfi' salad, that had honey balsamic vinaigrette, Radicchio, Arugula, Gorgonzola cheese and decorated with sliced pear and walnuts. Lovely combination that freshened the palate very nicely and prompted me to dig into the next dish.
Sometimes I feel that the eggplant is a very unique vegetable that can take any flavor you give it to and the eggplant parmigiana di melanzane that was my next dish was rich in its layered presentation along with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. There was a bit of crispness in the top layers and a full texture taste in the tomato soaked bottom layers.

Smoked mozzarella has a nice smell that when matched with mushrooms creates a very non-tomato tasting pizza. Made with Tarfuto mushrooms and truffle oil this pizza was soft in the center and crisp and risen on the outside. The hot dripping mozzarella tasted salty and smoky giving me a very unlike pizza taste which was I must say was a good change. A few bites later I was ready to try the evergreen tomato version which I had read was not to be missed.


The Margherita version that Forcella serves is made with Buffalo milk mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil that is sourced from a protected designation of origin in Italy. Garnished with fresh Basil leaves, this pizza was pure taste. The cheese melted and mixed with the tomato sauce in a correct consistency making every mouthful fulfilling. One thing I must say about the pizzas here is that they are individual sizes with four pieces to a pie, so if you do not like to share, you will be ordering two next time like I did.

What Italian meal is complete without a cappuchino. The barista at Forcella produced for me a beautiful looking cappuchino which my server had made sure was real hot even with the milk froth. Served in modern white ceramics it was a good ending point for the meal. This place was also with lively music and had families and couples coming in for quick bites with wine or coffee. A good find to add to my list.

Friday, October 12, 2012

On The Way Cafe

34 Ridgeland Terrace, Rye, New York 10580
(914) 921-2233

Rye is one of my favorite towns in Westchester. Nested away from its downtown, there is one breakfast place that is not to be missed. One Friday morning I made my way to this quaintly located cafe which is very close to the popular Rye Playland also. This place specializes in breakfast and lunches only.

They serve genuine organic fare. I ordered the blueberry pancakes that came with fresh cream. The blueberries were as fresh as they can be. The pancake batter too is made fresh on the premises and is actually a secret recipe. 

 This was one pancake stack that tasted as beautiful as it looked. Neither of the sour batter taste nor the uncooked feeling. Unbelievably moist and dense it was bliss in each mouthful with pure maple syrup. 

The organic three egg omelet that I found tempting was with a choice of three fillings. I selected mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese. The side of home fries and toast made it a complete breakfast. The eggs are organically sourced, just like the potatoes. I must say they tasted wonderful and reminded me of Aloo Sabji.

The Cappuccino was a sheer delight. Made at the correct temperature and with froth that made the mix of coffee and milk taste refined. I assume it was again the organic milk and the specially sourced coffee that made the combination so flavorful.

The cafe has a running exhibit of local artist's art work which is for sale too. The elegant setting gives a warm and homey feel. I will be visiting this place soon with my kids too as they will surely love the pancakes and the potatoes.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Lentil Kebabs

Lucknow, the place where I was born is very well known for its kebabs. There are all types of kebabs that go by different names; Kakori, Shami, Seekh and several others. Over the years, I have made a vegetarian version that my kids now love and are ready to eat almost any time.

This lentil kebab recipe is now on the Fox news website. It is relatively simple to make and is genuinely healthy. It is high in fiber content and mixed with potatoes, this version tastes really tangy with the addition of mild chaat masala.

Especially on a rainy day, these kebabs are just right. Cardamom tea goes really well with these or if you prefer some fresh brewed coffee. One good thing about these is that you can make them a day ahead by storing them in the fridge and then making them as a fresh hot appetizer for your party.