Kerala Chicken Curry

30 Jul

Kerala Chicken CurryI recently discovered ‘god’s own secret’ in ‘god’s own country’*……..

No it wasn’t a religious pilgrimage; it was a weekend retreat in an enigmatic paradise- Vivanta by Taj – Bekal, Kerala . It’s a parallel universe of natural and man-made beauty where extensive natural foliage unites with beautifully manicured lawns and the alluring backwaters rally around lotus filled ponds. It’s an escape from reality with a chance to rejuvenate and stimulate all your senses.

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

If you think the landscape and the world class spa are the only draw to reinvigorate you here, wait till your taste buds are tantalized in the dining room. As expected at a Taj hotel the chefs are experts in global cuisine but since we were in Kerala my prime focus was traditional costal cuisine. Their fluffy appams (pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk), coconut kissed piquant vegetable and meat curries, and fresh seafood further reinforced my love affair with food from the Malabar Coast.

Serving Suggestion

Serving Suggestion

This chicken curry recipe is a slightly adapted version of a Nadan Kozhi Curry (Local Chicken Curry) that I learnt from Chef Dhandapani on this trip. It embodies what I love about Indian coastal curries – several layers of spices that come together harmoniously with a touch of coconut milk. Consider this aromatic and flavorful chicken curry an ode to a wonderful weekend at The Vivanta by Taj, Bekal and a sneak preview to your potential trip to discover “god’s own secret” in “god’s own country”. Continue reading

Corn on the Cob Curry

2 Jul

IMG_3056You can spend several years traveling all across India and still find distinctive dishes that you have never tasted before. There are thousands of regional dishes and over hundreds of ways of preparing each of them. This is the very reason India and Indian food is paradise for food enthusiasts. Just when you think you have tried every dish a region has to offer, you will surely stumble upon another unique flavor profile.

A few years ago my mother-in-law introduced me to a Corn on the Cob Curry. I had never eaten corn in a robust coconut gravy laced with tamarind paste and finished with a classic South Indian tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chilies. This dish harmoniously married together different textures and several spices; there was perfect equality among all the ingredients with no element dared to over-power another.

This adaptation of my mother-in-laws brilliant recipe features  just in time for the height of corn season. So go ahead and add something more than just butter and spice to your Corn on the Cob this summer. Continue reading

Goat Cheese & Scallion Parcels

22 Jun

IMG_3042

After the scorching Mumbai summers everyone impatiently awaits overcast skies and blustery rain showers. And fickle Mother Nature is typically generous with her annual torrential downpours in Mumbai. The cloudy skies cast an enchanting spell on the city drenching the parched ground and uplifting residents’ spirits.

The Mumbai monsoons play a bewitching role on an onset of my hankerings for deep-fried food.  In my mind, crunchy pakoras (various vegetables dipped in a gram-flour batter and deep-fried) and samosas (fried pastry with a savory meat or vegetable filling) along with aromatic cups of steaming ginger tea are part and parcel of a rainy day. A quintessential monsoon day had me dreaming of a cheese samosa and led to the development of these Goat Cheese and Scallion Parcels.

This recipe uses a few straightforward ingredients to create a scrumptious miniature treat of scallion specked creamy goat cheese in a crispy wonton parcel.  The dipping sauce provides the perfect piquant tang to the simple wonton parcels. These little munchies are a perfect rainy day treat for the family and yet graceful enough to serve at your next cocktail party. Continue reading

Raspberry & Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Cake

10 Jun

Raspberry & Chocolate Chip Buttermilk CakeI was in love with Betty Crocker and Ducan Hines and then I cheated on them and hardly ever looked back, when I baked my very first cake from scratch. That cake was Deb Perelman’s (author of Smitten Kitchen) Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. Her straightforward recipe and the resulting moist, light and slightly fluffy cake was the catalyst to my love for home baking. Raspberry Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Cake

In the last 2 years (yes that was the first time I baked a cake from scratch), I have tested several variations of this cake using various fruits and berries and also just using chocolate chips. My favorite version – this Raspberry and Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Cake does not deviate too far from the original recipe. I reduce the fat content by using low-fat buttermilk and add a little more verve to the classic recipe by adding semi-sweet chocolate chips. This is a swift, easy and light cake for the summer months when raspberries are at their prime and occasions to entertain and impress are plenty! Continue reading

Lima Bean Hummus with Spiced Pita Chips

5 Jun

Lima Bean Hummus with Spiced Pita Chips“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Anonymous

Traveling far and wide is truly an enriching experience. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes along the way help us gain a broader perspective of the rest of the world. I cherish every trip I take and learn so much from my travels. While everything about travelling is exciting it’s probably evident by now that I particularly look forward to tasting the local food on my trips.

We recently spent 10 fabulous days in Athens and the Greek Islands. My favorite island on the trip was Santorini, the southernmost island in the Cyclades archipelago in the Agean Sea. It is renowned for its spectacular beauty, breathtaking views and fantastic Mediterranean cuisine.  The local cuisine is characterized by flavorful, fresh ingredients and bright colors typical of the celebrated Mediterranean diet. Santorini is specifically known for the fava, (vegetable similar to a split pea) and a type of cherry tomato that only grows in Santorini.

Oia, Santorini

Oia, Santorini

Santorini Sunset

Santorini Sunset

We tasted several types of hummus on our trip and specifically loved a fava bean puree hummus.

Fava Bean Hummus in Santorini

Fava Bean Hummus in Santorini

My Lima Bean hummus recreates the textures and flavors that that I loved about that hummus with a few modifications. I use dried Lima beans as they are extremely accessible and brighten up the flavors with Greek Kalamata olives and parsley. I pair my hummus with spiced pita chips that are crunchy bursting with flavor. It’s not always feasible to travel to Santorini but one can certainly taste a small piece of it with this dish. Continue reading

Affogato Crowned Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

16 May

Affogato Crowned Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

POST NUMBER 50!!! My ongoing expedition of Feeding Your Appetite’ has been an extremely fulfilling one so far. This blog has given me the opportunity to continue to challenge myself inside and outside my tiny kitchen! It’s been a rollercoaster ride that’s included interesting innovations of classic recipes, amplified flavors and several kitchen disasters (yes there’s plenty of messy behind the scenes stuff!).  And yet it is still the beginning of my humble march into in the vast culinary world.

To commemorate the last 49 posts, the 50th one just had to be a truly decadent dessert – featuring my all time favorite sweet union of IMG_2672orange and dark chocolate! I have slightly tweaked Ina’s Garten’s stellar Mini Chocolate Chunk Cake to create my Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and instead of topping them with a Ganache I top it with an “Affogato”.  A classic “Affogato” (Italian for “drowned”) is a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato topped with a shot of hot espresso. This crowning glory creates a dessert with a palate stimulating array of tastes, textures and temperatures.  The marriage of orange and chocolate is strengthened with the cold vanilla bean ice cream and aromatic, hot espresso.  Don’t take my word for it, you can be the judge.  So please celebrate your  journey with Feeding Your Appetite by testing this one for yourself.  Continue reading

Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tartines

14 May

Wild mushroom and goat cheese tartines

I recently read an interesting perspective that Crostini’s are so 2012! What’s trending in the world of crusty bread based appetizers are Tartines. For me either of these are just different names for petite open faced sandwiches topped with anything you can dream off. And the possibilities really are endless! Mushroom Tartines

My mother has been making mushroom toasts – toasts topped with diced and cooked white button mushrooms with parsley for years. My Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartine recipe is a more refined (French Tartine worthy) and amplified version of her idea. And I call it a Tartine – because as a writer I need to stay current by embracing whatever is trending! Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: