Hi, I am Wasim, a wellness physician from Chennai and a foodie who loves to experiment with flavours. My passion for food and the inevitable travel that came along the way has given me a wide perspective of food - both eating out and cooking. This blog is my way to sharing my food experiences with the world. What started off as being a blog on eating out in Chennai has evolved to include eating from around the world, but mostly Chennai and Bangalore for now, with the odd international ones, but more importantly has evolved to include cooking and my experiments in the kitchen.This journey has also taken me to some fantastic chefs and cooks and talking to them about their passions and their journey has had an impact on me. Whenever I have the option, I have included a perspective or two from them and at times, I have spent a lot of time, trying to understand flavours and techniques that are not native to us.
Also, like most bloggers who started out blogging about eating out, I also started off sort of 'reviewing' restaurants. However, I would like to mention that I no longer 'review' restaurants. I've learnt that palettes can be very different and that reviewing no longer has meaning for me as a writer. There are enough websites for that. So I believe I am a food writer. I write about food and that happens via my experiences with food, be it eating out or cooking or traveling.The blog has also brought me in close contact with chefs and restaurants. If you visit a place often, you are bound to be taken care of by them. Its called 'regulars', so fortunately or unfortunately I also have that tag and that makes it very difficult to objectively write about service. So in places where I am recognised, I try to keep the blog post to the food and what it is, while in places where I am not recognised and I love the food, it is an objective view. I've tried to not write about bad experiences as I want to try to keep this blog as much about positivity as is possible.
Toss the bread cubes with 1/2 tbsp of oil, ground black pepper and salt. Heat a wok or large saucepan and add the bread cubes. Stir-fry the cubes until they start to turn golden-brown and crunchy. Remove to a plate and set aside. To the same pan, add the remaining oil. Add the garlic and the vegan sausage. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage starts to brown a little and is in separate bits, not clumped together. Help it if needed by pressing down with the tip of a spatula and separating it as it cooks. Add the spinach along with the nutmeg and the oregano. Cook, tossing, until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste and turn off heat. Place the tofu in a blender along with the milk, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt and blend into a smooth paste. Lightly oil a 2-quart baking dish, or coat lightly with cooking spray. Layer half the bread cubes evenly at the bottom of the casserole. Layer on the spinach-sausage mixture and then sprinkle on half the cheese. Layer on the remaining bread cubes and sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Pour the tofu cream evenly over the bread cubes, pressing down with a spoon or ladle if needed to ensure the bread cubes are immersed. Some will still peek from the top but that's okay–you just want to make sure they absorb some of the moisture.
Cook the dal, either in a pressure cooker for three whistles, or you can do this in a saucepan –use enough water to cover the lentils by two inches. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking 20-40 minutes or until the dal is very tender. Add more water if needed to the pot. when the dal is cooked, whisk to make it creamy or give it a whirl in the blender. Set aside. (If you don't have a cooker that whistles, cook the lentils for 5 minutes after reaching full pressure or follow manufacturer instructions for your pressure cooker. You can also cook for 10 minutes in the Instant Pot.) Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the asafetida and cumin seeds. When the cumin sputters, add the curry leaves and onion and saute on a medium flame until the onions turn translucent. Add the ginger and stir for a minute. Add the tomatoes along with the turmeric, cayenne or paprika, coriander powder and sambar powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes turn mushy and start breaking down. Add the cooked dal and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes until the flavors have merged. Add water if the dal gets too thick. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve piping hot.
In a dry wok or skillet, roast the garlic, skin on, for a couple of minutes, turning over once, until slightly soft. Peel and place in a blender with the soaked chilies and 3/4 cup of water or the chili pepper soaking liquid. Blend until smooth and set aside. Heat the oil the same wok or skillet. Add the mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the fenugreek and fennel seeds and turmeric. Stir for half a minute, then add the potatoes and stir. With the heat turned to medium, place a tight-fitting lid on the skillet or wok. Pour some water over the lid (a rimmed lid works best for this– the water on the lid helps the potatoes steam without sticking or burning). Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes or until they are fork-tender but not mushy. Add the guajillo-garlic paste and stir well to mix. Let the potatoes cook in the paste for 2-3 minutes until the water dries out. Add salt to taste and lime juice and garnish with cilantro. Turn off the heat. To assemble the tacos, spoon the potatoes into the taco shell, sprinkle on some salsa and top with guacamole. Yum.
Powder the mustard, coriander, cumin and fennel powders in a spice grinder or blender. Set aside. Slather the eggplant slices with salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp oil, and place on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook for four minutes until the slices are reddish-brown on top. Flip over and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. You can also do this in the air fryer: place the eggplant slices in the air fryer basket and cook for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees or until browned outside and cooked. Toss the eggplant slices once during cooking to make sure they brown evenly. Cut each eggplant slice into half. Then add the turmeric, lemon juice, cayenne or paprika and the powdered spices. Mix well. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and fry until lightly brown. Add the curry leaves and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the eggplant and half the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let it cook five minutes. Turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Eggplant and coconut milk shud make a yummy combo. i have never experienced the cold u r describing as I live in los angeles. even now, i am able to go for walks..i am glad i am here 🙂
Good idea! grilled brinjal comes to my rescue when I dont know what to make,or dont have time! fennel, coconut milk, kasoori methi …all yummy ingredients to make a hit!
I love eggplant too & just had some for dinner! The vibrant colors of that curry impart warmth…emotionally? Love it! Thanks for the descriptive read!
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