Monday, February 09, 2009

Tasty Jones - not so tasty

After reading several rave reviews on Tasty Jones, we decided to go there for lunch today. The place is just opposite the GRT hotel in Pondy Bazaar, Chennai.
Done up entirely in red and white, the interior looks clean and nice. That's where the nice part of the restaurant begins and ends, though. Nothing else is worth writing about. The waiter wasn't able to help me choose something non-spicy for my daughter. We ordered fries, a veggie burger and a vegetable club sandwich. The fries was too oily. I mean, you could literally squeeze the oil out of those potatoes. When we got the rest of our order, to our surprise, each order had some fries on the side. Now, why the heck didn't that waiter tell us that we'd be getting fries with our main order?
As for the burger and the sandwich, the less said, the better. The sandwich was three dry-as-dust slices of bread stuffed with sliced tomatoes and cucumber. My daughter was not even able to chew those slices properly. She opened up the slices and was content with munching on a slice of raw tomato. Our burgers were, well, unlike any that we'd eaten anywhere. Instead of a patty, there were slices of tofu in it.....and it tasted...ummm.....not good.
I ended up paying 350 Rs. for the most unsatisfying meal of my life.
Will I go there again??? That's a big resounding definite NO!!!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Cooking with leftovers - idli manchurian

Has anyone perfected the art of cooking just enough for two people? Let me in on your secret, will you??? I am never able to cook just the right amount. When it is just the two of us, the leftovers are manageable as in they last only for a few servings for the next meal. When I have guests though, I end up cooking much more than is needed. Somehow, I have this weird thing about it being better to have more of a thing that to fall short of it when there are guests.
This morning, I made idlis for breakfast and none of us (that includes the little girl 'coz she's fond of idli) ate any 'coz we just weren't hungry. Here's something that I came up with to use up those idlis. It's close to midnight and my brain refuses to come up with a name for the dish , so let's just call it idli manchurian.There are no set measurements. I just threw in a little bit of whatever I had.

Tear the idlis into little bite sized pieces. Deep fry in hot oil until lightly browned and crisp. Drain and set aside.
In a pan, heat some oil. Add some minced green chillies and a finely chopped onion and saute until the onion starts browning. Stir in a chopped tomato and fry for a few minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in some soya sauce, red chilli sauce and tomato ketchup. When the sauce thickens, add the fried idli pieces and stir well. You don't need to add salt 'coz the salt in the sauces and the idli will be sufficient. Switch off the heat and garnish with freshly chopped corriander leaves.
Serve hot.

This is off to Pallavi's Sunday Snacks - Grab 'n Go event.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I call it kurma

So, what's the difference between a kurma and a korma??? If you are like me, you just overlook the difference in the spelling and set about making it knowing that you can throw in a little bit of everything that you have and come out with a satisfying and tasty dish.

What you need:
Chopped veggies - 1 cup (I used carrot, beans, & potato. Other veggies that can be used are capsicum, cauliflower, beets, peas...)
Tomato - 2 large, ripe ones
Onion - 1 large
Ginger - a fairly large piece
Garlic - 4 or 5 cloves
Red chilli - 2 or 3
Cashew - a handful
Cardamom - 4 or 5 pods
Clove - 4
Star anise - 1
Cinnamon - a small piece
Corrainder - a handful for grinding and some chopped for garnishing
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

Did you know there's a really, really easy way to peel garlic esp when u have to peel a lot of it? Just pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds and see how easily the peel comes off.
Also, make a few cuts on an onion and microwave it for 30 seconds to get rid of the raw smell and to escape watering eyes.
This is especially useful in recipes like this one where the onion is ground without sauteing it first.
Cook the veggies with enough water in a microwave/stove top. Grind together all the other ingredients except turmeric powder and salt to a smooth mixture. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan. Add some cumin seeds to it. When the seeds sputter, pour in the ground mixture, reduce heat and stir for a few minutes until the raw smell goes away. Now add in the turmeric powder, salt and cooked veggies. Let it boil for few minutes until the flavours blend together well. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves.