Lip smacking memory...

One of the memories which is fresh in my brain as a nail-in-fresh-tree is off my Father describing a peas curry that he had at Bhavanisagar. The way he explained it made me drool all over my books. "Yellow peas with bursting flavors over slightly soggy toast. It will be bit watery but full of flavor....." Then one day he ended it with a stern finger pointing at me, "Don't you try to recreate it at home. You never had it and you will never get it right." Umm ok. To be honest, my brain was thinking to do exactly that when he gave me the warning.

Anyways, I didn't know how it looked or tasted and I dumped the idea of recreating a dish from my father's memory. Oh well.

Then we moved to Karaikudi one fine year and came along the Cycle Thatha. This Thatha will peddle by our house every evening around 5pm ringing his bicycle bell. He never chanted/cried out what he was selling but the lovely smell emanating from his vessels were good enough to get our attention. Mom ventured out to buy one day and voila, it was the very dish Appa had described. For Rs.5, Thatha would ladle out a good portion into a dried leaf katori. We still didn't know its name and we merely named it Peas Chaat. I know, blasphemy!!!
True to Appa's memory, this was oh-so-flavourful. It had slices of fresh coconut, cubed onions, slivers of green chillies and of course boiled yellow peas. Every mouthful left you wanting for more and we will patiently wait for the Thatha to come along next day. Some days he wouldn't show up. When asked he would say "It got sold out, Amma."

There had been days when Amma wouldn't be home and 5 rupees would 'disappear' from her kitchen piggy bank. If you are reading this, Amma, naan illa.... Oh boy, I am going to pay heavily for this next time I go home.

Eventually, we left Karaikudi too. I moved to Chennai for college, my family to our native. And I forgot the Peas Chaat. Till about last year, when Preeoccupied out of blue posted a picture of the exact dish. Guess who was the jumping jack for the rest of the day. But things were err different around that time and I never got around to cook it.

Day before yesterday, I left some green peas to soak for next day's lunch. I woke up yesterday wondering what to make and I knew what exactly to make. Ta-da!!!! Ghugni!!


Recipe: (Adapted from Preeoccupied)
Ingredients: 
1 cup Green peas, soaked overnight 
1 medium size potatoes cut in cubes 
2-3 tablespoon fresh coconut chopped into small pieces 
1 tablespoon ginger paste 
Few green chilies slit lengthwise 
1 teaspoon mustard oil 
1 teaspoon vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon turmeric powder 
1 teaspoon red chili powder 
Pinch of baking soda 
Sugar 
Salt 

For the garnish:  
1 small onion chopped  



Preparation:

Boil the peas with turmeric powder, chili powder, slit green chilies, ginger paste, chopped coconut, mustard oil, Vegetable oil, baking soda, salt and sugar in a cooker. Mid-way add the diced potatoes. Let it cook for 2 whistles. At this stage, the peas will be mushy. Adjust the seasoning as per taste.

Garnish the ghugni with chopped onions. Eat it while it is warm.

Notes:

  • Original recipe calls for a tablespoon of Mustard oil. I did jugaad on that as I hate the taste of mustard. 
  • I used Green peas as I didn't have any yellow peas in the pantry.
  • I let the Ghugni thicken up and had it with rice for lunch. Later in the evening, I diluted it and had it with, yes!, slightly soggy toast. 
Sigh. Now have to go home and cook this for Appa. 




Chocolate and Icecream from Magnum. What is not to like?

Fellow Foodie Aarthi had sent a mysterious message last week saying "Do you like chocolate and Ice cream? Would you like to attend an event connected to both?" If you know me, you know I would have said yes even before she finished the question.

Welcome Banner
Place card on the table
 Thats how I landed up at Ball room of The Hyatt Regency, Chennai on 27th Mach, 2013 in my Friday best! It didn't hurt that it was still Tuesday. We were treated to a High Tea which had some lovely Madeline,  Fruit Tart, Apple Turnover, Crosstini, Spinach Tart, Cheese corn cutlets etc.

The session started with VJ-RJ Cary Edwards introducing Chef Abhiru Biswas who in turn gave an introduction on what to expect in the next one hour or so.

First we were subjected to a taste test of three different chocolates of various levels of milk and chocolate combinations. We had a Belgian with a perfect combination of bitterness, sweetness and texture. Then there was a Swiss version which was on the milkier side and finally a French version who I suppose prefer everything bitter and dark.

We had couple of kids among us even though the event was Adults only. Ahem! One of them was so enthusiastic and answering every question and questioning every answer. Naturally I forgot his name along with the names of everyone I met there.

Without further ado we were given samples of Magnum Classic Icecream, were asked to sit back and relax. Well ofcourse.

Just when we were savoring it, Chef made Cary create a sundae using the Magnum Icecreams and various ingredients available at the spot. Some completely non related ingredients were provided like balck pepper, rosemary, chopped celery stick, black grapes, kiwi, sliced strawberry, hazel nut, star anise, a strawberry sauce, white chocolate sauce and a dark chocolate sauce among others. Now what to make of such ingredients??

I left the job to Maria and Avanthi at our table and went around clicking pictures. I got back in time to taste 'our' creation and take a couple of more spoonfuls! ahem! I went around clicking other's creations. But didn't get to taste any. hmph!

As the event came to a close, the Chef came around to answer our questions and even promised to send over samples of chocolates soon. What a charmer?

If you are interested about Magnum Icecreams, they will be available after April 25th, 2013 at all leading stores. Magnum is introducing its three basic flavors as a trial run. The following will be available in a month.

  1. Classic-Vanilla covered in chocolate shell.
  2. Chocolate truffle-Chocolate ice-cream with chocolate truffle swirls, dipped in Belgian chocolate.
  3. Almond-Vanilla covered with almond chocolate shell.

Priced at Rs.75 each, these bars are totally worth every bite!

(formatting sucks! I have given up!!)


Chocolate Tasting


That is how you enjoy an icecream.

MA PRECIOUS!

Cary at work and his creation
Wacky ingredients at their best


Everybody's creation. 
Chef fielding our questions


Coming soon at a store near you!

A Chennai Girl's guide to Dating...

Let us start with a Disclaimer, shall we? What all goooood posts start with one... So --> This might apply to dates generally. But hello, I am writing this and I am a Chennai girl. Hence the title. ok? OK!

Venue: 
Chennai as much it is hot, is a beautiful place. If the guy leaves the choice of date to you, think wisely. And don't pick a mall, as much as the idea of spending the day at a Centrally Air-conditioned Mall tempts you to no end.

If it is a simple coffee date, do not pick the same old Cafe Coffee Day. Well hello, you have been sitting at that place almost daily and all the waiters know you and your order. Do yourself a favor and think about Madras Coffee House (T. Nagar), The Madras Kafe (Nungambakkam), Coffee Central (T Nagar), Coffee world (Abhiramapuram), The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Velachery) and so on. Or if you are really adventurous, ride out to ECR towards Kipling cafe.


Heck if the date sucks, you will at least have a good menu to ponder upon. Why should you be stuck with a bad date and a bad coffee??

Eating out:

umm... Eating at a restaurant, yes...

Starve the previous meal!!! please please, do not go pick on your food. What are you trying to do? Save him some bucks?? Go all out and chomp on that Masala dosa! Murder that plate of vazhapoo vada!! Or if you swing the other way, slurp some of that sauce from the chicken wings like you mean it! Carve out good chunk out of your beef steak. I personally like some good Mughalai biriyani, Syrian Beef fry and a lemon soda. Then may be a large serving of Ice cream. Or if there is a dessert buffet, three of everything and the chef on my plate, pretty please with whipped cream and cherry on top!

Digressing, ouch! My relationship with food is a different story, of well.. But yeah, I have learnt that a girl with a good appetite is a huge turn on for guys as much as anything else. Never got the logic behind it, oh well!

Dressing up: 

Not much of a choice here. Chennai climate makes sure that you can't wear layers. And wearing anything shorter will get you raped and I am not even joking here. I simply don't care and wear what I like. Add my quirky sense and you have a laugh riot. There have been instances when I have worn Sweater in May, White sheer kurta on a rainy August day, matched Yellow kurta with bright pink accessories, carried a red handbag and wore my green sneakers!! I am sure Actor Ramarajan would have been proud of me!

Conversation: 
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, DO NOT BRING UP BOOKS!! Chances are that his favorite book would be Three mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat. One fellow passionately dissected and explained Two states to me. The delicious grilled chicken sandwich was the only thing that held me from running away.

Another topic to avoid is music. I was happily singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody and one fellow said "I JUST LOVE JUSTIN BEIBER". I had to pretend that I went momentarily deaf just to sit there for 20 more minutes.

Stick to weather, the love for Chennai, the latest economic development and anything neutral... If he says, he hates Chennai and its climate, it is time for you run away like a headless chicken. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH A CHENNAI HATER, ANYWAYS??

Well anyways, Be yourself. He should know what he is in for, shouldn't he??

And even after all these you do graduate to the mythical second date, sit back and relax, he is a keeper!!