This week love your greens

I love this time of the year: the dustiness of a hot October being cleaned up by the slight breeze of November and in the hope of a better cooler clime the body does get energized! What do you say? Yes, December is around the corner and in our office the air is filled, not with the aroma of Christmas cakes and cookies, but of sweet khoya being pan roasted for barfis and pedas….my team is totally inspired after the workshop with the professional halwai from Makhanbhog and good stuff is being dished out everyday!
Other things that keep our office abuzz – Wonderchef events on 24th in Vashi and 25th in Malad….Chef Anupa Das will use the amazing range of Wonderchef cookware to dish out some traditional Indian greats: so you can learn how to cook Dum Paneer Kalimirch, Soya Shaami Kabab and Double Ka Meetha on the spot plus get to taste the freshly made food!
Our website is plush with the colour of greens and if you browse through the GO GREEN recipes you would be amazed at the splendour of the winter greens that we do not take full advantage of. This week, make the most of leafy vegetables in your daily diet and I will give you my personal favourites right away!
Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Indian starters – Kababs and much more

Appetizers whet the appetite. They are best called stimulating samples: a sample of something that is meant to stimulate an interest. A good start to a formal meal or a party could be a serving of these ‘ice breakers’ or starters and appetizers! These are finger foods usually served prior to a meal and may range from the very simple to the very complex, depending on the occasion and the time devoted to making them. Appetizers are perfect with aperitifs, cocktails served prior to a meal.
Appetizers are planned in a big way at weddings and also at long parties. In fact, there are some parties that serve a variety of appetizers in huge quantities because there is no main course to follow. Appetizers are an especially good idea when guests are consuming alcohol, since they help to cut down on alcohol absorption.
Ideally appetizers should be easy to handle with just a napkin and easy to eat in one to two bites. This way guests can continue to mingle without needing to carry around food laden plates.
Some ideas:
Try a simple plate of cheese and crackers
Keep a tray with batons of crisp vegetables called crudités and serve it with a dip
Canapé baskets filled with a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian stuffing
Kababs are the epitome of Indian starters – these can be served hot from the grill or tandoor! Have a variety of chicken and fish as also vegetarian. Ensure that the cooking areas are different.
When you decide to serve appetizers, think about foods that will go well together, but vary in flavour and taste. For example, perhaps you would like to serve grilled prawns. This is a great choice, but some guests may be allergic to seafood or shellfish. In addition to the prawns, consider other appetizers such as stuffed mushroom caps, or small tikkis in easily handled sizes. Something on toothpicks like Angoori Paneer Tikka, Cheese and Vegetable Balls, Kumbh Shashlik are ideal. It is appropriate to serve both hot and cold appetizers, but perfectly fine to serve all cold or all hot dishes.
How does one know how many appetizers will be enough? Follow a simple rule: allow six to seven appetizers per person per hour. If you do not know all the food preferences of your guests, be sure that you have something substantial for vegetarians.
An extra touch:
Garnish or line serving trays with lettuce leaves/shredded lettuce or cabbage leaves. You can also line bowls with cabbage leaves.
Serve the dip in interesting containers like a hollowed out cabbage, or a hollowed loaf of uncut bread, pumpkins or watermelons.
Place appetizers in multiple locations rather than having one table. This encourages your guests to move around more.
Serve cold foods such as vegetables, prawns and cubed cheese in a ring of ice.
Prepare trays of appetizers before hand in the kitchen so you can quickly refill. Appetizers served before a buffet or full dinner are optional. But remember that they do reduce the intake of dinner food, but only about ten percent. If you do choose to serve an appetizer, remember there is a meal following immediately. And yes, try to select complementary foods.

Just a quick session, to begin the day with!

A lot has been happening in the Khana Khazana office this week and the weeks prior to this. So, I just decided to have an informal get-together with my staff and share with them the events (Not, that my staff did not know anything, it’s just that I feel really good whenever I get to meet all my staff together and share things with them!).
The most important news in KK right now happens to be the finalising of the much awaited deal for our venture into television broadcast with a 24×7 cookery channel. I shared with my staff, how the channel is a result of an enormous amount of hardwork that has been put into it. I had to congratulate them as well!
By God’s grace, we’ll be starting it by the end of December 2010 or the first week of January 2011 (I’m really excited and pepped-up for this project and hope similar is the case with my staff!).
I am happy that amongst the other hosts, some of the shows on the channel will be hosted by our very own Chef Harpal and Chef Anupa Das. A new channel also means that we need to expand our staff and require more people to be on the run (most of the time that is, if not 24×7!). So, we are on the lookout for fresh and dynamic blood, ready to accept new challenges and make the best of an opportunity like this.
I am glad I could spend quite sometime with my staff and encourage them to inculcate more and more passion in whatever they do, here or elsewhere! Today was just perfect and I did what I do best, besides cooking, i.e. motivating my staff to achieve the bestest! I discussed about detailing being the key thing. For all the recipes that are prepared here, more detailing has to be put in the documentation of recipes. This way we can achieve great results! And to add a chcolacious end to all this, we celebrated these happenings by cutting a sinful Ferrero Rocher cake and consuming it!
On Tuesday, we had amongst us Mr. Sarvan of ‘Makhanbhog’ ‘ fame who paid a visit to our office and conducted a demonstration on some popular mithais like Kesari Kaju Katli, Mawa Burfi, Chocolate Burfi, Kesari Mawa Peda, Kesari Burfi, Milk Cake and Dhoda. I’m sure the chefs had quite a learning session with the skills and expertise, which he had brought along.
Keeping my fingers crossed for the new venture!
Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.