Aloo Parantha – epitome of Punjabi home cooking

If there is something a hard working person desires at the end of the day, it would be having his or her favourite food, that too piping hot, at home! The thing is that the burden of cooking bears many of us down. The time might be there but the inclination is not there, hence the meal is sketchy and what one had wished to eat, like the favourite food we spoke about earlier, remains a wish unfulfilled. And then there are cases where the inclination is there to cook but time constraint is a major factor. Hence, a quick bite on the move is what an evening meal would look like. Not only do we end up spending money where it can be saved but we also end up giving our bodies insufficient nutrition.

This is where stuffed paranthas come in handy. Punjabis love Aloo Paranthas for breakfast but the same dish can be converted into a proper meal with a salad on the side and freshly made raita like Boondi Raita alongside. A busy cook needs to ensure some kneaded dough in the fridge, and some boiled potatoes. Actual cooking of the paranthas takes less than 30 minutes.

There is every reason to eat well and eat well at home. With a little bit of planning, the kitchen shelves can be well stacked with foods for the week and if you can get organized. Even the week’s menu can be put up so that the mind and hands start working the moment you get home. As the menu is planned, there is bound to be variety and best distribution of nutrition throughout the week. Plan, so that your daily intake is optimum and best ingested by the body. For every single day plan at least one meal that has essential carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The meal should have a cereal, pulse or poultry, some vegetables and maybe a light fruity dessert. This keeps the energy levels at even keel. To have a variety of dishes try a pulao made with healthy brown rice: Hara Masala Brown Rice Pulao.

When you cook at home, freshness is assured and that is what good quality food is made of.

Cool November

Am in Delhi while I write this and it is so much cooler here than in Mumbai…but good weather for us is also around the corner too! I am sure December will be cool in Mumbai, though it is rare to see sweaters come out of the cupboards!
If the weather is to be enjoyed well and truly, then Tawa recipes are the name of the game. The Yellow Chilli at MovieWorld, Ghaziabad, Pacific Mall at Saibabad, and at Greater Noida and Noida will be hosting the Tawa Festival running through 15th to 30th of November. With the sizzle of the food on the tawa and the deep aromas enjoy foods like Tawa Palak Pudina Paratha, Amritsari Tawa Gosht, Tawe Ki Urad Dal and Kalimirch Tawa Chicken.
Some great things have sparked off ever since we had the Innovation Station competition before Diwali. The prize winning Rajgire Chikki with Kesar Sandesh will be dished out for our guests for a lunch tomorrow along with mini batatawadas, Biscuit Corn Sevpuri, Pindi Chole, Chatpati Bhindi and Ajwain Paranthas. As the guests are from out of India this is a good introduction. A few days ago, my team dished out a fantastic Gulab Jamum Thandai Mousse and a Dark Chocolate Mousse with Peanut Chikki. Dream desserts!
The Wonderchef cookery classes and demonstrations are going on in full strength at the Inorbit Malls at Vashi and Malad. Two sessions with Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi are scheduled for the 17th and 18th of November. Be there as the Wonderchef range of cookware and bakeware is really simplifying cooking for their proud owners and it is worthwhile to understand their benefits live!
As I wind up, lets share some tawa food and some dreamy dessert with you!

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor.

What’s the best water for cooking?

The question bank in the world of cooking is never empty! Someone recently asked me about using hot water for cooking….if there are any benefits or drawbacks.

When we talk of cooking we should take into consideration not just the process of cooking by the application of heat but also the processes involved in the making of food.

Significantly there is not much of a difference between the use of hot and cold water in cooking but yet they have their own specific advantages and cannot be always interchanged.

It is observed that egg shells crack when eggs are slid into boiling water. This happens due to sudden agitation of water and coagulation of the egg white. To prevent this it is advisable to add a few drops of vinegar. Alternately you can put the eggs in cold water and then bring the water to a boil thus increasing the temperature of both the water and the egg gradually.

When blanching of vegetables like leafy vegetables and green peas or French beans it is always done in boiling water for a little while and then immediately dunked into icy cold water. This way the vegetables retain their colour and crispiness.

Hot water is usually added while making a pulao or a gravy only to hasten the process of cooking. It does not however add to the taste or texture of the end product.

While churning cream to separate butter from the milk cold water is used as it helps the butter to coagulate faster. While kneading flaky pastry dough chilled water, in fact, icy water, is suggested.

More than the temperature of the water it is the amount of water which is crucial in the process of cooking. Moreover the temperature of the water makes no difference to the nutritional value of the end product.

Yes, hot water is wanted in the kitchen as it helps in washing up the dishes faster!

Here are some dishes that are simple to make so that cleaning up is easy…

Char dal ni khichdi
Sookhi Dal Amritsari
Quick Khopra Pak

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.