When the Burger met the Babu…

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 28th, 2006 | 17 Comments


The day I heard McDonald’s came to India, I wanted to instantly take a trip downtown. Not because I can’t live without the dreaded Mc Mac, but because I knew what happens to international food chains in India. They automatically take on the Desi avatar on landing! One look at the menu on the wall, and I knew why the place was filled not with just college-going-trying-to-ape-the-west-as-best-as-possible youngsters, but also the timid looking grandma prying open her sandwich.

Alu (Potato) Burger

Hubby Dear and me have made a Friday-night ritual of sorts that we try to follow as close as possible. It has to do with a lot of lounging on the couch in front of the big screen TV, gorging on the best of junk food. Before you go on to tell me how bad (read: comforting!!) a weekly intake of junk food can be for me, let me clarify.

Our menus certainly include the usual burgers, pizza and wings, as well as the much adored quesadillas, tacos, shawarma, and spanokopitas, to name a few. The only difference though, is that nothing is as it sounds. Our pizzas are loaded with the trendiest of toppings ranging from panner tikka, grilled veggies and the occasional tandoori chicken slices. Our quesadillas and tacos lack in cheesiness, but gear up in heat. And our burgers, well, let’s just say it would make that saree-clad grannie and her denim-donned teenage grandson, very happy campers!

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One-bite Wonders…

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 19th, 2006 | 17 Comments


With Diwali just around the corner, it’s no surprise that my little kitchen has been bursting with activity. Though I shy away from entertaining on a large scale on this occasion, I still look forward to the crowding of family and friends around my dinner table. I guess the old saying does hold true in my case that nothing pleases a cook more, than to see the happy faces of those enjoying the food.

Shakkarpare

Diwali in my home, has always been centered around food. In fact, any occasion I can think of, revolves around us hovering over the stove while Mom dishes out treat after treat. Now that I have my own household to care for, the tradition still continues. Hubby Dear has already declared an open house to his tummy. Friends and family have invited themselves over and requests have been made and duly considered. And I’ve done my part as well, by promising each of them their favourites on the table.

As I while away my time in the kitchen churning up one request to another, I can’t help but take a time out to snuggle in a treat for myself. After all, festivals are for indulging, and who am I to defy tradition. So before I head back to cooking up a storm for this weekend, how about joining me for a cup of coffee and some tasty bites?

Here’s wishing all my readers a Very Happy and Prosperous Diwali!

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Quick & Simple – Meal in Minutes

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 18th, 2006 | 4 Comments


I can never stress enough how quick and simple meals are important in my household. Though we love our slow-cooking wonders over the weekends, we often come home during the week with little less than just a craving of good food, with no energy what so ever to deal with it’s creation.

Egg Masala

Call me crazy but even scramble eggs can be made to look elegant by me. Yes, I have a sickness. I’m somehow very uncomfortable with the fact of showing off simple food just the way it is. When Hubby Dear comes home each evening to a table laden with the best of flavours on a platter, he often thinks that I’ve slaved over the hot stove for hours. I always smile a cunning smile, because even though my food looks and tastes like it’s been simmering for hours, only my stove knows how long it’s actually been running to bring our dinner from pot to plate.

I always glorify myself in the thought of having made a splendid meal that looks like I’ve spent half my life over. But I know how much I resent having to actually make a slow-cooked meal from scratch! I can’t even remember the last time I made my own stock.

A couple of days ago, when we were having our usual “something different for dinner” mood swing, it only seemed reasonable to make something out of the ordinary. Elegant, yes. Simple, definitely!

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Back to the Basics…

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 16th, 2006 | 13 Comments


Good food is nice. Delicious exotic food is even better. But when you’ve overfed yourself with a variety of scrumptiously rich delicacies, the mind begins to move to a more subtle and simple option. The past few weeks saw us gorging on the best of Indian festive delicacies, and what with Diwali Just around the corner, this trend is sure to continue for the next few days as well. But last night, as we came home after a long day of running errands, just in time for a quick hearty meal, our palates began to repulse at the slightest thought of anything even remotely extravagant.

Alu Fry (Sauteed Potatoes)

In most North Indian households, the availability of the three basics – onions, tomatoes and potatoes, along with the most basic of spices cannot be missed. Truly, just with these three, one can can create a pretty hearty meal to feed the whole family. And the choices are never limited. By altering and changing the flavourings and spices, a variety of dishes can be concocted from these basics.

So it’s no surprise that when I look for simplicity, I undoubtedly turn to the basics.

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