My Mom is a Malaysian. My Dad, an Indian. Theirs is ofcourse, a love marriage. My Dad, being a simple man when it comes to meals, refused to forsake his Dal-Roti routine when he married my Mom. She on the other hand, could never accept that cooking a traditional Indian meal was out of her reach. So she toiled, and she toiled, and today she makes the best curries and the meanest biryanis than any born-Indian I know.

Masala Alu Parathas

When they first got married, as my Mom once very fondly narrated this story to me, she was unaccustomed to the roti. Not knowing the perfect recipe himself, all she could get out of my Dad was that the dough was made from whole wheat and water, and rolled out into thin, soft and fluffy mouthfuls of delight. She tried her various combinations of water and flour for many days to come, until one fine day Dad had a smile on his face after the very first bite, and announced it PERFECT! Since then, she has rolled bagfuls of flour into the most delicate rotis and parathas.

One thing I learnt for Mom, was that making rotis is an art in it’s truest form. I agree. Who ever has tried to roll them into the perfect circle with only the aide of a rolling pin, will know exactly what I mean. I started out with no-so-soft-irregular-shaped ones myself. But as they say, practice makes perfect. Though mine are still not as round as the moon, they do taste good.

The other day when I decided to make one of Hubby Dear’s finest favourites, I had a slight inclination to tamper with things a little. Who ever said never to play with tradition, certainly never tasted my version of it!

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Let me make a confession. I am not a baker. I am not into baking, nor do I enjoy the tiresome process of folding one part of the batter into the other. Infact, the closest step I take to baking is opening a pre-packaged box of cake mix, breaking an egg or two into it as per the instructions, a spash of water as needed, and popping it into a warm oven.

Chocolate Cup Cakes

Except until I decided to throw down my shield and create this. It was simple, quick and easy – not something I can easily relate to with baking. And so today, once more, I thought of doing the unmentioned. I decided to create a recipe that wouldn’t drive me away from the oven, but instead, could be my run-to solution for a quick remedy to those sugar pangs.

For the past one week, I’ve been craving chocolate. Not just any chocolate, but those sinfuly, rich, dark, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth-rest-on-your-hips decadent chocolate cakes. And it didn’t help that all the food magazines I subscribe to (yes, all 10 of them!) were filled with the most drool enhancing photographs of chocolatey holiday treats.

Looking puppy-eyed and battling my eye lids to Hubby didn’t work either. He refused to buy me a 12-inch cake to eat all by myself (locked in a room, gorging on it with my bare hands and having cream all over my face and hands, just like in my most secret chocolate fantasy!). So I had no choice but to experiment, and that I sure did. I studied over a dozen recipes, worked out the necessary ingredients, altered the measurements and of course, simplified the process.

As I sat down and took the first bite of the warm cake, I was taken to a place I had since long yearned to go. I suggest induling in the sin fresh from the oven. The soft chocolate chips in their almost liquified form, gives the cakes a warm gooey goodness. almost to the likes of a molten chocolate interior.

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Whoever invented the ever-so-rich-finger-lickin’-melt-in-your-mouth delicious Butter Chicken, truly did not take my whims and fancies into consideration! Let me explain…

Butter Chicken

I never enjoyed eating Butter Chicken. Yes, you heard me right, and no, I’m not kidding! Whenever I refuse to order this age-old dish at any restaurant, people didning at my table often look at me like I’m from out of space. But it’s true, I do not enjoy this dish that is considered to be the epitome of the Indian cuisine. Infact, I think it is way too rich to my liking, if I may say so.

Though Hubby Dear has been seen wiping his plate clean of this dish whenever he gets the (good) fortune to dip into it, being the sweetheart that he is, has not once asked me to cook it at home. You see, I hate cooking with cream and/or milk. There’s something about adding cream/milk to my food that makes me look at it with such torment. While I happily add dollops of cream to make my own chocolate desserts, adding it to my actual meal gives me the jitters. So clearly, Butter Chicken, which is as rich as the amount of cream and/or milk added to it, steered clear from my palate.

Until today that is. I woke up this morning with my mind made. I was going to invent a rich Chicken Curry, and cream would be nowhere near the picture!

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We don’t bicker much, Hubby Dear and I, when it comes to food, except of course when the topic of concern is Dal. Dal, or lentils, is a common staple in Indian cuisine. Be it the North, South, West or East, this is one item you can find on the menu. True, it comes in its variations, but it’s a staple nonetheless. And there’s certainly no denying that on a cold rainy day like today, it is the ultimate comfort food.

Chana Dal Tadka

Hubby Dear and me love our dals, and most importantly, we have our favourites. He loves his Yellow Arhar/Toor dal, and I’m passionate about my Red Masoor. To give tem their due importance, I alternate between the two each week. One may think it might be hard to keep track of whose turn is up next, but since I’m the sole incharge when it comes to all things culinary, I demand the benefit of doubt.

There have been numerous days when Hubby Dear thinks, no, he actually believes, that I’ve been partial to my own needs infront of his wishes. Well, maybe i have. But then again, when you rule the kitchen, there’s not much that can be done about it! So, to avoid matters taking a toll for the worst, I turn to the only intermidiary I know. The Chana dal. Or more explicitly, the Split Pea. This lentil is one that we both happliy agree on. It may take it’s own sweet time to soften down, but the end result never fails to bring a smile to our faces that had been just recently wiped off due to the “episode”.

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