Ask Meena: Quick, Healthy Weeknight Meal

Written by Meena Agarwal on November 4th, 2013 | 3 Comments


Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

So… in my last post I had asked you all to come clean and tell me what you’d like me to write/change/do on the blog; and I loved reading all the comments and personal emails that I received from you. A lot of you (almost everyone that wrote in, actually) said that you’d like to see more frequent posts from me. And boy did I hear ya! I had just received my new Erin Condren planner a few days prior, and immediately set to work on my blog editorial calendar. I mapped out posts I have stockpiled as drafts, and dedicated days to developing, cooking and testing new recipes. So keep those emails and comments coming in and let me know what kind of recipes you’d like me to dish out. One of the emails I received came from Supriya, who had this to say:

Hi Meena, I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and have enjoyed a ton of your recipes. Many of them appear on my dinner table on a weekly basis and have become family favourites. Although I’m proud that my kids enjoy and readily eat almost anything I put on their plates, they’ve recently started to get a bit fussy when it comes to dinner. They’ve been requesting pasta a lot lately, and while I do indulge them most times, I’m not too happy about serving them a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs each week. I’d like to try something more whole with a ton of veggies. They do enjoy eggplant and spinach lasagna, but frankly I need something that is quick, simple and delicious! Can you help? An over-worked mom, Supriya

Well Supriya, first off, let me congratulate you on having such good eaters as kids. If your kids will readily relish a helping of eggplant and spinach lasagna – that’s half the battle won! Personally, I love having pasta on my weekly meal rotation as well. Let’s face it – it’s fast, easy, and with a little creativity, can be made wholesome as well. I made this recipe sometime ago for a surprise b’day party I threw Hubby Dear. It was one of the sides with the main Eggplant Parmesan dish I made. The crowd loved it, and needless to say, Hubby and Baby Dear as well! It’s quite easy to prep and can be enjoyed either warm or cold. I’ve made with various pasta shapes (macaroni being Baby Dear’s favourite, and rotini or penne, ours), and whatever veggies I have on hand. Give it a try, and I’m sure you and your family will keep asking for more!

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Hello… anybody there?

Written by Meena Agarwal on December 6th, 2010 | 49 Comments


I know it feels like I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth, but let me assure you that I’m still here. Barely have any time to breathe, but living nonetheless! The past months seem to have just flown by what with me being knee deep projects – from writing the cookbook, to it getting published and now moving to a much bigger, lovelier house. While my days are taken over with selecting furniture, my kitchen is humming as usual.

Currently I’m in the midst of unpacking my kitchen and looking forward to set up shop in a much more bigger, brighter and open concept one. And along with all the opening of boxes I’m also doing a ton of shopping and decorating my eat-in kitchen with adjustable bar stools. So while it does seem like I haven’t cooked at all, I can assure that I have – just not anything I would deem blog-worthy. But I do promise to bring you a steaming pot of delicious curry soon. Very soon. It is afterall, a promise!



2007: A Year in Food

Written by Meena Agarwal on January 3rd, 2008 | 22 Comments


It seems strange to wake up and finally realize as I turn to my planner, that we are finally in 2008. Over the past few weeks, I have been juggling around dinner parties, last-minute deadlines, surprise holiday guests, and not to mention shopping for gifts for family and friends! As I sit back now, a steaming cup of hot coaco in hand, it suddenly dawned on me that I had quite an eventful and experimental year in 2007 in relation to food. And otherwise also.

Here are some of my favourite picks from the year just past. If you haven’t tried them as yet, then I’d truly suggest you head on and get started, else you may not be able to catch up. Because, seeing as how tremendous 2007 turned out, I have an strong inkling that 2008 will bring with it many, many more delicious treats from my kitchen to yours!

Dahiwali Chicken Curry Dal Makhani Jeera Alu Pepper Chicken Gajar Halwa Ginger Chilli Shrimp Bok Choy in Coconut Milk Spiced Lamb Pilaf Edible Cigars Methi Matar Malai Chana Masala Honey-Garlic Spring Rolls Chicken & Bean Coconut Stew Coconut Chicken Curry Tandoori Chicken Pops Paneer Tak-a-Tak Asam Pedas REd Chilli Chicken

And finally, a few of my 2008 resolutions for hookedonheat.com:

  1. More original South Asian fusion recipes.
  2. Introducing new features, as well as continuing old favourites including Indian Cooking 101, Interviews and Cookbook Reviews.
  3. A proper printable compilation of all the recipes and food photographs of hookedonheat.com.

So, what are your food resolutions for 2008?



Let’s get Cooking!

Written by Meena Agarwal on September 13th, 2005 | No Comments


Hello lovely people and welcome to my new blog, a food journal of sorts for all things edible. Here, I will rant, I will rave, I will pull my hair out, but only because I am a perfectionist who needs her food to be just the way she likes it – quick, simple and delicious!

There’s a lot of difference between the way Mom and I come up with our creations. The taste might be very similar, but the way it’s made is not. Mom likes to cook the traditional way, even if it means spending the whole morning to make lunch. And don’t get me started on when we have one of those lavish dinner parties!

I, on the other hand, love to find the shortest and easiest routes to get to my destination! I try to make my life so much simpler by having a food processor in close proximity, instead of pounding the life out of my mortar and pestle. There are many time savers, that when put together, makes cooking a breeze. And if you’re a believer of the old and traditional ways of cooking, I’ll encourage you to try out my recipes my way, and you’ll see that they are loaded with the same flavours.

I think I began cooking when I moved into a hostel about 10 years ago. Living on your own teaches you a lot, and cooking is one of them! The first few months I survived mainly on instant noodles and the cafeteria food. Not long after, I decided that it was time I did something about it. So I called up my mom, and that was the beginning of our regular recipe exchanges over phone (did I mention it was long distance?!).

Every time we would talk, the topic of what each of us had for lunch or dinner was an unavoidable question. With that continued the saga of how it was made, and what other variations could be added to make better. It wasn’t long before I realized I enjoyed cooking, and why not, I was good at it! It was always a proud moment for me when I got a compliment on my culinary skills. And an even bigger one for Mom when they would tell her that I fall right into her footsteps.

So don on those aprons, fire up that stove and allow me to take you on a culinary journey. A journey so satisfyingly good, you’ll be surprised that you haven’t even stepped out of your home. And as every good host is always proud to declare, I say to you, Let the party begin!



hello??… anyone out there?

Written by Meena Agarwal on September 12th, 2005 | 1 Comment


Ahem… so… I decided to start my own food blog. Why? Because I spent the last two days drooling over other food blogs instead of getting any work done. And for an intern, I think it’s absolutely amazing how none of my managers have noticed me oggle over food photographs online. As yet.

So before I lose any more sleep over it, let’s give this a try shall we?