December 30, 2017

Top 10 Food Memories of 2017 + Buttermilk Kootu Recipe (Vegetable Buttermilk Stew)

Phew! there it is. an end of 2017. an end to an year I quickly want to forget and erase from my memory. Though the year started on a positive note, it quickly took a nose dive and by the end it felt like an unintentionally long and painful roller coaster ride. Amidst all this chaos, the blog took a big hit and I no longer felt like cooking or writing elaborate posts. I am super active on Instagram though and the only two positive things I will remember 2017 for are: my love for watercolor and how I found support from my bullet journal. Rest all let's say - it feels good to be forgotten. :-) 

There were a few moments though during the year, here and there where I took a few photographs of food and also tried a new recipe from Chandra Padmanabhan's book - Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine From South which you can find at the end of the post. As always, I have grand plans for self and for my hobbies in the coming year and only time will tell on how far I will be able to execute on them. For now, here are Top 10 food memories of 2017 I want to share with you all. 

Happy Holidays and Wishing you all a Joyous 2018 ahead! May the force be with you!

Happy Holidays! more watercolor artwork here on my other blog.

1. Oh the joy of making homemade yogurt for the first time! I was ecstatic but sadly it lasted only for a few months. The trick (especially for US climate) is to drop a dry red chilli while setting in a warm place (like inside an oven).

2. A very dear friend of ours was moving to a new city and as a goodbye gift I made some Chocolate Bark topped with M&M's, dried cherries and shaved coconut. I wanted to try this recipe since the day I saw Coconut Chilli White Chocolate Bark on Food Saga's blog. Trust me, these are so easy to make and look pretty as giveaway goodies as well. All you have to do is melt the chocolate pieces in 30 sec bursts in MW, spread & gently press the toppings, refrigerate for a few hours to set and cut into pieces. Ta-da! Done.

3. No, I am not known to ride a wave of making good food for more than one meal a day but this day in July was truly an exception. After making some good andhra food (gutti vankaya koora and majjiga pulusu) for lunch, here is Pav Bhaji complete with all accompaniments for dinner. Husband who was expecting just a subzi and roti, for obvious reasons was thrilled. I only wished the lighting could have been better. Recipe is adapted from this Youtube video by Varun Inamdar on Rajshri food channel. My little tweaks: I didn't add any food color, reduced the amount of butter a bit and used pav bhaji masala instead of garam masala.

4. As a child I never ever liked Idlis and unlike my husband, it is not my favorite breakfast either. Things changed a bit this year and I found a new liking to these humble steamed cakes. I even dressed them with a spice powder and made Podi Idli + two chutneys. Whoah.

5. Exactly for 4 days I tried to follow a Keto diet. On 5th day, I just couldn't do it anymore and had to break my Keto fasting with a big bowl of poha to feel normal again. Phew! Another time may be?

6. Lo and Behold, those who love stuffed parathas but like me, can't get them right without the stuffing oozing out at least from one side have another option now - Triangular Parathas. Few tips I learnt:
* kneading the dough with milk and to let it rest for half an hour did make a difference. * any stuffing will work and for below I used a mix of: grated paneer, onion, coriander leaves, crushed dried fenugreek leaves, cumin powder, red chili powder, little garam masala and salt.

7. Bestie DK (Chef In You) invited me to her first golu (ever!) and of course I had to be there, doesn't matter if it was a weekday and I could only stay for an hour. There was some yummy prashad which made my tummy happy and yes, even after 10 years of pleading, she doesn't let me put her pic (with a face) on a public platform! Sigh.

8. In the first week of December, there was a potluck lunch at work and since I was leaving for a short vacation a day after, I kept my dish super simple to make and carry - Chipotle Potato and Egg Salad. 

9. It’s not me ok! Mallika (who posted her delicious Veg puffs few days ago and it was the first thing I saw that morning) made me bake these - Paneer Puffs with our evening chai. Husband's surprise and happiness was very evident; that I made something other than a dal and a curry. I was happy that he was happy. :-) 

10. The most elaborate of all recipes I tried in 2017 was this Layered Vegetable and Paneer Biryani. It took four attempts on four Sunday afternoons to perfect it and by the fifth week we were so bored that I didn't dare to make it since then. May be I should sit down and post this recipe on the blog. I am sure you all will love it.  

Buttermilk Kootu Recipe (Vegetable Buttermilk Stew) 


Chop and Boil Veggies:

2 small eggplants in cubes
1 chayote, peeled
1 tomato
1 plantain or yam into cubes
1 cup of chopped snake gourd or any other squash vegetable of your choice like bottle gourd, pumpkin, ash gourd etc.
2 green chillies

In a pan, add all veggies (except green chillies which is used in masala paste below), little salt, turmeric and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Cover pan and cook on low heat until tender. Set aside and let it cool while you prepare the masala paste. 

Masala Paste: 

Heat 2 tsp of oil. Add: 3 dry red chillies, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp bengal gram (chana dal) and 1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds, Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup grated coconut and green chillies. After a minute, transfer the spices into a blender/food processor. Add little water and grind into a fine paste. Then add 1 cup of yogurt and grind once more. 

Add the masala paste to boiled veggies and let it come to a simmer on low heat so that the yogurt doesn't curdle. 


Heat 2 tsp of ghee/oil in a saucepan. Add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and few curry leaves. Once they start to splutter, add to the buttermilk kootu and Serve with hot rice.

Recipe Source: Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine From South by Chandra Padmanabhan (Page 46)

untile next time,


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