Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

A Thai-inspired noodle salad with peanuts is one of my most favourite lunches or dinners, and the husband’s too. The best thing about this salad is that it is as easy-peasy to make as 1-2-3!

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Here is how I make the salad.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 150 grams hakka noodles
  2. 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  3. 1 small European cucumber (the one with minimal or no seeds), peeled and finely chopped
  4. 1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely
  5. 1/2 cup sweet corn, steamed to retain crispiness, not overcooked
  6. A small bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  7. 1/4 cup peanuts
  8. Salt, to taste
  9. 4 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (I use Thai Heritage)
  10. 4 tablespoons honey
  11. Red chilli powder, to taste
  12. 4 tablespoons soya sauce (I use Thai Heritage)
  13. 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
  14. Juice of 1 lemon
  15. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and very finely chopped

Method:

  1. Take the noodles in a heavy-bottomed pan, with enough water to cover them. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan, which helps in ensuring that the noodles do not stick to the bottom. Let the noodles cook on medium flame till they are done. Make sure the noodles are not overcooked; they should be just done.
  2. Meanwhile, roast the peanuts in a pan, on medium heat, till they get crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Let the peanuts cool down, and then remove the skins. Crush coarsely in a mixer. Do not make a fine powder; just crush them coarsely. Keep aside.
  3. When the noodles are done, place them in a colander and drain out the excess water. Immediately run cold water over them to stop further cooking. Place the noodles aside.
  4. Take the cooked noodles (after all the water has completely drained out of them) in a large mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot, chopped onion, coriander and cucumber, ginger and garlic, corn, Sriracha sauce, soya sauce, lemon juice, salt and red chilli powder to taste, and honey. Toss everything well, ensuring that the noodles are evenly coated with the sauces and the veggies are well mixed together.
  5. Serve immediately, if you plan to serve the salad cold. If you plan to serve it hot, heat it up a bit.

Notes:

  1. I prefer using only salad vegetables in this dish that do not require any cooking, like carrot, cucumber and onion.
  2. Increase or decrease the quantities of soya sauce, lemon juice, honey and Sriracha sauce to suit your taste preferences.
  3. Make sure you chop the ginger and garlic very finely, so you don’t get very big bites of them while you are eating the salad.
  4. Use any variety of noodles that you please. I prefer using hakka noodles for this.
  5. Vinegar can be used in place of lemon juice.

You like? I hope you will try this out, and that you will love it, too!

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Here are some other salads that I have made and loved:

  1. Thai green mango and moong sprouts salad
  2. Thai raw mango and onion salad
  3. Thai green papaya salad
  4. Maharashtrian beetroot-onion raita
  5. Moong sprouts and pomegranate salad
  6. Kappa kizhangu/ tapioca salad
  7. Thai-style moong sprouts and pineapple salad
  8. Mexican nacho salad
  9. Simple carrot salad
  10. Thai-style water chestnut salad
  11. Thai-style alfalfa sprouts and lettuce salad

Luxury Italian Modular Kitchens By Stosa Cucine, Now In Bangalore!

I was recently present at my first event for the year 2017, the launch of Stosa Cucine, luxury Italian modular kitchen store, at Jayanagar in Bangalore. Little did I know, when I accepted the invite to attend the event, that I would end up not only gawping at some gorgeous, gorgeous kitchens, but also gorging on some very beautiful food.

Do check out my blog post about the launch, here. Thank you!

The First Book Of 2017…

… is finally done and dusted!

The book in question is Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas.

Rukmini Srinivas’s Tiffin, as the name suggests, is all about ‘tiffin’, snacks that are served as breakfast or in typical South Indian households at 4 PM, with a cup of filter coffee. This is a cookbook-cum-memoir, with the author narrating anecdotes from her life, all revolving around tiffin time. Being a staunch vegetarian herself, she has has included only vegetarian recipes in the book, Indian as well as fusion.

I quite liked the book, though I would have loved to see some more depth in it. Most of the situations the author has written about seem to be good – there is nothing dark or challenging or difficult, mostly. I would have liked to see the inclusion of that in the book, too, but then I understand that this is not the author’s autobiography (she has explicitly mentioned the same); this is a book of anecdotes revolving around tiffin.

The anecdotes are written in typical Indian English, which I both liked and disliked. On one hand, it gives the feel of a grandmother talking to you, telling you about her life. On the other hand, I couldn’t help feeling that the language could have been better. The book could surely have done with tighter proofreading and editing – I think that would have worked wonders for it! The food photography, too, could have been better. There are no captions for the food pictures in the book, so you are left to figure out which recipe each picture refers to (not that that is too difficult for a person used to Indian tiffin items, but still). Also, there is no cataloguing of recipes in the book, so you need to flip through all the pages to find something in particular.

In spite of my little grouses with the book, I would say I still enjoyed reading it. It is a light, simple read that doesn’t stress the brain. There are charming black-and-white photos of the author and her family. Some of of the anecdotes are interesting, especially those about the author’s travels, cooking and the availability of ingredients in the pre-Independence era, but most are, sadly, just about been-there-eaten-that.

Many of the recipes in the book are good. I like how the author has suggested substitutes for certain cooking techniques that might be difficult for newbie cooks – using condensed milk to thicken a kheer, for instance, rather than cooking milk for ages. She has also advised how to ‘stagger’ certain complicated recipes – how to make the dish in parts, over a couple of days’ time, so that one is not overwhelmed with the process on a single day. The recipes could be of immense help to someone new to cooking, I think. I am, for sure, going to be trying out some of them.

Overall, this turned out to be a book that I liked, but didn’t love for various reasons. 3.5 out of 5, I would say.

Have any of you read this book? What are your thoughts about it?

Home-Made Mixed Vegetable Soup

The weather in Bangalore, lately, has been just perfect for soup in the evenings. The husband and I have been thoroughly enjoying our cups of soup, the few evenings that I have been able to make some.

I am not an expert soup maker, let me tell you. I am scared of making soups, because they almost never seem to come out right. The husband and I would, any day, prefer home-made soup over a store-bought cup or something that comes out of a packet, so I learnt how to perfect this mixed vegetable soup that I am going to tell you about today.

My zilch soup-making skills notwithstanding, this one turns out beautiful almost always, and is loved by everyone in the family. Amma learnt this recipe years ago from a TV show and taught it to me, and then I went on to make my own additions to it, over the years, and that is how this recipe has evolved.

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I use whole wheat flour to thicken the soup, rather than cornflour or maida, a healthy substitute.

Here’s how I make the soup.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  1. A very small piece of cabbage, finely chopped
  2. 2 tablespoons green peas
  3. 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  4. 6 French beans, strings removed and finely chopped
  5. Black pepper, powdered or crushed, to taste
  6. Salt, to taste
  7. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  8. 1 teaspoon salted butter
  9. 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice
  10. 1 teaspoon sugar
  11. 1-1/2 tablespoons whole wheat flour, or depending upon the thickness you want for the soup

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the cabbage, green peas, beans and carrot with a little water. Give it about 4 whistles. When the pressure has released entirely, open the cooker and keep the cooked veggies aside. Do not drain out the water.
  2. Dry roast the whole wheat flour in a pan, on medium heat, till it starts turning brown and emitting a lovely fragrance. Let it cool down completely.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the roasted whole wheat flour with a little water. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps. Keep aside.
  4. In a pan, heat the butter. When it has melted, add in the chopped coriander. Saute for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add in the cooked vegetables, along with the water they were boiled in. Add in the salt and pepper to taste, sugar, and the wheat flour mixture, along with about 3 cups of water. Mix well.
  6. Stirring intermittently, let the soup cook on a medium flame till it thickens to the consistency that you desire.
  7. Switch off the gas and mix in the vinegar/lemon juice.
  8. Serve hot, with or without croutons.

Notes:

  1. I typically make this soup using beans, carrot, cabbage and peas. You can add in any other vegetable that you have. Mushrooms, corn and baby corn make for particularly good additions to this soup.
  2. Do not hesitate to add the 1 teaspoon of sugar to the soup. You can barely taste it in the final product, and it does take the taste of the soup to a whole new level.
  3. I sometimes use garlic butter instead of plain, salted butter. I find it enhances the taste of the soup greatly.
  4. We love the addition of vinegar/lemon juice in the soup, but feel free to omit it, if you don’t want to use it.
  5. You could also add in a teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste or just some finely chopped garlic – if using, just saute it a bit after you are done with the coriander, and then proceed to add the cooked vegetables.
  6. This method yields a soup that is neither too watery nor too thick, just the way I like it. Increase or decrease the quantity of wheat flour that you use, to ensure that the soup is of the consistency that you desire.

You like? I hope you will try this out, and that you will love it too!

If you have any tried-and-tested soup recipes that you love, please do share!

South Indian Mango Ginger Pickle| Maanga Inji Urugai

I am very fond of maanga inji aka mango ginger, those twisted roots with a hint of mango that are available in plenty this time of the year. I love the simple pickle that Tam-Brahm households make with this mango ginger, a winter delicacy that makes a lovely combination with curd rice.

Here‘s our recipe for mango ginger pickle, the way our family has been making it since ages.