A vegetarian Burmese Khow Suey

A sister-in-law of mine once told me that what we call Burmese Khow Suey only exists in our Indian imaginations. In her three year stay in Yangon, she didn’t come across anything remotely like it .

However, I first came upon Khow Suey when I was all of 13 years old. A much travelled aunt who used to make a big production of being invited by her , once included my brother and me when she invited my parents to her much prized Sunday brunch

. To say I was gob smacked is an understatement. For me it was like dying and going to heaven.

For several years I used to think that  Khow Suey was the ultimate in exotic cuisine and kept her reluctantly shared recipe close to my chest. That was before the now defunct Busaba opened up Burmese cuisine to the everyday Mumbaikar.

The other day I was slurping down my chicken Khow Suey at Palladium Social when Hubby Dear expressed a keenness to try the coconut curry.

Since he had assiduously passed up the Khow Suey every time it was made at home, I was once again gob smacked !

And what was more shocking was that he asked me to make a Vegetarian version for Sunday’s lunch .

So here’s what I did 

Burmese khow suey

Burmese khow suey

Ingredients

  • For the curry
  • 1 x 200 g coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic ginger paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon red chill powder ( depending on how fiery you like it)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander powder
  • 1 heaped tablespoon chick pea flour ( besan)
  • For the vegetables
  • 1 cup pre-cooked Nutrela Soya nuggets
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3 baby corn
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced mushroom
  • For the garnish
  • 1 finely sliced onion made into a barista ( deep fried to a crisp golden brown)
  • 2 teaspoons golden fried chopped garlic
  • chopped coriander
  • chopped green onion
  • coarsely ground roast peanuts
  • crumbled boiled egg
  • lemon quarters

Instructions

  • To make the curry :
  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the grated onion and stir till pink. Then add the garlic ginger paste and continue stirring. Reduce the heat to avoid sticking.
  • When the onion is golden brown, add the turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Roast till you get the aroma of roasted spices ( around a minute or so).
  • Add the chick pea flower and continue stirring till the flour is slightly roasted.
  • Toss in the vegetables one by one starting out with the baby corn, then broccoli, mushroom and bell peppers. Finally add in the cooked soya nuggets.
  • Add just enough water and cover with a lid .
  • Allow the pot to simmer till the vegetables are just done.
  • Remove the lid and add the coconut milk.
  • Once again allow the curry to simmer - letting it thicken a bit.
  • Adjust the salt before serving
  • Serve with steamed noodles or steamed white rice.
  • Khow Suey is served on top of the noodles/rice with all the accompaniments added on top . Mix together to get an interesting mix of crunch and flavour.
  • You could add a dash of lime if you like slightly tangy, citrusy flavour.
http://foodities.in/veg-burmese-khow-suey/

image for Jackfruit Salad

Quick and Easy Jackfruit Salad

Jackfruit into salad ?

image for Jackfruit Salad

 

I never thought I’d make this jackfruit into a salad but several years back when my mother mentioned that baby jackfruit makes a very interesting salad, I was intrigued.

What is jackfruit you might ask? Well it is one ugly tropical fruit that looks like a hedgehog trying to clamber up a tree. It is from the same family as breadfruit and is said to have originated from the rain forests in the Western ghat region . The fruit when ripe is sweet and smelly . Some people love it while most people don’t.

And when the fruit is raw, it can be used to make a vegetable that often is mistaken for a meat dish. However, it is still not very popular and I am always a bit hesitant to make it.

However, while walking through my favourite vegetable haunt Bhaji Gully, I came across this baby jackfruit which I daresay, looked so ‘cute’ that I just had to buy it. Then, having bought it, I just had to make it.

Today I’ve invited some old college friends to lunch and thought that they might just like it – at least as a complete novelty since the one time I made it, it was a resounding success. I do hope it works out well….. In the meanwhile, here’s the recipe to make a quick and easy jackfruit salad.


Steam the jackfruit and remove the skin and central core. Make into bite sized pieces and add freshly grated coconut, finely chopped coriander, chopped green chillies, some soaked cashews and peanuts, a dash of lime and salt. Mix well and add a tempering of garlic and mustard seeds. Serve chilled and watch it disappear!!

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Image for amuse bouche at Farzi Cafe

Daytime lounging at #Farzi Cafe

Not being a Lounge Lizard , I had no idea what to expect at Farzi Cafe which I found out was actually a lounge bar and not really a cafe.

Why Farzi?

It all started with Daughter No 1’s desire to try out the new eating places in town. After a shout out to my foodie friends for recommendations, we decided on Farzi Cafe  which is in Kamala City, in the heart of Mumbai ‘s erstwhile mill district ( Lower Parel) . Since Lower doesn’t sound very classy, this area has become ”Upper Worli” when it was gentrified.

Hence , when we asked for directions, the girl at Farzi said we could come from anywhere . We soon found out a horrendous traffic jam later that this is not true. In fact the best way to get there ( at least till the redevelopment is over ) is from Gate No. 4. Once you enter it is still quite a trudge so don’t give up your transport till you actually reach the restaurant.

Inside the Cafe

Once in, the darkness was a stark contrast to the bright sunshine we had just stepped away from. We were led to a sofa table mainly to accommodate our little one whom we couldn’t leave at home.  We realised later that this place is most inappropriate for children. I also realised that it is not a place for people less than 6 ft tall because even when I stretched my spine to its fullest, I could barely scrape the top of the table . And when I had to take aerial shots of the food , I not only had to stand up but raise my arm up high to get a somewhat decent bird’s eye view.

The menu was unusual to say the least : innovative and refreshing . The waiter advised us to order just two starters as they were sufficient to fill us up ! Alas! They didn’t and we ordered a third. We probably would have ordered a dessert as well but they didn’t seem too exciting.

The amuse bouche  served amid a cloud of smoke was truly delightful : a tiny globule of mishti doi with just a hint of strawberry jus.

The entire meal was like a magic show with unexpected tastes and flavours  when the lamb tacos turned out to be none other than the familiar salli boti wrapped in a crisp wheat taco. Or what was more intriguing ? The Hajmola sorbet served as twigs on a tree?

The ultimate surprise though was the candy floss gujia stuffed with paan! We didn’t expect such a treat. But the bill  presented in an old fashioned typewriter was the icing on the cake so to speak!

So Farzi Cafe was a dining experience that was fun and fanciful with great food to make the trek worthwhile.  Hearty eaters please note – the portions are quite small and if you really were to eat to your heart’s content be sure to shell out a pretty packet .

Verdict :  Definitely worth going especially for a fun evening in town.

Caveat: Guests should make prior reservations to avoid disappointment. Night times are particularly lively so not suitable for the oldie goldies

Looking for a cook

Why I need a cook

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Bayda Bai the cook has gone home on leave. Not only has this left me in charge of the kitchen but it has also left me with the realisation that I need a cook.

But I don’t need a live-in or full time cook because we don’t really eat all the time. Yes, we do spend more than half the day doing other things like sleeping, reading, writing, walking, working and other things that one does when one is not eating.

Surprisingly, I like to cook. This is because I like to eat. But I don’t  eat just anything and all the time. I only eat the things I like to eat. However, cooking every day can become a drag especially when our food factory starts at 6 am. That’s when we all wake up and start in the direction of the kitchen to have our morning wake up brew. ( Mine is coffee while the rest of the household has various teas – some Chinese, some Indian and some Green)

Even before this unearthly hour, the kitchen light comes on and Bayda is busy boiling the milk, chopping the fruit and making oatmeal into porridge and pancake. She is also busy boiling an egg and brewing a huge pot of tea.

While the breakfast is underway, she is busy getting ready for the first lunch box that has to be packed before 8.30 am. After this is done, she makes the lunch and or dinner for the rest of the household. Between 1 and 4, our kitchen is officially closed and the only reason we venture in its direction is to get a glass of water or raid the stash of biscuits/nibbles for a quick snack.

At 4 we all go through another round of teas and coffees before we start discussing what we would like to eat for dinner.

Then from 6-10 begins the preparation, serving and clearing up after dinner.

Having done this for the past one month, I am now quite exhausted.

Looking for a part time cook

Lest you get the impression that Bayda Bai does all this unaided, let me correct you. She has a sous chef who is otherwise her boss i.e. me or Yours Truly. While she does the grunt work, it is often left to me to provide the gourmet touches.

Undoubtedly, our meals have become more simple since Bayda Bai has gone with everyone’s wish list whittling down to the basics. Gone are the varieties of teas and different kinds of oatmeal. Gone too are the multiple spoons and forks that were laid out at each meal. Instead we have become terribly pedestrian and actually help ourselves from the kitchen and make multiple trips to the kitchen for more. Needless to say, the urge for a second helping has miraculously vanished .

It would seem that we are all better off without a cook. We are eating less. We are eating healthy. And we are eating fresh.

Besides within a week or two Bayda Bai will return back with better vision than before since she has had her lenses implanted.

But I still need a cook – at least a part time one so that the next time she goes on leave, I don’t have to double up as cook, waiter, shopper, cleaner and doer of other household chores like laundry, baby sitting, chauffeuring and banking. I thought a part time cook would be a great long term solution.

So I put out the word that I was looking for a part time cook.

The Interview

As with all jobs, I had a job profile and a list of prospective candidates. I also had a list of questions. But I was shocked that instead of the cooks, it was ME who was being interviewed!

The questions I was asked were :

How many people live in your house? 

When I mentioned the number, they would cautiously look around just incase there was someone else I hadn’t accounted for.

How many dishes do you want me to make?

When I mentioned that our normal meal consisted of rice, chapati, vegetables and daal, they were horrified!

How many meals do you want me to make?

I expected them to make two meals because that is precisely what I do.

So does that mean you want to make twice the quantity at one time or two different menus?

In our home with its erratic eating patterns this is a hard one to answer. Whatever it was, my family expected two wholesome meals twice a day.

These women were aghast when I mentioned that they had to clear up and wash the cooking utensils after they were done cooking. They were horrified when I told them that meals should be ready before lunch time ( we serve lunch at noon). But what shocked me was the fact that they wanted a salary of Rs.10,000/- for a mere 1 1/2 hour job! 

Am I delusional or is Rs. 10,000/ a month the right salary for a part time cook?