Category Archives: Main Course

Recipes that have been personally tried

The Juicy Lucy Burger

This Juicy Lucy Burger @CafeDelhiHeightsThis has got be a man’s doing. Naming a burger Juicy Lucy. I am yet to come across a menu where the woman chef has gotten back, full square. However, now I shall steer clear of any accusations of misogyny and focus on this burger that is a global favourite.

The Juicy Lucy or Jucy Lucy Burger is just another slightly pimped up version of the American cheeseburger. Any quick search will tell you that it came about in Minneapolis with a controversy on its true parent. With a history like that of a DC superhero and a name like that of a NSFW website, I would safely presume that the burger would blow my brains out with its taste.

I was in Cafe Delhi Heights in Mall of India with my wife and my radio guru. He recommended that I dig into the JLB. You don’t say ‘no’ to your teachers.

The positives first:

When the burger appeared on my table, I was instantly in love with its size. As big as my outstretched palm, with the sesame bun shining and well buttered on the inside. Sure I like my food well-endowed.

The burger sure was juicy. And this wasnt just the tomato squishing against the grating of the cutlery.

The patty was served at the exact temperature it should be consumed. Not too hot and dry, warm, moist and the melting cheese wasn’t as hot as lava.

The lamb was not gamey and smelled rather appetising.

The not-so-positives:

Have you seen its plating? The most insipid, boring and disinterested plating ever. Slapping on some lettuce on a plate will not earn you any star (presuming there is no hunger for the Bibendum star). And where is the dressing? How difficult is some balsamic or citric dressing?

The patty was under-seasoned. Stark would certainly not have approved of this one since one could not get a whiff of pepper for miles.

And the cheese. Well, if you are serving me a gigantic burger, please make the cheese serving ginormous. I should be able to taste the cheese in each bite. Maybe a pepperjack would have been a better idea since we were low on pepper to begin with.

Stop obsessing with mayonnaise! Never understood this new obsession of mayo in everything people want to eat. At this rate, there will be mayo in biryani too.

An excessive bed of red cabbage does nothing even though it is dunked in mayo. When one is crunching a mouthful of cabbage, it makes me feel like a wanton cow or having those roadside sandwiches that serve you cabbage in the name of a vegetable sandwich.

And the burger bread within was way too much than the burger. Serious munchers will get this concept of bread to meat ratio. I ate the burger without the top cap. I finished it later since I wanted a clean record of finishing up my entire Juicy Lucy Burger.

Wouldn’t want Lucy to feel offended, do we?
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#BurpAndBelch Meter: 2 burps and half a silent one

#5WordFoodReview: Sorry Lucy! Didn’t Work Out!

 

Taming The Errant Egg

The Eggsetter - honestly, I named it that. Purely merit-based, I add.
The Egg-setter: honestly, I named it that. Purely merit-based, I add.

I confess being a bit of a homemaker. I steal time even while doing groceries to check on what’s new in the kitchen department. Such wanderings have proved priceless as I have picked up painted wooden chopsticks, tea-strainer, fruit forks and this contraption that I call the egg-setter. It maybe called that, I am not sure, but I see what it does and hence the name is purely merit-based.

The Disciplined Egg
The Disciplined Egg

This egg-setter does as it has been named. It sets the egg in shape while it cooks. It is difficult to get some thickness in the egg while it cooks since usually the albumin runs the entire circumference of the frying pan. The egg-setter restricts that. In effect it does what happens while you make a frittata or a Spanish omelette, just that there are more eggs. The egg-setter is a nifty way to make eggs for your burger.  And it sits pretty between the burger buns.

Enjoy the thickness of Egg
Enjoy the thickness of Egg

Grease up the inside lining of the egg-setter with the fat of your choice. I used butter. Make sure the ring that will sit on the pan is also suitably greased. Now sit it in the frying pan, add a small dot of oil and crack your egg inside it. When you see how obediently it sits inside the egg-setter will you feel a surge of love for this kitchen tool. Break the yolk, if you want, add salt and add pepper.

The Tamed Egg after the Egg-setter has been removed
The Tamed Egg after the Egg-setter has been removed

Occasionally stir it like you would while making a frittata. Run a knife along the edges to free the sides. When you are more or less happy with the consistency of the egg, take off the egg-setter, and slide off the egg on your toasty burger bun. Load up with whatever you want, since I believe that eggs make anything taste good, and there you have your breakfast burger!

Eggcellent Breakfast Burger
Eggcellent Breakfast Burger

Egg-cellent innovation, shall we say!

Mum’s Raw Mango Salad

I had not known Bengalis to use mangoes in salad. To the east Indian residents, mangoes are usually used for sweetmeats and / or desserts. Salads are what cucumbers are bred for! And that notion was thwarted when my mom made together this wonderful raw mango salad.

Mum's Raw Mango Salad
Mum’s Raw Mango Salad

Mango salads are quite popular, ‘cross cultures. It is a refreshing fruit; can be used in unripe and ripe stages and goes well with most other things. Most coastal countries have been using mangoes in their salads; from Haiti to Thai. The good thing about using raw mangoes is the added crunch from the fibres. The sourness can ride tandem with other flavours that can be introduced. Now for this easy-peazy mango salad recipe.

Mum's Raw Mango Salad
Mum’s Raw Mango Salad

Chop up a raw mango into fine julienne. Now, in a mortar and pestle, crush up some dry mustard seeds. To that add, finely chopped green chillies and a handsome heave of coriander, chopped. The secret here is to add a dash of salt and double that of sugar.

In a bowl, mix the mango and the rest. Pour over a glug of mustard oil. Mix well and cool. Serve. Set. And Match.

Mum's Raw Mango Salad
Mum’s Raw Mango Salad

The mustard oil and seeds add the sharp bite, the sugar balances the sourness of the mangoes and uplifts the heat of the green chillies. This is the most refreshing mango salad I have had in India.

Bruschetta

BurpAndBelch Bruschetta
BurpAndBelch Bruschetta

Not the greatest of things to make and then announce it to the universe (via social media) but that child-like joy of getting something right the first time, with an itsy-bitsy twist to it; then it would be a shame to curb the surging heart. This is to the handsome bruschetta!

Picked up a good quality French baguette (with this, Italian purists would want to puree me) and cut those into roundels. Gave all those a good glug of good quality olive oil, a good lick of garlic and grilled them off lightly, to just heighten the crunch of the crusty bread.

Meanwhile, chopped some fine tomatoes. The trick is to get slightly thick tomatoes, maybe 2 notches lower than the ‘beef’ variety. I usually pick up tomatoes judging them on their suppleness and skin. Add a dash of cracked pepper and a light dust of oregano. I skipped the salt. Just wanted to focus on the mild flavours. Spooned the tomatoes over the bread and added finely chopped dil over them. I decided to forgo basil and use dil instead and it worked just fine for me.

With a perfect bruschetta, you realise that there is nothing that a good tomato cannot do!

Buon apetito!

Can’t Go Wrong With PIZZA!

I confess liking pizza to a fault. I do not agree with the size markings of a restaurant, as my skills have helped me demolish large pizzas without any discomfort or seeking out digestive aids.

So, when the zucchinis in my fridge cried out that I had forgotten them, I decided to put them on a pizza. This is the first time I made pizza at home.

First Hand Experiment: Pizza
First Hand Experiment: Pizza

Careful not to dent my confidence, I picked up some pizza base and ladled out a spicy tomato mix. Home-made sauces work better, I feel, as one can spice them up the way you want. I added in some grated mozarella before loading up the veggies.

The zucchinis were happily laid out after a light dry grill on the skillet. A few slices of sweet potato, lightly grilled filled in empty spaces. A yellow bell pepper genially sat in on the base with them. I introduced some fresh brown mushrooms to them all. As one can see in the picture, there is a pile of veggies. Cracked on some black pepper and oregano. And then, I popped the three pizzas in the oven for about 15-17 minutes. I continually check on the food and estimate their readiness relying only on my eyes.

What came out was a crisp, biscuit-y pizza base with soft,  fragrant veggies. Threw on some chopped olives and parmesan cheese dust. I think I will have to introduce some red peppers and basil to make it more pleasing to the eye, to satisfy the photographer in me. But the pizzas certainly did the trick in making for a happy dinner. In case anybody is wondering, the wife had one and I gobbled the other two!

Before I sign off, here’s something to chew on:

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
Yogi Berra

Yum In The Tum Mushroom Sauce

Soul gravy. Enough said.
The gravy of anything keeps the soul of the dish. This dictum passed

Sai Talwalkar - chef-at-home
Sai Talwalkar – chef-at-home

the litmus, when our happy as a canary, crazy-cook friend Sai called me and wifey over for dinner. While all else on the dining table were flavourful, but my memory is fresh with the mushroom sauce that dripped my grilled chicken.

This is Sai’s Mushroom Gravy Recipe.
1. Mushrooms – white button mushrooms will do. The Italian brown ones taste better. Use both for a richer taste. 10-12 will be enough for 2 people.
2. Shallots – 3 tablespoons
3. Garlic – 2-3 cloves
3. All purpose flour –  2 teaspoons
4. Stock (veg or chicken) – 1 cup
5. Worcestershire sauce – 1/2 teaspoon
6. Seasoning – salt and pepper
7. Cream – 2 tablespoons
8. Mixed dry herbs
Slice up the mushrooms. Finely chop shallots.
Heat a healthy glug of olive oil and spoon in 1 teaspoon of butter. Add the shallots, saute till pink, add the garlic, add the mushrooms. Sai takes a bigg-ish pan to do this. Mushrooms will not brown well if crowded. Saute till cooked; meaning you get to eat a sliver from the pan! Season them with salt and pepper.
Now add the flour, basically to thicken the sauce. One needs to be careful here, as you do not want the sauce to be floury (does that term exist or we just made that up).  Let it coat the mushrooms well.
Mushroom GravyNow add the stock, it should be a little more than the final measure of sauce you need. Let it simmer till you reach the correct consistency then add the Worcestershire sauce and the herbs.
Add the cream. Switch off gas. Check seasoning. Keep warm or eat immediately.
Goes very well with steak / grilled chicken or salmon.
Truth be told, gravy is the soul of any dish. Try it.
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published on Masala Online on 25 Feb 2015: http://www.masala.com/recipe-of-the-week-mushroom-gravy-190082.html

Grilled Chicken with Rosemary and Zaatar

Dinner under 15 minutes
Dinner under 15 minutes

Quick and easy dinner that got ready under 15 minutes and impressed the better half on V-Day eve too!

For you to score under 15 minutes or exact, get the marination ready. For 2 chicken breasts, you will need:

  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of Lebanese zaa’tar
  • 1 shot of orange juice (add this discreetly, as if it were a secret ingredient that others aren’t supposed to know)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Cut the breasts in half; so you will have 4 pieces in total. Coat the chicken pieces  with the dry rub. Place them in a container. Add the shot of orange juice and let it soak in for 4 hours.

For the salad, take fresh greens and tear them up roughly by hand. Add a small part of chopped walnuts. For the dressing, use balsamic with olive oil. Pour the dressing and toss the salad well. IMG-20150214-WA003

Heat your griddle pan, throw in a couple of glugs of olive oil and grill in your marinated chicken pieces. Once done, let them rest for a couple of minutes.

Plate in the greens, slide up the chicken pieces beside them.

Bon apetit!