Ingredient-driven Melt In Your Mouth Palak and Paneer Kebab

Indian Cuisine and Indian Style of Cooking have contributed a lot in the development of Vegetarian Food. The religious factor and economic factor is the major reason why people try to derive maximum vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates from Vegetables and Lentils and Nuts and also from Cottage Cheese which we call Paneer .
Well, one vegetable which everybody recommends a lot is to consume the leafy vegetable Spinach which has abundant benefit and rich in Iron and is good not only for weight loss but also for hair, skin and eyes.
Thus, here is a tasty and filling kebab made up of all the goodness of Indian Vegetarian Cuisine which has the spinach, paneer, walnuts and potatoes. Enjoy the rich , spicy and nice kebab with some pudina chutney and a cup of tea and serve hot…

What You Will Need:

1/4th cup all purpose flour
1/4th cup rice flour
1/2 cup green peas
1 bunch spinach blanched
1 cup grated paneer
1/2 cup finely chopped walnut
2 potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp garam masala powder
2 tsp dry mango powder
salt to taste
Oil for shallow fry
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 green chili finely chopped

Steps To Make: 

Chop spinach finely
Boil and mash green peas
Mix everything together and give them a nice shape
Shallow fry in a non stick pan till golden brown all all sides

Bisi Bele Bath : Grandma's Gourmet Recipe from Karnataka

A delicious mix of vegetable, rice and continental lentils to produce a wholesome dish

After a crazy week gone by and another coming up in line, the weekend has to be comforting and rejuvenating. Food definitely plays an important role in life and can impact your mood by either lifting it or making it sour.Looking at the weather outside, I was in search of something  spicy , nutritious , mineral and vitamin rich . After a long battle within the mind, I finally settled for the One Port Meal – Bisi Bele Bath.

I call it Grandma’s recipe because I have learnt it from a 75 + year Old Lady from Karnataka whom you cannot beat in making Bisi Bele Bath. The tempering pan she uses in 50 years old. Can you imagine her cooking experience is double my age.

This recipe tastes authentic and smells authentic and looks authentic.

Ingredients to roast with 2 drops of oil and ground to a fine powder:

2 tbsp urad dal
2 tbsp chana dal
2 cinnamon sticks
50 grams dry coconut powder
4 to 5 Bedke Chili
3 tbsp coriander seeds

Boil 1 cup of Toor Daal with 2 liters of water and 1 tsp turmeric powder. Cook till dal is soft. 

Fry the following vegetables with 2 tsp oil for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame :
2 small tomatoes cubed
7 to 8 florets of cauliflower
1 big carrot cubed
3/4th cup green beans cut into 1/2 inch long (I used flat Indian Beans)
1 to 2 capsicum cubed
1/2 cup green peas

Add 2 cups soaked rice, vegetables, powdered spice made above, salt, few curry leaves and tamarind extract about 2 tbsp. Cook till rice is cooked thoroughly. Add more water if you think it is becoming too dry.

Prepare a tempering of the following:
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1  tsp cumin seeds
4 to 5 green chili
few curry leaves
chopped cashew nuts
2 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp hing

Add it to the cooked rice. Mix well.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
Serve Hot with Papad

A Promise Made Is a Promise Made

It was a normal chilly morning in the month of January 2008. Nothing new or interesting about the morning except that the temperature was below 0 degree centigrade. It was 6:30 am when I took a quick hot water shower, brushed my hair and covered myself with layers of cloth to be safe from the harsh wind and snow outside. A 5 minutes’ walk, $2 spent on a Dunkin Donuts coffee and $2 spent again to take the Path Train from Grove Street, New Jersey till 32nd Street, New York. It was another 20 minutes’ walk till the Time Square, a walk which I never missed as it was part of my daily exercise routine irrespective of the season of the year.

My office stood tall next to the Hershey ‘s Store where I was sent on a long term deputation by my first employer, Tata Consultancy Services. I was and still proud that I have been a part of Tata Conglomerate and have contributed in their success journey. I entered the Trading Floor of Morgan Stanley World Headquarter Building on the 1585 Broadway to start my daily book of work. The day was a typical busy day handling Client requests, working or ADHOC reports, analyzing some complex queries when the news of launch of Tata Nano started flashing on the big televisions screens mounted on wall tuned to News channels.

People stopped their work for 5 minutes to listen to Mr.Ratan Tata, the Chairman of Tata Group. The beautiful speech which made everybody spellbound, people were awestruck and even wondering at the possibility of a $2K (Rs.100K) car had come true. The small beauty standing next to the beaming proud personality, Mr.Chairman, had been launched and now was the time to show to the World that a “Promise Made is a Promise Made”. Never did I feel so proud that yes I was an Indian and for the same group known as Tata’s to the world. The speech which had wet my eyes then has stayed with me and will remain inside forever. I could relate to it, my fellow Indian colleagues could relate to it and perhaps every Indian at that moment could relate to it.

Mr Ratan Tata then said:

“Today's story started some years ago when I observed families riding on two wheelers, the father driving a scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife sitting behind him holding a baby and I asked myself whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all weather form of transport for such a family. A vehicle that could be affordable and low cost enough to be within everyone's reach, a people's car, built to meet all safety standards, engineered to comply with emission norms and fuel efficient. This was the dream we set ourselves to achieve. Many said this dream could not be achieved. Some scuffed at what we would produce, perhaps a vehicle comprising two scooters attached together or perhaps an unsafe rudimentary vehicle, a poor excuse for a car. Let me assure you and also assure our critics that the car we have designed and we will be presenting to you today will indeed meet all the current safety requirements of a modern day car”

 Never in my life I was so moved, never in my life I felt so strong about being an Indian Tata employee. I wanted to return back to India, I wanted to be in India and I wanted to serve my country. That was the day I went home and read his speech again and again. I read about Mr.Ratan Tata and I read his biography. It was thought provoking and mind stirring.
To say that I am inspired by him would be an underestimation. Would it be enough to say that he motivates me, he leads me, he inspires me. He changed the way I looked at life, he changed the way I conduct myself today, he changed the shape of my career, he changed the way I look at the society.

I was a young fresh and naïve graduate from Eastern part of India who had been campus recruited and then sent to USA on deputation after a year. For the first time, I was thinking above my state, above my language and above my religion. I was nothing but an Indian who has to serve the country and give back to the country.  “Giving Back to People, Giving Back to the society” Yes, we must all give back to the society for all that society and people have given us. It does not matter how big or small our contribution is.

You do not have to meet a person personally to be inspired. You can meet him through his words, you can meet him through his personality, you can meet him through his greatness, you can meet him though the society. I met him every day through my organization and I met him through his work. Today, when I go to work, I do not consider it merely my job. I step into the office each single day with a new a zeal, with a new strength and with a determination to deliver quality work. He has inspired me to have the determination to Work Hard and Look for Excellence.

I do not want to list the philanthropy work which Tata’s have initiated or has been a part of because if you talk about it, it would be demeaning it. There are hundreds of articles which you can google and read about the greatness of Him.

Mr.Ratan Tata symbolizes trust, he symbolizes sincerity, he symbolizes greatness. If the world trusts India, Tata has played as a significant contributor. Tata has shaped the future of India, Tata has changed the way world looks at India.

Mr.Ratan Tata is made of great who does not believe in taking right decisions but believes in making his decision right, who believes in building a monument with the stones people throw at him, who believes that we all have that talent to attain the achievable,  a person of high integrity who always fulfills his promise, which is what I aspire to be and remembered to be. “It is not what you have, makes you great but it is what you give back, that makes you great”

Today, Tata Motors has collaborated with Lionel Messi who represents nothing but what Mr Ratan Tata has always believed. He had extraordinary talent to be a great football player, but it was the struggle, it was the drive, it was the passion and it was the courage to excel that made him great from inside.

Wish Lionel Messi and Tata Motors to create new heights and become even greater.

For all who have read the post, there is an good chance for all of you to win Amazon Voucher worth Rs 750. All, you have to do is write about "What do you think of Tata Motors ?" and post a comment below.  The last day to submit the comment is Nov 26th, do give it a try and get a chance to become lucky !!!

Image Credit : Various

Rajasthani Shahi Gatta Pulao with Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan for discerning palates

In continuation to the previous post ..Udaipur written here

Below is a glimpse to the royal kitchen of Udaipur City Palace. The Vintage and Silver collection reflects the royalties as well as the rustic cooking of the Rajput Era.

Though , you don't need a ticket to enter the palace, you will be charged to enter the museum. Part of the museum is prohibited to carry any camera or click any picture. The royal collection of utensils are mesmerizing. The stylish serve ware, cookware, cutlery at display will amaze you.. 

The dinner hall where parties used to be hosted is grand and makes you wonder how lavish the parties used to be during those times.

And if you are in Rajasthan, indulging in food is a must.  Your visit would be incomplete if you do not gorge on some Mirchi Vadas ( the king size green chilli stuffed with spicy potato filling, dipped in gram flour batter and fried) , kachoris and makhaniya lassi..

Well, Rajasthan Cuisine is vast and vegetarian and many times phalahari(no onion no garlic). Rajasthan is famous for its cuisine would be an understatement. 

Though there are thousands of items they master at including sweets and dessert items, the people of Rajasthan are definitely famous for the use of gram flour and curd items. Ram Pulao or Gatta Pulao is one of those famous items whose flavour is accented by fruity and nuttty items.

Scroll through the post below for an easy to prepare and yet delicious and something different

What You Need for the Rajasthani Shahi Gatta Pulao

For the Gattas:

200 gram besan
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
salt to taste
pinch of hing
2 tbsp curd
Mix everything well and knead to a very tight dough.
Add very little if required or if you find kneading difficult. The dough should be tight.
Keep it in an air tight container and let it rest in fridge for 15 minutes.

In the mean time, boil water in a pan. Once water starts boiling,
Take the dough and make small cylindrical sausage shape pieces out of it
Now add them to boiling water and cook the gattas in boiling water for 7 to 8 minutes.
Take them out of boiling water and let them cool down.
Cut into small chunks and fry them in hot oil till the gattas turn brown.
Take them out and keep aside

Other things you need for Ram Pulao or Shahi Gatta Pulao:

Ghee 2 tbsp
Mewa like Cashew, Raisins, Almonds and Cherries
1 tsp pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup green peas
1 bay leaf
2 start anise
3 to 4 whole black pepper
3 to 4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste
1 and 1/2 cup basmati rice
1 tsp cumin seeds

Soak Basmati for 30 minutes in water.
Heat ghee in a wok
Add the whole spices and cumin seeds
Add soaked and drained basmati rice and cook in ghee for 2 to 3 minutes
Add green peas, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder.
Add cashews, raisins, cherries and almonds.
Add 3 cups of water, salt to taste, cover and cook till rice in 90 % cooked.
At this point, add the cooked gattas, half cup water more and cover and cook tll rice is completely cooked and water is completely absorbed.

Our Shahi Gatta Sabji is ready to be served.

I quickly made some boondi raita.
Took curd , add boondi (store bought), dry mint powder, roasted cumin powder and salt to taste.
Also, made Hyderabadi Mirchi ka salan which goes extremely well with all rice items and is perfectly apt for the discerning palates.

Green Chilies are used as a spice but never as a main ingredient when you make curries. This is just a myth. Go to Hyderabad or perhaps any town/city of Andhra Pradesh and now Telangana and you will find this as one of the most often prepared dishes. It is hot and peppery of course but is also quite aromatic at the same time. Well, you can omit the peppers and add little more water than usual to make a nice salan or gravy to go with otherwise dry Biryani. 
A beautiful dish which goes well with any rice item and once you learn the art of preparing it, you will want it to be a part of every special platter at your dinner table. 
Try experimenting with different ingredients like replacing green chilies with cherry tomatoes or small capsicum. Enjoy the beautiful dish with your dear ones and get a big bag ready where you can collect all the complements 

What You Need:

2 tsp peanuts
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp dry coconut
Dry roast the above and ground to a fine paste by adding ½ cup of water
3 onions sliced very thinly
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 green chili broken into half
Curry leaves
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
1 dry red chili
1 tbsp mint leaves chopped
1  tbsp coriander leaves chopped
2 glass water
½ cup beaten curd 
Green chilies 6 to 7 deseeded and shallow fried in 1 tbsp oil

Steps To Make:

Shallow fry the green chili and keep aside.
Heat oil in a Kadai.
Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, dry red chili and sliced onions. 
Cook till onions turn brown.
Add ginger garlic paste and cook for some more time.
Add the sesame paste and add 2 glass of water. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
Open lid, add mint and coriander leaves. Add the broken green chili, salt and jaggery.
Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
Now is the time to add the green chilies and curd to the gravy . Cook the chilies in gravy for 5 to 6 minutes more.
Finally squeeze lemon juice and serve hot

The Enchanting Fortified City of Udaipur - a Canvas of Rajasthan Culture

Presenting a glimpse of mesmerizing City of Lakes which truly reflects the Tag Line of Rajasthan - Padharo Mahro Desh ( Welcome to My City)

Top View of Udaipur City from Monsoon Palace

Udaipur, which is also known as the Lake City of Rajasthan, is undoubtedly one of the most romantic and gorgeous city of India. The Breathtaking Aravali Ranges covering a major stretch of the city and tranquil Lake Pichola right at the center clearly makes it an incredible travel destination, helping you forget the crowded and crammed city life completely.  A travel destination which is perfect to rejuvenate your senses and reset your mind , body and soul, necessary to pamper yourself, once in a while.

Top View Of Udaipur City 
Udaipur was built by Maharana Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap Singh . In fact, he had built 3 palaces within the city which was trendy as the Winter Palace, the Summer Palace and the Monsoon Palace. While the Summer Palace has been acquired by Taj Property and has been transformed into one of the finest hotel of the country, the Winter palace is still occupied by the descendants of the King. On the contrary, the monsoon palace was more a fun place and far away from the city. Today, you see only the remnants of it and some construction and restoration work in progress.  While the summer palace is open only for the guests of the Hotel, the Monsoon Palace is open for all and gives an out of the world experience and view of the entire city. The Winter Palace too is open for all as part of it has been converted to museum and some portion given for marriage and other functions based on booking.
Top View of Udaipur City from Monsoon Palace

Top View of Udaipur City Palace

Top View Of Udaipur City from Monsoon Palace

Unarguably, the hospitality of the Lake Taj Pichola is the best and whatever days you stay there, you are going to be treated like Maharajas and Maharanis and spoilt to the core. The hotel present right at the center of the lake gives you an amazing view of City Lake Palace and renders an extraordinary regal experience from every room and every corner of the Palace.

Right from the pickup at Airport where we got a free upgrade to Landover, to the Welcome at the boarding point, it was a fantastic experience. Well well, you will be guided to a motor jetty to actually arrive at the Palace. Taj people known for their generosity and warmth, lots of smiling and humble faces around, a fresh rose petal welcome, wonderful aroma around and a nice welcome drink, the mood is set to take all your fatigue away and you get refreshed in a fraction of second.
Even if you don’t go out of the Hotel and spend your entire day in Palace, you do not seem to get bored at all. You can start your day with Yoga under the supervision of professional Yoga Teacher and then Hit the gym or the pool before you hit yourself to the grand breakfast laid in their Restaurant. Don’t be surprised if it turns out to be one of the best mornings of your life. The restaurant has big glass walls almost facing to the palace separated by clear blue water. The sun beams at you warming your chair and table and birds fly next to you just on the other side of clear transparent glass. Well, you can either retire in your room or pay a visit to the museum or pay a visit to the Monsoon Palace.

Top View of Taj Lake Palace from City Palace

Boarding Point to Taj Lake Palace

Another View of City Lake Palace from Motor Boat

Lily Shaped Pond inside Taj Lake Palace

Pool Side View of Taj Lake Palace 

Vintage Art Collection in Taj Lake Palace

Beautiful Corrdior Inside Taj Lake Palace

Enchanting Meena Kari Work on the Walls of Taj Lake Palace

View of Lily Pond at night - Taj Lake Palace

A glimpse to the Royal Suite at Taj Lake Palace 

A glimpse to the Royal Suite at Taj Lake Palace 

Get up to the beautiful flute song early morning - Taj Lake Palace 
The Hotel has two restaurant, one Continental and other Indian. The later one has to be booked well in advance as it is the most preferred one. The mood is set with live performance, food is served with a lot of love and your taste buds are intoxicated by some amazing food whisked by some of the top chefs of the country.

Kalbelia Dancer Dancing to the tune of Folk Songs
Lighting at the reception of Taj Lake Palace

The cutest dog which belongs to one of the security guard at Monsoon Palace

View of City from the City Palace

Some Picture Captured Inside the Museum 

His Highness The Royal Cradel

Fine Miniature Painting depicting the War Era of Rajput Warriors

he regal experience makes you fall in love with the place never wanting to return . It takes you to the era of Kings and Queens and Makes you wonder the Opulence and Grandness with which they once lived their lives . It excites you from within and makes you marvel at the Rajput Times. Undoubtedly, an experience which overpowers you and makes you feel blessed and humble to have lived that richness, that royalty, even if short , but noteworthy .

In the evening, you can head to the Sunset point which is another 15 minutes rides by motor boat to see the sun set right on the other side of Aravali Ranges. Come back to the hotel to enjoy a 30 minutes show by Kalbelia dancers showing some heart stopping and jaw dropping moves. If you are a sport, you can also shake a leg with them .
Sun Set Point 
Sun Set Point 
View of City Lake Palace from the Hotel

Some of the Pictures taken to capture the Vintage Car and Bike Collection of The King of Mewar at Udaipur which often takes part and wins in multiple Rally