Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chili Time Thai Restaurant

I really crib about the bland food i get at the restaurants here. What would be an Indian food with spices. I bet, a normal khichdi(cheese less indian risotto) would taste better than that. The Mexican food is not really Mexican, all the taste has been adjusted to dutch palate. I understand that they can't really take spices. But, for the people like us, who have arrived from Asia recently, they have to compromise on the taste. Being a vegetarian, I am anyway left limited option.

Well, last Friday me n hubby, finally went to a Thai restaurant that he had been telling me about for past couple of weeks. He didn't really say much about its food to me than about the owner/worker there. who speaks Hindi very well and is a big fan of Bollywood movies.

I liked the decor, nice cozy place, red walls with Buddha face masks and wall hangings and just right amount of light. Since we weren't very hungry and also limited vegetarian options, we ordered spring rolls for starters and ice teas and in main course mango salad and 'Kaeng Khiaw Wan' Green curry with coconut sauce prepared with various Thai vegetables(as this curry was marked with two chilies, means mild chili. there wasn't any curry with three chili mark) and i thought per dutch standard this would suit us) and steam rice were on the house.



Spring rolls were nice cooked, golden and crisp, but the quantity of vegetable filling was very less. Mango salad as you saw in the picture above, was made of ripe mangoes. which was little sweet but tasted good. The Thai green curry, as i mentioned above was mild but would had appreciated more variety of Thai vegetables having said that, the flavor was great. I was happy with it. At least no bland food. Dessert section didn't offer any Thai dessert so didn't have any there.

And about that owner/worker (looked South East Asian, i didn't try to confirm, who he was of the two, was quite a friendly person, was personally going to take the feedback at every table that too in their language. I heard him speaking in Spanish and dutch as well and he spoke to my husband in fairly good Hindi.

As we were walking back home which was around 3 km, we stopped by for coffee at a Very Italian Pizza, a new Italian joint just outside Blaak Station. We ordered a cappuccino each and a Panna Cotta.


Panna Cotta was yum. And for cappuccino this has become my favourite place in Rotterdam. where, the second time i tasted the real cappuccino. I had mentioned about my first here

My First Cup Cakes and Lamingtons





Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quick and yet Tasty Biryani

Well, I know the Quick and Biryani never match! As traditionally Biryani is slowly cooked over charcoal pit. No doubt about the taste that comes out. But these days we don't have luxury of time and yet we want to eat the tasty food. Definitely. One option is to go out and there are couple good restaurants in almost every city where you can get good Biryani. Unfortunately here, we don't get good indian food or it has been dutchised! (like indianised).. which is quite bland as per Indian standard.

As i mentioned in one of my previous blog that i am veg. and cook non-veg. for my hubby. I gave a shot to this recipe of Boneless Chicken Biryani found at sanjeev kapoor.com. with minor variation in ingredients and cooking time as proportionate to my requirements.

Ingredients:

300 Gms of Boneless chicken (Chicken Breasts)
1 cup Basmati Rice (soak them for at least 30 mins)
3 tbsp Desi Ghee (Clarified Butter) or Vegetable Oil
1 " Cinnamon Stick
1 Bay leaf
3-4 Cloves
2 green Cardamom
1 Black Cardamom
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Onion(medium), sliced
2 Green Chilies, Slit
1 Tomato, Chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Amchur( dried Mango Powder)
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tbsp Ginger paste
1/2 tbsp Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 cup Yogurt thick ( i used Greek yogurt)
2 Onion (medium), sliced and fried brown
A few Mint Leaves, washed and torn
A few Coriander leaves, Washed and torn
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/3 cup Milk
A few drops of Rose Water
1/2 Tbsp Raisins

Method:

1. Boil the rice (3/4 cooked) and set aside.


2. Cut the chicken into 1" pieces


3. Heat the 2 Tbsp Ghee/oil in a deep pan. Add whole spices (Cumin, Cinnamon, Cardamoms, Cloves and Bay Leaves) and saute for a minute.
4. Add Sliced Onion and saute until transparent


5. Add green chilies and chicken cubes and saute


6. Add turmeric, Amchur, coriander and cumin powder, tomatoes, ginger n garlic paste, Salt and mix.



7. Add Red Chilli Powder and Yogurt . Mix well and let it cook for a while.

8. Spread half of the fried Onions followed by half of the bowled Rice on the above mixture.


9 Spread another layer with rest of fried Onion, half of the Mint and Coriander Leaves.
10. Add the remaining boiled Rice followed by remaning mint and coriander leaves.
11. Sprinkle Garam Masala, Rose water, Milk,Raisins and 1 tbsp of desi ghee.



12. Cover the pan and let the biryani cook for about 10 minutes on low heat.


13. with in time you would see little smoke filled with aroma come out of lid, which means the Biryani is ready!


14. Mix it well...

I serve it with Raita, which i make by gently whipping the yogurt, add Rock salt, raita powder and roasted cumin powder.

Last Sunday, when our dutch friend had come then also i had prepared Biryani. Since they can't take spices so I had put a pinch of red chilli, coriander and cumin powder instead of 1 tsp and didn't slit the green chilies. And instead of Raita, served only yogurt to balance the spice. Well the aroma of whole spices, rose water, ghee, mint and coriander leaves fills you completely. The way non smoker are passive smoker when somebody smokes in front of them, likewise being veg. with the aroma i also become a 'passive eater'!

Monday, September 26, 2011

My New Toy n a Dinner with friends

Day before yesterday, i got my new toy! A food processor Yeah!!! "Chopping or cutting se ab na ho pareshan ... prastut hai aapka samadhan ... har grahni ka rakhe dhyan aur badaye samman..." by me!

PS. this is not endorsement of any brand and product. These are my personal views.

This is a bliss.. specially here at maid less houses. where i have to do everything on my own. So next few days, i will be spending exploring ts functions. Well, until now i had hand blenders n mixers n mixies but never a food processor as such.

Well, Yesterday we had invited my husband's friends for dinner. Non- Indian and they couldn't take spice. So i had to cook an Indian food without spice. which was a challenge and i failed because till now i really dunno, how can i not put spices in food or just skip chili powder and Garam masala.

Anyway, to play safe, i cooked, Baked Stuffed Mushroom with cheese...Pita bread n Hummus... Mozzarella,Black olives n Pesto bruschetta...Gazpacho... Biryani....Lemon rice..Tiramisu. Out of these only Biryani and lemon rice were out of Indian cuisine. Well they liked it all and my husband (without me asking him .. how was it?) himself praised about the Tiramisu. Which means i passed with distinction :. Out of his friends, one was Spanish and he really liked the Gazpacho i prepared .. which has definitely boosted my confidence.







Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gouda Cheese Market- Goudse kaasmarkt


My Cousin Pragya visited us in July this year, while she was travelling to Germany for some official work. She arrived here on Tuesday and we wanted to cover as much Netherlands we could in next 2 days.

We were searching on net and lonely planet for the 'to do activities'. And we found about this cheese market at Gouda which is held on every Thursday 10 am to 12:30 Pm during summers.

We planned, we would get up early then breakfast and would reach there by 10 so that we leave on time and head to Amsterdam.Great Planners!

Next day, lazy us, got up at 9 am, by the time we got ready, it was already 10:30 am. We were contemplating on the idea of going Gouda or straight to Amsterdam. Given that it takes 15 Mins. by train from here..we should take a chance..thinking that we just got out of the house. We reached Gouda station at around 11:15 am.


It was a great sunny day! there market is held in front of the Gouda - Town Hall, which is 10-12 minutes walk from station. From the approaching street we could see lots of hustle bustle on the other side. We reached there and found food stalls. we were wondering, if we had reached at the right place. We crossed the weekly market, which is also held on thursday for the obvious reasons.

We reached a open place and found cheese, cheese n cheese on the floor. The horse carts, weighing scales, cheese stretchers, the Dutch Cheese Girls in their traditional outfits posing for photographs with visitors and the retail cheese stalls around selling cheese.





Cheese has been traded at the market in Gouda for over 300 years. Farmers would come from far and wide to bring their cheese stretchers to the market every Thursday morning.They still do the same things they were doing all those years ago.The cheese market is held every Thursday morning from mid- June to the end of August.



We tasted various cheeses at this stall, cumin, herb, pepperika,black pepper, plain gouda n many more. we loved the one with herbs and pepperika so bought some!


I asked Pragya to enquire about cheese classes from her in dutch (as she speaks German and manages to speak in dutch). The lady said yes!, but guess the class would be in dutch, so i would have to wait until i learn the language. Well, this should be great motivation to do so! isn't?

This happens to be a craft market also, traditional crafts and products made in and around Gouda, such as earthenware, pipes, clogs, farm produce, treacle waffles. But by the time we were done with our cheese tasting and shopping, they were winding up.

Now, i would have to wait until next year as it held only till August end. The day after is Thursday but its first of September. I shall enquire, if they are on.. then will definitely pay a visit.



Anyways, after the hard work of cheese tasting, we headed to Dezalm stadcafe just in front of the market.(i don't remember where; but i had read about this cafe somewhere). Very crowded, but we managed to get a table for 2 outside with a perfect view of market. We had 'Goude stoopwafeltart'(a kind of cheese cake)topped with thin layer of honey caramel, which was awesome! a must try!

There local market around was great. Unlike Rotterdam, there were a lot of local shops for bags and shoes... n they were offering great discounts too..we did the typical girly shopping from buying bag to clothes and make up stuff!!! which of course led us to delay to reach to our next destination- Amsterdam.

Pictures Courtsey: Pragya Taneja

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Asian Sauces Marinate

This Post is dedicated to Finely chopped. The food blog i accidentally came across and became its big fan !

I am now a vegetarian, but when i used eat non-veg.(around 8 years bk just a month before my company transfered me to Singapore. I still ask sometimes to myself that had i quit having non veg if i had known that i was shifting to Singapore. Given that, its heaven of sea food and being veg. could be problematic. Infact i have travelled intensively, in far east and now in Europe i still can manage to be vegetarian without any problem or crav

ing! ). I had never cooked it at home. My Mum is vegetarian. But thankfully she had never restricted us( me, my bro my father). Having Non-veg (chicken primarily) was just occasional thing and mostly we used to have it with our maternal Uncles in our younger days then with friends when we grew older. To celebrate any occasion w

e ordered Butter chicken!

Whenever we brought any non-veg dish home. We had t

o do the dishes immediately after we had eaten and until then we were not suppose to touch any other utensils than required! We never complained of this small price that we had to pay for the pleasure and celebrations we used to have. It is still the same now also but me and my brother have given up on eating non-veg. My father sometimes has it, when he dines out.

Anyways, now for the love of my husband, i have starte

d cooking it now. He is a bigger foodie than i am. I cook chicken only for him. My dish was chicken biriyani for him( shall write about that soon). The other day, his best friend was visiting us, for a day in transit to US. Who is an another foodie. I thought to make chicken in starters than as main dish. Otherwise, they hog only on chicken and other dishes are left untouched.

Since we had come from a long holiday the day before only and hadn’t stocked up the house again. First day went in doing other house hold chores, second day first half in cooking other dishes and had kept this for the last, as i had to go to s

upermarket to buy sauces to match with Finely chopped’s recipe. Since it had just required 30 mins. of marinating, i had planned it accordingly. Thought, 2 hours before their arriaval. i’ll go to market come back within an hour then d-skinning would take few minutes. As i am new in doing that.. and it takes like forever for me to do that, in the whole preparation time.

Then what, at 3:30pm. i got reminder on my cell phone of m

y physio session at 4:30. I was like OMG! I had completely forgotten about it. I was thinking what to do and to leave now in the given time... if

i would be able to manage everything. Ofcourse! I couldn’t ! I prayed to god that they get late to reach home, so that, i could complete my cooking. Coz, that could only, had let me accommodate all the activities left from going to market then to physio then to marinate chicken and let it get marinated for 30 mins. before i put it to grill. I took tramp went to market from there straight to physio with all my stuff. And while going back home i called m

y husband to enquire, when would they be home. He gave me the time of an hour later. I was relieved. As i had time to execute my plan as planned.

While i had just de-skinned the chicken, the door bell rang. O

k nothing much i could do then, i would had to do the rest of cooking infront of them only. I was happy atleast i was done with deskining the chicken. I accepted that, which gave me a big relief.

Well, i was meeting his friend for first time. I introduced myself to him and so did he to me. I had already known about him from my dear hubby, who loves

to tell me his college days stories again n again. This definitely gave me a base to talk to him.

Well i admitted in front of him that i was not completely done with my cooking. So, he would have to talk to me while i was cooking. He then, suggested we could eat out. Which we could (that would had been so easy for me). But i think back in India we used to always cook when somebody visits my place, at least first meal. So, i had not thought about going out at the first place.

Here goes the recipe :

Marinate:

Pounded 4 cloves of garlic with one long dried red chilli (against the original recipe which required 3 red bird eye chillies, which i didn’t get in market here)

Mixed the above clove chilli paste with all the sauces( i got in hurry from the supermarket) to match with original recipe, without any proportion of measurements just with a sense u grow with while cooking for long period of time and also, as suggested on the original recipe in a zip bag.( I used Thai Red chilli sauce, only Soy sauce instead of fish sauce (for salt), Teriyaki sauce with honey(Japanese sweet soy) since, i got this one with honey so I skipped adding additional honey (as recipe required) and Green chilli sauce.



Method:

Slashed the chicken, so that the marinate could go deep into the meat.


Put them into the zip bag and massage the chicken to marinate well. And let it marinate for at least an hour, longer the better. That day i had only 30 mins.

Oil the surface of your baking tray. Put an aluminium foil on it. Place the marinated chicken on this. Place some chopped onion bulbs between the drumsticks.





Grill:

Preheat the oven for ten minutes at 200 d Celsius. Put the tray of marinated chicken into the oven and grill it at same temperature for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes the oven will turn off.

Keep the tray in the oven for another 5 minutes. Garnish with some chopped pepper/ capsicum, spring onion.


My husband gave 6/10 and his friend gave 7/10 to this dish. As they said the marinate was great; but it hadn’t soaked deep into the chicken. At the end, I was left with 2 drumsticks, which Rajat, suggested to keep it and to grill it again next day for 10 minutes, the juices would be soaked in much deeper. I did the same,. The next day a friend of mine turned up for dinner. And served them the same chicken, as suggested. I earned 1.5 marks more from hubby and his smile and full marks from my friend!

Lesson learnt: marinate the chicken for longer time now.

Wow! Thanks Finely chopped this dish was totally inspired from yours one!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My first Pizza, Tiramisu and Cappuccino in Italy @ Vintimiglia


Last week, We (me n my hubby) were Traveling to South of France, the last day we thought, we thought we should touch Italy.. We were just very few Kms away. I wanted to have the Pizza in Italy and my Most Fav. dessert Tiramisu! at around noon, we made a plan to go to Ventimiglia, the first city in Italy if you go from France, it comes after Menton.

Initially i thought, as its just adjacent to France, so would be like same. and its just 15 minutes from Eze, the last stop in France if you go by train. The moment i alighted from the train the feel of it was so diff., the people,the Language (ofcourse) and the architecture and also the culture. it was indeed more crowded.

since we were only left with few hours and we were hungry as well, so decided to go to tourism office, where we hoped to find somebody to speak to in English! Somebody from the station told us to go towards right but couldn't explain the correct direction.. but we headed towards right but couldn't find anything. then we asked from a shop keeper, he asked us to go left , so we aheaded back. There again we couldn't find anything, we asked again from a restaurant owner thankfully he could speak good English. and told us that the office used to be there in the past but now have shift towards right and gave us the direction, where to turn. so we again went towards right but this time we managed to find the office.

There we asked about the restaurant, i read about on virtual tourist website and the places of interest and also we asked if it was ok to roam around in dark as my hubby was little skeptical about it. She assured us that its fine!. The restaurant we were searching for was just across the bridge in the first lane of the old town as per the lady in the tourist office. we went there and couldn't find it. And we were so hungry that we wanted to just get into the first restaurant we see. Then we asked from a passerby, about the restaurant again. he tried to find but couldn't locate. he looked Indian, and i think he was also curious to know if we were also. he could barely speak English so asked us, where from where we were. We told him India. he said he was from Bangladesh. Then he was feeling good and ask if we knew Hindi. so then he told about the area and took us toward sea side where the restaurants were. And recommended us a restaura
nt where they serve fabulous fish and asked us to say memu. i thought thats the name of that dish ...like nimo!:P but apparently it was his name. When he left, we thought he must be a chef or work at the restaurant. Never the less he tried to help us. the restaurant around there were clossed for lunch for their staff. So we decided to go towards new town as we walk towards the new town direction we had to take a bridge, suddenly we saw a restaurant where people were entering. We decided to check that out! what we find that it was the restaurant, which we were trying to find for past an hour and a half.

we took deep breadth and hoping to get good Pizza, as recommended. It wasn't any fancy restaurant. but i love these kinds. everything was in Pink. walls, table clothes, Napkins... I ordered Margarita and my hubby ordered one with Salami.

Ristorante Pizzeria La Vecchia Napoli, is a family run pizzeria. Not an English spoken staff but still manage very well. great service! The menu is dominated with Pizza but other offerings of Italian dishes too. The choice is quite extensive and and usual toppings especially Italian prosciutto ham, mozzarella, seafood,olives and vegetables.

Tiramisu was just perfect,just melted in the mouth. The exact sweetness that i look for in it.

Hubby suggested to have Cappuccino also, which Italian coffee preparation, didn't disappointed us either. In fact, this was one of the best cappuccino i had ever had.

The Pizza would cost you anywhere between 5 to 8 euros. i chose 1/4 pitcher of rose wine costed 3 euros. our meal including 2 pizzas,1/4 pitcher wine, a portion of Tiramisu n 2 Cappuccinos costed us under 20 euros. Not Bad!

Oh yes, while we were there.. they also played a song from Kal Ho na Ho! cool na!









After the meal.. we were so full to move... then we moved towards new town the view of old town from the bridge was awesome... we went by the see and sat on the pebbles... and enjoyed the sunset! how romantic !!! :)


We decided to walk ahead towards New town on the road by the sea .... there were restaurants... on both sides of the road ...but mainly on left... live music .. great weather.. people dining out at the street... mainly families. I was talking pic of a guitarist who was quite interestingly entertaining the people in a restaurant and suddenly offered m to dance ... first i was little shock by his action then .. did few Salsa moves that i know .. smiled and walked off!!! :)



Walking on the streets where people having fun while dining out we had completely lost track of the time! and we realized that we were too far from station .. we rushed back but we missed the tain by 3-4 minutes... ah :(.. The station buffet and souvenir shop open. we decided to spent out time there ... the next train was after 2 hours. There was a great variety and gift options in the shop ... diff. pasta packed nicely for a gift... pestos .. oils... biscotti .. aah many stuff ... i was so tempted to but one of all the variety.. but due to weight constraint just could buy only few stuff..


Spinach spaghetti, chili Oil(tall bottle), Peppercorns n Garlic n Herb oil, biscotti Packets, chili paste, oil n vinegar bottle( just for their bottle's design n how they are coupled together and more pasta packets...