Paalak Baingan Sabzi (Spinach Eggplant Stir Fry)

My dear readers and followers have been asking me why I don’t post regularly on my blog. My apologies for that I’m less on my blog and more active on my Instagram and Facebook page. I will try to post a little more regularly on my blog. If you don’t want to miss all the yummy goodness and some crazy mini stories/captions then don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. 

Today’s recipe is my favourite and can be a substitute for Choraiya/Amaranth bhaji. 

Ingredients

3 Pre-packaged salad variety Packets Of Baby Spinach

1 Large Bell/Italian Eggplant (cut finger lengthwise) 

1 Tspn Cumin Seeds

1 Large Onion (sliced lengthwise)

3 Cloves Garlic (crushed) 

Salt To Taste

Oil For Cooking 

Method

• Prepare all ingredients and in a large pot add oil to heat. We are using a large pot to give room to the spinach to fit and as it wilts the quantity will reduce in size. 

• Once the oil is heated through add the cumin seeds and allow it to sizzle and brown a little. 

• Now add onions and saute till translucent then add garlic and brown. 

• Next add the eggplants and allow it to cook and soften (spoon break test required).

• When the eggplant is ready add the spinach bit by bit. Increase the heat and stir so the spinach wilts quicker to allow to add more. 

• Once it’s all wilted reduce the heat and allow it to cook without the lid so most of the water dries up. Remember spinach releases a lot of water once washed. 

• Finally add the salt and you may like to cook longer for liquid absorption or for shorter time depending on your preference.

This dish is best served with rotis/chapatis. 

 

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Punjabi Aloo Sabzi (Punjabi Potato Curry)

Most of you would have heard the tragic news of Fiji Islands (my birth country) which was recently affected by category 5 Cyclone Winston. Sadly a lot of people lost their homes and loved ones. Everyone is now trying to rebuild their homes and move along with a “we are tough and still smiling” attitude. We thank the Australian government for providing the much needed aid to the people of Fiji. Fiji will always remain the warmest island with the friendliest people in the World. My story’s intention today is to put a smile on your faces during these times of hardship whether you’re a believer or non-believer. Hope you all enjoy. 

Well how time flies. It’s been a while since my last recipe post. I’ve been thinking for a bit too long about my next post. My brains been all fuzzy wuzzy in the past few months. Writing isn’t easy. I personally find that it takes just that perfect mood to write humour. You can make a person emotional slightly easier than making someone laugh which takes some hard work and I salute all actors and stand-up comedians for the ease with which they express humour. 

Speaking of actors and comedians I would like to mention a very special and humble person today who I adore and follow with a passion. Humble because he personally interacts with his fans and not the least bit akdu/obnoxious as one would assume he would be due to his fame and status. I was over the moon and passed out from a mini cardiac arrest when he acknowledged my messages.😖🙄😵 This very special persons name is Gaurav Gera 

and he is well known as the character he plays of Shopkeeper and/or Chutki. Some of you might remember him as the character of Nandu from the Indian TV serial Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. Gaurav plays multiple characters in the short video clips he produces for social media groups such as You Tube, Facebook, twitter and Instagram. My personal favourite is the character he plays of Chutki who is depicted as a bit of a sleaze or as we would call in hindi a Tharkan (dignified one though) lol. 

And equally charming is actor Rohit Chaudhury

from the Rohit and Chutki series who is forever vying for Chutkis attention. I’m totally besotted with this guy…ok ok I lie..I love them both equally and if I was an Arab prince I would have them both in my Harem hehehe 😬😬😬. If you’re looking for a great laugh which will literally leave you in splits especially for the amazing rubbery facial expressions then it’s a must to follow Gaurav Gera. You can click on highlighted link and follow him here 👉🏼 for Facebook and on Instagram  as well as You Tube and Twitter  He’s definately worth the stalk and troll!😊👌🏼

Here’s something to tickle your ribs….

Wait! I can hear someone..hello who’s there? Are you trying to reach someone? Hmm he says he’s your plumber…yep…ahh…ohhh…I think I’m losing you..can you tell me more? Well he says he visited you regularly…umm especially when your hubby wasn’t home! oh dear! What? Hmm ok! I can see this spirit has dettachment issues….may I ask who you are?…oh really..ok wait I’ll let her know…well my dear he says he’s Peter the plumber….Oh wait..there’s someone else with him..do you happen to know Bob the builder? Well these boys say they are watching you and here to stay!!” 

Interesting I say! I have consulted a few Psychics, numerologists, witch doctors (not by choice) astrologers and palm readers. They all send me back home feeling paranoid, satisfied, confused, delusional, depressed and hopeful. All with a different ending. Let me take you all through my experiences.

Scenario No.1 The Palm Reader– There I was in Agra India, killing time in the hotel lobby and happened to spot a Palm reader sitting in a corner. He had a table set up with signs sure to woo the gullible foreigners like me. I like to label myself a neutral skeptic and most times I approach them for fun and entertainment purposes only. Anyways through the reading the palmist tells me half a dozen things about the number of kids I’m destined to have and what not. Then he started circling the area between my thumb, first finger and wrist or as he calls that “special mound“. He says “I see you have a large and full mound…do you know what that means?” I say “no..no” (nodding my head desi style) He says “well there are very few people with thick and prominent mounds. Your perfect match is another “mounded” man just like me..see!!” He literally plastered his palm at my face. He then says “you know I knowwwww…I seeeee maa’m you are one amorousssss lady” with a twinkling look of sleaze in his red and swollen panda shaded eyes. He was stroking my palm like he was driving his fingers over a speed hump. Then he says with excitement “I can see that you will marry twice too“(maybe he wished it was to him). I rushed into the reading and got away as fast as I could avoiding his sleazy salivating gaze everytime I walked passed the lobby.

The result – till today I’m waiting for that 2nd marriage to happen and I see no clear signs of it…bummer!! Now you guys tell me how difficult that task is going to be for me. I will have to forcefully try and grab a total strangers palm, twist it around and match it to mine and hope that the jigsaw puzzle fits. 

Then there’s three easier and better options – 

1) I lure them by becoming a palm reader myself🖐🏼

2)
 I just hi-five every potential candidate I see!!!👋🏼

3) I open an agency for aranged palm matchmaking like haath-i.com (haath-meaning hand, haathi- meaning elephant) or haath-i mere saathi.com (or in other words hand/elephant my companion) 👫

Scenario No.2 The Astrologer – “Hmmm I see from your charts that your venus is ruled by uranus“…I think out aloud “WTF !!” Ahhh ok i see what they meant. “At about 12pm on 12/12/12 you will experience the clash of your planet mercury with saturn therefore a donation of $1000 is required to avoid this catastrophe from happening. Act now think later!” 

The Result – I return home feeling confused about the whole planetry issues and out of pocket for a ritual that made no difference to the catastrophic clash of titans happening back at home bahhh!! 😫🌚🌝

Scenario No. 3 The Numerologist
– “hmm 1+1 = 6. Your lucky number is 66, 69 and 99 go home and practice it” (I’ll be needing a Kamasutra for dummies for this one). “Change your name asap and add a few extra a’s in it and use only this new name to sign official docs it will prove to be lucky as your wealth triples and you eventually end up making TV serials starting with the letter K“.

The Result – well I didn’t change my name Sanjana since it’s already a difficult name for everyone to pronounce here in Aus. Can you imagine the name Sonjaaanaaa? Now this takes me right back to my college days (flashback time) of how lovingly I used to get teased by my friends “Sanjaaaana has a banana in her ____” (fill in the blanks)😱😂

Scenario No. 4 The Psychic – “Hmmm I have just contacted someone“. “Oh my dahling aren’t you a blessed one” she whispered. “You have a spiritual guide and that is your great great great uncle. He will always be with you“. There’s me thinking thats actually quite freaky..i dont want a spirit hanging off of me 24/7).🔮

The Result – I return home super paranoid feeling I’m constantly being watched. I got so paranoid that until this very day I refuse to close my eyes in the shower when shampooing my hair. What if this “uncle” is a pervert. He knows everything. Follows me to the toilet to the bedroom. Excuse me uncleji but come on yaar (mate) I need some privacy no!👀👻

Scenario No. 5 – The Ojha (the witch doctor) yep been to em all. Says to me that the devil resides in me (all because I had just learnt at a delicate age to express my opinions). He says “I command you to take her to the river and cut a lemon on her head and dip her in the river” (at the same time beating his chest and screaming eeeeehhh eeehhhh) Mind you I wasn’t allowed much clothing apart from a sarong. Then the witch doctor (who appeared to me as the one as the devil not me) starts rubbing some dried leaves and powder from my head down to my toes skimming over my curvaceous sumo wrestler bumps. I thought (this dr is nothing but a frikkin pervert) but I had to remain calm. There I was anxiously waiting for the devil to possess me and for me to be screaming and yelling eeeeeeh oooohhhh eeeeeh oooohhhh ooooohhh….ohhh yessss ohhhh yessss yessss yesss (oops incoming error – this sound effect doesn’t belong here – delete) I thought I will pass out next and not remember who all I had thrashed that day.👺

The Result – Went home smelling like ocean breeze and lemon fragranced toilet air freshner and disappointed because I really wanted to see myself beating my chest and pulling mine and everyone else’s hairs out!!! 👹

This concludes my experiences of the occult kind. Moving on to the recipe today of Punjabi Aloo-Puri which is contributed by my sister-in-law Arti Soni.

* Disclaimer – This story is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and locations have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters may be composites, or entirely fictitious.

Ingredients

4-5 Medium Potatoes (boiled & peeled)

2 Medium Tomatoes

1 large Purple Onion

Pinch Of Asaeofedita 

2 Tbspn Ginger (crushed)

1/4 Tspn Garam Masala

1/4 Tspn Tumeric

1/2 to 1 Tspn Kashmiri Chilli Powder

1 Tbspn Dried Kasturi Methi Leaves

Salt To Taste 

Method

• Chop the onions finely.

• Chop the tomatoes and add into a food processor with the onions. Process until its a fine paste.

• Crush the ginger.

• Peel the pre-boiled potatoes and cube into bite sized pieces and set aside half a potato. Now roughly mash the halved potato piece with your fingers.

• Heat oil in a non-stick cooking pot and turn the heat down. Then add a pinch of asaeofedita stirring for a second or two then add crushed ginger. Allow ginger to brown lightly until raw smell is gone.

• Next add the tomato onion paste with all the dry spices haldi, masala, salt and chillies. Allow it to cook in the lowest heat setting until the oil drifts up to the top. Stir it occassionally so the paste doesn’t burn. 

• Once the paste is ready add the potatoes and stir to coat the paste then add boiled water to cover the potatoes. 

• Allow it to cook for 5 minutes then add the dried Kasturi methi leaves and cook further 5 minutes. 

• Once done enjoy with garma garam (hot) Puris. 

This dish is best served with puri or roti/chapati. 
 

Leaving you with two of my favourite clips by Gaurav Gera. 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lemon Rice 

What do you do when your maleficent oops I mean significant other says “ohhhh you know what Dharmendar’s wife Hema cooks such delicious lemon rice..😋💦(drool drool) he brought some for lunch at work today..she is tooooo good…such a fabulous cook”. The thoughts that run through my head that very moment is as follows: 

a) say “well go marry her then!!!”💍

b) whack him on the head with my iphone!!! (only item that’s almost always with me) 📱

c) douse him in lemon then shower him with rice and force feed him till he literally bursts!!💥

d) I pack my bags and run away with Dharmendar!

e) all of the above! 

Well since they’re all just humorous animated thoughts in my head 🤔 I thought best to play it safe and try my hand at cooking it instead. 

My first attempt was a pass..thanks to Vah Re Vah chef Sanjay Thumma’s recipe. The method and quantities of the ingredients in this recipe were slightly improvised by me.

* Warning to husbands – remember no one cooks better than your wives..well at least don’t say it in front of them!!!😤😡😂

Ingredients

3 Cups Cooked Basmati Chawal/ Rice 

1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

1 Tspn Jeera/Cumin Seeds

1 Tspn Sarso/Mustard Seeds

10-12 Curry Leaves

1/4 Cup Chana Dhal/ Chickpea Lentils

1/4 Cup Peanuts

2-4 Dried Red Chillies

1 Tbspn Ginger Paste

2-4 Green Chillies 

Pinch Of Heeng/Asaeofedita 

Oil For Cooking

Salt To Taste

Method

• Cook rice and set aside. 

• Heat oil in a pan and add heeng then red chillies followed by mustard seeds.

•Allow mustard seeds to crackle then add jeera followed by chana dhal and peanut. Saute until light brown.

• Next add green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Saute until the ginger turns light brown in color then add turmeric and give it a quick stir. 

• Finally add the rice and salt and mix well. You may garnish with coriander.

This dish is best served with yoghurt or pickles. 
   

  

Kadhai Paneer (Cottage Cheese Curry) 

So there we were..I hadn’t had a night out with a friend sans family for like aeons. It was like a scene out a sci-fi flick where the alien steps it’s foot (right to be precise) out from the spaceship onto earth for the first time and curiously scans the new environment…yep! that was pretty much me.

You would know of the three wishes a Genie grants but this evening I had three whinges that I grant me. First of all we end up in a restaurant that as per reviews was supposed to be one of the best in my city. Food was just ok…you know timepass but a bit on the pricey side. Oh why oh why did I not suggest good ole Maccas instead. Could have niptaya/tackled my mate in cheap lol (hoping he never reads this😁).

Secondly it was meant to be Chinese food but ended up western eastern confused infusion with a twist. Thirdly we sat near an old and shabby window corner which made me worry I’de be consuming more dust than food as the cool breeze between the cracks (sounds so wrong😁) blows it into my rice. We managed to survive the evening after being interrupted by my buddys humble iphone which went off every five minutes. Although I must say I wasn’t complaining as I sat there scanning the view of a spunk out the window which looked pretty interesting to me (wink! wink!😉).

Anyway so there we were and I was intent on being the observer this time and allow my buddy to talk while I listened for a change. My aim was to ensure he was being pampered and well fed in exchange for the countless sessions I’ve had with him which saved me thousands on a shrinks fee. Well we have a saying in Hindi “bakre ko halaal karne se pahle usko achche se khilao pilao” (hinglish translation – goat sacrificing before we do we feed and quench it really well 😂). After all, my buddies are my best and most patient sounding boards. The poor things they sure get a good piece of my lifes annoying rantings. Gotta impress them in some way so through their stomachs it is then.

Good food and good water (we love our Canberra tap water) and great company was all that was needed. Before we dug into the first bite there was a question which has often lingered on my mind so I asked my friend “Umm why is that we place the serviette on our laps rather than around our neck? I find it annoying as it keeps slipping off my lap onto the floor. As far as I know I drop food on my top half rather than my lap half”. He proceeded to give me a long dreary response about how he would reach closer to his plate and as he’s about to take a bite..oops! he would drop it on his lap blah! blah! blah!…yawn.😴 I was half listening to what he was rambling on about. How rude do I hear you say? Haah!..the truth is I was just feeling immensely relieved..phew! Luckily just like me, my buddy can be a tubelight as well (flickers a few seconds before lighting up) and couldn’t figure out my “speed hump” issue.😂 I had then wished I shouldn’t have said what I did but hey!…wait a minute…he wouldn’t be my BFF (Best Friend Forever) if I had to watch what I say right? 

Friends…simply the best..bumps, humps, scars and all.😘😘

Ingredients

500 g Paneer (cut into small cubes)

1/2 Tspn Kitchen King Masala

1 Tspn Haldi/Turmeric 

1/2 Cup Red Shimla Mirch/ Capsicum or Bell Peppers

1/2 Cup Green Shimla Mirch/Capsicum or Bell Peppers

1/2 Tspn Dhaniya/Coriander Seeds (coarsely crushed)

1 Tspn Jeera/Cumin Seeds

1 Medium Tomato (finely chopped)

1 Tspn Dried Kasuri Methi/Fenugreek Leaves

1 Tbspn Ginger-Garlic Paste

1 Green Chillies (chopped finely) 

Salt To Taste

Oil For Cooking

Method

• Heat oil in a pan and add jeera and dhaniya seeds. Allow it to brown lightly then add onion along with ginger-garlic paste. 

• Saute onion until lightly browned then add Kasturi methi along with the tomatoes and dry spices haldi, salt and masala. Stir well and let it cook on low heat until the oil separates and floats to the top. 

• At this stage add the paneer along with the shimla mirch and stir gently to coat. Cook further 5 mins if you like your peppers half cooked (add the paneer at a later stage if you like your peppers well cooked). Finally garnish with fresh dhaniya leaves.

This dish is best served with Roti/Phulka/Chapaati.