Five Essential Kitchen Skills for the Home Cook: Back to Basics #3

Whether you’re a chef or an amateur, whether you cook for yourself or entertain others, certain skills will always be indispensable. Here are my top five kitchen skills:

  • Dicing an onion
  • Caramelizing onions
  • Constructing a marinade
  • Searing meats
  • Peeling a tomato

If you don’t already know how to do these things, learn how. Now.

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Knives: Back to Basics #2

Butchers block

Er... how many knives?

For the sake of academic interest, walk into your kitchen right now, and count how many kitchen knives you own. My guess is that you’ll come up with a figure between six and 15, of which, you probably use only three or four (sheepish confession).

Some of us keep old knives so we can “sharpen them later”. Some of us are seduced by knife sets housed in attractive wooden butcher’s blocks (mea culpa). Some of us believe that we need a different knife for each and every task in the kitchen, from mincing garlic to carving chicken. The end result is a formidable – if redundant- kitchen armory. So how many is too many?

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Anaarkali Butter Chicken: Rs. 6000 Per Serving


…also the most expensive.

When fellow food blogger Sid Khullar of Chef At Large recently came across a Facebook ad for “the classiest butter chicken on earth”, he couldn’t resist. A couple of clicks later, he discovered that the product, Anaarkali Butter Chicken, also appeared to be the most expensive butter chicken on earth, at a whopping Rs.  6000 per 650gm dual serving. “Splutter… chicken,” I managed, when he shared this, er, chicken nugget with me.

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Perfect Scrambled Eggs

With the weekend coming up, I’m suddenly reminded of the gigantic Saturday brunches I used to dish out to hungry friends. Scrambled eggs, stuffed omelets to order, toast, sausages, mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, bacon. And more.

In a fit of nostalgia for the years before having two young kids made these long, leisurely (oh, okay – and boozy) brunches almost impossible, I hosted one last year, inviting sister- and brother-in-law with their kids; good friend and large eater Bruce Lee Mani (of TAAQ fame) and his wife; and my curmudgeonly yet well-loved buddy Rajesh Nair. I cooked up a storm: 12 omelets to order, all the aforementioned goodies, plus  home-baked creamed-spinach tartlets, and mango tartlets for dessert. What a blast! Keep reading…

Five “Fancy” Dinners: Down to Earth Dining #1

Burrito dinner

Burrito dinner

It’s all very well to aim for beautifully plated meals that feature sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, and bechamel sauce. Dishing out delicious food to the family everyday, however, is another kettle of poisson fumé altogether. What can you dish out on a daily basis when the hungry hordes are rebelling against dal-chaawal-chapati? My sister-in-law recently put this question to me. Here are five ways to spice up your table with very little effort: Keep reading…

Potatoes (#2 What Can I Do With…)

… I’m back. After eight (okay, more than eight) weeks of eating, drinking, traveling, and trying to help someone fight for justice from possible hospital negligence. Oh, and did I mention that my best friend (she of flying yellow pepper fame) delivered twins?

The humble spud

The humble spud

When the rain forces me to roll myself out of my hammock, I will get round to sharing with you reviews of restaurants dishing up Bengali, Parsi, and Navyati cuisines, as well as a peek at my favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant and simple ideas for the dinner table. For now, though, since I have been in couch potato mode, I thought I’d ease back into work with exactly that: the potato.

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Salad Days

Salad ingredients... the fresher the better

Salad ingredients... the fresher the better

It’s hot. Somehow, the thought of spicy food isn’t really turning me on. Although I was never really a fan of salads, an encounter with chef Rakesh Upadhyay of the Oberoi Hotel in Bangalore a couple of years ago inspired me to try my hand at making salads. And I loved the results.  That article is here – salads-101 – plenty of tips on how to prepare, store, recipes, and more! Keep reading…