Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
This is one of my all-time favorite books. Originally written in Spanish as Como Agua Para Chocolate, it is a love story, recipe book, and ethnic soap opera all rolled into one.
The book tells the story of Tita, the youngest of the three de la Garza sisters, who is forbidden from marrying, since family tradition dictates that she must care for her mother – the domineering Mama Elena – to the end of her days (sound familiar?) Keep reading…
It's not all that complicated...
I’ve had several emails recently complaining that The FTB Blog focuses on firang food, and asking whether I eat or cook desi khaana at all. I will admit that I prefer the subtle flavors of Western cuisines over Indian; however, I cut my teeth cooking non-vegetarian curries in our tiny kitchen in Banashankari II Stage.
I dish out a mean mutton curry; a kori gassi that even my 71 year-old mother-in-law approves of; lace-thin neer dosas; and a couple of pretty decent, basic dals and vegetable side dishes (I don’t hide the fact that my vegetarian repertoire is somewhat limited). Keep reading…
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…
Hearty mushroom soup for a cold day
My favorite soup recipe, from one of my favorite ingredients. I like this recipe because it’s so darn easy to make… so few ingredients, swish them around a bit, then leave them to sit on the stove (the ingredients, not you)… and a few minutes later, voila, ve ‘as le zexy zup.
6 tbsp butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
340 gm button mushrooms (or, if you want to have some fun, mix up different types)
4 cups chicken stock
1 sprig of flat parsley
Salt and pepper
50 ml cognac, the best quality you can afford (I use Courvoisier)
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms and the remaining butter.
- Let the mixture sweat for 6-8 minutes. Make sure not to brown the onion.
- Stir in the chicken stock and the parsley and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Take off the heat, then remove and discard the parsley and allow the soup to cool.
- Use a hand held blender to purée the soup to the consistency you like; if you like it very smooth, use a tabletop blender. Depending on transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth.
- Just before serving, season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, add the cognac, mix well, and serve hot.