Feb 21, 2014

White Radish and Tomato chutney


A chutney a day as accompaniment to breakfast or tiffin is so required in a South Indian home. Often it involves grinding of fresh coconut with some green chillies and perhaps some chutney dal added. I often hear my elderly clients telling me they cannot eat breakfast without chutney but their diet restrictions does not permit them to include as much coconut as they would wish to.

A vegetable based chutney such as this one is the answer to such dilemmas! This recipe does not require coconut or peanuts, has vegetables as it’s base and the best part is you would not miss the coconut at all.

So if you are just looking for a new way to make chutneys or need to replace coconut or peanut in your chutney, this could be just what you would like to try out. This recipe serves as accompaniment for 4 people. Halve to serve 2 or freeze for later use.

Delicious chutney, want some?

You need

  1. White radish – grate or slice thin and measure 1 level cup (about 2 medium size radish)
  2. Tomato – chopped, 1 cup ( about 3 small Roma tomatoes)
  3. Green chillies – 3-4 depending on heat preference
  4. Chana dal – 2 tbsp
  5. Vegetable Oil – 1 tbsp
  6. Salt – 1 tsp

For seasoning

  1. Vegetable Oil – 1/2 tsp
  2. Mustard – 1/4 tsp
  3. Urad Dal – 1/4 tsp
  4. Curry leaves – 4-5
  5. Asafoetida powder (hing powder) – a tiny  pinch

To Assemble

  • Wash, peel, radish. Slice into thin disks or grate. Measure 1 level cup.
  • Clean and chop tomatoes and green chillies.
  • Set a kadai / fry pan over flame, heat oil. Add chana dal, saute. When the dal turns golden brown, (fry for approx. 2 minutes) add the radish, saute over high heat for 2 minutes.

All ingredients from frying pan to...


  • Tip in chopped tomatoes and green chillies. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes or until the tomatoes look squishy.
  • Cool and grind to smooth paste. Remove to bowl.

...To the mixie jar!

  • Set a small fry pan / tadka pan over flame, add oil, heat ingredients for seasoning, pour over chutney.
  • Serve as accompaniment to dosa, idli, vada, upma, pongal, well, actually with anything you may want to eat.

'Seasoned chutney' ready to serve

Feb 10, 2014

High–Ultra lounge, the newest high

High Ultra Lounge at 421 feet, on the 31st floor, is the highest food and beverage destination in India apart from Mumbai, and will probably remain the ‘highest’ Lounge for quite some time to come. Very different from any so far, the property has been developed by Brigade Hospitality under Nirupa Shankar, Director and Vineet Varma, Executive Director. Their hands-on involvement has borne fruit and how.
An exclusive  elevator takes you in a trice to the 31st floor. The glass capsule elevator gives an amazing view of the outside cityscape even as one rapidly reaches High. Once inside, the lush interiors and unique lighting amps the mood and increases curiosity on what awaits inside!
Bloggers on a tour of High View
Four zones of entertainment, High View, High Dine, High Edge, High Mix with a slightly different personality to each space along with the flexibility to blend into one seamless space.The High View, with its glass window view captures the sunset in all its brilliant hues. Open to the sky, this space beckons! Sunbeds are thoughtfully set out here to lap up the sun’s last rays of the day! High Dine, the dining space is open to the sky again. With a Pan Asian cuisine, the customer can look forward to a fine meal under the stars. High Mix with its mood lighting, bar which churns out unique cocktails and mocktails, and music is an energetic space. High Edge has been designed as a private space, made available by prior booking only.
 The edge of High Edge
I was invited to a bloggers’ preview of the Lounge before its launch. We reached just in time to watch the setting sun cast its multiple hues on the space. We were taken on a tour of the facilities.  We were able to understand the intricacies of outdoor seating, elements of design of individual spaces, the choice of lighting and such through this tour.
Bloggers meet at High View
Deepasri capturing the foliage
It was then time for expert Mixologist, Guruprashanth to demonstrate his skills. He wowed the audience with new techniques in mixing and his choice of herb infusions to add magic to his creations. The group, after sampling his drinks were quite appreciative! I quite enjoyed his mocktails, Citrus Punch and Why Goa.
Tour of High mixGuru with his potent potions!
Guru's Love PotionInception
The Guru!Bloggers sampling
Chef Zhang Hao, put us through a guessing game. We were offered two starters and asked to list out the main ingredients in them. All of us really enjoyed this activity. The peanut flecked cottage cheese wasabi tikkis were so distinctive in choice of ingredients.
Chef Zhang Hao

Wasabi Paneer Tikkis
Then followed a climb to the helipad. The view from this altitude was quite extraordinary! The idea of an exclusive table for two at the helipad had all interested.
Dinner Table at High Dine
Dinner was laid out for bloggers at the High Dine space. I dined on their vegetarian selection. The Miso Soup, Sweet Potato with Teriyaki reduction, Fried Tofu, very fragrant Jasmine Rice with aromatic Thai Veg Curry were the high points of the meal for me. Special mention must be made of Vegetarian Sushi with outstanding wasabi as accompaniment. A few other dishes like Sweet corn with coriander butter,Chinese stir fried vegetables, or the spicy Soba Noodles were good but did not surpass expectations. Banofee Pie stood out for its caramelly, fresh banana and creamy flavours. Lychee Ice Cream could not match up to the Pie’s brilliance.
Through the course of dinner conversation, I enquired and learnt from Anand Nayak, the Marketing Manager, that the restaurant has well segregated kitchen space. Folks with specific food preferences like vegetarian, gluten sensitivity or nut allergies need not worry. The kitchen and the staff are well informed and equipped to handle special requests such as mentioned above.
Unbeatable location, mood-enhancing ambience, carefully chosen cuisines and menu selections and comprehensive beverage selections are all huge points in this destination’s favour. If the food and beverage team can keep up the good work we witnessed that evening, it is sure going to be the most sought-after location at Bangalore.
Location - Roof Top, World Trade Centre, Brigade Gateway Campus, 26/1 Dr. Rajkumar Road, Malleswaram West, Bangalore 560055
Cuisine - Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai
Price Range – Rs.1500 per person (average)

Feb 7, 2014

Once upon a time….. and they baked happily ever after


There once was a little girl who clamoured to go to school even before she turned 2. She watched wistfully when all the ‘grown up kids’ would trudge to school with their backpacks and lunch boxes in hand. She longed to walk the walk too. Unable to put up with her clamour, her mom sent her along with an older girl to the friendly neighbourhood ‘nursery school’.

Once there, this little girl loved to drink in the sights of the class room. She adored the smiling teacher who would draw pretty pictures on the black board with coloured chalk. She took care to never upset the teacher because then, the teacher would make a very stern face and rap the offending child’s bottom with a small wooden ruler. Yes, these were the days before disciplining an errant kid by spanking was either sinful or unlawful. The mild spank had an immediate effect on all kids, for sure, for everyone would behave well for the next hour!

Our little girl would trudge home after school, wear her mom’s saree, find a pair of spectacles, perch them on her nose, use her slate and pencil as black board and would start her school. She taught invisible children, drew pretty pictures for them, sang them lilting nursery rhymes ( ‘I hear thunder’ became ‘Aaya thanda’) and did not forget to rap the noisy kids with her ‘ruler’! Her only aim in life was to become a teacher.

Have you guessed who this little girl is? Of course, it is me Open-mouthed smile

I got the chance to become teacher to a bunch of excited teenage girls who wanted to learn how to bake. They were fired up after hearing that their moms had attended a baking workshop that I conducted earlier in December. The moms and I had baked Basic Vanilla Sponge and Chocolate Cakes.

Chocolate cake made on the dayCake decorated ( splattered) with ganacheAnother chocolate cake better decorated

Catching the children young and teaching them Healthy Cooking is one of the best ways to teach them healthy eating habits. The moms were only too happy to let their young ones pick up useful skills.  I seized this opportunity to share several nutrition tips with the receptive children.

On the first day, the girls learnt how to make chocolate cake and frost it too. The second day was devoted to learning how to make whole wheat burger buns and pav bread. All girls took turns at kneading the dough. It  was fun to watch them set a stop clock for themselves and divide the kneading between them. We also enjoyed making black eyed bean burger patties, and a very healthy ‘bhaji’ using plenty of seasonal vegetables like sweet potato, fresh peas and cauliflower to go with the breads.

An eye on the bhajiVery enthusiastic young bakerProud kids setting the table

At the end of the workshop, the tired girls sat down to lunch on their own creations. Once they started eating, all tiredness was forgotten. They were so happy that they had learnt how to make their own burgers and super healthy ones at that. The pav bhaji was ‘superb’, ‘awesome’, ‘yummy’, they informed me in between mouthfuls.

Whole wheat sesame buns just out of the ovenBlack eyed bean patties in burger

Lunch - super healthy burgers, pav bhaji and chocolate cake

This was an amazing finish to the workshop. Did the participants enjoy the workshops? I think so. Did I like it? Of course, I loved and enjoyed every moment of both the workshops. Did I have to rap any kid? No, NO NOOO.. I did not.Rolling on the floor laughing Just look at them, aren’t they so adorable and happy?

All this would not possible without the help of my great friend Deepa Annigeri who hosted the workshop at her home. Thank you Deepa, for your support and help throughout.

One goofy picture for the record!