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Let’s Colour The World, Holi Hai

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Holi the most awaited festival in India falls in the early 1st quarter of the year. It is popularly known as Festival of colors that marks the victory of good over evil as per our holy scriptures. While there is another dimension to the festival’s historical significance which many of us are not familiar with?

It is believed that Lord Krishna was sad about his dark complexion and wondered why Radha (his beloved) was so fair? One day his mother told him to smear color on radha’s face and change her complexion to color his choice. The idea fascinated Lord Krishna and thus he introduced the festival of colors. It is also believed that he popularized the festival by playing pranks on Gopikas. The Holi of Mathura, Virandavan (parts of Uttar Pradesh in India), Braj, and Barsana is famous all over the world.

Holi of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, India

The festival over years is seen catching up fast around the world and in true sense has gone beyond borders and boundaries on an onset to become a global phenomenon.

Here’s a view on the way it is celebrated overseas.

Spain
Small town called Sabadell, located 20 kilometres north of Barcelona sees around 10,000 people from all backgrounds to celebrate the festival of colours. The spirit is none less than that of India; white clothes, music, food and dancing. There are choreographed groups that perform Bollywood dance numbers.

USA
United States of America has a huge population of Indians anyways and thanks to them celebrating the festival, it is no longer restricted to only one community. USA now has formalised “The Colour Run”, a 5 kilometre run with participants who keep splashing colours at frequent intervals. The idea is to get colour dyed, the run is started in white outfits and by the end one can see people with multicolour dyed outfits.

The United Kingdom
Holi is quite a frenzy affair in UK. Its home to second largest Indian community especially in cities like Birmingham, Leicester and New Castle. One can see Holi parades on the streets. Manchester can be spotted with several food gullies and dance sessions. While Reading, town in England spots a lot of singing and Holika Play.

Suriname
Suriname is a small town in North eastern coast of North America. The Holi festival is called Phagwa by the natives and is celebrated on set of spring. The ritual is to plant a castor oil plant few weeks before the festival and is burnt on day of Holi symbolic to Holika Dhan in India.
People Indulge food delicacies like Gulgula, Bara, Chutney and Potato balls.

Mauritius
Mauritius is abode to a major chunk of Hindu population. People celebrate the festival traditionally with great pomp and show as seen in India. Rituals like Holika Dhan, Exchanging sweets like gujia, smearing colour on each other’s face is all part of celebrations. Interestingly one can see Pichkaris made from Mauritian Bamboo stalks. Now that’s something worth trying. What say?

From Global scenario let’s take a peep into to the face of how Holi is evolving in India, Chef Umesh Mattoo talks about Festival Food Delicacies, Colours (Cosmetic to Organic) customary rituals and their influence on the new age Indian families.

The celebration of Holi is of relevance not just for its vibrant colors, water fights or an excuse to over eat Gujiyas, and get more than a little high with a glass of Bhang. It allows an opportunity to meet and develop relations with neighbors, which we unfortunately forget to do the rest of the year living in canned, urban nuclear spaces.

As I witness people pouring in the park located in front of my house, I realize my ignorance regarding the presence of people who live merely few blocks away. As people start exchanging greetings by smearing colors on each other face, I wonder how Colors have played an important role in our well-being and possess the ability to uplift our moods.

Unfortunately the commercialization of the festival has led to flooding of markets with synthetic colors that are not good for skin and can turn the joyous occasion ugly.

While many of us complain of the same, or pay an exorbitant amount in order to get organic colors, we fail to realize that our own kitchens are the best manufacturing hubs for the production of such natural colors.

Your kitchen would not only provide you a simple, cost-effective and easy to prepare colours that are not harmful to your skin but also provide the satisfaction of playing the festival with colors you have produced yourself.

To make these colors you would essentially need a rice flour or arrowroots flower or corn starch.

A pleasing essence like rose, itar or even fruit flavors like orange flavor or a strawberry flavor.

Your kitchen has vegetables of all colors, beetroot, spinach, orange rind, carrots, shells of peas etc.

Just make a thick puree of these vegetables and mix it with a fine flour readily available to you and add an essence of your choice, need into a stiff dough.

There is no need to follow a particular proportions or recipe to make these you just go by your judgment the way you like these colors and the flavors you like.

Now spread this stiff dough on a plate and let it dry, once it is dried grind it in a mixer to a fine powder and its ready to use.

Talking about Food; delicacies prepared across the country during the festival of Holi are as varied as it rituals .The dishes like Malpua, Gujiya and Thandai are prepared almost across the country but each region adds its own twist to it.

Well this Holi try our version of these traditional recipes with a little bit of twist.

TRADITIONAL HOLI RECIPES WITH A MODERN TWIST

Chocolate Dipped Malpua Cones With Fruit

RECIPE 1. Chocolate Dipped Malpua Cones With Fruit 

Ingredients
Khoya (Dairy product also known as Khao, South Asian Cuisine, made by thickening of milk on heat in a pan)
Milk
Semolina 200 gms
Sugar
Ghee (Clarified Butter)

 

To Fry
Dark Chocolate for coating 100 gms
White chocolate for coating 100 gms

For stuffing

For Kiwi Rabri
Fresh kiwi Puree 100gms
Rabri (Sweet, condensed milk based dish made by boiling the milk on low heat for a long time until it becomes dense and changes its color to pinkish. Sugar, spices and nuts are added to it to give it flavor) 100gms
Diced kiwi 50gms

 

For Kesar Rabri
Kesar (saffron) 1 gms
Rabri 100gms
Pistachios blanched and sliced 20gms

 

For Apple Rabri
Apple (medium sized) 3 no’s
Sugar 50 gms
Butter 20gm
Cream 100gms
Rabri 50gms
Cinnamon powder 2 gms

Process

  • Immerse Khoya in warm water for 15 minutes.
  • Soak Semolina in about half a litre of water.
  • Take Khoya out of water in a bowl and add milk to make a smooth paste.
  • Drain water from soaked semolina.
  • Add semolina to milk and khoya mixture. Now add sugar and then make a smooth paste and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat Ghee in a pan and drop a large spoon about half a full of the prepared batter in medium hot ghee and make round shaped pan cakes. They should be thick and then fry for about 1 minute on each side.
  • Cool the prepared Malpuas.
  • Roll the Malpua in shape of a cone.
  • Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler and coat the lower half and the rim of the cone with melted dark chocolate and cool. Cover the half of Malpuas with dark chocolate
  • Then repeat the same thing for white chocolate Malpuas too.
  • Mix puree of Kiwis with rabri and mix well to get the nice green color.
  • Stuff this prepared Kiwi Rabri into dark chocolate covered cones and garnish the top with diced kiwis and chill.
    Mix the other white chocolate Malpuas with Rabri and Kesar to prepare nice yellow colored Kesari Rabri and garnish with sliced pista.
  • Heat sugar in a pan add butter till it gets caramelized, slice two apples and add to the mixture.
  • Add cream and cook till apples are mashed. Cool this mixture and blend to make a smooth apple sauce.
  • Mix Rabri into apple sauce and add Cinnamon powder.
  • Fill the remaining malpuas cones with this Rabri.
  • Remove the skin from one of the apples and grate it.
  • Add 2 table spoons of sugar and cook on the medium flame till all moisture has evaporated and shredded apples are nicely glazed. Cool the mixture.

Presentation

  • Garnish each Malpua filled with Apple Rabri and shredded glazed apples.
  • Arrange the tri color Malpua cones on plate and its ready to serve.
  • You may add dollop of colors around the food to add sparkle to your festival.

Gujia with Figs and Honey

RECIPE 2. Gujia with Figs and Honey

Ingredients

For the dough
Refined flour 500 gm
Ghee (clarified butter) 100 gm
Water 200 ml

 

For stuffing
Dry figs 500 gm
Ghee 30gms
Almond 130 gm
Honey 100ml

Process

  • In a bowl mix refined flour and ghee to a nice crumby texture.
  • Add water and knead well to make a stiff dough.
  • Rest the dough for one hour.
  • Soak the dry figs in warm water for about half an hour.
  • Drain the water and mash the figs into a smooth paste.
  • Heat ghee in a pan, add crushed almonds and cook for about I minute. Then add the fig paste and cook till the mixtures starts leaving the pan. Cool this mixture
  • Divide dough into 20 gm of each balls.
  • Roll out each ball into about 4 inch round disc.
  • Moisten the outer edges of the circle with water.
  • Place about one table spoon of prepared fig mixture into one half side of circle.
  • Bring the edges of the gujiya to give it a half moon shape, press well to seal and make a pleated design on the edges of gujiya.
  • Heat ghee in kadai and fry gujiya till to golden color on slow flame.

Presentation

  • Cool and glaze with honey and serve when required.
  • You may deck it up with water balls, color and water guns on the table to add vibrancy to the dish.

Basil Saunf Sugar Cane Juice ThandaiRECIPE 3. Basil Saunf Sugar Cane Juice Thandai

Ingredients
Sweet Basil Leaf 50 gms
Bhang Leaves 30 gms
Cashew nut 40 gm
Almond Kashmir (blanched skin removed) 40
Khas-khas 20 gm
Sugar cane juice 600 ml
Green Cardamom powder 5 gm
Black pepper powder 5 gm
Saunf (Aniseed) powder 10 gm
Sugar 80 gm
Rose petals fresh few
Almond sleeved 20 gms

Process

  • Wash and make a paste of bhang and basil leaves.
  • Make a fine paste of cashew nut, almond , khas-khas.
  • Put the paste of the nuts into a bowl.
  • Add sugar cane juice, basil paste, cardamom powder, black pepper powder, saunf (Aniseed) powder and sugar.
  • Mix properly with whisker and serve cold.

Presentation

  • Garnish with rose petals and almond sleeves.

Puran Poli Orange and Cream Cheese Dip

Puran Poli Orange and Cream Cheese DipRECIPE 4. Puran Poli Orange and Cream Cheese Dip

Ingredients
Refined floor 500gms
Split Bengal graham 200gms
Channa dal boiled
Sugar 200gms
Orange Zest 30gms
Nutmeg Powder a pinch
Salt a pinch
Oil 1 table spoon
Ghee 100gms
Cream cheese 100gms
Diced oranges 100gms
Orange marmalade 30 gms
Oranges zest 2 tea spoons

Process

  • Sieve the flour in a bowl, add salt and oil mix well to knead it into a soft dough with sufficient water.
  • Let it rest for 45 minutes.
  • Heat a deep pan and boil grams. Add sugar and mix well cook for 15 minutes.
  • Cool it and grind into a fine paste.
  • Add orange zest, nutmeg, salt and mix well.
  • Divide dough into equal portions of 50 gms shaped balls.
  • Stuff each ball with a large portion of the sweet mixture about 30 gms.
  • Dust the stuffed balls and roll into thin rotis, cook over a hot griddle plate without coloring.
  • Now smear the prepared pooran polis with ghee.
  • Heat cream cheese with a whisk, add rest of the ingredients and serve hot puranpolis with this dip.

Recipes Copyright @Chef Umesh Mattoo (For Gypsyescapade.com)
Content: Saloni Kilam Rampal & Chef Umesh Mattoo
Photography: Paramjit Chawla

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Sunil

    March 11, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Happy Holi , Mouth watering recipies chef .

    • admin

      March 15, 2017 at 7:48 am

      thanks. well keep reading we have more stories coming up on food from the northern part of India.

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Food

Culture on your Palate.

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Food is lens to one’s country’s culture. It is said very often that to know a place better, one must try its cuisine.

Phuket, one of the popular islands of Thailand was once primarily known to be a commercial hub that eventually led to invasion of multiple cultures and hence richness in its cuisine.

I was invited for yet another culinary extravaganza at Old Town Phuket  by A Chef Tours. Though I am pro at reviewing food but then I do have some dietary limitations. What impressed me the most was the design planning of the tour that takes care of your dietary requests and limitations.

Pema Juanjenkit was our group’s Culinary Guide. Just like Cook brings soul to a recipe, she brings in soul to the tours she conducts. She is a complete walking human library with so much information to offer about food and culture both. I have reviewed so many food tours but what’s really amazing is to feel her passion, energy and knowledge about history of place, culture and the food. The tour indeed is worth every penny spent as not only do you get to experience the dishes but those small details about ingredients, origin, history itself makes it worth indulging in.

Our Group had these two lovely ladies from Sydney, mom daughter duo and they were such good sport throughout the tour. This one tour taught me so much about people and culture that I am glad I did take this invitation.

Coming to the Food what makes this foodie experience interesting is the choice of places and the people behind the show. We had some interactive sessions with Restaurateur’s and chefs. Stories not just about food but about culture too.

The tour is said to be for about 4 hours but Pema tends to evaluate the interest levels of her group and is generous enough in letting the group enjoy each session. Our Tour turned out to be 6 hours session. Not that I am complaining.

What Does A Chef Tour Phuket Old Town Tour Offers.

The Phuketian food tour starts from Wet market in old town, one can see varied variety of fruits and vegetables, meat and local delicacies. Great food and contentment on people’s face’s selling their produce is humbling.

Next on the card was Backstreet Burmese Tea House serving some rich Burmese Beef Curry, Wood Fired nans, samosas and tea. Oh! that reminds me of our Desi Nan, samosa back home.

Learning about Zee Kwet (Owl Pairs) in Myanmar culture was so enriching.

Knom Jee nam Ya Ba – Bowl with herbal Kanom Jeen Noodles with vegetable Jungle curry was another interesting meal. Flavours of mild herbs and greens so well blended that it indeed is a relaxing and an energising bowl.

Phuketian Sticky Rice- This is not just the local speciality but has a great history behind it. Rice is so well marinated with meat and nuts that each bite lets you relish the flavours so well.

Hokkein Noodles –These silky noodles are so different than the regular noodles. Such gastronomy tours are indeed a must they open you up to so many unknown facts about food.

3rd Generation Sweets

After long day of spice around it was time to treat our sweet tooth with Thai Sweets prepared by 3rd generation family. It was a delight to watch this 3rd generation lady speak such profoundly about her passion of preparing these sweets. Variety on her table for us to taste. And what made this tasting session memorable was the dollop of her generosity showered on us when she handed us our favourite picks as giveaways. Such heart-warming hospitality is often hard to find.

Fresh Exotic Juices

These are juice’s being sold right in middle of the Old town green market. Fresh fruits around to choose from and the lady quickly churns them to offer you thirst quenchers.

Handmade Spring Rolls & Satay Chicken

Unlike Spring Rolls that we are accustomed too. It was a sight to see them live preparing the roll sheets and then the fillings.  The inside filling is of Thai greens and meat can be pork, chicken to one’s preference with dab of sauces to add flavours.

Satay Chicken; Popular dish of Thailand usually served with peanut sauce. The Chicken is tender and soft with well mix of spices.

Iced Dessert: Quite similar to Indian Ice Gola, the only difference is this iced dessert has pieces of traditional sweets at bottom. Simple and Sweet looking Lady busy making icy dessert from her small cart in one of the by lanes in Phuket Old Town is definitely a must try.

Crispy Roti & Southern Coffee

The last meal for tasting and the most interesting of the all  was a giant mug of frothy Southern Coffee & Crispy Roti at Arun, a local Muslim Restaurant.  The action is in watching the way coffee is made don’t forget to go to the kitchen and watch how it is made.

Coffees at this place are mind blowing. Must Try.

The place is also known for some amazing Crispy Roti served with beef curry.

This food tour was not just about the dishes that you will savour walking down the alleys of Old Town but witnessing history on roads, wall murals , and a  short visit to Blue Elephant Cooking School which was the surprise element for our over enthusiastic group.

I would rate 4/5 stars for this tour and 0.5 for Pema Extra Efforts  to make this tour an eye popping experience. Oops! Apologies… Effort Nah! Passion Yeah. Pema really loves doing what she does and she is awesome at that.

Must Do A Chef Tours- Phuket Old Town Food Tour. Book Now.

https://achefstour.com/tour/phuket-old-town-food-tour

Review also available on  TripAdvisor. Follow  Lady Gypsy Sal @Tripadvisor

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Food

Mumbai Secret Street Food; A Gastronomic Orgasm

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Foodie TravelerSometimes I think, it’s a boon to be a foodie traveller. I mean one gets to taste and relish a platter full of gastronomic delights from around the world. One such foodie tour by A Chefs Tour took me into by lanes of Mumbai gastronomy.

Mumbai popularly known for Indian Cinema is also famous for its street food gluttony. This city offers a concoction of various cuisines and their renditions are simply mouth-watering.

I am no different to city’s food delights but let me tell you what amazes me about Mumbai Street food is the culinary talent and illusion that they create with  food.  Mumbai’s Food is nothing but a sheer food orgasm.

I was invited by A Chef Tours, a company that believes essentially in “Taste to recommend” for a culinary Mumbai Street Food Tour. And I have to say this on records that I am glad I did this tour.  They offer various Food Tours to foodies, tourists and people who love to experience the world gastronomy at places they travel to.

What’s best about A chef Tours is that their team not only researches on the choice of food that would cut across all communities but also work on small details like weather during the tour- how to keep their clients hydrated if required; mode of transport and most important the selection of places to eat.

One of my observations about Food of any city is that there are plenty of places promoting regional tastes and flavours  but there are very less places where one gets to relish the authenticity and the heritage of food both. And A Chef tours has got their hands on just the right cords. So a big thumbs up for that.

This experience with A chef Tours in Mumbai leaves me super excited for my upcoming tours in Thailand with them.   

So here’s my review on “Mumbai Secret Street Eats”

As reviewed on Trip Advisor

Shri Saraswathi Samaj Thank you God for the Food we Eat.

Mumbai is definitely a food lover’s paradise. With a platter of local flavours from the diverse cultures that dwells in this city. Mumbai street food is indeed a gastronomical orgasm one must indulge in. 

The Mumbai CityI am a Mumbai resident for over 6 years now and as a food blogger have tried no. of joints, street food offerings in Mumbai but I take this opportunity to confess that the Mumbai City Food Tour by “A Chef’s Tour” was simply outstanding.

Shailesh - Food Tour GuideLady Gypsy Sal with Shailesh –Food Tour Guide – A Chefs Tour

Shailesh the food tour guide is warm, knows the nuances of the city and food as well.

Sancha Ice cream at Bhendi BazaarAt Taj Mahal HandMade Sancha Icecream outlet at Bhendi Bazaar

The selection of Food was amazing and so well laid. A total of about 12-13 delicacies. Though all were simply amazing. But here are my best picks; Sticky tamarind, Sweet Paan (betel leaf); Tawakkal Kebabs, Surmai Fry Fish, & Taj Mahal Handmade Sancha Icecream.

Mumbai's Secret Street FoodTo taste about 12 dishes in 3 hours across south Mumbai is an incredible planning; especially for the traffic that we survive 365 days a year.

Shailesh ensures one is not tired and dehydrated but enjoys food and the city stories as well. His knowledge about the right mix of dishes and the choice of places offering the same is excellent.

Shailesh comes out as one of those human library that keeps you engaged and engrossed with climax that is yet to come. Must Try #MumbaiStreetEats by #achefstours

You can book your tours on  www.achefstour.com

Mumbai Secret Street Eats Tour

  • 4-hour guided walk through 3 distinct areas of Mumbai
  • A ton of tastings at some of Mumbai’s oldest eateries
  • Learn about the history and culture of Indian cuisine
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Refreshing Indian drinks and bottled water
  • Fully licensed English speaking (foodie) guide
  • Limited to just 8 exclusive guests each day

Group Size: 1-8 People

Duration: 16h- 20h 30

Menu- 12-13 Tasting

Price: USD $55 per person

 

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Food

Eat Your Greens – National Spinach Day

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I’m Strong to the finich, cause I eats my spinach. I am Popeye the Sailor Man!
(From theme song of Popeye the Sailor Man).

Age old cartoon Popeye sailor man  gained huge popularity for munching Spinach way back in 1929 to amass bulging muscles.

Research and facts of Spinach state that spinach has nitrates that are energy puffers and help muscles stay active.

Spinach is inbred plant of Persia (Modern day Iran) was cultivated some 2000 years. It got introduced in China in the 7th century and till date it’s popularly known as “the Persian Green” in China, brought to Europe in 12th century and then was promoted in North America in 1806.

West & Northeast part of the world are high on consumption of Spinach. Spinach also has found its way into Asian kitchens.

On eve of National Spinach Day 26th March, Dr. Sarika Nair, well known Nutritionist & Dietitian from Mumbai, tells us why Spinach should be a part of our dietary intake.

High Powered Nutritional & health facts about spinach

Popeye loves spinach and we love what it does to Popeye! Right?

Everyone knows that green leafy vegetables are healthy and spinach is one of the most popular leafy vegetables. It is available most of the time throughout the year and it has a taste that blends well with anything, be it rice, roti, pizza, eggs, and salads anything.

Spinach is a nutrition powerhouse. It is high in niacin and zinc, pigments like beta carotene, fibre, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. It is also rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. This humble leafy vegetable helps you in many ways.

  • It improves blood glucose levels.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Improves bone health.
  • Keeps the digestive tract healthy.
  • Improves iron levels.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Promotes healthy cardiovascular health.
  • Healthy skin and hair.

Dt. Sarika Nair
Dt. Sarika Nair

Founder of Slim & Happy is an awardee of “The Most Promising Dietician in Mumbai” at International Healthcare awards 2017.

Pack more leafy goodness into your daily diets. For tailor-made diet plans and information on nutrition.

Visit www.slimnhappy.com

Facebook:www.facebook.com/slimnhappy

Mail:contact@slimnhappy.com

Chef Umesh Mattoo
Celebrating Greens on National Spinach Day, we bring you healthy recipes from the Kitchen of Celebrity Chef Umesh Mattoo.

Venue & Kitchen Partners: Mirasol Resorts, Nani Daman, UT of Daman & Diu

1. Recipe –Apple Spinach Lime & Honey Health Drink

 

Chef Umesh Mattoo's Recipe: Apple Spinach Lime & Honey Health Drink

2. Recipe – Spinach, Paneer & Corn Bhujia

 

Spinach, Paneer & Corn Bhujia

3. Pratish Tandel, MD, Mirasol Resort tasting Healthy “Apple Spinach lime & Honey Drink                 by Chef Umesh Mattoo

 

How to Celebrate National Spinach Day.

One can celebrate National Spinach day in many ways. Simply include lots of spinach in your daily diet today. And not just today ensure that Spinach should be ideally included in your diet daily in some or the other form, if not daily then minimum thrice a week. One can eat it with salads, in soups, omelettes or even shakes & smoothies. Spinach based beverages have become drinking fodder for lot of health conscious people. Its mild flavour, low in calories, high on protein makes it ideal healthy alternative against sugar based drinks. A lesser known fact about spinach is that it is a mild laxative. So say bye to constipation with this super food!

Do make children aware about benefits of Spinach, an interesting way to do that is watch Popeye cartoon with them and encourage them to eat Spinach in their daily diets.

Hope you enjoyed forgotten facts about Spinach. Thanks for reading the post. Do share your Spinach day stories with us on social media #Spinachday

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