Old Fashioned Strawberry Preserve

Anjali Venugopal April 28, 2020 NO COMMENTS

This recipe brings back a whole load of memories for me. Memories form the days I have spent with my family in Munnar. The first time I tasted strawberries preserved in sugar and lime was in Munnar and I have always wanted to recreate the same taste in my kitchen. I got a lovely batch of strawberries a couple of days back and I had to do just that. So, here goes.

Things you will need:

  • Strawberries- about 20-25, the green bits cut and hulled. Halve the bigger ones (I used a regular box full)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Sugar- 3 cups

How to go about it:

  • Mix the cleaned and cut strawberries with sugar in a large bowl and let it rest for half an hour.
  • Place a large pot or saucepan on the stove (on medium heat) and add the strawberry and sugar mixture. Keep stirring it all around till the sugar begins to melt.
  • Add the lime juice at this point and mix well. The strawberries will start releasing water . Keep stirring the contents for another 25-30 minutes, breaking the larger strawberry bits down with the back of the spoon, until the strawberries are nice and mushy and the the water content begins to reduce. You must aim at a nice, thick, syrup like consistency. Make sure you don’t go all the way till the mixture resembles jam because you must bear in mind that the mixture will thicken up further once cool.
  • Once you reach a thick syrupy consistency, allow the preserve to cool down before transferring it into clean and dry glass bottles. Pop it into fridge. Keeps well for a month in the fridge. Or you can freeze it if you’d like the preserve to last longer.

Chittagong Masala Murgh

Anjali Venugopal April 24, 2020 NO COMMENTS

I tasted this dish for the first time in Oh! Calcutta, Pune and I remember I fell in love with the flavour notes instantly. The coriander seeds, the fried onions, the onion paste and the chilli together weaved magic on my palate and I knew I had to recreate it at home. It took me a few attempts to get it right I must confess and now, this is my go-to recipe and I must say it’s one of my favourite meals ever. I am still not sure if this is the “right” way to do it yada yada as I was merely looking to recreate what I tasted at the restaurant. But who cares because this chicken curry is DELICIOUS.

Things you will need:

  • Chicken on the bone- 1 kg
  • Red onions (medium sized) – 2 sliced finely
  • Red onion (medium sized)- 1 made into a coarse paste.
  • Garlic- if large, 4 cloves. If the regular Indian variety, 8-9 cloves. Crushed.
  • Kashmiri red chili powder- 1.5 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies- 4-5 chopped
  • Cashews- 10 (soaked in ¼ cup hot water)
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tsp (to temper)
  • Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

For the spice mix:

  • Coriander seeds- 2 heaped tablespoons
  • Dried red chilies- 6-7

How to go about it:

  1. First, in a small pan, dry roast the ingredients given under “for the spice mix.” The coriander seeds and the dried chillies must be lightly roasted on a low to medium flame until they release a lovely, toasty aroma. Do not allow the spices to burn. Keep aside to cool before grinding it into a coarse powder. “Spice Mix
  2. Marinate the chicken with 1 tbsp of the Spice Mix, a bit of salt and let it it rest for about half an hour.
  3. In the meantime, make a smooth paste out of the cashews and water and keep aside.
  4. Next, heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a wok and add 1 tsp of the coriander seeds. Once the flavour releases into the oil (takes about 5-6 seconds if the oil is hot in enough and it’ll start crackling), add the sliced onions. The onions must be made nice and brown. The trick to get crisp and brown onions every time is to make sure you don’t keep sauteing them throughout. Add the onions to the hot oil, add a bit of salt, saute till all the pieces are coated with the oil and they begin to wilt on a medium heat. After that saute only in intervals. Once the onions are translucent, you can fry it all up on a slightly higher heat. Either way, it is important to get the onions nice and brown for this recipe or it will taste odd in the end.
  5. Once the sliced onions are brown, add the onion paste and keep sauteing. Heat on medium. Keep sauteing until the entire mixture is golden brown in colour. This will happen faster than the onion slices.
  6. Next, add the garlic, sauté for about 30 seconds and then add the rest of the Spice Mix, salt as needed, the Kashmiri Red Chili powder and turmeric powder and keep sauteing for another minute. This will cook the spices well and will give the curry a luxuriant red colour in the end.
  7. Next, add the marinated chicken bits. Toss them around to make sure all the pieces are coated with the spices evenly. Keep at it till the chicken loses its pink and the masala is sealed in the pieces.
  8. At this point, add one cup water, give the curry a good mix and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, keep the wok closed and let the chicken cook throughly. Should ideally take about 25 minutes approx. Check every once in a while to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Once the chicken is cooked and the meat begins to fall of the bone, add the green chilies and cashew paste and give it a mix. Add more salt if needed. Let the curry boil until it reaches the desired consistency which is a slightly thick red gravy. Once done, top with fresh coriander leaves.
  10. Serve hot with jeera rice or plain rice and raita. Or even hot luchis if you’re feeling fancy.

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Anjali Venugopal April 23, 2020 1 COMMENTS

Since the residents of this home have been exposed to delicious North Indian grub in our lives, there are days when we feel a craving for something that is quintessentially Northern Indian. This is one of those recipes that comes to our rescue in such times. This curry is loosely based on a recipe I learnt from my roommate’s mum during my law school days in Pune. This curry is not sophisticated. Instead it’s a glorious mix of brazen flavours that will whisk you away to one of those highway Dhabas that serve food straight from the heart. Serve it with some hot Jeera Rice and vegetable raita and you’ll know what I mean.

Things you will need:

  • 1 kg chicken on the bone (Skinless, cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces)
  • 3 Onions (medium sized , sliced finely)
  • Ginger Garlic paste made of a 1.5 inch stick of ginger and about 10-12 pods of garlic. You can be lavish with the garlic. Use about 5 pods if your pods are large like the ones we get in Europe.
  • Greek yoghurt or regular yoghurt- 2 full tablespoons
  • 5-6 Green Chilies, slit (Adjust the spice as required)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 – 5 Cardamoms
  • 8 – 10 Peppercorns
  • 4 – 5 Cloves
  • 3 Tomatoes (medium sized, chopped)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 heaped tablespoons coriander powder
  • Salt to taste

For tempering: (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • Fresh coriander (to garnish)

How to go about it:

  1. First, marinate the chicken with the yoghurt, half a teaspoon of salt and half of the ginger garlic paste. Keep that aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Add all the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) to the oil. Once they start to splutter and the flavours release into the oil, add the onions. Saute the onion on a low to medium flame, until it is nice and brown. Sauteing your onion well is always the base of a good curry. Next, add the remaining ginger garlic paste and the slit green chilies and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Saute for a minute and then keep the wok closed to allow the tomatoes to soften up. Cook till the tomatoes start melting, and almost form a paste and the spices and fully cooked and the oil starts to release from the sides. This is the base for the curry and should be more or less homogeneous.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and toss the pieces around till the chicken is sealed with the spices. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Next, add 1 cup of water, mix it all well, bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer on low to medium heat for 20-25 minutes (stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom the pan) or until the meat begins to fall off the bone and the gravy begins to thicken. (If you are using a pressure cooker instead, add only a little more than half a cup of water and pressure cook the curry for 2 whistles on medium heat and wait until the pressure is completely released. When you open the cooker, if you feel the gravy is watery, you can give it a quick boil again without the lid and wait till the gravy thickens up.)
  5. Once the chicken is well cooked and the gravy thickens (this step is optional), in a separate pan, heat two tablespoons of ghee, add the green chilies and saute until the chilies are lightly charred. Empty the contents into the chicken curry, give a quick mix and remove from heat. Additionally, you can garnish the curry with fresh coriander leaves.

Easy Sweet and Savoury Granola- healthy and delicious

Anjali Venugopal February 20, 2020 NO COMMENTS

Not going to waste your time with my storytelling. If you like the stories, check me out on Instagram @mydigitalverandah 😛 Let’s get down to business.

Things you will need:
(For about 12-14 half cup servings)
Whole grain, old fashioned oats- 4 cups
Nuts (I used cashews for this batch but feel free to mix it all up with pecans, almonds, walnuts, whatever catches your fancy)- 1 cup
Sea salt flakes- 1 tsp (switch with regular salt but make it 1/2 tsp)
Honey- 1/2 cup
Extra virgin olive oil- 1/2 cup
Dried fruits- 3/4 cup (I used raisins and dried apricots for this batch but feel free to use whatever you prefer)
Cinnamon powder- 1 tsp

How to go about it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line a half sheet pan with baking paper and keep aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the oats, the salt, the nuts and cinnamon powder and mix well. The salt is what brings out the beauty of the granola. Keep the dried fruits aside.
  3. Now add the olive oil and honey and mix well to make sure everything is coated nice and well.
  4. Empty contents into the tray and bake for 20-22 minutes. Make sure you take it out half way to give it a quick stir.
  5. When done, the granola will be a nice golden brown but may not look completely crispy but it gets firmer as it cools down. Once out of the oven, leave it to cool down completely at least for an hour without stirring it all up. Once cool, top with the dried fruits, break up the granola with your hands and store away in air tight containers.
  6. Stays put for a good 2-3 weeks and can be had for breakfast with milk or vegan milk options or yogurt or just as it is.

Raspberry Cardamom Lassi

Anjali Venugopal March 3, 2019 NO COMMENTS

First day of Spring in my part of the world and could you possibly be any happier? Endless days with the golden sun, blue skies, intermittent showers and the flowers and the leaves slowly waking up from their sweet slumber. It is almost as though every passerby has a smile on his face as bright as the spring sunshine and it is absolutely adorable to watch the neighbours drag their outdoor furniture back to their little balconies and terraces ready to soak up all the sun in the coming months while they sit sipping on tall glasses of Aperol Spritzer, laughing with friends and family. The excitement all around is undeniably palpable.

The grey undertones that had taken over this beautiful city seem to be fading away; the drab, monochromatic winter coats getting replaced with prettier shades of blues and pinks and yellows; long, toned legs that have been wrapped up under layers and layers of clothing for all of these months are slowly starting to make appearances.

With the months all set to get warmer and sunnier, I suppose it’s time we got our spring/ summer food and drink game stronger. Here is a recipe for a delicious fruit lassi (yoghurt drink) which uses fresh raspberries with a hint of cardamom for that beautiful flavour. With mango lassis all set to take over the world after being out on menus even in Chinese restaurants, I suppose we could do with a bit of change and innovation. So, here goes.

Things you will need:

  • Fresh raspberries- 1 cup
  • Yoghurt- 500 grams, full fat, chilled
  • Cardamom powder- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar- 2 tablespoons
  • A pinch of salt
  • Water- 1/4 cup (optional)

How to go about it:

  1. Blend the raspberries, cardamom, sugar and salt together until it’s all well combined.
  2. Add the chilled yoghurt and the water (depending on how thick you want it. I do not use water) and blend it all together until nice and smooth
  3. Serve immediately

My Boozy Red Wine Sangria with an Indian Twist

Anjali Venugopal February 20, 2019 NO COMMENTS



Things you will need:

  • Dry Red Wine- 1 bottle
  • Ginger- 1 inch stick sliced finely
  • Apple- 1 cut up into large slices
  • Orange- 1 sliced
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Fruit Brandy such as Balkan Rakia or Austrian Schnapps- 1/2 cup
  • Lemon Soda- Sprite, 7 Up or Gaseosa

For the spiced syrup:

  • Whole Black Pepper- 1/4 teaspoon crushed
  • Cardamom powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Star Anise
  • Cinammon- 2 inch stick crushed
  • Ginger- a fat 2 inch stick, crushed
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Water- 1 cup

How to go about it:

  1. First step is the spiced sugar syrup. Boil one cup of water with a two inch stick of crushed ginger, half a teaspoon of cardamom powder, quarter teaspoon of crushed black pepper, two pieces of star anise, a two inch long cinnamon stick. Once the mixture starts boiling, add one cup sugar to it and keep stirring for a good6-7 minutes till the liquid achieves a nice, syrupy consistency. Strain into a glass bottle and cool. This can be left in the fridge for around a week.
  2. Next, Add the dry red wine to a deep vessel. Add 1/2 cup of any clear fruit brandy such as any Balkan Rakia or the Austrian Schnapps, the juice of one orange, about quarter a cup of the spiced sugar syrup (more depending on how sweet you want it) and stir it all up well. Slice an orange, an apple and the ginger and add it all to the Sangria. Leave the mixture in the fridge to ferment for a minimum of three hours.
    When ready to serve, top this up with any kind of lime soda (Sprite or 7 up or Gaseosa), ice cubes and serve cold.

Hi, I am Anjali

A lawyer who gave up law to pursue her one true love, food.

I was born and raised in Trivandrum in arguably one of the most beautiful corners of the world, Kerala (the southernmost state of India). I have now made a home in Paris with the love of my life.

If I had to pick two things that made me the happiest, I would pick cooking and meeting new people.

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