Thursday, May 30, 2013

Buckwheat Porridge

Buckwheat porridge or 'Kasha' is a common breakfast food in Slavic Europe. While great for breakfast with milk or just plain boiled, I concocted this hybridized version- Slavic buckwheat meets Indian Khicdi  for a quick dinner last evening.

All you health food aficionados, give this a try. High in fiber, contains all eight essential amino acids and gluten-free. Best of all cooks quickly with minimal interference.

Ingredients (Serves 1):

Buckwheat: 1/4 cup
Did not have cream, hence substituted with leftover cheese powder from Pizza Hut
Egg: 1 boiled
Butter: 1 tbsp
Cream: 2 tbsp
Garlic: 1 clove, chopped finely
Green chilli: 1 small, shredded
Green coriander:  1 tbsp, chopped
Pepper: 1 tsp
Salt: To taste


Preparation (Cooking time 25 mins):

Roast buckwheat with salt for 5 mins in microwave at medium setting. You can skip this step, but I feel it enhances the texture and flavour. 

Add 1 cup water to the roasted buckwheat, garlic, chilli and microwave at medium setting for 15 mins.

Fluff the mixture, the buckwheat should be breaking out of their shell. Add 1/4 cup water. Stir in butter, cream/ cheese, pepper and cook at low setting for 5 mins. 


Fluff mixture again and leave for 5 mins so that excess water is soaked up. Garnish with egg and coriander. Serve hot.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Summer Dacha Salad

Ok, this salad has nothing to do with a 'dacha', but I was introduced to a variant of this by a friend while we were discussing Russian summers. Hence my Marketing twist- Summer "Dacha" Salad.

It's a quick nifty one, barely takes five mins to throw together. Extremely healthy, and high in fibre, protein and water. So here's to a quick recipe for summers- in Russia or anywhere else. 

Ingredients (Serves 2):
Cucumbers- 3 medium
Tomato- 2 large
Dill- 1 handful
Corriander- 1 handful
Boiled eggs- 3 (Soft)
Sour Cream- 250 gm
Salt- To taste

Preparation (5 mins):

Shell eggs, mash with sour cream (Its easier this way than the way I did which was mixing cream at the last). Chop vegetables, add to the mashed eggs. Add salt to taste. Whisk and serve. If you want you could add any other herbs that you feel like, I had dill and coriander left over from the previous two nights cooking.

приятного аппетита!

Baked Herb Salmon

Quick one for those days when you come back from work, too tired to whip up something elaborate yet feeling hungry and guilty enough for a proper home cooked healthy meal. This one takes less than half an hour (if you have the stuff ready). Just pop in the oven and by the time you are back from a jog/ swim/ long shower, it's ready-Herby and healthy. Mmmmm

Ingredients (Serves 4):

Salmon fillet: 4 - 150 gms each (I prefer the tail, as they are thinner and one of the leaner cuts, which cook fast)
Olive oil: 2 tbsp
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Honey: 1 tbsp
Oregano: 1 tsp
Rosemary: 1 tsp
Pepper: 3 tsp, coarsely ground
Dill: 4 sprigs for garnish
Salt to taste

Preparation (Time: 5+ 25 mins):

Set oven to pre-heat at 200 C. Clean fish, set aside to dry.

Mix vinegar, honey, olive oil in a small shot glass. Throw in a pinch of salt. Keep aside for glazing.

Now baste the fillets with a small portion of the glaze, sprinkle with salt, rosemary, oregano and of course, crushed pepper. Wrap in foil and pop into oven (at 180 C) for 15 mins. Turn over, and bake for another 10 mins at 150 C. You will know the fish is done when it becomes opaque and flakes off on a fork.

Garnish with a few sprigs of dill. Serve hot with mustardsauce.


Guessing that you would not want wine on a week night. Accompany with a chilled glass of water with a quarter of a lemon and a couple of sprigs of mint. No sugar, no salt. The ice-cold water will open up your palate to the herby flavor of the baked fish.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Mustard Sauce

Inspired by my Bengali love of everything ‘mustard’ and a recent sojourn to the French part of Switzerland where piqued by the recent horsemeat controversies and French chef’s ‘horsing’ round in the kitchen, I happened to try a ‘entrecote de cheval à la sauce moutarde et pommes de terre grelots. Was much better than I had expected it to be.

Anyway, here’s my adaptation, with a Bengali twist.

Ingredients (For a meal for 4):

Mustard powder: 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 2 tsp (the coarsely ground seeds, give the sauce a ‘bite’)
Butter: 3 tbsp
Olive Oil: 4 tbsp
Vinegar: 1 tbsp (if you prefer a more pungent sauce, leave out the vinegar)
Garlic: 1 large clove (chopped fine)
White wine: ¼ cup (optional)
Cream: ½ cup
Dill: 3-4 stalks; finely chopped

Preparation (5-10 mins):

Heat the butter and olive oil on low flame. Add the garlic. Leave till garlic starts getting translucent. Reduce flame, add wine. Reduce to half the volume. Add mustard powder, mustard seeds, vinegar, salt to taste while constantly turning to a smooth paste. Reduce heat and fold in the cream.


Cover and let simmer for 5 mins. Add chopped dill. Remove from flame.


Goes great with baked fish, grilled veal or a barbecued joint of lamb. Bon appétit

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Salt Crusted Roast Chicken

Trick Question: What is the likeliest topic of discussion between guys stretched out on the deck after a lovely morning of diving (other than the dive itself)? What's the second most popular thing on the agenda?

Before you embarrass yourself with your dirty mind, its beer and food. And this was how I first learned of beer-can chicken and salt roasted chicken. This one’s dedicated to you Craig.

Delicious roast chicken (light on the fat), crispy, juicy.


Chicken: Preferable free range, 1 whole- about 800 gms

Garlic: 5 cloves, unpeeled

Bay leaves: 6

Thyme:  ½ handful/ or 2 tbsp

Lemon: ½ large

Salt: 2 kg

Preparation (1 hrs):

Pre-heat oven to 200 C. Thaw chicken, wash and pat dry with kitchen towels.

Remove the neck, and stuff the chicken with thyme, garlic cloves, bay leaves. Plug the butt with the large lemon. During cooking not only does the lemon add it’s flavor, but keeps the roast moist and keeps the other ingredients from falling out. Truss the chicken with kitchen twine.

Remove neck and pat dry

Stuff chicken with spices and plug butt this way

Now in a large dish, pour in the salt. Add water little by little till the salt is in the consistency of semi-wet snow. Not sludgy but moldable. In a baking dish, spread an inch thick base layer of salt. Sit the chicken in the mix and slowly encase in the remaining salt. Cover completely.

Preparing salt mold

Sit chicken in salt base

Encase chicken completely in salt blanket

Pop the chicken in the oven for 45-mins to 1 hr and roast at 100-125 C.

Ensure that chicken is completely encased during baking

In an hour’s time chicken is done perfectly. Now remove from oven and let it cook in it’s salt casing for 15 mins. Break away the hardened salt cover, brush away the extra salt and remove the skin.

Salt jacket draws away the dripping


The salt hardens to a baked pastry consistency

Removing the skin prevents excess salt from the roast

Slice and serve with hot with chimichurri sauce.



This was an amazing meal on a rainy evening at the start of a long, long weekend. Best served with a chilled white.

Bon eetlus!