Gujarati Thali – Mini Gujarathi thali

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When we are talking about Gujarat, the first thing that comes to my mind is our BM 25 meet. It was three days of absolute masti. Thanks to Vaishali, she saw to it that we were well settled, well taken care off and well fed!

So it’s only natural that when it came to Gujarat, I was browsing Vaishali’s space for recipes and ideas. Then I remembered this post from my friend (old room-mate) Roshni of Roshni’s Kitchen. She had actually put up a thali with Vaishali’s help. So I based mine on that one and modified it a little bit.

I wanted to make the chaas, the salad and the chutney as well like Roshni’s thali, but ….errrrr…forgot about it.

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Going through Vaishali’s space, I came across this very different combination of beans, peas and cooked whole wheat discs(dhokli). I included that in the thali and it turned out to be a good decision.

The kid loved the atta (whole wheat) discs.

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I had made a Gujarati thali before as well.  There Vaishali had mentioned that Gujarati kadhi doesn’t have turmeric in it. So this time I went right into her space and followed her instructions. In the same post of hers, she has the recipe for the potato curry as well. Scroll down for the recipe.

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The menu:

  • Tindora Nu Shaak : Ivy gourd/kovakka/tindora cooked with minimal spices and served as a side dish to rice
  • Dingiri Batata Nu Shaak : Potatoes cooked with onions and tomatoes.
  • Fansi Dhokli : Beans, peas and whole wheat atta discs with some masalas create the magic here.
  • Gujarati Kadhi : The whitish yogurt based preparation. No turmeric is used in this recipe.
  • Gujarati Dal : Simple dal. Skipped the sugar to stick to the spicy version.
  • Rotli : Very thin, soft roti-like rolls. Maida (all purpose flour)  is used for rolling out the dough.
  • Ready made Choondo pickle and Garkari pickle

 


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Filed under Rice, Pasta, Side Dishes, Thali

Goan Lunch Thali

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And we are in Goa today.

I visited Archana’s space for recipe ideas. And I based this thali (though the okra recipe has garlic) from this post of hers. She mentions about “shivrak”(vegetarian) days, where the diet is “chanyacho ras”, a vegetable, rice, batat kapa and toi. Toi can be made with and without coconut. This version has coconut in it.

I found that there are some similarities between Goan and Kerala cuisine. It’s not that they are alike, it’s just that when you say Goa, the image is that of Portuguese influenced Catholic cooking. So when you find recipes that strike a chord somewhere with your comfort food even if it is distant by a mile, all of a sudden it’s not foreign any more. That feeling is actually comforting.

For example, this dal has a ground coconut mix added to it, just like the Kerala Parippu Curry. It’s just that I hadn’t expected ground coconut in Goan dishes.

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This payasam is another example. This is very similar to our Kadala Parippu payasam. The Kerala recipe is also a blend of Chana dal (split chickpea), jaggery and coconut milk. I didn’t have the sabudana/sago pearls with me, so went ahead and made the payasam without it.

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Now coming to the bhindi/okra recipe here, this one is a bit different from how it’s usually prepared at home. There is a little bit of ginger and garlic that makes a whole lot of difference to the dish.

Yummy!

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Futi kadhi is something I have tried before, again from Archana’s space. I used kokum gifted by Pradnya then. I have been holding on to that batch of kokum and finally realized that life won’t end if I use up the rest of it.

So I have put the last of the kokum to some good use. Made another batch of futi kadhi and my man was a happy man that day!

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And coming to the batata kapa (fried potatoes), I don’t think I need to say anything. As long as potatoes feature in the menu, you are safe. If you fry it, then you are double safe.

The semolina(rava) coating is a new thing for me, but somehow with the rava that fell into the oil from the potatoes left a real bad mess in the pan. I don’t think I will be trying the coating again until I am more comfortable with deep frying.

Anyway, the man was happy with it and that compensates the messy dishes.

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The Menu:

  • Rice : Plain rice, cooked with water in 1:3 ratio. Yes, we like it a bit overcooked on a regular basis.
  • Futi Kadhi     : A drink made with kokum. Spicy, sour, sweet, salty….a burst of flavours in there.
  • Goan Dal with drumsticks : A dal made with ground coconuts and wonderful home-grown drumsticks that my husband’s friend gave.
  • Batata Kapa : Deep fried potatoes with a semolina (rava) coating…need I say more?
  • Okra – Goan style : A different version with chopped ginger and garlic in it.
  • Mangane : Chana dal payasam with jaggery. Not too different from the Kerala version.

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Delhi: Paratha and Bedmi Poori Thali

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For the fourth day of the month-long marathon, we are visiting the capital city.

Delhi is a historical city and we have planned to visit the place multiple times. Once we planned a trip to Rajasthan via Delhi. But because of heavy rains, the train was delayed by more than 24 hours. So we cut short the Delhi part and went directly to see the Taj. The rest of the trip was fine, but Delhi has been elusive since.

Now that I know about their street food, I am definitely planning a trip sometime soon!

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Apparently the street food totally rocks in Delhi. Read more about it here. There is a ‘parathe wali gali’ itself. And there are innumerable varieties of chaats and other food.

Boy! That’s the place I should have been born!!

I tried making the paratha thali here, but without that plate where they serve the parathas, it just looks spread out and incomplete. My original menu was onion paratha, aloo curry, tamarind chutney, mint chutney and chole.

Then when I was digging Vaishali’s blog (she is from Delhi), I saw a refreshing kulle ka chaat recipe and also one for bedmi poori. These two were new to me,  so I cut out the chhole and added the chaat and bedmi poori to the menu. The aloo curry is also from her space, it turned out absolutely fantastic. Scroll down for the recipe links.

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The kulle ka chaat was so easy to put together and tasted so fantastic. Like Vaishali, I too served it chilled. It has very basic ingredients, all you need to do is cook your chana and chill it. Serve them later in chilled vegetable or fruit ‘baskets’ (carved out veggies like potato, sweet potato, tomatoes or fruits like bananas, orange or apple) topped with pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, chaat masala and coriander leaves. It’s best served chill.

When you add that bit of lemon juice and a pinch of chaat masala, this simple combination waves a great culinary magic.

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Bedmi poori has urad dal paste in it and the dal can be prepared as a stuffing or the paste can be mixed with the dough and made as pooris. I followed Vaishali’s recipe and made it as a filling.

The filling really resembled our South Indian Vada to some extend, which is also made with urad dal.

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The menu:

  • Bedmi Poori : Deep fried pooris with urad dal filling. Served with aloo curry
  • Aloo Subzi : A potato based curry that pairs well with bedmi poori and the paratha
  • Onion Paratha : Parathas with onion filling
  • Pudina Chutney : Grind a cup of mint leaves with an onion, 2 pods of garlic, 2 green chillies, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt. Add a bit of lemon juice for retaining the green colour.
  • Tamarind chutney : Sweet, sour and spicy tamarind chutney enhanced with dry fruits and nuts.
  • Kulle Ka Chaat : A chaat with cooked chickpea, pomegranate pearls and a fruit/vegetable basket.

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Chhattisgarh – Pancharatna Dal

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Chhattisgarh is a recently formed Indian state. It was not there when I was studying in school. It was part of Madhya Pradesh before. IIT in the capital city of Raipur is a main attraction.

It’s a beautiful green state, mother nature has truly blessed this place. There is a lot of tribal population here and this was one other state which didn’t have many on-line resources when it comes to food.

There was a site dedicated to Chhattisgarh recipes, I am scared of deep frying, yet I tried the deep fried sweet Dehrori from there. If my frying skills are pathetic, then my skill of making sugar syrup (I went overboard and over cooked the syrup) are not even worth mentioning. So I decided not to go ahead with it here. Yet for the record let me mention that the above is the picture of my Dehrori trial.

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While looking for more recipes, I came across this Five Jewelled Dal recipe, which they say is a Raipur(capital of Chhattisgarh) speciality. Though I don’t think it’s their speciality food, I am guessing it’s a part of regular cooking there.

Anyway my dehroris didn’t come out good and the dal sounded interesting. So I went ahead and decided to feature the dal here for Chhatisgarh.

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Recipe Source: 10 Best lentil Recipes from the Guardian

Feeds : 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup urad dal (black lentils)
  • 1/4 cup chana dal (split chick pea)
  • 1/4 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
  • 1/4 cup toor dal (pigeon peas)
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, or per taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 onions chopped fine
  • juice from a lemon, optional
  • cream, yogurt : 2 tbsp for presentation, optional

For tempering:

  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

Method:

  1. Wash and pressure cook all the dals together until done and mushy along with the turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder and the chopped onions. Keep aside.
  2. Heat ghee and add jeera. Once it crackles, add the ginger and crushed garlic. Add the cooked dal , garam masala and bring it to a boil. You can add water if it turns out to be too thick.
  3. Add lemon juice to taste and a dollop of yogurt and serve with rice.


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Simple Bihari Lunch

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Where is Bihar? Up (from South everything is up).

Who is the CM? No idea.

What is the language there? No idea.

What are the main attractions there? No idea.

Famous people? No idea.

What do they eat? Litti choka, Sattu ka paratha, rice, roti, dal, aloo bhujia….etc etc etc.

Yes, that’s the only thing I know about the Indian states now. Their food. At the moment, I can’t think of a single thing from Bihar other than their sattu or litti chhoka.

Anyway, litti chhoka is apparently eaten for dinner and I was looking for a lunch menu.

So, again, another neighbour of mine came to the rescue and this menu was suggested by her, depending on my pantry supplies. The menu here does not have the signature dishes of Bihar, but this is what people eat there on a regular basis – dal, roti, sabzi, chawal.

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The only aloo bhujia I have come across is the Haldi ram packed foods variety. So this very simple very basic aloo bhujia recipe was an eye opener. The only spices there in the dish are turmeric powder and salt. Yeah, you heard me right.

How can we leave out Sattu when talking about Bihar? I had ruled out Sattu ka paratha and litti chhoka, but Sattu ka bharta (called Sattu ka masala as well) came to the rescue. All you need to do is to make your sattu flour, add a bit of oil, chopped onions and red chillies. I improvised this by adding a little left over oil (the oil that floats on top in pickle jars) from my MIL’s avakka pickle. So it’s essentially pickle oil that’s gone into the dish.

To spice up the meal, add a spoon of sattu ka bharta while having rice and dal. The taste was really great.

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Aloo mattar is for the roti in the thali. But it pairs well with rice and dal as well. Again, a very simple easy preparation, but it tasted really heavenly. This kind of aloo mattar (home made) puts the restaurant style ones to shame, because it’s easy to prepare and it is light on stomach as well.

The dal here is a mix of three kinds. Chana dal, toor dal and masoor dal are cooked together. Only haldi and salt are added to it. Like the rest of the dishes, it’s easy to prepare and hardly spicy.

Can you see the pudina chutney in the middle? Now that one is fiery. The sattu ka bharta(because of the pickle oil and the red chillies) and the pudina chutney are spicy enough to balance the meal.

Raw chopped onion salad is also part of the meal.

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The Menu:

  • Daal : Pressure cook a mix of chana dal, masoor dal and toor dal in 1:1:1 proportion. I used 1/3rd cup each. Heat ghee in a pan, add jeera seeds. Once it crackles, add the cooked dals. Add half a tsp of turmeric powder and salt and let it boil for 3-4 minutes. If it’s too thick, add water and boil for some more time. Done!
  • Aloo Bhujia
  • Aloo Mattar Curry : Saute one chopped onion with a spoon of ginger garlic paste. Make a paste of 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tspcumin powder with 2-3 tbsp water. Add to the onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Add 1 cup water. Add cooked potatoes(2 big) and peas(1/2 cup). Add one chopped tomato and salt. Cover and boil for 5-10 minutes or until done. Taste test, adjust seasoning and also add more water if it turns out to be too thick. Add handful of chopped coriander leaves, 1 tsp garam masala. Take off the heat. The more this curry simmers in low heat, the tastier it is.
  • Roti
  • Rice
  • Pudina Chutney : Grind a bunch of pudina leaves, 1 small onion, 2-3 green chillies (or per taste) and salt. Add lemon juice finally to retain colour.
  • Sattu ka bharta/Sattu ka masala : Powder half cup fried gram(pottu kadalai) in a mixie. Add 2-3 tsp mustard oil (i used pickle oil), 1-2 minced red chillies, handful of minced onions. The oil should make the sattu a bit wet, but it shouldn’t make it soggy.
  • So adjust the quantity accordingly.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39

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Simple Assamese Lunch

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Off all the North Eastern states, Assam was the easiest. There were enough on-line recipe sources for this state.

So I could stick to my original plan of a ‘meal’ or a mini thali for this state as well.

The site Assamese Recipes, With heart and soul had 5-6 meal platters, so I put together one for my post from those.

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So for the third state, presenting a mini meal with a spinach curry, mashed potatoes and brinjal, tomato pickle style and of course, the dal. And everything is served with rice.

I really liked the mashed potato curry, it was easy to put together and tasted simple, yet great. A bit of lemon juice squeezed takes this dish to a whole new level. This recipe, is definitely a keeper.

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The Xaak bhaji or the green leaves curry, was very simple, with minimal spices (the entire cooking was with minimal spices). It tasted awesome, yet it was light on stomach.

This is usually prepared with a variety of greens that is locally available in Assam. Since that choice is not there, I went ahead and used a bundle of palak.

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There was a bit of sweetness (from jaggery) on the tomato pickle/condiment. The name of the dish itself is sweet and sour tomatoes, after all. But after being used to either sweet or salty preparations our whole life, this bit of both taste together wasn’t as appealing as I thought it would be.

Yet we liked it, but I would leave out the sweet factor the next time I make it.

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Meal idea: Assamese Recipes and Aakhol Khor

  • Rice
  • Masur Dal (dali or dail) : Red Split lentils, masoor dal, cooked with tomatoes
  • Xaak Bhaaji :    A green leafy preparation,  I used the locally available Palak variety
  • Aloo Bengena Pura Pitika : An Assamese Baingan Bharta kind of preparation. This has roasted eggplant and potatoes in it, mixed with onions and chillies.
  • Bilahir Tok : A condiment made with tomatoes

 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39

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Arunachal Pradesh – Tibetian Thukpa

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Looks like my talk about thalis(complete lunch platter) was a bit premature as I ended up struggling to find even one authentic dish from the next (in the alphabetical order) state, Arunachal Pradesh.

I did talk to my friend from the region, but he said, the natives eat locally available food – mainly non vegetarian, and their life style was totally different 20 years back when he left the place. Now a days, things have changed and the cuisine too has changed to accommodate what the rest of India eats (dal chawal), but 20 years back the barter system was still on. Cooking was mainly boiling of the items with local herbs. It would taste simple, yet divine and very light on stomach.

So I asked about the only dish that seem to be available online – thukpa. He said it’s Tibetian, but the monks there have it. Now, you get thukpa and momos a lot there. His description of thukpa was also simple. He said, boil the stock. Add the veggies and cook till done. Add cooked noodles and boil again. Flavour as you wish and you are done!

Since I couldn’t find any other recipe, I too decided to go the thukpa way for Arunachal Pradesh. thukpa-001

Recipe inspired from: Delhi Belle

Serves : 2

Ingredients:

  • Butter/ghee/Oil           :               1 tsp
  • Ginger garlic paste      :              1 tsp (optional)
  • Onion                                :               1 small, diced
  • Chilli powder                 :               1/2 tsp or per taste
  • Mixed veggies               :               1.5 cups ( I used 1 small potato, 1/2 a yellow capsicum, 1 small tomato, beans and some spinach)
  • Soya sauce                     :                2 tsp, or per taste
  • Water/ stock                :                2 to 2.5 cups
  • Cooked noodles for two
  • Salt and pepper, per taste
  • a little lemon juice, optional

Method:

  1. Cook the noodles per the packet instructions and keep aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the butter or ghee or oil. Saute the diced onions and ginger garlic paste until onions are done.
  3. Add the water/stock and bring it to boil. Add the vegetables except the spinach, cover and cook until done.
  4. Add salt and pepper and soya sauce. Check the seasoning and adjust.
  5. Add the cooked noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes more and take off the heat.
  6. Add the lemon juice, if preferred and serve hot.

thukpa-002 Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39

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Andhra Thali Meals

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Indian states. One at a time. That’s what the month of April is about.

Blogging Marathon is on for the whole of this month. September and April are month-long Marathons at BM. So for all 30 days of April, you will see one dish at least from the Indian states and some Union Territories.

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Starting with Andhra and ending with West Bengal, this cooking journey isn’t that easy. When I started off, I wanted Thali meals (whole lunch platter) and not just a single dish from the state I was cooking from. But it didn’t quite work out for a whole lot of reasons.

I had 6 months of notice time, yet I got to cooking only last month. So….yeah, time was quite short. It’s easy to get recipes for some states and very difficult to get from others. Some of the North East states had us really baffled. andhra-001

Right now, I live in a multi cultural community. People from Kashmir to Kerala are here in our apartment and as much as possible, I have tried taking my neighbours’ suggestions for the dishes.

By now, most of them are used to me calling up and asking about how lunch is served in their native state :-).

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This bunch of Andhra dishes was also suggested by a friend. I don’t know how much of these tasted authentic, but hey…at least I tried!

My friend not only gave me ideas for the thali, she sent across the chukkakura pappu (featured here) and vankaya kothameera karam as well. I too had made the same curry, so we devoured her’s immediately and went on to click my version for the thali.

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The menu:

  • Parippu podi : Powdered lentils (Podi) ground with chillies and spices. There are many variations for this recipe. This one is my MIL’s preparation.
  • How to eat: This podi is mixed with plain rice and topped with 1-2 tsps (or more) of ghee/oil. It is then eaten with any of the vegetables side dishes. The meal usually starts off with this before proceeding to the wet gravies (sambar, rasam etc)
  • Vankaya Kothamira Kaaram : A brinjal/eggplant preparation. Andhra-ites love brinjal in all forms. This version has brinjal cooked in coriander-green chilli combination. Tasted great.
  • How to eat: This is a side dish for rice.
  • Dondakkaya Veppudu : An ivy gourd (kovakka/tindora) preparation. This is one of the many ways to prepare the vegetable. This version has sesame seeds added to it.
  • How to eat: This is a side dish for rice.
  • Tomato Pachadi : A chutney kind of preparation made with raw tomatoes. I went easy on the chillies and ended up with a not so spicy pachadi. My friend later sent me an original and by god!! it was the fieriest chutney I have eaten and the tastiest one as well. I will be definitely trying her version again.
  • How to eat: This can be mixed with rice with a spoon or two of ghee and eaten. It also tastes great with curd rice (my personal experience).
  • Majjiga Pulusu with Ladies Finger : A yogurt based preparation. This one uses gram flour (besan) and not coconut. A sort of a kadhi.
  • How to eat: This is a gravy, it should be mixed with rice and eaten with vegetables as side dishes.
  • Miriya Chaaru : A light, but spicy rasam. The ingredients for the rasam are freshly made.
  • How to eat: A gravy that should be mixed with rice and eaten with vegetables and pappadam/fries, if available. This is the course before curd rice. 
  • Chukka kura pappu: A version of dal with a kind of greens. This was sent by my friend. She roasts the dal before going ahead with the preparation.
  • How to eat: This should also be mixed with rice and eaten with veggies on the side. 
  • Avakka Pickle : A type of mango pickle. This version has some portions of the mango seeds as well. My MIL’s preparation. This recipe comes close.
  • Rice : The star of the meal.
  • Ghee : Ghee is served with parippu podi and tomato pachadi.
  • Curd/ Yogurt : The final round of the meal. It is mixed with rice and eaten with the pickles.

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An year older…an year wiser?

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Time rolls by and I turned a year older sometime back.

And yet, the man forgot about it. And so did the kid.

And I was preoccupied with a hundred things to remind them.

The day almost got over before the kid and the man wished me.

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But my friends didn’t forget.

Calls started coming in from 6:30 in the morning. STDs, roaming calls and ISDs. Few in numbers, but it kept coming for the whole week.

And some of them came in with really beautiful gifts.

A personalized cup with the message: ‘Ageing is just a cakewalk’. My eyes popped out when I saw an old picture of mine (when I could easily fit into a jeans) in it.

Thoughtful indeed :-). And thought-provoking (diet-wise) indeed!

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Another gift came in the form of a beautiful caramelized banana cake. It made me really happy, because nothing completes a birthday the way a cake does.

There was no candles, no ceremonies, I just cut the cake and popped a piece into my mouth. Somehow, cakes make everything right.

It does, it really does.

With my man across the seven oceans at the moment, I need all my friends, all their love and of course all their cakes to keep life sweet.

Love you all. God bless!

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Braided Breadsticks

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With the left over bread after baking a round sandwich bread, I baked these braided bread sticks.

The inspiration came from FoodiliciousNan. Hers look much more sleeker and better, where as mine is a bit on the thicker side. These are perfect suited for some mindless munching and pairs really well with soups of all kind.

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Recipe Source: Any sandwich bread recipe, I have used King Arthur flour’s.

Method:

  1. Prepare the bread dough. After the first rise, punch it down gently and kneed for a minute.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  3. Pinch out three small balls from the dough. Roll each of them into pencil thin ropes of equal length. You can rub the dough between your palms for this. You can bake these just like this as well.
  4. For braided shape, take the three ropes, pinch the top together and braid them. Once you are done, pinch the other end together as well. Make more bread sticks the same way.
  5. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Munch on!

You can sprinkle grated cheese on top before baking, or add herbs, sautéed onion etc to the dough to get a flavoured bread.

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