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India

The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway}“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.”
Erma Bombeck

The Masala Dabba. A name that paints a spicy picture. A fun food styling experiment born out of a conversation one day in December last year. Spices are something that intrigue us, and are sometimes challenging to shoot. So Dolphia floated the idea, and it was instantly lapped up by Simi and lazy me. It’s always great to have something that gives us inspiration, or maybe focus to shoot. The idea was to shoot the spices, in sets of three, month after month.
The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway}Doing something creative as a group is always fun. Makes you want to reach out for the elements time and again. Makes you also impatient to see how different minds style and shoot. It’s another new creative start, one that should see a few months of spicy good fun! This month we each picked a spice…

Nigella {not Lawson 😉 sativa or kalonji
Fenugreek or methi daana
Caraway or ajwain

The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway}A step back into the history of the world, and in many ways spices were central to exploration of uncharted territories, to discovering exotic lands. Spices led to wars and empires being built, and then eventually being lost! Nowhere in history would you find the same ingredient common to being celebrated as an aphrodisiac, holding proven medicinal qualities,yet being an inherent part of the ‘recipe’ for embalming! Such great properties can only be SPICEY!!

The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway} Spices are an integral part of the Indian kitchen and each one adds punch and flavour to the pantry. Even though I’ve never used the three of these together, individually they pop up every now and then when I cook. Ajwain shows up a great deal in radish or mooli ke paratha, in root vegetable stir fires and in curries. I use it often as a substitute for oregano in my pasta sauces, giving the seeds a good rub between the palms before throwing them in. They have huge digestive properties.

Kadhi, Indian vegetarian yogurt curry with dumpligsFenugreek finds itself more often than never in pickles and curry powders. My mother’s aam ka achaar or mango pickle always had fenugreek, and I still remember the slightly bitter aftertaste after biting into the soft firm seed once pickled. I use fenugreek the most in the tempering or baghaar for kadhi, a yogurt curry with dumplings, which is a huge favourite at home. Fenugreek too offers great digestive properties, is used to treat diabetes, reduces bloood pressure, congestion and a host of other illnesses.

Nigella of course lands up most often on the naan, sometimes in a ‘paani ke station wale aloo‘ ki recipe {a water based no oil potato curry served with puri at railway stations in India}, and an inherent part of paanch phoron. Paanch phoron is a five spice blend quintessential to Bengali cuisine. Nigella satvia is one of the five, the others being fenugreek, mustard, fennel and cumin, all seeds.

The Masala Dabba #1, Jan 2016 {Nigella, Fenugreek, Caraway} Shooting spices is always challenging but quite addictive. Already looking forward to what we can do next month with the spice girls!!

Do stop by and explore the dabbas/spice boxes of my other two partners in crime spice
Simi @ Turmeric n Spice
Dolphia @ Story of Cooks

…and if you’d like to learn a bit of food styling, do check out my next workshop with Darter below

Food Styling Workshop Delhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”
Robert Browning

Savoury Braided Bread with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes. In my little corner of the world, home baked bread doesn’t get tastier than this. It’s been a while since I baked bread. Getting onto the KitchenAid Culinary Council got me back to doing something I enjoy loads, baking bread. Just the ease of a dough hook of the KitchenAid stand mixer that works magic inside one big bowl, leaving you hands free to add things at will is a liberating feeling.

Step by step - Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoesI had a field day adding my favourite flavours to the bread. The base dough was deep deep garlic and olive oil of course, two of my most favourite flavours in the world. Then I added more flavours to the bread after the first rise, which happened in the bowl of the KA itself. It’s this very convenience that won me over. Threw in some cheese and sun dried bread, another quick knead with the dough hook to mix in the new additions, and voila! Silky smooth dough ready to braid.

Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes Of course you can just shape the loaf if you like, but for me the eternal charm lies in adding some drama to the bread. A twist to the visual effect. A loaf is pretty enough, but a braid is more fun and prettier. It’s also easier to tear apart and devour.

Recipe: Savoury Braided Bread
your picture

Summary: Delicious part whole wheat Savoury Braided Bread where the mixer does all the hard work, literally all in the same bowl. It leaves you all the time in the world to gently braid the silky smooth dough to offer a show stopper loaf. With Christmas holiday colours of red, green and white, this vegetarian bread is bursting with flavour and goodness. Fresh bread will never be the same again! Makes 1 X 12″ loaf. Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus rising time
Ingredients:

  • Dough
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp dried instant yeast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • 200-250ml buttermilk
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g cheddar
  • Filling/Topping
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 25g sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped {reserve a few bits of tomato for the topping if you like}
  • Himalayan sea salt for topping
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over

Method:

  1. Place flours, yeast, salt, sugar, minced garlic and dried herbs in bowl of Kitchen Aid. With the dough hook attachment on, run KA on speed 4 for 30 seconds to mix.
  2. Add 200ml buttermilk and olive oil and work dough hook until the mixture comes together and a sticky dough forms. Place the shield, and pour in more buttermilk if required.
  3. Continue to knead to dough for a further 5-6 minutes on speed 5 until you get smooth silky dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Drizzle the ball with olive oil, turn over, cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for the dough to double. It should take a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 250C.
  6. Once the dough has risen, grate the cheddar into the bowl and add the sundried tomatoes. With the dough hook, mix in the cheese and sundried tomatoes on speed 4 for 30 seconds to incorporate.
  7. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface. Knead for 30 seconds to being together. Divide into 3 parts, and roll into 10-12″ long ropes.
  8. Braid the ropes into a neat little loaf, tucking the ends in to hold the braid. Spray a KA jelly roll pan with olive oil {or lightly brush} and gently transfer the braided dough onto the baking pan. Sprinkle over with Himalayan sea salt, sliced garlic, reserved sundried tomato and sprigs of rosemary.
  9. Bake at 250C for 10 minutes, then reduce to 200C and continue to bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until golden brown, and hollow when tapped underneath. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil as soon as it comes out.
  10. Serve warm with extra virgin olive oil to dip into.

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“Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.”
Chinese proverb

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration, Hyatt Regency DelhiI was at the Hyatt Regency Delhi a few days ago to shoot part of their new menu as the season changes. It was a fun, exciting and colourful shoot as always. My last one covered the very sweet stalwart corporate pastry Chef Bungla. This time around I was in for another exciting day as I spent a large part of it shadowing the energetic, persevering and friendly Chef Rohilla, chef de cuisine at TK’S Oriental Grill. With TK’S Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration starting from 21st September 2015, the timing couldn’t have been better!

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

It’s always a great learning experience to shadow a chef, this one seemed rather young and new. Yet once he got down to business, he sparkled! Passionate, efficient, good team leader and very easy going, he’s another feather in the Hyatt’s cap. An Indian teppanyaki specialist who has trained under the experts, Chef Rohilla adds his own set of secret sauces and creativity to this popular restaurant.

Lamb Chops, TK’S Oriental, Hyatt Regency DelhiAn avid fan of cricket and Hindi movies, this young spirited chef  is a jovial, meticulous and down-to-earth person. With nearly 11 years of experience in kitchens across the Indian subcontinent, Chef Rohilla has built a strong foundation for his preferred cuisine type, oriental cuisine.

Chef Rohilla. TK’S Oriental, Hyatt Regency Delhi

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi 4Tossing eggs as high as vegetables, he enjoys every minute of what he does, and the attention he gets. I watch with my fingers crossed. He’s good at it! As good as he is with stirring a mean sauce, as making a spicy chicken salad, as adding that special crispy touch to the lamb chops. The chef animatedly talks you through his experiences, his food influences and much more. As busy as he is clearly popular, his young team exudes the same positivity and enthusiasm.

Chef Rohilla and his team, TK’S Oriental Grill, Hyatt Regency Delhi

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

Chef Rohilla and his team, TK’S Oriental Grill, Hyatt Regency Delhi Working in perfect sync, it was an absolute delight to see them get the menu together. Bit by bit, each bowl is plated with love and care, each platter lavished with attention, the aesthetics balanced beautifully, the passion shining through. Here is some of what you might savour at  TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration.TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi Ever since it’s opening in 1995, the reputation of TK’S Oriental Grill has been built on its fine food and  lively atmosphere. Widely recognised as one of the first teppanyaki kitchen-style dining venues in Delhi, it is also one the oldest restaurants to serve authentic Japanese cuisine.. The live sushi preparations and the drama of the chefs in action behind the hot grills makes TK’S Oriental Grill an entertaining dining option.

Do join them as they celebrate their 20th!!

{The celebration is on from September 22 to October 1, 2015 & October 20 to 29, 2015. Only dinner. For more information, please contact Chandan on + 91 98713 45577 }

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

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