Product Review | Smoothies & Coolers … summer is here. #CreateFearlessly with the Hamilton Beach Multiblender

“You become about as exciting as your food blender. The kids come in, look you in the eye, and ask if anybody’s home.”
Erma Bombeck

#‎CreateFearlessly‬ ... with Hamilton Beach India & BlogAdda @ PABThe first words that grabbed my attention as I received the box were ‘Good Thinking‘…and that spiked my curiosity. Raised my expectations too! I’d heard great reviews about the Hamilton Beach line of products, and I have to say I am not disappointed. After a couple of mix ups and delays that are best left forgotten, the Hamilton Beach MultiBlend Blender and Chopper finally landed up on my doorstep, part of the #CreateFearlessly initiative, an association between Hamilton Beach India and BlogAdda.

#CreateFearlessly Starwberry Kiwi SmoothieI was quite pleased to be at the receiving end. A good quality kitchen appliance makes me want to sing out loud. With summer here in full force, or rather full steam ahead, an efficient hard working blender is more than welcome. So is a very happy kid who stepped out of my shadow and now wants to blend everything in sight, especially strawberries! That I am having a blast with it is an understatement.

Strawberries‘This is so easy and fun”, he declares, tossing in his once favourite fruit salad into the blender, pours in a glug of lychee juice and WHIRS it off! Withing minutes he sips from a tall glass … “It’s delicious! Made it myself! Can I do this everyday?”

#CreateFearlessly Starwberry Kiwi Smoothie 2Between frozen strawberries, fresh kiwi and orange tang, and fresh strawberries, fresh kiwi and lychee juice, he’s become quite a pro. The old Osterizer had kept me company for many years, but didn’t have such a ‘crowd appeal’! It was time for change, and this change is the best one!  A friend inboxed me the other day on FB asking for a recommendation for a blender for smoothies, juices etc. I have the Thermomix which is my first love, but cost is an issue there.

#CreateFearlessly with Hamilton Beach & BlogAdda @PABThe Hamilton Beach Multiblender gets my vote. I love the feel, and I love the design. The colours are all me. Standing tall in black with stainless steel accents, it’s got a much lighter body that I imagined. The spout for drip free pouring is fantastic. Very sturdy too, what with a 1.4ltr BPA Free shatterproof Tritan jar. Easy clean up as well. With 12 blending functions, it’s perfect for smoothies, purees, chopping and grinding … and a lot more.

One of the first things I made for ‘me‘ was a summer favourite, buttermilk lassi {video above}. It is savoury, it is garlicky and it is most delicious. Into it go things I like love. Bunches of fresh curry patta plucked straight off the tree in the backyard. Fresh spring sprigs are giving way to more mature young leaves, and they taste delightful. Also thrown in green chilies {as many as you can handle}, loads of garlic {or ginger if that is your call}, Himalayan pink salt, a dash of aesofoetida {hing}… and the blend begins.

savoury buttermilk lassiMy lassi is best slightly chunky, but you can process it more at a higher speed to get it smooth as silk! Customise it to your palette. Add a cucumber, maybe a dash of lime juice. You can even give it a sizzling tadka! Then more blending happened. Between sweet, malty cheeku/sapota milk shakes nostalgic of trips into Old Delhi, and mango yogurt strawberry shakes, we’ve been having quite a smooth time of late.

#CreateFearlessly Chikoo shake Did I forget the apple, cucumber, celery smoothie this morning? Yes that too happened. Did you hear #CreateFearlessly? Throw everything into the blender, throw caution to the wind, blend and drink up. I am currently catching up on fibre, with some yumminess thrown in. I can see some deep, delicious cold coffee creeping in some time soon.

Apple, cucumber, celery smoothie 2Next on my list to experiment with is a go at the chopper that comes with the blender. That’s a neat separate attachment, and I cannot wait to use it. Until then, have a smoothie good time. If you are looking for a blender that stands tall, is efficient, light and means business, then look no further. The Hamilton Beach Multiblender seems kid friendly too. The only thing missing was an inspiring colorful recipe book, but then again smoothies and shakes are no brainers. Time to #CreateFearlessly, think out of the box and enjoy blending magic in your kitchen.

What is your favourite ‘creation’ in a blender? I’d love to try it!

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

Food Diaries | DALS THE WAY TO GO … 3 Quick Dal Recipes Made With Less Water

“If you take more of your protein from vegetable or plant-based foods, good studies have shown that you will live longer.”
Professor Jeya Henry

Dals, 3 Quick Dal Recipes Made With Less WaterThe pure comfort of that bowl of dal, the nostalgia engulfs me each time I smell the aroma of onions being fried in clarified butter. Such is the power of food, and in my opinion, these protein rich dals / lentils offer deep deep comfort in every bowl. The humble khichadi is the meal on the go at our place, with dollops of home made yogurt and kumquat green chilli pickle. Did I forget a liberal drizzle of ghee? Yes please!

DalsLiving in India, dal was synonymous with meals when we grew up. From the bowl that I loved, to many that I didn’t, the dal journey has come a long way. There was dal served on the many long train journeys from Delhi to Bangalore as we were growing up, to diluted iquidy dals served in the Officers Mess where we dined often. There was the piquant luxurious ambi wali dal in UP during the summer. Working at the airport in the late 1980’s saw many a midnight meal after flight departures at dhabas that dotted the vicinity. Nothing could beat the comfort of that dhaba dal with the fresh tandoori roti. Pure magic. As always, dhabas in India never disappoint.

Dals From the dhaba to Bukhara, as small bowl of Dal Bukhara and there is born another memory. This one is a truly indulgent dal, one which is a  tradition in itself, a dal simmered over slow coal fires all night long, a world renowned dal. My memories of this dal go back to the late 80’s and early 90’s … the taste lingers on.

DalsThat’s the power of food, and the power of dal. Yet another dal milestone came by way of home science in school. We mastered the Moong Dal with Spinach, and post marriage this was the only dal I cooked, day in and day out. It’s the only one I was confident about. I am sure the house was FED UP with my lack of creativity but no one said a word. The only other alternative I offered was Moong Masoor Dal, a quick 5 minute dal that my mother often made. I still make that a lot. I love the flavours. A tadka of zeera, garlic and hari mirch complete it.

DalsNow my dal repertoire has grown with many years of food blogging and traveling across India. I love the pure comfort of dals from Uttar Pradesh to the genius use of dals down south. Every part of India celebrates this macro nutrient or power house of protein in their own special way. From a finger licking good haleem, to a Parsi dhansak, to moong dal dhoklas and cheelas, the more you indulge in this cheapest form of protein the better. Dress it up, sizzle it, grind it to perfection, simmer it to luxury, or soak it into a salad, DALS THE WAY TO GO!

DalsTo mark World Water Day, I’m here with Tata I-Shakti dals to serve you three easy dal recipes that require minimum water to wash since they are unpolished. They cook faster too. The recipes use very little water in ingredients. One simple salad inspired by a typical Koshambri a dear friend made a few months ago, though his was with carrots, radish and peanuts. DAL 3 ways with Tata I-ShaktiThe bhune masale wali masoor dal is an old UP favourite which has been stepped up using seasonal greens, rocket in this case, as I have it growing in abundance. The peppery leaves add interesting flavour to it, and reduces the requirement for extra water. The third is a really quick coconut based dal chutney that I learnt when I was in Bangalore recently.

DalsAll these recipes are dal based, so naturally protein and fibre rich. With their high fibre content, pulses lower cholesterol levels and protect the heart. They are also an important source of iron and vitamin B in a vegetarian diet.  Pulses are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fibre. According to the World Health Organisation, dals are a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

DalsDo you have a favourite way of doing dal? I’d love to know.

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

Food Diaries| Bong Connection: Nolen Gur Rice Kheer & traditional delicacies in Kolkata #Indiancuisine #fooddiary

“Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.”
Jonathan Safran Foer

Nolen Gur Rice KheerNolen Gur Rice Kheer meant yet another trip down memory lane! Our trip to Kolkata some time ago was delicious. For a non fish lover, I was a little iffy. I needn’t have been. There is so much, and so much more Bong food has to offer, that Kolkata grows on you. There is good food everywhere. Since it’s relatively inexpensive, it’s quite easy to over eat as well! From Ballygunge Place to Bengali sweets galore, to the best streetfood {puchkas forever}, to nostalgic ancient Jewish bakeries {Nahoum & Sons}, and then to good old Flurry’s, the city has it all and more!

Kolkata, IndiaBengalis and food go hand in hand. They are a passionate community. Tight knit, artistic, energetic…and food obsessed. You just need to begin talking about Bengali delicacies in Kolkata on any social media channel, and the response is absolutely amazing!  Bongs from across the globe will come and join with gusto, large heartedly share ever little Bong food detail, discuss recipes, the origins, how they make it at home … and if you are lucky, even invite you over for a meal!Kolkata, India Just recently the husband was in Kolkata and I mentioned Nolen Gur to him. The ‘foodie habit of asking for ingredients are specific‘  now runs quite deep, and I can take the credit for some good training. Each time Mr PAB goes anywhere I just have to mutter a few edibles that would be nice to have. Literally a million phone calls later, I know he’s coming back with his bags full of things to cook!

Nolen Gur Rice Kheer 3Winter is THE season for Nolen Gur as it is available for a very short window through the cold weather. A number of Bengali Sweets in Kolkata during this season find Nolen Gur featured within –  nolengurer shandesh, korapaaker sandesh, kanchagollas, gurer rosogolla, nolen gurer payesh. So I was really excited to receive my stash of Patali Gur {the solidified version of Nolen Gur}. Nolen Gur Rice Kheer I had my research done before hand, and the simple yet flavourful Nolen Gur Rice Kheer was being stirred the next morning. The flavours were subtle, teasing the palette very gently yet so characteristic of this jaggery! They shined through!

Nolen Gur Rice Kheer Authentic Bengali cuisine in Kolkata is easy to find, and posts a formidable list! This list is infinite, both sweet and savoury. I asked a very sweet Bong friend to list her favourites. Here we go in no particular order … Chingri malaikari {prawn curry with coconut}, Ilish bhapa {hilsa fish}, Shukto {mixed veg}, Doi maach {fish curry in yogurt}, Mishti doi {sweet curd}, Nolengurer shandesh {sandesh made with jaggery}, Aloo posto {potato with poppy seed}, Paatishapta.

Kolkata, IndiaSo you know what to order next time you visit Kolkata. Do make sure you drive around the city too. Iconic yellow ambassadors, Victoria Memorial, the flower market which begins at dawn. The colonial architecture is jaw dropping. Roads and roads of ancient classic European style buildings, roads well planned … yet sadly all but forgotten. It’s almost like you are in Europe until you wake up to the traffic and cacophony around you. If only the buildings were well maintained, if only!

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