Category

product review

“I’m a man of simple tastes. I’m always satisfied with the best.”
Oscar Wilde

When the Tropical Collection from Chumbak comes knocking at your door, how  can you not fall in love with it? It’s fresh, it’s tropical, it’s everything you can celebrate spring with, a line you can usher summer in with as well! It’s an inspiring line, and immediately nudged me to do something fun. Take a look….

I played with the collection endlessly. It brings alive the child in you. You can’t take us Indians out of the our beloved tropics {for long at least}and you can’t take tropical out of India, so the collection is a sure win. I love the crisp, colourful feel, the energy it shares, the vibrancy it spills. The collection is inspired by tropical elements like palm leaves, pineapples, flamingos and the like.Here’s what I was inspired to do – Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit BowlWhen we were young, my dad scooped or rather balled out watermelons and musk melons on our birthdays, then served the fruit chilled in fruit bowls. For some reason, just looking at the collection took me right back there, and before I knew it I was carving a fruit bowl. It’s the funnest thing to do for a pool party, kids birthdays, an evening pick me up in summer, or an anytime fresh healthy snack.I used kiwi stars, halved gooseberries and watermelon balls. I thought I’d throw in strawberry hearts too but forgot the in the fridge. Gah! Summer will see stone fruit galore, so the fun will double. You could do a stone fruit and berry inspired bowl. Or maybe set a watermelon granita in the melon bowl, freeze, slice and serve! No dearth of ideas when your life is flooded with inspiration.

Chumbak had a #spotthepineapple fun campaign to launch the collection. How can you be tropical and not have pineapple? So I figured I’d do a pineapple strawberry smoothie too. I freeze both strawberries and pineapple chunks, so this smoothie is the easiest thing ever. Throw in a cup of each, a cup or two of water, some sweetener, a dash of lime juice into the blender. Whirrrrrrrr it up and you’re good to go.That’s what the coming summer is going to ask for. Quick fresh foods that will keep the spirit light and happy. See how beautifully they paired with the Chumbak Tropical in the light of the afternoon setting sun? Such pretty hues that go so beautifully with the bougainvillea too. Same colours, tropical feel, and I am all set! There’s plenty of choice…

With a range of cushion covers that explode in bright colours, I think this is the best time for a summer makeover! Vibrant, vibrant, vibrant is all I think! Pineapples, flamingoes, elephants, flowers, geometric patterns {♥♥♥}, I want to redo my place! Oh and the sweet little owl too stepped out from a smitten golden ex Diwali into a rustic rainbow coloured creature. Can you imagine that the ullu {owl in hindi} went tropical too? I fell in love with this little fellow, toes and all!The other thing I really liked are the cookie jars. Spacious, clean lines, good quality airtight jars, and beautifully patterned, the counter tops will never be the same again. Even though I am not a gold person, I really like the golden cookie jar too. It fits in so well with the rest. And of course there is PLENTY MORE to the collection. I just picked a few.My all time favourite is of course the palm leaf pattern line. That has my name written all over it. It is fresh, understated, almost like each piece has been hand painted. The teacups are a generous size and stand tall. The pitcher is a winner and I would LOVE for it to sit on my counter. It pours well, it’s easy to clean and is an ideal size for milk or juice. Heck, it even doubles up as a stunning flower vase! It’s lovely to begin the day with for breakfast. Quick granola and fruit parfaits, omelette, toast, a glug of milk from the jug, coffeeeeeee … the leaf pattern is my kind of pattern. For salads too. The interesting bit is that the leaf pattern fits in to every time of the day, every meal too. From a crisp beginning in the morning for breakfast, to a soothing, lilting sun-downer feel, with calming, soothing hues. 

Even the coordinated leaf platters are darling. I just find the leaf pattern very very refreshing, something anyone would love to own, serve on, put out for guests, hang on their wall as part of a   plate collection. I shot with it a lot as you might notice. You can see I shot it the most. With flowers {poppies} for breakfast, with milk for breakfast too, with onion flowers just like that, then with the Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl . That’s how versatile and handy it is. The great thing is that it pairs with almost every colour and meal. I’m thinking chilled lemonade through summer!

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies, and a Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl are quick, inspired, no cook, tropical fruit based recipes for summer! Inspired by the Tropical Collection from Chumbak.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies & Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies, and a Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl are quick, inspired, no cook, tropical fruit based recipes for summer! Inspired by the Tropical Collection from Chumbak.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 15 minutes
Ingredients
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies
Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
Servings: people
Instructions
Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies
  1. Place all ingredients in jar of blender and process until smooth. taste and adjust seasoning adding more sugar if required.
  2. Garnish with slices of fresh strawberries.
Watermelon Kiwi Gooseberry Fruit Bowl
  1. With a melon baller, scoop out balls of watermelon. gently remove any remaining flesh to take a bowl out of the skin. Carve the edges with a sharp fruit knife if you like.
  2. Peel and slice the kiwi. Stamp out stars with a small cookie cutter.
  3. Halve the cape gooseberries.
  4. Toss them all and put into the watermelon bowl. Chill. Scatter fresh mint over it. Serve chilled.
Note
  1. Run the left over watermelon and kiwi in a blender to make watermelon juice. Add a dash of honey, fresh lime and rock salt. Serve chilled.
Share this Recipe

Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water Smoothie“You don’t have to eat less, You just have to eat right.”
Unknown

Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water Smoothie, quite nice actually! Packed with nutrition too. You might have heard about Spirulina. Well if you haven’t, it is one of the most potent sources of easily digestible vegetarian protein available, a powerhouse of nutrients available in nature. It is harvested form blue green algae present in water bodies, and has been used in food for centuries.The primary challenge is making sure the water that hosts the algae is non contaminated, and this brand is certified organic, cultivated in an environment free from pollution, ground water contamination, pesticides and herbicides.Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water SmoothieI used Spirulina powder for the first time with much apprehension. Not because I doubted the source or the nutritional value, but because I had been warned a plenty that it was an acquired taste. Since this dark green powder, almost jade like in colour, is harvested from algae from water, the first impression is of a very fishy, concentrated seaweed like aroma. Anything fishy doesn’t work with me, you can promise me it’s a 100% vegetarian never mind. The challenge is to use this superfood in ways that tease the palette to enjoy it everyday in a form that is easy and fun.

SpirulinaThe positives are plenty, enough to make me reach out for a daily health boost. Spirulina is largely made up of protein and essential amino acids, and is typically recommended to vegetarians due to its high natural iron content. This unassuming supplement is a natural source of essential phytonutrients, omega 6 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, said to be the most effective and safest way to compensate for your incomplete daily dietary intake. It’s classified as the most nutrient dense food on the planet. Algae here I come!!

Spirulina SmoothiesTime to make each drink a SuperDrink. Adding Spirulina is a nice way to include a highly nutrient rich Superfood in our daily diets which with only minimal effort. Spirulina is said to work towards improving immunity levels, energy levels and boosting metabolism. With hectic and busy schedules coupled with the use of chemicals in fresh produce, it’s not easy to reach our daily nutrition and protein levels. Spirulina aims to fill this gap helping you use Spirulina shakes or smoothies to renergise any time of the day.Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water SmoothieI took it on gently, very unsure of what to expect, my initial ‘meeting’ face to face with the powder not very promising. Best to keep it natural and in season, as also too consume this in raw form, or if cooked, below 70Degrees C to gain maximum advantage. Seemed quite natural to begin the morning with a nutritional boost, so I thought smoothie. Green smoothie obviously!! With winter here, there are the juiciest apples from Kinnaur lining the bazaar shelves these days. Thought I’d keep it simple. Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water SmoothieSo in went cucumber, honey, some coconut water since I had some on hand. The electrolytes in coconut water as a great substitute for plain water, so why ever not. Gingerly added 1 tsp of Spirulina and braced myself. I was pleasantly surprised!! The green jade came to life in seconds, an intense smooothie that looked like it meant business. A teeny taste later, and I threw in another teaspoon of Spirulina. No bad offsetting flavour, quite pleasant, naturally sweet too. Who would have thought?Currypatta Buttermilk LassiSpurred on, I experimented a little more.  This Currypatta Buttermilk Lassi below is now a daily routine!

Spirulina added in your daily diet gives you a number of benefits:

  • Working out?? Grab it! It Increases Muscle Strength and Endurance
  • It is a powerhouse of easily digestible protein
  • It is a natural detoxifier
  • It’s rich in vitamins, antioxidants and other essential daily nutrients
  • It’s filled with calcium, phosphorus and magnesium content found in milk
  • It keeps your heart healthy
  • It promotes Liver health
  • Parrys Organic Spirulina is NOT a drug, but a 100% vegetarian and safe nutritional supplement also available in a tablet form for your convenience.

You can buy it here on Amazon

Beetroot spirulina buttermilk lassiHappy with the success, I marched on to try yet another savoury version. It turned out quite pretty. Quite delicious as well! Here take a look. A Beetroot Buttermilk Spirulina Lassi as delicious as it was pretty! The recipe is simple.  blend the following until smooth. 1 medium beetroot, microwaved for 3 minutes, or boiled, cooled, grated + 2 cloves garlic, grated + 250ml cultured buttermilk +1/2 tsp black rock salt + 1tsp roasted cumin powder + 2tsp spirulina.

How do you like to use this superfood?

Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water Smoothie
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
The Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water Smoothie comes together in seconds, an intense drink that means business. Quite pleasant; naturally sweet too!
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water Smoothie
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
The Green Goddess Apple Cucumber Coconut Water Smoothie comes together in seconds, an intense drink that means business. Quite pleasant; naturally sweet too!
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and whiz until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust sweetness if required. Serve immediately.
Share this Recipe

 Chicken Jalfrezi“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”
Dorothy Day

Chicken Jalfrezi is a fiery as you like it, and a very popular stir fry curry in the UK, a recipe thought to have originated during the British Raj to use up left over meats. As time went by, there was a shift from mild curries to spicy hot ones on the continent, and the jalfrezi gained popularity. We visited the UK often in the late 1990’s. Next to the chicken tikka masala, this Indo Chinese dish was possibly the most popular.

Chicken Jalfrezi SpicesYou can basically ‘build it as you like’, throwing in left over meats to stir fry or do it from scratch. Either which ways, it’s a really quick stir fry to get going, one that comes together in under 30 minutes. Having the meat/chicken marinated ahead  is great if you have time. Marinate with a little ginger-garlic paste, maybe a dash of lime juice and salt. As with any good dish, use good quality ingredients and you know you have a winner.

Chicken Jalfrezi Wet Masala Spices

coconut & graterMy version of Chicken Jalfrezi has a slight southern or rather coastal touch with some coconut milk added to offset the fiery hot chilies. Like any good curry, this one too is entirely customisable to taste. I used star anise in the first tempering, a spice I have increasingly grown to love while shooting spices for the Masala Dabba. Post the trip it into the heart of South India to Karaikudi, the love for simple spices like these just became stronger.

Karaikudi, Chettinad, South IndiaI love a curry where tomato meets coconut milk, and with the ease of Dabur Hommade Tomato Puree, Dabur Hommade Ginger Garlic Paste and Dabur Hommade Coconut Milk in my pantry, this recipe was a breeze. Most Indian curries see the use of onions, tomato {puree or fresh chopped}, ginger garlic paste and a smattering of spices, both ground and whole. As you travel along the coastal areas of the Indian peninsula, an increased use of coconut milk in curries teases the palette, a taste that has grown on me. Dabur Hommade is one of the first brands in India to introduce expediency in cooking in Indian kitchens. What makes Dabur even more special is that it is a science based  Ayurveda company. Chicken JalfreziPlay with spices as you like, give the vegetables just  a quick stir fry so they don’t lose their crunch. This Chicken Jalfrezi made essentially with peppers, green chilies, onions and tomatoes gets a twist of taste with coconut milk. And yes I sneaked in some Greek yogurt to add to the creaminess. If you like a thick hearty curry which is a quick and easy stir fry, gives you a dose of vegetables, then look no further. This just might be what you were looking for!

Some favourite recipes where I use coconut milk
Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta 
Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding
Quick Tomato Coconut Soup

Chicken Jalfrezi
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This Chicken Jalfrezi made essentially with peppers, green chilies, onions and tomatoes gets a delicious twist of taste with coconut milk. If you like a thick hearty curry which is a quick and easy stir fry, gives you a dose of vegetables, then look no further. This just might be what you were looking for!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Chicken Jalfrezi
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This Chicken Jalfrezi made essentially with peppers, green chilies, onions and tomatoes gets a delicious twist of taste with coconut milk. If you like a thick hearty curry which is a quick and easy stir fry, gives you a dose of vegetables, then look no further. This just might be what you were looking for!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat clarified butter/ghee in a heavy bottom large pan/wok.
  2. Add the red chilies and star anise and sauté briefly until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken pieces in one flat lot, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown over high heat, turn and repeat.
  4. Remove chicken pieces from pan, and keep warm in a covered bowl.
  5. Add a teaspoon of clarified butter if required. Add the diced onions and ginger garlic paste. Sauté until fragrant.
  6. Add turmeric powder/haldi, coriander powder/dhania and red chili powder if desired. Sauté for 30 seconds.
  7. Now add the bell peppers and capsicum. Sauté again for 3-4 minutes, then add the reserved chicken. Mix briefly, then add the tomato puree and coconut milk.
  8. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the green chilies and fresh coriander, then simmer further for 5 minutes Serve hot with rice or naan.
Share this Recipe
Please wait...

Subscribe to my newsletter

Want to be notified when the article is published? Do enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.
%d bloggers like this: