Category: culinary


Puff Pastry… (pause)…..PUFF PASTRY…..

From my 1st grade school cafeteria till yesterday, its one thing that has always been such a mystery to me, which I always loved to eat but somehow had this question too that how on earth do they make so many layers of crunch which taste so good, when will I be a citizen of the Puff Pastry world?  I still remember spending my collections of coins, (5th grade school) which I had collected over a period of 6 months for that  2min pleasure of a crunchy Rs2.5 veggie puff (and have no regrets too)

Well that mystery did let me in today, I finally did it, and I “MADE MY OWN VEGGIE PUFF”. I just cant believe, I made an egg puff, a veggie puff and now the flood gates have opened.

It was Thursday and we decided to take the surface road to home while picking up mince chicken at the “Halal Market”. I saw a pack of puff pastry sheets in the freezer, jumped through the thoughts starting from   “No” to “Will I be able to???” to “Can I?” and finally resting  on “Lets try it, how bad can it get” . Reached home, took the pack out and looked at it  again. And again, repeat “No”, “Will I be able to???” “Can I?”. But this time I was really tired to get to the “Lets try it, how bad can it get”  and Thursday became history soon. Friday went with the same pace too.

Saturday somehow comes with an amazing urge to cook some nice stuff and wallah, “we have puff pastry sheets” in the freezer. Enthusiasm is one thing but actually turning it into something that you have always enjoyed, not being on the spectator side in the stadium and now amongst the players of the game, is something totally different. I was actually nervous.

I looked on the Internet and remembered one episode by “Alton Brown” on the puff pastry. Jumped onto it and within 15mins I was ready to take on the challenge.

My First ever puff pastry filling: Boiled Eggs with Cilantro Mint chatni

Oven Check : 400deg

Pizza Stone: Hot and ready in the oven to take on the task.

And then thanks to “Alton Brown” and my super Oven, I made my very first Puff.

It felt like Tom Hanks in Cast away ” I have made fire. I HAVE …….MADE FIRE”

The only place I can imagine “Tsingtao meets corn tortillas meet indian chicken curry” ….

a BAY AREA KITCHEN 🙂

As promised, pics of tikka tacos. Made them once again yesterday and this time peetu did let me take a pic :).

Tikka Tacos…

Taco Truck

Taco Truck

Tikka Tacos was one thing I was planning on for so long and recently it became a reality. Food is one thing that really detoxifies me and it came once again to the rescue on a gloomy tiring/irritating Sunday evening. Didn’t have an awesome day and wanted to cook something for the evening to put a nice end to the weekend (funny concept ehh…END to a week-END(something like metabraces)?????). Well its about the tikka tacos and not the day so let me tell the taco tale.

Wanted to get some chiken drumsticks (started to dislike boneless stuff now) and wanted to make something not tandoori. Even though it tastes awesome, I am feeling kinda monotonous about it now. I always tell my friends about how I will start my taco truck and still  not for once did I try making a single taco , and voila there came the recipe, “I should make tacos. Lets make tacos“.

I headed straight to the mexican aisle and saw the small pack corn tortillas. Off-late  my buddies at work have taken me to different taco places and I loved all of them expect for the fact that nowhere I was able to find a nice blend of  indian curry meat and the mexican taco delight. Yeah, I had tikka bites once…they were alright…to be honest did not like their food and it was not cheap either.

So now for the recipe, I started with the chicken first and fried some cumin, cinnamon and a big black cardamom. When smelt the goodness and heard the cumins, threw in a big onion for the saute. Added big pieces of garlic and not that much ginger to the party to deepen the flavor. Sauted it for a while before adding two big tomatoes. Now comes the fun part when you get to the spices. These indian spices are like colors , they leave their unique mark on whichever painting they are used on and leave you with a very different thought even if you see a same color on a different painting .

My colors were salt,corriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala (dont ask me what goes in it. Its called garam masala and one more thing, MDH garam massala and not MTR), roasted fennel, roasted green cardamom and the star of the painting, the final sparkle, my favorite of all spices, Nutmeg. Gave it a mix till everything became a bit darker and came to a paste consistency. Added the chicken drumsticks and mixed it for a while before adding a cup of water and pressure cooked it for about 15 minutes. I did let the pressure release by itself and take its own sweet time. This ensured a nice penetration of the flavors and for me, some time to rest and prepare the salsa for the tacos

As I was doing this salsa stuff, I did not tell peetu about the tacos. She kind of knew that I was making chicken but totally voted for the indian meal when  asked  for a choice between tortillas and chapati.  Of-course who would experiment on a tiring/irritating/gloomy sunday evening? “Just gimmie something nice” was the feeling, and tacos?, no tacos was the call. Somehow I asked her to taste one taco and she reluctantly agreed. Immediately I chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, pickled jalapeño and mixed it with some salt, cayenne pepper (pinch) and lime juice. De-boned and chopped the meat and made a taco for her to taste topping it with the gravy of blended goodness.

Boy !! the sheer feel of satisfaction and that smile, the moment after that first bite, sucked all that bad stuff out of me. Sunday started feeling sunny even though it was 7 in the evening and monday was approaching, I felt awesome again. Had a bite from peetu and let the chicken rest for the night for a taco meal the next day.

After that I was sitting on my couch just thinking about how food is such an important part of our lives. It treats people in so many different ways. Some de-stress themselves by eating a lot of food, some by cooking a lot of food, but in the end its the food and the love of it which makes us all work 9-5 Mon-Fri so that we all can have that awesome sat-sun COOKING session that we have earned through the week.

~cheers

zulu

P.S: We ended up having chapati for the dinner on sunday and tacos were on the menu for the monday meal. I did not take a picture of the tacos this time. They really tasted awesome and looked even more delightful. Will post just the pictures next time on Tikka Tacos…cont…

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