From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Saturday, March 31, 2012


It's days like today ..
When I'm sitting alone in the solace of my home ..
Without the din of my everyday chores ..
Without my kids and all their friends..
Hovering around me like a flock of sheep ..
That I have learned to listen to the silence of the universe and bow before providence ..
That is mine in all abundance ..

I have realised that I know nothing of the world yet ..
And though I have lived long enough and think I know quite a lot ..
Realised that , that is far from the truth ..

I have always felt I can figure people out ..
Without a doubt..

But that is my greatest folly ..
So after I have stumbled and bumbled and made a complete mess ...
I have now lately realised ..
That because I'm volatile ,impulsive and unpredictable ..
More often than not ..
Find my self sitting on the highest branch of a tree ..
Wondering how on earth this came to be ..

But when you right up there ..
Taking in the fresh air ..
That's when I can see clearly, all my crazy fun times and stupid follies ..

Follies I try and erase from my elephantine memory ..
And as for my fun times..
I do something , that according to me is both sweet and silly ..

"Happy stones" ..
I pick one every time ...
I'm just bursting with joy..
And it just the nicest thing to do ..
I search for colours ,shapes and textures...

Because that's how moments in life are ..
Bursts of joy ..
Bursts of light ..
And sometimes .. Just a crinkle on my nose ..
And a twinkle in my eye, or maybe just a half-smile, that's gonna give the musings in my mind away ..

But I love to collect stones and sea-shells ..
That now, I know so well ..
Because they are little pieces of this vast universe branded with memories of mine..
That I have collected at different times ..

And sometimes , when I'm having a bad day ..
I just run my hands over my happy stones .....
And I know my life will always be more than just a SUPERCALIFLAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS DAY...

P.S. I love this song, feel like it was written for me..ha ha ha

Thursday, March 29, 2012


So you can love someone crazily and keep them in your heart and ..
Still let them go ..
Have you ever been in a place like so ..
Being at crossroads is not something we all have not faced ..

Our hearts were made to love..
And experience feelings that are impossible to manipulate ...
That's the unspoken pact between our heart and mind ..
To always agree to disagree..

The essence of us all is love ..
That's our very core.
Who told me ..
Well ... I don't remember no more ...

But this feeling came to me one day and has stayed ..
I cannot stop how I feel ..
And I cannot feel less than I do ..
And yet I have realized ..
That this 'Love Thingy' is the most complicated feeling of what really is such a basic emotion ..

It's all about timing I feel ..
Maybe I should have been born in a different time ..

But I'm encapsulated in a moment that brings so much joy..
Making me walk with my eyes wide shut..
Turned me upside-down and inside-out..
And showed me the reflection of someone new ..

Well that's exactly what love does to you..
It gives you new vision ..
It smashes old ways..
It makes you meander on paths that have been waiting for you in a cloudy haze..
It makes you bare your soul to the elements
It dissipates all fear..
It sometimes robs your speech..
It clads you in an armour that makes you feel safe and complete....
Faster than the strongest gale..
Invincible in the stormiest weather..
Bold enough to bare your naked words, that lay steeped in your core..
Wear your heart on your sleeve ..
Strong enough to traverse , anywhere you feel, you could just be together.....

Brave and drunk under this mystic spell ..
A heartful of wine ..
And a bagful of gazes that only you recognise so well ..
Glances.. Moments..smiles that caress your soul ..
A tiny touch that breaks through all your defences ..

So does love make you strong or weak..
Does it hypnotise you beyond all belief....
Does it satiate you with its drunken promise of a rainbow beyond the mighty mountain range..

So like they say..
If you love someone let them go ..
And only then will you know..
If you walked together or you were traversing alone ..
Like yin and yang , separate , but sublime....travelling alone yet together in time...

Because after a bit , a while.....
If there is no one calling your name or braving the storm to hold you close....
No one ,calming the hammering in your heart...
Or stealing your breath with every kiss...
Or gazing into your eyes laden with love, and making you feel like you are the only girl in the world..
Don't be stuck in a day-dream no more ...

It's better to change your route and start anew....
With an adventure..
That will be yours in time ..
All you have to do is face the sun and the shadows will all fall behind you ...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


And so dreams do come true ..
If not all. then I know .at least a chosen few..
If you do wish for something from the bottom of your heart ..
Your wishes do emerge from the deepest abyss ..
And come and plant themselves in your life like the sweetest kiss..
And warm life with moments in time..
That I know ,will always stay mine .
We live and learn new facets about ourselves every day ..
But experience really garners no real , Book of instructions for life..
We write each day as it comes ..
And don't really go back to refer to times lived ..
And lessons learnt ..
Guess because ..
We all do change in time ..
And what used to hurt makes you smile for a mile ..
And what brought the biggest grin too your face ..
Now just fills your eyes with tears that you are not able to erase ..

So no don't make no plans ..

Sometimes I have had conversations in my head ..
And also knew what I was going to say and do ..
If I met the person ..
The who ..
But realised ..
That nothing goes according to plan ..nothing works like clockwork ..
Not even the clock ..

But our heart does ...
It does not may skip a beat ..
Or quicken or slow down a bit ..
But it works always ..
Till we go to a better place ..

So yup ..
Will go with my heart ..
Like I say.. It's on the left but it's mostly right ...

It makes me do silly things ..
It's what makes me ...ME..
And yes I do say sorry when I'm wrong ..
I mostly say what I'm feeling inside ..
But sometimes say and do the exact opposite, instead ..because,my heart is running faster ,than all the words ,I'm trying to string together ,in a sensible manner in my head ...
And sometimes ,I seem to hang on to nothing , but can't seem to let go ...

And so when I see a new moon ..
I know fully well ..
That something magical will happen soon ..
And so make a wish ..
And in my heart know this ..
There is always a rainbow after the rain..
and there are shadows only because , you stand in the light..

So live life and dream..
Its completely all right...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I love visiting vegetable markets ...
And arguing with the vendors...
Even though I really do not know the prices of most of the things in the market...

But today went in search of the elusive fresh arugula leaves that I'm completely crazy about...
But found a whole lot of other vegetables and MANGOES...
So I stood at the vegetable pile and looked up to the fruit-wala who was selling them and pulled myself up to my entire height of 5.2", and in my most knowledgeable voice said,"Bhaiya, kitne ka dozen...khareedne ka price bolo"....
He just peered down at me and said...Pandhra Sao ...
Did I hear right rs.1500/- for 12 tiny mangoes...
Bloody what..
So I looked back at him, and made inane conversation about how,everything is so expensive these days...
And then picked up the rest of the vegetables and leaves ..and was getting prepared to leave...
When he said, the golden words,"memsaab... Bonnie kar de "...
Which basically means that since I'm his first customer, he will make the price better and so, I went away smiling with 6 Alphonso mangoes for Rs 550 /-...

And so yesterday after I finished assembling my red velvet cake...
I sent a picture of it to my friends..
Which basically was my non-verbal way of saying, "come over, share a few laughs and calories"
And in the night, a few of my friends came over to devour it...

Mini asked me to keep a piece for her and was coming over for lunch...
So I did..
And also made a simple salad and vegetables with quinoa and some barbecue chicken...
Because I know she likes to eat healthy and frankly I have been trying different things with Quinoa everyday, but dont really get down to taking a photograph..
But I did today so here goes...

So here goes...

A medium bunch of Argula leaves...pick the leaves , wash and keep with a few cubes of ice in the refrigerator..
1-orange peeled and sliced...
About 8 slices of mozzarella cheese

Balsamic vinegar - 1 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil -2tbsp
A tiny squeeze of lime
1/4 tsp mustard
Fresh orange juice - 2tsp

Let it all emulsify really well , store it in a glass bowl that you must cling wrap and keep in the fridge...

Cooked Quinoa - a cooked handful
Chili flakes -1tsp
Mushrooms-a packet
Cherry tomatoes -8
Asparagus -5 spears, par boiled
Broccoli - 8 florets, par boiled
Sprouts - a handful
Mixed beans - boiled..a handful
Garlic - finely chopped ..3tbsp
Dried Oregano - 1 tsp
Dried basil - 1 tsp
Fresh basil - - a handful

In a non stick pan, spray some olive oil and add the garlic , do not let it burn, then add, some oregano , chili flakes and some dried basil, add a handful of fresh basil too and then add the sliced mushrooms, when they are cooked, add the sprouts and give it all a quick stir, mix all the rest of the vegetables and the quinoa..
Taste it to adjust the seasoning , and it's ready...
I love it with a squeeze of lime, at the end...

Chicken legs - 2
Mixed spice powder or garam masala - 1tsp
Garlic - 1 tsp
Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
Yogurt -2tsp
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
Oregano -1 tsp..

Marinate the chicken well well with the above ingredients...
This is quite a mild marinade...
As did not want any over powering tastes..
Let the chicken rest in a zip lock back for at least two hours if not over night...

Cook it over a barbecue, and baste it while doing so..with a mix of butter and olive oil...
Or then just cook it in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees for about 30 -35 minutes...

When you are ready to eat..
Mix the Argula leaves with the orange wedges and pour your dressing over it and mix it very gently with your hands..
Roast some pine-nuts and sprinkle them into the salad..
Add the mozzarella and sprinkle with some freshly grated Parmesan ..

And serve the quinoa piping hot , with the chicken ...
This entire dish has a very simple taste ...because nothing is over flavored ...
So it is ideal for a light afternoon lunch ...
And yes it's flavorsome and feels very light on the tummy...
And so you can most happily gorge on some very yummy dessert, followed by green tea and plenty of girl talk...

So that's what Mini and me did......
Talked about food, kids and Boy's on the side...ha ha ha , but guess that's a blog on its own..

So here's presenting ,"Girl Talk " , a very simple, humble , uncomplicated , smart and sensible meal, just like the " GIRLS" in my life , made with lots of fresh vegetables and thoughts of yummy dessert on my mind...
Only from "Maria's Kitchen "...ha ha ha

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Khao-Suey is something I first tasted , when I first went to Mini's home...many many years ago, since then, we have eaten it, in each others homes innumerable times ,that I have lost count...
She makes amazing Indian food and well I am not very very good with Indian food...
So over the years I have collected recipes, from her and a few of my friends like Shaheen and Jaya , and have become better in time.

I remember the first time I saw Khao-Suey, I really did not know how to eat it...
But I completely fell in love with this dish, its such a friendly , welcoming, big hearted dish...
Over the years I have made it a thousand times and have always made it slightly differently each time...
It originates in Burma, now why have I landed in the Orient, no clue, but felt the need to make something from the East, there are many Indian versions to it ...

And so this is MINE...
That I learned from Mini and googled recipe's and did many little things to it...
Also because I did not write down what she said, so I had to improvise..and google..

Basically Khao-Suey is a big broth, with noodles and then a whole lot of additions and garnish...


Chicken bones
Vegetable oil- 1/2 cup
Onion - 2 finely sliced
Shrimp paste -1tbsp
Curry powder -2 tsp
Garlic - 2 tsp
Ginger - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes - 5 diced

In a pressure cooker, heat oil , to this add the onions and let them fry till they are soft and transparent, add the shrimp paste(you can omit this if you do not like the taste), curry powder and the turmeric...let it fry well for a bit..
Add the garlic and ginger paste , stir it around well, till you aroma of the garlic wafts out...
Then add the chicken bones and the tomatoes, give it all a good stir, add salt o taste...
Add about a litre of water , close the cooker , and let it all cook for about 15-20 minutes after the cooker whistle goes off twice...
Open the cooker and let the broth boil till the water has reduced considerably..

If you are not going to cook this in a cooker then add a litre and a half of water and let it all simmer in a thick bottom pot , till you see that the broth has a lovely colour and , it is reduced..
you can adjust the water for your broth to your liking ...

Then after the broth is cooled, pass it through a sieve and squeeze out all the goodness, into a fresh clean pot..
Put the pot again over the fire and to this you can add about 1/2-1 litre of coconut milk , freshly squeezed or canned...
I prefer the coconut milk to be freshly squeezed...
Taste the broth and adjust the flavouring to your liking with some paprika powder, lime juice and salt ...
Let it boil , and if you would like to thicken it, you can a teaspoon of chickpea flour and combine it with 2 tbsp of cold water and make a paste, add this to your broth...
Always taste your food...
That's the only way , you know if its going the right way..
when you feel it has been seasoned to your liking, take it off the fire and keep it aside..
I like my broth , spicy and tangy...

Chicken - 2 kgs, de-boned..
Dice the chicken, and fry it with a little pepper and salt ..

Lamb - 1/2 kg, cut in cubes and cooked in a pressure cooker with just a little salt, Then open the pressure cooker and completely dry it out..

Prawns - 1/2 kg, de-shelled and de-veined and very lightly fried with a pinch of chili powder and salt to taste

Eggs - 8, boiled and finely chopped..
Baby corn - 300 gm, sliced and par-boiled
Mushrooms - 300 gm, sliced and stir fried in some oil or butter
Spring onions - 300 gm..finely sliced
Red and yellow peppers - finely sliced
Carrots - Finely diced and boiled
Broccoli- 1 whole, cut into small florets and par-boiled
Peas - Sauteed in butter

Onions - 750gm sliced and deep fried till crispy brown..
Chili powder-
Garlic - as much as you like , sliced and deep fried..
Lime- cut in wedges
Green chili- sliced very fine..
Coriander - finely chopped
Madras yogurt dried chili - deep fried
Chili flakes

Noodles should be boiled as per the instructions on the packet, I like egg noodles..
You are now good and ready..

Khao- Suey at one look, seems like a really easy dish, which it is, but sometimes, I feel its a big head-ache, because everything has to be chopped separately and cooked separately...
So when you do make it, please see that you are cooking it for people you really love, because it is a long tedious process and half way through , you do not want to be abusing the living daylights out of the innocent broccoli, or the yummy garlic, and frankly this dish really does not look like you have worked too hard when you see it all on the table at the end...

To me Khao-Suey , feels like all of us living on earth..
We all breathe the same air , but all come from different parts of the world , speak a different language, have varied beliefs and yet if we believe in basic humanity, we can get along with one another in complete harmony...

So after your broth is ready, pour it out into a nice big should be steaming hot..
And then put your add-on's and garnish in little bowls, this dish looks lovely and elaborate...

Then take your self a lovely bowl and start with serving noodles , then go through your various meats and vegetables, and finally the garnish...
I always end up with a pile in my bowl and yes I use a huge bowl , because I'm a girl with an extremely healthy appetite..
As far as the garnish goes, in my experience, the deep fried onions and garlic always gets over first...

This dish should be made to entertain, on an evening of Taboo or Trivial pursuit or Monopoly, Great music playing in the background and a couple of beers and fantastic Pinot Noir's or Merlot's or then a lovely Bubbly...

Khao-Suey tastes different , in every house hold...
But there is a lovely wholesome flavour to it and a feeling of yumminess that completely satisfies all your senses...
Its beautiful to look at...
The aroma sets your taste buds tingling..
The texture is really nice..
And the taste is unbelievably satisfying..
Even your hearing..., because in between bites, you will most definitely hear. "Hmmmm, this is sooo good"

I always feel like a beached whale after Khao-Suey, because its so light that you always tend to overeat ..

So here's presenting wholesome and really yummy "Khao-Suey" made with lots of ingredients and infused with my brand of spicy passion...
Where each bite transports you down the Irrawaddy river in little round boats with hay hats on your head...
Well now I have to stop this travelling ...
and get back to my warm bowl, of dreams only from , 'Maria's Kitchen"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


And I really do bake a lot.These last two weeks have been a little crazy.
Lots of soul searching and making little little decisions that I hope to follow.and in the middle of it all, I suddenly felt like I needed to change something.

So went out one afternoon and cut off my hair.
I think a girls hair is her vanity and also her veil and kind of a security blanket.
And I just felt the need to let it all go . Well I loved my long hair , but I went to Asha my hair stylist and told her I want really short hair like about an inch, she looked at me and said, 'why , please don't', guess I was feeling like a huge change or rebellious , I don't know what, but she said , that I was to leave my tresses in her hands and she will do something...NOT DRASTIC..

Well so I came back with shoulder length hair , and Zeke was like , 'It looks nice Mama, but I love your long hair, so please grow it again" and Zene said, 'Mama its just like me"...and she was happy with that..Girls and boys are so different...

Anyway In Mumbai at the moment , the Lakme Fashion week is on, frankly I'm not big on designer brands or fashion, I wear what is comfortable, and what makes me feel happy.
And believe it or not I have been to just one Fashion show, Wendell Rodrigues...My first ever show about 3 years ago, never been to one before that...

And then walked the ramp for Payal Singhal twice, once alone and once with my kids...

And so this Sunday after cooking lunch for my friends, Ritambhara , Sambo, Kichie and Akshay, we all decided to go for Anita Dongre's show at 9.30 and it was already 7-45, dressed up quickly in my Indian Ghagra that I completely love , and then Akshay drove us to Bandra in record time (he could sincerely be taking part in the Grand Prix) and after running around a bit , we reached the show..
I was just happy that my short hair was behaving itself and I did not look like I had just gotten outa bed...
It was a lovely show and really beautiful clothes...
Such really tall girls.. gosh sometimes wonder if I was just 2 to 4 inches taller, what could go wrong, everything is right but still wonder sometimes..

And so I walk the ramp again for Malini Aggarwala of Malaga..
Frankly I'm not very big on jewellery , and bags, but she does make beautiful jewellery and really funky bags , so I wore my own dress and put my short hair up, and walked the ramp , its quite frightening I must say..
Every ones eyes on you...
But as I was walking with friends Mini, Shaheen and Sharmila, I was OK...
I was the shortest ...And was too frightened to walk in my normal high heels on the ramp, so changed to flatter shoes....
ha ha ha ...but like the song in Thumbelina goes, ''When your heart is full of love , you're 9 feet tall'..and that's exactly how I felt...fantastic...

Well my friend Jaya looks at the photos and asks me why I'm dressed like Bellatrix from Harry Potter..

HA HA HA only she can say stuff like this...and I thought yup right ...I'm a witch and completely loved the idea, of flying around on my broom-stick..

Coming to Jaya..It was her son Kabir's birthday , and I'm happy to let you know that he is one kid, who really likes my food and so, wanted muffins, for his birthday...
Well I know Kabir, since he was 4 years old, while he was busy jumping from here and there in his spider-man suit and making me little drawings on pieces of paper , and smiling from behind the curtains...
So how can I refuse him, he was turning 13...
wow a teenager...
Now that's a very big deal..
I remember my 13th birthday, minis were in fashion and my mum made me a yellow hipster mini, that i swished around and walked ha ha ha ...
Well I made Kabir, peanut -butter muffins with a chocolate butter cream icing...


400 gm -Butter
400gm-chunky peanut butter
350 gm- flour
350 gm- eggs
350gm-castor sugar
300 gm- cooking chocolate melted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 TSP Vanilla essence
Add a little milk if the batter is not of a dropping consistency...


Beat the butter till its nice and fluffy.
Add the sugar and continue beating till nice and fluffy..
Separate the yolks and beat them with the vanilla essence , add to the butter/sugar mix..
Beat the egg whites separately till soft peaks are able to form.
Add the flour little by little to the mix along with beaten egg whites.
Mix in the chocolate..
Then spoon this into medium sized muffin cases and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 12-15 minutes , or till its golden brown but still nice and soft or, till the top springs back up after pressing it down..

Take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before icing them...

11/2 cup non salted butter
6 cups icing sugar
350 gm melted chocolate

Mix the ingredients all together and you are ready to pipe , those little peanut babies..

Every time I make muffins at home, Zeke behaves like he has never seen muffins in his life and begs and runs away with a few in his hands...
Never understand him..
And then Kichie was behaving just the same...
So in between making baked chicken and talking to my friends , I finish icing 80 little muffins and send the kids and the little muffins , to Kabir's home for his 13th birthday...

Happy birthday Kabir, lot of love and hugs and blessings and pray that you never get tainted by the world and always stay the absolutely fantastic boy that you are...
Frankly I have yet to meet a boy who is as fun, kind-hearted , generous and such a little care-taker like Kabir...

And so finishes another little experiment in my kitchen...
These little babies tasted a bit salty and had a nice crunch because of the peanuts and the chocolate butter cream icing just sealed the deal...
So here's presenting, "Little Rebels" complete with a contrasting flavour of sweet and salty and a bit of what I completely love....Chocolate...yup these muffins are a bit of a little uprising waiting to happen, but only in the nicest muffin sort of way..
Only from ,'Maria's Kitchen"