Foodhall: Where I got started on my “diet”

It’s embarrassing to say this on a public platform (I REALLY shouldn’t be saying this), but I’ve put on a LOT of weight over the past few months. But since the past couple of week, I’ve been on a mission to eat healthy, since I believe that exercise is only part of healthy living, and most of your health comes from what you eat. I don’t believe in counting calories as such, but eating the right food at the right time. But hey, that doesn’t excuse munching on French fries or digging into chocolate cake.

Anyways I headed to Food Hall @ Palladium last week to shop, and they are running a healthy food festival this month—they’re calling it “100% Healthy”. The store is putting the spotlight on various healthy foods across cuisines and courses, and there was plenty to choose.

Foodhall Healthy Snacks 1

Hot from the pan

The live counter near the entrance was up and running when I came in, and I tasted the dips (hummus, kale and pine nut pesto, Greek dip) and whole wheat pancakes with maple syrup. There were sin-less desserts too, but I skipped those. Further down on the left, there were plenty of awesome healthy options laid out ready to tempt me.

Yes, you can eat healthy from a packet

The packaged snacks had the usual suspects of whole wheat and roasted snacks, but with some interesting additions thrown in. There were baked nachos (yay!) and the very interesting sweet potato and beetroot chips (not fried, of course!).

Nachos Healthy Snacks

Fresh food is always high on taste

And right opposite the packaged goodies counter, there was a delightful range of freshly-made food to take home. Salads, no-sugar desserts and fruits were the usual suspects in this range, but I also loved the idea of including sushi and dips in this spread. And there was a wide variety of cheeses, with helpful nuggets of information about them.

Sushi at Foodhall

Fruit Platters at Foodhall

In my shopping bag

After tasting the dips at the live counter, I chose the fat-free caramelized onion and balsamic dip, to be eaten with the baked nachos. And for my on-the-go snack, I chose sweet potato chips. I’ve been munching on them on and off, and they are great for curbing those crazy sugar cravings. As for the dip and baked nachos, I haven’t spotted a drop of oil in them. The dip stayed perfect in the fridge for three days, and I had the two as a between-meal snack. The caramelized onion was a tad sweet, but filling enough to satiate my hunger, and the nachos were crunchy.

Signing off now, time for my mid-afternoon snack. A healthy one, of course! 🙂

In Mumbai, Food Hall is at Palladium (Lower Parel, Level 3). Food Hall is also at Bengaluru, New Delhi, Pune and Gurgaon.

My Beautiful Food!

How cool is it to get a wonderful hamper of dishes that are great for baking, heating, serving and look great on the table? The team at Borosil sent me a set of dishes last week, soon after I wrote my blog post The Perfect Spanish Meal. So this blog post is all about the lovely Borosil dishes that came in the hamper. The yummy meal I cooked was second fiddle to the dishes.

Borosil is known for its oven-safe dishes (my mom and rest of the women in my family swear by their Borosil glassware). So the best way to showcase the dishes was to – of course – BAKE with them. I chose not one but two such dishes- my all-time favourite jacket potatoes and a baked version of my husband’s weakness- spaghetti!

Both dishes spent a good amount of time in the oven, and looked divine when I brought them out. Our table setting was a reminder of our memorable vacation in Italy last year, with the Firenze calendar, Tuscan wine… the works! 😉

To complement them, I tossed up a simple salad with a dressing I shook up (literally!) in a Borosil glass jar that came in the hamper. (The dressing is now safely frozen in that jar, since it is freezer-safe.) The cute squat glasses may be meant for juice but I froze jelly in them!

Anyways, here’s what we had on the table after a couple of hours slaving in the kitchen on a rainy Sunday morning.

TA-DA!!

Borosil beautiful food

Here’s the baked spaghetti with tomato pesto… Don’t miss the jelly in the background!

Baked spaghetti

Spaghetti dish

And cheesy jacket potatoes with baked beans. Drool much?

Jacket potatoes in Borosil

Baked potatoes with beans

And here are the salad greens and croutons with the Caesar-inspired dressing. I [heart] the freezable jar!

Lettuce salad with dressing

Lettuce salad

Now if this isn’t making your mouth water, wonder what is? Nevertheless, the star of the afternoon was Borosil, because I wouldn’t be able to cook without them. And they are attractive for serving too!

This blog post is a Round 2 entry for the Borosil My Beautiful Food contest. Check out their website— they’ve got oven- and microwave-proof glassware that’s excellent for cooking and serving. 🙂

The Perfect Spanish Meal

It was a very special evening two weekends ago. My husband and I had been married barely six months, and had finally settled down into a new home of our own. That Saturday evening was the first time close friends were coming over, and the husband and I had decided to make it Spanish night! Food, drinks, décor—it was all muy español!

The menu was a carefully-selected spread of quintessential Spanish dishes—in name, taste, falvours and aromas: an olive dip and the very famous patatas bravas for starters, an elaborate vegetable paella with mushrooms side dish for the main course. The drink of the evening was very special home-made Spanish sangria!

To start with, the potatoes had been roasted to perfection in my convection microwave for around 45 minutes. I topped them off with the right mix of herbs and a tomato-based sauce– true Spanish style! And voila, the patatas bravas were ready. The mild crunchiness of the potatoes, paired with the tanginess of the herbs and the sourness of the tomatoes were a potent combination in this dish. The olive dip may have been quick to make, but the results were mind-blowing. The mixed and mashed olives just melted in my mouth when I tried the dip with pita bread.

My home-made Spanish sangria is the most on-demand dish or drink at home. This special evening, the red wine of the sangria swirled in my mouth as the liquor-soaked fruits added the right amount of kick, and the refreshing mixers I used created a tasteful dance of sorts in my mouth.

My centre table looked beautiful when the first course was served- decked in a variety of colours, textures and aromas. The bright red of the patatas bravas was muted by the dull maroon of the sangria, while the moss green olive dip added another colour to the mix. Served on the Indigo melamine quarter plates and serving dishes, the primary colour circle was complete, and our small table was a feast for the eyes. While the sour olive dip balanced out the sweet sangria, the strong flavours of the patatas bravas tomato sauce made a delicious combination, exercising all possible taste buds on the tongue.

For the main course, the table had been set with a floral blue placemat set that I had bought in Spain that complemented the Indigo dinner plates and printed blue paper tissues. The brown rice paella had been slow-cooked with herbs, spices and beans with some vegetables, so the aroma of the bay leaf and cinnamon stick lingered in our dining area for a long time after serving. This was a contrast to the sharp garlic-and-fresh-herbs flavour of the mushrooms I had cooked in a jiffy. Together, the combination was pure gold! On the Borosil plate, the earth-toned mushrooms and brown rice seemed to be part of a rustic meal, but looked very inviting with the brightly-coloured veggies and the contrasting aromas. The raw flavours of the mushrooms worked in tandem with the lemon zest of the paella, while the red and yellow peppers added the Spanish flag colours to the plate. Gorgeous!

With sangria in our Endessa glasses, we began to eat. It was the perfect meal for a lovely monsoon evening.

This blog post is part of the My Beautiful Food contest sponsored by Borosil. Visit their lovely website My Borosil to check out their range.

Restaurant Inspiration: Palak (Spinach) Chaat

(Note: This is my first food post!)

The first time I went to Veda for a meal (a restaurant at Palladium in Mumbai), I ordered the palak (spinach) chaat. It was yum- a great fine dining touch to street food. Since then, it’s been a must-repeat dish for me, and while the restaurant’s food quality is inconsistent, this dish is always par excellence.

Last weekend, Indian street food was my “theme” for Sunday night dinner, so chaats were on my menu. After debating between the classic Papri Chaat (another restaurant special) and this one, I opted for the latter. And the result?

Ta-dah!

spinach or palak chaat- Indian street food

My palak chaat recipe is adapted from various sources. Family members provided the pakora recipe, while the toppings were inspired by the original restaurant dish.

As with all things fried, the hubby took charge of the slotted spoon while I did the rest. There’s something about frying I just don’t like, mostly to do with the copious amount of oil that is used!

Enjoy the chaat!

Ingredients for palak pakora:
1 cup gram flour (besan)
10 spinach leaves (stalks removed), washed thoroughly and dried
3/4 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1- 1.5 cups water
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Ingredients for chaat topping:
1 potato, boiled and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 – 1 cup curd
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
Handful of sev

Method:
Mix all the ingredients for the pakora to make a batter. Keep it aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan.  While the oil gets warm, dip a spinach leaf in the batter until the leaf is fully coated. Check if the oil is hot by dropping a little batter into the oil- it should sizzle. Add the batter-coated spinach leaf and fry. Repeat this for the rest of the leaves. Place spinach pakoras on paper napkins to absorb the oil.

Making the chaat:
Arrange the pakoras on a large plate or tray. Top off each spinach pakora with some chopped potatoes, tomatoes and onions, curd, chaat masala, red chilli powder and sev.

Tips for making palak chaat:

  • When shopping for spinach, look for a bunch with small leaves so the pakoras are easier to handle.
  • You can use less curd and skip the tomatoes to let the crunchiness of the pakora come through.