Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the tag “lunch”

Of Lamb Chops on a Weekday Afternoon

Lamb chops are an all-time favourite. Roasted, marinated, pan-fried, bread crumbed – you name it – I like them all. Though I love having them with mustard, it’s nice to try variations. And when I have limited vegetables in stock, I become too lazy to go grocery shopping and instead, try and salvage something delicious with whatever I find. This is such a story.

Lamb Chop with Veggies
1 lamb chop
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 small carrot (chopped)
1 tbs tomato paste/sauce
1 tbs English mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chilly flakes
2 tbs oil
Salt to taste

– Heat the oil in a pan and once hot, sear the lamb chop till golden brown. About 2-3 minutes a side will suffice.

– Wrap the chop in foil. Keep aside.

– In the same pan which has the juices, add the chopped garlic and chilly flakes.

– Add the chopped onion and carrot and cook till softened.

– Add the oregano, mustard and tomato paste. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Season well. Add the juices from the foil in which the chop is kept.

– Plate everything and serve hot!

Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures

And healthy too!

And healthy too!

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Of Comfort Food and Nostalgia

What is comfort food? The phrase means different things to different people but to me it simply means the aroma of home cooked food. Simple and delicious, food I’ve grown up eating and crave from time to time. After a bad or good day, its the longing for something familiar, craving for something nostalgic.

I left home a while ago and though I go back at least twice in a year, the days I crave for comfort food most are when I’m ill. When I’m lying in bed sipping warm tea with honey, my mind searches for childhood memories, tastes I imbibed during my younger days, the tastes I long for…

The past week I had a long phone conversation with my mother. We discussed everything under the sun. From films to posters, music to theater, Bengali food to Kerala’s famous beef curry. I kept telling her how much I was missing home food. I guess it was one of those days when I wasn’t well and things weren’t going the way I had planned. So she told me, “Make something you like.” That’s when the idea struck.

So for the past few days I’ve been cooking my comfort food. I was surprised to find that though I love experimenting with every cuisine I can lay my hands on, what I end up cooking when I’m low is Indian food from various parts of the country but with a twist conceptualised by my mother.

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Bread Upma from school
A very close friend used to bring this concoction to school almost thrice a week for tiffin. The aroma of the spices mixed with bread pieces left us wanting more every time. I remember I asked my mother to ask T’s mother how to make it. And since that day in class 3, my mother makes it when I’m home and hungry! The flavour combination is so delicious that when its being cooked, you can smell it from the other room. Tangy and crisp, spicy and yet subtle the textures just leaves you wanting more. It’s so simple to recreate that the whole process barely takes 15 minutes!

Bread, spices and a whole lot of flavour

Bread, spices and a whole lot of flavour

A closer view!

A closer view!

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Chirer pulao, Bong style
In English we would call it fried flaked rice stirred in with vegetables and spices. Chire (poha) is eaten all over India but every region uses it differently. My mom makes it the way her mother used to. It has little pieces of potato and onion and tomato softened to perfection with whole spices (cinnamon, cloves and cardamom). It’s slightly sweet and you serve it hot with a good scattering of chopped coriander. I love this. It gives me a feeling of home every time I make it. It light, delicate and filling, a perfect breakfast dish.

Perfect with morning tea

Perfect with morning tea

Chire, potatoes, onions and tomatoes - delicious!

Chire, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – delicious!

The quintessential Bengali lunch
I’ve said before that we didn’t eat a lot of Bengali food on a regular basis growing up but on occasions just some fluffy rice, potato fry and yellow dal is all you needed to have a great day. I just added my version of an egg curry along with it made with tomatoes and yoghurt. On occasions when I really crave comfort food, I turn to this simple home-style lunch to get me through the day.

Yummy lunch! Lentils, potato fry and egg curry!

Yummy lunch! Lentils, potato fry and egg curry!

A plate of homemade Bengali food

A plate of homemade Bengali food


What do you eat when you crave something comforting?

Easy Thai-inspired lunch

These days I’ve been cooking a lot of Thai or Thai-influenced food. Maybe my Thai visa could have something to do with it! Yes yes I shall soon be heading there to taste the authentic stuff but till then, I have to make do with what I can cook at home.
I love the balance of flavours found in the cuisine. The harmony so perfect, no element overpowering the other. Tom Yum Soup is one of my all-time favourites and I make it often for lunch or dinner. But, instead of the usual ingredients, I like to play around sometimes with the unusual. Carrots instead of prawns? Why not I say!
It’s still slightly chilly in Delhi so why not make the most of it, right? So, a simple lunch I did make — Tom Yum soup with carrots accompanied by chicken and basil brown bread sandwiches…

Ingredients
Soup (Serves 4)
1 medium size carrot (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped finely)
1 lemon grass (the tender stalk, chopped)
4 kaffir lime leaves (chopped finely)
1 red chilly (deseeded and chopped finely)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
3 tsp Tom Yum paste
1 lemon (juice)
1 litre chicken/vegetable stock
Coriander to garnish

Sandwiches
(I’ve started keeping roasted/grilled chicken in the freezer. I can shred it and use it where ever I fancy)
12 slices brown bread (for the health conscious)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Handful chicken (roasted or grilled but shredded)
8 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
1 cube processed cheese (grated)
Salt to taste

In a deep pot with a cover, add all the ingredients (except coriander) for the soup and put it on the heat. Once the stock comes to a boil, simmer it till a gorgeous smell envelopes your kitchen. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

While the soup is boiling away, mix the mayo, chicken, basil, cheese and salt. Spread evenly on six bread slices and cover with the remaining six. Cut into triangles. An easy lunch under 15 minutes!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
NOTE: Feel free to substitute the chicken with any grilled or roasted vegetables

Lamb chops can cheer up any Sunday!

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more comforting than a hearty Sunday lunch. (It could translate into brunch really but this Sunday, it was restricted to the former!) It’s the one day in the week when the whole family comes together, to eat and share stories and also, the only lazy day before Monday blues kick in. When I was still living with my parents, Sunday would generally be celebrated as Good Food Day!
Living in Delhi with the younger sister now, we try to make every Sunday special. Trying out new eating joints, visiting historical monuments, meeting up with old friends… well the list in endless. The days we choose to stay at home, well, lunch/brunch is a grand affair. And this Sunday was no different…

Mustard lamb chops
(With parsley mash and boiled veggies with honey-yoghurt dressing)

Total time: 1.30 hours

Ingredients (It’s a long list so please bear with me!)
For the meat
4 lamb chops
3 tbs mustard (Of your choice. I used American today)
4 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
Handful dried chilli flakes
Handful dried rosemary
Pinch of salt

For the vegetables
2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
250 g beans (chopped)
4 babycorns (chopped)

For the dressing
Half cup yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon (add the zest if need be)
1 tbs honey
Pinch of salt and pepper
Handful of parsley

For the mash
4 boiled potatoes
Knob of butter
Hot milk (use according to the consistency you want)
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of chopped parsley
For the sauce
Dash of soy
Dash of vinegar
2 tbs of red wine

The process to Sunday goodness
Ok, the ingredients list is long but it’s all about getting everything together before you begin. Once you do that, you won’t even notice the time you spend cooking I promise you!
Start with the marinade. In a zip pouch (thanks Nigella!) add the mustard, olive oil, crushed garlic, chilli flakes, rosemary, salt and mix together. Then add the lamb chops. Make sure they are all coated before setting it aside for an hour.
Start boiling a pot of water with a pinch of salt.
Now, begin with the mash. Peel the boiled potatoes. Add the salt, pepper and butter. Then with a potato masher, mash them with all your might! Add milk to it as you go along until you feel they are to your liking. Finally, throw in the chopped parsley and give it a final fold. Set aside.
The water will come to a boil by the time the mash is made. Add the vegetables. Cook for about 3-5 minutes then drain them in a strainer. Put under cold water immediately to stop them from cooking. Set aside.
While the veggies are cooking, mix the yoghurt, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the parsley and check if more seasoning is required in the zingy dressing.
After an hour, start heating a nonstick pan. When hot, add the lamb chops and let them sear for about two minutes. Flip and cook for about four minutes till or until browned to perfection.
To deglaze the pan, add the remaining marinade, wine, soy and vinegar. Cook till the alcohol evaporates, leaving you with a thick sauce.

Plating up
Plate the parsley mash with an ice cream scoop (it’s Sunday after all!). Add the veggies on the side and drizzle with the dressing. Finally, place the delicious lamb chops and serve with the sauce. Eat with a warm bun as it soaks up all the flavours on the plate!

ImageIt’s the perfect combination to start a Sunday! Don’t you think?

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