• Quick Mexican Corn Casserole

    November 13, 2018thepeppercook

    Everyone has that super easy dish that they make when gets suddenly drop by and there isn’t enough dinner!  Mine is Mexican Corn Casserole!  My Mom used to make a corn casserole and serve it with garlic bread every Saturday night when they would be out for dinner, and we kids would be stuck at home.  (Mom never cooked Sunday lunch, and it was always out at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor! I should have carried on that tradition!). Well, over the years I adapted it, as my family preferred a more spicy variation, but it still is my very popular go-to dish, and can be yours as well! Watch the YouTube video below to see how quick this recipe is!  I always keep a couple of…

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  • Spicy Fried Coconut Prawns

    October 14, 2018thepeppercook

    Whenever I travel, I keep a list of food ideas I chance upon in notes on my phone. The list doesn’t always make sense and one currently reads “Pineapple butter sauce almond granita coconut prawns squid green beans olive salad poached egg!” Now make sense of that! But it’s always fun to try making something you ate and loved at a restaurant, especially if it turns out well, and isn’t difficult at all! I had tasted these delicious prawns fried with a  crunchy coconut crust at Tao, a leading Asian cuisine and nightlife destination, on one of my trips to New York City.  Inspired,  I decided to try them with some frozen prawns at The Pepper Cook Studio. While I have no clue how Tao…

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  • Mom’s Recipe # 4 – Potato and Coconut Kachories

    May 16, 2018thepeppercook

    I had written my last blog about my Mother’s recipe book from her  Home Science class in 1952 when she had just started college. The fourth recipe in her in the class notebook is Potato Kachories.  I assumed- before reading it – that it referred to crisp thick puris stuffed with spiced potatoes, a pretty common street food in the northern and western parts of India.  However, in this case, the word kachori should have been read in quotes as this “kachori” is actually a pseudo-kachori, made during the fasting season out of a coating of mashed potatoes rather than flour. It in fact, refers to mashed potato balls stuffed with a combination of coconut, raisins, chilies and fresh coriander.   And doesn’t THAT sound yum!?…

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  • Mom’s Golden Book of Recipes

    March 6, 2018thepeppercook

    A few years ago, we tore down my parent’s old house in Delhi and moved my Mom to a temporary apartment, while her home underwent reconstruction.  When we moved her back, and unpacked her boxes, all kinds of old treasures and memories resurfaced.  One of the MOST precious finds was my mother’s college notebook of recipes from her Cookery class in her BSc Home Science major in 1952!  She was just 16 when she noted down these recipes in her clean, neat, fountain-penned handwriting. My earliest  memory of this notebook was when I was about 8 years old. The only thing I knew how to make were pinwheel cookies from this very same newspaper- covered book. As I thumbed through the pages, I found many…

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  • Mom’s Cauliflower Carrot and Turnip Pickle

    December 15, 2017thepeppercook

    I love Delhi in winter – just to hang around the vegetable vendors who line the streets and the open markets. Winter brings the large white cauliflower, soft as butter, unimaginably fragrant turnips, radishes with their succulent, sulphury greens, and not to be left out, the famous red and black carrots available only in Northern India. While people go into raptures about juicy strawberries, I remained fixated on my favorite roots. Winter also brings pickles. My unabashed favorite is my mother’s Cauliflower, Carrot and Turnip Pickle. Sweet, tangy and spicy, it is the perfect foible to a hot, fresh parantha for breakfast. As my mom has gotten older, she has stopped making pickles, and buys them instead. She called the other days and said “Sweetheart…

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  • Inspired by Greece

    December 2, 2017thepeppercook

    Beyond the blue Aegean waters, the inviting black and red sand beaches, and the towering ancient ruins, a trip to Greece is a delight for the foodie’s soul! From the wild herbs that waft in the air while sauntering down a Byzantine cobblestone trail to cherry tomatoes glistening invitingly in the sun outside a rustic, oceanfront cottage, fresh ingredients are a major part of Greek life. Whether it is orange juice with Spanokopita, Kayseri cheese, and olives for breakfast, or gorging through a platter of squid fried in olive oil, Greek ingredients really make my heart sing! While it’s hard to choose a favourite, mine no doubt has to be capers. And the caper giachini that we had in a roadside restaurant in Santorini was a dish that…

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  • A Healthy French Pizza Tart

    July 16, 2017thepeppercook

    I have five athletes at home – a state table tennis player, an international tennis player, a national golfer, a state tennis player and varsity rower, and a district footballer. And four of them are karate gold medalists. That makes for a lot of health and fitness in one home (OK, so I’m no snow pea myself – not quite in their league, but I am a certified Pilates Mat Instructor and a Sport Yoga Instructor!) So while in most homes, it’s Mom yelling, “Eat healthy!” in my home, it’s the kids who complain about my unhealthy cooking and eating habits. Even pizza, except on the dog’s birthday and only for him, is virtually banned! So I was thrilled when I received this new Multigrain…

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  • Kerala Pumpkin Pineapple and Banana curry

    May 20, 2017thepeppercook

    Chef Benny’s sweet, sour and spicy pumpkin, banana and pineapple khichadi (curry) is an easy Kerala recipe – a curry of pumpkin, fruit, coconut, yoghurt and spices. Sweet, sour, salty and spicy, this is the perfect side for a grilled piece of fish or a nice teriyaki chicken breast. It is also satisfying with just plain white with rice ! Ingredients 1 cup of diced pineapple (about 150g – this about a third of a small ripe pineapple, peel cut and core into half inch cubes. If using canned pineapple, cut rings into 1/2” pieces) 1 cup diced pumpkin (about 150g) 1 cooking banana, semi-ripe, cut into ½ inches circle and halved (about 1 cup or 150g) ¾ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder,…

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  • Cochin Cooking Class with Chef Benny

    May 2, 2017thepeppercook

    Local food is easy to take for granted, and you only really notice after you leave. While living on the backwaters of Cochin, it never once occurred to me to take a cooking class. Great seafood was available through native cooks and restaurants at reasonable prices whenever my stomach desired. But once I moved to Mumbai, I realized local food is best eaten locally, unless you really learn the techniques and source the ingredients that give those meals their flavour. Recently, a student of mine from Cochin did something special – upon hearing of my upcoming travel to the city, he booked a cooking class with a chef at a nearby restaurant in Fort Kochi. Unfortunately, I fell ill, and couldn’t attend. However, last month, I was…

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  • Lotus stem, lotus seeds and other gifts from the national flower

    January 2, 2017thepeppercook

    India’s national flower is the lotus, so it not surprising that one of its culinary gems amongst ingredients is the lotus stem. These modified stems, technically known as rhizomes, are often also called lotus “roots”. In reality, the lotus plant has small roots that are embedded in the muddy soil of a pond. It is not just the stem of lotus plant that is delicious, but both the leaves and the seeds are eaten as well. In India we often eat the roasted “popped” seeds –known as makhana in Hindi – as a spiced snack, in curries and even in yoghurt. Check out my easy and popular Lotus Seeds in Yoghurt recipefor an quick dish with popped lotus seeds. As lotus grows in murky, swampy water, the stems often…

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