Thursday, January 24, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
A totally lovable book! This is a diary of a teenager and I've been curious to find out if it's inspired from a true story but I don't know yet. Whether real or fiction, it is a feast for the senses :). It encompasses a period of 2-3 years and it is fun to watch the teenager go through various stages of his life. At times you can correlate with the character and realize how stupid you were when you did things like that. At other times, it is interesting as well hilarious to see the world from a teenager's point of view.
The teenager, Adrian Mole, is the only son of his parents. His intellect is much higher than that of his parents who can hardly claim to be his parents. They're always being kicked out of jobs, getting involved in extra-marital affairs or are involved in some other nonsense. Apart from his turbulent home, he goes through the regular teenage tribulations like falling in and out of love, etc. All in all his life is a roller coaster ride - you never know what's next.
Bottomline: A must read.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Here's how I made it:
For the koftas
- Finely chopped cabbage (approx 3-4 cups) and 1.5 medium size onion (approx 3/4 cup). I also used some traces of carrot. The key part here is that the ingredient should be finely chopped so that when eating the kofta one can't distinguish between the veggies. My guess is that onion should be in much lower proportion as compared to the cabbage. So just use your intuition and go ahead with it. If the cabbage has lot of water after it's chopped, squeeze it to drain some water. Let some water remain.
- Mix the finely chopped veggies in Step 1 with 1 cup of besan. Since cabbage already has some water, you wouldn't need to add any water. Even if you're skeptical that the koftas won't fry, wait till you actually fry a kofta. Only if you're having problems while frying should you add some more besan to the batter. Too much of besan will not taste good in the kofta. We want the veggies to be the primary ingredients and besan should only be the binding agent.
- Add some salt and chilli to taste.
- Mix well to form a batter. This batter wouldn't be runny; it'll be like a paste except more granular.
- Heat oil at medium flame (for frying). Once the oil is hot, drop some balls of the batter in the oil and fry. You must cook at medium flame to ensure that the insides of the koftas get cooked properly. If you cook on high, it'll get cooked from outside but not from inside.
- The koftas/balls are ready. You can also serve them as appetizers.
For the curry
- Chop 1.5 onions. Saute them in a few tsps of oil alongwith a tsp of ginger-garlic paste and a tsp of chopped green chillies, till the onions turn golden brown.
- Add approx 1/2 a tsp of turmeric, 1/2 a tsp of chilli powder and 2 tsps of coriander powder. Saute.
- Add approx 2 tbsps of tomato paste (or approx 2 chopped tomatoes) and around 2 cups of water (enough water to form a gravy for the koftas). Cover and cook till the tomato paste has mixed properly or till the tomatoes have become mushy.
- Add 1-2 tbsp of cream and cook for another 5-10 mins.
- Turn off the gas and one by one drop the koftas into the curry. Keep for 20 mins or so.
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro/coriander and serve.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
A brilliant novel! It's funny, serious, thrilling and everything else you want a novel to be.
A group of politically powerful people want to bring back the peace and security in US that once prevailed in the pre-9/11 era. They intend to set the security level permanently to green and the only way they can see of doing this is to wipe out all those countries, in the middle-east and elsewhere, which support terrorist factions. To do this they want to make use of the mutual assured destruction policy of the government which says that if any country does a nuclear attack on US then within seconds the US would reply with a nuclear attack. They have everything in place but two FBI officers - John and his wife, Kate - get suspicious about their activities.
John's character is adorable especially because of his witty and humorous comments. I've heard that there are other books by this author based on this character and they are better than this one. So I think I'm going to catch up on them - "Plum Island" and "Lion's Game". It was after a long time that I came across a book that was hard to put down. Even though it wasn't a mystery I had the same feeling while reading it as I used to when I read "The Three Investigators" by Alfred Hitchcock or Perry Mason series when I was a kid.
Bottomline: A must read!
Saturday, January 5, 2008
- You needn't stick to the quantity of milk mentioned on the Gits box. Use as much is required to make a nice soft dough. So start sparingly with milk and keep adding little by little. Keep in mind that the gulab jamun flour gets moist very soon so be careful.
- Knead the dough well to ensure minimum cracks on the dough balls.
- This tip is there on the box too but I want to stress on it - oil your palms before you make the dough balls and oil as often as you deem necessary.
- When you make the dough ball, knead it in your palm with your fingers to give it a nice texture.
- Here's the most important tip: like all frying expeditions, the temperature of the oil is the key. The temperature should be between medium-low and medium. If it gets very hot at medium reduce it to medium-low; but as you start frying more and more the temperatue will go below optimal so go back to medium. I noticed that when the temperature was lower than optimal, even the smallest surface cracks got bigger and bigger as they took longer to fry. We all know what happens when the temperature is higher than optimal :). If it's the right temperature: it fries quickly getting a nice brown color, doesn't burn and has a smooth surface.
- The sugar syrup should be quite watery. This ensures that the gulab jamuns absorb well. The more they absorb the more they swell and the softer they are.
That's probably all. So if you've had problems like I did then next time you're going to get perfect gulab jamuns!
P.S. This time when I made them they looked so good that I wanted to post their photo but laziness took the better of me.