Cool Hacks for Indian Cooking

Mark Twain has said, “Part of secret of success in life is to eat what you like.” This cannot be more true, and food lovers or caterers will attest to it. Serving hot, scrumptious hygienic food is what makes up for happy and satisfied customers at any restaurant. Food culture is prevalent in corporate events, festivals etc. But, before relishing that delicious food or cuisine, most of the effort goes in preparing them. And if you have some cooking tips in handy, this whole scenario changes in a matter of minutes replenishing your taste buds.

cooking-tips_big

  • Salt sprinkling on Greens: Sprinkle some salt on green leafy vegetables, thus enhancing the veggies and keeping the nutrients intact even after you have chopped them finely.

  • Salt correction in curries: Most of the times, we add some salt to taste for the vegetables. But, sometimes although, the measurement differs and ruins the whole curry. Fear not, because you can simply add raw cut potato. Potato sucks in the excess salt and makes your curry back to tasty.

  • Color me right: Most Indian dishes look delicious and inviting because of its color. But what happens when you seem to have messed up the main highlight of your dish? These are 3 ingredients that will add the lost color to your dishes.

  • Add finely chopped coriander or simply and well ground coriander for GREEN.Half Boiled beet will bring back the orange / red tint to your stews.

  • Curd or cream will take away the extra hotness and restore a lighter color. Thus, even if your dish isn’t that hot but looks too dark, just add some curd to make it look right.

  • Make soft chapatis by adding warm water and some milk to the dough while kneading.
    If you want a certain consistency to your curry and it seems to be skimmed, add a spoonful of wheat flour and mix it up. This will instantly give you the desired consistency to the curry.

  • Apply a dash or oil before chopping ladies fingers or small gourds, so the sticky juices don’t stain your hands or chopping board.

  • Pureed Tomato can act as a worthy substitute if you run out of tomatoes at the 11th hour.

  • Peel off the skin of ginger, this will add to the taste wherein you prefer to add the hot gingery taste in your food.

  • Hold the nugget or stuffing that needs to be fried with long tongs for 5-6 mins over a hot pan of oil before deeply frying it. This will seal the exteriors and the stuffing with fried from the inside wholly.

  • Reheating leftover gravy or curry gets tedious on the next morning. This tip will save you from this frustrating scenario. Just pour the leftover gravy into ice trays, and reheat the next morning without any hassle.

  • When making masala, do not add iodized salt. Instead, add coarse sea salt, this will make your masalas even and finely ground to all ingredients.


O’Zara- The Taste of Health

Food is all about its intake and what it gives to the body. Apart from sufficing the hunger, food, needs to add the necessary energy needed for a healthy body. Eating anything or anyway is definitely not the way to achieve it. So, when a caterer tells that they bring out the best healthy lunch and dinner and packed with nutrition, most certainly, it means you have to pay extra bucks. Some minor studies show the statistics for healthy and nutritional foods to be greater than what we intend to actually pay. The competition of the cost for diners, restaurateur and food joints has always hampered our daily budget unintendedly. I, personally, find it very frustrating when I am on a tight budget, and only healthy food I can have is processed and packaged food (which I do not like at all). Moreover, I hardly doubt that it’d be healthy at all.

Therefore, while again I was on a budget (Month end does come every now and then), I started exploring my budget friendly healthy food options. When the scorching heat of sun tires you, having a cold soothing sherbet or cold coffee is all what you want. But, if you calculate your daily limit, it certainly doesn’t add up in your food regime. Because, first you would have to set aside your food money and add this extra expense in the same. Instead, I however, have a better option to it. Have a lunch or dinner, wherein this tall cold glass is included in your diet. It will suffice your hot day, your hunger pang and keep you on the budget leash without extra trouble. My Personal recommendation for this food choice, is the mini lunch at O’Zara. Commuting daily to work with absolutely nothing much of choice in the industrial zone of Chakan, my daily pitstop for a quick bite and refreshing drink is O’Zara. The mini lunch serves a refreshing glass of buttermilk, or the seasonal sherbet, depending on the day’s climate and a nutritional combo to go with it. So, there you have a budget food nutri choice all in one package.

If someday, however, you don’t feel like the cold glass or a nutritional food, you can skip the health regime and serve yourself with some proper Indian Junk food. But, even so, nothing will be too much harmful at all. The special kothimbirwadi or maaswadi in fact is a great way to restore your body fibers which in other circumstances we avoid anyhow. And if you are in no mood for junk food, or health food, the daily balanced diet of roti, sabzi, daal rice is what keeps these caterers going for better taste, better health and better finger licks in all places. All these are just better ways and means to avoid an impulse of lazy food thus paying double bucks to the doctors later. So, if you are on a budget, does not mean you need to eat whatever is put in front of you, how much ever unhealthy you might think it to be. Where there is a budget, there always will be a good choice for healthy and nutritious food.

What you eat should be the best

Travel dairies are loaded with self- describing journeys, the over helpful natives and how everyone needs a break from the real life every now and then. But, the worst nightmare that happens to turn true is the bland, tasteless and over cooked food sometimes you get during your travel. Oh No No! I am not at all talking about the food that you get in different parts once you reach your travel destinations; I am actually speaking about the part where you are actually travelling to reach the place. Street foods and travel snacks earlier used to be a fun part of it. But, now when you tell any one of these times, they quite wonder is this an ancient fable or the fantasy that I keep referring to. Although not so much keen about today’s street food, I do know certain industrial caterers that help me out for my travel dilemma in such times. Honestly, we like to call them as our magic beans and unlike others we never worry for this particular facet in travelling.

So back to the travel story; the travel wasn’t supposed to be a leisure trip but an industrial tour clubbed with some relaxation. And certainly, who doesn’t mix business with some pleasure. Recently, Pune as people talk has changed everyone’s perspective of the good time; from happening lifestyle to the workaholics of the Industrial spectrum, Pune has literally nailed its diversity. Here we were, boasting about Pune adding our food habits to the list of Pune Pride.

While we started with the travel, I realized my friend had packed some of the favorite foods from our usual caterer. Another friend that brought the usual packed foods from distant food arenas. Obviously, we chose the earlier as they were fresher, more hygienic and tastier. Being a regular diner at Adhik Resorts we always relied for travel foods to them. The freshness, the flavor and the feeling of home food is what makes us go back to them again and again. We quite do not understand the fuss that has been trending with the packaged foods or organic foods and the claims that these companies keep doing. Anytime, I would rather choose the freshly made food packed with nutrition, and hygiene. Navigating through the big bagpack of the food, I opened up my share and there it was my favorite dish of Maasvadi and the ever refreshing solkadi(one of their specials). Taking a small bit of it, I really wonder how they can manage to feed almost whole of the chakan industrial area with such a universal taste delivered to everyone. I sure appreciate their uniqueness in their work. So, when you are tired of packaged foods or wish to try the freshly made food, for a change experiment with the industrial caterer who also happens to be the best diner of Chakan industrial area.

Why so Diet

Of all the things we ought to follow from celebrity, we never just follow their diet plan or the exercise regime. We like to dress like them, style like them, shop like them but when it comes to fulfil the healthy routine its absurdly tedious. That’s because, whatever we read or see is only the half part of it. With the current trend of health consciousness and strict work outs, achieving the enjoyable and hermit able life isn’t that tough.

As much the salads might look bland and plain, ironically, they can taste equally good if you choose to. The secret lies in the dressings or as we Indians call it the chatni. What is actually a salad? It’s either a raita for North Indians, Koshimbir for Maharashtrians and South Indians call it Palya. But ultimately it acts as a cold refreshing nutrition anyways. The cold refreshments offered by Indians, or the salads that taste delicious rawness and the dried chatnis are a way for changing a healthy food lifestyle. Most of the industrial caterers have opted for compulsorily providing some sort of salad in their daily diet. Of the health consciousness, the salads do have a native touch of the cook who prepares it.

And now you must be feeling that I am drifting off from what this article is totally about. This article is not just about health consciousness, or nutrition or bland salads. Its about the food culture that prevails in whole of India and the hint of native touch it adds to the dish that familiarises different regions. For eg: When you travel south, use of coconut and jaggery is utmost in everything. So how will salads will be an exception to it. All the salads have a staple dressing of coconut oil or coconut milk in it. Pr0obably that’s the reason why the caterers from south have an infamous attitude for ruining the continental salads. But as they mark in continentals, they literally ace when it comes to any dressing, any chatni of the native herbs.

Coconut is highly rich in iron and essential vitamins. Therefore, having salads can not only benefit you weight management routine but is a perfect intake for good hair and good skin. So, achieving a celebrity look with green salads is a win-win for everything. Until recently people were unaware about yet another tasteful Smoothie. Although, not so much of an indian origin, however, smoothies have gained momentum in healthy food lists. So, if you are not a salad person, you definitely can try different health drinks or smoothies. Every single day breakfast or muesli or pancakes can be overwhelming because of the calorie consciousness. But, smoothie or health drinks are a rescue and Holy Grail for weight conscious people. While I was travelling with the locals, I saw that almost everyday consumption of coconut water has benefitted them with shining skin and healthy body. So adding the fresh ripe and slimy coconut into your smoothies will also be of significant importance to your health.

Low on budget high on demand

The kitchens are all hussled up, the caterers are as usual busy. Honestly, I was thinking of writing yet another mundane story about what suits best for stomach and what can be done for the change of taste. But, here I am thinking, how we can ignore the big fat Grand Indian wedding season. We Indians like to be at our best when we actively play the role of host. We indulge in challenging dishes, perfect and cosy homes, amazingly helpful guides and unearth our dormant beautician vibes for the weddings. May it be a cousin’s wedding or some distant friend’s cousin’s wedding. Our over enthusiastic nature makes us crazy annoying in attitude. Most of the caterers are thus very pesky when it comes to taking orders from such people. So barring all these traits, what does a caterer actually want us to do so the wedding does not become a total disaster especially for the food (other management disasters are somewhat uncalled for; let’s not get there right now). Being meticulous can help, but being annoyingly meticulous in fact makes it even more dangerous. I remember, some days back when one of my friends got married, the caterers literally had to run a full-fledged 3-day tasting ceremony for the bride, family and friends to make them happy. The bride wanted a grand tasty delicious food, families wanted simple traditional and nutritious food while the friends wanted an exotic, challenging and snazzy eatsome. Ultimately, all of them had to compromise and the caterer won over his argument of delivering what suited best for his pocket. Now, I know, all of this could have been avoided had it not been all four corners tightly pulling their bargain. So here is a step by step to-do guide for caterers, bridegroom and the family friends for how to make up your wedding food mind.

1. Do not overburden yourself with what you have seen, read or heard for others’ weddings. What the caterer offered there, might not suit your regime. You want your guests to have a good wedding and an upset stomach does not promise a good wedding. Therefore hygiene and nutrition is equally important.

2. Indian weddings is a big crowdy party of all ages, all tastes, and all choices. So blend in the food from all over India to make them welcome for the tastes. A mix of traditional, snazzy and nutrition will make everyone happy.

3. It’s a cliched fact, that every bride wants her big day to be perfect in every scenario. Therefore, be it a Maharashtrian city bride versus a typical traditional town bride from natives like Chakan, paud or Latur they all want one thing-their wedding to be perfect. Going hand in hand with the bride is the utmost duty a caterer must fulfil. So, understand what the bride is actually looking for. She might not pinpoint a finger at it but she definitely knows what she wants. So try to coax out all here food fantasies and work on them.

4. The family might just keep saying what the bride wants, and what you can offer, but hey, you are already charging voluminously, so better make good use of it.

5. Finally the D-Day is here, and you indulge in making everyone happy. So keep everything at par and get connected through the deliciousness you have to offer to everyone, the bride, the family and the acquaintances. Because we know that’s how references will work.

Back in Love with Indian Food

Growing up in an Indian household from a mediocre city, you somehow indulge in kitchen and cooking. Summers fill in with the aroma of pickles, Papad, Muramba and what not traditional recipes any Maharashtrian household has. As the atmosphere gets colder, the kitchen gets warmer and cosier. From the aromas and crazy neighbours to the warm spicyness and overwhelming mothers bring to us the best chatpatas in the monsoons. The transition of the kitchen as per the climate has always made me indulge in the kitchen diaries I have. But as life grew, so did my reluctance for cooking. I was never a fan of cooking, though all my family just loves to be in kitchen making some new thing, experimenting the traditional recipes. But if you ask me, I really love the stereotypical Indian tastes. Holi calls for malpua, padwa calls for Puranpoli and rains call for kandyachi bhaji. Until recently, I did not worry to go and make something for myself anytime. My eagerly awaiting family was always serving me with things that I would just like to enjoy. But, as people got busy and take away menus piling onto our doors, we sort of drifted from kitchen to our living room. The family room turned from a general chitter chatter to rumbling tummies. While we were wondering who will take to kitchen I remembered that awesome place where we could spend some quality time and indulge in our favourite foods of indianness. And when I suggested, I was more than happy because my family liked the place just the way I have been liking it since the day I accidentally set my foot onto it.

So here I am taking a time off to talk about something that matters to me and my family the most and which is very close to my heart. In this big fast forwarding home delivery world, where continental cuisines and foreign food has taken its place where will us foolish Indian food lovers find a sanctuary? Us Indian food lovers are constantly on a quest to be treated with the desi taste and desi style eating. Once when I was running late for a meeting, I planned to drop to this place that said a traditional royal dining experience. Half sceptical and half hungry I went ahead to try it. Although experimental but not about outside food, I tried my luck just this one time. And I was astonished, not because of the food or anything of it, but, what I could see in the menu. There was Taak, there was vangyachi bhaji, there was chhunda and then there also was dodkyachi chatni. Most people would not understand what I am blabbering about, but any Maharashtrain can feel what I am talking about. Even after witnessing the menu I didn’t get my hopes high because I do know how it works. Yet again, I was overwhelmed since my judgement was flawed. I asked for the things and to my surprise I was well-fed with exactly what I ordered. And so, I went to my meeting satisfied and well fed by my proxy family O’Zara- the royal dining experience in the hearts of chakan industrial area.

Lightening up Diwali Diet

When the roads are being over silent and the market places being overly crowded, it is the cue for one and only one thing; Its Diwali time of the year. As people turn for their vacations the corporate world pauses its reign of hectic work hours and speed up for the celebrations. The caterers too wind up their routine of sabji-roti and welcome the Maharashtrian faraal in their diet. The convenience of this faraal is that it adds up as the most amazing travel food pack. There is no liquid mess or over oily and pungent odour to them. Therefore, when travelling carrying this faraal becomes habitual for an empty stomach. While the industrial caterers are famous for their nutrition packed balanced diet food, little do people known that they dabble for the festive food stuff as well. So here are some reasons why the nostalgic Indian snacks becomes your best travel food.

diwali-blog

1. Remember the typical gujju sitcoms where baa is always busy making snacks. Well mostly those snacks involve the maharashtrian crunchies like chakli or chivda.
2. The travel foods that we see in the train stations or bus stations, well most of the times they stink or are so oily that we prefer not eating in the travel at all. Probably, because of that, now there are many caterers who offer their services amidst the travel journeys.
3. If its not catering food that you like, then, easy home-made snacks are the best package for travelling. The easy finger foods and the lip-smacking nutritious laddoos are the best giveaway during travels.
4. Other than the typical Diwali snacks, the theplas or parathas give a tough competition to the travel foods. Paratha is the generic and universally acclaimed Indian food which never goes out of style. Another gujju member from this family is the khakra that famously indulged in short term travel or even long distance overseas travels as well.
5. The scrumptious aluwadi or shrikhandwadi are the best source for instant energy in the travels. Many people who have low sugar trouble often carry them as much as the candies. These are the easiest candy substitute with the advantage of nutrition and taste.
6. One more trustworthy food is the Gajag that never disappoints travel foodies. Mostly used in winter travels, Gajak is an instant source for energy. Mostly gajak is a known foodstuff in northern India, as we travel down to west, the name shifts to chikki. And as foreigners like to say it an energy bar or fruit bar. Although the names are different, the objective of it is the same. Easy to carry even in hard treks, Gajak or chikki is the best travel food bar.
7. The balanced or nutritional values of many foods is the factor wherein we take them with us. But, for downright foodies like me, well, we need some rewarding snack as well. So for people like us, there is still hope when there is nankatai or shrews berry biscuits in our pocket. Nutritionally they are not much of a taker, but, if it’s a guilty pleasure you want to indulge in then yes, you definitely should carry them with you for sudden treats.

Incase you are not a bagpacker or a tourister even then these snacks are the best options to choose from. Therefore, if you want to just munch off your hunger, then these typical indian snacks must be always in your temptation list. May it be an industrial catering who gives you the choices, or any general store eatery, these are just a starter for any indian snacker.

Surprise in Your Lunch Box

There are some who indulge in how the food tastes, while there are some who indulge in how the food looks. Everybody has their own choice. But what happens, when you are encountered with people who eat with their eyes? Definitely, hoteliers and restaurant owners take extra care for the latter audiences too. But, order a dabba and these audiences will be disappointed profusely. To those who may not know, there are some industrial caterers who do practice as to how the food looks too. You might even be surprised as to how they present to their clients when eating through a heat packed foils. One name that comes instantly when you think about this feature is Adhik Resorts. Advancing the Chakan industrial area, Adhik has encompassed a fair deal for the love of its customers.

Recently, the internet has been flooded with unknown recipes, food presentation and different cuisines. Of course, the different culinary shows have added the food world with so many ideas. But, some food stuff just looks good only on camera or on internet. Adhik Resorts bring out the most exciting art of food presentation in your luncheons and tiffin system. The trick is not in the presentation but what to put in it and how to make it tasteful. When you watch a video or see something on the internet, you keep realising how good it looks and how you wish you could have packed your lunch that way. It motivates you so much that somewhere in your mind you want to share it with your caterer or your dabbawala. But, as much good it looks it does not have exactly the hygienic or nutritional value to it. That’s why, it is said some foods are meant to be eaten straight from the stove. But, some foods can be taken at intervals like in your lunch boxes. To add to this packing conundrum, the take away people have literally mastered the art of food presentation. When the most inviting dahi wada is served to you, with no waste of minute you just want to dig in. But what happens when the same dish is welcomed in your lunch box. The curd on it gets smeared, the masala is sticking to the tiffin lid and the wadas are just so wet that you have lost half the appetite through seeing it. The best way to end all this fiasco is how you pack the stuff. Adhik resorts take extra care for the taste it serves, and the nutrition it puts in every box. Therefore, they have a special system in place. For every dish, the packing system changes.

So, if you are someone who like eating from your eyes first, then you definitely will not be disappointed even if it’s a packed box for your appetite. The only thing you must take care is how fast can you eat and how encouraging it will be to have the balanced nutritional food even when you are sitting in your cubicle and eating from you tiffin.

The Different Tastes of Diwali

This October marks yet another overwhelming start of the double trouble festival season. Usually, Diwali is more likely the mid pattern of nearing the year end. So from October, every month is a chance of every new festival that is influentially very significant and calls for a celebration in itself. However, the IT sector or the work pressure does not call for holiday or quits to indulge us with a bit of rest. Which specifically means, the industries are opened up, the caterers are supplying and we are eating just what we usually have. The difference lies only in the market that has lighted up with new merchandise and new spirits.

Amongst the cranked up markets, there are people still owing themselves to the corporate routine who need tiffin every 5 days a week. Amidst this routine, sometimes the caterers surprise you with a big dollop of basundi, or most certainly 3 balls of gulab jamun. And that’s how we know today is something special. Otherwise, festival does not bother us with any more special treatments. In this festive routine, there happens to be a rising hope for more balanced diet and nutritious delicacies with some of the caterers. The equal nutrition given through karanji, chakli, shev and ladoo is what makes the festival more special. Most prominently people end up eating too much of sweet in festive times, or gain weight through overeating. Any which ways calls for a controlling diet in the post festive season. Instead, what if we gave you an option for a low cal festive delicacies. Yes! There happens to be such a thing called low cal festive foods.

Paushtik/ Nutritious Ladoo:

So for starters let’s assume you like Laddoos. Just substitute the boondi/ rava/ besan Ladoo with paushtik Laddo. Paushtik Ladoo are made from different ingredients. There may be multigrain, or multi vitamin laddoos. Whatever you prefer, paushtik laddoo is the most nutritious guilty pleasure you can try this festive season.

Wheat Chakli/ Baked Chakli:

Chakli has been the favourite foods of Diwali. Earlier when the era of cooking prevailed all ladies did an Armstrong job while making chakli. The twirling circular food has made in the top three of Diwali foodstuff since long. But, along with the most wanted snack it has also added up to highest weight gainer snack for everyone. The oily and prickly snack can be your best friend if you alter some of the ingredients. Usually Chakli is made of a specific blend of flours, often called Bhajani. Instead of this blend you can use just the wheat flour and fry them. Or if you don’t like frying, you can bake them in microwave which taste exactly the same minus the extra calories they can put you up.

Diet Chivda:

This might bring the smirky look on you, but, yes, there is something called diet chivda. Although, chivda is just another snack that tastes good and is quick stomach feeling bite but since you are on the weight control regime why not practice it in full swing? So, diet chivda is nothing but a mixture of different crunchy ingredients that can make you feel light and strong even in the most awaited festival of Diwali. Ask your tiffin supplier for it, and you will know that he takes special order for such stuff.

Some things to look in festival

Again it’s that time of the year when everything is extravagant. The markets are all humped up with goodies and foodies. Festivals in India are somehow different when you compare them on a global level. Ordering stuff wasn’t so much of style in Indian festive time. We Indians are proud cooks and extra proud of our festival profiles. The exclusive aroma of mixed spices brawl the supermarkets.

But, with the busy competitive routines, recipes have turned to cookbooks and instant readymade festive foods. Even though people like festive food, they are ready to compromise in the fun of preparing it. However, this does not mean that they will compromise on the nutrition or hygiene. Here’s where many caterers have dominated themselves in the wide market. The most admiring thing about the services of caterers is the efforts they put in to give the homely tastes to the cooking. In the festive times like these, there are many delicacies in demand. The beauty of the Indian festivals is even the diverse demographics collate all cultural festivals into one. Therefore, people are most eager to taste different desserts and delicacies during this time. The most waited festive food is in the Ganesh festival and the Navratri. The scrumptious and nutritious Modak are a way into the hearts of customers. There are few who have mastered the art of festive delicacies. When festivals arrive, some people crowd themselves into the sweet shops, some order through caterers and there are very few who are still eager enough to cook for themselves. Following are the things that you should definitely order in festival period to save your time and effort thus letting you enjoys the festivals in more appropriate way.

Modak: It is the most favoured delicacy in any of the household of Maharashtrians during the Ganesh Festival. The festivals fall around August or mid September. Modak are rather heavy and need to be cooked with extra care. They are a ball of sweet coconut stuffing with precise ingrediants and exclusively artistic shape. Ukdiche modak are most preferred ones in recent due to their aromatic and delicious tastes. Talniche modak are also a stomach raking delicacy other than ones made of Khoya (Khava) which are easily available in sweet shops.

Vaatli Daal: This is actually a Prasad or an offering to be given on the last day of Ganpati. While bidding adieu to the favourite God, people make curd rice, Murud Kanole( A special sweet stuffing Indian style empanada ) and Vaatli Daal. Its a special recipe that balances out the sweetness of the festival with its aromatic taste and neutral spiciness.

The ultimate Fast Food:

As Ganpati festival excitement turns off, Navratri is the festive time where the eyes turn brighter than lights. It’s a special festival to enjoy fun, frolic and dance around. The daily routine during this festival is that most people fast for nine days. Complimenting this diet routine, the market is flooded with different innovative dishes for diet routine.

Upvaas kachori: Keeping a restriction on what you eat is sometimes very difficult. But people pull themselves for those 9 days. During these 9 days, consumption of typical diet becomes difficult as days pass. With advent to this, there are many who have experimented with this diet to bring out new dishes of fasting. Upvaas Kachori is something that has been famously demanded during these times. The blend of potato, coconut, spices, sweet chilli and the cucumber dip are a treat to the people in navratri.

Upvvas samosa: Simpler but yet tastier that Upvaas kachori, the samosa is a favourite of any Indian. During these nine days caterers try their hand on these finger foods to keep their customers hooked and entertained for new dishes.

Sabudaana Kheer:

The most adorable sweetening dish is the kheer. The sweet soup made from different ingredients as you travel into any part of India changes. But the temptation for it remains the same. Let its be afast or any festival, kheer is always a must have in any Indian diet. With reflex to the fasting period, Sabudaana kheer has dolled the markets for its tempting and finger licking goodness.