Friday, December 7, 2007

Caramelized Cheesecake

If you like Dulce de Leche and Cheesecake, then you'll love this one..

I have made cheesecakes before, and real good ones. I usually follow a really nice recipe from one of my friend's step mom, who's a baker. But, I came up with this recipe absolutely accidentally. I was trying to use up ricotta and cream cheese that had been in my fridge forever. I wanted to make a cheesecake, but I didn't have graham crackers, or even eggs. But I decided to go ahead anyways (which is a little unlike me..I don't like to mess up baking recipes too much). So I used emeril's lemon ricotta cheesecake recipe. Used egg substitute, instead of real eggs, and eliminated the crust altogether. I also added some heavy cream (remember, cleaning up the fridge). I just wanted to see what happens. What happened was something I can't call cheesecake by any stretch of imagination. But it's also something that you could jazz up a little with good garnish and serve in an upscale restaurant. Just remember to pay me the royalty, thank you.

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs (I used substitute, cause I ran out of eggs)
1 lemon, zested
3/4 pound ricotta cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream

Beat the creamcheese till smooth, add the rest of the ingredients, except eggs and blend well. Add the eggs one by one, and beat till everything is incorporated.

Spray the pan with vegetable spray. Add the batter, and bake in a 325 degree oven for about an hour on the lower rack. Transfer the pan to the upper rack after one hour and bake for another half an hour or so, till you get a nice light golden brown crust.

Now, before the cake cools, beat it with an electric beater, till smooth and slightly fluffy. Set it in a glass dish or any other serving container and chill overnight or at least a couple of hours.

The texture of this cheesecake is quite different from regular cheesecakes. One is because of ricotta cheesecake, and the second is because of the beating after cooking. I was very scared of burning it, but to my delight, I got a nice golden crust and the cake also moved away from the sides of the pan. I'm not sure why that happened (cream or ricotta?). Anyways, it all worked out beautifully, yielding a dulce-de-leche like looking cheesecake. The taste actually reminded me of the "Balela doodh na penda" from Raval. One of my dad's uncle was famous for selling these sweets in rural Gujarat. Well, I'm not surprised, cause it's almost the same thing is as caremalized ricotta. Of course, the hint of lemon zest, and the unique cream cheese flavors make this dish so unique.

If you're an adventure freak, go for it. Of course, I would strongly suggest trying this on a smaller quantity, which is what I would do next time, to ensure reproducibility.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Feast...on the go..

Thanksgiving is here, and the whole of the US is thinking about food...I'm not really hosting a dinner, nor am I going to one, but I'm visiting L. and don't want to spend all the time in the kitchen, so I'm carrying a feast with me. Ok, the meal is not even remotely related the thanksgiving, but I'll blog the recipes anyways. There is also the guilt of not being able to do anything for Diwali, so some of these recipes are just trying to make up for it.

Here are some of the components.

Paneer Tikki

Fresh crumbled Paneer - 1/2 cup
Chickpea flour (Besan) - 2 tbsp.
Ghee - 1 tsp.
Freshly ground fennel seeds - 1 tbsp.
Freshly ground Anaardana - 1 tbsp.
Ground cumin-corriander powder - 1 tbsp.
Dry Mango Powder (Amchoor) - 1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp.
Finely minced green chilly - 1 small
Cashewnut pieces - 2 tbsp.
Raisins - a few
salt to taste.
Oil to fry.

Roast the Besan in ghee on a medium flame till light brown. Let cool. Mix all the ingredients, except cashewnuts, raisins and oil, and knead well. make small balls, flatten, stuff with cashewnuts and raisins, form into small tikkis and fry.

Hopefully, I'll be able to reheat them and get the same texture. These definitely fall in the "No one can eat just one" category.

Mathri/Farsi Puri

My younger Mami used to make this. I don't remember her recipe, but I got a similar recipe for Mathri on You Tube. Here's a very nice video. I followed the recipe to the letter. I love the lady in these videos. Here's the recipe, just for reference.

2 cups of All purpose flour.
1/2 cup Sooji (Semolina)
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Ajwain (Oregano seeds)
1/2 cup luke-warm water.
Oil for frying.

Make a very stiff dough using all the ingredients. Knead well and roll out small, slightly thick puris. Prick them with a fork. The trick I learnt from the video is to prick many puris simultaneously. If the dough is nice and stiff, then this trick should work without trouble. Fry them on a very low heat. Reminded me of my Mama's home. Also gave me a little sense of gratification of celebrating belated Diwali.

Methi Thepla

This one's the classic. Staple in a Gujju household. I haven't made them in a while. The recipe is almost what I remember from what my mom taught me. Although I'm pretty sure mom did not use Besan and rice flour, but I think they make them more interesting. Here's the recipe:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Besan
1/4 cup Rice flour
1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped Methi (Fenugreek leaves)
1 ripe banana, mashed
2-3 tbsp oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp Dhaana Jeeru
2 tbsp Sugar (Yeah..that's what makes it gujarati)
1/2 cup yogurt
Salt to taste

Make a very soft dough using all the ingredients. The dough should feel very soft and silky. I did not use any water. Knead well, make into small balls and roll out into small rotis. Cook on both sides first, followed by shallow frying in oil, like any other paratha. These stay fresh for days even without refrigeration. If you've ever traveled in India with a Gujarati, you would have tasted these. They stay good for several weeks if properly refrigerated. I think the ones with banana might not keep for too long, but they are definitely softer and sweeter.

I had some for dinner with plain yogurt and sweet lime pickle. Miss home..

Upama Mix

This has got to be one of the staples of Indian couples in a long distance relationship. My dear friend P. who was visiting her husband from India gave me the idea. It made total sense. Yes, Upama is easy. But it's also easy to mess up the tadka, for some of the inexperienced and may I also say, pampered Indian men. Plus they rarely ever have ingredients like udad dal, curry leaves and cashew nuts on hand. One solution is the pre-packaged upama mixes. Now, I'm all for ready-to-use mixes whenever available, but for Upama, it seems like an overkill. It's so easy and inexpensive to prepare the mix at home, and you can also control the quality of ingredients. L. likes lots of nuts, so I make sure I go heavy on cashew nuts in this recipe. That's what makes it special. It's also a very simple way of making your presence felt in the day-to-day life of the special one, who's far away.

You can make large quantities of these and pack in air-tight containers. I guess the shelf life is easily a couple of months, if care is taken to not introduce any water during the whole process. You might also omit (or replace) the green chillis to increase the shelf life. This is perfect for that Saturday afternoon, when he can't figure out what to make. Just add boiling water (and salt, if you chose not to add it to the mix). Of course, you can also make this for yourself.

Ghee - 3 tbsp
Semolina - 2 cups
Mustard seeds - 2 tbsp
Udad Dal - 1/4 cup
Green chillis, slit open - 5-6
Curry leaves - two twigs
Cashewnuts - 1 cup
Hing - 1 tsp

Heat ghee in a big skillet. Add the ingredients of the Tadka one by one and fry till udad dal and cashew nuts turn golden brown. Add the Semolina and roast on a medium flame until fragrant and done. Cool completely and store in an air tight container.

When making the upama, add boiled water (1 part upama mix to 2.5 parts water, depending on the coarseness of semolina) and salt. Optionally, you can also add boiled green peas, or mixed vegetables. If you want to make a Gujarati version, add some sugar and lemon juice (Yes, that's how we like our upama). Or, add sauted onions. You can garnish this with freshly chopped coriander leaves and freshly grated coconut and lemon wedges. All of these are optional. Adding your love while packing the upama mix is not. (Damn...that's too cheesy na?)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A new beginning

This post is about a new beginning in more ways than one. I'm finally going to start blogging about recipes now ('s a food blog..what was I thinking so far?), and the first recipe is about a new beginning in my life. My parents have consented to my decision about my marriage. I'm sure there are plenty of Indian girls out there, who understand exactly what a huge relief this is. I came up with this recipe to celebrate this wonderful milestone with L. I was visiting L. for the first time on the weekend following Dashera, a week after my parents broke the news to me. So this had to be something really special.

There are several different inspirations for this recipe. I love mangoes, so I had to make something with Mangoes. My eldest Masi taught me how to make chocolate walnut fudge (similar to the one sold by Cooper's in Lonavala). So, I decided to make Mango fudge, and felt that Cashews would go well with Mango. So, it's a Mango - Cashew Fudge.
The decoration is inspired by the typical decoration of 'Kalvo'. Now, Kalvo is the basic Besan sweet, decorated with nuts and gifted to the bride and the groom by the families. I think the final look of this dish does resemble a 'Kalvo' that my family would one day bring for L. Here's to new beginnings...

Mango - Cashew Fudge:

1 can Mango pulp (I used Kesar, but Alphonso might work better)
1 can condensed milk
1 can full milk
1 cup coarse cashew powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter (unsalted)
1 tsp. cardamom powder
1/2 cup mixed nuts powder (almonds, pistachios, etc.) (optional)
Nuts for garnish.

In a thick bottomed or nonstick pan, mix all the ingredients, leaving out 1/4 stick of butter and cardamom. Mix well and stir on medium heat. Keep stirring till the mixture becomes thick and starts leaving the side of the pan.

Add the remaining butter and cardamom powder. This adds a nice shine to the fudge. Set it in a buttered dish, cool, and garnish.

I assume this recipe might work well in the microwave too, although I haven't tried it. In case you're wondering about the chocolate walnut variation, replace Mango with chocolate powder, cashew nuts with finely chopped walnuts, and cardamom with vanilla. It really tastes like the one at Cooper's.

L. and our friends absolutely loved it. What I was singing in my heart though was the gujarati wedding song about Kalvo.."Kalvo khavdavava aavyaa honshe honshe".

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting there..but not quite

Here's an article on CNN about emerging healthy food habits...

It seems like it's going in the right direction...but still doesn't get to the heart of all the real issues. How does it affect the families? What does it mean for working women? Do we always have to wait for long term research studies conducted over two generations before changing our habits? Can't we think for ourselves, for a change?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

I don't like food competitions. I do watch them (and sometimes get addicted too), but I just don't think it's right. Isn't food supposed to be something that nourishes the body and the soul? Isn't every person's palet as unique as the individual? I agree that cooking is an art form too, but that's all the more reason why it should not be so competitive. I guess it started off as a friendly activity in the oriental palaces to encourage creativity of the chefs, but in its modern avatar, it does get pretty ugly sometimes. I understand that these shows are popular, and even fun, but what does it really say about the society that fosters more and more use of food fights as entertainment? There was a time when people believed that one man's food is another man's poison. It let people embrace diversity. I like my food sweet, you like it salty...what's the big fight? And what's the rush of preparing five fancy dishes under sixty minutes. Really..what IS the rush? I toally understand that like any other professional, a chef would like to show off his capabilities and show that he's really good at what he does and that he can handle all different kinds of pressures. But hello, it's food that we're talking about. I come from a culture that almost worships food. You can't do things to offend the "Annadevata" or god of foods. You worship "Maa Annapurna" (godess of mother who provides food) for giving you the ability to nourish the people who are going to eat your food. There is no place for a competition there, as far as I can think. Is food also one more medium to satiate a super ambitious modern food professionals' craving to prove supremacy over others?

On a side note, I've started noting an increase in the number of chef-centered movies in the recent times. Maybe this has something to do with with Ruth Rachael's remark about celebrity chefs. They are our new heros, since fewer people seem to think that their mom is the best cook in the world.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Slow food nation

I haven't read it yet. I'm not in any ways involved in the movement, nor do I completely agree with everything yet, but it's great to find people who think about food and how it affects our entire life.

Check out this fantastic and thought provoking video of a lecture by Carlo Petrini.

How can people interested in food not be interested in this stuff?

Ruth Reichl

My friend Anu gifted me "Comfort me with Apples" by Ruth Reichl (with a note saying, "to the best cook I've known after my mom"). I loved it. I recently stubled upon this video of her lecture at Princeton, titled "Watch what you eat".

Although there was a lot of focus on meat eating, to me it was very intersting how she talked about food and what that says about the society that consumes it. The talk and the question answer session brought out a lot of issues that I have been thinking about too. In fact, there are so many interesting aspects that I'll need a couple of posts to write about them!

But I must say, I'm really starting to admire her.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Four women and a future


Woman one: The Lambaadi woman mentioned in the previous post.
Profession: construction worker
Why her? Cause she was my mom's role model
Background and a typical day: Road construction work going on in some suburb of Mumbai. She belongs to the Lambadi tribe, which means she's a nomad and doesn't really belong to any place. She wears all her jewallary all the time. She lives in a temporary hut created near the construction site. Her day starts with hoping to be selected for work today. It's a good day. In the afternoon, she breast feeds her three month old who otherwise keeps staring from a temporary cloth hammock between two trees. In the evening evening, after a very hard day of physical work, she and her husband consolidate their day's earnings. They go to the local grocer and buy 20 ml oil (it was indeed a good day), 10 gms packs of (No, I'm not exaggerating) cumin seeds, musturd seeds, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. They also buy some potatoes and rice. Or maybe some Jawar flour. She Fetches some water from the nearby handpump/other water source, comes back to her dwelling and starts cooking. Everyone is very hungry. It smells delicious. A car stops at a traffic signal close to this part of the road and a woman is trying hard to resist the wonderful smell. She also resists the urge to get off the car and ask for a taste of whatever is cooking in that aluminium pot. The meal is served as soon as it comes off the wooden/coal stove. The light turns green and the woman in the car keeps staring at the whole family enjoying the piping hot rase waali potato sabzi with jawar roti..night falls and she sings a beautiful Lambaadi song to her three month was a good day indeed..hope the contractor is pleased with me tomorrow...
Specialities: rase waali potato sabzi, jawar roti

Woman two: Shashi Mami
Profession: Homemaker
Why her? She's one of the best cooks in my family...
Background and a typical day: Sometime in the sixties: Completed her B.A., joined the "Punjabi cooking classes", lived alone in a hostel in Mumbai for a short period of time, got married to my mama, a bright engineer living with a large joint family in a wealthy suburb of Mumbai. There were lots of weddings and babies in the family. In fact there was always one of them happening I think. And there were festivals and other feasts. My grandmother was a great cook (I've never really eaten anything she's cooked, but I've seen her instructing my maamis about spices for many years). Ba was very particular about ghaghra ni kor. In the early years, there were the young Nanands to help and maybe also give hints about the exact spices used in each vegetable. Eventually, most of the cooking was divided between the two Bahus, with the help from the older girls of the family and the old maid Parvati bai (who always lovingly gave me that very precious, tender and sweet, first portion of grated coconut). Summers were spent making pickles, storing grains (I still remember the arbian nights tales that she told us all while we were cleaning and picking a mountain of whole wheat). The feasts almost always involved traditional gujarati fare. Over the years, some Punjabi curries were added. The families seperated. Ba-Dadaji split their meals between the two families which lived in the same building. All three daughters are married. Ba-dadaji are no more now. The last I was wth her, this how her typical day looked like. The day starts with a cup of plain milk. Then it's time to make fresh flower mala for thakorji, followed by looking at the newspaper headlines. Then Seva. Lunch is (everyday, unless it's a special day) - Rotli, Daal, Bhaat, Shaak (thodu kachumbar) ne Thakorji ni "Baao ni goli" as sweet. Sometimes it's some sweet that one of the daughters sent. One piece. Not more. Mama would be ready for lunch by about 10.15 a.m. maybe 5 minutes here and there. Garam Rotli. Shashi tu chaal..Mama leaves at 10.30 - 10.45. He reaches work in 5 mins. Then mami winds up the kitchen, rests, watches one or two tv shows, catches up on her embroidery project, goes to her Mahila Mandal meeting, solves crossword, calls her daughters. 4.00 p.m. Tea. And a few biscutes, or khakhro made from the one extra rotli in the morning. 5.00 p.m. Shaak leva market (vegetable shopping). Mama is back. Dinner at 7.00. Bhakhri ne shaak. Maybe Garmaanu (Of course that's sweet). Weekends it's something interesting - Paav bhaji or ragda patice. Watch some shows on TV with mama. Some fruit or kulfi (which was later replaced by mama's faviourite natural scoop strictly). Walk on the terrace (This was absolutely religious...more than half my childhood memories from mama's home are from the terrace and mama-mami's night walks). After the walk, it was Jai shree Krishna time. Later, We could sometimes hear the sound of some nice old Mukesh songs emerging from their room. The feasts are now cooked by the Maharaj, under a strict supervision of Shashi mami. I think she still folds most of the "Ghughra ni kor" herself.
Specialities: Vatana na Ghughra (My absolute faviourite), Khasta Kachori (her favourite)

Woman Three: My mom
Profession: Ex-peadiatrician, businesswoman, spiritual practitioner
Why her? Duh
Background and a typical day: Very unusual woman. Came from a traditional gujarati family...same as the one described above. Went to med school. The condition was that she had to know cooking before going to med school. Had been cooking evening meals for the whole family since she was thirteen or so. Made up her cooking shortcuts right during those days to increase play time. Married a brilliant, ambitious and struggling engineer. After marriage, cooked for a big joint family. Worked in different hospitals as an honorary. Helped the husband in the business. Raised two children. Sorry, raised two incredibly active children. Always had time for catching that art exhibition in kalaghoda, last minute choragraphy of her daughter's dance show, riding a double decker (till the last stop and back) in the rain, and a thousand other such important and unimportant matters. Left medicine, changed relegion, got a full time MA in literature, managed business and kept doing some such unusual stuff. The size of the menu in the house didn't change much through the years. Breakfast was always freash upama, poha, paanki, kapuria. Tea or coffee (depending on what my dad was drinking), milk for everyone else, cereal (was added later) fruits and/or juice and few other stuff which kept going on and off the menu depending on the season or fad (like Magajtari raab or Spirulina). Lunch was always Rotli, Daal, Bhaat, Shaak, Salad, Dahi (or Chaas). Sometimes sweets. Or a little something. Dad took tiffin for many years. Still does. When we were in school, we would have lunch and leave for school. I don't know when she had lunch. Evening snack bhel or veg burger or something...anything that was a novelty, wanted to try, but could not replace dinner (which was most dishes, other than full fledged dinner)..dinner was thepla or parotha, Rasa waalu shaak, khichdi kadhi, salad. Some interesting desert (like custerd or fruit salad or kulfi or something new). I don't know what the dinner time was. Sometimes we ate together. Wednesdays was bhelpuri-paanipuri night cause she was away from home and it could be served cold. There were a lot of unexpected visitors. Offering them to join the meal was customery. The times when they had a home office, every visitor to the office was served fresh tea, coffee, pineapple juice, raw mango baflo or Faludo (the visitor was actually asked to chose). Weekends were usually special food. Family feasts and other parties were a combination of traditional food and modern novelties, depending on the occassion. In the later years, the fresh vegetables were bought once a week during the trip to the town. Somewhere when the children were in school, and she was working in her husbands business, one meal was prepared by a maid. Maids were interviewed and trained carefully. Preparing the menu for the week always remained complicated. The family moved to a bigger home. The current maid cooks all the meals. She's well taken care of and lovingly cooks for mom and dad. Mom now cooks only when the maid is on leave. Mom taught me everything she knew about cooking. Every single recipe. Even the achars and papads. She made me cook everything at least once. We both agree that I make some of the dishes better. That's cause I usually spend more time. I can't make theplas like her. She conducts these informal sessions for my friends on how to cook in under twenty five minutes. Mom plans her cooking. I never attended one of those sessions.
Specialities: Laadu(my favourite), Undhiyu (crowd pleaser), Roller coaster (her favourite)

Woman Four: Me
Profession: Graduate Student
Why her? Duhhhh
Background and a typical day: A graduate student in Computer Science in a good university. Youngest and the most pampered in the family. Did some horribly torturous and rarely successful culinary experiments on her loving family and friends. Of her most famous experiments was spinach soup (a big pot of soup that was not edible but her mom didn't discard...a friend used to visit their home every day for one week to see the changing colors of that soup). But that's a very old story. Didn't take the straight road to grad school. Lived in big cities most of her life. Chose to live in this small town in an attempt to simplify life. Yeah right. Typical day? Get up at 9.30. Sleep again. 10.30. Check mails. Check Orkut. Check Blogs. Check News...shower. One of the two routes: skip breakfast and straight have lunch, if working from home. Lunch is pasta with mushroom soup (this roasted garlic variety can is a great find). Or grab a begal for breakfast and then lunch in school. Yes, the one and only fried taco salad at the Hatch. If working from home, three snack breaks. If in the lab, one "free food" break, one "hot chocolate" break and one "vending machine" break. Dinner is .. black bean chilli (Rachel Ray would be proud) with ready to bake biscutes (damn, didn't read the lables...have to get flakey layers next time)..there has to be some desert in the fridge...some cake or icecream...a big bowl..working late..super late night snack...cookies...Is this really typical?...naah...there are just too many random detours in the plan....Weekend entertaining...mostly fancy appetizers (I hardly ever repeat them) cosmopolitan Indian curries (almost always repeat them), and kheer. Yeah, if it's more than 10 people, it's always kheer. These days entertaining fewer friends. Tries some really gourmet recipes. They're almost always a success. The pantry is mostly italian. And I guess a bit indian too. I heard that her holi lunch was a typical gujarati feast, complete with kadhi and dhokla and sheero...wonder where that came from? So What does she really eat on a typical day? I really don't know.
Specialities: Veg Lasagna (her own recipe), Tiramisu(latest party favourite)


Food - the essence of our existance?

This is supposed to be a food blog. There are supposed to be recipes here...really...and pictures of the moltan lava chocolate cake that I made yesterday. This is definitely not a philosophy blabber blog...that would be my other blog. But I really can't help this.....

Basically, I'm your regular girl-next-door food enthusiast. I'm not big on health foods...or any of the other food fads that you might know of...I cook and eat everything that interests me...from around the world and that falls into the ovolactovegetarian category. I like sweets like a lot of people...and I miss my mom's cooking...I recipe books like for recipes online...these days also read other food reruns of food cooking tools....take lessons from professionals to learn new big fancy parties for a homesick crowd of friends...cook special meals for my loved ones....always appreciate a compliment about my cooking. I'm just your average "chef-wannabe-who-won't- (er..) actually-give-up-her-real-profession-to-enter- (um..) food-business".

But I do think a lot about food. And family. And I also think about world peace and everything in between. I always knew there was a connection, and I read some articles in the upcoming issue of the Time magazine, that are good attempts at finding that connection. But I think someone still needs to come out in the open (of course after a ton more research) and make these connections more explicit, alongwith a way to find solutions to our problems. It has to be done. There is going to be a lot more research done in many different departments of (at least US) universities connected to food....public health, biology, chemistry, psychology, history, anthropology, women's studies, economy, business, enviorenmental sciences, politics, cultural studies, art and so on....Some of this work is very important and needs to be highlighted or encouraged(for example a simple study of eating habits of cultures around the world and its correlation with health indicators) while others seem to be hogging a lot of resources, but (at least by my prediction) fruitless (and sometimes commercially selfish) efforts (for example the complicated procedures suggested in the TIME article about science of appetite, which deals with trying to manage the two dozon hormones and peptides that help manage our appetite). Well, at least I'm glad that people have really started talking and thinking about it.

My mom was always jealous of that Lambadi woman construction worker, who earned daily wages and bought all her groceries everyday. Mom could never resist the smell of the food being cooked on the roadside (not necessarily in unhygeinic conditions), which would be consumed by that woman's hungry family right off the stove. I didn't completely understand why mom was so jealous of her. Now I do. She was my mom's culinary (and maybe even personal) role model, but life got too complicated and somewhere mom gave up. I don't want to.

Maybe food is not the only essence of our existance. I know there's so much more...but from our instinctive need for survival to our natural desire to really affects the simple rhythm of our do we achieve that super fine balance? for me, I know that some of our ancestors had figured it all out.....and then most of us lost it along the way...but we live in a different world...and we have to figure it out ourselves again....I am determined to find it....cause our ancestors also tried to give us keys to the doorways between food and ultimate happiness. They didn't hide those keys in mere recipes...or did they?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

About the title

So I finally gave in to the temptation of creating a food blog. 'Rasaswad' is the name of a Gujarati cookbook I read many years ago. 'Rasa' is found in all different kinds of art forms, but I think that cooking involves the most primitive and the most refined forms of 'Rasa'. On one level, 'Rasaswad' means enjoying the essence of life through senses. In many philosophies, you need to go beyond the senses to attain ultimate knowledge of the universe. Till I reach that level, I'm happy immersing myself in the 'Rasa' of life.

Although 'Rasaswad' is central to food and cooking, to me, food is also a great way to bring people together. To share joys and to bridge the differences between cultures. To connect with one's own insticts. I hope this blog helps the process...