<![CDATA[Curious Cookery: <br />Tales of a Hyderabadi Foodie - Curious Cookery: Tales of a Hyderabadi Foodie]]>Tue, 29 Dec 2015 09:19:41 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Want to make your face smooth and glowey?]]>Fri, 04 Apr 2014 00:07:29 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/want-to-make-your-face-smooth-and-gloweyWait, isn't this a food blog? Nah, not really, it's pretty much an everything-and-anything-blog. Besides, women need to indulge in stress-relief more often than they do. Earlier this morning, I read that women are 42% more likely to over-analyze things than men, leading to a greater amount of stress.

Yup. Taking care of your skin, especially the face, is very important for rejuvenating the skin and feeling at ease. Although I discovered this at-home beauty regimen a few months ago, I have only done it once (shame on me). The result was nothing less than magical. I was left with radiant baby-soft skin, Simply amazing. Today was my second time and again it was nothing short of splendid.

A couple of notes:
Try it out conservatively, especially if your skin is prone to rashes.

Be wary of the amount, I think it's safe to cut down to half the proportions listed unless you will be applying it to other areas of the body (which is perfectly okay).

It gets messy so make sure you're wearing your most comfortable worn out t-shirt (I'm sure you would already be wearing one if you're trying to relax).

If you haven't tried it yet, please do take some time out of your day and indulge. Trust me, you will come out of it completely refreshed, inside and out.

The best part: minimal daily use ingredients. It feels great to know that nothing will happen if what you're applying gets in your eyes or mouth.


Step One: Set the scene 
I went a little overboard with the amount of songs since I only needed 1-2 hours worth)
Step Two: Cleanse
I used Rose Petal Dead Sea Salt Soap from Whole Foods
Step Three: Exfoliate
I used the first sugar-honey scrub listed on the website. We use sugar-in-the-raw so I ground it first so it wouldn't be too rough. Then I added honey, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. It's almost like you're baking, except you're not. There will be some redness after this step but do not get discouraged, trust me. 
Step Four: Tone
Step 5: Steam
This is the toughest part, the skin on our face is pretty sensitive so a lot of heat for an extended period of time (5 minutes straight) can make you feel very uncomfortable but again, trust me, it is totally worth it.
Step 6: Apply a Mask
I fell in love with this mask last time I did it. My skin became super soft.
Step 7: Moisturize
Another Whole Foods product, you probably noticed a reoccurring theme (ain't no shame in loving Whole Foods =)).
<![CDATA[Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Tomato Sauce]]>Wed, 19 Mar 2014 01:02:43 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/spaghetti-squash-pasta-with-tomato-sauceI think I officially love anything squash-related. This was my first time cooking Spaghetti Squash and I am so amazed by the fact that this vegetable literally comes in the form of pre-packaged noodles that just needs to be baked at 375° F for an hour and forked out. Amazing, just amazing. Okay so I followed this recipe for preparing the Spaghetti Squash Pasta minus the olives and bell pepper. I made a tomato sauce by following the usual recipe for any Indian curry (ginger-garlic paste, salt, red chili powder, and onion (proportions are below) with the addition of butter.


2 medium-sized spaghetti squashes

Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup canola oil
4 medium sized vine tomatoes
1/4 large red onion thinly sliced
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. red chili powder (extra hot) (1/2 tsp. for normal red chili powder)
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. butter  
1/4 cup cilantro
1 green chili

Feta cheese

1 bunch of Asparagus doused in olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and baked at 400° F for 15 minutes.
First, preheat the oven to 375° F. Then, poke some holes in your spaghetti squash and bake for 1 hour.
While you are waiting for the spaghetti squash to bake through, prepare the tomato sauce. First fry onion on medium-high heat until slightly browned. Then, add ginger-garlic paste and fry for one to two minutes. Add tomatoes along with all of the spices and cook on medium heat until all the spices are well blended and the tomatoes reach a sauce-like consistency. Reserve some cilantro for garnishing.
Once the spaghetti squash has baked through, remove the seeded portion by scooping it out and discard it. Then, fork out (scrape with a fork/spoon) the rest of the spaghetti squash into a plate.
Add the tomato sauce to the spaghetti squash pasta and garnish with feta cheese and remaining cilantro. Add Asparagus as a side.
And there you have a delicious, healthy, and filling dinner! Enjoy!
<![CDATA[French Toast Sunday]]>Sun, 09 Mar 2014 15:56:50 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/french-toast-sundayI know, I know, so very unhealthy. But hey, we are (hopefully) going to go running today. 

I never in my life imagined making French Toast with any other bread than with the normal generic loaf of white bread soaked in a mix of beaten eggs, sugar, salt, and milk. Oh and of course, it had to be fried. If you haven't imagined making it in any other way either, here's something that will blow your mind: you can make French Toast with Challah Bread in an OVEN! Yes, oven. Also, you don't even need any toppings after you bake it! Super easy recipe, thanks to Debbie @ Smitten Kitchen. Also, I would like to dedicate this post to Baker in a Beret, not because she loves all things baked but more because I used brie cheese from Paris in the recipe instead of the mascarpone and we know how much she loves Paris =)! Anyways, Sundays should be for relaxation and simply savoring that special brunch you have (because we all know how important it is to sleep in, especially when you lose an hour)! Happy Sunday to all and wishing you a wonderful week ahead!
<![CDATA[Jicama? Yes, please.]]>Tue, 25 Feb 2014 22:09:52 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/jicama-yes-pleaseJicama. Never heard of it? I didn't either for most of my life. I began seeing it during our trips to Whole Foods and always wondered what it was. I think our biggest problem is that we allow fear to overpower and intimidate. When we see something we have never heard of or seen before, we automatically make "that" face, you know which face I am talking about, the disgusted face that goes with: "ugh, what is that?!" I think we let the unfamiliar turn into fear, not just in terms of foods we've never heard of or seen but also in general about everything...(Note to self: Don't go off on a philosophical tangent, you scared them away with your last post). Anyways, where was I, aah yes, Jicama...a sweet and savory Mexican vegetable that can be had raw in cold salads or baked to a crisp fry-like texture. I chose the latter since we stopped doing salads after we started juicing. So, this is what the process looked something like: 
Peel 1.5 fairly large Jicama(s) (very difficult task, I need to figure out a technique), then slice into fry-size bits. At this time, you can probably preheat your oven to 400°F. Take a baking tray and line it with aluminum foil and place the Jicama pieces in it. I used this recipe with the following additions:

1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp. salt (or to your taste)
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. chili powder (because we have the extra-hot kind)
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. of fried onion
Handful of cilantro

Mix the above ingredients with your hands until Jicama is evenly coated. Put it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Every oven is different so make sure you keep checking on them so they don't burn.
Eh, voila, Jicama fries! If you want them to be a little juicier you can take them out 10-15 minutes earlier. See, that "thing" is not so scary anymore, is it? It's actually delicious if you ask me! 

I will hopefully have some more catch-up posts for you after next week. I went on a bit of a knitting frenzy, I hope you're excited to see what I knitted. Until then, here's a Lily to warm you up on those cold and snowy days.
<![CDATA[Contemplating, or maybe just stating the obvious...]]>Mon, 27 Jan 2014 23:39:31 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/contemplating-or-maybe-just-stating-the-obviousEver since last night, I have been thinking really hard about vanity and all it entails in this world. We all love to dress up and look our best. But what is truly our "best"? Does it mean to devalue our inner-most values, beliefs, and thoughts? Ignore what our heart tells us? Ignore what our conscience tells us? Vanity and uncertainty are so obviously linked but we often fail to accept this fact. We make ourselves believe that vanity is forever a friend of ours that will constantly be with us throughout every milestone in our lives, forgetting that it is uncertain whether we will even live to see another day. 

And then, there is uncertainty in general that remains constant throughout life. This, my dear friends, is that life-long companion whom we have completely shut out of our lives. Have you ever felt that feeling of excitement and dread, all at the same time, when you are about to embark upon a new journey in your life? Wondering whether you will be happy and successful or just plain sad and miserable. Emotions conflicting, never-ending questions, This lasts for a few hours, days, weeks, months..depending on how resilient you have become. And then, you take the plunge, you reach your destination, you achieve your goals and the uncertainty just disappears until you reach another grand milestone in your life. What about those hours, days, weeks, months in between? Do you ever think twice before acting? Do you ever question the uncertainty of the next minute? Of the next hour? How about the next day? Or the week? And so on. Simply stated, we do not.  

We have held vanity so close to us that we suffocate ourselves, while uncertainty longs to be breathed in...]]>
<![CDATA[Makhani Murgh aka Butter Chicken without any butter?!]]>Thu, 23 Jan 2014 02:02:21 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/makhani-murgh-aka-butter-chicken-without-any-butterEvery cooking session is different from the one before, even if you're making the same dish. Yes, indeed, it is. A little more of this, a little less of that...you get what I mean =). Today's post is special because it is dedicated to my Mamujaan =). 

Well, I made butter chicken again today mostly following this recipe. Last time I made it, I didn't provide a step-by-step photography breakdown, so here you go:
Starting off with the marinated chicken (I could have done without some of the yogurt, need to fix my proportioning for next time).
Necessary spices: Left to right (top): Cinnamon stick, 4 cardamom pods, and 4 cloves; Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Left to right (bottom): Garam masala and of course salt and chili powder. Ginger garlic paste is missing but it's a given (no Indian dish is made without this seasoning).
First, I fried some ginger garlic paste with the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and cloves. Next, I added about 4 small roma tomatoes and let them cook till they became tender and mixed them thoroughly until they were no longer visible.
I modified it from the original recipe by adding 1 cup milk and 1 and 1/4 cup yogurt (rather than just 1 and 1/4 cup half and half cream).
Voila, butter chicken!
Of course, we need some greens on the side, the best kind: asparag(oo)us.
I hope you enjoyed the post and to all of you who are experiencing the extreme cold weather, stay warm and cozy! 

More knitting projects coming your way in the next post =)!
<![CDATA[Knitting and Crocheting into the New Year]]>Fri, 10 Jan 2014 08:46:13 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/knitting-and-crochet-projects-into-the-new-yearFirstly, I would like to wish all of you a very happy and prosperous new year ahead, may all your wishes and dreams come true. 

As I had said earlier, I have no idea what this blog is or will become. So here goes..this is what I have been up to for the past month or so...oh aside from wedding vacay-ing in Cali which was a blast while it lasted. Many hearty congrats to the bride, groom, and their families!

So...I decided to knit/crochet gifts for everyone. My first project initially started off as a knit kuusk lace cowl which was way too complicated considering the thinness of the yarn. I shall attempt it again at a later date with the right size yarn. So this project actually turned into flat crochet circles for decor.
My next project was crochet sunflower mug rug coasters and a couple of easy mistake stitch neck warmers (this pattern is initially for a scarf but I just stopped halfway to make neck warmers).
Lastly I made some baby attire. I am well-versed in knitting baby booties and hats but this time I challenged myself to knit the enterlac stitch baby blanket.
I was able to complete it thanks to some fabric alignment and hand-stitching help from my hubby (I think it's high time we get a sewing machine). It felt good to accomplish this goal. My only hope now is that I can conquer my last two semesters of the MPH program as I did this baby blanket =).

And now...back to the grind..wishing all of you good luck on all of your endeavors...till we meet again!
<![CDATA[Dancing with Madhuri to Stay Fit!]]>Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:53:55 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/dancing-with-madhuri-to-stay-fit
Speaking of Aaja Nachle...I was stupefied when I came across Dance with Madhuri. You can literally dance with her in the comfort of your own home.

Go check it out! You can even upload the videos of your dance to get reviewed by Madhuri and her team of choreographers. You can also earn badges/rewards which will get you higher up on the leader board (consisting of all the people who have submitted videos).

So, why am I posting about it? Because it is a fun way to get in shape and it's free! Big thanks to Madhuri Dixit-Nene for making these dance lessons accessible to everyone (although some require earning badges). Nonetheless, the concept is amazing and we need more stars/influential people to promote such positive ways of staying healthy! 

If all of the above doesn't make you want to dance with Madhuri...check out this blog post about her latest dance.

<![CDATA[Aaaand...we're back!]]>Mon, 09 Dec 2013 19:11:26 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/aaaandwere-backSo yes, it has been three weeks since I've been gone. I'm sure you didn't miss me at all =P! 
Final exams and presentations got the best of me, I am finally done with the craziness. Thank goodness for Mama bear and for her unconditional love and her yummy food. Thanks to her I did not have to cook for an entire week (can you believe it, an ENTIRE week?!). The same week I spent slaving away and stressing out over my presentation and final exam.

Anyways, 2 courses over, 1 to go! Then, I shall be free for a few weeks till the most intense and life-changing year of my life begins (*graduation year*). WHAT?! I feel like it was just yesterday when I was this super hot mess and nervously entering (and leaving) the room after taking my GRE! I can't believe it is here so soon...the year...

Okay...let's take a deep breathe and remember what the hubby always says: "we will cross the bridge when we come to it." Yes, we will! Let's focus on the more immediate (fun) but first, a little flashback to last weekend (Thanksgiving/Early Birthday Celebrations Weekend) =).

So, we made a spontaneous decision to go up to Canada for the Thanksgiving long-weekend. I made an extreme chocolate cake and "surprised" one too-smart-to-be-surprised sister of mine for an early birthday.
We had some other real great fun too..roaming (literally getting lost) on our way to Gerrard St. and finally getting to Gerrard St. and being way too hungry and cold to walk around. Ate some amazing (as always) food from Lahore Tikka House.
Hubby actually saw downtown Toronto properly for the first time.
And of course we had to have a South Indian brunch to top it all of and yes that is coffee or "cafee" served upside down (the traditional way!). Hubby was super excited because the last time he was served coffee this way was back in Chennai, 10 years ago!
And of course, who can forget mom's home-made awesome Bagaarey Baigan, baked Tandoori Chicken, and Hyderabadi Biryani! I was too impatient and hungry to take a picture of the Biryani! Oh and of course Timmies a.k.a 'home is where the Tim Horton's is' =)! 
Hope you all enjoyed the pics. I'll hopefully be sharing with you some of my knitting experiences in the next post (I got a whole basket full of knitting to do, super excited for that!). 

Counting down to New Years Wedding Vacation in L.A.!!!!!! 3 weeks and 1 day!!!!!
<![CDATA[Tuesday Tangy Taters - Masala-fied and baked]]>Wed, 20 Nov 2013 00:44:11 GMThttp://curiouscookery.weebly.com/curious-cookery-tales-of-a-hyderabadi-foodie/tuesday-taters-masala-fied-and-bakedSorry, it has been a few days, but I am back!

Before I start I just want to say that I am a planner. In general, I love having a plan, being organized, and following that plan. This trait of mine really shows up every time I cook because I like neatly cutting every ingredient that needs to be cut and putting it aside for when I need it. It irks me when I don't do this, which usually happens when I have to cook in a hurry. I need to get better at this because later on down the road I will probably have very limited time for cooking and even less time for preparing to cook. 

What kind of cook are you? A spontaneous cook or a planner cook? Or do you not fall into a category? Share in the comments, I would love to know.

Today, I made some Indian style taters (potato). I was really bored of the usual khatta-saalan (sour-curry) + mittha saalan (sweet curry) combo so I decided to go ahead and...wait for it...NOT make a khatta saalan today! Instead, we will just be having spinach curry and masalafied and baked tuesday taters.

Tuesday Taters - Masala-fied and Baked

8-10 medium sized potatoes (cut into small cubes)
1 medium sized red onion (thinly sliced)
1 cup of almond meal flour
1 jumbo egg (whisked)
Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
2 and 1/4 tsps of salt
1/4 tsp of red chili powder
1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder 
1. Preheat oven to 450 F 
2. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, make sure potato is evenly covered
3. Line a baking dish with foil and spread some butter/oil on the bottom 
4. Put masala-fied potato into the baking dish, sprinke with some cilantro and green chillies, and bake for 40 minutes or until the potato pieces are dry and crispy

I also made some spinach and dill curry, Following the usual recipe, with the addition of 'soy ki bhaaji' or dill.

1 medium sized red onion (thinly sliced)
1 box of Earthbound triple-washed spinach
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 bunch of dill
1/4 bunch of cilantro
2 green chilies

Follow the same instructions as for my squash recipe except this recipe does not call for mustard seeds and cumin seeds and the dill should be added after the spinach is well-cooked. Once the dill is mixed well and has finished cooking, add the cilantro and green chilies and leave on low for a minute.

On Sunday we made some vermicelli or 'khaare seviyaan' as they are called in a Hyderabadi home.
I followed this recipe with the addition of 1 sprig of curry leaves and the exception of mustard and nigella seeds and bell pepper. This is kind of like our comfort food, it tastes especially satisfying on a rainy or snowy day.
Usually the vermicelli comes roasted but we decided to roast it some more, add water, bring to a boil and add the roasted vermicelli and cook for about 10-15 minutes until all the water is soaked up.
It tastes especially delicious with a dollop of yogurt. Yes, I am getting some of that Chennai influence for those of you wondering =P.