Dabbling in Indian food with my first Chicken Shahi Korma Recipe

What comes to your mind when I say colourful food? My thoughts for some reason, always drift to Indian food. If you line up Indian dishes side by side it would look like a rainbow of interestingness. And the best part is that Indian food cooked right never disappoints in the taste department. I admit Indian food is not something I have often but it’s something I love thanks to the vibrant colours, the flavours and smells that really have a way of capturing your full attention. Not to mention most of the dishes are braised or in stew form with a lot of sauce, making them hearty and comforting.

Here in the Philippines most of the Indian restaurants aren’t technically authentic anymore since dishes have been adapted to local taste. (Aka toned down.) The key is to look for a place with a head chef that’s actually from India, as I did experience once while dining at Shangri-la Makati. That’s not to say the commercialized Indian restaurants cook bad food, but I know of some people who have actually been to India and eaten real Indian food and they would comment that the dishes in most Indian restaurants here aren’t as “pungent” or “strong”.

Quick question: Can anyone recommend a good Indian restaurant in Metro Manila?

Well I actually feel that Indian food isn’t as popular here, if you compare it to the popularity of other Asian cuisines anyway. Most people seem to have this misconception about Indian food being “spicy” as in hot, rather than what I think it stands for more, which is spicy in the sense that every dish uses a whole lot of spices. The spices are what give Indian dishes their signature one-two punch after all.

Often when I take a look at Indian recipes, the ingredients consist of a long list of spices; half of them I’m not even sure I can find here, though I’ve never ventured to the local Little India as of this writing. I imagine this is the logical first step if I truly want to familiarize myself with Indian spices and ingredients. I need to gain and understanding of the appearance, the smells, and the flavours of the different spices, also in order for me to know if what I’ve whipped up is something that even tastes remotely like the real thing.

There’s a danger in playing with too much spices though, and if left in the wrong hands it could go awfully wrong. Mostly the danger is in adding too much to the point that a dish starts to taste strange, but like I said, Indian dishes done right are pretty darn amazing. UHHH-MAZING. It’s literally a feast for all the senses, from sight and smell, down to how it feels in your mouth. Indian food settles in your stomach nicely too, leaving you a good feeling of satisfaction.

So this dish today… Well I can’t vouch for authenticity. I don’t have any Indian friends who can come over, taste the food and tell me what I’ve done right or wrong. (I can wish though right?) Regardless I would really like to learn how to make Indian dishes. I’m quite partial to curries to be honest, but I thought it would be nice to try something else for now.
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Indian Bread Diaries #1: Learning how to make Soft Roti or Phulka

I don’t often mention it on the blog but Indian cuisine has become one of my favourites in the recent years. I especially love eating Indian Roti Canai with lightly spicy curry. Something about it is so immensely satisfying I can’t even put it to words. I just love this duo particularly, but I’m a fan of Indian dishes in general because they are so full of flavours that jump out at you in a good way, with the sauces capturing all the flavours for you to savour. I really like dishes that have some sauciness to them.

Despite liking Indian food I haven’t been cooking a lot of it at home. I simply don’t have enough of their spices to do home-cooked Indian food any justice. So while I’m trying to build up my spice rack, I figured I’d take some Indian cooking baby steps and start with some simple Indian soft rotis (aka phulka) to pair up with a little something else easy I whipped up.

Just like a diligent student I first did a bit of reading up on this particular type of bread, the phulka, which are basically unleavened flat breads that are cooked directly over heat until they puff. (I’m planning on making my favourite Roti Canai next and I’m super excited already!) Watching the roti puff up is definitely the best part of all this, as I’ll be showing you a little later on.
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Pinoy food made easy with Yummy Mag, Kitchenaid, and Chef Gino Gonzalez

I think every person who likes baking has at one time or another coveted a Kitchenaid mixer. When I was just beginning to discover my own love for baking I was using my mother’s antique (literally) mixer, and it was cute but there wasn’t much it could do apart from make regular batter. As I learned more and more I began to wonder if getting myself a Kitchenaid would be the right thing to do. It’s an investment for sure, but it’s been more than 3 years since I got mine and I can tell you it is well-loved and well-used.

And then Kitchenaid had to come out with their Artisan line. So now every time I pass by a shelf of those shiny pretty things in all the pretty colours I feel a little tug of desire. In fact I’ve got colours– yes PLURAL– that I’ve memorized in my head of the mixers I want: Buttercup and Aqua Sky. I don’t need two mixers in my life at this point but it’s good for future reference right? These new tilt-head stand mixers are the ones you can attach a glass bowl to if I’m not mistaken, which would’ve been perfect for my recipe video tutorials, but hey, my heavy duty Kitchenaid is still awesome and I’ve used it on video tutorials anyway.

Now that you know how I actually feel about Kitchenaid, I don’t suppose it’s a surprise when I jumped at the invitation to attend a cooking demo they organized in conjunction with Yummy Magazine. This is their second time to team up for a cooking demo and just like with the first leg which I missed, they tapped one of the country’s most sought-after chefs. This time it’s Chef Gino Gonzalez. The cooking demo was being held at Enderun College at Taguig and I’ve been wanting to see the inside of that cooking school for a while too! Lucky me!

I went to the cooking demo with my youngest brother Wilbert and when we arrived, we saw that outside the main venue there were long tables chock full of ingredients and kitchen equipment. They call this the ‘Make Your Own Bar’. Participants of the event got to make 3 different recipes on their own using 3 different Kitchenaid appliances to make things easier.

It was definitely a good opportunity to try out the Kitchenaid line of products, which are all so gorgeous and shiny! The three recipes you get to make hands-on here are the Ube-Keso Trifle, Mango-Lychee Smoothie, and the Tinapa Pate.
Read on for some Yummy X Kitchenaid Easy Recipes! >>

Fresh-from-the-garden mint and chocolate truffle cookies

How much of our lives are driven by fantasy? I’m not talking about delusions by the way. I’m referring to what most other people call hopes and dreams. With the popularity of Instagram feeds that make you go all I-want-that-life, to the even more impossibly lovely things you can come across on Pinterest, it’s almost too easy to spin bigger webs of fantasy in the mind. Things that you aspire to and want to achieve, so to speak.

I’m certainly not immune to these thoughts. I’ve always had an active imagination, and if anything being exposed to Instagram and Pinterest has only fuelled that some more. You know all those shots of absolutely gorgeous homes and spaces that look like they belong in magazines? I think those are what affect my fantasies the most. My dream home.

In my mind, my dream home has a small quaint bedroom with a soft-as-a-cloud bed; a spacious office/studio area with tall windows and plenty of brainstorming space; a big library with a window seat and humongous shelves lined with a gazillion books; and an even larger kitchen with a centre island counter and plenty of tablespace for prep-work as well as eating.

And then there has to be a garden. I’m not all too ambitious about this garden but maybe some tomatoes here, calamansi there. I know a mango tree is out of the question though it would be great to have one. But there definitely has to be herbs in there. Basil, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, among others… And of course mint.

Right now we have mint in the garden alongside some basil and bird’s eye chillis. But how nice would it be if you would simply need to step out your backdoor any time you want to cook something that requires fresh herbs? It feels a little different to say that you use your own grown-from-the-garden greens somehow. Makes you feel a little prouder I think. At least that was how I felt while I was making this Fresh Mint Chocolate Truffle Cookies recipe. I was excited to be able to sit here after the fact and shout to the world, I baked something using mint from my garden! Come look!

Even if you all probably have better home gardens than I do. 😉
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