Monday, March 18, 2013

Shakshuka | Eggs poached in spicy sauce

Shakshuka  meaning 'to shake' in Hebrew is an Israeli breakfast staple. This hearty breakfast meal can easily please most people for its simplicity in ingredients. It can be made in a jiffy like egg burji. All you need is a fresh loaf of airy bread to dunk into the sauce. Perfect for a sunday brunch!
Anyways, I have great love for Middle eastern food and you are going to see more recipes of it coming soon here :)

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Serves : 2

You will need:
2 Eggs 
1 large Onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 large tomatoes
1 green chilly 
1/4 tsp red chilli powder/Paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
a pinch of sugar
a handful of fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt as per taste

1. Chop tomatoes, onions, garlic, green chillies and coriander leaves to fine pieces.

2. Heat skillet with the olive oil. Add the onions and fry till translucent.

3. Add the garlic, green chillies and tomatoes with the spices, salt and sugar. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add 1/4 cup of water if you want it more sauce-y. Stir in finely chopped corainder leaves.

5. Crack open the eggs on the sauce. Do not stir the sauce now.  Everyone likes their eggs cooked     differently. So cook it for 4 mins or more, as per the desired consistency of egg you'd want.

Long time ago, I made the eggs well cooked in a thick sauce as I was having with Pita bread.

We also tried runny eggs with soupy sauce with nice and spongy bread. Both versions were uncompromising in taste!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Paneer dumplings in spicy gravy | Rasgulla Korma

Rasgulla Korma can be a deceiving name for this dish. You see, Rasgulla is a famous sweet item and many Rasgulla puritans could be offended by this name. The idea of curry-ing the paneer balls occurred to me while I was making Rasgulla recently. So, I'd like to call this recipe 'Rasgulla Korma'.

This recipe calls for the same paneer balls/dumplings that we need for the rasgullas. Here is the link to make paneer balls. Instead of boiling the paneer in sugar syrup it is going to be cooked in a spicy gravy.

If you are the person like me who is making paneer at home, then I would totally recommend this recipe. Because you don't have to wait for hours together to get the paneer in shape like cubes. Just curdle the milk, strain the cheese, squeeze the water out, knead for 5 mins and you are good to make this curry.

Preparation time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 3-4 Persons

You will need:

Paneer dough from 1 liter milk (procedure here)
1 large onion
2 tomatoes
1/4 cup of thick curd/yogurt
1/4 cup grated coconut
1 inch piece of ginger 
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp ghee
Salt to taste


Chop the onions, tomatoes and ginger. 

Shape the paneer dough into a smooth balls without any cracks and keep it covered using a damp cloth.

Blend together tomatoes, coconut, ginger, garlic and curd/yogurt to a smooth mixture.

Heat oil and ghee together in a pressure cooker. Add the onions and fry till translucent. 

Add turmeric, coriander and chilly powder. Pour a dash of water to keep the spices from burning.

Pour the blended mixture with salt and sugar. Saute till you see the oil separating from the curry.

Add approximately 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Gently drop the paneer balls into the boiling gravy. 

In the medium-low heat, pressure cook the curry for one whistle.

Release the steam, mix in garam masala and serve.

A sumptuous side dish for any Pulao and Indian flat breads. We tried with Peas Pulao and it was a match made in heaven :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Japamala Resort, Tioman Island | Malaysia's best kept secret

Tioman Island - Not a famous location for romantic getaways. Its well-known for underwater sports such as snorkeling and sea-diving. But we decided to visit Tioman for Japamala resort and we don't regret our choice at all. In fact, we are still raving about this place to our friends and family. I am well aware there are lot of places on earth that are incredibly beautiful.But this place has everything one would expect on a relaxing vacation: lovely weather, hilly regions, beach view, privacy and above all it was within our budget. 

Japamala is an eco-resort built without moving a rock or cutting a tree or even a branch. This boutique resort can accomodate only 30 guests at a time and if you go on an off- season then you hardly see people and get it for half the price ;)

Reaching this island is fairly easy from Singapore or Malaysia. There is a flight run by Berjaya airways which takes approximately 40 mins to  reach this island. Japamala staff will be waiting to take you to the resort-which involves an exciting ferry ride... And just 20 minutes later, you will feel like a rockstar at his/her own island retreat. A lengthy jetty, scenic beach, the view of lush jungle and chalets perched on cliffs are those first things that will catch your sight. Once you arrive, you will be welcomed with a super refreshing lemon grass drink. 

There are a range of sarangs (guest houses/villas) and chalets to choose  from -like tiny houses built on sea cliff, tree tops, hillside, jungle side etc. We chose to stay in a tree top chalet and a hillside sarang with a hydro-pool. 

We encountered some monitor lizards and naughty monkeys. 

We befriended a jungle lizard on our way to the sarang..

Decadent Italian food at Mandi-Mandi..

There are two restaurants catering to the resort guests - Tamarind for Malay & Thai style cuisine and Mandi mandi for Italian gourmet. Both the restaurants' re top notch in quality.

Tamarind's Fried Banana fritters were finger-licking good..

 Mandi Mandi is built on the sea overlooking the vast expanse of the ocean on one side and the resort on the other side. With the village-style seating experience and the canopy on top it exuded the rustic charm. I totally loved Mandi-mandi ambiance especially during the night ..( was like the jetty lit with lights in the Kaaka Kaaka movie :P)

Snorkeling, trekking, boat-rides and canoeing are some of the recreational activities available in this island. The resort will provide the necessary snorkeling gear and canoes if you want to use them. 

Tender coconut on a sunny day..

Fragrance Oils for aromatic turn-down..

The Samadhi spa package was gifted by the resort as part of our stay and it was excellent! The staffs were intuitive and very responsive to the guests needs. 

With a heavy heart, we left this paradise after spending five glorious days.

 It was indeed a rustic-luxe jungle living experience!