Nimki is a popular savory pre-make snack from the bylanes of Uttar Pradesh. Nimki comes in many flavors and forms. In many homes, it is shaped like a diamond and called namak para, while in many others it is neatly folded into a layered triangle. Whatever be the shape, Nimki is always crisp, crunchy and a favorite tea-time munchie for the festive season. How to serve Nimki? There is only one answer, with your favorite pickle. Scoop out a generous helping of homemade achaar and serve it with Nimki. And not to forget garam garam chai. With this snack combination on the table, the chitter-chatter never seem to fade away. Or it lasts till the last piece of Nimki is devoured with the leftover masala of the pickle. Such is the magic of Nimki aka Indian style savory crackers.
June is here, and suddenly we stand on the cusp of summer. Heat at its peak, flora, and fauna at their dullest mood and there is almost nothing inspirational around. The scent of ripe mangoes and musk melon almost overpowering, every time we open the door of the fridge. The daylight lingers till late evening, and the skies have become that piercing bright blue. These – these few of my observations among many – whisper ‘summer is here’. And how to miss making Aam Ka Achaar (Mango Pickle), an Indian summer ritual that is common to almost every household.
Masala, a ground spice mixture is perhaps the most common and the easiest way of using whole spices. It takes a little effort to combine spices at home and make a spice blend. In the multitude of spice mix, Achaar Ka Masala stands out for its bright color and distinct aroma. There is more to this achaar masala than just pleasing senses. It carries a supreme role in the making of Indian pickles (achaar). Those bold, blazing, spicy, sweet, sour, pickles are incomplete without a teaspoon of achaar ka masala.
Recently, I was given a very original gift. A box of dried mango slices (sabut amchur) and a heritage recipe from the late grandma’s recipe journal. This was my first trial with the dried mango slices. When the market is loaded with the abundant produce of kaccha aam (raw mango) the wise house ladies like my mother, slice them and later sun-dry the raw mango slices to preserve them. The raw mango slices which I received as a culinary souvenir were the last from the last year’s batch. So I decided to get little adventurous with them and explore the sweet and spicy blends. This time of the year around summer, Sweet and Spicy Amchur Ki Launji is simmering in most of the kitchens of the neighbourhood. Ever since I was a child, Amchur Ki Meethi Chutney always fascinated my taste-buds. It is so hard not to scoop a chunk of launji from the jar using your fingers and lick it. But we used to relish Amchur Ki Launji in a refined manner as well by spreading it in between the Paratha or Puri.
Mint and Coriander Chutney Recipe is quick to make chutney that can spice-up any appetizer, especially Indian Chaats. No Indian street food fare is complete without spicy, flavorsome condiments. These condiments not only bring colors to the table but also provide a layer of flavors to the food. And green chutney is one such profound condiment. Green Chutney is fresh herb blend and perhaps the most common way of using mint and coriander in an everyday Indian meal. It takes a little effort to combine few basic ingredients and prepare chutney at home. It is a type of natural outburst of viridescent color. It is a bold and mint perfumed condiment mainly composed of fresh herbs. The addition of green chilies, garlic, ginger all together prepend to the taste of chutney. In India, green chutney is drizzled over just about anything from fruits to roasted meats, deep-fried fritters to Chaats. And it surely does make a difference to the character of the dish.
There are surely no shortcuts in life to happiness. The tale of Jugaadulal and his amusing shortcuts conveys an impactful message in a subtle manner with a dose of satire. The message is loud and clear each one of us has to work hard, plan ahead to cherish those countless moments of happiness in life with our loved ones.
How to make perfect Puri is no secret mantra, all it requires is bit of practice. Puri or Poori is renowned Indian puffed bread. These plump, spherical deep-fried breads are native of Indian sub-continent. The culinary tour of the by-lanes of old cities is never considered complete without enjoying Puri dipped in piping hot bold curries. In India, the early morning walk in forage of local breakfast or lust for piquant street food often concludes with Puri-Bhaji. Puri is always considered symbolic of the festive Indian meal. There is a kind of unsaid indulgence involved when we talk about Puri. An ultimate companion of spicy, soupy curries, Puri is quintessential bread to sop up these curries.
Sweet Raw Mango Chutney or Aam ka Chunda is a classic conventional grated raw mango condiment, which has an uncomplicated preparation process and a toothsome taste to it. The summer is at its bloom and the dryness in the air has drenched all the creative ideas in the kitchen. On one habitual dull afternoon, a basket full of raw mangoes landed on our kitchen counter from the neighbor’s backyard. The neighbor out of affection wanted to share the joy of bountiful produce with us. This sweet gesture brightened the sweltering day for the first few minutes but then our thoughts started racing against time thinking of the recipe ideas to extract the best out of these light green tangy flavored tropical delights.