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At Home with Nanda Shirke recipes to share with friends…

I started cooking and baking in my early teens.  I think my love for food drove me to it. My mother gave me complete freedom in her kitchen and that helped. I learned to cook watching my mother, my grandmother, my aunt and later my mother-in-law. There were no recipe books just ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that’. Growing up, my siblings loved everything I made and that was very encouraging. My family loves to eat – traditional Indian food and otherwise. It gives me a lot of joy to make Indian food for my friends in Pictou County. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

Custom Curry

Every home has its own curry powder (give and take a few ingredients).  Also curry powders may differ for every curry.

Chick Pea Curry

India is a hot country and fresh vegetables are not so easily or cheaply available all through the year.  A lot of our daily consumption includes lentils and legumes.  In this recipe you could substitute chickpeas with any other legume or even lentils. 

Ingredients:
1 can chick peas
1 med size tomato finely chopped (or mushed)
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
1” piece of ginger julienned
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp paprika (optional)
1 tsp fresh garam masala (or curry powder)
1 tsp crushed fenugreek leaves (optional)
Chopped cilantro and lime juice for garnish
Oil
Salt

Method:

Drain the chickpeas and rinse them and keep them aside.  Heat the oil.  Add onions. When the onions turn transparent, add the ginger and garlic and let it cook for a minute.  Add all the dry spices.  In a minute, add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.  Throw in the rinsed chick peas and ½ cup of water.  Let this simmer for 5-6 minutes.  Serve with warm nan bread or basmati rice, garnished with cilantro and lime juice.

Palak Paneer (spinach with cottage cheese)

Paneer is very popular with vegetarians in India.  Fresh paneer is available at every grocery store.  It tastes a bit like mozzarella and we often make it at home.  It is used in a variety of recipes and you could eat it as is, too. 

Ingredients:
1 bag of baby spinach (blanched and pureed)
1 packet of paneer (I get mine at the superstore)
1 small size tomato finely chopped (or mushed)
2 tbl sps onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
1” piece of ginger julienned
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp paprika (optional)
½ tsp fresh garam masala (or curry powder)
Salt to taste
Oil as per your preference

Method:

Cube the paneer in small bite size portions.  Set aside.  Heat the oil.  Add onions. When the onions turn transparent, add the ginger and garlic and let it cook for a minute.  Add all the dry spices.  In a minute, add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add the pureed spinach and let it simmer for 2 mins.  Drop the cubed paneer in the spinach mixture and once again let it simmer for 3-4 min.  Serve with warm naan bread or basmati rice.

Cucumber Yoghurt Raita

Yoghurt is a big part of the Indian cuisine.  It is used as a marinade, added to curries to make them creamy, used as a riser, eaten as a dip or had just like that.  It helps cool down the body, especially with all the heat in India).  The combination of yoghurt and cucumber with some roasted and crushed peanuts reminds me of my grandmother.  This  is a side dish but I can make a meal of it.

Ingredients:
1 med size cucumber grated
1 cup plain yoghurt
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp maple syrup
¼ cup roasted crushed peanuts (optional)
Method:
Mix all the above ingredients and enjoy.

Mango Lassi

Mango is the most popular fruit of India.  It is called the king of fruits and much loved all across the country.  It is available in a lot of varieties and eaten/cooked in its raw and ripened form.  You can make a lassi without mango too – it is called plain lassi.

Ingredients:
½ cup mango pulp (canned or fresh)
½ cup plain yoghurt
2 tsp maple syrup
7-8 cubes of ice

Method:

Put all the ingredients in a blender and serve in a tall glass garnished with a mint leaf (again optional).

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Sarah Butland
Sarah Butland welcomes fall as a time for regrouping as kids return to school, rinks and schedules while parents think of lunches and early mornings, but every season is about books for Sarah Butland. Whether reading on the shoreline in the cool air of autumn, beside a fire in the winter or amid the breathtaking rebirth of spring, good books by amazing local authors abound and take the reader to a brand new world! A Circle on the Surface offered Butland a new world and a new time!