April 20, 2006

Finding strength to deal with this

As you read this, my mother, Thankam Narayanan, passed away on Sunday, April 17, 2006. Mind is quite distracted. We are now at our native place. I will say more when I get some time to catch my breath.

PS: My Dhaba will be able to come up with its VCC results only at a later date, which will be announced separately.

April 16, 2006

VCC Q1 2006 - announcement of the sponsor

We here at My Dhaba are delighted and proud to announce one of our sponsors for the Virtual Cooking Competition (VCC) Q1 2006, the Oman & UAE Exchange. To give you a brief about UAE exchange - they are the largest money exchange house in the Middle-East, specialized in fund transfer across the globe. UAE Exchange Centre has branches spread across UAE.

They have confirmed a contribution of Fifty Omani Riyals (50 OMR) approximately equals to 130 USD) to the VCC prize money of 250 USD. Thank you very much for your generous support.

April 11, 2006

VCC Q1 2006: Voting begins today

Now it is time to determine the first place winner of My Dhaba's Virtual Cooking Competition (VCC) Q1 2006.

Who do you think is the winner of VCC Q1 2006? My Dhaba team is hereby asking its readers and supporters to vote for their choice in determining the first place winner of the one-and-only virtual culinary competition. For this quarter Q1 2006, the VCC prize money is Two Hundred and Fifty US Dollars (250 USD), which will be sent to the first place winner of the competition within ten working days of the prize announcement date.

Public opinion poll: How to vote?
Cast your vote only once in favor of only one entry by mentioning the VCC entry code via feedback/comment option of this blog post. Any other text in the feedback is optional. Comment moderation has been enabled. Nonbloggers/Anonymous votes - we need your name and email address mentioned with your valuable votes for further reconfirmation of your vote; this is to avoid cheating. The VCC entrants are allowed to cast their votes for other participants. Last date to vote is April 20, 2006; 12 midnight EST.

My Dhaba's Virtual Cooking Competition (VCC) Q1 2006
Theme - Appetizers (Any cuisine)

Here is the complete list of participating entries with their VCC entry codes that link directly to its recipe details on a click. We received the recipes for entries VCC05, 29, 33, and 40 via emails; those are posted separately at My Dhaba and also at My Dhaba's google group.

Asparagus Bruschetta with Goats Cheese by Vaishali Beet Chops by Sury Bruschetta Al Pomodoro by Haalo - Entry I

Chapathi Chips and Spinach Chutney by Luv2cook Entry III Chicken Lollypop by Mohammed Hussein Crunchy taco shells by Vineela
Desi Style Paninis by Luv2Cook Entry II Egg Delight by Priya Entry I Fabulous Fakes - Samosas by Saffron Hut - Entry II
Fattoush by Haalo - Entry III Focaccia and zaatar flatbread by Marcela Green Peas Samosas by Priya Entry II
Hariyali Tikki by Priya Balabhaskaran Herbed Crepe with Smoked Salmon and Radishes by Zoubida Italian Oven Vegetables by Meeta
Linguine with a sage burnt butter sauce and sautéed Sweet Potato by Haalo - Entry II Liver Fry by Anthony Mango Kesari Baath by Lera
Masala Wada by Tanuja Mexican Indian Chaat by Saffron Hut - Entry I Mirchi Bajjis and Spicy Puffed Rice by Santhi
Onion Masala Pakoda by Sumi - Entry II Onion Samosa by Priya Karthik Entry II Paneer Kabobs by Veggie - Entry I
Paneer Kababs by Sailu Entry I Persimmon Pudding by R Kebabs by Santhi
Pineapple Rasam by Ramya Entry III Pineapple-Ginger Ceviche of Scallops on Vermecelli with Coriander & Mint by Xianhang Zhang Pomfret - Charcoal Grilled by Sailu Entry II
Popcorn Shrimps by RP Entry II Pumpkin Soup by Menu Today - Entry I Rum & Pepper Painted Halibut by Darren Mitchell

Spinach Soup with Coconut milk and Chicken - Martian Soup by Meeta Entry II Stuffed Mushrooms by Sumi - Entry I Sweet Burger and Fries by Indira  Entry I

Thair Vadai aka Lentil donuts in yogurt by Karthi Kannan Tomato rasam by Ramya Entry II Vegetable Frittata by RP
Vegetable spring roll by Mohammed Hussain Asian Spring Rolls with Indian Mint Chutney by BDSN

Every vote counts. Your input is valued and needed which will certainly make a difference in the result of this competition. We will leave it up to you... just make sure the right winner of this competition benefits from your decision.


April 10, 2006

Last call for entries to VCC - Q1 2006

Here is our last call for entries to My Dhaba's virtual cooking competition - VCC Q1 2006. Please note that we have made few changes to the general rules, procedures, and dates based on the requests from our guests.

In brief,
Virtual Cooking Competition (VCC) - Q1 2006
Theme - Appetizers (any cuisine)
Deadline for the submission of entries - April 10, 2006; 12 midnight EST
Public opinion poll - April 11-April 20, 2006; details will be posted tomorrow along with the show of participating entries
Results - April 21, 2006 (to be confirmed)
Prize money to the first place winner - 250 USD.
Details and guidelines are here.

We welcome you to participate in VCC-Q1 2006. Nominate your favorite appetizer recipe! Don’t Miss It!

For more information or to get help in nominating a recipe, feel free to contact us via blog comments or by e-mailing it to info.vkn@gmail.com.

VCC - Q1 2006: My Dhaba's announcement of prize money

The deadline for the submission of entries to My Dhaba's virtual cooking competition - Q1 2006 is April 10, 2006. The time has come so near. Folks - the deadline for the submission of the entries is tomorrow. Virtual cooking competition guidelines are here.

We are very pleased today to announce the prize for winner(s) of My Dhaba's quarterly culinary competition as promised before. For this quarter Q1 2006, the prize money is Two Hundred and Fifty US Dollars, which will be sent to the first place winner of the competition within ten working days of the prize announcement date.

We welcome you, your friends, dear and near ones, etc., to participate in VCC-Q1 2006. Nominate your favorite appetizer recipe! Don’t Miss It!


VCC29: Pineapple-Ginger Ceviche of Scallops on Vermecelli with Coriander & Mint

Pineapple-Ginger Ceviche of Scallops on Vermecelli with Coriander & Mint by Xianhang Zhang

Recipe by Xianhang Zhang

Pineapple-Ginger Ceviche of Scallops on Vermecelli with Coriander & Mint

Serves 4


300gm Scallops
1 Large Lemon
2 Limes
1/2 Red Onion
2 Birdseye Chillis
1 tbsp of Sambal
1 Thumb of Ginger
1/4 Pineapple
1 tbsp Sugar
2 Packets of Dried Vermecelli


Squeeze the juice from the lemons & limes and place in a non-reactive
bowl. Slice the scallops about 1/4 cm thin and place in the lime juice
along with the two chillis, diced, the sambal, the red onion, diced and
the ginger, finely grated. Season to taste and let marinate for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, cut the pineapple into chunks and sprinkle the sugar over the
top and let sit. After 2 hours, drain the liquid from the ceviche as
well as any liquid extracted from the pineapple and mix together. Add
equal parts boiling water as well as another tsp of salt and place the
vermicelli in the liquid and let soak. After 5 minutes or until the
vermicelli has absorbed all of the liquid, add more boiling water to
cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain off the water and put a pile
of vermicelli on each plate. Place some ceviche on top and then garnish
with coarsely chopped cilantro and mint leaves.

Tasting Notes:

This is a wonderfully refreshing summer dish that does an excellent job
of cleansing the palate. The use of the ceviche liquid to marinate the
vermicelli ensues that the flavour is absorbed into the noodles,
providing an interesting base note. The acid from the citrus, the heat
from the ginger/chillis and the fresh taste from the herbs serves the
clease and excite the palate so it for the next course.

Wine Recs:

A light, slightly sweet white. A New Zealand Sav Blanc would work well.

VCC: VCC Q1-2006

VCC05: Chicken lollypop

Chicken Lollypop

Recipe by Mohammed Hussein

8 chicken wings
1 cup bread crumps
1 tablespoon corn flour
A pinch of ajno motto (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil for deep frying
1 egg
1 tablespoon white pepper

Method: Beat egg well in a bowl. Add corn flour, ajno motto, salt, and white pepper powder and make a fine batter. Add chicken wings to it. Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan and pour in the chicken wings one at a time and deep fry until the chicken turns dark brown. Serve hot.

VCC: VCC Q1-2006

VCC40: Vegetable spring roll

Vegetable spring roll

Recipe by Mohammed Hussain

1 cup corn flour
1 medium size carrot, julienned
1/2 cup spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cabbage, julienned
1/2 cup beans, finely chopped
1/2 cup capsicum, julienned
A pinch ajno motto (optional)
2 teaspoon soya sauce
1/2 teaspooon salt
1 tablespoon oil + for deep frying
1 teaspoon white pepper powder

Method: Make a batter out of corn flour and a half cup of water. With this batter, make a thin pancake in a shallow frying pan similar to that of a hopper or dosai. Remove once cooked and keep it aside. Heat one tablespoon oil in a pan and add all cut vegetables and saute for a while. Mix in the soya sauce, ajno motto, salt, and white pepper powder. Remove and keep the vegetable mix over the pan cake and roll out. Seal the edges with the remaining batter. Fry in the oil until light brown and cut into desired shapes. Serve hot.

VCC: VCC Q1-2006

VCC33: Rum & Pepper Painted Halibut

Rum & Pepper Painted Halibut by Darren Mitchell

Recipe By Darren Mitchell

Rum & Pepper Painted Halibut
Ahi Tuna and Dungeness Crab Roll
Potato Crisp, Julienne Slaw
Roasted Red Pepper & Coconut Milk Cream
Wasabi Sesame Tuile

Yield: 4 portions

160 g Fresh Albion Halibut
250 g Fresh Albion Ahi Tuna
100 g Fresh or frozen Dungeness Crab
1 Russet potato
20 g Parmesan cheese
100 ml Clarified Butter ( or oil)
1 lemon
TT Fresh ground black pepper and fleur de sel( sea salt)
1 large red bell pepper( roasted, skin removed)
100 ml Canned coconut milk
1 Avocado ( ripe)
Pinch Tabiko Caviar
50 g each Fine Julienne of carrot, zucchini, Snow peas
red and yellow bell Peppers and leeks
Pinch Black and white sesame seeds, pink peppercorn
1 Rum and Pepper Paint ( recipe to follow)

Start by making the pepper paint recipe,
Potato crisp: On a mandolin, cut the potato very thin using the fine julienne attachment, in a bowl, mix with 30 ml of the clarified butter, parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan with a little clarified butter and add a small amount of the potato mixture at a time. Form them into circles while cooking using a heat resistant spatula. Cook till lightly brown, then place on a napkin to dry.
Julienne slaw: After slicing all the vegetables mix with a little rum and pepper paint and set aside.

Tuna and crab roll: In a bowl mix the crab meat with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Slice the tuna very thin and lay side by side, overlapping each other on a piece of saran wrap (roll it out with a rolling pin if to thick). Place the crab meat in a log shape along the tuna, then roll it up in the saran wrap (make sure it is as tight as possible). Cut 12 equal slices about ½ inch thick, then remove the saran wrap. Place moist paper towel over the tuna till you serve it. Cut little squares with any left over pieces for plate garnish.

Halibut:Slice the Halibut into four equal pieces. Heat sauté pan up with 20 ml of clarified butter and sear the halibut (presentation side down first) till they are nicely browned on both sides. Remove the fish from the pan and glaze them with the pepper paint and set aside.

Coconut Milk Cream:In a sauce pot heat up the coconut milk, roasted red peppers and a pinch of salt. After it is hot, blend it using a hand blender. Strain (Do this right before plating).

Plate Up:Using a pastry brush, dip it into the pepper paint and draw a design on the plate as you would like. Place 3 crab rolls in a small circle. Put two tbsp of slaw in the circle and top with a potato crisp. On top of that place the Halibut. Spoon some of the foam around the dish. Using the square pieces of tuna, lay them around the plate. Garnish with avocado slices, chervil and tabiko or as you please. Enjoy!

Rum and Pepper Paint
Yield:200 ml

100 g brown sugar
150 ml Soy Sauce
150 ml water
50 g scraps from leeks
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
50 ml Jamaican spiced rum
1 fresh squeezed lemon juice

Place the first five ingredients in a sauce pot and boil until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Then add the rum( be careful).
Taste if lemon juice or salt and pepper is needed. Sauce should have quite a strong flavour. Strain, cool and set aside. Last up to 4 four months properly stored in your refrigerator.


April 8, 2006

Read these facts on global hunger!

1. Hunger and malnutrition kill more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
2. Every five seconds a child dies because he or she was hungry.
3. There are more than 800 million people around the world who know what it is like to go to bed hungry.
4. The world produces enough food to feed everyone but still these 800 million remain chronically hungry.
5. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are 198 million hungry people.
6. More than 2 million people are likely to be dependent on food aid in the Darfur region of western Sudan by next year.
7. Almost 10 million people are killed around the world each year by hunger and malnutrition. That is more than the total number of people who died in World War I.
8. One out of every three people in Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from hunger.
9. Almost a quarter of the world's hungry people live in Africa.
10. Good nutrition helps prolongs the life of HIV sufferers.
11. Africa has already lost more farmers to AIDS (7 million) than there are farmers in Europe and North America.
12. By 2020, HIV is expected to have killed 20% of southern Africa's farm workers.
13. HIV and hunger work together. Malnutrition accelerates the progress of HIV. HIV worsens malnutrition.
14. There are 11 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. Most never learnt how their parents grew or prepared food.
15. 10 pence a day is all it takes to feed a hungry child at school.
16. Hunger is inherited. Each year 17 million children are born underweight because their mothers are malnourished.
17. Providing pregnant mothers with nutritionally balanced food can reduce the likelihood of an underweight baby by 32%.
18. In the 1990s, global poverty dropped by 20% but the number of undernourished people around the world increased.

- the above data is adapted from medicalnewstoday.com -

April 2, 2006

Potato bondas

It is tea time here. Here is how we prepared our potato bondas. They are really filling snacks. Two bondas are more than enough to satisfy.

Bringing the ingredients together...

Potato bondas recipe
Yield – approximately 20-25 bondas

For batter:
Bengal-gram dal flour – 3 cupfuls
Rice flour – ½ cup
Red chilly powder – ½ teaspoon
Baking powder – ¼ teaspoon (optional)
Salt – ¾ teaspoon, finely powdered
For filling:
Potatoes – ½ kg, boiled till soft
Turmeric powder – ¾ teaspoon
Red chilly powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder – ½ teaspoon
Cummin powder – ¼ teaspoon
Fenugreek powder – ¼ teaspoon
Salt – ¾ teaspoon, finely powdered
Coriander leaves – half of a bunch, finely chopped
Oil – 2 teaspoons + oil for deep frying
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Black-gram dal – ½ teaspoon
Onions – 2, medium size, finely chopped
Green chillies – 3, small, medium hot, finely chopped
Lime juice – 1 tablespoon, fresh

Method: Combine the bengal-gram dal flour, rice flour, chilly powder, baking soda powder, and salt by adding enough water to make it a thick batter which pours heavily from a spoon. Beat up the batter for 2 minutes and keep aside. Peel off the skins of boiled potatoes and mash it to a lumpy dough. Mix in the spice powders, salt, and coriander leaves to the potato dough. Make 2 teaspoons of oil very hot, add the mustard seeds to splutter, black-gram dal to brown lightly, then chopped onions and green chillies. When the onions turn limp, add the mashed potatoes. Fry, turning over repeatedly, till there is a nice smell. Remove from the heat, and when cool add the lime juice. Make the potato dough into small firm balls. Keep the batter handy next to them. Heat a deep fry pan over high steady heat. Pour in the oil for deep frying. When the oil becomes smoking hot, dip a potato ball into the batter to be completely covered by it, and drop gently into the hot oil. Drop in just enough batter covered balls to fry freely in the oil without bumping into one another. Turn over the balls constantly while frying. When an attractive light brown color, gather them up all together in a large perforated slice, hot against the side of the fry pan till the clinging oil drips off entirely, and remove to a dry plate. Serve hot with any of your favorite chutneys and enjoy!