Yogurt and Fruits Recipe

Okay, this one is so simple that anyone can make it under two minutes. This doesn’t even qualify to be a recipe 🙂 but it is an amazingly healthy and tasty food.

Nestle or Amul Yogurt (set dahi), refrigerated: one cup
Fresh fruits cut into small pieces: half cup
Sugar: 1 to 2 tablespoons or as per your taste

Mix yogurt and sugar very well so that there are no lumps. Add fruits to it and mix well and it’s ready to go.

Suggested fruits are strawberries, ripe bananas, kiwi, seedless green grapes etc, though not all need to be used at a time.

This dish can be used as a dessert or anytime salad or filler.

The changing food culture in India and how MNCs are cashing in

I started taking Oats for breakfast recently. I mean, it is not a regular thing but say, a couple of times a week to begin with. My doctor keeps giving his sermons about the Oats benefits as a great fibre food that cleanses the system and as a great cholesterol lowering food. And I do agree with him to some extent.

The topic of interest though is not exactly the benefits of oats or healthy diet but how, of late, the food culture in India is changing to benefit the big multi-national brands. Having oats or cereals for breakfast may be a great healthy option but is it something light on your wallet as well? Why are these MNCs – Multi National Food Companies in India – charging us big time for those products that actually cost one tenth of their MRP (Maximum Retail Price) to produce?

Examples of MNC abuse

The following are some of the great examples of brand abuse by multi-national brands.

McDonald’s French Fries

mcdonalds-french-fries-indiaPotato is something that is available in abundance in India and McDonald’s didn’t invent it for sure nor is its usage patented by them. We have been cooking potato based curries for 100s of years now and never used it as a main dish. One small portion of French fries cost around 45 rupees ($1) in McDonald’s. The retail price of potato is around 12-15 rupees per kilo and in wholesale sourcing may be at 5-6 rupees. One big potato is all that goes into one small order of fries and hence 1 rupee worth raw material (plus say 1 or 2 rupees worth of oil) is translated to Rs. 45/-. How’s that?

The same is the story with Pepsi’s Lays chips.

Coke and Pepsi

The cost of producing one litre of Coca cola in India is around 1 rupee I hear. This comes at the expense of tapping the ground water while denying the same for lakhs of people who do not get water for daily usage (Remember the big citizen protest against coke in Kerala – Read wiki story on Coke) and spoiling the environment by not having proper waste water management. The coke is sold at around 40 rupees per liter. Pepsi and Coke managed to kill its Indian competition by acquiring them and discontinuing their products, some of which were actually superior to these MNC brands. The result, you pay more for something that is not at all good for health. And the worst thing is that they are not using the same formulation in India as compared to what they do abroad nor are they sticking to any health, cleanliness and safety standards. Have you seen any coke bottle in India without rusted and dirty caps?

Pizza Hut Pizzas

I have been a big fan of certain pizza brands such as Papa Jones during my stay abroad. Pizza Hut being a big brand, I became an instant fan of the same when they started their operations in India. Initially, I didn’t spend sufficient time to understand their pricing strategy but soon realized that a good quality family size Pizza Hut pizza costs around 450 to 500 rupees. We are talking about the Supreme pizzas as most other things comes without any good toppings. Maida (fine flour) is the main ingredient in a pizza and it is available at a very cheap price in India. Then they top the pizza with a lot of tomatoes and onions (with very little olives, chicken or jalapenos here and there). Ideally this produce should be made available for something like 100-200 rupees for a top class pizza and not 500 for sure. i.e. even with the most expensive items there in, for example 5-10 rupee worth cheese and other stuff. Does anybody question?

Olive oil, Oats, Kellogs flakes etc

The case is much the same with Oats, flakes and what not? The traditional Indian flakes (e.g rice flakes) are something that used to be eaten only by those who lived under the poverty line and in general grains are very cheap in India. 1Kg of Quaker oats cost 120 to 140 rupees in India. Is it fair? Similar is what Kellogs is doing with its umpteen number of flavored flakes.

Olive oil is probably the only exception here because it’s not something that can be easily produced in India and hence need to be imported. I somehow tend to believe that the pricing logic there in cannot be really questioned.

Final thoughts

What I wanted to highlight here are two points. One is the need to avoid those multi-national branded food items that are not healthy. Coke, Pepsi, French fries etc fall into this category. And the second point is that, those healthy but heavily priced items need to be abolished (or their priced brought down) if they have to sell in India. Though we are said to be freed from the British, now we are becoming the slaves of these multi-national brands – even for day to day food requirements.

Can’t we really think of a life without (high-priced) junk food in India? Do you want the next generation to spend all their money on groceries, loans and gas like the way Americans do?

Think about it…

PS:- By the way, yours truly eat and like some of the western food items but only if the pricing and quality are right for me. I also, admit the fact, that there are some brands which are available at extremely good prices (e.g. 1L Tropicana 100% orange juice is available at Rs.85/- which is a great deal). But the McDonalds, Pizza Huts, Coke and Pepsi are the ones against whom we should fight.

Peanut Masala Recipe

peanut-masala-recipePeanut Masala is more of a South Indian snack. Well, it is not exactly my favorite food but my vegetarian friends say that it is one of those few veg things that goes well with alcoholic drinks. And as a matter of fact, it does. It can also serve the purpose of an appetizer or starter at times.

I have prepared this dish only a couple of times but to be frank it is something that can be made in two minutes as there’s no cooking involved.

How to make Peanut Masala?

Here you go…


Roasted whole peanuts – 100 gms
Onion medium size – 1
Tomato medium size – 1 (Pulp and seed removed)
Coriander leaves – a few
Green chillies – 2
Lime juice – 1 teaspoon
Salt – as per taste


Fine chop onion, tomato, green chillies and coriander leaves and add it to a deep bowl (or even tumbler) along with peanuts and lime juice. Add salt as per your needs and mix vigorously with a spoon or fork. Transfer into a plate and enjoy with something like the Chilli Vodka!

You can also try variations by adding or garnishing with fine chopped spring onions, sprinkling crushed black pepper etc.

Bonus tip: It tastes even better when prepared with those Masala peanuts (roasted with chilli powder and salted) that you get in the southern parts of India. If you use that, you may want to cut down on green chillies.

Bon Appetit!

Chilli Vodka Cocktail recipe

I am not a daily drinker. However, I like drinking as and when I feel like enjoying it – usually 4-5 times a month.

At times, I also like experimenting with new and new cocktail recipes. Well, I do not have a bar setup at my home and hence most of the time it’s done without proper bar equipments. This time around the experiment was with Vodka – though I am not quite a Vodka fan.

Chilli Vodka

Add a length-wise split green chilli – stem and most of the seeds removed – into 60ml vodka. Pour 75ml sprite or 7-up into it and stir well. Pour this into a salt-rimmed cocktail glass that’s half filled with crushed ice. Put a quarter of a sweet and sour lime into this. Fill the rest of the glass with some club soda or sparkling water. Enjoy!


Mango-Vanilla Ice Cream based dessert

You must try out this recipe that I accidentally invented. I had eaten ripe mango pieces topped with Vanilla ice cream in one of my friends house and thought why not improvise? So here’s what I did…

Mango Vanilla Ice Cream ‘whatever’


2 ripe mangoes pealed and cut into 1″ cubes (shouldn’t be over ripe mangoes)
Raisins – 3 teaspoons
Butter – 3 tbsp
Cashew nuts – broken – 20 to 30 gms (or 3- tbsp)
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Vanilla ice cream – a few scoops
Fresh mint leaves – 4 to 5


Heat a medium sized pan, add 1tbsp butter and quickly fry the broken cashews until the are golden brown. Be careful as in no time they can turn black and bitter. Transfer the fried cashews on to a plate and remove the extra butter from the cashews by pressing with kitchen tissues.

Add 2tbsp butter into the pan again. When it’s melt, add the ripe mango cut pieces and stir continuously in medium flame. Do it until the mango pieces are soft but not mashed.

Heat up another small pan (or seasoning tawa) and add the sugar and stir it vigorously with a steel spoon. When the sugar turns to coffee color it is caramelized. Add three-four spoons of water into it keep stirring in high flame. You should not reduce the heat at this time else the caramel will be already becoming sticky. Add this to the toasted mangoes and stir once again.


mango-caramel-vanilla-ice-cream-dessertIn a dessert bowl, add four to five table spoons of those prepared mangoes. Add two scoops of Vanilla ice cream on to it. Add five to six raisins and a teaspoon of the roasted cashews. Poke the whole content three four times with a spoon in a way that the caramel in the mango appears a bit on to the white Ice cream to give it a pleasant texture and look. Be careful not to stir it too much. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and enjoy before the mangoes turn too cold!

Try it out and let me know how it turned out to be. You will like it for sure 🙂 You can try the variations of this recipe by adding a few banana pieces along with the mango, which is what I have done and shown in the picture. You can also add a small pinch of cardamom powder if you like that taste.

Bon Appetit!

The Indian food styles

The other day I was just thinking about the versatility of Indian cooking and the variety of food items it is offering. Far east countries, China or certain Latin American countries might have the concept of ‘make-food-out-of-anything’ but only Indian food promises so much of varieties and most importantly the usage of hundreds of spices.


India is a country that has got six or seven major religions. The vegetarianism (if not veganism) was mainly influenced by Hinduism. Also geographically speaking, one will find that North Indian food style is majorly vegetarian in nature. The percentage of population having non-vegetarian food is much more in South India – keralites being extremists in this case who do not mind having all kinds of meats and seafood.

Broad categorization

Though there are various sub-categories, one can broadly categorize the food style in India into two – North Indian style and South Indian style. North Indians prefer more bread items (wheat based and mostly grilled/toasted) and thick gravied rich curries mainly based on dairy products such as cottage cheese, yoghurt and milk cream. In the south the main food grain is rice and mostly rice along with some thin gravy curries make a meal. In both cases salads mean chopped onion or chillies and accompaniment mostly will include hot pickles. The traditional South Indian meal is served in plantain leaves where as the North Indian food is served in brass plates. In both cases it’s eaten with bare hands rather than spoons, forks, knives or chopsticks.


Though one might claim that Indian food style is quite unique and originated in India alone, you can see a lot of influenced or imported styles here. For example the Mughals brought in the kebabs and spiced rices culture to India where as the Chinese influenced stir-fried items such as gobi manchurion (cauliflower stir-fried and spiced) are more common in India than China itself. The British and Indian mixed (anglo-indian) styles became popular during the British rule and it is still common in parts of the country. The Portugese and the french gave us their own unique style which is still common in Goa and Pondicherry respectively.

Various Styles

There are hundreds of food styles and cuisines across the states and regions of India. Some of the prominent cuisines in the North include the Mughalai style, Parsi style, Punjabi style and the Gujarati style. Mughalai style is synonymous with biryanis or pulav that has dried fruits and nuts aplenty. Parsi style is a mix of western, Persian and Indian styles. Punjabi style is mainly tandoor (a large traditional oven) grill based where as Gujarati style basically include sweetened main courses and curries. In the South, Andhra style, Chettinadu style, Malabar style and Coorgy style are the major categorizations. Almost all these styles are rich in spices and chilli usage. All of them offer a wide variety of non-vegetarian delicacies as well. Apart from these, the western coastal Indian food style has a distinction of using coconut milk or paste in almost everything whereas coastal areas in general use seafood a lot. The Bengalies also eat a lot of fish but they prefer fresh-water fishes to seafood. Bengal and Orissa are also famous for mouthwatering sweets and desserts. The type of cooking oil used is another differentiator in Indian cooking. Most commonly used oils are sunflower oil, palm oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil, sesame oil, soybean oil and coconut Oil.

Good, bad, ugly

The Indian food offers variety. The right usage of spices results in good appetite and stimulation of the senses that results in overall health. However, overcooking of vegetables and meat is a common phenomena here that takes out the vitamins and natural taste out of food items. Another unhealthy part is the amount of oil used (that normally remains in the food and served) and the number of deep or shallow fried items. Despite all these it is really amazing how these hundreds of styles and thousands of delicacies co-exist in one big land. Yet another example of unity in diversity – Truly!