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Vegetarian croquette from modern Odia cuisine & the Cuttacki street-food ~ “Vegetable Chop”

There’s never been a cold, rainy day when I haven’t yearned to cuddle up in my cozy comforter gazing out of the window while sipping on a cup of chai generously laced with ginger and munching on crispy home-made pakodas. Although quite a rare occurrence these days, especially with our busy schedules and untimely rain, I considered myself extremely lucky to be home on one such afternoon when it rained generously to my heart’s desire. Just like rain does to every romantic’s heart, it brought out the poetic, creative side of me very willing to experiment. So on that occasional rainy afternoon, in a quest to celebrate the downpour as I raided my refrigerator to cook up something delish, I came across this half-a-piece of beet lingering in the forgotten corner of my fridge drawer. As I stared at it for a brief moment, the only thing that popped up distinctly was the "vegetable chop". While I am at it, I must confess that I have always had a love-hate relationship with beet.The very few time

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Anda Alu Jhola/Anda Tarkar – An Odia spin to the classic egg curry

How comforting is it to catch a glimpse of eggs gloriously adorning the-almost-empty refrigerator? Very comforting, isn’t it? I say it with much conviction since I believe that I might almost win (or be a very close competitor) for the “The most Experienced” award of such situations - a lot number of times. I might be damned to proclaim it as the most versatile of ingredients EVER but I am sure most of you will agree with me that indeed it is a savior in those critically desperate times. Eggs are such adorable, "un"-intimidating delights that almost everyone is content savoring and more importantly, very fearless while cooking something wondrous. With its numerous avatars – be it the humble French toast for breakfast, frittata for lunch, nutritious boiled eggs as a snack or the fancy Pasta Carbonara for dinner, eggs are undoubtedly the most pliable of all ingredients I have ever worked with. I actually cannot sing eloquent enough of this dazzling star which is there to support you (as

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The mighty Vada Pav & the dainty Alu Chop

Even though I haven't quite grown up eating this "burger", very often it makes me wonder as to when and how I grew to like it. Its often true that the enthusiasm of your loved ones rubs off on you, more so when you love to please them and I believe that's exactly what happened here. Mention Vada pav and its almost impossible to miss the look of longing and the irresistible urge in the eyes of Mumbai-ites or more broadly Maharashtrians. What better reason to prepare this delicacy than to satisfy the quench of those Vada Pav thirsty eyes? This very popular, universally-loved street food needs no further introduction. The legend of Vada Pav goes back to mill workers in Mumbai....then known as Bombay. Supposedly, it originated as a quick to-go snack/ meal for people on the run. Slathered with exquisite chutneys, this flavorful burger worked as the perfect on-the-go meal. Quite similar to the burrito or even the original sandwich origin. Any soul who has savored it would know, that you don'

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Vegetable Manchurian – Going the veggie route, the Indo-Chinese way

Most likely you wouldn't agree if I were to say that it takes a LOT of work into pulling off an Indo-Chinese theme party successfully or....would you? I wouldn't believe it AT all, if I had not been the one to slog for it. So the story begins with inviting a few friends over for dinner and asking for their preferences. I got a special request for the Chili chicken that I had posted earlier in the blog. Honoring their wishes, I zeroed in on the Chili Chicken as the main dish. But with vegetarians in the group, I had to include a vegetarian dish. The planning went into a slight disarray when just two days before the big day, my adviser decided to pile on some work and of course I got immersed into it UNTIL the day before the party. So much to be done and so little time!! Phew..shopping for ingredients, chopping the veggies, marinating chicken, the list was really endless. Seeking someone's help was not an option..so all this in so little time. Going by the Indo Chinese theme - I zeroed

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Chili Chicken – Indo-Chinese Birthday Meal

Growing up, birthdays have always been very special. It was the day when I was treated like a real princess. The excitement the night before, the preparations building up for the big day and the day itself was filled with anticipation and exhilaration. It made me look forward with eagerness and feel so valued and celebrated. It would all start with the dress - "THE birthday dress" and then finding the "right" chocolates to distribute among friends. The day would begin with a visit to a temple to seek divine blessings and then the exhilaration of the day escalated with reaching school. The flurry of activity leading up to the big day made April such a lovely month for me. But as I grow up and the child in me gives way to a more matured self, surprisingly I find myself cringing when my birthday comes up.The excitement has of course diminished and all I truly desire is a quiet evening with close friends, good food and some heart to heart conversations. And that's exactly what I got for th