We have Ragini Miranda from Happy, Healthy & Fun Cooking is with us today. She is interested in interior home decoration and She is an expert in different cuisines. Now, let us hear from her...
Nithu's Kitchen : Tell us about you Ragini.
Ragini : Born and brought up in the bustling metropolitan city of Mumbai which is a melting pot of various cuisines from around the country food has always been a top on my list of favorites.I was a banker working for a Multinational after I graduated from the University of Mumbai with honors. Met my hubby at work who is an East Indian Roman Catholic, got married and moved into an entirely different world of fabulous food culture. We moved to the US ten years back. Have two wonderful kids and am a full time mom now.
Nithu's Kitchen : What are your interests.
Ragini : Cooking was more of a hobby during my growing up years. I used to cook for fun, had joined a couple of cooking and baking classes and would try out different recipes at home. Besides food I have a voracious appetite for books, love painting (oil on canvas), home décor, swimming ,skating occasionally, spending time with my family and friends and volunteering at my kids school where I teach Math and Reading.
Nithu's Kitchen : We know you are such an expert in different types of cuisines. How you got this much interest towards other cuisines apart from Indian? Who taught you all these?
Ragini : My parents are Gujarati and my mom who had grown up in a predominently Parsi neighborhood had a lot of Parsi friends with whom she went to law school so the food cooked at home was from both cultures and very delicious. I learnt a lot of Gujarati , Parsi and Indian Chinese cooking from my mom which she is excellent at. East Indian cuisine is greatly influenced by Portuguese cuisine since that part of India was under the Portuguese rule for a very long time. East Indians are sea food lovers due to the proximity to the sea and also have their own distinct style of making various other chicken and vegetarian dishes. They are big foodies and throw lavish feasts. Learnt a lot of East Indian cooking from my mom-in -law but didn't cook much at that time as I had a very busy job.It was in the US that I got a chance and finally found the time to try different recipes from around the world with the vast products available in their huge supermarkets and super sized refrigerators and freezers which allow you to buy various things and try them leisurely. Here's when I started experimenting with different cuisines from around the world : Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Mediterranean, Japanese besides a lot more Indian dishes from various regions. I even modified many a recipe with Indian flavors and wonderful results.
Nithu's Kitchen : What made you to start a food blog.
Ragini : I keep a food diary where I have noted down recipes over the last ten years as soon as I made something and loved it. Was looking for another way of storing my recipes so they are easily accessible to me and later to my kids and stumbled upon the wonderful world of Food Bloggers and am right now in culinary heaven!!!
Nithu's Kitchen : How old is your blog?
Ragini : My blog is just over a month old so please bear with me as I'm still working on it everyday. Hope you find new and inspiring dishes in my kitchen and keep coming back for more. Happy healthy fun cooking from my kitchen to yours !!
Nithu's Kitchen : What do you have today to share with us and Why did you select this dish today.
Ragini : Gujarati Kadhi with Okra. This is my mom's recipe. I have grown up eating it and absolutely love the sweet, spicy and sour flavors which compliment each other wonderfully in it. This is such a simple and delicious dish to prepare ,takes only minutes but is grand enough to be served at a party as a dal replacement .
3/4th cup yogurt(dahi)
3/4th cup water
1 tbsp besan(chickpea flour)
8-10 whole baby okra/ladyfingers[crisp pan fried seperately with a lilttle salt and pepper]
1 finely chopped small green chili
1/4th inch grated ginger
1 tbsp sugar
salt to taste
Spices tempered in hot ghee
Tempering spices ( Tadka/baghaar/chauk ):
2 tsp pure ghee(clarified butter)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4 fresh curry leaves
1/2 whole dry red chili without seeds
less than a pinch of Asafoetida(hing)
Whisk the yogurt and besan (chickpea flour) with a fork in a steel pot till no lumps remain. Add the whole okra,chopped chili,grated ginger,sugar,salt and water and mix well.Simmer on a LOW flame stirring till it comes to a boil.
In another small tempering bowl, heat the ghee.To the hot ghee add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chili, hing and curry leaves in that order. Let the spices crackle and swell but not burn for around 10-15 secs. Add the hot temepered ghee and spices to the kadhi mixture. Mix well, simmer for 30 seconds on the lowest heat. Turn off the heat and add chopped coriander leaves.Serve hot with Corn Khichdi.
Heat the kadhi on a LOW flame all the time stirring occasionally to prevent the curds and whey from separating. Keep all the tempering spices ready because you have to add them quickly one after the other. They should swell up and lightly brown but not burn If they burn the yogurt will pick up the burnt flavors and not taste good.
Asafoetida(hing) is extremely pungent and can quickly overpower a dish so be very careful while adding it especially to a yogurt dish. The slightest pinch is enough for the quantity below otherwise you can omit it.
Nithu's Kitchen : Thank you Ragini. We enjoyed talking to you.