In my third blog entry on February 26th, I wrote that Kachi’s Kitchen was finally written.  Since that time, I have been talking with the publisher and making revisions.  I started with 150 photographs of many of the Indian recipes, my family, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  I worked very hard to reduce the number but only succeeded to cut 10 of them. 

 

Now that I consider the manuscript complete, I have mixed emotions.  The most prevalent feeling is relief that is finally finished.  It has taken over 18 months of my life.  My house is a mess and my ‘to do’ list has exploded with tasks that have been deferred so I could focus on the book.  On the other hand, I’m hesitant to let it go.  There might be some grammatical mistakes that a reader might catch or some pictures that could be more elegantly framed or focused.

 


All in all, I am very excited to enter the production phase of this project.  I should get the galleys within a month and then Kachi’s Kitchen goes to the printer.  I can’t wait to see it!  I’ll keep you updated on its progress.

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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My husband, son and I just returned from a spring break trip to Rome.  It seemed like we walked 10 miles every day to make sure we saw all the historic sites.  We visited the Coliseum, the Vatican, the Victor Emmanuel I  Monument, the Fontana de Trevi, Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), Piazza Navona, Pantheon, San Giovanni in Laterano, many stunning cathedrals, the Spanish Steps and much, much more. 
 

Beyond the beauty and history of the city, we were charmed by the people.  They were delightfully friendly and helpful.  Each morning we had cappuccino in a café across the street from our hotel.  The server recognized us after a few days and automatically prepared our coffee for us on the subsequent days of the trip.  The people in our hotel delighted us by providing a basket full of fresh fruit each day so we could eat healthful breakfasts and snacks.

 

We dined at a different restaurant each day.  At each meal we thought we had found the best restaurant in the city.  The food and wine were exquisite and the portions were appropriately sized.  Too many to itemize, some of the dishes we tried were:

 

Scampi e Calamari Fritti – fried shrimp and squid

Spaghetti alla Matriciana – a spicy red sauce with prosciutto and garlic

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe – spaghetti with pecorino and pepper

Spaghetti with Cozze e Vongole – spaghetti with clams and muscles

Carciofi Fritti – fried artichokes


My husband took us to La Cisterna, his favorite restaurant, in Trastevere, on the west bank of the Tiber.  In the basement of the restaurant is an ancient well and part of a Roman street from four hundred years ago.


As we wandered back to our hotel every evening, we stopped at Trevi Fountain.  It is a popular gathering spot for tourists. There we treated ourselves to a different flavor of gelato (Italian ice cream) every day.  At home, we rarely eat desserts but in Rome, we could not resist.  What a sight – people eating gelato while bundled up in coats and scarves!


I can’t wait to go back.  Maybe one day….
 
 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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The Indian recipes included in this month’s spotlight are some of my favorites: Kadala Masala Curry with Puttu made with brown rice and Iddichakka (Small Unripe Jackfruit) Upperi.  I tend to like simple foods that are healthy and not difficult to prepare on a week night. Even though they are all vegetarian, they are high in protein, fiber and nutrients.

Kadala Masala, Puttu and Jackfruit Upperi

Kadala Masala, Puttu and Jackfruit Upperi


The curry is easy to make once the chickpeas are soaked overnight.  The chickpeas take about 30 minutes to cook through; during this time you prepare the curry into which you will add the chickpeas.  While the curry cooks, you can focus on making the puttus.  They are a lot of fun to make especially if you have help from young assistant chefs in your home.  Layering the rice flour and grated coconut is a task that you can delegate.  Once the puttus are created, it takes about 5 to 10 minutes for a stack of them to steam through.  My recipe will make 2 stacks or enough to feed a family of 4.  I paired the Iddichakka Upperi with this because its light texture balances the rich curry.

The great thing about these dishes is that they keep and are just as tasty the next day.  I hope you enjoy these recipes.  My family and I will be enjoying them tonight for dinner.

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.


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A year and a half ago, I decided that I needed a recipe database tool to maintain my recipes.  Because I had worked with database software throughout my professional life, I believed it would give me the flexibility I needed to manage recipes for multiple cookbooks.  There are a few on the market.  I bought one that worked on my operating system and was rated well by software rating services.  It was easy to install and load with recipes. I fell in love with the import function because I constantly hit Escape rather than Undo and would have to start typing my recipes all over again.

Once I had all of my recipes loaded, I did the unimaginable – I broke the database.  I discovered an undocumented ‘feature’, also known as a defect.  The vendor said the software wasn’t supposed to do what I made it do.  Oh, well.  No fix was ever offered for the software.  I never heard back from him.

After a six month hiatus I started working with the software again.  Fortunately, I had made a backup and lost very little work.  (I am thankful that my professional training paid off!)  I will take a slight detour here and remind you that making regular backups is the most important thing you can do for yourself because something will go wrong.  All in all, it is a great tool and provides the flexibility I need to manage multiple cookbooks.  Just make sure that you make backups often.  Overall, the tool was $35 well spent.

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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Baby Shrimp Fry

Baby Shrimp Fry

I just finished posting the Indian recipes for March.  I picked them because they are a great introduction to Indian food.  I simplified them from the traditional recipes so they would be quick and easy to make and would not be too spicy.  I modified the vegetarian recipe for  Vegetable Rice by changing the ratio of vegetables to rice.  I love a lot of vegetables in my food.  With all of the delicious vegetables, I feel that I am eating a meal.  This recipe has substantially less oil so it is not as rich or caloric as the original.  The Baby Shrimp Fry recipe was created by my husband during his time in graduate school at Ohio University.  He reduced the number of steps and reduced the cost by using baby shrimp.  It makes a wonderful presentation with any dinner.  The Raita recipe is very simple and is a refreshing compliment to the shrimp and rice dishes.  Feel free to experiment with the ingredients you use in this recipe and make it your own. 

 

Just click on the Recipes link to find these delicious recipes….

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for more Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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I can’t believe it.  I finally finished writing and improving Kachi’s Kitchen, a book in which I have captured over 140 of my family’s favorite Indian recipes from my husband’s homeland – south India.  Some of the recipes have been handed down for generations and others my mother-in-law (Kachi) and her mother created.  They are some of the best from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

This project started as an effort to preserve my children’s heritage since they are picky eaters and have not yet become interested in cooking.  As I started collecting Kachi’s recipes in a database, I began to think that I could do more with them than just printing them on my printer and binding them at the local copy store.  This collection would interest south Indians who want to try new recipes as well as everyone else who has an interest in discovering new tastes and preparations. 

After one final review, I will send it to the publisher and start that whole process…

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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I discovered Indian food while I was in graduate school where I developed an appreciation for its complex but subtle flavors.  I had friend from north India who served me a meal consisting of the food his mother prepared at home.  As he explained the ingredients and the preparations of the dishes to me, I began to appreciate the subtle flavors.  I moved to Boston after I earned my degree.  At the time, there were a few Indian restaurants that I frequented and continued to discover the wonders of Indian food. Through moving to Texas, discovering more Indian restaurants and meeting my husband, I learned that each state in India had a unique contribution to food.  Since then I have learned to recognize the differences between the cuisines of the northern and southern states of India.  Please enjoy the recipes that I will be posting as much as my family and I do.  Indian cooking may appear to be intimidating at first but after a few tries, it will become easy. 

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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Over the last year and a half, I documented, photographed and taste tested recipes from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  My purpose was to capture my mother-in-law’s recipes for her grandchildren.  My children grew up in the United States.  I worked full-time for over two decades in Information Technology so I didn’t have the opportunity to teach my children to cook dinner much less the food of their father’s family.  I retired early in life and decided that it would be a lot of fun to share these recipes with you as well. 

The book manuscript for Kachi’s Kitchen is 99% complete.  It has been at 99% for two months now because I keep finding more things to add or tweak.  I am giving myself until the end of this month–February 28, 2010–to finish the book, 100%. 

Let me tell you about my mother-in-law.  Kachi Balakrishnan grew up in Kerala, India, where she learned to cook the traditional local Indian recipes from her mother.  Working side by side, she memorized them to create wonderful meals.  She is a wonderful cook and has created many new recipes over the years.  When she married, she moved to Madras (now called Chennai) where she discovered Tamilian food and incorporated these dishes into her own cooking.

Over the coming weeks I will provide updates on the book’s publication and share with you some of my favorite recipes.  I hope you make this blog a frequent stop on your culinary travels.

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

Welcome to my blog. Please check back soon for new entries.

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.