Monday, May 15, 2017

savoury fruit yogurt | grapes and popped amaranth yogurt jar


Fruit yogurt is always considered as a sweet treat. So many brands of fruit yogurt have sold tonnes of fruit yogurt packs with luscious pictures of fruit on the pack and loads of sugar and artificial flavours and and even synthetic colours in the yogurt, which is not even cultured yogurt.

Make your own fruit yogurt I say. And make it savoury, the contrast of the sweetness in the fruit and the saltiness in the lightly spiced cultured yogurt is something you would love.

savoury fruit yogurt

Grapes are in season and are being sold by the cart loads on Delhi streets (well, the fruit and vegetable markets) right now. Using grapes in the fruit yogurt has always been a favourite way to eat grapes I must say. I usually don't add any sugar to the fruit yogurt I make, but making it savoury actually gives it a pleasant turn of taste.

Add some grain and it becomes a meal. Such fruit and yogurt based meals are suitable for the summer heat we are enduring right now.

ingredients 
(2 large servings to make a meal)

1.5 cups of halved green grapes
1 cup of yogurt whisked
1/2 cup popped amaranth
pink salt to taste
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp mint powder
Chopped nuts of choice

procedure 

Mix everything together and fill in the serving bowls or mugs, serve immediately or rest for an hour for a creamy texture.

I suggest filling this fruit yogurt in jars with lid, so the popped amaranth gets soaked by the time you serve it.

You can make variations by adding small cubes of cucumber and some pomegranate pearls.

savoury fruit yogurt

The refreshing natural sweetness of the summer fruits tastes really good with the roasted cumin powder and mint powder.

Instead of popped amaranth I sometimes add some poha, soaked basil seeds or even cooked quinoa but popped amaranth doesn't change the texture of yogurt much.

savoury fruit yogurt

Change the flavours as per taste and keep enjoying the savoury fruit yogurt all this summer. I am often tempted to add other summer fruits but I like grapes and pomegranates more for the savoury fruit yogurt.

Do try the recipe and let me know if you like. Depending on commercial fruit yogurt can be avoided and so easily, the recipe of this fruit yogurt is so simple even a child can assemble it.

I have not been very active on the blog and the lunch box series has been abandoned too. It was not intentional but the passing away of my father in law in January this year and some added family responsibilities after that have kept me busy and exhausted. I am intending to bring more blog posts and hopefully this savoury fruit yogurt kick starts the much needed action.

Stay tuned.  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Annamaya, finally a Foodhall to get local produce and eat it too


It is always good to come across events and discussions where farmers and chefs come together discussing food and ingredients, farming and consumer demand along with the concerns of local procurement of fresh produce, grains etc.

We witnessed a wonderful Tasting India Symposium last month where the farmers and chefs came together at a Chaupal (al fresco meeting usually held by village panchayats) and discussed the issues and challenges of local produce, its procurement and usage and the ground issues faced by the farmers as well as the hospitality industry.

Tasting India Symposium is a thoughtful initiative by Sanjoo Malhotra and Sourish Bhattacharya that brings the issues of sustainable food and tourism to the discussion tables openly. I got the opportunity to speak at this symposium about sustainable food in a panel discussion and about Banaras ka Khana in the knowledge session.

At the Chaupal of Tasting India Symposium I witnessed a genuine discussion between chefs like Ravitej Nath, Alex Moser and farmers from Tijara Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in conversation with Ishira Mehta who works with farmers all across the country. It was encouraging to hear that Chef Alex Moser has gone out and found great regional produce from Uttarakhand and Rajasthan and is exploring more to make local foods a part of his menu at Andaz, Aerocity.

Later we decided to go to the hotel and witness it all ourselves. Andaz is a luxury hotel that has brought a fresh approach to its lobby and decor, we could see how casual chic clothing of the hotel staff looks so cool as compared to the stiff formals everywhere else, just a sign of how a property takes simpler things to new heights.

The various design elements of the hotel are something to explore and absorb leisurely, so today I will talk about Annamaya, the European style Foodhall that is nestled within the hotel premises.

The best thing about Annamaya being it brings regional Indian fresh produce and artisan products for the guests and local customers. There is a food court with Indian and European design elements blended seamlessly, so is the food philosophy that uses local produce to create a world class menu.  

Annamaya, finally a Foodhall to get local produce and eat it too

One can buy fresh produce and all sorts of millets, pulses, single origin Indian chocolates, pickles, preserves, tea, coffee and almost everything one needs under one roof, all procured from Indian organic farmers from all across the country.

The most interesting part is that all the ceramic pottery comes from khurja, the copper hammered finish utensils are also made locally, supporting local artisans. I was so thrilled to see that one could buy even the utensils if one likes, I actually bought a plate and there is more on my agenda already.

And yes we tasted food too. This is one place where you will get aloe vera sandwich made with freshly plucked leaf growing right at the counter, they have a special shelf to grow their own micro greens too. There are many more greens sourced from local farmers that are included in salads like the kale and feta salad we loved.

All the meat, poultry and seafood is procured from organic sources I was told. The Duck confit we tasted was phenomenal, glutinous and soft flesh that was pleasantly charred too, a result of sous vide cooking and then a flash of tandoor grilling before serving. The salads and the morel and asparagus orzo pasta were all so beautifully made we polished off all of it quickly between three people.

Annamaya, finally a Foodhall to get local produce and eat it too

The food shows how fresh local and seasonal produce translates into great taste, the hard work of the chefs also evident in the eclectic dishes served in a casual yet classy ambience. I met the pastry chef Gordon Galea whose favourite Indian sweet is Sonpapdi and who loves serving chocolate chili brownie made with single origin Indian chocolate with his signature hazelnut gelato.

Annamaya is finally the Foodhall that I would like to visit regularly and buy produce from. The good food and casual approach to dining is a great approach in my opinion, more people will be able to go and enjoy local and artisan products.

Oh and the bakery section is brimming with organic goodies that cost just as much as any neighborhood bakery, I am so glad to know some good options for the conscious eater too.