Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fried Rice - straight from the wok..

"Can I get some rice with curd and lemon pickles?" – that was me, during my pregnancy days. The only difference between me and a beggar in India was that we were 12000 miles apart !!!

I never understood why women in the movies went after mangoes and tamarind – for me it was rice that SOMEBODY ELSE HAD PREPARED (I couldn’t stand the smell of boiling rice). So my only options were white rice at an Indian restaurant or fried rice from a Thai restaurant or better, send Nirmal on a begging errand...he..he..he

Speaking of fried rice – there is probably a 100 different versions of this recipe. Some of my South Indian friends make a pulav with green beans and potato and call it fried rice!!! The Chinese have a version of it with their brown rice and looks like every Chinese restaurant has a different dialect of the original version. My local Chinese being the worst – he fries the rice, adds shredded chicken and some soy sauce and even before you have finished placing the order – the fried rice is on your table!!! It is the Chinese way of saying ‘we value your time’, I guess!!!

I personally prefer the Thai preparation – lots of vegetables and coconut milk to add a nice flavor. But being the FACTORY Manager that I am…coconut is a No-No, whenever I can avoid it. So what do you do ??? – you taste the Thai fried rice, remove the coconut milk from it and stamp a MADE-IN-INDIA seal on it.!


  • Rice - 1 1/2 - 2 cups.
  • Red & green bellpeppers - half each.
  • Grean beans - 10
  • Carrot- 1
  • Mashrooms - 10
  • Eggs - 3
  • Onion - 1/2
  • Spring onions - 4 stalks.
  • Ginger& garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • chicken broth - 1/2 cup.
  • Soy sauce- 2 tsp
  • Worcestershire sauce - 1 tsp
  • Vinegar - 1 tsp
  • salt & pepper -to taste.
  • Oil - 4 tbs


  • Cook the rice (I use basmathi rice ) and keep it aside. Chop bellpeppers , carrot and beans lengthwise into thin strips. cut the mushrooms into 1/2 inch thick slices .Otherwise the mushrooms will break apart when you saute them in oil.
  • Heat 2 tsp of oil in a wok and fry sliced onions. Add ginger & garlic paste and fry . Put sliced mushrooms, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and saute until the mushrooms are slightly brown. Keep this mixture aside.
  • Put 1 tsp of oil to the wok and add the beaten eggs , salt and pepper and scramble. Keep it aside.
  • Put the vegetables in the wok and add half a cup of chicken broth and cook in a high flame.By this processes the broth will evaporate quickly and the vegetables will cook and retain its color. Now add the remaining oil to the vegetables and fry.Add cooked rice along with salt and finelly chopped spring onions. Stir until each grain of rice is separated and covered with oil. Finally, add the soy sauce ,vinegar, scrambled eggs and mushrooms to this and mix well. Serve hot.


  • Add shredded chicken/shrimp( cook with salt and pepper ) to the vegetables while frying to make a non-vegetarian version.
  • If you are a vegeterian, omit the chicken broth ,eggs and worcestershire sauce to make a pure vegan version.
  • The key to a colorful fried rice is to use neatly chopped, different colored vegetables and cooking it in high flame.
  • You can add some bean sprouts /bamboo shoots to give a more professional touch.
  • If u don't have a wok,use a normal kadai (pan). Then, instead of frying the rice together, fry it in batches and put in a bowl and mix with the fried veggies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Banana cake – For the factory owners!

One double strawberry cheese cake with a main entry and a calamari recado - that would be a typical dinner order for Nirmal. The desert always comes first – doesn’t matter if it is an eat-in, a buffet or a delivery order – the desert always comes first!!!

And of all the bad qualities he brought with him (from my MIL – who else!!!) this one – tag named CHOLESTROL, he treasures a lot. He is always telling me stories about how rich his mother’s cooking was – ‘Ela Ada’ with ghee and sugar, 3-4 egg omelet’s a day (customized to order), coconut curry, coconut fry and even a strip of coconut with jaggery after lunch and dinner every day….and oops forgot – add, nothing_to_do_the_whole_day to that list…mothers pamper their sons so much that all they are expected to do is eat and sleep!!!

So what do I end up marrying into – a CHOLESTROL FACTORY!.

But whether you call him, a cheesecake factory or a cholesterol factory…or whatever factory…I have in 3 years, finally learned to be the factory manager.

So I try my best to substitute all his favorite foods with the low-fat, low-cholesterol ingredients. Sometimes they work and other times they get set aside for guests with children – just kidding!!!

So here is a recipe that works – bread (cake, muffin) that you can make aplenty for your kids & husband and not worry that they will start their own factories!.


  • All-purpose flour - 2 cups
  • Cinnamon powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Nutmeg powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt-1/8 tsp
  • Bananas – 1 cup ( approx 3-4 banans peeled and coarsely mashed )
  • Vegetable oil/ corn oil – ½ cup
  • Milk – ¾ cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Sugar – 1 ½ cups (reduce according to the sweetness of the bananas)
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Golden raisins – ½ cup


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Sift all the dry ingredients together and keep it aside. In a bowl, mix oil, sugar, milk, egg and whisk till the sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla essence to this…now add the sifted dry ingredients and gently mix .add the mashed bananas and golden raisins to this and fold it gently. Don’t over mix the batter as it become mushy. Transfer the batter to a greased baking pan and sprinkle the top with some raisins and cinnamon powder (optional) bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.Cool the bread in the pan or a wire rack.


  • You can make a square cake , a round cake, two 9"/5" loafs or muffins with the same batter.
  • The secret to a great tasting banana cake is to use fully ripe bananas.
  • Don’t mash the banana into pulpy consistency as it causes cake to become hard.
  • If u want, u can substitute the milk by adding ½ cup milk and ¼ cup orange juice for a different taste .
  • Wrap the cake in foil/wax paper and refrigerate .The cake tastes better when it is refrigerated.

U can also try Inji's banana nut bread. And shaheen's banana nut muffins.
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