Mango Achcharu

mango Achcharu

My husbands aunt introduced me to this so called mango Achcharu which was so sweet, spicy and sour. i have had many sorts of ach charu but this one is so different. why? because you can have it as a snack on a very lazy evening or during the day while watching your favorite drama. 

it keeps well in the pantry for up to 3 days and in case you wanna store for longer please refrigerate.

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Cut 1 semi ripe mango into quarter pieces like shown. having it with the seeds makes t more fun as you can dip in that extra gravy and suck the seed. its sooo yummy.

 

season with salt

season with salt

 

pour the vinegar i used white vinegar you can any other type as well.

pour 1/4 cup vinegar i used white vinegar you can use any other type as well.

 

sprinkle the turmeric powder.

sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder.

 

season with chillie powder as much as you like or as much as can bear the heat... i like it a bit more spicy. that's my sri lankan taste bud :-)

season with chillie powder as much as you like or as much as you can bear the heat… i like it a bit more spicy. that’s my sri lankan taste bud 🙂 don’t worry i will negotiate while eating at your place or while i cook for you, so please come dine at my place and don’t hesitate to invite me either.

 

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sprinkle some Kashmir chillie powder for the color. don’t worry its not spicy as the red chillie powder.

 

add some chillie flakes according to your required level of spiciness.

add some chillie flakes according to your required level of spiciness.

did you add some extra chillie flakes then here is your chance to adjust it and make it edible, add the sugar

did you add some extra chillie flakes then here is your chance to adjust it and make it edible, add the sugar, go on taste it and add more if nesessary.

por in a cup of water

pour in a cup of water and let it cook over a medium low heat until the water has evaporated and the required gravy level is reached.

too much sugar??? dont worry pepper is here to help you, not  too spicy and very dark to make your dish a bit more photogenic.

too much sugar??? don’t worry pepper is here to help you, not too spicy and very dark to make your dish a bit more photogenic.

oh it starts sizzling with lots of evaporation so now decide if you need a good amount of gravy or not and take off heat.

oh it starts sizzling with lots of evaporation so now decide if you need a good amount of gravy or not and take off heat.

transfer into a glass box with an airtight lid and keep it on your shelf for 24 hours before using them up. you can eat it when ever you wish don't wait till lunch or dinner.

transfer into a glass box with an airtight lid and keep it on your shelf for 24 hours before using them up. you can eat it when ever you wish don’t wait till lunch or dinner the 24 hours is just to get yourself prepared and give some time for the mango to cool after the shock, yes it would be wont it with all that sweetness and spiciness at once.

 

 

 

My Weekly Food Diary

 

 I am a beginner in food styling but A pro in cooking

now how can i say am a pro in cooking?

well yes am not boasting but i do really know how to cook ingredients together. my week was so productive and i cooked up a few low carb meals while in the meantime did some food styling with my previous weeks leftovers.

 

Sunday Dinner

Its always good and healthy to have food with less oil. we all love french fries and backed potatoes but they do taste differently although both are from potatoes. i decided to grill the potatoes on a griddle and it turned out well.

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Monday Dinner

Low Carb meal for dinner

having a low carb meal is not something i fancy but my husband likes it which is why i was tempted to try my own ideas with some inspiration from online sites recipes which i hardly went through many months ago but had a quick glimpse at the photos. now i do agree images do matter alot. someone can be creative and recreate a dish by just looking at the image of a finished product. isn’t that marvelous. which is why am working on taking photographs with a good sense of food styling and bit of lighting with my 16 mp s4 mobile.

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dinner was vegetarian lasagna. it was so yummy will post  recipe soon.

Tuesday Breakfast

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I’ve herd people say they had pouched eggs, i even have seen Jamie olive do it on television but I’ve never tried it not tasted it. so my breakfast on Tuesday was pouched eggs. i wanted to video my pouching but decided against it due to my fear of ending up with a pot full of egg pieces floating on the water. finally i should say my pouched egg was such a success now who said you need to learn the how to poach and egg?

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Tuesday Dinner

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oh meat loafs are so easy to make and are simple yet delicious.

i see meat loafs as a substitute for steak. i served my very own version of meat loaf with some mash potatoes a left over from kfc meal 🙂

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Thursday breakfast

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Thursday mornings make me lazy cos the next day is a Friday and a weekend. i love weekends cos its always carb meals and my husband eats them with no objections. so Thursday breakfast was pancake with some kithul treacle and the left over batter went into these lovely bunt cups which I’ve been waiting to use for the past 6 months since i got it delivered from eBay. its microwavable and i love the shape.

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 something new

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so i decided to try the egg pie which my husband kept sending pictures of when i was in sri Lanka. its was like a tart filled with caramel mixture which my mum makes and baked. yea it was good.

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for the very first time in my life i tested a recipe for spinneys magazine in Dubai and this is my photo shoot for the recipe. await the recipe on their June issue.

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this was labelled as unniappam but tasted same as our sri lankan kevum. i love kevums its a sinhala new year special sweet.

 

food styling practice done last week, have i improved????

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Sugar Free Strawberry Jam

My strawberry jam which i made last week is now 10 days old and is still good to eat. so there is plenty of spread for some slices of bread. I was in a mood for bread with jam and butter. can there be anything better than homemade and personally hand made which is sugar free? yes when you make something that’s healthy and sugar free you try to eat it all and enjoy it thats because we all like to be proud of what we have cooked don’t we?

having said that I slowly cheated myself by sprinkle a bit of sugar over my butter as I can stand the totally sugar  free thing especially the strawberries.

so my recipe to make sugar free jam is just puree the strawberries in your blender and store in the fridge. in to days it will be set like jam.

 some of my food photography and styling practice with my strawberry pureed jam

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Slow cooked chicken : 2 ways

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I have started thinking arabic food to be of less carb and I find arabic recipes can be transformed into low carb meals, which is why my new addition to my cookbook collection “when Suzanne cooks” has inspired me and made me try the second recipe from the book. well I really don’t follow the recipes exactly like I’ve mentioned before I use the recipe as an inspiration.

Suzanne’s recipe called for brining of the chicken which I couldn’t follow due to time restrictions which made me adjust the recipe to suit my schedule and taste buds.

I had all my ingredients for brining but no time. I went though the book and started following immediately. so I decided to slow cook my chicken and stuff it with fruit and nut rice.

wow that seems yummy while I type and it was delicious too.I never thought I’d fall for slow cooked chicken. I added a Maggie BBQ chicken mix over a tablespoon of olive oil that was on a pan over medium heat. I gave it a quick mix and put the full chicken on top coating the sides and top with the marinade mix and quickly covered the pot while turning the flame to very low.

that’s just two ingredients with a full chicken. my mom has always told me that you don’t need much water to cook chicken as the chicken meat has water sufficient to cook on it own. i never listened to her and add a lot of water to my chicken gravy with a greed for more gravy so that I can use the leftover gravy for dinner with some bread or string hoppers. finally I always end up with a very runny gravy which doesn’t tastes good as a thick Kurma type one.

so today I wanted to try slow cooking method with no knowledge of it and voila, it turned out super delicious and juicy, the sides had a golden brown crust and the chicken just came apart better than the store-bought ones (according to myself).

well I just slow cooked it for 40 minutes on a normal pot, unbelievably 🙂 delicious. For the rice I followed Suzanne’s recipe with some substitutes to the nuts I added almonds only with prunes, dates, raisins and pomegranates.

i stuffed the chicken with the rice and tried my hands on food styling with a baby crawling in my kitchen.

 

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that’s the chicken sizzling in my pot over Maggie BBQ mix and olive oil. no that’s not all the olive oil you see, it’s the water that the chicken and slow cooking method which has developed a gravy.

 

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the rice mix ready waiting colorfully to get into the chicken and hide before we devoured it.

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the lovely stuffed chicken that made my saturday lunch colorful and delicious.

  • my second time in slow cooking
  • my first ever stuffed chicken
  • my first ever chicken that turned out juicy with no gravy 🙂

 

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this was my first ever slow cooked chicken on biryani masala with some yogurt and a full tomato and brinjal. This chicken was slow cooked for nearly one and a half hours and i guess its a bit over cooked yet juicy. so my lesson is that i better cook it for 40 minutes next time which is the perfect timing.

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so here are a few of my food styling practical images.

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finally I’ve learnt that slow and steady wins the race even while cooking 🙂

 

Strawberries

Experimenting with fruits

 

 

 

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storing fresh strawberries are tough for me and we hardly buy them as they rotten fast before  i find some time to make them into a dessert. i decided to puree them with no water and just 2 teaspoons of sugar.

i stored them in my fridge so i can use it when ever i want. as an experiment i stored 3 strawberries i the freezer to see how long they stay fresh.

today is the 2nd day and they are still fine. i guess the best way to store strawberries is freeze them. yes they will not rotten when frozen. or puree them and refrigerate for a week.

do not add water to the puree and to make it into a fresh strawberry jam add some extra sugar.

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i drizzled some strawberry puree over my fruit salad with some whipped cream and it was delicious.

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A slice of my left over homemade bread was eaten with some whipped cream and strawberry puree. it was low sugar but delicious and fresh. use up the strawberry puree with anything you want or add them to your cakes to make strawberry cupcakes.

just puree them and leave in the fridge until you use them up.

am glad to have discovered a way on my own to store them without any internet search.

hope you enjoyed this tip.

Recipe

strawberry puree

ingredients

15 strawberrries

2 teaspoon sugar

method

  1. add both the ingredients onto a blender and blend till well pureed.
  2. refrigerate in a plastic or glass bottle.

so far keeps well for upto 4 days.

 

  • add more sugar if need a sweeter version.
  • use as a topping for ice cream, cakes, fruit salads or even milk shakes

 

Weekly Food Stories

From Dubai

Its been three weeks since I am back in dubai and I’ve had many different experience and experiments with food. I have taken loads of pictures and posted on my instagram but never got a time to write a proper blog post. After all the pampering and help I got in sri lanka for the past 10 months, living alone in dubai has made my life busy giving me no time to sit and write a nice blog post. I love blogging and thats what I enjoy in my free time so I guess my future posts would be short of words and more images.

my week in pictures

i won suzanne husseini’s when suzanne cooks from delna prakashan of disoverspice.com on the recipe contest. i was so looking forward to get my hands on the book and was eager to try some recipes out of it.

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it was a good signed copy 🙂

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so as i was looking for some low carb options this recipe attracted me having got all the required ingredients i started preparations and this is how it looked…

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having used pomegranates for the recipe i wouldn’t have if i dint try this wonderful way of deseeding the pomegranates. its such a wonder and make deseeding pomegranates easy as ABC. I bought a meat tenderiser from sri lanka and my husband said he dont like eating beef or mutton anymore, i was so worried how i am gonna use it but now am glad i brought it here instead of leaving back in sri lanka. i used it to deseed the pomegranates.

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made a sugar free sweet rice kichchadi with kithul treacle and raisins. it was good with those dates.

made a sugar free sweet rice kichchadi with kithul treacle and raisins. it was good with those dates.

am not a beans fan but i really liked fava beans better than baked kidney beans. i think it tastes better.

tried fava beans for the first time with paratha i say its a good low carb option.

tried fava beans for the first time with paratha i say its a good low carb option.

made some toast with home made bread, kithul treacle and cinnamon powder from sri lanka bought at the g

made some toast with home made bread, kithul treacle and cinnamon powder from sri lanka bought at the good market

Recipe

Ingredients-

1/2 a baguette or 4 slices of home made bread

1 table spoon kithul treacle

1/3 of a cup of low fat milk

1 egg

a pinch of cinnamon powder

butter to coat the pan

cooking instructions-

  1. mix together the milk, kithul treacle, egg and cinnamon powder.
  2. cut the bread into bite size pieces.
  3. coat the pan with butter.
  4. dip each piece of bread in the egg batter and cook all sides until golden brown.

serve warm as it is.

 

tried making some cakes on a macaroon sheet which i ordered o ebay long time back.

 

these organic cinnamon powder mixes by ma’s are so aromatic and just pinch is enough for an egg.

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tried making some cakes on a macaroon sheet which i ordered o ebay long time back.

these sponge cakes were made with flour which i dono the expiry date of but they tasted good.

the ones i made on macaroo sheets are still in my fridge waiting to be transformed into a dessert -)

the sponge cake ad macaroon cakes

the sponge cake ad macaroon cakes

 

making a kofta is made easy with these knorr kofta spice

making a kofta is made easy with these knorr kofta spice

i just enjoyed preparing them.

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using up those green that accompany the grilled chicken.

using up those green that accompany the grilled chicken.

 

recipe

Ingredients

a handful of arugula

a few mint leaves

2 tablespoons of feta cheese

half a cucumber chopped

2 teaspoons of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

4 slices of tomatoes

half an onion chopped

preparation instructions

  1. chop the basil and arugula
  2. sprinkle the chopped onions and feta.
  3. spread the cucumbers.
  4. season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. place the tomatoes on top and serve with rice or bread.

Dinner @ HATAM, Burjuman

So as me and my son are back in Dubai and we thought taking our son out for a walk would be ideal as he feels like an alien already and seemed like he misses sri lanka. So we drove towards Dubai mall and met up with a humongous line up of vehicles waiting to enter the parking. It was no wonder as the weekends are always jam packed in many malls so we decided to head over to Burjuman. It was my husband’s idea and was less crowded. As we walked around Burjuman heading towards the food court looking for somewhere to sit and eat. Yes Burjuman centre had a very nice food court in their new phase which had upstairs as well.
I wanted to sit up in one of those cabins and eat in style after all it’s my first weekend out in Dubai after my vacation. So we decided to go for grills and chose to dine at HATAM. Am not sure what cuisines they serve but it sure is Arabic food. There menu was awesome. I asked the manager to get us a seating upstairs and he straight away rejected saying “no ma’am, we don’t give upstairs seating”, is that it? Well I saw the opposite restaurant masala house served food upstairs for the customers. I was disappointed. They might or might not have a proper reason for not providing upstairs dining but it was very impolite. Anyway as they were the only ones who had a grills option we decided to sit and eat though not hungry.
The person took the order in a few minutes and went away.
Serving was quick and we were in no time digging into our plates. The portion was fine. Even my 9 month old enjoyed the piece of rotti 🙂

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The salad was good and I loved the kebabs. It was a mixed grill with rice.
Finally as we finished our meals and paid for it we walked out towards the parking taking pictures as any tourist would do and finally I remembered that we were not served hot water as I requested and they even forgot to provide Bavaria as ordered. It was good they dint charge for it though. Anyway the first weekend in Dubai dinner was good :