Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Pongal Post- Finally an Update!

pongal kolamI am like the worst blogger. Ever. Okay, that is probably an exaggeration- neither do I update only once a year nor do I leave random burns on other blogs. But I am down there with the ones that seldom reply to the comments you leave on their blogs and the ones that never post recipes to yummy food they put up pictures of. Anyhoo, Happy New Year and Happy Pongal, people!

I have been monstrously busy since 2014 slid in and I am still trying to find time to click pictures of stuff that Amma (or I) cook. No, seriously. I am so behind on blogging that I haven’t even done my post for the monthly Photo Styling Challenge and we are done with two Mondays already this month. I am aiming at getting that up over the weekend. We had good holidays, ate wonderful food, like this Orange Cola Cake (with leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving) that the NJ aunt made-
orange cola cakeI know, crappy pic but it was a rainy day and  I had to click before anyone got to it, which meant switching on the kitchen lights in a very photogenic kitchen. Blasphemy, I know! So we got back down south on New Year day and hence began the same ol’. Preparing for the commencement of semester, running behind Aarabhi and finding a good daycare. All of the above were achieved, I went to school for a couple of weeks, we celebrated a rather important Indian festival, Pongal. We call it the Indian Thanksgiving but during the three days of Pongal, we show our gratitude to the Sun, the hardworking farmers that plow our fields of rice, without which almost all South Indians would starve!
pongal4
The first day of Pongal, called Bhogi, signals the end of one Tamil month (Margazhi) and the beginning of another (Thai). Until around ten years ago, people used to burn leaves and papers amongst other things, signifying the death of all things old and the beginning of everything new (and good). Well, the good news is that we have stopped setting fire to random combustible objects but  Bhogi still means  let the good times roll, baybay!

The second day is the most important day of all four: Pongal. On this day, we make a huge feast which begins with boiling new rice with milk and jaggery. When this concoction boils over, we yell “Pongal-o Pongal”, which literally means “Boiling over, boiling over!” Sounds weird, right? It is actually so much fun at home, when all of us are peering over the brass pot perched on the cooktop, with a metal plate and ladle in hand. And when the white milk rises to the brim, bubbles up and starts overflowing, with clangs and clings, we yell (most of the time into each others’ ears) with all the lung power we can muster!
pongal2After all the screaming (at the pot of milk by the whole family and later, by Paati at us to go take a shower), we get clean, wear new clothes, bring out all the yummy food and thank the sun for being merciful on our farmers and the crops. Phew! That was a pretty long narration. This year, Pongal was special because it was A’s first and for the first ever time since we got married, we had a set of parents at home with us to celebrate with. Thankfully the weather behaved itself too, a surprise since we have been seeing a lot of rains.

So about the blog: the url has changed! You can find us at http://www.chefettespicy.com from now. We have a new banner also. And as always, I will do my best at keeping the updates consistent and constant. Thassal, folks!

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Making Time for a New, Albeit Random Post

Sigh, it is like a jinx. People asked me how I had time to cook when I had a baby to take care of. And then grad school began. It has been grueling to say the least. For the past one week, I’ve been at my computer, trying to edit (not very appealing) pics I clicked in a hurry. All I can say is thankfully I don’t make money off this blog for one look at the pics and my investors and readers would have gone “Whaaaaat!?!”

On the bright side, weekend is *finally* here and I am looking forward to a couple of interesting blog posts. One of them, a first time recipe and the rest are going to be recreated recipes from the blog. I swear I will take good pictures and share ’em. Happy Friday, y’all!
pongalThis here was last Saturday’s breakfast, Pongal, a wonderful South Indian dish that we love like American South loves its grits. It is filled with protein from Moong Dal, carbs from rice, wonderful flavors like whole pepper seeds, cumin seeds, cashew nuts, curry leaves and finished with a generous amount of browned butter/clarified butter. We eat it with different kinds of chutneys. Um, not the west’s version of a sweet and sour concoction but a spicy side that we make with coconut.

puffInspired by my Germany livin’ bro-in-law, I made egg puff for snack last weekend. He makes it all the time but this was my first. It was also the first time I worked with puff pastry (can ya imagine!). Puff is a quintessential bakery product in India and almost all of us have a favorite bakery which makes puff exactly how we like it. They come in a wide variety, ranging from vegetable filled puffs to ones stuffed with meat. Being a dedicated eggetarian, I love the egg puff from the bakery around the corner from our house. Although it is going to take some time to perfect the art of puff-making, this came out rather wonderfully for a first try.

A typical Indian bakery shelf with a whole range of baked goodies.

A typical Indian bakery shelf with a whole range of baked goodies.

egg spinach rollI came across spinach and herbs flavored tortillas last week at my grocery store, found it pretty interesting and decided to give it a try. Verdict: I’ll skip it the next time and buy my usual low-carb pack. For one, I hated the texture. It was slightly rubbery and became gooey when I stuffed it with the egg salad with croutons and Cesar dressing (on a bed of lettuce, topped with chipotle sauce). Not a pleasant taste but fortunately the salad made up for it.