December 16, 2013

Around The World With The Tadka Girls : A Review, Some Apple And Fennel Fritters & A Giveaway!

W
ho/ What are the “Tadka Girls, and what’s with the world trip? According to their own description of themselves, they are R&R (Ruchira Ramanujam & Ranjini Rao), two Indian foodies steeped in kitchen poetry, and blog at Tadka Pasta.
Both the Tadka Girls, though Indian, have lived in (and visited) various parts of the world and the recipes on their blogs reflect this in the way they adapt world cuisine, giving it an Indian twist to suit their palates. This is the way I cook a lot of the non-Indian food just because we find that many such recipes need a little ”something” to pep them up to appeal to our Indian palates that have been brought up on a wide variety of spices.
 



I met Ruchira virtually on Facebook (where else, you might ask?) a little while back and our paths have been criss-crossing there regularly as we also share a love for good food. I was happy to hear Ruchira announce recently that the Tadka Girls had written a cookbook and it was due on the stands soon. A little later she wrote to me asking if I’d like to review their cookbook and quite naturally I said “yes”!
Knowing the style of the recipes, food and writing on their blog, I was looking forward to seeing the book too and it didn’t disappoint. As expected, the book is full of simple and easy to cook recipes that are influenced by their experience of cuisines they have been exposed to, but have the that typical Indian touch to them – truly living up to the trademark “Tadka Pasta” style.
So you’ll find recipes like Salsa Eggs which use coriander with pickled jalapenos, Apple Fritters with fennel seeds and cloves, Pasta Shells stuffed with Palak Panner, Eggs in a Peanut Sauce,  a mocktail called Masala Mary, Arancini made with left-over Khichdi, and even a recipe for “Tadka Pasta” that has a touch of cumin and Green Chutney Pesto!
 



The book itself is a slim volume of over 140 recipes presented in a vintage and attractive style. The book has recipes for breakfast/ brunch, snack time, soups and salads, breads, pasta/ rice, main dishes, and sweets/ desserts. The authors have also included a couple of pages on how to best use their book, measurement cheat sheets, an oven temperature chart, and a glossary which translates a lot of Indian words/ phrases into English.
Each recipe is accompanied by a well written  quirky introduction, with little stories to how they came about and run the gamut from a “Toast to Breakfast”, “A Salsa Eggsperiment”, getting “Mushy O’ver Morning Muffins”, and “Groovy Green Skewers on the Grill” right through to “Kicked-up Black Bean Soup”, “A Suitably Puffed Pasta”, “From Retro To Rollicking” and “Mommapalooza”!
Most of the recipes use commonly available ingredients in the Indian pantry, and are accompanies by helpful notes on alternative ingredient use, cooking tips, variations and make-ahead, freezing and serving suggestions, etc.
This book also has a bunch of photographs bunched together in the middle, and even though they point to the page on which the concerned recipe is featured, I personally feel they would have done more for the book they had accompanied the recipes they feature.



 
If you’re looking for a collection of very doable recipes for food that’s not quite like your mother’s cooking, then Around the World with the Tadka Girls is for you. If you want recipes that bring you flavours from various cuisines from around the world yet appeals to Indian taste buds, then this book is for you. There are recipes here for simple everyday cooking kind, to the kind that will satisfy your fussy kids and also help you put together something for guests at the dinner table without too much of a fuss.

December is here, and it’s the season for lower temperatures, misty mornings, Christmas lights, decorated trees in shop windows, Christmas carols and music from the neighbours in the mornings, and strawberries and cherries at the market. It doesn’t ever get cold here but it is definitely pleasant enough to beg deep fried crispness alongside one’s evening cuppa.
The Tadka Girls’ Apple and Fennel Fritters seemed to fit the bill. Apple Fritters are typical of Southern cuisine from the US and usually spiced with cinnamon but the Tadka Girls have added their own twist by using fennel seeds (saunf) and powdered cloves.
The choice of apple is the Granny Smith which is a green coloured, crisp and tart apple. Though it is available here, I chose to use the smaller green and red coloured crisp Kashmiri apples which are in season right now. Do use any crisp variety of apples for these fritters.



 
These crisp Apple Fritters have a soft cakey inside and are perfect eaten warm and dusted with icing sugar. They can mixed up in no time at all and its important to mix the batter just enough combine the wet and dry ingredients, much like for muffins, to achieve a light and airy texture.
 
Apple And Fennel Fritters



 
Ruchira and Ranjini have been very generous and offered to give away a copy of their book "Around the World with the Tadka Girls" to one randomly picked lucky reader of this blog. So accept the Tadka Girls’ invite when they ask you to take a peek into their world, and among other things to savour slices of their real-life stories ranging from visits to a school potluck, and to a drive down a wine trail in a Midwestern American town.

All you have to do to try your luck for this book, is a leave a comment at this post telling me about one “Tadka Pasta” style dish that you cook. By this I mean that one dish which is non-traditional to you, but which you cook with your own twist to it.
For example, I  cook a Curried Pasta that’s from my college days, and my twist is the onions, potatoes, peas, and curry powder that go into it.
Please leave an e-mail id or some link with your comment so I can contact you if you win the book.
All comments without this stand disqualified from the giveaway. Due to difficulty in shipping internationally, the giveaway is open only to Indian residents, or those with an Indian shipping address.
The giveaway is open till the 30th of December, 2013.

1 comments:

amit pamnani said...

I make a pasta dish with fusilli, the indian additon is the use of curry leaves, mustard seeds, kashmiri red chilli and grated coconut as a garnish. It tastes yummy. My email id is amitpamnani@yahoo.co.uk