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Arvinda's Christmas Chai is here!

Arvinda’s Christmas Chai is here!

Introducing…Arvinda’s Christmas Chai Masala (limited edition).

This is a Stocking Stuffer for the Chai Lover! Round up the loved ones. Snow day fun. Crackling fire. Warm up your heart with a comforting cup of Masala Chai reminiscent of the festive holiday season. Sweet cinnamon, warm cloves and zesty orange spices up your jolly cup!

Not only used for a festive spiced tea, try Arvinda’s Christmas Chai Masala in your holiday baked goods, hot chocolates, truffles, shortbread cookies, crepes, scones, cupcakes and more to ‘spice up’ your holiday baking and sweets.

Combine this spice blend with festive flavours such as cranberry, ginger, orange, vanilla, chocolate, apple or pear to create something special for this celebratory time of year. Will share my recipes soon!

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Indian Spiced Classic French Macarons: Chai Spiced Coconut Cream Cheese Macaron (front) and Garam Masala Chocolate Macaron (back).

Last year during the holiday season everyone was talking French Macarons. After watching the film Kings of Pastry, I was overwhelmingly inspired to take on the challenge to serve my guests at a holiday dinner party Classic French Macarons—but Indian-style!

If you saw Kings of Pastry you too would be aroused by their mouth-watering utterly majestic and artful hand-crafted sweets and be inspired to take on a feat of your own in the kitchen. These genius pastry chefs pour their hearts and souls into the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition putting their lives and loves on hold to win the title of Best Craftsman in France.

That film was enough inspiration to keep me up till midnight slaving over a hot oven in my first attempt at making my Indian-spiced macarons. A complete failure that was!

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Pav Bhaji ~ remixed!

My favourite Mumbai street food specialty is Pav Bhaji. I’ve already done my share of bragging about this as one of best street foods I’ve eaten in India, so I won’t keep going on and on about it here!

This past weekend I served Pav Bhaji while entertaining for Canada Day – but remixed! {Remix = an alternative version of the orginal}.

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Delicious for Father's Day Brunch ~ Curried Potato & Cheese Kebabs with Peas.

A friend in Mumbai, Pervin served these Curried Cheese & Potato Kebabs with Peas as an appetizer with a steamy cup of Chai upon our visit one hot Mumbai night. Pervin is a huge food lover and cook so it was fun to talk Indian recipes and exchange cooking ideas with a like-minded ‘foodie friend’!

This was my second visit to see Pervin who lives in the Malabar Hills area of Mumbai, just a stone’s throw from the famous Hanging Gardens of Mumbai—a much needed oasis from the Mumbai bustle, smog and heat.

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I stayed up for this week's lunar eclipse - it was spectacular! And this shot of the eclipse is amazing. Unfortunately, my photos did not turn out! Photo source: lawrence.com


The lunar eclipse this week was as fantastic as anticipated. Luckily the skies were clear, the stars were shining and the moon was a blazing deep red hue. My sleepy eyes stayed up to see the eclipse (yikes!) and in a dream-like state I gazed upon the red moon in amazement. It truly was spectacular.

That plus all the Christmas holiday festivities has left us with an exciting end to 2010!

My holiday dinner table is set. This is something I usually do way in advance of any dinner, as the day of entertaining should be all about the food.

The table is set...


Of course there is red and green on the table…

And there is a different shade of red and green...


And we can’t forget our beloved little elephant!

...we love elephants!


For our Christmas holiday feast traditions, we avoid curries of any sort. This is the time of year we embrace the traditional Christmas dinner along with the full array of trimmings, from oven roasted garlic potatoes to brussel sprout salad, gingered maple glazed green beans and carrots, cranberry chutney to homemade stuffing with toasted almonds. Dessert is a Sticky Date Toffee Pudding with a hint of garam masala.

The dinner table always gets set way in advance to avoid stress.


HOWEVER, there is usually at least one dish on our holiday table that has Indian flavours. Myself especially having a palette for spicy and bolder flavours needs one dish with intense Indian spices.

This year it will be Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes is a side that can satisfy guests with a palette for intense flavours.


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Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 4 small), peeled and cubed
½ lb. potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cubed
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. ghee or butter
1 tbsp. Arvinda’s Curry Masala (I use 2 tbsp. but the flavour is intense)
1/8 cup heavy cream
sea salt, to taste
¼ tsp. Arvinda’s Garam Masala or chili powder, to garnish

Method: In a pressure cooker, add sweet potatoes, potatoes and salt. Cover with water and cook for 10 minutes until they are tender enough to mash. (If you don’t own a pressure cooker, boil on stovetop – this should take around 20 minutes).

Drain water. Using a potato masher (or fork) mash sweet potatoes and potatoes.

In a large skillet, melt ghee on medium heat. Add Arvinda’s Curry Masala and mix. Fold in mashed sweet potatoes and potatoes and coat with masala. Fold in heavy cream.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with Arvinda’s Garam Masala or chili powder. Serves 2-4.
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There, that’s more like it, now we have some spice!

The lovely Danielle, a fellow blogger, Holistic Nutritionist-to-be of Body By Nature blog just posted an amazing Apple-Curried Quinoa with Toasted Almonds – I think I’m now making this tomorrow too!

Thank you to all for your wonderful support and for reading A Teaspoon Of Turmeric. I wish you and yours a Happy Christmas!

What is on your holiday dinner table this year – either food or décor?

A teaspoon of: The Reindeer Section. Listening to: You Are My Joy.

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What gorgeous weather we have for our holiday weekend! Southern Ontario never fails to give us sunshine for Thanksgiving – we’re so lucky for that!

Here’s a simple recipe that will work alongside any Thanksgiving menu. We picked up these fingerling potatoes from the Oakville Organic Farmers’ Market. Fingerling potatoes are favoured for their buttery flavour and texture and can make a simple potato dish into something special. In Gujarat region of India, we refer to spinach as ‘bhaji’.

Start off with organic fingerlings & spinach.

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All week I’ve been thinking about tapas, and Indian-style tapas to be exact. Spain winning last week’s FIFA World Cup final has got me hooked on Spain On The Road Again …all over again!

Summertime always reminds me of Spain. When I was younger my family hosted some Spanish students for a couple of months in the summer opening me up to their culinary traditions and culture. Meat was definitely on the menu! From Asturias to Valencia to the northern Basque country, it was interesting to learn from our Spanish friends how the cuisine was unique to each Spanish province. Similarly India’s regional differences are very pronounced.

For the Masala Papad recipe below, of course this is not Spanish but I like to call it Indian-style tapas. It’s a light snack made from papads, also known as pappadums, thin grilled wafers made from lentils. These are gluten-free!

Uncooked papads

This snack is crunchy but gets freshness from tomatoes, cilantro, green chili and onions. Choose heirloom tomatoes for their amazing taste! I heard Clover Roads Organic Farm may possibly have their delicious tomatoes at today’s Oakville Organic Farmers’ Market. So exciting, I’ve waited a year for these!

Ingredients:
4 papads, grilled
2 tomatoes, finely cubed
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 green chili, finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. Arvinda’s Garam Masala, to garnish

Method of Preparation: In a bowl combine all ingredients. Top grilled papads with tomato mixture and garnish with Arvinda’s Garam Masala. Serves 4.

Masala Papad topping all mixed up!

Now for the experiment. What is the best way to grill papads?

Today I tried it on the electrical stove.

For the electrical stove, cook papads on top of a cake cooling rack.

And then on the gas stove and lastly in the microwave.

Gas stove (left); electric stove (middle); microwave (right).

To my surprise, the microwave fared as the most consistent and even cooking and most aesthetically pleasing. Stove top grilling tends to slightly burn them, as they are very thin and delicate. Grilling the papads on the electrical stove made them crispier however. Any tips on cooking the perfect papad?

You can serve Masala Papadslike this:

Whole Masala Papad

Or like this!

Masala Papad Chips!

A teaspoon of: Johannes Linstead. Listening to: Hour of the Lamps.

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