Tag Archives: tangy

Better Buttermilk

I swear by butter and cream and milk too; buttermilk was new and certainly was a welcome change!


“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” – Woody Allen
The Fact: To get the amount of calcium in an 8-ounce glass of milk, you’d have to eat one-fourth cup of broccoli, seven oranges or six slices of wheat bread.
The Inspiration:So my research began when I visited about seven dairies and four supermarkets in search of buttermilk, and still didn’t get any. They blamed it on the winter—“Nobody drinks buttermilk in winter, ma’am—and the lack of demand in the winter. And so I gave up. I decided I’m going to make some and I’m going to make it better. And I did.Buttermilk sits right in the middle of milk and cream; it’s slightly thicker than milk and not quite as thick as cream. It’s also more acidic than milk, has a lovely flavor, and is a super alternative for lactose intolerant people because much of the lactose has been broken down to lactic acid. Buttermilk has quite a few benefits—it’s low in fat and calories (lower than that in milk—a cup of buttermilk contains 2.2g of fat and 99 calories while a cup of whole milk contains 8.9g of fat and 157 calories), is cooling for the body (which is why it’s perfect for summers), aids digestion, makes the yummiest, lightest, and softest pancakes and cakes, and lasts much longer in the refrigerator because of its acidity, which inhibits growth of pathogenic bacteria.Since most store-bought buttermilk is quite fake and not quite the real thing, here are some easy ways in which you can make your very own homemade buttermilk.

#1 Super easy, all of 10 minutes, but rather watery kinda buttermilk

Watery buttermlk

This buttermilk is very easy to make at home and takes a maximum of 10 minutes. And although you can use this buttermilk in your baking recipes to make cakes, biscuits and pancakes, I found this version to be very light, watery and rather tasteless. But if you need a substitute, it works.

The Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 cup of milk (minus 1 tablespoon)
The Method
  • Pour the lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup.
  • Add enough milk to bring the mixture up to the one-cup line.
  • Stir once and let the mixture stand for 5 – 10 minutes. You’ll notice tiny curdled bits in you measuring cup. If you do, you have your buttermilk. If you don’t, add a further half tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and try again.
  • Refrigerate.

#2 Easy, perfect and yummy, but takes 1 – 2 days to make kinda buttermilk

A glass of buttermilk

This buttermilk is easy to make, requires cultured buttermilk (thick, real, buttermilk preferably from a health store or an organic store) and takes a day or two to make. This buttermilk is perfect to drink and use as a substitute in your baking recipes.

The Ingredients
  • 1 cup of cultured buttermilk
  • 3 cups of milk
  • A glass jar with a lid (screwed-on or clipped)
If you want smaller quantities, you can do so by reducing the quantities of the ingredients but maintaining the proportion, which is a 1:3 ratio.
The Method
  • Pour the buttermilk into the glass jar.
  • Next, add the milk, screw the lid on and shake the jar.
  • Leave the jar to rest in a relatively warm place for about 24 hours. You can check whether your buttermilk is ready by tilting the jar slightly. While milk does not coat the glass, buttermilk will (as you can see in the image right at the top of this post).
  • Now pop it into the refrigerator and it will stay for a few weeks.

#3 Not-so-easy, the best, but takes about 5 days to make kinda buttermilk

A glass of perfect buttermilk

This buttermilk is still easy to make, however, it involves you making your own buttermilk culture from raw milk and then takes a day or two to make. This buttermilk is the best buttermilk you could ever have, is perfect to drink, use in your baking recipes, and will make you a buttermilk addict (yes, that’s possible :)).

The Ingredients
  • 1 cup of raw milk
  • 1 cup of regular milk
  • A glass jar with a lid (screwed-on or clipped)
The Method
  • Let a cup of raw milk sit covered, at room temperature, until it has clabbered or thickened. This usually takes about 2 – 3 days.
  • Take a quarter or one-fourth of the clabbered milk in a glass jar and add a cup of regular milk to it.
  • Screw the lid on and shake the jar. Now, allow the jar to sit at room temperature until clabbered.
  • Repeat this sub-culturing process several times until the milk clabbers within 24 hours. To know that you’ve got the right buttermilk, taste it. It should be tart (not bitter), thick, and should not have a bad or off taste. If it’s perfect, you’ve got your buttermilk culture.
  • Now use the buttermilk culture with milk in the 1:3 ratio that was used in the Method #2 above, mix and allow to stand for 24 hours.
  • Refrigerate and use.

#4 Easy, quick, not the best, but makes butter and buttermilk

A bowl of homemade butter

This method is lovely because it gives you lovely homemade butter and buttermilk. The method is simple, quick and gives you buttermilk that’s nice to drink. I haven’t yet used this buttermilk to bake, so you could be my judge??

The Ingredients
  • Heavy cream (as much as you want)
The Method
  • Pour the heavy cream into a blender and blend the cream (with the lid on)
  • When you notice the yellow butter starting to separate from the now formed buttermilk, stop the blender and let the cream sit for a minute or two to allow the butter globules to rise to the top.
  • Pour out the buttermilk. Use a spoon to squeeze out as much buttermilk as possible. You have your buttermilk.

Now for the butter. Your homemade butter is already ready, but if you want it to last longer, wash it with ice-cold water by pouring ice cold water into the blender and blending it for a minute. Pour/squeeze out ALL the water, add a little coarse salt (for salted butter) and mix. Voila! You have your yummy homemade butter ready for use.

#5 Insanely easy, super quick, only for drinking kinda buttermilk

This method is everything I’ve called it. All you have to do is use store-bought curd, add some water to it to lighten the consistency as much as you want. Stir or blend. You have your buttermilk. Once again, I haven’t used this buttermilk to bake, so let me know if you do.

So that’s it from me. I know it’s easy to simply go out and buy fake buttermilk, but you really should give these simple methods a try. I’d love to hear from you on these 🙂

Goan Chouriço Chilli Fry

A must-try Goan delicacy if you’re headed to Goa, India, for a holiday!


“To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.” – Otto von Bismarck
The Fact: Sausages were called bangers during the Second World War because they contained so much water that they exploded when fried.
The Inspiration: This dish is born of a special sausage that is home to Goa, India, a tourist destination famous for the glorious sun, the myriad beaches, and the lip-smacking Konkani seafood. I’m not sure of the availability of this sausage outside the state, but I’m sure that getting hold of it would be nothing less than an Olympic feat.
Goan chouriço or chorizo are spicy, flavorful, deep red pork sausage links made from pork, vinegar, chili, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric and other spices that are stuffed into chitterlings (pigs intestines) and sold in dry or wet forms. Goan chouriço is a traditional food item that has built its way into the “authentic” Goan cuisine lineup, thanks to the 451 years of Portuguese rule.Fortunately, I live in a city that’s not too far from Goa. I also have friends and family visiting the place every second month. So the specialty product is not as much a “specialty” as it is an ordinary ingredient in my kitchen.This dish is my quick fix almost once every month. The recipe’s been handed down from my mother and mother in law, and their mothers, and so on. Besides being a quick fix, it’s also one of Ally’s favourites; him being a true “not-born-but-brought-up-in-Goa” kinda Goan.
Frozen Goan Chouriço

The Ingredients

Serves approximately 6 people
  • 1 packet (250 gms) of Goan chouriço
  • 3 – 4 medium-sized onions; sliced
  • 2 green chillies slit down the centre
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • Optional: 1 large potato; cubed

The Method

  • Heat a skillet or a wok and drizzle with oil.
  • Drop the spit chillies into the oil and stir for a few seconds.
  • Toss in the sliced onions and allow them to cook until they are almost translucent.
  • While the onions are cooking, untwine and cut open the covering or sausage lining. Then, roughly chop up the sausages.
  • Add in the cubed potatoes once the onions are done. Fry them with the onions for about a minute or two.
  • Sprinkle some salt over the mixture. You won’t need any more salt or spice because the sausages are pre-seasoned.
  • Add in the chopped sausages and allow them to cook for about 15 – 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • You’ll notice the pork fat melting and a lot of oil collecting in your skillet. I usually scoop out the oil or soak it up using kitchen roll because it’s a little too much oil for my taste. Pork is a red meat and has a high fat content. If you’re health conscious, this isn’t really a dish for you, but if you have to try it, I suggest removing the oil for sure.
  • Serve the dish, hot, with rotis (Indian flat bread) or any bread of your choice.

The same dish when cooked along with rice forms a more substantial ‘Goan chouriço pulav’ meal.

I would recommend a quick jog or some form of workout the next day 🙂 Bon appétit!

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Grilled chicken cooked with the combined fragrance and flavour of freshly ground black pepper and freshly squeezed lemon… hmmmm…


“The disparity between a restaurant’s price and food quality rises in direct proportion to the size of the pepper mill.” – Bryan Q. Miller
The Fact: It is believed that when the Goths defeated Rome in 410, they demanded a ransom of 3,000 pounds of pepper, along with other valuables such as silk.
The Inspiration: Although we live a hop, skip and jump away from my parents and my in-laws, a Sunday family meal with them does not take place that often. This Sunday was different.
We had a late and well-deserved, fun Saturday night and a mild hung-over Sunday morning; nothing that a hot cup of coffee and a quick shower couldn’t fix. On a day like this, when you’re expecting your in-laws for lunch, a quick meal, like this one, was just perfect. So that’s my inspiration for this addition—a quick, homely and simple recipe.

The Ingredients

Serves approximately 6 people
  • 1 kg chicken cut into roughly 8 – 10 pieces
  • 5 tablespoons barbeque sauce
  • 1 tablespoons soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 medium or ½ large lemon
  • 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil

The Method

  • Wash well and drain the chicken pieces. Dry the chicken pieces using a kitchen towel.
  • Mix all the above ingredients (except the olive oil) for the marinade.
  • Slit the chicken pieces so that the marinade permeates the meat.
  • Apply the marinade to each chicken pieces carefully, remembering to massage the marinade into the slits as well. Place chicken pieces in a baking dish and pour the remaining marinade over it.
  • Allow the chicken to sit covered on the counter or in the refrigerator for about 20 – 30 minutes. Refrigeration is preferred if your kitchen is warm and not at room temperature.
  • Ten minutes before your marination time’s up, preheat your oven to 375°F / 190°C.
  • Drizzle the dish with the olive oil and pop it into the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Your chicken’s done when the meat seems to leave the bone easily and the meat doesn’t look pink and raw. You can prick it with a skewer or fork to check. Remove the chicken from the oven and serve while it’s hot.

Note: I used chicken on the bone; if you’re using boneless chicken, your meal should be done in 20 minutes.

You could serve the chicken with a salad on the side. I also added a lovely garlic-flavoured potato mash (mashed potato) with it. A light white wine will make for a great drink to go with the meal.


A lovely Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay, some country music in the background, a few sways in the kitchen, a lovely sit-down meal, followed by a cosy nap! A perfect end to the weekend!

Pepper Chicken Noodles

Noodles. Pepper. Chicken. What more can I ask for on a pleasant, laid-back Sunday afternoon?


“Noodles? I can’t eat noodles; there’s too many of them. No matter how hungry I am, 1000 of anything is too many.” – Mitch Hedberg
 The Fact: Contrary to popular belief, Marco Polo did not discover pasta; was only the first to write about it.
The Inspiration: Ghostly silence until 11am (to allow you to stay under the covers); cheerful country music to wake you up; a mindless, laid-back, workless day; un-put-down-able Pepper Chicken Noodles for when the stomach growls; your favourite people for company… that’s what Sundays are made of! 
… and yes, also the fact that I hadn’t stocked up on my regular supplies for the week, and so, apart from two packets of Hakka noodles, 2 frozen chicken breasts, 1 carrot, 1 red pepper, and 1 yellow pepper, I pretty much had nothing to cook …

The Ingredients

Approximately 6 servings
  • 2 packets of vegetable or egg noodles of your choice (approx 300 – 350gms)
  • 150 gms boneless chicken
  • 2 green chillies (de-seed the chillies if you can’t tolerate spice)
  • A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 large or 2 medium-small onion(s)
  • 2 medium-sized peppers (use different coloured peppers for a more colourful dish)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 soup cubes
  • 4 tablespoons Dark Soy sauce (I used Ching’s Secret)
  • 4 tablespoons All-In-One Stir-Fry sauce (I used Ching’s Secret; you can use any brand that’s easily available)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Butter or olive oil (olive oil being the healthier option)
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

The Method

Boil the noodles as per instructions on the packet. Drain the noodles, run cold water through them to stop them from cooking further and then, drizzle some oil on them to prevent them from sticking. Set aside.

In the meantime, slit the chillies, finely chop the garlic, julienne the carrots and capsicums, slice (not chop) the onions, and dice the chicken into medium-sized bits.

Heat a wok with about 3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil (use olive oil as the healthier option). When the oil is hot, drop the chillies and chopped ginger into the oil. Without letting the ginger burn, quickly add in your onions.
Sauté the onions for about 2 – 3 minutes. When the onions appear translucent (don’t let them lose their crunch), toss in the carrots and stir for about 2 minutes. Then, toss in the capsicum briefly for about a minute.

Add 1 soup cube, half a teaspoon of salt and about 3/4th tablespoon of freshly ground pepper.


Stir the veggies and empty them into a plate.

Heat the wok again and add a sliver of butter or a drizzle of oil to it. When the butter/oil has heated, add the diced chicken and stir continuously till the pink of the chicken is no longer visible (about 1 – 2 minutes). Scoop out the chicken bits and set aside.

In the same wok, stir in all the sauces—the soy, stir-fry sauce, ketchup and vinegar. Toss in the noodles for a few seconds (do not stir to prevent the noodles from breaking or becoming a mash). Sprinkle the noodles with the second soup cube, salt to taste, and 1 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper. Feel free to add more pepper if you enjoy spice or then, tone down the pepper to your liking. Toss again for a few seconds. Add in the veggies and the chicken bits. Toss once more and voila, you’re done.

And since I don’t believe in reheating noodles (though I will if I absolutely have to), enjoy the dish while it’s hot! Add a glass of white wine or even a coke to your meal and maybe, the book you’re reading or a movie of your liking, and you’re pretty much set.

Bon appétit! Here’s hoping the door bell doesn’t ring 🙂 … at least not just yet…!