Saturday, July 22, 2006

Recipe Watch 3, from my *tiny* kitchen...

Far more than cookbooks, I use my fellow bloggers as inspiration to try some new recipes and find new favorites. Every so often, a recipe from a food blog will make it to our hit-list, and go into routine circulation on our dinner menu. Here are some of my recent "finds":

1. My introduction to chard: I love eating my greens. Always have. Eating in the cafeteria in my hostel in college, I was the one person who would enthusiastically eat up the weekly serving of mystery-greens-in-a-mush (Am I right, M?). However, cooking with greens is another story: anything other than the familiar spinach intimidates me. So was it with chard. Those huge stalks and oversize leaves...what do you make with it? I jumped for joy when Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries posted her recipe for vegetarian enchiladas. The filling called for chard, corn and black beans. I followed Barbara's recipe for the filling, but used store-bought corn tortillas and my favorite tried-and-tested salsa verde recipe for the sauce. The result was wonderful: the chard tasted fresh and "green" without being bitter or overwhelming. Overall, the enchiladas were so tasty and healthy! The amounts suggested in the recipe made two whole dinners for V and me. I am dying to try chard in more dishes, so let me know if you have a suggestion.

2. One of every two nights, dinner at my home is some-form-of-rice with some-form-of-beans, and I am constantly looking for fresh ideas for cooking dal or beans. One recipe from Shammi's Food-In the Main caught my eye: it used one of my favorite beans- black-eyed peas. Shammi's black-eyes peas in yogurt sauce was easy to make, looked pretty and tasted sublime. Like all of Shammi's recipes that I have tried so far!

3. The next two dal dishes come from Sailu's excellent round-up of the foodie event "Jihva for Ingredients 3". Dozens of bloggers churned out some inspiring (and inspired) dishes using lentils, and I have my eye on trying on most of them. The first recipe I tried was from the host, Sailu, herself. I am always looking for good recipes for classic dishes, and dal makhani (translated as buttery lentils) is probably the the best example of a stereotyped classic Indian entree. Sailu's recipe for dal makhani was an instant hit: with the combination of lentils and kidney beans, a rich creamy sauce of tomatoes, onion, subtle spices, anointed with butter and cream; this dish is enough to make any dinner special!

4. This is the other hit from the dal round-up: I seem to be on a chana dal binge, and the dalcha recipe from Nabeela of Trial and Error looked intriguing and tempting. Since summer squash is in season right now, I used some beautiful yellow squash in place of the gourd in the dalcha recipe. I served the dalcha with rice that had caramelized onions stirred into it. The result was terrific!

5. To end this round-up, a simple and tasty dish from Gini-Ann of Salt and Pepper: a radish pachadi or yogurt relish that is perfect for summer. Gini, who has a green thumb indeed, used beautiful radishes from her own garden, while I had to resign myself to radishes grown by someone else (in new jersey, though, so it was close to home). This whole summer, I have been buying radishes almost every week: to be used in a simple mixed salad, or to be added to sambar, an idea I first got from Indira of Mahanandi. Gini's recipe is now another favorite: radishes (with some radish greens) sauteed lightly to bring out their sweetness, then dressed with a tempered yogurt sauce. Absolutely divine!

Finally, some of you were interested in taking a look at my *tiny* kitchen, where all the food on One Hot Stove gets made. Here it is:
The kitchen has been carved out of the niche that is the coat closet in normal (which is to say, non-NYC) apartments. So, to the right of this photo is the front door, and to the left is the living room. The kitchen contains three electric burners (two of which work), a small oven (good thing I never have to roast turkeys), and the only counter space is that between the knife rack and the dish drainer. Whenever I try to use a rolling pin in this counter space, I have to hold it at the diagonal across the space, otherwise I either hit the wall or knock the dish tray on the floor! Across from this niche is a wall which hold a little spice rack, and that is the sum total of my kitchen (fridge, toaster oven and microwave are scattered in the living room).
I happen to love this kitchen, though, and I have been cooking meals for 20 people here for years. If there is anyone out there who complains that they don't cook because their kitchen is too small, y'all know it is just an excuse :) !!
In a few months, I will be moving to another city and a bigger kitchen where I can hold my rolling pin any damn way I please, and I won't lie to you: I'm excited about that :)


  1. All that delicious food comes from that tiny little kitchen!Kudos to you Nupur!Indeed the most delicious food on earth i am sure, comes from tiny kitchens like these with a talented woman!:)

  2. Wow, I am impressed that you can produce such wonderful looking food with so little space. I'll be happy for you when you get your new kitchen, although I know where you're moving and I'll be curious to see whether you miss New York. Thanks for pointing out the chard recipe. I missed it and I have some in my garden.

  3. What a cute 'lil kitchen Nupur! I totally agree with you, having a small space is no excuse for not cooking. I've made fancy meals for elegant parties with just 1 burner working at one time. :o)

    Congrats on the move, hope you have a great looking kitchen there too!

  4. Hi Nupur,
    You can't get hot in that kitchen. It looks so nice.Looking forward to many more delicious dishes concocted there to inspire all of us.!

  5. My kitchen is just as small as yours. But believe me, my kitchen shelves have everything that one desires in a house. Love churning up recipes..and kitchen is the ONLY place where I spend most of my time.
    I have been a regular reader of your blogs. In fact suggested few recipes to 18 year olds who have started to get hitched to cooking:) Thanks Noopur.
    BTW, do check my recent blog on 'Summer Coolers' would love to have your input:)

  6. What a cute little kitchen! It brings back my days in New York. I think I may have had a slightly larger kitchen, but not by much!

    By coincidence, I just read a recipe for vicchysoise with swiss chard over at Just Braise. Here's the URL. Hope you try it!

  7. I remember well my days with a New York kitchen. It had no counter space at all! My criteria for a kitchen when I moved to San Francisco was simple - some amount of counter space (any amount, really - more than 1" nice)...Yours is cute - and even more impressive you do so well with the cooking in such tight quarters.

    I love chard - it's probably my favorite green. My favorite way of cooking it is a pseudo South Indian way - Wash chard well then separate leaves from stems. Chiffonade leaves and chop stems finely. Pop some mustard seeds and cumin for the tadka, then add about half an onion and 1-2 green chilis chopped finely (some people add garlic here too - I don't). Saute until onion is soft but not browned. Add chard leaves and stems, some salt to taste, and stir briefly so all is well-mixed. Cover and cook on low heat 3-5 minutes until chard cooks down. Stir once or twice if need be. You shouldn't need to add any water. Remove from heat and stir in 1-2 Tbs shredded coconut. Serve hot, warm , or cold. It makes excellent cold sandwiches the next day too.

  8. Hi Nupur,
    You are a doll.. thankyou for posting the photograph of your kitchen,, its truly inspiring.Its so spotlessly clean and organized .You cook meals for 20 people at one time ??(never mind if the kitchen is big or small but that itself is a big feat..hats off to you kiddo) By the way where are you moving and when?
    Here is one recipe from me for swiss chard.. chop it fine..and saute it in little water till it gets cooked .. heat a lil bit of oil in a saucepan and add a lil garlic paste then add the water sauted chard leaves and a pinch of salt(not too much salt)Take it off the heat and when the mixture cools add parmesan cheese so that the greens hold well.Take wonton wrappers and place a spoonfull of chard in the center and either place another wonton wrapper on it or you could turn this into a traingular shape. steam them, fry them or boil them and use them in your favorite sauce like a pierogi or swiss chard ravioli.. Enjoy

    My last comment which got lost was..What a "novel" idea to get inspired from a book and cook


  9. Boo hoo:(( After typing in a humungo post it got lost again..and now i dont have any enerygy to retype may be i will post tomorrow...Eve

  10. Hey the kitchen is small but so cute. I thought I worked in a matchbox kitchen but yours beats mine. But this kitchen will always bring back very good memories for you, won't it Nupur

  11. Thanks for stopping by, Sumitha...yes, I am sure many people have even tinier kitchens or no kitchens at all (just a stove in a corner) and are yet able to make great food!

    Kalyn, thanks! I *know* I will miss NYC soooo much. sigh.

    Thanks, Meena! It is a fun challenge to work in a small space :)

    Thanks, deccanheffalump :)

    I so agree with you, Rays of sun!

    PatL, thanks for the link, and for stopping by!

    Diane, what a lovely and easy recipe...thanks for sharing it! I would never have thought to try it in sandwiches!

    Eve, see, the comment was not lost after all :) Love your ideas for the chard...thanks for sharing!
    oh, and novel idea...tee hee :D

    Anupama, that is right...this kitchen is full of some great memories!

  12. Nupur, if you hadn't posted the picture I would have imagined a designer kitchen because of the quality of food that gets prepared by you. Thanks for sharing this picture.

  13. Okay, okay, you'd said it was 'small' but I truly had no idea 'just how small' til now.

    May all your kitchens, whatever their size, whatever their address, be the source of inspiration and creativity and resourcefulness and ... may I say? love? ... as this, your tiny space in New York.

    Alanna, Matthew, Alex & of course, Lady!

  14. hey nupur! I regularly read ur blogsite but writing to u for the first time. kudos to u for being able to dish up so many wonderful dishes. I live in florida where if one has the choice right, can get a beautiful kitchen. My husband & I love to cook & when i was searching for an apartment here, having a nice kitchen was the first & last criteria. Finally not only i got a wonderful kitchen but a window in it too!! Hope u get a wonderful kitchen in the new place where u are moving.

  15. Oh Nupur, I can very well understand as i have watched my friends living in long Island. Kitchen space matters little as long we enjoy cooking:) and kept clean. You cook for 20 persons..wowwy (in my toddler's slang)
    Hope you have a safe and great move!

  16. Hey Nupur, Thanks for sharing your kitchen pictures with us. I'm glad you liked my dalcha's traditional hyderbad at its best :)
    And I see that V has joined you here in USA, from your post. I'm glad things worked out with the visa and everything. I had to stay away from my hubby for more than a month after our marriage because of the visa issue :(...anyways, I'm happy for you and your new kitchen that's coming soon!

  17. Hi nupur,
    Had to share this with you and your readers.. if you think your kitchen is small take a look at this.


  18. I jump to your blog from time to time whenever I need inspiration for making a new dish :-). I can't believe all those wonderful dishes come from such a tiny kitchen. I always thought my apartment kitchen was small but I think it will feel like a wedding-hall to me from today :-D!

    And yup, good luck with your PhD completion :-)!

  19. now thats a neat tidy and clean kitchen!! hope you enjoy ur new kitchen as well and have fond memories there as well

  20. Amazing Nupur-the kind of stuff you churn out from that space-Hats off! And to think i cribbed about the lack of counter space in my Rochester kitchen-Hope you have a dream kitchen in your new place-Wishing u all the best!

  21. Hi Nupur,

    I recently stumbled upon your blog when I was searching for recipes online. WOW! what talent and creativity. My food is mainly South Indian but love Marati food as I have family in Sangli-Kolhapur region and have tasted almost all the types of food from that area. When I visited Kolhapur recently, I drank Doodh cold drink which is available at every roadside shops or "Doodh cold drink houses ". It would be wonderful to know how they make them taste so good. I am not a fan of the milk shakes that are available here in the US, so wondering if you can add that to your list of recipes. Thanks for the detailed recipes and the great pictures. I will never complain that my countertop is too small!

  22. You food diva! I can't believe you have been cranking out magazine and restaurant quality food in that tiny little cracker-box kitchen!?! You GO GIRL! I am so thrilled for you to be able to buy a house with FAT, EXPANSIVE, HUGE, WONDERFUL counter space! I used to have a counter so big I could have had both my kids SLEEP on it. Now I'm in a tiny kitchen in a 2 bedroom apartment... but it is bigger than yours (by a little). So I need to quit complaining. I mean 20 years.... wow, man. I am starting to sound like a beatnik. 20 years is a long time. I've been complaining about this little ONE year stint here... but it is hard going backwards from BIG space to little space in all aspects. Maybe you and I both will have a big kitchen in a few months? I can pray!

  23. Hi Nupur -

    Love your tiny kitchen, and you are right, good food can be cooked with the minimum ways.
    I also love chard, and have tried it in a curried lentil soup, where you add the chard very near the end and it makes for a lovely filling texture to the soup.
    Enjoy your new kitchen - and keep creating your marvelous recipes and foods. Your site is a goldmine!

  24. Hi Nupur,

    Believe me..I was always using the excuse of small kitchen for my lack of cullinary skills!!..Seeing your's is a real inspiration for me..Maybe i should stop cribbing and make the most of what i have.

    First time visit to your blog, but from now on will be a regular!

  25. wow! is all i can say... i have a massive - but completely disorganised kitchen - and two toddlers who always get in my way - they have from a million (or so it seems) shelves to open and close and jam their fingers in and scatter the belongings of! i love to cook but i was getting into the 'making excuses' phase - when i chanced upon this! thank you for shaking me out of it!

  26. This is a nice coincidence - just found your blog through a link at - and have just resumed cooking after a move to a NY apartment with the same kind of kitchen.

    It's true - if you want to cook you can do it anyplace where yo u have fire and water. Thanks for the inspiration!! - Darshana

  27. I like your kitchen because it has a very delicious food on it. And its so very nice kitchen. Thank you for sharing.


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