India

Hey All,

Recently I joined a Facebook group called ‘Amsterdam Cooks’. I was not really sure if it will be nice or just a ton of spam as usual, but it turned out to be a nice place where people really just share cooking ideas. So, naturally, I figured: THIS IS IT! I can gather infinite cooks from here for the blog! I posted, I asked, tried to recruit all the internationals… and… received 1 mail. I won’t lie, I was surprised I got no more – but then there was an even greater surprise: that the one and only person reaching out is actually the coolest!

So, this is the story of one Facebook message and a delicious Indian spinach shorba.

All you need – spinach, chickpeas, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, oil, rice, mint, bay leaves, chicken (optional), onion, lemon, cumin seeds, cinnamon, chilli flakes, coriander, Kitchen King spice blend (+ many more spices I forgot the name of)

Social media has really done it right this time! I met the loveliest girl, Gauri, and she prepared the tastiest dish. The list of ingredients above may not be complete, sorry – but the reason behind is a valid one: although we were complete strangers to each other standing in that kitchen, we ended up having the best talks, so I fell into complete distraction. If Gauri did not mention the steps or the recipe specifically, I probably could not tell you anything cooking related. Luckily she did remind me to take photos every now and then (not reflecting well on my blogging skills). My cook of this meal is originally from the Indian city of Pune, but she moved to Eindhoven when she was 8. This shorba recipe is her own adaptation of the more traditional version – worry not though, it won’t be complicated to make!

If you would like to make broth from scratch, then start with that. We basically just boiled chicken, a bay leaf, and some spices. I don’t go into more detail here because everyone has their own preferences – but then again, you can just as well use bouillon cubes.

While this is cooking, chop your onion, cloves of garlic, and pieces of ginger. These go frying in a pan on a sprinkle of olive oil. Also add all the dry spices. After a couple of minutes you can also slowly start adding handfuls of spinach. In the meantime, start cooking your rice too.

While this process did not take longer than around 15 minutes, by this point we have already covered topics of family, moving around, work, and most importantly: our common love for food. I knew it was going to be a great evening.

When the spinach got all mushy and your broth is ready too, you mix these two in a blender. Also add lemon juice, more spices (e.g. some of the Kitchen King blend), as well as chickpeas for the right consistency. This is an Indian dish, so I bet you expected a much more complicated, 4-hour-long process – so did I! But it really is this simple.

Gauri’s mum likes to add sugar into the mix as well in order to find the right balance of aromas, but the cook herself enjoys the pure power of spices without any counter-taste – so this may be an option for you too.

Don’t forget about the rice!

Garnishing may be the nicest part of this dish, because there are so many things you can add to this soup-like meal. I say soup-like because it is somewhat thicker than a regular soup and feels more hearty as well. Very tasty!!

1.4

Grab a bowl and half fill it with rice and shredded pieces of chicken (if you used any for the broth). A few ladles of shorba follow, the rest goes as you wish. We fried extra garlic with chilli to go on top of our meal and also added a spoonful of thick yogurt, fresh coriander, and pieces of cashew (though almond supposedly works even better).

Spinach Shorba

The only reason this post is not longer because if I started telling you all the things we discussed this evening, the post would become the longest ever. One thing is for sure: I have found the perfect partner in crime for cooking and for eating out! Also, if you like dancing, please check the upcoming Bollywood Dance Workshop that my wonderful chef is organizing – after trying her recipe you should also learn some of her dance moves! Hope to see you there, dear reader, and thanks again for cooking, Gauri!

The Indian

Hungary Vol.2 @Gourmet Festival

Hey All,

This week my sister opened her dress&bar place, so I flew home for a few days. The concept and the place are amazing, so whenever you’re in Budapest look SCHATZI up! It’s the real treasure in the city.

As I was around though, I realized that we had the yearly Gourmet Festival, where the best restaurants, cafés, confectioners, and wineries of the country are present. I wanted to show you guys a few tastes I have tried, so you also have a reference which places to visit if you’re in my homecountry. (Sorry for the bad quality pictures, I only had my phone with me.)

ZONA

ZONA has a contemporary bistro cuisine, and has been aiming to get a Michelin star for the past few years. Their name refers to the small portions you get there, but at the same time they aim to keep non-luxury prices – great combination, and amazing flavors each time. Although I love the atmosphere of their well-designed restaurant, finding them at an open air festival was just as great.

This little plate had just as many tastes as colors – cevapcici, roasted pepper, kaymak, and some pita bread. You may not know what half of these words mean, so just to be clear: cevapcici is basically grilled minced meat, typical in Southeastern Europe; and kaymak is a heavy, creamy dairy product, usually found in the Balkans and Central Asia. It was simply a great little dish! So, if you’re ever in Budapest, go and find a similar mix of the Hungarian, Asian, and Basque cuisines in ZONA!

MALACKRUMPLI

If I want to translate the name of this place literally, it means ‘pigpotato’ – sounds just as good as originally. They have a place in Budapest and one at Lake Balaton, and are well known for only using bio products. You always find something different on their menu, depending on what fresh ingredients they could get in the morning.

The type of bread was a little disappointing here, but  the filling so much better! Typical Hungarian ‘mangalica’ sausage, with lettuce, and horseradish-apple sauce. Ouh,even writing about this makes me hungry again.

PARIS BUDAPEST 

To be honest, I have never heard about this place before the festival, but they they were pretty impressive here, so I will visit them the next time I’m home for sure. They say they provide an “international culinary experience” – well, I don’t know about that yet, but their rather simple but tasty dish proved for sure that they are good.

The piece of focaccia bread had roasted asparagus, truffle oil, parmesan and tartine on it. This is something that we can all also just put together at home in a few minutes, so this one was also a rather practical experience!

BORKONYHA

This last place got its Michelin star last year and ever since has been of course getting a lot of attention. I definitely wanted to look their booth up. Fortunately the crowd was already gone, I got the chance to talk a little to the chef about their meals for a few seconds – and realized how much more I need to learn about food, because him telling me about all the ingredients was like listening to a new language.

Their pretty linzer was filled with goose liver paté, spiced up with some sauces (?), and eatable flowers. This one is rather a dessert, but there was no order of meals here for me. However, this second tiny one was my favorite – a ball of cottage cheese rolled in seeds, with horseradish juice. The serving is completely inexplicable with the mouse trap and the test tube, but the combination of tastes was marvellous! MARVELLOUS!

Last but not least we had a piece of chicken paprikash with eel on the top. Sounds weird? It really isn’t. I need to find them, steal the recipe, and eat this a lot. And also the cottage cheese ball… especially that. Well deserved Michelin star for the guys for sure!

All together I had a great time, so I really recommend all of you to find any sort of foodie festival around yourselves, and go there with a full wallet and an empty belly! And, of course, visit all these great places once you’re in Hungary!