This week I complete a year at my full time job. Upon reflection, its been a very unique twelve months. From learning literally everything on the job, to pitching ideas to big companies, taking trips for business and a personally funded trip to Greece. There are times I think about how different my life would have been if I had taken a job offer in the United States and left India, but it always comes back to me realizing that this blog has been a product of months of joblessness and passion for food photography that I may have never taken seriously had I moved back!
Coming back home has also helped me improve on what I eat. Weekdays are for lean meals. I usually eat six eggs in the morning with two pieces of toast, a boiled chicken salad for lunch, and some sort of a chicken meal for dinner with some veggies. Basically, I cut fat and carbs— focussing more on protein coming from very lean meals. With a busy work schedule and a (close to) three hour commute, I rarely get the time to feel hungry to eat anything. Plus, I do get enough energy to do heavy lifting in the evening. On the weekends however, things change. I end up eating home food or going out to try a new restaurant. Be what it may, I eat a lot more carbs than I probably should. I christen these days as my #carbswon weekend. At first, I would fight it by eating quinoa salads and water instead what I wanted to eat — truffle fries and cocktails. But now, I’ve just given in. After losing 20 kilos, I want to focus on maintaining my weight and hey, if I lose some along the way, I’ll be happy.
#Carbswon in a nutshell
There has been a moderation in what I end up eating on the weekend. There were times when I would treat fat Archit with a fried chicken sandwich or general tso’s chicken. It would take forever to make, but fat Archit was always satisfied. Nowadays, I genuinely have very little interest in fried food so I sadly think about mindful recipes like this chickpea burger with mango salsa. I blitzed chickpeas with onions, mushrooms, and toasted spices. I thought of adding egg as a binder, but instead I chose to add some fat in the form of veggie oil and rice flour to give it shape. Veggie patties usually tend to be soft with little bite. I believe it’s because unlike meat which firms up as it gets cooked, veggies wilt and become mushy. I dipped the patties lightly in buttermilk and covered it in panic breadcrumbs. Panko is dried rice which is famously used in tempura batters. Panko is literally the driest ingredient one can find (also the reason why people put phones in a bag of rice once it drops in water) and turn beautiful golden with the slightest oil. Since the veggies don't really need to be cooked down, once the mash is made, its only matter of attaining a perfect golden on that panko that you can lather a fresh mango salsa and serve on toasted buns (or lettuce for people who are gluten free).
August will be busy, I hope to cook and share as in when I can. Do send me recipe ideas that you want to see on the blog.
Glimpses from the week
Makes 4 patties
1 cup cooked chickpeas
5 cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons veggie oil
150 ml of buttermilk
100 grams of panko (breadcrumbs or semolina work too)
For the mango salsa
1 ripe mango, cubed
1/2 red bell pepper cut in rough squares
1/2 green bell pepper cut in rough squares
1 small onion chopped finely
Handful coriander leaves roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of red chili powder or chaat masala
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt and pepper
In a food processor, blitz veggies with oil. Add the chickpeas until you get a thick malleable paste. If your chickpeas don't get churned, add a dash of water.
Add spices and mix well. Start forming round patties and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
In two bowls, add buttermilk and panko respectively. Take patties dip both sides into buttermilk, shake the excess, and then dredge with panko.
Place the patties in a pan on medium high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until both sides get golden. About 2 minutes on the first and 1.5 minutes on the second.
Mix all the ingredients of the salsa in a bowl and serve!