My first story on my new-look blog site is not only about Govind Ke Chholey or Maggi Ki Tikki only. It is also, not only about a great looking Pasta or homemade Samosa or AlooMethi Rice Tikki and quite a few more such as Veg Biryani, Cup Cakes, Stuffed Matar Paneer and what not. Well, it’s also to admire that good looking and good tasting food is ‘loved’ by all. And quite a few have this, not publicly known, talent and a specialty to churn out some special dishes. The Lockdown period of sticking to one’s home revealed this to me. How?
We, the HR professionals, had a huge responsibility during this lockdown period to keep our employees across the country engaged and motivated. We ensured that each one, across the country, is not feeling isolated or ignored and in fact is engaged with the organisation virtually, emotionally and spiritually. For this, we have initiated various programs which are running successfully.
But the charity begins from home. Who will keep the HR team charged up? So, I started a weekly #LockdownCooking Challenge on our HR Team WhatsApp group. And am amazed at the hidden talent, creativity and the love for food of my team (so far, I was known to be the only foodie). Here is a glimpse:
The first challenge, “To rustle up your favourite Maggi in a unique way” saw some interesting recipes.
Amit Tiwari from Kolkata sent in this Reverse Order Maggi. Typically, to make Masala Maggi, you boil the water, add Maggi noodle cakes, add the Tastemaker and then add veggies. This one starts with the veggies, then adding Tastemaker, then adding the noodle cakes and then finally adding water and then everything boiling together. This is spicier than the typical plain Maggi, but you can control the spice level based on your needs.
Ankita Verma from Gurgaon first prepared the Regular Maggi version and cooked some veggies in white sauce separately. She then layered them in a glass and topped it with cheese. Then baked it for a while and added some chilli flakes on top. Quite interesting.
Arshee Siddiqui from Gurgaon did an interesting version and it made a good Instagram picture. She fried the veggies first, then added Maggi masala and salt. Then added Maggi and water. Brought to boil, then added tomato and green chili. Topped it with butter.
While Praveen Prakash from Noida, for the sake of participating, did the normal Maggi.
However, the one prepared by Anjali Trehan from Faridabad took the cake. Her’s version was called Maggie Ki Tikki. The recipe she submitted is reproduced here as it is:
Ingredients for 8 cutlets: Maggi + Masala – 2 packets, Boiled Potatoes – 4, Grated Carrot-1, Grated Cauliflower – 150 gms, Grated Capsicum-1, Maida – 3 tsp, Roasted jeera powder – 1 tsp, Roasted crushed peanuts – 50 gms, Salt – As per taste, Green Chillies, chopped Coriander leaves, Grated Ginger – 1 inch, Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp and Black pepper – As per taste.
Method: Mash the potatoes, Mix the vegetables, potatoes and spices including Maggi masala. Half boil Maggi so that it doesn’t lose its crispiness. Make tikkiya and dip it in Maida batter. Wrap the tikkiya with half boiled Maggi and shallow fry. Sprinkle little Maggi Masala on top. Serve it with tomato sauce / chutney. Quite thoughtful recipe.
Now just this one small challenge acted like The Tipping Point. The HR WhatsApp Group suddenly saw a surge in the home Chefs of sorts.
Govind Sharma Started with Govind Ke Chholle followed by a Watermelon Juice Bowl:
Keep WM in refrigerator for some time. Cut into 2 halves, Scoop down & crush the pulp until the consistency turns juice-like. Refill it back in the Watermelon shell. Put a straw, wear your sunglasses & enjoy.
Then he rustled up this Instagram worthy Pesto Pasta:
First, blanch the spinach leaves and then grind blanched spinach with roasted salted peanuts & 5-6 chopped garlic cloves. keep it aside for some time. In a saucepan, add 2 tsp of Olive Oil, sauté a few Cherry Tomatoes in it till they soften. Add the boiled & strained pasta in the same saucepan, also add the spinach peanut sauce that you had kept aside. Sauté them and then add some cream. Garnish with Oregano and Chili Flakes.
And then the next day again he did the basic Chow Mein but the looks were deadly.
Boil the Noodles (add few drops of Olive Oil in the water). Take the boiled noodles and put in cold water. Strain the water and keep the noodles aside. Then chop dices of Capsicum, Onion, Cabbage and Carrot. Heat the pan and add 2 spoons of olive oil, stir fry onions first and then add other vegetables (take care that the vegetables remain crisp and don’t get overcooked. Add Noodles, stir, add few drops of White Vinegar, Soya Sauce, Ajinomoto and Chilli Flakes. Serve.
This week the challenge was to Re-treat The Leftover Rice!!
Govind Sharma, came up with this picture. The recipe was the basic one and yet, the picture was amazing that I must put it here.
His recipe said, that the leftover cooked rice stir fried in Olive Oil with Capsicum, Cabbage, Onion, Peas, Carrot, Sweet Corn, Broccoli, with few drops of White Vinegar & a pinch of Ajinomoto ( salt and chillies as per taste ).
Then there was this Aloo-Methi-Rice Cutlets by Ritesh Lamba from Lucknow:
Ingredients: Leftover rice and Aloo Methi Sabzi, Chopped Onions, Capsicum, Beans, Salt, Pepper, Red Chilli and Chat Masala.
Method: First chop the Onions, Capsicum & Beans Take Rice, Aloo Methi and mix together with chopped Veggies and then add masalas. Knead it to perfection. Coat these patties in breadcrumbs and then shallow fry in a pan. Quite interesting though.
Manmohan Pattnaik did an authentic Oriya Pakhala including leftover Rice with Curd, Cucumber, Aloo Gobhi Bhaji, Mashed Potatoes, Namkeen and Oriya Badi Chura. Looked like a grand fare.
For the sake of participation, Ankita Verma did a normal Fried Rice but plated it beautifully with a Papad and Green Chillies.
Once again, the cake was taken by Anjali Trehan who named her dish as Mixturice
Ingredients: Left over rice, Roasted Peanuts, Roasted Chana, Roasted Cashew Nuts, Corn Flakes, Raisins, Curry Leaves, Roasted / Dried coconut slices, Salt, Turmeric Powder, Heeng, Jeera, Mustard oil
Method: Sun dry the rice and then deep fry them. Take turmeric powder, heeng, jeera, Curry Leaves and green chillies. Fry them in mustard oil till they lose their moisture. Mix the above and all other ingredients together and add salt to taste. The dish is ready to be served.
And then, during the week, the group timeline was flooded with:
Moni Gupta – Rabri and Aloo Tikki
Anshita Sharma – Cake and Stuffed Matar Paneer
Manmohan Pattnaik – Punjabi Chholey Bhature, Samosa and Chef Kunal Kapur inspired Rolls
Kinty Bhalla – Bhelpuri, Veg Biryani with Raita and Punjabi Chhole Poori
Srishty Sharma– Kadhai Paneer, Veg Shammi Kebab & Parantha
Vaneet Kaur – Tried Beaten Coffee (Dalgona inspired, perhaps)
Aditi (Neetu’s daughter) – helped in Bread Pakora Preparation
Ranjeet Singh – Shahi Paneer and Egg Curry
Soumitra Chatterjee– Caramel Pudding
Now the team keeps on posting dishes on our group every single day.
What an experience!! Food unites and excites everyone. Even if we are miles apart and locked down in our homes, so what. If you have similar experiences about food, do share with me. Till then….