18 August 2014

Hot town, anda in the city

Toronto has a shimmer about it in the summertime.

I'm not talking about the streets themselves, or the weather... it's more about the people who live here or who come here to visit making things seem really shiny.  Everyone and every place seems extra beautiful, extra special, extra real.  Whether they're old or young, talking and laughing in a group, or a couple, or a solitary person with somewhere to get to (and fast), they're out and they're on patios or they're in backyards or they're just walking or on the TTC or on their bicycles... being gorgeous.

And it's nice.  Really nice.  I've lived downtown for over seven years now, and each summer has astonished me.  This summer has been no exception.  

We spent yesterday morning just wandering about the Beach - walked a beach/boardwalk combination from Northern Dancer Boulevard over to Kenilworth Street, then back along Kew Beach Avenue.  The beautiful residents and visitors made the already lovely surroundings sparkle, and it was a really excellent way to spend a couple of hours.


To make sure we had energy for such a jaunt, I made breakfast of anda bhurji, an Indian spicy scrambled egg dish (recipe below), and warmed some chapatti.  This was first made for me by my mother-in-law, and it was love at first bite.  You'll note that I've added corn - I had roasted some Ontario corn the night before, so I had some leftover that I added to the recipe.  Corn is not a traditional add-in, so don't worry if you don't have it.  It added a nice touch of sweetness to the dish, however.

Anda Bhurji (spicy scrambled eggs)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup of minced onion
Scant1/3 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1.5 inches of ginger root, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon of pureed ginger)
1 to 3 small green chillis to your taste, deseeded and minced (alternatively, you can cut a slit down the side of a whole green chilli or two and throw them in like that)
1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
6 eggs (free range, organic - think of the hens, please!)
1/3 cup of water or milk
Half of a tomato, diced small
1/2 teaspoon of garam masala (my favourite blend is also included below)
1/4 cup of cooked or frozen corn
Lots of chopped cilantro - probably about 3 tablespoons' worth
Want it spicy?  Add 1/4 teaspoon of Indian red chilli powder (not to be confused with Western chilli powder, which is a blend of spices - Indian chilli powder is just ground up chillis)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in frying pan on stovetop - medium heat.   Add onion and turmeric, and cook until the onions are softened and becoming translucent.  Then, add your garlic, ginger, green chilli, and ground cumin and fry for two minutes, till the garlic loses its raw smell.  

While onion mixture cooks, beat your eggs in with the water or milk till a little frothy. 

Add diced tomato, corn, cilantro, garam masala, and optional chilli powder.  Stir well.  Let cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Then, add the egg mixture, and salt and pepper the whole concoction.  Keep stirring to scramble the eggs.  Once it looks like it could be ready, taste to see if salt is to your taste.  Add more if necessary.  

Serves 4.  Eat with chapattis or on its own.  

Garam Masala blend
1. I will unequivocally state that everyone probably has their own preferred taste when it comes to garam masala.  This is just what I prefer.  It's great to experiment with your own blend.
2. You need a coffee grinder that's dedicated solely to grinding spices for this.  If you use your regular coffee grinder, it's probably going to make your beans taste like Indian food for at least three grinding sessions.

1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons of whole cumin seeds
2 green cardamom pods
4 black cardamom pods
3 inches of cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cloves
1 dried red chilli pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg

Buzz everything up into a powder in your spice-specific coffee grinder.  It'll keep in an airtight container for about a month or so.  

You can also dry roast the spices before grinding them, but that gives a different flavour.  I tend to prefer this one for most cooking.  

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