IFR New Finds and Weekend Burgers

I heard some of you asking for some food, please! Your wish is my command. Sometimes.

I love my sister's refrigerator. It's always full. She's an amazing cook and is always trying out new stuff. It's a treat when she leaves us home alone and goes off to work. Yum! We wake up whenever we want, raid her pantry for all sorts of delicious namkeens and new cereals for breakfast. Lest she feel offended, we devour upma or pohe or idlis for a mid-morning snack. We down her special chicken masala with soft wheat wraps for lunch. And just when we're settling down with a humongous cup of tea, she arrives and becomes a blur in the kitchen, only to have whipped up some amazing stuffed baingan and Gujarati dal. Her husband makes his presence felt by pulling out his copy of the trusted Prashad and putting together a Goa Prawn Masala that lights you up from the inside as well as out!

I absolutely have to make this! It's fiery and hits you a couple of seconds after you have swallowed a mouthful. With my insides on fire, I lunged once more for the doors of the aforementioned refrigerator. Since there were fewer containers and serving bowls than in the morning, I spied a yogurt container that I had never seen before. Now those of you who live in and around New Jersey may scoff at me but when I read Desi Natural Dahi, I had to reach out and find out more.

  • It's firm.
  • It's not slimy.
  • It's sharper than your regular store-bought yogurt.
  • It's almost as good as the homemade dahi in India.
  • It's made by Derle Farms, NJ and has been in the market for about a year now (I think!) after some serious product development.
I haven't yet seen Desi Natural Dahi in the local Indian grocery stores here but then again, I haven't looked for yogurt in the Indian stores since I make my own. If I'm out of yogurt, I prefer to buy Wallaby yogurt from Wild Oats or Whole Foods. It's creamy and has just the right flavor according to me. I don't need my yogurt extra-firm so it doesn't bother me that Wallaby yogurt is more cream-style than custardy.

Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi have a super tutorial on making desi dahi at home. Be sure to check it out!

Where's the food, you say? I haven't been cooking much lately. For several reasons. I was away on vacation, to begin with. Then we had back-to-back visitors as soon as we got back home. I did cook one meal but that was it. After that, my favorite client arrived and stayed with us for 5 days. We ate out, ordered extra and ate leftovers for lunch the next day. I did toss together a few salads that I found as a result of quick Googling. But there was no time for pictures as the focus was work, work and more work. I could have cooked if I wanted to but it was just too darned hot to cook. It still is. But since we are all tired of eating out and I had about 3 lbs of ground turkey in my refrigerator that was very close to the expiration date, my husband fired up the grill...

while Medha patted out the burgers after I had mixed all the spices into the meat. I washed and sliced the lettuce, tomatoes and onions...

and soon we had the most perfect burgers ever!

While I don't have an exact recipe for these burgers, I can tell you what I did:
  • I put some olive oil in a mixing bowl
  • Added some balsamic vinegar just because it was easier to reach than the vinegar from my pickled serranos
  • Added Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce
  • Chopped one medium size white onion and added it, too
  • Tossed in some garam masala
  • Added some red chilli powder and salt
  • Eyed some garlic and decided it was not worth the trouble. Same with ginger.
  • Mixed in the ground turkey
  • Showed Medha how to use that burger maker thingee. She was only too thrilled because she was finally allowed to handle raw meat. She has a thing about feeling the texture of raw foods. I did make her wash her hands in hot soapy water and clean her nails out before she was allowed to do anything else!
  • Grilled the burgers and ran inside when the mosquitoes put in an appearance. They fear nothing: not citronella, not DEET, and not even Odomos, unlike the mosquitoes of Chicagoland. Hmmph!

I have enough burgers for two more meals. Yay! Tomorrow I will slice them and have them in some delightful Greek pitas. I might even make some of Anita's mint and walnut chutney to go with it. Or perhaps some labneh. I can't wait! And it looks like I am cooking again, despite the heat!


Sakthi Ganesh said...

Nice post

Everyone who wants nice burger,should visit these post.Especially ladies.

Kitt said...

Especially. Mm-hmm.

Those burgers look delish. I agree, it's been too friggin' hot, and what is with these mosquitoes?! I feel like I'm back in South Dakota.

Glad you're cooking a little again!

Sharmi said...

great post. I wish I had a sis like urs:) great looking burgers.

Suganya said...

You can try greek yogurt from Trader Joe's. It is just like Desi curd. I started my culture and is going on and on :)

Indian Food Rocks said...

Exlpore Wisdom, welcome to IFR! "Especially ladies?" Most of the folks I know who make a mean burger are proud gents. ;-)

Kitt, thanks! There is *no* stagnant water around here. The little streams have long dried out. We haven't seen any rain for over a week now. The fire hazard is quite high now. Where are these mosquitoes coming from! There are already a few cases of West Nile Virus in the Denver/Boulder area. Now South Dakota I have never been to, but this feels very much like Kenya!

I haven't done anything today besides generate more heat. I tried the self-clean option on my oven. Note to myself: never do this in summer ever again!

Sharmi, thanks!

Suganya, no TJ's in Colorado. :-( I heat milk several times at full power in the microwave (heat for 5 mins, allow to cool, and repeat) and make yogurt from half gallon of skim milk each time. I haven't yet added milk powder to it but I've heard that a lot of people do that to make it set really firm. In this heat though, it is setting really quickly. Need to make idlis soon!

laila said...


Do you take paying guests? Can I be first in line please?!!!!!!!!!!!
What about your sister?

Roopa said...

nice post Manisha, give kids their way really makes them feel for matured right! those burgers are looking awesome!

Anita said...

That first pic - are those the Goa Masala Prawns? They are right up my alley if they are as spicy as you say they are!

Cannot believe this - there seems to be actually some kind of a recipe at the end! And a good one too! ;-) But I know the heat can be a BIG deterrent to any big cooking projects - this looks super.

It will pair well with any mint chutney but the creamy Mint-walnut will be really good.

Now, all I need to do is get myself a grill - rather make that Indian kind that the kabab-carts have...

There is a burger-making thingy???

Indian Food Rocks said...

Laila, anytime! I usually have an unending stream of visitors, a paying one would be very welcome! But I must tell you that I am trying to get Anita to adopt me. If she agrees, you might find yourself looking for other alternatives. :-D

Roopa, thanks! They were (are) very delicious and moist. And I am giving in to a lot of things as I see a new maturity in her.

Anita, yup! I will make them as soon as the weather cools down here. It was just too hot to go looking for mint - 99F yesterday and today as well. So I'll have to make do with the mint chutney from the freezer. I love these small grills. They don't take up much room and can be cleaned in a jiffy.

It's called a hamburger press and looks like this. There are many different designs as well as heavy duty ones. But the cheapo plastic one I bought several years ago works quite well.

bee said...

can you take me to your sis's place next time? you can tell her i'm your new bai.

Indian Food Rocks said...

Bee, you slay me! BTW, I just found out earlier this evening that I did not do justice to that refrigerator. I ignored the freezer, where lay a peppercorn rasam which was so lip-smacking good, that she had put it away from other clamoring hands and mouths...just for me. She forgot about it. I did not find it. My head hurts from banging it so hard on my desk!

Dee said...

nice post manisha! I stick to dannon or mountain high, will check if i can get it here. yogurt in my house doesnt set, only when we have guests and the meal is indian, otherwise its great!

Krithika said...

I did try Natural Desi Yogurt two weeks back just out of curiosity and it was good. Used the leftover as my yogurt culture and my yogurt turned out good too. Nice post...I love to raid my sister's refrigerator too..isn't it a fun thing to do ?

Sig said...

oooh what a loving sis you've got! You must post the Goa Prawn Masala recipe...

Pelicano said...

I love that brand of habanero sauce that you have on the table, but do try the XXX kind- the best!

bee said...

i think frozen and reheated rasam tastes better than freshly made. i hope no madisaar mami is reading this.

TBC said...

Hi Manisha,
I come here often but seldom leave comments. I just love your blog & your style of writing. It is so nice to sit down with a nice, hot cup of tea & read your posts.
Thanks for the good read!

Chez Asima said...

hey there,
cool website! I love Indian food!! Your recipes look yummy!

I am new to the online blogging community! Check out my blog - its a work in progress. Let me know your thoughts and any tips you may have!


Indian Food Rocks said...

Dee, the first few times I make yogurt from store bought yogurt, I use more virzan (yogurt with live culture) than I would normally. I add 6-8 tablespoons for a half gallon of yogurt. Or get a yogurt maker that will maintain the temperature so that the yogurt sets. Better still, if you get Deshi Dahi, go for it!

Krithika, that's nice to know! That you were able to use Desi Dahi to make tasty yogurt at home. Sisters, especially older sisters, are more fun when everyone is all grown up. They weren't this much fun when I was a kid. :-D

Sig, I will! As soon as it cools down some! The temps in my west-facing kitchen go over 94F even with air-conditioning and a fan. The Colorado sun beats down on us till it sets past 8pm. It's not good for the Earth if I cook right now. At least that's my line lately! :-D

Pel, I love El Yucateo's habanero sauce! I found it at a nondescript Mexican restaurant in Chicagoland when I asked for hot sauce. We used to go there for their $3 pitchers, more than anything else. When I asked where I could buy it, they gave me the bottle to take home. I offered to pay for it since it was unused till then but they refused payment! Which restaurant does this?! Those folks were simply amazing! Needless to say, we downed a few more pitchers in sheer gratitude. I couldn't find this sauce again in Chicagoland and I wasn't shameless enough to ask the restaurant for another bottle! I was mighty thrilled when I saw this in King Soopers, our local avatar of Krogers. Haven't seen the XXX one yet but will keep my eyes peeled!

Bee, I'll take you with me next time!

TBC, welcome and thanks for delurking! Did you say a hot cup of tea and my blog?! Woo hooo! I must add this to my list of successful hijacks! Yay!

Hope to see you around some more! And I love the pictures on your blog!

Chez Asima, welcome to you, too! Le Cordon Bleu?! Wowee! Best of luck to you and I can't wait to find out what you're up to when you get there!

Anita said...

Manisha: younger sisters are no different. I speak from experience too - I have two! My immediately younger one was a terror; now I can handle her :-D The distance helps too (in making the heart grow fonder)...

Have you tried King Sooper's frozen limeade? It used to be delicious - when you want no work, just good limeade...this is the purrfect weather for it...and fodder for another post ;-)(with no recipe!...he, he...)[is using KS's own brand too low-brow for the blogosphere? What would I know...but, my fiends, they all did love it!]

Sia said...

i tried ur no oil lemon pickle and wanted to thank u for this delicious pickle recipe:) this is the first time i tried making pickle by myself n i can't feel my feet touching the ground;) its been really difficult to get some good sunshine in UK. so its taking little longer to cook. i have been busy moving around our home with the pickle jar to get the best sunshine after coming bk from work. today as my colleague is on holiday i actually got the pickle jar to my office as i get the best sunshine here in my office(yeah, i am little crazy;) cant wait to show off my pickle making skills to friends:)

musical said...

Desi dahi.....we used to get it in NYC, haven't seen it at all here!! i make do we Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt and then make my own. Those burgers look good, sigh, i don't eat meat ;).

and soooooooooo good to see your post again :).



Indian Food Rocks said...

Anita, the distance helps. So does a certain amount of maturity, which you hope everyone gained as they grew up. My sisters are very cool. We're all mad, according to my husband and their husbands. But we have a whole lot of fun!

I like King Sooper's a lot, even though they are part of the Kroger's chain, as they carry a lot of locally grown produce. Nothing wrong with KS' own brand, according to me! But frozen juice is just not my thing, whatever brand!

Sia, yay! I'm glad it's working out for you. If I were you, I'd just leave it at the office ;-) Don't worry about it taking longer. It takes about 2 months to cook in Indian winters. Just make sure that it is in a warm place, if you can't find any sunshine.

Musical, I checked at my local grocer this past Thursday and he hadn't heard of it. So maybe the distribution is not as far and wide as that article claims. The other thing is that my grocer does not carry many dairy products, just paneer, mawa and some Amul cheese.

I had made veggie burgers for Medha's 5th birthday. The first birthday that we celebrated. (I see shocked expressions all around!) I used 'meat extender' - soya granules with the veggies. Almost all our friends and their kids were vegetarian and I had a tough time convincing some of them that there really was no meat in the burgers. It was a birthday to remember cos it was out in the park and just as we finished eating, there was a micro burst right over us.

HKG, thanks! Lately, I come by your blog just for the pictures - I have a tough time reading cos my Devnagri reading skills are stuck at Gagan naman kar. :-(

Linda said...

Hey Manisha, I think I mentioned that same manufacturer in a recent post too -- they are now making a lowfat paneer to die for. I make it at home, but not the same. Happy to see you back!

Anita said...

That's right - we do get smart as we age. That's not a bad trade off for youth.

I and my sisters - we are a little weird, so D will V very sympathetic! But I remind him to keep the whole 'package' in mind. Besides, we all get what we deserve! So they must have done something good...! :-D

I suggested the limeade so you don't have to sweat, and it'll make you chill without effort, and you could move on to telling us about those prawns you've pictured here? And if you haven't tried it, then you must - and tell us if you like it or not!

Mercedes said...

Hi Manisha,

I am writing to inform you about Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, a national campaign that mobilizes Americans to help end childhood hunger by having a bake sale in their community. Now in its’ fourth year, over 1 million people have participated in the campaign to aid the 12 million children in America who are at risk of hunger. The campaign, which runs through August, was recently promoted by celebrity chef Rachael Ray on ABC.

Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale offers a unique way for you to connect with your readers about the severity of childhood hunger in America while providing them with a simple and fun way of how they can fight it. Perhaps you can include information about the campaign in a section of this blog?

I was unable to find an email in which to contact you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and I can provide you more information about the campaign.

Thank you,

Share Our Strength
(800) 761- 4227

Indian Food Rocks said...

Mercedes, I will get in touch with you to find out more!