Category Archives: Know your Food

Quiche, Tart, Pie or Flan: Do you know the difference?

Sometimes you start to think that now you know it all, only to be bewildered by a question that arises out of the blue. Thankfully for me, it is not someone else asking, but my own curiosity.

I was only basking in the glory of being able to roll out and bake a perfect quiche when it suddenly occurred to me – Is it a Quiche or Is it a Pie? And what’s the difference between the two? So I decided to find out more, only to realize about some more variations – the Tart and Flan. It was only getting even more confusing, and embarrassing because although I was well acquainted with baking a quiche, a pie and a tart, I didn’t know the difference between them! Too much #facepalm, I know.

Have you ever wondered about this? I thought it might just be a case where people from different parts referred to the same dish with different names. And to a certain extent this is true, but it is only out of confusion, that people call a quiche, a tart.

After a little research, I found that there are 4 factors that form the basis of differentiation – Depth, crust, serving temperature and filling.

Dish Depth Crust Serving Temperature Filler
Quiche Shallow Single – Bottom only Warm Custard Topping (Egg and cream)
Tart Shallow Single – Bottom only Cold/Room temp May have custard based filling, not always
Pie Deep Double – Top & Bottom Hot/Warm No custard based filling
Flan Deep/Shallow May not have a crust Cold/ Room temp Custard

While figuring out the difference, I also stumbled on many interesting recipes for all of them. I even tried to develop a recipe, here it is – Chocolate & Kiwi Tart. Would love to hear your feedback on this, do leave a comment 🙂 (you will find a link at the top of this post, just below the title)

Chocolate and Kiwi Tart  (Serves approx 8)
Recipe adapted from Rose pistachio tartlets by Pooja Dhingra

White chocolate kiwi tart

For the tart shell pastry
flour 180 gms
cocoa powder 20 gms
chilled butter 135 gms, cut into cubes
icing sugar 65 gms
egg yolk 1
For the filling
white chocolate 200 gms
cream 100 gms
whipping cream 75 gms
kiwi 1 (finely chopped)
kiwi 1 sliced

1. Add all the ingredients for the tart shell in a bowl. Mix by cutting the butter using your fingers with the rest of the ingredients. You can use a blender instead. Mix the butter has fairly formed smaller parts and the dough comes together to form a ball. Once done refrigerate for 15-20 mins (do not keep it refrigerated longer, the dough will harden more than required.
2. Roll out the pastry between sheets of parchment paper. Place it over the tart moulds and trim off the excess. Blind bake at 165 degrees C for 10-12 mins.
3. Allow the tart shells to cool to room temperature.
4. For the filling, grate the white chocolate in a bowl. Set aside.
5. Put the cream in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. When it starts boiling, turn off the heat and pour the cream over the grated chocolate. Whisk gently to form a smooth paste. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
6. Whisk the whipping cream till you get soft peaks. Add chopped kiwi and fold in with the cooled white chocolate mix.
7. Add the above mixture to the baked tart shells and refrigerate.
8. Garnish with kiwi slices just before serving. (Else the kiwi tends to go mush and changes colour slightly)


16 culinary Herbs you must know

Depending on which part of the world you’re from, you probably are already familiar with some herbs.

Here, in Mumbai, the culinary scene has changed a lots over the past couple of years. Our supermarkets are stuffed with lot of stuff we don’t know about. On my last trip I noticed so many new herbs, but I didn’t really know much about them.  So this is an effort to get familiar with herbs, to identify and learn more about their usage.

For ease of understanding, I have grouped them into 3 categories – Indian, Oriental and Continental.

I. Indian Herbs


Coriander / Cilantro

1. Coriander:  Indian cuisine is incomplete without this herb. From adding flavour to garnishing this herb is found commonly in Indian markets.

curry leaves

Curry leaves

2. Curry leaves:  Used very often to add a tadka (tempering), these leaves are also ground and used for making a lot of dried masalas.


Bay leaves

3. Bay leaves: Mostly used in the dried form for most Indian meat dishes.



4. Mint: You will spot these in salads. But did you know they are also used in main course like Biryani.



5. Dill:  Used in salads also with a side dish of lentils.

II. Oriental Flavours

lemon grass

Lemon Grass

6. Lemon Grass and 7. Kaffir Lime: These impart classical asian flavours.

kaffir lime

Kaffir Lime leaves

III. Continental Flavours



8. Rosemary: Has a strong flavour.  Just toss a little bit of these with your French fries.



9. Thyme: Did you know thyme forms the main ingredient in Za’atar? A lot of chicken casseroles are incomplete without thyme.



10. Sage: With mild peppery flavour, it is mostly used in Middle Eastern cuisine.



11. Tarragon: Found commonly in French cuisine. Goes well with chicken, fish and egg dishes.



12. Basil: Used in Italian cuisine. Yes, Pizzas and Pastas. There are different types of basil, so do not confuse this with the local ‘tulsi



13. Chives: Partners well with cheese. It goes with pork in stir fries as well.

parsley flat leaft

Flat leaf parsley

14. Parsley: 2 prominent types are the flat leaves and the one with curled up leaves. Often confused with cilantro/coriander but the flavours are quite different.

curled up parsley

Curled-up parsley

lemon balm

Lemon Balm

15. Lemon Balm: Belongs to the mint family but has a lemony flavour.



16. Oregano: This again is used in Italian dishes mostly in its dried form. See those little sachets that come along with your next pizza ordered.

You will find a lot of recipes using these herbs online and offline. You can find recipes for a  specific herb using the search option here –

What’s next? Herbs have traditionally been used in sweet or savoury dishes. Recently, innovative foodies are finding interesting ways of using herbs.

1. Herbs steeped in rosemary steeped vodka.

2. Herbed butter/oils. Flavours of herbs infused in regular butter/oil. e.g: Basil oil.

3. Herb flavoured cupcakes – the cake or frosting is infused with flavours of different herbs. e.g: Kaffir lime flavoured frosting for cupcakes.

Onam Sadhya/Onasadhya

Last week, I fell in love with South Indian food. A trip down south and I was so impressed with the food that I’ve been craving for it everyday. Simple and delicious is how I would categorize it. Oh vegetarian too!

Today, every Keralite household celebrates Onam. The harvest festival which also marks the homecoming of King Mahabali. It’s Onam and the best time to get south Indian food.

I learnt this afternoon that on this day every Keralite household will have Onam Sadhya. With repeated reference to the word Sadhya (Like restaurants offering Onam Sadhya, Onam Sadhya recipes, etc..) I found out that Sadhya means ‘banquet’ in Malayalam.

Did you know that a typical Onam Sadhya has approximately 20-30 dishes? And all these dishes are served as a single course on a plantain leaf.

Onam Sadhya



(Image Source)

Among all other dishes, I like the Sambaar, Avial, Papadum and Payasam.

P.S: If you are in Mumbai – Dakshin Culture Curry at Lokhandwala will have special Onam Sadhya Meals from 29th Aug till 5th Sep’ 12. Details. I havn’t eaten at this place so I’m not really sure how authentic it will be. But definitely worth a try.

Happy Onam! 🙂



Know your Pasta?

I was watching Masterchef Australia (Season 4). It was an elimination challenge comprising of 3 rounds:-

1) Know your Pasta – where contestants had to identify the different types of pastas

2) Make your Pasta – where contestants had to make their own pasta

3) Cook your Pasta – and finally contestants had to cook the pasta they had made.

I felt confident. I had cooked pasta before, although never really made it from scratch. In my mind, I started listing the Pastas I was familiar with. It’s like those quiz shows when a question is asked and one, who is just watching it, tries to answer just to feel like –  I’m so smart!

So my list included : Spaghetti, Penne, Linguine, Fusilli, Macaroni, Lasagne…ya that’s all. But on the table were so many different types of Pastas on display. So I wanted to know a bit more about it. My search led me to this really comprehensive chart that lists all the pastas. It’s a bit complicated, but if you really want to know your Pasta, there is nothing better than this. What kind of pasta is on your plate? by Charming Italy

(Click on the pic below to view enlarged image)