Sharmila @ Cheeky Chilli's Profile

Display Name: Sharmila @ Cheeky Chilli
Member Since: 8/4/09

Latest Comments...

Hope the new week is better for you, Dana. This was such a poignant read.

A Beautiful, Sad, Chutney Kind of a Day Weekend Meditation
10/6/13 01:55 PM

We started gardening on a window-sill in our old 400 sq. ft. apt. Now we're in a larger apartment, still renting, but fortunately have a small paved backyard where we have tons of containers for our gardening.
I wrote a post with our few years of experience with it quite recently here at

Calling Small Space Cooks Who Garden: What Do You Grow & How Do You Do It? Reader Intelligence Request
5/3/13 12:30 AM

I love 1 & 9. Bet they are delicious.

Our Best 15 Quick & Easy Recipes for Weeknight Meals The Kitchn's Best of 2012
12/27/12 08:52 PM

I'm such a fan of Deborah Madison! I love her cookbooks and am enchanted with what she started with Greens. Looking forward to this book.
I think you perhaps meant March 2013?

Deborah Madison's 5 Inspired Essentials for Home Cooks Expert Essentials
11/30/12 10:43 AM

I'm so making that skillet toffee this year!

15 Delicious Gifts from Your Kitchen Recipes from The Kitchn
11/27/12 02:23 AM

Thanks for sending me here. I loved the store and bought a bunch of spices.

John Beaver's 5 Essential Herb and Spice Tips for Home Cooks Expert Essentials
11/27/12 02:22 AM

A life lived in the middle is the one to live indeed. Lovely post, Dana. It is a coincidence that I'm learning how to read magazines again too.

In Which I Wonder if the August/September 2011 Issue of Saveur Magazine is More Than Enough for This Lifetime Weekend Meditation
10/28/12 11:56 AM

Have to agree with the comments here on South Indian cooking and respectfully disagree with the writer of this piece. Fennel really isn't critical to south Indian cooking. It is indispensable to Kashmiri cooking. Kashmir being the northern most state, one could say fennel is critical to a type of North Indian cuisine.
India is a large country where literally every state can boast of its own cuisine. I don't think its essence can be distilled so easily into a post of this type.

What You're Missing: The Essential Secret Ingredients of 5 Asian Cuisines
8/9/12 10:44 AM

Kspies got it right. That's what we do in India. Black cardamom is part of garam masalas everywhere and is generally considered a strong 'heat-creating' spice. It is essential in things like biryani and dum aloo.
Green cardamom seeds impart a warm, haunting sweetness to all desserts. In a pinch, green could be used instead of black (not the same, but it will do) but never the other way around.

Cardamom Pods: Which Color to Choose?
1/5/12 09:26 AM

@whitneyingram you made me giggle out loud. At work. Not good.
I've made stock. I know it's great and I'd much rather get some use out of leftover bones than just toss 'em. But there's no way I'd be able to make it every time. So I have no problem with buying it. Love Trader Joe's offering.

Make or Buy? Chicken Stock
9/9/11 07:35 PM

I'd made this sage pesto that I loved, earlier s year. Albeit, truth be told, it should be called a herb pesto, more than sage in there.

Beyond Basil: Fresh Ideas for Pesto
9/4/11 11:08 AM

I'm growing basil for the first time this year. I read somewhere that the leaves go bitter if you let the plant flower. Is this true? I'm terrified that if I don't watch it like a hawk, my dreams of pesto with basil from my own garden will scatter like the seeds.

Flowers on Your Basil Plants? Pinch Them Off!
7/13/11 03:58 PM

I can't. Just the thought of it...(!) I'm running for the bathroom as soon as I finish typing this.

Grasshopper Tacos: Good Eats Or Too Many Feets?
7/1/11 03:46 PM

Jamie Oliver's Cheescake requires no baking, is super-easy and magnificent!

Help Me Make a Better No-Bake Cheesecake!
Good Questions

7/1/11 11:28 AM

I remember inviting an international group of friends from grad school home for a very Indian lunch. We served it and then my (Indian) roommates and I proceeded to eat with our hands. There was a mixture of disbelief and even shock around the room, depending where people were from, but mostly it all mingled into intense intrigue that we managed to eat rice and dal with our fingers with zero mess (our parents taught us early on). Soon, some our friends even started to try and we had a lot of fun with lunch. We all learned something about the eating habits of several countries that day.
Clearly, I'm a big fan of eating with my hands. :)

In Praise of Eating with Your Hands
Eating Well

6/17/11 01:09 PM

My elder sister always added mustard powder to her fried eggs, something she picked up from a childhood and schooling in the UK. I, in turn, picked it up from her and have continued to add some mustard powder to the yolks of my fried eggs.

Fried Egg Mix-In: Whole Grain Mustard
6/17/11 12:59 PM

My mom used to add the green shells of the cardamom to her jar of black tea, or her jar of sugar. It used to infuse them with cardamom flavour, truly a treat to the senses.
I toss them in a small sugar jar and always have cardamom sugar (like many have vanilla sugar) on hand.
So many fantastic suggestions in the comments for my favourite spice! The main thing to remember is that it works well in both sweet and savoury recipes.
(Great to try is also its ugly brother, black cardamom, which is much stronger and lends itself better to savoury dishes.) Like cinnamon or saffron, this fragrant spice elevates your recipe out of the ordinary!

What Are Some Good Uses for Cardamom?
Good Questions

6/15/11 04:48 PM

Oh yes! Rice, simple dal and Indian pickle is the ultimate comfort food. Have been smitten with achaars since I was a child. Nothing beats their spicy, salty goodness.
My favourites are (my mom's) raw mango pickle, chilli pickle and tomato and garlic pickle. You get great versions of the latter two in Indian stores. Bedekar and Priya are brands you can't go wrong with.

Awesome Achars! The Indian Answer to the Pickle
6/9/11 10:27 AM

What a fun question!
I expected to see lassi on the comments here and I did :) The thing about it though is that it really is quite filling, even more so if it's mango. I'd go with chaas (salted buttermilk) if I was going down this route. Here's one recipe
I second the comments here about water. That's really what we consume with our meals. Chai (our traditional tea) is actually served mostly with breakfast or at tea time. (I know every Indian restaurant in the US serves it at any time so it's really up to you). Hot, not cold.
I also second the coconut water and nimbu pani suggestions, also the watermelon juice, all are light and complement the food very well. Add a pinch of kala namak (black salt) to the lemon or watermelon juice and you're all set.
We love sharbat (cool flavoured syrup drinks) and lemon and orange squash, all available at your friendly, neighbourhood Indian store. Look for a cooling drink called Rooh Afza. ( It's a thick rose coloured syrup you mix with water that makes for very refreshing, herb-y, rose-y drink. Mix in some mint and some neutral flavoured alcohol and you can get a creative cocktail out of it. There'll be other syrup options too so I'd go to the store and look.
Happy planning!

Pitcher Drinks for an Indian-Themed Party?
Good Questions

6/6/11 05:51 PM

You know what does a great job at warming you up and adds great wonderful depth too? Black cardamom! Or ground cloves. Like pepper but better. I love chillies but spices are fantastic for heat.

Beyond Cayenne: 6 Ways to Add Spicy Heat to Any Dish
6/2/11 06:19 PM