Thursday, December 31, 2009

Potato and Onions in Yogurt, My Pick At the Potluck


Find the Potato and Onions in Yogurt in this collage.


A day prior to the Potluck as I was freezing the menu, Shrinidhi came to tell me he was getting along a Potato Salad. Knowing my interest in cooking he immediately described what he had learnt from his Mom. I went Yum~! A new recipe for my blog.

Tell me the authetic name, not your anglicized Potato salad. That is not acceptable. He did try naming it, for a man who was away from this country for more than a decade it was only a fair attempt. In Tulu, he said, Alu gadde something something...I agree with his wife, who is a Bengali that it did sound completely made up and needed a verification and certification by his Mom. Now how do I do that? Luckily there is a granny in the team so I turned to her, to which Sapna added its called Alu bhaji (sounded like Marathi for pakoda). Well I decided ultimately to go by the ingredients for the namesake.

So here I am presenting Shrinidhi's Mom's recipe of a delish salad that caught my taste buds by surprise by its simplicity in a potluck that had food from different states of India.

Ingredients

4 potatoes boiled and cubed
2 onions chopped fine
1 heaped teaspoon urad dal/ split black lentils
10 curry leaves
2 red chilies broken into pieces
1/2 litre fresh yogurt/ curd
salt to taste
2 teaspoons coconut oil

Heat the coconut oil to a point of smoking. Inhale the divine aroma :). Add the urad dal, fry till golden. Then crispen the curry leaves and red chili to smokiness. Now fry the onions just to get rid of the raw taste. Add the potato dices. Put off the heat. Mash the potatoes a bit with the back of the spoon. Mix in the yogurt or curd. I would prefer yogurt as it is more creamier but curd too works the traditional way.

Shrinidhi says this was a staple homecoming meal at his parents home in Manipal. They enjoyed it with hot steaming rice with more coconut oil drizzled on it. He has survived on this Potato salad in all his stays in Europe where a vegetarian tends to loose appetite for obvious reasons. I could live just on this salad without rice or chapati for accompaniment. As always I try to find similarities in cuisines, to me it is like a South Indian tasting Aloo chaat. It has the potential to freak you out as you squeeze out the juices of the yogurt drenched red chili to turn up the heat of a rather cool salad.

AND here is our...

Potluck Menu

Rice: Bisibele Bhat, Tamarind Rice, Lemon Rice, Veg Pulao, Curd rice

Indian breads: Chapati, Puri, Kozhakatai, Akki Roti with chutney

Curries: Chana Masala, Shahi paneer, Aloo-matar, Kadala curry

Starters: Kothimbir Vadi with Bedekar's garlic chutney and Ketchup, Potato wafers. Banana wafers.

Salad: Sprouts salad, Potato Onion in yogurt, Mix Veg slices

Desserts: Apple crumble, Nolen Gurer Sandesh, Vanilla Icecream, Gulab Jamun, Srikhand, Soan Papdi, Plum Cake.

Drink: Tang-Orange

Its easy to guess it was Kothimbir Vadi from me and I already wrote about the Apple Crumble. The Potluck in the true sense was a Melting pot of all recipes from North-South-East and the West. Quite a reflection of India and its food, we all appreciated the diverse cultures. United we are as the saying goes "Teams that eat together stay together". That one is an adapted one!

Well with this post I am crossing the FINISH line of the Nupur's 7-day recipe marathon. Yay! My Fellow Marathoners were inspiring all the way. I met new bloggers through this event. Thank you every one for making it fun.

Thank you Nupur for this idea. I know I enjoyed participating in this event immensely. Hope you enjoyed being a marathoner inspite of the Kitchen plumbing fiasco.

Finally before the clock strikes 12 here and we move into a brand New 2010. Let me hit the publish button.

Happy New Year... Bloggers! Readers!! All you out there!!!
May there be sunshine in your lives by God's grace.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lasnachi Vali Chutney

This post is in remembrance of my grandfather.


This Lasnachi Vali Chutney was his favorite on the days he fasted. He was a Koli to the core. He fasted may be just couple of times a year. On the day of the fast he would be really irritable. He hated vegetarian food. He ate only one meal on such days consisting of steamed rice with our Koli dals (Hirva Masala Moog Dal or Pivli Dal) and a big ball of this chutney. My grandmother who was very good at statistics said, Ajoba needs "Chutney cha gola, Eka kavdhi cha!" A ball of chutney made using half a coconut.

Fasting for Ajoba was always like a punishment. Only when the women folk refused to cook fish for him or may be for Shivaratri.

Among the Kolis not eating non veg is considered fasting. There are no other rules to be followed, I do recollect he visiting the Bhavani Aai temple though. It was considered austere to follow a fast as every Koli's day begins with a breakfast of Chavlachi Roti with kanji (Pochacha Kaanji) and a feast of fishes through out the day.

My grandpa loved his spice and oil floating on his fish curries. Whenever he ate dal, my Dad would comment softly in my ear, "Have you ever seen a tiger eat grass?". Just like his charachter this chutney is strong in aroma from the copious amounts of garlic and the pungency from the red chilies. The coconut is only to give it body. We Kolis don't like our chutneys watered down, it has to be an oblong smooth ball gathered and shaped on the Patta.

At fast breaking time, Ajoba would be served a heap of rice, well cooked yet fluffy. Then he would make a well in the heap. Pour the dal from a steel quarter plate. Mix it little by little, pinch of a little of the Lasnachi Vali chutney and put a huge portion into the mouth. All this using his fingers.
Till he finished no one came between his fast breaking and him.

Ingredients

1/2 coconut grated
5-6 red chilies soaked in water for 5 mins
10 cloves of garlic
salt to taste

Grind with minimum amount of water in a mixer or on the stone grinder. Make a fine paste. Roll up into an oblong shape. Enjoy it with Dal bhaat.

Well let me explain the name before I move on to narate my memories of Ajoba and adventures in Thal, Lasun is garlic you know that one, Vali is wet in Koli so Lasanchi Vali Chutney ofcourse!

My memories of my grandfather are made of funny incidents, of chases around the home in Thal and the barn. One afternoon I climbed the guava tree. Under the tree was kept the hardware stock for our Galbat/ Boat. I was strategic in choosing the time when everyone was at the Bunder, Ajoba was at home and asleep. Suddenly I heard my Mami scream, "Witch come down or you will fall." I was scared not from her yelling, or the height but the fear of grandpa. Thud!!! I got up, collecting myself quickly and ran to save my life. Grandpa was now chasing me around the house with a coconut flower pod. I had tasted the beatings from it once and well knew it hurt bad man! Ran for my life and disappeared on my Moongavrichi Aaji's attic. Only after cuddling behind a Ranjun (The Alibaba kind earthen pot) I realized my bum was sore from the fall. I must have fallen asleep there after all the panting. When I woke up it was evening. I had cobwebs in my hair and black ash from the deposits from the chool on my face. Ajoba was sitting resting against the Tulsi. He saw my avatar and called me to have a bath. I knew him too well. He would first spank me and then hand me over to Mothi Aaji for a bath so I stood far away. Late in the evening as hunger got the better of me, I sneaked into the Vataan (hall). Neelam was fast asleep and Mothi Aaji was petting her. She had got beaten up for being my accomplice. She was not a good sprinter and had got snared by Ajoba. I sneaked an early dinner and cuddled up next to Neelam under the Godhadi (quilt).

Another chase was a shorter one. One May Vacation, my grandfather told us to play near the Hauli (Holi platform). There used to be a lot of Bhendi trees there along the path that lead to the seashore. We would climb on those and sit on the branches and watch the tides. At high tide time we kids were always watched over by elders. That day it got a bit boring. So as my grandpa napped on a mat under a tree, I took my gang to our barn just a few meters down on the seashore. The stable was well stocked with hay. Neat bales all prepared for the rains. The Barn walls just mended with woven coconut palm mats by Ajoba. We played hide n seek there. It was an ideal place for the game. Suddenly from the crack of the door I spotted Ajoba coming towards the barn with a whip in hand. As he charged fiercely towards me, I was about 9 or 10 then. I tunneled through the hay tore through the barn wall. The coconut ribs in the wall scratching and bruising me. The mid afternoon sun shone harshly almost blinding me, yet I raced towards the Malbandar. Grandpa out of breath shaking his fist with a finger pointing at me, warning me, "wait till I get you".

As a child I found it fun and remember it that way. My Dad however remembers only the strict father that rarely showed love. One who managed to discipline his sons so well, inspite of the couple of indulgences that he himself had he is survived by a family that prides itself in being teetotalers and many good habits.

December is my grandpa's anniversary month. He died in the year 1985 on the same tithi as our Shree Brahmachaitanya Maharaj.

Closing this with a qoute Ajoba followed in life "Kisi ka ghenam nai, Kisi ka denam nai". It is a mixed language of his own and means "Never take from anyone, Never be in debt."

RIP Ajoba we follow it strictly.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Soupy Dalia


Soupy Dalia
with Tomato Cheese toast sprinkled with Basil and Olive oil smear

The Christmas weekend passed away quietly in bed, brought down by the twins cough n cold and their roguish brother, fever.

I had no mood to cook and I rarely get a relief from cooking. I was expected to make something tasty for the person not suffering like me as well as make it edible for myself.

This meal lifted my mood instantly. It took me just 20 mins to put both the toast and the soup together.

Ingredients

1/4 cup dalia/ broken wheat
1 onion chopped
1 tomato diced
1 carrot diced
1/4 cup peas
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon kitchen king masala
2 teaspoon oil
salt to taste

Heat a pressure cooker. Pour oil. Fry the onions till transluscent. Add the broken wheat and fry a bit. Then dump in all the vegetables. Add the salt and the masala. Top up with water. About 3 glasses. Close the lid and allow 3 whistles. Put off heat. Let it cool. Open the lid. Stir in the fresh cilantro.

Serve hot. While the soup is getting ready get the toast ready with a slice of tomato n cheese and sprinkle on dry basil. In a serving plate pour some Olive oil for smearing the toast. Enjoy the warm bite and the hot sip.

Wrap yourselves up, winter is here to stay and the showers don't seem to stop.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tiranga Jeera Rice

Recipe for Nupur's 7-day recipe marathon starting Dec 25 until Dec 31, 2009.

This is a simple Jeera Rice with colorful vegetables made in an attempt to get the recovery patient excited about eating. We all know color plays a big part in boosting our emotions. Dad has a love for all this red chili colored, be it the curries, rice or anything else, oh yes and you have read here about his love for ketchup too.

What's good about this rice is, it is completely non spicy and yet flavorful. It is a good option for pesky kids who hate spice. The rice is tri-colored with vegetables, so Tiranga Jeera Rice is the nomenclature.

Ingredients

1 cup raw rice
1/4 cup sweet corn kernels
1/4 cup green peas
1/4 cup cubbed carrots
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
300 ml water

In a small pressure cooker heat oil. Tempering is with cumin seeds and cinnamon. Add in the tri-colored vegetables. Fry a bit to coat with oil. Mix in the washed rice. I used Sona masuri. Add salt as per preference, top up with water. Give it a stir and close the lid. Let the pressure cooker whistle once. Then let it collect enough steam for the next whistle and switch it just before the whistle goes off. Cool, open, mix with light hand. Serve hot with a soup for company.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Majjige HuLi With Mangalore Southekayi


Majjige HuLi, steamed rice, a blog err blob of pickle, Corn and Carrot Kosumbari and Chili bhajji, that's a Bangalore Mini Meal!


Majjige HuLi has been on the wedding menu of almost all the weddings I have attended so far here in Blr.

With the 7-day recipe marathon hosted on One Hot Stove I knew it was time to give it a try.

Majjige HuLi translates to Buttermilk Sour, the sour refers to the curry ofcourse. I used this recipe. It turned out really tasty.

I started off with plans of a Majjige HuLi with Madras cucumber in my earlier post on that special Sambhar with the cucumber. Then D, my dear friend tells me this Madras cucumber is also called Mangalore Southekayi. Thought this post would sound more authentic with the Mangalore Southekayi. No fusion brought in even in the name by moi Maharashtrian. Essentially like GOD with all possible names is still the same. Call it Madras cucumber or Mangalore southekayi it is the same form. Don't know if they worship it in these individual regions ;)!

She went on to educate me that it is one of the few vegetables which stays good in the tropical climate of Mangalore and is used widely in many preparations besides Sambar. By now I needn't say she hails from Mangalore, you got it!

This curry is a good change from the dals & Kadhis that I am used to. It is going to be made often in my kitchen now with different vegetables. I have eaten one with Ridge gourd at our friend Ashwath Narayan and Parimala aunty's home.

Most of the traditional cooks chop the vegetables into large chunks on the pretext that the gourds which are so popular for this may crumble into the curry. I infact disagree with that. The curry is just about brought to a boil. So there is no chance of vegetables loosing their identity in there. So I gave the Anjali touch to it. The HuLi stands out with 1/4 inch slices of the cooking cucumber. It is a delicately flavored curry and a little more delicate handling of veggies will only enhance its beauty when plated.

See I told you!

I did not want to repeat the recipe here but this little procedure is important so I'll go all the way enumerating my tweaking. I skipped the turmeric in the original recipe as I have never seen turmeric or tasted it in any Majjige HuLi I have eaten so far.

Ingredients

1/2 Madras Cucumber/ Mangalore Southekayi
300 ml sour curd
2 teaspoon oil
4-5 curry leaves
handful chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
salt to taste

For the masala

1/2 cup grated coconut
1 green chili
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons Roasted split chickpeas/ Kadale bele/ DahaLe in Marathi
1 inch piece of ginger
2-3 pepper corns

Prepare the masala first. Grind together all the items with a bit of water to get a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Beat the curd in a bowl and add enough water to get buttermilk of medium consistency fit for a curry.

Now in a pot, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add the sliced cucumber. Stir for a min. Add water just to cover it and let it cook until pale. Now add the masala paste. Follow in with the buttermilk. Stir to homogenize. Leave it on heat for 10 mins. and just as it starts boiling put it off.

Make the seasonings with mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves. Pour over the boiling curry and cover.

The aroma of fresh ground ginger, cumin and coriander powder permeates the entire home. People are pulled in to the kitchen like a magnet. "Something different today?" Yes a white curry. Hope you like it!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Quick Kali Dal

I had posted a Creamy Dal Makhani sometime last year. This is a quicker version of it and is called Kali Dal coz there is no Rajma no Chana dal in this version. This one is simpler version I'd say.

Ingredients

1/4 cup whole urad / black lentils
1 inch ginger
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 green chili
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Soak the whole urad overnight in a lot of water (to avoid slime).

Cook the pre-soaked dal in a pressure cooker along with Garam masala and ginger. Once cooked. Prepare the tadka with oil, mustard seeds and slit green chili in a wok. Pour the boiled dal into the wok. Bring to boil. Keep the consistency thick to get the creaminess to peak.

Serve hot with thick Punjabi Roti. Add a blob of cream on the dal. This dal is simplicity at its best and really quick to make.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Apple Crumble And The Zestyness


Ho Ho Ho....Merry Christmas Every One!

When you are looking for an easy peasy dessert this season without much sweating to do then Apple crumble is the right thing.

This is a concoction arrived at after much googling. I have also learnt to not follow proportions while baking such dishes but rather depend on my instincts. Yet I am putting down the recipe for repetitions sake if I want to do it. Rather I have planned to do.

We have been eating right for more than a month now. The dessert craving shows up unexpectedly and needs satisfying. That's when this got made. It will again be made for a team potluck that we are organizing.

I have become an addict of Zesty notes in every thing. I love orange zest in any baked treat. So this one became predominantly orangey. We ate piles two times in a day. My team is going to love it I can tell already.

Ingredients

For the apple base
2 apples chopped in tiny cubes
1 tablespoon orange zest
juice of 1 orange
1/2 tablespoon of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of fine grain sugar


For the crumble topping
1.5 tablespoon of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of fine grain sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
pinch of salt

Grease a baking tin, I used a loaf pan. Toss chopped apples in orange juice, coat with sugar and orange zest. Finally dust it with all purpose flour. Transfer into the baking tin.

In a dry bowl. Mix the sugar into the all purpose flour along with a pinch of salt and cinnamon powder. Rub in the butter to get a crumbly mix. Top the apples lined in the baking tin with the crumble. Press it down gently with a spatula.

Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins @ 180 deg celsius till the apples start bubbling and the top turns a crisp brown. If you find that the sugar is caramelizing in 15 mins slip on the lid. Mine became a darker shade of brown but tasted awesome. Wish there was some icecream to go with it., it is winter time and I am not stocking any right now. I am visualizing fresh cream will be great with it at potluck time.

This time we are planning to pass on some love in the team. Everyone has been asked to write a word of appreciation for the team member/s who has been of help and support. We will collect the notes is a bowl and read out randomly during the celebrations. Joy of giving is what Christmas stands for isn't it?

This post races to Nupur's 7-day recipe marathon starting Dec 25 until Dec 31, 2009. Happy compiling girl.

We will have fun. Hope you too enjoy like us. I'd like to hear what you did for Christmas. Do write in.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pedhyachi Poli

& an equally Chweet Weekend



Every time some one visits Gondavale we get a huge packet of Satara's famous Kandi Pedhe (pedha is singular). Then follows a call to the Priest's home. That is too many pedhe! I say. Immediately Vahini tells me, chaan Polya karun kha. So sincerely I take her advice and follow it too.



Its a simple procedure all you need to do is crush the pedhe. Use it as stuffing for the poli. The cover is your regular chapati dough. Roll out the stuffed balls of dough and roast with generous amounts of ghee. Some of these went to my neighbors and some for my Dad.

Today the evening was spent at my dear friend D's son's 1st birthday party. There were tatooed and jumping kids everywhere. Caught up with 2 of my ex-colleagues both very pregnant yet they came to meet us. There was good cheer in the air.

Yesterday it was Chimi's weekly bathing day, as usual after removing the collar she got the clue. She saw the old cotton dupatta that I use to dry her up, grabbed it and what followed is this.



Ain't she adorable!
Sumeet Mama says she is a spoilt brat.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nutritious Vegetable Idli


Everyone knows how to make idlis. If you are one of those that does not then here is the recipe for a simple idli just don't add the black pepper else you will get Pepper Idli.

Humm once you have the batter ready. Keep the veggies you want at hand. I used grated carrots and fine chopped french beans.

It not only adds more fiber too your favorite starchy snack but also makes it nutritious. I made this variation for my recuperating Dad. He needed non spicy yet colorful looking food.

The chutney too was made with ginger for heat and gave the green chili a kho this time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Madras Cucumber Sambhar

Madras cucumber sambhar on steamed rice
with cabbage bhaaji and fried Karnataka sandage
and watermelon juice with black pepper.


Whenever we eat a South Indian meal ofcourse in a hotel. The Sambhar with large chunks of ash gourd or cucumber is something my Dad does not appreciate much.



So this Madras cucumber has never made it's way into our kitchen. Recently when I was working from home tending to Dad. I went grocery shopping. You will not believe that day I bought many type of gourds and the likes if we can call them that. I bought melons actually, water, musk etc. In the same breath I reached out for this cute little thing, the Madras cucumber.

As I brought home the bags. I was planning the recipes. Half for the Sambhar and other half for the Majge HuLi.

So here is the how to

Ingredients

2 cups of diced Madras cucumber
1 cup toor dal
1" ball of tamarind
2 tablespoons jaggery powder
1 tablespoon MTR sambhar powder
2 teaspoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
salt to taste

In a small pressure cooker put toor dal. Wash it thoroughly. Add the washed and diced Madras cucumber. Add the sambhar powder. Top up with 3 cups of water. Close the cooker and allow 3 whistles or 20 mins of cooking time. Put of the heat. Let it cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl wash the tamarind add water to cover it. Add the jaggery and heat to boiling point. Let it cool. Extract the pulp by mashing with hand. Save.

Now open the pressure cooker. Add the tamarind jaggery pulp and salt. Place it back on heat.

Using a seasoning bowl, prepare the tempering. Heat ghee. Crackle up the mustard seeds. The curry leaves go in, make them crisp. Pour it on the boiled dal. Bring the sambhar to a rolling boil. Cover and keep.

Serve with hot steamed rice. Mix with your finger and lap it up. It smells so good and distinctly cucumbery taste.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chubble Bread


I had seen this bread on Fig's with Bri a long time ago. Today I went over to Mrs. Marv mentioned in that post to look for the recipe.

First thing that struck me is it asked for Parmesan cheese. I was not going to go hunting for it. I'm in South India and I was going to use what ever cheese is available easily.

This bread got baked for a dear friend. She is experiencing the pangs of an empty nest. She has singlehandedly brought up her daughter. The daughter got married recently and has flown off to a distant land. Though they talk to each other almost daily, She still feels low.

I have been rushing to be with her whenever I get one of those messages indicative of loneliness. She enjoys eating but is a non vegetarian. When we go out to eat she prefers to order veg even though I don't mind eating at the same table.

To make something vegetarian for her and something that she'd love was a challenge. Then I remembered Bri's comment in her post "Being vegetarian, it’s a little disconcerting (and bordering on scandalous) that the flavor was quite similar to bacon." So this was a perfect recipe for her.

For all the procedure go over to the link added above.

My twist

I caramelized the onions. Used 8 mushrooms, chopped and cooked for 5 mins. The stuff became more like a bhaaji. Cilantro replaced the parsley. I used dried Basil. The cheese was Amul's mozzarella. Made this in the morning while making lunch.

The bread went through the kneading & proofing cycle during the day. Finally baked the bread for dinner.

We, Dad n me had half of it with ketchup and washed it down with watermelon juice. The other half I had frozen for my friend and she warmed it up for dinner the following day. Next morning I got a mail thanking me and it said "It was good!"

Next I want to treat her to a sweet baked goody, Chirstmas is coming up so its the right time for her. I'll go see her at home then...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ulicha Zunka


Sometimes in the process of posting about new things and some experiments one forgets some favorites. Ulicha Zunka is one such. It has taken me 479 post to come to it! Really.

Well this time the Ul was in the fridge for long. All my Dad thinks of is Zunka when he buys it. So the standard conversation goes like this...

"I bought some really fresh Ul".
Me: humm
"Don't make fried rice".
Me: As if that is the only thing I make with Ul (that is a solo)
"Zunkya la bari aahe". It is good for Zunka.
Me: Smiling to my self. I knew that.

Ulicha Zunka is what we enjoy a lot as a family. There isn't and wasn't even a single person at home who did not like it. Ul is Marathi /Koli for scallions. It is a rustic recipe to the core and goes best with bhakari. On this day we had it with hot phulkas.

Ingredients

1 large bunch scallions (about 4-5 packed cups)
1 cup besan / chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
2 tablespoons oil

Heat oil in a non stick kadhai. Add the seasoning, begin with mustard, let is crackle. Then follow in with asafoetida, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder. Quickly add the cleaned and chopped scallions to avoid the burning of the spices. Fry for 2 mins. Add the besan and salt to taste. Keep mixing intermittenly till cooked. Cover and cook till you get dryish consistency.

To make sure besan is cooked well taste it a bit. You do not want it to be tasting raw. Besan makes Ulicha Zunka a power pack of proteins.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shree Brahmachaitanya Maharaj Gondavalekar, 96th Punyatithi at Bangalore

View from the upper level walk way.

On top is Shree Gopal Krishna Idol and on the ground level is the Shree Brahmachaitanya Maharaj Gondavalekar Samadhi. In the cellar is located the Dhyan Mandir.

This picture was taken at 6.51 am after the Gulal ceremony. I will post another picture in the evening if I make it for the Darshan.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Palak Phadhphada and Chapati Mats

What is he scooping up with a dona? Something definitely special!


To many Malaria is a small disease. In my family 0ur general health is pretty good, the occasional cough and cold is to be ignored. We live with some other things that are our partners in life. So its a big deal especially for my Dad when he falls ill. If I have learnt something in life it is to mock the things that try to bring me down and appreciate the smallest things in Life.

I tell W also many times there are so many thing to be happy about. A sunny morning, an unexpected shower, a beautiful temple in an unexpected location, a beautiful kid. GOD has endowed us with so much, good looks, sensitive heart, enough money to buy what we want etc. What else does one need!

I was little shaken up when Dad collapsed last Wed. Yet after the treatment was started we started playing a game. Everyday for the last 4 days, I'd ask Dad what do you think will be your platelet count today? He would say may be up by 15 thousand, I'd say double. The only time I sunk in the heart of heart was when it showed a dip on the second day. Today the count was normal so we did a Thumbs up!!! and thanked the hospital staff as we left. We told them tomorrow will be our last visit. Doc said to Dad "See me only if you feel weak or there is a problem".

It is a technique, we wanted to be happy. Another thing that works for us is good food, food from our memories, food that comforts.

It is Phadhphada! You got to read the story to know if it is the traditional or yet another of my experiment with new ingredients.

This recipe is non traditional. I made it with what is available today.

Dad loves ALu cha Phadhphada. LOL. I know you will guffaw. It gets its name from ALu/Colocasia leaves and the noise its puree makes while cooking in the pot. I don't know why, I haven't spotted ALu leaves here in Blr in the last 4.5 yrs. So I used Palak instead. Instead of the Chincha-Gul (Tamarind-Jaggery) I used Kokum agal-gul. Another twist is Moog dal for thickening instead of the traditional Chana dal.

So here is a recipe which comes very close to ALu cha Phadhphada.

Ingredients


1 large bunch Spinach/Palak
2 tablespoons Moog Dal
1/2 cup fresh boiled peanuts
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Goda masala
2 tablespoon Kokum Agal (extract) OR Tamarind extract
2 tablespoons of Jaggery or a little more, check the taste.
salt to taste.
2 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds


First wash thoroughly the spinach. In a small pressure cooker wash the Moog dal. Add to it the Palak. Add the spices, red chili powder, turmeric powder, Goda masala and salt. Add a glass of water. Close the cooker. Allow 3 whistles. Let it cool.

Till then, heat the oil and make the phodni with mustard seeds. On spluttering and the Kokum agal or Tamarind extract. Drop in the jaggery and allow to boil rapidly. Now add the peanuts, save a bit for sprinkles.


Its time to open the cooker. Puree in the mixie the cooked Palak and Moog dal till smooth. Pour the puree into the already boiling liquid. Mix well. It needs to be covered as it would start making the Phadh phadh sound true to its name :)

Stir well. Cook for another 5 mins. While serving decorate with a few boiled peanuts sprinkled over a bowl of hot Palak Phadhphada.

Serve with Bhakari or Phulka. It is creamy with rice too. Lipsmacking is the word.
____________________________________________________________________

This time in Mumbai I picked up these cool inexpensive Chapati Mats. They absorb the sweat released by hot chapatis and keep them soft. How you use them, is by placing one mat at the bottom of your chapati box and one on top just under the lid. I remember how the last chapati always got thrown at the dog when we were kids, it was due to the sogging in the steam. A good mat should be made with layers of cloth and not sponge. It should be washable.

You can even make your own. Cut out rounds the size of your box. Layer with cloth and quilt it. Use a piping to seal the edges. You are ready for chapati making and storing them soft till you serve.

Incase you can't get yourself these or make them just continue using a napkin to line the chapati box.


The Chapati Mats I got from Mumbai. They help to keep the chapati sweat free and soft.
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Chimuli runs to the window to entertain herself when Mama does not give attention. She tried hovering around Grandpa but he seems to growl at her lately so she finds her own way to keep out of sight.

Woof Woof Vinaya Maushi!


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Aloo Methi

Aloo Methi is a simple stir fry for the soul. In my home it is made mostly in winter. I love the large chunks of boiled potato coated with the methi. Many times it is Kasuri methi and sometimes fresh methi. We love it with Phulkas. Yesterday I served with steaming hot Gujarati Kadhi. The Bangalore weather demands a warm sip with every meal.

This time I used both. I wanted to finish off the little Kasuri Methi I had kept for a long time.

Ingredients

6-7 Bolied potatoes, cubed
1 bunch Fresh methi chopped fine
2 tablespoon Kasuri methi
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Aamchur/ dry mango powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
salt to taste.


Heat oil in a kadhai. Splutter mustard seeds. Add the cubed potatoes. Toss in turmeric powder and chili powder. Add the kasuri and fresh methi. Mix well. Let is cook till you get slightly golden crispened potatoes. add the aamchur, salt and sugar. Cook for another 5 mins.

Hot phulkas with a mound of Aloo methi on top transports me to the lush green fields in Punjab, enjoying my roti from the hand just like a farmer.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Bread Pudding, The English Type




I made this bread pudding for Dad not as dessert but as today's breakfast. Came to post it as he is napping.

Ingredients

1/4 loaf of bread
4-5 chocolate chip cookies (Hide n Seek)
4-5 seedless Dates or raisins
1/4 cup sugar
250 ml milk
1X3 inch thick butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

In a pot, add the butter and turn on the heat. Tear out small morsels of bread and add to the sizzling butter. Add the sugar. Stir a bit to caramelize. Once the sugar is molten. Add the milk, dates and the cinnamon powder. Stir once. Let is cook with cover for 10 mins till most of the milk is absorbed. Put off the heat. Remove the cover, scoop out the pudding in a bowl. Crumble chocolate chip cookies over it and pass on the warm bowl to the person you love. Watch the comfort feeling on his face.

On Wednesday night, like usual after dinner he did not pick his plate to dump into to sink. Instead he left the half eaten roti and bhaaji. He could not get up. I thought it is because he was sitting on the moodha/ low stool. Next moment I saw him collapse. He fell on to the moodha. Thank God! I got him to stabilize.

His face had been pale after he was back from Mumbai with Malaria. Yes Malaria is rampant in Mumbai. Those visiting be careful!

It's been a month since then. I immediately checked him for temperature. He was burning with fever. The rest of the night I was giving him cold packs.

In the morning the temp had reduced. I informed at work and got permission to work from home for a couple of days. It was then going to be the weekend. I would get 4 days to nurse him. Hoping this ends soon.

At the Doctor's we get the whole range of blood tests done for the Malaria. The Liver function test for the acute nausea. Results rule out Jaundice. Though the Malarial parasites show negative, Doc still suspects a relapse. He suggests a Ultra sound sonography. Results show spleen is slightly swollen. By now my Dad who has been resisting to go to the doctor drops opposition knowing his daughter has assumed a tough in control stance. Doc suggests we monitor his platelet count every day. Yesterday it had gone down further to 66,000 only! Now Dad kind of just lets me take decisions. I tell him his Yoga has helped him all life to stay fit but now is the time to turn to Aleopathy for immediate cure.

I don't know whether it is age, he is 67 or the loneliness in Bangalore. He is here for my sake, he does not like this city. I am guilty of uprooting him from Mumbai. He has spent half a century in Mumbai. The initial excitement of moving to a new city was taken over by resentment due to the hardships we have had to face as an immigrant. He has become very irritable. Most times I ignore it as petty. His health has been a concern for the last couple of years. Last year he had a severe throat infection and has lost his voice for 2-3 months. Docs say it was partly worsened by his loneliness. I spend all my time I get beyond work with him. I do not go anywhere without him. Yet that is not enough. I have been with him for too long. We are each other's support. I miss my Mother many times had she been around My Dad would not have been so attached to me, the situation today could have been avoided.

Anyways...it is going to be another day in and out of the hospital. The IV needle will be removed on the 5th day. Yet he is happy to be at home. Today he even helped me with the washing and drying. The injections are making him stronger. I hope I feel confident enough to go to work on Mon leaving him alone.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shahi Tukda

and a feast for S & S.


What a weekend it was! Last month S&S visited me for the first time. It was his first ever trip and ofcourse a first after marriage too.

I haven't seen a couple having multiple honeymoons. These two are lucky. After their real one, they went to a weekend getaway in Lonavala with Uncle MJ and Aruna Kaki.

This time it was with me. I did not feel like a kabab mein haddi though. They keep fighting like kids. I wondered aloud "Is this love?" Both would blush a crimson red.

Immediately after they arrived we attended a wedding. The next day was a choice between visiting Mysore and doing the Shravanbelagola, Belur and Halebidu trio one more time with S&S.

Sapna chose the later. All new brides are put through some compatibility test with each member in the family. I added a mental tick. Ever since the first time I met her this list has grown. S is my kid bro so his wife is also that for me. I realize many times that they bring out the mother in me.

We had a fabulous day trip to the utterly enchanting archeological sites. We had fun and frolicked in the outdoors. My cuz S keeping us ladies in splits with his potty jokes as we climbed the Vindhyagiri at Shravanbelagola.

Then it was Sunday, time for them to go back to Mumbai.

After eating out for two days. I had to treat them to a meal at home.

Cuz S knows well to butter me. He has asked his wifey to pickup things from me when around me, especially cooking. Tell me which sis will not be elated?

Did I fall prey, may be. I went all out to make an elaborate meal. Yet before I started I wanted them out of my way, so packed them of for Bangalore darshan along with Dad and the driver. As I waved a bye, I told them lunch would be ready by the time they are back.

It was ready in two hours.

The spread as you see below consisted of Bangalore Style Curd rice, Yardlong beans and Potato bhaaji, Dal palak, Kokum Saar, Palak Paratha (used the Methi na Thepla recipe), Steamed Rice (not in pix) & Shahi Tukda!


Shahi Tukda is so easy to make and a sure hit with people who love slurpy, milky stuff like our Madame. She nibbled at it delicately, it brought a smile to my face. I knew she would ask for the recipe. So here it is...

You need

Ingredients

4 slices of bread each cut into fours
enough ghee to fry

1 tin Amul Mithai Mate (Reduced sweetened milk)
1 cup whole milk

Almonds slivered
Pistachios slivered
Pumpkin seeds
2-3 cardamoms powdered

In a shallow frying pan add the ghee little by little and fry the slices till they are golden brown. Drain on a paper napkin. Keep aside.

In a pot empty the Amul Mithai Mate and mix with 1 cup whole milk. Warm a bit so that is homogenizes. Warming helps to soak the slices well in the thick milk. I did not warm so it gave me slightly crunchy slices in milky syrup. The next day when the slices sogged they tasted better.

Now once the preps are done, assemble a pretty plate. Line up the golden fried slices. Pour the warm milky syrup over the slices. Decorate with the nut slivers and pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle the cardamom powder over it. Chill for min 30 mins before serving.

Whoever said bread cannot be indianized into a sweet! May the inventor be blessed.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Teppanyaki Kiwi Icecream

In this era has anyone escaped the influences of the TV? I too fall prey once in a while.

This is one such recipe.

Saw a food show that showed Teppanyaki cooking and the shock factor came from the reduced ice cream on the Teppanyaki. Now you will wonder what that is. Well by definition:

Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き teppan'yaki?) is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. The word "teppanyaki" is derived from teppan (鉄板), which means iron plate, and yaki (焼き), which means grilled, broiled or pan-fried. Source: Wikipedia

Restaurants take this Tava frying (if you compare it to Indian cooking) to a new height. The chefs are performers. I guess anything grilled on a Teppanyaki should taste good. Fifty % of the game is won by the hot food and 50 % by the chef's style. I am not even considering taste as a factor.

I tried this desert in the Teppanyaki style. I cheated with readymade vanilla icecream. The chef on TV fried mix fruits with a lot of garlic! I din't dare. So this recipe is my own in that sense.

Ingredients

1 cup Vanilla icecream
1/4 cup Kiwi puree
1 Kiwi sliced

I filled a bowl with Kiwi puree. Then heated a nonstick frying pan, transferred 1/2 cup vanilla icecream onto it. Reduced it until lumpy. Put the reduced icecream lumps on the Kiwi puree so as to give a second layer in the bowl. Then added the other half cup of vanilla icecream on top. I was tempted to add nuts but stopped. The Kiwi seed lends a nice texture as well as a kinda crunch to the deliciously cool bowl. Decorate with Kiwi slices.

This proportion is for a single person. A treat for me.

Dig to the bottommost layer and scoop up the rest of the layers, devour!

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