Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oven Methi Nan


I have been cooking for a long time now but don't know why had never thought I could made tandoori rotis in an electrical oven on the grill. Well what happened was I went shopping for a new electrical oven. I needed a small one as this home is not my permanent one. I came across an electrical tandoor. I saw that it was built the same way as an oven. Just heating element and a box. Except that the oven has a large shell whereas the tandoor had a flatter shell. As soon as I came home with the oven the first thing I tried was this Oven Roti. My Dad sweared by it and he was so happy now would be able to eat tandoor style rotis at home. See the grill marks look so good in the picture and ofcourse the melted ghee. What you see in the platter is Spinach soup and Sime Badnekayi (Chayote Squash) stir fry with Methi Nan.

Ingredients

1 cup wheat flour
1 cup maida
1/2 cup curds
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped fenugreek leaves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and form pliable dough. Keep it aside for 1/2 hr. Preheat oven at 250 deg C or 480 deg F for 10 mins. Use bottom element only. Roll out Oval Nans so that you can bake 2 at a time. Bake the Nan on the grill for 10 mins on each side till it gives the grill marks. In this way one can make almost any type of oven rotis.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Toor Masale Bhat

Once in a while my Dad surprises me by making dinner on days when I have spent a long day at work. He had bought some Toorichya shenga that looked really fresh. We normally make toor curry with ground coconut masala. The Toor when separated from the pods looked like peas so he decided to make masale bhat with it. The toor rice turned out so fluffy and nice that I feasted on it. The red and green chillies he used were just to add color to the picture as He now watches me taking pictures for the blog. I wanted to take a picture of the toorichya shenga but dinner was ready when I reached home and the waste pods were in the dustbin. Ambe mohar rice is the best rice for masale bhat. This variety of rice is small grained and smells like ripe mangoes when cooked. We used long grained rice on this day as you see in the picture.

Ingredients

1 cup rice

1 cup toor

4-5 red chilies / green chillies slit with stem intact

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

2 pinches asofeotida

1/2 cup curds

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut

1 tablespoon cilantro

1 tablespoon oil

salt to taste

Masala for 1 cup rice:

2 cloves

3-4 black peppercons

2 small sticks cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cardamom pods

1 teaspoon Coriander seeds

Grind together all items. No roasting required. Traditional maharashtrian masale bhat powder is not roasted this gives the lovely flavor and smell.

To begin heat oil in a small pressure cooker add turmeric, chilli powder, asofeotida, Masale bhat powder stir for a min and sprinkle water on the seasoning to allow the flavors to come out. Add the toor and stir. Wash rice and mix into the seasoning. Add the curds and mix. Next add water and salt before you close the cooker. Pressure cook and allow only one whistle. Let steam subside and open cooker while still hot else rice will become soft. Do you smell the heavenly aroma?

Now remove all the rice on a platter and make it fluffy by using a fork to separate the grains and garnish with coconut and cilantro.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shveta Salve

It is strange that you get to know some people through the media. I have talked to Shveta just once when Hema her Mom visited us in 1994. It was the time when I had just lost my Aai and Hema came over to our home to give her condolences along with Dwarkabai our lovable and funny English aunty .

English aunty's family owned the little building in Colaba Koliwada where my grandparents lived. We called her by that name because after Hema became airhostess with Air India aunty learnt English and spoke to everyone with a strong English accent. It was very amusing and we loved to polish our English with her. Hema was her strength and she was Hema's strenght. EA was very fond of my Dad.

Many people saw Hema cheering her daughter on the TV show "Jhalak dikhla jaa". Thats when we knew that Shveta is half Koli. I don't watch many serials so I din't know much about her. She is the daughter of an air hostess and purser so its great to see her in show business. I think she has her grandma's genes EA was a performer she really had a humour. Wish you luck Shveta most Kolis don't know yet about you being half Koli else they would swell with pride!

Chivda bhel


Earthy snack
Chivda made in the earlier post is used to make this bhel. While taking this picture I tought it appropriate to place the plate on the floor and fill the tea in the steel tumbler as this one is an earthy snack.
Ingredients
1 cup Chivda
1/2 tablespoon chopped onions
1 tablespoon chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon Tikhat shev/ any shev
salt to sprinkle
cilantro to garnish
squeeze of lime
Mix all of this together in a bowl and serve in a plate. It will be gone in minutes to whoever you serve. Don't forget to offer Kadak chaha with the chivda bhel.

Chivda

Chivda packets ready to be shared during Diwali along with other sweets 

Chivda is the snack omnipresent on all occassions be it naming ceremony, engagement, or no occasion at all in Koli and Maharashtrian homes. It is an all time snack. I make it every weekend fresh for my family and I don't touch it myself. In our home we always had a box of Chivda available in the pantry after a couple of days all the peanuts would be gone from it. We all knew who the mouse was and tease my brother aged 45 till date about it. Each one had their own way of eating it. Some ate mixed with shev, other's made a bhel. some squeezed a lemon on it. All yummy versions yet I stayed away from the Chivda. It was also a travel snack carried along on most journeys. This is the first time I am giving large proportions as this snack can be stored for a long time.

Ingredients

1 kg Thin rice flakes
10 green chillies chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup roasted and split chickpeas
1/4 dry coconut slivers
1/2 teaspoon Poppy seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 bunch curry leaves
4 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon asoefotida

Firstly prepare the rice flakes for the chivda. It can be done in 2 ways- by leaving the rice flakes in the sun for 2 hrs or till they are brittle Or by dry roasting them till brittle. If roasting then allow to cool before making the chivda else it won't turn out that crispy.
Later in a big vessel heat oil for the seasoning. Splutter mustard seeds then in goes the asoefotida. Then fry the peanuts and coconut slivers till red. Add the poppy seeds and stir. Then add the roasted and split chickpeas, curry leaves and stir for a min. Once the curry leaves are crispy add the green chillies and fry still crisp. Last add the turmeric and salt and mix well. Add the rice flakes which we kept ready to it and mix thoroughly by flipping the mix in the vessel. Do not stir with ladel else the rice flakes crumble down. Finally add th sugar and mix again and remove from the gas. At home we pour out the chivda in a large fine sieve to cool it makes the chivda very brittle and tasty. 

All of you who have posts on chivda link up here to share your versions.

Here is a bhel I love to make with this Chivda.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tikhat Shev



Mountain of Tikhat Shev

This picture was taken during the Diwali preparations. Thikat Shev is the easiest thing to make among the munchies. It just vanishes fast from the stocks as soon as it is made especially during Diwali when one gets tired of eating sweets.
Ingredients
1 cup chick pea flour
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 generous pinch hing
Oil to fry
Mix all the items to get a thick paste. Oil or water should be smeared on the inner side of the Shev press. Fill the press with the paste and drop the shev in hot oil. Fry the shev to nice red color on medium heat. Remove from oil once done in a basket lined with absorbent paper to drain excess oil. Shilpa too had made her version for diwali.

Masala Papad


It is actually a starter but can also be eaten as a evening snack. When one is dead tired to make some thing really elaborate but needs a quick bite into something crunchy and savoury the masala papad come to help. Most people use fried papad for it but I used roasted to cut out the extra fat. It's a snack churned out from the basic ingredients in the kitchen and yet so tasty.


Ingredients

1 papad
1 teaspoon finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
1 pinch red chilli powder
black salt to sprinkle on

Roast or fry the papad and lay it in a plate. The fried ones don't become soggy fast but anyways masala papads don't last long enough to sog anyways. Garnish it with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and sprinkle the salt and red chilli powder on it.

Five Pickles and a Chutney

This is a trailer for the upcoming posts.


Lovely colors
Mango Tree in the background
Moramba- Lonche- Chunda


Pickles perched on a wall




Winter Mangoes


Lip Smacking Pickles



Lasun Chutney

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shevndi -Lobsters

They are the "Love of my Life". There is no good recipe for lobsters. The simplest and the best is fresh boiled lobsters. They have to be tasted that way to really enjoy lobsters. The Koli name for lobsters is Shevndi. They stay live outside water for atleast 4-5 hrs after they are caught and don't loose taste. In Thal people make curry and stir fries. They only end up spoiling the real taste. I have tried to make butter-garlic-pepper lobsters but that too mars the taste.

My maternal uncle S Mama used to supply lobsters to Taj at Gateway. So whenever he came to Mumbai with his catch he always gave me some. On such days even if I was fasting I would quit midday to enjoy the feast. They are considered the highest cash drivers among Kolis and you know why.

Lobsters like everything else that I loved in life so much is a thing of the past. I am now a veggie by choice since the last 20 odd years. This post is dedicated to the lobsters.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Slurp~~


Any Mumbaikar is a diehard fan of gola the ubiquitous crushed-ice candy. It was banned by most parents to eat from the Golawala pushing his cart on the street as it was unheigenic but do kids care. We loved to watch the golawala crush the ice on his green pressing machine. My cuz loved to do it himself. Then shaping the Gola in the hand and then sticking the slit bamboo piece to make a candy. The last bit was enchanting when the Bhaiya splashed the deep red sweet syrup onto the crushed ice candy with a deft hand. We called that deep red syrup Lali simply because it colored our mouths red like lipstick. That was the treacherous clue that parents looked for if they wanted to police on their gola eating brats. We would stand at the cart and suck the juice on the candy and then take more lali from Bhaiya and he never did mind we could ask for more till the ice got over.

My Mom made this recipe thinking she could stop us from eating Gola outside our home. She made it with almost any fruit syrup viz kala khatta, lime juice, moramba, moravala, kokum syrup etc.

Ingredients

4-5 ice cubes
2-3 tablespoons any fruity syrup
chat masala
In the wet grinder jar add the ice cubes and the syrup run till crushed. Scoop out into a tall glass and decorate with mint leaves and chat masala. Eat the flavored crushed ice with a spoon as the street gola in now in cultured company. So at home the exciting Gola turned into SLURP~~.

Update: 24 April 2011

The pictures are of slurp made from Kairi Panha

Talleli Vangi


Near Alibag on the way to Murud there is a village called Borli/Borlai. It is very famous for its huge sized brinjals. They are as big as 1.5 feet in length and 0.5 feet in width. These are the best ones for Baigan ka bharta or fries like we do in Thal. They are very simple to make but need to watch calories when gorging on them. I have tried baking them too but don't taste as divine as the shallow fried ones.

Ingredients
1 huge brinjal
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon asoefotida
salt to taste
Oil to fry

Cut the brinjal into round slices about 1/2 inch thick and lightly draw a chequred pattern on the slices with a knife. Layout the pieces on a board and smear with the turmeric, salt, chili powder, asoefotida and leave to stand for 5 mins. Shallow fry the slices in a non stick pan. The fried brinjals can be eaten with steaming hot rice or rolled in a chapati. At home we kids loved it with rice so much that on the day the dal would remain untouched. In our joint family the lady who made fried brinjals for us kids got a scolding from Dad and uncles for making junk food that is sooooo oily and spoling us kids :) everytime they were made.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bambooke Bombil

This is a funny name if read in hindi it literally sounds like bombil from the bamboo. However to the Kolis Bambooke bombil means half dried Bombay duck. May be it got its name because Bombay ducks are infact dried on the bamboo. You might have seen them in Hindi films showing koli song and dance numbers. The bamboos are tied to form ladder like stilts called "Valandi" on which the Bombay ducks and other eel family fish are dried. If you go to any fishing village in and around Mumbai you will see them along the coastline. These Bambooke bombils are never sold in the market. It is strictly Koli trade family recipe if you have to taste it you got to get yourself an invitation from a Koli family or follow the recipe I have given here. This half dried bombay duck curry is very very tasty.


Ingredients
2-3 fresh Bombils
4 garlic pods
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups water

To make bambooke bombil:
Clean the bombils, remove the guts and head and dry in the oven at 150 degree Celsius/ 302 degree Fahrenheit till transluscent on the grill. I am not mentioning time as this varies with the size. Do not use basting of any kind. If you have the opportunity to make real bambooke bombil dry fresh ones in a cane basket for a day in direct sunlight. They would be ready to use for dinner. Ignore the smell though ;).

Masala
1 teaspoon Koli masala
OR 1/2 teaspoon garam masala + 1/2 chili powder + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2-3 garcinia indica
1 handful coriander leaves
2 inch piece of coconut
1 green chili
salt to taste

Grind all the ingredients to a fine paste with very little water and keep the masala aside. Now the special requirement for this dish is that it has to be made in a shallow vessel called lagadi/ degchi. The reason for this is that bombil is a very delicate fish/ eel and it melts away in the curry if stirred or overcooked. You might end up with a gravy with just bones if this is over done.

So now first heat a shallow pan. Add oil. It should send up a swirl of smoke. Crush the garlic lightly and add it. Fry for 5 secs and then add the ground masala paste. Fry for 2 mins then add the Bambooke bombil that you made beforehand into the pan. Lay them gently in the pan add water just to cover the bombil. Boil for just 10 mins. DO NOT STIR AT ALL. Serve with care not to break the cooked Bambooke bombil. Your entire neighbourhood would know you made Bambooke bombil curry so try this recipe at your own risk.

Undheri

This picture of Undheri was taken from the Thal shore a rain laden cloud was coming towards the village so Undheri is appearing covered by the cloud.


I was googling on Koli community to add links to my blog when I read this article on Mumbai Newsline.

The Undheri that I have known is a tiny island fort off the shore of Thal and its twin Khandheri. Undheri is in a dilapedated condition over grown with wild plants. Currently used by petty criminals as a hiding place and to make alcohol. Khandheri fortunately in under the naval control.

Some fools who think they own it are selling it to a shrewd businessman whose motive in not known. The Govt. has moved in the right direction and I wish Director (Archaeology) Dr Ramakrishna Hedge all the best. Undheri is a island fort built in Shivaji's reign and is a heritage site it needs to be protected from the hands of commercial exploiters. Adoption of this site by any corporate house can do it a lot of good.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Piyush




Piyush is an exotic drink not only by name that means "Amrit" or the drink of the God's but by taste too. Piyush is a Maharashtrians love. Some may find it a tad too sweet if authentic recipe is followed but one can adjust it to the sweetness of ones choice. This is a summer cooler popular on Prakash's menu too. I don't know their recipe but as promised before here is mine.



Ingredients




1 generous pinch nutmeg powder


3/4 glass slightly sour butter milk



Put all the ingredients in a blender and run for just a minute. Pour the frothy blend into a tall glass and chill in the refrigerator for an hour before you enjoy it. Adjust sugar as per taste if required.

Kesari Shrikhand


This one is a Gudi padva sweet. The Maharashtrian new years day is celebrated with Shrikhand.

Ingredients

1 kg thick curd
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup milk
1 cup powder Sugar/ Equal as required

To prepare Chakka:Hang the curds in a muslin cloth all night. In the morning you should have a thick creamy yogurt in the muslin cloth. This is called chakka in Marathi.

Make the shrikhand: Remove the creamy yogurt in a bowl. Mix powdered sugar in it with a wooden spoon and keep aside. Boil half cup milk with saffron and keep aside for 5 mins. Blend the milk and saffron with a whip. Now mix the saffron milk in the yogurt. Chill in the fridge for couple of hours. Check sugar as per taste. The Kesari shrikhand is ready to be licked up.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Galtarcha Sarga


These pics are shared by Dhanvant Koli, is a reader of my blog and also from my village Thal. His son, Smit reminds me of my childhood of holding the pomfret in my hand exactly the same way with a scream of joy just like this kid.

As a child I would just wait for almost any holidays to go to Thal be it Summer, Diwali, Christmas holidays or even Ganapati festival. It was a completely different world with the seashore beckoning us to play right from daybreak till night. But the most exciting was going to the "Dhela" kind of a natural jetty formed by rocks. Everyday the Galbat-boats brought the day's catch to the shore at 9.00 am. We kids would wait for special treats our staff got for us. One of the favorites was Sarga (Pomfret) boiled in seawater with a bit of turmeric. We loved to listen to the stories they narated of their time at the sea. The goodies they got for us tasted better after listening to them. I would be wide eyed and aptly listening to stories by Suresh Kaka of how he had set the pot of seawater to boil with turmeric and then as he found the Sarga he put it in the water to cook. The flash cooking of fresh seafood tastes amazing. Then he would advice us not to boil it again it will spoil the taste. He would continue, "Go home and put it on the embers in the chool- woodfired stove. Eat it hot you will grow to be a strong and intelligent girl."

As soon as he finished, we would put the boiled fish in a cane basket and run towards home through the narrow streets of the village showing off the goodies to villagers on they way and shouting yeah~~~~Galtarcha sarga. Sarga cooked on the boat.

The recipe I'm giving here is for a similar version for home cooking. It is impossible to recreate the same magic but this version too tastes good.

Ingredients
1 big Sarga (Pomfret) cleaned on the bone
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Olive oil for basting
salt to taste

Boil the Sarga in water along with the turmeric and salt for just 5 mins. Remove it from water onto a towel. Pat dry and generously apply the olive oil basting and grill it in a preheated oven for 10 mins or till it is slightly burnt on the outside. The Olive oil adds the sizzle to this simple dish. Eat this just as is or with crunchy salad and mayonnaise dressing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Undrallu


My neighbour Rani is from Andhra Pradesh. There are several wonderful recipes we enjoyed at her home. One I love most is the Undrallu. This is a naivedya recipe she made for Ganesh Chaturthi. I googled to search for the recipe. In the process found many types of undrallu. The one she makes has chana dal cooked with jaggery ie Puran. Puran is such a versatile stuffing that it is used to make Puranpoli, kadabu, karanji too. This undrallu is simply amazing when eaten warm. The cover is crunchy like medu vada and puran becomes slightly gooey when fried. This recipe is traditionally made using chana dal but we are going to twist it a bit and use whole green lentils instead. One for a digger!


Ingredients




Moog Puran:




1 cup moog


1/2 cup jaggery


few raisins and chopped nuts


1/4 teaspoon salt


1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powdered


1 table spoon fresh grated coconut.



Cover:


Ingredients


1/2 cup urad dal


1/2 tablespoon rice flour



Oil for frying



Step 1


To prepare puran cook the moog in a pressure cooker with water just covering the lentils. Drain through the strainer once cooked. It should be nice and soft. Now heat a large pan and melt the jaggery. Add the cooked moog and salt. Keep stirring till the mix starts leaving the sides of the pan. The mix should be good for making balls when cooled. Add the nuts and raisins, fresh grated coconut, nutmeg powder and keep the balls ready.



Step 2


For the cover. We need to soak the urad dal for an hour. Then drain it and grind with less water. Add the rice flour to the ground dal and make batter. The batter should be slightly thicker than we make for bhajji.



Step 3


Heat oil to a boil and turn down the heat to medium. Now dip the puran balls in the batter just like you do for Batata vada and fry on medium till done. Eat warm not hot else you will burn your tongue. Smell the nutmeg flavored puran when you dig your teeth into it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dhaan

This is not a recipe but felt it really necessary to share the interesting culture associated with a simple thing like rice. Dhaan is cooked rice. It is a staple in Koli families. Rice is cooked in 2 ways.

Method I
1 cup rice in 4 cups water is boiled together till the rice is cooked. This is called Baitha Dhaan. The rice cooked this way forms a cake and is a bit sticky.

Method II
1 cup rice in 5 cups water boiled together. Check if rice is cooked. Drain through a sieve to get fluffy rice. This is called Yelnicha Dhaan.

In Thal the fisherfolk both men and women are very hard working. So the saying goes a lazy woman will make baitha dhaan but a hard working one will make Yelnicha Dhaan. Another thing if one likes baitha dhan he/ she would be asked are you old? You should be eating Yelnicha dhaan you are not old to just gulp down baitha dhaan.

Then came the era of pressure cookers. Now one gets the dirty looks from villagers which silently say you eat cooker rice, what a shame!

Isn't that interesting?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Vangyacha bharit


This is a stuffed aubergines dish. Unlike the roasted aubergines paste like dish that is called vangyache bharit in Marathi, in Koli dialect bharit means stuffed. So this is Vangya cha bharit in KOLI and Bharli Vangi in Marathi. Confused?

No proplems just call its stuffed brinjals!


Ingredients

10 baby aubergines
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
2 onions halved and julienned
3 green chillies
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon koli masala or garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 handful coriander
salt to taste


First slit the aubergines into four parts from the bulb to stem but dont cut them apart as these would be stuffed with the masala later on. Keep the stem and cap on. After cooking they taste good and are not wasted. Now prepare the masala by first dry roasting all items and then grinding together. Keep the masala coarse it tastes better than the paste. Now stuff the masala into the aubergines and keep aside.Heat a frying pan and add oil. Carefully layout the stuffed aubergines in the pan and cover with a lid. Change sides to make sure they are cooked well from all sides. To ensure they are cooked properly, poke near the calyx or stem, it takes longest to cook near the stem. If it feels soft then stay assure they are cooked well. They have to be handled carefully else the aubergines just fall off from the stems. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kanda bhajji

Added pics on 27th April 2008

Kanda or Onion bhajji is an anytime snack yet it stands out as rainyday snack. During the monsoons that are really heavy in Mumbai and everything comes to a virtual standstill many Mumbaikar dreams of sitting at the window to watch the pitter-patter of the rain with Onion bhajji and chaha (tea). One need not be a poet to enjoy the joy of a good kanda bhajji with tea. Yet it has found place in many peoms, writtings and anyone romantic at heart. I too grew up on this fantasy of sharing a cuppa and onion bhajji in my balcony with my beloved whispering sweet nothings on a rainy day. Is someone reading this ;). In true Maharashtrian style....isshhh(audible blush).

Ingredients
2 onions
2 green chillies
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 handful chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
2 pods garlic
1 small piece of ginger
1/2 cup chickpea flour
Oil to fry

Halve the onions and slice to make long thin julienes. Add salt and keep aside for 5 mins till it leaves water. Meanwhile make coarse powder of coriander seeds, cumin seed, ginger and garlic separately by just crushing. Add to the onions. Mix in the chili powder, turmeric, cilantro, chopped green chillies and the chick pea flour. Add just enough chickpea flour that the water from the onions can hold. The mix should be done with a light hand the onions should be just coated with the masala and flour. Do not shape the bhajji in to balls. Just pick up with your fingers and fry in hot oil till golden colored. These onion bhajji are really crispy and crunchy and not like bondas.

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