Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Open question to The Foodie Times Now Team

Guys did you do all your home work here on my blog? You guys are from the media and you know the rules of the game right?

Did you read the copyright statement?

I'm writting this here so all my readers know how TV shows are researched.

I'm trying to figure out what I can do about this.

_____________________________________________

Updated: 1/31/07

I had written to the channel here is what they say:

weekend weekend@timesnow.tv

Dear Viewer,

Thanks for watching TIMES NOW and for writing in. Our research on The Foodie begins and ends at the location we shoot. So if we do have the same information as your blog then it only goes to prove that your research is as authentic as ours! Please keep watching The Foodie - it airs on Saturdays at 5:30 PM, Sunday 11:30 AM and 9:30 PM.

Warm regards,
TEAM WEEKENDTIMES NOW
________________________________________

My reply:

I am a Koli by birth so correct yourself its not research. Yeah and the presentation was like your script was my blog!

Also read: Give Your Verdict Readers!

Avare Hidikbele Sambar



I had mentioned about the Avare Hidikbele Sambar in my post on avare akki roti. This is a recipe I have made from what I tasted at my Kanadiga friends homes. Each one some how always made this dish for us when we visited them since its a speciality here in Blr till I could even predict the menu koshimbari, payasam, rice with tomato rasam, this sambar and curd rice.

The name Avare Hidikbele Sambar comes from the fact that the avare kaalu/seeds are soaked in hot water overnight and then deskinned in the morning.

Here is my variation:

Ingredients
1/2 fresh avarekai seeds
2 onions chopped
1/2 cup grated dry coconut
lime sized ball of tamarind
2 inch piece of jaggery
2 green chillies
1 teaspoon Sambar masala powder
4 cups water
salt to taste
2 teaspoons oil
handful chopped cilantro

Firstly soak the fresh avarekai seeds in water enought to cover it overnight. In the morning when the skins have loosened deskin the seeds by pinching them off. Remember good things don't taste good without the slogging. How food can get even lazy bums to work! The peeled dal is called Hidikbele.



Now to prepare the masala. Begin by heating the oil and frying the onions till translucent. Add the grated dry coconut and fry a bit. Now in go the chillies and sambar powder. Leave it to cool.

Meanwhile soak the tamarind and jaggery in boiling hot water and let it stand. We will come back later to extract the pulp once the masala is ground.

Put all the fried masala that has cooled by now and salt into a mixer and grind to a paste.

Then in a pressure cooker mix the masala with the peeled avare dal add all the water till covered well. Cook for 3 whistles or about 20 mins.

While the cooker is working extract the tamarind pulp and keep ready.

Open the cooker add the tamarind and jaggery pulp mix lightly so as not to crush the dal. Boil just once to blend it well top up with chopped cilantro. The Avare Hidikbele Sambar is ready to eat. This sambar can be enjoyed with the untraditional combination of a soft fresh homemade bread as you see in the picture like I did or lacy appams.

The bread you see is the Mumbai pao I had made. I had forgotten to add salt in the dough but since I ate it with this sambar it just absorbed the gravy and tasted superb.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Goodies from Kerala

Hey Friends hope you all had great weekend. In India we had a long one it was 26th Jan the Republic day on last Friday. I took a chance to visit Kerala it was my second visit. A group of us went to an ashram in Kanhangad. In the collage you see here are the goodies our friends the Govindan family had got for us some time ago. The Banana wafers and Cashewnut Halwa were yummy. The same goodies were given to us as prasad while returning from the ashram. It was a wonderful time. We also went to the nearby Bekal fort where the Tuhi re~~ song from the movie Bombay was shot. We tried to figure out the angles they took for the shots as we sang Tuhi re in a chorus.
The pictures in the collage are from my first visit to Kerala Dec 2003. I love the God's own country and had made a scrap book on return. Also you see there some specimens of cardamom, all spice and tea leaves.
Wish I could share these yummies with you but you may oggle at them ;) if that helps!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gajar Halwa

I got the lead for the Republic Day event from Usha of Samayal Ulagam. Thanks Pooja for hosting. I am posting this one a day before. Though a very tired recipe but loved by all. After all Bollywood made it the great Ma's dish.

My heart for my India, I Love my India.

Ingredients

1 kg carrots (grated)
1/4 khava
1/2 kg sugar
4 tablespoon ghee
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder.
pistachio to decorate.

Heat the ghee in a vessel fry the khoya till it crumbles. Fry the carrots till dry. Add in the sugar. Reduce the mix till the halwa leaves the sides of the vessel. Garnish with crushed Pistachio nuts.
I'm in a rush and have to go. Sorry for the hurried post.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Baking n Tweaking

These are a few things I tried to bake. They look good but need some tweaking take a peek at what I am experimenting on. It was a bright weekend when I took these pictures and what a difference daylight makes in photography! Recipes to follow later. For now off to Kerala over the long weekend. Keep watching.

Cheese chili rolls

Mumbai Special Pao

Cheesy Buns

Garlic Chutney Swirls

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Avare Kaalu Akki Roti


This is a South Indian thalipit made from rice flour and studded with Avarekai. You have to be in Karnataka to experience the cultural thing about avarekai right from the purchasing to the cooking. Come winter months and the market is flooded with this bean. You will see the men and women haggling over the heaps to get the best price. To prove you are a true blue kannadiga one picks a handful of the beans rubs between the palms and smells the volatile oils before deciding on what price should it be bought for. The vendor will spontaneously tell you its fresh and organic and we know thats a fib. However if he says it you have proved your gourmet status.

Bagfuls are brought home. Then the household sits together to separate the beans from the pods with a lot of chattering and joking going on. The next few days it is endless avarekai recipes. It goes with veg, non-veg, dosa, roti may be a sweet too. Its my second year here and I have come to love the special avarekai sambar but first the roti recipe is shared here.

After cleaning all the avarekai where do the waste pods go. To the dustbin? No they are displayed in a pile thrown on the pathways leading to their home as if to proclaim that We are feasting on avarekai! Forgive the civic sense as most of the other times they have pretty rangolis there.

This recipe is very generously shared with us by Usha aunty my neighbour. In return she has asked for a print of this post as she has an aversion to computers and will never read it online. She being a school teacher in the past reflects in the way she explains to me everything about avarekai.
For the maharashtrians this is our very own vala che daane ghalun kelele tandlachya pithacha thalipith. Chaan lagta, Karun Paha.

Ingredients

1 cup boiled avare kaalu.
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon cuminseeds
coriander as much as you like
1/4 cup bit pieces of fresh coconut
water to mix just a little bit
salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients and keep ready. Oil a pan and line this mix in a thin layer on it. Cook till done. Add little more oil to separate it easily from the pan. Lo! the avare kaalu studded akki roti is ready to eat with chutney of your choice.

Warning: Do not ever stay around people eating too much avarekai. It is a notorious bean and everyone needs relief ;)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Crystalised Ginger Roches - JFI

What does a lady want? Some fine jewelery, music and good chocolate. Thats all! Oh Really!!!

We all have someone in our life who we cherish because that person has been the first one to introduce us to new things in the outside world. I'm talking about my Uncle M here. That some one many times shapes our personalities and opens up our minds to absorb the good and reject the unwanted. This is especially true about food and books. Uncle M one more time did it for me. I don't remember exactly when it happened. May be I was still a teenager at the time just turning into an adult from a child. Uncle brought home a beautifully packaged chocolate box with assorted designer chocolates on return from his London trip. He asked me to open it. As I was still a teenager then with a crush on a distant relative a doc almost inadvertantly reached out for the heart shaped one.....giggle.....I got a light tap on my stretched hand and a mishevious smile with "Aga Vedi try this one"/ Girl, fool try this one. I knew I had grown up in my tastes for Chocolates after that.

Since then till now I have tried to make some unique tasting chocolates but like there are the wine tastings this chocolate has to be eaten my way.

Once the chocolates are made place them on a well decorated serving dish. Gingerly pick up the tiny rock but quickly put it on the tongue and slowly roll it around. It is a very adult taste nothing like you have tasted before. The chocolate layer melts instantly then the sugar releases from the ginger with the spice just lighting up your taste buds. Lastly you really feel gingery. Chew the ginger now it will do you a lot of good in this weather. He.....heee.heeeee.....

Uncle M has a discerning taste for chocolates now it was my turn to introduce him to a new taste. He says he has feasted on many different types of chocolates even the bitter dark chocolates. But the taste he remembers is of Crystalised Ginger Roches I had made for him.

Disclaimer: Let me tell you the truth. I am no chocolatier. I have written the above highlighted para for my love of the mystery and emotions associated with chocolate credits to the movie CHOCOLAT and the yummylicious Johnny Depp!!!

Thanks to Rosie of What's the recipe today Jim? for hosting this event and to Indira of Mahanandi for the idea.

Ingredients

1/2 cup thick Grated Ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon water
100 gms milk chocolate bar

Hummm ....Are you ready~~~~ all chocolatiers-to-be by the end of this.


Take a pan place on slow heat. Mix grated ginger and sugar and add into the pan. Add a teaspoon of water. The sugar should melt and when it starts boiling keep stiring. It should not caramelize. It should just start crystallising on the edges of the pan. While its still syrupy put off the heat. In a few moments the ginger will be coated with sugar. The color of ginger will lighten at this stage. It cools of real fast.

Now in a double boiler melt the bar of milk chocolate. Remove from heat once completely melted. Add in the crystallised ginger. and mix with a fork lightly so that the ginger holds its shape yet gets coated with chocolate completely. Lift up the mix and lay it out in a nonstick tray in bits. Do not shape them. It should look like little rocks i.e roches. Refridgerate for an hour. Your Crystallized Ginger Roches are ready to enjoy!
JFI-Ginger Roundup

Monday, January 22, 2007

Til Gul for Haldi Kunku



Post Makar Sankrat there is a frenzy of activity every weekend in maharashtrian households in Mumbai for almost a month. Its the ladies bonding time. The neighbourhood bustles with women moving from one home to other to attend the Haldi Kunku ceremony.
My friend Jyoti celebrated her first Haldi Kunku. This ceremony is celebrated by married women. They invite other married women for sharing a pooja, some Tilgul and a lot of gossip. Here they apply dots of Haldi/Turmeric and Vermilion/Kunku the symbols of fertility on each others foreheads and build great bonds. In today's Business Schools they teach you about networking who needs it if you just follow traditions. Since it was Jyoti's first the women decorated her with jewelry made from sugar beads. She wore the trademark black saree with golden embriodered dots called Chanderi saree. Its the only time a maharashtrian women wears a black saree for a pooja. They say it absorbs all evil to come ahead in one day and the newly weds stay protected in the future. She had a lot of fun. I do not have pictures of her ceremony but sharing here my haldi kunku.
I did a pooja on Sankrat day and since I have been busy with many things bought readymade Tilgul and Chikki/Peanut toffee, crystal sugar and little packs of Haldi Kunku. Packed it in small plastic boxes, these are gifted as Vaan, auspicious gift meant to bless the ladies and also honor them for being a WOMAN. Then I went to my 3 next door neighbours to distribute it.
Today lets celebrate an online haldi kunku all ya gals reading this, especially my blogger friends.
Add photos to old post:
Chipoto
Undheri
updated: 5/03/07

Friday, January 19, 2007

Koli Veg Taat (Thal Part III)





This is the vegetarian fare made by Aaji for me. In a Koli meal the carbohydrates components of the Thali are both rice and rice roti. The Pivli Dal is a standard protein component with a little coconut masala. The dry bhaajis are also sprinkled generously with fresh grated coconut.  Even the papad called Chavlachi Pheni is made from rice. So you see in a Koli meal rice rules and so does coconut for we are inhabitants of the coast.

Hummm....This post has to be posted today especially for my friends Vinaya, Sanket and others who might just stumble on the blog. I was talking to Vinaya long distance today and trying to catch up when she mentioned she had stumbled on a blog. It got her guessing this is not Anjali or is it really. Then some reference put things in perspective. Alright first thing from me this blog is not a in-the-closet one ;). Yet I do express my feelings a lot more here than when I talk. One thing I have to declare here for most of my close friends that I am still vegetarian and that I do not live a closet non-vegetarian life......hahaha....I see stuff being thrown at me. If youre Indian you know what I'm talking about.

Well they ask what is all the non-veg food doing out there on the blog? To answer that. Well I am documenting some part of my past through this blog that I know my next gen will not be able to experience....do I feel like a socio-historian....nah.... It did not start that way but you all know how I like to write.

Second thing. Wani kaka, my friend Sangeeta's Dad loves to read when I write to him. Many times some of you my dear friends have recieved huge mails with pictures of my visits to various places. You know I am a modern day gypsy at heart with the exception that I am not wild :);).

Thirdly M kaka you know how we get excited about food, travel and books. When it comes to innovation in the kitchen how we worship the great Dr. George Washington Carver. We laugh at our flop experiments in the kitchen...ahem here I would like to clarify.....you the director and me the technician....hehee.....Just wanted to have a log of it.

Again to all my friends I AM STILL A VEGETARIAN with a NON VEG PAST. Are these three reasons good enuf guys to write this blog???

Papdichya Shenganchi Bhaaji

Papdichya Shenga is nothing but double beans these are almost always cooked with potatoes. This recipe is quite tasty as it has a bit of garlic in it. Its one of the three bhaajis Aaji made for me when I visited her.

Ingredients

1/2 kg fresh double bean pods
1 cup fine chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic crushed
2 potatoes diced
1-2 green chillies
1 teaspoon Koli masala Or (1/2 teaspoon Kala masala+ 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder)
1-2 inch piece of jaggery
1 table spoon oil
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a flat pan add the chillies stir then add onions fry till transluscent after that add the garlic and fry a bit. Now add the Koli masala or the kala masala, red chili powder and turmeric. Stir for 2 mins. Add the potatoes and chopped double beans. Make sure it is mixed well after adding salt. Cover and cook till done after mixing in the jaggery. It should cook pretty well without water but just in case it goes dry and the potatoes still are half cooked sprinkle just little bit water cover and cook.

You might have noted that Aaji's hand is free on oil even at her age and she loves a generous layer of oil on the bhaajis. I love it too for a change. Else I always measure 2 teaspoons for 2, per meal. She also wanted to garnish this bhaaji with coconut but I stopped her as the Tomatochi Bhaaji had loads of it and that was enough in a single meal.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kora Cha

update 16th June 2012: This is how my grand Mom, Yesubai would serve Kora cha; in a glass

This morning I jumped out of bed it was already 6.00 am and I am running late for work. I did not have milk at home so made Kora Cha/ black tea for myself with ginger. Hufff...hufff... just managed to get my company bus. On the way we passed through the fog filled fields some of the fog was on the roads too. It was really thick this morning the thickest till now. The ride was quite dreamy. I felt as if I was going on a holiday.

No way ...No way with all the high profile visits in the last two days at work. The president of a southwestern European country inaugurated the Learning Center on our campus and the other a Finance minister of an Isle in the Atlantic had lots on his mind. Its been bussssy.

I was able to post for the last two days as I had drafts ready with me. So for this one the mugshot will come later (OMG, it took me more than 5yrs to add the pix here!) however for now sharing the picture of bed linen I embroidered in the last lonely six months here. Aleast something to do with bed if not with tea!



I got thinking on the bus. How about a post on Kora Cha. This type of tea is made in every Koli home as milk is not abundant in Thal. It is a sweet fragrant tea brewed early in the morning used through half the day. I remember the tips my grandma gave never wash a china cup with detergent. It affects the taste of the tea. It should just be rinsed in hot water to clean after use.

Alright straight to the tea now.

Ingredients
3 teaspoons sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon tea (any strong flavoured tea)
few strands of fresh or dried Lemon grass
1 bit piece of ginger mashed



First boil the water with sugar. Later add the tea and brew. Lastly add the lemon grass and ginger and boil. It should not be boiled for more than 5 mins or steep it in the tea. Strain and sip the fragrant spicy tea in your best china but remember never clean your tea cup with detergent. Yet another culture thing when drinking tea you got to pour it out in the saucer and sip it with a noise like bruhhhh..bruuuuhhh to show you appreciate it to one who made it for you. Smile.

 The remains of a brilliant tea...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tomatochi Bhaaji


Tomatochi bhaaji is a dish made by my Aaji on every single visit that I pay her. She thinks I am still a kid who loves it but I do. When I was a child and ate non-veg the food cooked for me was mostly chicken curry with hard boiled egg with other paraphernalia but after I turned vegetarian this bhaaji is a must during my visits.

Here is her hit recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 kg tomatoes. Each cut up into 8 parts
1 cup grated coconut
1 table spoon of oil
1 pinch asofoetida
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
5 to 6 green chillies
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
fresh coriander to garnish

First heat the oil in a flat pan. Add the asofoetida, chillies, onions. Fry till onions turn pink. Then in goes the turmeric and tomatoes. Fry till tomatoes are just soft and feel cooked but are still holding shape. Do not overcook the tomatoes will turn to paste. Add the salt mix and remove from heat. Garnish with coconut and fresh coriander. This bhaji is so yummy it can be had as is to or your favorite type of roti. See it here the red one ofcourse.

360 deg view from Thal seashore

This is part of the seashore which is used like a utility area by the Koli community. Their life entirely depends on the sea. At the end you see a man walking with a stick in that direction there is a virgin beach unfortunately I did not have the time to walk up to that end to shoot it. May be another time

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Buzlela Baga

The picture shows a basket full of Baga a kind of an eel. It is silver colored. This is roasted on embers for ten minutes after cleaning. The head is dicarded and the rest of the eel is cut into pieces as per required size. No basting is used. This dry roasting is called buzne. Hence the name Buzlela Baga. After all the tilgul a true koli loves a fish.

Updated: Sorry forgot to add, if at all you get this eel anywhere else in the world. The way to cook is barbeque.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Take a walk thru Thal (Thal Part II)

Til Gul Ghya God God Bola. Amcha Til Sandu Naka. Aamchyashi Bhandu Naka.
Makar Sankratichya Shubhechya!
To all my blogger friends and readers wish you a very Happy Makar Sankranti. Today in Maharashtra the skys will be filled with the slogan of Tilgul ghya god god bola....It means I am sharing this sweet of sesame seeds and jaggery with you. Do not spill the sweet as it a token of friendship and do not fight with me.
Come let me take you through my village, Thal on this auspicious day.
This is the way to Thal village off the Alibag-Revas road.
We are now near the beautiful lake with lotuses in bloom.
The pink ones are in the center as if grown by man
Watch the Kite dive for a worm or may be a fish near the pink lotuses.
We are now passing the coconut and bettle nut orchads.
We have reached the seashore and Boy! are the kids doing a Titanic there....
Please take one more picture of us pleaded the kids....hummm traded for a kiss.
Those blobbing boats are in the "parking lot" the kids enlighten me.
This is Khanderi Island Fort off the shore of Thal. It has the worlds only lighthouse still run on petrol and Undheri its twin.
Another Aaji showing off her Bamboos she uses for drying fish.
My Grand Aunt's backyard
The place to catch up on all the gossip...ofcourse the club house. See the cricket bats on the left. There is a match every evening on the seashore. Only Guys.
This is my Aaji's dinning room its called Vataan in Koli. Come share a lunch with us. Notice the cow dung smeared floor and the lovely design she does it herself.

Koli Geete

This is the Music Room

Friday, January 12, 2007

Barik Methi Moog Dal




Clicked on 27th May 2012, when I harvested my homegrown Barik Methi and made this dal for MJ Kaka

Barik Methi or Baby Fenugreek is available in plently in coastal areas as they have sandy soil. My Aaji grows it in her patio and sells it too if she grows in plenty on certain days. Lots of people in the village ask for it when they abstain from eating fish.

This is how she grows it:

Day 1: Soak seeds to be planted overnight in water.
Day 2: Prepare a basket in which she will grow it. It consists of lowest layer of pebbles, next red mud and the topmost with sand from the seashore. Wets the earth at night with water.
Day 3: Sows the seeds with brisk hand movement in a ramdom fashion on the earth. Covers the basket with a wet cloth.
Day 4: Allows to germinate for a day.
Day 5: The methi starts showing baby leaves.
Day 6: By Now they would grow to a height of 4-5 inches. This is when Barik Methi is picked for this Bhaaji.

This cycle works well in the hot summer months very well in coastal Maharashtra. If you are trying it elsewhere it is a good idea to first get the seeds germinated and then transfer to any soil which holds water scantily.

Once you have the baby methi ready and plucked clean clarefully with plenty of water. Since the entire plant is to be used it tends to retain some dirt. Save the well washed Barik Methi and drain on a mesh.

Here is Aaji's recipe for Barik Methi cooked with deskinned Moog Dal.

Ingredients

10 to 12 bunches Barik methi (bought out)
1/2 cup split deskinned green lentils
1 Tbsp oil
2 cups long chopped onions
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp chopped green chillies


Split deskinned green lentils should be soaked in water separately for 1/2 hr before starting to cook. Drain the water.

All the Barik methi thats in the bowl shown in the above picture. Chop finely else it gets stuck in your teeth when eating. Keep aside.

In a pan heat the oil once starts smoking add in the chopped onions, chillies, turmeric and fry till translucent. Then add the Barik methi and then the soaked dal. Do not add water cook uncovered to retain the green color. The methi leaves enough water for the dal to cook in the juices. Once the dal is cooked ie. it feels soft when pressed by the ladel in the pan remove from heat. This Bhaaji goes well with rice roti but thats the Koli in me. You will love it anyways. Below you see the greens in the Koli Non Veg Taat obviously thats Barik Methi Bhaaji ;)



Thursday, January 11, 2007

Koli Kitchen (Thal Part I)

Welcome to the series on Thal :)

When I started this blog I never took it so seriously that I would be writting about my roots in such depths I guess its this media doing the trick. Yet it is just happening and I am surprised by it myself.


My Grand Aunt's Kitchen
This is the Ist post of a series on Thal where I will be sharing with you pictures and try to tell you more stories.


First of all meet my maternal Grand Aunt/ Aaji. She is my Mom's Mami. She is the one who brought up my Mom. Notice her earings and the elongated earlobes. The blouse she wears is called Choli. The piping on the Choli tells that she was married and the absence of the bindi tells my Grand Uncle is no more. When young she was very stunning and vivacious and who said she isn't yet. Ask her age and she will say may be 60 yrs. but I guess she must be 80 + yrs.


In the second week of Nov 06 when I was in Mumbai for my Uncle M I had the chance of visiting my Grand Aunt/ Aaji. I took some pictures. It was a bit akward don't know why. May be because I had taken everything there for granted. May be because Thal was going to be exposed to the world. May be I still wanted it to stay protected as a secret place. Just may be I am not able to understand why?
I read about the kitchen theme started by Ilva Beretta on Anita's also enjoyed reading Asha's post on her home too. Since the Kitchen I call mine is in Mumbai fully functional and waiting for my returns from Blr and I did not have pictures available here thought it to be a good idea to share with you my Aaji's Kitchen.


Though this house was built around 20 years ago it is old style like Aaji wanted. Our own home in Thal is modern though it was built even before Aaji's so you get to see typically Koli style kitchen in her home.





Aaji picking rice for today's meal on the Oti /porch. This is the entrance to her home.
Koli tools of the trade and the most important Kitchen tool, Kaathi. Its like a sickle but the outer edge is the sharp one and the wooden cutting board called Phala.

Here she is grinding the masala for today's curries on the stone grinder the flat stone is the Paata and the pestle is called Ghuna. Look at the amount of garlic she is using.
Here is her wealth her shiny brass, steel and copper water pots. There was a time when water was filled from the village well now she has a tap in the patio yet she keeps the pots filled just in case the drinking water disappears. Notice the thick rope pot placer holders below the pots. On the bottom left you will see 2 oil lamps which she need not use now but she has kept them just incase. The grey box on the left corner shelve is her Koli masala box. On the right bottom you see the tea jar and sugar jar.

Since she lives alone these are her limited tumblers, plates/ Taate and some cooking pots/ Taup.
Also check out Aaji's backyard open kitchen on Chavlachi Roti that I have updated today.
In the next part I shall write about the fare she made for us with help from my cousins.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Chipoto



My witty Uncle M is a cheese freak. Having travelled the world and being a vegetarian cheese has come to be his lifesaver many a times. This recipe is not a genius creation by him but enjoyed by all at our home. Before we move on to the recipe I would like to share with you this experience in life when I felt so valued.


On Nov 6th 2006 my uncle got a stroke. I had to rush to his side immediately. He is a fighter and his spirit gave all at home the edge to fight the stroke along with him. He was in hospital for 3 weeks and was sent home in Dec. Meanwhile I had returned to Blr after the first week and just put a word to my Head at work that I needed a three week holiday to be with my uncle M in Mumbai. Since it was the festive season in the west and we were not expecting any work from our clients in Europe he allowed me to take the vacation even though it was not planned ahead.


As I landed in Mumbai the city that I call home my cuz S came to pick me up at the airport. He too had taken a break for a month to be with Uncle M. Together we decided to make it a time my Uncle will remember forever.

Now we strategized on a few things:



  • Me to take over the kitchen so that my aunt would be free to be at Uncle M's beck and call.

  • Cuz S to do accupressure for uncle M twice a day and help him with the physiotherapy.

  • My Dad to give Yogic therapy like ashtanga yog and pranayam.

  • We would follow the diet precribed by the dietician that was helping Uncle loose weight and yes weight was one of the culprits in his case.

  • Never to make him feel he is ill.

  • To cook the same food for all.


The next day began with me planning meals for my uncle, S and Dad carrying out their tasks. This went on for the entire three weeks. My Aunt was relieved to have me with her.


Each day we did some interesting things. Like reading of our favourite passages from books. Endless talking into the wee hours, recounting memories. Trying to make interesting meals for him to enjoy and yet follow the diet. It is not at all easy to manage cooking with restrictions for a gourmand. All gave ideas so I was relieved. Inspite of the busy schedule that we had to follow we also managed to redecorate Uncle's home and he was thrilled. We wanted to take him on a drive but doctor did not permit until the next week. He actually jokingly reminded us that did we remember that we was not well.Uncle M was so happy with all of us that one day he exclaimed that we had looted his heart!


If it is possible reconnect with family when you get the chance this is what I learnt and see for yourself what you will earn.


Since we were all eating the same diet that was prescribed for my Uncle one day he ordered my Aunt to make our favorite Chipoto for us. We did not want to deviate from the diet so we argued with him then he said I too would like to taste it. We really thought may be the cheese freak in him is surfacing up again. We could not believe it he just watched us enjoy it and he did not even taste it. That is my Uncle M.


We had been away absorbed in our own lives for very long in far places where our careers took us. The sad incident has rebound us like Fevicol ;). We returned to our own faraway homes winners and with memories that we will cherish all our life.

Finally here is the recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 kg baby potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
100 gms Cheddar cheese
chopped cilantro
chat masala
oil to fry


Boil the potatoes in a vessel with salt till half done. Meanwhile grate cheese and keep aside. Now keep 4 quarter plates ready. Remove and pat dry potatoes on a towel and deskin. Prick potatoes with a fork and deep fry till golden brown. Remove on absorbent paper to drain excess oil. Put the potatoes on the quarter plates while still hot and assemble the dish. Top the hot potatoes with grated cheese, chat masala, cilantro. The cheese will melt on the hot potatoes just a little bit.


Pop the potato in your mouth and just enjoy the smells and tastes of the individual ingredients. Don't bother about the guilt pangs you will have after that.


Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm simply exhausted


Friends I know you are not going to hear me panting but I am exhausted. I need a break to recoup from the work that generated after the long holidays. I see your eyebrows go up hols to get over hols...yep ....yep.

I have been one crazy baker last weekend and am certified as a pro by my friend a Chef who does continental . So now you know what I have been upto. I made Christmas cake long after New year's celebrations were over and let me take a deep breath ....I baked my first white bread after I read about it on Anita's A Mad Tea party.

The chef picked up the loaf tapped it a bit, plucked a morsel and smelt it, GOOD he said. He loved the cake too and did not believe it was eggless.

Now I am going to rest on my accolades only until the weekend....I am hooked to baking.....pictures to follow.

Thanks Anita and Archana (Spicyana) for renewing my interest in baking.

Updated pictures on 11/01/07. Since I din't have a loaf tin I used a cake tray to bake the bread so it is not shaped like a sandwhich bread but it was yummy.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Spicy Narali Bhat - JFI for Coconut



JFI for Coconut said Ashwini's post and as I read a whole lot of recipes swarmed in my head. This was going to be really good one as India is a peninsula and a whole lot of coconut used in recipes all over the country. I was away for 3 weeks and after returning I was drained due to cleaning the house and catching up on things that seemed to be infinite. Then yesterday at the cafeteria at work I tasted this Coconut rice from my friend's plate that was really amazing. Being a Koli a sweet Narali bhat is often made for naivedya at home but this one was different. These days I try to cut out the sugar in most things and end up eating sugar loaded other things :) ;). Did I hear Dad guffaw in the background. I had to post it but the picture will follow later. This recipe I have made up from what I tasted. It is simple yet satiating. So here you go.

Ingredients

1 cup rice
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 inch ginger piece shredded
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
few curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil
2 chopped chilies
pinch of asofeotida
salt to taste.
1 1/2 cup water.


To begin wash and drain the rice on the strainer and leave it there for 1/2 hr. Later in a pressure pan add the oil splutter the mustard seeds add the asofeotida stir. Look out of the kitchen window for a split second come back add the curry leaves fry a bit then add the urad dal fry till golden. Now add the chopped chillies and the ginger shreds stir. Time to add the grated coconut and fry till you have a nice dry seasoning. Just 2 mins alright. Last add the rice and mix well so that all rice grains are coated with oil and seasoning. Top up with water and pressure cook for just 1 whistle. Open the pressure pan and mix lightly. Do not garnish. Fluffy coconut rice is ready to eat. This Narali bhat will not give you a guilt for being a glutton.


This recipe is from my workplace cafeteria however when I'm making it I shall add 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds or a few fried cashew nuts for the nutty flavor.


Ashwini I request you to include this one but if youre closed thats alright.
Updated: 5th Feb 2007
Made this for my packed lunch box sometime ago so adding the picture now.

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