Monday, April 27, 2009

Tondli Tomato Batata Masaledar

Tondli Tomato Batata Masaledar, Aamrakhand, Coconut chutney, Okra crisps, Kerala Paratha

I picked up a packet of Kerala Parathas in the Freezer section from ID, 3 nos for Rs.18 good value for money. All that was needed is to heat it up on a Non-stick and serve. They are half cooked already.

I love Kerala style Kadala curry with it but the chickpeas were not soaked so I made a curry with the same masala base but with vegetables from the pantry. It tasted really good for a quick fix.

Ingredients

2 cups Tondli/ Ivy gourd sliced round
4 baby potatoes
2 tomatoes chopped
2 big onions
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 -3 red chilies
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (out of habbit)
2 teaspoon oil
salt to taste

In an non-stick pan roast the dessicated coconut till red and crisp. Let the red chilies and coriander seeds in and roast. Add the chopped onions then fry till light golden. Transfer all the roasted and fried items into a mixer. Grind to fine paste along with red chili powder and turmeric. Add little water to get smooth paste.

In a pressure cooker add oil and put on heat. Put in the masala paste stir well for 5 mins. Add the tondli slices, peeled baby potatoes and chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle in the salt. This is a gravy that we are making so about 1.5 glasses of water is good to add. Cover the lid before letting it whistle for 20 mins. Open the lid when cool stir well the blend the veggies and masalas.

Enjoy with the Kerala Parathas a Tondli Tomato Batata Masaledar!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

When you know you are alone

People who know me a bit tell me I have a lot of patience in personal life. That I am a die hard positive person. Nothing has affected me and I am not bitter about life.

What make me that?

Well in this world when we accept the fact that we were born alone everything falls in place. One has to remember this at the back of the mind. It is something I learnt from the teachings of Shree Gondavalekar Maharaj.

When we are young we think our parents gave us birth because they wanted us. What shit! Most of us were born as an accident. If we plan to have a baby, it is to prove that we are capable of procreation. So that there is societal acceptance.

Then you get married. You need someone to take care of you. A stereo typical requirement for both spouses. The root is in selfishness.

When you have a realization of all this at the back of the mind. Yet you live life disposing off your duties as assigned by society and without complaining about small things and enjoying the bigger benefits that people around you are happy. Then you are happy all the time.

In life we rarely get back the love and affection we give to people but that should not stop me. Whatever you get is a bonus. There is a saying "Neki kar darya mein daal". Well I was born on the Island of Mumbai in a hospital just 5 mins from the sea. I was destined that everything will be dropped in the sea.

I don't carry a burden. Did I suffer? Yes when I was going through the various phases in life I did. Is it over? I don't know the answer. Was anything that happened with me really so bad? There was a reason for it and it is gone.

Will I stop being happy? NO WAY...is that something in my control...May be...I atleast tried to change in a small way.

You know you are alone in this world. Nothing or no one belongs to me. Sh...sh...but don't tell this to the world. Just go about and do your act with as much love as possible. That is the secret. Promise me you will keep it :). It is our secret now.

Methi Khakara

Khakara are rotis roasted to dry out completely and made cripsy. These are generally made in huge batches at the afternoon time in Gujarati homes by the women of the household. You get beautiful Khakaras of different varieties in shops in Mumbai especially the Gujarati dominated western side, Fort and Ghatkopar areas. Masala, Methi, Jeera, Lasan, Oil fried, Dry roasted and many more.

I remember in Chembur Jain Mandir they would accept flour and this would be given to needy women, who would make Khakaras for a small daily wages and then you could go to collect your big Dabba filled with fresh Khakaras after couple of days.

This is the first time I have tried Khakara on my own though my mother and aunts made it. They always made in small nos. for immediate consumption and we never really stored the homemade ones.

The challenge in Khakara making is the patient rolling out of thin chapatis and then roasting them almost meditatively to a perfect golden crispness. Traditionally the Khakara I knew were always dry roasted. However you now find in the age of fast food these are roasted with oil applied to it. The taste varies needless to say that the dry roasted ones are healthier.

The last important thing is to let the Khakara cool completely before you pile up and stack away in a big~ box. Spread them on a Newspaper for best results.

Today I am sharing here the recipe for Methi Khakara but you could vary the taste by adding different spicing.

Ingredients

1 cup wheat flour
2 cups fenugreek/ methi leaves
1 teaspoon jeera
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup water

Put all the ingredients into a big bowl and knead the dough. Knead it tight. Do not keep the dough for proofing at all. Always use fresh kneaded dough. If kneaded and kept for long to stand aside the dough gets softer and roasting the khakara takes longer.

After kneading the dough. Take small parts of dough form a ball and roll it out into a thin chapati, as thin as possible. Use enough flour to dust while rolling it out. Roast on a medium hot tava. Press with a either cloth or like I did use a potato masher. Remember if using the potato masher the lower surface has to be smooth if it is rough you will end up punching holes in the Khakara.

This pressing helps to subside the puffing up of the roti and helps dehydrate it faster. Remove it from the tava when you feel it is nice and stiff. The result is a light crispy munchy snack called Khakara.

Cool them on a newspaper sheet or a wire basket making sure each one is well spaced out. Pack them into a box after couple of hours. Serve them with tea as a light snack.

We love Khakara and can't just stop at one!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Paushtik Thikhat Khichadi


In the morning I fried Kanda bhajji and Banana Fritters for breakfast and when I have a good breakfast I generally skip lunch. Yes but Dad does not do that. He was craving for khichadi yesterday so I thought let me make it for him for lunch. It turned out so good that I had to post it immediately.

Well this version is Paushtik, Sanskrit for nutritious as it incorporates green leafy vegetables plus it is oh so good and creamy with the dals in it.

There was a time in my career when I was able to cook just one meal at home in Mumbai. The other meal would be made either by Dad or P Kaka. It used to be a challenge to get Hrushi to eat greens and he was not a kid but a full grown adult. So many times Dad played these tricks that normally mothers try on toddlers. So this is actually Dad's recipe.

Ingredients

Makes only 1 serving

1/2 cup rice
1 tablespoon moog dal
1/8 cup tur dal
2 tomatoes
1 onion
2 cups leafy greens
(plus you could include any other vegetable that you fancy)
salt
1 teaspoon ghee/ oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

tadka/ seasoning
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 pinch asafoetida
4-5 curry leaves

In a small pressure cooker put together the rice and the two dals. Wash thoroughly. Add the chopped onion, tomatoes, greens and vegetables. Add all the spice powders. Pour about 2 glasses of water and a teaspoon of oil or ghee. Close the lid and let it whistle for 20 mins. This will ensure you get mush.

After cooling the pressure cooker completely add salt and then prepare the tadka in a separate spoon by heating the oil in it. Then follow by adding asafoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves in that order. Once the mustard seeds crackle add it quickly to the cooked khichadi. Mix vigorously to get a nice creamy texture. The tadka thing is what I do. My Dad hates to use an extra utensil if he can do without it so he would first make the tadka then just add every thing into the pressure cooker and let it whistle. Yet I think a tadka is more aromatic so try both ways as you will make this often I gaurantee.

Serve hot is a bowl so that it does not cool quickly. It has to be enjoyed steaming hot. I never thought you guys would search on this blog for this Tikhat khichadi week after week after seeing it in some of my posts. So here it is and I have made it Paushtik too. Keep a small bowl of crunchie munchies by the side if you wish. You will love it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Apla Gotya

I was listening to some Marathi songs and hit on the title song of the Marathi classic serial Gotya.



Then googled for the child star Joy Ghanekar and found this! Apla Gotya... Me and my cousins like all Marathi kids loved it and never missed it. We laughed and cried with him. Gotya's life reminded us of our vacations in Thal. Gotya was the goody goody boy and most of us kids in my family were exactly opposite. I was like Chingi and Gotya was like V bhau but then I was in my teens already.



Wondering if he still pursues acting as a hobby...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Did you vote? I did!


We are back from the voting booth. It just took us 5 mins. We walked in, did the verification. Pressed the button and walked out. It was my first electronic vote cast. If this is not progress then what is it? Casting an electronic vote outside your home constituency. Jaago Re! did a fantastic job.

There is a mistake in the surname on the roll, we will get it corrected. This year we are expecting some changes in the leadership with so many educated voter casting their vote and now that we are able to vote for the candidate in the area we live in. That is a huge change from not being able to use our right to vote because work has brought us to a different state and city.

Did you vote?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When life is singing...

I must share here!

We both have been very busy. I dropped in on him at work yesterday to give him a surprise and life started singing. Even today I had a smile that would not go, as I listen to Maze Rani Maze Moga.
__________________________________

I reached home and got a mail from a new joinee who had worked with me for just a month as a volunteer, informing me that he has got a new assignment. He wrote "It was nice working with you and will always cherish the fact that i started my career working for you." It meant a lot to me. All the best Santosh!
__________________________________

Vinaya, my unconditional support thinks and writes sweet things to inspire me. I haven't done half as much for her. She is my guardian angel. Love you sweetheart...

Crunchy Fruity Slurp

The labels for this post say it all. The need for a desert not too high on sugar is the need of the day. It leads to unconventional thinking.

In my kitchen lab I think exactly like I used to write a science practical journal many moons ago.

Aim: To create a desert with what I have in the pantry. It should be nutty, crunchy and fruity.

Chemicals err... Ingredients:

3-4 types of fruits - I used grapes, mango cubes, banana slices

1/2 glass chilled milk
1 cup diced mango
2 teaspoons sugar

handful of almonds
1 tablespoon sugar

Procedure:

First lets prepare the nutty crunch. Coarse grind almonds. Put the almond meal into a non stick pan. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over it.

On medium heat keep tossing mix in the pan. Do it till the sugar caramelizes to a golden color and coats the almond meal. Switch off the heat. Toss couple of times while its cooling. You will get a nice golden crunch.

You can use this for any kind of topping on deserts and also in icecreams like you would use butterscotch. Make more and store it for instant use. There are endless possibilities with different nuts

Now lets get the glasses ready. I used small glasses. Layer the fruits, grapes, mango cubes, banana slices. Teach your kid shapes while you do it. They will learn Geometry better, oval, cubes, circles. I love it. Freeze it for about 1/2 hr.

Meanwhile get the smoothie ready to use it like custard over the fruits. Combine Mango, chilled milk and sugar in a blender. 2 mins of grrh....grh.. and its churned into a nice thick mock custard.

Now pour it over the layered fruits in the glasses and chill for another 10 mins if you like.

To serve sprinkle the almond crunch generously. Hand out the glasses and long spoons to slurp it up.

Inference: Low-cal, remember it is a relative word.

Conclusion: Tasty to the point Ooh la la!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Try Your Hand At Phulka Making

Dear Rashmi,

Hope this helps. You are just 5 steps away from being an expert at Phulka making.

Steps

1. Knead the dough smooth and soft. Use about a little more than 3/4 of a glass of water for one heaped cup of whole wheat flour. The dough should be a little stickier than the chapati dough. You can knead dough with or without oil or ghee.

2. Pinch of lemon sized balls of dough. Roll on the chakala/ poli paaT with a pin. Make a round bigger than a puri but smaller than chapati.


3. Heat the tava on one gas burner.

4. Roast it on the tava on both side till you see pinkish spots.

5. On the second gas burner put it directly on the flame. When it puffs from one side flip over to roast the other side.


This type of puffed up roti is called Phulka. It is a Gujarati style roti. Phulka are served hot off the flame without any oil or ghee applied to it. It tastes wonderful. To pack for a lunch box you may apply oil/ ghee this will keep them soft. Don't forget to pack them in a foil or wrap in a thin napkin to keep them super soft.

Do try. Hope your hubby is happy with your attempt.

P.S: What I am not showing here is the no. of Phulka that did not puff up like a balloon. Not to worry if initially they don't puff up like in the picture. On the blog you see the best, remember that! A lot happens behind the scene ;).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vendakka Kichadi

Sunday Meal:
Vendakka Kichadi, Chavli-Tondlichi Bhaaji, Phulka, Rice and a new dessert.


Vishu is just over, I wished everyone at Aadiriyedath a happy new year. I've had Konnapoovu as my wallpaper the last whole week, my friend Seema was excited to see it on my laptop. The mood stayed and the weekend saw Kerala influenced meals.

This time I bought 1/2 kg of lady's fingers from the neighborhood Reliance Fresh. I wanted to stir fry them as we both love it. Then I remembered reading on Indian Food Rocks about Okra Kichadi from Ammini Ramachandran's book Grain's, Greens and Grated Coconuts.

Khichadi...na ..na...Kichadi everyone blundered. Taste it once and it will remain registered in your mind permanently as Kichadi. Seema loves to teach me Malayalam, so am sure she would have stressed Vendakka kichadi, Anjali.

I loved the Vendakka Kichadi. The flavor of pungent mustard sweeps your senses. As you get used to it and find the pieces of red chili smoked in the seasonings and you naturally tease it to bring out the red juices the kichadi takes a deeper dimension of a complex flavors as you mix it in with the hot steamed rice. I have seen very few recipes with character as the Okra kichadi with just the mustard, curry leaves, red and green chilies that make it so wonderful that you enjoy every morsel of rice blended with it.

I think the Bengalis will find the taste like home as they too use mustard as a dominating ingredient in their food. Whereas for a Maharashtrian it might take a bit of getting used too and will enjoy only if the mind is open. As a food blog writer I am not going to say no to anything as long as it is vegetarian. That's why I tried this one. Now you have two Marathis recommending it.

Some Malayalis outside Kerala are stuck on curd rice. Shame on them! ;)



Making here a log of the recipe and the things I did differently.

Ingredients

I halved the original recipe so here are proportions I used.

2 cups okra/ Vendakka - sliced to get the star shaped Okra, I used 15 nos.
2 cups freshly grated coconut - I used 1 cup
1 tbsp mustard seeds- I used 2 teaspoons but next time I think 1 would be enough for the halved recipe.
3 or 4 Thai green chillies or serrano peppers- Used 2 Indian green chilies
1 cup plain yogurt- retained 1 cup of curd to get more gravy.
Ammini's recipe suggests 1/2 tbsp oil - I skipped this.
salt to taste

For seasoning

1 tbsp oil - I used 2 tablespoons
1 tsp mustard seeds - retained this
1 dried red chili, broken into two pieces - used 2 nos.
12-15 fresh curry leaves

I cut up the Vendakka into stars measured in the cup it gave me a really heaped cup. Kept aside.

Meanwhile heated 2 tablespoons oil in a wok. Spluttered the 1 teaspoon mustard. Added the red chilies and curry leaves into the oil. Then in went the sliced starry starry Vendakka. Fried them nicely on high heat. They behaved themselves, no oozing just a bit browning and retaining their self respect. If fried more could have passed of a Bhendi stir fry with chapati. But then I had other plans.
So went ahead and blended the mustard seeds, curd, green chilies, grated coconut. Got a nice paste that was white with freckles of the mustard seed skin and a yellowish ting. Then added this paste to the fried Okra. Washed the blender jar clean of the paste and added the washings to the wok. Let is simmer for a while about 10 mins.

Adjusted the salt and tasted. I was unsure how it would taste. I loved the taste. No changes required, my taste buds were won over instantly. Thanks Ammini for the recipe and Manisha for featuring it.
In anticipation of the meal, I went around doing other things like making Phulkas, Pressure cooking rice and Chavli-Tondlichi Bhaaji. With so much done we wanted a desert too so experimented on that. Today's meal was something we enjoyed a lot for its diverse and distinct flavors.

Watch out for some posts that just might interest you as much as it interested me in the experiments in My Kitchen Lab.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vangya.cha Rassa DaNya.cha Koot Lavun

Brinjals in Peanut Sauce




I can't sleep. Today is the day for a huge event at work that the team has slogged on. Last evening the final touches were lent and at 9.00 am is the inauguration. Wish us luck.

I am here on the blog early this morning as this is a stress buster for me as usual. I always schedule my posts for an early morning release but I am actually typing this one at 4.00 am today.

What is better than writing about a curry that I enjoyed over the weekend. The name is in Marathi and sounds like hailing a mughal entering the court like, "Ba mulayza, shajahan, malik e mulk, bashah..." Humm but actually it is a just a simple Brinjal/ Eggplant in peanut sauce.

This curry is lipsmacking good, especially with Bajarichi Bhakari. It is common to the Ghati cooking in Maharashtra and up in North Karnataka. Though my version is much toned down it can be fiery in these regions as this is the farmer's food. Brinjals grow in abundance in these areas and they don't really have a diverse choice in vegetables in the villages but this creation is a gem that every one enjoys at most times or goes back to many times. Mine is ofcourse a pressure cooker version.

You will need.

Ingredients

10 baby brinjals/ eggplants
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
2 teaspoon oil
2 green chilies split
few curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/ teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Kala masala or garam masala
salt to taste

Prepare the brinjals by washing and slitting the bulb into 4 like a flower. Do not slit all the way. Slit it till the calyx so that it is held together even while cooking.

Heat oil in the pressure cooker. Prepare the seasoning by spluttering mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, split green chilies. Then add the brinjals, fry a bit to give a nice coating of oil.

At this point add the crushed peanut, they must be powdered but not completely. It should not make the dish pasty so leave the peanuts a wee bit coarse.

Follow in with the turmeric, red chilli powder, kala masala and salt. Top up with water about a glass or more should be good. Cover the lid of the pressure cooker and allow 3 whistles. Cool to subside the steam and then safely open it. Do not stir just shake and swirl the cooker around. If you try to stir you will end up with the eggplants melded in the gravy and just stems floating in. So be careful.

While serving use a spoon to delicately pick each brinjal and place on the plate. Then pour a little gravy over it. Serve with rotis of any kind but for a thorough enjoyment it has to be Bajarichi Bhakari or Katak Jolad roti.

You will love it. Its full paisa vasool especially for our parents generation as it is do to with their memories of villages where they grew up.

_____________________________________________________

Joke:

I was leaving a chapati sandwich for W. First fussed about packing it properly to keep it well till lunch time then asked what it was?

Me: Fried eggplant sandwiched in chapati.

W: After touching recoiled with great animation both on face and limb. Egg!!! and almost a yucky word coming out... {We don't eat egg, but in cake it is ok ;)}

Me: Gosh! Chill. Eggplant is different from Egg! It is a Brinjal :). LOL

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thecha

Thecha is Marathi means some thing that is smashed. Well then this is the chutney that needs mashing up and it just smashes your taste buds. Let me warn you upfront this is not for people with mild tummies. Even if you gulp a glass of butter milk after it you will remain ablaze for the next 24hrs.

Now after that you still want to take the challenge then here is the recipe of a tame version compared to the village version with loads of green chilies.

Ingredients

2 green chilies
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt
few drops of oil

In a non stick wok after heating it add a few drops of oil. Slit the green chilies to avoid bursting them follow up with garlic cloves. Roast for a while till both the green chilies and garlic is stained.

Cool a bit and then mash up in a mortar and pestle with the salt. Leave it coarse.

This Thecha goes as an accompaniment with Bhakri says tradition but let me tell you a secret , warmed baguettes with Thecha smeared on it is awesome or spread it on a pizza for the Indian fusion.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Rustic Spread

This is the food that my Dad adores.

Katak Jolad Roti,Vangya.cha Rassa DaNya.cha Koot Lavun, Varan, Taak, Fried Sandage, Raw Onions & Thecha

One by one I will post the recipes but before that an introduction to this Rustic Spread is a must. Just like a fish curry and rice is the staple of the Konkan area that I come from. This spread is made mostly beyond the Sahyadri Ghats in Maharashtra and North Karnataka. Hence it is called gavaran food meaning food from the village, unsophisticated but wholesome.

I have been cooking fancy food that is different and Dad enjoys it just a bit. However I see him smacking his lips just at the sight of a spread like this one.


The Katak Jolad Roti, ultra crisp jowar roti is from a neighborhood shop, 10 rotis for a mere Rs.25. This goes best with the Vangya.cha Rassa DaNya.cha Koot Lavun or Brinjals in peanut sauce. Bajarichi Bhakari is yet another Bhakri that is a staple in the countryside. Varan is to tone down the spice in the rassa. The accompaniments like raw onion and Thecha is a must else the spread is incomplete. We will decode the Thecha in the upcoming post.


The Puffed rice sandage is unique to North Karnataka. The glass of Taak with jeera powder is to wash down the hearty meal.

Burp~~ satiation

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chilling Out at Orchard Fresh


It was Good Friday and the day was off actually I did not have to go to office but had already spent a good 7 hrs designing mailers for the upcoming Confluence.

Later We had gone out to a beautiful newly developed locality that had the charm of a village that was green and peaceful and just opening up to modern life. We are hunting for a home. Till now it has been very frustrating. In Blr unlike Mumbai the deals are not clear and not without risks. Had it been Mumbai I would have walked into the builders office checked the papers and signed the deal. Here it is not so safe, most buildings are constructed by petty builders. The builders of repute are outside our reach.

Till date either whatever flats I have seen are with many problems like leakages, bad quality or if there was something we liked, then the building was approved only for half the floors or the lift space was empty with no lift ever going to be fitted in it. One place was good but the society was not yet formed. This and many problems.

I was feeling really low when I spotted this new outlet in Padmanabh Nagar. We walked into a clean parlor. The decor that was summery with huge white chair to plop into and the hexagonal tables to hover around if you are in a group. I walked to the counter to select my scoop and was thoroughly impressed by their range of flavors. It reminded me of Natural Ice cream and only last week I had written about it here.

I sat down to study their menu that was so impressive and finally after 10 mins zoomed in on a Carebean Sunset. 3 scoops of Vanilla with Orangello, Coffee with Blueberry syrup and Mango with Orangello topped with whipped cream, cherry, pistachios and wafers served in a waffle bowl. I meditated on the cool treat as I brooded on how difficult life was. Dad stayed off, he has a bad throat. Since it was just about noon not many people were around so got some peace.

This ice cream is hand churned hence has some texture unlike machine made ice cream. It is slightly sticky and not frothy. The best thing is, it is vegetarian. Lots to be explored in the flavors, they claim to have 150! That's a lot. Blr weather doe not allow freaking out on ice creams at other times but this time the summer has touched an all time high.

A nice place to go to when you want to watch the world go by and enjoy every scoop that will lift your mood. They boast of low cal ice creams too but this time round I needed the sugar.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Delicate Matters

It happens so often in workplaces...



Girish had achieved everything in life at a young age. That focus on work had shifted his priorities and family life was in a mess. His charm was enough to set a few hundred hearts on fire.

Malini was at the end of the tunnel in one relationship. Yet a very positive person in life. Someone who could make life beautiful and fun. She was also called the ice maiden by men seeking her. Lately she just neglected herself a lot.

Girish had tried to talk to Malini a couple of times but she kept a distance. Who wanted another heartache she thought. The achiever in Girish wanted to win here too, her coldness challenged him.

Then one fine day it just happened that Girish got a chance to drive Malini home. He opened up his life to her. 'I am in a mess' he said. Malini cautiously listened and to put an end to any kind of approach made in her direction telling him subtly she had already someone in her life.

Slowly Girish knew he had won and the charm of winning was lost. Malini who had resisted initially was now entangled. It was just emotions, no more than that. Both sensible people had kept out of trouble.

They care for each other just that they cannot take anything further. Malini wanted it better but Girish still has to think of his family. No questions and no answers. Just delicate matters.

What do you think will happen to Girish and Malini? Take the poll on the side bar.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Matkichi Amti


You have seen and read about the Matkichi Usal. So now here is the Amti. This amti is a watery version of the Usal. Yet what separates an Usal from an Amti is the souring agent. We use tamarind/ kokam(garcinia indica)/tomatoes. Much like a rasam n consistency but with beans and flavored with the Kala or Goda masala.

This was a conversation between a Varkari and a Muslim that I heard one day and makes me smile when I remember it. Varkaris are people who visit Lord Vithal atPandharpur every year on foot. They are strict vegetarians and may be from any Hindu class/ caste. They could be people who have converted to vegetarianism later in life if not born into vegetarian families. Muslims are complete carnivores. So these two had a cool verbal match on whose food is better. Finally the Varkari said have you eaten Matki.chi Amti? Zak marel mutton la! Now I don't know how to translate that but I hope you understand the emotion!

Matkichi amti is that much loved by a Marathi.

Ingredients

1 cup sprouted matki/ moth beans
1 large onion
1 green chili
1/4 cup tamarind juice extract
2 inch jaggery piece
water
salt to taste
2 teaspoon oil
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon Goda/ Kala masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat a pressure cooker. Add oil and do the tadka/ seasoning with mustard, slit green chili, asafoetida and onions. Add the turmeric, red chili powder, and the Goda/ Kala masala. Be quick to add the sprouted and cleaned Matki. Top up with water, as much as the consistency you like, I used 1.5 glasses. Close the lid and allow just one whistle. That much is enough else it will crumble the beans completely. Open the lid once cooled add the salt, tamarind juice and jaggery and bring to a rolling boil. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

It can be a nice beany soupy snack with less spicing. The standard amti goes with rice or bhakri the best but you can have it with chapati too.

Tip: Don't try to cook matki without sprouting, only sprouting brings out the best in Matki.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Come See My Palak Paratha

Palak Paratha used like banana leaf with pickle at the top followed by Vinegar Onion, Orange marmalade, Tomato chutney, sugar in the center and a tiny bowl of curd.

Yesterday at Ved's dinner we got to meet all the colleague's kids. The youngest was 7-8 month old Anirudh and the eldest a teenager. All the kids were excited as the summer vacations have just started. It was their first party of the season.

We had a round of all the couples describing there partners and the singles describing themselves so that the spouses who are not part of our team get to know each other. Sathish sang a Tamil song and Parimala's husband sang a Rafi song really beautifully.

Sunil's son Advaith did a jig while Ved's younger one sang "Mere laundry ka ek bill"



All of us had some good time chatting up each other and it was the first time I was meeting some of the colleague's families as I have not been attending such functions so far.

Javeed's lil girl Fatima will be an entertainer I suppose she loved to be on the stage. Preeti's daughter was happy watching other kids have fun. She is now an elder sis and its showing.

I was watching the kids eat. All of them were fussing when it came to food. Anitha's Aditi refused the khichadi that she had got from home and the 1+ lil cutie wanted to try what elders were eating.

This is the time when kids can be introduced to some fun with food. So the recipe of the Palak Paratha is only a small reason for this post.

I made it today for my 68 yr old kid and inspite of all the choice of chutneys and curd he still grabbed the bottle of ketchup and was asking me what do I eat it with? That's when I told him that I did a poll here on the blog:

What do you like to have your parathas with? (See side bar)

Out of the total 27 responses not a single person had voted for ketchup.

So now you know why I call him the ketchup king!

If you get the kids to help you out and put together a plate like this I don't think they will fuss about food. I have always got my nephews excited about what they ate when I served them food in an innovative way.

My eldest nephew who is now in the Ist year of Engineering hated milk like all other kids. I would add just a bit of a different colored syrup to his milk and he would love to have it while he stayed with me during the vacs. Infact he would ask me what would be the color of milk on the day! His mother however just shunned off the idea saying she didn't have the time to fuss over it everyday, she is a working mother you see. Then would follow a battle between mother and son of shoving the milk down his throat while he was still half asleep and then get shoveled into the bathroom and then the school bus! This is the story in all the families every morning.

See what you can do to change it. If not try this Palak Paratha :) and serve it like here. After all this is the vacation season.

Ingredients

1 cup pureed spinach/ palak
1.25 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon green chili paste
salt to taste
2 teaspoon oil

In a big bowl add all the items and knead slowly into smooth dough. Add the oil and knead for another 5 mins. Leave the dough still for 10 mins.

Now knead again for 2 mins and pinch of small part of the dough. Roll out a small round. Apply oil fold to half, then oil again and fold it to a quarter. Roll out the quarter folded dough into a triangular paratha. It looks exactly like a banana leaf.

Traditional Indian food has always been served on a banana leaf. In Maharashtra the banana leaf is laid vertical with the tip facing away from the body where as in South India the leaf is laid horizontal with the tip of the leaf pointing to the left.

Is this exciting for you as a parent then do it along with your kid. I'm sure you will have happy memories of this summer's culinary experiments. Happy Vacationing!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Koshimbir The Marathi Salad


A Marathi Taat/Paan/Thali was a balanced diet once upon a time when people worked hard. With changing times we have evolved diets to suit our needs. We don't sweat with physical work, even the sweating caused by mental work is prevented by the a/cs in our offices. So some of us prefer protein rich diets and others low cal ones. Today's Marathi Thali will look like what I posted yesterday, I guess in most health conscious homes.

There was a time when Koshimbir was served at the top left side of the banana leaf, just a spoonful. If you like it and gobbled it up Mom told, "Koshimbir is to be eaten just to change taste, Bhata sarkhi khaoo naye!" Not to eat it like rice. May be that was good as a child. But now I have turned around the proportion. I eat Koshimbir like rice to fill up and rice to satisfy the cravings of the conditioning since childhood.

For those of you who have no clue of what is Koshimbir, it is a Marathi salad. It is simple yet wonderful, the key is fresh cut vegetables made into bits or grated. Then spiced with green chili and coriander. With a dash of lime or a dollop of curd. Garnished with crushed roasted peanuts. The true Indian flavors.

In Marathi the word Khamang describes best what a Koshimbir holds in its code. Khamanga has got to do something with nutty and spiced tastes.

Well if I have got your mouthwatering already I ought to share the recipe with you.

Ingredients

1 cucumber
1 tomato
1 onion
1 green chili
1 tablespoon roasted and crushed peanuts
a handful chopped cilantro
salt to taste
a squeeze of lime/ dollop of curd (for variations)

Chop all the vegetables into tiny bits. Put it in a bowl. Add the chopped chili and salt. Toss well. Just before serving mix in the chopped cilantro and roasted and crushed peanuts. You have a wonderful bowl to munch on.

This Koshimbir leaves you cooled off on a sultry day when your blood is boiling due to the scorpio's attitude. How much more is my question?

A while ago I started the Koli Proverbs & Riddles on the sidebar and I updated it with one more that enlightened me today.

*Gulan kalva nai te sakren kalva Karla kadu te kadu!
Mix it with jaggery or with sugar Bitter gourd will remain bitter!

Still I will continue to do what I have to.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Beating The Summer With Cucumber Juice


Yesterday my dear friend Deepa's baby was named OM. I met Preeti after 3 months at the do and She said I had lost some weight. Actually couple of other people too mentioned that I had. But I believed Preeti as she was seeing me after a gap. It is not actually much that I do. Yet I think it is due to eating what I really want to and eating when I am hungry. It also has something to do with the new Tupperware kit that keeps the food fresh. The small bowl makes the servings right and I am able to carry a variety. Yes most of us foodies hate to eat the same thing. It is tricking your self with colors and smaller quantities.

A typical Mumbaite hates to carry an elaborate lunch box separately in the hand. One thing is the commute deters any such intentions and the other that it is just not cool! Well atleast Blr has allowed me that. So now besides the turtleback I also have a new accessory since the last 2 months. My new tupperware lunch kit.


The bag holds 2 more little boxes besides the glass for my juice, tropical bowls for chapati and bhaaji and square box for my fruit/ veg salad. Sometimes I carry dates/ nuts in a small box and some munchies like chana, spiced puffed rice etc. I actually feel like a kid with so much too eat.

Another thing is I eat either dosa or upma at 5 pm. At night may be a soup or juice at with vegetable salad or a fruit.

I do begin my day with a full breakfast now thats again something I never did in Mumbai. It is also the influence of W.

Only if I could be as enthusiastic with workouts. I love to play vigorous games but I cannot risk my knees said my trainer Arjun Devaiah. I have to loose a lot more before I get fit.

This is today's lunch. There is a dinner at Ved's (GM) today so kept it lite.

Cucumber juice, Matki chi aamti and Koshimbir


Ingredients

1/2 Cucumber
a thin slice of lime

Skin the cucumber and juice it. I did not strain it as I like it thick. Squeeze a bit of lime. I avoid salt but add it if you like it.

Matki aamti recipe to follow

Friday, April 03, 2009

Natural Ice Creams, Mumbai

Who does not love them, Natural Ice creams? The vegetarian creamy super smooth ice cream studded with fruit. It is the ultimate desert.

After coming to Blr there are somethings I have given up as I don't want to die of tasting them. The list is quite something but to name a few, chats, samosa and ice creams. Yes there are the Kwality Walls and the Amuls but for the gourmet experience it has to be Natural.

Last month when I was in Mumbai and went shopping to Inorbit, Vashi we found a Natural outlet on the top floor. I squealed like a toddler on spotting it. Bal who was with me carrying my shopping bags like a dutiful bro, felt his elder sister needed a treat. BTW I was also happy to see a Kailash Parbat next to it! You can imagine my excitement. Both of us called up home to tell we were eating out. We had Chole bhature and Ragda pattice at Kailash and followed by Natural's ice cream.

The flavor that is my all time favorite is Tender coconut with bits of the coconut flesh in the delicately flavored ice cream. You enjoy every bit slowly trying to take in the aroma. It is unbelivable how they keep it perfectly fresh. Coconut spoils so easily but not in their ice cream.

Tender Coconut

I was intrigued by the Jackfruit ice cream. Never ever heard of that! Did you? Plus as I was putting together this post found out the story of its creation. If you love Jackfruit then you will be amazed at how good it tastes in an ice cream. For once I guess the essence is not required here.

Jackfruit ice cream

Since I was unprepared for this treat I took pictures on the cell and they do not do justice at all. Yet you can judge by the expressions on Bal's face how much we enjoyed it.

Bal enjoying his scoop

While I was tipping my new SIL, Sapna on the bests in the neighborhood like the grocer, the beautician, Jhama etc. I told her that she must ask Somu to take her to Inorbit for the wonderful deals at Bombay Store in the basement and Natural on the top. This is a reco straight from the heart. Don't miss it any of you...

Popular Posts

On Trail