Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Omkar Dadarkar : Natya Sangeet Inheritance

When I was young my parents would take me to Sangeet Nataks at Sahitya Sangha. They inculcated in me the appreciation for Natya Sangeet.

At home Uncle MJ was a fabulous singer with the gift of a luxurious voice. He was trained at the prestigious The Goa Hindu Association's Music academy. So though I never learnt music I learnt to appreciate good music.

At the age I admired Omkar Dadarkar. He had a captivating voice and a gifted child he was what with an Aunt like Manik Verma and parents like Shrikanth and Shubhada Dadarkar who are dedicated to Marathi Natya Sangeet.

Sharing here a video of Omkar I chanced upon. It is after a long gap I am listening to him and a child he is no more. He has matured to a complete magical singer you will note after being a scholar at the elite Gurukul in ITC Sangeet Research Academy. I am wishing I get to hear him live soon.



Also listen to these rare natya geet sung my none other than Dinanath Mangeshkar.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Bharli Keli

Bharli Keli for Naivedhya today

Ganapati has arrived at my home in Thal. It is Sapna & Sumeet's first Ganeshotsav after marriage. I wanted to go home for Ganapati but with just 4 days leave on hand it would be a rushed trip. So I dropped the idea. This morning I spoke to Sapna, she was giggling that the guys were impatient for breakfast and already pulling out the butter (not maska) packet.

She was going to make modak with help from Savitri Aatya. I am not motivated enough to do that here in Blr. I chose to make Bharli Keli instead.

On another note, I am confused about a milestone in Chimi's life, should I be celebrating or not? She is now in heat. I noticed a spot on the floor yesterday. I have been observing that my baby was growing. She has hair now on the belly too. I have been telling myself she is all grown now and it might happen any moment and there it was. I noticed her first drip as I was at home. Good it started when I was around. Dad would have hated it if I were not there.

It has made me think all day. Gulabi will be a big girl soon too. How will her Papa handle it? He says many times, when he looks at her he puts all other thoughts aside. She is his top priority. Ought to be.

The dogs are chasing my Chimi gal. I feel good that she will soon be ready to procreate. Do I want litters? Will I be able to take care of them? With Dad being intolerant with the scene I am pondering. He is suggesting spaying already.

Well I still think I am in a celebratory mood, after all my Chimi is adult now at age 7 months.

So we celebrate the dual event with this very traditional sweet.

Ingredients

12 Rajeli Keli or Velchi Keli (or any small sized Banana)
1 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup raisins
2 cardamoms
1 tablespoon ghee
Powdered nuts for garnish

Prepare the stuffing by mixing together the grated coconut, sugar, sesame seeds and raisins.

Peel the bananas. Traditionally small sized banana like Rajeli or Velachi Keli are used. Velachi variety is slightly bigger than the Rajeli which are just finger sized. In case using bigger banana like the green skinned ones cut them into about 3 inch long pieces.

Slit the banana by cutting im a cross at one end and leaving one end intact. Just like you do for Vangyacha Bharit. Stuff the coconut mix.

Heat a frying pan. Add a generous tablespoon of Ghee. Line up in the pan all the stuffed bananas.. Fry on slow till the sugar caramelizes the banana. Turn over delicately and let them brown.

Plate the fried stuffed bananas. The garnish here is not traditional just something I like to do. Powder the cardamoms along with mixed nuts, cashew, almonds, pista etc. Sprinkle over the plated stuffed banana.

I love it when still warm.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Capsicum and Potato in a Foil

It is not a roast. It is not grilled. It is steaming in a foil!

I love steaming idlis, vadis, dhoklas etc. It is traditional. But the steaming done in its own juices tastes completely divine. Here is steaming in a foil.

I love veggies steamed this way. My favorite in this style is a very continental tasting packet of Capsicum and Potatoes.

Many years ago when I was still selling water treatment plants for a small company and food was shared at our work desks with colleagues one would rather forget about. This recipe brings back those memories.

This guy opened a leaky packet of Aluminium foil that smelt divine. I instantly picked up the potato chips and capsicum pieces and nibbled at the delicately flavored veggies. Enumerating the recipe here...

Ingredients

2 capsicums
1 potato
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
salt to taste
a drizzle of olive oil

Spread out an aluminium foil large enough to hold the veggies. Cut the potatoes into chips and capsicum into bite sized pieces. Heap them in the center of the foil. Sprinkle the spice powders, salt and finally drizzle with olive oil. Fold the foil at the edges to get a nice packet as show nhere below.

Put a frying pan on heat. Place the packet in it and cook on both sides for about 10 mins. Then place the packet carefully on direct heat. In both the methods the steaming is done in the juices oozing from the veggies as they cook. The direct heat makes them smoky. Be careful while turning over the packet as it might tear open. Cook from both sides.




Transfer the foil packet into a serving bowl. Insert a knife into the packet to let out steam. So that it does not scald your hand when you open it.

This technique of steaming reminds me of Popti a method of cooking bean pods in earthenware. More about it when I try it out at home. Humm.. but where do I get the wood fire?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sitaphal Basundi for Nagapanchami


On Nagapanchami Day my new SIL, Sapna called to ask me how to celebrate it. That took me back to my childhood when Mom and Dad argued about the relevance of this festival. I remember that most festivals for us meant Mom churning out yummy dishes that's all.

So that is what I told Sapna too. If you are able to find a snake and give it milk fine else just make some yummy food and the guys at home will be happy. I did just that here in Blr.

Last time when I was in Mumbai I had tasted the Sitaphal Basundi and I flipped instantly. This was an occassion for milk based sweets so it had to be made at home.

Sitaphal is Indian for custard apple for those who don't know. A berry so rich and creamy that it is ticked off by dietitians. If they read what I made here they might cringe. A double dose of creaminess. The Basundi and the custard apple, pure indulgence of the serious kind.

You will need:

Ingredients

2 Extra ripe Custard apples/ Sitaphal
1 litre of milk
1 cup sugar

Step 1: Make the basundi.
Boil and reduce the 1 litre of milk with sugar added, till you get a creamy thickness that coats the spoon. I reduced to 1/4 litre. Stop there. Cool completely. Chill for 2 hrs.

Step 2: Clean the Custard apples and deseed.
Use only extra ripe custard apples for this recipe. It lends the fragrance and the rich creamy texture to the desert. Carefully remove the thick skin to leave you with a white ball. Now first wash your hands and under-nails diligently as you will be handling the pulp. Then in a bowl take the custard apples and whip vigorously to separate the seeds from the pulp. Do not use a electrical equipment as it might break the seeds. With your fingers pick out all the seeds. Mash the pulp a bit but mostly leave the segments in place.

Step 3:
Mix together the Basundi and the Custard apple pulp. The segments impart a certain lusciousness so leave them in just like that, do not puree. Always add the fruit just before serving to enjoy the fresh fragrance. Chilling destroys it. When I use fruits as flavorings I avoid use of fragrant spices like cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg that are so common to Indian deserts.

Serve in small bowls for it has to be enjoyed in limits.

All white is not an impressive color for a desert to be posted on a blog. Yet try a spoonful and you will swoon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lalbaugh Flower Festival

This flower festival is hosted for a week before the 15th August every year on occasion of the Independence day.
1
Enter Lalbaugh from the Main gate

The sweet smelling rose garden

Head for the glasshouseFlowery animals, is it a rabbit? or a stag?

The center piece, a mermaid surrounded by rosy fish and teddy bears!


The flower show a reason for a mela

Different species of coconuts

The American hybrid rabbits
Orchids

Toys from Channapatna

The beautiful grill work

The pretty roof of the glass house with wind cock

To complete the experience a bubble maker attracting the kids...


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