Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sanjeevanam: Vegetarian Health Restaurant

As colorful as a painter's palette: 
Shot glasses of Khajur drink, Cashew milk, Beetroot soup, Mathaa and Ganji.

The raw foods (Rto L): 
Aval puttu, Mix veg salad, Banana pith raita, beetroot salad

The semi-cooked foods (front to back): 
Olan, Ashgourd Kichadi, Pumkin pachadi and Banana flower stir fry

Finally the cooked food

Keerai and Bitter gourd stir fry

Red rice and Avial

White rice and Greens sambhar

Pineapple tomato rasam

Moong dal

Aval payasam

Spoonful of honey

Vegetable paan: minced veggies with nut paste

At Sanjeevanam, Kormangala we walk into a glass enclosed courtyard with a tree at the center. Under the tree we sit at a perfectly set table. Soumiya and Me were there to try the Ayurveda based meal.

This restaurant is from the stables of Cholayil the company that follows ayurvedic traditions in their products, of which the Medimix soap that makes them a known name in every household.

This restaurant is good for a try once, the colorful drinks served in shot glasses is the high point of the meal. The staff carefully explains the order of foods to be consumed, beginning with a slice of banana as the appetizer, the juices to tune the stomach, the raw food, the semi-cooked and finally the cooked food. There is lots of buttermilk and curd to round off the meal. The closure of this formal meal is with a spoon of honey to help digest and a vegetable paan to freshen up the mouth.

Here in Blr. it's a buffet but at their other locations in Ernakulam and Chennai they serve on banana leaves.

What do I say about it? It's one place you will call healthy even when you are dinning out. The food it almost like home cooked, contrary to people's belief that healthy food might taste like bad hospital food; this meal was yummy. My favorites were the shot glasses of drinks, the banana pith raita and the aval payasam. 

The presence of such a restaurant in Blr. shows everything has a place on the foodscapes here. 

Address
Cholayil Sanjeevanam, Kendriya Sadan
Koramangala 2B Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034

Note: Check out the Fab India store housed in the old world bungalow with a courtyard across the road. That should complete your ethic experience. I bought handmade soaps, perfumed oil and lip balm for my Uncle and Aunt.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Awala Supari



In Blr. We get Awala or gooseberry almost all the year round. Yet the Awala in winter is the best. I bought some to make Nellikayi Chitranna and there were at least 5 more left. I had never made Awala supari ever but had seen my aunt make it. It is as simple as chop in to bits, sprinkle salt and dry it in the sun. This fruit does not release much water even after salting so you can just mix the salt into the bite sized pieces in a plate and keep it out in the sun. To get completely dried Awala supari you will have to leave it out for at least 3 days under the strong sun.

Store the dried Awala supari in a clean dry airtight box.

It is tart and salty when eaten as is but drink water after it and you sense the sweetness on the tongue. For people who do not know what is supari, it is mouth fresher. Like you all know that Awala is a power source of vitamin C but in this form it acts as a digestive too.

Go ahead make your own.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Goodbye Ashwath Narayan


My eyes are swollen as I type this. I had to post this today for Ashwath Narayan Uncle, who was an ardent follower of my blogs. I know he will be reading this from wherever he is today. 

I met him first time at Blr. Railway station when we both were there to see off our common friend Late Dr. Appa Athavale way back in 2005-6. Ever since Ashwath Narayan uncle, Parimala aunty, Manasa and Chetan have been family to me. It is so hard to say a final goodbye to him but we did today.

If he has a way he will take a print out of this and show it to the almighty saying read it, Anjali has written it. He had taken copies of my travel journal and distributed to the group with whom he visited North East of India.

Here is an old post of a trip with his clan, they so gracefully include us. I have wonderful memories like these of Ashwath Narayan uncle.

I mourn the loss with you, Parimala aunty, Manasa, Chetan and Kunal (Son-in-law) yet we know he will be watching you all and to me like always I hear him say, "Will watch your blog".

Shree Brahmachaitanya Gondavalekar Maharaj's family of devotees will miss you. Shree Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.

Goodbye dear friend ~~ fly away and be free ~~

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Divine Connect With Ruhaniyat

Click the image to visit their site.

It was a beautiful stage set for a promising evening in the courtyard of Jayamahal Palace Hotel. I had been excited about it ever since I got to know about it through the weekly mail from Bookmyshow. I purchased my tickets 15 days in advance. Such is the reputation of Ruhaniyat.

Ruhaniyat is a festival of Sufi & Mystic Music that travels around India. They visit the 7 major cities in India between November and March. This is their 11th year and I was lucky to be able to make it for the Bangalore performance.

Last night was a beautiful night to experience the divine, not just because I was at Ruhaniyat to listen to the Mystical music but also because of a Celestial event. It was a Lunar eclipse, perfectly timed between 7 pm and 10 pm. We sat there under the trees with the sky above us just turning the night blue. As the host opened the festival she rightly mentioned that it was going to be an evening of Ibadat or worship. In Hinduism we do namasmaran or jap during an eclipse. That oriented us for the evening.

The first performance was by Abdul Rashid Hafiz & group from Kashmir. The evening air was filled with lilting music of the Rubab, Kashmiri Sarangi with the sweet rolling of the words from the Mystic songs in Kashmiri. I wrapped myself up with a shawl, I simply had to stay for the entire night out in this open courtyard I knew it right at the start.

Avdhoot Gandhi from Alandi, Maharashtra and his group performed an Abhanga, Bharud and a Gondhal. Compositions of Savata Mali, Bahina Bai and Eknath Maharaj embellished Avdhoot's powerful singing. This was a performance in my mother tongue so could not stop myself from singing along. The Gondhali got the audience swaying in their seat with his prowess on the Sambal (folk drums) and when they sang praises of Goddess Ambabai, I too joint in the Udho! The Shankhnaad (blowing of the conch shell) elevated the pitch. The host mentioned that Avdhoot Gandhi is a descendant from Shree Dyaneshwar Mauli's Maternal family and the Varkari people's first stop is at his family home. He is blessed and talented too.

On the heels came in the singers Indra and Shakur Khan with their team to present the Sufi Kalams of Bulle Shah and others. Unfailingly the Khadtal player, Daevo Khan was the most popular with his enticing movements. He even did a jugalbandi with the tabla player.

After all the celebratory moods from Maharashtra and Rajasthan, it was the turn of the soul of this whole event Parvathy Baul. She enthralls the audience like none, performing alone on the stage dressed in saffron saree wrapped in Bengali style, her knee length hair worn as Jata. When she sings, pure, sincere and full of Bhaav / emotions is a voice that invokes a connect with the divine. She is this tiny women with a voice that emerges from her belly and a face as innocent as a child. You see that Tandri on her face and your focus turns inwards. She sways with Krishna as she strums her Ek tara and plays the Duggi. She jumps in sheer joy as she says the lord belongs to her and is only hers. Inspite of travelling all over the world performing at big and small festivals, she performs as if this is her only performance. In the entire evening she was the one who gave goosebumps and I experienced the meaning of Ruhaniyat!

We saw the stage being dusted with some powder and we knew what to expect next, ofcourse the Whirling Dervishes. They performed the Sema, a prayer service. We were told not to clap after the performance respecting the Turkish culture and traditions laid down for Sema. The Dervishes walked in slowly and stood in one corner of the stage wearing a black cloak. The ceremony is all about symbolism, they remove the cloak and set out on a journey of spirituality through Sema. The Camel hair hat they wear stands for the ego, the white skirt for the ego's shroud. The whirling is the singular movement in the whole ceremony. It represents revolution, of the circulation of blood, of the revolving universe etc. They start off by bowing towards Mecca and cross hands across the chest, signifying there is only one God and that we have to be one with God. Then as they start whirling they slowly open their hands in delicate moves, bringing them down to the hips and then lifting them slowly upwards the right hand pointing upwards to receive the blessings from God and the left pointing down to the Earth to distribute those blessings to the needy. These dervishes therefore are symbolic medium for the common man to receive the gift from God. The mood of the ceremony was further enhanced by the smell of rose water and incense in the air. When one experiences Sema one realizes the irrelevance of religion to spirituality and I am sure people not exposed to Hinduism will say the same when they see some of our rituals.

During the intermission I looked up at the night sky, it was still shrouded with clouds and I suddenly caught a glimpse of the shadow of the earth just moving out from the moon. The eclipse was coming to an end.

After an intermission the night's last performers, the duo Shameem and Nayeem Ajmeri entertained the audience with some spirited Sufi Qawwali. The cake on the icing was Ghungroo ofcourse for which Shameem Ajmeri has earned much applause. He mesmerized the audience with his bols of the Ghungroo which he does vocally,  the jugalbandi of ghungroo and payal, the sounds of a single ghungroo and the scattering of the ghungroo. There was a demand for once more as this was the last performance for the night and they concluded it with a composition called Rang.

Ruhaniyat is a musical, spiritual, long lasting experience. I would be looking forward to it every year now on...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chasing Away Sinusitis With Ukala



It is that time of the year when you cuddle up in the rocking chair with Ukala and Sweet bread with a blanket on the knee and book in hand. The book has been replaced by the iPAD now but the warm fuzzy feeling is still derived from the Ukala. I think this wonderful drink is magic also due to the aroma therapy of the volatile oils from the spices.

It is the time of the year when your Sinuses play havoc. One nostril is blocked and the other is warm. I don't like sprays, sniffies and other sinus gear. What I like best is twice a day of this Ukala that makes you warm inside out. The blood rushes caused by the spicy heat from the Ukala gives you that fuzzy feeling you desire most in the cold winters. I like to hold my large cup in both my palms and move it across my forehead while it is still hot. Pure therapy, as I sip on my Ukala the slightly thickened milk slides down my tongue and the heat from the spice hits my throat. The brain senses the nice smoothness and brightens the mood. I have never been a milk lover but this Ukala is an excuse to enjoy it once in a while. The Tryptophan is strong enough to make me doze off peacefully when had just before bedtime.

Ingredients  

Ukala Masala
3 tablespoons Black Pepper Corns
1 tablespoon Cardamom pods
2 tablespoons Jyeshtha Madh/ Mulathi powder
1 tablespoon Cloves
2 sticks Cinnamon

In a mortar and pestle powder all the ingredients. Store it in a jar in a dry place. Use 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of this Masala for your Ukala.

Note: If you do not like fresh ginger or cannot avail it you can include 2 tablespoons of dry ginger powder in this masala, mix well and store.

I use fresh ginger most times so add it to the boiling milk.

300 ml Milk (I like to use Goodlife since it is thicker than other brands)
1/4 teaspoon of the Ukala Masala
1/4 teaspoon Dry Ginger powder
OR 1/4 inch Fresh Ginger
 2 teaspoons of honey

In a clean pot boil Milk and this Ukala Masala, till your milk gets a little thick or gets a faint pinkish tinge. Boil it down to 200ml. Strain, pour into your favorite cup, add honey and mix well. Enjoy the fragrant warm sip.

Many of my friends have come to Blr. for work from warmer places of their birth and the cold here puts them down. Nimmy, Pinka, Jyoti and Aditya this post is for you. Say Cheers with Ukala! 

Tip: This same masala can be used to make a spice tea when boiled with water. To get your strong Masala Chai just add the tea leaves along with this Masala to hot boiling water, brew to your taste and add a splash of milk for the perfect cup.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Paratha Tomato Omelette Roll


Growing up in Fort with a Masjid in the lane meant watching those months of Ramzan convert our lane into a street food court. There have been many recipes I would have learnt if I had paid attention for my home had strategic view of the happenings below in the lane.

There was one which is very easy to recollect due to its simplicity. Though I loved watching it then I hated the smells. Egg does smell awful. Well did you guess I was talking about Baida roti. It is the simplest yet sinful snack. It is a maida paratha on which eggs are broken, onions are thrown on to it along with green chilies and cilantro. This is fried in oil on the Tava. The sizzling making many a men hungry after their prayers. It was a sight to watch them dig their teeth into a supersized roll.

Flash forward, last Sunday as has been the scene in the last few weeks here, I wanted to make something that was a hearty meal without too much prep or leftovers later. This is a perfect recipe for the criteria. One of these rolls stuffs you to the brim. I took the short cut of pulling out a frozen Kerala paratha for this. The rest was almost fast food style cooking.

Ingredient

1 Kerala paratha

On a Tava pour oil, you are frying it so be generous. Pour the tomato omelette batter and put the paratha over it. Fry on both sides till golden and crisp. Remove and wrap it into a roll in either cling film or foil. Hand it out hot to your loved ones and see their faces light up.

I loved stuffing my mouth as I bit into it. The paratha was super crunchy yet flaky and the omelet snug on the paratha with juicy tomatoes. It was a truly heartwarming meal. I had a glass of orange Tang to wash it down. Such a simple lunch became so special.

Those of you who eat egg go ahead and try it with your fave omelet recipe. This veg version is equally delish I tell you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chiroti Some Sweet Some Spicy


I was still studying in college when I first made Chiroti. I followed all the instructions to the T as per the recipe in Mangala Barve's Annapoorna. 

Ever since people who have eaten the Chiroti I make have conferred many loving titles on me. The best came from a family friend Mrs. Joshi, she who was born in the family of Bedekars, yes the famous household name. One Diwali she, her son Santosh and daughter were visiting us. I had offered Naivedya of Chiroti immediately after making them. My Uncle MJ offered them the Chiroti to taste. Mrs. Joshi loved them so much that she pulled me close and blessed me. It meant a big deal to me then and even now! for in the Bedekar and Joshi families all the women are sugrani, super cooks I mean besides being gourmands, tells my uncle.

If there is a single Diwali sweet my uncle MJ loves, it is these expressions of love the Gulabache Chiroti as they are called in Annapoorna. They do look like rose flowers if you use food color in the dough. I am against using artificial colors in food so you will almost never find me using it.

You can't imagine the happiness of my family when they get a parcel of Chiroti carefully packed in fragile handling material, reach them whole after traveling 1000 kms through 2 states by road. Every single time, what follows are long calls of appreciation and showering of love. Each time my uncle MJ's share is tampered with, for I am partial to him and its always a bigger pack.Well and now with all the diet restrictions my uncle does not eat sweets, so I gave some of the Chiroti a sprinkle of spice instead of a shower of sugar.

I am sharing this time tested recipe here from the book but I don't pound the dough with mortar and pestle anymore I might have done that only the first two times I made Chiroti. My method is simpler and I use pure ghee instead of Dalda for the shortening.

I am sure you will want to taste these Chiroti now after reading about how crazy my family is about these.Try them out now :D its the start of a weekend and make it some sweet and some spicy...

Ingredients

For the dough
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup molten ghee
60 ml milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar + 4 cardamoms pounded
1 spoon of red chili powder

For the greasing layer
1/4 cup molten ghee
2 tablespoons corn flour

Ghee for Frying 

In a kneading bowl, put together all the ingredients all purpose flour, salt, molten but not hot ghee and milk. Knead into a really tight dough and leave it in the bowl. After an hour just beat the dough with the rolling pin till slightly soft and pliable. Divide the dough into 6 parts. Roll out all into chapathis. Now like you see here first make a paste of the ghee and cornflour. Use this paste to slather on one side of all the chapathis. Now tightly roll up one chapathi and overlap the second one a bit like in the picture and continue rolling up. Similarly roll up all six chapathis. Now roll the bundle a bit on the counter to tighten up and slightly increase the length of the roll.

Next cut up the roll into 1 cm thick roundels. I got 18 such.








Then roll out these roundels into puri sized Chiroti. When rolling out ensure you start rolling at a slant. This will keep the layers overlapped and hence make them strong enough for frying and holding the shape.


Now heat the ghee in a small kadhai. Once the ghee is hot reduce the flame to medium and then fry Chiroti about 2-3 at a time. Splash hot oil on the Chiroti to enable the loosening up of the layers to almost look like a blooming rose. Once they have the beautiful gold tan remove them on a kitchen paper lined mesh. Fry all of them.


Then while they are still warm shower some with cardamom and powdered sugar mix

Sprinkle some with red chili powder

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kadlekai Parishe, The Groundnut Fair

Going back in time in the middle of a growing city

Tonight I was at the Kadlekai Parishe or The Groundnut Fair on Bull Temple road in Basavangudi. This is the first time I went there in all these years here in Bangalore. I live in South Bangalore which is so rich in its heritage and culture. This fair started today and will go on till Tuesday evening. The fair takes place annually and has been a tradition to appease the residing deity, The Big Bull with the first harvest of groundnuts. The farmers from surrounding villages come to sell here.

I walked from Ramakrishna Ashram towards the temple, soaking in the atmosphere. It is so amazing to watch Bangalorians enjoy this fair. In rural India this is the only way of entertainment but Bangalore has it all and still attracts huges numbers to the fair, to enjoy simple things like boiled peanuts, sliced fruits with salt and pepper, cucumbers, fluffy pink sugar candy. The little shops sell all sorts of stuff from fried savories to puffed rice, sugar crafts, halva etc. Other things like toy sellers, cheap artificial flower sellers, pots and pans and other kitchen implements which we get only in rural areas are available here at the fair.

My buys at this fair consisted of a appe patra, Gods posters with glitter and ground nuts for cooking. I ate hot fresh popcorn made in sand, bought some boiled peanuts but did not manage to eat. Then finally I walked toward Kamat at Bugle Rock and had my dinner there.

See the vivid colors of the fair...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bikhre Bimb: An Eerie Ending

Bikhre Bimb has an eerie ending. You leave the theater with that feeling. Almost O'Henryish twist at the end only O'Henry writes happy endings. 

That said, It is a nice short Hindi play about 1.5hrs run. Girish Karnad deviates from his usual history based story writing to in this day play writing. A fifty something looking author comes to a TV studio for an interview to retaliate to her detractors who are accusing her of ditching her image of a Kannada writer, emerging as a Indian author who writes in English and the maiden novel is a bestseller. The overnight fame and her command over the language is something questionable feels the Kannada writers fraternity.

As she finishes her interview her alter ego comes alive on the TV screen and starts questioning her conscience about her writing in English and the origins of the story. The conversations of the author and the alter ego nudges her conscience and the story literally tumbles out. What starts as a light humorous conversation turns into deep searching questions that dumbfound the writer. Arundhati Nag plays both shades of the real and the virtual TV image with ease and honesty. Its a treat to watch her especially from the second row, every twitch of an eyebrow and shake of a hand that tries to rubbish the assumptions made by the virtual image glows in the spotlight. 

I am tempted to sneak this picture I share here and then the hawked eyed Gayathri Krishna (the co-ordinator), comes down to where I am sitting and frisks my iPAD, "Lets go" she says. I let her take away my new prized possession. I am embarrassed to death and trying to duck under the seats, realizing I was in Ranga Shankara and that was not possible. After a while I go up sheepishly to the last row stand next to her and watch the rest of the show from 60ft height.

Girish Karnad is one of my favorite authors and actors too. Love how he spins stories and the dialogues, in this play too he comments on the current scenarios of education, literature and relationships. Don't know if the charachter's husband is a co-incidence that he is from the IT industry. I did find that mentioning the IT companies in Blr. a gimmickry to please the audience in this IT hub that Blr. is or should it be said that art reflects life. That is but a small thing and plus it made this resident of that Industry smile at the mention.

In terms of being upgraded; there now I talk IT jargon, Girish has made leaps and bounds from history to present day technology, the alter ego speaks from an LCD TV. The props lining the wall indicate that it is a TV studio with panel mounted multiple LCD screens. Good to see that modern day theater has embraced technology. Yes I went to the theater after eons, hence my excitement.

Even though I was at a height and could not see the nuances on Arundhati's face, her body language conveyed so much. The bearing of a shallow woman, she a victim of parental discrimination, of the do gooder sister was awesome. She brought out well the denial of disharmony between her and husband, so typically middle class. The torture that she went through being witness to the blooming love between her sister and her own husband was almost palpable even in the last rows of the auditorium. This role is written for Arundhati Nag!

As she had walked in on stage checking out the studio and went on to monologue, my Dad whispered in my ear, "Marathi Hindi". Couldn't tell if that diction was again a bearing for the role or natural. It works to the advantage of the character played.

Easily an entertaining play that just builds on you and ends with an eerie feeling as you laugh with the real and the virtual images. "What was eerie about it?" you might ask. If I tell you everything that's a spoiler, go watch it at Ranga Shankara next when its playing. It's homeground for the actress and it was my first visit to Ranga Shankara in all these years in Blr. Love the ambience, the seating, it felt like I was an amateur natakwali myself.

At the end Arundhati thanked the crew, saying that we see only her on stage but there were so many behind this performance. It was flawless I must say given that technology involved. Ask us the users of VCON and Telepresence  what we go through each time we set up conferencing. Kudos for the team for that!

I was so excited when I reached Ranga Shankar last Saturday, was sipping coffee at their rustic cafeteria with Dad; I almost yelped on spotting Girish Karnad chatting away to someone at the entrance. My Dad tried to coax me to request a pose and a click but I was too shy. The graceful versatile personality obliged everyone in the theater by walking down the aisle and on to the stage, making this performance a memorable one for the houseful audience.


Original Kannada Script: Girish Karnad
Hindi Translation: Padmavati Rao
Actor: Arundhati Nag
Directors: Girish Karnad/ KM Chaitanya

Ticket Price: Rs. 100 (They should be applauded for keeping it affordable for everyone)
Venue: Ranga Shankara





Well in the end Gayathri handed back the iPAD to me with a smile, but her words will ring in my ears, "You have no idea what it takes to stand up alone in front of so many people."

I do understand and appreciate. Sorry for not abiding by the rules, Rasik lok aamhi ! :D

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

White Beans and Scallions Salad

This is a bean salad made in Indo-Chinese style and can be likened to a sundal. Simple clean flavors. Yet satisfying like any source of protein. The scallions add the Chinese fresh flavor to it. The pepper and a dash of lime gives it a nice spice and tang. The cumin tadka is an Indian twist. It can be eaten on its own or as an accompaniment like we did today. It's so simple you may want to make it now if you have the White beans soaked over night. We had a similar salad at Auroville recently and ever since I wanted to make it at home.

Ingredients 
1 cup White beans (soaked over night in water and boiled in the morning)
1/2 cup scallions
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper
salt to taste
lime juice, a squeeze

Heat oil in a wok. Add the cumin and let is sizzle and release the aroma. Quickly add scallions and stir fry for just a minute. Add the boiled beans. Season with fresh crushed black pepper, a squeeze of lime and salt. Mix well and its ready to serve.

Simply delicious!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Schezuan Sauce

My Uncle, MJ loves spicy stuff bordering on fiery. There are a few things he likes to be made at home, one of it is this Schezuan Sauce. So my Aunt, Aruna Kaki makes it in large batches. Everyone on both sides of her family love to get their share from her. I never get mine unless I stay with her because I do road trips to Mumbai and nothing stays good in a 15hrs drive between the two cities, the heat on the road is just too much. Once when I was with her she assigned me the task of peeling a 4 inch basket of garlic. Once upon a time I hated doing it but that day I obliged and was keen to learn this recipe from her. This recipe is a small quantity I made to use a couple of times.

Ingredients

2 medium bulbs of garlic
3 teaspoon Kashmiri Chili powder
1/4 cup of vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sesame oil or mustard oil

First skin the garlic, collect the cloves in the chutney grinder jar. Add the Kashmiri Chili powder, vinegar, sugar and salt. Grind to a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a tadka spoon to smokiness. Add the sesame seeds to it and put off the heat. Quickly pour it over the ground paste and mix well. 

I got about 5 tablespoons of sauce, of which 3 went into the  Schezuan Fried Rice and 2 are frozen for use later. For dips thin it with more oil or vinegar or water.

There you go! Your Schezuan Sauce is ready. Use it for the Schezuan Fried Rice or as a dip with starters.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Schezuan Fried Rice


Diwali is long over and now the craving has set in for spicy warm flavors as the winter advents in Blr. I'm partial to Schezuan Fried Rice than the tame Veg Fried Rice. I have not found a single place in Blr. that makes a mean Schezuan rice. Here they use tomato ketchup in the Schezuan rice which makes the rice so limp in taste. Mine is a fiery hot and tasty Indian influenced Chinese rice. Its been years since I made my own Schezuan sauce and Fried rice. I am sharing here the Schezuan Fried Rice first and then will follow the recipe for the sauce. This recipe is from my Aunt, Aruna Kaki and my own twist to it. Kaki does not use soya sauce in her Schezuan Fried Rice while I do. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it.

Ingredients

1 cup raw rice
2 tablespoons soya sauce
3 tablespoons Schezuan Sauce
1.5 cup of mix vegetables diced fine (french beans, carrots, etc.)
1 cup chopped spring onions
2 tablespoons sesame oil or mustard oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

First wash clean and soak the rice in water for 1/2 hr. Then cook it in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Remove it out on a tray and fluff it up so you get separate grains of rice. Clumpy rice is no good.

Meanwhile steam the mixed veggies, I used just fresh french bean sliced teeny weeny and grated the carrots. Strain them to drain all water if any.

Heat oil to smokiness, add the steamed veggies. Stir quickly then add the Schezuan Sauce and soya sauce. Deftly mix the sauce and veggies. Now add the fine chopped spring onions. Mix in the rice and salt the dish. Be careful with the salt, both the sauces have salt in them. Give one final stir and mix. You will see the beautiful Kashmiri chili lending its intense red color to the rice. Pl. do not use food color, it is cancer causing. The natural red color is bright by it self.

Serve hot is bowls all the way Chinese style and pick up the chopstick if you can do them justice.


That's the Chinese meal we enjoyed last weekend! 
 Schezuan Veg Fried Rice, White bean salad with scallions, Schezuan sauce and Knorr's Hot and sour soup.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Laxmi Pujan and Tulashi Vivaha

 Laxmi Pujan and the Goddess's foot prints. 

Welcome Oh Goddess of wealth! 
Please take your seat in our humble home and grant us prosperity!



My ever enthusiastic SIL, Sapna is such a superb combination of modern and traditional. She manages a home of five and works for a Insurance company as a Quality auditor. I have seen her struggle doing the balancing act when I spent two months in Mumbai with my family. I felt like reaching out to her because she is so much younger than me and carries the family responsibilities so well. Mind you we are a family that would just let her be even if she did not do this, typically my father and Uncle would say, let go, Jaoo de. I'm sure her MIL, Devaki Kaki and Aunt Inlaw, my Mom are blessing her from wherever they are and watching her. She is just so precious to us.

This post is for her, to applaud her spirit and dedication to our family. Love you lady and God bless!


Tulashi Vivaha 

May the Goddess Tulashi bring in auspiciousness for the unmarried in the family and fertility for the married. 
Let our home resonate with purity and devotion.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Oozing Plum Cake

A long time ago when Plums were in season I made this cake. This one is a beauty not only in appearance but in flavors too. Plus like most of my cakes it is light and how I love to bake with fruit. The plum on baking concentrates in tartness and sweetness and the fragrance is heavenly as you bite into a piece. This is an upside down cake so it is given that the place where the fruit and cake meet is soaked and soft. If you prefer to have your cake dry then using this same recipe make a plum sauce and dress up the sponge. The star anise in this cake lends the spice notes that make anyone happy, its unusual in a cake!

When I baked this cake I did not have a single whole star anise, it was all broken in my spice box and was waiting to be used for a longish time. I don't use star anise much in my curries but preserves are another thing. I wanted to bake it again when I had plums and a whole star anise to stud the cake and make a glamorous picture for the blog but then I waited long and the plums went out of season and I did not get to buying star anise again. So here I am posting with the only picture  I have of the cake.

This is a very simple recipe so follow me...
 
Ingredients

1 cup Plums cored and sliced
2 tablespoons of sugar
2  star anise
Cake sponge
1.5 cups All purpose flour
1/2 tin sweet condensed milk
1/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon star anise powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of sugar or more
some milk to adjust the thickness of the batter

Grease a 3 inch baking tin, I used my hexagon. Grease it and dust it only on the sides, prepare it for the baking. Now layer the slices of ripe plum at the bottom of the tin. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar and star anise powder. Keep aside.

Preheat the oven at 185 deg Celsius. I like to use my convection oven for this so it take 10 mins of preheating.

Now in a mixing bowl beat up the sweet condensed milk, oil and sugar together till it is dissolved.

Sieve together the flour, star anise powder, baking powder and salt. Now fold in this aerated dry mix little by little into the liquid mix. Incase the batter is thick use a little bit of milk.

Then pour the batter over the plum slices. Put the baking tin into the preheated oven and bake till the knife when inserted in the sponge comes of dry. You will see the plum sauce bubbling on the sides, that is how it should be. It takes about 25 to 30 mins for a golden bake.

Let it cool for 10 mins then turn over in a plate or cake holding dish. Be careful and the sauce may still be hot. Make sure the fruit is now topping the cake. Let the sauces flow over the cake that's what will give it the oozing look.

This cake tastes besk when fresh and warm. The aroma of the baked plum and star anise is absolutely divine. Bake it! Experience it!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Diwali

My platter of Faral, Karanji, Chivda, Steamed Rava Ladu, Mast Ladoo and Shankarpali
 
 
 Those are my fairy lights, my Kandeel and Deep

Hello Friends! How was your Diwali?

Mine was special, am still soaking in it. It all began on Dhanatrayodashi and this entire week has been lovely and memorable.

The little terracotta lamp is a gift from my friend Deepa for attending her housewarming ceremony. The Kandeel and ceramic platter are from Auroville.

I had an off from work on Thu, which was Balipratipada or Diwali Padva so on that day I was able to make the ladoos, Chivda and Shankarpali with help from Dad. I made Karanji yesterday :P technically after Diwali. 

On Bhau bij which was a Fri I spoke to my bros, Vijay, Hrushi and Sumeet. It was a remote ovaLni / aarti. Of receiving blessings from Vijay Bhau and me in turn blessing the younger ones.

On Thu we were invited to Vidya aunty's home for a high tea. We shared our sweets while she returned the favor with these treats.
 Vidya Shenoy aunty's Faral, Wheat halwa, Karanji with Cocoa and coconut and Mande

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pineapple Rasam

My favorite fruit for cooking is pineapple. Only after living in the south I have learnt to use it in cooking. This is a very flavorful rasam that can lift your spirits in minutes and those chunky pineapple pieces taste awesome and juicy. I love rasam and rice when one consciously wants a light tummy. On my bros birthday we ate so much in the day that this was the obvious choice for a dinner. 

Here is how it is made.

Ingredients

1 cup pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon rasam powder
1 green chili slit
handful of curry leaves
handful of cilantro
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup tamarind pulp
500 ml water
salt to taste

Heat oil. Splutter Mustard. Add the asafoetida, green chili, curry leaves. Let it crispen a bit. Then add the pineapple chunks. Cover and cook for 5 mins. Once pineapple is cooked add the rasam powder and tamarind extract. Add all the water. Boil vigorously for 5-7 mins till the masala gets cook. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and put of the heat. 

Serve hot with piping hot steamed rice or sip it in a cup. Life's simple pleasures will come to you.

Click on the label for Pineapple you will find some sooper delicious recipes on this blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mocha Cake Layered With Ice Cream

After much pondering finally I zeroed in on a Mocha cake layered with ice cream for Hrushi's birthday. I mentioned before that this was our celebration together after 6yrs. When we all lived together I tried my best to make my little bros happy and why not this one is my fan. So when he landed here in Blr. he was fed to the brim. His birthday especially was packed with eats right from a breakfast of Dhokla and elaborate lunch out and a high tea with this cake cutting and the day wound up with a simple Pineapple Rasam and rice followed by Ganga Jamuna Ice Cream.

Ingredients

For Chocolate Sponge Layer
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup Sugar free
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup Amul Mithai mate/ condensed milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For Coffee Sponge Layer
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Sugar free
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 Filter coffee decoction
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Ice cream for fill layers 
Make your own or buy

Fresh cream
1 cup fresh cream
1 tablespoon of sugar 

Walnuts for the studs

Keep two mixing bowls ready. Grease and dust the baking tray with flour, keep aside.

Boil water and pour it over 3-4 teaspoons of coffee powder in the traditional filter. Let the decoction collect.

Now for the Chocolate sponge, sieve the flour and cocoa powder along with the baking powder. This will make the cake light and airy. In a mug beat up the oil, condensed milk and sugar together till completely dissolved. Then fold this wet mix and flour together gently. Pour it into the prepared baking tin. Keep aside.

Next for the Coffee sponge, sieve the flour and baking powder in the mixing bowl. In a mug beat together milk, oil, sugar and coffee decoction till sugar is dissolved and the liquid froths. Then fold the flour and liquid together. Pour the mix above the chocolate layer in the baking tin.

Preheat Convection Oven with both elements on for 10 mins. Then bake the cake for 20 mins or till it is a golden bake. Insert a knife to check if it comes out dry. Let is cool for 10 mins then unmould on the grill. Keep this sponge ready atleast couple of hours before assembling the cake. 

I baked this in a 9X11 tray. This makes it easier to cut into strips of 3 inch width. Now on a plate keep one strip. Layer it with Ganga Jamuna Ice Cream. Then put the next strip of cake over it. Add one more layer of ice cream same or different for variation. The third layer and finally slash it with Fresh cream.

Whip up the fresh cream with sugar till fluffy. Use this for the top layer.

Now stud this beauty with chopped walnuts.
We were supposed to travel the next day so divided the cake into 3 giant portions for the 3 of us, Hrushi, Dad and me.

The ice cream melted so fast when I was clicking so it looked like a puddle in the pics but still tasted good. Next time larger slices of ice cream should go between the cake layers. But the puddle of ice cream does act like a sauce. Thanks to Hrushi and Dad they didn't complain with the blog obsessed cook who takes pics of everything she bakes and cooks and then this is what you get :P

Popular Posts

On Trail