Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Event : Come Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi With Me

Yesterday at work it was announced that 2nd Sep will be compensatory off for which we will work on the 17th. At first I was completely lost, what do I do for 5 days? The 31st and 1st were known holidays. My friends started suggesting options, some were sweet to offer an invite to their home. My elder bro Vijay called up to ask if I was coming home. I did not want to do any of it, I mean I might visit friends here if I feel like but I was not going home, 5 days is just not enough and with this short notice it is impossible to travel. All modes of transport are already full. I don't have a permanent driver now, so no more travels on a whim. I thought it would be a better idea to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with you, my blogger buddies.

No rules for this event, all you have to do is just link to this post. I shall collate all your posts and flash them all through the Ganapati festival till Gauri visarjan. I am looking at atleast 21 darshans so include a picture of the Ganapati in your Pooja or home.

Entries will be accepted till : 8pm on 6th Sep. 

Come lets celebrate and spread  the cheer of Ganapati Bappa Morya!! I am very excited. Hope you are too!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Broccoli Aloo Wadi Rassa

This curry is going to be on my special curry list as it is very easy to make and has the potential of winning everyone's heart. Kids too will love it. When I have kids over for a meal I always make a potato curry as most kids love potatoes plus it is easy to incorporate other veggies in this curry like Broccoli, cauliflower, brinjal etc. plus the protein from the wadi. This curry has a gravy that is not too thick nor too thin hence we call it rassa and that is how I like it.

Ingredients
1 small head Broccoli
8-10 baby potatoes boiled
1 aloo wadi
1 green chili
1/4 teaspoon amchur
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
a large pinch asafoetida
2 teaspoon oil
chopped cilantro a handful
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 a lime

Heat oil, sprinkle in the asafoetida. Sizzle up the broccoli in it with the green chili. While its cooking. Peel the boiled baby potatoes. Crush the aloo wadi with a rolling pin by putting it into a plastic bag, smaller pieces are better, they don't loose identity in the curry so don't worry about a mush after cooking. In a separate pan add another teaspoon of oil and saute the wadi to dark brown. Add them in along with broccoli. Now add all the masalas and the chopped cilantro. Stir and let it cook on sim for 5 mins. Then add a glass and a half of water to get a consistency of your choice. Boil till the curry thickens with the starchiness of the potatoes. You could even crush couple of potatoes to give it more body. Add the amchur, sugar and salt. Boil to a rolling boil for another 5 mins. Put off the gas. Let it rest for sometime. Potato curries get better as they rest and thicken up a bit. Before serving squeeze half a lime into the curry and mix well.

This curry was served with Ajwain paratha and bought out mango pickle, though I was dreaming of the chunky mango pickle that's made the Punjabi way. I loved the curry and I did crumble the wadi into my curry along with the baby potatoes meditatively before scooping up with the paratha. It is a very satisfying meal. I didn't know why I expected it to taste like non veg curry but it did not. This taste is different as the texture of even the crumbled wadi is noticeable, quite grainy. It gives you the experience of an aromatic mouthful as you relish the Punjabi wadi.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Punjabi Wadi

When you are in the south unlike Mumbai you will rarely chance upon regional specialties, especially in South Bangalore. So I first saw the mention of these wadis on Manisha's IFR and the whole world seem to be talking about it. I sulked, here I am in India itself and I did not have access to Punjabi wadi. No not even in the fancy super markets. But years after the Wadi movement I chanced upon these at Total Mall. Remember I mentioned it on the Nolen gur post.

Here is the recipe to make your own wadi.

I made Broccoli Aloo wadi curry inspired by Anita' curry and a greens stir fry with sauteed wadi in it. I loved the rasa curry more than the stir fry. The wadi is quite stiff even when cooked. While eating unless you really crumble it in the curry you will not enjoy it thoroughly. The post on the Broccoli Aloo wadi curry to follow...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Osaman

In the thali clockwise: Osaman, leafy vegetable stir fry, Rice with osaman, tomato basil salsa, coconut coriander chutney and curd

Osaman or Gujarathi Dal or Ramesh Bhai's Dal. Well the third name is by which it was known for many years in my home. You know that I grew up in the Gujarathi heartland of Mumbai, Fort and that my neighbors were a big influence on my eating habits. Kaki my neighbor made this every single day yet when Ramesh bhai her son made it, was always special. The smells of the chauk/ tadka made for the dal made me drool as a child. Recreating memories thru this dal. Soon it will be Ganapati time when the entire Rajput family visited us in Tata Colony after we moved to Chembur. Missing everyone, Preeti, Ramesh bhai, Bhabhi, Indu tai, Ansu tai, Mayuri, Vijay Jijaji, and ones who are no more with us Kaki, Ji Aaji and Japan Baba.

Ingredients

1 cup cooked tuvar dal/ split pigeon peas
2-3 pieces of kokum/ 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
1 small piece jaggery
1/8 cup peanuts
1 inch piece of cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1 split chopped green chili
 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4-5 curry leaves
1 teaspoon ghee
salt to taste
handful of cilantro for garnish

Heat a pateli. Add ghee, heat to smoking point. Splutter mustard and cumin seeds. Followed by cloves and cinnamon. Now add the asafoetida. The green chili and curry leaves go after this. Then add the kokum or tamarind pulp. Quickly add a glass of water. Throw in the peanuts and the jaggery. Bring to a boil. With a ravi/ beater blend the cooked dal to smoothness. Transfer it to the pateli. Salt it and boil vigorously for 10 mins.

Once off the gas serve immediately with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Ladle it onto a mound of rice, basmati, kolam or ambe mohor! Love it, you bet it is lip smacking!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sour and Sweet Leafy Lettuce


This bowl was so colorful when I made it that it had to be put on the blog. We loved the taste too of crunchy leafy lettuce and pear and the sweetness of the bananas. The cherry tomatoes were the sour dimension to balance the sweet.

Here is how I made it.

Ingredients

2-3 clusters of leafy lettuce
5-6 cherry tomatoes
1/2 pear 
2 Elaichi bananas
1/2 cucumber
salt and sugar 
squeeze of lime

Take a large salad bowl. Tear out or snip up the leafy lettuce. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Cut cucumber into chunky pieces. Dice the pear. Slice the Elaichi banana. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar and a large pinch salt. Toss around the vegetable and fruits. Squeeze a lime and toss once again.

On this day our lunch was cup noodles and this salad. Just when I was feeling lazy to cook and guilty to eat processed food I was happy I made this salad with its balanced taste and utter freshness lending the meal at home a completeness.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

NaraLi Bhat

It's NaraLi Pournima and Raksha bandhan today as I post this my lucky cousin Charu will reach our Mumbai home to tie rakhi for my cousin brothers. I am in Blr so have to bless them from here itself.

I made Narali bhat today. My supply of Naral or coconut is store bought and not from the game of coconut cracking as described here. I am missing home and Mumbai today, as I was speaking to my cousin brother, Hrushi he promised to visit me soon. 

In their name this sweet coconut rice is enjoyed today!

Ingredients
1/2 Basmati rice
1/2 cup powdered jaggery
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
1 table spoon ghee
2 cloves
1 cardamom
a handful of raisins
a handful of peanuts

At first wash Basmati rice. Dry it on a towel for 15 mins. Heat ghee in a wok. Now crackle up the cloves in it. Then add the peanuts and fry them up in the ghee. Add the washed and semi wet Basmati rice into the ghee. Stir to coat the grains of rice evenly. Add a glass of water and cook with a lid on. Pay attention that the rice grains should not clump. Then lower the heat and mix in the coconut, jaggery and raisins. Mix well to melt jaggery completely. Once the jaggery is molten completely it will impart a lovely pale golden color to the rice and it will glisten. Put off the heat and mix in the crushed cardamon powder. Let it cool completely before serving.

This is a traditional sweet in Maharashtra made on this day. I will make the Chauri chi Karanji too in the evening.

This sweet coconut rice or NaraLi Bhat in Marathi brings back memories of my father's Rakhi sister, Sunita Aatya, who would get it for us all the way from Goregaon to Fort. You must be wondering who is a Rakhi sister if you are not Indian. Well, on this day any woman who adopts a brother and ties a Rakhi (sacred thread) to him is called a Rakhi sister. The Indian tradition allows a woman to adopt a bro if she does not have a brother of her own. These bonds have sometimes been stronger than that of real siblings.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Going Up South?

"Going Up South?" No one ever says that, not even a southner. South is always supposed to be down. Right? No wrong! If you meant the new restaurant at Ragigudda, then you are going to Up South.

Now If I am taking visitors to see that lovely Ragigudda temple complex I also have a food destination where they can sample authentic South Indian snacks and meals in a clean environment. The combo platters are really like tasting platters, every item is in small portions. The medu vada is small, the idlis are cocktail sized, the dosa is shruken. There are 3 chutneys so enjoy, the peanutty, garlic and plain cilantro in a single plate. A ladle of sambar, sagu and some onions for sprinkles. This plate is for one large eater or can be shared by two people with an additional snack order. Like we did you could order one of the other dosas or rotis of choice, like ragi roti, akki roti etc. Our addition was set dosa. With the combo platter you could choose to have a glass of Buttermilk or filter coffee included in the price of the platter and an extra coffee for Dad. We obviously chose the later to complete our proper South Indian meal. We had this at lunch but in the South this is actually a breakfast platter. Oh I forgot to add there was a big puffed Puri too in that platter but it got passed on to Dad so you don't see it in the picture.

There are other North Indian platters too but as always avoid those in a restaurant that calls it self Up South. South is their specialty and that is what I recommend.

The colors of the decor are bright citrusy and clean. This is a self service place so you bill at the counter at the entrance. Pick your order and choose a table that gives you the view of the side road and far view of the ring road or if your focus in going to be conversation while eating then climb up to the mezzanine.

It's a good place to snack when you are in Jayanagar, J.P. Nagar shopping around or on one of the unhurried days when you are heading to work. So now you won't frown if some one asks you, "Going Up South?"

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Nolen Gur Payesh

You know how these bloggers are! They tease you with their creations and you stay haunted for days, months and years. When I visited Kolkata some years ago, it was March and Nolen Gur was not yet made. It is a winter speciality. Acually I did not know much about Nolen gur till then. I just thought it was yet another obsessions the Mishti loving Bongs had. Then one day I got to taste Nolen gur Rosgullas a colleague had flown in a huge box for the team. I simply loved it.

You can only imagine my excitement when I spotted it in our next door mall. I was super thrilled! I even found a packet of premixed panch phoran. I used to make my own and at times when I did not have kalo jeero I'd sulk that my phoran was not a complete panch. On this day I got lucky and will display yet another find in the upcoming post. Now getting back to the recipe of the payesh I made today... Well Payesh is a festive preparation and that too the one with Nolen gur is almost sacred I understand from Bong Mom. While Sayantani has all these ideas for using Nolen Gur in her spectacular post on Sandesh with this magic ingredient.

While there are lots of recipes here is mine a fast track one.

Ingredients
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 litre whole milk
75 gms Nolen Gur
1 teaspoon Ghee
crushed nuts like almond, chashew, pista etc.

Bring the milk to a boil in a large vessel. Now measure out 1 cup soft cooked rice. Add it to the boiling milk. Keep stirring so that the milk does not foam and boil over. Let the rice crumble into the milk a bit and allow it to thicken just slightly. Put off the heat after simmering it for about 15-20 mins. Now it is time to add Nolen Gur, to help it dissolve easily crush the gur. Keep stirring till dissolved completely. As the gur dissolves it will lend the payesh a custard like consistency and color. Like Sayantani I too am a succor for delicate flavors so avoid using any other aromatics but am sure Sandeepa's addition of bayleaf is a good variation. Lastly top the payesh with a spoonful of pure ghee. Stir in the crushed nuts and raisin to add a crunch to your gooey treat.

Dad loves sweets and so he had seconds of this Bengali speciality. I am going to save this star ingredient in the fridge and try it out it in all possible mishti! Next would be Doi, its planned already.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Patole for Nagpanchami

Yesterday was Nagpanchami in the morning itself Vidya Shenoy aunty called up to tempt me. She was making Patole and if possible would bring them over for me in the evening once I'm back home from work. I never really feel excited about Patole but I knew that Vidya aunty would add her special touch to any dish.

So there she was in the evening waiting for me at home with hot steaming Patole emitting that characteristic delicate flavor of fresh turmeric leaves. I carefully peeled the steamed leaf from the rice flour wrapped around the coconut jaggery filling and bit into it. The slender packet of heavenly aromas filled my mouth. Not too sweet and perfectly steamed with the right thickness of the rice flour wrapper is what makes this a treat fit for a special festival. Loved it!

I had one last night and one for breakfast. I was craving for more but I have started practicing discretion now, believe it or not! All smiles.

Here is a recipe and pictorial by Sanika of Delectable-Delicious. Go try it out.

Calories: 225 per piece

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

MyPlate Is A Good Plate

 Does your plate look like this? 
If not click on the logo to visit the site, there are lots of helpful tools.

The Maharashtrian Taat was a perfect balanced meal. When I started cooking snacks became breakfast and dinner too. I never bothered about planning a well balanced meal. That balanced meal was a privilege when Mom and Aunts cooked for the family. Last 15 odd years my week day cooking has never been a Taat with that much variety of food groups.

The USDA or the United States department of Agriculture has come up with message for the public which is a simple plate with colorful representation of a balanced meal and its portions. The brilliance of this logo is its simplicity and absence of a language for the message. Anyone who can see can understand what it conveys. 

I am happy to say my plate is exactly like this. I follow a intake of 1400 calories diet plan that is helping me move towards my ideal weight.

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