Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kokum Sarbat


It is summer time and more than the last year I am feeling the heat more this year. Last year when I came back to Mumbai I was fearing being hit by the heat but the summers just passed away. This year I am deliberate in attempting to make lots of cold drinks for us to sip on especially in the afternoon instead of tea.

Here is a post by my dear blogger buddy Saee, on how Kokum juice concentrate is made just the way it is made traditionally in the villages of the Konkan region of Maharashtra.

I haven't gone to Thal in a while and no fresh Kokum for me yet. So I use the Kokum juice that comes in a plastic can to make this thirst quencher.

Ingredients

300 ml Kokum juice concentrate
700 ml chilled water
1/2 a lime
1/4 teaspoon pink salt
few sprigs of fresh mint
Ice cubes

In a glass jar measure out the kokum juice concentrate. It is all natural fruit preserved in sugar. Since this concentrate is made in sugar you won't need extra sugar to make the sarbat. 

Squeeze into it half a lime. The lime should be thin skinned and juicy to lend a nice citrus twist to it. 

Add pink salt, this sets off the sweetness a hint and lends a balance.

Crush the mint between your palm and add to the jar.

Top up with the water to get 1 litre of sarbat.

Add ice cubes into the glasses and fill them to the brim as you hand out the sarbat to a parched soul as the person steps into your home. 

In summers in the Kokan this Kokum sarbat is the welcome juice of choice due to the abundance of this fruit. It is called  Ratambe (plural) in the local dialect. Funny that we love our Hapoos and Payari so much yet this completely different fruit with it cooling properties and antacid effect is called Ratamba (singular) or mango of the night. It must be simply because we love both the mangoes and the night mangoes equally!

Look for Kokum sarbat in any Marathi locality in Mumbai or tell your Mango supplier, I am sure he will get you a drum of Kokum sarbat concentrate.

Make a glass won't you! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Growing Green Garlic


In my home garlic is not something that we depend on to enhance the flavor in our food but there are certain things unarguably that taste better with garlic. Like the garlic chutney which is a signature Koli style.

Well but garlic cloves taste quite different than Garlic greens. The greens are milder and impart and beautiful mellow taste. 

Growing it is as easy as sticking the garlic cloves from your pantry into some mud, watering it and waiting for it to sprout and waiting to let it grow into 10-15 inches tall grass like greens.

Here is what I did
  1. Take planter plate. 
  2. Fill with planting soil upto 1 inch below the brim.
  3. Create holes in the soil at the top.
  4. Take a whole garlic, separate out the cloves. Stick each clove into the holes created and cover with soil.
  5. Sprinkle water to moisten the soil. Do this every day.
  6. Ensure enough sunlight, but not direct. You can keep it under a larger plant for some shade.
  7. End of a week or two you will see beautiful greens. Let them grow till 10-15 inches tall.
Harvest : 
Pluck the greens when still tender for use as a herb. You can keep them fresh by keeping it standing in water for a few days.
Some uses:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lime In Salt and Sugar


Fresh and yet to be aged

This is a preserved lime recipe my Mother would make for me as a kid. She would make small quantities and we had a special glass bowl with a lid for it. Simple yet wonderful especially for a kid that suffered nausea and acidity all through growing up years. If there was this lime my Aai brought out on my plate, I would eat my varan bhaat without complaints.

It's simple to make and not much of a recipe. Just preserving the lime in lots of sugar and salt.

Ingredients

20 Indian lime
1/2 kg sugar
4 teaspoons salt

Wash the lime and drain. Pat dry with a napkin and cut each lime into 8 pieces. 

In a glass jar put all these pieces and cover up with sugar and salt. Shake the jar and keep it in the sun to cook for a week.

After 3 months this pickle will get paler yet juicier as the lime juices thicken with the sugar and salt.

In my home it is called Mooravlela limbu in Marathi or preserved lime.

Aged preserved lime after 3 months, yum!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bhoplyachi Khichadi With Green Garlic

The green garlic used in this recipe was homegrown

Yesterday was my best friend Sangita's birthday. I had invited her family over for dinner and one of the things I made was a variation of this Khichadi. Yesterday it wasn't Khichadi but took the avatar of risotto with cheese and a bit of cream in it. This one is surely an Indian khichadi. It is a simple wholesome dish with the garlic and pumpkin making it delectable. 

The flavor profile is clean and uncomplex. The creaminess makes is so very comforting that a warm bowl guarantees that you will make it on those days when its cold and you would like to meditate over it, almost!

So get going if you are tempted to cook right away.

Ingredients

1/4 kg pumpkin / bhopla
1/2 cup small grained rice.
4 cups water.
1 tablespoon ghee
1 small bunch of green garlic, about 10 cloves with greens 
salt to taste

In a pressure cooker measure out the rice. Wash and drain. Peel the pumpkin and chop into large chunks. Add salt to taste. Top up with water and close the lid. Allow 4-5 whistles to get mushy cook rice.

Cool the cooker and then open the lid. Mash the rice and pumpkin with a ladle to gooey consistency. 

In a tadka bowl heat ghee and add chopped green garlic to it and tip off into the mushy rice and pumpkin khichadi. Mix well. 

Enjoy the pumpkin khichadi with some crunchy munchies. It tastes awesome.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stuffed Chilli Pickle

This is an irresistible pickle! 

That said, I must say you need guts of steel to enjoy this one. There is something very glamorous about pickling these pretty red hot~~ chilies.
On one of those visits to APMC market I spotted this guy selling these beauties. I fell for the sheer charm and bought a whole kg. On counting they were 45 or more!

I took on the challenge of washing, drying and slitting them open to remove the seeds. They were going to be my best pickle I knew already. I am not kidding each of my 4 sisters, my 3 bros, my atyas and uncles all got a share of this pickle. They all loved it!

Well it was Sia's Monsoon Spice pictures that got me into risking scorching my hands and she in turn refers to the original recipe by Rajani of Eat write think.

I kept the same ratios but made a huge batch of the masala thinking the quantities specified by both the ladies are small compared to the no. of chilies. They had made smaller batches while mine was more than double. I had too much masala in the end but you will see in the upcoming post what I did with the extra masala. Anyways what I give here is halved quantities of the masala I actually made and used for this pickle.

Ingredients

1/4 cup Fennel Seeds
1/4 cup Cumin Seeds
1/4 cup Fenugreek Seeds
1/4 cup Mustard Seeds
2 tablespoons Nigella Seeds
3 tablespoons Turmeric Powder
1/8 cup Amchur Powder/Dry Mango Powder 
1 tablespoon asafoetida
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup Mustard Oil
300 ml Mustard Oil  to immerse the chilies

In the microwave toast all the seeds for 30 secs. Let them cool to room temperature.

Put all of it into the mixer jar, add the turmeric, asafoetida and amchur and give it a whiz. Stop at coarse grind. 

Remove to a thali the coarse grounds and mix in salt and mustard oil.

Preparing the chillies is the biggest challenge. I would recommend handling the chilies with gloves on. Wash and pat dry. Then slit the chilies and remove the central pith and seeds. I at the time thought I did not think I needed gloves and assumed the the chilies would not be that hot. I was wrong. My hands were scorched. Until...


I made this pickle over the day long chores in the house so I was applying ice all through the day on my hands till I sat down to stuff up the slit chillies. It was an amazing feeling how the prepared spice paste cooled my hands. It assured me that the heat in the chilies will be toned down as they aged. Yet again I was to be proved wrong.

After stuffing all the chilies I lined them into a clean and dry glass jar. Pour 300 ml Mustard oil over the stuffed chilies.

Keep the jar in the sun for a week.

Then move it to store in a cool dry place.

To serve I usually remove 1 chilli at a time from the oil using a tong and divide it into bits for individual serves.

Do you need suggestion to eat this pickle? We eat it with everything Indian! It's the best pickle now in my repertoire may I say :)

Thank you Rajani and Sia, I am now the designated stuffed chilli pickle maker in my family and friend circle.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spicy Lime In Jaggery


Suncooked for a week and aged for 3 months, ready to be licked up!

This is a very very traditional Maharashtrian pickle, sweet, citrusy and spicy all in one! It is a must to have this pickle at home. It went with almost all desserts to set off the sweetness and clean the palate or much like ketchup with the savory snacks, like thalipith, tikat puris etc. I was under the impression that red chili powder is not permitted for Upvas for the longest time but this pickle has always been part of the fasting food in Gondavale.

We fell in love with this pickle in Gondavale and my expert pickle maker Aunt Devaki made it every year in winter when the limes came cheap. Bought from the markets in Byculla, in scores by her husband PJK. We would sit down around the huge tub of limes washing, cleaning and pat drying them before quartering. Our hands went sore with the lime juice. It was an activity that we loved doing as a group of kids in our sit out in the back of our little cottage in Tata colony. So much happened then!

Ingredients

40 nos. medium sized limes, quartered
1 kg Jaggery
1/4 cup red chilli powder
1/8 cup salt

Mix all the ingredients in a large tub. Pack it into a clean dry jar and leave it for cooking in the sun.

Fresh after a week of suncooking
Pack the jar only 3/4th as the jaggery melts and bubbles up, it needs space. Else you will have lava flowing out. I did cause it, as I filled the jar to the brim and on the second day had to remove a lot of the pickle into another jar.

If you do not like jaggery use the same amount of sugar. Sugar ferments lesser than jaggery so it lasts longer too but we don't mind the fermentation as we love jaggery, well and as a family of teetotalers wee bit of alcohol is Ok we think in the food, kidding ;)

This pickles stores well at room temp. As long as it is juicy and not smelly you can use it, ours lasts a year easily.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Whole Awala In Brine

 Lets begin this series with the easiest of the pickles, Whole Awala In Brine.

Ingredients
1 kg Awala
1/2 cup salt
2 pinches of lime / chuna
1/4 cup julienned ginger
handful of whole green chilies
Wash and pat dry the whole Awala / Amla / Gooseberries.

Then prick the Awala from all sides with a fork to make salt absorption and adsorption possible. 

In a large bowl mix the pricked Awala, ginger, whole green chillies, salt and lime. Toss with a salad tong. The lime is added to avoid oxidation and precipitation. Else the brine becomes milky. The 2 pinches of lime keeps the brine clear.

Once mixed well, pack into a glass jar. Keep out for sunning for atleast a week till all the salt melts to give a brine.

Store in a cool dry place and shake well to mix once every fortnight to avoid fungus formation.

Uses:

As medicine for nausea or as souring agent in your curries and chutneys. Awala has that special flavor that lifts a mundane curry or chutney to a different level.

Wish you good health with this vitamin C packed pickle.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pickles 2013


 

These are some of the pickles I made at the start of the year. Before I get to pickling the Rajapuri mangoes like last year posting these here. Those who follow the FB page would have already seen these. The recipe for each of these and some more to follow...

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Growing Chavali


Chavali or Black eyed beans, is one of my favorite beans. I love tender beans as a stir fry and the mature seeds soaked overnight and cooked into a spicy curry with a gravy. On one such day I soaked the Chavali for the curry and decided to plant one and see how it grows. I had read somewhere it grows easily. It did and I am happy with it.

I grew Chavali in three stages

Soaking:  
12 Jan 2013
Add the seeds in a jar and cover with 4-5 inches of water above the seeds. Soak them in water overnight.

Sprouting: 
Drain the soaked seeds and let them sprout in the soil       

Planting: 
  • I used a plastic tray with growing media.
  • Fill up to the brim.
  • Ensure there is a small hole in the bottom of the planter for draining excess water.
  • Sprinkle water to moisten the soil. Do this every day.
  • Cover thinly with dry leaves/ saw dust or a wet muslin cloth to protect from birds picking the sprouts.
  • Ensure enough sunlight, but not direct till the bean stalk proliferates quite a bit.
  • In a week I got 5 inch tall bean stalk.
  • Replant into a bigger pot with growing media, a mix of soil and twigs. Fill up with planting soil up to 10 inches.
  • Start supporting the bean stalk on the grill or a cage.
  • It flowers into white blossoms and bears fruit in the form or green beans.

Harvest:
Pluck the beans once they are about 15 inches to use when tender or leave them on stalk to mature if you want to wait for the seeds.

24 Mar 2013

Cleaning for Use:
Remove the crown and destring, if you must, break into small pieces or chop up fine.

Some uses:
Till now I have harvested only 4-5 beans at a time so they went as sprinkles on uttapams or into a sambar.

While we are talking about growing Chavali here, there is something else happening on the other side of the world with red chavali and my Koli masala which traveled across with ET. Mints, thank you for posting, you made my day!
 Fresh beans harvested for the mature seeds. 11th April 2013

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Finding peace...



My Green balcony




And 

My father's soulful singing


  Maze Maharaj


Sadguru Maza

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