Friday, October 31, 2008

Almond Banana Chocolate Bread

It's still warm and smells so good.

While I was looking for something quick and fast for breakfast and also wanted to use up the Bananas that were overripe. So on Googling landed on this lovely site.

I made it eggless as usual and with a few changes so am giving the ingredients here in the same order.


1/2 cup almonds coarse
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Cadbury's cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I skipped it)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Oil
2 ripe bananas sliced
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl mix in all the wet ingredients like oil, milk, vanilla essence, banana slices and sugar. Beat with a spatula till sugar dissolves. To this liquid mix add the dry mix slowly and fold in the flour.

Oil the bread pan and dust it with flour. Tap the pan upside down to remove excess flour.

Bake the loaf for 30 mins or till an inserted needle comes out dry. Cool completely and turn it out into a tray. Slice it carefully and serve with more sliced banana.

I like to have the banana slices in the bite as they taste divine but this bread has to be consumed in 3 days even if refrigerated. If mashed banana is used it gives a dry loaf that has a better shelf life. Decide what you want shelf life or taste and then follow.

The coarse almond powder gives a nice texture to the loaf besides making it light.

This Almond Banana Chocolate bread is something I'm going to bake soon for my nephew Pranav. He mostly will name it ABC Bread. That's him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

V Slicer Or The Mandoline

I must have bought it in the year 2000 or so. We had gone to the Apna Bazaar near our home and there was this demo going on there. My Dad spotted this V Slicer and he suggested that I must have this in the kitchen as I was cooking a lot those days. It was the time when we had moved into our new home and as you know we are native Mumbaikars and we have all our friends and family in Mumbai itself. They wanted to check out our new home. I remember for almost a year we had family and friends visiting every weekend. I was always having people over for either lunch, dinner or atleast tea which meant endless cooking. I was on a career break at the time. This V slicer or Mandoline saved my life and continues to do so. Whether it is Chinese or Indian the V slicer cuts down the vegetable chopping time to just mins.

This demo is especially for my team mates Rashmi and Sapna here in Blr. These girls are newly weds and budding cooks. Sapna enjoyed cooking before marriage too so she is always on the look out of appliances and tools for the kitchen that will help make life easy. Where as Rashmi is a tomboy turned good wife cooking for hubby dear. Rashmi likes her veggies cut really fine so I definitely think she is going to like this kitchen aide.

The brand I have is Borne'r. Telebrands also sells a V slicer here in India. Go check it out you gals. Else the next time the hubby is onsite ask him to get you this V slicer or Mandoline.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bhurgulyache Ladoo

This is a story Yesu Aaji (my father's mother) would tell us at bedtime when she felt that we were pampered kids bred in the city of Mumbai. The story teaches you to value what you have and be sympathetic towards the less fortunate.

Naarya lived in Thal with his widowed mother. Their home was a hut made from Zaap the coconut leaves woven to form panels and dry hay that was used to thatch the roof. This was a sure sign of their condition. It just had one room with a smoldering chool in one corner. There would be a big black pot of pez (gruel) cooking on it all day long. If on someday Naarya's mother was not able to earn anything that meant no vegetables or fish. Then the pez would fill their stomach all three times a day. Above the chool there hung a shika (choir pot hanger) in which was a basket with a few pieces of stale Chavlachi Roti. At times when Naarya cried for roti his mother dipped the stale and hardened roti in hot water to soften it and would serve to him.

It was the time of Dattachi yatra (Datta jayanti). There was a fair at the temple on the outskirts of Thal. Men and women took their children to the fair. While returning everyone seemed to have conical packs of peda and paper wraps.

Naarya asked one of his friends what it had in the paper wraps. They said with a twinkle, "Bhurgulyache Ladoo"(puffed rice and jaggery balls). Those were the times when even simple things like that meant so much to the kids unlike today's kids who demand for cheese to snack on.

Naarya felt sad that his mother did not have money to send him for the fair. He was dejected and pulled a blanket over his head and cuddled in one corner of the hut. His mother came home from the bunder(fish drying fields) and found him sobbing. The mother ran to him instantly and asked him what was wrong. He refused to tell. He was a mature child and knew that his mother would not be able to provide what he wanted. Finally he told his mother how he wanted to taste Bhurgulyache Ladoo.

His mother went to the chool and put her hand in the dark konada ( a cove in the wall) which was her safety locker and found just one bronze coin with a hole.

She told Naarya to go to Tambat the grocer and do as instructed. Naarya went to Tambat and told him that his mother wanted to make Bhurgulyache Ladoo so he wanted Bhurgule and Jaggery. Tambat was a cunning man. He asked Naarya how much money he had. Naarya told him he wanted just as much amount of Bhurgule and jaggery that fitted in his ears. Tambat thought that's all. He took the coin with the hole and asked Naarya to go to the back and fill his ears with Bhurgule and to his suprise it did not fill with 1 pav sher so he shoved in another pav sher. Then he filled the other ear with jaggery half sher again! As he waved a goodbye to Tambat and thanked him he skipped with happiness towards his hut. His mother was waiting for him.

She carefully removed the Bhurgule and jaggery from his ears. She had a smile on her face as she was now going to make the ladoos for her son that he so desired.

I meant to share the recipe of Bhurgulyache ladoo but it needs some perfection so till then sharing the picture.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shubh Deepavali

गंध पसरतो फुलातुन...

जुलता मनातून...

दीपावलीच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्या...

सरळ आमच्या ह्रुदयातुन !!

शुभ दीपावली !!

Sweet smell emanates from the flowers...

Relationships are spun in the mind...

But these Joyful Diwali Wishes...

Are straight from my Heart !!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Appi Payasa for Dhanatrayodashi

Appi Payasa: Pooris in Badam milk

Appi Payasa for breakfast is quick and almost like a porridge heart warming to the core. At Mridula's wedding I had tasted this and its so easy that I had to try it atleast once. This recipe will now on give leftover pooris a new lease of creative life for sure. I guess that is how this might have been invented or may be it was meant to be baby food! Aha but you see in the South most things have to pass the gulp test!!! No one wants to chew or bite into anything. Oh yeah but if it is their munchies then the other side of south please go get a mortar and pestle to make the munchies munchable LOL!!!

Also when you are making Diwali treats you end up with extra dough. Never mind what dough it is just fry and dunk in badam milk and you have an all new creation called Appi Payasa! With that tip I'm sending this post for JFI Nov 08 @ cooking4allseasons. Its been long since I participated in any event so making it festive. Thanks Srivalli and is Indira participating?

It is a new sweet in our home and I made it for Dhanatrayodashi today.


4- 6 Pooris/ Indian fried bread
4 cups milk
1 tablespoon semolina
2 pedas (optional)
2 tablespoons almond powder
6 teaspoons sugar
few strands of saffron

In a pot put the milk and keep on medium heat. Once it starts boiling add the sugar, almond powder and saffron. If using pedas crush them over the pot and into it. Add the semolina. Reduce heat and let the semolina cook. After 5 mins you will see the milk has thickened and payasa is ready. Put off the heat. Tear the pooris into small bits and add to the payasa. Stir and cover for 5 mins. Serve hot.

Top up with nuts, raisins or both.

May you have a slurpy Dhanatrayodashi today !!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is This Still Olan?

How do you pronounce Olan? I asked Seema. Is it Ohlan OR Ohlaan OR as in Marathi AaLaN?

Ohlan is Olan!!! I found out.

Humm I had put the blackeyed cowpea for soaking in the morning before I left for work. At lunch time I was telling her about this Kerala Project. She said red cowpeas and white gourd/pumkin in coconut milk spiced only with green chilies and curry leaves is Olan.

I went home and decided I'll dump my bag at home first and then go down to the Fresh to buy white gourd specially for the Olan. Later I got lazy and thought anyways I have made an exception as I was using blackeyed cowpeas instead of the red so what's the harm in using some baby potatoes instead of pumkin or white gourd. That's what I did finally.

So it's now upto you to decide if this is still Olan? Well it's still simple flavours and the coconut milk I did use. I extracted it so give me a bonus point for it. In addition I used the true Keralite love the coconut oil to top it!

It is Olan atleast I think! What do you think? Let me know in the comments.


1/2 cup blackeyed cowpeas
6 baby potatoes
300ml coconut milk
2 green chilies
few curry leaves
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Soak the cowpeas for atleast 8 hrs in water.

In a pressure cooker boil the cowpeas and baby potatoes. Allow 3 whistles. Cool and then open the pressure cooker. Drain the cowpeas. Skin the baby potatoes.

Add the cowpeas, potatoes, green chilies back into the same pressure cooker. Add the coconut milk and let it simmer for 10 mins. Do not increase the heat as coconut milk cannot tolerate high heat.

In a small bowl heat the coconut oil till it starts smoking. Add the curry leaves and pour it over the Olan. Cover it immediately to retain the smoky flavor of coconut oil.

Olan is generally served with rice but I think it can be eaten with all types of dosas and appams like I did yesterday. Yes this is the invisible Olan I talked about here.

You have the blue blood Olan here @ Ammini's : Hey she uses blackeyed peas like I did !!
Bee and Jai's version with potato besides the gourds and blackeyed peas. Yay!!!
@ Ammupatti's: She makes it like it was described to me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Swear I Make Better Appams

and I shoot better pictures too.

Appams for dinner with Tomato bhaaji and Coconut Chutney and the invisible Olan

I am supposed to be celebrating Kerala here on my blogs but am so sorry have been knee deep in work so could not post much. I have decided to make up over the long weekend.

Appams to me bring back memories of looking out of our bedroom window in Fort, Mumbai. It opened out to the back sides of other buildings but luckily for us we were saved from getting free shows of bedroom scenes in other people's homes because there was this building which was pulled down by the demolition authority right till the ground floor. The top served like a terrace kitchen for the Keralite eatery it housed. Every morn this burly filthy Malbari would hook up his lungi and sit in front of atleast 10 coal fired sigrees with the most ugly looking appa chattis (woks). He would grease the appa chattis with an onion dipped in oil. Pour a cup of batter into it and swirl the chatti over his head or almost! Put it back on the fire and cover to cook. Serially he would complete this task. Then he would go back to the first one and start removing the cooked appams into a gindi/metal tub. Another guy would pick those appams ready for serving and run down to the eatery to put it on some homesick Keralite's plate. They would enjoy it with may be Kadala curry or Fish curry or Mutton curry oblivious of who made them and where!

I must admit I enjoyed the scenes and the whiffs of fermented batter cooking in the appa chattis but never dared to explore to the back lane to taste it. It was at my school friend Clotilda's ( she was a Mangalorean though) that I tasted Appams for the first time I guess with jaggery sweetened coconut milk.

I know my appams too well. They should be really lacy on the sides and a soft spongy lump in the center. As my eldest Uncle R would say, "Appam is the product of a love marriage between a dosa and a idli." LOL !!

Yesterday I made Appams for dinner with Tomato bhaaji, Coconut Chutney and Olan. They didn't turn out as lacy as they normally do and I hate to take pictures at night using flash and that reflects here. I swear I make better Appams and take better pictures too. You know it don't you? Ok atleast you know the better pictures part! I promise I'll post better picture with the laciest Appams.

Till then here is the recipe I follow.


1 cup raw rice
1 cup bolied rice
1/4 coconut grated
pinch of yeast
salt as per taste

Wash and soak both the types of rice together in water for atleast 4 hrs. Grind to fine paste in a wet grinder along with the grated coconut. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water and add to the batter. The batter should be pourable consistency. Through out the night let it ferment.

In the morning add the salt into the batter and mix well.

Heat a non stick appam kadhai or wok. Add 1/2 cup of batter in it then with a deft hand swing the wok around to spread the batter along the curves. Keep it back on the heat. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 mins. The center should become shiny only then it is cooked and ready to be removed from the kadhai before you start again with the second appam.

Serve with any coconut milk based curry delicately flavoured or the full bodied Kadala curry depending on what time of the day you are enjoying the Appams.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vegetable Stew

Yeah we love it. It is the mild taste of vegetable stew that I have now accommodated it in my brunch list. I like mild flavors for breakfast yet it still has not made it to the breakfast options simply because it takes a bit of hard work. I love coconut chutneys and coconut milk based curries but breaking the coconut and extracting the milk has always been Dad's job. As an exception I extracted the milk after he broke the coconut this one day. So as a favor I added some color to the stew by using tomato in it. Dad does not appreciate white curries so.

I remember a friend trying to decode vegetable stew when we were in school. Stew is mixed vegetable and potato cooked in coconut milk with whole spices and the special touch of smoking coconut oil.

Incase you are making stew for breakfast it is a good idea to cut the veggies and extract coconut milk at night itself.

Here is how I made the Ishtew as they call it in Kerala.


2 cups Mixed Vegetable cuts
2 tomatoes (Coz Dad likes it)
2 teaspoon coconut oil
2 cups coconut milk
1 green chili
4 cloves
1 inch piece of cinnamon
3 cardamoms
10 peppercorns
few curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (accidental)

Heat a saucepan. Add the coconut oil. It should smoke add the whole spices, sliced green chili, curry leaves and immediately add the vegetable cuts. (I accidentally added mustard to the seasonings out of habit, purists please excuse me). Cook till tender or pressure cook. Once this is done. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 7-8 mins. Do not increase the heat as the coconut milk might coagulate especially when tomatoes are included. Put off the heat and serve warm with Idiyappams, Appams etc.

Subash and Ramesh tasted it from my lunch box. When it comes to praises Subash is always liberal. Hee hee with all the noises and action. I went uhh! at him as usual with a wave of the hand.

Stew on other blogs:

Valli's Kerala Vegetable Stew in Microwave!
Jugalbandi's Istu
Pachakam's Spicy Vegetable Stew

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mridula Weds Uday

Just returned from Mridula's wedding. It was a 2 day affair. As is the custom here in Blr the reception is before the wedding. So yesterday was the reception and today the wedding. We friends had a good time. We just saw her off to her new home. It was an emotional moment for her father and her. She just could not hold back the tears. I am going to miss her in the office bus.

Wish you a successful married life and lots of happiness Dear Mridula & Uday !!

The wedding feast consisted of:

My favorite was the Pineapple, banana, black grapes sasam. Later will google for the various items on the menu.


Green Pickle (raw mango in mustard and chili paste)
Valavala (Readers to enlighten)
Potato fry Upkari
Chana Gashi
Pineapple, Banana, Black grapes Sasam
Capsicum Baje
Appi Payasa
Khajoora Beeda
Sweet Box : Boondi Ladu, Godambi (spicy cashews done like masala peanuts), Gardudde Vadi

Guest posts by Mridula

My posts on the Mridula effect
The emotions were overflowing in the comments too before the wedding.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Instant Idiyappam & ....

Idiyappam & Vegetable Stew

In my recent visit to the supermarket I picked up a packet of Instant Idiyappams from Dhidheer (am not sure if I'm spelling correctly). This was the first time I tried Idiyappams at home that too instant ones. They are ready in a jiffy and oh so tasty. I picked this brand because they looked the most delicate among the other brands on the shelves in the store.

All you do is cut open the packet and empty in a pan. Pour boiling hot water over the Idiyappams and let them reconstitute for 5-7 mins. Drain them on a mesh and mix in grated coconut.

They are ready to be served. I made them on a week day and was my packed lunch along with vegetable stew. If the Idiyappams were instant the stew is not a thing for rushed mornings.

I had kept the packet aside to take picture for this post but when my Dad saw an empty packet lying around for more than two days. It went into the bin. So next time I buy again I promise to post a picture.

In Thrissur they are called Nool appams aren't they? Next time I'll go the traditional way.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Kerala Fest

Purpose: This is to teach people to celebrate life. Own life.

Target date: 28th Oct 08

I am going to have a Kerala Fest going on both my blogs. I started on
Swachchanda with Visiting The God's Own Country with KTDC

Why? I am not telling yet. D is not telling either. Shhhh....


Me: What's your favorite food?

Looking away and smiling umm....nothing much.....

Me: U can't think of anything!!!(with my face contoured). I can count so many of my favorite and I am not even a Keralite!

I get some excuse that most Heads of Cook-up Ouch Experts are good at.

Me: May be I can count on all ten of my fingers your favorite food curd rice X 10 !!!

And then the mother of all dialogues "I eat to live not live to eat."

Very unlikely this is being read by the target audience so on 28th Oct these posts will be home delivered.

So my regular readers won't you guard my secret?

Links to :

Is This Still Olan?
I Swear I Make Better Appams
Vegetable Stew
Instant Idiyappam & ....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tomato Pappu

Tomato Pappu and Peragannu(curd rice)
reminds me of Anu when she was a toddler

Are those bugs !? Guess what is that topping on the Peragannu?

"Your Pilloo is getting married" said cuz S on the long distance call. His voice seemed faint all of a sudden and I was not listening to him. I went back into those memories of cute little Anusha our Anu, my father's Sreedevi and my Pilloo. She will graduate in May next year. She is barely 20 yrs. My little girl is already set for marriage and is going to go to the land of Kangaroos.

I was thinking Rao should have waited. Why did Rani not stop him? Then I recollected all the conversation we had about getting Anu married at the right time. In their Telugu community there is a tag on the groom. The highest bidder gets the best commodity. Sad but true. I don't know if this has happened in Anu's case but Rao and Rani used to worry about it a lot. Hope this marriage is not fixed like that.

I hope Anu has seen the groom. Hope she has liked him. Hope she has had a chance to talk to him. This and thousand other things came to my mind. She will be a beautiful bride. The haldi will make her glow. I want that glow to get better after marriage. I will long to hear her shudh Marathi and her usual opening on phone "Tai tu kashi aahes?" (How are you elder sister) with the sweetness that melts my heart.

Hope she makes her husband her best friend and has an enriching life ahead!

Anu's food as a toddler was most times this Tomato Pappu with a dollop of homemade ghee from Vijaywada and Pergannu.

She was a strange toddler who hated chocolates and loved ghee fried garlic a habit Rani had drilled in her. We would scold her not to come to our home if she was eating so much garlic. So she'd declare when she had not eaten it that "I did not eat garlic today" on entering our home! Just like they do at border security check while entering a country like Australia. She would get a huge hug and shower of kisses following that.


1 1/2 cup boiled toor dal
1 onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes
2 teaspoon oil
few curry leaves
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste

Heat oil. Fry the onions till they are pink. Add tomatoes and fry on high heat. Add the garlic, curry leaves, coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Keep stirring. Once the tomatoes are completely saucy add the cook dal. Mix and boil on high for 5-7 mins. Keep it thick and creamy using very little water.

Serve with hot steamed rice or hot rotis.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Bugani in the bowl

Our breakfast on saturday consisted of Bugani and the ABC Bread (Try to guess it).

As a child I have been to Gangapur and Gulbarga almost every year. I don't know how I missed having Bugani. I don't think it's available in restaraunts and our Bhatji's wife might not be making it and it has onions or may be she does without them. Anyways it was 2 years ago I tasted Bugani from my friend Shilpa's box.

This is her mother's recipe who is from Dharwad and with a special touch from her husband, Sudhendra who hails from Gulbarga. It is a North Karnataka snack by all means. I haven't seen the Bangaloreans rave about it yet.

You will need:


4 cups puffed rice/Kurmure
1 onion sliced thin
1 tomato chopped
1 tablespoon Chutney pudi
1/2 cup mixture/ South Indian farsan OR just peanuts about 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
few curry leaves
2 teaspoon oil
salt to taste

In a wok heat oil. Let the mustard crackle in it then add the curry leaves. Add sliced onion. Use a flat spoon to stir. Fry till translucent. Put off the heat. Add the puffed rice and tomatoes. Mix well. Sprinkle water over the puffed rice to wet it just a bit to soften it. About 2-3 splashes should be good enough. Mix well. It is ready to serve. Shilpa's mother might top it with a bit of chopped cilantro and chopped green chilies just before handing out the plate.

What Sudhendra does is he picks the chutney pudi and showers it over the plate of Bugani served to him. Shilpa says he likes chutney pudi on everything as she throws up her arms! This is what makes this recipe special else you will get a lot of other Bugani recipes on the net that showcase Karnataka recipes. It is a personal preference for him but that separates the Bugani I like from the common one I don't care for much. Yes I am a chutney pudi fan too just like your husband Shilpa! So following his reco I sprinkle the chutney pudi on the entire batch mix it and then serve it.

Enjoy the twist in the Bugani!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kala Jamun

Absolutely Delectable!

Click on the picture and get transported to a fantasy world. You bet!!

I had made Gulab Jamun for Dasara. The last batch of jamuns about 4 got a bit too dark. Like the regular ones I soaked them in syrup and as I normally do I boiled the jamuns for 2 mins in the syrup. This makes them nice and soft and makes sure the syrup goes all the way in to ensure there is no dry center.

A rolling boil later. I removed them out in a bowl. Let them sit for 30 mins in the open. The sugar syrup dried a bit. Then I sprinkled regular sugar on it. Finer the sugar granules the better they stick and will be less grainy when eating. The dark jamuns now became my sugar coated Kala Jamuns. They say that Kala Jamun should have paneer in it. I don't know. I think like Tarla Dalal gets that black color by using sugar in the dough anything done to get the dark chocolatey color is good. I did not deliberately try Kala Jamuns yet my slow fried dark regular jamuns were as good as store bought Kala Jamuns.

L: Gulab Jamun R: Sugar coated Kala Jamun

My father liked them so much that he said, "You could have burnt some more." I'd say they were not burnt they just turned darker as I moved away from the stove. Humm but don't char them.

These dry sugar coated Kala Jamuns are easy for transport. Atleast you won't have leaky packs that make you feel sticky all day.

Drool ~~~

P. S: I used Priya brand ready gulab jamun mix.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Creamy Dal Makhani

No that is not my plate. It's Dad's. There is roasted papad, Stuffed Karela, Boondi ladoo, the true Dal Makhani with cream and steamed rice; a Punjabi meal.

I made Dal Makhani on a working day. It was my first time cooking it at home.

My version is inspired by this Dal Makhani but I did not follow it exactly and Bee and Jai's advice of soaking the lentils in lots of water worked.

Here is what I did based on my observation of how Punjabi women cook at home. Those steps that they follow makes the dish Maa-di-dal ! Humm the debate has already been done on Jugalbandi.


2/3 cup whole blank lentils
1/3 cup Red kidney beans
1 big onion chopped
2 tomatoes
1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
1 green chili
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon cream (skimmed from boiled milk)
salt to taste


Soak the black lentils and Red kidney beans together in lots of water. I soaked for almost 18 hrs. Before going to bed I changed the water fearing it would get slimy till morning. That helped. The beans soaked well and stayed clean.

Boiling the beans:
In a pressure cooker put lot of water to cover the beans. Cook for about 5 whistles or 35 mins. Let it cool. Meanwhile work on the masala.

The masala :
Heat oil. Fry the onions till soft. Add the ginger garlic paste. Add the chopped tomatoes . Fry till soft. Add all the spice powders and green chili. Put the heat off. Let it cool. Grind to a smooth paste.

Final cooking:
Drain excess water from the cooker. Keep only as much you require for the gravy. Keep aside the drained water incase you need to adjust the thickness of the Dal. Mash the beans with a potato masher. Mix in the masala and cook on sim for 10 mins.

I skimmed the cream from the boiled milk pot and mixed it in my father's portion of dal. I went lite without it.

Since I had heard that this Dal tastes better as the flavours are allowed to mature I made it in the morning for my packed lunch and we had it for dinner too. The creamy gravy got used up for lunch! So you see more lentils in the picture.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Asa Gela Dasara...

This is how I spent my Dasara...

It is Dasara today and Anna Parabrahma completes 2 yrs on this auspicious day!

I spent my day giving it a new look. Hope you like it.

I thank you for visiting here and it makes me happy to see 85,107 footsteps at my virtual home. I appreciate your comments, feedback and views. I try to reply to most and sometimes I wonder what to say. Keep visiting :D

Hope you all had a great Dasara. Those of you who are still celebrating.


L to R in the tray: Tondli Batata Bhaaji, Lasnachi Vali Chutney, Sugar coated Kala Jamun, Pivli Dal and Dhaan

I meant to say "Jevala Yaa" (Koli for Join me for the meal) but all I can do is show it here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A New Craze In Mumbai.

Maharashtra Times has published a calendar that tells what color to wear for each day of the Navratri. Entire Mumbai and that includes men and women dress up in the color and go to work or their daily businesses. It is crazy to see the streets full of people and the trains chock a block with people in the same color. Almost like the city gets a uniform. Then people take group pictures and send it to the newspaper. They publish it on a center spread.

To a responsible citizen this a shear waste of print space when India has so many issues to deal with. We are in changing times and may be this fluff is helping people build bonds in a city that has more outsiders than natives. Anything beyond that?

I am a native and I am far away from my dear Mumbai.

Leave a comment here and tell me what you feel about this craze.

Does it need to change?
What will it achieve?
Has MaTaa(Maharashtra Times) lost it and so it is using these desperate tricks to survive?

हा मुर्खपणा कुणाच्या सुपिक डोक्यातून उदभावला कोण जणे !!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Stuffed Karelas

What's that?!!! I exclaimed as Ritu removed the fried rat from her lunch box. Atleast I thought that's what it was. She rolled her eyes retorting "You know I am veggie."

A closer look and I knew they were Karelas. Stuffed to be right. She explained to me how these fried rats were always stocked in their fridge for times when there were leftovers and a little bit of something could save her Mom from cooking a new addition to the meal. Their family loved them. Then she meticulously explained to me the procedure of how they are done in her home a traditional Punjabi household.

I have made them a couple of times since those years when Ritu and me worked together. She was my junior at university so we cared for each other much like that. I was always dispensing free advice and she would always trust me a lot. Infact I recollect the days we spent at EverReady at Lucknow were the most fun filled ones for us together. Her parents permitted her to travel for that project just because I was accompanying!

Traditionally these Karelas are stuffed and bound with a string then deep fried in oil. The binding with the string helps keep the stuffing inside the karelas. It is removed while eating at the table.

This procedure of removing the string is one of the few case where amongst vegetarian food one has to pause and prepare the food to be bitten into. It reminds me of people eating fish when I have seen many become impatient when they need to remove the bones before indulging in the bite.

Well the recipe I have given here is mostly as Ritu narated to me in the small office where we worked years ago during lunch time. Yet is adapted to the changing times when I would not think it right to deep fry a vegetable with high water content in oil. It would mean a red signal on the cholesterol map.

These stuffed karelas are actually like a fresh pickle that lasts in the fridge for almost a week. In the Blr climate it stayed good for 3 days at room temperature.


4 Karelas (prefarably small sized)
4 onions sliced thin
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon dried mango powder
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

3 tablespoon oil to fry

Preparing the Karelas:

First slit vertically the Karelas such that it can be filled with the stuffing later. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Apply salt on the insides. Keep aside while we prepare the stuffing.

Preparing the stuffing:

In a wok heat 1 table spoon on oil. Fry the onions till translucent. Add all the powders. Mix well and cook for 5 mins. Put off the heat and add the chopped cilantro. Mix again after adding salt. Do not add too much as we have already salted the Karelas.

Fill the Karelas:

Fill the empty pockets of the Karelas with the stuffing we made. Bind with a string around it to hold the stuffing in just incase you feel you are going to mess up while frying. I was very careful so did not have any stuffing come out.

In a frying pan add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Line up the Karelas. Frying well on both sides. It is OK if the look dark and ugly but don't char them on high heat. Control the heat switching between medium and sim.

Cool completely before saving in a container. These come handy as a side dish and taste yummy. Yes Karelas that taste yummy you heard it right.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Imperfect Punjabi Samosa

Yet till date my best!

This was our Saturday night dinner downed with Kokum sarbat

I love pictures shot in daylight. I hate to use flash and don't have a mini studio set up for shooting the food that I present here. So took the pictures today at breakfast. Yes these proportions gave 12 samosas so we had leftovers for breakfast too. So this time they went with our morning Chaha!

Samosa making I consider is an art I have not mastered yet. With several recipes that I have followed I have been only partly successful. After googling a lot and studying the various recipes I arrived at this.

The crust tasted good. Almost like what I fantasize about but then they didn't look like my favorite samosas.

You have read here about Samosa at my school they used to be quite big and sold at a mere 50 p at the time. They were always golden like I made today and the pastry frill was something I would never part with when sharing the samosa with friends. There would always be an instruction to take a bite at the top conical part so that I could savor the frill at the end. One bite and one look at it and wondering at the maker's art and blessing the person.

The second of my favorite is the plump Samosas from Jhama. They serve with chole, fried long chilies and onion rings. One samosa at evening time keeps you calm till a late dinner. These samosas are greyish golden not the golden in my pictures may be because they are fried in Dalda. The cover is thick but flaky. I love their cover for it's smooth surface.

I want to achieve that! The samosa with a smooth cover is my dream! Can someone tell me how I can do it. That will make my samosas perfect. Any experts lurking there?


For the stuffing
10 boiled and deskined potatoes
1 cup peas
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon dried mango powder/ amchur
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
2 teaspoon oil

Heat the oil. Fry the the ginger garlic paste. Dice the boiled and peeled potatoes follow with peas. Mix well. Add the garam masala and amchur powder and give a nice stir. Cover and cook for 10 mins on low heat. Add the salt and give a stir once in that time. Let it cool while we make the pastry.

For the cover

1/3 cup semolina
1 heaped cup maida
1/4 cup ghee

Oil to fry the samosas

Heat the ghee just to melt it. Meanwhile measure out the maida and semolina into a big bowl. Rub in the warm molten ghee into the flour and semolina mix to get a nice crumbly mix. Add salt, water and make a tight dough. Let it rest for minimum 1/2 hr.

After the resting beat the dough down with a rolling pin. This makes the dough flakier.

To start shaping the samosas:

First pinch off a nice 2X2 inch of the dough. Make a smooth ball. Roll out a into an oval. Cut the pastry at the center along the longer length. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of stuffing and put it on the center. Apply water along the edges. Just so you don't miss any edge it is easy to apply water to all the edges. This will help seal the stuffing from coming out while frying. Fold over the pastry to overlap at the seams about a 1/4 inch. Hold the samosa like you hold a glass with the conical side down. Now pinch together the open side and seal completely. Make a nice frill. After frying if your are a crust lover you will bless me for it.

Shape all the samosas before you start frying.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the triangles of love till golden on medium heat.

Remove on a mesh to drain excess oil.

Serve with Khati Meethi Date Tamarind chutney or Pudina chutney.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Rasedar Batata

Rasedar Batata served with Matar Pulav

We came back hungry after the stint at the fresh veggies outlet nearby. I had to make some thing yummy yet express. I had picked up tender potatoes so Rasedar Batata fitted the bill perfectly with a simple Matar Pulav.

There is one thing I am liking about buying my veggies myself. It used to be my father's job but lately he seems to be bored with it. These days he would buy the same stuff that I found really difficult to invent something new with. So I started doing the shopping. I think it also partly due to the fact that we now live in a busy area where everything I need is available just around the corner.

There are somethings men just don't seem to see like tender potatoes. If you tell them to buy potatoes they will get the regular one. Never will the think that tender potatoes are also an option. The fancy things like fresh non Indian herbs don't even exist for them. I found a nice rack stocking fresh basil, chives etc. I know I will buy them for a pasta day.

Most times I would shop at my workplace for something different for the weekend inspite of knowing that Dad has stocked the veggies already. I never like to do the ordinary routines. In my whole life I have never had to shop for veggies and groceries as a routine as most of you have to as there were always enough people at home to do it. Neelam my younger cuz did it every single day while returning from college so by the time she got married she was an expert on the market rates. I could never put that as a highlight on my bio. LOL

So here I am now trying to learn responsibilities of a gruhini (housewife), ofcourse you don't have to be one to do that.


8-10 tender potatoes boiled and deskined
4 tomatoes
2 big Onions
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 green chili
2 teaspoon oil
salt and sugar to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Put the onions in and fry till light brown. Add the chopped tomatoes. Keep on high heat to let tomatoes crumble into a sauce. Spice the sauce with all the powders. Add a chopped green chili. Now to this thick sauce add the boiled peeled tender potatoes. Reduce the heat add the salt and sugar as required. Adjust the thickness of the gravy or Rassa to allow the potatoes to sink in. Boil it vigorously for 5 mins then put of the heat and keep covered till served.

This yummy gravy gives the name to it as Rasedar Batata. It was the easiest gravy to make and match the classic Matar Pulav.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Gajar Sanja and Kalayile Phovu

Gajar Sanja (R) & Kalayile Phovu(L)

Mridula has got me hooked to Kalayile Phovu. Her Dad packs this for her many times for the evening snack. Whenever we return together from office and that is not always she keeps the last of the three boxes for sharing.

At her engagement too they served Upma and Kalayile Phovu. I asked her if it was because she liked it that much or was it traditional. That's when I found out that this is a combination commonly served in Mangalore and surrounding areas. It is also a konkani preference.

It is Gandhi Jayanti (10/2) and a holiday so breakfast was made. I however changed the combo a bit. It is rather a traditional and non traditional alliance here of Gajar Sanja and Kalayile Phovu.

I had grated carrots (gajar) last night for salad and had leftovers that I needed to use up as we are going to a friend's house warming ceremony later this morning.

Now Sanja is different from upma in texture and the seasonings. Just as a kesari bhat is different from a sheera. Sanja is Marathi. It is fluffy unlike the soft scoop easy upma. The seasoning for Sanja is mustard seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder and peanuts. You will never find udid dal in the seasonings of a Sanja and where as it is a must in Upma.

In addition the technique of making Sanja is different from Upma in the way that semolina is not added to hot water but instead cold water is sprinkled on it from time to time to give it that fluff. Thus Sanja turns out drier than upma. In most Marathhi homes especially in Mumbai Upma and Sanja are names used interchangeably due to the influence of the Udupi restaraunts.

I personally prefer Upma more especially when I want to brood while eating breakfast and the teaspoon scooped morsel sits on the tongue for a while as I think about how the world function! ;) The Sanja is more demanding the spicing and the fluff make sure you either have a glass of water or tea by the side to wash it down.

Once in a while when I want to remind myself that I am a Marathi living in the south and must maitain the identity of my culinary culture I make Sanja. Actually I made it first time today after moving to Blr! :P

I'm sharing here the recipe of Sanja and if you are making Kalayile Phovu too follow Shilpa's recipe.


1 cup semolina
2 tablespoon peanuts
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
big pinch of asafoetida
1-2 green chilies
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
a few curry leaves
1 cup grated carrot (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
salt and sugar too taste
3/4 glass water approx.

Heat oil in a wok. Splutter mustard seeds. Follow in with curry leaves and asafoetida. Add the peanuts and fry till pink. At this point add semolina and roast till it becomes whitish and grainy. While you are roasting the semolina the peanuts will go from pink to red color.

Add the grated carrots. I used them only because I had leftovers they can be skipped. Traditionally veggies are not part of Sanja but many have started using them to make the morning breakfast powerpacked.

Keep roasting for a while then add salt and sugar as per taste. Add the chopped chilies, turmeric and red chili powder then mix. Intermittently sprinkle water over the semolina and give it a mix. Cover and cook. Check if the water is absorbed into the semolina grains and has made it plump and separated. If the semolina shows whitish color sprinkle more water and cover and cook for another 5 mins.

Put off heat and let the flavors meld for a while under the cover before serving.

Some may find the combo dryish so have your tea or coffee along with it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pomegranate Muffin

When I saw the picture of Pomegranate Muffin I was mesmerized and wanted to make my own. What a lovely picture. Compare it with life. When you are young and doe-eyed you feel like life will be just like it jewel studded and colorful.

Then what happens is I start my prep work. Took pictures of the process expecting results to be as spectacular thinking its a recipe with exactly the same ingredients or may be a little tweaked to make it vegetarian and I decide to make one giant muffin instead of 12. Yet I was still using the same pomegranate arils that the pictures shows. Those look like rubies and mine too.

Then I preheat the oven and set it to bake. That's when the power cut starts and vanishes for exactly 6hrs. Now I can't do much. I don't have power and the batter lining the tin has risen as expected. I check after 3 hrs. The risen batter has sunk a bit. I am helpless. All I can do is watch.

Then after 6hrs the power returns. I check the settings of the oven again to start baking. I bake for 40 mins. Finally when the inserted knife comes out clean. I feel happy that it is finally cooked.

Then since it did not bake in time for our late breakfast and was sitting sadly in the oven for 6hrs we decide to have it for breakfast the next day.

Its a bright sunny morning and my kitchen is glowing in the golden warmth. I take a few pictures of the whole large muffin. Then I have a surge of excitement and want to check if I was going to have those rubies hidden in my giant muffin. I slice it diametrically then another slice perpendicular to it. I realize my rubies are no more that instead it looked like purple stains on a dense cake. Then due to the long baking there is a burnished spot on the mufffin. I know it will taste bitter so I cut it off and discard. Quite upset I am.

Since I had not made anything else for breakfast I fill two bowls with freshly made Chivda and 1/8th piece of the giant muffin for each of us. I sadly bite into it. Humm not bad I say after just the first morsel. Even after everything went wrong! I used almost same ingredients as in that recipe I mutter to myself.

I realize how much of this is so true compared to the lives we live. Nothing is picture perfect. Actual experience is different. What's important is we took the journey and tasted the up and downs and survived to say we enjoyed the journey!

Apreciating life as it comes to us is important. Every one cannot do it. Yet one must.

Do you ever wonder why people love you so much?
What is it so great that you have done for them to love you so much?
Are you the type that takes things for granted?
Are you the type who values people and their actions?
Are you the type who carries baggage or throws away the bitterness?
Do you wish to make a fresh new start after being down in the dumps for long?

All these thoughts came to my mind when D and me were discussing about whether people appreciate the food they eat. How important it is to appreciate what we have! It is true about not just food but life in general. The attitude remains unchanged whether it is hogging food without appreciating or being negative about everything life has given you.

Thats why it is said "Udarbharan nohe janige yadnya karma." (It is not gluttony but a ritual offering (for life)."

God is so kind to us he gives us more than we deserve . Apni aukaat se jyada.

Recording here the changes in the recipe I made.

  • 1/2 cup arils from 1 large Pomegranate
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger(I omitted this)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 cup milk+ 1/2 cup milk (my addition as I was leaving out the egg)
  • 1 egg (I omitted this)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled sugar for
    muffin tops
Followed the steps as given. However I put all the batter in one 4 inch pudding mould to get 1 giant muffin. The baking time required was 40 mins. I think this can be reduced. Else don't risk it. Make 12 small muffins and bake according to the directions in the recipe.

Next time I can try to make a muffins like in the picture but do we get a second shot at life?


Then let us make the best of the life we have! Promise me. You who are reading this.

On Trail