Sunday, January 25, 2009

Haryali Aur Malai Kofta

I find weekends really boring in Bangalore nowadays, I long to be with family. Then it is the kitchen that beckons to experiment. Yesterday I decided to make Naan and a kofta curry but I was tired of all the red curries that I see every where in restaraunts, weddings, cafeterias etc. We are so obsessed with the color red in our curries. So I went ahead to experiment on some thing.

I decided my Koftas should be coated in green textured curry not a creamy one. I looked around my pantry and collected all I needed and set out on getting the chemistry right.

I got the kofta material ready. While working on the curry I got the dough ready for the Naan. Lately I have become a fan of Tava roasted Naan. It turns out luscious better than the oven roasted ones. I got the yeast foaming and mixed in the flour and left it to rise.

The koftas were turning golden. The Naans were resting and rising.

It is so much fun when you have all the stuff and you can actually think of a lunch that will pamper your senses. Then you think of an afternoon siesta after the sapid. Aha! It is a typical weekend thing to do and that recharges your batteries for the whole of next work week.


For Malai Kofta

The cover
5-6 big potatoes boiled
3 slices of bread
salt to taste

The core
1/4 cup crumbled paneer
handful raisins
handful cashew nuts
handful green peas
salt to taste

For Haryali (Green Gravy)

1/8 cup cashew nuts
1/4 cup green peas
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 green chilies
1 big onion
1 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 cup pineapple pieces

Ghee to fry koftas and for seasoning

1. First mash and knead together the bolied potatoes and bread with a bit of salt to get a smooth, lump free dough.

2. Now mix in a bowl paneer, peas, raisins, cashews, salt. This is used to stuff the kofta.

3. Now pinch of the dough from step1 and form a basket. Fill a bit of the stuffing. Seal together the edges of the basket to get a ball. Shape it evenly into a nice roundball. Like this make all the balls. I got about 10 ping pong sized balls. Keep aside.

4. In a shallow frying pan heat about 3 tablespoons of ghee. Put in the koftas and fry till golden and crisp. Keep rolling the pan so they are done to golden from all sides.

5. Remove the koftas in a serving dish. Keep aside.

6. While the koftas were frying I got the Haryali masala ready. I put all the ingredients together in a chutney grinder and ran it for a while to get a grainy blend. I did not want another pasty curry. If you are in a mood for the silken thing grind it further.

7. In the same frying pan in which I fried the koftas, I added about 2 teaspoons of ghee. Transferred the ground masala. Fried it on slow.

As I meditated on it thinking about W and Gulabi, wondering if things were Ok with them. Every person has to deal with their past and we feel helpless when we are kept at a deliberate distance.

To distract the thoughts I switched on the music on my cell phone. Cuz S has loaded a 1GB card with some beautiful old songs. It was playing "Iftada-e-ishq me hum sari raat jaghe, allah jaane kya hoga aage, oh mollah jaane kya hoga aage.." from the old Hindi movie Haryali Aur Rasta.

Hey I almost said aloud in a eurekaish exclamation that can be the name of my dish "Haryali Aur Malai Kofta" !! ;)

It is after all a green gravy.

8. After about 5-7 mins of frying added about 1.5 cups of water and stirred well. Left the gravy to simmer for another 5 mins.

9. Once the curry bubbles, add the pineapple pieces and cover and simmer for just 2 mins more and cover to let the volatiles from the spices flavor the gravy.

To serve spoon the green gravy over the golden fried koftas. I cut up one to show you the stuffing. Decorate with more pineapple wedges.

The Malai kofta gets its name from the paneer that turns creamy in the core on frying and the Haryali (Hindi) gets its name from ofcourse the green gravy of coriander and peas that lend their color.

This kofta curry is an original from my kitchen lab. Hope you will like it.

I wish to make this again for someone who has a thing against North Indian food. Will teach to appreciate the succulent Naan dipped in a rich kofta curry and know what bliss is. The pursuit of happiness should end here! Just wishful thinking.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Traditional Masale Bhat

When something is on your mind it has to reflect in the cooking. My Aai was an emotional cook too. Dad always said that the day she was in a bad mood, "Vat lagli samazaicha!"

I gravitated towards the Traditional Masale Bhat, it is a must in Maharashtrian wedding though not on a Koli wedding menu.

There is a kind a thrill when one makes some dishes associated with some festival and events and when one is not even celebrating it! It invariably gets the "Arey Wah" from family.

This is also to ask what will be on menu? I am excited!!!

The Traditonal Marathi masale bhat is always made with Tondli or Ivy gourd

The Masala for Maharashtrian Masale bhat is here

Follow the steps exactly like Toor Masale Bhat but for this traditional one replace the Toor with Tondli, only then it is the wedding menu Masale bhat!

Change the vegetable and you get endless variations in Masale bhat!

Read here Ashwini's reminisces about Marriages and Masale Bhaat. I guess it is always like that certain foods evoke the same kind of emotions and memories.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy 8th Wedding Anniversary!

Jac Jemc

Wish you a Happy Wedding Anniversary Dearest Deepa & Vijay!!

This year has been an important year with the completion of the four corners of the happy square family. May the lord give you lots of love to share with each other. For someone who is so giving the Lord will fill you with happiness always! May you grow old together and I'd love to hear all the fun stories of you two.

Lots of Love

P.S: This is a food blog but this couple has a recipe for a happy married life. Are they ready to share their secret with us?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lasagna With An Indian Twist

I was a kid in the time of black and white TV when on one sunday afternoon I saw this punjabi lady make this dish on TV. After that many a times it used to be an after school snack for us kids. Most evenings I would make small treats for my sisters and brothers, grilled sandwiches, soupy snacks etc. but I would get taunted from my Aunts, "Chapati khayla nako". As is in all homes, who likes to eat chapati at that age. So when I started using up chapatis for the evening snack my Aunts were happy. Then they started complaining about me using too much cheese.

In those days we never bought cheese locally, either it was too expensive or not as good as Kraft. So the supplies of cheese were provided by Uncle M and it always was in my custody. Most of the elders still had not acquired a palate for it. They would say, "God knows what these kids love about cheese. It has just a salty taste." Well not that we could decode the hidden flavors in the cheese at the age but I guess we loved it because it was something exotic for us in those days plus above all Uncle M got it from all his travels.

Those days the only cheese I knew was processed cheese and cheddar cheese. Uncle had once bought a red wax coated cheese that looked like an apple. I still don't know what type it was. Though now I have learnt to appreciate cheese a little more.

So what can be better than a truely cheese loving dish than a Lasagna. It was through that cookery show that I learnt early that Lasagna is a Italian layered pasta dish. This twist too is really an original creative one by that lady on TV. I don't recollect whether it was Neeta Mehta or someone else. Well what matters is I still remember it and I have been making it ever since. That is brilliance.

I know you can't wait to try out. Well then get noting.


3 chapatis
1 cup cooked vegetables/ left over bhaaji
4 tablespoons sauce of choice
any soft cheese of choice (cheddar+mozarella) or crumbled paneer

This dish is extremely versatile. You can have endless variations without having to repeat a creation. I love it that way instead of creating the same taste.

It can be baked in a tin in the oven or made on stove top in a deep dish frying pan. I love both versions and there is a difference in taste too.

To layer begin with the first chapati then the bhaaji, spread evenly. Then cover with second chapati. Now spread the sauce with a spatula. Then the third chapati takes its place. Grate the cheese over it. I don't give any proportion for cheese as it depends on how much you like. I am quite generous and don't want my readers eyes popping out while reading, so you do your own thing.

This is the basic layering. You can repeat this pattern for another 3 layers on the top. Always ending with a nice cheese layer. Bake it for 15 mins in a preheated oven @ 190 deg celsius. This baked lasagna is soft.

If done on stove top, the bottom layer gets crisp and that is how I enjoy most.

It has all the ingredients that are already processed or cooked so this dish is ready in a jiffy. Once the cheese melts remove from heat. Cut out portions with a pizza wheel cutter and serve warm. It is quite juicy with all the cheese and sauce so does not require any dressing but a glass of juice to go with it or a masala chai is great.

Enjoy recycling your food!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ellu bella thindu, Olle Maathu Aadu

Today's first Makar Sankranti exchange, banana, sugar figurines, bettle leaf and nut, berries and a mix of roasted til, jaggery, pieces of dry coconut, peanuts and roasted gram.

"Ellu bella thindu, Olle Maathu Aadu" is the Kannada version of "Til gul ghya god god bola".

I haven't made tigul today but instead our brunch consisted of this

I made various shapes of stuffed pastries with Aloo-mutter-gobi bhaaji. The cover is made of aata studded with kalonji. In the bowl you see a pudding made with cracked wheat and dates and drizzled with ghee.

Go back to my previous Sankranti posts:

Til Gul for Haldi Kunku: 2007

2008: Square Shaped Chutney Paratha

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sabudana Vada

Thode kele tar chaan hotat ... dheegbhar kele tar chivat hotat

If made in small batches they turn out well...but in large quantities they turn out rubbery.

That is what you need to be careful about.

While I promise the new joinees will be trained to make perfect ones. Here is what I feel about marriage and celebrations related to it. Hope anyone planning a wedding finds it useful. Especially a Koli wedding. This is for all those young grooms and brides who are waiting to get married after Paush is over. Some how I know too many of them are my younger first, second, third cousin brothers and sisters. We are a small community!

We Kolis are modernists when it comes to weddings. Our marriages are most times dowry free. The expenditure on clothes are minimum. The only expenditure is on food. Don't compromise on that. Feed as many people as possible if hosting the reception in the village.

When the couple decides to take the vows. It is their own 100 % risk. You will be your own reason for happiness or sorrow. Family is there for support but the decision should be 100 % your own.

How to plan a wedding:

A wedding is a highly private affair. Keep it that way. The main ceremony should be in the presence of the family from both sides. Public, audience is not required.

If one plans to have a vedic ceremony then all sanskar to be done at family level. Let the elders enjoy the Halad (Beauty treatment- Haldi ceremony) and giving blessing. Let the sisters enjoy preparing for all the small poojas, chuda (dressing up with bangles ceremony), mehndi (though not a koli tradition). Distribute the appropriate duties to all as per their capacities right from elders to children. Each one will enjoy their bit. It is their maan too. Maan is respect.

Do not overspend. If you are able to incorporate all sanskars and is done in presence of the family. Then it is a successful ceremony. Do not buy too many expensive sarees, traditional outfits. They are a waste. Instead buy enough clothes that you can wear to work, parties of the styles you are comfortable in.

If you have stashed a large sum for the wedding but incase you save after you have a small but sanskar rich wedding. Then you have 2 options. Donate whatever you saved for the wedding of a needy. Else use it for your needs to set up home.

Do not make your private, intimate affair that a family wedding is supposed to be into a garish tamasha. Patala tar ghya ...nahi tar sodun dya... accept it if convinced or leave it...

What I would like to see? Crazy couples just right for each other still together even after ages.

Making Sabudana Vadas taught me this lesson. Small batches make better vadas.

So new joinees here is the recipe:


1 cup sabudana/ sago
1 cup butter milk

Prepare sabudana by soaking in butter milk and storing it overnight.

3/4 cup boiled mashed potato
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
3-4 green chilies, fine chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
salt to taste

Oil for frying

Mix everything together with overnight soaked sabudana to get a dough. Divide into ping pong sized balls. Flatten them for frying. This helps to use lesser oil and they can be shallow fried. Fry until golden and crisp.

Serve with Upavasa chi Chutney and curd if you are fasting. These can be shaped and frozen but after frying need to be served immediately. Once cold they turn rubbery and cannot be enjoyed.

He he... we don't fast anymore in the family. It's a tradition long lost. Hey but let me check with Mothi Aai if she does, Aruna Kaki does not I know for sure.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tomato Saar & Salichi Moog Dal Khichdi

The picture tells you when this meal was cooked, oh the karanji is such an obvious clue. This is a fantastic combo meal for cold weather.

These are my Mom's recipes. A saar is watery curry on the lines of clear soup. You understand how we crave for something really simple and comforting when you want to give the tummy a break and when there is a chill in the air. I make Tomato saar and Khichdi/ Khimti. I'm making it again today as am down with fever and have lost my appetite. Eating out twice a week has its payout.

The Salichi Moog Dal Khichdi is not as complex as the name sounds. It is a creamy rice like a risotto but what makes it special is the split moog dal which has its green skin on. On this day I had made it plain just with salt but sometimes I just added an onion, tomato, potato or any leftover vegetable some chili powder to get a Tikhat khichdi or spicy one.

One thing I remember about my childhood. After the paddy harvest, my grandparents sent us broken rice along with the whole grain. We call it Kani. That was most times used for all rice recipes where you required to keep a creamy consistency. It yeilds a completely different taste and texture. I used to love it in the Shraddha chi kheer (made on the 13th day ceremony after death) and the khichdi. I also remember eating Yelnicha Dhaan with the broken rice at my Mama's (maternal uncle) home. It turns out so fluffy. Kani for this khichdi would have been ideal.

Hope you like the saar and khichdi.


For Tomato Saar

4 tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 cloves
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
2 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
a small piece of jaggery

Blanch the tomatoes. Deskin and puree them.

Heat a saucepan. Add oil and season with cumin seeds. Add the asafoetida, cloves, red chili powder, turmeric powder and sprinkle a bit of water on the seasoning to stop from charring. Now mix in the tomato puree, salt and jaggery and let it boil for 5-8 mins.

For Salichi Moog Dal Khichdi

1/4 cup split moog dal with skin
1 cup short grain rice (sona masuri)
1 teaspoon oil/ ghee

Meanwhile wash the the dal and rice and put it in the cooker. Add 5 cups water and allow 5 long whistles. Let the cooker cool completely before removing the lid. Open and mash with the back of a spoon to get a creamy consistency.

Serve hot with pickle and papad.

You can also try Kokum Saar with Khimti.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Barbeque Nation

and the New Year's Celebration

Basting & Barbeque

Thai baby potatoes and vegetables on the skewers

Skewer Samurai and the team

Live music

Polarized ends, Veg idhar, Non-Veg Udhar, Baaki sab bahar ;)

The glass walled kitchen, the BBQ flaring there and the buffet

Pacific Blue and Strawberry Mocktails

Exactly on the 6th day of the year my team decided to celebrate the New year!

The other 'A' sent out the invites, it said lunch at Barbeque Nation followed by games. We were not quite sure what to expect. I had heard a lot about the place so wanted to go for the experience. There were others who were away, either travelling or busy with meetings and some others who simply like to stay in their shells. Well but let me tell you those who joined us enjoyed both the food and the fun.

I was wishing new year to P, who is on a break from work to be with her baby and she was happy that the lunch was in her neighborhood. Come over she said. So that's what we did. Baby Anirudh is now a rolly polly bundle unlike the tiny thing we saw when he was a new born. Then she came over to BN to say hello to everyone.

We were in the neighborhood so dropped in at her home

By the time I joined the rest of the team they were settled down in their chairs. There was live music by a Keyboard artist. The place we got was on the 2nd floor, the lighting was just right not too bright and not too dim.

I was looking around to enjoy the theme of a Barbeque place. The colors used are warm porcelain and wood tones. The tables were arranged for big groups with grills fitted in the middle of the table, each to be shared by 4 people. I liked the square chairs with leather cushion and the thought put in to keep them open from one side for easy movement. In formal places when you have a chair that holds you like a baby on a high chair I get put off. Also the tables are slightly lower as they hold the grill but it is also considerate towards us Indians as we are a smaller sized race. So BN gets full marks for the detailing the decor. I loved the glass walled kitchen which gave a view of what was cooking and seeing the large grill flare up my hunger pangs grew stronger.

Our grills were fired with charcoal as we awaited the loaded skewers to take their place. Oh yes as we normally do the team was polarized into a veggie and no-veggies group.

The veg starters were barbequed Thai baby potatoes, cut vegetable viz peppers, broccoli, cauliflower etc. and chutney marinated Paneer tikka. The Paneer tikka was served straight on the plate. We enjoyed basting the sauces and BBQ on the small grills on our tables.

I loved K's smile, she looked so happy

The loaded skewers are first cooked a bit in the glass kitchen and then brought onto the table. They just keeping getting more till you turn the flag on your table down to signal them to stop. What a great idea! Did I mention the color coding for the plates? Green for the veg and brown for the NVs. The vegetarians had a limited choice but the non-vegetarians enjoyed their stuff as they had more to choose from.

The mocktails were terrible. We tried the Pacific blue and the Strawberry ones. I tell you to skip them. Else go for fresh lime or package soft drinks.

After enjoying the BBQ you move on the buffet not expecting much but believe me the food is good. There were 3-4 non-veg curries and 4 veg curries. The rice consisted of a simple biryani and steamed rice with dal. The vegetarian curries consisted of Lasuni palak, paneer jalferezi, a kofta gravy with marble sized luscious paneer balls, Aloo mutter gobhi which was superb!

There was a veg soup and a non-veg soup too. I skipped the soup, one ought to else you cannot do justice to the rest of the line up.

Oh and remember we are in Blr so there has to be curd rice, pickle and well there was some raita, penne pasta that was sweet, 2 salads that are not worth a mention.

To conclude the experience the deserts were in bite sizes hot gulabjamuns with vanilla ice cream, a standard for a buffet, you get it with all of them but these were juicy. The walnut date pie had a nice filling. Then the pineapple pastry is another restaurant owner's association's favorite I guess ;). Some cut fruits, I picked only pineapples as I love~~ them. The winner however was the orange souffle which was absolutely delectable.

The service was prompt and polite yet I found them a little too attentive when it came to clearing the plates.

If you are looking for the pricing here then this falls in the expensive category and it only goes up right! So no mention of it here. Visit with family and friends you will enjoy the experience.

The team enjoyed the lunch, it was after a long time we were out together and there was lot of laughter and animated conversations. We are grateful that the economic meltdown has just brushed past us and things are OK. We hope to be OK in the future too.

This place has a bar too but our team mostly is not for it ;). We had to get back to work you see.

The desserts: Orange souffle was the winner

Yeah and we did get back to our office for some games. The first game was to bounce the balloon without letting it fall. The fun is in the fact that we interchange names. You try to remember your real name and the interchanged name and you have people grabbing the balloon when the name is called out.

The second one was my favorite. We were told to design an outfit for a model in our group and then the model had to walk down the ramp. The hitch is you had to make an outfit from newspaper and use cellotape to hold it together. My team decide on "The Knowledge Warrior" and S walked with pomp and conviction. That made us winners.

Dress designing with newspaper!

You have
Recession Ranga, The Knowledge Warrior and The Fairy with no story ;)

The other 2 were Recession Ranga, depicting the tattered look of an affected. While the third team designed an outfit for a fairy but they did not have any story to tell! Just that R looked cutesy.

The last one was a lung test. That is what I would call it, blowing balloons and then tying them in triples. We blew the biggest and finished in time but we let S's group win they finished before us but the balloons were not inflated properly ;).

Lung test

Believe me and we were not done yet. There was a plum cake cut for those who missed the lunch.

It was fun time and we missed all the other location guys, the videoman and the artist in Pune and the stylebhais in Delhi and ofcourse the 3 new Moms.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Bisibele Bhat with Unpolished Rice

When we last visited Navadarshanam I bought a packet of unpolished rice. Unpolished rice is not easy to make on a working day but on weekends I have space for it. This weekend it was cold and we need our dose of warmth from soups and khichdi. So I made Bisibele bhat.

Bisibele bhat in Kannada literally means Bisi-Hot as is steaming hot, bele-dal, bhat-rice. It is a not your tame khichdi. Here you have a Khara pongal which is like our khichdi and then there is the Bisibele bhat. It has the complex flavors of spices, tamarind juice and creamy dal completely blended with rice and for the crunch, mixed vegetables like beans, carrots, potatoes etc. I add almost anything that I have on hand. While serving it is always garnished with Khara boondi instead of your usual apalams.

The Bisibele bhat with unpolished rice makes it even more rugged. It keeps you stuffed till evening and though it is creamy it lends a texture you enjoy unlike the pasty versions. We got 5 servings of Bisibele bhat from just 1/2 cup of unpolished rice and 1/2 cup of dal.

The unpolished rice is an earthy red so that fits perfectly for this month's Click.


1/2 cup of unpolished rice
1/2 cup of Toor dal/ yellow lentils
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables
(I used field beans, capsicum, potatoes, carrots, onion, tomatoes)
1 tablespoon sambhar powder
2 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup thick tamarind pulp
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
few curry leaves

Preparation: Soak unpolished rice and toor dal in water for min 2hrs.

Put the small cooker on heat. Add oil and do the seasoning with mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves. Then follow in with sambhar powder, chopped mixed vegetables, soaked dal and rice. Top up with 5-6 cups of water. Pressure cook for 30 mins or 5 long whistles.

Let it cool till you can open the lid. Now add the tamarind pulp and mix well. Incase you find the rice to be thick add more water and make it to creamier pourable consistency.

Serve in a bowl topped with Khara boondi and a curry leaf. Here comes a perfect spicy khichdi from Karnataka - the comforting Bisibele bhat. Would you like to taste some?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I miss watching the kids grow up

I have spent a lot of time with Pranav, my nephew when he was small but since last 3 years haven't really got a chance to be with him. He misses me as much as I do.

Just yesterday my friends Alok-Varsha and Anand-Asawari came home with their kids. A one yr old and a 5 yr old.

The One year old, Aditya has just about started speaking a few words and he is still not able to say complete sentences. Alok, his father told him to do Jai-Jai to a picture of God. He did it and looked like a angel when he did. Then his father told him to go to the prayer room and do Jai Jai. He said NAAHI ! I was amazed that he could actually say No and that too very firmly.

The fiveish, Gauri's father, Anand was telling me how in Finland kids are taught cooking skills (ofcourse under parental supervision). I asked her what she learnt to cook in school. She in her lisp was counting on her little fingers chocolate cake, strawberry cake, pancakes etc. Asawari added that she had told her that pancake is dosa. This little girl was quick to ask, "Do dosas have eggs, tell me? Pancakes have eggs. So dosas are not pancakes". My jaw just dropped.

Then this morning I was online was looking for a toy for Pranav. I was thrilled when I chanced upon this wonderful site. Just skimming through it made me realize I was missing out on watching my nephews and neices grow up. I have four but I have spent time largely only with Pranav. The other three have just visited me or I have visited them. I don't have the same bond with them as I do with Pranav. Never got a chance.

When I visited my sisters I saw Anshika she is 3 yrs already. I dont know what she looked like as a baby :( , pictures are not enough. Anushka came back from school in the afternoon and she has grown to be a tall girl now of 7 yrs. I smiled when I saw her, one plait loose and the other still held in place with a ribbon, proof of all the mischief in the school bus. Many say she has taken after me.

I recollect fondly Pranav telling me, the little one is named Anshika. I commented "Anshika? but we already have Anushka!" Yeah he said, "Nusta(Simply) confusion, first Anushka and now Anshika".

Another phone conversation between an 8yr old and a grandpa kept me in splits.

Nirbhay to Mothe Baba: How are you feeling now?

Mothe Baba: Better. Yeah I did have a bad tummy but am OK now.

Nirbhay: Oh good! else you would be polluting the entire building there. Poor neighbors.

Sometime this year I have resolved to spend time with the kids. Going to Thal when all of them spend their hols there would be real fun me think. Right now they are just back to school after enjoying the the sun n sand and the fun n frolic in Thal.

Here is another one that I loved. A Blr kid relpied to me when asked what he had for breakfast, "Rice cakes with coconut sauce". Needless to say I was lost for a couple of seconds till I slowly repeated after him "Idli with chutney" ofcourse! as I nodded my head and gave him a thumbs up :D. That is the effect of globe trotting families.

On Trail