Monday, January 31, 2011

Banana Split

Winter is official over and the summer has just begun. It means we will need loads of cool treats and more energy will be consumed powering fans, air conditioners and fridges. Some years ago I read about Blackle and their effort to save some energy. Inspired by it I have been using shades of black and charcoal grey for websites I build at work. It is high time my blogs needed a change and if so let the change be green Yes all three blogs, Anna Parabrahma, Swachchanda and Hridaya Vahini now have a charcoal gray background. Gray is such a beautiful canvas for pictures. You don't spend too much time touching up pics that way.

So here is opening up the blog with a new look and to celebrate it come cool off on a sundae not just any but a Banana split.

It is heavenly to dig into a caramelized banana served with scoops of the trio Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry. Recently I picked up a combo of Vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips and Chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies. On its own each one was yummy. I did have crimson freshness in the strawberries that gave me the trigger to create this very special dessert. Though the ice cream is bought out, putting it all together is an art. The hot bananas make the ice cream into puddles of gooey goodness if one is not quick to serve. So here is an all important step...

Tip: The Platter or bowl you plan to serve the banana split in should be chilled for couple of hours. This will help keep the ice cream scoops in shape for a little longer.


Serves 2

Vanilla ice cream (mine had chocolate chips in it)
Chocolate ice cream (mine had Chocolate cookies in it)
Strawberry ice cream / or do what I did

1 big banana
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter

1 big strawberry
1 teaspoon sugar


1. The platter was in the freezer chilling.

2. Grind the single big strawberry and sugar to get puree. Keep aside.

3. In a non-stick pan add the butter. Peel and cut Banana length wise. This gives the sundae the name Banana split! Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on it and roast till slightly caramelized.

Now quickly in the platter scoop out the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. What I did was, since I did not have strawberry ice cream, I doled out one more scoop of the vanilla and showered it generously with the strawberry puree. 

Next lay the banana next to the triplet ice cream scoops. The hot caramelized bananas get very aromatic and intensify in flavor due to the cooking. Share the platter with family or a dear one. It tastes better.

Traditionally the banana split is also topped with whipped cream, cherries and nuts. I skipped the cream and nuts as I already had chocolate chips and chocolate cookies in the ice cream itself.

The Banana split is not only a visual treat but tastes divine too. Make it when you have kids around and it will be gone in minutes.

Hope you will make it and also do let me know what you think of this new look. I was able to complete the sculpting earlier than I expected.

In this version

1. The header consists of pictures of food I love, is most searched on this blog and which represents my creativity.

2. New pages for...

  • Your's lovingly - my first post and welcome note
  • Koli Proverbs and Riddles - has moved from the side bar to a page
  • I am committed to- has its own page now, these are organizations I feel proud to be associated with and if even a few of my readers think they can share some time, money or interest it will make me happy.
3. Home page will show only the latest post.

4. Below the main post have included The popular posts. Depending on the freshness I would be showing different period ranges.

5. The side bar will continue to have... 
  • The copyright declaration
  • The links to my other blogs with the title of the latest post
  • Labels- explore the various categories, there is something for everyone.
6. The footer consists of the 
  • Blog archive
  • Conexions - These are blogs of people I know in flesh and bone.
  • I am on Networked blogs - lets connect up bloggers
  • I am on petitchef too - don't know why though
  • On Trail - are my valued followers of this blog.
Brickbats and flowers both are welcome! Your responses are important to me. Keep visiting!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sculpting In Progress...

Hello Readers

I will be doing some sculpting to make this blog neat and tidy. While the process is on the blog will be closed from 27th Jan to 1st Feb. Tentatively I plan to reopen it on 2nd Feb.

Appreciate your patience and support.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Steamed Doodhi Ke Kofte

These steamed Doodhi Ke Kofte are so handy. I swear by them when you have visitors. You can a prepare them before hand and freeze. Just toss them into a onion tomato paste when you want to make the dish. This time I was generous and splashed it with cream. I am adding a new label for Kofta, check out my other posts.

Psst. I could fry these up and serve as a cousin of Kothimbir vadi with just Varan Bhaat.

Steamed and cubed

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sakkare Pongal

This year I decide that the celebration of Pongal/ Sankrant at my home would be in full South Indian fervor. I was not cutting coconut and jaggery into bits, so my Sankrant was the most breezy one. No tearful making of Tilgul ladoos this year. God knows for how many years I have avoided that on the pretext of non availability of Chikki cha gul! I don't get sticky jaggery here like we get in Mumbai during Sankrant. My Tilgul ladoos have always failed me. My Dad refuses to call me a sugran just because I fail in the crunchy Tilgul ladoo test year on year. Sometimes the ladoo don't bind. Other times they are too hard or chewy. Never the excellent khat khaTit.

Then celebrating the South Indian way is the best way to escape this stigma that my Dad bestows on me. All I do is pressure cook Dal and rice together and make two types of mush. Both turn out delicious specialties and I even get a pat on my back from My two elderly neighbor aunties, never mind if Dad is not impressed. He is atleast satisfied after the meal.

Well though making pongal is really easy peasy, may be putting down this recipe may help someone. So here you go...

1 cup basmati / sona masuri rice
1/2 cup moong dal (yellow split)
3/4 cup crystal sugar / Kal sakkare/ Khadi sakhar
6-7 cloves
1 tablespoon ghee
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
10 roundels of dried figs or handful raisins
15 Almonds sliced
1 teaspoon of ghee for glaze

Wash Dal and rice thoroughly. Pressure cook it with thrice the amount of water. Allow 4 whistles. Let it cool.

Open the lid. In a large pot add ghee and heat. On melting add the cloves. Cut the fig roundels into bits. Fry them in the ghee follow in with the sliced almonds and crystal sugar. Add turmeric for color. Now transfer the cooked dal and rice mix. Add some water to make it possible to mash the pongal with the back of the ladle. It should be creamy yet should allow itself to be scooped up. Once all the sugar dissolves remove from heat. Add a teaspoon of ghee and mix. This imparts the aroma associated with satvic food that is the mark of a festival.

Enjoy it warm as we celebrate the end of winter.

Once again here is my lovely Thali that got me a pat on my back :D from my neighbor aunties.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Khara Pongal Like Adyar Ananda Bhavan

Some time ago my colleague, Seema had invited us for her daughter's birthday party. The catering was sourced from Adyar Ananda Bhavan, popularly called A2B. I had never had their fresh snacks especially the Tamil flavors. I had tried the sweets during Diwali time and did not find them exceptional, my taste buds being pampered by Kailash, Jhama's and American Dryfruits from childhood in Mumbai. Yes I am a snob when it comes to sweets may be. So when Ravi, Anitha's husband recommended that I try the Khara pongal seeing it was not on my plate. I had to try as the recommendation came from a foodie. Also I had not picked it as it looked more like upma than the Karnataka Pongal that I know.

old pic

I did take a scoop which got served like a ball on the plate and was supposed to be enjoyed with sambhar. One morsel and I loved it! The aroma of pure ghee, cumin and asafoetida were awesome. Instantly all my colleagues started teasing me about when I would try it out at home.

It took a while but when I had to make pongal yesterday to celebrate Sankrat I made this lovely Khara pongal just like Adyar Ananda Bhavan. Wonderfully fragrant and starchy satisfaction it did give.

1/2 cup moong dal (yellow split)
1 cup basmati/ sona masuri rice or rice rava
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
10-15 pepper corns
1 tablespoon ghee
salt to taste

In a pressure cooker wash the dal first. Then add the rice and wash thoroughly. Once washed add 2-3 glasses of water and cook for 4 whistles. Put off heat and let it cool. 

After the pressure cooker is opened. Prepare the tadka. Heat ghee till smoking point add the cumin and fry till brown and aroma permeates the atmosphere be careful not to char. Add the pepper corns and asafoetida. Now add the tadka to the cooked dal and rice mix. Mash with the back of the ladle till you get a rava like consistency. To achieve this add little water or more ghee. The pongal should resemble upma and allow to be scooped and served in a mudde or ball.

Serve this hot pongal with sambhar, I made Vangi/ Badnekai Sambhar to go with it. Even if pongal means baby food to most just try this one it is a very satisfying meal.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shubh Makar Sankrat! and Pongal!

This year was completely South Indian style celebration at home.

clockwise : Tilgul, Haldi Kunku, Dahale pud, Khadi sakhar, Sugarcane, Vangi Sambhar, Sakkare pongal, Khara pongal and Bananas

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paneer Tomato Insalata Indian Ooh!

ET's Insalata Caprese gets adapted to  Paneer Tomato Insalata Indian Ooh!

I saw this salad on ET's and it was the first time I succumbed instantly. The comments on that post are proof. I took this long to post as this picture is not good and no where near the visuals of a fresh Paneer and Tomato on a plate sprinkled with dried Rosemary and sea salt. It looked terribly delicious when I made it. 

Later I was attending a work related Summit at the elegant ITC Royal Gardenia when I got to taste the real Insalata Caprese and I identified this salad with the name, my friends were highly impressed as the card just said tomato salad. 

Now that I am educated about the real one let me tell you the nuances. 

1. Paneer though I used Malai is lite where as the Mozarella in the Caprese lingers on the tongue making you feel gooey rich. Love it both ways.
2. Rosemary in the dry form is intense in flavor so the right amount of sprinkles makes it a success. Fresh Basil marries tomato so really well like they are made for each other.
3. I used sea salt, must try ET's Himalayan Pink which she recommends.
4. The drizzle of olive oil makes it really delightfully glazed.

Thumbs up for this one ET!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bel Phal and Nectar

Bel phal is called Wood apple in English. Many times as a child I have seen my mother use certain fruits that  she associated with her childhood and she enjoyed them in different forms. I never ventured near some of them. Bel phal is one such fruit. It is the first time 2-3 weeks ago I saw wood apple in the supermarket and picked it up for experiments. I knew I could make a chutney or a drink. Chutney would go waste if it smelt strong I thought so the safest was a drink. We can always dilute drinks right!

Now after bringing it home the fruit lay in the tray for weeks. I was seeing it every day and was very sure I would have to throw it out. However this one is a tough nut, literally and metaphorically. It has a hard woody shell. It does not go bad so easily. I used a pestle to break it open just like a coconut. The pulp was ripe brown and very aromatic with a very faint fruity sourness. This fruit is know to be a cure for all ailments of the digestive system.

I went to my bookshelf and referred to "Annapoorna" by Mangala Barve. It gave a recipe that I knew I would atleast like if not love. Enumerating it here for you.

1 bel phal / wood apple
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-3 cardamoms powdered
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
Juice of 1 lime

More water to make the drink

After breaking the fruit with a spoon scoop out the pulp. In a steel box put the pulp and add sugar. Mix it a bit add a cup of water. Close the box and put it in the fridge. The sugar will dissolve over a couple of hours and will make the fibrous pulp easy to extract. The fibrous pulp has a lot of seeds embedded in it. To remove the seeds the pulp has to be strained through a mesh. 

Pour the pulp in a juice strainer and press it down with the back of a spoon or spatula. Tap the strainer a bit to remove all the pulp. Spice up the drink with powdered cardamom seeds and pepper powder. Add the   lime juice to impart a freshness. Now this pulp can be refrigerated and used when needed. 

To serve in a glass take thick pulp and top up with chilled water. Adjust the consistency of the drink as you like. I wanted to consume all of it so made just three glasses of the juice. It was very thick hence you can call it Bel Nectar!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Tomato Rasam in a jiffy

I woke up late today and after all the vacuuming, went for a bath and then Satyanarayan Uncle knocked the door. It was after a long time that Satyanarayan Uncle visited us today when I was at home. Normally he visits Dad when I am at work. He has been a sweet friend to my Dad ever since we came to this side of Blr. We talked for couple of hours with him and suddenly realized it is 2 o'clock. He had to go home for lunch and so did we have to still cook ours. I could rustle up just Tomato rasam and rice in 20 mins with papad on the side, I told Dad.

I washed the rice in the small cooker and added enough water for the rice to cook well just slightly soft to be mash-able with rasam. The rice should be able to absorb rasam for the true taste. Rasam and rice is soupy slurpy and full of cheer always.

There are many types of rasam. This one is the quickest of all and is utterly bursting with flavors. Here is how I made it.


2 cups fine chopped ripe juicy tomatoes
1 green chili split
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 handful fine chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 heaped teaspoon rasam powder
salt to taste
1 small piece of jaggery as per taste

To begin heat the ghee in a small vessel. Splutter the mustard and cumin seeds. Sprinkle the asafoetida. When aromatic add the curry leaves. Follow in with green chili, tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Mix the rasam powder and increase heat. On high heat let every thing bubble and tomatoes crumble into a nice paste. Add salt and jaggery and top up with 0.5 litre of water. Let is boil vigorously. Switch of the gas when you find the liquid thickening a bit. The consistency is thin with chunky tomatoes floating in it along with the herbs.

Serve steaming hot with rice from a just opened pressure cooker for truely enjoying a hot meal. I served with a roasted papad and a banana for dessert. It seemed so complete.

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