Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Soya Granules Stir Fry and Patti Samosas Two Ways


Until 18 yrs of age the one dish I could eat at anytime be it breakfast, lunch or dinner and even as an anytime snack was the Tallele Vale Sode with rice roti. I could eat a whole Chavlachi Roti, which is almost 16 inches in size. Wrapping the morsel of roti around the tallele sode with a little excess oil was absolutely soul satisfying than anything in the world. Then I turned vegetarian. I mostly don't like to make something veg taste like non-veg because I have grown to love my veggies with the exception of mushrooms. The only way I like my mushrooms is mock non-veg.

On this day with the thought of trying to create a veg version of tallele vale sode I chose soya granules as a suitable ingredient. So lets see how I did it and then I'll tell the result of this experiment.


Patti samosa strips 
(I used 15 from the pack of 25)
1 cup soya granules
4 medium onions chopped
3-4 green chilies chopped
a small bunch cilantro chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon Koli masala
2 teaspoons kokum agal (concentrate)
or 3-4 kokum pieces
salt to taste
sugar to taste
3-4 tablespoons oil

First wash soya granules in copious amounts of water to remove excess starch. Soak them in water, the level of water should be well above the granules allowing it to swell up.

Heat oil in a kadhai. Fry the onions till they just start browning. Add the turmeric and Koli masala. Add the chopped cilantro. Give a good stir.

Squeeze out excess water from the soaked soya granules and add them to the fried onions. Mix well. Cover and cook for 5 mins.

Now finish off the dish with kokum agal, salt and sugar to taste. Mix well. Cover and let it rest till completely cool.

This soya granule stir fry can be called veg Kheema or Mock Tallele vale sode. This stir fry is quite close in taste to tallele vale sode but the texture of sode cannot be replicated with soya granules. Those who have never eaten sode will love this.

But sode are sode after all, nothing can beat plump sode made into bits and stir fried. The koli masala lends the spice and the kokum married to it makes it lipsmacking good!

After its completely cooled, start making the patti samosas.

Making Patti samosa:

Pull out one strip at a time and make a cone. Fill the cone with the yummy Soya Granules Stir Fry. Seal the open end by folding over the end of the strip and apply a paste of flour to pack it completely before it goes into the hot oil for frying or baking. Make 4 at a time. Do not fill all at once as the pattis dry out.


Keep a small kadhai of oil to heat on medium and fry the patti samosas 4 at a time. Drain on a few layers of tissue. Serve warm with ketchup and mint cilantro chutney.

Fried for Dad


Preheat oven at 200 deg celcius. Grease a cookie sheet with oil and line up the samosas. Brush them lightly with oil. Bake for 15 mins on one side then turn over and bake the other side for another 15 mins. This will given evenly baked samosas.

We like these patti samosas especially dipped in both ketchup and mint cilantro chutney.

Baked for me

Try these delicious bites and bless me later for sharing this lip-smacking recipe with you.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Gutless Foodie's Surmai Rawa Fry

This is a guest post.

I have interacted with her over mails just a week or so. She sent me an order and I shipped it to her. I thought I'll check with her if she needs a recipe. Instead immediately after she received the masalas she was on a roll. First came the intro mail, then the experiments and results. Then this one saying she was trying to post to the Words Power Us section on this blog. I have been wanting to invite people to do guest posts and I find one right in my inbox.

The Gutless Foodie is a FB group run by Natasha Diddee. A trained chef, a by product of IHM Mumbai and Sophia Polytechnic. I was sobbing uncontrollably when I read this, "I lost my entire stomach to two bleeding ulcers and a tumour growing around my stomach. But, God is great and our bodies wondrous, it adapts. :)" So you see how her group gets the name. Yet from what little I know of her presenting to you the emoticon and hashtag junky, sunshine girl! 

My only knowledge of a part of the Koli community came from Sona, our fisher woman. Those were the days, when fisherwomen came to your doorstep, with the fresh catch of the day. They'd ring the doorbell and assure you, that they'd kept the freshest seafood, only for you. They'd sell to you and then promptly ring the next doorbell and tell them the exact same thing! One day, I caught Sona in the act! #NatashaISTheFoodMafia #TGFMafia

She laughed nervously and said she truly sold us the freshest seafood. I sneered, she snorted. She knew she'd lost. #TGFIsFierceInAStaringMatch

We cackled and started chatting, whilst I covered my nose #FisherWomenHaveFierceFishOdour
Whilst we were chatting, she told me why fisher folk were known to have fierce tempers. She said, they eat really spicy food, using a special masala and the temper is the spice's fault!

Over the years, I have lost count of how many times I've eaten chicken & seafood Koliwada. In my pea-sized brain, Koliwada must be koli style food! But, I realised that Sona had duped me! This food wasn't as spicy as she'd made it out to be! #TGFsBrainMayBeSmallerThanHerGutlessGut

I was at a friend's house recently and tried a fish dish. It was FooFoo type spicy, but very flavourful. His mom told me, that she had used Koli Masala! I refused to believe her because, I had just eaten a stellar fish curry and it was not that horrendous scary red colour, that most things we know as Koliwada style dishes are!!

I was terrified she'd not give me more food if I countered her so, I let the yummies shut my mouth. I promptly forgot, till one day I overheard someone talking about Koli Chicken Curry. My ears perked up. Now, I HAD to get to the bottom of this!!

So, I asked all the Koli foodies I knew and the unanimous verdict, was to use masalas from Annaparabrahma. Anjali runs this masala business and I was excited to know you could buy all kinds of Koli goodies from her! I ordered several masalas and they came yesterday, along with a few small free samples!

I never, ever recommend a masala I've not tried myself so, I kept it to myself till this post. Last night I had some super fresh Surmai/Kingfish, so I broke into Anjali's Koli Masala.

It was excellent! I suddenly understood what Sona had meant!! The best part, she hadn't duped me. The masala is very robust and super flavourful but also really spicy. But, not in an alarming way. Would I reorder this masala? I'd be losing out if I didn't. Can't wait to try it in curries next! 

Ingredients : 

1. Surmai/Kingfish - 4 pieces, skin on, bone in, 1/2 " thick slices
2. Oil - to shallow fry
3. Garlic paste - 1 tspn
4. Salt - 1/2 tspn
5. Coriander leaves - a small fistful, chopped
6. Anjali's Koli Masala - 1 tbspn
7. Rawa - to coat


1. Marinate everything together, excluding the oil and rawa. I kept it for about an hour.
2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. While it's heating, roll the marinated fish into a plate, lined with rawa. Coat each piece properly.
3. Place the fish into the pan and on a high flame, sear each side. Lower the flame, cover and cook till done.
As usual, I squeezed some lime juice on it and dug in.

☆ The rawa coating took away some of the spiciness, but the flavour was incredible

☆I would normally also fry fish without the rawa and then recommend the masala if I liked it, but I would then be depriving you of a yummy

☆I haven't been able to figure out what is different from other FooFoo masalas but there is a distinct flavour, which I haven't identified other than yummy

#TaDaaa Koli Surmai Rawa Fry

Tell me readers who would not LOVE this overwhelming bundle of energy! She needs our love and blessings for a long healthy life. Say तथास्तु after me!

Dear Natasha, 

Anjali and everyone at AnnaParaBrahma loves you and GOD BLESS you with a fulfilled life. Keep eating, feeding and spreading this warmth! BIG HUG!!

Friday, November 07, 2014

A box of sweetmeats, was it just that?

The Khapti has sparked up our lives with memories flooding us everyday.

Today as Dad stepped out to go to Chembur, I sheepishly requested him to get a mixed sweet box. Dad smiled and asked, what was on my mind? Further to arouse some guilt he said, "You have been indulging since Diwali".

Unperturbed I said I want a खावाल्याचं पेटलं  

That made Dad smile, I use Koli dailect only for effect, he knows it.

He returned with a box of the mixed sweetmeats form Jhama. I was so thrilled because you can expect my Dad to return empty handed saying the shop was closed! Mainly due to the health concerns I have. However I think he understood this was for the blog and not for me and so he obliged.

You will be wondering what is so great about this box, its the memories associated with it. When we visited Thal our treats were KhaptiNaraLi PakBadampak er ShengdanepakPithachi BoreKejyarcha Kairi Lonche etc. These are treats that are slowly being forgotten in the slew of modern sweets, chocolates and treats. 

You might wonder what was the treat we took back for our cousins and relatives from Mumbai. It was this खावाल्याचं पेटलं .  It means a box of sweat meats. In the entire Raigad region or even beyond this box was much desired. Whether it was the Khapnar the staff working on the boats or the Nakhwa, the owner were going back to their villages from Mumbai after selling their catch and pockets full; they always took back this box of treats, so colorful and enticing.

It is known that seafarers are always at high risk and when they return to family after even a few days at sea, it is always a celebration for the family. Just as the wife would cook the specials for her man, he reciprocated by taking back the sweetmeat box for his family, especially the children. Even if it meant he took back the smallest pack of 250 gms.

The status of the seafarer was determined based on where the sweet treats were bought? Was it from the nameless Guptaji's dairy or from Chandu Halwai or Kailash Parbat? It was always North Indian sweets especially Sindhi sweets because besides the Kolis, the second largest community in Colaba was the Sindhi. Their sweets were much loved. Made from Khoya in different flavours, chocolate, rose, pista. The motichoor ladoos that would make Fanta shy away in faded color. The yellow or white sheets of Mahim halwa. The sticky chewy Karachi halwa / Badam halwa. Now when a khapnar went to buy he would have just a few Rupees in his pocket and taking only one type of sweet in higher weight meant not being able to afford too many varieties. So they would always ask for a piece of each of the sweetmeats. That way they would be able to taste everything the shop had to offer and also spend less. Soon this was something the shopkeepers got used to and they started offering a mixed sweetmeats box at a fixed price. Another thing, the box definitely looked festive and more colorful with the variety. I sometimes wonder if this was the legacy of Tasting menus that we see in restaurants today.

Chandu's box used to be covered in yellow cellophane paper and peeling it off was a source of excitement and entertainment for the kids back in the villages. Kailash Parbat had Lord Shivji on the box and the wrapper was a thick paper with pink and blue prints tied up with a thin cotton ribbon. Their sweets were the best and quite a status symbol for the seafarers. 

(Psst once we moved to Fort our family status symbol was sweets from American Dryfruits and Fountain Dry fruit stores, I don't remember my Dad  ever got mixed sweetmeat box from them)

On the occasions when Anwar Sheth (nickname Anwarya) from Chiplun visited Thal to conduct business and settle payments for the dry fish that he bought from the Koli people. He would get a similar box of sweets from Suleman Mithaiwala  for every family with whom he had contacts. It would be a green tombstone shaped box associated with the Muslim symbolism. Covered in another layer of green cellophane. 

I do not know what was this thing with Cellophane the crackling, the color or transparency that made it such a favorite wrapper for sweet boxes with Mithaiwallas.

The cellophane covers were always peeled off carefully to be used to cover Diwali kandeels or light bulbs for Ganapati decorations. The Kailash Parbat wrapper would be laid out in the little temples or Devhara in homes.

Once the staff were united with the family at teatime the box of sweet would be ceremoniously opened with all children surrounding him. Either the kids picked up a piece of their choice or the father cut out chips of the larger piece so everyone could get a taste of the mixed sweets in the box.

So anyone who went to the village from Mumbai was asked if they had got the box of sweet meats?

If a kid was running past neighbors and relatives in a rush with something in his/ her hands to share with friends at their favorite play spot they would get asked, "बापासनी काय हानलं?" (What did your father get?) The answer was always and always खावाल्याचं पेटलं !

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Khapti for Four ānā

Chaar ānyā chi Khapti~ ~

Shouted out the seller. This was music to the children's ears. This call generated a scene in every home of its reach, of the children tugging at their Aaji's or Aai's paishachi pishvi or money bag tucked at the waist demanding 4 ānā.

Those were the days when 4 ānā or 25 paise could fetch you a delicious treat. Actually they were the days of the Rupaya and paisa but the seller was stuck in the ānā age. Irrespective of the confusion in the currency you bet the treat was something we looked forward to every evening exactly at 5 pm.

Those were the days when the Thal bazaar was in the space near the Bhikari and Bundake family homes. I remember there were a few Wanis or grocers who sold them. Anita Vade used to sit against the wall of the Bhikari home and sell khapti along with other stuff. But one would buy from her only when you missed buying from the guy who would go around the village with a Taat full of khapti. Sadly I don't remember the name of the seller. Dad however tells me khapti was sold by Sitaram Jage when they were kids. So I guess the recipe is a Jage family heirloom that spread wide.

If we stopped the seller to buy some, he would place one foot on the OTi and chip off a little piece from the Taat and hand it out to us. We loved khapti for it gave us a sugar rush which had the goodness of jaggery.

Khapti was never eaten all at once. It quietened the neighborhood for a while as the kids would nibble on the chewy khapti. This was however long forgotten, until...

Fast forward, I was at the music class and mentioned that I was going to Thal over the weekend and D Kaka, My music teacher's husband requested me to look for Khapti. I was surprised he knew about it. Then I came to know that he infact studied at Alibag and hence all the memories came flooding the conversation that followed. I was so amused that on returning home from class I mentioned it to Dad and could not imagine hearing the wonderful memories associated with this little treat. Our home was purchased from a Wani by my great great grandfather and so the nickname stuck and so whether it was Dad's generation or mine, we got teased, "Wani chi khapti". Infact, I remember couple of years ago, I went to Alibag by ST bus. It was already late in the evening around 7.00 ish. A senior autowallah came up to me and agreed to take me to Thal. On that ride he shyly mentioned that he was Vijay Bhendkar and I immediately recollected and spurted out "You used to tease us Wani chi Khapti!" such fun memories, you can imagine the rest of the conversation was about how I spent some wonderful holidays in Thal. While I was googling found this mention of Khapti on A spoonfull of ideas.

Khapti is now commercially made and packed in plastic pockets. To describe the taste and texture it is nutty, chewy coconut, jaggery and cardamom flavored toffee and yet all natural. The making of khapti is tricky and not everyone's cup of tea as this is made with the sticky type of jaggery that is called chikki cha gul but it is not made into a brittle like chikki but more like a caramel toffee.

I bought it from Shivdas Patil's store in Thal but you also get it in any of the Alibag's sweet shops. Ask for Khapti, its priced at 3 Rs. a piece. I bought all the pieces that he had in the big jar almost a hundred pieces to share with friends at the music class and for my family to enjoy. The ladies at the music class started pestering me for the recipe, so now I have a task at hand. Most of all it delighted D kaka, his Mum who is in her 90s and my Dad.  I am sending some for my Aruna Kaki too for she adores it.

Going by how even today's kids enjoy it, I think it deserves the return of the popularity it once enjoyed.

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