Saturday, February 14, 2015

Strawberry Soft Melting Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's a mad kind of a day today. I am hosting a couple for lunch. Its a special meal for the lovers, the wife is spoiling her husband silly. I thought I'll make for them, these Strawberry Soft Melting Hearts. Inspired by the Smitten Kitchen.

Sometime ago, a blogger friend and co-IFBMer Anand of Magic Marinade recreated this cake from the Smitten Kitchen and it just set a cascade effect on all other blogger buddies, a movement of sorts, literally! We all made and posted pics for everyone to see on FB and some posted on their blogs too. It was such fun bonding making the same cake in kitchens across the world, take a look here..

Happy Valentine's to all the people reading this blog, those who take all the trouble of interacting with me. Those who encourage me. I love you all!

Happy Valentine's to those who have found their Valentine, for those who are looking and mostly for those who are too harsh on themselves. Love your special someone and love the people around you and love yourself, for God's sake!

Do you see a heart?

Heart Melt !!!!!

I wear my heart on my sleeve always whether it is my family, a special one or even myself. I have a mushy soft heart and these cup cakes are so me.

Enjoy your day today and everyday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tomato Batata Ras Bhaaji

Our food choices are so much about the company we keep. Right now my maternal cousin sister is here with me and we talk mostly about my maternal family, my Mum and her Dad and Mom. Invariably memories of food creep in. Like Ramdas mama getting the oily Sheera from the local hotel in Thal for me when I visited. My Mum would always pass it on to the househelp and never let me eat it. I hated it too. I just cannot eat Sheera made with water! Yes I am a snob when it comes to my favorites. No compromise.

Then another time we were talking about some recipes that are so Mum like. When she knew that this was a dependable bhaaji and will be lapped up with rice and bread without a complaint by the entire household and especially me.

Its such a simple recipe if you ignore the coconut milk extraction part or if you are using canned coconut milk then this ras bhaaji is ready in a jiffy.

I know you can't wait to have your hands on the recipe. So lets jump right to it.


1/2 kg small tomatoes
1/2 kg boiled potatoes
2 green chillies
2-3 cups medium thick coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
few curry leaves
2 teaspoons ghee
salt to taste

Portions : 4 - 5


Boil and peel potatoes. Cut potatoes into large pieces and mash 1 potato and keep aside.

Cut the tomatoes into halves and save.

Extract and Keep coconut milk ready. I made it myself.

Method :

Heat a kadhai and add 2 teaspoons ghee to it. There is no substitute for ghee in this curry. Its a must. Once hot and molten add cumin and mustard seeds to it. When the cumin is fragrant and mustard seeds pop add the curry leaves. Follow in with the slit green chillies. Then add the tomatoes and potatoes to it. Give it a stir and increase heat to soften the tomatoes and while that's happening the flavors will intensify.
Add the Kashmiri red chilli powder to it and the mashed potato. Mix. Then add the coconut milk. Salt the curry to your taste. Boil the curry on medium heat for 10 mins. Till you get a smooth curry.
Plating and Serving :

Fill a bowl with rice and turn it onto the plate. Ladle out little liquid curry on the rice. Spoon out the tomatoes and potatoes on the sides.  Ladle out more curry to form a pool around the rice. Pick a curry leaf and top it on the rice. Sprinkle some cilantro. 

To finish off plant a roasted rice crisp and your fancy plating is done!

Does it look like a turtle? 

The curry is creamy with coconut milk and tangy due to the tomato. The starchy potato is as comforting as it can get. Use your fingers to mash up the curry with rice and lick your fingers.

My cousin Harshada enjoyed it and smiled as she ate feeling happy and remembering her Vitha attya. That's my Mum, Lata!

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Wooden Masher


I was in Gondavale for the Punyatithi utsav in Dec. This is the time when the road in front of the Sansthan blooms with local produce and products. While innumerable shops selling Kandi peda are roaring with business, there are small artisans selling their wares on the streets. One has to be able to spot them and my hawk eye for local products ain't going to miss it. I saw a woman selling wood crafted traditional Kitchen tools. On checking what this mace like tool was I bought all 6 available ones back with me to Mumbai. On Facebook when I teased friends with them they were a rage!

Finally I got 100 pieces made.

Even as all those who bought wondered what to do with it. I dug out a little on its origins in the traditional kitchen and its uses in a modern one.

In Satara, this wooden masher is predominantly used to smash fresh green chilies along with garlic and salt and make Thecha which is ubiquitous meal accopaniment in these parts. Besides this garlic is crushed with it and used for seasoning. May be sometimes ginger too is mashed with it and added to the boiling tea. Basically anything can be mashed with it, cardamom, nutmeg. The long handle gives a good grip. The woman told me that it would be great for mashing Pav bhaaji, ofcourse yes!

Then when I brought it home I found it very useful to extract juice and pulp from fruits while I was making the jelly. The wooden masher ensures an unadulterated taste unlike the metal masher that leaches a bit of metal into the food you are processing. 

Yes and it serves as a nutcracker too, nutmegs in shell, walnut, pistas, etc.

Taking care of the wooden masher:

The wooden masher should be washed and oiled after use everyday. Wood stays sturdy and shinny when oiled well. Once you are done with using the masher for the day just dab some oil on your palms and rub into to masher like a massage. This will save it from chipping.

Ever since I brought it home and gave a place to it on my counter, visitors to my kitchen invariably pick it up and admire the craftsmanship and ask me where they can buy it.

This masher is crafted by the artisans in Satara and brought to you by AnnParabrahma at your doorstep. Buy it now on the Eshop.

By patronizing us you are helping small businesses in the villages of India.

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