Monday, September 23, 2019

Those Four Happy Birthdays

2015 
When we were still courting

2016 
This is the cutest picture I have of him.

2017
 At Bombay Canteen to celebrate.

2018
I had decided to spoil him thoroughly.

Happy birthday darling!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Golden Fried Prawns

The serve-ware is a family heirloom. It has sections inside not too high like boxes but perfect to hold fried goodies.

Every time we passed Persian Darbar in Byculla, Arvi would disappear into the restaurant and come back with two hot package that would make it impossible to sit in the car. One of their biryani and the other his favorite snack the Golden fried prawns. He would be drooling all the way back home and would always sit down to enjoy while it was warm.

This is my recipe of making them.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons maida
2 tablespoons besan
a large pinch of salt or to taste
10 large tiger prawns 
Oil to fry

Preparation

The tiger prawns must be deshelled retaining the tails and then deveined. Retaining the tails gives structure to the prawn and aesthetics too.

Make a medium batter with maida, besan, salt and water. It should coat and hold up on the prawn when dipped.

Heat oil in a wok. Dip in batter and coat nicely. Fry to golden. The Prawns when I fried at home always curled a bit but the ones from Persian Darbar would be straight not sure if they put a stick in it while frying and then remove it. However home made tasted fresher and a little nutty with besan is what Arvi said.

He used to eat all and then eat only 2 small phulkas following it for dinner.

I used to make this occasionally unlike other prawn dishes as it depended on the size and the largest are the sweetest and best for Golden fried prawns.

To describe, they should be crunchy on the outside and tender inside with just the right amount of salt to make the sweetness of the prawn shine. For the Indian palate you might need a spicy chutney on the side. Arvi did not need any, he loved them just plain.

Go make some and enjoy


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Lobster Biryani


Lobsters long time ago were my favorite too.  This post is about a Lobster biryani I once made for Arvi. He enjoyed just the white meat from the lobster unlike me, I loved it more when cooked in its shell. Either a Shevndi cha kanji, the Koli style curry or as boiled or boiled and then roasted in the embers. Lobster needs delicate treatment so the simplest versions were my favorite. Arvi too liked the Tatraveli lobster where it is marinated in Jeeru lasan masala and then shallow fried in a pan. 

The main difference when I loved and ate lobsters I enjoyed the really big ones as my maternal uncle brought them for me. He was a supplier of seafood for Taj Mahal Palace Hotel back in those days. Whereas the lobsters that our Fishermonger, Dwarka brought for us were not very large. Arvi did not enjoy the head where as wasting the head was blasphemy for the Koli in me. So Just the white meat cleaned and deshelled look much like a very very large prawn though it wasn't.


Ingredients

10 -15 chunks of lobsters, cleaned
2 tablespoons  Jeeru Lasan Masala
10 onions
1/2 cup oil
2 cups Basmati rice 
1 teaspoon red chili powder
0.5 teaspoon turmeric
0.5 teaspoon ginger paste
3-4 pinches Kashmiri saffron 
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Whole garam masala
5-6 cloves
4 green cardamom
2 tej patta
2 black cardamom
10 peppercorns
2 nos X 2 inch sticks of cinnamon 

Preparation

Marinate the cleaned lobsters in Jeeru lasan masala.

3-4 pinches Kashmiri saffron soak in 1/2 cup milk. Let it rest till needed.

2 cups Basmati rice washed and soaked for 30 mins. 

Boil 3 liters of water in a large vessel. Add soaked Basmati rice to it. In a diffuser or tie in a muslin cloth all the whole garam masalas then add it to the cooking pot of rice. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Cook rice al dente. Drain it into a colander. Remove the garam masala diffuser/ pouch.

Peel and chop 10 onions length-wise. Crush them with fingers to separate the segments.

Procedure

Heat oil in a deep pan. Add all the chopped and separated segments of onions into the pan. Keep the flame on high and keep frying onions for 5 mins. Then add 0.5 teaspoon of salt. The salt will help the onions to sweat and help in frying to crisp golden on slow flame. Keep mixing continuously so onions don't char. It will take about 30-40 mins to give you golden fried onions. Remove them on a sieve.

In the remaining oil add two handfuls of golden fried onions and ginger paste. Saute. Follow in with marinated lobsters. Add the red chili powder, turmeric and the chopped cilantro. Splash a couple of handfuls of water on it to avoid burning. Stir fry a bit. Cover and cook for 2-3 mins. Then remove the cooked lobsters in masala on a plate.

Now do the layers. Add half the cooked basmati rice to the pot. In the middle layer the losters in masala. Sprinkle some golden fried onions which we kept aside. Put another layer of cooked basmati rice. Now macerate the saffron soaking the the milk a bit. Distribute the saffron milk over the pot of rice. Again sprinkle the remaining fried onions. Put the lid on and cook for 2 mins on medium flame, reduce the flame to sim and let the pot sit for 10 mins or till you see steam coming out showing that the whole rice is warmed and the flavors are melded.



Served with love and enjoyed with double the amount.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Prawn Patio

Dhandar and Kolmi No Patio, soul food for a Parsi

Home coming meals are always Dhandar Patio. The ubiquitous combo that features compulsorily on the weekly menu of any Parsi household. A pile of rice covered with yellow dal this in itself  a combo, is called Dhandar. While the vegetarian me enjoy it with papad and pickle my non vegetarian  loving Parsi husband demanded a patio. 

With this post I start a series of meals which my husband enjoyed but I did not post on the blog. Some are very simple and some elaborate. This is to record all the little things that made Arvi happy.

A patio is a sort of a quick pickle made with onion and tomato and any fish. The Prawn patio or Kolmi no Patio being the most favorite among all. So here is the recipe. 

Ingredients

1 cup de-shelled and de-veined prawns
1 onion chopped very fine
1 tomato pureed
1 green chili pounded
2 tablespoon Jeeru Lasan Masala
2 tablespoon oil
optional finely chopped cilantro for garnish.

Preparation

Marinate the cleaned prawns with Jeeru Lasan Masala. Leave it to rest for 10-15 mins. The masala already has salt so no need to add extra. Keeping salt right will help the sweetness of the prawns shine in this dish.

Procedure

Heat oil in a pan. Add the finely chopped onions to the hot oil, follow in with the pounded green chili. Fry until soft. Add tomato puree, let it meld into a paste with the onions. After this add the marinated prawns. Cook till prawns are done but still tender. 

Garnish if you like with finely chopped cilantro. My husband never enjoyed cilantro on his non veg so I skipped it most times.

Note: You will find cookbooks mention the use of vinegar in patio but in homes like ours vinegar did not have much of a presence in cooking except for pickling told my husband. So when vinegar is used, jaggery is added to balance the sourness. my recipe does not need vinegar so eliminates jaggery automatically.

Make this simple lip-smacking recipe and let me know how you like it.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cherry Rum Preserve

This is a sweet preserve I made with the Kashmiri Misri cherries my fruitwalla Sadhuram made sure he got for me before he left for his village for monsoon rice cultivation. These were the reddest and sweetest, the remaining were shades of orange n yellow which I kept in the fridge so I get to snack on them for long.



The recipe is very simple but potent to lift up a regular breakfast or dessert to pleasurable heights. Make and keep some handy.

Ingredients

2 cups Kashmiri Misri cherries, pitted and halved 
1 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup water
4 teaspoons rum

In a saucepan put the pitted and halved cherries. Add 1 cup water and cook the cherries till soft. Next tip in the sugar and cook till a syrup is formed. The syrup should coat the back of the spoon. Switch off the gas and let it cool for 30 mins. After this point add 4 teaspoons rum, I used Old Monk. Stir in well and let it rest till use, store in a clean dry glass jar.


The next day I had a bread baking class and I had planned a fruit and custard dessert for the lunch menu. I let the glasses of fruit n custard chill in the fridge and topped the individual servings with 2 teaspoons of the Cherry Rum Preserve. It made the dessert extra-ordinary.

Other ideas to eat it, I had it with fresh homemade Mascarpone and even with just plain butter croissant. You can use it to top a cake too.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Bread Baking with Me


Bread 101
1. Working with yeast.
2. Types of yeast
3. Proofing
4. Effect of liquid 
5. Temperatures
6. Types of breads Sandwich loaf, Mumbai pao, Brun and masala breads.

Assorted breads 
1. Pretzels
2. Foccassia
3. Fougasse
4. Pita bread

Price for these will be ₹3000 per session. Not more than 4 people in a batch.

Day 1: Bread 101
Practice at home for 1 week.
Day 2: Assorted breads class

Confirm seat by paying in advance. 





Bread Baking with me is not just about learning to work with yeast and creating beautiful breads. It is also about sharing a meal together. The class starts at 10 am so as we work we work up our hunger we take a break as the bread is proofing and have lunch of whatever we bake. We talk about menu creation for a party with bread at the center of it. You also take back home everything that you bake so your family can taste and you can show off your new learning. Come join me.


Sunday, July 07, 2019

Cherry Chutney



I am posting a recipe after a very long time. After AC its been a very stressful time just collating matters of the home and business, I haven't being doing anything in my own business. The Eshop is totally neglected. However I did host a couple for an #ExperienceWithMe session. Recently I also did a Bread Baking class.

No matter what I do the sorrow does not go away. There are days when I am numb and miss my husband. We were married for a short 2 years 10 months and have been together for a year before that. A total of two months short of 4yrs. We met at a time when I had already had an heart incident in Jan2012 and I had learned to value every minute I have on this earth. My outlook to life has changed completely since that time. So when we met and shared stories on the first day itself we found each other as different as chalk n cheese but we were sure that would balance us is a good way. After swinging between Yes-No-Yes AC finally called on 14Feb2015 and things were different for us. We decide to put ourselves thru the grind. So we started with visiting each other. Then I took him to my village Thal and my family home for a few days to see if we can spend more time together. It was difficult for us because of our age to change our thought processes but still a lot of important things we believed in were same. It was important for me that Arvi did not smoke and drank only to celebrate, may be once or twice in a year. We agreed to keep our own faith and he assured me he will never interfere in my practices infact I was already seeing him participate. He then took me on a week long holiday to Panchgani. He had a very nasty bout of vertigo once thankfully I was visiting him and I stayed till he recovered. It was so hard for both of us. As our decision to get married became final it started being tested by external poisonous factors mostly people and not circumstances. We had a very tough first year. The only way I could make things work for us was assuring him that we are in the marriage as a team come what may. We explored our thoughts on surrogacy, adoption etc. We talked to a lot of friends and our relatives and finally decided that we should not have kids. Through it all Arvi's health issues were becoming more and more complex as we discovered his heart was bearing the brunt of all the medication over the years. Our cardiologist was the same and he had clearly informed us about the challenges on hand for both of us. However we chose to live well inspite of it. We had our year planned out. Summers in my native Alibag, attending all the Parsi baug fests, Panchgani in the monsoons, December for our travels to a new place as it was our Anniversary month and Finally after new year visit to Udwada to thank Khodaiji for the life we have. The two big trips we did together were a struggle for Arvi I realised and last Dec he wanted to take me to his favorite Manali. In the last 2 years we became friends of the heart. Arvi made everything special for me, always the more mushy one. He always said you will miss me when I am not there. He always told me he would not be able to live without me. He also told me to live well. He had come to realise his heart was not going to let him live all his dreams. Inspite of that he promised to celebrate 25yrs of togetherness with me!

After I lost my husband my parental joint family dropped all the existing differences, love won over material matters and continue to hold me in their warm hug. I must have done something right all these years. There was a stray incident when someone I didn't know very well talked to me in a way I still haven't been able to understand. What made that person say the things she did? God gave me strength to bear that too. Only then we learn the importance of family and blood. I am grateful to both sides of my family, Koli and Parsi. Though less than a handful on the Parsi side they are very loving and supportive. Unfortunately they were not in town as they were all travelling when it happened.

I try to pack my day with lots of activities now. So when someone requests for a class I say yes. It fills my day with a lot of good energy. The recipe of Cherry chutney I am sharing here is what I made for one of the class sessions to go with bread that we baked. It is lightly sweet, spicy and delightful. Do try and let me know if you like it.


Ingredients
2 cups Kashmiri Misri Cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan put the half of the pitted cherries. The other half grind to coarse paste and add to the saucepan. Add a cup of water to just cover them. Cook till soft. Then add the sugar, salt and chili flakes. Simmer till you see the cherries look slightly glazed and the chutney is not runny. Let it cool completely. Chill it in the fridge and then serve. 

I served it with the breads during the class and after it I have been enjoying it with different crackers and savory biscuits like in the pictures.



Note : The plate and chutney pot are my Cooper family heirlooms and so is the crochet tablecloth.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Food Maula: Loksatta, 7Jun2019

Anjali Koli (Featured on Food Maula, Loksatta 7 Jun 2019) This is an online translation of the original published in Marathi.

https://epaper.loksatta.com/m5/2188046/loksatta-mumbai/07-06-2019?fbclid=IwAR25ZCkljojzCg7O3k18n9qq8ARFG9XU1SdKMyr6GB5TmKtg3PL7S7ibSDU#page/48/1

My blog is called 'Annaparabrahma'. In 2006 I started blogging. I grew up in a joint family but after we started working, everyone got scattered. So I started the blog to talk to my family. They wanted to know the recipes from me. It was not possible to tell it on the phone. So, I broadcasted on the blogosphere,first to my family and then other readers. I listed out Koli recipes. Then wrote about it and started posting. I used to do traditional Koli food, Maharashtrian food and cake baking. I have a blog, e-shop and a Facebook page too. I teach cooking and also participated in some food shows. I went to Bangalore for work in Wipro and fell in love with local food culture in the state of Karnataka.

While working in Bangalore, I used to blog at lunch break. It started as a hobby then became a career. I love traveling, so I spent a lot of time traveling in Karnataka in the seven years. I interacted with people in the small villages of Karnataka. At that time, I was exposed to the food culture there. I learnt a lot from my neighbors.

There is a Maharashtrian influence in the food culture of North Karnataka. The jowar-bajri bhakri, dal, and vegetables are similar except there is a difference in seasoning. At the beginning of winter as field beans are in season it is a fun time. The people of Bangalore are so crazy for these field beans that men and women in the household go shopping together for these. You will see carts piled up with avarekai everywhere. How to choose the best? is a secret. My neighbor shared it with me. Lot of field beans are grown in the Alibaug area of ​​Konkan, Maharashtra. Yet, I did not know that. The neighbor told that the beans must be rubbed between the palms. That releases the essential oils and releases an aroma. It is only if it smells fresh and lovely to you then you must buy. I was amused by this entire process and realized how stringent the Kannadigas were in this selection. The real interesting part lay ahead. There is a competitive environment that can be seen in the Season. Kannadigas buy and eat field beans and then throw them at the doorstep to tease the neighbor that they have enjoyed the field beans and the size of the heap decided who was scored more in Avarekai happiness. Avarekai is used is many recipes to make variety of dishes.

They are so crazy that there are Avarekai festivals held across the state. Two of these dishes are my favorite. One such recipe is called 'Avarekai Congress' it is a kind of chiwda, made by deep frying fresh beans. It contains only fried bead with salt, masala. A curry called 'Hittik Bele Sambar' made only in Kannadiga homes is delicious. It is made with onion and coconut ground masala. The fresh beans are soaked in hot water and peeled to separate the creamy field beans and then added to the curry.

Just like in Maharashtra a puranpoli meal or Shrikhand Puri meal is supposed to be a pretigious meal for a wedding, in Karnataka it is the Chiroti Badam milk meal that raises your status in society a few notches high. The Chiroti in Karnataka is a huge puri the size of a big bhatura. Yet it isn't hollow but crisp and crunchy thoroughly. It is served on banana leaf or a thali and guests crush the puri as the servers and hosts pour badam milk over the crush. There is also an 'Api Payasa' which is made with small puris that are torn into pieces then boiled in badam milk to get a slightly thickened kheer. Small puris are called Api in Konkani and payasa is kheer.

There is a village called Melkote near Bangalore. It is a town in the middle of Karnataka where Tamil culture is thriving even today. Ramanujacharya had lived there and done penance for 12 years. You find the only Sanskrit school in India, there. This town of Iyengar Brahmins is 

famed for its 'Puliyogre'. In fact, Puliyogare is found in all four directions of Karnataka. Yet if you ate it there, it tastes outstanding. Peanuts are used in this recipe. While a 5 star hotel may use cashew nuts it is traditional to use peanuts. A good puliyogare is made with tamarind and sesame oil.

One more favorite is sandige with popped rice. Curd rice, pickle and the popped rice sandige makes a heavenly combo.

In the last decade the street food culture has found an address in V. V. Puram. Lot of South Indian food items are available there. Different types of masala dosa, a famous type of Chilli Bhajji. This Bhajji batter is different from our bhajji batter, Rice, urad dal and a little bit of besan is used for it. Peeled fresh peanuts are served with onion, coriander and chillies. There aren't many chaats but one is very popular. Masala puri, made with crushed pani puri and topped with dried green peas which are soaked overnight and made into a sambar.

Due to dynamic weather in Karnataka, there are two types of almond milk cold and hot. It rains eight months and there are dry hot spells in between. So hot and cold almond milk suits perfectly. Soda, and fizzy drinks are not consumed much. Almond milk is a craze. There are grape and sweet lime gardens in some areas so naturally grapes and Sweet lime juice are wonderful. There is a sweet called 'Kardant' which is similar to Dink ladoo. It contains gum, a lot of dry fruits and coconut. Also, if you go to Karnataka, you must enjoy the ghee soaked Maisur paak.

Interviewer : Bhakti Parab

viva@expressindia.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Arvi Loved Hapoos!


Wherever we went Arvi always ate mango icecream! 

Last of the Hapoos icecream made by my sweetheart. Just like he was an expert at Vasanu making he considered himself expert at icecream making. His icecream machine was not working so I helped him make it in the mixer. Like all bawas he was crazy about Hapoos. Infact even as a child he would gift his poor friends boxes of hapoos so that they to could enjoy the golden fruit. Last mango season we were holidaying in my native place Alibag when my brother suggested we buy mangoes from Salav forest area if we were visiting Kashid. We did exactly that. We bought 9 dozens!

The car groaned under the weight. The driver cribbed while loading and unloading. My husband appeasing him with a generous tip and a share of the haul. 

After enjoying most of the fruit in the ripest juiciest form we made milkshakes, lassis and mango sheera and even a Hapoos icecream making faceoff 🤗

I made my Hapoos+condensed milk+cream version; his the reduced milk version. His verdict was mine turned out better. His excuse he lost patience while reducing the milk. His version laced with elchi - jaiphal.

Today finished the last of the icecream made by him. Shared it with Dad and told him, 'Arvi chya haat chi'. Shevat chi.

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