Sunday, May 31, 2020

Two Hands 2020





Finally after the huge hurdles due to #Lockdown the Two Hands event took place online. It was a good decision that the team led by the very passionate Preeti and Rajesh Deo took. 

Two hands is an annual charity event they host at their home in UK and it is in it's 5th year. The prep starts months in advance. 

This year early in Jan as Preeti started planning she disclosed to me the theme at the time she was knee deep into studying Nala paakdarpan. So she said this year she would base the theme on ancient texts and regional cuisine of Maharashtra. 

She assigned to me the task of making a 5 min video introducing the Koli cuisine. At the time I was recovering from a terrible month long cough that had an effect on my throat so excuse the groggy voice in the video. I tried to compensate it by dressing up. 

This little clip was my hands touching theirs to gather support and strength for the Impacct Foundation - Tata Memorial Hospital. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

SweetLime Cupcakes | Mosambi Muffins


This post is a dedication to my cousin sister Neelam. She stepped into her 50s yesterday.

A very simple girl. She and I grew up together and even though younger than me by 10 months she used to take care of me growing up a lot. She started cooking before me and was more responsible than me. At a young age a better cook than anyone in the family. 

An anecdote that family tells about us is that when we were babies 10 months apart I did not drink much milk so my bottle was given to her and she would suck up both hers and mine noisily. I was a bony baby she was chubby. She was vulnerable I was smart. Especially I knew how to escape our grandfather's pastings. That's our favourite memory to crack up to.

Then 5 yrs ago she had gone for a pilgrimage to Nashik. When she suffered deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and the blood clot travelled to her hand. In seconds it was black. Immediately she was moved to Mumbai and for 15 days doctors waited to see if they could revive it. Alas they could not and before sepsis set in they had to take a decision to save her life. It was a very hard time for family members to watch her go thru it. Finally she said she wanted to live for her young daughters. In that process she lost a limb.

Aai, me and Neelam

Since then She lives her life with strength and positivism. Still caring for her family. She doesn't show the struggle. We are fortunate that her younger sister in also married into the same family so she has her back.

Yesterday I had planned an online party for her. However due to several challenges in the family that party turned into a one on one call. Yet Dad and I went ahead and wished her. Showed her the SweetLime Cupcakes that I made and we ate later. I know it would have been such fun together.

The cupcakes turned out a little dense than I like but were nice and citrusy.

Here is the recipe if you wish to recreate.

Ingredients
1 cup maida / all purpose flour.
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
50gms white butter
1 cup SweetLime juice
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon zest
1/2 cup sugar, demerara

For icing
100 ml Amul fresh cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon zest



Follow the video.

In a bowl mix in all wet ingredients and dissolve the sugar by whisking. Then add the baking powder and mix lightly. 

Add the zest. Next fold in the flour lightly into the liquid. The batter should be smooth.

Now line the muffin tray with cupcake cases. Spoon in 3-4 scoops into each pocket. Meanwhile preheat oven for 10 mins. I usually add this time to the time for baking and set the total time required. In this case we will bake for 40 mins in a bain marie so set the time at 50 mins at 160 degree celcius.

Put in a tray with 1 cup of water. place the muffin tray over it and bake. Check if baked properly by inserting a knife in the middle of the muffin. If the knife comes out clean it is done.

Cool completely for 12 hours before icing. 

Whip the fresh cream with icing sugar and vanilla extract. 

Top the muffins with icing to make them into pretty cupcakes. Sprinkle the zest over the icing.

Before serving place the SweetLime Cupcakes on a beautiful plate or cake stand. 


Happy 50th Budday Neelam!



Sunday, May 24, 2020

Aamba Barfi | Mango Fudge



When it is Hapoos season we are on a cooking baking high with the king of mangoes. Making Aamba barfi at home is so easy and you can control the sugar in it too unlike store bought ones which are extremely sweet and does not consider diabetics at all.

There are several Aamba barfi recipes that use milk powder and taste like dough but try this real burfi with Khava / Mawa and you won't like the milk powder vadis of the world. This Barfi is soft like Kalakand and delicate to taste.

For a short recipe like this lets not waste time, lets get going...

Ingredients

200 gms unsweetened khava / Mawa
1/4 cup of sugar
pulp of 1 Hapoos / Mango
1 handful of pistachios
6 cardamom pods
1 spoon of toop/ ghee

Collect all the ingredients on the counter. Crumble Khava and keep it ready. Mine was very moist so crumbled easily. If you have hardened khava pound it with a pestle.

Sliver the pistachios and keep aside. Peel the cardamom pods and pound the seeds to coarseness. Keep ready.

Pulp one Hapoos mango and keep aside, It should yield about 1/2 cup mango pulp. You can use any other mango which is fully ripe if you don't have access to hapoos. Hapoos has excellent color, flavor and fragrance hence it is the best. Remember whichever mango you use that will impart its characteristics to the Barfi like mentioned before.

Heat up a small fry pan and add 1 spoon of toop/ ghee. Melt it and then add khava to it. Fry till it becomes lump free. Khava is unsweetened but Mawa is sometimes sweetened so check it and then adjust sugar accordingly.

Now save little pistas for sprinkling on top. Rest major part add to the lump free khava. Mix to distribute evenly.

In a kadhai add the mango pulp and sugar and reduce it to compote thickness. The more you thicken it your effort for reducing along with khava is lessened.

Add the khava and reduce till the mass leaves the sides of the kadhai. Add the coarse cardamom powder and mix well. For this quantity it took me good 15-20 mins. Watch and listen to the sound in the video that tells you that the mix is ready to be removed from heat. Made in 30 mins.

I used a glass baking dish to cool this barfi but if you are using a metal plate or tray do grease it with toop.

Now remove the mix to the tray or glass dish and allow to cool over night. If it is set well cut into squares. I had to put it in the fridge to set for further 4 hrs to get neatly cut squares. Over few days the barfi sets firmly in the fridge as you relish it slowly.

Isn't it so easy peasy! Make it and tell me you accomplished making Aamba Barfi or Mango fudge.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Our Stupid Reactions


After a very long time I found a good teacher and nurturer. Go straight to 12:33 then go and watch all over again. 

https://youtu.be/0RMPciauNAQ

When I started watching Our Stupid Reactions prima facia thought yeah yet another set of Americans doing reactions. Slowly I appreciated their insights. Especially Rick, he is so articulate. A teacher to the core. Then on many requests he started this series on 'Artistic Expression Vs Fine artistry'. A blessing for those of us who did not study Humanities. 

OSR is built up by the Stupid babies across India and the globe. Just the kind of art and artistry shared on this channel has opened our eyes to different corners of India that we were not aware about living in our bubble life. 

Rick and Korbin are so open to learning about India. They are in love with India. Rick found Indrani thru OSR and Korbin, what can we say about him, from not mentioning his wife on the channel to introducing Stefanie and his baby Leeland to The stupid family has been a journey of joy. Imagine he has learnt to eat with his hand that from detesting touching food. He is cooking Indian food in his kitchen. Yeah he has lots of us telling him the recipes are not all that authentic.

Such a lovely bond we have with both the Segall and Miles families.

This is a gratitude post. Keep entertaining us and teaching us in the process 🙏🏽




Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Dhekaas Recipe, After the Live Event



Presenting to you a cake from our Koli repertoire that has all your fancy tags #glutenfree #fatfree #veg and #nosweat recipe. You did not expect it right? 

Made this on the live today with @historywali for her fabulous series #Historyonaplate I loved to see all my friends cheering me on. Asking so many questions some we could answer as they were about the recipe and some about culture and anecdotes I will answer at leisure on #talkativeanjali going forward. 

I briefly did an intro of Koli cuisine. Reminiscing about my grandpa through it as I highlighted the risk and skill involved in the lives of Kolis. The heartwarming memory behind the dish I made today Dhekaas. The socio-cultural significance of the ingredients used. 



Here is the recipe for you to recreate it.

Ingredients

1 cup broken rice, Kani in Koli
Half cup powdered jaggery
Half cup fresh grated coconut
1 teaspoon ginger powder/ sunth

In a vessel preferably a shallow pan cook the broken rice with equal amount of water. The rice should be fluffy. I used Pressure cooker today to cut time on live.

After cooking the broken rice. Mix in powdered jaggery, fresh grated coconut and ginger powder in and mix well. Cook on heat till it starts leaving the sides of the vessel. Switch of heat. Traditionally it was baked on embers on top and bottom. Bake in the oven at highest temp till you get a golden top. About 15-20 mins. Let it cool completely. Overnight is better. 

Serve it slightly warm with cold moulded white butter or ghee. I added jaggery coated cashews for texture on the side. 

Enjoy a piece of oral Koli history through my trip into nostalgia!

Those who attended the live a huge thank you and those who missed it you have the next whole day to watch it on Shubhra's stories. I would like to hear back from you. If you make this Koli style cake called Dhekaas in your kitchen it would be a big thrill for me to see your takes on it. So go ahead and post pictures and tag me. This time I am all open to tags 😁


Monday, May 11, 2020

Making Dhekaas On History On A Plate


Catch me live tomorrow 12 May with @historywali on her series 'History on a plate' which is a current rage on Instagram and is in it's week 4. Will share an old world treat that is almost lost in time. See you.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Thoughts on Mother's Day 2020


 

Mothi Aai, My Aai and Devaki Kaki

Reading everyone's tributes to their Moms. I have very complex feelings.

1. The circumstances in my home made my Aai go to live in Thal when I was 14yrs old. So in that sense I became independent then on. Taking care of myself. Trying not to be a nuisance to others in the family. Trying to help out as much as possible. I have been a straightforward person so it's been difficult dealing with everyone and the power dynamics in joint families. When Aai came back with what initially looked like stomach ache and we found out it was Ovarian Carcinoma of grade 3. I just did not allow anyone else to take care of her not even my Dad. She did not expect it from me. I assured her these were her sanvskar. She passed away within 25 days of diagnosis, 18 blood transfusions that resulted in a massive heart attack. It's 26 yrs. It's been a tough journey without her.

2. We lost Devaki Kaki 2 yrs after my Aai. Our family suffered blows after blows. S was barely in the 8 Std. H moved with me and Dad to Nerul home after couple of years. After another 2 yrs S joined us along with P Kaka. I was responsible for 4 men. I was working as an Environmental Engineer at that point. Travelled every 2 days to Industrial areas in Maharashtra and Gujarat. I cooked, cleaned and kept the house. I asked for help from all 4 men. Got some flak for it. I tried to be a mother and it was not easy. I was only 28 when I started being. The responsibility and my younger uncle's ideology of no kids had a huge impact on me. I never dared to have kids of my own. Many times even when I wasn't married I pondered on adopting but did not act on it. I never had the courage to become a Mother.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Khari Puri


Khari Puri or Farsi puri is a snack from my childhood that features topmost in my favourites. I have Rajput kaki to thank it for. She was an amazing cook and even though we lived in the business district of Mumbai between late 70s to late 80s she cooked some food on the sigdi. That added a beautiful fragrance to her food. Thalis laden with wonderful dhoklas, khari puri, shrikhand puri, raswala bateta etc appeared on festivals from her kitchen. I knew exactly what her menu would be for each festival. It was mostly during Diwali times that we kids helped to make snacks. Together with Preety we were give the task of slashing the puris with a knife. We weren't too good with rolling out puris. That would be done by Induben and Ji aaji. Slashing the puris was fun and a task we enjoyed. Today I was feeling low. So to snap out of it I decided I need to do something therapeutic. Khari Puri project at 9 am is a good thing. I also started recording videos for Talkative Anjali but I made the mistake of pouring in the water all together. Then I had to fix it by added more flour. The consistency of the dough is key to the success. So here is the recipe after a successful project.

Ingredients

2 cups maida 
1/4 cup Rava prefer fine
4 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole peppercorn
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

In a big bowl measure out the maida and rava. Fine rava works better as it will soak up water nicely. Add cumin, salt and ghee. Massage the ghee into the flour to get a crumbly texture. Use both hands to get the ghee into the flour. 

Next take a cup of water. Using little at a time keep kneading the dough. It has to be a flaky tight dough which is required to make the puris crisp and give it shelf life. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it rest for 20 mins. 

Go back and check the dough. The rava would have bloomed with water and the dough should feel supple. Knead it to homogenise the rava and maida. Divide this smooth dough into three parts. Make cylinders of 12 inch length. Cut small pieces of dough roundels. Roll out each roundel into a Puri. The Puri should be nicely thin so when you fry it will turn crisp and stay crisp on storage. You should not need any flour or oil to roll out the puris. That is the sign of perfectly kneaded dough. After rolling out the puris lift it up from the polpat or the counter on which you are rolling it so that it does not stick to the rolling surface. Then place the whole peppercorns on the puri, spacing out properly. Smash the peppercorns with a pestle into the Puri. Now lift the Puri and move it to a weaner or a plate so that you can make a few puris before you start frying. I fried 4 puris in a batch. So that the oil is not crowded. I used s medium-sized cast iron kadhai for frying. You decide how many puris you can accommodate in your kadhai based on this.

Heat oil in the kadhai keep gas on medium. Put 4 puris at a time and reduce heat to sim. Make sure the heat is even and enough for frying. Allow the puris to fry on one side till a beautiful golden and then turn over. The timing for frying is the time required for you to roll out the puris and smash the pepper into it. Do not roll out all puris together else they dry out before frying. After both the sides are golden drain using a slotted spoon and remove into a colander lined with absorbent napkin. I have stopped using paper napkins as an environmental responsibility. I use cloth napkins and wash and reuse them. 

In such a way fry all the puris and use up the dough. It took me 2hrs for this Khari Puri project from start to finish. However all the effort was rewarding in the end when I tasted the Khari Puri. It was so good just like Kaki's. Plus after all the sweet stuf I made and we ate this was just the thing we needed. 

Some of you have requested this recipe so posting it in a rush. I will create the video when I make the next batch. Until then make and fry fearlessly. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Dudhi na Muthia


How have you been folks? Hope you are enjoying the good side of this lockdown and resting up. I am enjoying it every bit a much needed break first time in my adult life where I need not worry about anything.
It is such an unprecedented time. I was planning to log regularly during the last month but I did not want to be clocking hours. This opportunity is not going to come often. I will make a separate post on how we dealt with the past month and also show you a collage of our meals. However this post is about how we grabbed our least favourite vegetable and tried to create new recipes out of it.

If you haven't been following me on YouTube go check it out. It's still very raw because I am shooting with one hand while I am cooking. Right now even editing videos is not easy for me as I laptop battery needs replacement, it completely dead. The other laptop has driver issues and does not connect to WiFi. No choice but to wait until I can step out to fix it.

Inspite of it thanks to the phone here I am posting on the blog, social media and YouTube. Hope you try out some recipes while staying at home. Stay safe, stay strong!



Ingredients

500gms Dudhi or bottle gourd
2 cups atta
2 tablespoons besan
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon green chili paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
Salt and sugar to taste.
Juice of 1/2 lime
Handful of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup Oil
For tadka
1 tablespoons of black til or whole sesame.
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Handful of curry leaves if you have.

Peel and grate the Dudhi or bottle gourd. To the grated Dudhi add all the ingredients except oil. Knead well. Add 2 teaspoons oil and knead into the dough. Coat the dough lightly with oil.

Let the dough rest for 10 mins. After the dough becomes smooth pinch of small parts of dough with oiled hands shape into rolls. Place them on an oiled steel sieve or jaali lid. Meanwhile in the pressure cooker or steamer heat water to get steam build up. Once you have enough steam and have finished rolling the dough. Put the sieve inside the steaming set up. If using a pressure cooker put one pan and put the sieve over it. Steam for 20 mins. Cool completely. Once cooled slice into bit sized muthia.

Now prepare for tadka. Heat remaining oil in a kadhai, use more if you like. Splutter mustard seeds and sesame seeds. I like using whole sesame seeds which are black as they are more nutritious than polished white. Add curry leaves if you have. Add the spiced muthia into the kadhai. Stir fry till they get golden crisp edges. Serve warm. They taste delicious as is. If you insist on a dip then make mint cilantro chutney to go along.

I did not use all the muthia for one time as we are a family of two right now. I divided the muthia into three parts.

1. Served as dinner with potato airfries and tomato soup.
2. I made Muthia and Methi pulav.
3. Rasila Muthia a wonderful curry with muthia, potatoes and coconut masala.

Both 2 and 3 are on Talkative Anjali. Go watch.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stepping into the 80's


Dad stepped into his 80s. We had an early celebration of his birthday on a Sunday. One of his younger brothers and three of my cousins and one Bhauji made it on the day.

I don't wait for that exact moment for celebrating life when I can sense what is happening around. The Covid-19 had started creeping into India. I have a strong intuition and many times it doesn't hit me that seriously but I listen to it and act.


So messaged everyone to come for lunch. I am grateful to those family members who came. Those who didn't, missed an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy free life before getting stuck at home. 

Life doesn't wait for anyone. Life goes on with you or without you. Sieze life and enjoy! 


My notes on FB

" We had a fantastic day! A quiet advance celebration of the 80s creeping in for Dad. Missed all the kids because Covid-19 stay at home warnings, board exams etc.  I cooked my Dad's favourites. Greek salad, Goad ghari, Birda, Gajar matar and some corn, Shektachya Shenga ghalun varan, bhaat, dahi vade and for dessert Tel Poli, Keshar pede and Dudhi Vadi. We sisters talked n talked and Dad had atleast one of his siblings, P kaka to share this day with."



It's priceless for me to have everyone smiling. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Chatpata Hummus


I had a lot of boiled Kabuli chana on hand after I made chana masala. I saved a bowlful to make this hummus. It's an idea more than a recipe. I made it from leftover chutneys, the green cilantro and chili one and the other date chutney. It tasted so good thought let me share it here.


Ingredients

4 tablespoons green chutney
2 tablespoons date chutney
4 tablespoons tahini
1.5 cup boiled Kabuli chana
5-6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil to put on top

Grind everything together.  Serve it in a bowl add olive oil on top and have it with cream crackers or lavash. Enjoy!


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Will Renovation Give Happiness?


The scene at home today.

Jagdish, our carpenter is here to help me refurbish some furniture. He was working in our home when Arvi fell unconcious on that fateful day and had helped me in that moment. I am grateful to him. So I thought I will give him more work now.

We, Arvi and I had planned to renovate the home. Arvi had health issues that started when he was in college right till the end so he had no interest in home improvement. His sister too later wasn't keeping well so this home was in a state of neglect. He would ask me, "Will Renovation Give Happiness?"

Those who know me and my Dad know that we love a spick and span home. So when I met Arvi I was already helping him clean up the home, I used to joke that I am doing it so he has a liveable space and not to consider it as my indication to marry. I was not sure about marriage but I was very sure I would not like to live in that state of the house. It was at the time Arvi promised me that We will renovate the house to make it our home. He visited my Dad's home and decided that we will have the same green colour to make me feel comfortable in our bedroom. The only project Arvi helmed was of painting the home before we got married.

If at that time Arvi hadn't been honest I would have not known things that mattered to be married. It mattered big time for me to have a clean home. However I was confident about making it a good home with that I jumped into marriage because I knew I had a gem in Arvi.

However we struggled so much on health front after marriage too that we did not have energy for a complete renovation. In spurts I got the flooring changed in some parts of the house. Actually at first I gave away a lot of furniture and clothes to make way for the new. I got a wardrobe built because though there were 10 cupboards there was no space for my belongings.

Slowly the helpers started admiring the cleanliness at home. Even the delivery boys started complimenting.

However I don't know what is in the future of this house, I am constrained and it's not for the lack of finances.

This house has seen family loss like none other. However I soldier on as the last survivor.

Time will tell my story.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hagalakayi Gojju

Hagalakayi Gojju or Bitter Gourd Relish

If you are North Indian after reading the title you are in splits, I can see that. To add to that the color isn't working in its favor either. Oh lets get beyond that poop joke and look at the huge lesson this dish stands for.

Life's experiences are bitter just like the bitter gourd but if you know how to live well then you turn those bitter experiences around to mellow and make them palatable. This Hagalakayi gojju is from the Karnataka repertoire. It requires a Gojjina pudi or a special masala that makes it nutty and fragrant. On my YouTube channel TALKATIVE ANJALI I have posted the video for Gojjina pudi go over to watch.

Ingredients

1 cup finely sliced bitter gourd/ Karela
2 tablespoons Gojjina pudi
2 tablespoons jaggery
2 tablespoon tamarind extract
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon oil
few curry leaves optional

First salt the sliced bitter gourd. Let it sit for 30 mins. Squeeze out the water to remove excessive bitter juice. This is your cured bitter gourd.

Heat oil in a small pot. Splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the cured bitter gourd to the seasoned oil. Stir and let it cook for 2-3 mins. Add water to cover the bitter gourd put a lid and cook till soft. Then add the gojjina pudi. Follow in with tamarind extract and jaggery. Add salt as per taste. Let it come to a rolling boil and all flavors meld together. Let it thicken a bit and then put off the heat.

This hagalakayi gojju or relish is a beautiful palate changer in a thali. You can enjoy it with rotis, puris, dosas, etc as well as rice.

You can create different varieties of gojju with the same recipe. The most popular one is the pineapple gojju, check it out on my YouTube.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sukki Batata Bhaji

This picture is from our Dasara 2019 lunch

Just had a lunch of Gondavale aamti, bhaat and sukki batata bhaji. Such a satisfying meal when had in this cold weather. The aamti almost scalding sipped slowly from the vati. Stirring intermittently with the finger to mix the settled Dal into the watery top. 

Today however Dad and me got nostalgic over the potato bhaaji. Actually I got nostalgic because this was part of my vacations in Thal as a child. The sukki batata bhaji was eaten as a snack on its own. You heard me right, those were simpler times. A wee bit of chili but a very fragrant mustard phodni that made you salivate. Tambat, was a kasar/ blacksmith but he had a grocery shop. When we went on an errand the kadhai of bhaji was very tempting. He would keep a bhendi cha paan in a paper sheet and wrap the pudi/ packet. We would run back home deliver the errand and rush back to Mongoorichi Vadi else our animal house and nibble at the super tasty sukki batata bhaji.

It also brought back memories of how our village has changed after the arrival of RCF factory. Once upon a time the economy spun around fishing. The daily market of vegetables sprung up twice a day in the Dukaan aali or shopping lane. Basically existing shops allowed the vegetable sellers to sit on their front porches. They got paid in kind for it. Every vegetable vendor had a designated place and all this was informal. Sometimes the place for sitting got handed down from Mother to daughter and father to son.

The vegetable sellers had farms and orchards to grow and sell. That was the source of honest income. Sometimes they bartered vegetables for fish.

The fish market an open space was closer to my ancestoral home. It was smaller than the vegetable market. Thal bazaar was famous in Alibag region for fresh fish. Sometimes even sellers from near by villages came there. 

Now all Malis (farmers and gardeners), Grocers and shop owners have shut down their businesses. The Dukaan aali is lack lustre with few shops left. They are dusty and barely do any business. The fishing businesses have sized down. All men have been working as labour, technicians, clerks in the RCF factory. Fortunately in well paying jobs because of the occupational hazards they risk. 

The village has become a little bit modern but less vibrant. The economy that dominates now is 'Service' in RCF.

There has been some good though all the children of the RCF employees have got good education and opportunities. Yet I miss that traditional solid economy of Thal and it's culture. Majority of farms were given to RCF project so very few actual farmers left in the village. Everyone buys their requirements from Alibag and supermarkets. That self sufficient village is a thing of the past.

I miss that culture and life in Thal.

Coming back to sukki batata bhaaji the recipe is on my YouTube channel 'Talkative Anjali'. 

Try it out and let me know how it turns out.



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