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.

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...


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.

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.


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.


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!

On Trail