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Pithla

19 Oct

Maharashtra is an agrarian state and prides on it’s cuisine while using the most simplest of ingredients and creating one of the most yummy dishes is Pithla. Pithla is incomplete without mentioning Bhakri, but honestly I struggle making bhakris, if not eaten hot mine become chewy and sometimes break. So I make rotis or chapati with it and I love to eat rice with it and serve pickle on the side. Pithla is made mostly by hardworking people who have physical work mostly farmers, because it satisfies their hunger and gives them energy to get back to work, because it has chickpea flower which is a source of protein. This recipe needs more oil because it aids in digestion. Well, let’s go for it.

Tip: Mix in some ghee before serving. Since chickpeas are a little tough on the tummy, ghee softens the process.

All you need:

  1. 1 cup chickpea flour
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 tbsp of crushed ginger, garlic and green chilies(I use 3 cloves, an inch of ginger and 2 green chilies and just pound them together)
  4. 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  5. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  7. 1 tsp cumin powder
  8. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  9. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  10. pinch of asafoetida
  11. 2 cups of water
  12. 3 tbsp oil
  13. Salt as needed

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil really well.
  2. Temper it with mustard seeds, once they pop, add cumin seeds. Let them sizzle.
  3. Add half the cilantro add the crushed garlic and ginger and green chili. Saute the mixture for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chopped onion. Saute them until they turn light brown in color.
  5. Add the spice powders, turmeric, cumin and red chili powder. Saute till oil starts leaving the sides.
  6. Add the gram flour slowly making sure you mix it well.
  7. Add the water slowly, stirring the mixture continuously and make sure there are no lumps.
  8. If the mixture thickens immediately, add ore water to thin it out.
  9. Cover the mixture, let it cook for about 10-12 minutes. It will thicken once cooked.
  10. Stir well and check for no more raw chickpea flour.
  11. Season with salt.
  12. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves. Serve with a dollop of ghee alongside bhakri/roti.
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Pedhe with condensed milk

27 Sep

On auspicious occasions Indians are known to make desserts or buy them and distribute it to family, neighbors and friends. This year we bought our own bike, the Rocket III which has been on my husband’s bucket list. I had no access to Indian store that day to buy sweets. Luckily I had all these ingredients at hands and made these small yummy balls which uses khoya(dairy fats)/ mawa in the original recipe. This is an instant recipe which was a big hit.

All you need:

  1. 1 cup condensed milk
  2. 1 cup milk powder
  3. 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  4. 1 tsp cardamom powder
  5. 2 tbsp warm milk with few strands of saffron dissolved in it.
  6. 2 tbsp of your choice of dry fruits/ nuts to garnish

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat ghee in a pan, let it melt.
  2. Add condensed milk and let it melt into a more liquid state, add the milk powder at this stage. Stir well.
  3. Cook this mixture until it bubbles and starts to thicken. It took me about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add the warm milk dissolved with saffron, let it cook for a minute or so or until the mixture is thick and starts leaving the pan. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
  6. Remove the mixture to cool it down on a plate.
  7. Grease palms with ghee and divide mixture into equal size balls and roll them into round balls and press down in the center with thumb.
  8. Garnish with chopped dry fruits in the dent. I used almond and pistachio.

Stuffed eggplants (Bharli Vangi)

20 Aug

Cooking was not fun for me when I got married, I struggled, I have failed and cried. I felt I am letting down my parents because my dad was an amazing cook, my mother learned late in life but now she is a wonderful cook and I was in no way close to getting there. I felt frustrated so I made a decision to write some recipes down that were dictated by my mother, this is one of them and I always end up making this vegetarian curry better than the last time. So here goes.

Tip : I always cut my eggplants and dunk them in cold water until I get other ingredients ready, this helps in prepping but also helps prevent oxidizing and removes bitter juices if any.

All you need:

  1. 8 small sized eggplants/brinjal – slit lengthwise I prefer to chop off the tops (refer pic)
  2. 1 small onion finely chopped
  3. 1/2 cup roasted peanut powder
  4. 1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  5. 2 tbsp grated jaggery
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. 1 tsp sesame seeds powdered
  8. pinch of asafoetida/hing
  9. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  10. 1 tbsp red chili powder(or as required) I use mix of degghi and kashmiri chili powders
  11. 1 tsp goda masala (availale in Indian stores)
  12. salt as required
  13. 4 tbsp oil
  14. 1/2 cup water
  15. cilantro (garnish)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. In a bowl mix together the onion, peanut powder, shredded coconut, sesame seeds powder, jaggery, 1 tbsp oil, salt, red chili powder, goda masala.
  2. Drain the eggplants and stuff the slit eggplants with this mixture carefully making sure it does not break the eggplants open. Fill only until the slits are filled completely. Hold on to the excess mixture.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a kadhai/wok/pan.
  4. Temper the oil with mustard seeds, as soon as they pop add asafoetida let it sizzle, add turmeric powder and add stuffed eggplants.
  5. Fry them in oil gently for about a minute, turn, fry them again for another minute or so, add half cup of water.
  6. Add the remaining mixture. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes until they turn soft. The onions and eggplants leave a little water of their own. If it is too dry add little water.
  7. Remove the cover and cook for another five minutes until almost all the water is evaporated and eggplants are completely cooked and you have a thick gravy.
  8. Season with salt. Stir gently.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with chapati or roti.

Vangi Batata (Eggplant Potato curry)

4 Apr

I have taken a long hiatus. After Dad passed away last year I couldn’t bring myself to write anything. However today I thought let me share what I have been eating. I have started to eat clean. On my way to reduce a few pounds. Reduced meat intake and piling on the veggies. So wanted to share this simple easy Indian recipe which takes less than 30 minutes to prep and make and is super tasty. Or I am rather too quick! Here goes.

Tip: To prevent oxidization of eggplant/brinjal immediately drop the pieces in cold water after cutting them until you prep other things for making the curry. Remove from the water before using the pieces.

All you need:

  1. 4 medium sized eggplants/brinjal – quartered
  2. 1 potato – quartered
  3. 4-5 garlic cloves – minced
  4. 1 inch ginger – minced
  5. 1 inch jaggery
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  8. pinch of sesame seed powder (optional)
  9. pinch of asafoetida/hing
  10. 1 tsp turmeric
  11. 1 tbsp red chili powder(or as required)
  12. 1 tsp goda masala (availale in Indian stores)
  13. salt as required
  14. oil 2-3 tbsp
  15. cilantro (garnish)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok/pan
  2. Temper the oil with mustard seeds, as soon as they pop add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric.
  3. Add minced ginger garlic to the oil and fry it for about 30 second or until raw smell disappears.
  4. Add the eggplant/brinjal pieces and potato pieces. Stir well.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients that is the red chili powder, goda masala, jaggery, sesame seed powder.
  6. Season with salt. Stir well.
  7. Add about a cup of water and let the vegetable curry cook for about 7-10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with chapati, naan or roti.

Guvar Batata (Indian Cluster beans vegetable with potato)

25 Nov

Guvar is not a very famous vegetable or I’d call it a neglected vegetable in the plethora of Indian vegetables. Mostly consumed in western areas of Maharashtra, it is liked by other communities and added as a part of Sambhar (lentil dal of South India) but it is definitely not popular as okra or eggplants. I personally love it and can eat it any given day. The frozen variety of cluster beans cooks quickly and saves time but if you buy it fresh, traditionally it is washed then the ends are trimmed and the beans are broken into pieces by hand as cutting does not remove the fibers that may get stuck in the teeth or throat when you chew these beans. The older the beans the more fibers that come off, the younger the beans, the fresher and less fibrous ones. Make sure the color is vibrant green and not yellowish green or a faint green. This recipe is typically cooked in parts of western India. So here goes.

Tip: You can boil the beans for 8-10 minutes with a pinch of turmeric and salt if you are in a hurry to cook.

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All you need:

  1. 1 lb Guvar or Cluster beans (washed, trimmed and chopped into long pieces)
  2. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  3. 1 tsp cumin seeds(optional)
  4. 6-8 curry leaves (optional)
  5. pinch of asafoetida or hing
  6. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  7. 1/2 tbsp goda masala (can be substituted by 1 tsp of Garam Masala + 1 tsp of red chili powder)
  8. 1-2 inch pieces of jaggery(can be substituted by 1 tsp of sugar)
  9. 1 medium sized potato(washed, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces)
  10. 1 tbsp of peanut powder (optional)
  11. salt to taste
  12. 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil in a deep pan or wok and add mustard seeds. Let them splutter.
  2. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves(optional) and hing or asafoetida. Let it all sizzle.
  3. Add turmeric and the chopped beans along with the potato. Stir well.
  4. Cover the pan with a flat plate and pour some water over it so that the vegetable is steamed and the vegetable does not burn.
  5. Cook this until the cluster beans and potato are tender about 20-25 minutes (less time will be required if it is half-boiled), stirring regularly in between making sure the vegetable does not stick. Also, if the water evaporates add more on the dish and a few teaspoons inside until it gets cooked.
  6. Add goda masala or red chili powder + garam masala.
  7. Add jaggery, adjust salt. Mix well. Cook until the jaggery melts in the vegetable and is combined well. Turn off the heat.
  8. Finish off with sprinkling peanut powder(roasted peanuts ground into powder). Serve with roti, rice and dal, chapati or naan.

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Kappa (Yucca root) fry Kerala style

6 Oct https://mefoodatarian.wordpress.com/

I should be grateful for the number of followers I have on this blog and I should have titled this post as apologetic because I have been so lazy to post! I have been concentrating more on my other blog. But I honestly want to say sorry to all the ones who believe in me and have followed my blog as faithful readers! Sorry! I have backdated this post but I will be try to be more consistent.

My husband has his roots in Kerala as I have mentioned before. It took me time to learn some of the delicacies of Kerala cuisine but I have definitely caught up with a few. I may not have mastered them since the people in Kerala are generous with the use of coconut oil but it will be difficult to guess that a Maharashtrian has made the South Indian delicacies. Well if anyone wants to see the optimum use of a coconut they should definitely visit a native of Kerala.

Yucca root or cassava or tapioca is what we call Kappa in Malayalam(language spoken in Kerala). Its starchy and can replace potatoes. It is high in carbs and low in protein. It is low in fat and cholesterol-free! So I love it and my husband loves it with beef-fry. I will share the recipe soon. Let’s get down to this one.

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Tip : A clean kappa is one with close ends and has no spots or growth on it. To clean kappa, you will need a sharp knife, strong board and strength! Cut the ends, cut in half, peel, or peel first with a peeler and cut in half and then cut half in half lengthwise. You will see the thread that you see in the pic. It also resembles the core of the pineapple. Trim the core where you see the thread. Cut the remaining part into cubes or quarters.

All you need:

  1. 1 whole Kappa/Yucca root/Cassava
  2. 1 tsp turmeric
  3. 4 red whole dried chilies (I also add finely chopped green chili as I love it hot)
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. 1/2 tsp cumin(optional as its not traditional)
  6. 4-5 cloves of garlic, remember to crush the garlic for it to release its oil and coarsely chop it.
  7. 1 small red onion or 3-4 pearl onions chopped finely
  8. 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  9. 2 tbsp oil preferably coconut
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 2 tbsp Shredded coconut to garnish
  12. Water for boiling

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Clean, peel, cube and wash Kappa.
  2. Boil Kappa cubes in water that covers the cubes for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remember to add salt and half the turmeric to the water. Drain the water.
  3. Now comes the tempering. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, once they crackle add the cumin(optional), curry leaves and red chilies.
  4. Now add garlic and onion and saute till onions turn pink(you can even brown the onions if you like).
  5. Add remaining turmeric. Adjust salt.
  6. Add the kappa cubes and mix well. Let the kappa get coated evenly with the entire mixture.
  7. Turn off the heat and garnish with shredded coconut.

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Tomato Chutni

31 Aug

Tangy, spicy with a hint of sweetness and most of the times a great accompaniment like salsa which goes with Idli, Dosa, Chapati, Rice and Dal or Puri. Most Indian recipes need tomatoes, what better way than using them all in one recipe! There are a few variations but finders keepers losers weepers, just kidding. Here’s the recipe that my mom makes and its her birthday this month so Thank you and Love you mom.

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Tip: You can keep roasted peanut powder handy, it tastes great when added as a garnish.

All you need:

  1. 4 medium sized ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  2. 1 large onion finely chopped
  3. 2 green chilies slit and chopped
  4. 4-5 curry leaves (optional)
  5. 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  6. pinch of asafoetida(optional, can be found in Indian stores)
  7. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  9. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp garam masala(optional)
  11. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  12. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  13. 1 tsp sugar(optional)
  14. Salt (as required)
  15. 2 tbsp oil
  16. 2 tbsp cilantro chopped (garnish)
  17. 1 tbsp roasted peanut powder (optional garnish)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or sauce pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, as soon as they pop add cumin and let it sizzle and change color.
  2. Add asafoetida, curry leaves, let them crackle, add green chilies and saute for half a minute.
  3. Add chopped onions and saute them until they are pink in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute it until raw smell disappears.
  4. Toss in spices one by one except the garam masala. Stir well. Let this mixture fry well and keep stirring in between making sure nothing sticks to the pan. If you feel the mixture is sticking add a tablespoon of water. Cook it until it starts leaving oil on the sides about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes finally, make sure they get covered with all the spices. Mix well but gently.
  6. Add salt and sugar.
  7. Cook the tomatoes for about 5-7  minutes or until they just begin to soften. You can mash a few pieces gently. I leave them this way, you might choose to cook them down entirely, you will need to cook them for a longer time.
  8. Add garam masala as a finishing spice and let it cook for a minute or two. Skip this step if you are not using garam masala.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the garnishing. Combine.
  10. Serve hot with chapati, roti or naan.

Kayloli (Rice flour veggie omelette/dosa/pancake)

3 Apr

Since Indian masala omelette is a mix of spices with eggs, I could not think of a better translation of what a ‘Kayloli’ is. I am not sure why I would call it an omelette since it does not have the eggs however it has all the spices similar to the omelette and the process is similar too. Then again, I can also call it a Dosa because without the spices it will be similar to a Dosa. It could also be a pancake with spices! Well, Kayloli is a traditional GSB (Goud Saraswat Brahmin) dish, I don’t know the original roots though because Mangaloreans and Karwari families are familiar with it too. This was taught to me by my dad with his own additions to it. This is like an instant breakfast dish. I will also list the alternate version in the tip below which can be used for lunch or dinner. Let me get down to the quick and easy recipe, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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Tip: You can completely omit all the spices and instead of rice flour soak 2 cups of boiled rice for two-three hours. Blend the rice and cup of shredded coconut just add salt and sugar to it and leave the mixture in the fridge overnight. Fry like pancakes. Serve with curries. You might like it as is. I mentioned in my About section how cuisines are similar in coastal regions. This is very similar to Appam in Kerala. I will try and post that someday.

All you need:

  1.  2 cups rice flour
  2. 1 1/2 cups milk
  3. 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  4. 2 green chilies finely chopped (Indian chilies are hot and I like it spicy, use 1 if you don’t eat spicy food)
  5. 1 tomato finely chopped (optional)
  6. 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  7. 1 generous tsp turmeric
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder
  9. salt as required
  10. oil for frying

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Combine all the ingredients, spices etc. except oil and milk first in a bowl and like you would whisk pancake batter, whisk it gently until well combined.
  2. Pour milk slowly to adjust the consistency of the batter. Make sure you don’t make it too thick otherwise it will not spread on the pan and will stick and form lumps, nor too thin or it will end up runny and the taste will be compromised.
  3. Heat very minimal oil on a non-stick pan on medium heat and pour the batter in the center with a laddle. Move the pan around or spread with a spatula till it takes the shape and size of  a pancake.
  4. Drizzle little oil on the sides to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Cover and cook for a minute or two or until you see bubbles on top (refer to the pic above)
  5. Flip it and cover it again for a minute or two until crispy and brown on the outside and firm so that raw batter is completely cooked.
  6. Serve hot with yogurt, Indian pickle, ketchup or any preferred chutney.

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Masoor Pulao (Red lentil Pulao)

24 May

My mom being on tours never really stepped into the kitchen in her younger days. My Dad was a catering student and someone who enjoyed cooking never complained. But once my mom started taking it easy and started to age gracefully, she wanted to try her hand in the kitchen, and moms when they cook somehow turn food magically into something they pour love into, real love. I can’t figure it out how they do it, but I know  everyone loves moms who cook and can never find the same taste from their sisters, girl-friends, wives and mother-in-laws or grandmoms who by the way are really close in competing with moms that cook.

Well, my mom has mastered this recipe. I don’t know where she learned it from, if its her original recipe or not, but now-a-days who cares, sharing food is the one the greatest virtues! So here goes, the recipe of masoor pulao. I have purposely clicked a picture of red lentil just in case. Any Indian store will have them easily available.split red lentil

Tip: Scraped coconut flakes and fried onions taste best and for the presentation part, wet your fingers and run them through a small bowl or just grease it lightly with ghee(clarified butter) and press the pulao in the bowl and turn it upside down on the serving plate. Dig a little hole in the center and fill it with the coconut flakes and fried onions.

Masoor PulaoAll you need:

  1. 1 cup Masoor or split red lentils (washed and soaked overnight in water)
  2. 2 cups of Basmati or long grain rice (washed and drained)
  3. 2 medium sized sliced onions
  4. Whole garam masala: 8-10 black peppercorns, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 4-5 cloves
  5. 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  6. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  7. Powdered spices: 1 tsp red chili powder ( I obviously add more, adjust as per your spice level), 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder
  8. Optional 1 tomato pureed (chopped tomato will also suffice)
  9. Water double the amount of rice taken
  10. Salt as required
  11. Oil as required
  12. Coconut flakes scraped for garnishing (optional)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and fry on low heat one of the two onions until brown and crispy. (I prefer them a little soft, but crispy are more fun). Drain on a paper towel, keep mixing them up on the paper, or else they will wilt down due to the moisture. Once this is done or simultaneously, boil double quantity of water that was measured for rice in a separate vessel.
  2. In the meanwhile, heat up a thick bottomed pot or a saucepan. I like to add 1 tbsp of ghee(clarified butter) and 1 tbsp of oil, but you can adjust oil as required. Add the whole garam masala. Fry it for about a minute or till the spices are fragrant, add the other raw sliced onion and fry till it changes color, do not brown the onion, just fry till it changes color. Check if you have started boiling water separately. Refer to step 1.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears, take about 30 secs to a minute.
  4. Add all the powder spices (in order of appearance) one by one carefully not burning them, if you feel your spices are burning, just add two tablespoons of water. Stir them and mix them up nicely.
  5. Drain the water from the lentils and add them along with a little salt, rice and stir the mixture gently try not to break the rice.
  6. Add tomato puree and mix well. Skip this step if you are not using tomato.
  7. Add the boiling water. Stir gently
  8. Cover the vessel tightly and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Keep checking if the rice needs more water or is not sticking to the bottom. I recommend using a thick flat iron pan underneath the pot so that it doesn’t burn or stick the rice to the pot.
  9. Refer to the tip for garnishing. Serve hot with yogurt, Indian pickle or any spicy gravy dish.

Shrimp/Prawns Pickle

21 Feb

Tyapp!!!! My mouth is watering already! My dad always made it in a small quantity, and I cribbed, “why” and he would respond saying “it’s a pickle and not a vegetable”. So if you feel like just having something spicy, sour, tangy just to tickle your taste buds you can try making this quick, simple and easy recipe. It could also be served an appetizer. It belongs to my dad, because I do not know anyone who can make such a tasty prawn pickle and I think it could be a his “saraswat” style of cooking. Let me proclaim the love for other prawn pickles like the Balchao and Chemeen achaar, but those recipes may come later.

poohalicious prawns pickle

Tip : Be careful with the amount of Vinegar you put in the pickle.

All you need:

  1. 1/2 lb prawns cleaned, shelled and deveined (I got jumbo prawns/shrimp)
  2. 1 tsp turmeric
  3. a pinch of asafoetida
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  5. 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  6. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  8. 1 tsp sugar
  9. 1 tbsp white vinegar
  10. 1 tsp Garam masala powder
  11. 1 tsp red chili powder (I add 1/2 tbsp but you must adjust as per your requirements)
  12. Salt to taste
  13. 2 tbsp Oil (I take 3 just for the pickle to be yummylicious)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Marinate the prawns with salt and turmeric for about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil on medium heat in a pan till the oil is running smoothly in the pan and not smoky.
  3. Add mustard seeds, let them splutter. Add a pinch of asafoetida.
  4. Add ginger garlic paste and cumin and coriander powder. Reduce the heat
  5. Add marinated prawns, red chili powder, sugar. Stir until all the ingredients are combined for a minute or so.
  6. Add vinegar. Taste and check if it is sour enough, adjust accordingly. Check salt. Stir for a little longer.
  7. Finally add the garam masala powder and turn off the heat. Let it rest
  8. Serve as pickle(!!)alongside any pulao or curry and roti combination. Also can be served as an appetizer.
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