Thursday, December 27, 2007

An aimless meal with an awakening!

There was no direction.. no aim.. I just chopped the cauliflower.. not even in nice shaped florets. After all I just had half a head of cauliflower...
All because I torn between making a vegetable preparation or a stuff paratha. Finally the mind latched on to a proper roti-subzi combination, then came the struggle of making either a curry based subzi or a dry one. With a frustrated 'tsk', I flung the knife down and drifted towards making a dough for rotis.
Not satisfied with the idea of rolling out soft fulkas, I absently added a bit of chopped spinach , salt, some turmeric, cumin-coriander powder to make a stiffish dough. Covered it and then decided to once again apply my mind to the (at that time) insurmountable problem of dealing with the roughly chopped cauliflower.
Hmm... roll the sleeves...
Chop 1/2 an Onion ( a big size one)
Open a can of diced Tomato (fresh would have been a far better option, but I did not have any on hand)
Placed a kadhai on the gas
Now what?
Add 2 tbsp oil
Stare with a blank expression , then on an impulse, grab the 'panch phoron' bottle and add approximately 1/2 tsp to the now hot oil.
Add a dash of Turmeric (approx. a little less than 1/2 tsp)
pitch in the onion , saute for a while, add the cauliflower, mix well. Cover and cook. Add the tomato .. cook.
I kept checking at regular intervals for the 'doneness', I don't like my cauliflower all mushed up in a unrecognizable mess.. I like it when it has a slight crunch to it!
Just the way i like it!! Added a bit of cumin - coriander powder and very little garam masala ( no measures, sorry, used 'andaz') salt , red chilli powder, water to make a gravy. Covered and cooked for another 2-3 mins. Finished!!!
Quickly re- knead the dough, make small portions... by this time I had decided puris would make a nice combination with this subzi.
Placed another kadhai on the gas.. with guilt nagging me, poured as little oil as possible.. Rapidly rolled out small discs of the dough and deep fried them with a few of them turning out cluris , oh well, I can always eat those!
Let out the usual yowl, " Dinner Ready!!"
Surprisingly, this combination turned out really well! The Husband grinned and happily started tucking in, all the time his eyes seemed however, to search something.. I wondered, as I put the first morsel in my mouth, if I had missed out salt.. no... that was just fine. Cocking an inquisitive eyebrow at him, I asked, " 'sup?"
"Where is the camera?"
"Huh? what for?"
"Don't you want to blog about this? it's very tasty!!"
"Oh!!"
So hastily swallowing my morsel, I washed my hands and grabbed my camera, clicked pictures and then dashed back to my dinner plate!
The keen observer, made a comment which made me realise something... he said, " happy now that you have another recipe to blog about? Your face shows it!!" And then it hit me (like a sock full of wet sand, I might add) my aimlessness in the kitchen was because I did not think of blogging ! I have been away too long!!! Shame on me!! Getting caught up in the daily routine I compromised and neglected doing something I love!!!
All these days I made just the regular stuff and sometimes recipes from other blogs ( that is another post to thank all of them!).

I hope I won't be as laid back now, especially since it is almost the year end and a new one is just around the corner!!!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

JFI Toor Daal - Rasam

Brrrrrrrrrr.. it's cold (people living in the East Coast, skip this line!)

It definitely is the season for warm soups and for those, like me, who also want some 'spice' in their soup make ... Rasam!
Cold nights, steaming hot bowl of rasam.. it's tantalising aroma wafting.. you dip your spoon in and raise it to your cold lips and sip.......... the warmth travels down your throat and warms you and then you dip you spoon into the steaming bowl again.. ahhhhh!

I dug up an old recipe which has been on the back of my mind for a long time now, I call it 'Bangalore Rasam'. My first taste of this awesome rasam was when I was visiting my cousin. Her Mother-in-law had made this rasam. I still remember ignoring the rest of the food to only consume this. The lady of the house was amused and pleased at my deep admiration for her culinary skills and actually blushed when I praise her rasam! But I did not stop at that, I insisted that she tell me the recipe, which I noted on a handy notepad at the dining table! Being the superlative cook that she is, she of course used 'andaz' (approximates) for the Rasam powder/ masala.. and being a novice, I wanted accurate measures, it finally ended up that she actually measured the amount for me while I was noting it.
As soon as I went back to Mumbai I made this powder, which to my delight produced the same results as the Rasam I had tasted in B'lore!! (Oh I was all puffed up at that point of time, patted myself on the back at my accomplishment, as in those days I did not cook much).
Cut to the time I was a newly wed, and I made this rasam for the first time at my new home, my hands were actually trembling and a short prayer escaped my lips and I added the ingredients, hoping to re-create the magic! My brow was fevered as I set the pot of bubbling rasam on the dining table and ladled it out for everyone.. But I should have trusted my guardian angel and my novice skills, it turned out great and my MIL was all praise and coming from her, a superlative cook herself, I treasured those words and her gentle encouraging smile!!

What also encouraged me to make this rasam again and also post about it is M's rating!! Oh Yes, he actually rates every dish I make! and this rasam had 'THE PUNCH' and recieved an A+ and therefore makes its debut on my blog!!!


This is my contribution to JFI- TOOR DAL hosted by Linda.
Toor dal is 'the' dal used in my home as long as I remember..and so making this rasam was my first choice.
You need:
1/4 cup Toor Dal washed and cooked to a mush
1 Tomato, cubed
2 Tsp Rasam Powder (recipe at the end of the post)
1 tsp Tamarind paste
1 lump Jaggery
Salt to taste
1-2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Asafetida
2 Dry Red Chillies broken
Toor dal Water ( add extra water while cooking the dal and take off the water before mashing the dal)
Finely chopped cilantro to garnish
Heat oil , add the mustard seed. After they pop, add the asafetida, curry leaves, red chillies and tomato. Cook till the tomato is soft and mushy. Add toor dal water (add plain water as well depending on the consistency you want) and let it all come to a rolling boil.
Add the tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt.
Add the rasam powder and the cooked toor dal..
Boil the rasam for a good 5-7 mins. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
This rasam is my soup on a winter evening, I sometimes make it a little thick so it can be mixed with rice as well.

RASAM POWDER:

1 cup Corriander / Dhaniya seeds

100 gms (approx. 7 tbsp) Cumin / Jeera seeds

25 gms (approx 2 tbsp) Fenugreek / Methi seeds

50 gms (I used only 3 tbsp.) Black pepper

approx 2 tbsp Asafetia

andful Curry leaves

3 tbsp red Chilli powder

Little oil

Turmeric and Salt (2 pinches each)

Heat oil in a kadhai/ wok and roast all ingredients up to curry leaves.

Cool the mixture, add red chilly powder, turmeric salt and grind to a powder and store in an airtight box.


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