Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer Cooler... Watermelon!!

Woof!! it's getting HOT in here!!! Summer is here... it's that time of the year when the clothes start getting skimpier (and husband's who keep turning their neck in order to admire the pulchritude... hope you get a crick in your neck!)... kids cannonball into pools and yell .. you get the picture!

It is also time for some super summer coolers! No cokes, phokes for me please!!! I have always had this aversion to colas... I completely favour water and fruit juice (fresh fruit juice) ANYTIME! and what better time than now to experiment with a riot of flavours and fruit!!

Just sitting in a rocking chair with a chilled summer cooler.. a nice book to read.. the gentle breeze (oh yes, despite the heat, we do have the gentle wind blowing!) .. sipping slowly and just for that moment, forgetting the everyday hustle bustle !!! Feels GOOD!

And what better than getting a BIG watermelon ... cutting chunks of it, blending them with some vanilla ice cream ? Yep, that's what I did!!!

To make this drink all you need is:

Chunks of Watermelon (seedless is effortless!)

Scoops of vanilla Ice cream (or French Vanilla Ice cream )

Small cubes/ chunks of watermelon to top

Sorry, no measurements for this, just help yourself!

Blend the above in in a blender, pour into a glass , top with small cubes/ chunks of watermelon and serve!!

This will go to Bee & Jai of Jugalbandi who are hosting AFAM (A Fruit A Month) started by Maheshwari

A bit of gyan........Taste apart.. here are some benefits of the watermelon (source : Wiki)
Watermelon as food and drink
Fresh watermelon may be eaten in a variety of ways and is also often used to flavor summer drinks and smoothies.
A one-cup serving of watermelon will provide around 48 calories.Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, with one serving containing 14.59 mg of vitamin C and 556.32 IU of vitamin A. Watermelon also provides significant amounts of vitamin B6 and vitamin B1, as well as the minerals potassium and magnesium. Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene.
Grilled watermelon, known as watermelon steak due to its visual similarity to raw steak, has started to become a popular item in restaurants.
Watermelon rinds are also edible, and sometimes used as a vegetable. In China, they are stir-fried, stewed, or more often pickled. When stir-fried, the de-skinned and de-fruited rind is cooked with olive oil, garlic, chili peppers, scallions, sugar and rum (and provides a great way to utilize the whole watermelon). Pickled watermelon rind is also widespread in Russia, Ukraine, and Romania.[citation needed]
Watermelon seeds are rich in fat and protein, and are widely eaten as a snack, added to other dishes, or used as an oilseed. Specialized varieties are grown which have little watery flesh but concentrate their energy into seed production. In China watermelon seeds are one of the most common snack foods, popular especially with women, competing with sunflower seeds, and sold roasted and seasoned. In West Africa, they are pressed for oil, and are popular in egusi soup and other dishes. There can be some confusion between seed-specialized watermelon varieties and the colocynth, a closely-related species with which they share many characteristics, uses, and similar or identical names.
Watermelon is 92 % water by weight, the highest percentage of any fruit. In the United States and South Africa, one may also find an alcoholic novelty known as a hard watermelon, or a watermelon that has been enhanced with an alcoholic beverage. This process involves boring a hole into the watermelon, then pouring the liquor inside and allowing it to mix with the flesh of the fruit. The watermelon is then cut and served as normal.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Vangya chi rassa bhaji- JFI Eggplant and RCI Maharashtra

The Marathi 'Goda Masala' works for everything!! The main use is in making the everyday 'amti', add the amti to rice, ghee/ tup (if one does not really count calories) and a wedge of mango or lime pickle , will have you licking your fingers!!
Bedekar brand of Goda Masala is one which every lady will blindly put her trust in! in fact she will trust anything that is sold under that brand! (no, I am not advertising this brand!!!) , but this was the brand I have seen as my Mother's choice!
Now apart from the everyday amti.. Mom would use this to season vegetables too, especially when making 'vangya chi rassa bahji' (brinjal/eggplant in gravy). She made this vegetable with lots of onion and potato, which I would eat and cast aside any piece of the brinjal.
Since M is a BIG fan of 'Baingan Raja' I try to make some variety for him... but this is the first time I can,partly, vouch for the taste of anything that has brinjal in it! You see I cast aside every brinjal piece and tasted the rest..

To make this vegetable :
1 med. size Italian Eggplant or 3-4 small eggplants
1 Onion
1 Potato
2 green chillies (+/- to taste)
1 tsp Goda Masala
1/2 tsp Tamarind Concentrate (or soak and extract juice of a marble size ball of tamarind)
1 lump Jaggery (should be double the quantity of the tamarind)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
Dash asafetida
1/4 tsp Turmeric
4 tbsp Roasted peanut powder
2 tbsp Oil
Wash and cut the eggplant into cubes. Slice the onion and potato lengthwise (or make cubes)
Heat oil . Add the mustard seeds. After they pop, add the asafetida, green chillies and turmeric.
Add the onion and potato. Mix well, cover and cook till half done. Next add the eggplant and cook till it is soft. I added the eggplant once the onions and potato was half done as eggplant needs less time to cook.
Add 1 cup of water, goda masala, tamarind conc. , jaggery and roasted peanut powder, salt cover and cook.
Reduce the quantity of water if you want the vegetable gravy to have a thick consistency.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with roti/ fulka/ bhakri

I made huge eggplant cubes, to make it easier to remove them, ideally make small - med size cubes.

This will go to Sangeeta of Ghar ka khana and aslo as an entry for RCI -Maharashtra hosted by Nupur at One Hot Stove
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Lagnacha Masale Bhaat

Another FAVOURITE dish coming right up!!!
LAGNACHA Masale Bhaat... I have always called it by this name... reason, well, this is a must have in most Maharashtrian weddings.
I remember in my childhood (gosh, makes me feel so very old when I say this!!!) when weddings were not as grand as today not with multi-cuisine. The menu was (mostly)Varan Bhaat, Masale Bhaat, Puri- Bhaji, Jilebi/ Gulab Jamun, bhaji and with mattha to wash it down. What distinguished this Masale Bhaat was the flavour! It was made on a typical 'Chulha' / 'shegdi' and coked on a coal fire. The tantalising aroma of the masale bhaat would waft thru the entire hall and make all the wedding guests very hungry and immediately after the 'muhurat' they would make a dash for the dining area where the tables would be neatly set with either gleaming plates or banana leaves.
I would eat only Masale Bhaat! That was the prime reason why I attended the wedding!! Somehow home made masale bhaat does not carry that 'punch'.. or so i thought!!
Till the day I came upon this version I had to try this!!! I had taken a print out long back, meaning to try it out, but I did not have a coffee / spice grinder then... but now that I do, I was very eager to add this recipe to my Favourites!! So here goes....
The only changes I made were in using 3 cloves and 1 , 2cm stick of Cinnamon (M claims that he 'smokes' fumes thru his ears and nose after getting 'hit' with lavang /clovesand dalchini/ cinnamon!), and i could not get any fresh tondli/ gherkins , so I substituted the same with onion and potato
I am putting down the recipe ( copy pasted from Ashwini's blog) for easy reference, the link is also provided above.

MASALE BHAAT (serves 2-3)
1 cup Basmati rice
1 cup gherkins (tondli/ tindora), quartered (I used 1 med. onion and 1 med potato sliced thin)
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp dry, shredded coconut (copra)
4 cloves2 (2cms) cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds1 tsp mustard seeds
a few curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida
3-4 green chillies, slit (adjust to taste)
5-6 cashewnuts, broken
3-4 tbsp oil
salt to taste
fresh coconut and cilantro for garnishing
Wash the rice in two to three changes of water. Drain and keep aside.On moderate heat, roast the copra, coriander seeds, cumin, sesame, cloves and cinnamon till the coconut turns golden. Let cool. Put in a spice/ coffee grinder and grind into a powder. Keep aside.Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add curry leaves, asafoetida and chillies and saute for a few minutes. Next add gherkins and saute some more. Add rice and mix well. Add the powdered spices and mix until the rice is well coated. Add cashews and season to taste. Add about two cups of water, cover the pan with a lid and cook until the rice is done.Garnish with fresh coconut and cilantro. Serve hot with a raita and fried papad.
This recipe is a keeper!! AWESOME!!!! Though I tried this recipe from a fellow blogger I would like to include it for RCI @ Nupur's One Hot Stove as it is the first time I have tried making this dish and from scratch.. and I was soooooooooooooooooooo thrilled that it turned out just the way I wanted it!!! Pin It

WBB- Spice it up!!!!

Spicing up Breakfast!!!! Hmmm.... How? seemed impossible ... (that's the pessimist in me!) Then I was reminded of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass......(now the optimist in me is rearing up it's head!!!) These words came sliding back to my mind, Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said 'one can't believe impossible things.' 'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why,sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast...' .... There you are!! that's the way to think!!!
Stressing myself then like the Queen in the story, I came up with an easy yet tasty and a dish that is going in as my entry for WBB-Spice it up!! hosted by Trupti.

When it comes to breakfast, I am a regular... I need my breakfast, not so with the husband.. in the initial stages of marriage, I would coax him, flutter my eyelashes... after a while that stopped working , so it came to putting on a hurt look and the sad drooping of the mouth.. but now, the best part... I make yummy stuff, and I can still hear him in the background.."na , na... no breakfast for me, you have it... I am not a b'fast person.... yada..yada..." I simply nod in his direction... go on with my work.. tastefully arrange the food on a plate, and with a twinkle in my eyes, plonk right next to him and eat.. slowly, savouring every bite... ummm!!! All you intelligent people can guess what happens after a tantalising smell wafts to his nose and the sight of me enjoying something so well!

Slowly... he says" what.. do you have here?" (still feigning disinterest)
"dufssast", I utter, with my mouth full (I know Mom says its bad manners, par kya karen? control nahi hota!)
"You wamt?"
"ok.. .."So here is M's breakfast, spiced up !!

Here's how I made it!
Pre requisite to making this .... the pan, in India we call it 'appey patra' here you will get it labeled under 'aebleskiver pan' (which I came to know after I read this post ) What you need ,once you have the pan...

1 cup Aunt Jemima Pancake mix
3/4 cup Water
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1-2 Green Chillies Finely chopped (+/- to taste)
2-3 tbsp. Cilantro finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil Spray/ Oil/ Butter

Mix all the ingrdients from Pancake mix to salt. Heat the pan on a medium flame. Spray with oil or pour a few drops of oil / butter, into each mould. Add a spoonful (do not fill to the brim) of the batter into each mould. After a few minutes(I did not time this, I just hovered over the pan), flip on the other side and cook till it is a lovely golden brown too. Serve hot.
I also made red bell pepper chutney from Mahanandi ... which I must say, is AWESOME!!!!

These should be eaten immediately.

Thank You Trupti, for hosting this event!! Looking forward to all spicy entries!!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

V is for Varan Bhaat and Vangi Kaap

Darn the camera!! As it is I am a lousy photographer.. to add on.. the lousy camera!!
OK, I'm done with my display of despair... thank u for bearing with me!
This is 'The' simplest meal and also one of the most comforting foods of all time is the down-to-earth 'Varan Bhaat' that is made in every Maharashtrian home. This simple meal can be made without any fuss and more importantly, without oil!
The simplicity of making it is something that will make u clap your hands in glee and get down to making it and one morsel of this 'varan-bhaat' will have you hooked!! Varan- bhaat is served with with a wedge of lemon and a dollop of 'shudh ghee'. The best part is this pure food (for want of better way of putting it) lies in the fact that there are no 'masalas' in it. A delight for the young and old and a must have for every occasion, weddings, pooja's, festival time and also when recuperating from an illness!!!
How to make this Varan?
1/2 cup Toor daal
2 pinches Asafetida
1/4 tsp. Turmeric
Salt to taste
Jaggery - small lump (Optional)
1 1/2 cup Water
Wash the Toor Daal in 3-4 changes of water. Add water, asafetida, salt, turmeric and jaggery. Set it in the pressure cooker and cook for up to 3 whistles or as long as it takes the cooker to cook daal to a mush.
Once the daal is cooked,remove from the cooker, with a spoon mash and mix evenly. If it is too thick, add little of water, keeping in mind that it has to be thick. That's it!!!

The ghee melted by the time I captured the picture :(

As an accompaniment to the Varan bhaat, I made Vangi Kaap.. for M

I believe every cuisine from every region in India has their own version of making this accompaniment! Here is my Maharashtrian Version

You need:
1 Large Brinjal (eggplant /vangi/ baingan) , sliced into med-thick slices
1/4 tsp. EACH, turmeric, Red Chilly pwd., Cumin pwd., Corriander pwd., Amchur pwd.
1/2 tsp, Rice Flour
1/2 tsp Sooji / rava/ Farina (this was my inclusion)
Salt to taste
Oil to shallow fry

Mix all the dry ingredients. Spray the brinjal slices with a bit of oil, sprinkle the masala on it (on both sides). Heat a skillet. Drizzle the oil on the skillet and then place the seasoned brinjal slices . Cook on a medium heat on both sides. Serve with lunch/ dinner. As an option, to keep it very simple, you can also exclude the cumin-corriander powder and use the basics to make vangi kaap.

This will go to Nupur as my contribution for V of the A-Z of Indian Vegs. ...

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

For MY Father... MY HERO!!!! LOVE U BABA!!!!

This is a SPECIAL Wish for my Dearest Father (In Law)whom I love as much as My Baba!!!

- From the LUCKIEST girl in the whole world !!! Pin It

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Upvasache Sabudana Thailpeeth

This is a slight variation to the ever popular Sabudana khichadi. I learnt this one from my Naani (Grandmother), she would often make this for my Mama's (Uncle) lunch box.
Summer vacation always meant going to my Grandma's. All cousins would be there... those glorious, sunshine filled days (the same sunshine which now makes me shrink into shades where I can find them... makes me smear my face with sunblock- which makes me feel sticky and cross, even if it the non-oily types! and gives me headaches!)playing endless games, thinking up new ways to bother other kids, occasionally bully them.. break all rules laid down by my Uncle (who had to be strict with us and*had to* punish us EVERY evening) devour meals cooked by Grandma and at night, dim the lights in the living room and watch T.V (black and white in those days).. aaah those were the days!
On one evening however, to his (my uncle's) ever lasting amazement, we behaved! So the usual *stand in the corner facing the wall* for me & my girl cousin and plonking my boy cousins on top of an old iron almirah with folded hands and lips tight shut, was waived!
On that peaceful evening, my Grandma decided to usher me and my cousin into the kitchen and give us a bit of instruction, which of course is useful now, but the main intention , I maintain to this day was, to keep us from mischief and thereby incurring the wrath of my uncle and the resulting punishment. That saved us, because in a few minutes, we heard something break with a resounding clash followed by the customary angry snort and then *plonk*...*plonk*..... *Silence*, which is often termed as a long pregnant silence.
Shaking her head in resignation and sighing at the unavoidable, Grandma started teaching us (which was a bit difficult, given the fact that we were giggling and sneaking out in between to look at the boys ,wink at them and put out our tongues at them, knowing fully well that they could not retaliate!! Oh YES!! we found it rather amusing at that age!! )

So all I gathered at that age... and reinforced later was..

2 cups Soaked Sabudana / Sago
2 large Boiled Potatoes
1 tsp of Cumin and Green chilly paste
Salt to taste
1/4 cup roasted Peanut powder
3-4 tbsp Chopped cilantro
Ghee to shallow fry
Mash the potato .
Mix all the above listed ingredients, except ghee
On a thick plastic bag/ sheet, place a tennis ball size ball of the mixture and pat it into a round roti shape. make a few holes in the thalipeeth.
Heat a non -stick skillet/ fry pan
Gently transfer the thalipeeth on to it. Put ghee in the holes and around the thalipeeth
Cook on both sides to a nice golden colour
Serve with Yogurt / coconut chutney of your choice.

This will go to Nupur for the 'U' of the A-Z of Indian Vegs. and also RCI-Maharashtra , which she will hosting this month. Pin It

Friday, June 15, 2007


ATTACK OF THE MUNCHIES!!! here I go again... at regular intervals I get this terrible urge to munch.. munch... munch... especially after work! When Coffee announced this month's theme of going 'light' after feasting on sweets.. I browsed around till I came to this recipe from Kitchen Aromas and Roopa's version of this chiwda was just what I was looking for!
It also brought back days of childhood, when I'd come back after school, fling my satchel, pluck shoes and socks (eewww!!) chuck them into some corner and head straight to the kitchen (so who washes their hands!!!) and raid the shelves for whatever I could lay my hands on. With no parental control (both parents were working) I would eat anything and everything that was there.. Thus satiated, I would kick up a fuss at dinnertime, making sick faces at the vegetables and roti.
Fed up with my behaviour, Mom brought fruit , made some item like poha/ upma for me and kept it ready for me for after school, but that did not help, I would still climb up on the chair, reach out to the shelves and pig out!
My father used to get every 2nd. and 4th. Saturday off, from work and so on one such Saturday, he made Kurmura chiwda for me.. this was something after my heart!! My Dad is a fairly good cook and I enjoyed watching him pottering about the kitchen. So on that Saturday he plonked me on one end of the cooking platform, 'ota' as it is called in Marathi and got together all the stuff he needed and within minutes my 'khau' was ready!
I made some changes to Roopa's recipe and modelled it as per my Dad's version
1 packet Kurmura/ Mamri
1/2 cup raw Peanuts
1/4 cup Dalia / DaLa (Marathi word)
6 Green Chillies ( +/- to taste)
3 Dry Red chillies
1 tsp each, mustard and cumin seeds
~20 Curry Leaves
1/2 tsp asafetida/ hing
Turmeric ( I did not measure this, so approx. 1 tsp)
2 tbsp. Oil
Salt & sugar to taste
Assemble all the ingredients. Chop the green chillies, wash and pat dry the curry leaves. Break the red chilly into two.
Heat oil in a kadhai/ wok. Add the raw peanuts and dalia, once they turn light golden brown, add mustard seeds and jeera/ cumin seeds. Add the asafetida. Pitch in the green chilly, red chilly and curry leaves. Saute them till they look crunchy. Add Turmeric. Add the kurmura, mix thoroughly. Add salt and sugar. Mix. At this point switch off the stove. let the chiwda cool, store in an airtight container. Munch when u feel like it!!
A variation to this can be... add some farsan, finey chopped onion and tomato, squeeze lemon juice ( and small bits of raw mango, when in season) Garnish with cilantro... u have 'sukha bhel' ready!!! Pin It

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kairi Panha

Thanda ..Thanda ...Cool... Cool!!!! That's what come to my mind when I think of this simple but amazingly refreshing summer drink!!

Picture this ... HOT weather... HOT MUMBAI weather..... sweat... humidity...dehydration... playing in the streets (without any footwear!! crazy right??!) makes one tired...... rush home, fling open the fridge door, grab the bottle of 'panha', add some water (an ice cube or 2 if u have the time), quick stir... glug..glug...glug...glug .... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Repeat the same procedure....
Back to the present.....I'ts a pity that we do not get the 'real' raw mangoes here... one has to compromise a lot in terms of the taste and texture.
I picked up 2 raw mangoes at the Indian store, but to my enormous disappointment they were not even close to what I am used to! I mean, imagine biting into a piece of 'kairi'..... your eyes are bound to close, mouth pucker up and go 'tchak'!!
Anyway, here I was, 2 raw mangoes, practically no taste and memories of a childhood , where summers were linked to raids on the fridge for 'panha'...
To re-create the magic i took :
2 raw mangoes / kairi
Jaggery (grated)
1 Cardamom (powdered)
Few strands saffron
* notice I have not mentioned mentioned the amount of jaggery, that is because it is dependant on the sour tast of the raw mango, so for this I used 'andaz' (guess)
Pressure cook the raw mangoes for up to 3 whistles (or as many as it would take to cook daal in your pressure cooker)
When they cool down, remove the cover and the seed and mash up the rest of the raw mango. Add grated jaggery, cardamom and saffron. Taste and check if the sweet-sour combination is right, if too sour add some more jaggery.
I usually run the whole thing thru the blender to make it uniform and also ensure that the jaggery is mixed thoroughly
Store this concentrate in a bottle in your fridge.
To serve, add the concentrate to a glass, add some water and ice cubes, serve... Enjoy!!!
You can use sugar instead of jaggery as a sweetener, however i prefer the taste of jaggery and the benefits too! Jaggery also lends the panha a dark colour ( M made remarks of my panha looking like beer.. ! I ask u!!!) unlike sugar.
This is another contribution to RCI event, hosted this month by Nupur at One Hot Stove
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Friday, June 08, 2007

Ratalyacha Kees

In continuance to my last post on RCI Maharashtra, where I mentioned about 'ratlyacha kees', which is another 'fasting' food that is made in the Maharashtrian homes. Variety is the spice of life.. wonder who coined that term, might have been a Maharashtrian ....

See why we love fasting? The sheer variety of food!

Along with the Sabudana Khichadi, one also takes a bit of 'kees' on the side. What do we mean by kees? In simple terms. One cleans the Ratala (sweet potato / yam, as it is called here) and grates it, thereby giving the arms a good bit of exercise. This is then seasoned and cooked with simple spices (no onion-garlic please!) to a wonderful dish!
Here's how you make it
1 big Yam ( I got one that was the size of a normal coconut!!)
1/2 cup of roasted peanuts, powdered
1 Serrano chilly
2-3 tbsp. Ghee
1 tsp. Cumin seeds
1 tbsp Sugar (more , if u like a sweetish taste)
Salt to taste
Cilantro to Garnish

Wash the yam clean, dry it and grate it. Finely chop the chilly or, grind the chilly and the cumin seeds together.

Heat Ghee in a wok/ kadhai. Add the chilly-cumin Add the grated yam. Cover and cook till soft.

Add the ground peanut powder, salt sugar, mix thoroughly. Cover and cook for another 3-4 mins.

Garnish with cilantro and serve.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

S is for Sambar

Here I am with another Sambar, this time with vegetables... for Nupur's A-Z of Veges.

Here is what Wiki has to say about sambar .. however, even without this history on sambar, we can safely say..'isey to bacha, bacha janta hai!!' . A must at almost all meals in South Indian homes and well loved by almost everyone!

When I was in college, Ruia in Matunga, Mumbai, for those who are familiar with it, there is a small restaurant called Mani's Lunch home.. in those days we got Idli Sambar for just Rs. 5.50/- and the BEST part was the unlimited chutney and sambar. We would greedily slurp all the sambar and take so many servings that the idli would, by then, get crumbly and disappear into the hot sambar!! Trust me when I say, we made a meal out of it!! To date, I haven't tasted 'that' kind of sambar!!

So today I made another attempt to recreate 'that' magic..... I admit, I was not close, but the end result was quite satisfactory!

3/4 cup Toor Daal

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

Chopped vegetables (3 nos. Okra, 5-6 cubes radish, 8-10 Madras onion/ pearl onion)

1/2 tsp. Tamarind concentrate (or soak a marble size ball of tamarind in warm water for 15 mins., squeeze out the pulp and discard the solids)

2 tsp. Sambar Powder ( I used MTR brand)

1 tbsp. Oil

1/2 tsp Each Mustard seeds and Cumin seeds

2 nos. red chilly

5-7 curry leaves

2 pinches Asafetida

Salt to taste

small lump Jaggery (optional)

Wash the daal , add double the quantity water to washed daal, add turmeric powder and pressure cook it till soft and mushy

Heat oil, Add the mustard seeds , once the sputter, add Cumin seeds, red chillies, curry leaves and asafetida

Add the vegetables , cover and cook till tender, add water if needed to aid cooking

Add the tamarind conc. / juice, jaggery (opt.) water, salt and bring to a rolling boil.

Add the sambar powder and then the cooked daal.

Cook for 10 mins, till the aroma wafts in the house!

Serve with idli / dosa/ rice

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Sabudana Khichadi

As we move on to S of the A-Z of Indian Vegetables at One Hot Stove and RCI (Regional Cuisines of India) hosted by Nupur ,we travel to Maharashtra....

Maharashtra.. Mahan Rashtra!! The land of saints..

The land of Raje Shivaji....

The Land of great Artists
Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki
Pt. Bhimsen Joshi
The Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar
Kishori Amonkar

PuLa The Marathi P.G.Wodehouse!!
And the land of Ganesh Utav!

The Marathi LAVNI!

AND.. (the part we have been waiting for!!!!) the land of GOOD FOOD... naaah, make it GREAT FOOD!!
Like all states, Maharashtra also has a lot of reasons to fast (upvas), sankasti, ekadashi, angarki and ofcourse Monday for Shankar Bhagwan, Tuesday for Ganpati... so on... for the rest of the week.. I have often wondered what is the objective of fasting..... pleasing the Gods? exercising self-control? Internal cleansing? or just another reason to cook some yummy food?
Take for instance,the first reason, pleasing the Gods... how can one please 33 crore Gods by fasting for 1 day?
Self-control? Can staying away from food for 1 day prove that one is in total control?
Internal cleansing, otherwise also known as langhan (loosely...avoiding food, consume only liquids) .. right!! and for the remaining days EAT..EAT..EAT!!
So, cook yummy food.. bingo! that is the explanation!! Take for instance..
"Tomorrow is ekadashi, are you fasting?"
" Are you making sabudana khichadi?"
"YES! "
This was a standard dialogue when I was small... fasting meant only one thing, Sabudana khichadi! This is an all time fav!! Commonly termed as 'fast' (not as in fast food) but,upvas food, this snack is welcome on non-fast days too.
My mother used to make this many a times for my lunch box (I was one of those finicky kids, who always wanted variety in my lunch box)

Sabudana or Sago, looks like small homeopathy pills... and while u describe homeopathy pills u say 'sabudana size pills' !

Making sabudana khichadi (for first timers) is probably not that easy. My best friend (who is a Delhiite) loves this dish and when in B school, once tried her,then, inexperienced hand at it... well to make a long story short... ended up with a gummy mess which firmly and stubbornly stuck to the wok and the ladle. The trick is to get the sabudana non-sticky and non-soggy!
So here's my sure fire recipe for getting a slap up sabudana khichadi

1 cup sabudana/ sago
1/2 cup Ground , roasted peanut powder (I make mine fine, but u can choose to keep it a bit rough)

1 Med Potato , sliced thinly
1-2 Green chillies (+
/- to taste)
1 tsp Cumin / jeera seeds

3-4 tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste

Cilantro to garnish
Grated Fresh coconut to garnish

Do the prep.
Wash the sabudana 2-3 times.
Add water to soak and soften , keep the level just about 1-2 cms above the sabudana level. Cover and keep, soak sabudana for at least 6-8 hours. I normally soak it overnight.

Add the ground peanut powder to the soft sabudana, add salt and sugar and mix well
Chop the green chillies or (this is what I do) Grind together the cumin and chillies
Heat about 2 tbsp ghee in a kadhai / wok.
Add the green chillies and cumin .Add thinly sliced potato, add this after you have added the chilly-cumin mix and cook till tender
Add the sabudana mix.
Cover and cook for 5 + mins
After you remove the cover, you will notice that the colour and texture of the sabudana has changed. it is now looking a bit transparent
Now DO NOT cover to cook, this will make it sticky
Drizzle another 2 tbsp of ghee around the kadhai/ wok.
Check for salt and sugar
Mix well and cook for another 5-7 mins.
Garnish with coconut and cilantro and serve hot
Khichadi can also be served with a dollop of yogurt.
The sugar is optional , but I just love that slightly sweetish taste that the khichadi acquires along with the spicy taste, so I am more than a little generous with the sugar!

Khichadi can be served , garnished with cilantro and a dash of lemon juice. however, some also prefer it with a coconut-cilantro chutney or plain yogurt.

Another side dish, served with khichadi is 'Ratala Kees' (post coming up soon)

This is one of my entries for the RCI event.. I have planned some more, hope i can make all those!!! See you all soon .. Have a lovely weekend!!
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