Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shev-Bhaaji and some chit-cha(a)t.

What happens when you move (temporarily) to another city in another state? What happens when you initially plan on staying 3 weeks and that stretches up to 2 months , specially when the departure date is changed every week after the first three weeks? You are happy,that's what!!! After almost a year of living a 'weekend family' life, finally little S and I got the chance to be with M and all arrangements made, we joined him in Dallas! His project work was too demanding to allow him to travel home on weekends and we did not fancy living alone all this time!I came prepared for 3 weeks, prepared to keep things short and sweet and so blogging would be on hold.
The hotel suite was comfortable with a small, yet fairly well equipped kitchen. Dallas has FANTASTIC Indian stores and restaurants (I am comparing them to L.A, where we do have everything) but the stores here were 4 times the size and the BEST part is, they all sell chaat.. I was clapping my hands in childish glee! Christmas in August!!
By far I recommend Taj Mahal Imports, if you are anywhere in the vicinity of this store, do visit it and make a beeline for the, what one might loosely call the restaurant, what you see is food counters (like those in Mumbai, metal counters and food is served , you take your stuff and go to the nearby bench , sit and eat)and benches, but don't let that fool you one bit, just park yourself in front of the pani-puri counter and ENJOY! I have tasted nothing but that, but M tells me that the Vada-Pav is tolerable(slightly different from Mumbai or home made Vada-Pav), me, I plan on sticking to pani-puri as long as I am here.
After 3 solid years of disappointment at eating bogus chaat, I found the pani-puri divine and to make sure ( before I put it in so many words here) I rechecked the quality every weekend and it was spot on!
Eating out here is also a pleasure! I yearned for Indo-Chinese fare... and no where was it quite up to the mark, I have been sorely disappointed but I found one place (after visiting several other restaurants) that has GOOD FOOD! Everything I have eaten here has been tasty, the Indo-Chinese fare is 100% Bambaiyya! South Indian food is authentic! Generous portions and finger licking, reasonably priced food, that in my humble opinion is a winner, unlike this fancy-shmancy restaurant which is a total letdown.
Coming back to the suite.. we had a 1 bed earlier with a small kitchen and a stove with just 2 coils (oh! how I HATE these coils...) so once we extended our stay, I promptly moved to a 2 bed suite which gave little S some extra space to run around and gave me 4 coils to cook on!
Somehow food (read chapati/roti) does not taste the same (or just as good) on an electric stove. I am making this bold statement only because I have a gas back home in L.A and LOVE it!
Hey, who cares? I can always go out to eat!! and NOTHING can beat the fact that we are all together! But when it rains ( as it has for almost a week here!!YAAAAY!) I long for spicy food , in the comfort of my home. Sure its fun to go out, but home cooked meal is comfort!
Having said that, a temporary kitchen is not much. Our travel date has changed every week for the past 3 weeks and so I am keeping my stock to a bare minimum.
Today for example, it was a rainy day, the temperature dipped to a pleasant 70deg. F ( Aaaah! gimme this any day, you can keep your summer with blistering 104 deg. F, pshaw!). Dinner was simple, shev-bhaji and dahi-rice.
I picked up K-Pra shev-bhaaji masala after reading the recipe on the back of the carton. It did not require too much prep or ingredients.
Here is how you make it:

First, buy the spice powder ( if you cannot find this spice at you neighborhood Indian store, try this or this) and buy a packet of thick shev/ sev, make it at home, if you have the time, a spicy version.

At home: you need:
1/4 cup Oil (the recipe on the carton says that, but I used abt 3 tbsp.)
1 1/2 cup Onion Paste ( I used finely chopped onion as I do not have a blender here)
1/2 cup Green Peas ( the recipe does not include this, it is my addition)
3 tsp. Shev-bhaaji masala
3 cups water (I used about 11-12 oz)
1/2 cup Yogurt
Shev ( I randomly added it to suit my pref.)
Cilantro to garnish
The spice powder contains salt and red chile powder, add extra if needed.

Heat Oil in a wok / kadhai.
Add the onion and cook until golden brown.
Add the spice powder and mix well. I cooked this for a minute to get the aroma.
Add the peas ( if using)
Add water and bring to a boil.
Simmer, add the yogurt, stir and take off the heat as soon as it is about to boil.
Add the shev/sev.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with bread or roti.
As per the recipe, add shev/sev and boil for a minute, I preferred not to do this, it would have made the whole thing one big soggy mess, I prefer my shev/ sev with it's crunch and it does go soft in the hot gravy.

Another thing which I did not quite like is the addition of yogurt, it splits / curdles.. any suggestions what can be done to avoid this? Adding Besan to the yogurt will make this a kadhi, I do not want to do that... anything else?

Verdict: Good for a quick meal and really good for a rainy-day dinner! the curry is spicy and the crunchy shev/ sev are a good combination.

That is all for now!!! Hope to see you all soon!!!
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  1. glad your having fun in D town..ive found masalawok to have pretty good desi chinese..I really love their blazing noodles and gobi manchurian..

  2. Hi Vasudha! Thanks, I tasted the samosa - chole chat in masala wok, it was dreadful to be honest, they garnished the chat with cucumber and it really spoilt it for me... maybe I can try blazing noodles!

  3. I must plan a trip to Dallas soon! reading your post is making me crave for indo-chinese food!

    I had tried the shev bhaaji at a firend's place and she had just used onions & tomatoes, no dahi. You could try that next time.

  4. Tee, Thank U! I will omit the dahi, but I was wondering if there is some way of 'rescuing ' it!

  5. What if you beat the dahi a little and then add to the bhaaji before you add water to it ? That might prevent it from curdling.Or then just using the whey of the dahi ? Not sure if this will work...but worth a try.:)

  6. looks like you are having fun in Dallas! the Sev Bhaji looks nice..frankly ive never heard of it before..its about time i did and tried it too :)

  7. Yea, beating the curd may help; also you could try mixing in a teaspoon of rice flour. The important thing is to remove the pan from the heat, slowly add the yoghurt, stir it non stop, return it to low heat and continue stirring non stop till the mixture starts simmering again. Adding yoghurt to a curry always seems hit or miss

  8. never got around to make chaat..your looks real good...and some real tempting pictures as well..

  9. Ek dum yum yum yum! Yaar don't remind me of chaat, makes me homesick :(. How I long for some piping hot tikkis and some tikhat bhel puri!

  10. Thanks for the update! We have been missing you. Glad to hear that little S is busy running around :)

  11. Hi Manasi, ur posts always make good reads. This one about Dallas is special. We lived there 6 yrs before moving out & I haven't been able to make a trip back thereafter. Enjoy the rest of ur stay. And keep blogging.

  12. Been living in Dallas for 13 years. Cant think of living anywhere else. Love Taj grocers. Please make a trip to subzi mandi. Enjoy your stay here.

    - KR


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