Friday, November 30, 2012

Leftover magic! Phodnicha Bhaat and a Sweet Paratha.

" Mommy, I want waffles today", my son requests. I bustle into the kitchen, make the batter ( I use ready made mix and heat the waffle iron and serve up golden, delicious waffles with a pat of butter and syrup glistening and running down the corners and hand him the plate.
Mom and son, happy! He because he got what he wanted and I, because it was *such* an easy option. 
Or some days it is just pancakes, easier! No need to lug out the waffle iron ( I live in an apartment where the kitchen was probably an after thought and appliances and anything extra needs to be stored away and lugged out as and when needed)

In my childhood, I had never heard of pancakes, breakfast was pohe, upma, idli, dosa, even poli-bhaji (roti/ flat-bread with vegetables). My mother was a working woman, she would cook lunch in the mornings ( my Father would eat lunch and go to work) pack our lunch boxes and trot off to catch her local train to V.T. station.

Just as in my kitchen, there used to be leftovers in my Mom's too. Usually rice. Occasionally, fulkas
And just like her, I too never trash food, indeed I feel very guilty if I do. Wastage of food is an unbearable thought. I always  remember my Father saying, "what you throw, could well be some body's meal, that somebody who is starving and has not eaten in days! Can you justify this wastage?"

The rice was always sauteed and made into 'Phodnicha bhaat' simple, tasty and quick. It also made a good lunch box option, specially for me. I would happily carry this in my lunch box over fresh  roti-subzi that my mother had made. 
Tastes good when eaten as is, I liked it even more if I had a spoonful of pickle or chutney podi

This simple version of stir fried rice can be made with many variations.While Chitranna is famous in the south, Maharashtra boasts of the simple, no-fuss, minimum ingredient 'Phodnicha bhaat' 

In moderation, eyeball the ingredients, it is a forgiving recipe. However, here are the guidelines.

2 cups, Cooked Rice
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp each mustard seeds and cumin seeds
2 Green chilies
Few Fresh Curry Leaves
A Dash of Asafetida / Hing
1/2 Onion, chopped (big sized) if you have a medium sized onion, by all means, use the whole onion.
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

Chop the onion, set aside.
Chop the green chilies and set aside with the curry leaves.
Make sure the rice is lump free and each grain is separate. if you have removed the cooked rice from the fridge, wet your hand under running water and  break the lumps in the rice. This will ensure that all grains are separate and the rice will not stick to your fingers.
Heat oil in  wok, add mustard seeds, after they pop, add the cumin seeds, asafetida, chopped green chilies and curry leaves.
Add the chopped onion and stir to mix everything.
sprinkle  a bit of salt, this will help in cooking the onion, quickly.
Once the onion is cooked, add the turmeric powder, mix well.
Add the rice and sugar. Mix, cover and cook for a couple of minutes.
Check for seasoning ( salt) if all is well, switch off the heat.
Serve with chopped cilantro as garnish.

* If you like, add raw peanuts and shallow fry them - after you have added the mustard seeds and before adding cumin. Once the peanuts are golden brown, proceed as outlined above.

The sugar is optional, but it balances the taste.

Squeeze  half a lime after you switch off the heat.

The other leftover I had was My Mom's Naral Wadi, she sent me some in a care package that came around Diwali. And then my friends in the apartment community also gave me some more. all in all, a lot of coconut fudge! and then I had a small brainwave! why not? I thought! hmmm... can it be done?
I tentatively put 2-3 pieces in the small jar of the mixie and gave it a buzz.. it groaned a bit and then without warning the top flew open and one piece hit me squarely on the forehead and other flew and landed with a dull thud- I know not where. 
I cleaned up the mess, broke the remaining pieces, into smaller bits and then put them thru the mixer once again.

If you are still clueless as to what I am planning, let me tell you about the idea. I planned on stuffing the fudge,  now powdered in some dough and making  a sweet paratha!  Like so.....

Can you detect a bit of sunshine yellow  in the paratha in the picture? That, is the stuffing. Well, one of them anyway.
I had naral wadi in 3 colors, white, yellow and pale orange, just blend it all up , stuff and roll!
When roasting on a hot skillet, brush with ghee.

To sum up, here is what you need:

Left over Naral Wadi
Some Dough ( regular roti/ chapatti dough)
flour ( atta) to dust

Place the left over naral wadi pieces in a chopper or your chutney attachment jar and pulse to make a powder. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat a griddle (medium high).
Take a small piece of the dough and dust it in flour and roll into a circle. carefully spoon about 2 tbsp. of the naralwadi powder into the middle and bring up the sides of the dough to make a parcel and seal. Pinch off the excess dough and dust with some flour.
Roll out a small disk and carefully transfer it onto the hot griddle.
Turn after about 15 seconds and brush with ghee. Turn again, brush the other side with ghee.
Cook on both sides until golden brown spots appear and the paratha puffs up.
Serve warm.
This makes a mildly sweet paratha.

Have a great weekend, everybody ! 
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  1. I like how u turned the naral wadi into a tasty paratas! The leftover rice is always lemon rice or tamarind rice in my home!

  2. Both recipes looks good, love the second one more :)

  3. Beautiful foods, love the way you turned those wadis as delicious parathas. Yummy.

  4. Hi Manasi,
    I couldn't find your contact info... can you send me your email address to: thegreenpeacock AT yahoo DOT com? Also, I have recently moved from Houston to the Raleigh area in NC so that restaurant review is from NC. Hope to hear from you soon, thanks!

  5. Awww Phodnicha bhat is such a treat. I loved it more than any other snack, my friend ate it up before the lunch break, but then she was from south, so her box was always welcome for me. And Naral poli, is new for me, never been a fan of naral barfi, the pieces of coconut get stuck in my teeth and the disturbing hours after that is what keeps me away from them. But I will hopefully get over this weirdness and make some for Mr. Ash. He loves them a lott.
    Love Ash.

    1. Thank you, Ash. I guess Phodnich abhaat / poli is a common breakfast in most Marathi homes:)

  6. Even though I am sure that waffles/pancakes are an occasional indulgence, it was an interesting comparison of breakfast your mom gave you(prepared from scratch, nutritious in spite of being a working mom) vs. what you give your son (boxed mix made of maida, refined sugar and some other dangerous sounding chemicals, syrup mostly consisting HCFS)

    1. Anonymous, first off, I wish you had the courage to type your name with the comment.
      I grew up in India and a time when things like pancakes/ waffles with maple syrup were unknown, at least to us and many we knew.
      Each of us should do our own research and eat whatever we wish to eat. I like these occasional treats or even as breakfast items on days I have a pounding migraine, better than sending the child off without food.In moderation, I believe, it will not harm us.

    2. Manasi...Please dont get me wrong, my comment was meant to be taken in an introspective way rather than judgmental. In many ways I identify with you, growing up in a middle class maharashtrian family in Mumbai complete with a working mom( rushing off in the morning to catch Churhgate local) to now living in US and managing families on our own with no domestic help etc etc. Yes I agree waffles/pancakes were not available back then, but I am sure if your Mom is anything like mine, they would still prefer to make meals from scratch than using any ready mixes! Refined foods will harm your body (even if eaten in moderation occasionally) and perhaps even build up over time like your migraines maybe?? Two eggs sunny side up fried in butter would be just as quick and more nutritious (off course not considering what the child wants to eat)!

    3. Dear Ms. Anonymous,
      Just reading about your comments gets me curious of how many things you actually make at home from scratch. I am looking of ways to go all natural. I am mostly interested in learning to make ketchup, jams and also pickles and papads here in US with all our climate and resource changes. Amongst the wellness and beauty products I am learning making soap and lotions and even my own shampoo, getting those chemicals in our body scares me like it scares you.I can find tons of recipes on the net but getting first hand info would always work wonders. Please do not get me wrong, but if I can learn anything new, I would like to enhance my skills.

      Also Ms. Manasi is all vegetarian she eats no eggs. Please suggest us some fast and home cooked veggie menus that kids will also eat without a fight before school..Looking forward for a friend in you.
      Love another Ms Anonymous

    4. I am not misinterpreting or getting things wrong, Anonymous (1), but, I do not write about what I give my child everyday but just a snatch of what happens occasionally. and as the other Ms. Anonymous rightly points out, I do not eat eggs, which many of my regular readers know.
      That said, I reiterate, each person should do their research and eat what they like taking into consideration food preferences conditioned by many factors like culture, religion, belief, allergy etc.


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