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Updated: 2017-03-13T23:07:29.424-04:00

 



The year that went by...

2009-05-12T06:47:21.713-04:00

A big Hi to the blog world after a very long time. Before I start chattering on my blog, a huge Thanks to all my blog friends and readers who visited the blog from time to time and kept sending their best wishes! Friends, it is because of your inspiration that I am writing these words now:)


I had signed off from my dear blog in the end of year 2007 with promises to blog after coming to India. But honestly, thinking back on the past year - 2008, I don't know when it started and when it got over. We came back to India in Dec 2007 and the next one month went in settling down, meeting friends and relatives, and getting the house in shape. I started working in Feb and was blessed to be part of a superb office with a huge female gang. We spent hours in gossiping, exchanging tales about our past, present, and future, and sharing cooking and shopping tips. Ofcourse, we worked when we had time:).(just kidding)


We decided to renovate the house a little bit and that took another two months. I didn't have an Internet connection all this while. Around April, we discovered that I was pregnant. Our lives changed after we saw those two purple lines:) I used to wonder how females wait patiently for nine months. But I was wrong. Time just flew. I spent majority of my time in office. The rest would go in managing the house, buying grocery, paying bills. Cooking took a backseat in all this. I was happy that I was doing well in my career.


On a beautiful afternoon in December, we were blessed with a baby girl. Her name is Sayali. It's a delicate, beautiful flowers' name.

I have been lurking on all my favorite blogs from time to time. I have missed a lot of exciting blog events, and I am excited to get back to blogging. It’s going to be a bit challenging to manage blogging with a baby, but I am hoping to post a couple of recipes in the next few months.
Happy Blogging!



Bye bye kitchen

2007-12-27T17:23:08.897-05:00

As everyone around the world is gearing up to bid farewell to 2007, I am gearing up to bid farewell to a lot of things that mattered in this year. After staying in US for 1.5 years, we are going back tomorrow to India forever. That means saying bye to dear friends, this apartment, and most importantly my kitchen that produced all the recipes featured on Swad. I still remember the day we shifted into this apartment and I had made my first list of things to buy. It was fun setting up a kitchen and buying all the pots, pans, spoons, and gadgets. I had not carried anything from India and had to buy everything here. I loved visiting shops such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Linen and Things. I could have spent an entire day looking at items in the kitchen section. I remember my trips to the local library. I would spend hours looking at cook books to make special dishes for some event or another and carry home arm loads of books. I remember the last minute trips to grocery stores before the deadline of some blogging event. I remember making lists for grocery shopping keeping in mind I needed to buy apples for AFAM or something else for JFI. Mostly, I remember learning to use new gadgets that I had not used earlier. There's a good possibility that if we hadn't come to US I would not have taken so much interest in cooking and never started this blog. The success of Swad is due to this kitchen. I am going to miss it terribly. I still remember the day I decided to start my blog. It has been a great journey from that day. Here's a photo of the kitchen that inspired me to blog:Nupur is hosting a lovely event,the Best of 2007. 2007 was definitely the best year for me. I started blogging this year. My dependent visa did not allow me to work but I utilized my free time in a lot of things that I always wanted to do. I pursued my hobbies, took cake decorating classes and bead jewelry classes, did voluntary work, and devoured lots of delicious home-made food. Coming back to the event, here are the winner dishes/moments on Swad:The award for the most innovative recipe goes to...Idli Manchurian. Nupur's A-Z event of Indian vegetables had really got us thinking every week. Everyone wanted to do something different and it was great learning so many dishes that you can cook a using a single vegetable. Of course, some letters were challenging. I came up with Idli Manchurian for the letter I. The dish turned out great.The award for writing a post that came straight from the heart goes to...Weaving friendship through cranberry nut upside down muffins. Bee and Jai sent the Amish friendship starter packed with love. Their affection and the lovely muffins resulted in writing a post that came straight from my heart. Some times the words just flow and you don't have to think about what you will write next. This was one such post.The award for a simple dish that turned out great...Green peas with lovage seeds. Even if it contains very few and basic ingredients this vegetable tastes great. The award for the proudest dish and post on Swad goes to...A taste of Maharashtra. RCI Maharashtra made me nostalgic and brought back memories of all lovely Maharashtrian dishes. If I had to define Maharashtrian food, I would sum it up as Zunka Bhakar. Of course, the attempt at making bhakris was disastrous and so I made mini bhakris. The zunka turned out just as I like it..zanzaneet, meaning fiery hot.The dish that I had most fun making is: Puran poli. Trupti's cooking with family and friends event was great. My friend had invited us for a treat of puran poli and we all gathered and made them together. While one group was making dough and rolling small chapatis, another was filling it and rolling out chapatis, and a third group was frying the puran polis. I took loads of snaps of each step and truly enjoyed cooking with friends.The award for one dish that I made from a fellow blogger and turned out superb definitely goes to...Tee's Microwave Besan Ladoos. I remember spending an hour last Diwali trying to fry the damn besan. I was sweaty, irr[...]



Daily Daal

2007-12-04T20:12:17.768-05:00

Most of us might have grown up with memories of Shammi Kapoor's songs and weird dances. One of his hit songs that is a classic antakshari favorite is "Baar baar dekho, hazaar baar dekho, ye dekhne cheez hai hamara dilruba..Taliiiiiiiiiiii hooooooooo". Ofcourse, when I was a kid I didn't understand the meaning of the song and often confused Tali with Daal:)) I mean I never heard the song correctly and used to wonder why he's praising the daal. Now, why did I remember this song today? That's because it's time to send in your entries for JFI: Toor Daal hosted by the enthusiastic blogger Linda.


One popular dish in any Marathi home is Varan Bhaat. Toor daal is pressure cooked and boiled after adding salt and a pinch of turmeric powder. The combination of varan bhaat toop loncha (Daal Rice Ghee Pickle) is delicious and comforting. The recipe below is a great variation to the varan. Chopped onion and tomatoes are added and cooked along with the toor daal. The mixture is then tempered with a common spices and chillies. After making this daal for the first time, I stopped making the traditional varan. I was not very fond of eating rice on a daily basis, until I discovered this daal.



Daily Daal

Serves: 3-4

(I have tweaked the recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor's Simply Vegetarian)

(image)


Ingredients


  1. 1/2 cup pigeon pea split(toovar daal or toor daal)
  2. 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  3. 1 tomato - chopped fine
  4. 2-4 cloves Garlic - peeled and chopped fine
  5. 2 green chillies
  6. 8-10 curry leaves
  7. Few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
  8. 2-3 whole red chillies
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  11. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  12. 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds or methi
  13. Pinch of asafoetida
  14. Oil

Method

  1. Wash and soak toor daal in one cup of water for an hour. Add the chopped onions and tomatoes and pressure cook the daal (2-3 whistles). Once done, mash the daal slightly with a spoon.
  2. Remove stems, wash, and slit green chillies. Break red chillies into two. Clean, wash, and finely chop coriander leaves.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, red chillies, garlic. Fry for about 30 secs. Add green chillies, curry leaves and fry again.
  4. Now, add the cooked daal, 1/4 cup water, and salt to taste. Mix well and let it boil.
  5. Serve hot.

Verdict: Try it and tell me. Pair this hot daal with steaming plain white rice and mix up some mango pickle. I am off to Las Vegas tomorrow. See you next week! Taliiiiiiiiiii Ho!!!!!!!!!



Thalipeeth

2007-11-29T23:37:30.451-05:00

Don't you think that our demands and cravings change with age? When we were kids, we would ask for toys and dolls. As we grow up, they change to books and CD's. Later, they become more pocket money, requests to go out on overnight picnics, walkmans, the list goes on and on. If you grow up to be fond of cooking, take up blogging, and land in the US, you will definitely crave for food items that you don't find here. I tried finding bhajani in all nearby Indian shops to no avail. Naturally, it was topmost on my demand list when my parents came to US. Bhajani is a special flour made by frying and grinding different types of daal and spices. It is used to make Thalipeeth and Bhajaniche wade.


Of all the things that I missed and craved for after coming to the US, thalipeeth topped the list. Thalipeeth is a spicy Indian bread, mostly prepared in Maharashtra, made from bhajani flour. I often dreamt of them. I saw those brown tasty, spicy breads with ragged edges and little holes. I remembered devouring one after other steaming hot thalipeeth with tasty ghee and butter. The combination was divine. Few months back, a friend's mom had come from India and she invited us over for tea and snacks. We were sitting in the living room when the familiar aroma of garma garam thalipeeth wafted from her kitchen. A minute later, she presented us with the tastiest thalipeeths I had ever eaten. I forgot all my manners, didn't say 'No' even once when she asked me if I wanted more, and devoured as many thalipeeths as I could, leaving a few for her family and my other friends.


My mom got bhajani flour for me, she even helped me make yummy thalipeeth. Bhajani can be made at home by roasting and grinding 2cups bajri, 1 cup jowar, 1/2 cup chana daal/harbhare, 1/2 cup urad daal, 1/4 rice, 1/4 cup wheat, jeera, and coriander seeds. The process seems cumbersome, so it's easy to buy store bought bhajani to make these spicy breads.


Thalipeeth

Serves:4

(image)
Ingredients

  1. 4 cups bhajani flour
  2. 2 medium onions - chopped very fine
  3. 1 tsp ajwain seeds
  4. Pinch of asafetida
  5. 2 tsp red chilli powder (Reduce if you are not accustomed to spicy food)
  6. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  7. 1/2 tsp garam masala
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Oil

Method

  1. Mix all the above ingredients except oil, using water. Make a firm dough.
  2. Heat a pan over high flame.
  3. Make small portions of the above dough and round up into small balls.
  4. Take a plastic sheet and lay a dough ball on it. Start spreading the dough with your palm, while turning the plastic sheet. Make a circle. Once done, make 4-5 small holes in the dough with your finger.
  5. Pour 1 tsp oil on the heated pan. Take the plastic sheet in your left hand, invert it on top of your right hand, gently pull out the plastic from spread dough, and place the dough on the pan. Quite a task!
  6. Pour some oil on the sides and into the holes. Fry for 1 minute. Invert the thalipeeth and cook the other side for a minute. Again flip it and cook for 30 secs.
  7. Remove from pan and serve hot with yogurt. You can add some ghee on top of the thalipeeth.

Verdict: Thalipeeth topped with ghee and served with curd, straight off the stove is the ultimate divine food. The dough spreading process can be mastered with some practice and the results are great.




Tikhat Shankarpale with memories of Dussera

2007-11-05T23:18:34.028-05:00

(JFI has a special festive series going on this month to celebrate the spirit of Diwali. Inspired by Vee this month and originated from Indira, this month's JFI promises to bring lots of Diwali sweets mixed with some savory goodies. This is my contribution to JFI:Diwali in which I share my memories of a special Marathi custom and the recipe for your Diwali celebration.)Tikhat or savory shankarpali has been my favorite Diwali snack. So much so, that I keep looking for reasons to make them. During Dussera this year, I celebrated online bhondla with a couple of friends. This group is quite instrumental and active in celebrating all Marathi festivals, and being scattered all over US, these females celebrate the festivals via online messengers. So far we have successfully celebrated e-mangalagaur, e-Ganpati, and e-bhondla.Maharashtrians celebrate Bhondla on any day during Dussera. Newly married or unmarried girls dress up and sing special bhondla songs around an elephant drawing. The drawing is mostly made on a 'pat' or flat wooden platform. The songs are fun to sing and impossible to forget. I love humming them once in a while. I have attended numerous bhondlas in my childhood. It is one festival I used to await in the year. My building is blessed with a big playground or 'angan', so there was no problem in celebrating this sweet tradition. I remember getting ready for the bhondla wearing a pretty frock and garlands all over my hair. I remember singing the songs with my building friends and aunties. However, the most awaited and best part of the bhondla is clearly the 'khirapat' or prasad. All participating members are supposed to cook a special dish and store it in a covered dish. After the song singing, the members sit around the wooden platform and guess each other's dishes. Every member is supposed to provide clues such as whether it is a sweet/savory dish, chat item, baked item, and so on. The goodies are then distributed to everyone.Our online bhondla celebration was a total hit; we began the celebration by singing an arti for the goddess. Next, each member sang a bhondla song. I had made tikhat shankarpale as the prasad, and within no time my friends guessed what I had made. I am not asking you to guess the recipe though:) During Diwali, we make two types of shankarpale for the faral: the sweet and the savory ones. These savory shankarpale are a great tea time snack.Tikhat Shankarpali(Makes a small batch of shankarpale)Ingredients1/2 cup all purpose flour/maida1/2 tsp ajwain seeds/ova1/4 tsp turmeric powder1/4 tsp red chilli powderSalt to taste1 tsp hot oil/mohanMethodKnead all the above ingredients in a firm dough.Cover and let sit for 1/2 hour.Heat oil in a pan.Roll the dough like a chapati and cut into squares/rhombus.Fry each piece in oil and drain on paper towel. Store in an airtight container.Though Bhondla has become a not-so-popular tradition and people are soon forgetting it, there are a lot of people making efforts to save it from becoming extinct. Marathi mandals across Pune and Thane have organized mass bhondlas involving 100 or more people. I am definitely going to take efforts to see to it that this tradition stays alive. I had an excellent time celebrating this online bhondla, the only problem was I could not share my savory snacks with my dear friends.A very Happy and Prosperous Diwali to all my readers! May the new year bring happiness, light, knowledge, and wisdom to you. Have a happy and safe Diwali![...]



The purple beauty

2007-11-02T22:06:53.383-04:00

Till the time I came to the US, I stayed away from brinjals. They were just another vegetable that I detested. My mom made the best stuffed brinjals, but I did not touch the sticky vegetable and safely ate the gravy. As for long brinjals, I once found little worms while eating baingan ka bharta, so you can imagine how I felt every time someone served me that.Things changed after coming here. The first thing I learnt about brinjals is that they are called eggplants here. Then there were so many varieties of eggplants to choose from - long, small, Japanese, fat/cylindrical eggplants. Being a vegetarian there are very few options one has if you have to eat out. There were times when we our dinner expeditions resulted in returning back after eating only soup or salad. If we were lucky, the restaurant would have 1-2 vegetarian dishes. Inevitably, one of the dish would contain eggplant as the main ingredient. No matter which cuisine we tried, eggplant followed us everywhere.In a popular Chinese bistro, I kept aside all my reservations about eating eggplants and tasted their heavenly stir-fried eggplant. At a pizza place, we fell in love with a pizza topped with Japanese eggplant. In a Mediterranean grill, we consumed large quantities of eggplant mixed with scrambled eggs. Slowly and surely, I started liking this vegetable. As and when I tasted all these divine dishes featuring the purple beauty, I would shop for eggplants and try new dishes using them. Pavani's Eggplant in coconut gravy was an instant success; Nupur's Wangi bhaat was licked down to morsels. However, there was one dish that I could never get right - stuffed eggplants. I faced trouble every time I made it; either the masala wouldn't turn out right, the eggplants wouldn't cook completely, or the masala and eggplant would not gel well.Mom helped me make perfect, tasty stuffed eggplants. Nothing went wrong this time. Here's the recipe:Stuffed eggplants/ Bharleli WangiServes:4Ingredients9-10 brinjals/small eggplants/baby eggplants2 medium onions - chopped very fine6 tbsp peanut powderSalt to taste1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (Go easy on this if you are not comfortable with spicy food)2 1/2 tsp garam masala powder1 tsp mustard seedsPinch of asafetida1/4 tsp turmeric powderMethodWash the eggplants and make one horizontal and one vertical cut on one side of the eggplant. The cut should be such that you can easily open the eggplant for stuffing. Keep the cut eggplants in a bowl of water.Prepare a masala by mixing together the chopped onions, peanut powder, salt, red chilli powder, and garam masala powder.Stuff the prepared masala in each eggplant. If you still have some masala remaining, preserve it to add to the vegetable.Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds; once it splutters, add pinch of asafetida, and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. Mix well.Next add the stuffed eggplants, the remaining masala, and around 1/4 cup water. Mix well.Cover and cook on medium heat till the eggplants are cooked.Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with chapati/puri/bhakri/rice.I served this vegetable with Jowar bhakri, Nupur's Kothimbir wadi, and some onion slices.[...]



Tried, tested, and devoured

2007-11-16T15:46:45.376-05:00

Many thanks to my fellow bloggers for providing such delicious recipes. Here's what I have tried, loved, and made again and again.

  1. Nupur's Kothimbir Wadi, Wangi bhaat, and Lasuni Daal Palak
  2. Manasi's Vegetable Sambhar
  3. Coffee's Samosa
  4. Sia's Coriander chutney
  5. Anupama's Kathi rolls
  6. Priya's Alu palak
  7. Cooker's Cornflakes chivda
  8. Jasmine's Mushroom Capsicum masala




Blogger buddies

2007-11-16T15:36:39.137-05:00

Take a peek at what's cooking in their kitchens.

Indian Food Bloggers

Useful links for bloggers




Cooking from other blogs for my parents

2007-10-31T17:30:18.619-04:00

After spending the most beautiful and fastest month of my life, my parents went back to India. The house suddenly seems very large and everything we do or say reminds us of them. We had loads of fun in this past month. We had candlelit lunches in the afternoon and talked, ate, laughed, roamed, and shopped non-stop.I started cooking on a regular basis after coming to the US. Before that I did not have the knowledge nor the interest in cooking. After I got comfortable with cooking, I started this blog. But every time I blogged about a delicious dish cooked at home, I repented for not having cooked anything for my parents. I had decided to cook loads of dishes for them during my recent India trip. But then I got engrossed in eating 'maa ke haath ka khana'.Their trip to US gave me the perfect chance to cook for them on a daily basis. For the first time I was responsible for feeding four hungry adults. I got 2 more guinea pigs in addition to the one I already have. Mom taught me a few dishes I always wanted to learn. My parents got a first-hand experience of my blogging. My dad often complained and teased me while taking snaps. He would say, "Here we are, hungry and staring hopefully at the food. And this girl is busy taking pictures." To top it all, P would bring his tripod, spend the next 5 minutes doing adjustments, and then 15 more minutes taking pictures. My dad's face would be a funny sight. Dad also commented on my cooking style. There are three ways in which I cook from other blogs. The first method is by writing down the entire recipe and remembering the method. I would often get bored of writing and resort to method 2. I do the preliminary preparations such as cutting the vegetables, taking out the masalas, and then make frequent trips from the kitchen to the living room. If P is using the computer, I would often turn it towards me with a swift, sudden, and not-so-humble fashion towards me. The third method is that I would be in the kitchen barking questions while P would sit at the computer and shout instructions. It's a funny sight when he tells me how much masalas to put. He says '1 tsp red chilli', I shout 'Next', he says '1/2 tsp turmeric', I say 'Next'. And finally the dish is ready! Method 3 happens to be my favorite method as it saves my trouble of writing or walking:))This was the cake I baked for them the day they arrived here. Today also happens to be my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday Baba!Here are just some of the dishes I cooked for my parents. Sorry, no pictures this time. Many thanks to all my blogger friends for sharing these wonderful recipes and giving me the opportunity to cook for my parents.Nupur's Kothimbir Wadi, Wangi bhaat, and Lasuni Daal PalakManasi's Vegetable SambharCoffee's SamosaSia's Coriander chutneyAnupama's Kathi rollsPriya's Alu palakCooker's Cornflakes chivdaJasmine's Mushroom Capsicum masala[...]



Peach Iced Tea

2007-10-31T09:53:39.105-04:00

Waitress: Would you like to order anything to drink?
Me: Yeah, I will have Peach Iced tea.
Waitress: I am sorry, but we are out of Peach iced tea.
Me: (Thinking to myself..then why did you ask me if I can have 'anything' to drink)..OK. I will have plain iced tea.

Every time I asked for Peach iced tea I would not get it. I got so fed up of trying that I decided to make iced tea at home. I thought it would be complicated, but recipes found from Google told me it was a easy matter. Before we move to the recipe, here's some history of iced tea.


Iced tea became popular in 1904 at the St. Louis world fair. Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner had planned to distribute free samples of hot tea. But his plan flopped when a heat wave struck the city. At the fair, his eyes fell upon huge crates of ice. He served the brewed tea topped with some ice. It was an instant hit. Over the years, all types of tea (black, white, green) have been sold as iced tea. You can buy cans or bottles of packaged iced tea. But making iced tea at home is no big deal. To brew a cup of iced tea, boil a cup of water with a teaspoon of tea. Add tea, 2tsp sugar, ice-cubes, and lemon juice and blend together. Here's the recipe for Peach iced tea.


Peach Iced Tea
Serves: 4-5




(image)

Ingredients


  1. 1 can peach nectar (I used Kern's peach nectar)
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 3 tsp tea powder
  4. ¼ cup sugar
  5. 2 tsp lemon juice
  6. 3-4 ice cubes + more for serving

Method

  1. Boil 2 cups water in a pan. Add 3 tsp tea powder.
  2. Turn off the gas after tea boils. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the tea, peach nectar, sugar, lemon juice, and ice cubes in a mixer. Blend together.
  4. Serve the glass chilled with 1-2 ice cubes.

This tea is a sweet variation from the normal iced tea. Peach adds a sweet and tangy taste to it. Iced tea is good for body's immune system and hydration.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Peach Iced Tea is my entry for this month's AFAM hosted by Mansi at Fun and Food. The fruit this month is Peach.

_____________________________________________________________________________




Eggs in a nest

2007-10-17T17:32:42.775-04:00

We looked pretty ridiculous picking up dried grass and pine cones. Few friends asked us why we were doing this activity. We replied we wanted to make a nest to keep eggs. Oh, how would they understand the importance of Click?

This is my entry to Click, the lovely event started by the dynamic duo of blogosphere: Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi. The challenge this month is to click Eggs.

(image)

(Eggs in a nest)

I took this snap with my Canon S2IS digical camera.




AFAM Grapes round-up

2007-10-10T19:29:49.353-04:00

Drinks, bars, pies, chutneys - these are just some of the dishes that bloggers created using grapes. Blog events really make you creative, a fact proved true once again with AFAM:Grapes. Thanks for your enthusiastic participation and many thanks to Maheshwari for giving me the oppurtunity to host this event.Sorry for the delay in posting the round-up. My parents are here and I am spending each day touring with them.Here's the wonderful array of grape dishes: Grape and Green Tomato Chutney: Mansi of Fun and FoodDate and Raisin Chutney: Mansi of Fun and FoodBlack Grape Sorbet: Aarti of Aarti's CornerGrape tea: Nags of For The Cook In MeCurd-rice with Grapes: Madhu of RuchiiStretched stuffed grapes: Sona of A Kitchen scientist & a white rat hubbyRaisin Syrup: Chandrika of AkshayaPatraScones with apricot, raisin chutney: Padmaja of SpicyandhraCaramel Energy Bar: Viji of VcuisineSicilian Harvest Salad: Sig of Live to EatGreen Goddess, Grape Chaat, Raisins Gojju: Namratha of Finger Licking FoodBlack Currant - Raisin Whole Wheat Muffins: Raaga of The Singing ChefChicken Kebabs with Green Grapes Chutney : Sheela of Delectable VictualsGrape pie: Julie of The Persnickety PalateSoft Raisin cookies: Keerthi of Esculent CuisineBanana Raisin Bun: Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasonsWine drunk tofu with sweet sour vegetables: Rajitha of Hunger PangsAntu Unde: Latha of The Yum BlogGrape Banana Smoothie: Swapna of SwadStrawberry and grapes preserve: Marta of An Italian in the USTapioca and Tir-color Grapes Pudding on Pastry: Asha of AromaChelsea Buns: Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi Mansi at Fun and Food is hosting AFAM:Peach. Do participate![...]



Kelyacha Sheera

2012-09-07T19:14:57.561-04:00

Certain occasions and festivals remind us of certain dishes and tastes. Ganpati festival reminds us of modaks, Diwali of ladoo and chivda, Christmas of cakes and puddings, and Sankranti of sesame ladoos. Similarly, Satyanarayan pooja reminds me of semolina sheera loaded with ghee and nuts. Maharashtrians perform Satyanarayan pooja to mark the beginning of something auspicious. When something good is about happen, this pooja is performed to pray to God that it takes place without any calamity. Similarly, when a good event has taken place, this pooja is performed to thank God.

Kelyacha sheera is made as a 'prasad' for Satyanarayan pooja. Loaded with ghee and raisins, the sheera tastes delicious and is served in small paper cups. Each of the main ingredients is used in multiples of 1.5 for making this sheera. This number is considered auspicious and so everything is in multiples of 1.5.

We used to ask for this prasad again and again, forgetting that it is a prasad, expected to devor in small quantity. You can go easy on the ghee if you are calorie conscious. You can skip the banana and make simple semolina sheera. If you are making this for Satyanarayan pooja, take 1.5 cups each of rava, sugar, and ghee.

Kelyacha Sheera/Banana Sheera
Serves:5-6
(image)
Ingredients:
  1. 1 cup ghee
  2. 1 cup rava/semolina
  3. 1 yellow banana
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 3 cups milk
  6. 1 tbsp raisins
  7. 1 tbsp cashew pieces
  8. 1 tsp cardamom powder
Method:
  1. Peel and cut the banana into slices. Boil the milk in a pan.
  2. Heat the ghee in another pan over medium flame.
  3. Add the banana slices and fry till they turn light brown. Add raisins and cashew pieces. Fry for a minute or two.
  4. Next add the rava and fry till it turns light brown.
  5. Add the boiled milk and mix well. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar, mix together, and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Let the sheera cool down. Once it is cooled, add cardamom powder and mix.
====================================================================
This is my entry for JFI: Banana hosted by Mandira of Ahar. Thanks Mandira for hosting this lovely event.
====================================================================



A curry and a drink

2007-09-28T00:36:34.532-04:00

I know I am two days late for RCI and AFAM (what a shame!), but I am hoping Asha would include my entry in the roundup. I have been extremely busy last week and had no time to blog. My parents arrived in the US this Monday and the last few days we were busy cleaning the house, buying stuff, making trip plans, and cleaning some more.RCI: KarnatakaHalf cauliflower, couple of baby carrots, and few french beans...leftover vegetables in my refrigerator. No matter how many vegetables I use up in the week, some always remain and are carried forward to the next week. I mean, how much can 2 people eat?I am always on the lookout for mixed vegetable recipes that give me the chance to clean my fridge of such leftover veggies. Pav bhaji, Kadhai vegetable, Vegetable Pulao are normal dishes. But after a while, we get bored of eating the same stuff again and again.For RCI: Karnataka, I tried out a mixed vegetable curry from the book Curry Cuisine. This book contains veg and non-veg vegetable recipes from India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The Indian curries are categorized into North India (Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Lucknow, and Bengal), and South India. The book contains beautiful pictures of major spices used in these states.Rasa Kayi are mixed vegetables cooked in tomato gravy and flavored with fennel seeds. This curry is a common preparation in Karnataka.Rasa Kayi/Mixed vegetable curry(Adapted from the book Curry Cuisine)Serves:2-3Ingredients:1/2 cup carrots - washed and cut into 1inch pieces1 boiled potato - cut into huge chunks1/2 cup green beans - washed and cut into 1inch pieces1 cup cauliflower florets2 onions - cut into small pieces3 tbsp vegetable oil1 green chilli - slit lengthwise1/2 tsp red chilli powder1/2 tsp corainder powder1/2 tsp turmeric powderSalt to taste1/2 cup coconut milkFor the spice paste2 garlic cloves - peeled3/4 inch ginger root1 green chilli - finely chopped1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)2 tomatoes - washed and cut into huge chunksMethod:Grind all the ingredients for the spice paste in a blender. Add water if neccessary. Keep aside.Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and green chilli. Cook untill the onions are soft. Add the carrots, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt to taste. Mix well. Lower the heat and add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.Add the cauliflower florets and green beans. Add the spice paste and mix well. Cook covered for 10-15 minutes.Remove pan from heat and slowly add coconut milk, stirring to blend well.Serve hot with puris/rotis/parathas or hot rice.Verdict: This recipe is a keeper. The fennel seeds left out a beautiful aroma that wafted through my kitchen. The vegetables mixed with the curry were super tasty. As I said, this vegetable recipe is an excellent resource to use up leftover vegetables.AFAM: GrapesGrape Banana smoothieAdd 2 ripe bananas and 2 handful of red/purple grapes in a blender. Blend to a smooth paste.Add 1 cup ice and crush it. Next add 1/4 cup milk and blend again.Serve cold.Rasa Kayi is being sent to Asha for RCI: Karnataka, while the Grape banana smoothie is my entry for AFAM-Grapes.[...]



Weaving friendship through Cranberry-nut upside down muffins

2007-10-11T22:45:40.007-04:00

It arrived at my door with love, packed with some delicious brownies. The brownies were packed with utmost care. Enclosed was a card in a beautiful writing and an instruction sheet.It weaves friendship in a unique way by stinking. The day it arrived I greeted it with love. I placed it on the kitchen counter with care. Every two hours, I would pay a visit and stare at it lovingly, making sure that nothing’s wrong in its growth.The next three days I ruthlessly mashed it. On the 6th day, I again changed my avatar and fed it some flour, sugar, and milk. It got confused seing the change. It hoped things have changed for the good. But I proved it wrong again. For the next 3 days, I again mashed it. By the 10th day, it was clueless and scared. So, when I poured it in a bowl it had no clue what would happen next.Ever since Bee announced that she was sending some scary, smelly things in the mail, I was anticipating their arrival. Wondering what I should bake with the special batter, I paid a visit to the local library. My hand fell upon a book that's a gem for amateur and professional bakers. As I turned page after page, delicious recipes for cakes, muffins, pies, tarts, and cookies greeted my eyes. The book I am talking about is Better Homes and Gardens: Old Fashioned Home Baking. There were so many recipes to choose from that I soon got confused. As the 10th day for processing the batter approached, I finally settled on one recipe. For all those who have received the starter, Nupur has provided the schedule to be followed. Here's my little experiment with the Amish Friendship starter.Cranberry nut upside down muffins(Adapted from Better Homes and Garden: Old Fashioned Home Baking)Yields: 12 muffinsOriginal recipeGrease twelve muffin cups or line them with paper bake cups. Set muffin cups aside.In a small covered saucepan, cook 1 1/2 cup cranberries and 3/4 cup sugar over low heat just till the mixture starts to form juice. Stir frequently. Uncover and heat to boiling, stirring from time to time. Boil gently, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or till the berries pop. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I didn't have nutmeg. I added 1/4 tsp cardamom powder). Divide the cranberry mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Set the muffin cups aside.In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup chopped nuts, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in the centre of this mixture.In another bowl combine 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup cooking oil, and 1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel. Add the egg mixture all at once in the dry mixture. Stir till just moistened. Batter should be lumpy while making muffins. Spoon batter on top of the cranberry mixture in the muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Preheat oven to 400degrees.After pre-heating, bake the muffins at 400degrees for 20-25 minutes.Cool on a rack for 5 minutes. To remove muffins from cups, invert them into wire rack or a dish.Recipe using Amish Friendship starterStep 1 and 2 are same as above.Step 3: In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup chopped nuts, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in the centre of this mixture.Step 4: In another bowl combine 1 cup Amish starter, 1 beaten egg, 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup cooking oil, and 1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel. Add the egg mixture all at once in the dry mixture. Stir till just moistened. Batter should be lumpy while making muffins. Spoon batter on top of the cranberry mixture in the muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.Steps 5-8 remain the same as above.Verdict: Super tasty! Super moist! Delicious. Warm. Perfect. We soon ran out of words to describe them[...]



Fodnicha Bhaat

2007-09-17T14:24:16.541-04:00

What would you do with a bowl of leftover rice? Would you throw it or make a simple stir fried rice that will be ready in 10 minutes but taste great?


Fodnicha bhaat is one of my favorite rice dishes. Aai used to make it when she would be bored of eating leftover rice alone. Of course, we wouldn't touch the rice being averse to all leftover items. So, mom used to add an onion make the rice spicy.

Fodni is a simple tempering of mustard, asafetida, and turmeric powder added to the rice. You can use the same method to make Fodnichi Poli or Fodnicha Bread by substituting cooked rice with chapati pieces or bread crumbs.

I usually don't make this rice as I seldom have any leftover rice. During weekdays, we make 1 cup rice and 1 cup daal and this suffices us for around 2 days. If ever there is any leftover rice, I simply mix it with some puliogare paste. Mom had made Fodnicha bhaat during our recent India trip and P liked it so much that he made me cook it on a weekend.




Fodnicha bhaat/ Stir fried rice
Serves:3
Ready in: 15 minutes (if you are using left-over rice)


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Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup cooked rice (left over or fresh)

  2. 4 green chillies - washed and chopped fine

  3. 10-15 curry leaves - washed

  4. 1 small onion - chopped fine

  5. 1 tsp mustard seeds

  6. Pinch of asafetida

  7. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  8. Salt to taste

  9. 1/4 tsp red chilli powder

Method:

  1. Separate the rice in a plate. Add salt to taste and 1/4 tsp red chilli powder in the rice and mix well.


  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds, and once they splutter, add asafetida and 1/2 tsp turmeric.


  3. Next, add the green chillies and curry leaves. Fry for around 30 secs. Add the chopped onion and fry till it turns light brown.


  4. Add the rice and mix together all the ingredients. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Serve hot.

You can add leftover vegetables in this rice to make Mixed Vegetable Stir Fried Rice. Serve with raita or plain yogurt.




Farasbi Harbhare bhaji

2007-09-10T22:38:34.916-04:00

Some vegetables have no taste of their own, or they are really bland. No matter how many spices you add in them, they still remain bland.For me and my hubby, Farasbi/French beans tops this "bland taste" list. I buy french beans in minimal quantity and use it in pav bhaji, kadhai vegetable, or rice dishes. However, my mom makes a unique combo using this veggie. She combines them with harbhare/black chana and spices them up with coconut, coriander mix. I remember my colleagues complimenting its taste and uniqueness whenever I carried it in my lunch box.Since the time I have started blogging, I have pestered my mom for several recipes at odd times. I catch her online on Yahoo messenger alternate days, and almost every week there's a recipe request either for a blog event or for increasing my blog posts. Our conversation goes like this:Me: Mom, tell me the recipe for Farasbi Harbhare vegetable.Mom: Soak harbhare overnight.Me: How much?Mom: Approximately.Me: What does approximately mean? Tell me, how much should I take to serve 2 people?Mom: About 1/2 cup.Me: ok..Then?Mom: The next day, wash and cut farasbi. Cook both farasbi and harbhare in a pressure cooker.Me: Hmmm..ok..(Frantically, noting all her instructions in a Word doc or Notepad, ignoring all the spelling mistakes).Mom: Make a tempering and add vegetables to it. Next, add red chilli powder, salt, garam masala. (She's dictating all this at a super fast speed.)Me: Go slow, go slow. And repeat the last sentence. How much red chilli and garam masala?Mom: Andaje.. (meaning approximately)Me: Aai, I told you "approximately" won't work. I don't want to mess up the dish. Plus, I want to post the recipe on my blog. I can't tell my readers to use approximate spices..They will stop visiting my blog.Mom: (after much pondering)..Ok..Around 1/4 spoon red chilli, 1 tsp garam masala.Me: Fine. Tell me the rest of the recipe.And so, mom dictates the rest with some halts and questions from me. She uses a spicy mixture called 'vatan' in Marathi to spice up this dish. Here's a detailed recipe:Farasbi Harbhare bhaji/French beans with black chickpeasMethod:Soak 1/2 cup black chickpeas in double the quantity of water, overnight.The next day, wash and cut the french beans in 1 inch pieces. You should have 1 cup of cut french beans.Drain the water from the soaked black chickpeas.Pressure cook the chickpeas and french beans for 2 whistles. You can either cook them together or in separate containers. Once cooked, drain the water and keep aside.Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 2-3 green chillies, and 10-12 coriander sprigs in a mixer/blender. Add water and blend into a paste. This is the spicy mixture or 'vatan' for the vegetable.Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. Make a tempering using 1 tsp mustard seeds, pinch of asafetida, and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.Add the cooked french beans and chickpeas. Mix together.Next, add 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, salt to taste, 1 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp sugar, and 4 tsp peanut powder. Mix well.Add the spicy paste made in step 5.Add around 1/4 cup of water and mix again. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.Verdict: When I chatted with mom again, I told her the outcome of the vegetable. We loved it. We will be making this combo again and again. Do give it a try and enjoy its unique taste.[...]



RCI Orissa round-up

2007-09-04T09:44:42.639-04:00

Many thanks to all the enthusiastic participants for sending such lovely entries for RCI: Orissa and thanks to Lakshmi for giving me the oppurtunity to host this event. Most of you (including me) had no idea about Orissa cuisine, but we all took great efforts to dig up some mouth-watering recipes. Sincere apologies from me for not replying to all your mails. This was partly because of my India trip and mostly because some mails landed up in my Spam folder. All those who will be hosting blog events in the future, please remember to check your Spam folder from time to time so that you don't miss any entries. (Updated: I had missed out Cinnamon's and Priyanka's beautiful entries in the round-up. Check it out in the Besara, Mitha, and Meals section.)A little information about Orissa cuisine before we move to the round-up. Orissa cuisine can be broadly divided into the following categories:Rice or bhata: comprises of khichdi, jeera rice, and other rice dishes.Roti: covers the famous luchis made using all purpose flour, puris, and chakuli (a type of dosa made using rava, maida, and besan)Pitha: These are mostly prepared using rice flour, suji, sugar, or jaggery. Pithas are made by stuffing a sweet mixture into rice balls and then steaming them (just like the modaks). Pithas are prepared during all Orissa festivals and poojas.Dali: These curries are made using toor daal or chana daal and an abundance of spices. The famous dalis include Dalma and Chana dali.Bhaja: This is the stir-fried method of cooking vegetables.Tarkari: These gravy vegetables are made using individual or a combination of vegetables mixed with spices. Famous curries include Ghuguni, Jahni Posta, and Alu Posta.Khatta: These sweet and sour condiments complete an Orissa meal. Khajur (dates) khatta, dahi nadia, and tomato khatta are some well-known khatta types.Non-veg items: are made using mutton or fish and served in the form of curry.Besara: These vegetable curries are made using a base of mustard paste and panch phoron or panch phutan. Panch phutan is a unique mixture of 5 spices - mustard (rai), fenugreek(methi), fennel (saunf), cumin (jeera), and nigella (kalonji). These spices are dry roasted and ground to a powder and used in vegetable preparations.Mitha: Famous Oriya sweets include Rasgolla and Chena Kheeri.While most of us explored the Bhata, Roti, Dali, Tarkari, Khatta, Besara, and Mitha categories of Orissa cuisine, we did not explore the Pitha category. Ghuguni, Dalma, and Aloo Posta were clearly the favorites.I have divided your entries into categories based on the type of dish and the snaps you sent me. Here's presenting RCI: Orissa round-up.DaliDalma : Sra of When my soup came alive Dalma: Manasi of A cook at heart Dalma: Sheela of Delectable VictualsKhatta and BhajaDahi Nadia: Raaga of The Singing ChefAloo posta: Suma of Veggie Platter Alu Posta and Khajur Khatta: Madhuli of My Foodcourt Begun bhaja: Meenakshi from her Yahoo blogBhendi Masala: Mandira of AhaarPalette in pastels: Sra of When my soup came alive Jahni Alu Posto: Aarti of Aarti's CornerMashed potatoes with Oriya flair: Nupur of One Hot Stove Besara and TarakariBhanda gobi khofta curry: Roopa of My Chow Chow Bhaath Cabbage curry: Nags of For the cook in me Dahi Baigana: Musical from Musical's kitchen Ghuguni: Madhu of Ruchi Ghuguni: Suma of Veggie Platter Ghuguni: Jyothi of Andhra spicy Jahni alu rye: Sajeda of Chachi's Kitchen Saru Besara: Musical from Musical's KitchenPhul Gobi do Piaji: Roopa of My Chow Chow Bhaath(Updated: I had missed out Cinnamon's beautiful entry in the round-up. Check it out.)Chhatu Besara: Cinnamon of[...]



Announcing AFAM-September

2007-09-04T09:43:12.955-04:00

After the parade of Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple, Apple, Mango, Orange, Watermelons, and Lychee, it's time for Grapes. I know I had given chickoo as another option, but the clusters of grapes and its recipes sounded more welcoming.

AFAM (A Fruit A Month) is a lovely event started by Maheshwari and it's my turn to host it this month. Thanks Maheshwari!

Grapes or angur as they are called in Hindi are sweet and sour (khatte-meethe) in taste. They are a rich source of Vitamin C and anti oxidants.

Use any type of grapes such as blue, black, green, red, purple, etc. to create your dish. If you are confused about what to make for AFAM, check out http://www.honeyflowfarm.com/graperecipes.htm. It has a plethora of recipes. Use grapes in your salads, entice us with some grape desserts, or bid farewell to the summer with some grape cocktails. The choice is yours. The rules for AFAM are simple.
  1. Prepare a dish using grapes and blog about it in the month of September.
  2. Include a link to this announcement and feel free to use this logo.
    (image)
    (This logo was created by using an image found on Wiki. To save it on your machine, right-click the image, select Save Picture As..., and save to the desired location on your PC.)

  3. Send an e-mail to swaps1@gmail.com (swaps1ATgmailDOTCOM) with the following information: (Also leave a comment in this message with the link to your entry.)
    a. Subject line: AFAM September
    b. Your name
    c. Your blog name
    d. Name of the dish
    e. Picture of the dish in 400X400 pixels.
    (Please send your entries in the mentioned format as it will be easier for me to compile the entries in the round-up)
  4. You can participate even if you don't have a blog. Just mail me your recipe, all the above details, and the picture of the dish and I will include it in the round-up.
  5. The last day for submitting your entries is 25th September.

Pop some grapes in your mouth as you create wonderful dishes using them. Awaiting all your sweet and sour entries!




Jeera Pakhala

2007-08-25T22:11:47.515-04:00

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It's been so hot here the last couple of days that I have spent very little time in the kitchen. I returned from India last weekend and since then I have felt dehydrated. The temperatures are soaring and so are our electricity bills. It's impossible to survive without the AC.

All the week long, I was playing with options for RCI. I could have easily made something in India, but then I was busy eating "mom ke haath ka khana":). I was in no mood to start complicated cooking and was looking for a simple recipe. Finally, I hit the jackpot. Jeera Pakhala is a simple rice preparation with the flavors of shaha jeera and curry leaves. The curry leaves add a unique taste to the rice.

Jeera Pakhala


Adapted from this recipe.
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  1. Wash 1 cup rice. Cook the rice in a pressure cooker. Once done, spread it on a plate and let cool.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add 3 whole red chillies and saute for a minute. Next add 2 tsp kala (shaha) jeera. Once it splutters, add 12-15 curry leaves. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked rice and salt to taste.
  4. Cover and cook on low flame for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve when cool.
This is my entry for RCI: Orissa. I will post RCI: Orissa round-up next weekend. A big THANKS to everyone who participated in this event. It means a lot to me. For all those who missed this RCI, the next one's at Foodie's Hope hosted by dear Asha.

I also realized that there are few Maharashtrian dishes on which I have blogged. In the near future, Swad will show case some easy, complicated, authentic Maharashtrian dishes. Stay tuned!



Reminder RCI: Orissa

2007-08-22T17:01:07.725-04:00

Friends,

Only 3 days are left to submit your entries for RCI Oriya. The last date for submitting entries is 25th August.

I am back from India after my short vacation. We had a great time with family and friends.

I will be hosting AFAM: September. So, please send me your ideas for the same. I am thinking about grapes or chikoo.



Announcing RCI

2007-07-25T12:18:37.376-04:00

I kept reminding myself that I have to announce the RCI event this month. My worst fear was that I would somehow forget announcing and Lakshmi and my fellow bloggers would ban me from the blog world for such a horrible mistake:)) A small announcement: I am going to India for a short 3 weeks vacation. We are leaving tomorrow and I am very, very excited:)This is the first time I am hosting a blog event. So, I am nervous, excited, thrilled, and worried at the same time. Lakshmi has given me this wonderful chance to host the event and I am thankful to her for the same. Out of all the delicious and varied cuisines of India, I chose...Orissa cuisineLying on the East coast of India, this state has been blessed with a coastline. Bhubaneswar is the capital of Oriya. Orissa is famous as a tourist location mainly for the beautiful temples such as Jagannatha and Sun temples. Read more about Orissa here.Read the details about RCI and rules for participation:What is RCI?: The Regional Cuisines of India is a monthly blog event started by Lakshmi. It's Lakshmi's baby and we all are taking turns to take care of the baby. The host chooses the cuisine from the ethnic Indian cuisines and bloggers have to come up with dishes cooked from that cuisine.How do you participate?: Write a post featuring any dish related to the Oriya cuisine. Include a link to this post and the RCI logo in your post.What do I cook for RCI Oriya, I know nothing about it: Well, you are not alone. RCI gives you a great opportunity to explore a new cuisine every month. To know more about the Oriya cuisine, check Wiki and sites such as this, this, and this. You can also refer to cookbooks such as Purba: Feasts From The East by Laxmi Parida or Healthy Oriya Cuisine by Bijoylaxmi Hota. For all of you who are Orkut members, you can find loads of recipes in the Oriya Delicacies community. Fellow bloggers have already experimented with Oriya cuisine and come up with dishes such as Jahni Alu Posta, Luchi aur Aloor Dom, and Shrimp with Opo Squash.My friend staying in a nearby building is from Oriya. Her in-laws are visiting from India and I thought I would get some first-hand information from them about Oriya cuisine. The sad part was that her mom-in-law could not speak or understand Hindi. So, we set about my interview by me asking my friend questions in Hindi, she translating to her MIL in Oriya, her MIL replying back in Oriya, and S translating back in Hindi. Meanwhile, I was furiously scribbling all this information in my notebook for fear of forgetting it. Here's what I learned about Oriya cuisine:Swapna: What kind of dishes are famous in Oriya cuisine?S: Oriya cuisine is famous for a variety of vegetables and daals. We also use rice flour and urad daal in a lot of dishes. We make different kinds of dosas called chakuli pittha.Swapna: What kind of spices are used in this cuisine?S: We use mustard seeds paste to make some vegetables. Almost all the spices are roasted and ground to a fine powder. We also use poppy seeds and panch phoron in a lot of dishes.Swapna: How would you define an Oriya breakfast?S: A typical Oriya breakfast consists of upma, plain parathas, stuffed idli (using coconut and jaggery stuffing), rice appam (chittau), or sweet sheera. Swapna:What does a typical Oriya lunch consists of?S: Vegetables such as santuda or palak saag, plain rice, tomato pickle (khatta), dalma, rotis (without ghee), papad, raita, and daal. We mostly use moong daal for making daal. Oriya cuisine has some interesting r[...]



Matar Paneer

2007-07-24T22:26:00.942-04:00

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RCI is a monthly blog event focusing on various Indian cuisines. The cuisine this month is Punjabi and Richa is hosting it at As dear as salt.


A funny thing happened with me the other day. We had been to an Indian restaurant and while browsing through the menu I realized I had made all the dishes at home. Palak paneer, Alu palak, Punjabi chole, Paneer jalfrezi..the list went on and on and for the first time in my life I felt like my mom. Mom would say it's useless to waste so many rupees on a simple dish in a restaurant when we can make it at home and it's much healthy too. Back then we used to get irritated when mom said this. We said "Zala hicha suru (she's started again)".

As a teenager, I was obsessed with eating out. Most of the times eating out would be =Punjabi food. However, we used to end up ordering the same dishes again and again. Thinking back I realize that most of the veggies would be stale and there would be a heavy ghee layer floating in it. For RCI, I made one of my favorite Punjabi sabzi.

Matar Paneer/Green peas with cottage cheese


Serves:4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp ghee
  2. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  3. 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  4. 2 cloves
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 1 onion - chopped fine
  7. 1 tsp ginger paste
  8. 1 tsp garlic paste
  9. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  10. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  11. 2 tsp coriander powder
  12. 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  13. 1 tbsp cashew pieces
  14. 2 tomatoes - cut into huge chunks
  15. Salt to taste
  16. 1 cup fresh green peas or frozen peas (thawed)
  17. 1 packet fried paneer (about 230 gm)
  18. 1 tbsp whipped cream or malai

Method

  1. Soak the paneer in water for 10-15 minutes. Puree the tomatoes along with the cashew pieces.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf. Fry for a minute.
  3. Add the chopped onion and the ginger garlic paste. Fry till the onion turns light brown.
  4. Add all the powders from 9 to 12. Fry for a minute.
  5. Next, add the tomato-cashew puree and salt to taste. Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes (till the mixture thickens).
  6. Add the peas and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.
  7. Add the whipped cream and paneer cubes. Mix well taking care that you don't break the paneer cubes.
  8. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves.
This one turned out super-tasty. It went into our favorites list. Be sure to try it out!



Xploring Kohlrabi

2007-07-21T16:57:49.318-04:00

I wanted to try Kohlrabi ever since I read about it in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. She has described this vegetable wonderfully. Kohlrabi, or gant-gobi as it is called in India, belongs to the cabbage family. The bottom part is turnip shaped while the top part consists of green leaves. The kohlrabi head should be peeled before cooking.
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I found Kohlrabi in the organic section of Kroger and decided to explore it for Nupur's A-Z series. Peeling the head took quite some effort and I found it very difficult to cut it. P helped me in the cutting and chopping. Be very careful while cutting this vegetable as it has a hard cover.

Spicy kohlrabi stew with tomatoes


Serves:4 to 6
(image)
Ingredients


  1. 6 kohlrabi heads

  2. 2 tbsp oil

  3. 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

  4. Pinch of asafetida

  5. 4 dried whole red chillies

  6. 5 medium tomatoes chopped fine

  7. 1/2 cup tomato puree

  8. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

  9. Salt to taste

  10. 1/4 tsp sugar

Method


  1. Cut off about 1/8 of each kohlrabi at the bottom end. Peel the rest and cut into chunky quarters.

  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.

  3. Put in the cumin seeds and after they splutter, add the asafetida and red chillies. Stir briefly till the chillies turn dark red.

  4. Add the kohlrabi and stir 2-3 times.

  5. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, 1/2 cup water, salt to taste, and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.

  6. Cover and cook on low heat for 30-35 minutes. The kohlrabi should be tender once cooked.

  7. Serve hot with rotis or rice.
Verdict: I was lucky to have been introduced to this veggie. I am going to try new recipes with it.



Me, Myself, Swapna

2007-07-19T14:19:53.144-04:00

My friend Tee has tagged me for a meme in which I have to reveal 7 facts about myself. I love writing memes. Here I go: I can never light a match stick in the first attempt. In India, my Mom and bro used to stand and watch while I patiently tried lighting a match stick while doing the pooja. After the first 2-3 attempts, they used to start counting 5..8,..12..15.. 25..By this time, I would have broken at least 2-3 matchsticks and reached the height of frustration. My match-stick lighting skills have improved considerably in the US.In India, I detested and stayed as far away from cooking as possible. I never entered the kitchen. Rarely, I made poha or pulao either to please my parents or to momentarily stop my mom's nagging. Read all about my cooking history here. It was only after I came to the US that I developed a liking for cooking. The sad part is my parents have not eaten a full, decent meal cooked by me. I am waiting to go back to India and cook something special for them.I am a very organized person. I make lists for everything. There's a shopping list, a things to do list, a weekly menu, a things to read list, monthly expenses sheet, and so on. I like to keep things where they are. This habit is sometimes the focus of our fights, as my husband does not keep his shoes in the rack, does not keep things where they are supposed to be.My father is the only person in this world whom I am really scared of. Even now, if he raises his voice and looks at me angrily, I start crying. Of course, I am scared of going to the dentist too. I have a very funny dentist in India. She talks non-stop. I mean there you are sitting with pain in your tooth and she would inquire about what class her daughter should attend in 10th std (her daughter wud be in 5th std then).I love sleeping:). I used to sleep for 10-12 hours even in the 10th and 12th standards. Thank God, I didn't sleep during the exams. It's not that I have hypersomnia; it's just that I like cuddling up, sleeping, and dreaming. When mom used to wake me up, I used to mumble that I would get up after 5 minutes. If I was too sleepy, I would just point 5 fingers and sleep again:)At times I have told "Sleeping" as one of my hobbies. Whenever I meet someone who lectures me about sleeping too much, I lecture them about sleep debt and so on:)I have no sense of make-up and color. I used to wear very dull and light-colored clothes. I used to wear florescent blue or green nail polish that even my male friends in college would frown upon. Until 3 years back, I thought that mascara is some form of undergarment. Whenever I saw any girl looking good with perfectly matched clothes, make-up, bangles, and accessories, I used to wonder why I couldn't be like that. After I started working, I used to observe a lot of people and gradually improved my dressing sense:)I am a voracious reader. I read books on any subject - fiction, non-fiction, inspirational books, cookbooks, interior decoration books. I read for hours and hours. In India, I used to keep a little light on and read till the wee hours of the morning. My dad used to get up and tell me to sleep and I would tell him that I would sleep in 5 minutes, which used to end up as one hour. I believe that books are man's (in my case woman's) best friends.I am tagging Sandeepa, Swapna, and Mandira. Please participate only if you can.[...]