Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maggya Randayi

Alle Piyyav is a typical South Canara curry which is meant for mild tasting fish like Pomfret, Mandeli or MuDdusha. But when the month of Shravan arrives, my family does not eat any non vegetarian food. Around the same time, Mumbai vegetable markets proudly display Magge/Melon Cucumber. We use the same curry recipe - Alle Piyyav which is a coconut based curry flavored by ginger and onion to make Magge curry. However, it is not called Maggya Aalle Piyyav, instead it goes by the name "Maggya Randayi". Randayi means curry in Konkani.

I spotted a beautiful melon cucumber at our local Indian stores. I chose the smallest one for making this curry. Please note that the following recipe serves 2 -3 people.

Maggya Randayi
Melon Cucumber Curry
1 smallish melon cucumber/Magge - peeled, deseeded, cut into chunks approx 1 cup
salt to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 -2 green chilies, slit
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
A pinch of turmeric powder

Grind to a smooth paste
1/3 cup fresh coconut
2-3 red chilies like byadgi (This is a mild curry)
1/2 tsp tamarind pulp

Few drops of coconut oil

Suggested Accompaniment
Plain rice
Roasted red papad

1. Add melon cucumber chunks, onion, ginger, green chili and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Add turmeric powder. Let it cook on a medium heat.
2. Meanwhile, grind masala finely to a smooth paste.
3. When the melon cucumber is cooked, add masala paste to the saucepan. Add water to adjust the desired consistency.
4. Add salt and bring to boil.
5. As the curry is boiling, drizzle few drops of coconut oil
6. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Switch off the gas and cover.

Note -
1. For an authentic flavor, roast byadgi chilies in a few drops of coconut oil before grinding.
2. Serve maggya randayi with plain rice.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quinoa Dhondus

My friend from South America mentioned to me that they make a cake from Quinoa. Since I showed interest No - actually I pestered and begged - she got her cookbook. However, it was written in Spanish. With her help, I got the recipe. However, it had too many eggs. I wanted to come up with something without using eggs. I decided to make Dhondus using quinoa. My friend's recipe had instructed to use cooked quinoa for making cakes. Please note that this recipe results in a dense cake.

Here's what I did - 

Quinoa Dhondus
1/3 cup mashed bananas, overripe
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup all purpose flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1. Rinse and cook quinoa per package instructions. Set aside to cool down.
2. Mix all the ingredients. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F
4. Grease a loaf pan.
5. Pour the batter and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Invert into a plate. Let it cool down. Cut into slices.

Note -
1. This recipe results in a dense cake.
2. I have used 1 1/4 cup cooked quinoa.
3. You can use a few drops of vanilla extract instead of cardamom powder.
4. The basic recipe of banana dhondus is here. Since I was experimenting, I added quinoa and all purpose flout till it reaches cake batter consistency. You can play around with your measurements.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Curry for Carrie

Chicken Curry with Challah bread

Carrie lives right across our house. We became friends since our kids are classmates. She moved to our neighborhood just last year. She is one of the most gregarious people, I have ever met. Once she gushed that she just loves Indian food. When my American friends claim that they love Indian foods, I give them a questionnaire to gauge where exactly their palette and heat level stand. This helps me decide my menu when I invite them for Indian themed party.

One of my questions is about their comfort level with cilantro and cardamom seeds. You see, these herb and spice are omnipresent in the Indian cuisine - especially in spicy and sweet delicacies respectively. But Carrie seems to be okay with cilantro and cardamom seeds.

After much deliberation, I made this chicken curry for her. I really went with the flow. I thought of grinding the ingredients instead of using chopped onions. I didn't use any whole spices/khada masala. I chose to use "All Spice powder" instead of Garam Masala. When the curry was ready, I didn't like the color, so I added more paprika. The result was very mild flavored chicken curry. I served it with ready made challah bread. Carrie and her kids loved it. Gudiya too loved it. My husband asked me - so what's the name of this curry? Well, I just came up with the name at that moment! - This is "curry for Carrie".

Curry for Carrie
Chicken Curry
2.2 lb or 1 kg organic chicken, boneless and skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp all-spice powder

Grind to a smooth paste
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped
2" ginger, peeled
7 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup cashews, unsalted & raw

You will also need
1 tsp paprika
A generous pinch of garam masala

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar

1 meyer lemon

Suggested accompaniment
Tandoori Naan or Roti
Brown Rice
1. Marinate chicken with salt, turmeric powder, all spice and ground paste.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add sugar. As the sugar caramelizes, add marinated  chicken. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add 1 cup water. Pressure cook till 3 whistles
4. When the pressure drops of it own, check for salt. Adjust if needed more.
5. Add more water to get the desired consistency. Add paprika and garam masala.
6. When the curry boils, lower the gas and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Switch off the gas. Cover and set aside.
8. Just before serving, squeeze lemon juice or cut lemon into wedges and let everyone squeeze in their own serving bowl.

1. All spice powder has mild sweetish flavor. The all spice powder from my pantry includes - cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, licorice root, white pepper.
2. I have not used any green or red chilies in this recipe, since I was cooking for an American family. You can add chilies if you want.

3. I served this curry with challah bread but Naan or tandoori roti will go beautifully as well.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sutarfeni ni Basundi

Gujarati sweets are very creative - sutarfeni basundi, mango basundi, pineapple basundi, dryfruit shrikhand, chic-choc halwa to name just a few! Now who would have thought of dunking sutarfeni into a chilled basundi? But do try it. It's delicious especially on a hot summer day after a yummy, Gujju food. That's what we did when we visited India last time.

Sutarfeni ni Basundi
1 recipe chilled basundi
1 recipe Sutar feni (ready made)

1. Chill basundi in the refrigerator
2. Just before serving, pour basundi in individual serving bowls.
3. Top with a piece of sutarfeni.
4. Serve immediately

Note -
1. I buy sutarfeni from D.Damodar, Dadar TT, Mumbai
2. Do not add charoLi while making basundi for this recipe.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Orange Barfi from Nagpur

Since we travelled to Nagpur through my culinary adventures this week, let's end our trip on a sweet note. What else can I display but Nagpur's famous Orange Barfi? There is no recipe for it since it is readymade straight from Nagpur!!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Policha Kuskara

Policha Kuskra can be translated as chapati crumbles. There are at least two recipes in the Maharashtrian kitchens using chapati crumbles. One is FodNichi poLi and the other is poLicha Laadoo. Today's recipe is more like a way of eating than actual recipe. It got introduced in my family due to my grandparents' brief stay in Nagpur.

It's a simple meal of chapatis - Just make your own crumbles in a plate. Make a well in the middle, pour a ladleful of Nagpuri amti, drizzle little foDNiche tel on top and eat with raw, red onion slices on side.

It may need some acquired taste, but whenever Nagpuri Amti is made at our home, we definitely make it a point to slurp this rustic poLicha kuskara

PoLicha Kuskara
पोळीचा कुस्करा
Chapati crumbles with Daal
Chapatis (preferably a day old)
Nagpuri Amti
foDNiche Tel
Raw onion slices

1. Serve chapatis in each serving plate.
2. Everyone makes their own  crumbles and make a well in the middle.
3. Pour a ladleful of freshly made Nagpuri amti
4. Drizzle foDNiche tel - heat oil in a small saucepan. Add mustard seeds. Pour spoonful on each serving. It should make the characteristic "churrrrrr" sound.
5. Enjoy with green chili pickle and onion slices

Note -
1. This dish may need an acquired taste to enjoy.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nagpuri Amti

When my mom was a toddler, she stayed in Nagpur for 2 years when her parents relocated there. She associates the aroma of this Amti with Nagpur more than the delicious oranges from Nagpur.

Nagpuri Amti
नागपुरी आमटी
Daal from Nagpur
1/2 cup toor daal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida

salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp goda masala

Roast one after the other and then grind to a coarse powder
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp charoLi
2-3 green chilies, cut
Handful of coriander leaves, (leaves and stems)
1/2" ginger, peeled and chopped

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 sprigs curry leaves

1. Pressure cook toor daal adding asafoetida and turmeric powder. Mash and set aside
2. Heat an iron kadhai. Roast the ingredients for roasting one after the other till they are crisp. Powder them coarsely.
3. Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Add the seasonings for tempering. Now add ground powder and goda masala. Fry for 2-3 minutes without letting them burn.
4. Add mashed daal, jaggery, salt, tamarind and water as needed.
5. Bring to a rapid boil. Switch the gas to low and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
6. Serve with plain rice.

Note -
1. You can even sun-dry coriander leaves and stems instead of roasting. They should be completely dry.
2. The masala powder that we made above is called "Baakhar". You can either powder it coarsely or finely based on your own preference.
3 This amti is used to make another simple dish called "Policha Kuskara".
4. You can make your own variations by adding garlic and/or onion in the tempering to get a different flavor.
5. You can substitute pine nuts if you do not have charoLi.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nagpuri vada bhaat

My Grandfather's job took him to Nagpur and my grandparents lived there for about 2 years. This is how some of the Nagpuri recipes became part of my grandmother's repertoire. My grandfather just loved this dish. My grandmother always made it on his birthday every year. This dish was also made on his death anniversary.

In my family, we use the same recipe of daal vadas/chettambade to make "vada" part of the Nagpuri vada bhaat. I found that Khaugiri has a different recipe for this dish. Anjali shares her version here.

Nagpuri Vada Bhaat
नागपुरी वडा भात

Vade -
Use the same recipe of daal vadas/Chettambode. Just make smaller vadas

Rice -
Prepare plain rice

Chinche che Saar -
Make Tamarind broth ready

FoDNiche Tel -
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1. Serve plain rice in a plate.
2. Break few vadas and add on top of rice.
3. Keep a bowl of tamarind saar in a plate.
4. Now make a tempering. Keep this tempering on the serving table. and drizzle directly over individual Nagpuri vada bhaat. It should make "churrrrrrrr" sound.

Note -
1. Make sure that the foDNi is drizzled as soon as it is taken off the stove. If it is stale even by few minutes, it will not make that characteristic sound and the taste will be different.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chincheche Saar - Tamarind Broth

You can serve this delicious saar with plain rice but it really goes wonderfully well with Nagpuri Vada bhaat

Chinche che saar
चिंचेचे सार
Tamarind Broth
1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
2 cups water
1 tbsp jaggery
salt to taste

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/ 2 tsp cumin seeds
1 -2 green chilies, slit
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 red chilies, halved
2 sprigs curry leaves

1 tbsp minced cilantro

1. Dissolve tamarind paste in water. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a deep saucepan.
3 Add all the ingredients for tempering. As the seeds sizzle, add tamarind water, salt and jaggery.
4. Bring to boil. Add more water if needed. Adjust for salt and jaggery.
5. Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Note -
1. This saar goes very well with Nagpuri Vada bhaat.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

KarLyachi Chutney

Today I am featuring a less known grain (?), which is known as kaarLe (कारळे ) in Marathi. Many people think that Kaarle is black sesame seeds. This is neither black sesame seeds nor bittergourd (कारले ). I have shared a picture at the end of the recipe.

This is my mom's recipe for kaarLyachi chutney.

KaarLyachi Chutney
कारळ्याची चटणी
KaarLa seeds powder

1 cup KaarLe
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup puffed chana daal/Pandharpuri Daale

12 - 15 dried red chilies
2 small pieces of dried mango slices (from India or Indian stores)

salt to taste
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp sugar

1. Heat a cast iron kadhai/pan. Roast kaarla, peanuts, puffed chana daal, asafoetida and red chilies one after the other.
2. Take them out and keep separately to cool down. Make sure to peel off peanuts.
3. Roast dry mango slices quickly for a few seconds.
4. After all the ingredients are dried, grind the chutney along with salt, sugar and asafoetida.
5. Make sure to grind to a fine powder. However, take care not to grind for a long time resulting in buttery consistency.

Note -
1. You can increase or decrease the amount of red chilies per your taste.
2. Do not let any ingredient burn while roasting.
3. Do roast them individually, one after the other as roasting time is different for each ingredient.
4. Store in an air tight container. Store in a refrigerator.
5. KaarLe resembles black sesame seeds.
KarLe - कारळे 

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gharge - Pumpkin Puris

Gharge are sweet pumpkin puris. I made these using butternut squash. They tasted good. Traditionally, rice flour is used instead of wheat flour. I have decreased the amount of jaggery since butternut squash is quite sweet. You can increase/decrease the amount of jaggery per your taste.

As I am writing this post, I have accidentally deleted all my pictures of gharge. Luckily there are few gharges left in the fridge. I will update this post tomorrow after taking the pictures! :-(

Sweet Pumpkin Puris
1 piece of butternut squash or pumpkin
1/4 cup grated jaggery

A generous pinch of salt
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup fine rava

Oil for deep frying

1. Pressure cook a piece of butternut squash or pumpkin. Peel and mash. Take care to remove the inside seeds and silky threads before cooking. My piece of butternut squash gave me 1 cup of mashed squash.
2. Add grated jaggery & salt to the mashed squash mixture. Start the gas. Keep on stirring till jaggery melts.
3. When mixture cools down a little and is easy to handle, add wheat flour and rava. Knead well.
4. Make 21 small balls. Heat oil to deep fry in a kadhai
5. Roll into puries. Deep fry till they puff up and are golden. Butternut squash or pumpkin adds a beautiful hue.
6. Drain on a kitchen towel. Serve hot puris with tea

Note -
1. Traditionally rice flour is used instead of wheat flour and gharges are patted on banana leaves before deep frying.
2. You can increase or decrease the amount of jaggery per your taste.
3. Do not add any water for kneading.
4. The above mixture gave me 21 gharges

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe was inspired from the dinner party at my American friend's house last night. Her recipe was completely different, but I decided to stuff my mushrooms with some leftover pavbhaaji.

Stuffed Mushrooms
12 mushrooms

2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp tikka masala powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
salt * (Check tikka masala powder and adjust accordingly)

1/2 cup bhaaji of Paav bhaaji
1/2 cup panco bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated cheese

1. Whisk the marinade.
2. Rinse and clean mushrooms. Remove the stem to make sure that each mushroom has a cavity to stuff.
3. Keep mushrooms in a deep tray in a single layer. Pour marinade over it. Keep aside for at least 30 minutes.
4. Mix bhaaji and panko breadcrumbs. Stuff into each mushroom
5. Preheat oven to 375 F
6. Sprinkle cheese over the stuffed mushrooms.
7. Keep each mushroom in a single layer in a baking tray. Spray little oil using oil spray such as Pam
8. Bake for 15 minutes till the cheese melts.

Note -
1. Food network chefs advise to just wipe mushrooms clean with cotton towel. I prefer rinsing them anyways. You can follow your own preferred method.
2.Check for the salt* in your tikka masala powder. Adjust salt accordingly.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Masoorichi Kuchchi Amti

Mom once prepared this masoor amti on one busy night. We loved it so much that it became a weekly fare. Mom doesn't even add tempering but if you like, please go ahead and temper your curry.

Masoorichi Kuchchi amti
मसुरीची कच्ची आमटी
Masoor Curry
3 cups masoor sprouts
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1" ginger, peeled & smashed keeping one piece in tact
2 green chilies, slit
2 sprigs curry leaves
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tomato chopped
1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced

Add after pressure cooking
1 tbsp goda masala
3 kokums
1 tsp jaggery
salt to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients, add enough water and pressure cook till 2 whistles.
2. Take out of the pressure cooker container and pour in a saucepan.
3. Add salt, jaggery, goda masala, kokums.
4. Bring to boil.
5. Simmer for about 10-11 minutes
6. Serve with plain rice

Note -
1. This recipe doesn't require the usual foDNi/tempering. But if you prefer, you can always add tempered oil.
2. Use homemade or fresh goda masala for better flavor.
3. You can add chopped spinach if you like.
4. This recipe with a little variation also appeared here.


Monday, May 9, 2011


BhanoLu is a cross between handvo and dhokla. You can use green peas or fresh toor/tuver.

Steamed Multi-grain Dumplings
1 cup finely grated cabbage
1/2 cup green peas or fresh tuver
1 cup handvo nu loat
1 tsp ginger-green chili paste
1 tbsp fresh coconut
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/8 tsp owa/ajmo/carrom seeds
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk (preferably sour)
1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp fresh coconut
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon

1. Mix vada nu loat with buttermilk. Add some water if needed to make a thick batter. Cover and set aside for 4 hours.
2. Bring steamer or pressure cooker to boil. Grease cooker container.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients in the batter. Adjust the consistency to resemble idli batter.
4. Pour in the greased conatainer.
5. Steam for 15 minutes.
6. Let it cool down. Cut into squares or diamonds.
7. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add tempering ingredients.
8. Drizzle the tempered oil over bhanoLu
9. Garnish with cilantro, coconut and lemon juice.

Note -
1. Increase or decrease the amount of baking soda based on the degree of fermentation of the batter.

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Friday, May 6, 2011


Some recipes in my home are always referred to as my great grandmother's signature dishes. Vayanganna Bajji is one such recipe. It's baingan bhurta, South Canara way. I absolutely love it.
Eggplant salad
1 eggplant, roasted on coal or gas
1 small red onion
2 green chilies, chopped
salt to taste
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp fresh coconut
1 tbsp coconut oil, smoking hot
1. Grease the eggplant and roast on a gas or charcoal flame.
2. Let it cool. Peel and discard the stem.
3. Mash the eggplant. Mix all remaining ingredients.
4. Heat coconut oil and drizzle over the salad.
5. Mix well.
Note -
1. You can also make a small well inside the salad. Place a peel of onion in the middle of the well. Keep a live charcoal and cover with a lid for few seconds. This gives smokey flavor. Take maximum caution while dealing with the hot charcoal.


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