Sunday, July 31, 2011

Masoor Loat na Dhokla

The best thing about shopping groceries in Mumbai is that you can buy things in small quantities unlike Indian grocery stores in US where you are stuck with the huge packets. I saw masoor daal flour in Mumbai so I bought it thinking I may make dhokla. Since the packet was available in 1/4 kg quantity, it was easy to use.

I followed the same recipe as Nylon Khaman Dhokla.

Masoor Loat na Dhokla
Steamed Dumpling with lentil flour
1 cup masoor  flour

1/2 cup sour yogurt
1 tbsp ginger-green chilies -garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp sugar

Just before steaming
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp eno fruit salt or baking soda
1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp water or thin buttermilk
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
2-3 green chilies, chopped finely (optional)


2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh coconut, scraped (optional)


1. Mix besan with sour yogurt till no lumps are formed. It will have a consistency of sour cream or shrikhand.
2. Add turmeric powder, asafoetida and ginger-garlic-green chilie paste. Mix.
3. Cover and keep aside in a warm place to ferment for 7-8 hours.
4. Set steamer ready. Grease deep dishes or cooker container generously
5. Add salt and sugar to the fermented mixture.
6. Mix oil, eno fruit salt or baking soda and lemon juice.
7. Add to the fermented mixture.
8. Pour the fermented mixture to the greased container. Cover.
9. Steam on a full flame for 10 minutes. Switch the gas to medium and steam for another 15 -20 minutes.
10. Take the dhokla container out. Remove the lid. Let it cool down completely.
11. Cut into squares, diamonds or rectangles.
12. Garnish with cilantro and coconut if using.
13. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, chilies and sesame seeds. As they start to sizzle, switch off the gas. Pour the thin buttemilk or water.
14. Drizzle the tempered buttermilk over the dhokla.
15. Serve with sweet tamarind chutney or green chutney of your choice.

Note -
1. If using Eno Fruit salt, use "plain". They have flavors like orange, lemon etc.
2. Eno Fruit salt is available at the Indian stores. Check the expiration date.
3. If you need to divide the batter in two batches, you need to divide the eno/baking soda mixture in two batches as well. Add to each batch right before steaming.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kolumbi DaLimbi Bhaat - Prawns & Sprouts rice

Today is Gatari Amavasya or the "new moon" day in the Hindu month of Ashadh. That means, Shravan starts tomorrow. Gatari amavasya has a special significance in Maharashtrian homes - especially non-vegetarian homes. This is the last day of enjoying non-vegetarian food. For the entire month of Shravan, seafood, meat, eggs are abstained. So this is the day to eat, drink and make merry. Families and friends gather together to have a potluck of non-vegetarian specialities from Biryanis to curries, fried fish to rassa. Not all people "observe" Shravan (i.e turn totally vegetarians) but nobody stops them from not enjoying Gatari.

Kolumbi DaLimbi Bhaat
कोलंबी डाळीम्बी  भात
Rice with prawns and field beans sprouts
1 cup shrimp, deveined, cleaned, rinsed
1 cup rice, rinsed

Marinate shrimp with
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Malvani Masala
salt to taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Grind to paste
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves
1/2" ginger
3 -4 garlic cloves
2-3 green chilies

1 tbsp oil
2-3 cloves
1 bayleaf
1/2 tsp shah jire
5-7 black peppercorn
1 piece cinnamon, halved
1/4 cup onions, chopped

1 tbsp freshly scraped coconut
2 tbsp coriander leaves

Suggested Accompaniment
Lemon wedges
Salad with yogurt

1. Marinate shrimp. Rinse Rice and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed or non-stick kadhai/saucepan.
3. Add all the "whole" spices. As they splutter, add onion. Saute till soft.
4. Add green paste and fry for 5 minutes.
5. Now add marinated shrimp. Saute for 1 minute. Add Rice. Saute again for 1 minute. Add sprouts. Saute taking care not to break the sprouts.
6. Add 3 cups water, salt. Bring to boil.
7. Switch gas to low. Cover and let it cook for about 11-12 minutes.
8. Open, fluff the rice with a fork. If it is cooked, switch off the gas and cover completely. It will be done by trapping the steam.
9. Just before serving, garnish with cilantro and coconut.

Note -
1. Use good quality, old basmati rice for this recipe.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Rus GoLichi Amti - Malvani Fish Curry

Rus - GoLi simply means coconut milk and ground masala. This is one of the best seafood curries from Maharashtrian GSB homes. For this curry, you need two types of coconut milk - thick and thin. The masala paste has to be ground extremely finely - preferably on the stone paata/varvanta. Fish has to be fresh. You need at least one whole coconut for making this curry for 1 medium pomfret. You see, those were the days when home cooks used to make coconut milk at home. I use lots of short cuts. This curry tastes delicious with plain rice.
Rus GoLichi Amti
रस गोळीची आमटी
Malvani Fish Curry
1 medium pomfret, rinsed, cleaned, cut
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
salt to taste
Roast separately on iron tawa/pan
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds
7 -9 black peppercorns
7 byadgi chilies
1/4 cup chopped onion
Grind above roasted spices with
1 cup fresh coconut
1/2 tsp. tamarind paste
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
You will also need,
1 cup thick coconut milk
1/2 cup thin coconut milk
salt to taste
Suggested Accompaniment
Plain Rice
Lemon wedges
1. Marinate cleaned pomfret pieces with salt and turmeric. Set aside - preferably in the fridge - till ready to use.
2. Heat iron tawa/pan. Roast spices and onion, adding spoonful of oil one after the other.
3. Grind the roasted spices and onion with coconut and tamarind paste. Add water as needed. The ground paste should be extremely fine.
4. Heat oil in a wide saucepan, called lagdi - in Marathi. Add onion and sauté till onion is soft.
5. Carefully place the fish pieces in a single layer. Add ground masala on top and add water and thin coconut milk. Stir only once or twice so the curry has the desired consistency. Add salt - though the salt is added to fish, some more is required for curry.
6. As the curry comes to a rapid boil, switch the gas to low. Add thick coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes. Switch the gas off. Cover.
7. Serve with plain rice.
Note -
1. The masala has to be ground very finely.
2. Do not make this curry too thin or too thick.
3.You can marinate the fish with finely ground masala paste, before adding to the saucepan.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pandan Custard

JT is my Malaysian friend who has roots in China. Her ancestors migrated to Malaysia from China. She is also a foodie. She has shared many of her Malaysian recipes with me. When she excitedly told me that she found "Pandan" leaves in our china town, I was intrigued. I told her to describe the leaves. When she described the color and type, I thought it must be something similar to Kewda. But I had to google it to confirm that it belongs to the same family.

Kewda (Kewda in Marathi, Ketaki in Gujarati) reminded me of Ganapati days in Mumbai. It is available in the flower markets and we used to offer it to Lord Ganesha. To the best of my knowledge, I have not eaten kewda but have seen kewda essence being used in Biryanis/desserts and kewda attar/perfume is also quite famous.

When I went to the Chinatown next time, I spotted Pandan Custard mix. It was an instant custard sachet and all I had to do was to add boiling water. It already had coconut milk powder in it. So that's what I tried. There is no recipe since all you have to do was to follow the instructions on the packet. It had a little overwhelming flavor for our palettes.

Since I do not have a recipe to share, I will give you a link which you can follow if you want to try this Pandan Custard.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Subjache Doodh

After coming to the United States, I came to know that "Subja che bee" (subja seeds) goes by the name "Takmaria" in the Indian stores. We used to call it subja or Tulshi che bee/basil seeds. As soon as you soak these seeds in water, they soak it up and become gelatinous. They are one of the ingredients in Falooda. They are also known to have medicinal properties. So my aunt used to soak up some subja seeds and would make subjache doodh for the cooling effect during the sweltering heat.

Subja che Doodh
सब्जाचे दूध
Milk with basil seeds
2 cups milk
2 tsp Rooh Afza or Dabur rose syrup (more or less per taste)
1 tsp takmaria/subja seeds/tulsi seeds/falooda seeds

1. Soak the seeds in water for at least 1 hour.
2. Mix rose syrup with milk. Add drained seeds.
3. Stir and serve.

Note -
1. Use those seeds which are meant to be eaten and not the ones used for gardening.
2. Takmaria is generally available at Indian stores.
3. Full fat milk gives better flavor/taste
4. Add more or less rose syrup based on individual preference.

Basil seeds - When soaked in water, the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such as falooda or sherbet. They are used for their medicinal properties in Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of India and Siddha medicine, a traditional Tamil system of medicine. They are also used as drinks in Southeast Asia.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Amrut Kokum

We have a major heat wave here and pretty much every day, we have a heat advisory. I longed for "Amrut Kokum" - a simple drink that is available in Mumbai. Just add water and drink the nectar! My aunt used to make it from fresh kokum fruit, known as Ratambe. I used to get mesmerized by that beautiful color.

I decided to tweak my Paachak recipe and make Amrut Kokum. Since it has no preservatives, refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

Amrut Kokum
अमृत कोकम
Kokum Juice

Soak for 4 - 6 hours
1 cup dry kokums - good quality
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water

Grind with
3/4 tsp roasted cumin powder

1 cup water
2 cups sugar (more or less per taste)

1. Mix kokum with salt. Soak in 1 cup water for 4 - 6 hours.
2. Grind the mixture to get pulp.
3. Pass through a sieve. Add 1/4 cup or so water to get exactly 1 cup strained kokum juice.
4. Boil 1 cup plain water with 2 cups sugar.
5. As sugar-water comes to boil, switch off the gas. Do not cover. Let it cool down completely.
6. If there is scum, strain sugar water after cooling down.
7. Add strained kokum mixture. Stir well.
8. Pour in a dry bottle & refrigerate.
9. To serve, add 1/4th kokum juice and 3/4th water. Serve chilled.

Note -
1. Use good quality kokums to get good results. As you soak the dry kokums, they should impart vibrant color.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

UkaLa - Milky Tea from Mumbai

I tasted this absolutely divine tea with my mom and mom-in-law. This is a special, milky tea which is made in the brass container and boiled for a long time. I wonder if that's why it is called ukala? Ukalane means boiling in Marathi. Well, I am not sure about the roots and origin of the word. I felt like having this tea in my American kitchen so this is what I did -

UkaLa - Makes 2 cups
Evaporated Milk Tea
1 cup water
1 cup evaporated milk (from can)
2 - 4 tsp sugar (or per taste)
1 tsp strong tea or 2 tsp light tea

1. Bring water and milk to boil. Add sugar
2. As the milk mixture comes to boil, add tea powder.
3. Switch gas to low. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Switch off the gas. Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes.
5. Pass through a sieve/strainer.
6. Serve immediately.

Note -
1. You can add a pinch of chai masala or cardamom powder if you like.
2. When milk mixture is getting heated, pay attention as it may quickly boil over.
3. For best results, use full fat evaporated milk
4. I use Wagh-Bakri brand tea powder.
5. For a milkier version (or milkiest?), do not use water at all. Use 2 cups evaporated milk instead.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Indian Omelet

Nothing comes handy like a quick Omelet when you return home after a long trip. You can serve it with a plain bread or toasted bread. I have also eaten omelet with chapati at my friends' house. That tasted wonderful too. and then I also had eaten, omelet served with buttermilk and rice at other friend's house. I was a school girl then. I just had omelet without touching buttermilk and rice. I remember her grandmother was quite annoyed as I didn't eat buttermilk and rice.

Here's how I make it -

Indian  Omelet
4 eggs
splash of milk
1 small onion, chopped finely
2-3 green chilies, minced (more or less as required)
1 tbsp minced cilantro
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder

oil for frying

1. Mix onion, green chilies, salt, cilantro, pepper powder and turmeric powder in a mixing bowl.
2. Rinse eggs and break into the mixing bowls.
3. Add spoonful of milk and whisk the batter.
4. Heat a tawa or griddle or pan.
5. Pour a ladleful of batter. Drizzle some oil. Cover and let it cook.
6. Check after a minute or so. If it appears cooked, flip and cook on the other side, adding oil if needed.
7. Serve with bread or toasted bread and tomato ketchup

1. You can make 4 small or 2 medium omelets with 4 eggs. I prefer very thin omelet but many people prefer fluffier version. You can decide per your taste.
2. When you mix onion with salt and other ingredients before adding eggs, you can taste and see if salt is enough. Do not taste batter containing raw eggs
3. Sometimes, I follow the same recipe to make egg whites omelet by using just egg whites.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

VaaLutalya Methichi Bhaaji

VaaLutli Methi is one of my favorite leafy greens. It is fenugreek but grown in sand as the name says. "VaaLu" means sand in Marathi. It also goes by name "Samudra Methi". My parents recently visited Konkan, Maharashtra and they saw that this kind of fenugreek was harvested around the beaches. I would love to experiment growing these greens when I go back to US. Let's see!

Mom makes a simple stir fry adding onion, green chilies and coconut. Not adding too many spices, retains the original flavor of this vegetable.

VaaLutalya Methichi Bhaaji
वाळूतल्या मेथीची भाजी
Fenugreek Leaves Stir Fry
Bunches of VaaLutli Methi or samudra methi (as your vegetable vendor gives you)
salt to taste

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup chopped onion
2-3 green chilies, slit

2 tbsp freshly scraped coconut

1. Cut the roots from the bands attached to each bunch of methi.
2. Wash the greens thoroughly as it tends to have lots of sandy soil. Rinse in several changes of water.
3. Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the tempering ingredients.
4. As the onion gets soft, add chopped fenugreek leaves.
5. Sprinkle some water. Cover with a lid. Pour some water on top of the lid.
6. Let it cook on medium heat.
7. Add salt after the greens are cooked.
8. Garnish with fresh coconut.

Note -
1. Soak greens after cutting from the roots. There will be sand at the bottom. Drain and repeat the procedure till all the sand is gone.

VaaLutli Methi or Samudra Methi

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kooka Upkari

Mom made kooka upkari today. It's a simple stir fry - South Canara style,using a root vegetable that goes by a quaint name - kook. They are seasonal and are available at Mangalore stores in Mumbai. So when my mom spotted those beauties, she bought them as she knew that I hadn't had them in a long time.

These root vegetables are full of soil. So mom generally rubs them on a jute bag to get rid of the soil. She then peels them with vegetable peeler, cut them into small slices and immerse them in water. The recipe is similar to batatya talasani. Don't forget to make it in the coconut oil if you want that authentic Konkani flavor. Serve with plain rice, DaaLi tauy and nonche. I am home!

Kooka Upkari
Root Vegetables Stir Fry
1/4 kg kook - Mangalore root vegetables
salt to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2-3 byadgi chilies, halved
few curry leaves (optional)

1 tbsp fresh coconut

Suggested accompaniment
Plain Rice

1. Rub the veggies on a used jute bag to get rid of all the dirt.

2. Peel, cut into small, vertical slices. Keep them in water till ready to use.
3. Heat and iron kadhai or bogaLe (Konkani stir frying utensil). Add the ingredients for tempering.
4. As they sizzle, drain water completely from the potatoes by squeezing the slices - handful at a time.
5. Stir Fry till veggies are cooked.
6. Add salt to taste.
7. Garnish with coconut.

Note -
1. Any other oil of your choice can be used. But coconut oil definitely imparts the most authentic flavor.

We get kookas from
Mahima Mangalore Store,
45, Hill Rd, Bandra(W) Mumbai 400050
(Diagonally opposite Elco)

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prakash's vadas

I have been going back to Mumbai fairly regularly in the past ten years. Every time, I have a different list of things to do. But one thing remained constant  and yet, always got skipped. It was watching a Marathi Naatak - drama! There are many wonderful drama theatres in Mumbai from Yashwant rao ChavanPratishthan in South Mumbai, Ravindra Natya Mandir in Prabhadevi, Shivaji Mandir in Dadar, Rangsharda in Bandra and Dinanath Mangeshkar Natyagruha in Vileparle. I have seen wonderful plays from my childhood like Achat gavchi afat mavshi, Durga zaali Gauri, Moruchi Mavshi, Tarun Turka mhatare arka, Aai retire hote, Va.Pu's katha kathan, Pu.La's Kavyavachan and many more.

So this year, when I told my parents that I definitely looked forward to watching a Marathi drama, they booked the tickets immediately. I got an opportunity to watch "Saare Pravasi Ghadiche" at Shivaji Mandir. It was a wonderful play by Shafaut Khan based on Jayavant Dalvi's novel. It's a story about  - Apu who is away from his - village. He is now settled in Mumbai and when he visits back to his roots, he remembers the events and happenings of his chidhood. I guess, in a way, I was doing the same - except I am now settled in United States and my roots are in Mumbai.

Well, I have watched many plays in Shivaji Mandir, but one thing never changed and that was eating batata vada in the interval. However, when we watched this play, the timing was such that I was full. I didn't even have an iota of space to gulp down my favorite batata vada. and the theatre (rightfully) does not allow to take food back in the auditorium. So I actually skipped the vada!! Even I can't believe it.

After the play, we decided to go to my another favorite place- Prakash to have a cup of tea. I got vadas packed for eating later at home. I also got some dudhi vadis and gajar vadis. (bottle gourd and carrot sweets). Life's good. :-D


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