Monday, April 30, 2012

Boiled Peanuts

My aunt used to serve these boiled peanuts as a breakfast or snack to all the hungry kids.  In this recipe, just raw peanuts are used. I must add that, though full of proteins, nuts have high calories too. These boiled, salty peanuts can get addictive so limit the serving size.

Boiled Peanuts
उकडलेले शेंगदाणे
1 cup raw Indian peanuts
1 tsp salt
2 cups water

1. Soak peanuts in water for at least 4 hours. Drain.
2. Add 2 cups water and salt.
3. Pressure cook for 3 whistles

Note -
1. Use raw, unsalted peanuts - preferably from Indian stores.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hirvya masalyatla Trout - Trout with Green Spices

Traditionally, this recipe requires mackerels - or bangde - as we call in Marathi. Since I do not have any access to mackerels, I used Trout. It seems to work fine with the spices.

Hirvya Masalyatla Trout
Trout in Green Masala
1 rainbow trout - cut into 6-7 pieces or 3 mackerels cut into 2 pieces
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp malvani masala (or to taste)
4-5 kokum, rinsed

Grind to paste
1 bunch cilantro/coriander leaves
3-4 garlic cloves
2" ginger
2-3 green chilies (increase or decrease per desired heat level)

2 tsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped approx = 3/4 cup
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Suggested Accompaniment
Chapati or Rice bhakri or  plain rice or turmeric scented rice

1. Clean and rinse the fish. Marinate with salt, turmeric powder, malvani masala and kokum. Refrigerate till ready to use.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and turmeric powder. Stir fry till onion is golden brown.
3. Add green masala paste. Saute for 5 minutes.
4. Place marinated fish along with kokums. Add 1/4 cup water and salt to taste - salt is already applied to the fish. So adjust accordingly.
5. Let it cook adding more water if necessary. Simmer till most of the water is evaporated.

Note -
1. If you do not have malvani masala, substitute with chili powder and a generous pinch of garam masala.
2. You can also add 1cup coconut milk if you like. In that case, stir it in after adding salt.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dal Vange - Daal with Eggplant

There are many daal recipes in my family where a vegetable is paired with daal and flavors the daal with the unique taste. So though the basic daal recipe is the same, the star vegetable adds the unique flavor.

DaL Vaange
डाळ  वांगे
Toor Daal with Eggplant
3/4 cup toor daal
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Asafoetida

1 medium Italian eggplant or 2 small Indian eggplants, chopped and soaked in water till ready to use
1 tsp Jaggery
1/2 tsp Tamarind pulp or 2 kokums, rinsed
salt to taste

2  tsp oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/8 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
2 sprigs Curry Leaves, torn
1 Tbsp Goda Masala

1 tbsp freshly scraped coconut
1 tbsp minced cilantro/coriander leaves.

1. Chop eggplant into small bite sized pieces. Soak in a bowl of water till ready to use.
2. Pressure cook toor daal adding turmeric powder, asafoetida with about double amount of water. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric power and curry leaves. As they sizzle, add Goda Masala. Saute for 1 minute.
4. Add drained eggplants. Saute for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and let it cook till eggplant is semi-cooked.
5. Mash the daal lightly. Do not use an immersion blender.
6. Once eggplants are semi cooked, add chili powder, tamarind pulp or kokums, jaggery and salt.
7. Now, add daal. Stir well. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil.
8. After daal starts boiling rapidly, switch gas to low. Let it simmer for 10 -12 minutes or till eggplants are cooked completely.
9. Garnish with coconut & cilantro.
10. Serve with plain rice.

Note -
1. Eggplants are not cooked fully in the tempering since they need to be simmered again after daal is added. They should still retain their shape and should not be a complete mush.
2. A good quality Goda Masala is mandatory for making successful DalVange.
3. If you don't have jaggery, you may use sugar. However, jaggery adds a rustic, robust  flavor which goes very well with Goda Masala.
4. There is absolutely no substitute for goda masala.
5. Though Goda Masala and Kala Masala mean the same thing in my family, it's not the same all over Maharashtra. Goda Masala that I am using above does not have any onion and/or garlic. It is never used for any non-vegetarian cooking. Kala Masala also known as kande-lasun masala on the other hand, contains onion & garlic and can be used for non-vegetarian cooking.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Gujarati style green Bataka Vada

Since I am a self-proclaimed connoisseur of batata vada, I have to mention this "green" batata vada. This is a Gujarati version of Batata Vada. Since turmeric is not added, the inside stuffing is green. There is no tempering. This is generally made as a part of accompaniments (Farsaan) with a big meal. These vadas are smaller in size than the usual Mumbai batata vadas. I simply refer to them as "green" batata vadas.

Many moons ago, when I was invited to have lunch with my to-be husband's family, my mom-in-law made these special vadas just for me. It seems she had asked my hubby what's my most favorite food was and so, she had prepared these vadas. Frankly, I was surprised to know that my hubby actually knew what I liked then.  But I guess, we had hogged many vadapavs together so he knew it for sure!

Green Bataka Vada
લીલા બટાકા વડા
4 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled & mashed

Grind to a fine paste
1 cup cilantro/coriander leaves
2-3 green chilies (more or less per taste)
1" ginger, peeled & chopped
3 cloves garlic
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup besan/chickpea flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp green chili-ginger paste (optional)
water as needed
salt to taste

Oil for frying

1. Add green masala paste to the mashed potato. Knead so that the masala is mixed nicely.
2. Make small uniform balls. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying.
4. Whisk besan/chickpea mixture so there are no lumps. Add 1 tsp hot oil to this mixture.
5. Dip each potato ball into the batter and deep fry till it is crispy from all sides.
6. Drain on a kitchen paper towel to remove excess oil.
7. Serve vadas as an accompaniment/farsan with a traditional Gujarati meal.

1. You can add a pinch of baking soda in the batter to get a fluffy besan coating but then the vadas seem to absorb more oil.
2. I use Yukon gold potatoes.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Masoor Daal

This is is a very simple daily daal from my mom's kitchen.

Masoor Daal
1 cup masoor daal, pressure cooked using adequate water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida

salt to taste
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
2 red chilies, halved
1 green chili, slit
1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp minced cilantro

1. Pressure cook masoor daal adding turmeric powder and asafoetida. Mash and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, chilies. As they sizzle, add minced garlic. Saute for 2 minutes till garlic changes color.
3. Add mashed daal, water, salt
4. Bring to boil. Simmer on medium flame for 10 minutes. Add more water if needed.
5. Garnish with cilantro and let it simmer some more.

Note -
1. Serve with plain rice and sajook toop/clarified butter.

Monday, April 23, 2012

MuLyachya Paalyachi Bhaaji (2) - Radish Leaves Stir Fry

Earlier, I had blogged about MuLyachya Paalyachi Bhaaji with wheat flour. Today's version has yellow Moong Daal with radish greens. It just amazes me that the vegetables that I disapproved with a snooty face as a child, just seem to fascinate me as an adult. I now, absolutely devour the simplicity and flavor.

MuLyachya Paalyachi Bhaaji
मुळ्याच्या पाल्याची भाजी
Radish Greens with Yellow Moong Daal
1 bunch radish greens, rinsed, chopped
1 chunk of white radish, peeled & diced
1/4 cup yellow moong daal, soak in water for 2 hours, drain
salt to taste

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1-2 green chilies, slit
1-2 red chilies, halved

1 tbsp fresh coconut

1. Soak yellow moong daal for 2 hours. Drain. Set aside.
2. Rinse and chop radish greens. Peel and dice white radish.

3. Heat oil in a kadai. Add all the ingredients for tempering.
4. As the chilies sizzle, add greens, moong daal and radish pieces. Stir fry. Sprinkle spoonful of water.
5. Cover and let it cook on a low flame. Check from time to time so the greens do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle water if needed.
6. When the radish pieces are cooked, add salt to taste.
7. Add coconut and serve warm with chapaties.

Note -
1. This is the bhaaji made of radish greens. So make sure that the quantity of radish greens is more than that of  radish pieces and moongdaal.
2. Chana daal can also be used instead of moong daal.
3. Daal should not be a mush.
4. Always add salt, after the greens are cooked. After getting cooked, the greens get wilted.
5. Do not add garlic or onion as the distinct flavor of radish and its leaves is to be relished in this bhaaji.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ekshimpi - Dry Clams Curry

Ekshimpi (M is little nasal here!) means one shell of the clams. This recipe is a spicy and dry preparation of clams. Serve it with chapati or bhakri or rice. Enjoy.


30 littleneck clams
1 cup water to cook clams
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3-4 kokums, rinsed
salt to taste

1/2 cup onions, chopped
5 byadgi chilies
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
5-7 black peppercorns

You will also need
1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
1 tsp Malvani Masala (optional)
A pinch of  sugar

1 tbsp oil - preferably coconut oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

1. Boil clams adding water and turmeric powder.
2. As the shells open, switch off the gas. Discard the clams with closed shells. Keep only one shell with clam inside. Discard the empty shell.
3. Roast the spices and grind to a fine paste.
4. Mix the spices with coconut, Malvani Masala - if using, sugar and salt to taste.
5. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add turmeric powder,  onion and saute till it is soft.
6. Add coconut mixture and fry for 10 minutes on low flame. Add rinsed kokums. Saute till all the mixture appears to be cooked.
7. Now add, cooked clams - only one shell. Sprinkle some water if needed.
8. Cover and let it cook for some time till masala is mixed well with clams.
9. Serve with rice bhakri.

Note -
1. This dish should be of semi-dry consistency.
2. If you like, you can roast the coconut and grind it along with other spices.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lal Maathachi Bhaji

Laal Maath or red amaranth is one of my favorite leafy greens. Sometimes, it's available in the farmers markets here. When I go to Mumbai, mom always makes it for me. Mom always adds potato to this bhaaji and as a child, I used to get excited to see those potatoes turning pinkish red after getting cooked with maath.
Laal MaaThachi Bhaaji
लाल माठाची भाजी
Red Amaranth Stir Fry
1 bunch of red amaranth/laal maath, cleaned, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
2 tsp oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 green chilies, slit
1 tbsp freshly scraped coconut
1. Heat oil in a kadhai or wok. Add the tempering ingredients. Saute till the onion is soft.
2. Add potatoes. Sprinkle some water. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add shredded greens. Cover and keep water on the lid. Let it cook on a low flame.
4. Once cooked, add salt, sugar and coconut
1. Swiss chard can be substituted for red amaranth
2. If fresh, you can use the stems of this leafy greens. Chop it before adding with the greens.
3. Always add the salt after the greens are cooked.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Patrodya Upkari

Frankly, leftovers of patrode is something very unusual at my home. I mean how can there be any leftovers to begin with?:-D But I like this simple upkari. So I keep aside 2 logs when I make patrode. It is as delicious as pathrode itself.

Patrodya Upkari
2 cups leftover patrodao, chopped
salt to taste
1/4 cup water

2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafeotida
2-3 red chilies, torn

2 tbsp fresh coconut (optional)

1. Heat oil in a saucepan.
2. Add the tempering ingredients
3. As they splutter, add chopped patroda. Saute for 2 minutes.
4. Sprinkle some salt - remember patroda already has salt -  and water.
5. Cover and let it cook for 5-7 minute.
6. Let the water evaporate.
7. Garnish with coconut - if using.
8. Serve as a side dish with the main meal of plain rice and DaaLi Tauy.

Note -
1. Please do not substitute paatra or aluvadi for this recipe as patroda though made from colcasia/taro leaves is a different preparation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kalingad PoLe - Watermelon Dosa

Though only white rinds of watermelon  are used in this recipe, it does give a pale pink hue to the batter. This is one of those "Trash to treasure" recipe.

Kalingad PoLe
3/4 cups watermelon rinds/white parts
1 cup rice
salt to taste

oil for frying

1. Wash rice and soak in water for at least 2-3 hours.
2. Drain. Grind with watermelon rinds/whites
3. Add salt. Cover and let it ferment overnight.
4. Heat nonstick or cast iron pan next morning. Add a ladleful of batter. Drizzle oil as needed.
5. Cover and let it cook. Flip on the other side.
6. Serve with chutney of your choice.

1. You can add some grated jaggery to taste.
2. You can also add some chopped green chilies to the batter for an extra kick.
3. Since watermelon has lots of water, you may not require any water to grind with rice. Do not add water to the batter.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Viva Goa, San Francisco

I truly believe (or believed, I should say) that the Indian restaurants in the United States do not make full justice to the Indian food.  Most of the restaurants serve just Americanized version of North or South Indian staples. India is blessed with 28 diverse states where each state has its own identity in language, culture and food. I always get fascinated how a home cook from each state can produce a totally different recipe using the same ingredients. But in spite of all this food diversity, Indian food is summarized as Samosa, Naan & Chicken Tikka Masala.

So it was a pleasant surprise to spot "Viva Goa" in San Francisco. I was dying to try it out. I came to know that their daily buffet is the usual Indian buffet however the Goan specialities are served for the dinner. We couldn't wait to try it out.

Our server was a very pleasant person. They opened up this restaurant 2 years back. I was so happy to see the typical Goan specialities like Xacuti, Ambotik,  Caffreal, Vindaloo, Sorpotel, Pomfret rechardo, Goenchi Sungatn. and for dessert, they even had Bebinca. Each "Goan" item was marked with a coconut tree next to it.

Our group ordered Goenchi Sungatn, Xacuti, Butter Chicken (of course, ABCDs needed it!!), and Goan Chicken. The the food was excellent. I was happy to see how they tried to present the "Goan" delicacies. I welcome this change. Good job, Viva Goa!

Goenchi Sungatn (Frankly this word is difficult to write in English as there are some nasal tones involved while saying it) was a fantastic starter with onion, garlic with spices. It had a touch of sweetness too.Xacuti (say Shakuti) was delicious. It was prepared using their authentic coconut based masala. Goan Chicken too had coconut based spices however it tasted totally different than Xacuti. Butter Chicken was really splendid. Over all, I gave this dinner "5 stars". It was a wonderful experience.

As AAA books says, Goa is to Indians what Hawaii is to Americans. With its pristine beaches, coconut trees and abundance of fresh seafood, Goa is a favorite tourist destination for many. Goan food can be distinctly categorized as Goan Hindu and Goan Christian with Portuguese influence. Viva Goa represents Goan food with the Portuguese influence. I love Goa and I loved "Viva Goa".

Viva Goa
2420 Lombard St
San Francisco, CA 94123

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Singapore Noodles

I first had Singapore noodles at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. I loved the thin rice noodles but they had chicken, prawns and eggs in it. Though I eat them all, I not necessarily like them all in one dish. So I have modified the recipe and tried to add more veggies. After many tries, this is the Vegetarian/Vegan version I liked the most.

Singapore Noodles
1/2 packet Mai Fun Brown Rice Noodles (Annie Chun Brand)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper -  as required
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (Marukan Organic)
Few splashes of Soy Sauce (Preferably reduced sodium)
Few drops of Sriracha hot sauce (Optional)

1/2 of small cabbage, shredded
1 small can of water chestnuts, drained,rinsed, roughly chopped
1 small can of bamboo shoots, drained, rinsed
1 green bell pepper, seeded, cut into chunks
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
3/4 cup frozen french cut green beans
1/2 cup frozen leafy greens (Whole Foods brand mixture of Mustard, Turnip & Collard Greens)
1 carrot, peeled & cut into matchsticks

1/2 tbsp oil

Suggested Accompaniments
Green Chilies in Vinegar

1. Per package instructions, soak 1/2 packet of brown rice noodles in a hot water bowl. Let them soak till the are ready to use.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Add cabbage. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Add bell pepper chunks. Saute for 1 minute.
4. Add carrots. Stir fry for 1 minute.
5. Add each frozen veggie - one veggie at a time e.g. green beans, stir fry till icicles are thawed, then add leafy greens and so on.
6. Now add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.
7. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir fry.
8. Add drained noodles. Mix.
9. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha sauce - if using.
10. Stir fry till it is nicely mixed.
11. Switch off and serve immediately.

Note -
1. I have given all the brand names not to advertise them but for my own future reference.
2. You can use any veggies of your choice. My rule of thumb is if you can eat those veggies raw or half-cooked, those veggies can be used. Apart from the vegetables mentioned above, some suitable candidates are baby corn, green peas, yellow corn, mushrooms, tricolored bell peppers, onions, leeks, green onions, savoy cabbage etc.
3.I have used brown rice noodles to include fiber.
4. I generally add more veggies to noodles proportion.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Green Chilies in Vinegar

This is one of the most common condiments in the Indo-Chinese restaurants.

Green Chilies in Vinegar
4-5 Jalapenos or small green chilies of your choice, chopped into circles
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water

1. Mix water and vinegar in a saucepan. Switch on the gas.
2. Add green chilies.
3. Bring to boil. You will notice that the chilies have changed their color from deep green to pale yellowish green. Switch off the gas.
4. Let it cool down completely.
5. Store in a ceramic bowl with a lid.

Note -
1. Use green and/or red fresh cayenne peppers for more heat.

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Bhendichi Bhaaji

Since I love "bhendi", don't be surprised to discover many renditions of this humble veggie on this blog.

Bhendichi Bhaaji (2)
भेंडीची भाजी
2 cups okra/ladies finger/bhendi/bhindi/bhinda, ends removed & slit

3-4 kokums, rinsed

Grind to a coarse paste

1/4 cup fresh coconut, roasted

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp malvani masala

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp grated jaggery



2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp asafoetida


1. heat oil in a nonstick wok. Add tempering ingredients.

2. As they sizzle, add cut and slit okra. Stir fry for about 15 minutes till okra is crisp.

3. Now add coarsely ground paste, 2 tbsp water and kokums.

4. Cover and let it cook till okra is completely cooked.

Note -
1. You can stuff the okra with the ground paste.
2. I use less coconut than the original recipe.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Methi-Mag na Pooda

I have posted Mag na pooda and Methi bhaaji na pooda but today's pooda is a combination of both. Yellow Moong daal is soaked, drained, ground and then methi or fenugreek leaves are added to the batter. If you can't find methi, you can use spinach. However, methi does give a distinct flavor. The recipe is similar to the one blogged before, but I am rewriting it here for a quick reference.

Methi-Mag na pooda (Makes 6 poodas)
મેથી મગ ના પૂડા
Moong Daal and Fenugreek leaves Pancakes
1/2 cup moogdal
1/2" ginger
1 green chili, chopped
1/4 tsp Asfoetida,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 cup fresh methi/fenugreek leaves, chopped
1. Soak moogdal overnight using enough water to immerse the daal.
2. Drain the daal and grind along with ginger, chili, hing, turmeric powder and salt. Add water as needed to make a pancake like batter.
3. Add chopped methi leaves to the batter.
5. Adjust the seasoning/salt.
6. Heat a nonstick pan or griddle. Grease it lightly and spread a thin pancake. Drizzle oil as needed to cook on both sides.
7. Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.
Note -
If you want soft pancakes, stack them on each other. If you want crunchier, then make them more brown and keep them side by side.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Prawns Manchurian

I do not know if people from Manchuria region eat this stuff? Is it really authentic? But I do know that people from India, love this Indo-Chinese classic. When my aunt first created this recipe at home, I remember it eating with chapatis!!;-D

This is my take -

Prawns Manchurian
1 lb prawns/shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp Chinese All Spice Powder
few drops of soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp paprika or mild chili powder
1/4 cup cilantro chopped

Whisk together
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp corn starch
salt to taste (remember you have added salt to shrimp already)

1 tbsp green onion/scallion, chopped

1. Heat oil in a wok.
2. Add ginger and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes
3. Add cilantro, paprika. Saute for 30 seconds.
4. Add marinated shrimp/prawns.
5. Fry for few minutes till shrimp are cooked.
6. Add corn starch mixture.
7. Stir till it thickens a little.
8. Garnish with scallion.
9. Serve with fried rice or steamed white rice.

1. Mince ginger and garlic very finely.
2. Though, turmeric powder is not really needed, I use it to add some antioxidant boost to all my culinary creations.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Kultha Saar Upkari

Saar Upkari is a Konkani beans soup. It is broth like and tastes delicious especially during winter. We make Saar Upkaris of Masoor/brown lentils and chana/brown chickpeas for which tempering is curry leaves. But for kulith/horse gram and alsande/black eyed peas, garlic tempering is preferred.

KuLtha Saar Upkari
Horse Gram Broth
1 cup dry KuLith/Horse Gram, soaked and sprouted, cooked
4 cups water
salt to taste

Grind to a coarse paste
5-7 byadgi chilies
2 tbsp coconut
2 tbsp cooked sprouts
1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp coconut oil
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed leaving each garlic clove whole

1. Follow procedure to sprout KuLith.
2. Pressure cook adding sufficient water.
3. Grind coconut paste with remaining ingredients and 2 tbsp cooked kuLith.
4. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
5. Add garlic cloves. As they turn brown, add cooked sprouts along with cooking liquid, and masala paste.
6. Add 3-4 cups water and salt.
7. Bring to boil. Let it simmer on a low flame for at least 10-15 minutes. Add more water if needed to have a broth like consistency.

Note -
1. You can proceed without sprouting the beans as well. Just use soaked beans. However, I generally like to sprout the beans.
2. Coconut oil is the preferred cooking oil for Konkani cuisine as it enhances the flavor. You can use any other oil of your preference. However, it won't taste the same.
3. For this recipe, I used 1 cup dry horse gram. After sprouting, the quantity almost triples.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Bread

As spring arrives, Gudiya eagerly awaits Easter. We have Easter Egg hunt in our neighborhood. Gudiya loves to go hunting for Easter eggs with her friends. The colorful, plastic Easter eggs are scattered around the Easter Egg patch. Kids run amok to grab as many eggs as they can. These plastic eggs are then cracked open (they have a hinge) and there are candies inside. Generally, an Easter bunny makes an appearance for a photo opportunity.

As soon as Gudiya comes home, she carefully counts her loot and I the -self appointed sugar police, keep the candies away, promising her that I would give her once a week or so, while jabbering how sugar is bad for health. I sometimes feel bad for it but if I don't control it, there are so many ways that excess sugar can enter my child's body, that I don't mind being the bad cop.

Gudiya wanted to bake an Easter Cake. But I didn't want anything with too much sugar or butter. So we zeroed on Easter Bread instead. I found a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine that describes it as - "Russian immigrants gloried in Easter babkas - enriched yeast breads studded with dried fruits and nuts. For a more traditional babka, omit the amaretto and use dried sour cherries and candied cherries in place of cranberries and raisins."

Easter Bread - Babka
1 cup tutti fruti

1 cup evaporated fat-free milk
1 (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup evaporated fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract

  1.  Heat milk over medium-high heat in a small, heavy saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water, and let stand 5 minutes. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar, eggs, and egg yolks in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until thick and pale (about 2 minutes). Add milk mixture, yeast mixture, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tsp grated lemon zest and salt; beat until well blended.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 5 1/2 cups flour to egg mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
  4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  5. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Knead tutti frutti, and almonds into dough. With floured hands, pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Form a 2-inch hole in center of dough; place dough in prepared pan, allowing center of Bundt pan to emerge through hole in dough. Gently press the dough into pan. Lightly coat top of dough with cooking spray; cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack.
  8. To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring with a whisk. Remove babka from pan, and place on a serving platter. Drizzle with icing; cool completely.

Note -
1. I used tutti frutti instead of raisins and cranberries
2. I used vanilla extract and lemon zest for a fresh flavor. I didn't have almond extract as the original recipe below suggests.

Judith Fertig,

Easter Bunny's visit

Happy Easter!
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kolhapuri Bakarvadi

For me, Bakarvadi equals Chitale Bandhu, Pune. Period. So I was intrigued when I was introduced to this Bakarvadi from Kolhapur. This Bakarvadi was totally different from its Puneri version. Kolhapuri Bakarvadi not only has a different shape but it has a distinct garlic taste.

Now, which one is better? I am not telling ya. Go and get your own taste buds tickled and decide for yourself! :-D

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spinach Appe

Since Appe take lot less oil than vadas, I make them quite regularly at home. Once I had the appe batter &  a bunch of spinach in the refrigerator, so I decided just to combine them both and thus Spinach Appe were created! :-D

Spinach Appe
पालकाचे आप्पे
1 cup urad daal
1/4 cup chana daal
1/4 cup green peas daal
1/2 cup brown rice

Grind the drained mixture with
2 cups boiled spinach

Oil for cooking

1. Soak daals and rice for 6 - 8 hours. Drain
2. Boil spinach with water. Drain.
3. Grind drained rice and daal with spinach and salt.
4. Cover and keep aside for 4-5 hours.
5. Adjust for salt. If it has not fermented, add a generous pinch of baking soda.
6. Heat "Appe Paatra" or Appe pan. Add oil.
7. Drop a spoonful of batter. Cover and let it cook.
8. Flip and cook on the other side without covering. Use oil as needed.
9. Serve with chutney of your choice.

Note -
1. Some people add baking soda while spinach is getting boiled to retain its green color. I don't do it.
2. You can make these appe spicier by adding finely chopped onions and green chilies in the fermented batter, just before frying.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pyaz Kachumbar

Our local Indian restaurant serves this simple condiment. I tried to make it at home.

Pyaz Kachumbar
1 red onion, peeled, thinly sliced in semicircles or circles or diced
1/2 tsp paprika
1 lemon, squeezed
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Cover and keep aside for at least 1 hour before serving.

1. Sometimes I cut the onions in circles or just dice them and proceed with the above procedure.
2. This salad tastes good as an accompaniment with chicken curries.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

KeLfoolachi Bhaaji

With an exception of mango, I generally dislike tropical fruits when they are ripe. However, the same tropical fruit, when raw and cooked using Konkani spices, are an absolute delicacy. One such delicacy is banana blossom or keLfool as we call it in Marathi. I remember my grandmothers cleaning banana blossoms greasing their hands with coconut oil and taking off a black thread. I have seen the actual kelfool in our local Indian stores too, but although I always had a desire to make this bhaaji,  I don't have the necessary expertise to cut the banana blossom. So I was overjoyed to spot a can of banana blossoms at our local Chinese stores.

KeLfoolachi Bhaaji
केळफुलाची भाजी
Banana Blossom Stir Fry
1 can banana blossoms, rinsed, chopped
1 cup boiled kale vatane
1 tbsp jaggery
salt to taste
1 tbsp Vengurla Masala

2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
2 shallots, chopped or 1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp freshly scraped coconut
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder. As they sizzle, add smashed garlic.
2. As the garlic changes color, add shallots or onion. saute till onion is soft.
3. Now add vengurla masala. Saute for 1 minute.
4. Add chopped banana blossom, boiled kale vatane, salt, jaggery.
5. Cover and let it cook for at least 10 minutes.
6. Mix coconut and black pepper. Add it to the bhaaji.
7. Switch the gas off. Cover and let it stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Note -
1. Traditionally more coconut is used.
2. I got Banana blossoms in a can at our local Chinese Market.
3. Vengurla Masala is a special spice blend from the coastal town of Vengurla, Maharashtra. Since my friend shared this masala with me, I do  not have the recipe. You can substitute Malvani Masala or A combo of Red chili powder and garam Masala.

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