Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kalya Vatanyache Aambat

Initially, My maternal grandmother was not familiar with "Black Peas" or Kala vatana which is celebrated in Malvani cuisine. But due to many intercommunity marriages in the family, and her willingness to learn and include novelty in her daily cooking, she cooked these lovely black pearls using her traditional Konkani Masala.
As I have mentioned before, when a South Canara vegetarian curry has onion tempering, it is called "Ambat". So this is how "Kalya Vatanyache Ambat" was created. Its name conveys it all. It inherits the influence of Marathi and Konkani. Aren't food and language meant to nurture and connect people? Who are we to judge if it's authentic or not?
KaLya Vatanyache Ambat
Black Peas Curry 
2 cups black peas/Kale Vatane sprouts
1 tbsp onion, chopped
salt to taste

Grind to a fine paste
1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh coconut
4 - 5 byadgi chilies, roasted in a few drops of coconut oil
2 tsp tamarind pulp

1 tsp oil (use coconut oil for the authentic flavor)
1 tbsp chopped onion

1. Pressure cook black peas sprouts and chopped onion, adding adequate water .
2. Grind the masala per the directions above. Make sure to grind finely, adding little water as necessary.
3. Pour cooked sprouts along with cooked liquid in a saucepan. Add ground masala to the saucepan. Adjust water to make not very thin but not thick gravy. Add salt . Bring to boil. Simmer.
4. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add chopped onion. Saute till it becomes brownish but not burnt. Pour the sizzling oil in the curry. switch off the gas. Cover immediately.
5. Serve with plain rice.

Note -
1. You can add a pinch of turmeric powder when peas are getting cooked.
2. You can also add a spoonful of cooked peas to the coconut mixture while grinding.
3. Instead of onion tempering, you can give the garlic tempering. Just note that the name of the curry will change to "Koddel". :-)
4. Please do not confuse these black peas with whole urad or black beans. These are small black peas grown in Maharashtra.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Prawns Curry with Bilmbi

After getting Bilimbi, adding them to the traditional prawns curry was just a natural progression. Here, bilimbi acts as a souring agent and hence tamarind or kokum is not used.

It's amazing to note the number of souring agents used in different parts of India. Tamarind, Kokum, Bilmbi, Ambado, Kachri (Rajasthan), Amchoor, Raw mango, Vinegar, Yogurt...the list is endless.

Prawns & Bilmbi curry
1 1/2 cups prawns, deveined, cleaned
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Grind to a fine paste
1 cup freshly scraped coconut
1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted
7-8 black peppercorn, roasted
A small piece of onion
7-8 byadgi chilies, roasted

1 tsp oil - preferably coconut oil
2 tbsp. minced onion
A pinch of turmeric powder
10 bilambi

A lemon wedge

Suggested Accompaniment
A heap of plain rice

1. Clean prawns and marinate with salt and turmeric powder
2. Roast coriander seeds, chilies and black peppercorn. Grind with coconut and onion, to a fine paste, adding little water as necessary.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and turmeric power. Add bilmbi and 2 tbsp. water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add marinated prawns and finely ground masala.
5. Add water depending on the desired consistency.
6. Bring to boil. Switch gas to low. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Cover and let it stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Note -
1. Serve this curry with plain rice and a lemon wedge.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bilimbi Gojju

I spotted "Irumban Puli" in the frozen vegetable section of my local Indian stores. Though these specific words meant nothing to me, the picture on the packet screamed "Bilimbi"! So I had to buy it. :-)

The first simple recipe that I tried, was by making chutney using coconut and garlic. It was more or less similar to the Ambule Gojju.

Bilimbi Gojju
Bilimbi Chutney
5-6 Bilimbi/
1/2 cup coconut
4-5 garlic cloves
salt to taste
7-8 byadgi chilies (Use more or less per personal preference)

Few drops of coconut oil

1. Steam bilimbi in a spoonful of water. Let it cool down.
2. Grind coarsely with all the remaining ingredients.
3. Drizzle coconut oil as a garnish.

Note -
1. This gojju should be hot and should have a strong garlicky flavor.
2. Serve this "chutney" as a side dish with your meal or an accompaniment with dosa/idli.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Loshni Vodi

Almost all parts of India has their own solar cuisine. Today's delicacy is from South Canara Cuisine called "Losni Vodi". My aunt sent over these "vodies" or sun-dried papadums which have a strong garlicky note. These are meant to be deep fried and eaten as a fritter with your daily meal of sheeth/rice, daali tauy/daal, some freshly made upkaris and nonche/pickle.

Authenticity may scoff at my attempts to reduce the calorie intake. Yes. I didn't deep fry them. I microwaved them!

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Laal Chawal


I found a packet of this "Laal Chawal" while browsing through the shops of Mumbai. Since I always love to try out new things, I picked up this packet. I used some for making rice by following the recipe on the back and the remaining rice , I used for making idlies.

Following information was written on the packet.
This rice is rain-fed from a traditional rice growing area of Maharashtra.

Clean and wash rice with thrice the amount of water in pressure cooker, adding sea/rock salt to taste
After one whistle, put cooker on skillet and lower heat to simmer
Cook for 45 minutes.

Conscious Food Pvt Ltd
Gala 317 & 318
Vasan Udyog Bhavan
Pff Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai 13

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015


That savory semolina porridge which is cooked in many Indian homes, is called Upma, Sanja, Rullav or Uppit. As the name changes, the recipe changes too. This uppit is made in my aunt's home whose family hails from Maharashtra-Karnataka border.

Savory Semolina Porridge
1 cup medium rawa, roasted separately without oil
salt to taste
1/4 cup yogurt + 2 3/4 cup water to make thin buttermilk
1 tbsp. clarified butter/toop/ghee

1/2 cup green peas - frozen ok

1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp each mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder
2 sprigs curry leaves, torn
2 tbsp. cashewnuts - preferably unsalted and raw
2 green chilies, minced or slit
1 tbsp. grated ginger
3/4 cup minced onion
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup coconut
2 tbsp. cilantro
Lemon wedges

1. Heat oil in a saucepan.
2. Add the ingredients for tempering.
3. Keep frying till onion is soft.
4. Add pre-roasted rava and fry for 1 minute. Add green peas
5. Add thin buttermilk, salt to taste
6. Switch gas to low.
7. Keep on stirring till desired porridge consistency is reached.
8. Drizzle ghee/clarified butter around.
9. Garnish with coconut and cilantro.
10. Sprinkle sev and serve with a lemon wedge in individual serving plates.

Note -
1. I have used frozen green peas in this recipe as they are more readily available here.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Tondli - Dalimbi

I love all the vegetables that are paired with Daalimbi/vaal or bitter field beans sprouts. These beans have a unique bitterish taste that is immensely either loved or hated by people. Sprouting and peeling vaals is a tedious process. I generally soak at least a pound of beans at a time to sprout them. I summon everyone to peel them and then I store them in separate containers in the freezer. It makes my life much easier later.

Ivy Gourds with Bitter field beans sprouts
2 cups sliced tondli/tendli/tindora/ivy gourd
1/2 cup vaal/daalimbi sprouts
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar

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

1 tbsp. fresh coconut
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Follow these instructions to sprout the vaals.
2. Heat oil and add the spices and chilies.
3. As they splutter, add vaal sprouts and sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Add sliced tondli/tindora and cover with a lid. Pour water in the lid.
5. Let it cook on a medium flame.
6. Add salt and sugar after cooking.
7. Mix black pepper powder with coconut and sprinkle this mixture on top.
8. Mix and serve.

Note -
1. Adjust the number of green chilies based on the personal preference.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sukil Sungtha Upkari - Sundried Prawns


Sukil Sungath or Suki Kolumbi is sundried prawns. Honestly speaking, I don't care much for them but being a food blogger, I have taken upon this responsibility to capture the food cooked in my family. Sukil Sungtha Upkari is a delicacy and is devoured especially during rainy season. My family members refrain from eating any seafood during monsoon. It's said that this is the breeding season and over fishing is avoided to maintain the balance in the ecosystem. This is also the time, when seafood loving Mumbaikars take out their stash of sundried fish from the pantry and cook some delicacies.

Sukil Sungtha Upkari
Sundried Shrimp Stir Fry
100 gm. or about 1 cup dry small shrimp, cleaned
salt to taste (Adjust if needed)
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. tamarind pulp

2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 red chilies, halved
A pinch of turmeric powder

1/4 cup freshly scraped coconut
2 tbsp. minced cilantro

1. Soak cleaned , sun dried shrimp in water for 15 minutes. Drain.
2. Heat oil - preferably coconut oil in a saucepan. Add onions and red chilies with turmeric powder. Sauté till onion is soft.
3. Add drained fish and chili powder.
4. Sauté for 5 minutes.
5. Add 1/4 cup water, salt - only if needed and tamarind paste.
6. Cover and let it cook for 15 minutes.
7. Garnish with coconut and cilantro. Mix. Switch off the gas.
8. Let it stand with lid covered for 10 minutes.
9. Serve with chapatti or rice bhakri.

1. Sun dried shrimp already has salt in it. That's the reason you soak it to remove any excess salt. Adjust salt to this curry only on the need basis.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Addition of ricotta cheese to any muffin recipe reminds me of Mava cakes sold at Irani bakeries of Mumbai. So whenever I come across such recipes, I jot them down immediately. I discovered this recipe in my pre-blogging recipe diary. I think this recipe may be from Cooking Light or Good Housekeeping. Unfortunately, I am not very sure. This Italian muffin recipe sure will win the hearts.

Lemon Ricotta Muffins
2 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup part skin ricotta cheese
1/3 cup milk
6 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs
2 tsp. lemon zest

2 tbsp. sugar

1. Preheat oven 400F
2. Mix and whisk ingredients shown above.
3. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture.
4. Do not over mix. Stir till moist.
5. Grease 12 - 15 muffin cups lined with wrappers.
6. Pour the mixture.
7. Sprinkle sugar on top for garnish.
8. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or till done.
9. Serve with your afternoon tea or morning coffee!


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Friday, January 16, 2015

Navalkol Chana daal Bhaji

Growing up, I didn't care much for Navalkol or Kohlrabi. But now that I love to include various vegetables in our daily meals, I bring Kohlrabi from time to time. This simple Maharashtrian bhaaji - made using soaked chana daal - is easy to make on a busy day.

Navalkol - Chana Daal
Kohlrabi with Chana Daal
2 cups chopped, peeled Kohlrabi/Navalkol/Alkol
3 tbsp. chana daal, soaked for at least 2-3 hours
salt to taste

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chilies, slit
1 red chili, halved

1 tbsp. freshly scraped coconut

1. Soak chana daal in water for at least 2-3 hours.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan/kadhai.
3. Add spices and chilies.
4. Add drained chana daal along with 1 tbsp. water. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes.
6. Now, add kohlrabi. Cover the saucepan with a lid. Add some water to the lid. Let it cook
7. After it's cooked, add salt to taste.
8. Garnish with coconut

Note -
1. If you like the flavor, use coconut oil for tempering.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sankrant Special Recipes

तिळगुळ घ्या आणि गोड गोड बोला

Some Makar Sankranti Special Recipes -
1. Microwave Tilache Ladoo
2. Tilwali Bhakri
3. Bhogichi Bhaji
4. Gul Poli
5. Bhugga
6. Goad Khichdi with bananas (coming soon)

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Masale Bhaat

Masale/Masalay bhaat is a quintessential Maharashtrian rice. For that original taste and authentic flavor, do use clarified butter/ghee/toop.
Masale Bhaat
Spicy Rice
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup green peas - fresh or frozen
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
3 cups hot water
1 tsp. jaggery
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Grind to a fine powder
2 tbsp. dry coconut, roasted
1/2 tbsp. coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. sesame seeds, roasted
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds, roasted
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. ghee/clarified butter/toop
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. asafetida
2-3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1" piece of cinnamon
4 black peppercorns
2 tbsp. cashew nuts
1/2 tbsp. goda masala
Optional Garnish
1/2 tbsp. clarified butter/ghee/toop
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
2 tbsp. freshly scraped coconut
1. Rinse basmati rice and keep aside to drain for 1/2 hour.
2. Roast coconut, sesame seeds and poppy seeds and crush to fine powder with coriander-cumin powder, chili powder.
3. Heat oil and butter together in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add spices. Roast till they splutter. Add cashews. Fry till they are a shade darker. Add goda masala. Fry for 30 seconds.
4. Add rinsed rice. Sauté for a minute.
5. Add vegetables. Sauté.
6. Add lemon juice, jaggery, ground paste and salt to taste.
7. Add hot water and bring to a rapid boil.
8. Switch gas to low and let it cook on low flame, covered.
9. As the water is absorbed and rice is cooked, add another spoonful of ghee - if using. Fluff the rice.
10. Garnish with coconut and cilantro.
Note -
1. The flavor of toop/ghee/clarified butter is very much essential for this rice. If you don't eat ghee, substitute oil.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Masala Milk

 I wish you all a very happy, prosperous and healthy new year 2015. Since we have frigid cold here, I thought of sharing Aarey's Masala Milk. Of course, Aarey's Masala milk came in bottles and was served cold. But we can easily fix that. This masala milk used to be different than Masale doodh. The very last sip from the bottle, always fetched a cashew. (Fond memories!) Of course, I was partial to Energee, but once in a while I had masala milk.
This masala milk can be served hot, warm or chilled depending on your weather conditions or personal preference.
Masala Milk
4 cups milk - preferably whole milk
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4  cup sugar
few strands of saffron
3/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1/8 tsp. nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
4 - 6 cashews
1. Heat whole milk and evaporated milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to boil.
2. Switch gas to low. Add sugar, cashews and spices.
3. Simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Serve in individual cups/glasses taking care that each serving will get one cashew!;-)
5. Serve hot, warm or chilled.
Note -
1. Adjust sugar per your liking.

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