It’s that time of the year when Mahabaleshwar beckons, with its myriad sunsets, fresh fragrant strawberries and over powering array of flowers. We had ourselves farm fresh and organic vegetables just off the farm.
Since we do not use fertilisers or pesticides of any kind, we pluck off cherry tomatoes and radish straight from the Canadian pharmacy plants and merrily munch it on the go!
For a day and a half, we were just mom and son! We ate, drank and had some crazy conversations.
We both wanted something a bit healthy for our brain doping lunch, and anyways friends who love this dish have been asking for the recipe. So we decided to make it and blog it.
This is a super healthy snack. I sometimes have it as the lonesome dish for dinner too. It’s super filling, high in protein and very very healthy. It does not sit in your tummy, but leaves you feeling full and satiated. The tangy, spicy flavour makes it soooo very edible and tasty.
I optionally also add finely chopped raw mango (kairi) to it and reduce the lemon a wee bit. You can play around with it as you like. Reduce the spice, increase it (yaay!), add onions, take off the coconut, add a dash of green chutney!!! Just go for it. Not much can destroy this dish!
Add to it a dhokla mix, or to some other chaat item. Serve it mixed with broken idli and podi chutney. Let your creativity flow and do tell me also how you played with it!
Soong dal goes amazingly well with drinks. But serve it chilled. Like – absolutely and totally chilled. If you think of heating it – u might as well eat dal. So DO NOT HEAT this dish!!
Have fun! Cheers!
PS: Here is the video shoot we did for the Soong Dal. It’s very basic and rustic, as is the kitchen in our farm.
I detest radish! It’s bitter, pungent and according to me serves no purpose in the culinary world. The Japanese use a lot of radish in their cuisine, and I always wondered what they do to it to make that pungent and mouth twisting bitter taste, disappear ?! Even after tasting that kind of radish, I could still not lift a piece of raw radish from a salad! Until – this lady made me taste her concoction.
There is something about the farm in full bloom, the birds happy with themselves, bees humming, butterflies swarming around, and our two dogs furtively chasing away the monkeys (who want to uproot our vegetable patches!). The entire happy cycle of nature makes my soul sigh in satisfaction.
This season we got bushels and bushels of corn from our farm in Mahabaleshwar. And strawberries. And radish. And beans. And cauliflower!! And so many other small batches of pure organic vegetables. The taste and inherent sweetness of the freshly plucked organic vegetables is a world apart from what we get in cities.
We had freshly plucked corn, and we all decided to have Corn Pulao.
This is a really simple recipe, very easy prep and damn tasty to boot! Just before adding the rice, you will realise that the corn looks so good, and it tastes and smells good too. At this point you can easily not add the rice and serve it as a veggies with any kind of roti! (we almost did that, as the smell was making us go crazy – and we were fast loosing patience).
Serve it with yoghurt and papad! Or eat it plain! You can easily increase or decrease the spices. What I have written in my recipe is not a very spicy version. The yoghurt, balances the spices.
I hope you like the recipe as much as all of us did!
PS: here is the link to the youtube video to make your life a tad easier!
Cheers and Ciao!
It was evening, and hunger pangs were making our stomach growl furiously. There was no time to make a time consuming snack, we all wanted something healthy and not too heavy. (The dinner menu looked very mouth wateringly promising!).
Rekha, our house keeper jumped to the rescue of our collective moaning tummies. She quickly chopped some onions, made a tadka of spices and curry leaves, took a large helping of puffed rice and to my astonishment, dumped it in a sieve and ran it under running water for a good 3 to 4 minutes.
By now I should not be surprised and astounded by the different ways and methods people around me cook. Rekha and my cousins and family continuously come up with new techniques and unique mixes. My last post was one such experience.
As recipes go, this one is the easiest, quickest snack you can make. You can make the onion mixture ahead of time and soak and mix the puffed rice (kurmura) just before serving.
Most of the ingredients are normally available in all Indian house holds, so there is no need to go rushing to the nearest grocer to buy something. You can of course make it spicer, more sour, add garlic … there is no end to how you can play around with the dish.
On this note, let me announce with the greatest of excitement that I have started my own Youtube channel. Its called The Recipe Larder, same as this blog.
The youtube video link to this recipe is available here. It shows you the step by step method of making this recipe. Do subscribe for more off beat recipes.
Hope you end up making this. Do send me pics!! Cheers! and Ciao!
PS: please tag therecipelarder on istagram, if you wish to share your pics.
Rich blend of spices – sookhi aloo ki sabji
Lot of good things happen in Mahabaleshwar. One of the finest things is – something about that place makes people want to cook.
The kitchen is airy and has huge windows opening out to our kitchen garden. The fact that it’s a biggish sized kitchen also makes it easier to have people milling around and experimenting with various home grown and organic ingredients.
I had my cousin uncle and aunt over. The fact that he is my age does not deter me from calling him uncle. Some childhood habits just don’t get out of your system….
We were in Amritsar recently, and the fresh vegetables caught my friends eyes and she really wished to take some back home.
Alas! We had all shopped so much (and hey! it was cold, we had heavy jackets as well!), that our bags were collectively over weight. My poor bereft friend had to let go of the farm fresh vegetables. But to make things a wee better we had true Punjabi Warian with us.
Many years back I had Matar Ka Nimona at my cousins place. I remember eating bowl fulls much to her delight and finally to her dismay. She was worried I would get an upset stomach!!
This is actually a dish famous in Uttar Pradesh. It is mostly made during the winters when the peas are fresh and juicy. Wadi (Warian is Punjabi) in Uttar Pradesh, is made with fresh white pumpkin, urad dal, and garam masala. It’s dried in the heat of summer and remains intact for the year round.
I made this recipe many times last year. It’s very suitable to the Indian palate. Too alien for foreigners. It goes well with any kind of Indian Roti. Even tastes good with rice.
You can easily avoid the onion and garlic and reduce the spice quotient. But some amount of spice is definitely needed, don’t do away with it totally. I prefer to make this without the onion and garlic.
There is something about this dish, which appeals to me greatly. The mouth feel of the pea paste and a subtle hint of flavour left behind by the cooking wadi, and then of course the wadi itself, along with a soft pillowy taste of potatoes cooked in the simmering gravy. The gravy tends to thicken as it goes, and thickens even more when it’s left till it is consumed. So, adding enough water is essential, and just before serving (if made a little ahead of time) add a little salted water and cook till boiling and serve immediately.
Try and get small fresh peas. That will lend to the dish an inherent sweetness, which when combined with the garam masala of the wadi makes it resonate in your mouth.
My grand mom made the best Chole in the world. It was a hand me down recipe from her mother who was according to me was an un hailed, un acclaimed legendary cook worth atleast a couple of Michelin Stars. Not only did she cook like her hands were blessed by the gods, but she also remembered amongst the dozens of grand and great grand children, who thronged at her home each summer, what each of us loved to eat. Our stomachs and souls were in heaven when at her home. Every morning, no matter how early we woke up, we would find her tinkering in the kitchen, singing bhajans to her beloved Krishna. I asked her one day if she has any recipes written down – and she looked at me like I was asking her if Krishna liked dance music. Every single recipe, and there were thousands in her repertoire, was stored in her head. And not once was there a variation in what we ate. Each and every time over the years the dishes tasted the same – tasty, heartwarming and soul stirring.
My nani, handed me this recipe of Chole, very casually over dinner one day. I scrambled up and wrote it down. Over the years, I have also perfected this recipe with trials and error. And while it still does not taste like how she or her mom made it, it stills holds good on it’s own….
If you have been following my blog, you would have realised that my favourite flavour is garlic. I have grown up in a family that cooked without onion and garlic, for religious purposes. Garlic is said to have “tamsik” qualities. Tamsik food is considered unhealthy, and it brings out the negative in you, gives rise to anger and other repugnant emotions. During the Vedic times, everything that was considered not good, was given a religious decree of non consumption.
I have realised over the years that a lot of do’s and dont’s of the Vedic ages are now being proven scientifically true. Take for example the benefits of turmeric. The world over, turmeric is prescribed for it’s qualities. But there is also the other side of science, which has proven some foods that were earlier considered bad, are now proven to have health benefits. Garlic is very good for the heart.
As for me – I like to live dangerously and garlic is very good for my soul!
I can have garlic in every single meal, and not get tired of the taste. I think I am still making up for my lost childhood!
Nishi enjoying the taste!
Lasooni Palak, or Saag as its called in some places, is my favourite version of consuming spinach. I like the smooth texture, but I also like the chopped version. So I came up with a recipe that was a mix of both. I like my food on the little spicier side (more Tamsik me!!) and somehow the taste of garlic, rough and smooth spinach with a hint of fire sets me in the absolutely perfect mood!
I experimented with this recipe in the green environs of Mahabaleshwar. The spinach was not fresh off the farm, but it was still from the hills of Panchgani, and as fresh as one could possibly get. But the spinach I grow in our farm, is far superior, completely organic and I pluck it when still in baby stages. The result is a sweeter taste, with a hint of bitterness and then of course we add the ever loved garlic and fiery spices. In the near future, when the garlic grows green and fragrant in my farm, I will try this same recipe with new green garlic stalks. The taste will be a little different – more herby!
The recipe goes best with chappati, made with whole wheat or jowar.
This is a classic dish made by Marwaris. It’s healthy, wholesome and extremely satisfying. As a kid, I took it for school lunch almost three times a week. It’s made with whole wheat flour, so – healthy!! Ghee – good fats! Ajwain – great digestive. Whats not to like. And it’s yummylicious to boot!
The name Tawa ka Tikla is derived from the fact that it is made on a tawa (girdle) and there is no roasting on direct fire – like the normal roti’s and chapattis. The other Tikla we make is fried in ghee. Lethally tasty – that one too!
When we were growing up, we had no gas stoves at home. We were as organic as it could get. The food was cooked on a mud stove, and charcoal was used to light the fire. Of course, the kitchen got as black as well -soot, but Oh My! the food that we ate had an aroma which no smoke machine can impart. All fresh, earthy and hearty!
The stove was large and there was additional place around to keep the ready food. All the dal, rice and veggies were kept in that area. It would be hot and therefore kept the food also piping hot. No reheating, no microwave. The chapati was made directly on coal – no smell of gas and no artificial flavours. The cook would dust off the soot, liberally dribble homemade ghee and serve it to us. And nowadays, we crave “wood-fired” pizza!!
My grand mom’s man Friday would clean the stove after every meal with water, washing away all remnants of food, leaving the place clean and shiny. We needed no pest control. The hot stove would allow no cockroaches to roost. The burnt coal was converted to ash, and that was used to wash the vessels. We had to recycle before it became a fancy word.
Once every few months the man Friday, would lovingly renew the stove with fresh mud and fill up the cracks and crevices.
The simple grub was nourishing and rich and healthy. I still maintain that I hated the veggies because it was insipid at it’s best. But that was the fault of the cook and not the system. I have still not eaten that kind of dal and chapati ever again.
My sister still makes this dish – Tawa ka Tikla. I had forgotten all about it until one day I got a longing and craving to eat this ghee laden yummy snack. I could eat only one, but back in school it was a staple and I could polish off a whole lot with pickle, in the name of lunch.
It’s very simple to make. It can be cooled and kept in an airtight container for a week plus.
Enough ghee should be put into the dry ingredients so that the flour when closed into a fist stays intact and does not fall down and disintegrate like powder.
Warm water should be used to make the dough. Add it slowly, making the consistency a bit rubbery. Each flour quality reacts its own way, so a little more or less water might have to use, than specified in the recipe.
Please don’t try to go easy on the ghee. It’s a very indispensable ingredient and if you are following the latest health trends, – then – ghee is a vital and important fat and should be consumed in restrained quantities.
The holes are made, so that the Tikla does not puff up, and gets firm and semi-crisp, as you keep pressing and cooking it.
While rolling the dough, if it’s too sticky and is cracking and breaking up, it means that the dough needs more flour and a dribble of water. Add little at a time according to consistency.
Here is the video
It’s an excellent and nutritive dish for kids tiffins, to keep as a quick snack. Top it with hummus, a mix of cucumber tomato kachumber, serve it with hot garlic chutney, with dry potato veggie – Just go for it. Dig in!!
I hope you make it and enjoy it. Cheers!