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.
You have all the right to give me a few kicks on the backside. Talking off which, I promise you, the lack of communique and posts were nothing to do with me lying on my backside. I have been travelling non-stop and in a good way. Went visited the son in San Diego, and then the daughter in San Jose.
Immediately after that, there was a quick trip to Delhi, Bangalore, Chikmanglur, UK and Scotland – so you tell me, other than amassing a repertoire of good food recipes to develop, where would I have found the time to write a post? HUH?
I sent the husband to Food Hall (our best gourmet store in Bombay), for a spot of food shopping. Foodie that he is, he went quite unhinged and brought me back so much food, that when I think of it even now, I break out into a sweat!
Within this shopping frenzy, he got back fresh Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese. Since it was staring at me from the fridge shelf for more than two days, I wanted to make something with it. Frankly, I was quite done and dusted with the typical Caprese Salad. Using the same ingredients, we went about trying something completely new. I first considered topping it with mango salsa, but it sounded so bleh! And – the son made such a face, I immediately gave up the idea. So while standing and staring at the Mozzarella for more than 5 minutes, I came up with this concept.
One can call it a Baked Caprese Salad, but somehow the word “melted” made it sound a bit exotic and intriguing.
You will need a cast iron skillet. Mine was too deep, so I used my sizzler plate instead.
I sliced tomatoes and onions and sautéd them in a non-stick pan with good old olive oil. Then transferred them to the sizzler plate. Then – added the mozzarella and popped it into a hot oven. The Mozzarella melted overwhelmingly, and Voila I had a brand new dish in my hands.
I could have set the sizzler plate on top of the stove and roasted the tomatoes and onions directly on it, but I found it easier and cleaner to use the non-stick and then transfer the contents.
I wanted to use basil leaves and/or pesto, but again not the same typical recipe. Instead, I made Basil oil.
Melted Caprese Salad, is different, outlandish and out of the box. But hey! It’s tasty, wholesome and the best thing is it’s not boring. Enjoy it as a starter, or even as a heavy serving of side dish. I served it with thin slices of toasted baguettes drizzled with aged extra virgin olive oil. Melted Caprese Salad is garnished with pickled green peppers, but I think even capers would add an additional piquant flavour.
My friend Ajit invented this absolutely unusual recipe on the spot.
We were all in Mahabaleshwar, wondering about the dinner menu. Naan and Kaali Dal were already in the picture, and he volunteered to make an Aloo (Potato) veggie. This jovial, happy – go – lucky, man waltzed into the kitchen at 10 am, fiddled around with pots and pans, and waltzed back out. Then at 7 pm, he took a stiff drink of whisky in his hand, asked for a bottle of rum, (leaving me wondering, as to how we will get him off the kitchen floor and into bed!!) and marched into the kitchen again. I confess to taking a few peeks into the kitchen, just to check if he was still standing. The one time I peeped in, I saw him drain the bottle of Rum into the pan of simmering potatoes. I heaved a sigh of relief, and went about my business grinning, impatiently waiting to taste these crazy Rum laden potatoes.
I really don’t need to tell you how good it was, because I know as soon as you read the recipe you will definitely want to try it at least once. After that, you will be hooked. And all those who eat it with you will be hooked. I have already made it thrice in a span of three weeks, and I am a very very happy person when mealtime arrives.
This dish takes a little bit of planning, a little bit of sweat and a great deal of Rum. I really suggest you make it just the way I have mentioned. Everything that Ajit, has put into this Rum Wale Aloo – a la Ajit – has a purpose and imparts some sort of flavour.
Get hold of the smallest potatoes you can. And please see that all of them are approximately the same size. This way, they will all cook uniformly.
Marinate it for an at least 6 hours. I did a huge boo boo, last week. I was asked to make this recipe for a friend’s party and so I marinated the potatoes, a night before to make it next morning, only to realise that I have miscalculated the dates. It was not due for yet another day. I just said a fervent prayer and popped the potatoes into the fridge and let it marinate for yet another 24 hours. So in all – 36 hours of deep marination. Whoa! It cooked faster, tasted bloody good and it did not smell like over worn socks.
So yay!! Go for it – marinate it for as long as you can.
Besides a long marinating time, it also takes a little while to cook. I would suggest good Jazz music in the background (Why Jazz? – well it just seems to set the right tone for this dish! All sultry and seductive. Something good waiting to happen!) A good drink in the hand, and a happy go – lucky nature like the inventor of this dish.
Oye Ajit – Cheers!!