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 did it!! I finally learnt to poach eggs! And I have the very attractive legendary, Nigella Lawson to thank for it!
It’s actually so simple that it’s scary. But trust me, its really easy! I know what you must be thinking!! Nah! you say! I get it! I have no count of the number of eggs reduced to broken yolks and litres of water bubbling with broken scattered albumin! But one look at this recipe, and I can guarantee that you will be willing to try poaching eggs and you will succeed!
This video / recipe will banish all myths about vinegar in the water, or swirling the water into a vortex, or that you need special skills to make this dubious poached egg!
When you break the egg in the water the white will move away. But as it cooks the white remembers it’s DNA and goes up and envelopes the yolk again. It’s quite interesting to note this, and reminds us to never fail to be amazed by nature and all things natural.
This has become my favourite meal in a bowl. It’s quick, easy (yes! it is!) and super super tasty. Specially when you get to the last part where the egg yolk breaks and mixes with the curds and butter sauce! Then – it just melts in the mouth setting off a palate explosion!
I really have not much more to say in this post because you really have to taste it to know how strangled for words it will leave you!
Go for it! And message me with pics!!!
IMPORTANT: Do go through the notes section of the recipe for hacks and tricks!
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.
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….
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.
Some time back, the husband and I started on a diet with Deepika, who works with Luke. She has been in touch with me on a daily basis, and I cannot convey in words how wonderful we both started feeling within weeks of our nutritional plan. Unlike other “dieticians” they don’t nail our heads to a wooden plank, if we cheat or if we don’t follow instructions to the hilt. It’s actually a slow gentle coaxing to start changing our lifestyle and eating habits. So many small issues like sleeplessness, bloating etc are taken care of, using natural home remedies. And I must say it works, because now I sleep like the proverbial log, and in the mornings the bed and I are like lovers – loathe to leave each other.
Without realising, we have now changed our eating habits. The old hogging days no longer appeal to us, and on a very elemental level, we have started opting for healthy, nutritious and wholesome meals. Overeating even a little bit makes us groan and moan unbelievably.
This diet takes care of us very holistically. Small ailments are sorted almost immediately. Over the period of a year, my blood pressure and cholesterol are within normal limits.They care for our mental, emotional and physical health. After all this, we cannot return back to our old ways of eating aimlessly and only for taste. I now look for recipes that are healthy but tasty. This Seed Paté is one of the many such recipes.
It’s a very versatile recipe. You don’t have to follow it the way it’s written. The dill can be replaced with coriander or any other herb of your choice. Please read the notes following the recipe, before making the Seed Paté.
It can be used in many different ways. Eat it like a sandwich, mix it in vegetables as a gravy, dip with pita, layered with a salad — the options are endless and left to your imagination.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
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!