Posted in Daals/Lentils/Sides for Rice, Indian Curries, Recipes

Takatli Paalak Bhaji / Palakachi Patal Bhaji!

Palakachi Patal Bhaji a.k.a Takatli Palak Bhaji since the spinach/Palak cooked in a mixture of buttermilk with a little amount of Besan, is a Maharastrian style curry usually eaten with steamed rice or rotis. It is made with a variety of green colocasia ( aloochi bhaji ), sorrel leaves ( gongura / ambat chuka ), red amaranth ( laal math ) and so on. Along with it, the curry also also has peanuts and chana daal for some nice texture. Patalbhajis are typically kept thin and hence I used about 1 tbsp of besan in 1 cup of curd + 1 cup of water mixture. Patalbhaji had been on my mind since I first tasted it in Vadodara on one of our visits. Vadodara has a sizeable Marathi population and therefore the food at Maharashtra Restaurant ( previously called Maharashtra Lodge ) is pretty close if not exactly the same as that cooked in Marathi homes. It was a part of the regular meal that they serve there on one of the days of the week ( they rotate the curries on the menu ). The place has an absolute old world vibe. Formica tables arranged to absolute optimisation in a small enclosed place, basic decor that is nothing more than a Kalnirnay Almanac hanging from the wall along with garlanded portraits of fondly remembered ancestors and gods & goddesses, a staff that moves deftly without any incidents even when the premises are jam-packed, and a crowd that is doing one of the following three things – eating while trying to keep up with the rapid pace of the servers, coming out with a satisfied expression and a laziness brought on only by good food or waiting for their tiffin carriers to be filled with takeaway (environment-friendly and efficiently!) Their Patalbaji has more besan than mine but it was still really delicious. Kamalbai Ogole’s Ruchira and Kaumudi Marathé’s Essential Marathi Cookbook both have excellent recipes you should try. I will type down my recipe below and edit the caption when it is done ! 🙂

The image is from my own instagram account and can be found here

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Posted in Appetisers, Recipes

Kandhari Paneer Tikka!

I have a confession to make that I begin with: I have trust issues with oven for inexplicable reason. Have I used it for more than reheating ( it is a microwave + convection oven ) ? Yes sure, plenty of times! But can I find courage to do new things from a recipe when I stumble across one? No, a trembling in my voice no. So, while I have baked bread and occasionally cooked stuff in my oven, I have tried to make the popular Indian starter named Paneer Tikka only once before and it didn’t work out for reasons unknown to me. I still don’t know why but this time around it worked. So I thought this merits a blog post. So, without any further small talk, here it is.

The image is from my own instagram account and can be found here

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Posted in italian, Recipes

Barley Mushroom Risotto!

I do not claim the bragging rights to making a mean Risotto. I have been only on one trip to Italy and have eaten at Italian restaurants a few times, neither of which give me the rights to call it authentic. But never mind them, if something catches my fancy, I certainly try to make it for my own self once. I had been looking for barley based salads when I accidentally discovered this Risotto. Finally got around to making this. The again, while going through blogs I chanced upon an interesting comment. Someone pointed out that before rice took over other grains to be the principal grain across the world, barley was a very popular choice in grains. So then logically, does this make the barley Risotto more authentic than its rice counterpart. I am honestly on the fence when it comes to authenticity. There are things that I don’t enjoy when tampered with. But then again, if people don’t experiment or try out new things, is it right good for us and for evolution? I will jump to the recipe because of late there has been lot of unfair criticism about long descriptions or narratives accompanying recipe blog posts. I really find it unfair when you expect someone to share something you and aren’t even ready to speed read through it IMO. No one is quizzing you about the post at the end before revealing the recipe, the least you can do is be nice and scroll down without grumbling. This sort of policing more often than not comes from people who barely contribute to anything. Because, I might not agree with everything someone types or shares on such platforms, but I most certainly believe that it is perfectly valid to share as much as one wants and would certainly champion for long posts and not just step by step pictures of the cooking. There should be no policing, other than that, its all good around here! 🙂 Anyway, here is the recipe.

The image is from my own instagram account and can be found here

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Posted in Indian Curries, Recipes, Traditional Gujarati Recipes

Vatana Muthiya nu Shaak!

Hello you lovely, lovely folks! Hope you are doing well. If it is summer in your part of the world, I hope you are staying in shade as much as you can and staying adequately hydrated. Bengaluru weather is behaving like a petulant teenager who has been denied parental permission to attend a likely-to-get-wild party. There have been sporadic showers when it is feeling particularly rebellious, but it still hasn’t completely overthrown the cruel yoke of summer and the restrictions that this heat puts on opportunities of outdoor activities. It is a lovely mid-week holiday that we are enjoying today as I type this. I wanted to cook something nice today, but just nice enough to not make me feel like it is a crazy weekday. So, instead of making Sheer Khurma, which is what I had thought I will make, a few days ago, I settled for Vatana Muthiya nu Shaak with the usual Fulkas and Kachumbar which means less effort and enough fun to make me feel like I didn’t throw away an opportunity to cook something new. Okay, as usual this is spiralling into a monologue and I know you came here for the real food and not food for thought, but please don’t mind the girl while she says a bit more, will you? This is the reason I don’t hop onto WordPress to share everything I cook.

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Posted in Historical Fiction, My Bibliothèque, WarTime Fiction

{ Book Review } – Pachinko by Min Jin Lee!

I picked up Pachinko because I saw it in the Kindle Unlimited Catalogue. I had shortlisted it for reading sometime last year but never got around to getting a copy. So, here are my thoughts on it. Pachinko is a multigenerational family saga of a Korean Family, before and after the World War and the sufferings of Koreans during and after the Japanese Occupation of Korea. It spans 8 decades and 4 generations, so towards the end of the story one sometimes strains to recall the minor characters’ relationship to the major ones and their corresponding character arcs, but it happened to me for only a couple of characters in whose stories I didn’t feel really interested. The characters from the first 2 generations though, they are drafted quite well.

The story starts in 1911 in Yeongdo, Korea. When Sunna, the daughter of a poor, differently abled Korean Hoonie, falls pregnant after a brief relationship with a married yazuka ( a member / senior leader of a Japanese crime syndicate ) named Koh Hansu, a Presbyterian priest Isak Baek offers to marry her and take her to Osaka, Japan to start a new life there. The rest of Pachinko is her life and the trials and tribulations she faces in a strange new land, of which she does not know the customs, and later on, a land were here ethnicity is looked down upon and discriminated by the Japanese in the aftermath of Japan’s fall at the end of WWII. What I like about Pachinko is that it is engrossing. The language is simple and it might even feel dull, to some. As the story progresses and the family expands, I felt that some characters weren’t dealt with justice, and it could certainly have been better if the character size was restricted and focussed on. But, at the same time, I think, the intention behind the ever expanding cast/character set was to portray an equally wider range of issues/evils/difficulties faced by the Koreans in Japan during that time. The story ends in 1989 in Tokyo, after spanning 4 generations and has several underlying themes apart from Pachinko. It discusses biological vs adoptive parentage, “home” and a deep longing for home in the minds of refugees and the displaced, how women ( whether in 1911 or in 1989 ) always get a raw deal in comparison to men, how the struggle to survive inspite of hardship often consumes old traditions and gives birth to new ones in the process, how parenting and parent child relationships compare and contrast in poverty.

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Posted in Indian Curries, Recipes, Traditional Gujarati Recipes

Drumstick ( Moringa sticks ) and Potato Sabzi !

While Southern India consumes Drumstick or better known as Saragvo | Saragvani Seeng | સરગવાની શીંગ , in Gujarati cuisine, it is a fairly infrequently used ingredient. Though not uncommon, I must admit. Forgotten could be a better choice in my opinion because my mom always tells me stories about the various kinds of drumstick curries her grandmother used to make. But me being me , I have mostly cooked drumsticks into that occasional Sambar. Which is why I am writing down this સરગવાની શીંગ બટેટા નું શાક | Drumsticks and Potato Curry in a spicy gravy of curd and gram flour here, preserving it for posterity.

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Posted in Indian Curries, Recipes

Malai Kofta and a once in 5 years expedition to the land of decadent curries!

There are only two kinds of people in the world, those you like Malai Kofta and those you pretend to not like the sweetish ( not necessarily though, more on that later ), but ooh so luscious, beauty of a curry called Malai Kofta. Before you throw bricks at me, let me clarify that there is nothing wrong with the second kind, I myself was one until a few years ago. I loved it as a kid. But then, there was this phase where I buckled under peer pressure and started chanting “But why would someone order that mithai like thing called Malai Kofta when eating out when there is this beauty called Paneer Tikka Masala?” ( I know it looks my options started and stopped at these two but believe me, that is what growing up in the 90s India was like ). Anyway, good sense prevailed and I realised that well, life is really about moderation and there is no such think as “bad” or “unclean” eating while you keep moderation in mind. No, this is not a post where I preach, so lets get back to Malai Kofta. Unfortunately for poor thing, the time consuming nature of its preparation also contributes to half of all the bad rep it gets, where we ( I certainly do it!!) hide behind “Oh but I don’t like it” excuse to not make it. Last week, I decided I will shrug off some of that. Some, because I still have cut corners around a few things. But it still retains its essence. You can always knead paneer and potatoes together, make it into balls and fry. I took a longer route of shaping them like Scotch eggs / Nargisi Koftas ( or a sober, vegetarian version of the eggs enveloped in minced meat and deep fried to gloriousness ) this time , wanted to do things with proper fanfare. I guess, by now, you have realised that I can ramble about anything for 30 minutes at a stretch even without preparation, so I will stop rambling and go to the recipe. Kindly do not skip reading the notes I have added in between ! Happy Cooking and Eating!

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