Posted in Beverages, Kitchen 101, Recipes

Aam Panna and the fragrance of Mango Blossoms!

Hello you lovely souls who are ready this! Happy Holi! I am one of those odd folks who don’t really enjoy Thandai, not sure why, I just dont. So I will quite fix myself an Aam Panna this Holi. And for quite some days to follow. Well, as loyas the green mangoes last I suppose. I will be honest, growing up, I never was much wowed by Aam Panna or Keri no Baaflo | , કેરીનો બાફલો as it is known in Gujarati. But I guess appreciation for simple things comes to most of us much later in life. Summer is in full swing in Bengaluru, so naturally tart, beautiful green Totapuri Mangoes have flooded the market. But back home in Gujarat, people usually don’t start consuming green mangoes before Holi. It is customary to first offer one tiny green mango to the communal, sacred Holi bonfire and then is usually consumed. The most popular way of consuming the first, tiny, extremely tart mangoes at the very beginning of the season is by making a fresh mango pickle called Mohariya | મોહોરીયા from the lovely mango blossom fragrance from these tiny mangoes. We both love the fresh pickle but then how much pickle can one consume in the summer heat. So for the in house Totapuri fan, I made a concentrate of sorts to make Aam Panna. The process is very basic and I will add the recipe in comments below. Stored refrigerated, it will stay good for about 5 days to a week. While the rest of the ingredients are pretty straightforward and customisable, I would recommend not skipping the few strands of saffron because of the lovely aroma it imparts to the drink. I picked up this way of adding saffron, ground to a powder with crystalline sugar, from a middle Eastern dessert YouTube video ages ago. It is supposedly releases maximum flavours from the strands and no wastage of flavours happen when used this way. When want to fix yourself a glass of Aam Panna, just mix 1 part of the concentrate to 5 parts of water. You can ofcourse adjust this based on how sweet/tart you make the concentrate.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Doodhi Ma Gaanthiya nu Shaak!

Gujarati Doodhi ma Gaanthiya nu Shaak ( Bottle Gaurd Sabzi with Gaanthiya, a sort of fresh pasta/small cylindrical pieces of a dough made of Besan and spices, predominantly flavoured with ajwain ) Okay, it totally sounds fancy and complicated but it is not. It is more of a rustic curry than anything fancy.

See, that is the thing about adulting, you eat a lot of veggies because you know you are supposed to. In my case, I don’t hate bottle gourd, but I was pretty bored of the usual sabzi. Then this 💡 moment happened. Everytime we go home, our moms make a selection of Sabzis which are simple but we don’t really get to enjoy in Bangalore, mostly because I don’t know how to make them or because we don’t get some of the veggies easily here. It’s mostly the first reason 😉 The last time I was in Vadodara, mom made it for us, and we ( I especially ) loved it! I had noted down the recipe several months ago, and I bought bottle hours several times after that, but ended up making something else. However this time, I was determined I make it. I had even noted down the basics in Google Keep while I was still taking to mom. ( This is for people who ask me how I recipes effortlessly. I don’t. I take notes, edit them offline while commuting or waiting in queues, bombard mom with questions about proportions on weekends, let it hibernate for months, then I fine tune it before copying it here ) . For someone who has never made fresh Gaanthiya before, this not something you should do in morning rush. I tried my hand at it once or twice in the evening before attempting it in the morning today. But I will tell you this, it is not that time consuming or cumbersome. No murruku press or any instrument needed, though if that feels convenient to you, use it by all means. The same Gaanthiya can be simmered in the base for Sev Tameta nu shaak too. The effort is a payment I am ready to make to not eat Doodhi in the same boring way. 😉

Ingredients: ( makes 2 generous servings )

  • 1 slender, seedless Bottle Gourd, peeled and cut into small pieces, ( cut just before cooking or store submerged in a bowl of water to prevent darkening ),
  • 1/3rd cup of Besan/Chickpea flour,
  • 1 tbsp of whole wheat flour / Semolina ( optional but recommended ),
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp of groundnut oil,
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds,
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds,
  • 1 tsp ajwain ( more if you like the flavour )
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/4th tsp Hing/asafoetida,
  • salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin coriander powder to taste,
  • 1 tsp jaggery/sugar ( optional but recommended ),
  • juice of 1 lemon, add just before serving

Method:

  1. In a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add 1/th tsp of hing/ asafoetida and when fragrant, add the chopped bottle gourd. Mix well. Add the seasoning to taste – salt, jaggery, cumin-coriander powder, turmeric, chilli powder. Mix well. Add 1/2 a cup of water and cook on high till the pressure builds up and for 3 more whistles on simmer, or until the bottle gourd is completely cooked.
  2. While the gourd cooks, make the dough for Ganthiya. Take the Besan/Chickpea flour in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp of oil ( you could add less but I like the texture of Gaanthiya more when I add a little extra oil ), ajwain, hing, ( adding both on the higher side adds flavour and aids digestion ), and the spices ( salt, turmeric and cumin-coriander powder ). Mix everything well, adding a tbsp of water at a time ( add water extremely carefully, a little more and the dough will be unmanageable to work with ) to bring everything together.
  3. Divide into 8 portions. Oil your hands and roll each portion into a thin strand ( keep the thickness half of the thickness you expect the Gaanthiya to be, it swells on absorbing water while cooking. ) I like taking help of a chopping board or a rolling board and using motion like rolling a chapati, to get uniformly thick strands. cut into inch long pieces.
  4. Once the pressure from the pressure cooker is released, open it, turn the heat on, and add another 3/4th to 1 cup of water. Gaanthiya absorbs a lot of water to keep the sabzi at this stage on a thinner side. Once the sabzi comes to a gentle boil, drop the Gaanthiya into the sabzi and let it simmer on low heat. Cook for about 10 mins or when the Gaanthiya doubles in size, stirring extremely gentle in between to make sure that the Ganthiya don’t stick to the bottom or to each other.
  5. Once done, take it off the heat, add lemon juice and serve with Paranthas/Fulkas or an accompaniment of your choice.
Posted in Indian Curries, Recipes

Pindi Chhole!

Growing up, I always thought ( and was told that by my Gujarati moms and aunts too ) that the Dilli styled Chhole have the deep brown hue because the chickpeas are tinted with water in which tea leaves have been brewed to attain that lovely dark brown colour. Also, even after using the best of the brands of Chhole masalas, that particular flavour eluded me. Until I discovered the lovely Anardana ( dried pomegranate arils , sold in most major supermarkets in India ) . That and grinding a fresh spice mix changed my “Gujarati Girl struggling with Chhole” game for ever! So without rambling further, here is the recipe below.

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Posted in Appetisers, Recipes, Snacks, Traditional Gujarati Recipes

Tuver Lilva na Ghughra |Kachoris – Of Pigeon Peas and winters at home!

Where I come from, the Southern Part of Gujarat, Winters definitely mean a bounty of bounty of fresh vegetables. And while there are a lot of vegetables at their prime in winters, one of the most celebrated ones in Southern Gujarat is Tuver | Pigeon Peas | Tender beans from which Arhar ki Daal is made on de-husking and drying. The way Northern India celebrated Peas with Nimona and a zillion other things, we celebrate Tuver Lilva with Ghughras | Kachoris and so many myriad ways. They are slightly more cumbersome to shell than peas unfortunately and today, I still look back my memories in wonder when I remember the mounds and mounds of Tuver my mother, my grandmother and all women of Southern Gujarat demolished through in winters. I am still spoiled, although I do get Tuver in Bengaluru, it is not the same texture/tenderness as the one in Gujarat. The Gujarati Tuver is harvested at a much tender stage, has a tinier, softer bean and is not spotted. So, the way all moms spoil their offsprings, my mom still accumulates a small mound of shelled Tuver Lilva for me to carry back home, ( inspite of my numerous protests that I do get it in Bengaluru, ) every time I go home in winters! ❤ If you are reading this mom, my protests are usually pretend play, I love the Tuver Lilva you give me. Its just that I hate to think of how much time and effort it must has taken you to shell the not-so-small mound! Love you, Mummy!

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Posted in Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, My Bibliothèque, Thriller, Women's Fiction

{ Book review } – The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh!

The Water CureThe Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up The Water Cure warily, I admit. Had it not been longlisted for ManBooker I wouldn’t have picked up nor would it have appeared on my radar immediately because dark, dystopian fiction with shades of regressive tendencies in characters is simply not my genre. But, as I went further and further into the book, I had to grudgingly admit that it made a really good thriller. For me, a good thriller is one that starves me of info at the right time and in appropriate amounts, forcing me to supplicate to the plot line and be attentive to the storytelling. After a languorous start, The Water Cure drew me in. And not just that, it had me riveted until the end.

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Posted in Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque, Non Fiction

{ Book review } – The Flavour of Spice by Marryam H. Reshii!

The Flavour of SpiceThe Flavour of Spice by Marryam H. Reshii

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a self-described foodie that I am, reading food-themed non-fiction is not my forte. Quite frankly, nonfiction, in general, is not my forte. But reading about food make reading nonfiction easier for me. So, in a bid to read more nonfiction, in the latter half of 2018, I picked up 2 non-fiction books on this subject. One is Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat ( which I still haven’t finished ), and the second is The Flavour of Spice by Marryam Reshi. Hoping to add to that count gradually, every year. I cannot assure you if you will love the book, but what I am sure about is that once you are done with the book, you will not look at a grain of mustard or poppy, a piece of cinnamon, a corn of pepper or a strand saffron in the same way as before.

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