Mangoes and summers go pretty much hand in hand, right? Summers mean vacations, trips to grandparents’, pickles, aamras and pretty much everything that makes one happy. And that has to include food to make it complete. We all know from the bottom of our hearts that our moms and grandmoms create magic in their kitchens, but I am equally amazed at the sheer variety of curries and condiments they serve on a platter. I believe that while curries and mains make up a meal, the condiments, pickles and the sides make it satisfying. They also make meal times exciting, I have always had a particular pickle/preserve/chutney that I would look forward to on my plate depending on the season. Now, that we have started to chat about condiments and summer, mangoes cannot be far away.
I am sure there must be a variant of the quintessential mango chutney in every state with a tweak of an ingredient here and there. We Gujaratis make it because consuming it protects one against the harsh warm winds that are common in the sweltering heat of a Gujarati summer. Or so my Baa ( my paternal grandma) says. She makes it every couple of days, more like, as soon as the previous batch is consumed, and take my word for it, it’s not more than a couple of days. I also like this version for its simplicity. A couple of commonplace ingredients and no cooking involved. My mom makes it with the first Totapuri mangoes of the season, which are vibrant parrot green in colour ( I think, the mix of tartness and sweetness of this variety of mangoes suits this chutney the most, but feel free to use any variety you might find locally ). Mangoes, onions and a few day-to-day ingredients, a little bit of grating, sprinkling and mixing, and viola! The chutney is here.
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One of the Gujarati summer staples – Keri Kanda ni Chutney ( Raw Mango and Onion Chutney or Relish or Salsa whatever ) ! Now, since summers and mangoes have a close association, I am sure there must be a variant of this condiment in every state with a tweak of an ingredient here and there. We Gujaratis make it because consuming it protects one against the harsh warm winds that are common in the sweltering heat of a Gujarati summer. Or so my Baa ( my paternal grandma) says. She makes it every couple of days, more like, as soon as the previous batch is consumed, and take my word for it, it's not more than a couple of days. I haven't got my bearings back, I have a mountain of laundry to do, and I am still a zombie but I had to make this amazing yet easy peasy chutney this morning, because the visit home and a taste of the harsh summer made me crave this chutney so so much! 😍 I also like this for it's simplicity. A couple of common place ingredients and no cooking involved. My mom makes it with the first Totapuri mangoes of the season, which are vibrant parrot green in colour ( I think, the mix of tartness and sweetness of this variety of mangoes suits this chutney the most ), and peels and grates them. For one Totapuri Mango, she grates a large onion, and mixed them. Then, in goes jaggery ( sugar doesn't bring the same flavour but will work okay if you are in a hurry ), 1/2 tsp of black salt aka સંચળ in Gujarati, 1/2 tsp of cumin powder and 1/2 tsp chilli powder ( I prefer Kashmiri, because I look for colour and not the heat ). Add enough jaggery to balance the tartness of mangoes. Mix well and let it stand for a few minutes allowing the juices to secrete and the flavours to combine. Use as desired. But I would highly recommend not making it in big batches ( I stick to 1 Mango + 1 onion quantity) because one it has a short shelf life and two, if it gets too runny sitting for a long time, it doesn't taste the same. #kerikandanichutney #rawmangochutney #indianchutneys #indiansummer #picklenation #rawmango
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Winter is here! No, I am not talking about the plot development in Game of Thrones, I am talking very much about the real winter. So, for folks like me who live in areas with not so extreme climate such as in India, it means a season of nature’s bounty. Especially when it comes to vegetables and leafy greens, it is a season when foodies like me make merry! I could fill pages and pages about things that I would like to eat in winter, but I will very much resist the temptation. I specifically mean to talk about the green Chana, often called Choliya/Choliye ( चोलिया ) in Hindi and Leela Chana ( લીલા ચણા ) in Gujarati, these chickpeas are the freshly harvested Chana that flood the vegetable markets come December. They are consumed in India in a variety of ways, in curries, in Parathas, or often, simply roasted, these beauties taste a really unique combination of sweet and a little umami, in my opinion.
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Creamy Hummus made of Green Chana / चोलीया / Green Chickpeas / Green Garbanzo beans that I shared in the previous post! ❤️ Here is the recipe. Ingredients: 1 and a half cups of green chana / green garbanzo beans, Juice of 1 large lemon, adjust as per your preferences, 3-4 cloves of garlic, omit if you do not like it or adjust as per your preference, 3 tbsp of tahini, OR 3 tbsp of sesame seeds, toasted until golden (toasting helps reduce its bitterness ), 2 tbsp or more of olive oil, 1/4th tsp of ground cumin, salt to taste, 2-3 tbsp ( or more ) of water, ( use as little as possible if you want to preserve the hummus longer ), a few pinches of black pepper, (optional ) Method: Heat some water in a large pot, just enough to cover all the chickpeas. Bring it to a rapid boil, add some salt and turn the heat off. Add the chickpeas and let them sit for 3 mins. Drain and rinse with plenty of cold water to retain the vibrant green colour. If you are using tahini, skip this step. But like me, if you are using the toasted sesame seeds, the sesame seeds in blender jar. Grind it to a coarse paste. Add a tbsp of olive oil, juice of half the lemon, a little salt and the garlic cloves if using. Blend this mix into a creamy white emulsion. You might have to scrap and mix a few times, but it would be worth the effort because this creamy emulsion will help give the hummus a creamy texture. Add a tsp of water if you need to bring everything together while grinding. But only if you have to, avoid as ling as you can manage without it. If you feel your blender jar is too large for the given quantity of ingredients, do this process in a smaller jar. Once you have the paste, add the remaining ingredients to the blender jar. If you are using tahini, add it to this step. Blend everything to a creamy consistency. You will have to scrape down the walls a couple of times to get the perfect creamy texture. Add a tbsp or two of water if you have to. Transfer the hummus to a jar and if you intend to store it in the refrigerator for longer, pour a little olive on top of the hummus to create a barrier against exposure to air. This will help prevent the hummus from blackening. Done!
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Okay, so confession time! Bottle Gourd isn’t really my favorite vegetable. But, I make do with it occasionally.Well, it’s not hated, but it’s not the thing that I would want to cook and eat, skipping with excitement, week after week. I would rather make Handvo in order to include bottle gourd in my diet than make curries with Chana Daal or Potatoes. So, when I stumbled across this raita, I executed it immediately and prayed fervently that it comes out tasting better than the routinely made curries and it did! ❤ I wont bore you much with my rant, instead I will take you directly to the recipe.
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Bottle Gourd / Doodhi Bhoplyache Raaite from Mai Deshpande's cookbook, Culinary Treasures of Marathwada. Cooling effect of Curd, crunchiness of peanuts and Urad Daal in the tempering and a kick from green chillies, I find it fit to occupy the place of a curry on my plate. Although technically it's a raita, we paired it with fresh off the stove fulkas and it is now my preferred way of consuming Bottle Gourd over Lauki Chana / Lauki Aloo curries. 😁 It's a keeper! ❤️ Ingredients: A small to medium sized Bottle Gourd, about 250-350 gms in weight, 1/2 cup of yogurt/curd, a small handful of peanuts, coarsely ground, 1 tsp of salt, or to taste, 1 tsp of sugar, ( optional but recommended, especially if the curd is sour ), 2 tsp skinless split mustard seeds, ( I did not have any so, skipped), OR use 1 tsp of regular mustard seeds with skin in the tempering, not raw, 2 tsp of cooking oil, a few pinches of turmeric powder (optional), a pinch of asafoetida, (optional but recommended), 1 green chilly, finely chopped ( adjust as per your taste) Method: Wash the bottle gourd, peel and remove the large seeds if any. If the seeds are small and tender, it’s okay if you leave them in. Cut into medium sized pieces and steam in a pressure cooker till soft. Approximately, it will take you 1 whistle on high heat and then 2 whistles in low/simmer. Let the pressure release naturally and cool down a bit. Squeeze out or drain excess water and place it a bowl. Mash the pieces leaving it a little chunky. Just before you are ready to serve, add the yogurt/curd, peanuts, salt, sugar,and split mustard seeds if using the skinless seeds. Mix well. Heat the oil in a small tempering pan. Once it is hot, add the regular mustard seeds if you are not them in place of the skinless ones, and let it splutter. Add the asafoetida, turmeric and green chilly. Pour it over the curd and bottle gourd mixture. Mix and serve it as a side with rotis and/or hot steamed rice and lentils. #raita #bottlegourd #lauki #marathwadacuisine #maideshpande #whatsfordinner #indiancurries
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If you have stayed in Bangalore for more than a year now, and if you haven’t even heard about Brahmins Coffee Bar, it would be a sacrilege. Brahmins Coffee Bar is one of the iconic eateries of Bangalore, in the league of Vidhyarthi Bhavan and Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR), that has been serving Bangalore Tiffin Food for quite a while now. By the word Tiffin, I mean light, healthy and quick to serve and eat snacks that are usually devoured by people for breakfast or between the meals / 4 pm snacks. There are many such wonderful places apart from the two that I have mentioned above and I would probably need another blog post to do them adequate justice.
Anyway, talking more about the Brahmins Coffee Bar, the thing about this place is that it has only 5 items on the menu, yes you read it right, only 5 items. They are: Idli, Vada, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath and Filter Coffee. Also, They serve everything with only their special Coconut chutney. No Sambhar is served. But the chutney more than makes up for the lack of Sambhar. It is light green in colour, smooth in texture and of pouring consistency. Take my word for it: ditch the spoon and dig into the plate of steaming idli and piping hot Vada with your finger. Break a piece, dunk, gulp and repeat.
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While I was browsing through Rick Stein’s “From Turkey to Istanbul” for a vegetarian accompaniment for the Turkish Spiced Pilaf I posted earlier, I stumbled upon this Beetroot Dip. One look at it and I found myself ticking across all my needed checkboxes. Yogurt based (Its an Indian thing I guess to have a yogurt based side with rice) ~ check. Mildly spiced (since my pilaf had a fair share of spice ) ~ check. Something I had not tried before
- Yogurt based (Its an Indian thing I guess to have a yogurt based side with rice) ~ check.
- Mildly spiced (since my pilaf had a fair share of spice ) ~ check.
- Something I had not tried before ~ check.
- Had beetroot ( I
am not was not very fond of beet ) ~ check check check!!
So, in my humble opinion, this dip was a perfect accompaniment to my pilaf. Of course, you can also serve it as a side with any spicy mains, including Indian ones, because this resembles the Indian Raita a lot. The minor difference being, the raita derives its mild pungency through mustard while this dip gets the same through the dill leaves.
- 1 medium beetroot, peeled and grated, ( you may parboil/steam it, but I choose to leave it raw and grate it fine to preserve maximum nutrients),
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced/grated
- 1/2 to 1 cup of thick curd / yogurt (unsweetened), if the curd is too thin, strain it or hang for an hour or two,
- 2 tbsp of dill leaves, finely chopped,
- 2 tbsp of mint, finely chopped, + a few sprigs for garnish,
- 2 tbsp of olive oil,
- salt to taste,
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a bowl, take the curd/yogurt, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk it to a smooth consistency.
- Add the grated beet, dill and mint leaves and mix well.
- Serve with warm Pitas or chips in the mezze or as a side with any of the spicy mains.
- Just like the pilaf, use dill leaves with caution.
- If you are serving it later, do not add salt ahead of time. Mix everything else and let the flavors develop. Season only before you are ready to serve.