Posted in Indian Curries, Kitchen 101, Recipes

Paneer Bhurji – Soft creamy paneer scrambled with spices!

For me, there are two kinds of Paneer, the one I make routinely, dryish not so spicy or indulgent. And then there is another Bhurji which is a rare phenomenon, once in a while Bhurji Pav occasion of celebration. I know that most people associate rainy nights with Fried food, Bhajiya and Bajjis and the sorts. But on the kind of nights when it rains as if there will be no tomorrow, when the pitter…patter…drippp…droop.. glupp symphony is accompanied by an occasional thunder, something reminds of this Paneer Bhurji. When street creatures huddle – half wet, half dry and fully miserable – under whatever they can find, I crave this. Those souls, for whom the streets are both their workplace and the place they crash in after a long day, use tarp to shelter themselves, the kind ones cuddle their street pets with them. The unlucky strays crouch under whatever dry shelter they can manage. On nights like these, you groan at your smartphone because, either the Ola Uber and their ilk have very few cabs running on the roads. Or because Swiggy tells you that due to bad weather conditions, their executives cannot service your area. But if you go back to times before Ola, Uber and Swiggy made us to painfully dependent and stripped us of the small joys of life, every street corner in the Metros had a Bhurji cart dimg brisk business. It was mostly Egg Bhurji, but one particular cart I knew also served Paneer Bhurji, as concession to those who are “Vegetarian in Tuesdays and Fridays” and their kin. In any case, the assembly, apparatus and ambience remained the same. A huge iron tava perched atop a kerosene stove, continously heating, has almost hypnotic powers. The troika of sight, smell and sound work harmoniously to warm your insides and draw you closer to the cart. Pretty much every Bhurji that takes birth on that Tava looks similar. Beautiful ruby red colour, a free flowing smooth consistency and the broth speckled with scrambled eggs, or scambled paneer. It is deftly swiped with a flat spatula on a plate, two fluffy pav are swirled around in some butter and leftover masala and placed next to the pooled Bhurji, almost taking a dip into the pool. Some sliced onions, a miserable wedge of a lemon but who is complaining. I am already won over by the aroma. Recipe for the Bhurji is now up on the blog! 💕

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

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Posted in Dips, Raitas and Sides, Kitchen 101, Recipes, Traditional Gujarati Recipes

Ghee Gaud / Ghee Gol – and some happy memories of a Gujarati childhood!

ઘી ગોળ | Ghee Gol or Ghee Gaud is Jaggery mashed with Ghee until smooth, shiny and silky. Since the last time I shared it in one of my meals, it has had quite a few requests. So I decided to get it up on the blog asap.
If I were to be absolutely candid, I am a tad bit hesitant and awkward as I type this. Because never in my mind ( or in any true blue Gujarati’s mind ) does it occur that Ghee Gol needs a separate post. It is like making instant noodles , it is easier than making instant noodles. It is a no brainer that it is more wholesome than instant noodles / ramen bowls. But for us Gujarati kids, ( ‘kids’ part is purely metaphorical, I am old 🤣) , it is more close to our hearts than one can imagine because it is one of those very very early solid foods we eat. Mostly used variety is the Desi variety, deep brown to amber in colour. But sometimes the light, honey coloured beauty called Kolhapuri jaggery / Chikki wala Gud would appear too. Once our milk teeth sprout, our primary introduction to sweetness other than fruits is jaggery. As we grew older, it became our energy / granola bar when rolled into a fulka/chapati/rotlo leftover from lunch, just before we skip out of our homes to play. After that, Ghee Gol blends into the cacophony of adulthood. Never quite disappearing out of our diets, but never do our minds acknowledge it. It makes guest appearances at Uttarayan in Chikkis or in Golpapdi when we are traveling. It doesn’t matter if the travel is 2 days long or 20. Most Gujaratis have a dabba of Golpapdi stashed somewhere. We exhibit our Theplas in full glory but hoard our Golpapdi surreptitiously, rationing the supplies to make it last longer! And then when we grow older, we indulge in nostalgia like I am doing. I could go on without making any more sense so I will stop. There is a richness in jaggery’s sweetness that makes one feel warm, fuzzy & cosy. The recipe starts & ends in the name itself. But then I felt may be, it is uncharted waters for people who are unfamiliar with Gujarati food. So here it is. Adding the process below.

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

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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 Kitchen 101, Recipes

Stuffed Parantha Masala!

Finally getting around to updating this recipe on the blog. I tried this recipe on a dear dear friend Anuja’s, recommendation and loved the fresh flavour it brought to my paranthas. A few pointers before you try this recipe. This is not meant to be radically different from YOUR way of seasoning the parantha filling. If you @ me in your comments cooing “Oh but I do it this exact way all the time! ” with an implied “There is nothing new here!”  then well, I am sincerely delighted for you ( no sarcasm here ) but FAIR warning, I am going to ignore your comment. You might as well stop reading further right now, right away. I don’t mean to claim that this is the best seasoning in the world, nor is it revolutionary. I liked something and I am sharing this for the interest of people who showed interest and who were up for trying out something new for fun, not for people who want to make it a competition about whose masala is better. It is only for folks who are curious. You might already be using 80% of the ingredients I mention here. With that out of way, I will get to the good things. I added this to a potato stir fry I made and it tasted excellent, a fresh flavour to my good, but always tasting the same Aloo ki Sabzi. I have a gut feeling, it will taste great on roasted veggies too. I have tried to recreate/reverse engineer this using the list of ingredients I read on the pack of a store-bought Parantha Masala from MDH. I haven’t used all the ingredients mentioned on the pack though, because I like to use things like ginger garlic in its fresh form. I will share more of my experiments with it on Instagram! Cheers!

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Posted in Breakfast, Dips, Raitas and Sides, Kitchen 101, Recipes

Brahmins Coffee Bar Style Coconut Chutney – you know Bengaluru has grown onto you! <3

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.

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

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Posted in Kitchen 101, Recipes

Karivepillai / Karivepaaku Podi or Curry Leaf Podi!

Before I get into the details of what went into this Podi, I will do a short rant on what are Podis. If you are a native of Southern India or have lived there for a reasonable period of time, you would definitely be familiar with this, if not already crazily fond of this the way I am. Podi is a dry spice mix frequently used as a condiment over steamed rice, dosas, and idlis. There are numerous variants of this beautiful fragrant spice mix and infinite variations in the recipes, but basically, Podi consists any combination of dry roasted lentils, peanuts, red chilli powder and aromatic spices like coriander seeds, cumin, mustard seeds and asafoetida. Since it is dry roasted and ground, it stays unspoilt of a reasonable amount of time and hence is a preferred accompaniment to idlis and dosas while travelling.

The variant that I made last night has curry leaves as the base ingredient. Now, I am neither qualified nor knowledgeable enough to rant about the nutritional values of curry leaves, but a quick google search will tell you all that you want to know. Or, if you are lazy like me, just think of a few generic words like antioxidants, rich in iron, good for hair, skin and nails, etc. I think you get the gist. Also, this recipe solved a logistics issue for me. Now, anyone who stocks a basic Indian pantry will know how difficult it is to preserve these fragrant leaves beyond a certain period of time. And so, this recipe was God send. Okay, Kindle sent, technically speaking, but yes, essentially I mean I found at just at the right time.

 

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Posted in Breakfast, Kitchen 101, Recipes

Ragi Idli ~ A lil bit of healthy stuff!

Trying out new fruits, vegetables and grains is one of my new fascinations. So, I decided to try out Ragi, also know as Finger Millets. Millets are way more nutritious compared to wheat and polished rice, so I thought why not try it out! I am citing this off internet after a quick Google search but some of its health benefits are:

  • Aids weight loss ( Well, who doesn’t want that! )
  • Is rich in Calcium and Iron ( I can definitely do with some of that stuff )
  • Is a good source of Tryptophan, which is a relaxant ( Ha ha, welcome any weekday/working day )
  • Is a decent source of proteins and fibre ( bring em on!)

Enough of reasons, lets get to making it!

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Posted in Breakfast, Kitchen 101

Idli Batter / Idli Maavu and How to make plain Idlis – Trust me this is a lifesaver, err… or atleast breakfast saver!

Every since I have made this switch to eating a freshly cooked breakfast instead of something out of a packet (read cereals, cookies, rusk, toast), planning meals is a bigger challenge. Well, I am not 100% successful, but there is a huge difference in my eating pattern, more than enough to motivate me to stay on track.

Continue reading “Idli Batter / Idli Maavu and How to make plain Idlis – Trust me this is a lifesaver, err… or atleast breakfast saver!”