Friday, March 26, 2010

Instant Lemon/Lime Pickle

(Instant Lime Pickle in Marathi)

Everyone has at least one pickle that they like. My favorite is God Keri, sweet mango pickle with lots of masala. It takes very long time to make that one., for that matter all the pickles are time consuming to make. And to top it off, not all the pickles can be eaten immediately after they are made. I remember my mom making the pickles in summer. My brother and I would go with her to pick up nice crunchy and most sour mangoes from market. Then that night she will soak them in the water for 10-15 minutes and scrub, wash and dry and let them completely dry until morning . Then next day she will make the masala, make the tadaka and start cutting the mangoes. She would take only the raw mangoes. Then mix masala and tadaka and fill the cleaned, dried glass bottles. Cover it tightly and not let anyone touch it until its ready to eat, in about 2 months. Chili pickle, Lime pickles also had similar deal. It used to be very time consuming way of making these pickles. My brother and I both like her sweet lime pickle. She cooks the lime pieces, sugar, salt and chili powder. This kind of pickle can be eaten within a week or so. But then she recently found out about another pickle that can be eaten immediately and also can be stored for year. Here is her recipe -

Instant Lime Pickle

1 Lime
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Red Chili Powder

Preparation -
Wash and dry the lime.
Cut in few pieces, remove seeds if any.
Put everything in wet grinder and grind to paste.
Pickle is ready.

Tips -
  1. This can be eaten for religious fasts.
  2. You can add 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder.
  3. This stays out of fridge for long time if stored in airtight container.
  4. I like it little coarsely ground but it tastes little bitter. If you don't like bitter taste, grid to fine paste.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrating Three Years of Blogging With Gavhacha Cheek

Today we are celebrating Gudhi Padava. It marks a new year and new beginning. Its more joyous occasion for me as today I complete 3 years of food blogging. Lot of things have changed since I started blogging. I started with writing in Marathi and later changed to both Marathi and English and now completely switched to English. Writing in Marathi comes easily to me while writing in English gives me opportunity to share traditional Marathi recipes with all my non Marathi friends. Will I start writing in Marathi again? May be! But today lets concentrate on bloggiversary And is there a better way of celebrating the journey than sharing a traditional recipe?

Summer vacations were great fun back when I was in school. Going to different kinds of camps was not an option, at least in the town I grew up in. There was no TV so main entertainment used to be either reading, painting or playing outside. Playing outside in hot sunny day was not an option because mom would call us back as soon as we stepped out. Pappa got me my own library card and I read couple of books per day. I would paint as much as I could.

Another thing that I remember was mom and her friends making papads, kurdai, potato wafers, sandage for the whole year. Those few days were most memorable as we would get to eat things that we would not get the whole year. All these batters, doughs are the most tasty things you could ever eat and then came half dried papads, kurdais and sandage were even more tastier.

The process to make these delicacies is usually very time consuming and labor intensive. Moms would do it years after years with their busy schedules. My mom stopped making most of it recently when me and my brother left homes for further studies.

I was chatting about all these things to my sister-in-law in my past India visit and how I miss it etc. She immediately soaked wheat to make this cheek just for me. As I said earlier it is labor intensive to make all these things. But I couldn't stop her. She is one enthusiastic girl I know. After 3 days of soaking, then grinding, straining and cooking slowly the cheek was ready to eat. Here she is, making the cheek -

Kuradaya raw and fried

In my recent visit to Whole Foods, I got wheat berries and immediately got it home. As you guessed, I made nice saturday morning breakfast out of it. Here is how --

Gavhacha Cheek

1 c whole wheat berries
water as needed
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
salt per taste

Preparation -

Pick over and wash the wheat berries. Soak them in about 2-3 cups of water. Cover and set aside. Next day change the water. The berries will be plumper than the day before. Again change water on 3rd day.
On fourth day, drain and rinse soaked wheat. Add them to food processor bowl. Grind coarsely, adding little water at a time.

Now with large strainer, strain the whole thing squeezing as much starch as possible. Repeat the procedure until there in no starch left in the wheat. You can use as much water as you want to get the starch out of wheat. Throw away the remaining wheat bran. I put it in my compost bin.

Let the starchy liquid rest for at least 5-6 hours. Then slowly drain water from the starch. Throw away that drained water.

Now measure the starch that is at the bottom of the vessel. If you have 1 cup of starch, start boiling 1 cup of fresh water. Add poppy seeds and salt per taste.
Slowly pour the starch in boiling water stirring constantly.
On a low to medium flame start cooking and stirring constantly. In few minutes the whole mixture will start forming lumps. Keep on stirring.
In about 2-3 minutes whole thing will form a big lump and it will start becoming translucent. Keep stirring for couple more minutes and then cover it, lower the flame and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
Mix it together the last time and serve with peanuts, oil and sesame seeds. It tastes better when its warm but I can eat it at any temperature!

It was a journey through memory lane for me and I hope it is for you too.

Tips -
  1. My mom told me, instead of adding starch to boiling water, mix water to starch and mix well and start cooking together to avoid lumps.
  2. It tastes great with milk and bit sugar as well.
  3. Now a days you get the dried starch in packages in Pune/Mumbai. It makes life easier :)
  4. if you are planning to make kurdaya, use shev press with piping hot cheek to get nice and white kurdaya after drying in sun for at least 3-4 days.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Blog Bites #1: Mixed Beans in Pressure Cooker

One of our friend, lets call her 'A', is very famous for her funny cooker stories in our friend circle. She has about 5 cookers in her kitchen but only one works (at least it did when I last spoke to her). One doesn't have gasket working, other two don't have safety valves. She forgot to add water in one and other was on stove for very long time. Fourth one is old and I am not sure what is wrong with it. All these four cookers are of different sizes and are made by four different pressure cooker companies in India. Recently one of our friend 'V' was visiting India and A asked her to get some gaskets and some valves. And on the second thought she actually asked her cousin to drop it off at V's house to save her a trip to store. Cousin left with a big package and V thought it might have some goodies like bakarwadi, pedhas etc. V had to open the package up as she couldn't fit that in her bag. All she found was various sizes of gasket, various valves, various whistles and every spare part various cookers might need! We laughed like crazy when we got together after that. And A was the first one to crack the jokes about her own cookers!

On the other hand, I did not want to carry big cooker from India so I bought Hawkins Futura from local Indian store. That cooker is with me from past few years. I typically use it once or twice a week. I have another small pressure cooker that one of my friend gave me when she left for India. I use that to cook things in it directly as it is nice and small.


As soon as I saw Nupur's new event called 'Blog Bites: Pressure Cooker', I knew which recipe I wanted to submit. Last year Manisha posted this quick 'pressure cooker daal' for holi and I have been making vegan version of it. Recently I bought 16 beans soup mix on a recommendation of a friend. And wanted to try something Indian too with the mix. Manisha's quick daal recipe was a perfect choice for it. All I changed was use oil instead of ghee and use mixed beans instead of whole moong. As moong cooks very quickly two whistles are enough but with beans kine cranberry beans, fava beans, I had to make four whistles. As anyone can guess, results were amazing. So here is Manisha's recipe with my changes.


1 cup from 16 Bean Soup Mix
2 Medium sized Tomatoes
1 Medium Onion
1 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 red chili broken into pieces
2 green chilies,
3 cloves
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1" Cinnamon
2 tbsp Oil
a small pinch asafoetida
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
1/2 tsp red chili powder
salt per taste

Procedure -
Follow Manisha's recipe as is. Just make four whistles.
I served with cooked quinoa and chapatis as well.

This nice a creamy concoction is on its way to Nupur's 'Blog Bites #1: Cookers'

Tips -
  1. I had this daal for two days. I enjoyed left over version than the fresh.
  2. I think the spice mix works very well with all the beans in the mix.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Jire Khobaryachi Amati

... Amati with Coconut and Cumin.

It couple of years ago on a weekday afternoon, I had to go to DMV for drivers licence renewal or something of that sort. Even with proper appointment I had to wait in line for couple of hours and by the time I was done, I was hungry! I did not even get time to eat lunch before I left for the appointment. My friend S lives close to DMV and knew about my DMV visit. She called me to have lunch with her just few minutes before I was done. She had prepared simple Amati-bhaat for quick lunch before I head back to office. That was one amazing amati served with piping hot rice (and no ghee, I should mention). It was most satisfying meal I had in a long time.

Sometime later that year, my friend N and I had gone for a Gulam Ali and Talat Aziz's gazal concert. The concert got over late and we wanted to have dinner together. But we both did not want to eat out either. Her father in law was with us and he preferred eating home that day. N again made the same amati and we had it with rice and chapati both. I have been making this since then. I got recipes from both. They were very similar. I made my own changes to suit my taste and here it is, simple daily staple with coconut and cumin seeds.

3/4 cup of mixed daals (I added toor daal, mung daal, masoor daal)
3 tbsp dry coconut
3 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp jaggery
Salt per taste
Red chili powder for taste
For tempering - mustard seeds, hing, 5-6 curry leaves, pinch of turmeric powder

Preparation -
Pick over and wash the daals together. Pressure cook with 2 cups of water till soft.
Dry roast cumin seeds and set aside. Also dry roast coconut and set aside.
Let it cool and grind together. Cumin seeds should be coarsely ground.
Heat oil in a vessel, add mustard seeds let them splutter. Add curry leaves, hing, turmeric powder. Let it sizzle for a minute. Phodani is ready.
Mash cooked daal and pour it in phodani. Add water to make it thin. I usually use about little more than a cup of water for the amount of daal. Mix well.
Add coconut-cumin mix, salt, red chili powder, tamarind pulp, jaggery and let it boil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Garnish it with chopped cilantro and serve with cooked quinoa or brown rice.

Tips -
  1. You can use Urad daal if you wish in the daal mix but I prefer without it.
  2. I use chilkevali mung daal as I love that texture.
  3. Another friend of mine use the same method to make Chavalichi (black eyed peas) usal and that tastes great too.

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