Monday, April 26, 2010

Kothimbeer Vadi

Look at menu cards of some of the restaurants that do carry some marathi dishes and you will find batata vada, kothimbeer vadi, sabudana vada and may misal. Most of the time the list just ends there. But believe me most of the Maharashtrians do have special memories of all these special treats.
Spring is the perfect time to get nice and fresh cilantro in the the local farmers market. I just love the smell of fresh cilantro. I think it was the first herb I grew as a kid. I still remember all the stages of the little herb. I remember buying 4-5-6 bunches of it on grocery shopping trips. Still this day fresh bunches of cilantro in the farmers markets remind me of my childhood. And when I buy 4-5-6 bunches, I have to make what I like the most - kothimbeer vadi. My mom's recipe is totally different than mine. This one I developed with ingredients I had on hand and the taste I loved. My mom's preparation is very similar to one Nupur has. Now here is how I make mine -

Kothimbeer Vadi
4-5 cups Packed Finely Chopped Cilantro
Small Golf Ball Size Tamarind
Small Golf Ball Size Jaggery
1 tbsp Garlic paste
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
Water as needed

For tempering -
2 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
6-7 Curry Leaves
1/2 tsp each - Cumin seeds, Mustard Seeds, Turmeric
A small Pinch Asafoetida
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Sugar

Preparation -
Soak tamarind ball in little bit of water for 15-20 min. Squeeze all the pulp out.
Mix thalipeeth flour, sesame seeds, garlic paste, tamarind pulp, jaggery and chopped cilantro. Using little water at a time make the dough. Dough should not be very dry or watery.
Heat about one liter water in pressure cooker.
Grease a flat vessel that can fit in the cooker.
Make fist size balls (mutake) and arrange them in the greased vessel. Steam these in pressure cooker without using whistle for 15-20 minutes.
Promptly remove the vessel from cooker and let it the cool completely.
Slice each mutaka in 5-6 pieces.
Now heat oil in heavy bottom pan. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Add curry leaves, turmeric powder, sesame seeds. All the seeds will start spluttering.
Now add sliced vadi and mix it thoroughly. Add red chili powder, and sugar. Let all the masalas cover most of the vadis.
Lower the heat and cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Serve warm.

Ready to eat ...

Tips -
  1. You can use any thalipeeth bhajani and add salt, chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder according to your taste.
  2. You can use fresh fenugreek leaves instead of cilantro.
  3. These vadis can be used in a falafel sandwich instead of falafel balls.
  4. This can be eaten as side dish or as an appetizer.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kolhapur Special Misal

I visited Kolhapur at least 3-4 times a year as a kid. We have a small house in Kolhapur, and my father took care of it on a regular basis. Either me or my brother would accompany him on the trip. Later when I was in college, I spent some summer vacations visiting our relatives in Kolhapur. I remember spending summer vacations playing cards, embroidering, chitchatting with cousins. We also watched hindi movies from time to time. Everyone there has a fast on Sankashti Chaturthi (4th day after full moon) and they wait till the 'chandroday (moon rise?)' to have dinner. And in summer this chandradarshan is invariably late, sometimes even at 10.30pm. So one of the uncle would take whoever was ready to go watch 6pm-9pm movie show! I still remember seeing some Madhuru Dixit movies like this. And then there were trips to Rankala lake to have nice bhutta and/or bhel. We sometimes packed some snacks and ate in Hutatma Park or some other nearby parks.

Every morning ladies of the house would decide on the menu for the day, including breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner. And one particular day would be decided as 'Misal day'. Misal was usually made in the evening but preparations would start in the afternoon with cleaning up sprouts, boiling potatoes, chopping onions etc. We would just watch how it is made and fill up the dishes when it was done. I still remember sitting in the kitchen on black tiled floor with steel plates filled with this delicious misal and enjoying it with nice chitchat.

There are various good misal places in Kolhapur like Kasaba-Bawadyachi misal, Khasbag Misal, Phadtare Misal. But going there with whole family was not always possible so we always preferred homemade misal. Later when I went to stay in hostel then we went to these places once in a while. Here is how it was made back then and I still make -

Assembled Misal - Ready to eat
For Usal -
4 cups Sprouted Mataki (Moth beans)
1 Large Red Onion
2 tbsp Oil
2 tbsp Kanda Lasun Masala (Adjust according to taste)
3-4 cloves Garlic
Salt per taste
For tempering - 5-6 curry leaves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, pinch of asafoetida and 1/2 tsp turmeric
Water as needed

For Kat (or Tarri) -
2 Large Red Onions
1 tsp Byadagi Chili Powder
2-3 tbsp Kanda Lasun Masala
2-3 tbsp Grated Dry Coconut
2-3 tbsp Fresh Coconut (I used frozen)
5-6 cloves Garlic
1 tbsp Grated Ginger
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
3-4 tbsp Oil
Salt per taste
5-6 cups water

Other ingredients needed -
2 medium size boiled potatoes
3-4 cups of hot mixture/farsan mix
fine sev (optional)
1 red onion chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 limes quartered
Bread slices

Usal Preparation -
Pick over and wash the mataki sprouts and set aside.
Finely chop onion.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. Add curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric when cumin-mustard start spluttering. Let it sizzle for a minute. Add smashed garlic and saute for couple of minutes.
Add chopped onion and saute until golden brown. Add washed sprouts and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water, cover and lower the heat. Let it cook partially. Add salt and Kanda-Lasun-Masala. Mix well. Add little more water if needed and let it cook completely.
Adjust seasoning when its completely cooked. Add chopped cilantro.
Usal is ready.

Misalicha Kat

Kat(tarri) Preparation -
While usal is cooking, slice onion and separate the slices. Heat a flat griddle on medium heat. Layer the onion on it. Spray little bit of oil. Let it roast, moving occasionally on lower medium heat. Raw onion smell should all be gone and onion is roasted completely. Add fresh coconut and roast for couple more minutes. Dry roast dried coconut. Grind roasted onion-coconut, dry roasted coconut, ginger and garlic together. Add as little water as possible.
Now heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom utensil and add masala paste. Saute until oil separates. Now add Kanda-Lasun-Masala and saute for couple more minutes. Add water, salt and let it boil on a very low heat. Do not cover the pot.
Now in a small kadhai, heat remaining oil on medium heat. Switch off the gas when oil is hot enough but not smoking hot. Add red chili powder and let it sizzle for a minute. Pour this oil over boiling kat. The oil will float giving nice and bright red color to kat. Slowly add chopped cilantro and switch off the heat.


Assembly -
Take about 2 ladle full of usala in a flat bowl. Add 3-4 chopped pieces of boiled potato. Add 1/4 cup farsan mix and pour 1/2 cup of kat. Sprinkle chopped onion, cilantro. Sprinkle some sev if using. Serve with bread and lime slice. Enjoy it while its hot.

Tips -
  1. Kolhapur Kat Misal does not have tomatoes or kurmure/murmure/pohe.
  2. Stir the kat well before every serving.
  3. Instead of boiling the potatoes separately, you can add it in the usal itself.
  4. Farsan should not be too sweet.
  5. Please do not add sugar/jaggery in either kat or usal.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Blog Bites #2: Gunpowder

Its been years since I ate amazingly tasty gunpowder. I think I must have tasted it at some restaurant and fell in love with hot and sour taste. But it took me a while to know what exactly it was. In early 90's one elderly couple moved in our neighborhood from Pune. Uncle was a priest and used to do different poojas and and aunty was nice homely lady. They were a Kannad speaking couple and as my father speaks Kannada they became our family friends instantly. Uncle and aunty both were really good cooks. Simple sambar, rassam also tasted wonderful when they made it. I tasted best gunpowder ever made by this couple. It tasted great with everything including usual staples like Idli, dosa and curd rice. I loved it sprinkled over toasted bread with dab of butter. They suddenly had to move to another town due to some personal reasons. They gave a big bag of gunpowder before they left. We stayed in touch for few years but it never occurred to me or my mom to take a recipe from him and make it ourselves. It was when I came here, I realized it but by then they had moved somewhere else. I was searching for a good gunpowder recipe since long time and I came across MTR's readymade chutney pudi. It was not the greatest but I could live with that for a while.


I was searching for gunpowder recipes on my favorite search engine, and in the first few results I found this recipe. I knew her as great knitter. Looking at the recipes and food items that she has posted on her blog she is a foodie like me. Her recipe was so great with step by step photos and her mom making it. I didn't need to look any further. I was just waiting to finish my store bought chutney so I can make my own.

All together it took me not more than 20-25 minutes from start to finish and this amazingly tasty chutney was ready for us to enjoy. I made idlis and dosas in the same week to enjoy it. My favorite way to enjoy chutney with nice and soft idlis and little bit of olive oil. It is heaven in your plate.


I did not make any changes to the proportions or ingredients as the original recipe is just perfect. Thanks desikntter for such a wonderful recipe. And I think it is perfect entry for Nupur's Blog bites #2 - Copy Cat edition.

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