Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vaalache Birade

Picture this -  

My uncle is driving in peak Mumbai traffic around 7pm. He has come home earlier to go meet his cousin(my aunt) who has come to Mumbai to attend her friend's wedding. We are traveling from Colaba to some suburb and traffic is as awful as it can get. My cousin and I are constantly chatting in the car. We can see that uncle is tired of sitting in the car after long day. Fast forward 2 hours and we reach at the destination. Uncle takes us in this old looking building. We knock on the door and first thing we notice very tempting smell and that reminds us that its dinner time. Everyone there is busy with pre-wedding preparation. They are about start serving dinner. The lady of the house requests us to stay for dinner, uncle says no. The lady requests again then my uncles agrees and calls home to tell that we will be eating dinner there. A very homely dinner is served. I ask names of lentil dishes and I am told that its called 'Birade'!!! 

That was my first introduction to this delicacy from coastal Maharashtra. I traveled back to my town and described the birade to mummy. Mummy bought Kadave Vaal in the next grocery trip, soaked it one night. Next day she drained it and kept in warm place to sprout. I though it was ready to cook when I saw the beautiful sprouts. But mummy told me we are supposed to peel the beans as it is easy to digest. It takes very long time to peel each bean and takes skill not to divide the bean or break the sprout. An hour later peeled sprouts were ready to cook. Mom made very tasty usal but it was not anywhee close to what I had eaten. My mom kept on making it her way and I started liking it her way.

After coming to US, I got to know three or four ways of making it from my friends. All of them have their own way of making things and I combine all their techniques to make mine.

Kadave Val and Gode Vaal

2 cups Peeled Sprouted Vaal (Its called Dalimbya in Marathi)
1 Onion
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1" Piece of Ginger
2-3 tbsp Oil
1/2 cup Cilantro
2-3 Aamsool/Kokum
1 tbsp Jaggery
2 tsp Malwani Masala
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 pinch Hing (Asafoetida)
2-3 tbsp Freshly Grated Coconut
Turmeric Powder
Warm water as needed


Preparation -

Grind ginger and garlic together.
Wash and drain peeled dalimbya.
Mix with turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Set it aside for 10-15 minutes.
Finely chop onion and cilantro.
Heat oil in heavy bottom kadhai add cumin seeds and hing and let it splutter.
Add vaal mixture and chopped onion.
Saute it until onion becomes translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
Add 2 cups of warm water and let it boil.
Add Malawani masala, coconut, kokum, and jaggery and let it cook properly.
Add chopped cilantro, adjust salt.
Serve warm with rice or chapati.

Biradyachi Khichadi
Tips - 

  • If you do not have Malwani masala, you can grind cumin seeds, couple of cloves, and small piece of cinnamon together. You will have to add red chili powder as well. 
  • I have tried it with Gode Vaal (with white skin) and and that is little less bitter and tastes good as well.
  • If you peeled too many vaal, you can use some to make this Khichadi. 

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I am getting Chocolate Cupcakes For Potluck

Friday coffee night is something we friends have been doing for past three years. It started out as a casual conversation and came to reality. Its a monthly event and we take turns to host. We meet after dinner on a Friday evening and share few good laughs, plan the next outing together. Even though we say its strictly a coffee evening, the host always offers some snack. I made these amazingly tasty and easy to make mini cupcakes from ET's blog which she has adapted from Nicole's recipe, for one of these coffee meetings. I have made it at least a dozen times and it has come out great every time. I can whip it up in 30 minutes, even on a weekday! And get all the ooohs and wows every single time. She uses milk in her recipe but I simply replace it with water. Funny thing is the only time I used soy milk, they came out bit dense. Since then I have gone back to using water. Yesterday I whipped up a batch for a wonderful little guy who loves cakes and cookies but is allergic to milk and doesn't eat eggs. I hope he likes them.

Closer Look

Here is how I made them (Recipe is identical to ET's except I replace milk with water)

3/4 cups All Purpose Flour (I use Chapati Flour)
1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tbsp Instant Coffee Powder (optional)
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3/8 cup Water (bit more if needed)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preparation - 

Line 12 mini muffin pan with paper liners. Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix well flour, coco powder, sugar,  instant coffee powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Sifting all together helps remove lumps if any.
Mix water, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk together for a minute or so.
Add flour mixture and mix well. Make sure there is no dry flour left. Add more water teaspoon at a time.
Spoon the batter in lined muffin cup evenly.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Remove promptly and let them cool on cooling rack.

Coffee and Brownie Cupcakes 
Coffee and Cupcakes

Tips -
  • I always get 14 mini muffins from the given measurements.
  • I have used chapati flour, APF, whole wheat flour and every one of these flours work really great. 
  • I have tried just using 1/4 cup of  turbinado sugar and that works as well.
  • I have multiplied this up to twice and works great. 
Nupur, would you like to have these for Blog Bites 6 - Potluck edition?

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    Monday, August 02, 2010

    Dadape Pohe

    Dadape - weighed down
    Pohe - flattened rice

    One of my friend has really a very green thumb. She grows almost everything and anything!!!! Cabbage, carrots, onions, grapes, fennel, chives and usual suspects like zucchini and tomatoes. Her garden is really inspiring. She had an old wooden play structure in her backyard which had no use for her. They got it down and used it to make big vegetable beds and planted all the vegetables she wanted to her heart's content. She tries to plant whatever is in the season and eat accordingly. She is an amazing cook and uses everything from her backyard in various ways.

    Vegetable Garden

    My vegetable patch has too much gravel and whatever I planted did not yield much. Even though I have huge backyard and lot of empty space to use as my vegetable garden. But this is the patch that I have set my heart to grow the goodies. This year I decided to use my friend's idea to make wooden vegetable beds that can hold good soil. As we did not have any wooden structure to reuse, we decided to buy wooden planks and make the beds. We had to decide type of wood, thickness and width of the wood. She helped us along the way to make the decisions. Finally the beds got ready, we ordered truck full of dirt and hauled it to the backyard! It was extremely labor intensive work but extremely satisfying. We planted methi, cilantro, bell peppers, chard, tomatoes, beans and some more vegetables. Now we are literally reaping fruits of our labor.

    Home grown Veggies

    She is the one who inspired me to take pottery class, to learn painting. She is the one who inspired me to be adventurous with food and now the vegetable garden! D, thank you for everything!

    Here is a simple Maharashtrian snack that I made using some of backyard finds!!!
    Dadape pohe

    2 cups Thin Pohe
    1 small Onion
    2 medium Tomatoes
    2 tbsp Roasted Peanuts
    2-3 tbsp Freshly Grated Coconut (I used frozen)
    Lots of chopped cilantro
    2 tbsp Oil
    3-4 Green Chilies (adjust per taste)
    1 tbsp Jaggery
    Salt per taste
    1/2 Lime
    For tempering - Mustard seeds, Cumin Seeds, Few Curry leaves, Turmeric powder

    Dadape Pohe - 2

    Preparation -
    Pick over thin pohe and keep it in a plate
    Add 2-3 tbsp of water to jaggery to make simple syrup. Squeeze lime juice in the prepared syrup.
    Drizzle this jaggery-lime mix on pohe, add coconut and mix well. Now take a smaller plate and cover this poha mixture. Keep something heavy (I like using 1lb bag of beans) on this assemby and set it aside for 15-20 minutes.
    Meanwhile chop onion, tomatoes, green chilies and cilantro.
    Heat oil in a tempering kadhai. Once hot, add musatard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and turmeric. Let it sizzle for a minute and then add chilies. Add chopped onion in couple of minutes. Now saute the everything for few minutes. Onion should be partially cooked.
    Add Roasted peanutes and saute for couple of minutes.
    Remove cover from pohe and mix salt. chopped tomatoes and cilantro.
    Add the tempering and mix thoroughly.
    Adjust salt if needed and enjoy.

    Tips -
    • Every family has a favorite recipe to make this. My mom uses raw onion but I don't like raw onion taste so I saute it. I learned this trick from one of my aunt.
    • Some use coconut water and lots of fresh coconut to make the pohe softer and just add salt and green chili paste.
    • I know few people use raw onion and chopped cilantro to soften the pohe and just add salt, sugar and red chili powder to finish off the dish.

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