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Guest Post for Sailu's Kitchen: Khandeshi Cuisine

Sailaja of Sailu's Kitchen is one of the most popular blogger out there. I am sure you all are fans of her ever popular series Indian Food Trail just like me! She has showcased the everyday Indian cuisine from various regions of India.

She reached out to me to write about Khandeshi Cuisine for this series. I was very excited and nervous at the same time as its not easy to fill in the shoes of bloggers like Nupur, Meera, Sandeepa and others.   But with encouragement from some friends and Sailu herself,  decided to write. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Please hop over to Sailu's Kitchen to read about Khandeshi Cuisine.

Kanda Bhajji - Onion Fritters

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(Link to Marathi Recipe)

College life reminds me of the great pleasures for Tapari Chai and Kanda Bhaji. Most of the college campuses in those days had similar look and feel to it. Main gate and lots of small shops called Taparis along he college fence. You could smell the deep fried goodies like Kanda bhaji, Batata Vada around 4pm. That was the time when students and professors would go to get the daily dose of afternoon tea. These shops had limited menu. Morning they would serve tea, coffee, pohe, upama, cream roles, Parle G biscuits. Some would make fresh omelets per order.  Sabudana khichdi served on some religious fasting days and that's about it! Tea was served through out the day, mostly by adding more tea-sugar-milk-water to the same old concoction! If someone is too keen to get the fresh batch, they had to special order and wait until its made. Stores usually run by the owner and a helper and every patron got they asked for without writing the order and in the most chaot…

Happy Diwali!

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As kids me and my brother were more interested in firecrackers than anything. I remember we used to divide the firecrackers in exactly half. No one should get even a single cracker more than the other! But that did not last very long, we both outgrew the fun of firecrackers at much earlier age. We would but just few fulbaji/fuljhadi, few anaars and few bhoo chakra and that is about it. We used that money on good books. Now a days, for me Diwali is all about food and decorating. Rangoli, Toran, and nicely decorated Diyas makes it more special for me.

Here are some traditional treats for Diwali -




Karanji
Chirote
Chakali

Gul-Papadichya Vadya

Seven Cup Barfi

Orange Coconut Barfi 

Khajur Ni Ghari / Edible Sombreros 

Chivada

Bhadang

Sev / Shev
Wish you all a very Happy Diwali!


Khandesh Special: Daal Batti Or Daal Bafale

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In old days, people traveled from one town to other by bullock carts and sometimes for days! And they traveled light, with minimum belongings with them. Women of the house would carry enough things to eat for everyone for a day or two. If you were going to travel more, then they carried wheat flour, toor daal, some chili powder & salt, couple of plates, couple of big vessels. Hotels and motels were almost impossible to find in smaller towns or villages. If traveling through a bigger town with market and have enough money to spend, then they bought vegetables etc. If not, then cook with whatever is available.

Daal Batti is one such dish that was prepared mainly on such long journeys. It is very similar to the Daal-Baati of Rajasthan but still different. My father-in-law narrates the whole process of making this Khandesh special dish very well. This is just an attempt to write all the details in a post.

A ditch of size 3'x3'x10" is made in the ground by digging evenly.…

Diwali Special: Karanji

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(Link to Marathi Recipe)

Karanji in Marathi
Gujiya in Hindi
Karajikayi in Kannada


Karanji comes under 'must have' for us Maharashtrians for Diwali! Diwali faral is incomplete without these crescent shaped delicacy. My mom makes karanjis and Chirote on Dhanatrayodashi day. She makes these with few different fillings and those fillings are usually made 3-4 days ahead of time making things bit easy on the day. Here are the fillings she usually makes -
Fresh Coconut + Sugar + Poppy Seeds Dry coconut + Fine Semolina + Powdered Sugar + Poppy SeedsWheat Flour + Dry Coconut + Sesame Seeds + Poppy Seeds + Fine Semolina Khawa/Khoya + Sugar + Fresh CoconutKhowa/Khoya + Gulkand  Making Karanjis is more or less whole day affair and it is very labor intensive. It is labor of love for sure! You forget everything when these beauties melt in your mouth at first bite. I made detailed video of the whole process to make baked karanjis, only issue you might face with that is the voice over in Marathi…

Coffee Break: Instant Coffee with Touch of Nutmeg!

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(Link to original Marathi post

My mom makes excellent traditional style coffee, the kind you boil coffee, milk, sugar, nutmeg on stovetop. All her friends and siblings 'demand' it when they visit us. My Mama's house is about 10km away from my home in our town and my Mama's used to bike to our home almost every Tuesdays as that was their day off. And as soon as they arrive they would ask my mom to make a cup of coffee for them. One day I asked her to buy Nescafe for me, I think we used to get it even before that but I don't remember much. 

Another memory comes to my mind when I start thinking instant coffee. I had gone to one of our acquaintance's home (this was before the 'Telephone Era'). She offered me cup of coffee - 1 tiny cup of milk+1 heaped spoon of Sugar (there is a special spoon that you would get back then called as 'sugar spoon', shaped like clubs in playing cards) + 1/8 or so tsp of coffee! What a concoction! If you want someone to g…

Raw Tomato Bhaji with Peanuts

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(Link to Marathi recipe)

Raw tomatoes make regular appearance in Maharashtrian food. Raw tomato(often known as green tomatoes in Maharashtra) chutney is my most favorite. Simple sandwich tastes so tasteful with that chutney. Another favorite sabji/bhaji of mine is very similar to this one ET shared few years ago. The recipe I am going to share today is from Khandesh. I learnt to make it from my husband. I never tweaked it except adding less oil than him. My mother-in-law makes it the best and she makes sure to make it for us when we visit India.
Raw tomatoes to show up in the farmers markets in my area during tomato season. I usually plant couple of tomato plants in summer so I get staple supply of these beauties through out the summer.



Here is the simple recipe of Khandesh style raw tomato bhaji -

2-3 Medium to Large Raw Green Tomatoes
1/3 cup Toor Daal
1/4 cup Peanuts
5-6 Bird Chilies (or per taste)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 cup Cilantro - Ch…

Minimalist Caponata

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Produce of the day from vegetable patch:  2 small eggplants, 2 small red bell peppers, couple of green chilies, 25-30 cherry tomatoes, 1 fresh cucumber  
Choice of fresh herbs from the garden: Thyme, basil or rosemary  
Email exchange between friends: Caponata recipe  
Dinner for the evening: Fusilli with minimalistic caponata  

I usually grow some summer vegetables. This summer I planted my veggies very late so yield is not that great so far but not bad either. I water the plants after I come back from office and check produce of the day. I have been getting almost one cucumber everyday. Quick salad, cucumbers in water, sharing with some friends and this amazing cucumber cake is what I have tried so far. I also get few cherry tomatoes everyday. Sometimes we just snack on them, sometimes we collect few to make bruschetta. Eggplants and bell peppers are rare commodity so as soon as I have few I try to use it up in something special.We friends exchanged some notes about Caponata so it was …

बिबडे - खानदेशी ज्वारीचे पापड (BibaDe)

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उन्हाळ्याची वाळवणे करायची म्हणजे काय सोपी गोष्ट आहे का महाराजा! कडकडीत उन्हाळ्यात मस्त गरगर फिरणार्‍या पंख्याच्या वार्‍यात गारगार सरबत प्यायचे, आंबे खायचे असले सोडुन असले उद्योग करायचे म्हणजे खाण्याची-करण्याची जबरदस्त आवडच पाहीजे! त्यातुन 'आता काय सगळे विकत मिळते' असल्या जमान्यात तर घरी पापड, कुरवड्या, सांडगे, अमके तमके करणार्‍याचे खरोखर पायच धरायला हवेत!
लहान गावांमधे अजुनही हे उन्हाळकामांचे उद्योग केले जातात. माझी जाऊ अशीच एक उद्योगी प्राणी आहे. खानदेशातल्या तापत्या उन्हात, लोडशेडींगच्या खेळात, पाण्याच्या बेभरवशाच्या कारभारात ती वर्षाचे बिबडे, साबुदाण्याच्या चकल्या, सांडगे असले उद्योग करते. गेल्यावर्षी तिने केलेल्या बिबड्यांच्या काही फोटो काढले, त्याचे हे फोटोफिचर!

बिबडे म्हणजे खानदेशी पद्धतीचे ज्वारीचे पापड. पण ज्वारी दळून आणली आणि पापड केले असा साधा हिशोब नसतो त्याचा!
५ किलो ज्वारीचे बिबडे करावे लागतील यावर्षी अशा साध्या सोप्या वाक्याने सुरु झालेला हा कार्यक्रम पुढे काय काय वळणे घेतो ते पाहू!
आपण असे करू, एकावेळी दोन-अडीच किलोचेच रवण करू!
रवण म्हणजे काय? मला वरण म…

Fresh Black Eyed Peas Usal

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Every year I look forward to summer here as if its my first summer in this country. Farmers markets are one of the most important reason. I just love to see the bounty summer has to offer. In past few years I have shared recipes of simple recipes of various leafy greens and other vegetables like long beanshyacinth beans. Matured long beans yield fresh black eyed peas. As a kid mom used to wash and give these pods to me and bother to eat. We would spend hours peeling these and eating the fresh and tender beans. Here the beans are bigger and much easy to peel than in India.

Mom makes various curries with these but this one is my most favorite. This is very versatile recipe like all her recipes. 

Long bean pods flaunting the tender beans. 
Fresh back eyed peas, ready to be used.
You will need -  2 cups of Fresh Black Eyed Peas 1 Medium Sized Onion 2 tsp Red Chili Powder (or per taste) 1 tsp Garam Masala 2 tbsp Fresh Coconut Small piece of Ginger 2-3 Cloves of Garlic 6-7 Stalks of Cila…

Raw Mango Chutney

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Remember back in India, almost every household had this notion 'No food should be wasted'. Scarcity and lack of availability made it into rule. I grew up with that mind set. My mom still follows it strictly. I have deviated from that a bit and I feel very ashamed when I have to trash things or even compost. My friend's daughter Shreya gets very upset when she can't finish food. Her parent have set a good example for her. She does not like to throw away food and gets very upset when she sees people doing it in restaurants. She asks, "Does this restaurant use compost box, can you please ask that uncle who are serving us?" We all feel proud of her but sometimes it is very difficult to convince her :) Hey, it is us who have created a monster, her mom says :)

Now you might be thinking, what this recipe has to do with throwing away food etc! My grandma never threw food away. I have written about mango trees in her backyard. Grandma would collect all the raw mangoe…

Brown Rice Idlis

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Idli is one of my comfort food. I learned to make it from my mom and we both tweaked the recipes few times to come up with a perfect proportion. But after coming to US, I had hard time grinding it properly and fermenting it. But someone shared a nice trick with me for fermenting the batter - put half onion in the batter and keep the vessel in warm place oven like and you will get nicely fermented idli batter in 10-12 hours in any season. One problem was solved! To solve the problem of grinding, I started using idli rava and grinding everything in food processor. After making idlis successfully for years using this method, I decided to try grinding soaked rice instead of idli rava and that was successful too.

Couple of years ago I got the brown rice bag from store that was awful in taste. I did not want make rice and did not want to throw away the whole bag either. I tried khichadi, I tried making rice and make thalipeeth from cooked rice. Even though that was working out okay but…

Khandeshi Style Eggplant Bhaji

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(Specially made as part of Khandeshi wedding feast)
Original Marathi recipe can be found here
"Shubhamangal Savadhan" - priest is chanting wedding mantras ... for 2 minutes...5 minutes...10 minutes... and finally done in 15 minutes.
As soon as the last mantra is chanted, huge mob of people run towards dinning hall and grab the seat the first seat one gets. Try to reserve few more for your group and wait for the servers to start serving.
This is just a beginning of lunch at a low key wedding in my region ...
As soon as enough people sit down, line of servers start ...

Plate... plate... plate... plate...
Bowl...bowl...bowl...bowl...
Glass...glass...glass...glass...


Every time server sets a plate in front of you he chants plate ... next one as bowl ... next one glass ... as if people will get confused looking at them :).
You check every utensil that is given to you ... clean it with a clean towel you have got in your bag.
As soon as you are done cleaning, next set of people arri…

Pure comfort in a bowl

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Oat Bran Ukad
I love oats, seriously I do. But I get bored of eating same old thing over and over again. I need variety. I have eaten cooked oats with Peanut Chutney, Gunpowder, leftover Amati, leftover tomato chutney, almost everything leftover. After doing that for months, I decided to try something new with oats. I often make oat bran upma on weekends, but I do not want to spend that much time on a busy weekday. But I crave for something nice and warm that has a very familiar taste. My husband just cooks oatbran in boiling water with pinch of salt and enjoy it with lemon pickle. Today's recipe, oatmeal ukad is derived from cooking oat bran in water and traditional Maharashtrian dish called ukad. Ukad is very popular snack item in Konkan region and is extremely simple to make. Traditionally it is made with rice flour and buttermilk. Warm bowl of ukad with mango pickle and papad is comfort food for me. My variation of ukad is also healthy pure comfort in a bowl.


Lets see how I m…

आळण

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मी पाचवी-सहावीत असतानाची एक गंमत आहे. मी मावशीकडे रहायला गेलेले. अचानक मावशी-काकांना दुसर्‍या गावी जावे लागले. दोघी मावसबहीणी आणि मी असे घरी होतो. ताई मोठी होती थोडा पण स्वयंपाक करायची तेव्हा. मला पण थोडेफार काय काय करता येत होते. आम्ही रात्री पिठले भात करायचे असे ठरवले. मस्त पिठले केले गुठळ्या काढायच्या असतात हे आठवत होते. ते अगदी जंग जंग पछाडून केले. पिठले कसे मस्त लाल दिसले पाहिजे कारण मम्मी-मावशी-आज्जी करतात ते पिठले कसे मस्त लालचुटुक होते म्हणून मग आम्ही अजुन रंग नाही आला करत अजुन थोडे अजुन थोडे असे करत तिखट घालत गेलो. शेवटी जाऊदे असे करून सोडुन दिले. तोवर मला वाटते बरेच तिखत घालून झाले होते. भात तयार होताच, लगेच गरम गरम खाऊ म्हणुन ताटे लावून घेतली. पहिला घास घेतला आणि डोळ्यातून टचकन पाणी!! असे सॉलीड तिखट आयुष्यात कधी खाल्ले नव्हते. मग एक घास भात एक घास पाणी असे करत अजुन तीन चार घास पोटात ढकलले. पण पुढे काही ते तोंडात घालवेना. मग मिठाने तिखट कमी होते असे म्हणुन भरपूर मीठ घातले. पण ते समीकरणही काही घश्याखाली जाईना. मग परत पाणी, घास, असे करत करत ताट रिकामे केले. झाकपाक केली आणि गप…

Rhubarb Chutney

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(Link to Marathi Recipe)

Vaishali's recent post about Rhubarb pie reminded me of Rhubarb season. I have to try that heavenly pie soon. Last year ET recommended a nice rhubarb chutney from 'My Bombay Kitchen' even gave me some sample to taste. Once I tasted it with cracker, I had to make it. I got nice fresh bunch from local farmers market and made a batch. It is very simple to make and does not require any special ingredient.We had it with cracker and vegan cream cheese. Also as topping on simple bread toast.

Here is this simple recipe adapted from Niloufer Ichaporia King's My Bombay Kitchen -


1 lb Fresh Rhubarb
1 cup Brown Sugar (or 1/4 kg Jaggery)
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
1-1/5 tsp Red Chili Flakes (or Chili Powder)
1 tbsp Julienne Cut Ginger
4 Cloves
2 2" long Cinnamon Sticks
1-1/5 tsp Salt

Preparation -
Mix everything except Rhubarb in a thick bottom non reactive vessel. Initially just add 1/2 tsp salt. Let it boil on medium heat.
Wash rhubarb tho…

र्‍हुबार्ब चटणी

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English version of this recipe can be found here - http://vadanikavalgheta.blogspot.com/2012/05/rhubarb-chutney.html

ही चटणीची रेसिपी निलोफर इचापोरीया किंग यांच्या '' मधून घेतली आहे. माझ्याकडे उपलब्ध असलेल्या सामानानुसार मी थोडेफार बदल केले आहेत. 
१/२ किलो र्‍हुबार्ब
१/४ किलो गूळ किंवा १ कप ब्राऊन शुगर
१/२ कप साखर
१/२ कप Cider Vinegar
१-१.५ टीस्पून लाल तिखट
२ टेबलस्पून आल्याच्या कापट्या (ज्युलियान कट)
४ लवंगा
२ २" लांब दालचिनीचे तुकडे
चवीप्रमाणे मीठ (१ ते १.५ टीस्पून)



कृती - र्‍हुबार्ब सोडून बाकीचे सगळे एका जड बुडाच्या स्टीलच्या पातेल्यात घ्यावे. आधी फक्त १ टीस्पून मीठ घालावे. मंद आचेवर सगळे एक उकळी यायला ठेवावे. दरम्यान र्‍हुबार्बचे मुळाकडचा आणि पानांचा भाग काढून टाकावा आणि फक्त दांडे घ्यावेत. स्वच्छ धुवुन साधारण १/४ इंची तुकडे करावेत. गरजेप्रमाणे मधोमध उभे कापावे. आता हे उकळत्या मिश्रणात घालावे आणि हलवत रहावे. चटणीत तुकडे मोठे रहावेत असे वाटले तर र्‍हुबार्बचे तुकडे बाजुला काढून पाक आटवावा. साधारण जॅम इतपत घट्ट झाले की र्‍हुबार्ब परत त्यात घालावा. एक उकळी आणली की बंद क…