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Showing posts from September, 2014

A week of stir fries - Sweet corn sundal

And before you know it, Navratri is almost over. Just 2 more days (or three, if you want to include the 10th day Vijaya Dashami) of celebrations, after which the festival season is officially open. The next three days are the most significant of Navratri. Ashtami (8th day) is regarded as especially auspicious, especially in the Eastern Indian states such as West Bengal. The last day of the festival, the ninth is regarded as a rest day when all implements & tools of the trade are worshiped as Saraswathy, the goddess of wisdom & knowledge. This was a favorite day for us as kids. It was one day when parents would actually tell us to skip studying!
The last day is known as Vijaya Dashami (Vijaya means victory in Sanskrit), and is regarded as a favorable day to commence any new endeavor in life, be it music / dance lessons, or a new business, basically anything new endeavor in life.. Kind of puts a positive spin to life doesn't it

Although religious in spirit, the extended fes…

6 down, 3 to go - The 'Nutrino' effect

Sometimes the wackiest ideas flashing through your brain from one ear to the other, at the speed of light can yield the tastiest dishes. I think I shall name this principle the 'Nutrino'  effect ( & yes, there is no 'e' in Nutrino). Sometimes, they leave an exciting chain reaction that spurs culinary creativity, and as a bonus, the creativity includes a nutritious component as well!


Remember when I had suggested a couple of posts ago about the possibility of using lentils for a sweet dessert? Well, it worked, and perfectly. Glistening caviar like Beluga lentils, sauteed in ghee & Jaggery and spiced with cardamom.

Sweet Beluga Lentil Sundal

1 cup Beluga lentils
1 cup powdered Jaggery / Panela
2 tablespoons ghee
~ 1/2 teaspoon powdered cardamom
1/4 cup cashew pieces
2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Rinse the beluga lentil and set to boil with adequate water. In about 15 - 20 minutes they should be cooked but will still maintain their near spherical shape. Drain th…

Day 5 - Half way through with an iconic beach snack!

Its already half way though the festival season and I see plenty of posts on Facebook about how sacrilegious it is that people still cannot give up their craving for meat during these holy days. A couple of years ago, I would have been tempted to agree although I would never openly say so. Turns out that the scriptures spell out something quite different.
The Mother Goddess  is a manifestation of nature which changes with the seasons. In Spring, she is Gauri, the gentle maternal figure who nourishes and coaxes life to bloom. In autumn, once the sun begins its journey south, the harvest and consequent destruction of the crops begin in order to hoard and save grains for the cold months of winter ahead. In order to successfully prepare for the monts of possible hardship, it was crucial for early man to fortify himself with energy giving proteins in the form of meat. And that was the bounty that  was provided for him and hence offered to the Almighty as a thanksgiving.
 With the advance of…

Day 4 and time for a stir fried dessert!

Stir fried desserts..Now that's something you don't hear of very often, No, I do not plan to subject anyone to lentils served up as a dessert, (Although the concept is worth contemplating about.. Is it not?)
Adzuki beans are used in making bean cakes in oriental cuisines and its a natural ingredient to be paired with sweeteners. This is a traditional South Indian recipe which usually employs black eyed peas. I happened to have a bag of the adzuki beans at home and as is to be expected, I tend to favor the ingredient less used.

Adzuki Bean Sweet Sundal

You need:

1 cup dry Adzuki beans soaked for about least 2 hours
3 tablespoons ghee
1/4 cup cashews broken into bits.
3-4 pods cardamoms, seeds  crushed
1 cup powdered Jaggery / Panela or 3/4 cups dark brown sugar.
1/3 cup fresh frozen shredded coconut

Cook the hydrated adzuki beans in adequate water until they can be squished easilywhen pressed between the thumb and finger.
Heat the ghee in a skillet and add the cashews. Fry until…

Day 3 of stir frying - French Green / Puy lentil stir Fry

I will notch it up to mere coincidence, although the cheery optimist in me is already trying to draw inferences and 'sign's. I'm sitting here typing away and watching THE movie that got me started blogging. Julie and Julia. 

Earlier this morning I had a moment of serendipity that may have been staring at me all along for the past 3 years. In my face, yet eluding me, thanks to the never disappearing pile of pure knick-knacks that kept piling up on top of my dryer in the laundry room. You see, the main grip I had about my kitchen is also its best feature - huge skylights that keep in bathed in glorious sunlight while pottering around in the kitchen. But all those photons did not provide for the best lighting when it came to clicking photographs, especially in summer. In contrast, my laundry room has a window with diffused sunlight that streams though at a perfect angle.. Here's to hoping that I can take fill advantage.


Back to Julie & Julia - I'm going through a ph…

Navratri - Day 2 of stir fries, simple and absolutely sunny! - Mung Dal stir fry.

This particular flavor of the sundal stir fries series is simultaneously the easiest and the trickiest one to make. Easy because it requires no boiling of the dal, and tricky because even the slightest over cooking results in a mushy consistency.

dehusked split mung has a crunchy texture when soaked for about an hour and I love adding this to salads especially those that are heavy on the soft produce. and the added advantage that it cooks down quickly enough to lose its green vegetal flavor makes this particular sundal the quickest in the list of nine. Since I opted not to add any shredded coconut, I tempered the mustard seed in EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil) for the added flavor.

Mung Dal Sundal:

You need:
1 cup dehusked splut mung dal, soaked for about an hour
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard
1 - 2 dried arbol chile, broken into pieces
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch asafetida
1 sprig curry leaves
salt to taste
wedges of lime for drizzling over

Heat the oil in a skil…

Nine days of battling Evil and nine lentil & legume 'sundals'.

The next 9 days starting from today are dedicated to fighting the forces of evil. The actual 'fighting' will be left to goddess Durga, I'll just worship this awe inspiring mother figure with the best possible 'prasad' I can make.

Have I ever mentioned that a number of the goddesses in the Hindu pantheon are supposed to be worshiped with meat? And that the 'meat' has simply been substituted cleverly with protein rich offering thanks to the waves of the Ahimsa (non-violence) movement that was introduced by the Buddha to counter the spate of butchery of animals in the  ritualistic sacrifice?

Navratri (the festival of Nine Nights) commences the string of festivals that are celebrated when the sun makes its southward journey and winter sets in (in the Northern hemisphere). From a mythological POV, this signifies the turning of the tide to the 'dark' forces, the plants shedding their leaves and going into a non productive mode, of fruits dropping off the…

Surviving a Laze Attack and a recipe for Tahini eggplant.

I KNEW there was a reason why I had a tinge of reluctance when I set out for my holiday to India. I was, after all going full steam ahead with my daily blog, I had a set of 6 -8 recipes that I had on hand as a spare and a whole hives worth of ideas buzzing in my head. But at the back of my head I knew that the holiday would set me into a state of extended lethargy that would be extremely difficult to shake off. When it came to writing up a blog post, or making dishes or even uploading my photographs from my camera to the computer, my system would go into a slow down / get distracted by other mundane stuff mode. Net result.. I've yet to publish my post on the amazing experience I had at the Indian Food Bloggers meet almost 2 months ago. Go figure!
If I stuck to my initial decision of posting my recipes in the order that I've made them for the past month, I'd probably never get started, so here goes. I plan to start the blogging process and then get back to completing and p…

Dishes from my other blog - Quinoa and Beluga Lentil Salad (Day 251)

Its been quite a while since I even opened up the blog, While I returned from my summer vacation 2 weeks back, turns out my mojo & motivation was happily following Newtons 1st law! Well, better late than never I say!

Trying to minimize white rice from the daily diet is harder than one thinks. For one, the pearly whites are so accessible and the devious temptation in the form of shorter cooking times is often hard to resist. But its well worth the effort to make a hearty protein rich dish like this quinoa and Beluga lentil salad. Yes it does take some time (~15 minutes) to cook the lentils and quinoa separately, but those minutes are well spent prepping the vegetables that are tossed in almost equal volume.

You need:
2 cup cooked Quinoa (I used a blend of tri colored quinoa)
2 cup cooked whole Beluga lentils (or whole plain Masoor dal)
1 diced Zucchini (I ran it through a spiralizer and made them into a spagetti
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 large tomato finely chopped
1 small b…