Oriya Dalma

I’ll never be making paruppu (Dal) the same way anymore. In doing this state-wise blogging marathon, I’ve realized that paruppu (dal) features in almost every state but with just a tiny twist here, a little tweak there. And these tiny twists and tweaks do wonderful things to the un-assuming paruppu. The Dalma (adapted from here) is Orissa’s, sorry Odisha’s way of making dal – toor dal cooked with potatoes, eggplants and a dash of ginger and topped with ghee tempered panch phoran. Panch phoran is magical – I absolutely love the 5 of them. Yuvi enjoyed his rice and dalma and that is saying something. Till recently, he’s have his afternoon meal while riding his cycle. I’d wait while he has a bite and then cycles down the road, turns around and cycles back. With the Dalma, he did not dodge me while turning around. When he’s feeling particularly wild or doesn’t like the food, he likes to come near me but swiftly swerve away before I can thrust in the spoon. I’ll definitely be making Dalma again. Odisha is an ancient land, as old as the Mahabharata. It lies on the east coast of India above Andhra Pradesh and below West Bengal. Odiya or Oriya is the language spoken there. There are several wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha that are popular tourist attractions. From what I read Odiya people are dessert lovers – chhenapoda, rasgulla, chhena jheeli, kakara peetha are sweets made in Odisha. The Chhenapoda has been on my to-do list for quite some time now ever since some of my blogging friends posted it. They really aced it. I need to try it too. Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 25 mins Serves: 4 Ingredients Toor Dal – 1 cup Potato – 1 medium, peeled and cubed Eggplant – 2-3 stalks removed and quartered Green chillies – 2 slit lengthwise Ginger paste – 1 tsp Turmeric – ½ tsp Asafoetida – a pinch Salt to taste Ingredients – Spice powder Whole dry red chillies – 4 Cumin seeds – ¾ tsp Ingredients – Tempering Ghee – 2 tbsp Mustard seeds/Kadugu – ½ tsp Cumin seeds/Jeera – ½ tsp Fenugreek/Venthayam – 1/8 tsp Fennel seeds/Sombo/Saunf – 1/4 tsp Nigella/Kalonji – ¼ tsp Method 1.      Rinse dal in 2-3 changes of water and transfer to a pressure cooker. Throw in the cubed potatoes, quartered brinjals, ginger paste, green chillies, salt,...

Egg Shoap – Nagaland breakfast

Egg shoap was among the few north eastern foods that Jagan and kids enjoyed thoroughly. Egg shoap is a little like our potato bonda but without the besan and  with egg in it. Egg shoap I read is a popular Naga breakfast. It is easy, quick and yummy. Anything with potatoes, that is dipped in egg, rolled in bread crumbs and is deep fried has got to be delicious. Nagaland is among the smallest Indian states. It is mostly mountainous and is home to several tribes majority of whom are now christians. Nagamese a form of Assamese is the most widely spoken language in Nagaland. Naga food involves meat and fish which are usually smoked or fermented apart from rice, boiled vegetables and chillies. I really am not sure where this egg shoap fits in that picture but I found it on the net saying it is a popular Naga breakfast and I clung on to it. I really couldn’t risk putting another veggie broth before my family, although we enjoyed the thukpa quite a lot. Jagan liked the egg shoap he had them for lunch. He placed a couple of egg shoap in his chappathi, drizzled some ketchup and rolled it up to make a egg shoap wrap. It was a pretty nice idea and it tasted great. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 15-20 mins Makes: 12-15 egg shoap balls Ingredients Potatoes – 2 medium, boiled, peeled and mashed Eggs – 2 boiled, peeled and mashed roughly Onion – 1 small, chopped fine Green chillies – 3 chopped fine Cumin powder – ½ tsp Garam Masala powder – ½ tsp (optional – I added) Turmeric – ¼ tsp Salt to taste Egg – 1 beaten lightly Bread crumbs – 1 cup Oil – for deep frying Method 1.       Boil two potaoes till tender. Cool, peel and mash them. Set aside. 2.       Boil 2 eggs. To boil eggs, place them in a pan, cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 8 minutes. Switch off and cover. Let sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Open the lid, run the eggs under cold water and peel them. 3.       Mash the eggs. Add them to the mashed potaoes. Throw in the chopped onions, green chillies, spice powders and salt and mix everything together. Don’t add any water. Makes sure the mixture is thick. If...

Himarcha Rowt – Red chilli dip – Mizoram

True to my somberi (lazy bum) self, I am taking it easy and posting a red chilli dip today for Mizoram which makes a great sauce or dip for momos posted yesterday for Meghalaya. Made of loads of soaked red chillies and fresh ginger the dip is sharp and spicy and is a perfect foil to the delicate momos. Mizoram is one among the seven the north-eastern states. It is mostly hilly and is home to several tribes who are collectively called Mizos. Majority of Mizos are Christians. Mizo food is simple and healthy. Their food is mostly steamed or boiled. Smoked pork, sticky rice and vegetable stew are popular foods in Mizoram. I love their traditional dress – the white, red and black skirts and tunics. Very pretty. Prep time: 10 mins Makes: about ¾ cup Ingredients Whole dry red chillies – 15Hot Boiling water – ½ cupFresh ginger – 2 inches mincedGarlic – 7-8 pods mincedVinegar – 1 tspSalt to tasteOil – 1 tspBrown sugar – 2 tsp (optional, I added it because I like it) Method 1.       Soak red chillies in hot boiling water (switched off) for 10-15 minutes. 2.       Grind the soaked red chillies to a coarse paste. Remove to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk well to combine. Serve as a dip with momos, spring rolls or anything else. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39 Mizoram An InLinkz Link-up

Vegetable Momo – Meghalaya

We first had momos on our honeymoon in Darjeeling. Those were the best momos to date. They were piping hot served alongside a spicy red chutney in a small shack overlooking the snow-clad mountains. They were perfect for the cold weather. Since then we’ve had momos at small kiosks outside department stores, in supposedly good Chinese restaurants and at 5-star places and none of them matched those momos we first had. I made chicken momos last year for a party we had at home and they were great. They came very close to the Darjeeling momos if I do say so myself. Everybody loved them. I used the same recipe to make these vegetable momos and these were really nice too, but they don’t evoke the same kind of emotion from my predominantly non-veg family. Meghalaya one of the north-eastern states of India is bounded by Assam in the north and Bangladesh in the south. We’ve been to Shillong the capital of Meghalaya. Shillong is among the few urban areas in Meghalaya. Nearly one-third of the state is covered by forests. The much-repeated Cherrapunjee of our geography lessons is in Meghalaya. Cherrapunjee receives the highest rainfall of all places on earth. So cool. Rice and pork are the most commonly eaten food in Meghalaya. Different varieties of mushrooms that flourish during the monsoon are also used in the cooking. Fermented soyabean paste, fermented fish and different types of herbs are used to add flavour to the dishes. Dishes are sometimes cooked in bamboo cylinders or bamboo leaves which infuse the food with the flavours of bamboo. Momos are popular in all the north-eastern states. I made these vegetable momos and a hot red chilli chutney to go with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination. Prep time: 30 mins Cooking time: 10-12 mins Makes: 15-20 momos Ingredients Carrot – ½ cup chopped into small thin matchsticks Cabbage – 3/4 cup shredded fine Paneer – 100 gm crumbled Ginger – 2 tbsp minced Garlic – 2 tbsp minced Onion – 1 medium finely chopped Soy sauce – 1-1/2 tsp Green chilli sauce – 2 tsp Salt to taste Black Pepper powder – 2 tsp (adjust) Spring onions – 2-3 finely chopped (green & white separated) Oil – 2 tbsp Ingredients – For the cover Maida – 1 cup Salt to taste Water as necessary Oil – 1 tbsp Method 1.      Mix Maida...

Sana Thongba – Manipuri Paneer curry

Was I glad I could find a non-pork, non-momo dish to make from this north-eastern state. I found a simple rustic Panner curry that’s made in Manipur (original recipe here) and I pounced on it. I love it that it’s simple and uses minimal ingredients. Paneer is always popular at home and this Sana Thongba was well received too. Hasini adores Paneer. I dare not keep fried paneer cubes un-supervised while making the curry. While I am busy at the stove, a pair of chubby little hands would sneak in and grab a handful of the paneer cubes and by the time I turn, the little imp would be dashing out. If she’s running out, it’s usually either paneer or sugar that she’s gobbled up. With Yuvi it is bovonto or Coke or jelly. I served the Sana Thongba with Poori. It was perfect. It would be nice with rice too. There is no chilli powder and no tomatoes in this dish. The beautiful yellow of the curry is from the turmeric and milk in it. I wouldn’t change anything in it. You could adjust the heat by adding or reducing the green chillies though. Manipur, one of the seven north-eastern states, lies on the eastern edge of India and shares borders with Burma. I read that many Manipuri homes have little kitchen gardens where they grow their own vegetables and fruits and small ponds where they rear their own fishes. What a rustic setting! It’s giving me ideas. Where are my gardening gloves (do you wear gloves while gardening?) and those pots and seeds? I know zero about gardening but a kitchen garden is really tempting. They also use a lot of fresh herbs and roots in their cooking that are specific to the region. Their staple diet includes rice, lots of green leafy vegetables and fishes. No wonder they all look so svelte. Prep time: 10 minsCooking time: 15 minsServes: 3-4 Ingredients Paneer – 200 gm cut into cubesGreen Peas – ¾ cupOnion – 1 chopped fineGinger-Garlic paste – 1 tspGreen chillies – 5 chopped fineTurmeric powder – ½ tspMilk – 1 cupWater – ½ cupCumin seeds – ¾ tspCoriander leaves – a handful for garnishingSalt to tasteOil – 2 tsp + 2 tsp Method 1.      Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and after a minute add the chopped onions and sauté till...

Varahadi Masale Bhaat – Maharashtra rice dish

On to Maharashtra, I made this one-pot rice and vegetable Bhaat which along with a simple raita would make a wonderful meal. The Varahadi Masale Bhaat is rich and well rounded. I chose to make this Bhaat because I loved the masala that went into it – fried onions, coconut, ginger, garlic and jaggery. Don’t worry, the Varahadi Masale Bhaat is not sweet. The jaggery and fried onion paste add a subtle sweetness that balances the heat from the red chilli powder but without making the dish sweet. I know a majority of us don’t like to mix spicy and sweet tones in a single dish. We use both in this Bhaat but in balanced proportions and the result is a wonderful aromatic one-pot rice dish. My kids enjoyed it a lot. Do adjust the red chilli powder and jaggery slightly to your requirements. Maharashtra on the western coast on India is one of the largest and one of the most populous states in India. Choosing a single dish to make from Maharashtra was a huge task. It is such a treasure trove of food. Choosing one was really difficult. I finally chose to make this slightly lesser known Varahadi Masale Bhaat (from here) especially because it was lesser known. I would love to make their misal pav, usal pav and batata vadas someday. Prep time:  15 minsCooking time: 25 minsServes: 4-5 Ingredients Basmati Rice/Long grain rice – 1-1/2 cupsOnion – 1 medium chopped finePotatoes – 1 large peeled and cubedCarrots – 2 scraped and dicedGreen Beans – a handful choppedGreen Peas – ½ cupGhee – 2 tbspStar anise – 1Bay leaf – 1Cinnamon – 1 inch pieceCloves – 3Green cardamom – 2Black cardamom -1Cumin seeds – ¼ tspRed chilli powder – 1 tspGaram Masala powder – 1-2 tspSalt to tasteYogurt – 3 tbspJaggery – 1 tbspOil – 2 tsp Ingredients – Masala Paste Onions – 1 medium chopped roughlyGrated coconut – ½ cupGinger – 1 inch piece choppedGarlic – 5-7 pods peeled Method: 1.      Rinse basmati rice in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak rice in water for half an hour. 2.      Heat a pressure cooker or a wide, thick bottomed pan. Add the 2 tsp oil and the 1 roughly chopped onion. Fry till it turns nice and golden. Remove the fried onions with a slotted spoon to a plate. Set aside. 3.      To the same...

Bhutte ke Khees | Spiced Sweet corn – Madhya Pradesh street food

First up, a few updates on what’s happening in life..  It was my dad’s birthday last Sunday and I made a Madeira cake for him. It turned out great, looked exactly like McRennet’s Madeira cake and tasted great too. I made an exception and did not run away with it for a photo session. I was in a hurry, as we were getting my son’s cast removed that day and we had to be at the doctor’s at 9:00 am. I don’t even make it to office by that time. But Sunday, we actually made it by 9:00 am. I grabbed the Madeira cake hot from the oven, dropped it into a plastic cover, pan and all and took it along. My son is finally free from his PoP cast but in 1 and half months he seems to have turned a leftie. He still uses his left hand to race his little cars. I am relieved to be able to give him a bath without having to hold up his hand. I really wish he’d slow down. I worry about the little fellow. If you’re wondering, he is 2-1/2.  Today’s recipe is not much of a recipe but it’s a nice variation of sweet corn to have up your sleeve. It’s sweet corn slightly differently spiced. This bhutte ke khees is a popular street food in Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh is one of India’s biggest states bang in the centre of India. Its claim to fame is that it’s old and historic and has a number of world heritage sites including the Kajuraho temple and the stupas at Sanchi.  There are quite a few variations of Bhutte ke Khees on the internet that are a little more involved. I picked mine from a Nita Mehta book and it is almost too simple.  Jagan yelled at me today – “You need not photograph every single thing you cook”. He was waiting for his lunch box and I ran upstairs with my bhutte ka khees for some urgent passport photos for the blog. I clicked a few random shots and hurried back down, spooned some bhutte ke khees into his lunch box (as thanks for waiting) along with his chappathi and cauliflower curry and then handed it to him. I told him “Today it is Madhya Pradesh” and Bhutte ke khees has to go on air today! He glared. He doesn’t...

Kerala style Vegetable Stew

Happy New Year everyone! It’s the 1st day of the Tamizh calendar – Chithirai 1. I hope all of you have a fruitful, healthy and yummy new year. May this year bring the long awaited promotion, a discernible hike at the very least (sometimes I can never make out the difference, it’s that miniscule), weight-loss & hair-gain (I know everybody wants these), good food, great recipes and  family time. I am starting the year with a yummy vegetable stew. I had always thought Aappam was tamil. But appears Aappam is as much Malayalam as it is Tamil. Aappam is one of our beloved breakfast items at home.  We have it with sweetened coconut milk or with vegetable korma. I love it with sweetened milk. We like to tear up the soft spongy centres of Aappam and soak them in the sweet coconut milk while we eat the the lacy, crisp edges.  By that time the aappam pieces would be drenched in all that sweetness and each piece would be a little piece of heaven – sweet, soft, melt in the mouth madress. In Kerala, the vegetable stew is popular with Aapams. The vegetable stew is again a subtly spiced, elegant and creamy coconut milk based stew. It’s easy and tastes luscious. I tried Kerala style Pal Aappams with the vegetable stew. The Pal  Aappams did not turn out too well but the vegetable stew was great. My kids loved it. Prep Time: 20 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Serves: 4 Ingredients Carrots – chopped ½ cup Green Beans – ½ cup chopped Potato – 1 small, peeled and cubed Green Peas – ½ cup Onion – 1 medium sliced Coconut milk – 1st and 2nd extract from 1 medium cococut Salt to taste Whole Black peppercorns – ¼ tsp Curry leaves – 1 sprig Cinnamon – 1 inch piece Cloves – 2 Cardamom – 2 Oil – 2 tsp Spice Paste Green chillies – 3-4 Ginger – 1 inch piece Method 1.       Heat oil in a pan. When hot add cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Then add the whole black peppercorns and curry leaves.  After a minute add the sliced onions and sauté until they turn translucent. 2.       Meanwhile grind together ginger and green chillies to a fine paste. Set aside. 3.       Then add the chopped vegetables and salt. Mix in the ground spice paste. Pour in the 2nd thin extract...

Bisi Bele Bath – Karnataka one-pot rice, lentil and vegetable medley

As the campaign trail hots up, so does the state-wise blogging marathon. We’ve already cooked our way through a dozen states and are now at Karnataka, our very friendly neighbour. The best Bisi bele bath and Vangi bath that I’ve tasted were in Bangalore. You have to give it to the Kannadigas. They really have a way with these rice dishes. I love their curry podis and I like their sambar as well, all laced with a subtle sweetness. I’ve lived in Bangalore for roughly 3 years and I managed to NOT pick up a single full sentence in Kannada. I have a great appreciation for their food though. Although I call it a one-pot medley, it is made in several pots and pans and involves multiple steps but is worth every minute. I enjoy the Bisi bele bath served in weddings here in Chennai with sambar onions and potatoes and everything else that is traditionally never a part of Bisi bele bath. Jagan likes Bisi Bele Bath too – one of the few vegetarian rice dishes that he approves of. Although I’ve made Bisi bele bath several times before, I wanted to try the authentic Karnataka version this time. I relied heavily on the Bisi bele bath recipe at veggiebelly and it is more of a thesis on Bisi Bele Bath than a post – Stunning photographs, minute detailed instructions and a beautiful recipe. I like it that she says “Don’t open the ground up spice powder until you’re ready to add it to the bath or you’ll lose the aroma”. I love that kind of meticulousness. The Bisi bele bath turned out fabulous. I’ll definitely be making it again. I would just be cautious while adding the spice mix towards the end, adding it in in small increments and tasting it as it is very easy to go overboard and I really do like my Bisi bele bath with a little less masala. The best accompaniment to Bisi Bele bath is potato chips. Make this for a weekend lunch and serve hot drizzled with ghee alongside potato chips. Don’t bother making anything else. It’s a complete meal unto itself. And rememer that bisi bele bath has everything in it – rice, lentils and vegetables. It will be very filling. Less is more. Always use smaller quantity of rice for your bisi bele bath than you usually would if...

Dal Poori – Jharkand

I love fried anything but I am very skimpy with oil. I feel terribly guilty emptying a quarter of the 1 litre oil pack for making vadais or pooris. I sometimes overcome my “fried-manic-oil-phobic” concerns and go ahead and fry away. I did with this dal poori I found at gayathri’s blog and I loved it. The dal poori is beautiful. These are golden pooris stuffed with a subtly spiced channa dal mixture. The dal poori has so much going on on its own that it really didn’t need an accompaniment but if I did serve it with something, the something had to be fresh and simple. I made a tomato oambal and it seemed to be the best thing that happened to the Dal Poori. They were lovely together, the two of them. Cutest pair ever. Made for each other. I conveniently used Bihar’s Dal Poori for Jharkand as I’ve heard they’re very similar. After all Jharkand was part of Bihar up until 2000. Jharkand means “Land of forests” and it accounts for 40% of India’s mineral resources. Funny that many of the newly formed states are rich in mineral resources and majority of the people are poor. A convenient combination. Nevertheless, Dal pooris are delicious and are a must try. Prep time: 30 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 4-5 Ingredients – Poori Wheat flour – 2 cupsBlack sesame seeds – ¼ tspSalt – a pinchWater as neededOil – for deep frying Ingredients – Stuffing Channa dal/Kadalai paruppu – ½ cupOnion – 1 medium chopped fineGreen chillies – 2 chopped fineCumin seeds/Jeera – ½ tspTurmeric powder – ¼ tspSalt to tasteGaram Masala – ½ tspOil – 2 tsp Method 1.      Combine wheat flour, salt and sesame seeds in a bowl and add water little at a time to make a soft firm dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for half an hour. Meanwhile prepare the filling. 2.      Pressure cook channa dal till soft. Drain the water and mash the dal. Set aside. 3.      To a pan, add oil and when hot, add the cumin seeds. After about half a minute, add the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté till the onions turn translucent. Then add the mashed dal, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt and mix well. Cook on low heat till the dal mixture is quite dry and starts leaving the sides of the pan...

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