Shortcut Bhel Puri

The kind of holiday I really like is the one where I am the only one on holiday and everybody else is busy. Kids are at school and very important – husband is working too and not from home. Others at home are away too. I am at home, I am alone and I am free. I can watch TV but I’ve lost touch. I don’t know what I’d like to watch. I can sleep but I am too excited to. I can read. Aha, What a pleasure! Which among all those “first chapter alone re-read several times to get back into context” books do I read now – “Sita’s Ramayana”, “Interpreation of Dreams”, “Hegemony or Survival”? Or should I write? Should I read or should I write? I am not making the de facto lunch of the house. I am not making rice, sambar, varuval and poriyal for lunch. I am not making dosai for those who won’t eat rice. I am not making an extra poriyal for those who won’t eat kezhangu. I am not making omelettes to order during lunch hour. I am not making an extra portion of rice just to be on the safer side and then deal with the leftover rice. I am not cooking at all. I am making a bad-ass shortcut bhel puri. I am going to lounge in my shorts, have some friends over – no mommy friends I need to behave with, where I need to be at my best. Note to me: There aren’t any such.   It’d have to be lazy-ass friends who’ve seen worse, who can be just as bad. +Sangeetha, +Lakshmisri Gopalan come to mind. We’d eat extra large portions of bhel puri for lunch, watch a dabba Tamil movie on K TV, talk and gossip uncensored, uncut and unthinking. My shortcut bhel puri is truly shortcut. And you know how fond I am of shortcuts however long they may be. I had to visit 4 grocery stores this week to get all my ingredients in place, not that they’re difficult to find. But I just couldn’t find the one ingredient that I wanted in the store that I had gone to. Happens to me all the time. I make a simple sweet and sour sauce with tamarind and jaggery and that is by far the only work in this recipe. I have to say this but I...

Chole Bhatura – Haryana Classic

I had a cousin who always without fail ordered Chole Bhatura every time we ate out. Every single time. She was mildly crazy about it and couldn’t have enough of it. I don’t know if she still orders Chole Bhatura. I haven’t spoken to her in years (don’t ask, it’s a crazy family). There were these exhibitions, fairs when we were young (probably still there, but we haven’t visited one in a long long time) with the giant-wheel (a huge merry-go-round), bouncing castle and numerous stalls selling vegetable cutters, roti-makers, steamers and lots of nifty little appliances that didn’t cost too much and everybody loved. There were also these food stalls that sold chole bhatura, huge masala sprinkled pappads and cotton candy. We always ate at these stalls and my cousin always ordered Chole Bhatura and when the Chole Bhatura was served I’d always feel that I should have ordered Chole Bhatura too. Even now whenever I see Chole Bhatura being taken to a table, I feel the urge to change my order to Chole Bhatura. Such is the pull of that lovely big puffed up poori and the spicy chole. Chole Bhatura is a beautiful combination of fried bread (poori usually made of all-purpose flour) and spicy garbanzo bean curry served with sliced onions and lemon wedges. The dish is popularly called a Punjabi dish but I am posting it for the state of Haryana today hoping that my south-Indian status allows for slight generalizations and inaccuracies if any. Not ok with that? Explain Chennai Express to me and I’ll explain this to you. Please forgive if this is not asli Haryanvi chole, if it’s actually Punjabi chole or not chole at all. I am a Tamilian – nambiliki thoda thoda dhaan theriyum! I’ve used the chole recipe from the famous dassana’s vegrecipesofindia blog but I’ve still got to say it so that I don’t anger my Haryana readers. But I’ve got to tell you this, I loved the chole. It was lip-smacking good and my maamiyaar (mother-in-law) asked me what went into the spice mix for the chole. I acted all cool and knowledgeable as if I’ve been making chole all my life, as if I’ve just stepped down from Dadar express. The secret is that I always take my time to memorize any new recipe before entering the kitchen. There’s nothing worse than referring to a recipe...

Aloo Tikki Chole | Indian Chaat

The third and final combo dish in the series and Jagan’s all-time favourite chaat order, here is Aloo Tikki Chole. He actually prefers his chole with samosa but that wasn’t one of the Combo dishes list in Blogging Marathon. So Aloo Tikki Chole it was. The Aloo Tikki Chole turned out really well and Jagan enjoyed it thoroughly. You could deep fry the Aloo Tikkis for that wonderful crisp, yumminess that only deep fried foods can provide. Shallow frying is a good alternative if you don’t want to use up too much oil and that tastes pretty good too. This combo is substantial enough to be served for a filling breakfast. That’s what I did. But you could serve it along with evening tea as well. I am writing this post from home, so there’s no time for funny stories. Just the recipe this time. Lucky you guys! Prep time: 30 minsCooking time: 45 minsServes: 4 Chole Ingredients Kabuli Channa/White Chickpeas – 1-1/2 cups soaked overnightBlack Cardamom – 3Cinnamon – 1 inch stickCloves – 3Onions – 2 large chopped fineTomatoes – 2 large chopped fineGinger Juliennes – 1 tspRed Chilli powder – 2 tbspGaram Masala powder – 2 tspSalt to tasteOil – 2 tbspButter – 1 tbsp Aloo Tikki Ingredients Potatoes – 4-5 large boiled, peeled and mashedRed chilli powder – 1 tbspGaram Masala – 1 tspTurmeric powder – ½ tspCoriander powder – ½ tspAmchur powder/Raw Mango powder – 2 pinchesSalt to tasteOil – 3 tbsp Garnish Sweet Tamarind chutney – 2-3 tbsp for garnishGreen chutney – 2-3 tbsp for garnish1 Large onion – chopped fine for garnish Method 1.       Prepare a potli (small cloth bag) tying together the whole spices – black cardamom, cinnamon and cloves together. Drop it into the pressure cooker. Rinse the soaked chickpeas and dump them into the cooker. Now throw in a tea bag as well. If you don’t have tea bags, just add a teaspoon of tea leaves/tea powder to the potli. Add sufficient water and pressure cook till soft. Switch off, discard the potli and set aside. 2.       To a kadai, add 2 tbsp oil and when hot throw in the ginger juliennes followed by the chopped onions. Fry till they turn translucent. Then add in the chopped tomatoes and fry till they turn soft. Then add the spice powders and salt and mix well. Add the boiled chickpeas and mix well....

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