stuffed okra

Stuffed Bhindi

Yesterday I did what no fat mommy should do. I looked through my wedding albums (after 7 years). So much younger, half the width, half the circumference… Everybody else seemed to have aged too, which was comforting. There were some who had since lost weight. That irked us a bit and in a fit of childish competitiveness, Jagan and I decided we had to exercise twice a day and eat once a day. I decided also, To not buy jeans till I lose weight. That I can’t find one that fits, and if I do and if I wear it, my behind looks like a huge parentheses is immaterial.    To not wear said parantheses jeans in the name of social good.   To not buy new clothes as they may be too large once I’ve lost weight.   To not attend parties & weddings until I lose weight.   To stay out of selfies, to avoid having to shoot 100s of photos, to avoid turning sideways or hide behind someone or hold my breath or photoshop the hell out of it.   To camouflage my fitness tracker. I wear a Garmin vivofit fitness tracker all the time. I like to believe I am fitness conscious. I am conscious that I am not doing anything about my fitness every time I look at my fitness band. Wearing it though has given me great grief. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE asks me what I am wearing and once I’ve explaied – how much I’ve walked and how much weight I’ve lost. Once they hear I’ve not achieved much yet, their reactions go from smug satisfaction to ridicule to advice. One very thoughtful lady went as far as to ask why I would even try, beyond this point, suggesting that I am married, a mommy and that I am old and I should settle into my parantheses. I will meet her once I’ve lost weight. Till then I am not telling anyone it is a fitness tracker.   Very important. To not look at the wedding albums till I lose weight. That felt like therapy, like a pact to myself. Thanks for hanging in there. Now on to today’s recipe. This recipe for stuffed okra/stuffed bhindi is really close to my heart. It is easy, slightly time consuming than your regular okra stir fry but totally worth it. I love the stuffing in this...

Spiced Bhindi and baby potato fry

You know how you instantly like the turquoise blue saree in Sundari Silks, you shortlist it, set it aside lest anybody buys it and then go over the rest of the shop to make sure that you are right. You then realize that this shop is not the universal set. So you drag your mother/husband/friend to RMKV, Pothys, Nalli and Kumaran Silks and go over their inventory. You shortlist some at each place but can’t take your mind off the turquoise blue saree you saw first. So you go back to Sundari Silks, and ask for your shortlisted turquoise blue saree. You decide that this is the one. You ask the salesperson to bill it. Then a peacock blue saree catches your eye. You ask him for that saree. Meanwhile the lady next to you pulls up the turquoise blue saree, inspects it and asks the salesperson to open it up. You decide immediately that turquoise blue saree it is. You swiftly pay for it and leave.  My shopping dilemmas are worse now. I spent the better part of a Sunday scrolling through 845231 dresses across multiple sites, filtering, comparing, measuring Hasini every which way, poring over size charts, saving/liking the dresses (the online shortlisting equivalent), turning the dresses around and inside out and finally deciding on a couple of them. It is late afternoon and I already have a throbbing head-ache. Then my sister tells me I ought to check if there are coupons I can use. I appreciate her presence of mind. I check and I find that there is a 25% off coupon if only I bought for 700 rupees more. Wow. There is something to all this online shopping thing after all. So we scroll through 6549 dresses for my sister, filtering, comparing, measuring, checking with size charts, saving/liking dresses and turning them around and inside out and finally deciding on one. We add it to the cart triumphantly. We key in the coupon code. It said “coupon not applicable on these items, choose from our list”. I empty the cart, close all windows and shut down my system. If I am out shopping, I am thinking I might get a better deal online, I might have more choice. If I am online, I always feel the material is going to be cheap, it is going to look nothing like what it looks on the screen....

Breaded sweet potato crisps

I waited outside the gate to the kindergarten section at Hasini’s school this morning bracing myself for a fight. I was prepared to talk to the Head-mistress if necessary or stage an online protest, post facebook ads… whatever it took. I came home on Friday last week to a teary eyed Hasini who ran up to me and wailed “Amma, Miss adichitaange ma, thititaange ma, naa school po maaten”(Teacher beat me, scolded me, I don’t want to go to school). She cringed at the mention of school but she could not get it out of her mind either. However much I tried to move the conversation to cheerier things, she circled back to school Me: “2 days leave – Saturday and Sunday. Jolly!” Hasini: “Adhukku apparam school a” (After that is there school?) Me: Lunch pidichidha inniki? (Did you like your lunch today?) Hasini: Nariye yen vecha? (Why did you pack so much?) I could not bear to see my child so forlorn and anxious. She forgot her worries temporarily over the weekend watching Chotta Bheem, splashing around in our huge new inflatable swimming pool (which I spent 2 hours inflating with a hand pump and would have taken another 8 hours but then remembered our vintage vacuum cleaner and managed to finish inflating in 2 minutes) and getting her nails polished. But she woke up today, silent and dull and wouldn’t eat a thing. When the assembly was finally over, I walked over to her classroom and met her teacher determined to be direct, diplomatic, firm and tough all at the same time. I introduced myself and told her how miserable Hasini was. The teacher replied smiling “I know Hasini well. I was just being stern.  I think of them as my own kids..” and I burst into tears. The teacher was mighty embarrassed and had a hard time consoling me. For all my bravado, I am a scaredy-cat when it comes to my kids. I really hope the teacher meant what she said. And I hope Hasini had her lunch. I made these breaded sweet potato crisps that she really enjoyed eating recently (at Mathsya’s buffet) for lunch today along with baby corn pulao. The sweet potato crisps were nice, crisp and tasty. I carefully packed a small portion of pulao and sweet potato crisps so she wouldn’t worry about finishing lunch. Prep time: 20 minsCooking time: 20 minsServes:...

Mutton Rogan Josh – Kashmir special

I broke the cardinal rules of making rogan josh but still managed to make a top notch mutton rogan josh and I am mighty pleased with it. Mutton Rogan josh is a kashmiri delicacy, a spicy, deep and flavourful mutton curry that must undeniably be one of the best mutton curries around, a pride of India. This is probably why it features in most restaurant menus. There are many versions of mutton rogan josh but I liked the authority and confidence with which ecurry proclaimed its rogan josh and I can now vouch for it. I went ahead and added onions because I wanted more body to the gravy and I guess its ok ‘cos I am not a Kashmiri Pandit (who don’t include onions). Onions were not part of the original recipe. I substituted fresh ginger for dry ginger powder because I couldn’t find the stupid thing in the cupboard although I found 2 boxes of it 2 weeks later when I organized the kitchen. I always seem to have more of the rarely used ingredients but I am never able to find them when I need them in a recipe. Sounds familiar? Kashmir is famous for its apples, pashmina shawls, silk carpets, dum aloo and mutton rogan josh and militancy. Kashmir the much fought over state, at the northern end of India, one of the most picturesque places in the world and probably one of the bloodiest too features in Roja (directed by Mani Ratnam) an all-time hit and a classic. Mani Ratnam makes everything stylish. Suddenly engineers were sexy and romantic, patriotism was cool and chinna chinna aasais (little whims) were cute and adorable. There’s no girl who didn’t fall for Arvind Swamy in that movie. What a stunner! Ahem.. It’s Kashmir and Mutton Rogan Josh we’re talking about. Everybody wants a piece of Kashmir. Don’t know if everybody can have Kashmir, but everyone can have this mutton Rogan Josh. Follow the recipe exactly and it’s yours. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 1 hour Serves: 4 Ingredients Mutton – ½ kilo cut into 2 inch piecesOnions – 3 large thinly sliced (not part of original recipe)Yogurt – 3/4 cup yogurt + 2 tablespoon yogurtLemon juice – from 1 lemonAsafoetida – ½ tspKashmiri Red chilli powder – 3 tbspGaram Masala powder – 1 tspDry ginger powder – ½ tbsp. (I substituted fresh ground ginger because I couldn’t...

Baby Potato Roast

Roasted baby potatoes are as cute as they’re tasty. I love baby potatoes. Peeling them is a pain though as the peel is thinner than that of the normal sized potatoes. But these roasted baby potatoes are worth the effort. These roasted baby potatoes go great alongside a pulav and raita or with plain steamed rice. I sautéed the boiled and peeled baby potaoes to golden brown perfection and coated them in freshly powdered spices and finally tossed it with some fresh whisked yogurt. The result – baby potatoes that are golden brown, fragrant and delicately spiced, crunchy yet soft and tender. If you like baby potatoes, this is a must-try recipe. You won’t be disappointed. I am sending this recipe to Blogging Marathon #33 for the theme – Fiction with Food. My story is about me and potatoes. Potatoes have been my best friends and we’ve come a long way. I am a very touchy cook, I sulk all day if my dish doesn’t turn out well or if is not well received (I am better now, I am more objective. I’ve realized that there can be people who don’t like a beautifully silky, dark chocolate mousse). My potato encounters: o     The very first time I ever cooked something was when we had a recipe writing exercise for our English composition class in class 8 and each of us had to prepare a dish at home and write it up in a recipe format. I made Aloo Tikkis with a recipe off the back of a calendar. They came out beautifully and I was thrilled. o     The French fries that we made for my sister’s stall at the school Christmas Sale didn’t work out that well. They turned limp and soggy because they were no longer hot but were sold out anyway. o     In my early married days, I’d make potato stir fries, potato fry, potato podimas and potato bajji. Even now I like adding them to thokkus, mutton gravies, Mochaikottai kuzhambu or anywhere else I can. o   The very first things that I made and that my daughter really liked eating was mashed potatoes. It was a strangely exhilarating experience. She was this tiny 8 month old but I was shit scared she’d spit it out. I wasn’t yet established as a good cook in my in-laws place (I doubt if I am even now)...

Karamani Usili – Yard Long Beans & spiced Lentil stir-fry

Karamani Usili features quite often in our office canteen menu and I quite like Usili with rice and Rasam or rice and ground coconut Kuzhambu. Usili is a light, charming stir-fry that is usually made with green beans or yard long beans. You can make Usili with even cabbage or Fenugreek leaves (Methi). In making Usili, soaked dal (red gram) and whole dry red chillies are ground and then fried to a crisp crumbly golden mixture. This mixture is then combined with cooked beans to make the Usili. This Karamani Usili is pleasantly fresh and tasty – the tender crunchy beans pair beautifully well with the crumbly fried dal which adds lovely texture and flavour to the stir fry. Usili is not part of our usual menu at home, this was a first. I made this for lunch today. My joint family doesn’t take kindly to changes and experimentation. My kids don’t take to vegetables at all. I braved all this for the Usili and I hope the Usili manages to win their hearts. Else I’ll have to eat Usili for dinner, lunch and again dinner to finish it up. Prep time: 15 minsCooking time: 15 minsServes: 4-5 Ingredients Yard Long Beans – ½ kilo chopped fineToor dal/Red gram – ½ cup soaked for 2 hours or overnightWhole dry Red chillies – 4 soaked along with the dalSalt to tasteOil – 3 tbsp + 1 tbspMustard seeds – 1 tspAsafoetida – a pinch Method 1.      Rinse Toor dal well in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Then soak the dal and whole dry red chillies together for 2 hours or overnight if you can’t afford 2 hours soaking time during busy mornings. 2.      Drain the water, and grind together the dal, chillies and a little salt adding very little water to a thick paste. 3.      In a kadai/skillet, add 2 tablespoons of oil and when hot add the ground dal paste and fry. Keep stirring and scraping as the dal tends to stick to the bottom. Add one more tablespoon of oil and continue frying till the paste turns crumbly and is quite dry (like bread crumbs) but not hard – about 7-8 minutes. Remove on to a plate. 4.      In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and when hot add mustard seeds and let splutter. Then throw in the curry leaves and asafoetida and sauté...

Cabbage Kootu

The infamous Cabbage Kootu is finally here. I don’t think any blogger ever wrote how much she hated the dish that she was blogging about but I am going to do just that. However hard I try I just cannot wax eloquent about Cabbage Kootu. I cannot tell you how flavourful, lip-smacking and yummy it is. I just can’t. Honest Jayanthi like Honest Raj. That’s because I am not crazy about Kootus in general. I do enjoy a few like the Bottle Gourd Kootu but I mostly avoid other Kootus. Nothing wrong about Kootus (I don’t want to offend the Kootu lovers), it’s just me. This Cabbage Kootu is a standard feature in our Saturday menu and sometimes on other days as well. We’ve made it so often that it has very quickly climbed to number 1 on my hate-list. Now this Cabbage Kootu tastes like a good Kootu should – smooth, warm, fresh and boring. So don’t go by my view here, by all means try the recipe if you like Cabbage Kootu. It will turn out well. “So if you don’t like it why do you make it so often and then pain us with your dreary stories? “, you may ask. Go back to my profile and read carefully. I say J-O-I-N-T Family. You know Joint family? It’s a very complicated joint, this joint. You cannot just go in and cook what you want (Deiva kutham – blasphemy), you may suggest ideas but mostly may not be approved, you can however gleefully agree to the menu being put forth and chop onions, tomatoes, grate coconut, peel garlic, wash, wipe etc. You may get a free hand occasionally and just when you think you’ve got the perfect meal planned, they’d be ordering take-out. Yeah, it happens, all the time. Prep time: 15 minsCooking time: 20-30 minsServes: 5-6 Ingredients Cabbage – 1 medium sized chopped fineMoong dal/Paasi Paruppu – 1 cupOnion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 large chopped fineGarlic – 4 cloves peeled (optional)Asafoetida – a pinchMustard seeds – 1 tspJeera/Cumin seeds – 1 tspTurmeric powder – ½ tspRed chilli powder – 1 tbspGrated Coconut – 5 tbspSalt to tasteOil – 2 tbsp Method 1.      Rinse the dal well in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. In a pressure cooker, add the dal, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, asafoetida and whole garlic cloves along...

Get Foodbetterbegood in your inbox

Like what you are reading? Never miss a post. Enter your email address to receive updates by email

Subscribe!