Tag Archives: maharashtrian

Shimla Mirch Besan – healthy option!

Standard

While I raise my concerns about being overweight and the need to change our eating pattern at home, potato still remains the most frequently sought out vegetable in my household. This is done usually as for baby A, sabji = potato and potato = sabji. So, the potatoes in the veggie are usually picked out and heaped in baby A’s plate, which she chomps down with her roti – giving us a look which says – ‘ aren’t you guys proud of me? I am eating adult food – daal, sabji, roti!’. However, when I have got something else set up as her menu, I prefer to leave the potatoes alone and reach out for my favorite ingredient (maybe every maharashtrian’s favorite ingredient) – besan.
Back in my mom’s home, while addition of potatoes to vegetables is a crime, a liberal sprinkling of besan is the usual practice. It makes the vegetable delicious and healthy. Though I have seen besan being used very often in maharashtrian, rajasthani and gujrati cusine, it is not used in everyday cooking in north Indian food. No wonder hubby N had never eaten this version of shimla mirch ever before. It is great that he likes it as much as I do. Still waiting for baby A to get a taste of non-aaloo delights such as this one!

Image

Ingredients –
Shimla Mirch / Capsicum – 4 big (washed, deseeded, chopped to bite sized chunks)
Besan / Chickpea Flour – 3 tbsp (flat, not heaped)
Oil – 1.5 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds – half tsp
Ajwain / Carom seeds – half tsp
Salt – as per taste
Haldi/ Turmeric Powder – half tsp
Laal Mirch / Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Dhania / Dry coriander powder – 2 tsp
Garam masala/ Kitchen King Masala – 1 tsp

Method –
1.Heat oil in a wok / non-stick pan.
2. When hot, add jeera, ajwain and let them splutter for a few seconds.
3. Add haldi, red chili powder and give it a stir to blend them with the oil.
4. Put in the shimla mirch chunks, mix gently to coat them with the oil mix.
5. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes / till the capsicum wilts.
6. Open and add salt. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes.
7. Open and sprinkle coriander powder and garam masala. Sprinkle the besan now. Mix gently so that the besan coats all the pieces. If you see things getting too dry, sprinkle some water.
8. Cook for 5 minutes in the open, so that the besan is cooked, moisture evaporates and the deal looks crisp and shiny.
9. Serve with rotis, or pack for lunch.

Bharwa Baingan / Stuffed Brinjal

Standard

Send hubby N to shop for vegetables and he comes back with a bagful of brinjals – not that it is a problem, but it gets a bit overboard when he produces them out of the bag – I got the big round one for bharta, the long ones for aaloo-baingan and the small ones for bharwa baingan.Wow!
This means I cook baingan every alternate day of the week, the bharwa baingan being my favorite. It is the way my mom makes it – loaded with flavors and spices. I find making this pretty quick as I use the food processor, while mom uses the hand grater – making this a bit tedious. Whatever way you go, the result is always great.

Bharwa Baingan – mom’s style

Ingredients –
Baingan / brinjals – 8- 10 (small round ones )
Onions – 2 big or 3 small
Besan – 1 tbsp
Jeera, til, saunf, kasuri methi, haldi, garam masala, dry coconut powder, peanut powder, dry coriander powder – 1 tsp each (skip whatever you don’t have)
Salt – as per taste
Green chili – 1 or red chili powder – 1 tsp
Oil – 3 tsp

Method –
1. Wash and pat dry the brinjals. Make cut marks on them (like a cross) using a knife, so that each one remains intact. Dunk them in water so that they don’t turn black while you are working on the stuffing.
2. Clean and cut up the onion in big chunks.
3. Add the spices, salt, green chili along with the onion chunks in a food processor and blend together.
4. Roast the besan with a drop of oil in a wok on a low flame, till it gets to a shade darker.
5. Add the besan to the blended stuffing/ masala.
6. Check the spice level of the masala and adjust based on your taste.
7. Carefully stuff each baingan with this masala. Since the stuffing is a bit runny due to the water onions release, this would ooze out of the baigans, which is fine.
8. Heat oil in a non stick pan / flat kadhai/ pan.
9. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat and carefully place each baigan in the pan. Drop in the leftover masala (if you do have some).
10. Cover the lid and let this cook on a low flame.
11. After a good 7 to 8 minutes, turn the baingans very carefully, picking them from their stem. We are trying to get them cooked uniformly from all sides. Sprinkle some water if you think it is getting too dry to cook.
12. After another 7 to 8 minutes, this should be cooked. To check, insert the tip of a knife in a baingan. If it gets through easily, it’s done.
13. Serve with hot rotis/ chapattis as a side.

Since this recipe reminds me of my mom’s cooking and all the stuffed brinjal I used to stuff myself with whenever she made it, I am sending this to ‘walk thru the memory lane’ event hosted by Kalyani.

Linking this to Gayathri’s page too.

Poha – Subah ho gayi mamu!

Standard

What do you do to ensure that a person is fully awake and his/her faculties are all up and running? Dash some water on his face? That may work for most of the people, but there are exceptions. Say…that person is an Indori. So? Water may work, but not as good as Poha ! Thrust a plateful of poha inside the Indori and you will notice a marked impact – not only will the person be wide awake, but joyful and jumping around! In words of a PG Wodehouse fan (me) , poha to an Indori is as stimulating as one of Jeeves’ pick-me-ups to dear Bertie. No wonder Wikipedia mentions Indore in ‘Poha’ and Tripadvisor mentions poha in ‘Indore’. Born and brought up in the city, I don’t even know how to start talking about the humble thing. We had it at home, as a simple breakfast and as a treat when guests arrived in the evening. We had it on family gatherings and picnics. We had it in the college canteen (We procured a pack of plastic spoons from our home just to be fully equipped to gobble down poha, though we are ill equipped at most times to attend labs and classes). We had it in the market, on the roadside, on shopping trips, on the railway station…In fact, I don’t remember a place or occasion where it did not fit in.

Poha – best breakfast ever!

While the home made one was OK, the best poha you could find in the town is on little stalls/ thelas on the roadside – heaped up in an iron wok, kept on a pot of boiling water to keep it warm. When required, the shopkeeper would pick up a newspaper square, fluff up a handful and thrust it into the paper, throw in a variety of condiments – onions, sev, namkeen, boondi, lemon juice and finally sprinkle a mysterious masala (mysterious because till date I have not been able to coax a single stall owner to divulge the ingredients of the masala, or give me a kilo of it). No, it does not take hours to do this, the shopkeeper is done in a matter of seconds. You can either have it or get a ‘to go’ parcel – neatly packed pudiya in a polythene bag.
About me, though I kept taking it for granted during all my life in the city, I realized I was missing it as soon as I landed in Bangalore. There were stalls and roadside carts still, but serving idlis and wadas! Thanks heavens for Indori roommates – dear N and J, who would cook up a heap every other weekend – plentiful for us and for all the friends and colleagues living nearby. And thank God I had enough sense to get the entire recipe from both of them – masters in their art, that stays with me till date – and I remember them every time I dish out this breakfast.
I would rather get down to the recipe before I end up writing an entire article in praise of poha – because the praise goes on an on, but the recipe is quick and simple – no fuss-n-frills!

sev – married to poha since eternity

Ingredients –
Poha/ Chooda/ Flattened rice – 3 fistfuls (1 for each person)
——
For tempering –
Rai / Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds – Half tsp
Saunf/ Fennel seeds – Half tsp
Heeng / Asafoetida powder – 1 tsp
Green chilies – 1, cut to half and slit lengthwise
Oil – 3 tsp
——
Haldi / Turmeric powder – Half tsp
——
Salt – as per taste
Sugar – half tsp / as pr taste
Lemon juice – of 1 lemon
——
Aaloo / potato – 1 small (peeled and cut into very small pieces)
Pyaj / Onion – 1 big (peeled and cut into very small pieces)
——-
Sev / Bhujiya / Namkeen / Boondi/ chopped onion/ cilantro leaves – for garnishing (optional)

Method –
1. First Put the poha in a sieve/colander/ chalni and wash the poha gently. You don’t have to do this for more than a few seconds. Keep the colander in a tilted position so that excess water drains out and the poha is soft and soaked – but not soggy.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed wok/ kadhai.
3. Once hot, throw in the ingredients in the ‘for tempering’ list.
4. Add in the very finely chopped pyaj. Let this cook till soft and starts to brown.
5. While the pyaj is cooking, add the salt, sugar and lemon juice to the soaked poha and mix gently with your fingers, lest it all breaks up all forms a lump. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
6. Once the pyaj is cooked, add in the potato pieces. Add in haldi at this stage too. Let the potato cook till soft.
7. Once done, switch off the gas and add the poha. Mix all of it till all the poha turns yellow – an indicator that all of it uniformly mixed up. Do this very gently, there is no rush anyways – the gas is off.
8. .Now, we cook this further on steam. Heat water in a bhagona/ patili / pot (water half filled). Once steam starts to come out, place the kadhai filled with poha on it. Cover the poha and let this cook for 10 minutes. Even if you want to keep it warm till the entire family has had it’s share of hot breakfast, you can keep the gas on on slow flame – this keeps the poha warm.
9. While serving, garnish with whatever you like. As the poha is as it is not very spicy, the bhujia/ sev adds the zing.
10. If you got jalebis as a side to this, you are either in heaven or in Indore. For mortals, a hot cup of tea works best.

Sending this to event ‘ Bon Vivant Moments Breakfast Ideas‘ on Sumee’s Culinary Bites.