Steamed Banana Semolina Cake & Post A quote Challenge!


Featured image

Over-ripe Bananas sitting on the platter, what to do? Any ideas? I refer my Aji’s potli (Grandma’s bag of magic) full of simple recipes. And, make it time saving, economic, steamed, eggless and meatless too! Sounds a trip to heaven, doesn’t it? Believe me I cannot take the smell of meat and eggs on my dishes and gadgets! I just have to sanitize everything perfectly well until there is no trace of the foul smell. Monica Gellar I can beat you with my freakiness! Any other OCD’s for company??:P

Featured image

So without much commotion, I m going to share a detailed recipe of this healthy cake J

Featured image

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ripe bananas (read over ripe in my case!!)
  • 1 cup. fine Semolina (Rava or Sooji)
  • 1 cup. finely chopped Jaggery (You can substitute with less than or equal amount of sugar).
  • 2 tsps. Cardamom powder
  • 3-4 strands of Saffron.
  • Chopped pistachios (You can add as many or as less. It’s an optional ingredient).
  • 1-2 tsps. Clarified butter (Ghee. It’s optional too. One could use olive oil too).
  • 1 big tbsp. Yoghurt/ Curd.

Featured image

Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients well until no lumps remain (not the nuts) and set aside for 5 minutes.The consistency of this batter is pretty thick (and sticky too) and not anything like the usual cake batter. So don’t get scared when you don’t see any folds of batter on tapping the spatula.Featured image
  • Add the chopped nuts.
  • Oil spray a steel container or the usual cake pan. I did not use any greasing and added a butter paper underneath into the pan.

Featured image

  • Spoon the batter into the cake pan.
  • Add water into the pressure cooker or steamer and set the cake pan inside it.Just cover the whistle hole with a bowl or just Al foil.
  • Allow it to steam cook for 8-15 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Featured image

  • Garnish with nuts and clarified butter!

I looked forward to summer vacations at my Aji’s place in Bombay. She would make this cake. What made it surreal was she made it with so much care. And truth be told, it was absolutely real. We did not have cameras and camera phones back then. I ponder if having them then could have helped me treasure the essence of my childhood for future. Reality is that memories may fade but the essence remains within the soul.But then I look at myself and see how she has passed on her looks to me 🙂

Featured image

My Aji stays across the globe. Every trip to the motherland my heart sinks another inch to see her grow older and frailer.

Featured image

Chanakya rightly said, he who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he might really be near by”.

I feel it better than ever before. Having lost so many dear ones in less than two years in my immediate family, the feeling of seeing incomplete houses is setting in. But, life goes on, doesn’t it?

Featured image

I have trained my brain to be thankful to the bag of goodies life has given me so far. And, having a family like mine in itself is a boon.

A toast of healthy emotional balance to all!

BTW,This is my First entry to the Post A quote Challenge By Sumana 🙂 Thanks again for the opportunity. I wanted to begin my quotes with my aji’s recipe who shares her name with you 🙂

Advertisements

All is Well!


A month and over of hiatus finally comes to an end! Ah, how I have missed being here. This being the space that keeps my spirits high! But, I m back recharged and lighter than before! Yes, the hourglass is on its way to be!! And All is well! (pic courtesy:google images)

Featured image

Where had I vanished? The house move finally happened in the wee hours of 25th June 2015 though our material existence (the boxes et al) had been moved on 18th the contractor hadn’t finished work enough for us to start living into the place we will finally belong. But our apartment lease was to end on 25th at 6.00 pm and we had no choice but to move in as-is! The contractor drama in detail for future posts! Trust me it has been one real life drama that moved me totally!

Anyway, the house is all set! We have had the fortune of visitors from all corners of the world visiting us in our new home. Yes, we are finally home! And not a minute goes that I don’t think about this house we bought and a home we made J. Every corner and every wall made specially for us to render memories that would last a lifetime.

Featured image

In the meanwhile, I have lost a total of 7lbs from May 10th.The inches have dropped down considerably. The moment of rejoice was when I could fit into a sleeveless blouse from circa 2008! That week of my saree pledge challenge made it ultra special to adorn the 5 yards of awesome-ness!

Featured image

Featured image

And BTW, I successfully enter my 14th week of saree pledge challenge this week! My mother is busy cleaning up her saree closets and shipping some of her classics collected over last 50 years to my new home! Home seems home already with two packages already sitting pretty into my closet! Time to hit the red carpet J! And yes, wait for a big announcement about it soon!

Moving and settling down could be extremely stressful. Especially the last 15 days before the move-out date we ate out a lot. I was so concerned about the weight then! But, to my surprise my weight remained the same through those 15 days!

The regimen after moving into the new home has changed a bit. I haven’t yet begun my 30-day Ab challenge that stopped suddenly a month ago due to the move. I regularly sweep the floors at the new place to keep them clean and myself lean :P! So far that plan seems to have been working well but need to get back to ab challenge!

Another highlight of the last month has been Sumana Doss Barman’s challenge of sayings/proverbs / idioms! Madam, I m going to take it up by horns! No further delays! And we will meet really soon!

Traditionally a social butterfly is not what I would call myself (instead a wallflower would be perfect for me) but last few weeks have been busy attending get-togethers and dinners! I probably am ready for a break there! “Oh Surely”, my husband would say!

Featured image

The new kitchen kicks me to try new recipes from the backyard basket of ingredients. I made this delicious basil plum sauce (from the plum tree here) that would be served that would be served with Chicken soon!

Yes, that reminds me to thank my lovely audience for being patient and sharing the pics of recipes from here that you and your family enjoyed! Chickpea crusted eggplant hearts on platter recipe seems to hit the right nerve! I m so glad to share a bite of my childhood with all of you!! Thanks for trying these!

In short, All is well! I m pretty much planning to be the hourglass mommy, not figuratively but in reality! And she is here to stay!! Gear up, buckle up!

Chickpea Crusted Eggplant hearts on a Platter


Do you believe in the logic behind ”What’s in the name?” I absolutely do.

Featured image

In my defense of POV, I’d say nothing is in the name, the soul lies in the identity of the object (living or not. BTW, food is a living creation for me J)

Featured image

Featured image

On that note of having people confused, let me further say that the recipe I am presenting today is my personal version of its traditional and famous counterparts made with passion, love as well as finesse across India. And needless to say that such a commonly made delicacy has no universal name or taste, but a common emotion! Oh yes, food has emotions and human mind associates food with memories.

Featured image

Featured image

Featured image

I would stay over at my grandmother’s house every Friday since every Saturday was early morning school day unlike the other days when school started at 10 am. My Aji (my mother’s mother up and bouncing at 89) would make Vangyache Kaap” very often during my sleepovers at their place. The prime reason being I simply adored them! My granny called it the “Brahmin’s fish” (Brahmins, do not eat non-vegetarian traditionally,I m an exception :P)!

Featured image

Sounds extremely odd to most mothers, isn’t it? I had surrendered to my mother’s strict discipline about eating all vegetables early on and eventually learnt to like them. So, I fell for eggplant/brinjal too!

Featured image

However I renamed my version of the traditional Marathi Vangyache kaap” as “Chickpea Crusted Eggplant Hearts on a Platter”. Sliced eggplant dipped in chickpea flour and minimal spices, elegantly cooked on a flat pan! Isn’t that such a hearty sight? Hence the name! Don’t mind the re-naming please!

And now without any more of blabber or Bakar (local word used for chatter in Bombay) I detail the ingredients and method for this delicacy!

Ingredients: (approx. 10 slices-3 persons)

  • 1 medium sized eggplant/brinjal (sliced about 10mm thick, washed and soaked in water)
  • 4 tbsps. Chickpea flour/besan.
  • 2-3 tsps. Ajwain/Carom seeds.
  • Salt to taste.
  • 2 tsps. Asafoetida.
  • 2 tsps. Turmeric powder.
  • 2 tsps. Garam masala /all spices powder.
  • 1-2 tsps. Red chili powder.
  • Olive oil Spray.

Featured image

Featured image

Featured image

Featured image

Note: The carom seeds, asafetida and turmeric help balance the heaviness of eggplant. The eggplant is heavy on tummy or gives gases but its very subjective. To make it lighter on tummy and ease out any trouble later, the addition of these three ingredients plays a vital role.

 Method:

  • Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Lightly dap the moisture from the sliced eggplant with a tissue.
  • Coat the eggplant slices with the dry mixture.
  • Heat the flat pan on a medium flame. Spray the olive oil spray on it evenly. Use a brush if required to coat the pan.
  • Lay the slices on the pan.
  • Spray the topside with oil and turn.
  • Allow it to cook for up to 1.5 minutes on each side and spray while flipping to the side not facing the pan.
  • The eggplant would change colour to a beautiful golden from the white and the sides would turn darker.
  • Push a knife or edge of the spatula to check if the eggplant has cooked well.If the fork moves in easily, its done!

 It could be an appetizer or a sidekick with rice or bread! But,frankly it could be whatever you want it to be 🙂

Featured image

Good food needs no words, it’s a language by itself. So, relax and relish. Enjoying food and creating aromatic memories is more important. Have it with wine or Sol-kadhi (Maharashtrian Mangosteen Soup) as long as it delights you, nothing else matters!

What say? J

Butterless Spaghetti Makhanwala with Shammi Kabab Meatballs


I love the concept of classic New York style Spaghetti with Meatballs. But it’s rare to find meatballs in Chicken or fish, isn’t it? Here’s how I began to believe otherwise J.

One of my son’s classmates Zo often got Spaghetti with Meatballs in her lunch box. And my son would find ways to convince me to make it. I thought and searched but could not think about a decent scramble for a chicken oriented meatball recipe. We don’t eat red meat so I don’t cook it either. I don’t have an issue if my son decided to eat red meat when he grows up but at the present if he ate and asked me to recreate a dish it would be very difficult. So, it’s more of convenience to opt for Chicken J.

I obviously did not wish to make Spaghetti and use frozen meatballs. It had to be custom made.Featured image

Through a food group I was introduced to a very talented culinary mind Ritu Shrivastava who shared her recipe for Shammi Kabab once. And my adventurous mind began to fuse an East meets the West recipe! Ritu, thanks for that recipe, it was very generous of you to share your delicious recipe and help me structure the fancies of my boy J. This is to you!

Here is a totally Indian take on the classic. Mine is called Butterless Spaghetti Makhanwala (low calorie tomato based sauce used for Indian delicacies like Butter Chicken etc) with Shammi Kabab meatballs (Indian Chicken mini patties infused with herbs).

Sharing this recipe for my boy of origin who loved it!

Spaghetti Makhanwala (Butterless Spaghetti in Tomato based Sauce)

Makhanwala (literally means loaded with butter and cream) gravy is rich, creamy and extremely flavorful. However, I wanted to make a lighter version of the parent sauce. Here is my version.

Featured image

Featured image

Btw, I always make non-meat stuff first to avoid any cross contamination of uncooked meat and other ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized tomatoes.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic.
  • 3 tsps. Cardamom powder.
  • 1 tsp. Garam masala (all spices powder).
  • Salt to taste.
  • 1 tsp. kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves to be added as garnish).
  • 2 tbsps. Yoghurt.
  • 3-4 black peppercorns.
  • 5 tbsps. Cashew powdered. (I did not use these. But they would add to the richness of the sauce).
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds.

Method:

  • Blend all the ingredients using very little or no water at all into a smooth sauce.
  • Cook the sauce and bring it to a boil. To enhance richness of taste reduce it to a thick sauce.
  • Set aside.

Featured image

For Spaghetti:

  • Drop the Spaghetti into boiling water and follow the instructions on the carton for cooking through. Drain the water, dust salt and drizzle some olive oil.
  • Mix the spaghetti with sauce just before you have to serve. The starch in the pasta thickens up the sauce too soon. So, ideally drop the pasta into the water (simultaneously) when your Shammi kababs are been shallow fried.

Ingredients:Featured image

Ritu’s Shammi Kabab (Ground chicken meatballs)

  • 8-10 Organic chicken tenders (skinless).
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 cup of Cilantro.
  • ¼ cup of Mint leaves.
  • 2 tbsps. Ginger paste.
  • Green chilis (optional)- I added Tandoori Masala and Garam Masala (all spices powder).
  • Salt to taste.
  • Italian Bread Crumbs (my addition).
  • 2-3 tbsps. Italian Basil leaves (optional, my addition)
  • A good grinder.
  • Oil for shallow frying (about 4 tbsp.).

Featured image

Method:

  • Ground all the ingredients except oil and crumbs in a grinder. (Ritu had marinated the ground chicken with ginger and garlic paste along with onions. But, I skipped the marinating part and addition of onions. Also I did not add any oil in the ground chicken mixture as she suggested.)
  • Make small patties and roll them into bread crumbs. (Now you can make balls and choose to deep fry them but I am on a healthy diet plus a busy mom, so not going to commit the sin :P).

Featured image

  • Heat the oil on a flat pan and shallow fry the patties until crisp (about 7 minutes on each side). But, you can still cut it and find out if they are cooked through or not. I always follow the actual test than follow my gut here. No chances with raw meat!

Serve together!

Featured image

This is a healthier and extremely delicious Indian version of the American Classic! This is going in my special heirloom recipe book to be passed on to the next generation!

Besanwali Bhindi ( Stuffed Okra with Chickpea flour)


And then there was a ladyfinger. (Stir fry and Ladyfingers, thinking right?)

Featured image

Yes, the Indian Ladyfinger is America’s very own Okra! A beautiful green colored long vegetable just like a lady’s fingers.

However, after migrating to the US (post marriage) I was amused to learn that ladyfingers are a kind of biscuit (low density, egg based and sweet sponge like) used as a dessert ingredient and not a vegetable. Ironical isn’t it? :P!

Featured image

Besanwali Bhindi (Bharwa Bhindi/Bharleli Bhendi/ Stuffed Okra with Chickpea flour) is one of my favourite stir-fries! Getting fresh bhindi here is a rarity. At least I have not come across a single store that carries a nice sharp stock of it with it’s tails intact (those of you who have shared same pains of selecting amongst broken tailed okras,my heartfelt empathies!)

In childhood, my Aai (my mother) used to be so upset when I used to gobble down all the okra even before the lunchtime. Loved munching on these.

They obviously taste great when the oil dollop is bigger (or so I thought!)

Believe me there are so many people like me who believed that fat, bacon and ice-cream are mandatory sins of the culinary world! The humungous addition of these ingredients alone would make a dish taste out of the world! But, this version of “besanwali bhindi” will change it for all thinkers.

It’s light, time effective and delicious! What more other than a detailed recipe would one ask for?

Voilà!

Featured image

Ingredients: (for 2 persons)

  • 20 okras/ladyfingers washed, towel dried and slit lengthwise.(select smaller ones, they are perfectly tender.)
  • 3-4 tbsps. Besan or Chickpea flour.
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder.
  • Salt to taste.
  • 1 tbsp. jaggery or palm sugar.
  • 2 tsps. cilantro powder.
  • 2 tsps. cumin powder.
  • 1 tsp. roasted dried garlic powder.
  • 1 tsp. carom seeds.
  • Oil spray.
  • Oil for tempering.
  • 1 tsp. asafetida.
  • 1 tsp. turmeric.
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds.
  • 2 tbsps. Garam masala (all spices powder).

Featured imageMethod:

  • Mix the besan, chili powder, cilantro powder, garam masala, cumin powder, salt, jiggery, garlic powder, carom seeds and turmeric along with little salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Hold the slit okra is a hand and stuff the besan mixture in it. Gently coat the okra into the bowl of mixture after that. This seals the okra and the stuffing well and does not allow the filling to come out while cooking. (Even if it comes out, it still tastes great J). Repeat the same for all the ladyfingers.
  • Heat 2-3 tsps. Olive oil (or any of your choice) in a pan and make the tempering. Add the cumin seeds and asafetida in hot oil and allow it to crackle.
  • Add the stuffed okra in the pan.
  • Oil spray the okra and sauté.
  • The colour of okra changes to a brighter green, that’s when it is cooked well.
  • But, we need the okra to be crisp and crunchy so allow it to crisp on a medium-slow flame. If you fear the okra to burn in the deep pan, add a flat pan (tawa) beneath it until it crisps.
  • And it’s ready!

Featured image

I understand that it takes a while stuffing each okra and then crisping it up, but the results are worth the trouble! I have seen a couple of my friends broil it in the oven to crisp it up, you can try doing that and share how! One word of advice though, while cooking okra do not cover the pan with a lid, the gel like saps within comes off and is sticky. It’s not very appetizing to the eyes L.

Serve besanwali bhindi with your choice of bread or eat it JLT! I have had this as an appetizer for many gatherings and it’s a crowd pleaser!!

 

Day 24: Permutations & Combinations!


Featured imageA serene pleasant morning woke me up early. I began the day with my third day of the 30 day ab-challenge followed by a cup of tea started by me finished by dear husband before he left for the office! What a morning it was!

Did not have a chance to have decent breakfast and was hungry at 10 am! I ate the coconut-peacan fudge I made last weekend! Sorry, was too hungry J.

As the sun came up, our life got busier with his highness Udeet and his kingdom of fantasy! We ponder so many times about what goes on in that little head of our naughty boy! He is on his toes all the time. Never a quiet minute passes by when he is around. Looking at him, we always ponder, what goes on in that little head of his! He’d be crying a minute and laughing the next. He lives a life of an uncrowned prince. A prince that has no thrown to topple him and no fear of losing a thrown he never owned! Never a moment of dullness or colourless, he is full of joy and enthusiasm. He rendered the emptiness of our world that have given us moments of pride and amusement, pain and trouble, but trust me not a moment of sadness or grief.

Yes and in return to all the happiness he gives us, we offer him dos and don’ts always helping him into taming himself to fit into this world of ours. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do though! I feel rebellious so many times, but just gulp it down with a deep breath. But, are we doing any good to our new generation who look up to us? I have to think hard and read before answering some questions of his. For instance when he says, that boy is not well behaved,he is bad,should I tell him? It’s tough to be so naive and innocent,to top it all honest! I feel the misery sometimes of not speaking up to avoid the truth being told to people around,so I totally understand!

Don’t you think there is a theory of permutations and combinations in it? The one who has it all, never knows of it. The other one who wants it all, never fails to think of it! I look for happiness around me, while he (my son) reminds me that it is within me! And yet I ponder about what goes on in that little head of his!

I m sure if there was or is a device /method to look into how kids think (and why), the first one to own would be me! Their mind is more receptive, agile and sharp than ours-really I m learning every day through him (my son). I fuss over imperfections within me and those outside while he seems to be in perfect unison with the world. Isn’t it ironical? As an adult my ability to accept, forgive and forget should (ideally be) be better than a 3.5 year old. But, it’s not. We, adults are so obsessed with our ambitions and vanity that we barely want to budge. Everyday is a day of learning and we always ponder, what goes on in that little head of his!

Life at 3.5 does appear very contented. Doesn’t it? May it be the same for all the children anywhere in the world, I wish aloud.

Anyway, my mind goes into deep Gyan mode now and then, don’t mind 😛 ! It’s work in progress always J.

We played with cars and raced like one all over the apartment! Sounds familiar? I m sure most boy-moms would find their heart racing with the thought of tripping over one of those hot wheels or fancy remote cars.

So we ate all the leftovers from yesterday for lunch. Now, today I really wanted my boy to sleep in time because we had to go grocery shopping in the evening. The last weekend was so busy that we missed a trip to fresh produce and grocery totally! And thanks to that, I had to make Undhiyo out of my reserve frozen pack L. I hate to make lunch or dinner out of packs, but had no choice. The fresh ground masala made it flavourful 🙂

Featured image

Anyway, my son slept at 4 pm or so and hence we could not go to see the work at the house. My husband directly went there from office and returned home. After a round of cricket, we finally left for grocery store. The plan was boys would drop me to the Indian store and I will finish shopping there as well as get my eye brows done (have an event to attend, otherwise they are long enough to give Rapunzel a run for her length) while the boys get dairy from Trader Joe’s. But, our darling son suddenly felt very hungry outside the first stop! The whole drama was to basically eat the desi Ice cream at Nirvanaah there, but we ignored it. Bought him a pack of biscuits and asked him to munch on them while we finished buying fresh vegetables! We have all done the same tricks as a child, haven’t we? Like good parents, we finished grocery there and the boys left for TJ’s and I went into one of these fancy threading parlors!

I puffed 25$ on threading etc. and moved out looking human :P. Urgh, the troubles we women face! I totally hate going to the salon for anything. I m just so lazy when it comes to looking all prim and proper! I have taken that from my Baba (father). I am so lazy, don’t you think? Btw, has anyone ever faced the same felt the same lazy feeling to visit the salon?

By the time I was done, the boys were already there to pick me up.Came home and made fresh rotis for us.

Rohan had calls and was going to be busy until midnight so Udeet was to be taken care of! And you can imagine an hour long ordeal to make him sleep. Rohan finished his first call and came to see us in the other bedroom to find Udeet wide awake! Interesting right? I never imagine how he pulls on reserve battery settings for an hour! Finally he slept and after a tiring long day I fell asleep by his side.

Hope you had a good night too! To permutations and combinations,Cheers!

Indian Masala Omelette


Most simple recipes are the most difficult ones to execute. My family loves eggs. Egg recipes appear simple but not every one can cook eggs to perfection. The gourmet breakfast places are busy for a reason,don’t you think? (btw,totally in need to nominations for a great breakfast place where they serve good stuff-so suggestions welcome:)!

Featured image

Rohan, my husband likes it boiled or when it’s made into a thin crêpe like with hint of green chilis and onions.  Those thin crepes are tough to execute and my husband does a great job with that. Son likes fancy stuff with cheese, peppers and dill! Don’t even think of asking him why?! He is a big fan of Chopped and Cutthroat kitchen!

I prefer a thick Indian Masala Omelette that my Aai makes. It’s simple and totally inspired by the Iranian Omelette served in Iranian Cafés along with exotic Tea in Bombay or Pune in India. My father hailed from Pune and hence my mother was introduced to that style of thick omelettes.

It’s breakfast for most of us but to me it’s BLD J. Keeping it short with yapping and sharing the version His Highness Udeet (my son :P) and I both approved. Obviously, it’s far from my mother’s though Udeet enjoyed it!

Featured image

Featured image

Ingredients: (for 1 and half people :P)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 red onion finely chopped.
  • 1/8th cup chopped green capsicum.
  • 1/8th cup bell peppers (red and yellow).
  • 1 stalk of green onion finely chopped.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Olive oil-about 2 tbsps.
  • ½ cup cilantro finely chopped.
  • 1 tsp. ginger finely chopped.
  • 1/4th cup milk.
  • 2 tsps.cheese- my son wanted it because he wanted to make the recipe.could not say no to those tender little hands wanting to cook!
  • 1 tsp black pepper or ½ jalapeno finely chopped.
  • 2 tsps. turmeric powder. (Remember 100 foot journey: the movie?here’s the video).

Featured image

Method:

  • Beat the eggs with a whisk. Add milk and whish again.(Milk makes the crepes lighter and tasty-Aai’s tip J)
  • Add all the veggies in it along with cilantro, salt and turmeric.
  • Mix gently with the whisk-almost like folding it.

Featured image

  • Heat a pan, add oil and pour the batter over the pan.
  • Allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes until the edges start to leave the pan.
  • Slowly flip it with a spatula and pray it does not break. (Mine did not break this time while flipping. It broke when I was setting it on the plate :P. But, I don’t’ care for the shape J-Do ya?)
  • Cook it for 1-2 minutes and its done. The colour of the crust would be brown-golden. It’s the heavenly crust with very little oil or butter and loaded with veggies.

I have used eggs with the yolk but you can make the same without the yolk as well.I don’t favour total elimination of egg yolks. But,its a personal choice.

Eat, sleep and rejoice! Eh Bien,Bon appétite!