September 22, 2008

Bhenda Huli

This is one of the more popular amchi dishes. I know that it features at least once a week on the menus of several of my relatives. It is usually not made dry. I made it a little dry to go with rotis and then diluted it with a little water when we had it for dinner with rice and dali-saar.

1/4 kg Lady's Finger, chopped
4-5 tbsp Coconut, scraped
2-3 Red Chillies
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
5-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp Tamarind Paste
3-4 tsp Oil
Salt to taste

Fry the red chillies, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds in about 2 teaspoons of oil. Grind this along with the coconut to a smooth paste.

Cook the lady's finger with the tamarind paste, salt and a little water until done. When it is cooked, add the masala and enough water to make it a sambar like gravy (or thicker if you like). Bring this mixture to a boil.

In a frying ladle, heat the remaining oil and add the crushed garlic and fry for a minute. Add this to the gravy and serve with rice and dali-saar.
If you're looking for a no onion/garlic version, you could use this tempering:

1 tsp Cooking Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
½ tsp Asafoetida (Hing)
7-8 Curry Leaves

In a frying ladle, heat the oil and add the mustard. When the mustard splutters, add the asafoetida and turn off the flame. Add the curry leaves. Fry for a minute and add this to the boiling mixture.

Off this goes to Deepa's
RCI: Konkani Cuisine.

September 21, 2008


Everyone knows how much I love brinjal. I am always on the lookout for new recipes that I can try out with these little purple beauties. I made this dish many months ago and saved the post for the RCI. This isn't a dish that Amma made. She made it for the first time after I told her about it. I adapted this recipe from Rasachandrika, my konkani cooking encyclopaedia. My maid and my mother-in-law were very skeptical when I started cooking this. They couldn't imagine how a dish could be made without turmeric. I was following a recipe. Modifying it, no doubt, but following it all the same.

1/2 kg Brinjals, finely chopped
2 Onions, finely chopped
2-3 Red Chillies
1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
2-3 Cloves
1" piece of Cinnamon
2-3 tbsp Coconut, scraped
3-4 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped
3-4 Garlic cloves
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

Dip the brinjal pieces in water for 10 minutes and drain. Add salt to the pieces and keep aside.

Heat about 2 teaspoons of oil and fry the chillies, coriander seeds, cloves and cinnamon. Grind together to a fine paste this mixture with the coconut and garlic.

Heat the remaining oil and fry the onions. Add the brinjal pieces and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the ground masala and mix it well. Cook till the brinjals are done. Add the chopped coriander leaves.

We had them with wheat rotis for lunch and with Rice Rotis for dinner. I haven't made it again since only because I have been trying out other dishes with brinjal. But the recipe is a keeper.

Off this goes to Deepa's RCI: Konkani Cuisine.

September 18, 2008

Celebrating with a Cake

It is taking me longer than I expected to get back to blogging, especially this blog. After almost three months, I updated my first blog. The break at The Singing Chef seems longer even though I have been away for just a month. I think it has to do with the regularity with which I have been posting here. So many of you have left messages and sent me mails asking if I’m fine. I am, thank you very much. And I was truly overwhelmed by your messages. It is not like me to abandon my blog and I really haven’t. I was away on a much needed two week vacation. At one point, I thought I could use my time to schedule posts, but we had no time for anything really.

We rested (that was one of the essentials) and we met friends and family (which was the main reason we traveled). We did, though, eat an awful lot. I didn’t take pictures of food on this trip, and God alone knows how much restraint I exercised. In Hyderabad, we had some home cooked meals. I did a little bit of cooking and shall remember not to attempt any such thing in the future. More heartburn, not worth it. I did meet Arundati who gave me free chocolate making lessons. I will attempt making chocolates very soon. We ate at Persis, Little Italy, and Minerva. Persis is just the same. The same biryani that the world somehow thinks is the best. Little Italy is just down the road from where I lived. Nice food, great ambience. Thank heavens it wasn’t there during my time. I’d probably have eaten there everyday. In Bangalore, we ate at home a lot. We ate stuff from the should-be-world-famous-soon Ganesh Upahar in Anand Nagar, and at TGI Fridays and Little Italy (again). I so wanted to have Chhole Bhature at Shiv Sagar. ( I believe in next times.) We were 10 minutes late at Shanthi Sagar and were denied idlis at dinner time. Madras rocks when it comes to food. More so on this trip of ours. We had some home made food again (I cooked a little bit again) and ate out a little. Ratna cafĂ©, Minar at Savera, etc. But I had proper amchi banana leaf meals at the SGS Sabha as I was there for the Gowri-Ganpati festival. I celebrated my second Gowri Puja with Amma in Madras.

It’s been about 10 days since we got back. I’ve become more organized since then. All the vegetables for the week are now neatly processed during the weekend so dishing out breakfast and lunch together only takes me 30 minutes. Dinner is also a 20 minute affair, in terms of cooking that is. All this leaves us with more time to do all the things that we’d like to. Hit the gym, take a walk, watch more eposides of Three’s Company, cook more wholesome meals… even cut fruit and eat it as an after dinner snack. Something we’d never thought of doing before. I haven’t gotten around to doing any baking yet. We’re planning a small dinner party on Saturday and I hope to do some baking then. But until then, let me leave you with this small cake that I’d baked for a friend when she asked for an encore. The chocolate orange marble cake with a chocolate glaze icing and sprinkles. Simple and sweet. Perfect for that little celebration. Coming back to my beloved blog after a break does call for a celebration.

Doing that on my second wedding anniversary calls for a bigger celebration. S and I complete two years in wedlock today. I am not cooking anything special. We’re planning a small dinner at a local restaurant that’s supposed to be a perfect candle-light romantic dinner place. See you all very soon.