Meera loves idli (steamed rice cakes) or PoLo (dosa). Any given day we have one of these ready at home. If we have idli, than the next day M would make roasted idli (or also called idli fry). Simple roasting on a pan, transforms the idli taste dramatically. [Read more...]
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Following up on the Video: Making of Rava Dosa and Masala Dosa, here is the next installment of making Mysore Masala. I was surprised they spread a red chilli paste over the dosa, I had thought they sprinkle a spice blended podi (powder) as seen at the Shanbhag fast food place in Hospet, Karnataka. Delicious, nonetheless. A Mysore Masala Dosa at Kamats, Colaba costs Rs 38 (US 85 cents)! I want two, delivered.
I have a soft corner for the Konkani delicacy, SurnoLi; it reminds me of my doting grandmother in Bhatkal (Karnataka). M thinks it’s my sweet tooth.
When training for the marathon, I am uninhibited in gobbling these delicacies. But the instant I cross the finish line on Sunday, I’ll nit-pick my food and watch every calorie. But for now, lets indulge.
Creative use of watermelon whites in this recipe. Frugal, rural indians knew how to stretch their money and even their fruits. No point in wasting even the whites from the watermelon. Here in Boston, with the pathetically short summer (three months) I dice watermelon whites and store it frozen. Then we can enjoy SurnoLi all year around.
How do we make this delicacy more healthier? We added the omega-3-rich flaxseed powder, crushed pecans and the proteinaceous cashew nuts. To really enjoy the surnoLi, you need sugar cane molasses we call paatal goD or liquid jaggery. Thankfully I get a never-ending supply of this liquid gold from Kumta!
I am well-fed. Thanks to all foodies on my “Food to Live For” Blogroll (see sidebar), M is inspired to try various dishes. After adapting Sailu’s recipe for our Boston home, M made these delicious Phova poLo with our own onion chutney for brunch.
Phovu (beaten or flattened rice) is a staple of Konkanis and I have previously posted our traditional breakfast, Tambdo Phovu.
The poLo in this recipe reminded us of the konkani delicacy surNoLi. The surNoLi recipe is very similar to the poLo here, with the addition of soyi (grated coconut), the batter being fermented more and the poLo laid heavier (daaTh). In another variation, the batter is mixed with jaggery resulting in a sweet surNoLi.
“Fast Food, Coz Enlightenment is Too Damn Slow!”
In Chennai, after our migraine-inducing Saree Shopping binge, our driver recommended we try Mugugan Idli. A very interesting place! There was a long line and we had to wait about 30 minutes to get a table. But once inside, the service was very fast. Despite it being a Idli place, we all ended up ordering different types of dosas! In lieu of plates, servers bring banana leaves, which we wipe clean. Another serves several different types of chutneys on each leaf (plate). The dosas are brought on a tray and a server (with gloved hands) carefully places each dosa on our leaf.
M got this psychedelic Onion Uttappam. I was like: I want that! Mumbai-side, the onions are usually minced; here these sliced onions give it an artistic touch!
(click for larger image)
During one of our trips through Karnataka, we visited Hampi to see the ancient city of Vijayanagar. What a fascinating city! Under a UNESCO mandate, extensive restorations are ongoing. The temples are awe inspiring! But for M, the best part of the trip was our stay in the nearby town of Hospet. A busy, dusty town at the crossroads of the Manganese ore trade. Here we made camp at the “Shanbhag International.” There was nothing international about this place. Even by Indian standards, it was an average “Hotel,” but importantly it had a few air-conditioned rooms.
And before you wonder, the Shanbhags here were no relatives of ours. But the owner was a Konkani and hovered around the front lobby in his uniform white munda, white jhabba with a pocket stuffed with a diary and a stack of folded paper, slicked hair and heavy black framed glasses. Could have been one of my uncles, and I referred to him as maam. Quite an entrepreneur. He owned two hotels diagonally across a busy intersection called “Shanbhag Circle,” about a block from the bus-stand. While we stayed at the “International,” the one across the street was Shanbhag Lodge with the Shanbhag Restaurant, catering to the middle class.
Here in the “International”, he had a Bar plus Non-veg Restaurant and our favorite, the “Shanbhag Fastfood.” The fastfood catered to poor laborers. Only high tables and no seating – you stand and eat. So folks are encouraged to eat and move-on. You pay first and get coupons, which you exchange for food at the counters. All snacks (dosas, idli, vada, etc) were 5 Rs and chai or coffee were 3 Rs. Really! M and I had our fill for under 25 Rs (slightly over 50 cents).
It was not the money, it was the experience of eating here. The spectacle of buying coupons, getting the food, standing and enjoying the delicious fare. During lunch he also served sambar-rice for 8 Rs. The place was packed as laborers crowded for a filling meal. For dinner (10 Rs) he served a simple thali and I saw entire families eating here. You could feed a family of five for about a dollar!
We were in Hospet for about four days, ate at all Shanbhag restaurants and had a gala time. Highly recommend if you are visiting Hampi. There is a western touristy hotel nearby, but what fun would that be!
Before the pics, I share an anecdote. Taking a break from the blazing sun, M took a nap in the room, while I wandered the local bazaar and came back to the room with a couple of mangoes and some grapes.
I said: “Heh, the lady who sold me these fruits was very nice.”
She groggily replied: “Of course they love you; you never bargain!”
I said: “M, let me explain and then you tell me if I should have bargained”:
“I saw this push cart with fruits tended by an elderly lady. In my basic Kannada, I asked her the prices and got two types of mangoes and some grapes. She tallied and it came to 60 Rs. So I give her 60 Rs. Then she looks at me again, nods and hands 25 Rs back to me, saying “saaku” (enough). I insisted she take the entire amount, but she refused.”
I asked: “So tell me, what should I have bargained with her for?”
During summers in Bhatkal (Karnataka), every morning we were treated to Raagi-neru. A watery concoction of raagi ground with a bit of coconut and jaggery. My grandmother advised that this would keep our insides cool from the summer heat. We’d hurriedly gulp a few glasses and dash into the orchards, chasing dragon flies!
I recently saw two recipes for Raagi Roti (or Bhakri) and convinced M to give it a try.We followed two similar recipes; one by Latha from Yum Blog! and the other by Asha of Foodies Hope. There are slight variations, so go ahead and check them out.The bhakri had a nice earthy taste and was slightly gritty. The red onions and chillies gave it a nice zing and did not need any chutney to go with it. It did dry my mouth, and I gulped a couple of glasses of water and juice. I quickly chomped down two bhakris and was surprisingly full for the rest of the day. It sits strongly in your stomach. This ability to fill you must be an important reason why raagi is a staple amongst the poor laborers in Northern Karnataka. This would be a great snack to power you on a long hike.
Ingredients (essentially from Latha’s post)
- Raagi flour – 1 cup; see making Fresh Raagi Flour
- Cilantro, finely chopped – half bunch
- Red onion, 1/2 of medium sized, finely chopped
- Green chilly pepper, 2 finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Mix ingredients in the least amount of water and knead into a smooth soft dough.
- Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Spread a few drops of oil on a hot tava (pan), place a ball of dough and pat it to a pancake. Try to get it as thin as possible.
- It helps to rub oil on your fingers to prevent them sticking to the dough
- Roast covered over medium heat
- Flip and roast other side as well.
- Don’t crisp, but leave soft.
A little background: Raagi is also called African millet or red millet, and was introduced into India four millenia earlier from Ethiopia. In Maharashtra it is called Nachani and in Konkani, we call it Nanchano. The raagi crop grows well in arid lands making it popular amongst farmers in parts of the dry Deccan plateau. The seeds once harvested are also resistant to insects and spoilage and another reason raagi has become a staple of farmers. And it unusually brings vital amino acids to an otherwise starchy diet.Give it a try! Eat Healthy!