Roasted Idli

pictures of Idli steamed in steel bowls by Arun Shanbhag
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. Continue reading “Roasted Idli”

Tambdo Phovu – Red Flattened Rice, v2

Pics how to make Tambdo Phovu poha, red flattened rice by Arun Shanbhag

(During processing these pics, I remembered I had previously written on Making Tambdo Phovu; so, edited the text and added in newer pics.)

Phovu (beaten or flattened rice) freshly mixed with few spices is a staple breakfast of Konkanis. We grew up eating tambdo phovu nearly every day (tambdo for red comes from the crushed red chillis in this recipe). When visitors arrive unannounced, aunts or grandma would quickly mix this snack, usually takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Since this is simply mixed, it is also called kāláyilo (mixed) phovu. Many households use phova piTTo (powdered spice mix for phovu), but we made this from scratch. Continue reading “Tambdo Phovu – Red Flattened Rice, v2”

Beet Red Juice with Apples, Carrots, Cilantro, Lemon and Ginger

pics of vegetables carrots, beet, apples ginger and lemon in Blood Red Juice by Arun Shanbhag

Now that M & Meera are in Boston, I worry less (about the house, yard or anything else) and explore culinary creations. Here is an all-natural Red Juice loaded with important nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Continue reading “Beet Red Juice with Apples, Carrots, Cilantro, Lemon and Ginger”

Berry Delicious Thick Yogurt

Berry delicious thick yogurt Shrikhand
Ganga’s post on thick yogurt got me salivating. I love shrikhand, especially from Parsi Dairy Farm, Mumbai, but I shudder just thinking of the calories it packs. I’d have to run 5 miles just to burn a cup of their nectarine shrikhand! No thank you! Here is my attempt at making a low-calorie, healthy, dessert. There is such a thing!
Continue reading “Berry Delicious Thick Yogurt”

Turmeric Milk: Soothing Elixir

haldi turmeric ginger milk by Arun ShanbhagTurmeric is an ubiquitous indian spice and a common ingredient of pre-mixed curry or masala powders. Turmeric (haldi, Konkani; haridra, Sanskrit) is also an essential component of fish marinade.

While I take for granted the turmeric used in cooking, I distinctly remember my grandma preparing scalding hot, turmeric milk whenever we had a sore throat or cold. And grandma admonished us to sip it hot, letting it course its way down the back of our throats. Haaiiii! She had alchemized this common root, to a piping hot, golden elixir, which not only got us back to school the next day (unfortunately), but also back on the playground (v good). Something magical about that turmeric milk! If she only knew!
Continue reading “Turmeric Milk: Soothing Elixir”

Quick Lunch: Vegetable Pattis Roll-up

Vegetable Roll-Up

When I work mornings from home, I’ll make a quick lunch before rushing off to work; usually a sandwich or a roll-up.
Continue reading “Quick Lunch: Vegetable Pattis Roll-up”

Shira – Cream of Wheat Pudding: Ultimate Comfort Food

Shira cream of wheat pudding Soji halwa Arun Shanbhag

I could have a tough day at work, or come in cold and shivering from shoveling snow. On days when things just don’t go right and you start wondering if the Universe is conspiring against you. I walk in the front door and get a whiff of roasting wheat, … Yaay! Its Shira for dessert! What problems? Continue reading “Shira – Cream of Wheat Pudding: Ultimate Comfort Food”

SurnoLi: Watermelon Rice Pancakes

surnoli watermelon rice pancakes pics by Arun Shanbhag
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!
Continue reading “SurnoLi: Watermelon Rice Pancakes”

Kaapi: Way Coffee Should be Enjoyed

How to make south indian coffee kaapi by Arun Shanbhag
Running Update: To keep up with my training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC I had to run 13 miles through partial rain and dodging puddles the entire way. Running with squishy shoes for a couple of hours is not fun! I made it around in horrible time and sore hamstrings.

This year its the hamstrings and lung capacity which have been slowing me. Appears my lungs have NOT fully recovered from the bronchitis I got earlier in the Spring and kept me from the Boston Marathon. For the first four miles, I find myself gasping and unable to pick my pace. My doctor is not surprised and mentions that after bronchitis, lungs need 6-8 months to recover vital capacity. While I don’t notice a deficit in most activities, running long distances needs my entire lung capacity, which is still compromised. But I plod on! Have no hopes for breaking 4 hours, but it would be good to FINISH a marathon this year!
Continue reading “Kaapi: Way Coffee Should be Enjoyed”

DuddaLi: Arrowroot Pudding

Indian Dessert Arrowroot Pudding

Arrowroot powder is the starch component of the perennial tuber, marantha, found in tropical forests. Starch from these tubers is believed to be of a higher quality compared to potato starch or corn starch, as it has a neutral taste when used in cooking. Continue reading “DuddaLi: Arrowroot Pudding”

Omega-3s and Grilled Salmon: Food for the Heart and Brain

Salmon being marinated with spices for grilling by Arun Shanbhag
Come spring, I can’t wait to fire up the grill and throw some salmon on it. Not only is grilled salmon one of my favorite, salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids improve heart health, have anti-inflammatory properties and as recent research informs, improve brain function. Yaay! Continue reading “Omega-3s and Grilled Salmon: Food for the Heart and Brain”

Phova Dosa: Beaten Rice Crepes

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.

Pics of making Beaten rice crepes or Phova Dosas by Arun Shanbhag
Continue reading “Phova Dosa: Beaten Rice Crepes”

Tambdo Phovu – Red Flattened Rice

Pics how to make Tambdo Phovu poha, red flattened rice by Arun Shanbhag

Phovu (beaten or flattened rice) freshly mixed with few spices is a staple of Konkanis. Growing up, we’d eat tambdo phovu (tambdo – red) nearly every day for breakfast. If not for the main dish, at least as a side. I prefer it sprinkled with a little sev, or served on the side (see pic below). When visitors arrive unannounced, the women would quickly mix this as a snack. Since this is simply ‘mixed’ it is also called Kalayile (mixed) phovu. Continue reading “Tambdo Phovu – Red Flattened Rice”

Raagi Bhakri

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
  • Method:

  • 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!

Karnataka Cuisine: What a feast it is!

Food blogs are fascinating ways to learn about different cuisines, new dishes, new ways to prepare old dishes, and importantly, gives ides of what to cook up for the simple daily dinner, or even the special feast coming up.

Have to confess, M looks through a few food blogs every day to figure out what new dishes to conjure up every evening to tame her impatient, ravenous husband. Yes, I am well fed! 😛

As I have elaborated before, food blogs have an important advantage, they are not written by celebrity chefs mixing ingredients in designer kitchens for TV fans. These are written by your average householders, who are always time-challenged to cook something delicious yet simple and healthy for their loved ones – their own spouses and kids. Yes and in their cooking you find the most precious spice of ‘love’.

But how do you track the seemingly millions of food blogs out there? Over the last several months I have tracked several Foodies and listed them in my Food to Live For blogroll on ArunShanbhag.com

A useful trend amongst foodies is to organize a ‘Round-up’ based on an ingredient or festival. Contributors post recipes on the theme and an organizer rounds-up and links the recipes in a large post.

Asha of FoodiesHope, recently organized a Round-up of “Regional Cuisines of India: Karnataka.” Foodies from around the globe recreated traditional dishes in modern kitchens and also conjured up new recipes with locally available ingredients.

Asha, received 368 contributions and has painstakingly sorted and summarized it in four posts. If you even remotely like Karnataka Cuisine, this is verily food nirvana:

  1. Appetizers and Snacks
  2. Breakfast and Brunch. (Includes a dazzling variety of dosas!)
  3. Dishes for the Main Course
  4. Spicy Powders, Desserts and Else.

So take a few minutes to visit her posts, identify the recipes you like, click through for the complete recipes. Since some of the contributors were already on my Food to Live For blogroll, we have tried several of these dishes at home. Yumm! No doubt I have not had a chance to post – coz we were busy eating :-))

Almond Pista Milk


Last year on my return from the Kailash Manasarovar yatra, I had a severe case of acid reflux which was affecting my throat and vocal chords. Apparently, eating foods cooked in an unknown quality of oils and lying in sleeping bags (without pillow) can cause this. Of course, my intense running also brings up stomach acid and aggravates it. In addition to medications and other dietary changes, my doctor recommended that I stop drinking coffee! I could not imagine starting my day without a double shot of espresso. But I loved running more. So for several months I drank green tea in the mornings (and yawned at my desk). I came upon Masala Milk Mix in the grocery store and loved its refreshing taste. My mother noted that it was easy to make the powder at home and that got me started on grinding my own Badam Pista Milk Mix.

Now, I start my day with a warm cup of Badam Pista Dudh. I still drink about half a cup of coffee after lunch. My acidity problems have been essentially resolved and I feel great.

Easy to make.
Continue reading “Almond Pista Milk”

Dill Idlis: A Konkani Delicacy

During this summer, we had parents, siblings and their families visiting. In addition to catching up on gossip, we were constantly eating various dishes that the women conjured up.

And they made one of my favorites, Dill Idlis (Dill is called Shaepi in Konkani). These idlis represent the marriage of the South Indian staple idli with the aromatic Dill, popular in coastal Maharashtra. Dill Idlis are primarily made along the northern coastal Karnataka (Konkan).

In making these idlis, the key is to retain the subtle taste and gentle aroma of dill, which is later complemented by warm tuup and honey while eating. So here is the brief recipe and a few pics.

Fresh Dill
Pics of Making Dill Idlis - steamed rice cakes by Arun Shanbhag
Continue reading “Dill Idlis: A Konkani Delicacy”

Arun’s Cafe: Serving Shrimp Quesadillas

Arun’s Cafe: Serving Shrimp Quesadillas! After a long hiatus this afternoon, Arun's Cafe opened briefly. Shrimp Quesadillas were on the menu!

Mantra for the weekend brunch: Quick and Tasty! These quesadillas were both, and as a bonus, not much cleanup!

Tomato and basil tortillas (Wilson Farms) were warmed on a pan, turned, and on one half, I spread a blend of shredded mozzarella and asiago cheese, diced plum tomatoes and shrimp, separately sauteed in malvani masala! Then fold over, cut wedges, and eat, … slowly, completely chewing the food!
shrimp quesadillas

Konkani Delicacy: Kadgi Chakko (Spicy Breadfruit)

Pics of Kadgi Chacko, a konkani delicacy by Arun Shanbhag
Kadgi Chakko is one of M’s signature dishes. At gatherings, she is always asked to make this and relishes the opportunity. Its one of my favorites too. Continue reading “Konkani Delicacy: Kadgi Chakko (Spicy Breadfruit)”

Goad Appams: A traditional konkani sweet ball

pics of goad appams Konkani recipes by Arun Shanbhag

For Ganapati, M made Goad Appams, a traditional konkani sweet ball generally made during utsav (Hindu festivals), though not necessarily for Ganapati, when the variant modaks are the preferred sweets. The appams (sing. appo ), came out perfect. Continue reading “Goad Appams: A traditional konkani sweet ball”

Crunchy Yogurt Yumm

crunchy yogurt with granola pic by Arun Shanbhag

After dinner, I absolutely need something sweet. Fruits would be good, but since I eat a lot of fruit during the day, I pass on them after dinner. Here's what I make instead.

In a small bowl, pile:

  • 2 tablespoons of low fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of granola (here: Pecan Praline and Orange Ginger Granola; Trader Joe's)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Flaxseed (Trader Joe's, and lowers cholesterol)
  • a few raisins,
  • a liberal squirt of honey.

Mix well and … spoon licking yummy! Eat Well and Healthy!

PS. Recipe is not copyrighted and I encourage you to copy – please.

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