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”

Fast Food: Murugan Idli

“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!
Picture of Onion Uttapam at Murugan Idli Shop Chennai
(click for larger image)
Continue reading “Fast Food: Murugan Idli”

Shanbhag Fastfood

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. Continue reading “Shanbhag Fastfood”

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!

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”

Idli Sambar: Its whats for brunch!

Idli Sambar: Its whats for brunch!

Of late, I was craving idlis. First it was Lakshmi, who tormented us with her pati's excellent idli making skills. Then at the Konkani Sammelan we had idli sambar for breakfast, and I only got one serving! Considering the long lines, I felt guilty and did not go for seconds. *Yes sad!*

But the ever-vigilant M dearest noticed my silent suffering. She soaked the dal for two days, ground it, fermented if for a day and on Saturday morning made delicious idlis. She even made the perfect sambar, just the way I liked it – from scratch and by blending all the spices. And with lots of eggplant, peppers and potatoes. I like the gritty feed. No powders were used in the preparation of this sambar!

And yes! I went for seconds, … and thirds!

Butta – Roasted Maize

As you noticed I've been posting random pics from my collection! Work is crazy busy – and will be till we leave for mumbai in ten days. A short, one week visit for a family wedding, followed by a week touring the austrian and swiss alps.

I think I'll go on a mango diet in mumbai Anyone want to go mango shopping to crawford market?

pics of charcoal roasted maize corn by Arun Shanbhag
Every summer, after I've had my fill of mangoes, my eyes search for the butta wallah. Maize (or corn) roasted on an open charcoal shekdi (grill); then liberally smeared with a halved lemon, dabbed in salt and red-pepper powder! The butta season peaks as the monsoon starts, causing folks to huddle by the warmth of the shekdi.

One of my favorites here too. Weather permitting, I roast corn on the gas-fired grill. My local friends have never encountered this confluence of zing and zang on their corn, but are quickly converted. And as at the butta wallah, roasted corn is best served on the husk!

Bademiya: Colaba's Culinary Firmament

Its the street food that makes Mumbai special! From the chana-wallahs at Gateway, to ganna-wallahs and paan-wallahs, seemingly at every corner; and the vada-paav baakdas at Fountain. And of course, Bademiya in the seedy gulli behind the Taj Mahal Hotel. Continue reading “Bademiya: Colaba's Culinary Firmament”

How to eat Paani Puri

How to eat Paani Puri at Kailash Parbat Pics by Arun Shanbhag

When visiting relatives confessed they had never eaten paani puri at a street stall, I was aghast. They had only eaten pani puri at nice, sterile hygienic restaurants!!! Where the puris, fillings and chutneys are served in a multitude of tiny saucers, you mix it all yourself, spoon the paani and eat. Sacrilege! Is that any way to enjoy paani puri?

So I herded them to Kailash Parbat in Colaba's 1st Pasta Lane. This is how you eat paani puri! At an outdoor stall, the bhayya pokes the puri with his thumb, scoops the filling, dunks it in a large pot of spicy jeera paani and flops the dripping puri on your plate. All in one fluid motion. You just have to stuff it in your mouth. Be quick to gulp, coz the next one is on the way! After the last one, … you slurp the paani.

How tasty? See the girl in the back licking her fingers? Yes, that good! Then you head over to the other side for a lassi or rabri! 🙂

When we were kids, a pot-bellied maharaj with no shirt, held court. Now with “India Shining,” this puny guy is serving with gloves! Instead of a terracotta matka they have a steel pot. But still tasty!

The only address you need to know for a good Paani Puri.
Best place for chaat in Mumbai Colaba Pics by Arun Shanbhag


Kailash Parbat in previous posts

Pav Bhaji & Chole Bhatura
Pav Bhaji Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

Ragda Pattis, Lassi & Sevpuri
Ragda pattis lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba

 
 
 
 
 

Ragda Pattis & Lassi (2004)

Kumta: Main Street


The Vegetable market sits on one end of main street also called “paent” in Kumta. The stores are tiny and carry whatever you would need. Nothing fancy here, just life's essentials. Several temples are on this street, thus flower sellers everywhere.

Notice the reddish tinged road. That comes from the red Laterite rock this entire Konkan region sits atop. In the konkan, everything is made from laterite: buildings, fence walls, bus-stop shelters, stores and even road side gutters. Crushed laterite gravel is used on the shoulders of all roads. Even the dust has a reddish tinge and so does the normally black asphalt road. After a few days here white clothes include a tinge of red.

A stroll down Main Street
The Venkateshwara Devasthan/Muth is in the center of town. I love exploring the inside of this beautiful, old temple. Piles of sand and gravel outside point to imminent construction; pray nothing gaudy.

Nearby is the Shanteri Kamakshi Temple. A thread-ceremony was going on inside and these girls, dressed in new clothes, were welcoming guests. Women received flower strands for their hair, men (and women) got sprinkled with perfumed water. Note the girl in red reaching for the chrome sprinkler.

After walking in the hot sun, my cousin and I decided to gate-crash this ceremony for some cool lemonade and mithai. We smiled at the girls, got doused in perfumed water and smiled our way to the back of the temple where the lemonade was still being mixed. There as we waited, the assistant picked up a block of ice sitting on the bare floor and tossed it in the giant pot” I had no intention of getting an upset stomach at the start of my holidays. Mithai too was nowhere to be seen. After bowing my head at the shrine, we departed.

Right outside the temple I tried taking a pic of the squatting flower-seller, and this women walked right into my field. Her expression suggests she was carrying a huge burden on her already drooping shoulders.

Parched throats had us dash to the corner shop with the red and white awning (Nayak's Cold drinks). Note the women selling an assortment of flowers, vegetables or fruits. Generally whatever grows on their plot.

On the back table as we waited to order Limbu-soda, a local person still sitting there was sipping, what looked like a glass of cold-coffee. Raagi Neeru (Nanchane udak) he noted. I remembered my grandmother making Raagi Neeru for us kids playing in the hot summer sun. Apparently the owner's wife makes it at home – delicious. They also served Teela Udak (white sesame water). Had to try that as well. After a few glasses of each, we were well prepared to brave the midday sun. Note empty glasses on table.

Apparently a very simple recipe for these cool-drinks. Roasted Nanchane or white sesame seeds are ground with some coconut gratings, jaggery and water. Thats it. Ayurveda experts would swear at how it would 'cool' the body from the inside. Amen!


Other Kumta Related Posts:

Badshah – King of Cold Drinks

Falooda at Badshah Cold Drink, Mumbai Arun Shanbhag

As kids growing up in South Mumbai, we often went to Crawford Market and environs for most of our shopping. Abdul Rehman St for stationery, Lohar Chawl for all our electrical stuff, Paidonii, Zaveri Bazar and wherever. To this day, the wide variety of things you can buy there amazes me. I saw my favorite 'Nutella,' much cheaper in Mumbai than here in Boston. 😦 My cousin and I walked till we dropped; then rested at > Badshah Cold Drinks.

This 100-year old institution has quenched millions of parched throats. It has the widest selection of fruit juices, milkshakes and icecreams. I spend a few minutes browsing the entire menu and as usual, end up ordering what I always order – Royal Falooda. Rose Syrup, vermicelli from maize flour, milk, sabjah (black seeds) and topped with vanilla icecream! Heavenly! My cousin brother tried the Mango Falooda! The bill was less than Rs 90 (< 2 USD).

Fruits arrayed behind the counter. Can you spot the peeping worker?
Falooda at Badshah Cold Drink, Mumbai Arun Shanbhag

Other Posts on Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetable Stall Crawford Market, Mumbai

Vegetable Stall at the Jyotiba Phule Mandi, Crawford Market Mumbai

No visit to Mumbai is complete without a soul-pleasing trip to the Jyotiba Phule Mandi, previously Crawford Market.


My Related posts on Vegetable and Fruit Markets:

Back Home in Boston

Exhausted, drained and my circadian rhythm is shot. Two conferences in the next three weeks and 700 e-mails to attend to. Why does everyone think I read my emails while on vacation?

Since I live to eat (suffer ye thinkers!), my self imposed exile to the culinary Siberia has resumed. Yesterdays cafeteria choices included Corn Chowder (85 Cal), Chicken in red cream sauce (995 Cal – really!) and 65 other equally unsavory options. While I really wanted the Rawas Hyderabadi or the Shrimp Kadipatha, I would have settled for the bourgeois Kamats Thali.

I already miss Aiee asking every night what I want for breakfast the next morning (M, please take note). And restaurant waiters understand “strong filter coffee.” I met fascinating people all day, every day. I am going to miss them the most. I don’t miss living out of a suitcase(s) for 4 weeks and my shirt soaked 2 minutes after I wear it.

I have 900 pics to go through, 45 books I brought back, a huge stack of CDs, a suitcase full of Ganapati foods (puran-poli, chewda, shankar-palli, saath, mysore-paak, banana and almond halwa, kaju barfi from Chandu Halwai, …) lots of knick-knacks and a boat load of memories.

It took me 45 minutes to get ready after the shower. Confusion reigned: what trousers do I normally wear to work? Which shirt? Socks? Where are they? Damn! They need to match the shoes. Where are my keys? What time is my bus? … Am I forgetting something? Bostonians, if you spy a zombie, its just me!

All signs of a great holiday!

And I am equally glad to be back HOME! My bed, my pillow and my blanket (yes, its getting chilly here!).

Ragda Pattis and Lassi in Colaba

Ragda Pattis and Meetha Lassi at Kailash Parbat, Colaba;
there is one in Bandra as well

pagda pattis lassi Kailash Parbat Colaba
Aug 2002; Canon Elan II, ISO 200 Velvia Slide


Other Kailash Parbat Posts:

Anannas Mhoramba – Pineapple Jam

Anannas Mhoramba is one of those dishes which instantly transports me to my childhood home in Donald House, Colaba. My grandmother from Bhatkal made the best mhoramba. Not too sweet and not too sour. Best eaten with warm chapattis! I remember using my fingers to wipe the plate of any traces and then licking them clean. It was that good! As kids we used to spread it on chapattis, roll and pack it for a school snack.

Its been decades since I had any good mhoramba. A few weeks ago, one of my aunts asked for a recipe and that got me thinking: why not make it myself. Actually I had tried it several times in the past here in the US. The pineapples here are just too sour and if you add too much sugar, the whole thing carmelizes and you’ll need an axe to hack it.

Finally a stoke of genius – BTW, I get about a 100 of these per day 😉 Why not try it with Canned Pineapples? I put together a recipe and it worked just great. Lets just say, I don’t complain about dinner anymore – I just reach for the chapattis and mhoramba, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even for a snack. It is not to runny and not to dense. Not too sugary – when it zings the teeth; and not too sour. Heaven! Svarga! this must be it. Since I am not a sadist, I am including a simple recipe as well. Try it and let me know what you think.

Pineapple Mhoramba:

  • 1 medium can (375 -450 gms) of crushed Pineapple in its own juice (not “in syrup”).
  • 1 medium can of Pineapple “chunks” in its own juice.
  • Open the cans and pour out about half of the juice.
  • Pour remaining in a medium non-stick saucepan (saves you the cleaning)
  • Add two cups of sugar on top – don’t have to worry about mixing it.
  • Simmer for about 45 minutes. You should just see some bubbling.
  • Use a wooden spatula and stir if you want to feel involved and hard working. I just twirl the saucepan. Its not going to burn because the heat is on very low.
  • Separately use a mortar and pestle to crush about 20 seeds of cardamon (elaichi; the seeds from about three cloves, peeled). Add to the simmering stuff.
  • Add three cinnamon sticks broken in half
  • About ten strands of kesar (saffron)
  • A fifth of a nutmeg freshly grated straight into the pot. Be careful – some folks find this too strong.
  • Let it simmer for another 45 minutes, with gentle mixing or twirling. You should see the color change to a light brown and the pineapples condensed to about half. You can let it simmer for a little bit longer if you want it a bit thicker.

That’s it! You did it!

If you made it, you get to try it out when it is still warm. If you don’t have chapattis, try it with whole wheat bread. Yumm!

I spoon it to a clean jar when it is still warm, allow to cool on the counter overnight and then cap tightly. No need to refrigerate – we always leave it in the pantry. If you are doing the cleanup, count your blessings. You get to lick the spoon clean.

By mixing the crushed and chunks of pineapple, I get a nice mix of spreadable mush and some chunks.

Any comments, or suggestions for improvements, or what to eat it with are always welcome.
Enjoy!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: