Jaggery in Boston

Pictures of jaggery in Boston by Arun ShanbhagTo make jaggery (god in konkani; gur in North India), sugarcane juice is simply boiled in open air vats, condensed and poured in moulds. See my picture post on the Making of Jaggery in Karnataka. Jaggery is not refined and no chemicals are added in its processing, it thus retains much of the fiber, minerals and vitamins. When consumed, it’s sugar is released much slowly in the blood stream compared to refined sugars, thus it is considered a healthier alternative to sugar. Jaggery is commonly available as light to dark brown chunks, with the consistency of fudge and can be eaten as is, just like fudge. Continue reading “Jaggery in Boston”

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”

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”

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”

Peanut Farmers Toil

Peanut Farmer farms Northern Karnataka
During this season of plenty, we turn our hearts and minds to farmers who toil the land, and bring food to our tables. Their's is a difficult life!

Indian farmers would celebrate, simply breaking even. Many are frustrated by the cycle of debt and end their lives, leaving their families deeper in debt! According to Govt of India figures, more that 17,000 farmers committed suicide in 2003 alone, and the plague continues. Read NY Times article here. This is when India is celebrating stratospheric stock market valuations, rocketing real estate prices, aspiring for 'superpower' status and newly empowered youth are lining up for MacDonald's greasy fries and sloshing their brains in imported vodka! This is globalization, I guess! Continue reading “Peanut Farmers Toil”

Sugarcane Fields: Making Jaggery

Photo of Farmer in rural india offering Jaggery or Gur by Arun Shanbhag
Farmer offering Jaggery or Gur in Karnataka

On a recent visit to India, we took a cab from Belgaum to Badami to see the exquisitely carved cave temples. The route goes through some of the most rural and poorest parts of North Karnataka, with whole families helping in tilling the fields, sowing, weeding and harvesting. See post on peanut farm. Sugarcane (kabbu) fields lined both sides of the country road. We passed this one with a small set-up to make jaggery (unrefined brown sugar, or gur) from the cane juice. Continue reading “Sugarcane Fields: Making Jaggery”

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”

Puran Poli for Gudi Padva

Puran Poli Konkani food dessert pics by Arun Shanbhag
Last week during Gudi Padva, M indulged me with some freshly made puran polis – a konkani delicacy! For those who have not tried one, imagine a paratha stuffed with a blend of chana-dal, jaggery and elaichi. Liberally spread tuup (clarified butter) on warm puran polis and … heavenly! M made 10, she ate 2 and I finished 8! What sacrifices the indian woman makes ~ a true pativrata. Hee Hee! And with a glass of milk, I didn't need dinner. Continue reading “Puran Poli for Gudi Padva”

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