Pyāsā – Soda at Rāmnāthi

Photos of the Soda store owner at the Neeta Canteen by the Ramnathi Devasthan Goa by Arun Shanbhag

During Maha Shivratri, as I waited for a rickshaw outside the Ramnathi Devasthan, I shot pics of colorful soda bottles arrayed in crates. The hovering owner felt neglected and offers, “Maegel bhī photo kād” (take a pic of me too). I obliged. I loved the confident pose he struck in front of the red wall. You can imagine him in a previous avatār, curling his handlebar mustache and astride a horse. Quintessential Goa. For that, he gets the opening pic. Continue reading “Pyāsā – Soda at Rāmnāthi”

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”

Video: Making Mysore Masala Dosa


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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.
Continue reading “Video: Making Mysore Masala Dosa”

Fill-up at the Idli House

pics from Idli House Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Mumbai was recently blessed with a eatery dedicated to idlis: those delicately steamed rice cakes. South Indians start their day with idli, dunked in sambar or a liberal side of coconut chutney. At home, I enjoy piping hot Idli Sambar for brunch, or to accompany the afternoon chah or kaapi. Leftover idlis make golden crisp Idli fry, or crumbled and tossed with a medley of spices. On family trips you have all initially groaned, when aunts unpack idlis and chutney – the ultimate travel food. By the end you are licking chutney of fingers, while fellow travelers stare with envy.

It was only a matter of time that we, little m included, finally made it to Idli House in King Circle, Matunga. It’s a tiny place and crowded. Many stand and eat. The laser focus on idlis keeps the service quick and very inexpensive, making it the poor man’s meal. On any given day they serve about 8-10 types of idlis.
Continue reading “Fill-up at the Idli House”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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!

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”

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!

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