South Indian-Style Raw Turmeric Pickle 

Summer is slowly closing in on Bangalore, and the days are getting hotter. There’s still a nip in the air in the mornings, though, and sometimes in the evenings. I think I should tell you all about the winter-special raw turmeric pickle that I made about a month ago, before winter leaves us once and for all. 

Bunches of raw turmeric sold in the Bangalore markets, just before Pongal

Come Pongal, and bunches of raw turmeric start making an appearance in the markets of Bangalore. They play an important role in the Pongal celebrations, tied around the pot in which sakkarai pongal is cooked on the day of the festival. The turmeric makes for a beautiful pickle too, which is believed to generate heat in the body, much needed in the months of winter, and help internal wounds to heal. 

I make the raw turmeric pickle the traditional South Indian way, the way it has always been made in our family. I am sure there must be other ways of pickling raw turmeric, but this is the way we have always made it. 

South Indian-style raw turmeric pickle, the way my family always makes it. Hand model: Amma

Here is how we make the pickle. 

Ingredients (makes a small bottle) :

  1. 100 grams raw turmeric 
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons oil
  4. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  5. A pinch of asafoetida
  6. Juice of 2 lemons
  7. 2 green chillies, slit

Method:

1. Wash the turmeric roots thoroughly under running water, ensuring that they are completely free of dirt. Pat them dry using a cotton towel. Make sure no moisture remains on the roots. 

2. Peel the turmeric and chop it into small pieces. 

3. Take the chopped turmeric in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste, the slit green chillies, and lemon juice. Keep aside. 

4. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the mustard seeds. Let them pop. Switch off the gas, and add the asafoetida. Let it stay in the hot oil for a second, then add all of the seasoning to the other ingredients in the mixing bowl. 

5. Mix well. Let the pickle cool down completely, and then transfer it to a clean, dry bottle, preferably glass. 

Notes:

1. The pickle can be stored for 4-5 days at room temperature, slightly longer if refrigerated. 

2. Always use a clean, dry spoon to take the pickle out of the bottle. 

3. Store the pickle in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. 

4. This pickle has a rather strong taste of turmeric, so not everyone might like it. Also, one can eat this pickle only in small quantities, thanks to the strong taste. It makes for a wonderful accompaniment to curd rice. 

5. To tone down the strong taste of turmeric, some people pickle it along with mango ginger and raw ginger. I prefer making the turmeric pickle separately, though. 

You like? How does your family pickle raw turmeric?

Birthday Special Bhapa Doi| Bengali Steamed Yogurt| OPOS Recipe| Easy Dessert Recipe

A day before my birthday, recently, I decided to try my hands at making Bhapa Doi, the famed Bengali curd-based cheesecake, at home. I found a recipe that sounded too simple to be true. I had all the ingredients at hand, too. I gave it a shot, and the end result was so, so, so very gorgeous! A great birthday gift to myself, me thinks.

I used the OPOS (One Pot One Shot) method to make the bhapa doi, using a pressure cooker. It needed just two ingredients, and was so easy to put together that even a child could do it. It unmoulded beautifully, and the taste was so lovely we couldn’t keep our hands off it. What more could you ask out of a dessert?!

opos-bhapa-doi

On the left is the bhapa doi, just out of the pressure cooker, ready to be cut. On the right is the bhapa doi that has been cut – can you see its gorgeous texture?

This recipe is surely a keeper, I say. It is a life-saver when you have guests coming over and you need to whip up a quick dessert, or when you need a sweet pick-me-up yourself and are in no mood to labour for hours over the stove. You need to try this recipe out to believe it, honestly!

Here’s how I made it.

Ingredients (makes 5-6 servings):

  1. 400 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
  2. 1 cup fresh curd (Use curd that isn’t too sour or too watery)
  3. Ghee/ unsalted butter to grease the vessel you will make the bhapa doi in

Method:

  1. Pour the sweetened condensed milk in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the curd to the mixing bowl. If you want to add any flavouring – like mango puree or cardamon powder or saffron – you must do so just after you add the curd. I didn’t use any flavouring agents, and yet, the bhapa doi tasted just awesome.
  3. Whisk the two ingredients well, until they are thoroughly combined.
  4. Grease a bowl with ghee or unsalted butter, and pour the mixture into it.
  5. Add about 1.5 cups water to a pressure cooker bottom, and set it on the gas. Put in the bowl. You could use a stand below the bowl to avoid water getting into it, or even cover the bowl. I left the bowl open.
  6. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Turn the flame down to medium.
  7. Let it cook for 15 minutes exactly, and then switch off the gas.
  8. Let the pressure release naturally, and then open the cooker. Gently drain out any water that might have entered the bowl.
  9. Slide the bhapa doi onto a serving plate. Turn the bowl upside down over a large serving plate, and the bhapa doi will slide onto it. (See the video that I have linked to, above, to understand this step better).
  10. Let cool slightly and then cut into pieces. You can serve it warm, cold or chilled in the refrigerator.

You like? I hope you will try this out at home, and that you will love it just as much as we did!

************

Recipe courtesy:

The term OPOS and One Pot One Shot are registered trademarks owned by Mr.Rama Krishna. This recipe has been obtained from the United By Food FB page.

**************

Want to read about my other experiments with the OPOS way of cooking? Here you go:

OPOS Coffee Flan

OPOS Papad Pickle Pulao

My First Ever Raindrop Cake Experience, At My Cousin’s Place, Bangalore

Imagine a cake that looks exactly like a drop of water. Cut into it, and you feel its lightness – it feels like you are cutting a drop of water. The taste too is exactly the same – just like a drop of water. That is Mizu Shingen Mochi, the Japanese dessert, for you.

The back story

Popularly known as ‘Raindrop Cake’, Mizu Shingen Mochi is the brainchild of the Kinseiken Seika company of Japan. ‘Mizu‘, in Japanese, means ‘water’, and ‘Shingen Mochi‘ is a kind of rice cake that is popular all over Japan. Thus, ‘Mizu Shignen Mochi‘ literally translates to ‘water cake‘. Apparently, the company makes the cake using fresh water from the Japanese Alps, which is so sweet and tasty that the cake doesn’t need any other flavouring!

This dessert was all over the international food world in 2016 and, of course, I wanted a bite of it, too. 🙂

I understand the dessert dissolves into a puddle of water within 30 minutes of being served. Thanks to this fragility, the cake isn’t available at a lot of places, even in Japan. So, when I heard of this eatery called My Cousin’s Place in HSR Layout serving the cake, I had to drag the husband there, one fine weekend, to sample it! (My Cousin’s Place, BTW, earlier used to operate in Electronic City, and has now shifted to HSR Layout. It has a very different-from-the-usual concept of dining, but more about that later. This post is all about the raindrop cake.)

How was my first tryst with the raindrop cake?

When the raindrop cake arrived at our table, the husband and I ooh-ed and aah-ed over it. It looked exactly like a droplet of water on a leaf! This is a work of art all right!

015

Raindrop cake at My Cousin’s Place

The cake felt and tasted exactly as I had imagined it to be. It felt like a drop of water on my tongue. The cake had no flavour of its own, deriving all its taste only from the mildly sweet powder and syrup it was served with, just as it is supposed to be.

I understand that, traditionally, in Japan, the cake is served with kinako soyabean powder and brown sugar syrup. At My Cousin’s Place, too, I guess, the same two flavouring agents were offered along with the cake. The Japanese often add fresh or dried sakura blossoms to their raindrop cakes, I gather, which, of course, weren’t present in this Indian version.

Considering that I have never sampled the original cake from Japan and have no benchmark to measure this dessert against, I will refrain from doing the same.

Did I like it? Not really. The cake is, obviously, very different from the typical Indian and international desserts that we are used to, so it definitely possesses a novelty value. However, it didn’t satiate the huge sweet tooths that my husband and I possess. But still, this is something really, really cool – something that every foodie must try out at least once in their lifetime. Sampling this cake for the first ever time was, definitely, a dream come true for me, an experience I will cherish forever.

Details

For those of you who are interested, the cake is priced at INR 100 at My Cousin’s Place. You might want to enquire whether the cake is available before you visit, though.

**********

This cake makes it to the list of seemingly crazy food stuff we have tried out. 

Would you like to know about the other things on the list? Here you go! 

Ice cream sandwich and momo sizzlerDoodh colasea salt chocolatechandan sherbetmomo burger and chocolate momoice cream rollsice cream chaatbhoo chakra gadderasgulla chaatchilli chocolate,fried ice cream, and paper sweet.

Easy Fruit And Nut Squares| Home-Made Energy Bars

For a long time now, I have been thinking of trying my hands at making ‘energy bars’ at home. 

We aren’t big fans of any of the large number of energy bars available in shops now, but we do love Patanjali’s orange ones. We love buying a couple of them occasionally, for hogging in between meals. But then, home-made is always better, right? So, I set about hunting for recipes for home-made energy bars. 

Quite by chance, yesterday, I came across an interesting recipe on Instagram, at @cupcakeree. Incidentally, I had all the required ingredients at home, plus some more that I thought would be good to go in. I made the bars last night, a little Valentine’s Day treat for us, following the original recipe mostly, but making some variations of my own. 

The husband and I loved the end result. The bars turned out delicious, just the right amount of sweet, with a hint of sour and spice. 

Here’s how I made them. 

Ingredients (for about 15 squares) :

  1. 1/2 cup oats (I used Quaker’s) 
  2. 1/2 cup de-seeded dates
  3. 1/4 cup raisins
  4. 1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used walnuts, almonds and cashewnuts) 
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  6. 6-7 pieces of candied ginger (got them at Ajfan) 
  7. 1/4 cup dried golden berries with sugar (got them at Ajfan) 
  8. 1/4 cup dried cranberries (got them at Ajfan) 
  9. 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli) 
  10. 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  11. 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Method:

1. Heat up a pan and add the oats and mixed nuts. On medium heat, lightly dry roast these two ingredients, 3-4 minutes. Keep aside and allow to cool down completely. 

2. In a large mixer jar, put in the roasted oats and nuts along with all the other ingredients. Pulse for a couple of seconds, then open the mixer and mix the ingredients well. Pulse again for another couple of seconds, then mix ingredients well. Do this till all the ingredients come together in a sort of coarse paste. 

3. Pat down the mixture into the bottom of an air-tight box. 

4. Store the box, closed, in the refrigerator (not freezer) for at least half an hour. The mixture will set within half an hour’s time, after which you can remove the box from the refrigerator and cut squares out of the mixture. 

5. At this stage, if you want, you can roll the bars in dry coconut powder, sweetened cocoa powder, or colourful sprinkles. I didn’t do any of that – I decided to leave the bars plain. 

6. Store in an air-tight box, refrigerated or at room temperature. 

Notes:

1. The candied ginger and sugared, dried golden berries were my own additions. Feel free to skip them if you don’t have them. The ginger does add a lovely flavour to the bars, though. 

2. I bought most of the ingredients to make these bars at Ajfan, a store that I have come to love over time. This isn’t a paid promotional post for Ajfan. I decided to tell you the source of my beautiful ingredients out of the goodness of my heart. 🙂 

3. I am not sure if the dried cranberries had sugar in them, but the dried golden berries and candied ginger surely did. You could avoid these ingredients, plus the chocolate chips, if you want to make the energy bars completely free of refined sugars. You might want to increase the quantity of dates and raisins that you use, in that case. 

You like? I hope you will try this out too, and love it just as much as we did! 

Three Foodie Discoveries That Have Made Me Happy Lately 

Shenga Holige from New Mangalore Store, HSR Layout 

The husband and I picked up a packet of peanut-and-jaggery polis on a whim, while visiting the New Mangalore Store on 19th Main, HSR Layout. They turned out super-duper delicious, so lovely that we couldn’t keep our hands off them! 

These are, apparently, a North Karnataka specialty, called Shenga Holige

They are just beautiful, I repeat. If you haven’t tried them out ever, I strongly urge you to. 

Price: A packet containing four holige is priced at INR 60.

Walker’s Toffee & Pecan Biscuits

Biscuits with bits of toffee in them? Unique and interesting enough for me to want to try them out. I am glad I did, for they were just beautiful! 

I understand these biscuits are made in the Scottish Highlands, strictly adhering to a traditional recipe. Charming, right? 

We received these biscuits as part of a gift hamper from the husband’s workplace, but I know they are available at Food Hall, too. I understand they are also available on sites like Amazon India, Zopnow and Godrej Nature’s Basket. 

These biscuits make it to the list of crazy food stuff we have tried so far! 

Price: A 150-gram packet of these biscuits costs INR 299.

Alphabet biscuits from New Mangalore Store, HSR Layout 

While at the New Mangalore Store, we also picked up a packet of alphabet biscuits. It’s been ages since we saw these, so we couldn’t help but get all excited about them.  

The biscuits taste just lovely, and we enjoyed munching on them, just as much as we loved admiring them. Crispy, sweet and salty, we loved these! 

Price: A packet of these alphabet biscuits cost INR 40.

***************

You might also be interested in reading about the other seemingly crazy things we have tried out so far: Ice cream sandwich and momo sizzlerDoodh cola, sea salt chocolatechandan sherbetmomo burger and chocolate momoice cream rollsice cream chaatbhoo chakra gadderasgulla chaatchilli chocolate,fried ice cream, and paper sweet.

Dates Stuffed With Nutella And Nuts

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! If you are looking for something sweet, something simple, yet something classy to make for the occasion – if you are into that sort of thing, that is – your search ends here. This beautiful dessert is perfect, though, to brighten up just any day, Valentine’s or not.

Here’s how you make these stuffed dates. 

Ingredients:

  1. Dates, as required (Choose a variety that is large, soft and juicy – I used Nabud Sultan) 
  2. Roasted almonds, chopped, as required 
  3. Nutella, as required 
  4. Walnuts, chopped, as required 

Method:

1. De-seed the dates and slit them on one side. If the dates are too big, cut them into half. 

2. Put a few chopped walnuts along the bottom of each piece of date. 

3. Carefully, spread a little Nutella on each piece of date, above the walnuts. 

4. Decorate each piece with a few chopped almonds. 

5. Serve immediately. 

Notes:

1. I find that walnuts and almonds go very well with this dessert but, really, you could use any kind of nuts that you have handy. 

2. Grated chocolate, milk or dark, can also be used in place of Nutella. 

Do try this out, too, and let me know how you liked it! 🙂 

Bajri Methi Na Thepla| Gujarati-Style Pearl Millet And Fenugreek Green Rotis 

Come winter, and bajri na thepla start making an appearance in Gujarati households. With all the ginger, garlic and sesame that goes into them, these rotis are said to generate heat in the body, much needed in the winter months. They make for a hearty, filling meal, especially paired with a mustard-y carrot pickle, a blob of butter, or some curd and chopped onions. 

Made the Gujarati way, with sugar, these rotis taste fabulous. Do I need to tell you I love them to bits? 🙂 

What’s more, these rotis travel well, too. If let to cool fully and packed in a clean, air-tight box, they keep well for upto five days. Any wonder, then, why Gujjus carry these theplas with them on long train journeys? 

Make them sans the sugar, and they make for one of the healthiest lunches you could ever have. You could reduce the quantity of oil you use in the theplas, too, if you want. 

I tried making these beauties at home, for the first ever time. I learnt how to, from our relatives, who are visiting from Ahmedabad. I absolutely had to, before the winter here completely comes to an end. I am happy to report that they turned out gorgeous – just perfect! 

Here’s how I made them. 

Ingredients (for 15 theplas):

  1. 1-1/4 cups bajri atta (pearl millet flour – I used store-bought flour) 
  2. 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used flour ground at the mill from whole wheat) 
  3. 2 tablespoons gram flour (besan
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1/2 cup thick curd, preferably sour 
  6. 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 5-6 green chillies
  8. A 2-inch piece of ginger
  9. 7-8 cloves of garlic 
  10. 4-5 tablespoons of sugar, or to taste
  11. 1/4 cup oil +more for making the theplas
  12. Red chilli powder to taste (optional –  only if you need the theplas to be more spicy) 
  13. About 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  14. A medium-sized bunch of fenugreek (methi) greens, cleaned, chopped and thoroughly washed
  15. A small bunch of fresh coriander stalks and leaves, cleaned, finely chopped and washed

Method:

  1. Peel the ginger and chop it into small pieces. Chop the green chillies into small pieces. Peel the garlic cloves. Grind the ginger, green chillies and garlic to a paste in a mixer, using a little water. Keep this paste aside. 
  2. Take the bajri atta, besan and whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (if using), sugar, sesame seeds, 1/4 cup of oil, green chillies-garlic-ginger paste, chopped coriander, chopped fenugreek, and curd. 
  3. Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl well. Bind into a firm but soft dough, adding a little water if necessary. Normally, you will be able to bind the dough even without using any water, thanks to the water content in many of the ingredients. 
  4. Let the dough rest, covered, for about 15 minutes. 
  5. Heat a thick dosa tava till drops of water dance on it. While the tava is heating up, take a small piece of the dough and pat it, using your hands, into as thin a roti as you can. If you are able to roll out the dough into a roti using a rolling pin, you could do that too. 
  6. Place the roti on the hot tava and reduce the flame to medium. Spread a teaspoon of oil around the roti and let it cook on one side. Then, flip over the roti, and spread another teaspoon of oil on the cooked side. Let the other side cook thoroughly, and then transfer the roti to a plate. 
  7. Make rotis out of all the dough, in a similar manner. 
  8. Serve hot, with pickle, curd and chopped onions, or a pat of butter. 

    You like? I hope you will try this out, too! 

    A Royal, ‘Golden’ Lunch At Jalsa Gold

    A while ago, I was invited to be part of a bloggers’ table at Jalsa Gold, a new place in Kadubeesanahalli, near Marathahalli, Bangalore. I had a great time lunching here, along with a bunch of other food bloggers. This post is about my experience at Jalsa Gold.

    Location and ambience

    The place is located in the vicinity of several other popular eateries like The Boozy Griffin and Wok To Asia, as well as Cessna Business Park. It is quite easy to locate.

    Jalsa Gold, as the name suggests, is a gold-themed restaurant. Everywhere you look here, it’s all gold, chandeliers and flower pots and tableware included. You cannot help but feel like you are royalty and are dining in your gilded palace. The service staff, dressed in period clothes, with turbans perched on their heads, only add to the effect.

    (Click on each of the above pictures to see the full view!)

    The ambience here is, without a doubt, grand and rich. Photo-ops here are aplenty. The old-time Hindi music playing at the eatery quite fits in with the Indian food that is their mainstay.

    Cuisine

    The eatery specialises in Indian fine dining, though its extensive menu includes quite a few fusion dishes.

    The food and drinks we tried

    Like I said before, Jalsa Gold has an extensive menu, spanning vegetarian and non-vegetarian, Indian and fusion, starters, main course dishes and desserts. For the bloggers’ table, we were served the house specialities, saving us the trouble of choosing from the menu and allowing us to sit back, relax and focus fully on the food.

    Starters:

    The vegetarian starters that we were served included Popeye Ki Spinach Tikki, Peshawari Paneer Tikka & Malai Broccoli, Lal Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka, Coleslaw Rolls and Vegetable Tarts.

    The non-vegetarian starters included Chidiya Ka Ghosla, Murgh Kulfi Kabab, Mutton Seekh Kabab, and Chicken Swans.

    053

    Lal Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka at Jalsa Gold, served in a belan!

    Every single one of the starters was presented beautifully. Some of these starters were served in a sort of belan and some on golden plates (in keeping with the theme of the restaurant). I particularly loved the presentation of the Chidiya Ka Ghosla (Oriental-style chicken served in a bird’s nest) and Chicken Swans. It was evident that a lot of thought had gone into the presentation.

    starters

    On the left: Chidiya Ka Ghosla, On the right: Chicken Swans. Cute, right?

    All of the non-vegetarian starters went on to be much loved. They were delicious, as per my fellow foodies. I tasted only the vegetarian food, though, and felt that the starters were okayish in terms of taste, not really great. The paneer in the Paneer Tikka & Malai Broccoli and Lal Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka was too chewy and not melt-in-the mouth soft. The other vegetarian starters, too, were lacking in flavour.

    starters2

    From left to right: Vegetable Tarts, Popeye Ki Spinach Tikki, and Coleslaw Rolls

    Drinks:

    Along with the starters, we were also served drinks of our choice. I chose a Virgin Orange Mojito (a mocktail), while the others chose from cocktails with names like Sanam Bewafa, Nasheeli Raat, Haste Zakhm, and Halka Halka Suroor (yes!)

    drinks

    From left to right: Nasheeli Raat, Sanam Bewafa and Virgin Orange Mojito at Jalsa Gold

    I loved my Virgin Orange Mojito, and understand that the cocktails were much loved, too.

    Main Course:

    Next, we were served Pizza Napoli (vegetarian), Chicken Tikka Pizza (non-vegetarian), Paneer Lababdar (vegetarian), Dal Makhani (vegetarian), Khada Masala Ki Murgh (non-vegetarian), and Gosht Nihari (non-vegetarian), along with Cheese Naan, Butter Naan and Tandoori Roti.

    main-course2

    From left to right: Pizza Napoli, Chicken Tikka Pizza, and Gosht Nihari

    I heard from my non-vegetarian foodie friends that the Chicken Tikka Pizza was nice, but that the Gosht Nihari was just okay. The Pizza Napoli was good, but didn’t had that ‘Wow!’ factor to it, I felt. The rotis and naans were good.

    main-course

    From left to right: Dal Makhani, Paneer Lababdar, and Khada Masala Ki Murgh

    I loved the Dal Makhani and the taste of the Paneer Lababdar, though the paneer was, again, a tad chewy. I heard that the Khada Masala Ki Murgh was nice, but not great.

    Then, we were served vegetarian and non-vegetarian biryani, the Lucknowi version.

    092.JPG

    Vegetable biryani at Jalsa Gold, with raita

    I loved the vegetarian biryani – the spice level, the texture, the taste, everything was just perfect! The raita was perfectly spiced, beautiful in taste.

    I hear the non-vegetarian biryani (chicken) wasn’t as great.

    Desserts:

    Then came the desserts – a whole host of them, in fact – which had us awed with their presentation. I loved, loved, loved the presentation of the desserts!

    desserts

    From left to right: Gulab Jamun With Rabdi and Malpua, Paan Pannacotta With Gulkand Sauce, and Chocolate Swans – just look at those swans, will you?

    I loved the Gulab Jamun With Rabdi And Malpua – the rabdi was outstandingly brilliant. The Chocolate Swans and Paan Pannacotta failed to win me over, though.

    desserts2

    From left to right: Assorted pastries, American Cheese Cake and Alphonso Mango Panacotta

    I loved the pastries, as well as the American Cheesecake and the Mango Panacotta.

    We were also served a couple of other desserts – like Strawberry Panacotta and Caramel Custard – which were okayish.

    Price

    The prices here are on the higher side. An a la carte meal for two would cost about INR 1800. They also offer a variety of lunch- and dinner-time buffets, with prices ranging from INR 479 to INR 1599 per head.

    My verdict

    1. The ambience of the place is just awesome. A meal here would definitely be an experience worth savouring.
    2. I thought the eatery has a stronger foothold over Indian cuisine rather than fusion cuisine. Given a choice, I would opt for strictly Indian starters, main course and dessert here.
    3. I would suggest that you opt for one of the different buffets that they offer, rather than going the a la carte way. That way, you get to taste a whole lot more at a relatively lower price. Oh, and the buffet here is not the stand-in-a-queue-and-weigh-your-hands-down-with-heavy-plates kind of thing that is common in other eateries. Here, they serve you the buffet, while you sit down. Even the buffet which costs the least consists of about 50 items – so, definitely, a royal treat!
    4. This is definitely a place that I would love to go back to. We have sampled just a small part of the huge menu, after all.
    5. Like I said earlier, the starters we were served here didn’t impress me, but I liked the main course dishes and most desserts. The other (non-vegetarian) food bloggers with me loved the starters and desserts much more than the main course. I have a feeling I would have loved the starters too, had the eatery chosen strictly Indian ones to serve.

    Disclaimer

    We were served this meal free of cost, in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed herein are not influenced by anything or anyone. I do not stand to receive any sort of gain by recommending this eatery to you.

    Khakra Bhel| Using Up Left-Overs

    We have family visiting from Ahmedabad right now, which translates to a lot of (mostly unhealthy) snacks entering my kitchen,  from my beloved Gujarat. One such snack was a packet of lovely, lovely tomato-flavoured khakras from Sonalben Khakrawala. 

    Note that I say ‘was’. There are no more khakras left now. All of them are gone, most devoured happily by the bub and the OH and me. The last few khakras that were left of the packet, I converted into a chaat today.  

    The chaat, a totally spur-of-the-moment invention, was much loved by everyone at home. It was delish, making for a nice change from the regular chaats that we are used to. 

    Here’s presenting to you the khakra bhel that I made today! 

    Recipe:

    Ingredients (serves 2-3):

    1. 1 cup puffed rice (pori)
    2. 1/4 cup fine sev (ompudi
    3. 2 tablespoons of spicy green chutney, or to taste
    4. 4 tablespoons of sweet chutney, or to taste
    5. 4 khakras, broken into pieces
    6. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped 
    7. 1 medium-sized potato,  boiled, peeled and chopped into small pieces 
    8. A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped 
    9. 1 small cucumber, peeled and finely chopped 
    10. 2 pinches of roasted cumin (jeera) powder
    11. 2 pinches of black salt

    Method:

    Mix everything together, well. Serve immediately. 

    Notes:

    1. I didn’t roast the puffed rice that I used to make the bhel. If you have roasted puffed rice, you could use that too. 

    2. I used tomato-flavoured khakras to make this bhel. You could use any other flavour you might have, or even plain khakras

    3. Roast about 2 tablespoons of cumin till it emits a lovely fragrance, let it cool and grind to a powder. Store this powder in an air-tight box and use as required. This bhel needs just about 2 pinches. 

    4. If you don’t have black salt, use ordinary table salt instead. I wouldn’t really recommend that, though. The black salt adds a beautiful fragrance to the bhel

    5. Use a tender European cucumber that does not have any seeds. 

    6. Here is the recipe for the spicy green chutney

    7. Here is the recipe for the sweet chutney

    8. Chopped raw mango and tomato would be great additions to this bhel. I skipped these two ingredients, though. 

    You like? I hope you will try this out too! 

    The Bub’s Formal Initiation Into Education…

    … happened today.

    In a temple that I have come to like, sitting in front of the beautifully decked up idol of Lord Ganesha, wearing a ghagra choli, my little girl wrote her first words ever, first on a plate full of rice and then on a slate, with a piece of chalk. Not before trying to make a grab for the bananas that the priest had laid out on a plate nearby, though. 🙂

    16473554_10211828259367054_6171493404665722546_n

    This day of her Vidyarambam, I am feeling a mixture of things. Emotional, happy and proud, mostly. Today feels like a sharp reminder of the fact that the little bub I used to cuddle and coo to has really, truly grown up. She did remind me that she is still a child, too, by making ‘Can we go home?’ faces at me every now and then, through the ceremony, and asking when she would get to eat those bananas. Thankfully, she did sit through most of the ceremony, mainly because she was too intrigued by all the paraphernalia that was laid out in front of her.

    And to think that we almost missed this beautiful experience this year! I knew that yesterday was Basant Panchami, but wasn’t aware that a lot of temples conduct ceremonies to formally initiate kids into the education process, the Akshara Gyaan or Vidyarambam. The husband got super busy at work yesterday, I took the bub to a nearby park to play and we returned with a lost (gold) earring. The lost earring, one of my very favourites, almost had me in tears (on such an auspicious day, too!). We went back to the park and looked, but, came up with nothing. 😦 Then, thanks to a telephone call by a relative, we realised we had missed doing the Vidyarambam. It was already late in the afternoon, the bub was getting sleepy and cranky, I was tired, and none of the temples in our vicinity seemed to be conducting the ceremony in the evening. Next year, then, maybe, we told ourselves. We just happened to visit this temple in the evening, had a chat with the priest, who told us today would be a better date for the kiddo’s Vidyarambam, considering her nakshatra.

    To be honest, we had never really considered a formal ceremony like this for Bubboo, but when I heard about it, I wanted to do it. It seemed like a beautiful rite, a sort of passage from childhood to school-time. I am glad we got the chance to do so, today.