Meghalayan Ja Stem Recipe|Khasi Turmeric Rice

The recipe that I present to you today, Ja Stem, hails from the beautiful land of Meghalaya. Ja Stem is a traditional recipe of the Khasis, one of the tribes majorly inhabiting the state of Meghalaya. It refers to a very simple rice dish, flavoured with turmeric – ‘Ja‘ means ‘rice’ in the Khasi language, while ‘Stem‘ means ‘turmeric’. Typically, this dish is prepared with the very fragrant, organically grown Lakadong turmeric, which is native to Meghalaya.

Like most other North-Eastern states, Meghalaya has been blessed abundantly by Mother Nature. Just like the other states in the North East, Meghalaya has a raw, non-commercialised aura to it, its cuisine simple and wholesome, based on local ingredients, herbs and spices. I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to experience the grandeur of Meghalaya first-hand, and to taste some of its local fare, Ja Stem included.

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I had always wanted to try making Ja Stem at home, and this month’s Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge provided me just the perfect foil to do so. The members of the group are cooking dishes from the state of Meghalaya this month, and my heart was in the making of Ja Stem. Thankfully, the two secret ingredients my partner assigned me fit right in. So, one fine weekend this month, I undertook the task of preparing this, inspired by this recipe from Zizira.com, fuelled by memories of the beautiful time we had had in Meghalaya. I opted to make the Ja Stem in a pressure cooker – as opposed to cooking it in a pan, the way it is done traditionally – and it was a matter of minutes. The rice turned out fluffy and delicious, simple but hearty.

Ja Stem is quite a healthy dish, cooked using minimal oil. It is gluten-free and vegan, too. Considering it is rather bland on its own, I paired it with some Gutti Vankaya Koora, and an awesome meal was had by all.

Let us now check out my Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 3 green chillies
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 small onion
  7. 2 tablespoons shelled green peas
  8. 1 small carrot
  9. 2-1/2 cups water
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves

Method:

1. Peel the carrot and chop into small cubes. Keep aside.

2. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.

3. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic and chop them roughly. Grind to a coarse paste. Keep aside.

5. Wash the rice under running water a couple of times. Drain out all the water. Keep aside.

6. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add the slit green chillies chopped carrot, onion, green peas and the ginger-garlic paste. Saute on high heat for a minute.

7. Add the washed and drained rice to the pressure cooker. Saute for a minute.

8. Now, add the 2-1/2 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well.

9. Close the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

10. When the pressure has entirely gone down, fluff up the rice gently. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve the Ja Stem hot with a curry of your choice.

Notes:

  1. I have used Sona Masoori raw rice in this Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe. You can use any variety of rice you prefer, instead.
  2. I use 3-1/2 cups of water per cup of rice, for ordinary steamed rice. I have cut down on the quantity of water used here, since I wanted the Ja Stem to be grainy – I have used 2-1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. Adjust the quantity of water depending upon how grainy you want the final dish to be.
  3. In the absence of the fragrant Lakadong turmeric power from Meghalaya, I have used locally available, but equally fragrant turmeric powder.
  4. I have used just 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, while the original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.
  5. Ja Stem is, typically, just salted turmeric rice. Here, I have added green chillies, peas and carrot, to make it more flavourful. The Ja Stem that we tried out at a Khasi homestay in Meghalaya had carrots and peas in it too, and I decided to make a similar version.
  6. 3 whistles in my 5-litre pressure cooker were just right to yield the kind of fluffy, grainy but well-cooked Ja Stem that I was aiming for. Please adjust the number of whistles, depending upon the texture of rice you require, pressure cooker make and size.
  7. Since the Ja Stem is quite bland on its own, it needs a slightly spicy curry to go with it.
  8. I have used a 5-litre pressure cooker for this Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe.

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. Every month, the participants cook from a particular state of India. This month, we are cooking dishes from the state of Meghalaya.

I was paired with Sasmita of First Timer Cook for the month, who assigned me the two secret ingredients of ‘turmeric’ and ‘ginger’. This Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe was what I chose to prepare, using these two ingredients.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #265. The co-hosts this week are Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Kat @ Katโ€™s 9 Lives.

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Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar| Radish Sambar With Freshly Ground Spices

Arachuvitta Sambar‘ refers to sambar made using a freshly-ground spice mix, as opposed to that made using sambar powder. The freshly ground spices make the sambar special, extremely delicious and flavourful. In traditional Tam-Brahm homes, sambar is almost always prepared the ‘arachuvitta‘ way, with freshly ground spices added in. This is typically the way sambar is prepared in several restaurants in Tamilnadu, as well on occasions like weddings.

In our family, we almost always make sambar with home-made sambar powder, quite delicious and flavourful in itself. Arachuvitta sambar is an occasional treat, reserved for special days like festivals or lazy weekends, when we are in the mood to indulge. With coconut added in, this sambar is a rich affair, but in a healthy way. Making this is a bit of a tedious job as compared to making sambar with sambar powder but, I can assure you, the end result is totally worth it. Served with some piping hot rice, a bit of ghee and some potato roast, it is but a slice of heaven!

Different families have different versions of Arachuvitta Sambar, with slight changes in the ingredients used for the spice mix. Today, I present to you the recipe for Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar, radish sambar made using freshly ground spices, our family’s way.

The Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar recipe below is gluten-free and vegan, as I have done away with the asafoetida that is traditionally added in. It is also pegan (a diet that combines the principles of paleo eating and veganism). The pegan diet proposed by Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., advocates a plant-based eating style, with a focus on consuming whole foods that do not spike one’s blood sugar levels, avoiding sugar and processed foods, skipping dairy products entirely, restricting the intake of meat and legumes. The diet suggests the use of ingredients that are organic and wholesome, 75% of your daily intake consisting of non-starchy vegetables and the balance 25% made up of the other ingredients that are allowed in peganism.

Now, let us check out the recipe for Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 1/3 cup toor daal
  2. A gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
  3. 2 medium-sized radishes
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  7. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
  8. 1 sprig curry leaves
  9. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

For spice mix:

  1. 1 tablespoon chana daal
  2. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  3. A pinch of fenugreek seeds
  4. 4 dry red chillies or to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  6. 1 sprig curry leaves
  7. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
  8. 1 medium-sized tomato
  9. 1 small onion

For the tempering:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

Firstly, we will prepare the tamarind extract for the sambar.

1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes.

2. When cool enough to handle, extract all the juice out of the tamarind, adding fresh water little by little. Keep aside.

We will now boil the toor daal and keep it ready.

1. Wash the toor daal well under running water. Drain out all the water, and transfer to a wide vessel. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the daal. Pressure cook on high flame for 5-6 whistles, or till the daal turns mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. When the pressure has fully gone down, get the cooked toor daal out. Mash it well. Keep aside.

Next, we will prepare the radishes.

1. Peel the radishes and chop into thin rounds. Place in a wide vessel. Sprinkle a little water over the radishes. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

Now, we will get the spice mix for the sambar ready.

1. Get a pan nice and hot, then add in the chana daal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chillies, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Dry roast on medium heat till the chana daal turns brown and the ingredients begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn.

2. Now, add the coconut and roast for a minute. Switch off gas and allow the ingredients to cool down completely.

3. Chop the onion and tomato roughly. Transfer to a mixer jar.

4. When completely cooled down, add the dry roasted ingredients to the mixer jar too. Grind to a paste. Keep aside.

Now, we will prepare the sambar.

1. Take the tamarind water in a pan. Add in a little salt, the turmeric powder, the cooked radish, and the curry leaves. Cook together on high flame for about 2 minutes.

2. Now, add the cooked and mashed toor daal to the pan, along with the spice mix paste we ground earlier. Add in salt to taste, red chilli powder to taste (if using) and jaggery powder, along with about 1 cup of water. Mix well.

3. Stirring intermittently, cook on high flame till the raw smell of the tomato and onion goes away and the sambar thickens a little, 4-5 minutes. Switch off gas.

Lastly, we will prepare the tempering for the sambar.

1. Heat the coconut oil in a tempering pan.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.

3. Add in the dry red chillies and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas. Pour this tempering into the sambar cooking in the other pan.

4. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Your Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar is ready!

Notes:

1. You can use any other vegetable of your choice in making the sambar. Here, I have decided to use only radish.

2. In a traditional Arachuvitta Sambar, tomato and onion are not used in making the spice mix paste. I usually add them in, for the delicious flavour they provide to the sambar.

3. Since this is the pegan version of sambar, I have used organic coconut oil to do the tempering and have omitted asafoetida in it. To make a non-pegan, non-gluten-free version, you can use asafoetida in the tempering and any other variety of oil you prefer.

4. Make sure the toor daal is cooked well. Mash it well before adding it to the pan, for best results.

5. Adjust the quantity of coconut you use in the spice mix, as per personal taste preferences.

6. Adjust the amount of water you add in the sambar, depending upon the consistency you require.

7. I use a mix of the spicy Salem Gundu dry red chillies and the non-spicy Bydagi ones to make the spice mix paste. You can use any variety of chillies that you prefer.

8. Adjust the quantity of tamarind you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

9. If you think the heat from the red chillies is enough, skip using any red chilli powder in the sambar altogether.

10. Don’t miss out on adding the jaggery powder to the sambar. It doesn’t make the sambar overly sweet, but balances out the other flavours beautifully.

11. Instead of the regular, starchy white rice, I have served this Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar with Rajahmudi rice, a type of red rice that is local to Karnataka. About 3/4 cup of cooked Rajahmudi rice, a cupful of this Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar, a cupful of salad, along with a little gluten-free South Indian poriyal would make for the perfect pegan meal.

12. I am no expert on peganism, nor am I a qualified nutritionist. I am just your regular home-maker who loves food and working with different ingredients, and tries to feed her family meals that are as healthy as she can make them! I present the above recipe based on my understanding of ingredients and the pegan diet, which comes about from extensive reading up from various sources.

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, the members of this Facebook group cook for a pre-determined theme. The theme this week is #PeganDiet, as suggested by Veena of Veena’s Veg Nation.

I am also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #264, co-hosted this week by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau.

Murunga Poo Poriyal| Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry

Did you know that the blossoms of the moringa tree are edible? Not just edible, moringa flowers (called ‘murunga poo‘ in Tamil) are chock-full of health benefits, just like the pods and leaves of the tree are! It is not for nothing that the moringa is called a ‘miracle tree’ and that its pods, leaves and flowers are touted as ‘super foods’ the world over!

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I was so thrilled to get my hands on some moringa flowers, recently!

The flowers are quite tasty too, and lend themselves beautifully to various sweet and savoury preparations. Many parts of India have their own indigenous recipes using these flowers. The Bengalis have their Sojna Phool Posto (moringa flowers cooked in a poppy-seed paste), while the Sindhis have their Swanjhro (drumstick blossoms cooked with onions, tomatoes and black pepper). In Tamilnadu, these flowers are traditionally used to make Murunga Poo Poriyal, a simple stir-fry with coconut added in. People from Orissa use these flowers to make fritters, called Sohjne Phuler Bora. Modern-day cooks use these highly nutritious flowers in a variety of soups, daals and stir-fries. Why, I was surprised when I read about drumstick flowers being used to make a delectable kheer!

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The moringa flowers, all cleaned up and ready to be used

It was just a week or so ago that I had the chance to try out moringa flowers, for the first-ever time. Growing up, I never saw them in Ahmedabad, and they weren’t a common find in Bangalore after I shifted here. Having read about the various delicious things that one can do with these flowers, I tried searching high and low for them, at several places across Bangalore, a fruitless search that did not yield any results. So, imagine just how thrilled I would have been when, recently, my regular ‘soppu‘ seller asked me if I would like some drumstick flowers – just like that, out of the blue! I grabbed a bag of them, and got home hugging them close. When the time is right, the stars align, and all that jazz!

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Murunga Poo Poriyal, aka Tamilnadu-style moringa flower stir-fry

I used the drumstick flowers to make a traditional Tamilnadu-style Murunga Poo Poriyal, which I learnt from Amma. This turned out to be an extremely delicious, hearty affair that was much loved by everyone at home. It was such a breeze to make, and paired beautifully with the sambar rice I served it with.

Let’s now see how I made the Murunga Poo Poriyal, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. About 2-1/2 cups cleaned drumstick flowers
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 1 tablespoon oil
  4. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  6. 1 teaspoon split urad daal
  7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  8. 1 sprig curry leaves
  9. 3-4 dry red chillies
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. About 1-1/2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
  13. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

Method:

1. Wash the drumstick flowers thoroughly to remove all traces of mud. Drain out the water from them.

2. Chop the drumstick flowers and onion finely. Keep aside.

3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Now, add the urad dal, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.

4. Now, add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the onions turn brown.

5. Add the chopped drumstick flowers to the pan. Turn flame to medium.

6. Saute on medium flame for a minute or till the drumstick flowers start slightly wilting.

7. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and jaggery powder. Mix well.

8. Cook on medium heat till the drumstick flowers are cooked, 2-3 minutes. Stir intermittently.

9. Add in the fresh grated coconut. Mix well.

10. Cook on medium heat for half a minute more. Switch off gas. Your Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry is ready! Serve it hot or at room temperature along with sambar/rasam and rice.

Notes:

1. Leave the drumstick flowers wrapped in a newspaper overnight, on the kitchen counter. Most flowers would have fallen off the stem in the morning, ready to be used in your cooking.

2. Ensure that all the drumstick flowers are removed from the stems before use.

3. Use fresh moringa flowers, for best results.

4. Adjust the amount of coconut you use in this Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry, depending upon personal taste preferences.

5. Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best in the making of this Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry.

6. The jaggery powder counters the slight bitterness that moringa flowers possess. So, do not skip using jaggery. Adjust the quantity of jaggery you use, as per personal taste preferences.

7. You may use sugar in place of jaggery powder. Personally, I prefer jaggery powder.

8. There is no need to cover the pan, while cooking this Moringa Flowers Stir-Fry. You can cook it in an open pan, on medium heat, sprinkling a little water at intervals if you feel the stir-fry is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I am also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #264, co-hosted this week by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau.

Check out the other recipes using moringa on my blog!:

5 ways we incorporate moringa in our daily diet

Drumstick leaves roti

Saragva ni kadhi| Gujarati drumstick kadhi

Manjal Thokku| Turmeric Root Pickle

Manjal Thokku or Turmeric Root Pickle is one of my most favourite things to make using turmeric. All of us at home love it, and it goes well with everything, from rotis and dosas to curd rice.

Turmeric, as we all know, is loaded with health benefits. It helps not just in keeping cold and cough at bay, but also increases the body’s ability to fight chronic diseases, improves digestive functions, improves skin health, and aids in better control of one’s blood sugar, for instance. Our ancestors have always revered turmeric for its medicinal properties, and now its healing properties are being recognised the world over, due to which it is being touted as a ‘super food’.

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The turmeric root that we got home for Pongal, this year

Turmeric powder is the most common form in which this medicinal plant is used. However, turmeric root or fresh raw turmeric is available in India in the months of winter, nature’s way of helping us combat the major and minor illnesses that prevail at this time. Consuming turmeric root is a great way of getting in all those health benefits, without any of the processing that converting it into powder form might involve. I typically use turmeric root (manjal kizhangu in Tamil) to make a simple South Indian-style pickle, but I recently started making a sweet-sour-spicy thokku with it. It turned out so finger-licking delicious, everyone at home loving it so, that it has now become a regular. I have made it quite a few times this winter already.

Manjal Thokku or Turmeric Root Pickle, my way

Here’s how I made the Manjal Thokku or Turmeric Root Pickle.

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

  1. About 1 cup roughly chopped raw turmeric
  2. A small gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 large onion
  6. 4-5 dry red chillies or as per taste
  7. Salt to taste
  8. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  9. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder
  10. 1 sprig curry leaves
  11. 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons of oil
  12. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  13. A pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  14. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida

Method:

1. Remove seeds and impurities, if any, from the tamarind. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for at least 10 minutes. This will soften it. Keep aside.

2. Peel the ginger and chop it roughly. Keep aside.

3. Peel the garlic cloves. Keep aside.

4. Remove the skin of the onion. Chop into cubes. Keep aside.

5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add in the chopped turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion, along with the dried red chillies. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate, and allow them to cool down fully.

6. When the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar. Add in the soaked tamarind along with the little water it was soaked in. Add in jaggery powder, salt to taste and turmeric powder. Grind to a paste, using a little more water if required.

7. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan we used earlier. Add mustard seeds, and allow to sputter. Now, add in the asafoetida, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.

8. Turn the flame to medium. Now, add the turmeric paste we ground earlier. Mix the paste and the tempering well, and cook together on medium flame for about a minute. Your Turmeric Root Pickle or Manjal Thokku is ready!

Notes:

1. Use very fresh turmeric root when in season, for best results.

2. Turmeric roots tend to have a lot of mud on them, typically. Make sure you wash them thoroughly, and get off all the mud.

3. Gingelly oil works best in the making of this Manjal Thokku. However, if you don’t have it, you can use any other oil of your preference.

4. Allow the Turmeric Root Pickle to cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight container. Use only a clean, dry spoon for the same.

5. When stored hygienically, the Turmeric Root Pickle stays well for up to a week. Refrigeration increases its shelf life even more.

6. Adjust the quantity of dry red chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the pickle to be.

7. Turmeric root tends to stain yellow everything that it touches, including your hands, utensils and kitchen surfaces. Please be prepared for the same. Wear disposable gloves while preparing this pickle, if you so wish.

8. Turmeric root, on its own, can be quite strong in taste. Hence, it is advisable to use ingredients like tamarind, onion, ginger and garlic to make this thokku, as they help mellow down the turmeric’s strong flavour.

*************Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, a bunch of foodies get together and cook for a pre-determined theme. The theme this week is #IndianSuperfood, as suggested by Vidya Narayan of Masala Chilli. We are all sharing recipes made using three key superfoods – moringa, makhana aka foxnuts and turmeric – for the theme.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #263.

Kadala Paruppu Thogayal| Chana Daal Chutney

We love our chutneys, as I’m sure you would have figured out already from the many chutney recipes already on the blog. Today, I present to you one more type – Kadala Paruppu Thogayal or Chana Daal Chutney.

As a child, I was brought up on a steady diet of various types of chutneys, because I refused to eat my vegetables. ๐Ÿ™‚ In adulthood, my love for chutneys only intensified, and I began experimenting wildly with different ingredients and grinding techniques.

The husband grew up with various chutneys in his life too, loving them to bits. Keerai kootu, rice and rasam with different types of chutneys were a permanent fixture on his home’s dining table. So they are in our house today, too.

Chana daal is a sort of binding agent in most chutneys, whereas a vegetable usually is the star ingredient. However, in this Kadala Paruppu Thogayal, chana daal is the primary ingredient. Can you imagine just how protein-packed it would be? A simple dish to prepare, the chana daal makes it super flavourful!

We Tam-Brahms prepare something called Paruppu Thogayal, a delicious chutney made with toor daal that makes for an awesome accompaniment to rasam rice. This Kadala Paruppu Thogayal, though quite similar to the traditional Paruppu Thogayal in a lot of ways, differs from it in a lot of ways too.

I made this Kadala Paruppu Thogayal from Lathiya’s blog recently, and it was a big hit at home. I followed the original recipe mostly, with a few small variations of my own. We are going to be seeing more of this chutney in the times to come – I’m sure of that!

I cooked this dish for Food Bloggers Recipe Swap, a Facebook group that I am part of. Every month, the food bloggers in the group pair up, and each pair cooks dishes from their partner’s blog. What a lovely way to explore food from around the world, right? Mireille, author of The Schizo Chef, who is spearheading the recipe swap group, paired me with Lathiya for this month. I decided on this simple chutney recipe from Lathiya’s blog.

Do check out the way I made the Kadala Paruppu Thogayal! This is definitely something you must try out too!

Ingredients (yields 3/4 cup):

  1. 1/2 cup chana daal
  2. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. A small piece of tamarind
  5. Salt to taste
  6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  8. 4 dry red chillies or to taste
  9. 1 sprig + 1 sprig of curry leaves
  10. 1 teaspoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil
  11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  12. 2 pinches of asafoetida

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes. Keep aside.

2. Peel the ginger and chop it up. Keep aside.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add in the chana daal and dry red chillies, and roast them on medium heat till the daal begins to brown. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn.

4. Add the chopped ginger, 1 sprig curry leaves, soaked tamarind (without the water it was soaked in), and grated coconut to the pan. Roast on medium heat for a minute, ensuring that the ingredients do not burn. Switch off gas.

5. Allow the roasted ingredients to cool down completely, and then transfer them to a mixer jar.

6. To the mixer jar, add salt to taste, jaggery powder, and turmeric powder. Add in the water which the tamarind was soaked in. Add in a little fresh water. Grind the ingredients together to a paste, as fine or as coarse as you want it to be.

7. Transfer the chutney we ground to a serving bowl.

8. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add mustard and allow to sputter. Now add the asafoetida and the remaining curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, ensuring that the ingredients do not burn. Switch off the gas. Pour this tempering onto the chutney in the serving bowl. Mix well. Your Kadala Paruppu Thogayal is ready to serve!

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Do check out the exciting recipes that the other members of the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap have come up with!

Harissa| Chana Daal Chutney| Fresh Green Chana Chaat | Koeksisters|Til Ke Laddu | Pineapple Ginger Bubble Tea| Masala Chai|Ragi, Banana & Dates Smoothie | Roasted Beetroot Hummus| Mamra Upma| Spiced Plantain Chips| Fiery Habanero Pepper Hot Sauce| Sweet Potato Soup

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #263.

Manathakali Vattalkozhambu| Dried Nightshade Berries Cooked In Tamarind

Whenever we visit Madras, I make sure we pick up a packet of manathakali berries from the nearest vegetable shop. Back in Bangalore, we don’t get these little, shiny, green and black fruits that are bursting with flavour, fresh. These berries, the fruits of the Solanum Nigrum or the black nightshade plant, are not just supremely delicious, but also loaded with health benefits – they are high in antioxidants and Vitamin A, help relieve peptic and mouth ulcers, and better digestion and gut health, for instance. In fact, the leaves of the Solanum Nigrum, Manathakali Keerai in Tamil, also possess several health benefits. Check out the Manathakali Keerai Kootu I made a while ago!

So, I love using these fresh manthakali berries in vattalkozhambu, an extremely delicious, traditional Tamilian preparation that uses oodles of tamarind. Manathakali Vattalkozhambu is a big favourite of all of us at home, comfort food for everyone around.

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Fresh manathakali berries, some ripe, some unripe. Both the ripe and unripe ones can be cooked.

The fresh berries don’t last very long, though. They need to be used up immediately, as soon as we have got back to Bangalore and have barely unpacked our bags. They don’t have much of a shelf life. For later use, I always make sure I buy a packet of manathakali vatthal in Madras, black nightshade berries soaked in buttermilk and salt, then sun-dried and packed up to preserve them. These dried berries taste just as good in vattalkozhambu, if not better.

Manathakali Vattalkozhambu, with a few dried manathakali or black nightshade berries on the side

Give me some piping hot steamed rice, a bit of salt and ghee, some cooked toor daal and some well-made vattalkozhambu any day, and I’ll be a happy person. It is joy to eat this meal with your hands, off a steel plate – no fancy cutlery required there. A carefully erected ‘moat’ made with ghee-infused daal rice, with vattalkozhambu poured down in the centre – I grew up relishing this combination of food, and it still gives me great solace. I love eating up any leftover vattalkozhambu with dosas or as a side to rotisabzi too!

Today, I share with you our family recipe for Manathakali Vattalkozhambu, vattalkozhambu made using dried black nightshade berries. Do try it out, and let me know if it offers you the same level of comfort and bliss that it does to you! Will you?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. A big lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  2. 1-1/2 tablespoons dried nightshade berries aka mananthakali vatthal
  3. Salt to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons sambar powder or to taste
  5. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
  6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. Red chilli powder to taste
  8. About 1-1/2 tablespoons wheat flour or rice flour
  9. 2 tablespoons oil
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  11. A pinch of fenugreek seeds
  12. 2 dry red chillies
  13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  14. 1 sprig curry leaves

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, extract all the juice out of it, adding fresh water little by little. You should get almost 1-1/2 cups of tamarind extract. Discard the seeds, fibres and impurities, if any. Keep the tamarind extract aside.

2. Mix the rice flour or wheat flour with a little water, making a slurry. Make sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.

3. In a pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Now, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, fenugreek, and the dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

4. Add the dried nightshade berries to the pan. Saute on medium flame for a minute.

5. Add the tamarind extract to the pan, along with about 1 cup of water. Add salt to taste, red chilli powder, jaggery powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes on medium flame.

6. Now, add in the sambar powder and the flour slurry we prepared earlier. Mix well.

7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more water if required.

8. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 more minutes till the Mananthakali Vattalkozhambu thickens slightly and attains a silky consistency. Switch off the gas at this stage. Now, the vattalkozhambu is ready to be served – you can do so hot or at room temperature.

Notes:

1. Gingelly oil works best in the making of this Manathakali Vattalkozhambu. However, if you don’t have it, you can use any other oil of your preference.

2. For best results, use high-quality vatthal aka dried nightshade berries, tamarind and sambar powder.

3. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the vattalkozhambu you desire. The end result should be a silken liquid that is quite runny, just slightly thickened by the flour slurry we added in.

4. Adjust the quantity of jaggery, red chilli powder and sambar powder as per personal taste preferences.

5. You may add in finely chopped fresh coriander after the Manathakali Vattalkozhambu is ready.

6. Instead of the dried nightshade berries, you can make the vattalkozhambu using a variety of other ingredients – like fresh nightshade berries, beetroot, onion, ladies’ finger, brinjal, drumstick and the likes. Just substitute any of these ingredients for the dried nightshade berries – the rest of the procedure remains the same.

7. I use home-made sambar powder to make this Manathakali Vattalkozhambu. Considering that the powder is not too spicy, I add red chilli powder to taste. However, if you are using store-bought sambar powder that is spicy, you might want to skip using the red chilli powder altogether.

8. In some families, there is a separate masala that is ground, stored and used in the making of vattalkozhambu, in place of the sambar powder. However, we always use sambar powder in vattalkozhambu.

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This recipe is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines Facebook group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, the theme is #LegumeAffairAtHW, wherein all of us are cooking special dishes using different types of legumes. For the theme, I chose to share the recipe for my favourite Manathakali Vattalkozhambu, in which tamarind (a legume) is one of the major ingredients.

Do check out what the other participants have cooked up, for the theme!:

Restaurant-Style Dal Tadka by Seema| Boondi Kadhi by Rosy| Lehsuni Dal Palak by Swaty| Habisha Dalma by Sasmita| Home-Made Peanut Butter by Poonam| Moong Dal Khichdi by Kalyani| Dhaba-Style Kala Chana by Jayashree| Baingan Pakora by Geetanjali| Rajma Masala by Shalu

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #263.

Pressure Cooker Jeera Rice| One-Pot Indian Cumin Rice

It was September 2008. A ‘boy’ had come from Bangalore to our place in Ahmedabad, with his mom and his brother, to ‘see’ me. Well, it wasn’t the first time the boy, his family and I were meeting – a year before their visit, courtesy of my Bangalore aunt, I had already met them. The boy and I had kind of approved of each other but, for one reason or the other of the boy’s making, official talks of our wedding never happened. However, we kept in off-and-on touch on chat. Then, one fine day, a year after we met, this boy pings me saying he’s had enough and that he’s serious about getting married to me! We started chatting regularly, a lot of doubts clearing, new respect and love building. His family and mine were thrilled that the cogs were finally turning and some progress was happening in our relationship. So, when this boy and his family came over to Ahmedabad to visit, deep, official talks were conducted, as was an unofficial engagement ceremony. And then, in January 2009, this boy became my wedded partner in life. He became my husband, and I his wife. 10 years since, today, together we stand.

Why am I talking about this today? Because I am about to share with you guys the recipe for the first-ever dish I cooked for the husband and his family – Pressure Cooker Jeera Rice or One-Pot Indian Cumin Rice – at my place. From what I knew of the husband’s family, they were a typical non-foodie bunch, used to typical South Indian home-cooked meals. This Pressure Cooker Jeera Rice was my way of indicating that a change in the household’s culinary scene was in order, shortly, yet nothing too jarring or disruptive or disrespectful. ๐Ÿ˜€ I served the jeera rice with a simple Dal Tadka, and the combination was quite liked by them.

This is an easy one-pot recipe that gets ready in a jiffy. In just about 10 minutes, it yields supremely flavourful, fluffy cumin rice that makes for just the perfect accompaniment to dal or a gravy-based curry.

Try this out, will you?

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1-1/2 cups rice
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 2 teaspoons jeera aka cumin
  5. 2 tablespoons ghee
  6. 3-3/4 cups of water
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander, to garnish

Method:

  1. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep them ready.
  2. Wash the rice a couple of times in running water, draining out the excess water each time. Keep the washed and drained rice ready.
  3. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the cumin seeds, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  4. Add in the slit green chillies and the washed and drained rice. Saute on medium flame for a minute, ensuring that the rice does not burn.
  5. Now, turn the flame to high. Add in the water and salt to taste. Mix well.
  6. Allow the water to come to a boil. At this stage, close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on.
  7. Cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  8. When the pressure has entirely gone down, open the cooker. Gently fluff up the rice. Mix in the finely chopped coriander.
  9. Serve hot with a gravy-based curry or dal of your choice.

Notes:

  1. I have used Sona Masoori rice to make this One-Pot Indian Cumin Rice.
  2. It is imperative that you use good-quality cumin, rice and ghee in this recipe, since these are the ingredients that will impart maximum flavour to the Pressure Cooker Jeera Rice.
  3. I used a 5-litre pressure cooker to make this One-Pot Indian Cumin Rice.
  4. Some people add in whole spices like bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon and/or cloves, as well as caramelised onions and shelled green peas to the One-Pot Indian Cumin Rice. I have skipped all of these ingredients, and used just the most basic ones.
  5. You can use basmati rice in place of Sona Masoori rice, too. In that case, adjust the quantity of water you use accordingly.
  6. To cook plain steamed rice in a pressure cooker, I use 3-1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of Sona Masoori rice. For this Pressure Cooker Jeera Rice, however, since I wanted it to be grainy but well-cooked, I have used 2-1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice. So, for 1-1/2 cups of Sona Masoori rice, I have used 3-3/4 cups of water in total. Adjust the quantity of water you use depending upon the type of rice used and how grainy you want the One-Pot Indian Cumin Rice to be.
  7. Pressure cooking for 3 whistles gives just the perfect output for us. You may want to increase or decrease the number of whistles depending upon the make of your cooker, the quantity of rice you are cooking, and the texture of rice that you are aiming at.
  8. After adding salt to the water in the pressure cooker, taste it. It should be a bit salty. When the rice is added to it, the salt content turns out to be just perfect.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for Foodie Monday Blog Hop, a Facebook group that I am part of. Every Monday, the participants of this group cook and share recipes for a pre-determined theme.

The theme for this week, suggested by Swaty Malik of Food Trails, is #DownMemoryLane. As the name of the theme suggests, each of us participants have to share a recipe that means something to us, which has memories attached to it. I chose to write about this simple Pressure Cooker Jeera Rice recipe for the theme, as it brings back a rush of several fond memories.

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #262. The co-host is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikki

Winter is, slowly and gradually, beating a retreat, here in Bangalore. The days are getting longer, and hotter. The choliya (aka hara chana or fresh green chickpeas) and green peas that I so love using in the winter months have all but disappeared from the markets. I decided to make a little something with these favourite ingredients of mine before they are not available any more – Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikki.

These Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikkis turned out to be a favourite with everyone at home. They turned out absolutely flavourful, and were devoured in a few minutes flat. We had guests over when I made these, and they adored the tikkis as well. Served hot, they make for a different-from-the-usual, healthy evening snack.

Here’s how I made the Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikkis.

Ingredients (makes about 15 tikkis):

  1. 2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  2. 1 cup choliya aka fresh green chana
  3. 1/2 cup fresh green peas
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 2-3 green chillies or as per taste
  6. 6-7 cloves of garlic
  7. 4 slices of bread
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. 3/4 tablespoon garam masala or to taste
  12. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  13. 1/2 tablespoon chaat masala or to taste
  14. 1/2 tablespoon amchoor powder or to taste
  15. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  16. 1 tablespoon oil, plus as needed to shallow fry the tikkis
  17. Tomato ketchup, as needed to serve the tikkis

Method:

1. Pressure cook the green peas and fresh green chana on a high flame, without adding any water, for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. When the pressure has fully gone down, allow the cooked green chana and peas to cool down fully.

3. Coarsely grind the cooked green chana and peas in a mixer. Remember not to make a fine paste, but to just crush the green chana and peas coarsely. Keep aside.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic. Chop the ginger and green chillies finely. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies together to a fine paste, using a little water. Keep aside.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan, and add in the finely chopped broccoli. Saute on medium heat for a minute.

6. Add the ginger-green chillies-garlic paste to the pan, along with salt to taste, turmeric powder, asafoetida, jaggery powder, amchoor powder, garam masala and chaat masala. Saute for another minute on medium flame. Switch off gas.

7. Dip each slice of bread in a little water, just for a second, squeeze out the excess water and add to the cooked broccoli mixture in the pan.

8. Add the coarsely crushed green chana and peas to the cooked broccoli. Add in the finely chopped coriander too.

9. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, mix everything well. Shape tikkis out of the mixture, using your hands.

10. Get a thick dosa pan nice and hot. Spread a little oil all over the pan, and place 2-3 tikkis over it. Add a little oil around the tikkis. Cook on medium heat till the tikkis brown at the bottom. Then, flip the tikkis over and cook on medium heat till they are brown on the other side as well.

11. Serve the tikkis hot with tomato sauce or any accompaniment of your choice.

Notes:

1. The garam masala can be substituted by chana masala.

2. I have used multi-millet bread in the making of these Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikkis. You can use any other variety of bread, of your preference, instead, too.

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I’m sending this post to the 125th edition of My Legume Love Affair (MLLA),ย  a monthly event wherein participants from around the world share vegetarian legume-based recipes. This event was conceptualised by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen and Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This month, MLLA is being hosted by Seema of Mildly Indian.

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I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #262. The co-host is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Here are some other recipes from my blog that use choliya:

Choliya Kadhi| Hara Chana Chaat

Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosa

Here’s presenting to you Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosa, a pretty dosa that tastes just as slurpacious as it looks. What’s more, it is super healthy too! This Valentine’s Day, whip up these ‘red’ dosas for your loved ones!

You guys probably already know that we are a dosa-crazy family. Dosas find pride of place on our dining table every so often, any time of the day. We experiment like crazy when it comes to dosas, trying out different permutations and combinations to figure out what works best for us. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosa is the latest such experiment at our place, one that was a huge hit with everyone.

You have to try this out too!

Here’s the recipe for these Mixed Vegetable & Paneer Dosas.

Ingredients (makes about 15-18 dosas):

For the filling:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 200 grams paneer aka cottage cheese
  3. 2 tablespoons shelled green peas
  4. 5-6 beans
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1/2 of a medium-sized capsicum
  7. 1 small beetroot
  8. 1 small carrot
  9. 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini
  10. 2-3 medium-sized florets of cauliflower
  11. A small piece of cabbage
  12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  13. Salt to taste
  14. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  15. Red chilli powder to taste
  16. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  17. 1 tablespoon garam masala or to taste
  18. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder or to taste
  19. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste

Other ingredients:

  1. 15-18 ladles of dosa batter
  2. Oil, as needed to cook the dosas

Method:

1. We will first prep all the veggies we need to prepare the filling. Remove strings from the beans and chop finely. Remove skin from the onion and chop finely. Chop the capsicum zucchini, cauliflower and cabbage finely. Peel the carrot and beetroot and chop finely. Keep the shelled green peas handy.

2. Crumble the paneer well, using your hands. Keep aside.

3. Now, we will prepare the filling. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped beans, onion, capsicum, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot and beetroot, as well as the green peas.

4. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute the veggies for about 2 minutes.

5. Add salt to taste, asafoetida, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on medium heat till the veggies are almost done, 1-2 minutes.

6. Add in the crumbled paneer, garam masala, amchoor powder and jaggery powder. Mix well. Saute on medium heat for 1-2 minutes more, taking care to ensure that the vegetables do not burn.

7. Switch off the gas. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander into the filling. Allow the filling to cool down fully.

8. Now, we will make the dosas. Get a dosa pan nice and hot, placing it over high flame. When water droplets dance on it, turn the heat down to medium. Place a ladleful of dosa batter in the centre of the pan, and spread it around quickly with the back of the ladle. Spread a little oil all around the dosa. Let the dosa cook on medium heat till it browns on the bottom, ensuring it does not burn. Then, flip over and cook for about a minute on the other side too.

9. Transfer the dosa to a serving plate. Place a generous amount of the vegetable-paneer stuffing in the centre of the dosa. Serve immediately.

10. Prepare and serve all the dosas in a similar manner.

Notes:

1. I have used home-made dosa batter here. You can use either home-made or store-bought batter to make these dosas.

2. Prepare the filling on medium flame, ensuring that it does not burn.

3. Chana masala can be used in the filling, instead of garam masala.

4. The filling can made in advance and refrigerated, for up to a day. I prefer making it fresh, though, just before I need to make the dosas.

5. Any leftover filling can be used in making whole-wheat paratha wraps or sandwiches.

6. I prefer adding all the vegetables at the same time, while making the filling. Cook till the beetroot and carrot are tender, and the other veggies get slightly caramelised by this time, making the filling taste all the better.

7. I have used store-bought paneer here. You can use home-made instead, too.

8. You can sprinkle a little water while cooking the filling, if you feel it is getting too dry. Don’t make the filling too mushy – keep it dry.

9. Cook the dosas on medium heat, for best results.

10. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand, to make the filling for these dosas. I have specifically used beetroot here, because I wanted to make the filling look reddish.

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Here are some other dosa varieties from my blog:

Broccoli Masala Dosa| Paneer Masala Dosa| Dosa Pizza| Open Butter Masala Dosa| Schezwan Dosa| Poha Dosa| Spring Dosa| Moong Dosa| Sooji Chilla| Multi-Grain Dosas| Masala Dosa| Barnyard Millet Dosa| Bread Uttappam| Bajra Pesarettu| Ragi Dosa| Semiya Rava Vegetable Dosa| Tomato Omelette

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This post is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, the theme is #VDaySpecialAtHW, wherein all of us are cooking special dishes for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

Check out what the other members of the group have come up with, for Valentine’s Day!

Bread Gulab Jamuns in Jaggery Syrup by Vanitha| Beetroot Drink with a Fruity Touch by Sasmita| White Chocolate Pudding by Swaty| Strawberry Mojito Mocktail by Jayashree| Chocolate Walnut Brownies by Rosy| No-Bake Berry Custard Tart by Shalu| Spiced Pomegranate Spritzer Mocktail by Geetanjali

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #262. The co-host is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

You’ve Got To Experience The New Winter Menu At Farzi Cafe!

The much-loved Farzi Cafe in UB City, Bangalore, recently launched a brand new Winter Special menu. I had the pleasure of sampling this new menu last week, along with a few other city bloggers and, I must say, I absolutely loved the experience!

I’m mightily impressed by the ‘Farzified’ versions of various typical Indian dishes that are part of the new menu. In fact, this has got to be one of the best renditions of the menu I have tried out so far, at Farzi!

I love how the new menu seems to be focused more on local favourites and ingredients, and how care has been taken to ensure that the dishes taste just as beautiful as they look. The ‘uru‘s ellu and bella becomes Farzi’s new Upside-Down Black Sesame & Jaggery Ice Cream, while basket chaat gets a new avatar in the form of Burrata Tokri Chaat. There are some interesting new mocktails and cocktails that have been introduced, too. Now, without further ado, I’ll leave you with some visuals from the new menu sampling!

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We started the meal with some Assorted Poppadums & Dips. Now, poppadoms we have all had, but definitely not this way. We were presented with a grandiose tower containing papads, fryums and sabudana fritters of various types. Alongside were some highly imaginative dips, of which I absolutely loved the Achaari Mayo. What a unique twist to the regular mayo – who’d have thunk of jazzing it up with achaari spices?

Assorted poppadums and dips

Next up, we were served these really cute, little Chilli Cheese Kulchas with a Burnt Garlic Dip. One bite into them, and we realised just how potent they were! Filled with ooey-gooey cheese, with just a hint of chilli, these bite-sized beauties just blew us away. You have to try these out to realize just how awesome they were – I think you won’t regret ordering these. These were one of my most favourites from the entire meal.

Chilli Cheese Kulchas with Burnt Garlic Dip

The ardent chaat lover that I am, I absolutely adored the dish that came next – Burrata Tokri Chaat With Dhokla Sponge. The regular basket chaat was served with a Farzi twist, upside down, the delectable sweet-sour-spicy filling oozing out of it. The dhokla was truly sponge-like, super soft, super juicy, super-duper delicious. And, oh, the soft burrata cheese the chaat was served with was simply mind-bogglingly fresh and awesome. This one is another must try from the new menu, I tell you!

Burrata Tokri Chaat With Dhokla Sponge

We also sampled some of the new mocktails that have been added to the menu. Some very interesting combinations of flavours there! I loved the fruity, refreshing pink drink I had – it was so very well done!

And then, we were in between courses. It was time for the main course to be brought in and, hence, to cleanse our palates. A foaming, frothing palate cleanser came in, which had all of guessing at what exactly would it be. A tasting later, we were all hooked – it was sweet-spicy-sour aam panna served in the fashion of old-world ‘Pepsi’, chilled in little plastic bags. Such a delightful thing that brought back fond memories of school days!

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Aam Panna ‘Pepsi’ palate cleanser

Next was the turn of the Farmer’s Land Tacos, a desi version of tacos as we know them. Crunchy taco shells were served, loaded with an Indian-spiced moth bean filling. These were topped with the cutest of little pickled onions. IMHO, the filling could have done with a bit more flavour, but the tacos were still really good.

Farmer’s Land Tacos

The Ratatouille Pav Bhaji that came next was beautifully done, loaded with veggies, cheese and flavour. It was served with pillow-soft masala buns, which made for the perfect complement to it.

Ratatouille Pav Bhaji with Masala Buns

Then came the desserts! The first one was the Deconstructed Lemon Tart, which I fell in love with at first bite. Sheer brilliance, I tell you! The tart is placed upside down on a bed of cookie crumbs, and there’s a beautiful, beautiful lemony surprise waiting for you inside as you break open the crust. Those who like lemon in their desserts, like me, this is a must-try!

Deconstructed Lemon Tart

The Upside-Down Black Sesame & Jaggery Ice Cream came next, served on a bed of almond chikki crumble. The cone was topsy-turvy all right, but the taste of the ice cream was definitely not! The classic combination of sesame and jaggery has been enchantingly brought together in this dessert – perfectly done! The chikki crumble added an interesting texture to the ice cream, too.

Upside-Down Black Sesame & Jaggery Ice Cream With Almond Chikki Crumble

We ended the meal with some cotton-candy paan straight off a little potted plant. See for yourself. Quirk galore! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cotton Candy Paan!

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Overall, I had a very satisfying, lovely time at Farzi Cafe’s new menu sampling. Kudos to Team Farzi for honing these dishes to perfection!

This is one menu you don’t want to miss out on. Do check it out at Farzi Cafe’s UB City, Bangalore, outlet. A meal for two would cost somewhere in the vicinity of INR 1800-2000. My top picks from the menu would be the Burrata Tokri Chaat, Chilli Cheese Kulcha and the Deconstructed Lemon Tart.

Don’t forget to let me know how your Farzi experience was!

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I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #262. The co-host is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.