Karnataka Bonda Soup Recipe

Growing up in Ahmedabad, I never knew something called Bonda Soup existed. It was the husband who introduced me to it, a while after we were wedded. We were breakfasting in a ‘Darshini‘ – the name which is commonly used to refer to little, quick-serve eateries all over Karnataka – near our place in Bangalore. I ordered my favourite masala dosa, while the husband opted for the Bonda Soup. He explained to the curious me what Bonda Soup was – deep-fried bondas made of urad daal, soaked in a slightly spicy, slightly tangy daal soup. He explained how it was a much loved snack all over Karnataka, and urged me to take a spoonful.

To be honest, the Karnataka Bonda Soup did not sound appealing at all, the first time I heard of it. It did not sound appetising at all, not something I thought I would like. One bite into it, though, and I was hooked. I fell in love with the neither thin-nor thick broth, the fragrance of the ginger, green chillies and coriander in it, the way it turned slightly tangy with the tomatoes, the way the crisp shell of the bondas soaked the broth in. Years later, I’m still in love with this beauty. Have it at the right places, and I’m sure you will fall in love with them too!

Because the husband loves Bonda Soup so very much and because I grew to love it too, I learnt to make it at home, over the years. It makes for a gorgeous snack for lazy weekends and can even double up as a weekday dinner. It is absolute comfort food on gloomy winter days and dark rainy days alike.

For this month, cuisine from the state of Karnataka was chosen as the theme for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. My partner for the month, Sujata Shukla, the talented blogger behind Pepper On Pizza, assigned me two secret ingredients – urad daal and ginger. I instantly knew I wanted to make Bonda Soup, and that is just what I went ahead and did.

Today, I present to you my Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

For the bonda:

  1. 1/2 cup whole or split urad daal
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  5. A few slivers of fresh coconut
  6. Oil, as needed to deep-fry

For the soup:

  1. 1/2 cup split yellow moong daal
  2. 1/2 cup split orange masoor daal
  3. Salt to taste
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 2 big tomatoes
  7. 3-4 green chillies
  8. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  9. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  10. Lemon juice to taste
  11. 1 tablespoon ghee
  12. 1 teaspoon mustard
  13. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  14. 2 pinches of asafoetida

Method:

Let us begin by making the batter for the bonda.

1. Soak the urad daal in just enough water to cover it, for 3-4 hours.

2.Once soaked, drain out all the water from the urad daal.

3. Grind the soaked and drained urad daal to a fine batter, along with chopped green chillies and salt to taste. Add a little water while grinding, if required.

4. Roughly tear the curry leaves with your hands, and add them to the ground batter. Add in the coconut slivers too. Mix well. The bonda batter is ready.

Now, we will prepare to fry the bondas and make the soup.

1. Wash the moong daal and masoor daal together under running water a couple of times. Drain out the excess water.

2. Add in the tomatoes (chopped), green chillies (slit) and ginger (peeled and chopped finely). Add in enough water to cover the ingredients. Pressure cook all these ingredients together for 5 whistles or till the daals are soft. Let the pressure come down naturally.

3. Heat oil for deep frying bondas in a pan, till it reaches smoking point.

Meanwhile, we will make the soup.

1. Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the mustard, and let it pop.

2. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

3. Reduce the flame to medium. Gently mash the moong daal, masoor daal and other ingredients we pressure cooked, and add these to the pan. Add in salt to taste, turmeric powder and about 2 cups of water. Adjust the amount of water depending upon how thick you want the soup to be. It should, ideally be runny but not too watery. Mix well.

4. Let the soup simmer on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes. Switch off the flame.

5. Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice to taste. The soup is now ready.

Now, we will fry the bondas.

1. When the oil reaches smoking point, reduce the flame to low-medium. Drop medium-sized balls of the batter into the hot oil. Deep fry these bondas evenly.

2. Deep fry bondas using all the batter, the same way. Keep aside.

How to serve the bonda soup

1. If needed, heat the soup mildly.

2. Add a few ladles of the soup in a serving bowl.

3. Add 2-3 bondas to the serving bowl. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. I commonly use whole white urad daal to make the bonda.

2. You can add in some finely chopped green chillies and black peppercorns to the bonda too. I skip these, usually.

3. If the soup feels a tad bland, you can add in a bit of coriander powder and/or red chilli powder.

Did you like the Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe? I hope you will try it out too, and that you will love it as much as we do!

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

I suggested that my partner for the challenge, Sujata Shukla, use the two secret ingredients of bamboo shoots and coconut. Being the brilliant cook that she is, she whipped up an excellent Coorgi Baimbale Kari. Do head over to her blog to check the recipe out!

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #239. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Lathi @ From Lathi’s Kitchen.

 

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Beetroot Poriyal| South Indian Beetroot Stir-Fry

Beetroot Poriyal is an absolute favourite in our household. We love having it with piping hot sambar or rasam and rice – often a weekend special lunch at home! 🙂

Beetroot and coconut is a match made in heaven, I think, and this South Indian-style stir-fry incorporates that very combination. The addition of curry leaves, mustard and green chillies elevates the taste of the dish to a whole new level. It is amazing how this Beetroot Poriyal uses a few ingredients, and how it can be put together so very easily, but is so delicious!

Here is how we make this easy-peas Beetroot Poriyal.

Ingredients (3-4 servings):

  1. 2 large beetroots
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 green chillies
  5. 1/3 cup fresh grated coconut
  6. 2 teaspoons sugar or to taste (optional)
  7. 1 teaspoon oil
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves

Method:

  1. Peel the beetroot and chop finely.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Now, add the asafoetida to the pan, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
  3. Add the finely chopped beetroot to the pan. Add a little water, salt and turmeric powder. Cook, covered, on medium flame till the beetroot is done but still retains a bit of a crunch. Stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add in a bit more water if necessary. It should take about 5 minutes.
  4. In the meanwhile, chop the green chillies and add them in a mixer jar. Add the fresh grated coconut too. Pulse a couple of times or till you get a dry coconut-chilly paste. Keep aside.
  5. Separate the curry leaves from the stem. Keep aside.
  6. When the beetroot is cooked with a bit of a crunch, remove the lid. Keeping the flame on medium, add in the sugar (if using), the curry leaves and the coconut-green chilly paste to the pan. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  7. Cook the Beetroot Poriyal on medium flame, uncovered, till the bite in the beetroot is gone and it is well cooked – this should take a couple of minutes. Done!

Note:

  1. Choose beetroot that is very fresh and firm, for best results.
  2. Beetroot is naturally sweet, so there is no need to add sugar to this stir-fry, really. We are also adding fresh coconut to it, which has a sweetness of its own. Sometimes, though, the beetroot might not be sweet naturally, in which case you can add in a bit of sugar to taste.
  3. Chop the beetroot finely, into small cubes, for the curry to cook well and fast.
  4. Remember to cook the curry on medium flame, first covered and then uncovered, to prevent any burning and to ensure even cooking. Add in only a little water initially to cook the beetroot in.
  5. Adjust the quantity of green chillies and coconut you use, depending upon your personal taste preferences. You can add as much or as little of it as you want.
  6. Finely chopped fresh coriander can be added to the Beetroot Poriyal too, if you want, as can finely chopped onions and shelled green peas. I usually skip these.

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

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A to Z Recipe Challenge

This post is for the A-Z Recipe Challenge. The A to Z challenge was initiated on a Facebook Group, wherein a group of bloggers come together and we choose key ingredients alphabetically to cook and post a dish every alternate month.. This month’s Alphabet is ‘B’ and I decided to make/cook Beetroot Poriyal.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #231. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino| Burnt Garlic Spaghetti

Spaghetti aglio e olio is a traditional pasta dish from the villages of Naples, Italy, a dish cooked with very, very few ingredients. Here, spaghetti is cooked with garlic and salt, in olive oil, each one of these ingredients more or less always available in the Italian countryside. Apparently, the villagers would cook this dish when the times were hard, when there would be nothing much to cook with but when one still wanted to eat a hearty meal.

Though traditionally spaghetti aglio e olio would be cooked with just these four ingredients, sometimes other things would be added in too, as and when available, to enhance the flavour of the dish. Sometimes a twist of dried herbs or some chilli flakes would go in, sometimes a rind of Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Modern-day restaurant versions of this dish include ingredients like olives, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley. The dish has, indeed, travelled a long way – from the war-  and poverty-stricken villages of Italy to the posh restaurants of India.

The husband and I love spaghetti aglio e olio, and I make it often for dinner, whenever we are in the mood for some Italian. I usually make it with some olives, sun-dried tomatoes, chilli flakes and dried herbs, which makes it aglio olio e peperoncino, as the Internet tells me.

Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino – or burnt garlic spaghetti, if I may call it that – isn’t a tough thing to make. If you have but a few ingredients in your pantry, you can make it, in a matter of minutes.

Let’s check out the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 125 grams spaghetti
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 7-8 big garlic cloves
  4. 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of olive oil (I used sun-dried tomatoes-infused olive oil)
  5. 2 teaspoons chilli flakes, or to taste
  6. 2 teaspoons oregano, or to taste
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped preserved sun-dried tomatoes
  8. 2 tablespoons pitted and sliced olives

Method:

  1. Place the spaghetti in a wide pan, and add just enough water to cover it. Add in a bit of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook on high flame till the water boils, and then lower flame to medium. Cook till the pasta is done, but not overly mushy.
  2. Immediately, transfer the cooked spaghetti to a colander. Run cold water over it. Place aside, and let all the water drain out.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and chop them very finely.
  4. Take the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped garlic and place on medium flame. Stirring intermittently, saute till the garlic turns brown, taking care not to burn it too much.
  5. Add in the washed and drained spaghetti, salt to taste, chilli flakes, olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and oregano. Mix well.
  6. Gently stirring on an intermittent basis, let the spaghetti warm up in the pan. Ensure that it doesn’t get burnt. When it is warm enough, transfer the spaghetti to serving plates and serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Mixed Italian herbs can be added in place of oregano.
  2. Increase or decrease the quantity of chilli flakes you use, depending upon how spicy you want the spaghetti to be.
  3. Vary the quantity of garlic, olive oil and oregano you use, depending upon individual taste preferences.
  4. I used sun-dried tomato-infused olive oil to make this dish. You can use plain olive oil instead, too.
  5. Traditionally, aglio olio e peperoncino is made using just a few ingredients – spaghetti, olive oil, salt, chilli and garlic and, maybe, a few dried herbs. I added in the sun-dried tomatoes and olives for extra flavour – you can omit them if you like.
  6. You could add in grated cheese (preferably Parmesan) for added flavour. I didn’t use any.

You like? I hope you will try out this spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino aka burnt garlic spaghetti, and that you will love it as much as we do!

 

 

 

Semiya Rava Vegetable Dosa| Indian Vermicelli, Semolina And Vegetable Pancakes

These Indian-style pancakes aka dosas are made using roasted semolina and vermicelli, and you can load them with as many veggies as you want. They taste absolutely fantastic, and make for a hearty breakfast, a lovely change from the usual.

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I made these vermicelli and semolina vegetable pancakes recently, adapting the recipe from Chandra Padmanabhan’s cookbook, Dosai. They were much loved by everyone at home, and I know for sure that I am going to making them regularly henceforth.

Here’s how I made these vermicelli and semolina vegetable pancakes.

Ingredients (makes 6-7 pancakes):

Basic ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup roasted fine semolina (rava)
  2. 1/2 cup roasted vermicelli
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons wheat flour
  5. 2 tablespoons rice flour

For the tadka:

  1. 1 teaspoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  3. A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

To be ground into a powder:

  1. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  2. 2 tablespoons almonds

Other ingredients:

  1. Oil, as needed to make the dosas
  2. A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  3. 1/2 cup sour buttermilk
  4. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  6. 1 green chilli, very finely chopped
  7. A few fresh curry leaves

Method:

  1. Take the roasted semolina and vermicelli, salt to taste, wheat flour and rice flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Grind the black peppercorns and almonds to a coarse powder, using a mixer. Add this powder to the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan, and add in the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas, and add this garnish to the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  4. Add in the finely chopped coriander, onion, ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chilli and torn curry leaves, along with the sour buttermilk.
  5. Add in enough water to make a batter that is neither too thick nor too runny. Let the batter stand, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  6. Post 30 minutes, you can proceed to making dosas with the prepared batter. At this stage, add in more water and seasonings if the batter looks too thick.
  7. To make the dosas, heat a tawa until droplets of water dance on it. Now, lower the flame to medium, and pour a ladle of the batter in the centre of the pan. Spread it out into a thick circle. Add some oil around the dosa. Let the dosa cook till it gets brown on the bottom, uncovered, and then flip it over. Let the dosa cook on the other side till brown. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Make sure you use the fine variety of semolina, for best results.
  2. I used roasted vermicelli and semolina to make these pancakes. I am guessing it would be fine even if I had not roasted these ingredients.
  3. Other vegetables like carrots (grated) and tomato (pureed) can be added to the dosas as well.
  4. You can add a dash of garam masala and/or amchoor for flavour. I skipped them.
  5. Roasted and coarsely crushed peanuts can be added to the dosa batter, for flavour, too.
  6. Increase/decrease the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon your taste preferences.
  7. Use buttermilk that is sour, but not overly so, for best results.
  8. The original recipe calls for grinding together 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon cashewnuts, 1 tablespoon pistachios and 1 tablespoon almonds, and then adding them to the batter. I have used just 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns and 2 tablespoons of almonds instead.
  9. If you want the dosas to be more sour, keep the batter out for a longer time after mixing. I kept some batter out for 3-4 hours, and the dosas tasted great.
  10. I am guessing you can skip adding the almond powder and pepper powder to the batter. Instead, you could just add more finely chopped green chillies.

You like? I hope you will try out these semolina and vermicelli pancakes at home, too, and that you will love them as much as we did!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Pancakes’.

 

Sev Usal| Pattani Masala| Dry Peas Curry In Flavourful Gravy

The husband and I are big fans of pattani masala with our rotis – a curry made with dry peas, cooked in a flavourful gravy. Any leftover curry is recycled into sev usal, the next day – a chaat that tastes awesomely sweet and spicy and tangy at the same time.

I learnt how to make this gravy from a Gujarati friend of mine, and have always made it the same way throughout the years. Along the way, the husband fell in love with it too. Unlike store-bought pattani masala and sev usal that are loaded with oil, this version uses just 1 teaspoon of oil. It’s healthy, it’s super tasty, and it is versatile – what more could you ask for from a dish, eh?

Do try it out, will you?

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Left: Gujarati-style pattani masala aka dried peas curry in gravy; Right: Sev usal using the same curry

Ingredients (makes about 4 servings):

For the masala curry:

  1. About 175 grams of dried yellow peas
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 2 medium-sized onions
  4. Salt, to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon oil
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. 2 teaspoons chana masala (I use MDH)
  10. Red chilli powder, to taste
  11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 2 teaspoons sugar/powdered jaggery (optional)
  13. A few stalks of fresh coriander

Other ingredients for serving the sev usal:

  1. Lemon wedges as needed, to serve
  2. Finely chopped onions as needed, to serve
  3. Finely chopped coriander as needed, to serve
  4. Paav, as needed, to serve
  5. Butter as needed, to toast the paav
  6. Sev (omapudi) as needed, to serve
  7. Sweet chutney as needed, to serve (Here’s how I make the sweet chutney)
  8. Spicy green chutney as needed, to serve (Here’s how I make the spicy chutney)

Method:

To make the masala curry:

  1. Soak the dried peas in just enough water to cover them, overnight.
  2. Drain out the water from the soaked peas in the morning. Pressure cook them for 4 whistles, adding just enough fresh water to cover them. Let the pressure release naturally. Keep the cooked peas aside.
  3. Chop the onions and coriander finely. Keep aside.
  4. Chop the tomatoes into quarters. Puree in a mixer. Keep aside.
  5. Heat the oil, and add in the mustard seeds. Allow to splutter. Add the asafoetida and the cumin seeds, and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.
  6. Add the chopped onions. Cook on medium heat till they turn brown.
  7. Add the tomato puree. Add salt and chilli powder to taste, sugar or jaggery, as well as the turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook till the raw smell of the tomato disappears.
  8. Now, add the cooked peas along with the water you cooked them in. Add the chana masala. Add more water if required, at this stage. Mix well.
  9. Cook on medium flame till the gravy thickens. Switch off the gas when the gravy is thick, but still a little runny.
  10. Add finely chopped coriander and mix well. This curry is what we call Pattani Masala, and serve hot with rotis or dosas. Any leftover curry can be used to make Sev Usal.

To serve the sev usal:

  1. Heat up the masala curry lightly.
  2. Toast the paav on a dosa pan, using a little butter.
  3. Add a dash of sweet chutney and spicy green chutney on top of the masala curry. Sprinkle some sev and finely chopped onions and coriander over it. Serve immediately, with the toasted paav and lemon wedges on the side.

Notes:

  1. You can omit the sugar or jaggery powder from the masala curry entirely, but we prefer adding it.
  2. Pavbhaji masala or garam masala can be used in place of chana masala. We prefer using chana masala.
  3. A little finely chopped ginger and a few cloves of garlic can also be added while cooking the onions for the masala curry. Alternatively, if you want to make a Jain curry, skip the onions, ginger and garlic altogether.
  4. A dash of chaat masala can also be added to the sev usal while serving.
  5. I have used dried yellow peas (as shown in the picture on the left) to make these dishes. You could also use dried green peas instead.

You like? I hope you will try out this pattani masala and sev usal recipe, and that you will love it as much as we do!

 

Oriental Spiced Cookies With Sprig Gourmet’s Malacca Spice Blend

I love the very interesting range of gourmet food products that Sprig offers. From their Mango Jalapeno Sauce and Passion Fruit Malagueta Sauce to their Natural Lavender Extract, from their Salted Caramel Sauce and Dulce De Leche to their Coconut Palm Sugar, Rosemary And Lavender-Infused Sea Salt, Six Pepper Medley and Nam Prik Pao, every product has piqued my curiosity and made me long to work with it. I am sure every foodie – irrespective of whether it is a home cook or a food blogger or a hotelier – would want to try out these gourmet products, try to create something fun using them.

I recently got my hands on one of the spice blends from the range offered by Sprig, an Oriental spice called Malacca. It is a mix of herbs and spices that are reminiscent of the Orient or South-East Asia, and can be used to jazz up a variety of dishes. I decided to use it in some Oriental Spiced Cookies, as opposed to noodles or fried rice or salads that first came to mind. The result thrilled me, totally. The Malacca has a lovely, mysterious fragrance to it, and the cookies turned out so very beautiful, gently spiced with the same hint of the exotic to them.

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I used this recipe as the base, making one or two variations of my own.

Here’s how I made the Oriental spiced cookies.

Ingredients (yields 12-15 cookies):

  1. Whole wheat flour – 1-3/4 cups
  2. A pinch of salt
  3. Powdered sugar – 1 cup
  4. Unsalted butter – 1 cup
  5. Almonds – 10-12, chopped
  6. Chia seeds – 1/4 cup
  7. Milk (boiled and cooled) – 1 tablespoon
  8. Sprig Malacca Spice Mix – 1 tablespoon

Method:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light. Keep aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, chia seeds, salt and chopped almonds.
  3. Add the milk to the butter to make it a little runny, and add this to the mixing bowl too.
  4. Meanwhile, gently mix together all the ingredients in the mixing bowl to form cookie dough.
  5. Set the dough for about an hour in the refrigerator, covered.
  6. After an hour, get the dough out of the refrigerator. Preheat oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, grease and flour a baking tray. Form cookies out of the dough and place them on the greased and floured baking tray, evenly.
  8. Set the baking tray in the oven. Bake at about 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies turn slightly brown and crisp.
  9. Let the cookies cool down completely before transferring them to an air-tight container.

Notes:

  1. Maida can be used in place of whole wheat flour. I used whole wheat flour for the sake of health.
  2. I used the same amount of butter that the original recipe suggested, but I could have used less. I think the Oriental spiced cookies would still have tasted awesome with a little less butter, so I might be doing that the next time.
  3. The chia seeds add a nice crunch to the cookies, and go well with the oriental spiced taste. That said, they can be completely omitted if you don’t have any.
  4. This is not a sponsored post. I write this simply because I am very interested in the whole range of gourmet ingredients that Sprig has to offer.

You like? I hope you will try out these Oriental spiced cookies too, and that you will love them as much as we did!

Methi Nu Shaak| Fenugreek Green Curry With Chickpea Flour

A dry curry with fenugreek greens (methi) and chickpea flour (besan) is a traditional Gujarati preparation. You will surely find this dish on the dining table of a Gujarati household, especially during the winters. The chickpea flour and the sugar added to the curry even out the bitterness of the fenugreek greens, making the taste absolutely fantabulous. It is a great, great way to incorporate the greens in your diet, I think.

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Amma learnt how to make this curry from one of our Gujarati neighbours, back when we were staying in Ahmedabad. And then she went on to teach me how to make it. This curry has always been a hot favourite with me, and it still is.

Ingredients (2 servings):

  1. 1 large bunch or a medium-sized serving bowl of fenugreek (methi) leaves
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. Red chilli powder, to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 2-3 tablespoons sugar, or as per taste
  6. 4 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
  7. 4 tablespoons oil
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  9. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method:

  1. Place the fenugreek leaves in a colander. Wash them thoroughly under running water, ensuring that no dirt remains. Keep aside, and let all the excess water drain out.
  2. Meanwhile, dry roast the chickpea flour in a pan on low-medium flame, till it turns slightly brown and begins to emit a nice fragrance. Stir constantly. Take care to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Transfer onto a plate. Keep aside.
  3. Squeeze out any excess water from the fenugreek leaves. Chop finely. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and allow to splutter. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add in the chopped fenugreek leaves to the pan. Turn flame to low-medium, and cook till the leaves are well wilted. This should take 3-4 minutes.
  6. To the pan, add salt and red chilli powder to taste, sugar, turmeric powder and roasted chickpea flour. Mix well.
  7. Cook on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes more, ensuring everything is well incorporated together. At this stage, if the curry feels too dry, you could lightly sprinkle some water or add a spoonful of oil to the pan. Done!
  8. Serve hot or after bringing to room temperature, with rotis and daal or kadhi.

Notes:

  1. This is a dry curry and, hence, best served with a liquid-y accompaniment.
  2. Initially, you might feel that the quantity of fenugreek leaves you are using is way too much. When you start cooking them, though, they really wilt down to a very little quantity.
  3. While this is a very simple curry that needs very few ingredients, getting it right might need a bit of practice. I would strongly suggest you keep at it, though, for the taste is totally worth the effort you might be putting in.
  4. Using slightly more oil will give you a curry that isn’t very dry. I try to limit it to about 4 tablespoons, though, usually.
  5. This curry tastes best with sugar. Trying to substitute sugar with jaggery alters the taste of this curry, so that isn’t something that I would recommend.
  6. A dash of coriander and cumin powder OR garam masala can be added to the curry, too, but I like keeping it simple.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is ‘cooking with greens’.

 

Introducing Purganics: For Eco-Friendly Menstrual Care And More

If you have been reading my blog regularly, you would know that, as a family, we are consciously working towards a more eco-friendly, simpler and healthier lifestyle, one little step at a time. We are constantly looking out for sustainable, chemical-free alternatives for various products we use for ourselves and for our home, that are made conscientiously.

I am all too aware of the loads of chemicals that go into the making of the sanitary pads I use, and have been looking out for a better alternative for quite some time now. So, I was super happy when I recently discovered Purganics, an organic cotton no-chemicals sanitary pad. They were kind enough to send across samples of their pads for an honest review, along with a bamboo toothbrush.

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The Purganics heavy and moderate flow sanitary pads and tampons, and the cotton bag they come with

My experience with Purganics Organic Cotton Sanitary Pads

What I loved:

~ These sanitary pads are made out of 100% good-quality organic cotton, sourced from around the world. I love the fact that organic cotton has less of a negative impact on the environment as opposed to the regular cotton.

~ They were super comfortable to use, a far cry from the skin-irritating plastic-like pads that are commonly commercially available today.

~ They are free of chlorine, plastics, synthetics, perfumes, super absorbent polymers (a harmful petroleum derivative that is commonly found in several commercially available sanitary pads), or chemicals of any kind.

~ They did not bunch up with use and, at the same time, were quite breathable. They did not stick to the skin, something I have experienced with most disposable sanitary pad brands.

~ They were soft, light and thin, with wings attached, and were quite easy to carry.

~ Absorbency was really good in case of both pads.

~ These pads come in various sizes, so there’s something for everyone – irrespective of whether you are a woman with moderate, heavy or very heavy flow. I tried out the ‘heavy flow’ and ‘moderate flow’ pads at different times in my menstrual cycle.

~ They are disposable, so there is no hassle of soaking and washing which comes with cloth sanitary pads. If, like me, you don’t think a menstrual cup is for you and are not comfortable with the processes of caring for a cloth sanitary pad, this is a great middle path.

~ They are biodegradable, and even the backing is made of plant-based material.

~ They come with a cute little cotton bag, which comes in handy to carry a couple of pads in your purse while stepping out of home.

The cons:

~ Priced at INR 399 for 10 Moderate Flow pads, INR 420 for 10 Heavy Flow pads, and INR 450 for 10 Super Plus Flow Pads, they are quite expensive. That is almost twice the cost of most commercially available disposable sanitary pads. I do understand how superior in quality and eco-friendliness these pads are, but I don’t think they are affordable for everyone. If you are the sort of person who wouldn’t mind shelling out some extra money for an eco-friendly, healthier pad, these are just great! There are no other cons that I can think of.

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Purganics bamboo toothbrush

My experience with Purganics Adult Soft Bamboo Toothbrush

What I loved:

~ Bamboo is completely bio-degradable. I love that by using a bamboo toothbrush, I reduce my plastic footprint and do not contribute to the ever-increasing pollution of oceans and teeming landfills. Also, even the packaging of this toothbrush is entirely bio-degradable.

~ The bristles are made of Dupont Nylon 6, a faster degradable form of nylon as compared to the other lower nylon grades. They are free of the toxin called BPA that is present in most commercial-grade toothbrushes. The nylon is used because there is simply no natural alternative to help create a toothbrush that you can use effectively for the dentist recommended 3 months’ time.

~ These toothbrushes are available in different sizes and softness levels – Soft and Medium for adults and Soft for kids. You can take your pick. I love that the brushes are available with different-coloured bristles, to make brushing fun.

~ The design of the handle makes it very comfortable to hold and use.

The cons:

~ After a couple of days’ usage, the Adult Soft bamboo toothbrush that I was using developed black spots on the handle, in spite of being kept open on a shelf in our bathroom. I am not sure what caused it, but it does make me slightly uncomfortable with the brushing.

~ I am very, very particular about the toothbrushes that I buy considering that I have very sensitive gums that bleed very easily. Though it was a Soft toothbrush that I tried out, the bristles were a tad harsh for me – they were softer than those of most commercial brands, but still a little hard for me. It would be great if a Super Soft toothbrush could be introduced, for people like me.

~ At INR 165 per toothbrush (both the Adult and Kid version), these are indeed expensive. That’s almost double the price of a good-quality Super Soft toothbrush, which I am not sure everyone would be ready to invest.

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If you have been looking out for better, healthier alternatives for your home and personal care, too, Purganics is definitely one brand that you should try out.

Other products: Apart from sanitary pads, tampons and bamboo toothbrushes, Purganics also offers panty liners.

Availability: The Purganics products can be purchased off their website, or from Amazon or Flipkart.

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I was sent free samples of the above-mentioned products to use and review honestly, and that is exactly what I have done. The views expressed herein are completely honest, entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure Cooker Sem Ki Sabzi| One-Pot Double Beans (Lima Beans) Curry

I am a big, big fan of double beans in the dried form. Recently, I spotted fresh double beans (also called sem or lima beans) at the Jayanagar market, and couldn’t resist picking up some. I used them to make this beautiful pressure-cooker curry to go with rotis, for lunch today.

The curry tastes absolutely delectable, if I may say so myself. I made it in a pressure cooker, something I often do with curries, a super-duper easy way to cook stuff. And.. the best part? The curry used just 1 teaspoon of oil in all its entirety!

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Let’s check out the recipe now, shall we?

Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):

  1. 3/4 of a medium-sized serving bowl fresh double beans (aka lima beans or sem)
  2. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 medium-sized onion
  4. 1 teaspoon oil
  5. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  8. Salt, to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. Red chilli powder, to taste
  11. Sugar, to taste
  12. 2 teaspoons chana masala, or to taste
  13. A few fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

Method:

  1. Wash the double beans thoroughly under running water. Place in a colander, and let all the excess water drain out.
  2. Chop the tomatoes into large pieces. Puree in a mixer. Keep aside.
  3. Finely chop the onions and coriander leaves. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a 3-litre pressure cooker bottom. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them sputter. Add the asafoetida and cumin seeds, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Add the chopped onions. Saute on low flame till they begin to turn brownish.
  6. Now, add the tomato puree, along with salt and red chilli powder to taste, as well as the sugar and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on low-medium flame for a minute or so.
  7. Add in the washed and drained double beans, along with the chana masala.
  8. Add about 1 cup water. Mix well.
  9. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Turn the flame to high. Let the curry cook for 4-5 minutes on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.
  10. Once all the pressure has come down, add in the finely chopped fresh coriander. Mix well.
  11. Serve hot with rotis.

Notes:

  1. Garam masala or pavbhaji masala can be used in place of chana masala.
  2. Omit the sugar if you don’t like a hint of sweetness in your curry.
  3. You could add a dash of lemon juice to the curry after preparation, too.
  4. After preparation, if you think the curry is too thick, you could add some water, adjust spices and salt, and let it simmer on low-medium flame for a few minutes.
  5. A tablespoon of thick curd added to the curry (while adding the tomato puree) will improve the taste drastically. You could add a dollop of fresh cream, instead, as well.
  6. If you are afraid of burning, you could add slightly more water to the curry. Post cooking, you could simmer the curry on low-medium flame to make it thicker.
  7. If fresh double beans aren’t available where you stay, you can use dried ones to make a similar curry. Just soak the dried double beans in water overnight, discard the water in the morning, pressure cook them for 4 whistles in just enough water to soak them, and then proceed with the above recipe.
  8. If you want, ginger-garlic paste can be added in the curry, while adding the onions.
  9. You could even add in a 1-inch piece of cinnamon, a few cloves, cardamom and a couple of bay leaves, to make the curry more flavourful. If using, add these in along with the chopped onions.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Recipes with just 1 teaspoon oil’.

Lunch At Misu: An Extremely Satisfying Affair

Considering our love for Pan-Asian food, the husband and I had been eagerly waiting for a chance to visit Misu on St. Marks Road. The place had been on my must-check-out list ever since it opened up, recently. Rave reviews of the food here by several food bloggers ignited the fire further. We decided to descend upon Misu one weekend, for lunch, and were not one bit disappointed. We absolutely loved the food we had here!

Ambience

The vibe at Misu is nice, warm and welcoming. The eatery is medium-sized, neither too cavernous nor too tiny.
The decor is simple and elegant. The mirrors on the ceiling, the long windows letting in the sunlight, a mural of a lady holding a fan across her face – everything adds to the charm of the place.
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Left: A view of the interiors at Misu; Right: A close-up of the lady with the fan, whom I loved
We found the seating here to be comfortable.

Cuisine

Misu serves Pan-Asian food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. There are plenty of options on the menu for both varieties of patrons.

The food and drink

Most reviews of Misu mention their Rainbow Dumplings – colourful, pretty, bright, happy little things. I love the look of them, and so the vegetarian version of these dumplings were the first thing we ordered here. The dumplings came to our table looking pretty as ever, but sadly, they weren’t really our cup of tea. We weren’t bowled over by them. The bok choy stuffing within was something that failed to excite our tastebuds.
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Left: Fried Turnip Cake; Right: Vegetarian Rainbow Dumplings, both at Misu

The Fried Turnip Cake that we ordered next was brilliant, and we absolutely loved it. Never would I have thought that something with turnip in it could be as beautiful in taste as this savoury cake was. The balance of sweet and sour and spicy was just perfect in this dish.

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Left: Sweet Lemonade; Centre: Virgin Mojito; Right: Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup, all at Misu

To go with the starters, we ordered a Sweet Lemonade (without soda) and a Virgin Mojito. We loved the Virgin Mojito, and felt it was very well done. The Sweet Lemonade was good too – not extraordinary, but not bad either.

The Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup that we ordered next was absolutely lovely. It was just perfect, neither too watery, nor too thick, very different from the watered-down stuff you get in the name of Tom Yum Soup in most Asian eateries.

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Left: Vegetarian Khao Suey at Misu; Right: Assorted pickles and dips we were offered at Misu

Next up, we ordered some Khao Suey, which was, again, just perfect. The coconut milk broth was extremely flavourful, and we loved it to bits.

Most Asian restaurants bring you the Khao Suey in a bowl, all ready. Quite unlike that, at Misu, the various components of the Khao Suey are brought to your table – the broth, the peanuts, the veggies and the noodles – and you get to mix them up just the way you would like. That is something that initially overwhelmed us, but an experience that we came to love eventually.
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Left: Mango With Sticky Rice; Right: Chocolate-Chilli Truffles, both at Misu

We were presented with some Chocolate-Chilli Truffles post this, something that isn’t on their regular menu, but only offered to diners on a complimentary basis. They were brilliant too, so very well done. We loved everything about these truffles – the Bournvita-and-sugar-coated exterior, the gooey chocolate interior, the hint of bitterness, the beautiful fragrance of good-quality chocolate, the chilli that kicked in after the sweet taste of the chocolate had almost left our tastebuds! Yum!

We also ordered Mango With Sticky Rice, which was lovely too. It was simple and elegant, mild but delish, the way it is supposed to be.

Service

Service was quite fast, we felt. We reached Misu just a bit before lunch hours closed, and everything we ordered arrived at our table super fast. The staff was courteous, polite and helpful.

Prices

The prices here are on the higher side. We paid about INR 2500 for this meal – high, but we are definitely not complaining about the quality or taste of the food here or the experience we had. We’d definitely love to come back here to sample more of the Pan-Asian delicacies on their menu.

Have you been to Misu yet? If so, how was your experience? What are your favourites on their menu?