Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Varsha Fish Curry

Story: Everyone has their cooking style.. some are precise, others are casual/free style. Some are elaborate while others focused on efficiency. There's something to learn from each style :)

Today's recipe is from Varsha Devdhar - my cousin SIL. When I think of Prashant/Varsha's house, I think of a warm, casual and inviting place where I can just chill and hangout. There is always good humor, great food and even better company. What I really love about Prashant/Varsha is their no-fuss approach in kitchen and in life.

When it comes to cooking, Varsha's recipes are "smart" hitting the right balance of effort, taste and creativity. So for today's post, I am going to paste the recipe from Varsha's email as is. It covers the highlights and leaves room for your creativity..

Source: Varsha Devdhar
Time: about an hour - plus a few hours for marinading fish

"Marinate fish in any Tandoori masala ( use a little bit). I use Shan or MDH brand.
add some ginger, lemon and salt to the marinade. Generally 6-8 hrs is fine.
For Gravy-  Oil in pan, add few red chillies  then add Onions saute them light brown, add some dry coconut and then add tomatoes.
If you use 3 onions I would recommend using 1 tomato.
Once the onions tomatoes, coconut is lightly fried let it cool down and make the gravy in the food processor.
To make the Fish curry
Heat oil, add Tamaal Patra and whole garam masala ( 1-2 cloves,blackpepper,cinnamon) then add the gravy mixture . Once you start seeing oil on the sides of the pan, add some dry Fish curry masala ( MDH brand) saute it then add water to make the curry/ gravy. Add salt.
Once the curry is done add the marinated fish let it cook in the gravy don't cook it for too long especially for a delicate white fish as it makes it tough.
Add small amount of Tamarind to the gravy to your taste.
Fish curry ready to eat :))
I use Catfish most of the times, but Tilapia is fine too."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Upavas Thalipeeth - Potato pancakes

What happens when someone tells me I shouldn't do xyz?? I wonder why? and the more I wonder about it the more I want to do it. Same goes with the custom of Upvas or Fasting. Fasting by definition means you don't eat or drink anything usually for a day. Never works for me - on a fast day, all I can think about is food - correction - on any given day all I can think about is food ;-)

Anyway - I am clearly not alone - hence the invention of fast-food (upvas-friendly or upvas-approved) food. These amazingly delicious dishes are usually loaded with carbs, some even deep fried... how can you resist? This one in particular is my favorite - my Nani's recipe with a magic mix of ingredients - a sure hit with most guests.

Today is Mahashivratri - a day to eat the special meal my mom makes - it is fast-food heaven! especially for those who pretend to fast and eat twice as much (Ekadashi ani duppat khashi!)

Here are links to other fast-food favorites on my blog:

Source: My Nani (Aai's Aai)
Time: Prep starts 4-6 hrs before (soak sabudana) and total time 1.5 hours or so
Ingredients: for 6-8 pieces
  • 1 medium size yam grated
  • 1.5 cup of Upvas Bhajani (for US/Canada you can buy here)
  • a cup of finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 small green chilies finely chopped
  • 1 cup sabudana/sago soaked in minimal water for 4-6 hours
  • 2 small potatoes boiled, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup of cooked varicha tandul aka bhagar aka "Samo" (સામો) or "Moriyo" (મોરિયો)
  • 1 cup of roasted-peanut powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (could use less if you don't want it spicy)
  • 2 tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients into a dough using minimal water. Here's an image of what the dough looks like:

Take a little bit of oil on your hand and spread it on a plastic sheet (I use a zip lock bag). Then take a ball of the dough - as big as a lemon and press evenly into a round-ish shape to make the thalipeeth. It shouldn't be as thick as a pancake, but not as thin as a dosa - somewhere in between. Make 2-3 holes on the thalipeeth to make it easy to cook and to add oil when it's on the griddle.

Cook it on a griddle or a tawa till it gets nice and crispy with a brown color on both sides. Enjoy with a sweet lemon pickle and yogurt!\

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bharali Vangi - Stuffed Eggplants

This recipe isn't the best when it comes to looks.. but when it comes to taste, it is a bestseller! Also, every household has their own take on the stuffing - so I had to post my Nani's (maternal grandma) version. Aai makes it best, and then my cousin Shubha.. Always a hit with the guests - especially if they are non-Maharashtrian.

So let's sing to this old bollywood tune that tells us to go beyond looks and savor the recipe - shall we?

Source: Aaji aka Mrs. Sumitra Gogate (Aai's aai)
Time: 1 hour
Ingredients: serves 2-3 
  • 6-7 small purple eggplants (size of a lime)
For stuffing:
  • 1 cup roughly ground roasted peanuts (danyache koot)
  • 2 medium size onions finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp kaala/goda masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder 
  • 1 tsp sugar or jaggery powder 
  • salt to taste
For tadka
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4-5 curry leaves
Mix all the stuffing ingredients thoroughly and keep them covered for 10-15 mins. This helps to get all the spices mixed well - they start losing some water and that's when we are ready for the next step.

Cut the top of the eggplants and make two slits in a plus sign. Stuff generous amounts of the above mixture into the eggplants and keep the rest for gravy

Optional step - Place the stuffed eggplants in a microwavable container with a cover on. Heat for 3-5 mins till the eggplants are half cooked. 

Make tadka in a pan (heat the oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, once the mustard seeds crackle, add hing and turmeric powder)

Add remainder of the masala/spice mixture to the tadka and saute for half a min. Then add the stuffed eggplants to the pan and cover on low-medium heat.

If you used the microwave step, cook the eggplants for 2-3 mins carefully turning them after a couple of mins. 

If you did not use the microwave step, cook the eggplants for 3-6 mins carefully turning them after 3 mins.

FYI - I liked the eggplants cooked completely - if you like it a bit al-dente - adjust the cooking time accordingly.