14 April, 2008

Spring Cleaning: Minestrone Soup


Minestrone Soup
Can of Red Kidney Beans – Check
Two Cubes of Frozen Spinach – Check
One each Red & Green wrinkled Peppers – Check
Fistful of Pasta – Check
One Almost Dead Carrot – Check
Last Few Tomatoes – Check
A cup of Pasatta – Check
Sprinkle of Dried Herbs – Check

Makes -> Delicious & Nourishing Bowl of Soup, a complete meal.
For a notorious hoarder in me who can’t stand the sight of empty shelves, it is always challenging task to empty the fridge/freezer and pantry. I kind of hate late November days when we start packing for our annual trip to India for one full month and I am not allowed to buy any fresh ingredient from mid month itself. It is very nerve-racking experience when we have to cook frozen and canned products skipping my favourite visit to weekend Farmer’s market for freshest of fresh ingredients with bright colours and packed with nutrition.

This weekend I had to go through similar experience. We are leaving to India in 2 days time. Oh, I simply can’t seem to hide that stupid smile stuck on my face since past few days. I have been counting the days and then hours and now minutes. Although it’s a short trip for just 18 days, I have already planned up for each and every day of our stay. I am excited about eating all that delicious food cooked by Amma and Atte, two big functions at home, beach parties, lots of shopping, catching up with all hot gossips with cousins and friends and most importantly enjoy Indian Monsoon and Mangoes.

With our trip to India and lots of other things to think of, this time it was not that difficult to deal with Spring Cleaning. With just few days left for our trip, it wasn’t surprising to see almost empty fridge staring at me. There is hardly enough vegetables to use in curries and we opted for using them in heart warming Soups, next best thing to eat and enjoy. And what is better than delicious bowl of Minestrone Soup packed with flavours and nutrition. We used the ingredients based on what we had on hand rather than strictly following the recipe. We ended up with enough soup for two dinners which indeed was one complete satisfying meal. Please free to use any vegetables and beans of your choice and enjoy this bowl of goodness.

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 3-4

1 small Onion, finely chopped
1-2 Flakes of Garlic, finely chopped
2-3 large Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 large Carrot, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 Green Pepper, chopped into bite sized cubes
1 Red Pepper, chopped into bite sized cubes
½ cup French Beans, chopped (Optional)
1 cup Spinach, fresh/frozen
1 cup Pasta (I used Bow tie pasta, use any pasta of your choice)
1½ cups or 1 can cooked Kidney Beans/Rajma, drained and washed
1 cup Pasatta/1 tbsp Tomato Paste/½ cup Tomato Puree (adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes (Adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Mixed Dried Herbs/Italian Seasoning (Adjust acc to taste)
5-6 cups Vegetable Stock/2 cubes of Vegetable Stock (Optional, can use just plain Water)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat oil in a pan and add chopped Garlic and Onions. Saute it for 1-2 minutes on a medium flame.
Now add dried Mixed Herbs or Italian Seasonings, crushed Chilli Flakes and mix well.
Mix in chopped tomatoes and sauté till it becomes pulpy, approx 1-2 mins.
Add vegetable stock or water, carrot, beans, red kidney beans, peppers, french beans, pasta and mix well. Cook on a medium flame till pasta is cooked well for about 5-10 minutes.
Mix in Pasatta or tomato puree (if using), spinach and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot with toasted bread slices and enjoy this nutritious bowl of soup.

Minestrone Soup

You can also use other vegetables like potatoes, courgettes, green peas, corn etc of your choice. Any beans like Chickpeas, Pinto Beans etc can be used.
Sprinkle the soup with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Click Here for other heart warming Soups posted in Monsoon Spice.

Wishing all the readers of Monsoon Spice a very Happy Vishu, Baisaki and Shubho Naboborsho.
Happy New Year to you all...

12 April, 2008

Ayurveda in Cooking: Kokum Tambli

Kokum Tambli

Today I was composing an official mail to my colleague and pressed spell check just before hitting the send button. Horrors of horror the whole mail had red highlights which surely had given heart attack to my English teacher. No, I am not talking about spelling mistakes but more serious matter than that. Without realising I have been using too many internet slang/lingo in my day to day life. LHM (Lord Help Me). I didn’t realise how bad it was till the day I had to attend one important call in between our team meeting. I left the meeting room saying BRB (Be Right Back). It took me quite sometime to reassure some of my colleagues that it wasn’t some code they had to encrypt but just e-slang. If you are nodding your head in understanding then you can skip the next few paragraphs (If you are still reading) and go to the recipe part straight away. If you are someone who is still wondering what’s this all about then let me have the pleasure of giving you crash course on so called “Wassup” generation.

My first encounter with internet slang or e-slang was when I was in my early teens. It all started when I was introduced to the most happening ‘in-thingy’ internet chatting. Remember good old AOL, MSN, MIRC chat rooms? I am sure most of you know what I am talking about. When you finally managed to get crash course on how it worked and you hopped your excited ass right into internet cafes, you were faced with new challenge. As soon as you signed into chat rooms you are bombarded with same question, A/S/L? No, I have not misspelled AOL here. They are asking your Age/Sex/Location. Slowly I realised it was common to shorten the words, then sentences as I became more accustomed to e-slang. LOL, GR8, IC, CU, ROFL, BRB, KIT, FYI, H&K, OMG, GMBO, IMO, SETE, SYS, TTFN, TTTL are just few examples from vast collection of e-slang. Well, if you are still wondering what they mean, fret not. There is wide collection of e-slang dictionaries available online. And to some extent even mobile SMS are also reason for ever increasing slang as not many people want to spend time typing long sentences. One way I am thankful to them as I am sure they will keep Alzheimer's at bay as you need every brain cells to decipher what they mean.

If you think e-slang is difficult to understand then wait until you hear today’s teenagers talking. It’s very common feeling that talking to teens today is like learning a new language. My current project had given me a chance to work with teenagers who are major part of the focus group. During these sessions, I must have encountered more unfamiliar slang than if you to drop me in Greek/Latin/Chinese language classes. Dude, Bro (more often pronounced as ‘Brah’), Ay Baybay (nope, it’s not some sleazy pick-up line), Yo Dog (it’s not their pet dog they are greeting. It’s their way to greet their best friends) Wassup are the common way to greet each other. Don’t offer chocolates when they say Sweet. It’s not something they want to eat, Sweet means Cool and something they like it a lot. Other day one of the girls from group really liked the Bling (means expensive jewellery) I was wearing. I make it a point to write down few words or sentences I don’t understand along with other notes so that I can research and expand my slang dictionary. Sometime it’s fun to hear then chatting and other time you are left behind looking like a complete idiot. Well, I must say it is not simple task to understand everything they speak as everyday they seem to have few more words added to their dictionary.

With all these daily humdrums, it really feels good when you come back home and cook something which was passed down from generations. Recipes like Tambli/Tambuli/Tamboli give me reassurance that there are few things in life which will retain its authenticity in this ever changing world. Tambli, yogurt based curries from Mangalore are a must during the sizzling hot summers. This cooling dish not only good during hot summer days but also uses very rare ingredients based on Ayurveda like Brahmi, Dried Pomegranate Peels, Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Gooseberry for their medicinal properties. This time I am posting sour and mildly spiced Tambli made using Kokum. Kokum or Vrikshamla as known in Sanskrit is known for its Vata and Kapha suppressant properties. Served at the end of the meal, this Kokum Tambli aids in the process of digestion. In my home town, Kokum is used in place of Tamarind as it is grown in abundant. As a kid I loved Sharbat (Juice), Saaru/Rasam and Tambli made from Kokum for its pretty Purplish Pink colour. With fruity and sour flavour it is sure to add zing to any recipe. I am sending this to Jugalbandi who are guest hosting Weekend Herb Blogging started by Kalyn.

Kokum Tambli (Yogurt & Coconut based curry from Konkan Region)
Prep Time: 5-8 mins (Excluding soaking time)
Cooking time: -
Serves: 3-4

¼ cup Kokum
¼ cup Coconut, fresh/frozen
¼ inch Ginger
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 cup Fresh Yogurt/Curds
½ -1 tsp Black Pepper Powder (Adjust acc to taste)
Salt to taste
Kokum and its extract

Soak dry kokum in about ¾-1 cup of warm water for about 10-20 mins, so that it softens and releases its juice. Squeeze out as much of juice as possible and discard the peels. You will be left with dark red kokum juice which is used for the Tambli.
Grind fresh coconut with ginger and cumin seeds to smooth paste adding little water at a time.
Mix this ground coconut paste with kokum juice, yogurt, ground pepper powder and salt to taste.
Add little water if you feel the Tambli is too thick. Adjust the seasoning and keep it in the refrigerator before serving it chilled with plain steaming bowl of rice.

Kokum Tambli

The kokum fruit, which grows on a slender evergreen tree in a shape of a pyramid, is round and resembles small plum. This fruit is about 2.5 cm in diameter and is deep purple when ripe and contains about eight large seeds. The fruit is picked, the rind removed, then soaked in the juice of the pulp and sun-dried. It is this rind that is used as a flavouring agent just like Tamarind.
Very commonly used in coconut based curries from Udupi-Mangalore, Maharashtra and some parts of Gujarat as it is grown in Western Ghats of India which is blessed with rich soil, adequate rainfall and sunshine.
It is vata and kapha suppressant. It is widely used in healing of wounds. It also helps in curbing infections in the body. It improves digestion and absorption in the body. It improves the cardiovascular system of the body. It also helps in suppressing the skin related ailments. It also brings down the fever and reduces burning sensation. According to Ayurveda it contains
-Gunna (properties) – laghu (light) and ruksh (dry)
-Rasa (taste) –amal (sour)
-Virya (potency) – ushan (hot)
(Source: www.ayushveda.com & www.uppercrustindia.com)
Find more information on Kokum here and here.
Other Tambli/Tambuli/Tamboli recipes posted on Monsoon Spice

09 April, 2008

Cooking with Love: Huli-Menasina Kodhel


Huli-Menasina Kodhel

Ajji, my paternal grandma was the most beautiful lady I have had ever seen. Whenever I think of her, the aroma of fragrant Jasmine wafts away which she would wear on her scented oiled hair combed back in a knotted bun. Most of the times she was seen wearing silk sarees with half a dozen of green and red glass bangles in between lovely gold bangles. While the brightest of bright shade of Kumkum on her forehead always reminded me of bright shining sun, the sparkling diamond studs on her ears and nose reminded me of twinkling stars. Her eyes heavily lined with Kaadige (Kohl/Kajal) would twinkle with all the love and kindness and her beautiful smile would spread warmth in our heart. No wonder my Ajja (paternal Grandfather) fell in love with her the moment he met her when he was just 20 and she just a teen of sweet 16. Amma always would recall how much they were in love even after 50 years of marriage when my Amma became a part of one large joint family as third daughter-in-law and she was warmly welcomed as a daughter by her in laws.

Although I don’t remember much about my Ajji, as I was just 5 years old when she left this world, I do remember two things as clearly as if it was only yesterday, one is my Ajji’s cooking and second is every weekend oil bathing sessions. Unlike these days, bathrooms were separate from main house building. We had this huge bathroom built with thick red mud walls and thatched roofs at some distance from the main house. The sun light coming from small wooden windows would compete with the sparkling lights from kerosene lamps. Outside the bathroom there was big granite stone stand used for washing the cloths. The other side of the bathroom had a huge water well which was used for washing and bathing. The bathroom floor was made of thick, rough, unpolished granite stone and had thatched grass roof with wooden beams. At one corner of the bathroom was this huge (I mean really huge) Copper pot fitted to thick mud wood-burning stove and only the mouth of this round pot was visible from outside. Gallons of water filled to the brim from water well next to the bathroom was heated from the bottom by burning the wood which would make the dark bathroom steamy and smoky and lightly aromatic.

Although we had dozens of domestic helps and maids at home, Ajji would never leave a chance to give us the oil bath every weekend. First she would change from her silk saree to light cotton one. She would apply warm scented oil on our body and hair and give a thorough massage for at least half an hour starting from head to toe. I would always doze off by this time. Then she would take us to steaming bathroom and make us sit on wooden stool. First she would wash our hair with natural herbal shampoo made using Shikakai and then apply herbal conditioner made from Dasavala (Hibiscus) flowers and leaves. Then she would wash off the oil with a mixture of Gram flour and water rubbing vigorously. By this time we would be content and half asleep. After towelling us dry she would take us to main house to our recreational room on first floor of the house to dry our hair with the Saambhrani Dhoop (Dry leaves of Sambhrani being sprinkled on burning coal in a large clay container and is covered with cane basket). This aromatic, warm smoke of Sambhrani would slowly dry our hair so that we wouldn't catch cold.

And then came our weekend lunch time. Green plantain leaves would look like some artist’s palette with colourful dishes adorning them from top to bottom with every kid’s favourite dishes. After a heavy lunch cooked by our Amma, Aunties and Ajji, there was no way we could keep our eyes open. With heavy eyelids we would straight get into our kids room and I bet our mother’s would have been happy to see us naughty ones to doze off leaving them enough free time to take nap in the afternoon. Even today I just have to close my eyes to see my Ajji smiling at us, ready with platter full of munchies when we would get up from our nap and ready to go out for playing. Memories of her face, her smile, her soft, wrinkled hands, her bright, sparkling eyes, her perfume, our weekend oil baths, and her delicious food is very fresh in my heart.

One of my favourite food memories from my Ajji’s kitchen is Huli-Menasina Kodhel. It’s a typical Udupi-Managalorean curry made using very few ingredients and its one of the finest example as how simple food cooked with very few ingredients can taste utterly delicious. While Byadagi Menasu gives that fiery red colour with kick of spiciness, tamarind gives it much needed tang. Coconut and Jaggery makes it creamy, a hint of sweetness and pungent Garlic tadka takes it to another level of taste. Huli-Menasina Kodhel is usually made using Yellow Cucumber or Tindora/Tondekai or combination of both and is a very special dish for me, from my native. Coming from a Brahmin family who followed very strict vegetarian diet, we kids would imagine that Tondekai/Tindora as fish and annoy our elders. Ajji would laugh at our wild imaginations and made sure to cook this Kodhel during weekends for our pleasure. Even now when I cook this Kodhel, I can’t help but think of my blissful childhood days with dozens of cousins. I am sending this special dish to this month’s Jihva for Love which is guest hosted by Jigyasa and Pratibha who have started this beautiful blog A Tribute to Pedatha.

Huli Menasina Kodhel (Mangalorean Recipe for Tindoras cooked in Coconut, Tamarind and Chilli Gravy)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 5-6

5-6 cups Tindora/Tondekai, trimmed and halved
1 tbsp Jaggery (Adjust acc to taste)
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

For Ground Masala:
4-6 Dry Red Chilli, preferably Bydagi/Kashmiri Chilli (Adjust acc to taste)
1 big marble sized Tamarind Pulp
¾ -1 cup Coconut, fresh/frozen
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds

For Tempering:
6-8 Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Dry Red Chilli, halved
Few Curry leaves
½ tbsp Oil, preferably Coconut Oil

Take a pan with 3-4 cups of water and bring them to gentle boil. Meanwhile, wash, dry and trim the ends of tindora and halve them horizontally.
Add these tindora pieces into boiling water along with jaggery, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Cook uncovered on a medium flame for around 10-15 minutes till they are half cooked.
Grind coconut with tamarind, dry red byadagi chillies and cumin seeds to smooth water adding little water at time.
Add this ground paste to cooked tindora and mix well. Cook on a medium to low heat for about 10-15 minutes and bring the curry to gentle boil and turn of the heat. Adjust the seasoning as per taste.
Heat oil in a pan and add garlic slices to it. Sauté till garlic turns golden yellow in colour. Add mustard seeds, dry red chilli and curry leaves and sauté. Once the mustard seeds starts to pop and splutter transfer the tempering to Kodhel and mix well.
Serve this Huli-Menasina Kodhel with steamed rice or Dosa or Idli and enjoy.

Huli-Menasina Kodhel

The bright red beautiful colour of the curry is due to special type of Chilli used called Byadagi Chillies. They are milder in compared to other chillies and gives beautiful red colour to the curry.
Use Dosekai/Yello Cucumber in place of Tindora or mix both the vegetables in equal quantity and follow the same recipe.
Garlic is a must for this Kodhel as it gives Kodhel wonderful flavour.

07 April, 2008

Ugadi Greetings... From Us to You


As the New Year Dawns
May it Bring Happiness and Prosperity
To You and Your Loved Ones

Happy Ugadi


ಉಗಾದಿಯ ಹಾರ್ದಿಕ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು
Warm Regards
Sia & Krish

05 April, 2008

Some Like it Hot: Mushroom Chettinad

Spicy & Tangy Mushroom Chettinad
Aunt S: Are you sure this is what you want to eat.
Me: Absolutely. This looks like a spicy dish. This is exactly what I want to eat. I am tired of eating tasteless hostel food.
Aunt S: This one is really spicy. Do you think you can handle it?
Me: That’s what my taste buds are begging for after eating bland food all these days. Please Aunt S. Cook this one for me.
Aunt S: Ok, as you wish. Then don’t blame me later for not warning you.
Me: ~chuckles~ I am not a kid anymore. In two year’s time even our government will give me my voter’s card!!!
Aunt S: ~smiling~ As you wish dear niece.
It's Lunch time & lunch is served.
Aunt S: Sia, are you OK? Your nose just turned red.
Me: Of course Aunt S. It’s just that I have little cold!
Aunt S: ~trying to hide her smile~ Oh, then why are you crying?
Me: ~wiping her eyes~ He he… I am not crying. It’s just that I miss Amma and just realised how you both look alike and cook in a same way.
Aunt S: ~trying hard not to laugh~ That’s very sweet of you. Let me serve you little more of this dish you like so much.
Me: I read some where that too much of spicy food is not good for our health. Don’t you think everything should be eaten in moderate? Can I have another glass of water please?
Aunt S: ~chuckles~ That’s right. Spicy food is not good for kids. But you just said that you are not a kid any more and grown ups can handle this kind of spicy food.
Me: Oh yes, I looooooooove Spicy food. I am just worried about uncle as he is missing such a wonderful dish. I don’t want to end up licking the dish clean and disappoint him!
Aunt S: ~laughs out loud~ OK dear, we don’t want to disappoint uncle. Is there anything you would like to eat?
Me: How about that ice cream you said you bought for me? And also your special Shrikhand?
That was the day I was introduced to fiery, hot and spicy Chettinad Cuisine by my Aunt S. That day she made spicy Garlic Kulumbu on my request and it was like fire exploding in my mouth and then in my tummy. The flavours just hit you hard and you are left with smoke coming out of your mouth! First it hits your tongue and then you can feel it sharply spreading to your stomach. I would be lying if say it was love at first bite. It took me quite few years to actually enjoy this fiery hot Chettinad Cuisine. Little high dose of red chillies, peppercorns with tamarind gives it very unique flavour.

Although predominantly Chettinad cuisine is famous for its non-veg fair, it has good collection of Vegetarian menu to choose from. With a spice blend of ginger, garlic, mint, dry red chilly, cumin, curry leaves and ‘king of spices’ peppercorns it is something you need to try to experience the real pleasure of flavours bursting in your mouth. One favourite of mine is Mushroom Chettinad which my Aunt made quite often. Chewy mushrooms cooked with fiery dry chillies and a pepper corn is sure to win every spicy food lover’s heart. While the roasted channa dal gives it a nutty flavour, tamarind gives it tangy punch and flavourful mustard and curry leaves temper just makes it finger licking good. I followed recipe from this site which very much looks like what Nupur has posted. Increase or reduce the chilli and peppercorn depending on your spice scale you can handle. But boy, do I like it hot it or what!!! I am sending this to Lisa and Holler's No Croutons Required and this month's theme is Mushrooms.

Mushroom Chettinad (Spicy, Tangy Mushroom Curry from Chettinad)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2-3

12-14 Mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used Button Mushrooms)
¾-1 tsp Tamarind Paste
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

For Spice Powder:
1 tbsp Channa Dal (Split Yellow Peas)
3-4 Dry Red Chillies, halved (Adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Black Pepper Corns (Adjust acc to taste)

For Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
Few Curry Leaves
1 tsp Oil
Roasted Spices for Mushroom Chettinad

Wash, pat dry and chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces and keep them aside.
Dry roast channa dal, dry red chillies and peppercorns in a skillet on a low-medium flame till dal turns golden brown (Approx 2 mins). Cool and grind them to smooth powder and keep aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to pop and splutter, add curry leaves and sauté for few seconds.
Now mix in chopped mushrooms and sauté on medium heat. When they start to sweat add salt to taste, ground spice powder and mix well. Sauté gently on a medium flame for 1-2 minutes making sure that spice mixture doesn’t stick to bottom of the pan.
Add tamarind paste and sprinkle little water if necessary and mix well. Cook for another minute or so on medium flame sautéing in between.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Chapatti or plain steamed Rice or stuff it bewteen bread for spicy sandwich and enjoy.

Mushroom Chettinad

Other way to serve this spicy mushroom dish is to layer in between whole wheat bread with salad greens and serve as one spicy sandwich. The spicy, meaty mushrooms goes very well with crisp salad green and bread and makes one complete, satisfying meal.
Other Spicy and Tangy Chettinad Recipes blogged in Monsoon Spice are

03 April, 2008

My Old Coffee Mug and Moong Dal Chilla/Cheela

Moong Dal Chilla

It was time… It was time for me to say good bye…. It was my last day in my hostel… It was the time for the final cleanup of my room and I knew I will be fined by warden if I don’t do it right. Actually, I had more important things in my mind… Everything seemed secondary… The thought of never being able to participate in any of birthday bashes and midnight parties, never having to pay fines for attendance shortage, never having to say ‘sorry’ to the professors for bunking their classes and labs, never feeling upset for not getting good grades, never having to wait for monthly money transfers, never having to do our laundry, never having to drink water-y coffee, never having to eat bullet-proof chapattis kept lurking in between… Life would go on even if Dhaba and Tapri (corner coffee shop) lost one of its loyal customers, I thought as I picked my things to pack. Then my eyes fell on my old coffee mug without a handle!!!

There was it, sitting in one corner… My old coffee cup without a handle! It all began on the day three of us joined the hostel on same day were given same room… The thought of sharing my room with other two never appealed to me and with total strangers didn’t help either. I thought they were nut cases as one would go to bed at 9 in the night and another at 3 in the morning making my 12 to 7 time almost difficult to sleep peacefully. When one finished singing in her dream other would start talking making it one hell of Jugalbandi that I never liked to listen to. I never liked the idea of sharing my things in the beginning but slowly started getting used to it. With time, gradually I began to look beyond my roommates minor flaws and started enjoying their company. Never realised how the time flew and we were no more freshers. I remember one of my roommates returning my coffee mug sans its handle the day she came to say goodbye. Never realised how it went to her and her dupatta was with me.

As I continued to rummage my belongings, I realised the huge amount of unwanted stuffs I had been hoarding during the period of my hostel life. There were definitely many that I wanted to keep with me for the memories attached to them. And the one I was sure to take it with me was that old coffee mug without its handle. The one which was used to drink gallons of coffee over gossips and during exams night out, the same mug used to cook Maggi in hot water, the one which would tag along with me whenever I would raid into my friends room to get my share of home goodies they bought from home!!! That broken coffee mug is a link to my hostel day memories…

It was with my roommates and hostel mates I shared some of wonderful and memorable part of my life. It was because of their cheerful nature which transferred every gloomy, dark hostel days into joyous rainbow. It was because of my friends I was given a chance to taste and appreciate multi-cuisines of diverse Indian states. There was never a dull moment in my hostel life. Every week we would raid into our friend’s rooms as soon as they are back from their visit to home. If it was Khakra and Patra one week, then it would be delicious Gongura pickle other week. If it was Chakkuli and Sev one week, then it would be Rosgulla and Cham Cham next week. The fun part would be when we would visit our close relatives residing in a same place. Our aunts and uncles would make sure that we were fed well during our visits to their home and also sent back lots of goodies to share with our roommates and friends.

One dish I remember sharing with my friends was Chilla/Cheela, a flavoured pancake made using Besan/Gram Flour or lentils like Moong/Mung Dal (Split Green Lentils). Its taste still lingers in my memory and I had sudden cravings for it other day. I came across Ashwini’s recipe of Moong Dal Chilla and I could no longer wait to give it a shot. Thank you Ashwini, this recipe will be regular in our menu from now onwards. With few modifications in the ingredients used (how typical of me ;) here is my version of Moong Dal Chilla/Cheela. Without much delay I am sending this gujarati version of Dosa to my dear friend Srivalli’s Dosa Mela before she books next flight to UK to kick me for not yet sending her my entry ;) Valli, hope you give it a try and your kids and everyone enjoys it as much as we did. And as for that old coffee mug, it came with me when I left my hostel... Somethings are priceless because of the memories they bring back...

Moong Dal Chilla (Flavoured Split Moong Pancakes)
Prep Time: 10 mins (Excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 3-4 mins per Chilla
Makes: 8 small Chillas

1 cup Moong Dal (Split Green Gram)
½ cup Sweet Corn, cooked in hot water for 3 mins or canned
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped (Adjust acc to taste)
2-3 Spring Onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
¼ inch Ginger, finely chopped
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Moong Dal Chilla Batter

For the Batter:
Wash the moong dal thoroughly and soak them over night or for at least 3-4 hours in about 3 cups of water.
Drain the water and reserve it. To this add ginger, garlic, green chillies, hing and salt to taste and grind using reserved water to smooth paste. The batter should be that of pancake consistency.
Pour this batter into a bowl and mix finely chopped spring onion, sweet corn and coriander leaves and mix well.

To make Chilla:
Heat dosa pan/griddle and pour ladleful of batter in the centre. With the help of back of a ladle spread the batter in circle to make thick pancakes (about 4-5 inch in diameter). Make sure that chilla is not too thick or thin.
Drizzle little oil along the edge of the pancake. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Flip it and cook it on the other side till it gets brown patches on surface on a medium heat. Once it’s nicely browned on both the sides serve it hot with any Chutneys of your choice and enjoy.

Moong Dal Chilla with Dry Garlic-Coconut Chutney

Use green peas as Ashwini had used in her recipe in place of sweet corn.
Mix in different vegetables like carrot, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach or other greens of your choice to make it more nutritious.
Other Dosa Recipes posted in Monsoon Spice are

01 April, 2008

Revisiting Recipes from the Past

It's been more than year and a half since I wrote my first post in this blog and it's been one roller coaster ride. I had my ups and downs. Made many good friends with whom I share wonderful friendship not just online but offline too. My heartfelt thanks to each and every readers of Monsoon Spice who made this blogging experience worth to be cherished. But now the time has come to say Good Bye to all. This is my last post on Monsoon Spice. For some personal reasons I wont be blogging anymore. I had been thinking about it for a long time and I finally decided to make it official today. Thank you each and everyone for all the love, friendship, and support you have given me so far. I'll always cherish your friendship.

Before I bid my farewell, I would like to share few recipes from my archives with you all. I am sending these two favourites recipes of mine for two events.

Veg Balls in Garlic Sauce is one of our favourite Indo-Chinese food and it goes to Mathy who is guest hosting this month's JFI-Garlic.


Another simple yet delicious recipe of Baked Bitter Gourd Chips goes to my dear friend Pooja's VOW-Bitter Gourd Event.


Well, this is it!!! It feels strange but I have no other option. I don't know if I'll ever resume blogging. Once again my heartfelt thanks to each and everyone... Good bye Friends....


Ooops... I almost forgot to wish you... Happy April Fools Day :) Wish I could really see some of your faces right now ;)