31 March, 2017

Sprouted HuruLi Saaru And Usli Recipe | Sprouted Horse Gram Curry and Stir Fry

Learn how to make HuruLi Saaru and Usli ~ Horse gram sprouts cooked in spicy coconut gravy and garlic and Sprouted horse gram stir fry garnished with grated coconut

“Ajji, can I go out and play?” asked little girl pulling her grandma’s soft cotton saree pallu which was carefully tucked around her slim waist.
“Not today, my princess! It’s too hot outside and we don’t want the fever monster to return”, said grandma as she pressed her cool hand against little girl’s forehead to check her temperature.
“But I will play in the shade, Ajji”, said little voice laced with impatience as she longingly looked at her sister and cousins running around, screaming loudly as they chased one another in a large garden in front of ancestral home.
“I know, my darling! But who will help me with cooking then? Who will help me to open the dabba of bella (jaggery)?”, asked grandma smiling showing her trademark enchanting smile with twinkling eyes and red lips stained with the juice from ele-adike (betel leaf and supari).
“Bella?”, asked little girl with excitement oozing from her voice and eyes. “I will help you Ajji”, quickly came the reply.
“Don’t tell this to anyone, but you are my favourite grandchild”, whispered grandma who must have shared the same secret to every other 2 dozen grandchildren of hers! :)

The soft wrinkled hands lead the small chubby hands to the courtyard outside the kitchen door that connected to open kitchen at the end of the house. The family cook was grinding spices and coconut paste in a large stone grinder that made rhythmic music almost like a lullaby that would put the little girl to sleep as she lay down on her grandma’s lap on hot summer afternoons. But she was wide awake at that moment as the excitement of helping her grandma with cooking overpowered any other feeling! The grandma picked one of large brass container that was stacked neatly on the wooden shelf and placed it on the cool red-oxide floor. She then went and picked a large winnowing tray made of bamboo strands woven tightly onto a rattan frame and sat down on the floor stretching her legs in front. She looked up and smiled at the little girl and patted the space next to her suggesting lil girl to sit.

24 March, 2017

Kadai Mushroom (Karahi Mushroom) Recipe | How to Make Restaurant Style Kadai Mushroom or Karahi Mushroom

Learn how to make Kadai Mushroom or Karahi Mushroom ~ Semi dry spicy curry of mushrooms cheese and bell peppers cooked in a spicy tomato gravy flavoured with freshly ground spice mix

Imagine your food without spices. Unimaginable, isn’t it? They are the best ingredients to include in daily cooking as they not only add flavours and colours, but also bring out complex and rich flavours from the food itself. Almost every cuisine of the world has not gone untouched by a sprinkle of spices, but none of them embraces the spices close to its bosom as Indian cuisine which unashamedly uses these flavourful spices to the brim! Everything from curries to chai, our food and drinks brims with spices.

Throughout the past, there has been great wars fought for these spices; some won and some lost leaving path on the map marked with riches, blood and sacrifices. The spice routes were formed, lands were plundered and looted, innocent blood was shed, and a lot was lost in a quest for Indian spices which as the history says was so valuable that it was worth more than a gold in weight! Such was the lure of spices which makes them not just mere ingredients in Indian cuisine, but a way of life…

17 March, 2017

Lasooni Dal Palak Recipe | Quick and Easy Dal or Lentil Soup Recipes

Learn how to make Lasooni Dal Palak ~ Garlic flavoured lentil and spinach soup

As my mother complained about hot weather in India, unusual for this time of the year, I just wished I was at home in India as I gazed at grey skies wearing my winter jacket, snow boots and my hands tucked inside my jacket pocket to keep it warm! Spring in India is much hotter than the summers here in UK and the signals how brutal the summers are going to be. With air conditioning turned on during spring season, especially in the night, I can just imagine the kind of summer India is going to welcome in couple of weeks. I hate hot weather and the only thing that made the heat bearable was the arrival of summer bounty, especially mangoes. But given a choice, I will gladly take the sweaty and hot sunny days over the gloomy cold weather. I thought I was immune to it, and to be frank, I didn’t even care for the weather as I did enjoy the cold winters especially coming from a hot tropical country where the sun shines for 365 days a year! But I guess this is what happens to someone who hasn’t seen the face of sun god for weeks!

This winter by far been worse one during my 10 years of living in the UK. It feels like a big joke when the leader of first world says climate change is a fake news when we are still in the clutches of ruthless winter god even after mid-March! With terrible mood swings and low energy, I can’t wait to get enough of Vitamin D in summer. But if days continue to be this cold and gloomy, we might as well skip spring entirely and welcome summer! ~sigh~ Maybe it’s time to plan a trip to some sunny part of the world, or just cook something that brings the colours of summer in a bowl… Since the first one seems like out of reach as hubby is buried under workload, the latter is the only choice as of now…

10 March, 2017

Belgaum Kunda Recipe | How to Make Belgavi Kunda

Learn how to make Belgaum Kunda or Belgavi Kunda ~ Sweet caramalised milk fudge from Belgaum, North Karanata

The festival of colours and love, Holi is just around the corner marking the arrival of spring and new beginning. This Hindu festival also signifies not only the end of winter, but for many it’s a day to meet friends and families, play and laugh, drench one another in rainbow colours, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. Holi is also celebrated as a thanksgiving in most part of North India for a good harvest. For me no festival is complete without some sweet dishes to not only sweeten our mouth, but also our life. I have this wonderful sweet dish called Belgaum Kunda or Belgavi Kunda from North Karnataka today which is made by reducing and curdling the milk and cooking with caramalised sugar syrup.

Belgaum, located in the state of Karnataka is a cultural city known for its rich multi-cultural heritage, architectural splendour, remnants of a rich and colourful historical background and for its natural beauty. A swathe of mesmerising emerald green landscapes with breath taking waterfalls and misty hills, Belgaum is a home for many religious monuments and architectural wonders oozing old world charm that is sure to satiate your spiritual and aesthetic loving soul. Just an hour’s drive from Dharward, my home for 4 years of engineering studies, this city of Belgaum had left its mark on my life with a sense of pure bliss. Although my limited student budget didn’t stretch very far, it didn’t stop my wanderlust soul from making several trips to this beautiful city that enticed me with its historical charm, rich culture and cuisine.

03 March, 2017

Achari Aloo Recipe | Indian Roast Potatoes with Pickling Spices

Learn how to make Achari Aloo ~ Tangy and spicy baby potato roast with pickling spices

I was staring at the blinking curser on my laptop for the past ten minutes, desperately hoping for some words to come flooding from my mind to tip of my fingers. But alas, my mind seems to have its own agenda and all I can think is summer days where I can lounge away in the beach with a book in my hand, sand on my toes and the warmth of sun rays kissing my face. But at the moment it feels anything but summer as the temperature stubbornly refuses to rise in spite the fact that the days are growing longer…

Spices used for Achari Masala/Pickling Spices for Achari Aloo

After staring at the blinking curser for another five minutes, I decided to step out and get me a nice cup of green tea with ginger and honey to lift my spirit on a grey and windy day. As the kettle hissed as it boiled water, there was a sudden shower of hailstones from the skies, hitting angrily at the glass window panes. The pearls of ice that looked like a thermocol balls looked pretty on the lawn and reminded me of my hostel days in Dharwad where we collected them in buckets to pour them down from the terrace at unsuspecting visitors! The fond memories made me smile and shake head at our silly, harmless pranks. Ah, those carefree days of student life where fun was the mantra of life! My lips curved up with a nostalgic smile and it remained there as I sipped my tea watching the hailstones bounce off the floor and then settle comfortably. Halfway through my cuppa, I saw the clouds part and sun come out with all his glory and kiss the pearls of ice and melt them into a small puddles. Ah, the very unpredictable British weather! One minute it is raining, the next there is hailstones and the moment later the sun is shining only to hide behind the dark clouds as though a naughty boy has been sent back to his room while trying to sneak downstairs after way past his bedtime!