mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Kohlrabi Pickle

In From the Garden, Kashmiri, on the side, Pickles on February 17, 2018 at 8:38 pm

I can’t have enough pickles it seems; the previous post too was on pickling. Pickling is cool (again) and you are likely to see a lot of talk about them. Lacto-fermentation is trending. Me, I’ve always loved a good pickle and the process of making a perishable vegetable last longer. Pickles are a great way to use the abundance from your garden where the entire crop of any one kind tends to ripen all at the same time.

Monjji anchaar, (L) Feb 2016, (R) 2018. Oh, how the monkeys have ruined my once-lush palms!

There is so much nostalgia associated with many seasonal pickles that the mere act of making one brings all those childhood memories flooding back. Kohlrabi, monjji to Kashmiris, is much more than just any vegetable to them. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is a reminder of our homeland, our homes with the kitchen gardens, our community, our market streets, especially now when we have all been removed from it. As for all people who have known exile, the longing for things that represent that homeland only gets deeper. Monjji anchar (kohlrabi pickle) might once have been that pickle found in every kitchen cupboard in Kashmir, but today, for many of us, it is a lot more than a pickle.

As in desserts, the Kashmiri Pandit cuisine is pretty limited in its repertoire of pickles. We have just one recipe for pickling, only the vegetables get swapped. You may use kohlrabi or cauliflower. If you are feeling very rebellious you could go all out and use onions.

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Bitter Lime Pickle

In From the Garden, on the side, Pickles, south Indian, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on December 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find. Even in an extremely urbanised city like Delhi, with hardly any real wilderness left, you will be pleasantly surprised how nature escapes the boundaries we set for her. Plants like bathua (lamb’s quarters) and kulfa (purslane) are common enough. I even found a large patch of sotchal (common mallow) growing wild in Purana Qila one time.

Last year K, my house help, put before me a bag of citrus growing on an unoccupied plot in her colony that no one wanted and was only attracting monkeys and their destructive antics. It looked a lot like our santara, the regular Indian orange; the peel and sections were on point. But there was nothing orange-y about their juice. The juice was sour and bitter, in equal measure. Loathe to see beautiful fruit laid waste she brought me a few confident that I would be able to make something of them.

Ragi Laddoo for Diwali

In Desserts, on the side, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on October 17, 2017 at 11:42 am

What better reason to post after a long gap than Diwali! It’s a low-key Diwali at home this year; Baba, my father-in-law, left us recently, and the son is also studying far away. But marking Diwali with some frenzied activity in the kitchen still feels natural and so I made these quick laddoos last night after a regular day at work. I shared a few pictures in my Instagram stories which had many asking for the recipe and I thought why not “revive” the blog with a quick recipe that anyone with half an hour to spare can make.

All you need is ragi (finger millet) flour, jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), ghee, almonds, and cardamom – all healthy, minimally processed ingredients. I stocked up on the first two ingredients at the just-concluded Women of India Festival 2017 at Dilli Haat showcasing organic products manufactured by women. These laddoos are a great way to include millets in our diet. I will need to make more to share since we’ve already polished off half the lot and it’s not 24 hours since I made these!

Ragi Laddoo
Makes 18 small laddos