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

Archive for the ‘Maharashtrian’ Category

Axe Soup aka Bottle Gourd Peel Chutney

In Chutneys, Maharashtrian, on the side, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on June 25, 2007 at 1:02 am

doodhi peel chutney
Kulhadi ka dalia is the Hindi translation of the Russian folktale Axe Soup that I read many summers ago. It is a version of Stonesoup, and a story that I find similar to this bottle gourd peel chutney.

You’ve all probably heard some version of the story in your childhood. In Stonesoup the message is more about the pleasure of sharing and the good that comes from cooperation. The Axe Soup carries a subtle lesson about human management – how to use the inherent greed in fellow humans, of wanting to get something out of nothing, to get out of others more than they are willing to give.

But little do we expect to ever come face to face with legends outside of books of tales.

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Goda Masala

In Maharashtrian, Masalas (Spice Blends) on June 15, 2007 at 1:27 am


goda masala

In my opinion nothing says Maharashtrian cuisine as does the Goda Masala, a spice blend so unique and complex that it cannot be replaced with any other combination of spices. Each family recipe may have enough differences that interchanging them makes a remarkable difference to the final dish.

I hardly delved deep into the masala that was used everyday in the house, being content in just learning to use it. I understood that it was a mix of many spices that were roasted and then ground. There were always large glass bottles filled with it that would get replenished annually when my mother-in-law returned from her visit to Pune.

She prepared it for the first time only a few years ago. It was her older sister in Pune who for years painstakingly prepared kilos of Goda Masala for her two younger sisters. My mother-in-law passed away a couple of years back but I still had the goda masala she prepared, for the first and last time, till a few months ago. The last half bottle I hoarded for special dishes only, using store-bought masala for other everyday needs.

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Crispy Cabbage Pakoras

In Chutneys, Dips and Spreads, Maharashtrian, on the side, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on December 31, 2006 at 2:14 pm

Cabbage Pakoras

Everyone likes fried food. And all of us have our variations of batter-fried vegetables. Sometimes, even fruit. Sometime back, Melissa wrote in praise of pakoras on her blog. And I have been wanting to blog about these pakoras since.

I am not sure how many of you have made cabbage pakoras but these are amongst my favourite, second only to pyaaz bhajjies (onion pakoras).

Spicy Onion Rings at the K State Union cafeteria would hit the spot whenever I was homesick for pakoras, and definitely not in the mood for a sugar-kick. I have a very sweet tooth, but it was salt I really missed as a Grad student in the US. Giant muffins, mammoth cookies everywhere, but only fries to satiate the salt cravings. Like most Indians, I prefer a spicy savory snack with the mid-morning or evening cuppa. The sweet may follow; but first, the salt and the spice. It is to this hall of fame that the now well-known samosa also belongs.

Growing up, I never had cabbage in a pakora. My mum was quite innovative with the vegetables she batter fried – eggplant, tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach leaves, in additional to the usual suspects – potatoes and onions. And then one day I saw my MIL shred some cabbage leaves, throw them into the spiced besan batter along with a spoonful of sesame seeds and some left-over rice as well, to make the most delicious of pakoras. These would invariably accompany an elaborate traditional meal showcasing pooran-poli, the delicious stuffed sweet rotis, that are a Maharashtrian delicacy.

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F(e)asting…on Janmashtami!

In Desserts, Maharashtrian, on the side, Potatoes, Traditions and Customs on August 18, 2006 at 7:44 am

Janmashtami celebrates the birth of the world famous Hindu God, Krishna. The festival is different in that it is the child-God – Balkrishna- (bal– Sanskrit for child) that is worshipped. It is huge in this part of the country as well as in Maharashtra. Most Hindus fast till midnight, the legendary hour when Krishna was born. Kashmiris are more of the feasting kind of people. Not that fasting is any different!

We have been missing out on the fasting since my MIL passed on. Everyone was missing the ‘fast’ food and the lime pickle brought out only at such times was getting darker and darker. So, we decided to fast this Janmashtami.

There are dos and don’ts regarding foods that are permitted. I personally think that smart housewives invented the rules so that they could eat their favourite foods – pumpkins and brinjals are not allowed (no prizes for guessing why these got dropped!), rai/mustard is not be be used, ghee instead of oil, all kinds of fruits and dairy, and it has to be all cooked fresh – no leftovers. See what I mean?

While the more customary fasts are broken with a regular meal in the evening, Janmashtami is an all-day f(e)ast! I kid you not. You have to survive all day on potatoes and sabudana, or waterchestnut (available as singara flour or bits), or fruits, or dry-fruits, or sundry dairy stuff. No rice, no roti.

Here are pictures of our lunch – the Maharashtrians got ‘their’ potatoes (boiled, peeled, and crushed and cooked in ghee with a bit of cumin, cayenne, and peanuts – roasted and crushed), accompanied by the sweet lime pickle (which uses neither rai/mustard nor oil) and at long last, I got my potatoes – peeled, cubed, and fried in mustard oil (yeh!) and sprinkled with cayenne and salt. That is the whole point of the fast for me, right there.

potatoes stir fried with peanuts potatoes fried in mustard oil

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