Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A train journey and Methi rotis!

Just the thought of the rhythmic movement of the train journey brings back nostalgic memories of childhood. The fight with my brother for the window seat and the upper most berth , the unending munching of snacks as soon as the journey began, running from compartment to compartment making friends , just staring out of the window and wondering how the trees and houses outside move…….the list goes on and on……

But I especially want to share with you an experience I had seven years ago during a 2 day train journey from Delhi to Chennai. I had an interview in Delhi and was returning to Chennai with my Husband. We shared our compartment with an old couple who were on a pilgrimage to the different temples in South India. I was having a slight temperature and was feeling very weak and dizzy.

The old couple started to unpack the delicacies, and shared their food with all the fellow passengers. Their food looked inviting; due to my weakness I did not want to eat anything. They realized my dilemma, and took out a pouch from their bag in which they had home remedies for any illness on their journey. They gave me a spice mix which they assured would help in any stomach upsets and weakness. Their love and sincerity was enough for me to accept this medicine and in an hour or so I felt better. They then unpacked their bag in which they stored their food items again and extracted wonderful smelling methi parathas….(fenugreek flat breads or rotis). I don’t remember eating methi parathas which were so tasty.I wished I could repay them their love and affection.

And I was glad I could be of some help when we landed in Chennai railway station. They were expecting to be received by a friend who did not turn up. We helped them to a telephone booth where they tried calling their friend, but they were disappointed to find no one answered on the other end. They felt completely lost in an entirely new place. I invited them home and they reluctantly agreed. They had no where to go. At home we tried to make them feel comfortable and we all had hot tea. Eventually their friend who had misunderstood their train number came home to pick them up after a few phone calls. They left home blessing us and leaving us with a joy I find hard to put to words.

So here’s a recipe of methi rotis I made , which I dedicate to that old couple !
Blend in 1cup wheat flour, 2 tbsp gram flour, 2 tbsp soya flour,a bunch of cleaned fenugreek leaves, 1tsp ginger garlic paste, pinch of turmeric , green chillies (paste) ½ tsp, salt to taste, 1tsp oil, 2tbsp curd. Blend to make dough using enough water.Keep aside for 15 minutes. Make small balls and flatten into circles with a rolling pin.

Fry on hot pan smearing some butter , till both sides turn golden brown. Have hot with pickles or curd or just straight from the pan.
I submit this to roti mela hosted by srivalli.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

capsicum and rice!

Each time I visit the Indian store for a sack of rice, I take a deep breath and pause before lifting the heavy bag into he cart. The prices have shot up so much that each grain in the sack seems like a precious gem. And I am reminded of the story my grandma used to tell us when we were little.” The story of three grains of rice”.
I remember snuggling close to her at night, head on her arm and hand smoothing her soft belly while she transported us into an imaginary world of words ……..
“once upon a time there was a very poor girl who had hardly anything to eat. Once her dad found three grains of rice and send her to the near by pond to wash those three grains so that they could cook and eat them….While washing those grains one slips off her hands and she goes in search of the rice and explores a magical palace under water…”.thus goes the story……”\
I still remember her stories as if I have heard them yesterday….each story filled with life adventure and moral values…
I am not going into the detailed version of the story ammumma narrated … it just conveyed that, even in dire circumstances, we should hear our voice within….and should not succumb to greed.

Now from the story of three grains of rice, let me pass on to the story of the many grains of cooked rice, left over in my fridge … which given a make over …found solace our tummies.

As I was glancing through one of the magazines I loved the picture of a capsicum (bell pepper) bowl stuffed with stuff I do not eat. So I thought, why not use the same capsicum cup and fill it up with stuff I love to eat!

Thus the left over rice after a touch up entered cooked capsicim cups!
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Season with mustard seeds , cumin , urad dal , red chilli and curry leaves. Add chopped onion (1 cup) and diced almonds (1/2 cup). Fry till translucent, add 1tsp turmeric powder and enough salt and stir in 2 cups cooked rice. Squeeze juice from half a lemon and garnish with coriander leaves.
Now for the capsicum cups…. Take a capsicum, slice off the stalk and remove the seeds. Wash well and let it stand. (If it topples, level the corners of the closed side to balance while standing) Keep the capsicum in microwave and cook for 1 minute on high. Fill this cup with the seasoned rice and enjoy! (You can creative your own filling according to your choice) ...
this goes to pooja of creative ideas , who is hosting VOW Bell peppers and JFI.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sooyi Bhajjilli Ghashi

This is a traditional Konkani recipe which stimulates all your senses…..Soyi means grated coconut . Bhajjille means fried. So Soyi bhajjilli ghassi is a gravy dish rich with the flavour of fried and ground coconut. The thought of this recipe not only evokes my taste buds , it evokes my olfactory senses …..The smell of fried coconut with coriander seeds and curry leaves is something you should never miss in your life time.

Last week I prepared Chonnyachi Ghassi.
Chonno is a black chick pea , widely used in Kerala. And ghassi is a dish served during all Konkani festivals , weddings and ceremonies.The ones we eat at the temple Utsavs is the best. This is how I prepared it at home..
Soak one cup of black chana overnight and pressure cook it with enough salt and a piece of kokum and keep aside.
Heat pan and add One tsp urud dal and 1tsp fenugreek seeds. Fry and keep aside. Now fry 1 cup coriander seeds and 1 1/2 cup coconut grated. Add 7-8 red chillies (according to taste), add a bunch of curry leaves. Keep stirring till the coconut turns dark brown. Then let it cool . Mix in the fried urud dal and fenugreek seeds and powder . You can store this masala for future use. Mix this ground masala into the cooked channa and boil it. You can replace channa wth other ingredients or combinations like Dal and a vegetable , or channa and another vegetable or green peas .., according to your taste and use the same masala…
We call this masala, Massolu.
Try it out and charge your self
I also submit this to Click event at Jugalbandhi.