Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Minding my B's- Banana Blueberry Bread

This post has been sitting in my computer for ages...just couldn't conjure up a story to go with it. Still can't, as a matter of fact. So am just going to quit trying and post it. My friend and I had decided to treat our families out to an open air concert evening and a Friday night picnic dinner. The idea was to just go home after work, look in our pantries and make something quick and convenient. Pulao and cheese quesidillas were an obvious choice for my meal. As I scurried around getting things together for the picnic, my eyes fell on a bunch of bananas gone over-ripe as a result of the the unprecedented heat wave the past few days. Rather than toss them into the dustbin, I chose the alternative of making use of these ugly looking, but perfectly good bananas while satisfying the kids' hankering for dessert. I usually make banana muffins for the kids. This time I decided to bake a loaf instead for the convenience of carrying it to the park. Without any further ado, here is the recipe:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pot-pourri, Indian Style.

"My mom's ...... tastes better than yours" is one comment that can send women (read, me) in a mad, adrenaline-pumping battle mode. And I got plenty of that attitude these past 5 weeks. Not that I have anything against my MIL, mind you. She's a sweet, well-meaning lady like all mothers are. It's all him...him and his devil-may dare grin when says THE offensive sentence. And my response to that is (1) Give him one of my 'You better watch yourself' stares, meant to move mountains but effectively ineffective in our domestic tiff situations OR (2) prove to him that he is wrong; which as I (and all the married women in this world) know to be the only indisputable truth.

Although my MIL mostly stayed out of the kitchen; and our riff-raff; when she visited us recently, he still managed to specially request his childhood favorite from her - Tahari. He asked for it the day after she landed in US, and then again, and again until it seemed like we were eating tahari for dinner almost every other day. By the time my MIL's 5 -week vacation came to an end, I was so ready to not eat rice anymore. Then, came the heatwave last week. As we entered our home, it felt like we'd walked into an oven. Even the air conditioning took several hours to kick in. That was all the trigger he needed to come up with his last jab; 'If only mom was here, we could've had her tahari for dinner.' And I set out to prove that I could learn to make tahari as good as, if not better than my MIL's!
Masoor aur Matar ki Tahari
(Spiced rice with lentils and peas)


Long Grained Basmati rice : 2 measures
Red Lentils/ Masoor ki dal: 3/4 measure
Frozen Peas: 1/2 cup
Bay leaf: 1 broken into pieces
Cloves: 3-4
Green chillies: 3-4,chopped
Ginger: about a 1/2 inch piece; chopped
Salt: 1Tbsp (or to taste)
Red chilli powder: 1/4tsp, adjust to taste
Cumin seeds: 1/2tsp
Oil/Ghee: 1Tbsp
  1. Wash and soak the rice and lentils separately for about 30 min. Meanwhile prep and chop your veggies.
  2. Heat 1tbsp oil ( I used Ghee) in a wok and add the cumin to it. Let it splutter and then add the cloves, bayleaf, green chillies and ginger. Saute for a min or so.
  3. Add the rice, lentils and peas at the same time; plus all the rest of the spices. Dry roast the rice and spices till the rice appears brittle and starts breaking up (about 3-4 min).
  4. Add enough water to cover at about an inch above the level of rice. Cook uncovered on high for 10-15 min till the water is almost evaporated. The rice is still not done at this point.
  5. Turn down the heat and cover the wok. Cook for 2-3 min and then turn off the heat.
  6. Let the rice stand in the covered wok for another 10 min or so. Then serve hot.
My two cents: This is a one-pot meal, ideal for those lazy summer days. It can incorporate any veggies that suit your fancy; I know I love it with onions, and potatoes. My MIL only does peas- the lentils were my addition too; and the result was awesome. You can serve it with yogurt, any chutney or pickle. Here, I have it with Matha, a slightly spiced, salty buttermilk with ground cumin- another excellent summer cooler!

Linked to : Dish name starts with a T

VHearth and Soul Hop at the 21st Century Housewife

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friends or Foes: Paratha or Thepla??

I've been invisible from the blogging scene again for a while. The experimenting, cooking, feeding the family and entertaining was as usual. Just did not take pictures to post. And a food-blog isn't appetizing enough unless accompanied by visuals, I think. So, I apologize and I'll make up for it....some day, and hopefully soon enough. I'm going to start backwards for now- most recent first. July 4th weekend.

A bunch of friends proposed a beach vacation. The location was decided and we rented some condos right on the water. Menu for breakfast included cereals, bagels and cream-cheese, pancakes and theplas. What in the world is a thepla; I asked the rest of the crowd.