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Sooji Cheela: Savory Semolina Pancakes

6 Mar

Sooji or semolina, as Wikipedia tells us, is

the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, breakfast cereals, puddings, and couscous.

That description covers wide ground, taking in its span popular Indian dishes like  halwa and upma – versions of pudding/breakfast cereal made of semolina.

Cooking sooji as a cheela (pancake) is a relatively unusual way of using the flour, but once you try it, you’ll definitely want to do frequent repeats.

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Gur Atte Ka Halwa: Jaggery and Whole Wheat Flour Halwa

19 Mar

I got up this Sunday morning with a halwa craving, fondly remembering the sooji ka halwa my mom used to make on weekends. There was no sooji (semolina) in the pantry to recreate her recipe, so I turned internet-wards for recourse.

The recipe for gur aur atte ka halwa (jaggery and whole wheat flour halwa) on Divine Taste struck an instant chord: the pictures were mouth-watering, and the key ingredients – whole wheat and jaggery – were healthy substitutes (well, more importantly, available with me!) for semolina and sugar.

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Chana Dal with Raisins

11 Jul

In my pre-teen years, food mentions in books would send my senses into overdrive visualizing them. The less familiar the food, the more vivid the imagined details. "Hot buttered scones", said Enid Blyton, and I pictured a  mildly sweet nimki-like snack twisted into conical shape, dripping with melted butter. "Lemonade" to my mind was a cross between nimbu pani and Limca. "Red radishes" were slender, graceful and blood red, more alluring than the humble white we had access to.

Reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake, I realised I am not much changed today. Ashima makes "thick channa dal with swollen brown raisins" for her party. What can that be like?  Now I don’t just imagine, I cook my interpretation of it :)

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Khichdi

20 Jul

Khichdi isn’t exactly the height of culinary sophistication – but sometimes we don’t want culinary sophistication. Hands up all men and women living away from family who, after a series of spice-laden oily meals outdoors or countless packets of instant noodles, crave for simple home-cooked khichdi?

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