I normally steer clear of over-the-top superlatives, but I have to make an exception for khad ki sabzi – this is truly THE BEST recipe I have discovered in a long time. A few simple vegetables cooked in ghee and lemon juice – and the effect is magic!
This aloo mooli kadhi (potato radish sticks in gram flour curry) recipe, adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s, is a simpler alternative to pakora kadhi, besides being an interesting way of adding radish (mooli) to the diet. The Indian white radish has a taste so powerfully pungent that one can’t have much of it raw. I like mooli paratha, but other ways of cooking mooli don’t excite me. Aloo mooli kadhi, though, had me sold from the word go. The potatoes tone down the sharpness of mooli, and the yogurt and gram flour cloak it all in a rich, delicious sauce.
Here’s a way to sneak in some cabbage goodness into your meals, without cooking up a full-blown cabbage curry: make cabbage paratha. With a generous spiking of cabbage and spices, this wholesome pan-fried flatbread is a satisfying meal on its own. With chutney or pickle on the side, cabbage paratha is just the thing for a weekend brunch or a lunchbox treat.
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.
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 :)
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?