Pan-Fried Baby Potatoes with Sundried Tomato Dressing

23 Jul

Till a month back, I had had sundried tomatoes only in the bottled, preserved form. Much as I liked it, I was cautious of its salt and preservative content and would use it sparingly.

I never knew how delightfully simple and light sundried tomatoes could be till I got myself a pack of Ladakhi sundried tomatoes – they are chewy, tomatoey (as opposed to pickle-y), and induce no "junk food" guilt pangs.

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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 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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Tinda Masala: Apple Gourd Curry

3 Jul

Tinda gets its English name from its visual similarity to green apples. A member of the gourd family, tinda has a mild flavor, high water content and lots of vitamins/minerals. The vegetable is ubiquitous in Delhi – at arm’s reach in the local market, cooked every other day in office cafetarias. Not so in Bangalore. Here this gourd graces only the bigger stores, cellophane-wrapped and stocked with imported veggies like yellow peppers and Chinese cabbage.

I didn’t realize I’d crave for tinda till it became scarce. As with parval (pointed gourd), my love for this vegetable has been a recent change of heart. Whoever said that absence makes the heart grow fonder knew what he was talking about. 

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Osaman: Moong Bean Stock with Ginger Pepper Tadka

25 Jun

Osaman is Gujarat’s answer to rasam: a light broth with ‘dal water’ as base. It gets its kick from the high-power tempering – salt, sweet, sour and hot all at once.

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Ginger Jaggery Chutney with Mango Chunks

19 Jun

You’d expect the last mangoes of the season to be ripe yellow, robustly sweet and oozing juice, but nature has a way of subverting expectations. I cut open a fat Banganapalli this Sunday to have mango cubes as a post-lunch dessert. The mango’s insides turned out to be half-white and tending towards sour.

My first thought was to make sweet mango chutney but then the fresh aromatic ginger in my pantry nudged me to try something different – a chunky ginger jaggery chutney with mango.

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Easy Cheesy Zucchini

11 Jun

For a very quick and delicious dinner, I turn to zucchini. It takes no effort at all – easy to chop (compare it to its cousin the ridge gourd – all that peeling!), cooks really fast. Not easily available with my neighborhood vegetable vendor, but worth getting back from a bigger store and keeping in the fridge for a late work night when there’s no time for an elaborate meal. This easy ‘cheesy zucchini’ is a savior on a busy workday.

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Gooseberry Dal

4 Jun

Those beautiful green berries on the vegetable vendor’s cart looked so bewitching, I had to pick them up. I used them in this delicious amla (gooseberry) dal and loved the result, I can heartily recommend the recipe to you.

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