Articles tagged with: lentil
Home is where the heart is….my heart belongs to Chennai, the place where I got married and have been living since 1996. I have wholeheartedly accepted the city and have accustomed to the traditions, climatic conditions and the food here.
But even after spending a good 17 years in Chennai I feel that a part of my heart still lives in Udaipur. The place where I grew up, studied and spent the most beautiful years of my life with family and friends.
And why not, if one is the place of my birth than the other made me a complete woman! I take it as a special privilege of belonging to the two different cities at once.
Like all the best families, we too have our share of family disagreements. Daughter likes plain flat breads (chapattis) while son prefers stuffed breads and if hubby likes Lachha parathas, its a big no-no for me. But there is something at home we all are one with…our good old Tandoor or grill, and anything cooked or baked in it is liked by one and all.
Crispy Missi Rotis (chickpea flour flat breads) and spicy Panchmel Daal (five lentils) is yet another popular combination of scrumptious foods from my hometown Rajasthan. People living in the desert areas cook this healthy, filling and delicious recipes during winter season when their body require more fuel in terms of protein and fat to combat the adverse cold conditions of harsh winter months.
Villagers in many places of Rajasthan still light their hearth by burning either wood or cow-dung to give them warmth from the cold waves and also to cook their meals on it.
It really amuses me how our taste buds evolve with time and quickly get accustomed to new foods. Bitter gourd, cluster beans, pumpkin which never made to my favorite list of veggies during childhood are now some of the most cooked vegetables at home.
Though I haven’t succeeded in making my children eat bitter gourd and a few other veggies as yet, they do like to bite on a pumpkin bread, Zucchini Biscotti, brownie and cakes. May be they need some more time to develop their taste buds before they start liking the unique taste of these foods.
Turkey berry/wild eggplant or Sundaikkai (in Tamil) was first introduced to me after my marriage in 1996 by my mother-in-law and there was a love at first sight. She plucked these tiny green round berries from her backyard and taught me how to prep the berries with a small stone. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of prepping the berries, soaking in buttermilk and watching her cook the same in her kitchen.
“Mom, make your Rajasthani Pasta today” Said my son enthusiastically. History repeats, I murmured to myself handing over the bowl of dough to both of them. Yes, I am a happy mom to see my children enjoy rolling these Dhoklis as we did in our childhood. They love to make shapes and faces with the dough and later struggle hard to search for their creations in the final recipe.
This soupy comfort food always reminds me of home & mom. I grew up eating Daal Dhokli which used to be our Sunday meal for as long as I remember. I still disagree and argue with my Gujrati friends who call the recipe a signature dish of Gujrat.
Mom being a working woman never got time to make special recipes on weekdays. Sunday was the only day when she cooked scrumptious lunches and comforting dinner. She would knead the dough and give it to me and my brother to roll the Dholiks, This was her way to keep us busy on Sundays and avoid fights between us. Television & computer come to existence much later in life. Blessing in disguise I must say
Lunchbox bites, pulses and beans »
“Dicotyledonous, low in fat, loaded with nutrients, fibers and protein, nodules in their roots, red, speckled, white purple colored beans are some of the salient features of legume family” ….Phew, heard my son muttering from his study room. And I think I know my beans much better after reading & learning with my son.
Lentils are an integral part of any Indian kitchen. Be it a simple Daal recipe with green gram, red lentil, black gram, Bengal gram or a spicy Sambhar fromSouth India, lentil is a star of Indian cuisine.
I reserve the whole beans for weekends, combine it with some light salad or yogurt raita and serve it with either plain Indian flat breads, whole-wheat bread or flavored Basmati rice.
Whole wheat buns/Baatis and Litti Chokha – the two most rustic regional recipes from Indian invoke a mixed emotion in me. If the later brings back the memory of my carefree days the former reminds me of the insecurity I felt during my childhood. Unable to cope up with the work pressure and childcare my working parents arranged for a 60 something nanny to baby sit me. The most prominent features I could remember about her is her wrinkled face, bony rough hands and the white muslin Potli (pouch) she used to bring daily from her home for her lunch.
She brought these unevenly round whole-wheat buns/baatis neatly packed in a white muslin cloth or potli every day. Hand pound wheat flour to make the buns, firewood used to cook them and fresh ghee smeared over those baatis revealed the hard life of villagers. I used to get scared when she lifted me with her wrinkled hands but loved to bite on those savory buns she brought. The feeling of insecurity of taken care by a stranger was somewhat subsided with these delicacies she brought each day.
This regional recipe of Litti Cokha from India brings back the memory of my carefree childhood days. After living in a secured colony of central government quarters for many years, mom wanted to live in her own house and she bought a ground near a picturesque place in Udaipur. The place was very near to where we were currently staying and me and my brother used to visit the site every evening after school hours to monitor the activities in the construction area.
Each day as soon as the clock struck 5 PM, all the workers would stop working, gather at a common place and begin their evening activities of fun and cooking food together. After freshening up with the water stored in a small tank, men folks cut wood to light the fire for cooking and the women share the work of kneading the dough for Litti and prepping for the Brinjal Chokha.
Versatile dips & spreads which could be made quickly and peps up a meal instantly are my all time favorite. Ubiquitous green chutney with fresh coriander & mint leaves in my refrigerator tops the chart by all means. Yes, I eat it with my flat breads, use as sandwich spread, on crackers, tarts, Khatti rolls, pizza topping…and so on.. Hummus is one another favorite of mine, a refreshing & healthy dip prepared with chickpeas or Garbanzo beans. The recipe is often twisted & tweaked to come up with yummy surprises..well..almost always
Lunchbox bites, lunchbox medley, rice recipes »
Do you have a family dish which you prefer at times when you feel lazy to cook but do not wish to compromise on comfort and health quotient? Its Khichdi for my family. A hotch potch medley of wholegrain, millet, lentils and vegetables, Khichdi is an easy & filling one pot meal and has all the necessary ingredients of a balanced diet which could be cooked quickly without much fuss. Carbohydrates from rice (or any grain), fiber from millet, protein form lentils and vitamins & minerals from veggies make this recipe a complete meal in itself.
Khichdi is the first solid food I was fed by mom and I followed the same meticulously with both my children barring a few days of formula food. This recipe is the one I often make when I am logger heads with time or just plain lazy and need an easy, quick fix meal.
Festive bites, fudge »
‘Silence after the storm‘..the last few days of high decibel sound, screaming and running around the road to burst crackers has finally come to rest. Even the intermittent spell of rain did not dampen the spirit of festivity for my kids & hubby for whom my garage was the make shift center for bursting crackers. And no, I will not crib about the land, noise, water and air pollution which was left after the festival of lights was over. When I am not able to influence anyone in my home even after 16 years of marriage, against indulging in sugary sweets, oily savories and buying crackers at exorbitant prize (which could actually get me a dedicated server for God knows how many years) then who am I to complain…’to each his own’.