A cool recipe for the hot summer.

A cool recipe for the hot summer.

Summer has arrived here, in Mumbai. The heat left me stunned when I went for my walk last evening, and today, it’s even hotter …it’s only going to get worse day by day.

Sigh.

As the season changes, it becomes important that we plan meals that help us stay cool from within. For, apart from staying indoors during the day time, wearing cool cottons and staying hydrated, it’s only the food that we eat that will provide us with the cool respite we crave during summer.

So, today, I decided to make myself a cooling pumpkin raita for lunch. It’s what mum prepares often and I love, immensely.

A cool recipe for the hot summer

Sharing the recipe of:

PUMPKIN AND CURD RAITA

Ingredients:

Pumpkin – 200 gms

Curd – 1 cup

Finely chopped green chilli – 1

Salt – to taste

Sugar – a half a teaspoon

Ghee/Oil and cumin seeds – for tempering

Finely chopped fresh coriander leaves – for garnishing

 

Method:

Wash the pumpkin thoroughly and slice off the skin. You don’t need to throw away the skin, but can use it to make this crispy chutney–my mum’s recipe.

Pumpkin peels

Chop the pumpkin in cubes and pressure cook for 10 minutes.

Once cooked, bring it out and allow it to cool.

After cooling, squeeze out the water of the pumpkin and mash it well.

Beat the thick curd in a bowl and add salt and sugar as per your preference.

Add the mashed pumpkin to the curd and mix well.

Cooling salad

Heat ghee in a tadka pan. If you don’t have/use ghee, use oil. Mum insists on using ghee as it tastes better and adds to the nutritional value of the pumpkin raita.

Crush half a teaspoon of cumin seeds in your palm and add it to the hot oil.

Allow the cumin to sputter and then add finely chopped green chilli. Switch off the gas and add this to the raita.

Garnish with coriander and serve.

The Vitamin A-rich pumpkin is low in calories and rich in fibre.

Curd is loaded with the good, gut-friendly bacteria and helps in digestion.

Combining these two gives you a recipe that’s good for your heart, your skin, your digestion and also helps you stay cool in summer!

The low calorie count of pumpkin and the good bacteria of curd make this pumpkin raita good for your heart, skin and digestion.
Pumpkin-curd raita

My lunch for today…

Do try out this cool pumpkin raita and let me know if you enjoyed it!

Love,

SHILPA…

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Low calorie count of pumpkin and the good bacteria of curd come together to give you this cooling and healthy recipe.

Do not throw away the pumpkin peels!

Do not throw away the pumpkin peels!

Mothers are special. What an understatement, no? But, really, everything they do has a magical quality to it that makes Life beautiful. Whatever it may be–an outfit gifted by her, or a story narrated during childhood; a perfume she uses and has gifted it to you, or even a recipe she secretly shared with you–each one of these, and everything else, has her love stamped all over it, the beauty of which stays with you, forever.

My mom❤

Sharing today, a chutney recipe that has been mum’s speciality. It’s really a very easy one to prepare, doesn’t need a lot of prepping, but adds the necessary flavour to anything you have along with it. Yes, even the simple dal-chawal gets enhanced when you mix this chutney with it.

THE PUMPKIN PEEL, CRISPY CHUTNEY

Each time mum buys pumpkin to prepare the sabji , she prepares this chutney. She has always been against discarding the peel of vegetables. Vegetable peels can be used, creatively, to prepare chutneys and skin-care products, did you know?

Everything that nature has gifted us is useful. All you need to do is use your creativity, she says.

So, the next time you bring home the pumpkin, just grate the skin, or slice it off and keep it aside for the chutney.

RECIPE:

FlavoursomeTuesdays

Ingredients:

Pumpkin peel – grated or sliced off and chopped fine

Dry coconut – grated – a small bowl

Garlic – 3 to 4 cloves, or more, if you love garlic.

Green chillies – 1 or 2, as per taste

White sesame seeds – 1 tsp.

Salt – to taste

Oil – 1 tbsp

Method:

After washing the pumpkin, grate to remove the peel, or slice if off and then chop it finely. Place the grated peel on a tissue and leave it to dry thoroughly.

Grate dried coconut, finely chop the garlic and the chillies.

In a pan, add a spoonful of oil and roast the sesame seeds till light brown. Then, add the chopped garlic and roast till brown. Add the finely chopped green chillies, grated pumpkin peel, and grated dried coconut. Roast all on low flame till it’s nice and brown.

Add salt to taste.

Take it off the gas. Once cool, store it in an air-tight jar. It stays well at room temperature for a few days. Actually, it won’t last for more than a day–the taste is that heavenly!

You can enjoy it with dal and rice, or anything that feels bland. The flavour of the garlic and the chillies grandly arouses the taste buds, so, most of the time it gets devoured straight from the jar!

So, wasn’t that an easy-peasy recipe? I like sharing as well as preparing such easy recipes that hardly require any time or effort. Well, I like things simple!

Do try out this chutney and let me know how you like it.

Love,

SHILPA..

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Vegetable peels can be used, creatively, to prepare chutneys and skin-care products.

A Konkan speciality.

A Konkan speciality.

 

Years ago, hubby and I went on a road trip to the coastal region of Maharashtra. Being beach lovers, we decided to visit all the beaches of Maharashtra that we could. Well, at least most of them.

So, we drove down from Navi Mumbai to Chiplun, where we visited one of its beaches – the Vengurla Beach. We stayed at an MTDC approved residence of a wonderful couple who were such gracious hosts! They pampered us silly with the food they served us and their interesting and entertaining travel anecdotes.

Next, we visited the Tarkarli village in Sindhudurg for its pristine white virgin beaches, with sand soft like powder. A place where I could very well have spent the rest of my life. Far from the maddening city crowd, this could have been the perfect permanent abode for me!

The car ride was quite an adventure, the beaches felt like Paradise when compared to our Mumbai beaches, and the food, especially the fried fish and the Sol Kadhi —which remains, to this day, my favourite cool drink.

Sol Kadhi is popular in the Konkan (coastal) region of Maharashtra. It’s made from coconut milk and kokum, or Amsol, or Amsul, as we call it.

Coastal favourite
Kokum is a tree native to the Western Ghats region of India.

It’s usually had after meals as it helps cool down the digestive system, and is an excellent remedy for acidity, too.

It’s a simple recipe, really, and gets made in a jiffy. Do try out this cool drink, especially after enjoying a spicy meal, and let me know how you liked it.

FlavoursomeTuesdays

Ingredients:

6 – 7 kokum

One coconut, grated

One cup hot water

2 cloves of Garlic

1 – 2 green chilies, or as per preference

Salt

Coriander for garnishing

Method:

Soak the kokum in hot water for 1 – 2 hours.

Grind the coconut, garlic and the green chilies with a little warm water and squeeze out the milk.

Add some more warm water to the coconut and squeeze out some more milk.

Mix it all together.

Mash the soaked kokum well and mix only the kokum water to the coconut milk.

Add salt to taste.

Keep the Sol Kadhi aside for a while and then refrigerate it.

Garnish with coriander, stir well and serve chilled.

Easy, no?

And, if you wish to enjoy a readymade one, then just give a seafood specialty eatery, like, Gajalee, a visit. It serves the best Sol Kadhi in the world! No, this is not a sponsored post, but I share this info because I love the Sol Kadhi they serve at Gajalee!  🙂

The pretty, pink Sol Kadhi with the coconut milk tastes heavenly. Ah! I just had a glass full of the chilled drink and I wish I could have had some more!

Do try it out!

Bon Appetit!

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A digestive drink from the coastal region of Maharashtra.

 

Canteen favourite.

Canteen favourite.

 

Each time I call up mum to inform her of my visit, she starts planning the menu days in advance! We argue over it a lot, because I want her to just relax and therefore insist on just a simple dal-chawal lunch, with a salad thrown in to keep her happy.  This time, though, she suggested something that had me all pumped up and agreeing readily to whatever she said.

She wanted to prepare the Aloo Kachori for me, the one  we used to have at our school canteen, ages ago. The soft, melt-in-the-mouth kachoris were our canteen-owner’s speciality, a recipe mum, too, prepared, just for me!

Having had these delicate beauties years ago, mum and I often reminisced about their uniqueness. It’s been ages since I visited my alma mater. I did think of going there, once or twice, if not for anything else then just to taste this delicious canteen fare. Those plans never materialised, though, but mother fulfilled my wish of so many years!

I so love these kachoris that, being too possessive by nature, I wouldn’t  have parted with the recipe, but, decided to be generous and follow in our canteen-uncle’s footsteps! Yes, I can be a big kanjoos at times!

So, here’s  the recipe for you all, with pictures clicked at mum’s kitchen.

 

Recipe for Aloo Kachori:

 

Ingredients:

Potatoes – 1/2 a kg, boiled and mashed.

Freshly grated coconut  – 1

Coriander, green chillies – finely chopped.

Salt, sugar to taste.

Raisins – a handful

Cornflour

Oil – to fry.

Method:

Mix the freshly grated coconut, finely chopped coriander and green chillies (as per preference). Add sugar and salt to taste and also the raisins, and keep it aside.

Now, take the boiled and mashed potatoes and roll them into balls (like the ones you make for your chapatis).

Fill the stuffing into the balls and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok.

Make a paste of cornflour and water, just enough for the stuffed balls to be dipped into and coated with a thin layer.

Ease the balls in the oil and fry till golden brown. You need to do this with a lot of patience, love and care. The balls have the tendency to burst open. Keep the flame at medium high while frying.

Remove once golden brown and place them on a paper towel.

These can be eaten with sweetened curds, or even as is, or with mint/coriander chutney. I prefer eating them without any accompaniments because of their heavenly taste and their softness and a slightly crispy exterior.

Ah! Even as I type this post, I feel my mouth watering! I can have these each day, every day, and yet not tire of eating.

Do try these out and let me know how you liked them. I bet you will love these babies!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

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Yummy Aloo Kachori--a school canteen favourite

 

 

 

A recipe in memory of my mom-in-law.

A recipe in memory of my mom-in-law.

Three years ago, on the 25th of December, my mom-in-law passed away. I think instead of using the words ‘passed away’, she found peace, would be putting it rightly. She suffered from schizophrenia for almost 40 years, and led a very troubled life. It’s an illness that ravages the victim’s mind, their entire system, and leaves them in a pitiful state.

Medicines, antipsychotic drugs do nothing much but hold them together, somehow, leaving the victim with severe side-effects that affect every part of their bodies. Aai suffered those, too. But, she did not let that come in the way of her favourite activity – cooking.

Her hands would tremble severely. She would often forget the recipe and ask me the proportions for the dish she worked on. But, in spite of it all, not once did she falter while preparing a dish. Not once did she go wrong with the salt, or the spices or even the sugar that would go into a dish.

Just imagine cooking with hands that shake violently. One would just quit cooking, altogether. But, not Aai. She persevered in every way she could and came out with a recipe that was simply out of the world!

She was a master of quite a many recipes. I not being much of a cook, learnt a lot from observing her. I couldn’t master much, but there are a few recipes that I learnt to prepare over the years. One among them is the ‘Kothimbir Vadi’, or to translate it roughly, ‘Coriander cutlets’.

We do find it at restaurants, or eateries, but the way its made according to her recipe, you actually get to taste and smell the goodness of coriander in every bite.

Sharing the recipe of this snack that’s easy to prepare and also takes very little time.

Ingredients:

Coriander – 1 bunch

Gram flour (besan) – 1 bowl (katori)

Rice flour – half a bowl (optional)

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

Coriander-Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp

Salt – to taste

Oil – for kneading.

Recipe

Remove the stalks of the coriander and wash it thoroughly. Leave it in a colander for the water to drain. Then, chop it roughly. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder and salt. Be careful with the salt, though!

Add the gram flour one spoon at a time. The flour is to bind it all well, so add only as much as is needed to bind the leaves together till you get a dough. Add a spoon of oil and bring it all together.

Take a portion of it and make it into a roll. Or, in a greased plate, pat it into a thin layer. This needs to be steamed, so if you plan on steaming it into a pressure cooker, you may place the rolls in a vessel and steam it for about 20 minutes, without the whistle.

If you plan on doing it in an idli maker, place the plate on a vessel with boiling water and cover it. In short, steam it like you would steam idli, or dhokla, for 20 to 25 minutes.

Once done, remove from the stove and allow it to cool. Cut thin slices, or in diamond shapes (Vadi) and shallow fry till brown on both sides. If you like it crispy, fry for longer.

It’s really an easy recipe. Do try it out and let me know how it turned out. This method of adding the flour as per your need gives the vadi the taste and aroma of coriander. There is another, more popular method of preparing it, where a batter of besan is prepared and the coriander leaves are mixed in it. This method gives the vadi a very flour-y taste – the kind Aai was not very fond of, and neither am I.

Have you tried this recipe, yourself? It is one of the most famous Maharashtrian snack, but prepared in different ways by people across the state. Do try it out and let me know how you liked it.

Love,

SHILPA…

 

recipe for