Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Baby Blogging & Padvalkayi Hasi Majjige Huli (Snakegourd in Yogurt Sauce)

Little M is now four months old! I can't believe just how fast time has flown! I'm glad that the days of constant worry and absurd fears (that seemed very real at that time) are over! Of course, I still worry sometimes (and I'm told that it's not going to end anytime soon!) but it isn't all-consuming like it once was. I am enjoying every single moment spent with her. She loves being spoken to and coos and gurgles a lot. It is fascinating just to watch her!

She was at the 25th percentile for height and weight when she was born. At two months, her weight was still at 25th percentile but her height was up to the 50th. At her check-up today, I'm glad to report, her weight is now at the 50th percentile and height 75th! It's hard not to get caught up with numbers, even though I know it is not indicative of the health of the child. She seems to be doing well on that count as well. Knock on wood! The only sad part of the doctor visit was her shots. The poor thing cried so hard. But it is a necessary pain, unfortunately. I wish they would come up with a better way of administering vaccines soon. Hopefully, within the next 2 months, when she's due for her next set of shots! :)

Alrighty! Onto food now!
There are many variations to the majjige huli (kadhi like yogurt gravy) that we make. Mom made this very delcious hasi (raw) majjige huli with snakegourd. While most majjige hulis require boiling the yogurt sauce, this particular form just has cooked snakegourd mixed with yogurt and a ground paste. It can also be made with boiled cucumber or boiled pumpkins.

2 cups Snakegourd (cut into small strips and boiled)
2 1/2 cups Yogurt
1 cup Water
Salt to taste

Grind to Paste:
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 cup coconut shredded
2 Tbsp Dalia
2 green chillies
A pinch of Asafoetida

For Tempering:
1 Tbsp Ghee
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
A Pinch of Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Turmeric

Blend water and yogurt. Mix the ground paste and the boiled snakegourd and salt to taste. There's no need to heat or boil this mixture.
Heat ghee in a small pan. Add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add Asafoetida and turmeric. Add to the yogurt/paste mixture.
Goes well with plain white rice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Watergate Salad

Watergate Salad
In the company I worked for a few years ago, we celebrated "the 12 days of Christmas" with food, which basically was people bringing different foods for 12 days leading into Christmas. I looked forward to the twelve days. All the yummy food that everyone brought, new things that I'd not tried before and in some cases, never even heard of! That was fun! One of my colleagues would bring this wonderful tasting dessert every year. It has a not-so-interesting name "Watergate Salad" but tastes wonderful and is very simple to make. The prep time is all of 3 minutes and there's no cooking time. You've gotta love that! We had some friends over for dinner the other night and I made this dish. It was an instant hit. Here's the original recipe from my ex-colleague.

1 3 oz packet Pista Pudding mix
1 20 oz can Crushed Pineapple
1 cup Cool Whip or Cool Whip Lite
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup crushed pecans

In a bowl, mix the can of crushed pineapple (along with the liquid), the pudding mix and whipped cream together. Whisk well so that it's well blended. Mix in the marshmallows and pecans. Garnish with more crushed pecans. Refrigerate for an hour. That's it!
The original recipe calls for 1 packet of pista pudding mix. I used 1/2 packet pista and 1/2 packet vanilla pudding mixes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Need to Vent

What is with people who dole out advice unabashedly? What makes them think that the other person wants to hear them anyway? Or is it that they think they know everything and can't wait to share with the world what they think they know? I have the misfortune of knowing this one person, talking with whom makes me want to scream! Tell her something as mundane as "Oh, I ran out of rice when we had someone over" and she immediately responds "You know, you should make more rice the next time!". Gee thanks, my dear. If it had not been for you stating the obvious, there was no way I'd figure that out by myself! But I digress. I really wanted to write about how annoying it has been with a few people, after my baby was born. Most people are nice and want to share their experiences, which I love and always welcome. But these other people's attitude is more like "I know better than you so let me tell you!". They have one or two kids and think they are better than pediatricians! It is "you should do this", "you shouldn't do that" all the time. Enough already! If I want advice about anything, I'll ASK for it. The other thing about them is commenting on how I take care of my baby - "oh, she feeds too often", "she feeds too less","she should massage more often" etc. What makes people think it's alright to comment or discuss my way of handling things? It is after all my baby and I know her needs the best! Don't they remember how annoying it was when they had a baby and had people who kept giving advice? My baby and how I bring her up is not for anyone to discuss. I really want to tell them "Don't make my baby your business. Not now, not EVER!" but until I marshal enough nastiness to be as rude as they are, I guess I'll just continue to grin and bear it for a while longer.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Potato Cutlets

Savory fried snacks make the BEST winter snack food. When it is cold and dreary outside, croquettes, cutlets, turnovers and fritters provide the warmth and comfort that winter deprives us. Technically, it's not winter here yet but it's been so cold lately that it feels like winter already. I can't wait for spring! I know, I know, I have a pretty long wait!
On a particularly depressing cold day a few days ago, when I returned home from work, Mom had made these delicious cutlets and they somehow made the day more bright and cheery!
Croquettes and cutlets are also a great way to re-use leftovers and turn them into something different and delicious. They can be made with leftover rice, macaroni, boiled vegetables etc. This is Mom's recipe for Pototo Cutlets that is pretty simple to make.

2 Potatoes boiled and mashed
2 slices of Bread
1/4 tsp chopped Green Chillies
1 tsp chopped Cilantro
1 tsp chopped Mint leaves
1/4 tsp Asafoetida (hing)
salt to taste
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs & Semolina(Rawa) mixed together
Oil for shallow frying

Soak bread slices in water for a minute and squeeze out the water. Mix it along with mashed potatoes, green chillies, cilantro, mint, hing and salt. Make small balls of the mixture and then flatten them into little patties. Roll them on both side in the bread crumbs/rawa mixture and fry on a tava until golden brown.
Garnish with mint leaves.
Serve with ketchup and/or mint chutney.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tomato & Onion Raitha

Raitha is one of the easiest things to make. The varieties of raithas are innumerable! One can switch the vegetables or the tempering or the seasoning to come up with countless variations. I can eat raitha just by itself. Of course, they make great accompaniment to pulaos, biryanis, khichdis, stuffed parathas and bhaths. Raithas can be made with fresh cucumber, tomatoes, onions, cooked greens, beets, boiled potatoes, grilled eggplants, boiled beans (like kidney beans, garbanzo, black etc.) The possibilities are endless! Here is a simple raitha with tomatoes and onions that is easy to make and delicious to taste!


1 Tomato (chopped)
1 small Onion (chopped)
2 tbsp chopped Cilantro
1 Green Chilly/Serrano pepper
1 cup thick Yogurt
1/4 cup water (optional. can be skipped if the yogurt is not too thick)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
Pinch ofAsafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp Oil

In a bowl, whisk yogurt and water together until smooth. Add the chopped tomatoes, onions & cilantro. In a small kadai, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add hing & green chilly & fry for a few seconds. Add to the yogurt. Add salt to taste.

Variation: Add 1/2 tsp chaat masala, 1/8 tsp jeera powder and 1/8 tsp red chilly powder in place of the tempering for an even easier variation.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cabbage Bhath

I've been meaning to post this Cabbage Bhath recipe for so long but couldn't do so until I was able to post the recipe for Palyada Pudi, one of the key ingredients in this bhath, which I finally did today. So here is the recipe for Cabbage Bhath. This is a deliciously spiced rice that doesn't require an accompaniment. But it does go very well with raitha.

3 cups shredded Cabbage
1 tsp Tamarind paste (or 1 tbsp Lime juice)
2 tsp Palya Powder (Click for recipe)
2 Tbsp dry coconut shreds or copra shreds
4 cups cooked rice (cooled)
Salt to taste
Chopped Cilantro for garnish
For tempering:
3 tbsp Oil
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
5-6 Curry Leaves (optional)
a pinch of hing

Heat oil in a big pan. Once hot, add mustard seeds and wait until it starts popping. Then add the dals, hing and turmeric powder. Sauté for about 30 seconds until the dals are lightly browned. Add curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add the shredded cabbage and salt & fry for a few minutes. Cover and cook on low heat until the cabbage is soft. Add the palya powder, tamarind paste (or lime juice), dry coconut shreds (or copra) and mix with the cooked rice. Add more salt, if required. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Palyada Pudi - Vangibhath Pudi (Palya/Bhath Powder)

Palya is a Kannada term for any dry bhaji. Some palyas we make require "Palya Pudi" (also called Vangibhath Pudi), a special powder used to make certain types of palyas. We mix some of these palyas with rice to make masala rice like Vangi Bhath with eggplants or Cabbage Bhath. I have never made this myself. Mom always sends me the various powders we use (Saaru, Huli, Palya)from India. I store all pudis in little glass jars in my freezer so they smell and taste fresh longer. Here is her recipe for Palya Pudi.

1/2 cup Chana Dal
1/2 cup Urad Dal
3/4 cup Coriander Seeds
3/4 cup Dry red chillies
3/4 tsp Hing
3" Cinnamon sticks(dalchini)
2 Cloves
1 sprig Curry Leaves
1 tsp oil

Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a kadai and fry dalchini & cloves until brown. Add coriander seeds and curry leaves and fry until the leaves are crisp. Add hing and fry a few more seconds. Keep aside. Add another 1/2 tsp to the kadai and fry the broken dry red chillies until the seeds are slightly browned. Keep aside. Fry the urad and chana dals separately, without adding oil. Mix all the ingredients and allow to cool. Dry grind in a mixer until smooth and store in a moisture-free, airtight jar.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Little Duckie

Here's my 3 month old wearing her very first Halloween costume. It was quite a task getting her into the duck outfit and then she promptly threw up all over it! But it was good while it lasted. She looked beautiful! OK, thats the doting mom talking but she did look cute as a button!
Alright, alright, I'll stop!! :-)