Monday, January 17, 2011

Bhindi ki Sabzi - Okra Fry (Microwave Cooking)

"Amma, I have a boyfriend!" declared Little M, when I went to pick her up from school last week. This was not something I wanted to hear for preferably at least 20 years.
"Is that right, honey? Who is he?" I asked, not showing my surprise nor amusement.
"I'm not gonna tell you!" Now why on earth she thought it was something not to be told is yet to be figured out.
"OK then. Don't tell me. But do you think you can show me who he is?"
Pointing to a kid, half her size. "Sure! There he is!" Bingo!
How sweet it is that they can be so easily manipulated :) Not for long, I know!
So anyway, turns out she "does not like boys" but this fellow is "nice to talk to and he is a boy". Ergo, boyfriend! :)

I've been preparing some of my regular dishes in the microwave these days. Here is a quick bhindi fry. The pav bhaji masala can be substituted with red chili powder + garam masala powder or any blend of spices that you would like.

Bhindi Fry


Okra - 500 gms, ends trimmed & slit lengthwise
Onions - 2 medium, sliced thin
1 tsp each - cumin powder, coriander powder, chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 tsp each - turmeric powder, pav bhaji masala/garam masala
1 tbsp oil
A few dashes of Kitchen King masala (optional)
salt to taste


In a microwave safe bowl, mix onions and the oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until slightly browned.
Add in all the powders, except the besan and pav bhaji/garam masala. Mix in the sliced bhindi and salt. Microwave on high for another 3 minutes.
Mix in besan, pav bhaji masala and cook for another 5-6 minutes.
Remove from oven, add a few dashes of KK masala (if using)and mix well.
Serve with chapatis/rotis.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beetroot Rasavangi

I can't believe this is the first beetroot recipe post in my four years of blogging. Especially since it is featured quite often in my house (much to N's chagrin!). Usually in a palya or a gojju form. This recipe is for rasavangi, a curry made with a delicious masala of kopra and spices ground into a powder. Let me reiterate that this is different from the Tamilian rasavangi, usually made with dal and eggplants. Ours is specifically without dal, and generally made with green beans or cluster beans, apart from eggplants.

Beetroot Rasavangi


Beets - 3-4 medium sized, chopped and cooked in a pressure cooker
Jaggery and salt to taste

To Grind:
Huli Pudi - 1 tbsp (or sambar powder)
Kopra - 2 tbsp (can be substituted with coconut shreds or dessicated coconut)
Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
Raw rice - 1 tsp

For Tadka:
Mustard Seeds
Curry Leaves


In a pot, do the tadka and add the boiled beets.
Add the ground masala, jaggery and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on low for a few minutes.
Adjust seasonings, if required.
Serve on rice with a dollop of ghee!


Happy Shankranthi/Pongal, in advance! Above is a picture of the yellu offering from last year. Read more about it here.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Musings - Enid Blyton's The Famous Five!

Enid Blyton was a big part of my life, growing up. From the blue dragon series and Noddy's antics through Secret Seven and Famous Five adventures to the Find Outers. And who can forget the school series! I so wanted to go to a school like Malory Towers or St. Clare's! They always had so much fun (midnight parties!) and the teachers were so adorable (remember Mam'zelle?)!

I'd read all of the Famous Five adventures, save one. "Five go to Mystery Moor" was always elusive to me. The library near my house did not have it, nor did my school (whose "library" was a joke), nor the book stores in my town. While browsing through books for Little M recently, I came across that book and decided to buy it. So, I read a Famous Five book after 20 odd years and it was still so much fun!

The Famous Five went on picnics in almost every adventure and the food always sounded very exciting! Slabs of cake, thick slices of bread with tons of butter, tomato sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, tinned sardines, scones, lemonades and ginger beers - the food was always described with such relish, one could not help but slurp while reading! The rolling moors, the gorgeous lakes, secret passages and tunnels - England never sounded better. And George's parents owning an island - how lovely was that! And they went on adventures that kids would love to be a part of. Dick was my favorite of the lot. Julian was the responsible one, George had a serious attitude problem, Anne was sweet but mousy. Dick was dependable and good humored and such fun! And how adorable was Timmy, the dog! Did you have a favorite?

Enid Blyton's books certainly set my imagination on fire, as a kid. I know Little M and baby S will enjoy them just as much as I did.