Basale Soppu Kodhel – Malabar Spinach Sambhar

With the end of summer, and advent of monsoons we start spotting the Basale or Malabar Spinach in the market. Mom’s dal-based coconut curry is my favourite preparation. Steaming hot rice, fish-fry and this curry is one of the staples at home. We have not been able to get fresh fish these days due to the lockdown as the fish market needs a rickshaw ride and is best avoided. The second best option we settled down was nungel meen or dry fish. The stock of dried shrimp and other dried fishes surface up especially during such ‘crisis’. Oorpel ari da nuppu or red boiled rice and some appala/papad is what brings it all together.

The super long vine of Basale I got from our nearby market

Here are the recipes for my moms basale soppu kodhel and Yetti Podi Chutney (Dry Shrimp Chutney) that I have enjoyed preparing and relishing.

For Basale Kodhel

1 bunch Malabar Spinach Leaves
Stems of Malabar Spinach (Boiled Seperately)
1 cup cooked toor dal

Masala paste
1/2 grated coconut
6 Byadki Chillies
1/2 Lime-size of Tamarind
1/2 tsp haldi

Tadka
6-8 garlic pods, chopped
1 tsp Rai
1 chopped onion

Method:
Grind the masala paste ingredients to a smooth paste
Heat some coconut oil. Add in the rai and let it splutter.
Now add in the garlic and onion and let it soften.
Stir in the masala paste, cooked dal and boiled stems of the Malabar Spinach.
Add a little water and salt. Let it come to a boil.
Lastly put in the all the leaves and let it cook for 2 minutes before turning off the flame

For the Yeti Podi Chutney

Ingredients:
1 cup cleaned and roasted dry shimp (Nugel Yetti)

Masala Paste
1/2 a Grated Coconut
5-6 Byadki Dried Red Chillies
1/2 Onion
2-3 pods of Garlic
Lime-size ball of Tamarind
1/2 tsp Haldi

Tadka
1 tsp rai
1/2 onion

Method:
– Clean the shrimp in water.Pat dry. Roast on medium flame till completely dry again.
– Grind the masala paste ingredients to a coarse paste
– Heat coconut oil. Add the rai and let it splutter.
– Now add onions and let it brown.
– Stir in the masala paste and the shrimp.
– Saute for a few minutes. Done.

A Muslim wedding in London

While a wedding in London sounds all glitzy and glamorous this wasn’t a typical London wedding we are talking about. A small quiet Muslim family wedding in the suburbs of London. Farah’s requirements were very specific and the end results of her wedding were gorgeous pictures of her and Rizwan at the City Hall. Loved shooting her getting ready pictures but i only wish she had smiled more. Maybe I should have directed more?

Farah-Rizwan

Farah-Rizwan Farah-Rizwan

Farah-Rizwan

Farah-Rizwan

Diwali 2015 – Shankarpali / Shakkarpara

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This is my personal favourite. The melt-in-your mouth mini cookies don’t last for long when I am around. It is probably the easiest to make amongst all the Diwali goodies. For a medium batch you will need the following

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Ingredients:

All purpose flour – 500 gms
Powdered Sugar – 200 gms
Ghee or Unsalted Butter – 200 gms
Milk – 250 ml
Pinch of salt
Oil for frying

Method

Take the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt to it. Add in melted ghee and stir it into the dry ingredients. Now add the milk slowly to for a semi-stiff dough. Do not over-knead.

Let the dough rest for around half an hour. Now take a tennis ball size dough and roll it out into a thick roti.

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Take a pizza cutter, or a Shankarpali-cutter for fancy edges. Make squares, diamonds, rectangles… aliens. 😛 Basically whatever shape you fancy. I stuck to the usual squares that my mum makes.

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Heat oil for for frying. On medium flame fry till golden brown. As I have mentioned previously, I love it fried a little beyond golden for a deeper flavour.

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Cool down to room temperature and store away. I saved a big bowl of ‘rejects’ to munch on with Romedy Now.

Diwali 2015 – Chaklis

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There are varieties of chakli recipes, but the one I am posting today is close to my heart as it is my Dad’s recipe. Papa’s family had a farsan business for a while before he moved on completely to office life. This recipe was the one they used at the kitchen there. I have replaced one key ingredient though – coconut oil with butter for a crunchier texture. I have enough coconut flavour in my regular food. Didn’t want to taste coconut in my chaklis too! Like in everything we Mangaloreans love, the base for this recipe is Rice flour. The one I had previously posted was what Maharashtrians call Bhajani Chaklis.

You will need the following to make around 50 chaklis

Ingredients:

Rice flour- 4 cups
Urad dal – 1 cup
Unsalted Butter – 3/4th cup
Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 thsp
Asafoetida – 1 thsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – for deep frying

Method:

Start the prep by taking few sheets of parchment paper and cut into tiny squares to pipe the chaklis onto. You can pipe and fry in batches so don’t cut too many.

Dry roast the urad dal till a sweet aroma releases. Cool down and grind it in a coffee grinder to a fine powder. Now combine the rice and urad dal flour by sieving them together into a large mixing bowl.

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Add the salt, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and mix well.

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Now take the cold unsalted butter and rub it with the flour between your fingers to form a crumb texture.

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The crumb texture formed because of cold butter ensures you have a crunchy chakli to bite into.

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Now start adding water little by little and make a stiff dough. Let it rest for around ten minutes.

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Assemble the chakli-maker using the star tip. Take a little dough to stuff into the chakli maker. Re-knead it before stuffing it for a smooth piping experience.

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Start piping the dough into circular beauties by applying a little pressure to the handle.

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Secure the end with the previous ring so that it doesn’t disintegrate while frying.

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Now heat the oil on medium high. Drop in the chaklis one by one using the parchment paper for support. Fry till the golden brown.

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Cool down to room temperature and store away to enjoy on Diwali day with your family and friends 🙂

Diwali 2015 – Chivda

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Deep fry alert!
Chivda is a common tea-time snack and a Diwali platter must-have. It is only when you prepare this yourself, you realise how much oil you dunk into your system with every bowl of this yumminess. Every ingredient is deep fried. But then again Diwali is one time of the year where all the rules are broken. Or so they say.

In my family, I am the only one who is not into snacking. I love big meals. But snacks and me are not great friends. Whenever a little hungry my sister opts for farsans, but I would rather fix myself a sandwich. This homemade chivda is an exception though. I absolutely love the combination of its sweet and sour crunch. Just like Besan Laddoos our Diwali is incomplete without a huge dabba of Chivda ready to be shared with loved ones. Similar to the laddoo recipe, I have previously posted the Chivda recipe too. Back then I didn’t post the complete list of ingredients. So here is what you need to make a big batch.

Ingredients:

Thick Poha – 2.5 cups
Roasted Chana – 1/2 cup
Raw Peanuts – 1/2 cup
Chopped Cashew –  3 tbsp
Sultanas –  3 tbsp
Fresh Curry Leaves – 2-3 sprigs
Sun-Dried Coconut Slices (Kopra) – 1/2 cup
Powdered Sugar – 1 cup
Red Chilli Powder 2 tsp
Haldi Powder – 1 tsp
Rock Salt – 2 – 3 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

Method:

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First prep and assemble all ingredients. This means your Poha, chana, peanuts, cashew, sultanas, curry leaves and dried coconut slices should be measured and ready at arms-length to deep-fry. It’s all very quick once the cooking process starts.

Mix all the powder ingredients together in a separate bowl. Keep extra masalas, sugar, rock salt and salt handy to adjust the taste.

Once the above steps are done, heat oil for deep frying. While the oil is heating up, spread out some tissues on the kitchen counter. It can get greasy and messy. Keep a big mixing bowl and a flat spatula handy as well.

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Now for the fun part. Take a large steel wire strainer/fryer. Take the poha in tiny batches and deep fry for under 10 seconds on high flame. We want to maintain its pale colour. Shake off the excess oil and put it in the large bowl. While still warm, add in a teaspoon of the masala-salt-sugar mix and gently mix it with the flat spatula. When the poha is warm it absorbs the flavours well.

Once the entire batch of Poha is fried and smothered with the masala mix, check for seasoning. Adjust the flavour to your taste. If you have done a large batch as well, its best to use fresh oil to fry the rest of the ingredients as by now the oil would have become murky. For small batches you need not change the oil

Using the same strainer fry off the peanuts, cashews and chana. Be very careful while deep frying the curry leaves as they splatter a lot. Also the sultanas as they puff up and sometimes burst open splattering hot oil as well. So be cautious.

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Finally, mix it all with gentle hands. Let the chivda cool down to room temperature before storing away in an air tight containers.

Enjoy 🙂

A pre-wedding shoot in Dubai

My first trip to the UAE was great fun. Reminded me of The Strip at Las Vegas with all the interesting architecture. Everything was super fancy. Stayed with my sister at her service apartment in Al Murooj Rotana. The hotel’s Double Decker pub was a family favorite reminding me of our life in London. The trip also included a pre-wedding shoot for a very special couple who are getting married in Goa in December. Shruti lives in Dubai and Veo works in Abu Dhabi. We shot at the beautiful Jumeriah beach and at a stable. Here are some moments

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Traditional fare

Cooking Mangalorean food is something I really enjoy. The gassis, upukaris, kodhel etc. My mum is definitely the world’s best cook and I have learnt most of the dishes I know from her. Especially traditional food. She would make efforts to make each meal we have had as special and yummy as possible.

I have always wanted to blog her recipes and some of my variations as well. Never managed to do that though. I get bored typing ingredients. I never use measurements. So taking the pains to measure each ingredient was just not my cup of tea. So kudos for blogger friends like Niti Patel, Gayatri Rao and those hundred thousands who take the pain to post recipes.

Moode is idli steamed in Kedige leaves.
I found this recipe on no other blog. Thanks Charisma 🙂 
I stumbled upon this blog called Cherie’s Stolen recipes one day when I couldn’t remember a specific ingredient for a recipe. And with the problem of time-zones between Seattle and India I had to google the recipe. And there it was the recipe of Mangalore Buns (I know funny name 😉 ) using exactly the same ingredients that my mom does. And as I further explored her blog, I discovered more and more recipes that all seemed to come out of my mom’s own kitchen. It was a great feeling. Someone out there is doing a brilliant job.  I give the author Charisma a bow for the amount of effort she takes to write Kudla recipes. A combination of her and my mom provide me enough knowledge to preserve my traditional cuisine.
Yena kudla da ooru ge.. baari shoku da ooru ge.. ♪
Thanks Cherie!