Category Archives: Chomp

Chomp chomp.

Sugar and spice and all things nice

In which we remember our blog, our Telugu-ness and our lunch. (not necessarily in that order.)

Mango Rice and Ugadi Pachchadi


Yello. Please note the conspicuous absence of apologies and excuses. I have evolved so much, no?

So we woke up this morning feeling all wholesome, traditional and festival-ey. As this tends to be a bit of a rare occasion we usually like to commemorate it with wholesome, traditional and festival-ey food. And nicely enough, today be Ugadi. As they say, timing is everything. So here we have for you two things —

First, the Ugadi pachchadi, the traditional chutney/mixture combining the six primary tastes (shaD-ruchi) that symbolizes the different experiences that make up life. (Yes, deep philosophy can be found anywhere, you just have to look for it.) The six tastes in question are sweet, bitter, sour, tart, chili and salt. Jaggery for sweet, tamarind for sour, raw mango for tart, red chili for chili and salt for salt. Neem flowers are used for bitterness, and if you cannot find them then please don’t substitute karela/bitter gourd. It doesn’t work. Really. I’ve tried.

The tart and sour thing confused me for a while, but try sucking on a piece of tamarind versus a raw mango and you’ll quickly know the difference. Tart is what makes your tongue click against the roof of your mouth with a ‘tcha’ sound. Yes, that is tart. I think they call it vagaru in Telugu. Its that tongue pricking feeling that is most prominent in baby raw mangoes.

The funda of eating this pachchadi, as mom explains it, is that you have a spoon of this the very first thing in the morning on Ugadi. The first taste you encounter (after the taste of your toothpaste, preferably) determines how the rest of your year will be. I imagine the system can be rigged easily enough by putting copious amounts of sweet, but that’s a whole different ball of jaggery.

The second entity in the picture is the luminescent raw mango rice, that symbolizes the presence of one too many raw mangoes in the fridge that were bought for the aforementioned pachchadi. No, but seriously. Raw mango rice (known as maamidikaaya chaddi in Telugu. No, not chaddi as in what Dada Kondke used to wear. This is the softer d sound.) is truly a work of art. One of the simplest of rices to make (the only thing simpler is perhaps lemon rice) — it combines cooked rice, grated raw mango and tadka (also known as phodni, bagaar, popu, seasoning, whatever-you-wanna-call-it) to create a simple, flavorful dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Heavenly, it is.

Anyhoo, if you want recipes, please ask. If you want to eat it, cook it.

Happy new year, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Yugaadi, and Cheti Chand to all!

Margao margao!

Yetanudder recipe for a friend. This is turning into a cookery blog, at this rate. Ah well, all part of what I do I guess. :)

Goan Vegetable Curry

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped mixed vegetables (e.g. potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, French beans, and shelled green peas)
  • 2 medium onion chopped fine
  • 1" piece ginger chopped (optionally, use ginger paste 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 flakes garlic chopped (optionally, use garlic paste 1 teaspoon)
  • 2-4 green chilies, chopped fine (number of chilies will depend on how hot you want this to be)
  • 1-2 teaspoons) garam masala
  • 2 cups coconut milk (available in Indian/Thai stores in a tin)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter (unsalted) or ghee (clarified butter)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 bunch coriander leaves (cilantro) chopped fine to garnish

Method

  1. Parboil (half-boil) the chopped vegetables and keep aside. Heat half the quantity of butter / ghee (clarified butter) in a pan on medium level till it is hot. Add the chopped onions. Sauté on medium heat for 4 minutes or till the onions are transparent and soft. Now, add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chilies and the garam masala. Stir fry briefly for a few seconds till the onions are golden/brown. Let it cool. Grind this to a fine paste (optional — if you had chopped the onions very finely you don’t have to grind). Keep aside.

    (Note — if you are not grinding the onions, you don’t have to heat butter and add the paste back to the pan. Once the onions appear done, simply add the veggies)

  2. Heat the remaining quantity of butter / ghee in the same pan. Stir fry the paste on medium level till all the water has evaporated and the butter / ghee has left the sides of the pan. Now, add the vegetables and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook on medium / low heat for 3 minutes or till the vegetables are fully cooked. Add the coconut milk and water. Simmer on very low heat (so that the coconut milk does not curdle) for about 4 minutes.

    Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with bread or white rice.

    (Note — if worried about coconut milk being too high in fat, cholesterol and other delicious but unhealthy elements :), reduce its quantity to 1 cup. 2 cups of milk will be richer in taste, but 1 cup works just fine too)

Chole, balle balle!

Realization for the day — It is far easier to cook something rather than try to describe the same process in writing. A friend asked me for a recipe for Chhole/Chana, hence the pearls of wisdom..

Said friend being a non-desi cook, I’ve stripped the recipe of all the extra thrills and frills so as to make it easier for a beginner to Indian cooking. Reproduced here verbatim, in case I ever need to refer to it —

Chhole or Chana

Ingredients

(The spices used in the recipe can usually be found in a speciality Indian store.)

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies chopped (optional, for extra spice)
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2-3 whole black peppers
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon or 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 big onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Chhole masala/Chana masala (a special spice blend for making garbanzos. If not available, then substitute with a mix of 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp cumin powder and 1/4 tsp coriander powder)
  • 1 big tomato finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tbsp sour cream or thick yogurt (optional)
  • 6-7 mint leaves chopped (fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro/coriander leaves chopped (fresh)
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Drain garbanzos from the tin and wash thoroughly to get rid of the preserve liquid.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the ginger paste, garlic paste and chopped green chilies (if needed). Fry for a minute, add cloves, whole black peppers, cinnamon and fry lightly.
  3. Add chopped onion, fry for another minute. Now add the turmeric powder and chhole masala. If chhole masala not available, add the substitute masalas at this point. Fry till onions are a golden brown.
  4. Add the chopped tomato, sprinkle salt over it, and stir fry till tomatoes lose shape and turn into a part-puree. Add the sugar to the puree.
  5. Add the garbanzos, and 1.5 cups water to the pan. Let it boil 10-15 minutes on medium heat till the water mostly reduces and the garbanzos are cooked (and loose the tin-ish taste). Check to see if cooked, and if doubtful, add 1/2 cup more water and boil another 10 minutes or so. Basically, adjust amount of water and boiling time as needed. Also adjust for salt at this point.
  6. When garbanzos appear cooked, add sour cream/yogurt and chopped mint and cook for a minute or two.. Remove from heat, sprinkle chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Serve!