5 different tastes in one bite! It's a culinary master piece!
I have always told people who asked me about my favorite vegetables that I love Karlyachi Bhaji and especially the way my mom makes it. The surprise on their face made me feel proud for earning brownie points for being a good kid who eats all vegetables, including bitter gourd.
Any preparation of bitter gourd will have a pronounced bitter taste and it should, it’s not easy to mask bitter taste but it plays well with well chosen ingredients. This particular preparation which uses tangy tamarind, nutty peanuts, creamy coconut, sweet jaggery and spicy Goda Masala is a classical example of Marathi cuisine from Konkan region.
I was very happy with my attempt to mimic mom’s magical taste. The best reward was that my husband really enjoyed it, which was quite a shock for me!
5 tastes in one byte! It's a culinary master piece!
- If you are using ready made tamarind paste, skip this step. Else, in a small bowl add 1 spoonful of tamarind and some water, microwave it for 10 seconds and let it sit aside.
- Wash bitter melons and cut them length wise, if you see any bigger seeds remove them with a spoon or inner side of a peeler. Now chop them into smaller equal sized pieces.
- Add these chopped pieces to a bowl with some water and add 1 tbsp of salt, mix it well. The salt makes the bitter gourd release some juice and it takes away some bitterness. This step is optional but highly recommended.
- Now in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil. I use peanut oil and it works really well for this dish.
- Prepare phodani or tadka, by adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, hing and turmeric powder.
- Now add bitter melon pieces by removing all the water. If you like squeeze out the water as much as you can.
- Stir fry it for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add ground peanuts, grated coconut, tamarind paste and mix it well.
- Add red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder, Goda masala and finally some salt. Mix everything together and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add jaggery, cook it further for 2 minutes.
- Adjust the amount of jaggery / salt as per your taste.
Enjoy it hot with poli or fulka! Bon apetite!
Comforting to eat, Effortless to make
I will describe Khichadi in word one – Soul-food! It’s so comforting, fulfilling and satisfying. This was the first recipe I learned from my mom when I first started my job in Bangalore. It’s a ‘++’ version of वरण भात ‘Varan-bhaat’ (dal-rice) but it’s actually easier to prepare than dal-rice.
The best part I like about Khichadi is it’s a one pot meal. All you do is mix all ingredients together in pressure cooker, then wait for few minutes and dig in! Well khichadi literally means a mixture. The rice in it adds the starch, which somewhat magically means comfort in any language, and the moong dal adds a good source of protein which is easy to digest.
It is also a dish that is found throughout the country in some form or the other – khichdi, khichri, khichuri, venn pongal, even kedgeree, which was adopted by the colonials, are all variations on the same theme. Like names there are different khichdis too. I like it soft, almost mushy and watery, but some prefer it like pulao, all grains intact.
My mom makes a milder version with no garam masala –
I generally make a spiced khichadi with whole garam masala and green peas.
The general rule is to use 2 parts rice and 1 part moong dal but I use both in equal proportions. You can use split moong dal which is green or yellow. Here is my version –
मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी Moong Dal Khichadi
Comforting to eat, Effortless to make!
- Wash and soak the rice and the dal in water for about half an hour. If you don't have time skip this step.
- If you have time use a large wide and heavy bottom pan to prepare khichadi. Or you can also use a pressure cooker and make it quicker.
- Either ways, in a pan, heat the oil and add whole garam masala (clove, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom). Also mustard seeds.
- When they start to pop add cumin seeds, curry leaves, hing and turmeric.
- Drain all the water from the grains and add them to the oil. Mix well for a minute.
- Now add goda masala and red chili powder and mix well.
- If you want add green peas or any other vegetables and mix again.
- Add 4 cups of water and stir everything together.
- Add grated coconut.
- Add salt and taste it.
- Now let it cook on medium heat for 3 whistles. If you skip the first step, you might want to wait for 4-5 whistles depending upon your cooker.
- If you are making it a wide pan, let the water come to a boil and then simmer for few minutes. Stir it occasionally. But keep a lid on it by leaving a small gap for the steam to escape.
- Serve it hot with ghee and chopped cilantro.
If you still think this is not easy to prepare, there is an instant version too. I recently came across AyurFoods and I have tried their moong dal khichadi. It was as delicious as home made. It’s nicely packaged and can be a good healthy meal while travelling.
Last time when I travelled to India, Cathay Pacific served bhindi masala for lunch. In my humble opinion, if people don’t know how to make bhindi that should just refrain from it. As soon as I reached home, the first thing I asked my mom to make was “भरली भेंडी / bharali bhendi”. It’s called “bharali” because it’s stuffed with masala. Disclaimer – This recipe is not same as Punjabi Bhendi Masala. This is truly a Maharashtrian version and if you ask me it’s the best version 🙂
Bharali Bhendi / Bhindi Masala
Little heavy on oil but totally worth it!
- Wash bhendi and let it dry completely.
- Make slits so that you can stuff the masala inside. Cut it into halves lengthwise so that it's easy to eat.
- In a small bowl, prepare the masala by mixing everything together except for salt.
- In a medium pan, take oil and make tadka by adding mustanrd seeds, cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves and turmeric powder in that order.
- Now stir in stuffed bhendi and let those cook properly.
- Sprinkle salt and mix it lightly. Make sure the masala doesn't come out.
- Keep it covered for 3-4 minutes.
- Once bhendi becomes soft and masala is cooked, it's ready to serve hot with rotis.
This dish demands a bit more oil than usual cooking but it's totally worth it. Also try to use a non stick pan in order to avoid sticking-at-the-bottom problem.
It is a good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese. Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2498/2#ixzz2CRq5FNaA