Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Weekend Reading

“Tough Life of Brother-in-Laws”

“I Dream in Color”

There’s No After

“All these things I do miss; but silence, I miss most of all”

“The travesty of journalists in black tie sucking up to criminals posing as politicians”

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday March 31, 2007 at 9:57 pm- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Dazzling Dals ~ Tomato Dal

Dazzling Dals ~ Tomato Dal (Tomato Pappu)

I get lot of questions about the recipes I write at Mahanandi. Some show a mix of disdain and curiosity typical of a museum visitor and some convey a genuine interest. I live in a foreign country, still I cook and write about the food of my home. I guess it is expected to get both types of comments on my recipes.

When people show genuine interest, it feels good and I try to respond to their comments. One such genuinely interested person is Linda of Out of the Garden food blog. From her comments, I had a sense that she is very fond of one particular recipe of mine. So, whenever Linda inquired about the details, I replied her with equal enthusiasm. Guess what! She not only used the recipe to prepare the dish, but she also perfected the process and wrote about it on her blog. The recipe is none other than the dazzling dal, my beloved amma mudda. Linda’s description of amma muddas truly conveys her enthusiasm and a delight to read. I thank Linda for treating the recipe and the feelings associated with it with respect. I will think of her amma mudda post as a great gift to Mahanandi on its second anniversary.

Here is one more dazzling dal recipe – tomato dal. A basic and beginners favorite in Indian cooking, tomato dal is a simple and flavorful main course dish. Can be served with rice or chapatis for a hearty, satisfying meal.


• ½ cup toor dal and 1½ cups of water
• 1 big ripe tomato – cut to chunks
• 1 small onion – cut to chunks
• 6-8 green chillies – finely chopped
• ¼ tsp turmeric and marble-sized tamarind

– Take them all in a pressure cooker and cook until the dal reaches fall apart stage. Usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. Once the valve pressure is released, remove the lid and add about half teaspoon of salt. Mix and mash the dal to soft consistency with a wood masher.

In a separate vessel, do the popu or tadka (toasting cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves etc in oil). Add the mashed tomato dal to the popu. Mix and serve hot with rice or with chapati.

Tomato Dal mixed with Rice and on the side Green Brinjal Curry ~ Our lunch today
and my entry to JFI: Tomato hosted by Lovely RP of My Workshop

Recipe source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Jihva For Ingredients,Tomato,Toor Dal (Wednesday March 28, 2007 at 5:22 pm- permalink)
Comments (51)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Buttermilk Upma

Roasted upma rava combines especially well with buttermilk and tadka seasoning in this sensational upma breakfast of summer months. Almost any type or combination of upma ravas -like suji, semolina, broken wheat and rice rava can be used for this recipe, but the roasted varieties like this special upma rava from India provides the best texture for the dish. Silky, tangy and tasty – buttermilk upma is an acquired delight.

Roasted Upma Rava, Homemade Buttermilk, Urad Dal, Chana Dal and Curry Leaves
Roasted upma rava, Homemade Buttermilk, Urad Dal, Chana Dal and Curry Leaves


Take in a cup and mix:
Roasted Upma Rava – one cup
Buttermilk – one and half cups (homemade from Indian yogurt suits this recipe)
Water – one and half cups
Roasted cashews or peanuts – quarter cup
Salt – quarter teaspoon or to taste

In a wide skillet, heat and toast:
One tablespoon of ghee or oil
Add a teaspoon each – chana dal, urad dal, , broken red chilli pieces and curry leaves, in the order mentioned. Toast to golden color. Dals add crunchy bite and curry leaves bring an unforgettable aroma to the upma. I usually add one finely chopped green chilli along with curry leaves etc. Adds more flavor.

Add and cook:
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the upma rava-buttermilk-water mixture to the skillet, continuously stirring. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the rava becomes fluffy. Serve warm with chutney/spicy powders, or with a teaspoon of honey/sugar sprinkled on the top for that delightful sweet, tangy taste.

Buttermilk Upma with Cashews and Pappula Podi
Buttermilk Upma with Cashews and Pappula Podi

Roasted Upma Rava: Purchased from Indian grocery Shops
If you are going to prepare this buttermilk upma with other varieties of rice/wheat ravas – first roast them to golden color – for easy mixing, cooking and for great taste.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat),Suji/Semolina,Yogurt (Monday March 26, 2007 at 9:46 pm- permalink)
Comments (24)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Roasted Upma Rava

Roasted Upma Rava from India for this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Different from broken wheat, suji and semolina, – in method of preparation, in size and taste, roasted upma rava is a special wheat product from India specifically used to prepare a flavorful Upma breakfast.

Roasted Upma Rava and Broken Wheat in the background

Samba Upma Rava at Daily Musings
Special note:
Is this your photo? – Find more details at Yahoo-Parade.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat),Indian Ingredients (Sunday March 25, 2007 at 9:51 pm- permalink)
Comments (17)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Celebrating Ugadi

To family and friends:

Happy Ugadi and Gudi Padwa!

Blog notes:
Spring days, taking it slow, see you again in few days.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Tuesday March 20, 2007 at 4:28 pm- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts Cookbook Review and Recipe ~ by Veena Parrikar

Veena Parrikar is a dear friend of Mahanandi and me and an occasional guest author on Mahanandi. Her first article was on Iceland. This is her second article, an insightful and engaging cookbook review. I thank Veena for this wonderful contribution!
~ Indira


There are perhaps as many misconceptions about Indian cuisine as there are restaurants named “Bombay Garden”.

Indian food is tandoori chicken, aloo-matar, saag-paneer, and naan.
It is hot and spicy.
Vegetables are cooked to death.
It starts with frying onions and tomatoes to pulp and ends with a garnish of coriander leaves

One can hardly blame the Western and even some of the Eastern world for harboring these notions. Most Indian restaurants outside India serve the same tired old fare under various guises. The exceptions to these are the upscale “fusion-Indian” restaurants; after all, Indian food cannot be admitted into the Michelin club without a French or “contemporary” accent (pun intended). Over the past few years, South Indian restaurants have slowly gained ground and it is not uncommon to see a Chinese eating masala dosa with her bare hands or a middle-aged white guy slurping rasam at the neighborhood Madras Cafe or Udupi Palace in the USA. The silly notions about Indian food, however, are far from being a thing of the past. For example, the threat of homogenization, albeit of a different kind, hangs heavy like the odor of yesterday’s takeout. The complexity and variation among and within the cuisines of the four states of Southern India (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, and Andhra Pradesh) could never be guessed if one were to go by the menus of these South Indian restaurants. Most of them do not stray far from the familiar idli, vada, masala dosa, uttappam, sambar and rasam, with an indifferent nod to some rice varieties, such as curd rice, lemon rice and tamarind rice. Desserts are still “balls in sugar syrup” (gulab jamun), “ricotta cheese in evaporated milk” (rasmalai), or the occasional rava kesari, leaving in the cold a rich repertoire of jaggery-based sweets that is one of the hallmarks of the cuisines of Southern (and some other states of) India.

To be sure, even within India, availability of the authentic, traditional fare is limited to small niche restaurants, special festivals at star hotels, or if you are lucky, at the homes of neighbors and friends from other communities. Your best bet then, is to recreate many of these dishes in your kitchen, with the help of such cookbooks as Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin, Saranya Hegde’s Mangalorean Cuisine, Saraswat Mahila Samaj’s Rasachandrika, and Jigyasa-Pratibha’s Cooking at Home with Pedatha.

A new addition to this stellar lineup of traditional Indian cookbooks is Ammini Ramachandran’s Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts: Recipes and Remembrances of a Vegetarian Legacy.

Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts ~ Cookbook by Ammini Ramachandran
Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts ~ Cookbook by Ammini Ramachandran

Ammini’s book fills a lacuna in the Indian cookbook landscape. Books on the cuisine of Kerala abound; however, most of them have a predominance of seafood dishes. Small wonder then that Kerala food, like most other coastal cuisines, is perceived to be primarily non-vegetarian. One food writer and journalist in India even declared that most Malayali vegetarian dishes are terrible! One knows, of course, not to take such statements without the proverbial pinch of salt, and a large one at that. Having encountered the delectable and varied vegetarian fare of the coastal cuisines of Goa and Karnataka, I had always suspected a similar treasure existed in Kerala. Eating and learning it, was another matter altogether, what with the lack of Kerala-food restaurants, close friends from the state, or opportunities to set forth on a voyage of discovery to its shores. With Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts, some of the vegetarian food of Kerala is now just a coconut (or two) away.

The present state of Kerala was formed by the merger of Kochi (Cochin), Tiruvithamcore (Travancore), and Malabar. Each of these regions, originally Hindu, was subject to varying degrees of Muslim and Christian influences. Accordingly, Kerala cuisine represents the confluence of Hindu, Muslim, and Christian traditions. Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts presents the traditional vegetarian cuisine of central Kerala including some from the Kochi royalty. It is one of the first cookbooks to focus on a Hindu culinary tradition of Kerala.

Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is one of the finest Indian cookbooks to have been written in recent times. Here’s why:

1. Traditional food, when presented for a worldwide (read Western) audience, undergoes a simplification, motivated largely by the authors’ and publishers’ goal to widen the book’s market reach. Recipes are modified to exclude exotic or not-easily-available ingredients; difficult processes might be eliminated or substituted with commercial alternatives; and dishes that do not conform to the health fad of the day might be passed over. Except for a few dishes, food from Kerala is obscure even to many Indians, leave alone the non-Indian readers. Ammini has barely made any changes to her family recipes, yet her presentation makes them seem extremely do-able. She does not hesitate to include preparations with such exotic vegetables as breadfruit, jackfruit, and suran. Ammini has pulled off a seemingly impossible feat in Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts: she has preserved the originality of her traditional family recipes, and made them accessible to those outside the tradition, without overwhelming the reader with tedious detail. Novice cooks might miss having pictures of the finished dishes; the clarity of instructions, however, make up for this to a very large extent.

2. There is none of the anything-goes attitude to ingredients adopted by many modern Indian cookbooks published in the West. No false assurances are provided about difficult ingredients such as coconut milk. She tells us that coconut milk powder can be used instead, but clearly informs that the taste will not be authentic. We are told right at the onset: “My mother always insisted, “Never skimp on the quality or quantity of ingredients,” and I believe it is the first lesson in good cooking.” This is reflected in the meticulous detail provided in the chapter on ingredients.

3. Ammini’s family recipes create dishes that would go a long way in dispelling some of the popular myths about Indian cuisine. Spices are used in skillful moderation (garam masala powder never makes an apperance in this book), the vegetables and grains hold their shape and retain their flavour, and you will encounter delicate and subtly-flavoured curries that will never be found in a restaurant.

4. There is a detailed chapter on the history and development of ancient spice trade in Kerala, and to those who have not previously enquired into such matters, this chapter offers many surprises. The book also provides a very engaging account of the kitchens, culinary customs, and festivals and celebrations of Ammini’s maiden family. A world that is now almost extinct rises vividly from the pages and for a brief while, you forget the harried and hurried pace of your existence (and the pre-made frozen food in your kitchen). This is a serious yet enjoyable work, not just another cloying food “memoir” that is in fashion these days.

The book has been written for a Western audience, but readers in India will find much of profit. Such ancient traditional recipes do not come by very often. I am no alarmist, but it seems as though our traditional cuisines will soon exist only within the homes of determined souls or in five-star hotels. Even wedding feasts in India – the last stronghold of traditional food – seem to have embraced a global integration philosophy: Mushroom Pasta and Gobi Manchurian now jostle for buffet space with tava vegetables, Spanish rice, and Shahi Paneer.

Our culinary traditions, not unlike our ancient classical music, have been poorly documented for far too long, what with the practitioners jealously guarding their treasures from outsiders for various reasons. With the passing of generations, more and more of this body of knowledge will be lost. We hope there will be many more Amminis, who will not only document their family or community recipes painstakingly and truthfully, but also share it generously with others.

Srimati Ammini Ramachandran
Srimati Ammini Ramachandran ~ Cookbook Author


Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices
(Recipe from Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts)

I was intrigued by this recipe as it did not include sambar powder, and at first glance, seemed similar to some of my daal-vegetable preparations. The finished dish was neither like the familiar sambar nor my usual daal-with-vegetables. With powdered spices (except asafetida and turmeric) as well as ginger-garlic absent, the flavour of toor dal is allowed to hold centerstage, complemented by the freshness of the potatoes, herbs, and lemon juice. I stayed faithful to the recipe as I am wont to do when attempting traditional recipes for the first time. There is a slight error of omission in the recipe, but a missing pinch of turmeric is not a show-stopper.


1 cup toor dal
1 medium russet potato or 3 taro, peeled and cubed
2 medium tomatoes cubed
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¾ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup finely chopped fresh fenugreek leaves (preferred, if available)
or ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
6 fresh green chilies (serrano or Thai), thinly sliced (less for a milder taste)
4 tablespoons lemon juice

For seasoning and garnish:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dried red cayenne, serrano, or Thai chili, halved
¼ teaspoon asafetida powder
20 to 25 fresh curry leaves

Ingredients for Pacha Sambar
Clockwise:Toor Dal, Fresh Fenugreek, Tomatoes, Curry Leaves, Green Chillies, Potatoes, Lemons, Cilantro

Wash and clean the toor dal in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. If you are using oily toor dal, the oil must be washed off before starting to cook. Place the toor dal in a saucepan with two and a half cups of water and a half-teaspoon of turmeric powder. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, then turn down the heat, and cook for twenty-five to thirty minutes. (As an alternative, you may use a pressure cooker to cook the dal, following the manufacturer’s directions. It will take about six to eight minutes to cook in a pressure cooker.) As the dal cooks, it should be fairly thick but still liquid; stir in another half-cup of water if it is too thick. Mash the cooked toor dal thoroughly with a spoon, and set it aside.

Combine the potato (or taro), tomatoes, salt, turmeric, and two cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring it to a boil. Stir in the cilantro, fenugreek, and green chilies. Reduce the heat, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Stir in the cooked toor dal, and simmer for four to five minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Remove it from the heat, and set it aside.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a small skillet, and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the halved red chili, asafetida, and curry leaves. Remove it from the stove, and pour the seasoning over the cooked curry. Cover and set aside for ten minutes, to
allow the flavors to blend. Serve hot with rice and a second curry.

Makes 4 to 6 servings if served with another curry, as is traditional.

Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices
Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices

~Guest Post by Veena Parrikar

Ammini Ramachandran’s website :
For a detailed list of contents and exceprts from the book, see
Grains, Greens and Grated Coconut is available at, and Barnes&Nobles
Recommend this cookbook to your local libraries
Author and Book Cover Photo Credits: Ammini Ramachandran, Recipe Photo Credits: Rajan Parrikar
Veena Parrikar’s previous article at Mahanandi: Iceland

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kottimera(Cilantro),Menthi Kura(Fenugreek),Potato,Reviews: Cookbooks,Toor Dal,Veena Parrikar (Monday March 19, 2007 at 12:22 am- permalink)
Comments (45)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Tempting Tikkis ~ Alu Tikki (Potato Cutlets)

Alu Tikki with a slice of Tomato, Lettuce and Tomato Ketchup
Alu Tikki with a slice of Tomato, Lettuce and Tomato Ketchup

Dainty, miniature alu tikkis (Potato Cutlets) from India are a delicious and decent snack. Flavorful golden crust on alu tikkis make them irresistible to children as well as adults. The following recipe is kid friendly and can be put together in a short time.

(For eight to ten alu tikkis)

3 big Russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
½ teaspoon each – salt and garam masala powder
¼ teaspoon each – red chilli powder and turmeric
Ghee – 2 tablespoons or as needed


1. Place unpeeled potatoes in a pressure cooker or large pan of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain. Peel as soon as possible, while potatoes are still hot but cool enough to handle. In a big vessel, mash the potatoes to smooth, without any lumps.

2. Sprinkle lemon/lime juice on mashed potatoes. Also add turmeric, salt, garam masala and red chilli powder. Combine thoroughly using a big spoon.

3. Divide the spicy mashed potatoes into lemon-sized equal rounds. Press and shape each portion into a round patty, about your palm size. Keep them side by side on a plate ready to cook.

4. Place a wide, flat skillet on stovetop. Keep the heat medium and season the skillet with ghee. When the skillet is hot, place potato tikkis side by side with gap between them for uniform browning. Cook each side for about 2 to 4 minutes on medium heat until a golden-brown crust forms on top. Remove and repeat the steps to cook remaining alu tikkis.

5. Serve with ketchup or sweet tamarind chutney. Using bread rolls or mini pita bread/naan and with some tomato slices and lettuce, you can also prepare alu tikki burger or an open faced alu tikki sandwich.

Open Faced Alu Tikki Sandwich with Mini Pita Bread and a Glass of Orange Juice ~ Our Midday Snack

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato (Tuesday March 13, 2007 at 9:54 am- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Treats from Newfoundland, Canada

Special Surprise Treats from Blogger Friend Trupti of The Spice Who Loved Me

Cloudberry Syrup, Blueberry, Lingonberry and Cloudberry Spreads, Cream Biscuits and Ginger Snaps ~Treats from Newfoundland, Canada

We recently received a gift package from dear Trupti of gorgeous food blog “The Spice Who Loved Me”. In her email, she mentioned that she wanted to share her hometown favorites with us in appreciation of Mahanandi. I was surprised, elated and then hesitated to accept. But she insisted. How can I say no to such affectionate soul.

All the items were very carefully packed to withstand several days of journey through the postal system. The package and the items also revealed Trupti’s passion for food and food blogging.

The treats are all locally prepared and special to Newfoundland region, she mentioned. We tried everything and they were all delicious. In fact these nourishing treats saved us two weeks ago when we were recovering from a severe case of flu. Both Vijay and I greatly enjoyed this special surprise gift.

Thanks very much Trupti for this nice gesture, it meant a lot to us!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday March 11, 2007 at 8:48 pm- permalink)
Comments (14)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend Reading

Why Do You Food Blog? – Poignant Essays

Why do I blog? RP of My Work Shop

Food Blogging: Why? Jason Truesdell of Pursuing My Passions

Blog Talent

Powerful Posts & Satirical Cartoons – to move the search & info megalith Yahoo.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday March 10, 2007 at 9:28 pm- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Honey~Date~Walnut Cake (Kharjuram Cake)

Honey-Date-Walnut Cake
Honey-Date-Walnut Cake ~ Fresh Out of the Oven

The classic combination of honey, dates and walnuts is used for this light, moist cake. This is my first ever cake of this type that I baked. Delicious and nutritious, Honey-date-walnut cake is one of my favorite cakes.


1 cup dates
½ cup honey
1 cup walnuts
2 eggs – at room temperature
¼ cup each – milk and butter at room temperature
2 cups – all-purpose flour (maida pindi)
½ cup brown sugar or white cane sugar
½ tsp each – baking powder, baking soda and cardamom powder

Honey, Walnuts and Dates

Dates and Honey: Finely chop dates into thin rings. Take them in a cup and add honey. Keep the dates soaked in honey for about 30 minutes. This is done to soften and further sweeten the dates. The dates that I used in this recipe are Deglet Noor, mildly sweet Tunisian variety. Extremely sweet and soft Medjool type does not need the honey/soaking part.

Walnuts: Finely chop walnuts to small pieces

Eggs: Break eggs into a cup and beat with a spoon. (I removed yellows, my preference.) Sometimes I skip the eggs totally and would add a mashed, ripe banana in its place. This works too.

Sift and add flour to a big vessel. Stir in sugar, baking powder, soda and cardamom powder. Mix.

Add butter, milk and eggs. Also walnuts and dates along with the honey they are soaked in. Combine all thoroughly. If the batter is too tight, adjust the consistency by adding little bit more milk. Pour the mixture into a cake pan. level it evenly.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the cake pan in the bottom rack for the first 15 minutes, and then move the pan to the top rack. Bake for about a total 30 minutes, until the top of the cake turns to light honey color and when a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from oven. Let cool. Slice and enjoy!

Cake and Care Package to Our Friends
Cake and Care Package to Our Friends

Vijay’s classmate and friend became a proud parent of a cutest baby boy, couple of days ago. They came home from hospital yesterday and this is the care package we sent today for them. Chapatis, aloo chole, idly, peanut chutney and honey-date-walnut cake.
Congratulations Dimpy and RP!

Honey tends to thicken during winter time. Microwaving for couple of seconds usually lightens the honey.
Flour Choice: King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida),Dates (kharjuram),Honey,Walnuts (Friday March 9, 2007 at 8:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (32)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Yahoo ~ Fight is Not Over Yet!

John Ribeiro, IDG News Service
Thu Mar 8, 11:00 AM ET

“Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO – news) apologized on Thursday after recipes from the blog of an Indian housewife were used without permission on Yahoo’s India’s new Malayalam-language Web portal.
The reproduction of the recipes, which were taken from a blog in Malayalam run by a housewife in Kerala, in Southern India, sparked an online protest among bloggers.”

You can read the press release – here.

Great news and I think this is a huge victory to our food blogging community. Our protest worked!

Updated on March 9th:

Looks like I have spoken in haste. Yahoo released a press statement but yet yo apologize to Surya Gayathri personally and new revelations of content and image theft by several Yahoo portals have come forward.

We are going to kick this protest up a notch!

You can find and follow the discussion at Dining Hall and Food Blog S’cool – food bloggers community websites.

Again, my sincere request to the editors of Indian newspapers and web magazines. Please put a stop to this frequent shameful and painful content theft. Its really beneath you. Acknowledge us food bloggers and respect our work. Respect the copyrights law. Please request permission before using the content from our blogs. We would be more than happy to lend the content, really who doesn’t want to get featured in a hometown newspaper. Let’s work together and make it pleasant.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Thursday March 8, 2007 at 3:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Dazzling Dals ~ Brinjal Dal (Vankaya Pappu)

Brinjal Dal mixed with Rice and Ghee (Vankaya Pappu Muddalu)

Traditionally in Nandyala, dal is usually prepared with less water. The idea is to make round balls of rice, dal and ghee called pappu mudda or amma/mama mudda . Mothers prepare this small rounds to feed children in our homes. Less water means tight dal means firm, round amma mudda.

We love this type of rice-dal muddas. For dal fans, this less water dal is a must try. You will be hooked, I promise. The taste is completely different from watery type of dal. There are some vegetables which suit this type of tight dal, and brinjal is one of them. Young, firm, white fleshed brinjals are cooked with toor dal and red chilli powder. The taste is really special and this traditional dal from Rayalaseema region is a must try for purple/green brinjal fans.

Firm, white fleshed purple brinjal pieces and Toor dal


½ cup of toor dal and 1½ cups of water
2 purple or green young, firm and white fleshed brinjals – cut to small pieces
1 onion – cut to chunks
½ tsp each – red chilli powder, turmeric and salt
2 marble sized tamarind pieces

Popu or tadka ingredients:
1 tsp of oil and
½ tsp each – chopped garlic, curry leaves, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds

Take toor dal in a pressure cooker. Wash and drain. To this washed dal, add one and half cups of water. Also the brinjal, onion, red chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind. Mix with a spoon. Cover and pressure-cook to two or three whistles until the dal is cooked to fall-apart stage.

Once all the valve pressure is released, remove the lid. Add salt. With a wood masher or whisk, mash the dal to smooth consistency. Have a taste and adjust the salt level to your liking.

Now in a saucepan, heat oil to do the popu or tadka. Add and toast the popu ingredients in the order mentioned above starting with chopped garlic and the final item would be toasting the mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the mashed dal to this popu. Mix and cover with a lid.

To serve, add a small cup of cooked rice to a plate. To it, add a tablespoon of ghee and a big ladle full of dal. Combine them all thoroughly. Shape the mixture into round balls using your hand. Place the rounds on a plate and enjoy. A side dish of curry/ papad/pickle will enhance the experience very much. Finish off the meal with a glass of buttermilk or yogurt and some fruit for dessert.

Brinjal Dal mixed with Rice and Ghee (Vankaya Pappu Muddalu)

Kitchen Notes:
From Telugu to English, Mudda = Round shape
Prepare this dal only with white fleshed, firm brinjals. Black seeded ones are not suitable and the dal will taste bitter.
We usually add red chilli powder to brinjal dal. Not that good with green chillies

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Toor Dal,Vankaya (Brinjal) (Wednesday March 7, 2007 at 6:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Potato ~ Brinjal Curry with Punjabi Wadis Scrumptious Subzis ~ Aloo Baingan Wadi Ki subzi

My temperature got a rise; from a cool 98 it reached 99 this afternoon. No, it’s not another flu attack and I think it is all because of our lunch.

This morning I prepared a special curry. Potatoes, brinjals and tomatoes together cooked with Punjabi wadis. Like Punjabi Sun, wadis – the sun dried lentils and spices mixture, a Punjabi specialty are hot, the kind that makes one warm, tingly and perspire. They look pale brown in color and inside, you will find a maroon colored combination of lentils, like urad dal, moong dal and spices like black peppers, cumin and red chilli. They are ground together and the mixture is sun dried in round shapes. Usually added to curries, they are savory, full of flavor and completely delectable! Just the right thing to have when recovering from a flu attack to wake up those taste buds.

I first heard about wadis at Mika’s beautiful The Green Jackfruit blog. Her description of wadis captivated me. After trying them, I can truly say that their flavor profile is unique and they are quite addictive. Give it a try.

Tomato, Purple Brinjal and Red Potato with Broken Pieces of Punjabi Wadi
Tomato, Purple Brinjal and Red Potato with Broken Pieces of Punjabi Wadi


2 each – red potatoes, brinjals and Punjabi wadis
4 ripe juicy tomatoes
1 onion
1 teaspoon -ginger-garlic-coriander paste (GGC paste)
1 teaspoon – coriander-cumin-cinnamon-cloves powder (CCCC powder/garam masala)
¼ teaspoon each or to taste – red chilli powder, turmeric and salt
1 tablespoon of oil and popu ingredients

Peel the potatoes, wash and cube them to bite sized pieces. Remove the petals of brinjals, wash and cut to one-inch chunks. Add them to a bowl of salted water and keep aside. Break Punjabi wadis (each wadi is usually the size of a big tomato) to 4 to 5 pieces in a cup. Finely chop tomatoes and onion to small pieces.

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and saute the broken Punjabi wadi pieces to honey color. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep them in a cup to the side.

In the same skillet, add and saute popu ingredients (half teaspoon each-cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves). When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the onion and cook to soft. Next, add tomatoes, potatoes and brinjal pieces. Stir in GGC paste, CCCC powder, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt along with a cup of water. Mix and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes become tender, stirring occasionally.

Just before turning off the heat, stir in wadi pieces. Cook for another 5 minutes so that they would get softened and absorb the curry flavor. Serve warm with chapati or naans.

Potato-Brinjal Curry with Punjabi Wadis and Garlic Naan

Punjabi Wadis are available in Indian grocery shops, here in US.
Recipe adapted from Mika’s The Green Jackfruit

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato,Vankaya (Brinjal) (Tuesday March 6, 2007 at 2:37 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Indian Newspapers, Yahoo India – Stop Stealing from Food Bloggers!

Food Bloggers Event~ Protesting the Content Theft by Mainstream Media on March 5th
Protesting Plagiarism by MSM

Recently, newly launched Yahoo-Malayalam portal published recipes from a blog by Surya Gayathri, a fellow food blogger from India, without permission or giving credit to her work. Total 6 recipes, word by word are lifted and republished. When protested about it, Yahoo silently removed the content without an apology or compensation to the blogger. Not only Surya Gayathri, we the food bloggers community do not think she has been treated fairly by Yahoo. So today is protest day against Yahoo and other stealers.

It started small. Few online editions of news magazines started lifting content and images from food blogs. Now it looks like almost everybody in Indian publishing industry seems to be doing it. From big names like India Times to famous online publications such as Sify, Bawarchi and Rediff are publishing content, mainly images from food blogs without permission or compensating the food blogger. This is not fair, this is copyrights violation and it must stop.

We know that there are not that many images of Indian food on the web. We understand the temptation to steal. But really, you don’t need to get that desperate. Just ask. We will be more than happy to lend the content. Request permission first. Compensate us like you do your photographers or at least provide a link to our blogs. We, the food bloggers are a happy, genial bunch most of the times. Acknowledge us and respect our work. This is my sincere request to the editors of the Indian news papers. Please put a stop to this frequent shameful and painful content theft.

If any of you readers are lawyers, who specialize in copyrights, we please need your assistance. Would you like to help and do some pro bono work on behalf of us food bloggers? Not only Yahoo, we have several big names in Indian publishing industry who are regular content stealers. Many Indian bloggers are victims and attempts by us to contact the editors were failed to generate a response. I would like to see something positive come out of this protest and we need your help very much.

My salute to Surya Gayathri for standing up to Yahoo and to Inji Pennu for organizing the today’s event. I ask you all to participate in the protest. Show your support to the food blogging community. Contact Yahoo and let them know about what you think of this matter.

Logo credit:
Sandeepa of Bong Mom’s CookBook. Thanks Sandeepa!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday March 5, 2007 at 8:51 am- permalink)
Comments (11)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Punjabi Wadi (Dried Spicy Lentil Rounds)

Punjabi Wadi
Punjabi Wadi : Whole and Broken Pieces ~ For this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dals (Lentils & Legumes),Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen (Sunday March 4, 2007 at 2:49 pm- permalink)
Comments (14)

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