September 24, 2014

Tomato and corn salad and comfort fits

Now that the mornings are cooler, I have been sorting kids clothes, adding some layering, full shirts and t-shirts and removing clothes that are too small and storing stuff that can be used next year.

I had a lot of clothes to give away this time, mostly Tiny M's because he is suddenly a toddler and I have bags full of baby clothes. It took some time, but I had to sorted by months. They were then separated into many piles - going to india to MIL's neighbor, Aswin's cousin who will soon have a little baby, a colleague friend and donation.

What do you do with the clothes that don't fit anymore?

After coming back from India we have been at the Farmer's market and it is overflowing with so many fresh vegetables and fruits. I picked up cantaloupe, tomatoes, corn, radish, beetroots, eggplant and herbs this week.

The tomatoes and corn came together nicely in a salad we had with tandoori chicken. The beetroots went into a pachadi and the greens were a quick stirfry.

September 10, 2014

B is for Bhaate Sheddo

Bhaate sheddo

I am back with ABC of Bengali cuisine.

Now, B can lead us to many crunchy Bengali food journeys with bhaja (fried) and beguni (dipped & fried eggplant). But I want to deviate to talk about simple comfort food that has been had in almost all Bengali households -  bhaate sheddo.

 I love a good bhaja and had a good share of them while in India.This kumro bhaja with fresh kumro (pumpkin) was just divine and was perfect with a hot cup of chai after the rains.

Bhaate sheddo literally means cooked with rice. It becomes a one pot meal where most commonly potatoes and sometimes even eggs are cooked with rice. Sometimes lentils like mushrir dal (masoor dal) will be put in a pouch and dropped in the boiling rice water to have some boiled lentils on the side.

When the rice is cooked, the potatoes, eggs and the lentil pouch is separated. The potato and the eggs are mashed with oil, salt and green chilli. One can also add some chopped raw onions to the sheddo mix.

My thakuma would burn or fry a red chilli and mash it in the alu sheddo. It tasted divine. Now thakuma had rice for breakfast, and lunch. Most of the times, her breakfast was bhaat aar sheddo. When me and my cousins were little we would sit around her during her breakfast time. She would make a little round ball of rice and sheddo and each of us would get a bite. 

August 28, 2014

Tanjore Marathi specialty Ambode


This time when we were in India, a friend was coming to visit for lunch and we decided on  ambode and kadhi for the lunch menu.

Now, this is a dear friend from Ann Arbor and the kids were very excited to see a familiar friendly face, but were also confused and asked "Why are you in India?"

Once they settled down, the boys had a lot of fun showing off their new toys, chota bheem t-shirts and had Bourbon chocolate biscuits together.

We said bye to the friend with some sadness knowing we won't see him back in Ann Arbor when we are back. 

Coming back to the lunch menu, ambode is a mixed dal vada which can be made two ways - usually without onions. You can add onions then it becomes more like masala vada. You can also add curry leaves, or methi leaves to add a different taste.

It makes its presence during festivals when ambode and kadhi is a popular combination followed by payasam.

August 18, 2014

Ridge Gourd and coconut salad and tales of India travels

Hello friends! We are back from our India travels. It was a hectic month traveling with both kids to India for the first time.

We spent time in Bangalore and Delhi for most parts. Then, we did little trips to Mysore and Rishikesh. It was a month of visiting friends, spending time with family and of course eating. Before we knew, a month had flown by and we are back in the US.

2014 india visitThere is no doubt that one of the big highlights of the trip is that we got to eat Indian mangoes. Both the kids and us devoured all the different mangoes that were available.

The choices were immense. There was langda, dusheri, chausa, banganpalli, sindoori and many little ones for which I cannot recollect the names. Oh it was just delicious! Sweet as sugar, the kids loved it. We probably had one if not more everyday!


2014 india visit During our travel we also had a chance to savor local, traditional meals and thalis whether it was North Karnataka thali or a vegetarian thali at the famous "Chotiwala" restaurant in Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.

There will be a separate post on my India travels. In this post I want to talk about all the good homemade food I ate. Delicious, simple, or complicated, they were made with so much love for us. Rice rava upma, mirchi ka salan, katla macher jhol, multigrain dosa, mishti aamer achar (sweet mango pickle) are just some of them.

July 09, 2014

Panchphoron asparagus

Panchphoron asparagus

Does it happen to you that some week just turn out to be intense cooking week when creativity flows and everything seems to come together perfectly? It happened last week, weekend actually.

It seemed like every meal we cooked had a new element or a new dish. We all took turns cooking as well so that worked well too.

This asparagus was cooked during that time for a dinner with friends who were moving away. The combination of panch phoron, garlic and asparagus went so well together, I couldn't believe I hadn't made this before.

In other summer news, we are getting ready for a big trip. We all are traveling to India. I have traveled with one of the boys at a time, but two together? Any tips on how to keep them occupied during the flight?

How is your summer going? What are your plans?

July 03, 2014

Capturing summer with mint and corn pulao

Mint and corn pulao

It's World Cup time! How many of you are watching the World Cup? Lil A was just born the last time World Cup came around. This time, he is kicking the football (yes I said football not soccer!) around. Mostly, the kicking happens in the backyard, but sometimes he sneaks the ball inside too.

We have a long corridor and he will spend a lot of time playing there. But just yesterday he kicked the ball high in the living room and one of the vases knocked over.

He was immediately contrite and said "can I go to the backyard now?" It was 8 in the morning! Needless to say, kids are enjoying the summer and spending a lot of time outside - playing, running, biking.

This mint and corn pulao captures the flavors of summer - fresh, light, and aromatic. There are probably many versions of mint pulao recipes. In this, I don't grind mint into a paste, rather it is chopped and rice is cooked with it. Result is a heady aroma of mint that is absorbed in each grain of rice.

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