HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wishing you all a very wonderful 2017!!
I woke up on NYE, reflecting on how it was a wonderful 2016.
When I say wonderful, it was, with some complexity. It had its ups and downs. And when I say wonderful, I meant that I chose to focus on the wonderful things. I tried to focus on the positive things. I learnt how to heal myself and look at what I had in front of me. I learnt that there’s no right way of life, no right way of living, or a perfect life. Perfection is a perception. It’s what we make of it.
Born and brought up in Bangalore gave me some insight into traditional food of Karnataka. Having a fabulous grandma-aunty who cooked like Julia Child was even better. She was a lady of precision. The smell that came from her kitchen literally pulled dad and I to the balcony. We stood there discussing what she was making. Everything smelled and tasted divine. Ofcourse, we wanted a bite or more of everything she made. We had to refrain ourselves from going and knocking her door to start a conversation just for some food. There were times she would pack some for us, and you have no clue how happy we were whenever that happened. I remember the moment, her grandson would come up to drop the plate and we would very politely take it and the moment the door was shut, hungry or not, gobble up the whole thing.
I remember I used to come home from school and pick up the keys from our tenant grandma-aunty. She was too sweet at times to call me in to feed me some Akki Rotti(rice roti), some Chitranna(rice) or Semiya Upma(which was the best I’ve ever tasted).
One day I remember, she was making a spice powder and the smell was crazy intoxicating. I asked her what it was for and she said it was for BISI BELE BAATH. She told me she’ll share it with me when she cooks it. Yes, I waited a whole 2 and a half days for that. I still remember the moment she gave me a bowl with a generous dose of ghee and chips for the crunch. I remember I wanted to fall at a her feet or hug her. I was just a high schooler at that time. I was blown away at how good it was. I was warm and happy from within. It was that good, I remember that moment all too well.
I got my burgundy diary out and immediately had to write down the recipe. She was so precise, so dedicated and so literal in the details. I was/am always amazed at how perfect this turns every time I make it.
To my grandma aunty, wherever she is. Thanks for this treasure of a recipe.
Hope you get to try it out. It’s vegan, one of the most traditional ancient dishes, gluten free and super healthy. Perfect for this cooler weather or anytime.
Have a lovely day my dear friends.
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BISI BELE BAATH(Spicy Vegetable Khichdi)
Recipe type: Rice, Entree
- 1 cup medium grain rice(sona masoori)
- ½ cup toor/tuvar daal
- lemon sized tamarind soaked in ½ cup of water and juice taken out and drained
- VEGETABLES (beans, carrots, cauliflower, peas, moringa)
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp channa daal
- 2½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp urad daal
- 8-10 red chilies(according to your spice level)
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (meethi seeds)
- 3 pinches asafoetida/hing
- ⅓ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ fresh grated coconut or frozen (fresh is best)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 pinch of asafoetida/hing
- 10-12 cashew (broken)
- 10-15 curry leaves
- Wash the rice and daal/lentil well and cook in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles or in a pan with 4 cups of water until it is completely cooked. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Cook the vegetable in 2 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder until it is 90 percent cooked. Turn off and set aside.
- In a small frying pan on medium heat, add the channa daal, coriander seeds, urad daal and fenugreek seeds and fry until it is slightly browned and toasted. Add the whole red chilies, asafoetida, turmeric powder and saute for a minute and turn off the heat. Grind this a blender with coconut, ½ cup of water to a smooth paste and set aside.
- Now, mix the rice with the vegetable, add the ground masala paste, the thick tamarind juice and check for salt. Mix, Simmer and cook the rice mixture for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. The mixture should be little runny and not very thick at all. This will solidify as it sits.
- In a small pan on medium heat, add some oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida cashews and curry leaves. Let it splutter and add it to the rice mixture. Mix well.
Tiffin boxes are very intimately tied to mine, and many people’s childhoods. So when my friend sent me this write up, I had to make it special. Sharing a recipe that my mom made and came in my box every week. In the words of my friend, a writer friend. Enjoy this wonderful piece and share your thoughts, and say hello to my gorgeous and talented friend Lakshmi.
The only thing that comes to mind during January is Downton Abbey.
We watched or let’s just say binge watched all 6 seasons under 3 weeks. I know..I know..it’s crazy. We did though. For a month I spoke in an accent new to me, and I felt quite posh. Now that fancy accent is fading away as fast as the memories of Downton Abbey are. I enjoyed it so much that I pretty much have withdrawal symtom now. I’m looking for another period drama. If you have suggestions, please do let me know.
After a couple of years of pretty severe drought in the Bay, the wet weather for the past few weeks is a welcome change. I definitely am happy to hear the pitter-patter of the rain and rumble of the leaves. The deep brown soil turning brown and the dry brown grass on the mountains turning green are some very pretty sights.
Waking up to dark gray clouds, the sounds of rain, the trembling trees all makes us want to snuggle a bit more. Turning and struggling to wake up, going down for a hot cup of coffee and to a silent almost ‘pin drop silence’ except for the rain was an ideal start to my perfect day.
Being a foodie has always made me think in one perspective, the sensual experience of eating is all in the head. I’ve always felt garlic is a package of surprises. You can use it in every possible innovative way, and there’s a new surprise each time. Now let’s hold onto this thought for a while…
Our bags packed and we are ready to get this thing going. We drove four hours to this beautiful site with winding roads. We reached our destination and were able to stretch our legs a little. Tall redwood trees, green and white tents, sounds of birds chirping invited us. It was hot, but we felt cool under the shade of the tightly packed trees. The tall trees towering above called us in a way with their outstretched branches. The warm sunlight streaming in was definitely inviting. We parked our cars and decided to poke around some more. Little did I know, I’d see the shadow of a bear that night…
I thought I’d gotten used to this. One’s a teen, and the other just turned two digits. I’ve been through this for years now. Unfortunately, it is still so hard. My throat’s filled with knots. Emotions, those emotions all over again, the anxiety of separation. I thought I’d figured it all out, and it would be different this time around. Boy, was I wrong.