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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Free Spirit Cooking: Mysore Bajji / Mysore Bonda

You all must have read this post sometime last month. It was Mads who was introducing to the world about we, the *free-spirit-bloggers*...



..."Free-spirit Bloggers (FSB) is a closed-group of 8 bloggers. (Mads, Anu, DK, Nags, Lataji, Deepti, Mittu and myself) Every month, the FSB group will pick a theme and share eight appropriate tongue-ticking recipes with you by the month-end. Be it dishes/bakes, we’re all going to be sharing different recipes each but we will still be sticking to the central premise of the theme that month. Let me give you examples of the kind of exciting themes you can look forward to in the coming months – We each pick a personal favourite Chef and cook a signature dish of his/her’s. We each share a family heirloom recipe. We each choose a personal vice and create a dish/bake based on it (How about a slow-cooker dish from the lazy-bum? Or an eye-popping chocolate treat from the sinner?!!). You get the drift? It IS different. The themes chosen will just act as a guide and not suffocate those creative juices. It also gives each blogger the flexibility to cook/bake according to their personal choice, style and palette so every month, we churn out a potpourri of veritable recipes for you guys to devour from......" 

I had to miss the first edition of FSB as were in amidst of moving countries and as of today, still settling in Bangalore, what we call our new home. :-). I couldn't afford to miss the second one which was chosen by dear Nags.

Here is the challenge, in brief in her own words -

- I want us all to cook (or bake) up *savory* appetizers.
- The appetizer should be easy to make in bulk (think party for 50 people)
- Mark the preparation and cooking time separately in your post if you don't already
- You can make the preps over a day or more, but cooking or baking on final day should be relatively quick.
- It can be baked, deep fried, pan fried, steamed, all up to you.

Only two conditions is that it should be savory, an appetizer, and fit for a party.

Mysore Bajji [Mysore Bonda]

Now, that is an interesting one. Isn't it as we all are in constant look out for such recipes whenever we have to cook for a (potluck) party. Though I don't have yet, a kitchen which I can say as my own, I borrowed my mom's kitchen for couple of hours to make this appetizer. She always whips up this absolutely delicious bajji/bonda every time we ask for. It is deep-fried. It is savory. It is very easy to make in bulk - a perfect fit for any occasion. that said - it meets both the conditions of Nags challenge. :-)

Let's dig in then....shall we....


Mysore Bajji [Mysore Bonda]

Mysore bonda or Mysore bajji, as it is popularly known is one of the favorite snacks from Mysore cuisine. These are usually made for breakfast/brunch, so does my mom since we were little. It tastes the best when it is served with coconut chutney that is normally accompanied with idlis or dosas.



Recipe Adapted from my mom.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all purpose flour (maida)
1/4 cup yogurt (perugu)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (fresh or frozen) (kobbari turumu)
1/2 tsp baking soda (soda uppu)
2-3 green chillies (pachi mirapakayalu)
1 inch ginger (allam)
salt - to taste (uppu)
neutral tasting oil such as canola - to deep fry (noone)

Preparation:

1. The night before you wish to make these bajjis - Soak flour, yogurt and add about 3/4 cup of water little by little and mix. Note: Donot add the water all-together. Make sure the consistency is like a loose (chapati) dough not like idli or dosa batter. You should be able to make a small ball out of it. Keep covered.

2. The next day, coarsely grind - 1/2 c shreded coconut with green chillies and ginger. 

3. In a medium-sized bowl mix well (without any lumps) - flour-yogurt mixture with coconut-green chilli-ginger paste, baking soda and salt.

4. Heat oil in a wok. To test if it is ready, make a very tiny ball of dough and drop it. it should fluff up and rise to the top.

5. Lightly water your hands and make small lemon sized balls out of the dough. Drop them into the oil, carefully. Fry them until golden brown. Put them on paper towels so that the excess oil is drained off. Serve with any chutney or just as-is.

This is how the mysore bajji looks, when split open - 


These can be made anytime of the day. All that needs to be done is soak the flour a night before. If you are short of time, use self raising flour to make the dough instead of the normal all purpose flour. No need to ferment then in yogurt and alternatively water can be used, though I would recommend yogurt for that slight tanginess.


Now, who wants to grab these little beauties right out of the screen and pop them into their mouths..I sure want to.

Don't forget to check out which of the tasty appetizers did the other FSB members make for you all - 

Anu 
DK 

Enjoy..

cya all next time,
Siri

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Amma's Recipes: Bhindi Fry, Roasted Eggplant Pachadi and Raw Mango Dal

I said in my last post that we were in amidst of moving continents, I meant - "We were moving back to India, for good".. now that is a one bold move, Isn't it? Yes, indeed it is and after a week, we both still think - *the move* was one of the best things happened to us. For one real reason, we are close to the family & the freedom to do/start whatever we want. :-). But, I think if you really wanna come back like us, you should have a proper plan about how & what your are gonna do here. Or else all you will end up having is the regret that you have missed on a golden opportunity to settle in the supposed land of dreams - The USA.

One other added bonus staying back home is that - I can eat my mom's food whenever I want, whatever I want. No need to wait for one whole year, to eagerly wait to come back home and no more secretly praying for the dreadful *day-of-return-to-US* not to arrive. :-)

Now, isn't it natural that I would feature some of my mom's classic recipes here on my blog, after all the main purpose of maintaining a blog is to chronicle the recipes that actually work. Trust me, many a times, I myself check out my recipe index for recipe ideas. Hence this section - "Amma's Recipes", so that you and I both can  savor and also have all her recipes written down somewhere.

P.S - All of these are/will be made my mother and I am playing the role of mere photographer here. No props, No artificial lighting, Photos taken, straight from the utensils in which my mom serves us dinner. I hope you all will love these as much I do and did from past many many years. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment, I will clarify with my mom and answer at the earliest.

Today's dinner thali - Bhindi Fry, Raw Mango dal. Roasted Eggplant Pachadi with steamed rice, ghee, oora mirapakayalu (sun dried green chillies) and yogurt.

It looks something like this....



Enjoy....


1. Bhindi (Okra) Fry


Preparation:

1. Wash and dry about bhindis. Cut them lengthwise, into 1-2 inch pieces (as shown in the pic above).

2. Heat enough oil and deep fry the cut bhindis. Using a slotted spoon, put them on paper towels, so that the excess oil is drained off. Keep aside.

3. Heat 1/2 tsp oil and add 1 tsp of each -  urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds with 2-3 slit green chillies, few curry leaves, 1/4 cup peanuts, a whole garlic clove which is pressed down with knife (no need to mince), deep fried bhindi, 1/8 tsp of turmeric, salt to taste and 1/2 tsp or more of red chilli powder. Saute for no more than a minute. Mix well.

4. Finally, add 1 cup of shredded coconut and immediately turn off the heat. Mix well once again and after couple of minutes, it is ready to Serve. 



2. Roasted Eggplant Pachadi



Preparation:

1. Oil 2 big eggplants and roast them on a medium flame until it becomes a bit mush. Cool a bit. Drop them in cold water and then remove outer charred (almost black) skin. Make sure there are clean (with no worms) inside out.

2. Coarsely grind -- (5 green chillies + 1 tsp cumin seeds + salt to taste + 1/4 tsp of turmeric

3. Add in the eggplant with the (green chilli + cumin) mixture. Mix well. Keep aside.

4.  Heat 1/2 tsp oil and add 1 tsp of each -  urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds with few curry leaves and 1-2 red chillies. Add this poppu to the eggplant mixture. Mix and Serve. 





3. Raw Mango Dal


Preparation:

1. Peel and cut a fresh raw mango into pieces. Make sure you discard the seed in the middle. Boil the mango pieces with about 1/2 cup water until its completely cooked. Using a spoon, mash into a pulp.

2. Pressure cook 1 cup of toor dal until 3 or 4 whistles. Once the pressure is off, slightly churn the dal.

3. On a low flame, mix churned dal with mashed mango pulp with 2-3 slit green chillies, few curry leaves, 1/4 tsp turmeric, salt to taste and 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder.

4. Heat 1 tsp of oil and add 1 tsp of each - urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds with 2 red chillies and a whole garlic clove, pressed down once with side of the knife. (no need to mince). Add in the dal and mix everything. Serve with steamed rice and ooru merapakayalu (sun dried green chillies).


Bon Appetit everybody..

until next time,
Siri

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