Meetha

The last few weeks have been maddeningly hectic. Family came visiting, I went vacationing, then Arjun Singh fell ill and time was spent in nursing.. all in all, action on the blog was lessening.

I'm a poet and I know it.

Anyhoo, I needed to reduce the count of draft posts vs published posts. And I thought I would start by sharing a simple pahaadi recipe with you all. It’s a sweet dish; the simplest sweet treat that anyone can whip up in 10 minutes.

Meetha, or as they say it in our side Mitha. Mitha feat

Mitha is essentially a sugar syrup cooked with fennel and boondi, and the memory of the first time I had it is so vivid in my head. The whole family had gathered together for a family occasion, and my naani had called a pahaadi cook to make the meal. We were eating on pattals (plates made out of leaves) and after finishing the main course I went to have the dessert, which was mitha. My mom told me to have it with some rice, and not knowing the right proportion of eating the dish, plus the fact that I eat rice like a truck driver, I took a ton of rice, and then poured an equal amount of mitha on it. Wrong idea. It was too sweet and too syrupy and too thin for my liking. And I complained. That’s when my mom showed me the right way to eat it. She took about a ladle of rice, and about 2 spoonfuls of the mitha and served that to me. What a world of difference THAT made. The mitha was not overtly sweet, and I could taste the fennel more than the sugar. And the whole dish was sweet rice rather than being sweet syrup with bits of rice.

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And as is true everywhere, every household has their own way of making this dish. But my father, the awesomeness that he is, has an APL and BPL version of mitha. For those of you who are still figuring that one out, APL is Above Poverty Line, and BPL is Below..  :/ (yeah, I don’t get his sense of humour too at times)

He actually shared the BPL version with me first because he said it’s not that I am poor, but so lazy that I won’t spend more time than needed in the kitchen. How well he knows me. Hugs to you, dad!

I am going to share both the versions here, and depending on how much time and resources you have, take your pick :)

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Version 1

Ingredients

  1. Ghee, 2-3 tbsps
  2. Cloves, 2
  3. Cardamoms, 2
  4. Cinnamon stick, 1 small
  5. Sugar, 10 tsps
  6. Water, 250 ml
  7. Fennel (saunf), 1/2 tsp
  8. Boondi, 2 tbsps
  9. Dry fruits (sliced almonds, raisins)

Method

  1. In a pan, preferably with a thick base, like a wok or kadhai, heat the ghee
  2. To this, add the cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, and dry fruits. Roast them for a minute or 2
  3. Add the fennel
  4. Then add the sugar and water, and bring to a boil
  5. After one boil, simmer the mixture until it reaches the desired thick consistency of a syrup
  6. Add the boondi, and serve hot with steamed rice

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Version 2

Ingredients:

  1. Sugar, 10 tsps
  2. Water, 250 ml
  3. Fennel (saunf), 1/2 tsp
  4. Boondi, 2 tbsps

Method:

  1. Heat a kadhai, or work. Add sugar, saunf and water.
  2. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until it reaches the desired thick consistency of a syrup
  3. Add the boondi, and serve hot with steamed rice

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I am sharing this over at Angie’s amazing blog party Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener

 

Dal, Palda, and Rice

Aah, the Himachali favourite. Ralli mili daal, palda, and rice. Slurp Slurp Slurp.

Ralli mili daal is a mixture of 2 dals, split urad and channa. Soaked overnight, cooked the next day until it is all soft and thick, and tempered with onion, garlic, jeera and the all-important desi ghee.

Palda is a simple sabji that is cooked with a little excess masala and oil, because right before serving we add curd to it. One can make this with potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots , whatever you like. I personally love it with potato and peas, or cauliflower. The taste of that slightly crispy, salt, turmeric, and oil infused sabji with the khatta curd. Yum yum yum.

For me, this combination is what rajma rice is to Punjabis, or maybe poha to Maharashtrians. A constant feature of our dining table, and ready in a jiffy.

My mom would make it for karva chauth, and diwali dinners every year, and boy, her pahaadi family never got sick of it. And never will.

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Secret: we call it daal bhath palda at home (bhath is pronounced phuth). But you have to hear us say it to know how musical it really seems.

Try it. You will love it too.

Read on for the recipes:

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For the dal:

 Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup chilka urad dal, soaked overnight
  2. 1/2 cup channa dal, soaked overnight (You can mix the dals and soak them together)
  3. 1/2 an onion, finely diced
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  5. turmeric, 1/2 tsp
  6. red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp
  7. pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  8. 1 tsp coriander powder
  9. 1 tsp garam masala
  10. 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger
  11. 1 tbsp ghee
  12. 2 green chillies, sliced
  13. 1 tsp jeera
  14. salt, to taste

Method

  1. In a pressure cooker, boil the soaked dals with the turmeric, salt, hing, and ginger. I usually cook it for about 3 whistles on high heat, then lower the heat and let it cook for 10-15 minutes more, and turn off the gas
  2. In a small pan, heat the ghee, and add the jeera, onions, garlic, and green chilly
  3. Once the onions are browned, add the coriander powder, garam masala powder
  4. Add the tempered masala to the dal in the cooker
  5. Adjust seasoning to taste

 

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For the palda

Ingredients

  1. 1/4 Cauliflower/2 Potatoes, chopped to small pieces, or peas, 1 cup
  2. 2 cups curd
  3. 1-1.5 tsp tumeric powder
  4. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  5. 1.5 tsp jeera
  6. 1 tsp coriander powder
  7. 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  8. 2 tbsp mustard oil
  9. salt, a little more than usual (the curd will absorb the salt, so extra is needed)

Method

  1. In a pan/kadhai, heat up the mustard oil until it starts to smoke up
  2. Add the jeera and all other dry powders (turmeric, chilli, coriander, garam masala, salt)
  3. Add the vegetable(s)
  4. Cook the vegetable(s) until soft
  5. Turn off the gas
  6. After about 5 minutes, add the curd and mix through.
  7. Adjust seasoning to taste
  8. It is preferable to add the curd right before serving the food. In case preparing much before the actual meal time, heat up the dish, and then add the curd after turning off the gas.

 

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Babru

Today I am sharing a Himachali breakfast recipe that uses just 4 ingredients and makes the yummiest desi crepes you will ever have in your life.  Made with wholewheat flour (atta), jaggery (gur), fennel seeds, and water, Babrus are himachali crepes/pancakes (depending on how thick you make them).

Growing up, my brother was quite the fussy eater. Won’t eat rice, veggies, dal, won’t drink milk etc etc. My mom would figure out innovative ways to get him to eat his veggies, but if all else failed she would either feed him chapattis with ghee shakar (ghee and raw sugar), or ghee and our homemade masala namak (Mint and Coriander salt). He would devour those. Another of his favourites was babrus. Mom used to make the most perfect babrus and it was, more or less, a birthday breakfast for him. I tried making these for him for his 22nd birthday, for the first time ever in my life, and voila, they turned out pretty damn good, if I may so myself. Ok, I just did. :P

These are more crepe-like pancakey in form and consistency, one has to be careful of not adding too much jaggery or else the mixture becomes sticky while being cooked. You can also substitute sugar in case you don’t have jaggery, but the subtle sweetness get enhanced with the jaggery rather than sugar.

Since everything in our households is about balancing out sweet with sour, the sweet babrus are mostly served with unsweetened curd and Galgal pickle. (Wish I had some of that pickle with me,my nani had this awesome recipe.. sigh)

Hope you enjoy making it as much as I always do.

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Ingredients

  1. Whole wheat flour (Atta): 1 cup
  2. Water: 1.5 cups
  3. Jaggery (gur): 3 tbsps
  4. Fennel seeds (saunf): 1 tsp

Method

  1. Boil the water
  2. Add the jaggery to the boiled water and stir to mix it in
  3. In a mixing bowl, take the atta and add the fennel seeds to it
  4. Add the water-jaggery mix to the atta slowly, to make the batter
  5. I call this the ek-taar test: Pour a little mixture into the bowl (like shown in image) and if the batter falls in a single stream, then its dissolved properlybabru6
  6. Take a non stick pan and keep it on medium heat
  7. Now taking a ladle of the batter, pour on pan, top off with another ladle-ful and spread it out into a circle (like dosas)
  8. When one side is cooked a little, drip a little ghee on the babru, on the sides and the center
  9. After a minute, flip the babru over to cook the other side
  10. Once both sides are cooked, fold it over and serve warm; The ideal consistency for a cooked babru is like a thin crepe-ish dosa. Not crisp, but soft.

Note: The final product didn’t turn out that gorgeous enough, but in my eagerness to share the recipe and the post, I just folded the oddly shaped, slightly crisp, and twisted babrus to make them look pretty for the pictures.. Don’t worry, even if they break, don’t turn out round, become thick or too thin, they will taste super wonderful. Trust me. try it. Now.

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