Feb 15, 2010

Rounding up the reposts

After the high of announcing an event you go through the low of waiting the first few days, checking your email for the 10th time, wondering if there will be any entrees at all. Half way through the deadline the entrees start trickling in and you get excited. More so because they are from bloggers you look up to and read regularly.
It is even more exciting to discover some wonderful, new bloggers that slipped under your radar but you found them through your event. There are some who in their haste to send in an entry forget to read the rules but are gracious enough to redo their posts.
Here is a big thank you from the heart to all of you who took the time to go over your old posts and reposted them with anecdotes, nutritional information and amazing photos.                     
What are the chances that the very first entry you receive is also one of your favorite meals? Ruchika's very first post, which she kept updating to add tips and tricks to make the softest, fluffiest idlis, did not receive a single comment. Just goes to show, good things don't always get their due desserts err... sambhar.
The sweet sakkarai  pongal was sent with a smacking new photo from Dil Se by Divya. Made by following her mother's original recipe, it was her maiden post two years ago. 
A witty writer who knows her words and her food, Sra reposted her nutty beginnings, almost four years later,  and it is as "Nutty" as the rest of her blog, When My Soup Came Alive
When Sig sent me a repost of her Caramelized Catfish, I did a double take, not only because the recipe was totally new to me, the photo looks like a tenderly cooked piece of meat instead of seafood. And that is the magic of this vivacious girl's foodie blog, Live to eat.
Nivedita's Cornflakes Chiwda was reposted a couple of days after I gave away my unused but perfectly good box of cornflakes to the neighbor. She came up with the recipe while living in UAE and it even got picked up to be featured in Radio 4 FM! Naturally, it was her very first post when she started her blog, Nivedita's Kitchen, in March of last year.          
Devi reposted her Coca Burfi which incidentally was not only her first attempt at making sweets but also her first post on her two year old Devi's Blog.         
An expat living in China, PJ's blog has a unique touch of the orient. But when it came to blogging, one of her first few posts was that of a traditional family recipe, Bisi Bele Huli Annapassed down from her great grandma. PJ tried her mom's version of the recipe just for the repost event and in the process wrote the confessions of a sore thumb.

What started almost four years ago as a simple chicken curry has evolved into an almost foolproof one for Indhu's gorgeous blog, Daily Musings. Besides, you have to love a delicious chicken curry that cooks in one pot (pressure cooker) and is open to change based on the mood or the weather.   

Nivedita's second entry did not make it to the radio but she assures us that the flavor of burnt jeera (cumin seeds) in this dal is tooo good to resist. And I believe her even though she points out her original post did not get any response. 

Shama reposted her Arisi Paruppu Sadam or dal rice with red carrot fry, with a slight variation on the original recipe and better photos of the delectable meal. Her blog is worthy of its name Easy2Cook Recipes.

Deepa started her blog Hamaree Rasoi (Our Kitchen) not six months ago and she started the New Year with a resolve to not only post more recipes from her kitchen but also learn from her fellow bloggers. She reposted this easy-to-appease-your-hunger recipe for semolina cheela which she modified by adding veggies to. However, her original recipe sounds as good as the new one.

She is the essential garnish for almost every savory Indian fare and possibly for all the Indie bloggers out there. Her very first recipe, Boondi Ladoo, on her beautiful blog, Cilantro, is one of mine and possibly every kid and adult's favorite sweet to eat for festive occasions and during weddings.  

Jyoti of two month old Veggie Hut  dressed up her original post and reposted the Gujjia Vada, a gourmet take on the regular dahi vada. Laced with cashews and raisins, no wonder this delectable recipe is an all time favorite of her spouse. 

It started as a carrot kheer recipe for a friend in Nithus's Kitchen but somewhere along the way she decided to turn the boring beets to a delicious and healthy beetroot kheer. And if you thought the buck with beets stops at kheer, check out her original post. She was planning to make halwa with it! 

Deepa's second entry, bread keema in egg, was inspired at a train station when the vendor passed it hastily through the compartment window. This delicious mash of eggs and bread was posted originally five months ago.

From Preethi's Dreamy Delights come two delightful reposts. One for eggless tiramisu and one for almond cranberry biscotti.  The eggless tiramisu was made using eggless sponge cake in the absence of eggless lady fingers and was her very first post. The repost also included the recipe for the sponge cake.

The biscotti, on the other hand, was a lesson in writing down the correct oven temperature. After a burnt first batch, the second one turned out prefect and was the fourth post on her blog. 

She is everyones favorite blogger not only because of her delicious recipes and even more appetizing photos but because almost all of us rely on her blog aggregator to get visitors to our blogs. Only in Supriya's world can the bitter gourd turn out crunchy and delicious with a photo you want to take a bite out of. But if you want to know how she arrived at the recipe, check out her hilarious initial post conversation with her better half.

As Vaishali Bhutani got more involved with her blog, Adding Zest to Your Life, she graduated from pictures taken with her cell phone to a proper camera. The above photo was taken when she made her easy to make microwave double layered chocolate burfi for some friends who were coming over for dinner. 

When your kids come back from school and ask if you got any comments on the blog, you are in the presence of a dedicated blogger mom who names her blog The Joy Of Cooking. Her Indianized take on the  falafel is versatile for kids as well as to be frozen and later heated up and served as  quick appetizer for guests.

When Aqua serves you bread pudding with love you don't say no, especially when she turns the humble pudding into something out of a gourmet restaurant. Check out her very first foray into the dessert world and the world of blogging. Aqua, before you correct me I did read your post word to word and know you were an expert at the pudding at the tender age of eight, which was long before you started blogging.

She thought she was tardy for my party but little did this fellow Texan know there were others to come after her. If you haven't met Ann's Split Pear Personality you are missing out on some of the most adventurous, varied recipes a girl can blog about and have a sense of humor about it. Her curried couscous has gone through a lot of changes since the first time she made it and she presents it proudly with a new photo and an extra garnish "that grew out of the side of the dish like a tumor and took up most of the money shot."

With a name like Foodielicious you can expect finger licking recipes not unlike this Dhabba Style Palak Paneer. At the age of 20 Pari cooked this smoky dish for a party of 45 and not only got praise for her cooking skills but her cleanliness as well. No wonder this recipe is close to her heart and one of the first posts on her blog.

The World according to Rujuta has a Varan Phal recipe that brought back nostalgia of a comfort food that had almost slipped out of my culinary consciousness. Rujuta decided to repost this one with links to other versions of this recipe also known as dal dokhali and a salute to her father and his roots in the orange city of India, Nagpur.

True to her name, Cool Lassie decided her initial two posts were perfect the way they were. But honoring the rules of the event she decided to repost the two recipes with new photos which more than do justice to her Navrattan Korma and Turkey Meatballs with raisins.

We are what we eat and no one practices that philosophy more passionately than Vaishali of Holy Cow. If you think vegan and vegetarian is the same thing, Vaishali will not only set the record right for you, she will give you one delicious vegan recipe after another before you can say, "Holy Cow!" (my weak attempt at pun). Head on over to her blog for a lesson in compassionate cooking and healthy choices for the mind and the body.

Adhering to the Indian tradition of the host eating after the guests have had their fill, here's my humble contribution to my own event, Sabudana Khichdi 101 and Indori Kanda Poha.

Since this is my first event I decided to do the roundup in the order of the entry received. I have tried to be as precise as possible making sure all the entrees are included and hall the links work. If you spot any glitches, you know where to find me.

And she did. Just as I was starting to get a big head from all the compliments Champa brought me down to earth. I looked and found her email hiding in the spam folder along with another entry from Nithu Bala. So with my apologies to the two lovely ladies here goes their entrees at the tail end of the roundup.

Nithu Bala's second entry was Milagu Kuzhambu which is a favorite of her dad's when he is down with a cold. After learning its medicinal properties, Nithu too started loving this previously hated nutritious soup.

Champa's vegan almond cookies evolved from a recipe a friend's mom had given and a recipe scribbleed down so long time ago she didn't remember where. But the recipe was a keeper and she reposted it in  Stories from an Indian kitchen by prettying up the cookies with an almond placed in the center. 

Feb 13, 2010

Carrot greens with moong dal

My mother was incredulous. Her grown up daughter of thirty six was experimenting with winter greens, she who had, growing up, caused her much heartburn by refusing to eat even the cilantro floating in the dal!
Yes, she was finally grown up and it had taken not a mother’s love but her husband’s love for all things vegetables to turn her around. There she was, listening over the phone at her excited daughter’s recipe for, of all things, carrot greens adapted from her (mother’s) fenugreek lentil sabzi!
And yes, I have also posted a similar version without the ginger and garlic for green beans and lentils and which Supriya adapted recently to suit her family’s taste.
If, like me, you have never cooked with carrot greens before, they taste a little carroty after being cooked and the taste is enhanced by the addition of some cilantro to it. I have on occasions also added some chopped up baby spinach but it does not make or break the recipe. I have added it purely for volume and not taste.

1/4 cup of yellow, split moong dal (lentils)
1 bunch of carrot greens
1/2 bunch of cilantro sprigs
2 carrots, chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger and garlic chopped fine (2 big cloves of garlic and 1 inch piece of ginger should do it)
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of asafetida (hing)
1/2 tsp of red chili powder
1 tsp of garam masala
Salt to taste
Wash the moong dal two to three times in water and soak with1/2 cup of water. Keep it aside while you wash the carrot greens in plenty of water. They are gritty and it is important to soak them in a big pot of water for a few minutes to let the grit settle down.
Pick and clean the cilantro sprigs as well. Don’t be tempted to use the tough stems.
In a heavy bottom kadahi, add about two swirls of olive oil and let it heat gently. Add the mustard seeds. As they start to sputter turn the heat to low, add asafetida, red chili and the finely chopped ginger garlic. The ginger garlic should start giving off their aromas within a minute as they start to cook. At this point add the soaked moong dal and the chopped carrots. Turn the heat to medium low. The moong dal should start to puff up. Add the garam masal and some salt and cover for about five minutes. Keep checking in between to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Remove the lid, turn the heat to low and with a pair of kitchen scissors start snipping the carrot greens and cilantro directly over the cooking dal and carrot mix.
If you are the more organized or perfectionist kind of cook, feel free to chop it on a chopping board and then add it. More power to you.
Add some salt, give a final mix to the greens lentils combo and cover on medium low for about ten minutes or till the greens are wilted. Serve as a side with chappati or phulkas or dosas (hey, I have eaten stranger combos and this one tasted pretty good).
A review of Skinny Bitch in the Kitchen will be coming soon. But first, this is off to Rachael of Crispy Cook, who is hosting this month's MLLA #20 for Susan.

Feb 4, 2010

Grace period for the Repost Event

Feb 6 was supposed to be the last day to submit your entrees for the repost event. As promised in the original announcement post, I was strict about participants following my rules. As a result, I sent back a couple of entrees. For those who were gracious enough to accept my rejection of their posts, it was only fair that I give them a grace period of six days to redo their reposts.
For those of you who are still unclear on the rules, here they go again. If you don’t feel like going through the list of rules, just remember one cardinal rule: Do not just repost but redo, either in what you write or add a spanking new, preferably better photo, not more than two of your earliest posts.

Now to those strict rules that caused the deadline to be extended from Feb 6 to Feb 12 are:
Rule No. 1: Choose not more than two food related posts out of the first 10 posts on your blog.
Rule No. 2: Do not just repost but rewrite your old posts. Add, subtract or edit to the post. In short dress it up or down. For ex tell your readers why you decided on that particular post. Or what made you learn or make that dish and post it. I am looking for posts similar to this one and this one.
Rule No. 3: To get around Rule No. 2. If you think your post is perfect and the text does not need any editing, at least take the effort and put up a different, if possible better photo. For example, add value by talking about some interesting/ funny comments you received on that post or the reaction of your friends and family on reading your initial posts.
Rule No. 4: Link back to the original post so readers can compare. Lines similar to: “This was my original post” or "This is what I posted before" should do the trick.
Rule No. 5: Repost the edited post and send with a 300px wide photo to jayawagle(at)gmail.com by Feb 12. Add a link to this post and write ‘The Repost Event’ in the subject line.

Here's my lame attempt at creating the logo which you may or may not use:

the repost event

In return for following my rules, I swear to follow these rules (sarcasm intended):
Rule No. 1: I will post the roundup in a timely fashion, by second week of Feb, barring any unfortunate circumstances.
Rule No. 2: I will not solicit on your comment form for participation in my event.
Rule No. 3: I will not insist that you be a follower of my blog to participate.

Happy reposting foodies.

Feb 2, 2010

Potatoes with tomatoes (Bazar jaisey aloo)

The unassuming name hides a simple but delicious combination of potatoes cooked with tomatoes and ginger. A recipe similar to the north Indian aloo ka jhol (potatoes cooked in a watery gravy), this one is from Madhur Jaffery’s book, Climbing the Mango Trees, our book club pick for the month of January.
If you have ever wondered what the true definition of a ‘Foodie’ is, read Madhur Jaffrey’s Climbing the Mango Trees. A childhood memoir of growing up in a privileged, upper middle class family surrounded by uncles and aunts and numerous cousins, not to mention a retinue of servants who cooked for the extended joint family, tended trees and vegetable gardens surrounding the house and in general fetched and ran errands.
However, Jaffrey’s memoir narrates more than anecdotes of a privileged life spent eating meals that consisted of pheasants shot down by her hunt-loving family and seekh kababs from Delhi’s famous Chandani Chowk. The book also gives an insight to her lifelong love for Indian food and makes you appreciate her relentless passion for introducing and promoting the Indian cuisine to the world through her countless cookbooks and TV appearances with the likes of Juila Child and Ming Tsai.
When every sad, happy, angry or joyful memory is associated with food, a foodie of the first order is formed. And there in a nutshell is Jaffrey’s ‘Climbing the Mango Trees’.
Is it then sacrilegious to admit that till now, I had never cooked from any of her cookbooks, or to say that I found most of her recipes, especially the meat ones, a bit complex to prepare? Or was it that I was just too lazy to make boondi (which my mom made on a regular basis) from scratch when it was readily available in the store? Whatever the reason, I steered clear of Jaffrey till our book club choose ‘Climbing the Mango Trees’.
I added turmeric out of force of habit and ended up with a yellow curry instead of red!

Reading the book was like eating through a culinary feast of simple Indian greens and hearty meat curries cooked to perfection and served with phulkas, “chapati’s more refined, upper class cousin.” Some 32 odd recipes at the end of the book, from kheema samosas, to green chutney and fenugreek greens with carrots cover maybe 10% of the feast served in the book.
The recipes are to keep, especially if you are a vegetarian looking to make non-vegetarian dishes or vice-versa. I decided to stick to my mostly vegetarian meal and made Potatoes with Tomatoes (Bazar Jaisay Aloo), the go-to-meal for Jaffery family’s picnics and Sunday breakfast. The meal cooks in a jiffy if the potatoes are boiled and ready. I served them with ‘Phulka’s’ for a change instead of its ‘coarse, lower-class cousin’ and our standard bread, Chapati.

Potatoes with Tomatoes
Serves 4-6

6 medium sized potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of asafetida
1 ½ tsps whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds (I used a tsp and crushed it coarse)
1/4 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
3 whole dried red chilies
3 medium tomatoes, grated on the largest hole of the grater
1 ½ tsp finely grated fresh ginger
Salt to taste

Boil the potatoes in their jackets until tender and allow them to cool. Peel.
Pour the oil into a wide, medium sized pan, and set it over medium-high heat. When it is hot, put in first the asafetida, then the cumin, and finally the fennel, fenugreek and chilies.
Two seconds later, add the grated tomatoes and ginger. Stir-fry until the tomatoes turn a deep red and the oil begins to show, turning down the heat as the cooking progresses so nothing burns. Add 1 ½ cups of water.
Now, break the potatoes by hand into pieces that are, very roughly, ½ inch cubes. They will be different shapes, but that is the charm of the dish. Add the potato cubes to the pan together with salt, then stir and bring to a boil.
Cover the pan, turn the heat to low, and cook gently for 12-15 minutes, stirring now and again.

Other members of our book club reviewed and were inspired to make:
Simran made Phirni
Curry Leaf made  Roz Ki Gobi
Sheba made Cauliflower with cheese
Janaki made Palak Gosht
Aqua made Tahiri

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