Aug 8, 2010

Back to Basics roundup

An idea born out of an impulse turned into a Basic event. I was honored to receive so many entrees and due to personal health problems couldn’t post the roundup earlier. Here it is at last, clubbed into categories. But first, a special mention:

PJ, who likes to seduce our taste buds with her delectable dishes, gets the top billing for sending not one, not two but eight kitchen basics. Her basics are enough to get a novice started on Indian cooking and then some more. So taking a cue from her first entry, we will kick off with

Podis and Chutneys:

PJ’s Kootu Podi is a spice mix for Kootu, and the recipe is her mom’s.

A staple in every South Indian kitchen, PJ’s Milagai Podi is loved by her family and eaten with everything from idlis and dosas to rice.

Another spice mix from PJ, this time a multipurpose mix for those times when the regular podis are out of stock and there is no time to cook a side dish.

A fresh coconut brought back memories of her mom’s chammanthi podi. Swathi tried to recreate it with a recipe from Vanitha magazine and came out a winner.

RC’s talent for cooking appetizing food and clicking gorgeous pictures is surpassed by her generosity. She took time out of her busy schedule to share an old family recipe passed down from her husband’s grandmother. This traditional recipe of Chitranna Gojju, mixed with some warm rice will transport you back to simpler times.

She goes by the letter J and swears by her mom’s green chutney. It is a staple in her kitchen and she pairs it with everything from chaats to dal bhaat.

I have to mention Soma’s radish, cilantro, mint chutney which she entrusted to me before going on vacation. If you haven’t checked this creative lady’s recipes and clicks, you are missing out on a delicious culinary feast she offers every week on her beautiful blog.

Freezing and canning:

If you get an abundance of peas every summer Pari will teach you how to freeze fresh peas so you can enjoy them long after the season is gone.

Her food really rocks and so do her adventures in the mountains. But then she mixed up dates and sent me her tip a month early. Little did she know that her early entry saved me some limes and pennies going down the drain? Check out Manisha’s tip on what to do with sad looking lemons and an awesome margarita recipe.

If blueberries or any other kind of fruits are a scarcity in your part of the world, you may want to freeze some when they go on sale. That’s what Aqua does when she scores a stash. Check out her tips and a delicious recipe for blueberry pancakes.

If pancakes are not up your alley, her hearty mushroom stock certainly is. Find out how Aqua makes a big batch and freezes it for future use.

If you thought freezing stops at stocks, fruits and juices, think again.

Nivedita will show you how to make tomato rasam and freeze it.

Radha asked me if a guest post by her sister-in-law would qualify. It not only qualified but passed with flying colors. Homemade salsa, canned at home and available all year round with the twist of a lid. You bet!

Butters, vegan and non-vegan:

The very first entry, received hours after the event was announced, was sent by the very creative and talented Sunshinemom. Here are her instructions for making coconut butter and cream from scratch. If you don’t have the patience for the extraction process, still head on over to her blog and check out her beautiful clicks.

This second post of Nivedita's goes to show what happens when I make a snarky comment (name one Indie blog that hasn’t posted a recipe on how to make ghee?). She not only made the ghee, she made it from scratch. If, like me, you have been making ghee from butter, you are taking the easy way out. Witness how to collect the cream for a number of days, churn it, make butter, wash it, heat it and reap the rewards of a pot of pure gold goodness that even the gods can’t refuse.

Then PJ sent me her much simpler but fragrant version of making ghee and I had to eat my ghee words. She adds a special touch to her ghee by adding a curry leaf and a few fenugreek seeds. And now I do it too.

Lemons, jackfruits, poppy seeds and filter coffee:

She literally made lemonade when life gave her lemons. With this basic lemonade concentrate, RV relives memories of her childhood vacations at her grandparent’s home and serves a chilled glass of nostalgia in the harsh summer heat.

This master of words didn’t think she had anything to contribute. Then Sra remembered and sent me the instructions for ‘Operation Jackfruit’.

When the master chef and expert event organizer, Srivalli, checks your rules twice before sending an entry you can’t help but feel flattered. Check out her tips for roasting, grinding and storing poppy seeds paste.

Everyone’s favorite Bong Mom, with a song in her heart and magic in her fingers, spins a telling tale of childhood rebellion, ritual and poppy seed fritters. Can you ask for more on a rainy day?

I was in love with filter coffee on the sip. If you are like me, check out Nivedita’s step by step clicks to make the decoction and then prepare a cup of Joe that will give Starbucks a run for its money.

Basic recipes and preps for the Indian kitchen:

Just when my idli batter was refusing to ferment, Niloufer sent this basic idli batter recipe. Check out her creative soccer idlis she made inspired by the world cup.

Diyva’s grandma taught her this basic masoor dal and passed on the secret ingredient to give it that special touch. Head on over to her blog to find out what it is.

She decided to chronicle her basic recipes for her kids when they were no longer content with staying on the other side of the kitchen counter. The Cooker, shares with them how to make rice on the stove top and in the cooker.

If you like bananas but didn't know you could eat their blossoms too, PJ will tell you how to prepare banana blossoms.

Did you know you could also cook the banana stems? Again, PJ will enlighten you how.

Need to blanch tomatoes in a jiffy? PJ will show you her trick. All you need is a microwave, water and some tomatoes.

I almost missed my own event but managed at the last minute with a vegetable stock flavored with fennel, cinammon and cloves, made by him every weekend.

If I have missed one or misplaced an entry, please accept my apology and reach me here or leave a comment below. I will promptly add you to the roundup.

An excellent roundup, already up for a couple of days, is at Sra’s. Pop on over to read some appetizing food fiction Of Chalks and Chopsticks.


  1. This roundup is a sure keeper as wonderful basics all listed in one place :)

  2. Now that was really some basic event! many wonderful tips, am sure we can get anyone initiated into Indian cooking in no time..thanks for doing this Jaya, hope you are feeling better now..

  3. Lovely and very useful tips. Have bookmarked it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jaya, thanks - a round-up with these little personal notes always makes for an interesting read!

    I must tell you this - after wrestling with a jackfruit and somehow cutting it up, my friend got curious about the whole thing and went on the Net, and she found my jackfruit post! She's aware of my blog so it was quite exciting to actually find it when she searched for something in general.

    and yes, thanks for the link love, once again.

  5. Nice round up Jaya. These are good simple basic ones need to look into while cooking.

  6. Jaya,

    It has been a while that I actually sat down and went through each and every recipe in any roundup. :). so many lovely tips & tricks here. I also added the roundup to the event blog.


  7. Thanks Jaya for a lovely roundup. I must say "Operation Jackfruit" is no basic, it IS a major operation !!!

  8. Jaya back in time to see the round up. Thanks a bunch for taking care :-)

    This is a wonderful event and right now blueberry pancakes are making me drool and crave some. may be for dinner? Thanks for a lovely list.

  9. Jaya, thanks for coming up with such a wonderful event. In fact, you must consider doing this one regularly.

    Lovely round-up, not only for the wealth of info but also for the way in which you've presented it.

  10. Hi,
    Great round up. Got many tips too. Keep it up.'Waiting for next event.

  11. Thank you ladies for the lovely comments. :)

    Bong Mom, come to think of it, it IS a major operation!

    Aqua, doing this regularly sounds good. Sending you an email.

  12. Superb job with the roundup, Jaya.
    As usual I am blusing and feel like hiding with your praises. "bowing head" thankyou.
    Love the recipes posted here, will cehck them out.

    PS: Hope you are feeling well, will call you soon.

  13. Wow Jaya!!Loved reading your roundup.It feels like a mini story about the dish and its creator :).Thank you for your sweet words :).I am off to visit all the basics.Before that just wanted to tell you that I am waiting for another interesting event announcement from your side.

    Hope you are felling better now.Take care Jaya...

  14. RC, Thank you. No need to blush. I speak the truth. :)

    PJ, thank you. I already have two events on, Global Kadai and OfC&C.


Thank you for visiting my space. I miss my former editors, so any form of criticism/ appreciation is welcome. :)

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