While festivals and the observance or non-observance of them make me ruminative, this year, there was more than introspection to look forward to. The promise of a meeting with another blogger for the first time is always thrilling, as is the meeting itself. This past week has had me in a state of pleasant and rising anticipation as the day drew closer.
Aparna and I met in the mall, along with her vivacious daughter and delightful niece. Though it took us a while to get out of the store, we were chatting all through the time it took us to get through the queue to the counter and out. Though there was an initial inclination to pizza, we finally settled on Mexican fare at the food court, where the usually incredibly tasty Burrito Bowl was served as a deromanticised hill of rice on brown plastic/melamine plates. We talked quite a bit about blogging, photography, ourselves, our work, bloggers (aha!) and a little about many other things. The cookies she gave me, among other things, are crunchy and full of pistachios and other nuts and I'm savouring them slowly. Daughter and niece participated equally enthusiastically in the conversation, and never once did I feel like the adult I was when I was talking to them.
The next day was Deepavali (at least in the region where I live) and it came with that special feel that I notice in all holidays, even a Sunday. The roads are quieter, there are fewer people around and there's a languid feel to the day. Even the sun shines in a different way. Wake up and you know it's a holiday. It's a day to be savoured, with something special to eat if you're up to it, and I was up only to something simple. Ingredients for one special dish had been bought with lofty intentions but an indolence insinuated itself into my sleep and I woke up feeling lazy. I'd spied a couple of interesting things at the mall - kala matar [black or actually very gray-green peas, and yellow chilli powder (?) ] and I used one of them for the second special dish, which, happily, in the absence of the first, made up for it.
This is a great recipe for cleaning out your stock of vegetables. While I did have a recipe in mind, I did not have the entire range of vegetables it demanded, nor the precise daals to be soaked overnight, nor the right proportions of vegetables, so I just improvised after much dithering between this and another recipe (for which I didn't have all the right vegetables either).
It was a good risk that I took, because it tasted just fine!
To be soaked overnight and then drained
Kala matar/Any dry peas: 1 tbsp
Channa/chickpeas: 1 tbsp
Green gram (Split or whole): 1 tbsp
Potatoes: 1/2-3/4 cup, diced
Bottlegourd/sorakaya/lauki: 1/2-1 cup, diced
Drumstick: 1, cut into 8-10 pieces
Brinjal/aubergine/eggplant, the small, round and plump variety: 6-8, diced
Carrot: Chopped, a fistful
Yellow pumpkin: Diced, a fistful
Any other veggies: Chopped, a fistful
Coconut: Fresh, shredded, 1 cup
2 tsp panch phoron [A mix of mustard seed/radhuni (celery seed) + aniseed + fenugreek + cumin + nigella (kalonji)]
Oil: 3 tbsp
Ginger: 1-inch piece, minced
Salt, to taste
Dry red chillies: 2 plus another 2-3, torn up
Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder: 2-2.5 tsp
Use a pressure cooker for faster results.
In a small wok, in a tablespoon of oil, fry the soaked and drained beans/peas. Add the coconut and turn off the heat just as it begins to change colour.
In a pressure cooker or pressure pan, heat the rest of the oil. Add the panch phoron and two dry red chillies.
When they crackle, add the ginger. Fry for a few seconds.
Now add the vegetables, turmeric and the salt.
Mix well, cover and let it cook till almost done. (Do not pressure cook here, just cover it.)
Add the fried beans and peas and coconut mixture, mix well. By now, the vegetables would have generated some liquid so add just a little more water (do not drown or even immerse the vegetables in water, add just 1/4-1/2 cup more) and pressure cook till you hear one hiss.
Let it cool down naturally, open it and add the torn red chillies and cumin powder and mix well. Heat it just a bit.
Great on its own or with rice or with some fresh curds/yoghurt.
Don't forget to send in your entries for My Legume Love Affair - Fourth Helping. The deadline is October 31. The details are in the sidebar.
Meeting fellow bloggers Blogging Mixed vegetable curry Panch Phoron Coconut Kala Matar Green Gram/Moong DalChanna/Chickpeas