Monday, October 27, 2008

A Meeting And A Holiday

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.

Bon appetit!

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.


  1. Thats wonderful that you guys met!...I know how exciting it is..:)...nice dish Sra...has your touch I must say!

  2. Glad to know abt your meeting with a blogger frd..I should use this recipe to finish all the veggies when we leave to India next month!

  3. Interesting. Will make one day as side dish for rotis.

  4. Wonderful dish. You are living inBangalore, if i had known , i would have come and met you, when i was there in Jully/August.
    Good to hear that you had good time.

  5. Happy Deepavali!


  6. Valli, ooh! What's my touch? Laziness? :-)
    Divya, do, it's well worth it.
    Vidya, not so sure it will have much gravy.
    Happy, I heard about your visit, missed you too!
    Asha, Happy Deepavali to you too!

  7. Exceptional writing, Sra. I especially want to read your passage on holiday ambiance again and again. You nailed it so very eloquently.

    Lovely to hear about your meeting w/ Aparna, too, although I cannot imagine eating Mexican if I ever am lucky enough to travel to India. ;)

  8. Happy Deepavali, Sra! :)

  9. Sra glad that you could meet Aparna inspite of burning something :P!!!

  10. You gals are having way too much fun! :-(

    Happy Diwali, Sra! :)

  11. Nice to hear you met Aparna - sounds like you all had a fun time.

    That curry looks & sounds so good.. and like aviyal, i think this will work great when you have a few of every type of veggie languishing in the fridge.

  12. Sra,
    wish you happy Diwali.
    its good to know both of you met and talked.Great.
    the write-up is just excellent, and How precise you have put in words to express the holiday feelings, dish cooking,meeting afellow blogger , well You know what I mean to say Na...LOL..
    this reminds me of Chorchori that we make but without any legumes or lentils..I am sure it just tastes great with rice...
    hugs and smiles

  13. Delicious looking recipe. That is so fun that you got to meet another blogger. I have never done that, but imagine it is quite enjoyable.

  14. it's a nice feeling to meet a blogger friend, isn't it? The curry looks fabulous. I thought you're living in Hyd.

  15. so what did u gossip abt bloggers? common, i am all ears ;)

  16. Mamatha, Happy Deepavali to you!
    Susan, thank you very much - I'll take you out for Chinese!
    Kalai, thank you, wish you the same.
    Rachel, yeah, ;-)
    TBC, yeah, we did. Thanks, Belated Happy Diwali to you too.
    Laavanya, it will, try it!
    Jaya, thank you very much. This tastes a lot like chorchori, that's a great favourite of mine too.
    Kelly, it IS good fun. Bloggers in my city are planning a second meet soon!
    Uma, it is a nice feeling. Where I'm living ... keep guessing :-)
    Hi Sona, how are you? Long time!
    Sia, er ... I just said that for effect! :-)

  17. good to knw abt yr meeting .. nice recipe .. good use of all the veggies

  18. Sra, did you get my entry?I cannot see it in the links.Sorry if I am disturbing u. :D

  19. aah...i am jealous off the ppl. who met you!! here i am dying ot meet you...darn it...

  20. I finally made it here. :)
    It was fun. Wish we had more time to talk, but there will be another time, I'm sure.
    Just finished a visual appreciation of the "Chocolate".;)
    I just realised that at the end of it all, I never said "Happy Diwali"!!

  21. Deesha, thanks, I thought it a very convenient recipe myself.
    Curry Leaf, we've mailed each other :-)
    Rajitha, well, we have, haven't we, in a prelude sort of way? ;)
    Aparna, yeah, more time, and a quieter place, but finding a quiet place anywhere is a challenge!

  22. Two of my "chat" friends meet... good good. And I love recipes that help clean that bottom shelf :-)

  23. Meeting fellow bloggers is always fun... glad you got to do some blossip too... :)

  24. Raaga, Sig, thank you both! It was loads of fun!