Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mugachya Gathi (Goan recipe for a spicy and healthy green-gram-sprouts curry)

This is another one from my mother's kitchen. With all the goodness of green gram sprouts (moong sprouts) and coconut gravy this is one of my favorite goan recipes.

My mom worked (and still does) really hard on getting the sprouts ready (
I'll share with you how she does it right in this post!), but in most big places like Mumbai / Delhi / Bangalore or in places where you do have good sabzi-mandis (vegetable markets), you'll get packets of sprouted moong. It's perfectly alright to use these if you can't do the whole procedure to take moong from hard dry to soft sprouted version.

Here's how mom does it.
Day 1. Wash about a cup of dry moong in cold water, rinse and soak overnight.
Day 2. During the day, let the soaked moong rest on a strainer so all the water gets drained. During the night soak them again.
Day 3. By now the moong must have sprouted nicely. Wash them well so the green cover gets removed.
This is how it is done in the original recipe. For those of you who are more health conscious and do not want to lose out on the fiber that the green cover provides, I think you can just leave it there. No harm.

Or simply go to the vegetable store and buy a packet of sprouted moong instead.

So, ingredient wise you need to have
1. Two cups of sprouted green gram (moong)
2. Green chillies - 2
3. Asafetida (Hing) - 2-3 pinches. This is the main flavoring agent here. So, use the best quality one you have. Mom took special
Shankar Chhap Hing with its whole chunks of Asafetida and ground it freshly instead of using the ready-made powder. Again, your call.
4. Coconut - grated and ground with some water to the consistency of wet chutney. About 1/2 a cup.
5. Garam masala - 1/4 tsp.
6. Jaggery (Gud / GuL) - little less than 1 tsp
7. Tamarind pulp - little less than 1/4 cup
8. Red chilly powder - to taste
9. Haldi - 1/4 tsp.
10. Salt to taste

First cook moong with pieces of green chillies and asafetida and haldi. Do not pressure cook over medium flame stirring occasionally. The moong should not become soggy.
Once it is almost cooked add ground coconut, garam masala, jaggery, tamarind pulp, red chilly powder and salt.
Let simmer and then turn the heat off.
mogachya gathi 250
You can eat it just like that with fresh bread or steamed rice with some pickle as a side.


Just before serving, you can put some tadka (spluttering) on it. To do this, simply heat a tsp of oil, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let splutter and add it over the moong curry.


This is something I do to turn most curries into a quick snack ;) Take some curry in a bowl. Add whatever chips / namkeen / even pretzels crushed with your hands. Add some chopped cilantro and tomato pieces. Basically add some crunchiness and some un-cooked-ness (
you get it, right?) to it. Mix well. Gobble!

I am sending this entry off to two events planned by two fellow foodie bloggers
Iftar Moment Hijri 1431
iftarevent2 Lets sprout

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tasty weaning food ideas for new eaters

My second little Princess Akshara is 5 months old now. Her doc says it’s time to introduce semi-solid food for her. Here are some of the varieties of weaning foods I plan to try out. You can also choose to check these out… :)
diya eating
Week 1: Our Indian cooking is rarely complete without spices. Let your baby feel the flavor of being born in India. :) At the same time be careful not to over do things. Start with mostly starchy things, sweet or with little salt. You can introduce her to some flavors like cardamom (ilaichi) or cumin (jeera). Just a tiny miny pinch of it, so she knows what it’s like ;)
  • Sooji kheer (semolina porridge): Simply heat 1/4 spoon of ghee(or butter) in a pan and roast a spoonful of sooji(semolina) with it. Add water, a pinch of ilaichi powder (cardamom) and sugar to taste.

    • Cardamom is a cooling spice and is very good for fighting the heat. (Oh, Delhi summers!!!)
    • If the place where you live has cold climate, you can try a tiny string of kesar (saffron). This is a warm spice and is also thought to be very good for skin and complexion.
    • I am avoiding milk for now. Since my baby has had formula feed before and not the regular milk. So I am playing safe. For those of you who are already used to giving cow’s / buffalo’s milk to babies can even add milk to the kheer.
  • Semi-solid Rice: Clean and grind some rice to the consistency of sooji . Do not add water. Store it dry. Use this just like sooji above.

    • If you wish to make a salty version, substitute salt for sugar, cumin  or black pepper for cardamom and avoid milk. You can cool it a little and add some curd (dahi) or butter-milk (chhanch).
2. Second and third week onwards you can start introducing fruits and veggies.  Here are some varieties:
  • Mashed banana. Simple.
  • Mashed boiled potato with slight salt and just a touch of red chilly powder.
Make the soft semi-solid rice as above but add a veggie piece to it. Carrot or beat root or few peas would be good choices. Even a leaf of spinach or some other leafy veg can go in.
Once fully cooked you can either mash the veg piece or simply remove it out. The rice would have absorbed most of the nutrition from it.
  • If you are a non-vegetarian you can try adding a piece of some meat or fish. (Warning: Since I am a vegetarian myself I cannot personally vouch for this tip. Do consult your baby’s doctor.)
3. Fourth week onwards start giving same food that you eat at home. To make things easier for your baby. do continue with at least one of the recipes from above. Some new things you can introduce
  • Daal + Rice. Just the way we elders eat. But the pieces of tomato etc mashed well or ground in a mixer.
  • Mashed mango pulp. Or apple.
  • Soup: Simply cook few pieces of veggies together. Either strain the stew or purée when fully done. In a pan heat some butter, add a pinch of black pepper powder, salt and the stew. Bring it to one boil. Cool it sufficiently and let your baby savor it.

Happy food-times to you and your little bundle of joy. :)

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Marathi “Fast” food

Indian culture is famous for celebrations, festivals, poojas and vrats. Like we have “Karwachauth” in north India, where a married woman will pray for the long life of her husband, down in Maharashtra and Goa we have several such festivals which are meant for married couples. 

Some sacred days where you forget everyday differences and look forward to your togetherness as a blessing from heaven. Some rituals where you put your hands together and pray for your loved one’s happiness.

goa week 2-3
I was at my mom’s place last month (yeah, Goa!!!) and on 25th June we celebrated Vat Savitri vrat – one such festival where married women will worship the banyan tree and ask blessings for their husband’s long life. (Wanna know the story? Go here. :))

This is also a day for fasting. And obviously for making “fast” food (and you thought I was talking about vada-pao? :P)

When I was a kid, I looked forward to such days, when mom would make Sabudanyachi Khichadi (Tapioca Pulao). Here’s her recipe for this yummy snack or main course.

Soak a cup full of sabudana (tapioca) for 30 minutes. Drain excess water and set aside for a few hours. (*** This dish can turn powdery for lack of water or rubbery for excess of water. This soaking, draining and setting aside is the deciding step that avoids such failures and gives you the perfect round little pearls of tapioca. Hush now… That’s a secret! :) ***)

Chop some potatoes and green chilly. Handful of green coriander leaves (hara dhania) is also welcome, but if you do not eat it during a fast, it’s ok to leave it out too.

Roast few peanuts, remove skins and grind to a very coarse powder. Just a nice little whooosh of your grinder should be sufficient. You should feel the crunch of nuts while you eat khichadi.

Grate some coconut, if you like it. Although khichadi tastes great “with” coconut, it’s not a strict must-have per se.

In a bowl add together the tapioca, ground peanuts, coconut and chopped green coriander. Mix with salt to taste and about 1/4 tsp of sugar.

All set? Now add ghee to a hot pan. You’ll need more than your usual amount of ghee, because this dish does not have any water in it while cooking. Add some jeera (cumin seeds to it). Once they splutter, add the potato pieces and roast well. Cover and leave for 2-3 min if needed. Add green chilly pieces when potato pieces are done nicely. Add the tapioca mixture prepared above and stir for 5-7 minutes. Take care not to burn the mixture.

Cover and leave for 2 minutes.

pix 015

Serve hot with a slice of lemon and tons of love.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introducing “F” for “Food” to your baby

I’ve heard many moms complain how fussy their babies are when it comes to food. Often meal times become a nightmare for parents when babies or toddlers refuse to open their mouth at all. It need not be that way always.
pix 012-1
Here are some tips and tricks I learnt while introducing food to my older princess Diya:
  1. Plan for introductory foods – specially made for babies, often sweet or bland – for about a month or a little over a month. Not too long.
  2. Once you feel that your baby is able to digest most stuff and is not allergic to most items, simply take a few things like rice, daal, veggies that you prepare for everyone else at home, process it in food processor to soften it and feed it to your baby. This way your little one and you do not need to have two cycles – first for getting used to bland food and then to get used to usual food that your family eats.
  3. If at times you feel some dish is too spicy for your little one, you can simply add water / dahi (curd) / butter-milk (chhanch) to tone it down.
  4. Allow your little one to play with the food. Babies are explorers. They like to experiment with things by taking it in their own hands, feel the texture, look at the colors etc. Make sure you take care not to let your baby put fingers dipped in spicy curry to their eyes etc. Otherwise if your baby is safe, it’s ok to become messy. Babies will love food times and it’ll be less fussy for you too.
  5. Give enough time between two meals. Let your baby feel the need to eat. Don’t force feed.
  6. It’s never too early to start learning good habits. Wash your baby’s hands and mouth or wipe clean before and after eating.
  7. Avoid getting into the habit of watching TV while eating food. You can spend time talking to your child, making stories, telling names of the dishes etc instead. You can even play games. Diya’s favorite one is where she is the dinosaur and is going to gulp down the naughty kid (that is the food). She even plays this to this day (she is 4!) when does not particularly like the meal we have prepared.
  8. If you child does not like some fruit / vegetable, don’t give up on it. Try a different dish with the same thing. Change the way you cook it and introduce again after a few days. Babies and kids will often surprise you.
  9. Start reducing intake of milk (specially the feeding bottles) when you start giving food to your baby.
  10. Avoid junk food. Specially with toddlers, you’ll have to be strict, but it will be worth it.
Above all, make sure the older kids at home or even elders, do practice what you are trying to teach your baby or toddler.

Do you have some interesting tips for our readers? Do share your experiences with us.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My special pasta recipe

When I was expecting my second baby, I had this unusual craving for pastas. I used to come home each day from work. Stop at the local veggie seller and ask him to give me any combination of items worth 10/- rupees. He usually put together one tomato, one capsicum, occasionally one brinjal (egg plant), one zucchini (tori/turai), some peas etc. I would then come home, make steaming soupy pasta with all these items and sit and relish. (You have to experience PGcy to understand how it feels to eat what you want ;) Sorry guys...) The pasta I used was the colorful fusilli - small colorful spirals that you get in "Big Bazaar" stores. I also picked some random herbs from the same store.

PastaHere's one of the recipes that I happened to create just-like-that but it grew to be my favorite.

Looks yummy, does it not? It's really simple to cook, too.

Simply chop all the veggies (yeah, just toss those tori, laukis also, you won't regret it...). Heat some olive oil directly in a pressure cooker. Its slightly sour and adds the perfect tangy taste. Add all the veggies (starting with onion and garlic, if you are adding them). Add pasta (no need to pre-cook) and sauté for a minute. Once olive oil has coated each piece nicely, add water so that the mixture drowns in it. Add basil, oregano, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt. Close the cooker lid and cook till 2 whistles.

Enjoy along with the evening rain.... :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Edible art: littlefoodjunction

Thanks to my friend Shikha who introduced me to the “Little food junction”.

Smita Srivastava is a real creative person. Her blog is full of creative ideas for presenting food as works of art. May it be plain fruits to salads, sandwiches to pizza, she can turn food from “good to eat” to “great to look”…

I had to share these with you all….

(All images are works of Smita Srivastava from Little Food Junction…)
valentine tiffin choo choo train

kiddy b'fast  fruit lolli
womens day fish
Mouth watering….. Simply Awesome!!! What do you think?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mini Pizza

mathura 203
Here’s how you can make quick and delicious mini pizza:
Mix a cup of sooji (semolina) with about half cup of dahi (curd).
Add finely chopped pieces of onion, tomato and capsicum, salt and red chilly powder per taste.
Adjust water to the consistency of idli batter.
Spread this mix on a sliced white bread.
Roast both sides on a hot tawa with some oil.
Enjoy with tomato sauce or chutney.
Tip: You can premix the batter the night before and store it in the refrigerator to make these a quick tiffin item on Monday mornings.