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.

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


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