Sunday, November 22, 2020

Coimbatore to Srinagar - Second Stop - Hampi - Stuffed Brinjal (Long green brinjal)

Stuffed Brinjal or Badane Kaayi one of the famous North Karnataka dishes was the food that was made to celebrate reaching the second week milestone (Oct 25).

This was a time when we had plenty of long green brinjals the sought after kind for making vangi bath or brinjal rice. DH is actually quite good at cooking I have come to realize. I have been tricked into thinking or I have tricked myself into thinking that he can't cook. The biggest trouble has been for me to stop nit picking and let things take their own course. I don't put my nose in and the end results have been delicious. Every one has a certain style of cooking, the same ingredients and measurements turn out differently depending on who is at the helm.

First up, I would have never cooked this recipe with green brinjals but hey it was delicious all the same. The curry was on the drier side with concentrated flavors. Recipe Consulted: Karnataka Style Badanekai Yennegai
Stuffed Brinjal
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 1 lb of long green eggplants
  2. 1/4 cup of chopped red onion
  3. seasonings: mustard seeds
  4. salt to taste
  5. 2 tsp of oil
  6. small lemon sized piece of tamarind
  7. 2 tsp of jaggery
  8. For the masala
  9. 6-8 shallots
  10. 4 red chilies
  11. 1 inch piece of ginger
  12. 2 tsp of coriander seeds
  13. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  14. 1 tbsp of penauts
  15. 1 tbsp of grated coconut
  1. Blend all the ingredients under the masala section and set aside.
  2. Slit the eggplants keeping the stem part intact and stuff about a tsp of the masala inside.
  3. Extract the tamarind pulp with about 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Heat a pressure cooker, add oil and when hot add the seasonings. When mustard starts to pop add the onions.
  5. Add the onions and saute till translucent.
  6. Add the stuffed brinjals and saute for a few minutes till the brinjals start to get some brown spots.
  7. Now add the extra masala and the tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt.
  8. Pressure cook for 1 whistle.
Serve with rice. Simply delicious with the sweetness, sour and heat.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Coimbatore to Srinagar - A food journey with a purpose - First Stop Hassan - Pumpkin Idli and Mango Rasam

I want to preface this by saying, some of us are fortunate that this pandemic has given us more time on our hands. I know of several people who have grabbed the time to do things that there is normally no time for in our mad dash of everyday life. The one thing I and probably everybody else absolutely don't miss the is the hours sitting in traffic getting from one place to another especially the every day commute in getting to and fro from work.

So what does one do with the extra time on hand? It has been heartening to hear what people have done - pick up hobbies that had stopped for want of time, volunteering, trying to grow food for the family and exercise - the thing that everybody wants to but has no time for in the hustle and bustle.

I got lucky when a group of friends wanted to start a virtual exercise program with a goal. I will share what our eventual goal is in a future post. But the "Coimbatore to Srinnagar" is DH's project. He started a virtual exercise program for his undergrad college friends. Nothing fancy, setup a goal of a number of miles per week, motivate people to exercise regularly, download an app to keep track of the miles (these days nothing works without an app right?) and of course start a WhatsApp group to get it going. I think he surprised himself with the response he got.

Having something to look forward to and make folks stick to the program is perhaps why he came up with the Coimbatore to Srinagar program. They travel to places based on the number of miles the group runs. Why I am excited about it and why it made its way into the foodblog is that they cook foods of the places where they stop. I get to eat different foods from other regions and best of all I don't have to cook it. I only eat and write about it.

Their first stop was Hassan in Karnataka.
Hassan in the Malanad area of Karntaka has a cuisine all its own. Malanadu covers the eastern and western slopes of the Western Ghats and seems to be one of those breathtakingly beautiful places.
Hassan Special Foods
The foods from this region that was cooked at home was Pumpkin Idli and Mango Rasam. Pumpkin Idli is a quick idli that needs no fermentation. The cold no cook mango rasam was simply delicious. These 2 are fast becoming favorites in our house. With an abundance of home grown pumpkin I think it will make its appearance often. Here is the list from which the recipes were taken, Malanad Special Recipes.

Pumpkin Idli
Source: Pumpkin Idli
Pumpkin Idli
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Standing Time:1 hour
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 1 cup idli rava or cream of rice
  2. 2 cups grated pumpkin
  3. 2 tbsp of kadalai paruppu or channa dal or bengal gram
  4. 1 tsp of crushed pepper
  5. 1 tsp of cumin crushed
  6. 1 tbsp grated ginger
  7. 1 green chilies chopped
  8. a few sprigs of coriander leaves finely chopped
  9. a sprig of curry leaves chopped
  10. salt to taste
  1. In a bowl of hot water soak the channa dal.
  2. Wash the idli rava and strain the water completely using a colander and pressing on it gently.
  3. Add in the grated pumpkin, soaked channa dal, pepper, cumin, ginger and curry leaves but not the salt.
  4. Let this stand for about an hour. After this time there should not be any water dripping from the batter. If it is squeeze it out.
  5. Get the pressure cooker or idli vessel to steam the idlis. Grease the idli pans.
  6. Now add salt mix it.
  7. Laddle the mixture onto greased idli pans and steam for 10 minutes. Cool and remove from idli pan.
Pair it with any chutney. We enjoyed it with some Gongura Pachadi.

This Mango Rasam is another recipe that would never have been tried if not for this journey. Green mangoes are the recommended kind for this recipe. The ones DD managed to find were slightly ripe and we actually liked the slightly sweet taste of the half ripe mango.
Source: Mango Rasam
Mango Rasam
Preparation Time:15 minutes
cooking Time:5 minutes
  1. 1 Medium sized Mango grated
  2. 2 green chilies
  3. a pinch cumim seeds
  4. salt to taste
  5. 2 cups of water
  6. For Seasoning
  7. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  8. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  9. curry leaves
  10. 2 tsp ghee
  1. Add the grated mango along with the chilies and cumin seeds to a blender and 1 cup of water and blend it.
  2. Drain the mango extract and return the pulp back to the blender, add more water and pulse few more times and extract the rest of the pulp.
  3. Add salt and mix it in.
  4. In a small saute pan add the ghee and when hot add the mustard seeds and when it pops add the cumin and curry leaves and pour it over the mango water.
I was reluctant at first and a little skeptical of the taste but it was absolutely delicious and I was quite surprised. We will meet soon with the recipes from the second stop.
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