thandayi panna cotta

Thandai spiced coconut milk panna cotta : Veganlicious Holi & summer treat

thandayi panna cotta

This is going to be the most colorful post till date, commemorating the Hindu festival of color Holi in every form. Holi is the festival of life and merriment. Color plays an important part in Human psychology. It has that inherent power to cure many things, and as the season changes the languidness of Winter mellows beautifully into cheerfulness of the colorful Spring, and in India Spring has more warmer tones than in other parts of the world, there is splash of life in nature too with colorful flowers, and new leaves, nature comes alive with colorful hues of pink, red and yellow just like Holi.

While it is true that we had not played Holi since more than a decade, partly because of our relocation to many places and partly because I feel that the true essence of Holi is losing its meaning, but making the sweet and snack platter for ourselves and few invited guests is the ritual that we are following since long. Holi will always remain my most favourite festival.

thandayi pannacotta

In days of yore, when Holi was not an excuse to show your darker sides, the color of festival looks entirely different in sleepy towns where I had spent a quarter of my life in comparison to the cities. While Bacchan’s rang barse had permanently etched in our memory as Holi song, there are many folk songs and classical raag based songs that used to be part of Holi festival. The days wore festive look since morning as everyone in the town, small or big, rich or poor gathered around the festoon covered Radha-Krishna temple to have a glimpse of jhanki or tableau, for Lord’s blessings. The essence of Holi is as pure and pious as the divine love of Radha and Krishna. It also reflects our oneness with nature as just like the festival, we see a galore of colorful flowers blossoming all around us.  Holi signified mangal milan with colors of knowledge by renouncing vanity, rivalry, enmity, jealousy, greed leading unity and oneness of humanity.

thandai powder

A week before Holi, the houses decked up in festive fervor, with Spring cleaning going on in full swing. My Mom started planning the menu platter a week before and took utmost care not to repeat the same dish, each year she will make something different for Holi, except the Gujiya that she will make like a ritual. Holi without gujiya seems like holi without colors. Rituals die hard and to this day I am following the same.

But with a 10 month old baby who suddenly started refusing any food, this year Holi platter looks empty with just Thandai Panna cotta.  I had added few dried rose leaves in good measure to bring out the colors of Holi, and tried to capture the cheerfulness of the festival. In days before Holi my baby fell twice, from the swing and then from the bed, and we had to rush to her pedia to assure that there are no concussions in her head. So the post kept lying in my folder and did not get enough time to share this beautiful simple and delicious dessert with you on time.

 

how to make thandai powder

And it is never too late to have thandai, as it also means coolant and in the coming Summer days, you will enjoy it even more. Like any coolant that rejuvenates the soul, thandai is essentially a milk and nut based beverage that balances the heat in the body as our body prepares up for more warmer days. The drink is served cold, sometimes with ice cubes if temperatures are soaring up. But during Holi, the weather remains pleasant, mildly warmer and the evenings are so enjoyable. Calm and breezy.

Some relationships are eternal. They complement each other, they can not exist without the other. Like Holi and Thandai. Traditionally thandai is prepared with bhang or cannabis, the plant that is known for its medicinal uses and also sacred to Hindus, in my town thandai was usually prepared without bhang so that all can enjoy it including kids. For bhang aficionados a secret platter of bhang ke pakore and bhang ke sharbat and ladoo used to be kept under tight security, well above the reach of children.

thandai panna cotta dessert

For thandai the nuts and spices are first soaked in water for hours and then grind in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste. This was then added to the boiled milk and usually served at room temperature or chilled. So this year I let my imaginative mind fly high and had churned out this panna cotta in no time. The thandai spice powder was made before hand and all I need to add it to the coconut milk and then let the agar agar do its magic. In the morning, the panna cotta was deliciously set, creamy and flavorful. The recipe for thandai powder varies from hand to hand and after much trial and error I had arrived at this combination. While almond and poppy seeds are integral in my recipe, there are other optional too like cashew and pistachios. Rose and saffron brings out the colorful hues of Holi. And a drop of vetiver or khus brings out its true flavour but if you don’t get it easily, don’t fret over it, thandai taste delicious without that too.

Thandai spiced coconut milk pannacotta : Holi & summer treat
 
Prep time
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Thandai is a milk and nut based cold beverage enjoyed during Holi festival and also it is a coolant for tropical summer. The nut and spice mixture however can be used to prepare range of sweet dishes or desserts.
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
Thandai spice powder
  • Almond : around 20-25 pieces
  • Pistachio : around 12-15 pieces
  • Melon seeds / charmagaz : 2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds : 2 tbsp
  • Poppy seeds : 2 tbsp
  • Black peppercorn : around 15
  • Green cardamom : around 10
  • Nutmeg powder : a large pinch
  • Dried rose petals : 2tbsp
  • Saffron : a large pinch
  • Vetiver essence / khus ka ittar : few drops
Panna cotta
  • Coconut milk : 200 ml
  • Agar agar powder (plant based unflavoured) : 1 tsp leveled
  • Brown sugar / palm sugar : 3-4 tbsp as per taste
Instructions
To make the thandai spice powder
  1. Sun dry the nuts and spices together. Grind them in coffee grinder to a fine mix. Preserve in a sealed jar.
To make panna cotta
  1. In a heavy bottom pan, heat the coconut milk. Add the thandai spice powder, agar agar, sugar and let it heat through completely till the sugar dissolves and agar agar gets enough time to bloom.
  2. Don't boil the coconut milk, let it heated enough just before it reaches boiling point.
  3. Stir in the vetiver essence.
  4. Pour in serving dishes and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. Once it is cooled enough, keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours or until it sets.
Notes
Panna cotta should be creamy and jiggle slightly. So before adding gelatin or agar agar test the potency of it . Too much gelatin will make your panna cotta taste like hard boiled egg.

Happy Spring time,

Sukanya

multigrain bread

{Guest Post} How to make your homemade bread healthier

5 Ingredients to Make Your Homemade Bread Healthier

Nourishing and comforting, there’s nothing better than a hot loaf of freshly baked bread. But conventional bread isn’t the healthiest item on the menu. Thankfully, there are ways to make your favorite recipe healthier and without compromising on taste.

multigrain bread

These five ingredients will add nutrients and flavor to your homemade bread.

1. Flax Seed Meal

Flax seeds have been cultivated since 3000 BC, and they make a great healthy addition to any bread. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these seeds are a nutritional powerhouse and offer a number of health benefits. These fats are essential to heart health.

These tiny seeds also contain lignans, which contain both antioxidant and estrogen qualities. In fact, flax seeds have nearly 800 times more lignans than other foods.

Along with essential fatty acids and lignans, these seeds also contain both insoluble and soluble fiber.

Flax seed meal – rather than the whole seed – is the best option for bread. The seeds must be ground for the body to absorb their nutrients. It’s easy to add the meal to your bread dough in place of some conventional flour.

Flax also makes a great egg replacement, so you can use the ground seeds in place of eggs in your basic bread recipe.

2. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a superfood and can easily be added to your favorite bread recipe. Similar to flax seeds, chia contains high levels of fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Just one serving of these seeds contains 11g of fiber and 4.4g of protein. Chia also has linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, strontium, mucin, magnesium, thiamine, niacin and antioxidants.

Chia has the fantastic ability to thicken and gel, which is part of the reason it’s so great for your digestive health.

These seeds can be added to the bread dough, the crust or both.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is known for its health benefits, and it’s the medium-chain fatty acids, or MCFAs, that give this oil its health-promoting properties.

The three unique fats found in coconut oil include: lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid.

About 62% of the oils in coconut contain these three healthy fatty acids, and 91% of the fat is saturated.

MCFAs contain antimicrobial properties, are easier to digest and provide immediate energy because they are processed by the liver right away.

Most bread recipes call for oil or butter. Rather than using vegetable or olive oil, use coconut oil instead. Coconut oil will not only add healthy fats and nutrients, it will also add a tremendous amount of flavor to your bread.

healthy bread

4. Psyllium Husk Powder

Psyllium husk powder is a common ingredient in gluten-free and low-carb breads. This powder is a form of fiber from the husks of Plantago ovata seeds.

While psyllium can be used as a laxative, this powder can also help strengthen your heart, maintain your weight and regulate your blood sugar levels.

Psyllium has long been used as a substitute for gluten and was included in the initial gluten-free flour mixes sold in stores.

While this powder makes a great addition to bread recipes, it’s important to be mindful of how much you’re adding to the dough. Too much psyllium husk can have a laxative effect.

The husk powder will help create the traditional bread texture and flavor you love.

5. Mix of Grains and Seeds

If your goal is to add essential nutrients to your bread, incorporating a mix of grains to the recipe is a great choice.

Oats, barley, quinoa, rice and other grains and seeds make great additions to any bread. These ingredients can be ground into flour, or added to the crust whole for flavor.

Just be mindful that adding grains into the recipe may require you to add extra flour or water to the dough.

Grains add a tremendous amount of nutrients to bread, including essential vitamins and minerals. They also contain high amounts of fiber and protein. Some grains and seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids.

The great thing about multigrain bread is that it can be tossed right into a bread machine for baking. But before you start baking, take the time to soak the grains beforehand. Soaking grains will remove the phytic acid that blocks the absorption of some nutrients found in the plant.

grains seeds for bread

Selection Sunflower Seeds Grains Market Mix

Bread doesn’t have to be an unhealthy part of your diet. These ingredients will add both nutrients and flavor to your favorite bread recipe.

Do you have healthy ingredients that you add to your bread? Share in the comments!

bharwan karela stuffed bittermelon

Bharwan karela (pan roasted stuffed bitter gourd / melon) in Andhra style

“Truth is bitter but its result is sweet. Falsehood appears to be sweet but it is poisonous in effect.”

And nature teaches us this maxim through various medium. Like the bitter gourd or melon and Neem / Margosa leaves. Both are known for its bitterness and yet both of them have numerous medicinal properties, have been used for centuries  in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines.

This ancient healing fruit is not appreciated by all because of its sharp, pungent and bitter taste. It does not marries well with other flavours too, except chilli and garlic and with generous dousing of oil. That seems to mellow down its sharp and bitter taste. Like every child who hates and suffer from bitter gourd syndrome , I too had never liked it in any way in my childhood days. And to my dismay no Bengali lunch would be ever complete without “ucche bahja” or shukto, one is stir fried bitter gourd and the other is mix vegetable dish. And in the sweltering tropical summer, this vegetable was an essential and regular part of our summer lunch menu.

However, over the period of time, my mind has grown accustomed to its bitter taste and I have come to appreciate its taste. So much that I now look forward to try out some new recipes with bitter gourd. Though Bengali cuisine is never dearth of bitter gourd recipes, yet for a change of taste I try to look forward to try something new.

stuffed karela recipe

Few moons ago I had tried this stuffed karela at an Andhra restaurant, their cuisine was completely different from the regular Andhra food that we are so familiar with. Coastal cuisines are always different from the mainland and this one hails from the coast of Godavari, though the spice quotient remains typical of any Andhra food. The small hand picked bitter gourds were beautifully pan roasted in oil giving them a nice appetizing and aesthetic look, stuffed with flavourful mix of spices and lentils. The platter was served with accompaniments of various types of chutneys. Since then it has become our family favourite. Other than as an appetizer, you can also enjoy it as a side dish with rice or roti drizzle lightly with melted ghee.

Heaven!!

I prefer to cook it with small or baby bitter gourds. They looks beautiful. You can try with long ones too. Carefully hand pick them because you want them to be young and fresh, no sign of yellowness or age should be there. With a sharp knife, scraped their uneven ridges and smoothed out their skin. It will allow even cooking. Dunked them in vinegar or lemon juice for few hours so that they can behave well in hot oil. I don’t love to boil them as in my humble opinion , boiling will ruin its sharp pungent taste.

Stuffing would be flavourful mix of chana dal, peanuts, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, onions, red chilli, garlic, coriander seeds, tamarind water and salt. And a final word of caution – these beauties going to drink lots of oil. So beware about it. They are pure indulgence.

bharwan karela stuffed bittermelon

Bharwan karela (pan roasted stuffed bitter gourd / melon)
 
Prep time
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Pan roasted stuffed bitter melons
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Bitter gourd (melon) : 6-8 small or baby size
  • Oil for frying (use peanut oil for extra flavour)
  • Red chilli and few cloves of garlic to flavour the oil
  • Salt and lemon juice to soak the bitter gourds
Stuffing
  • Onion (sambhar or pearl onion) : finely chopped (2-3 tbsp)
  • Garlic minced : 1 tbsp
  • Green chillies (finely chopped) : 1 tbsp
  • Roasted peanuts : 4 tbsp
  • Chana dal (bengal gram) : 1 tbsp (roasted)
  • Sesame seeds : ½ tsp
  • Cumin and coriander seeds : 1 tsp each
  • Red chillies : 2 dry
  • Salt to taste
  • Tamarind water : 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Wash and clean the bitter gourds.
  2. Cut them into halves. Scoop out the seeds with the help of a spoon.
  3. With a sharp knife or peeler scrape out its rough ridges and smoothed out the skin.
  4. Soak the bitter gourds in warm water with salt and lemon juice for 2 hours.
  5. Heat enough oil in frying pan.
  6. Add the garlic cloves and few red chillies to flavour the oil.
  7. Once the tempering is done, remove them and reserve the oil.
Prepare the stuffing
  1. In a separate pan with very little oil, lightly fry the onion and minced garlic till they change color.
  2. Add all the ingredients listed under the stuffing.
  3. Toss them well in oil. Cool it.
  4. Grind them in a mixer to coarse paste.
Prepare the stuffed karela
  1. Stuff the halved bitter gourds withe the stuffing mix. Join the other half with the help of wooden toothpick. Plastic ones will melt while frying. (refer the image)
  2. Once done, fry the bitter gourd in high heat in the flavoured oil.
  3. Rotate the sides, so that it get browned from all sides.
  4. Once the bitter gourds turns brown, lower the heat to minimum.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid and let them fry on low heat till done.
  6. They will become very soft and gradually will turn deep brown.
  7. Serve hot with your favourite chutney like peanut chutney.
  8. Drizzle the leftover oil over the bitter gourds.

Until next,

Sukanya

 

pabda macher jhol jhal

Pabda macher jhol kalojeere ar bodi diye / fish curry with nigella & no-onion no-garlic recipe

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime ~ Maimonides

In Bengali mythology and culture, fish has always been a delicious symbol of fertility, prosperity and abundance and it touches many aspects of ceremonial and ritual life. (~ Chitrita Banerjee)

While fish is seen as smelly and gross food to many, Bengali marriages are not complete without fishes, there are many rituals where fish is an important part of it. In Bengal fish is considered holy and auspicious. Loved and blessed by our Goddesses too.

Bengali’s love for fish is an universal truth, however there are many exceptions to that. In Bengal, fish is considered as child’s first food, together with the much celebrated chaler payesh or kheer. Before we even learn to read or write, a Bong child’s training started much early in childhood, lessons in de-boning the fish properly, and by the time he/ she reached teenage is considered an expert in that. While girls must know how to clean and cook the fishes properly, boys must learn how to identify the freshest catch of the day and these nitty gritty of whole fish business determines later much of the success of their matrimonial life. While it is true that Bengali’s love fishes, unlike the other fish eating community of the world we are fond of only fresh water fishes. Fishes that hatches well in the mighty Ganges, and its numerous tributaries that has dissected the alluvial deltaic region of Bengal basin and  in the numerous ponds and lakes that dotted the fertile land of Bengal. Sea fishes are strict no-no for many.

pabda macher jhol jhalPabda is one such fresh water fish, Pabo catfish in English and it has very delicate sweet taste. There are many fishes that don’t freeze well, and Pabda is one such. To devour its sweet taste and the flavour, it should be enjoyed fresh and also the size matters here. Pabda like Parshe should be small enough to get accommodated in the quarter size plates. Bigger than that its origins are doubtful and questionable. A true fish fanatic will consider all these factors before laying his hands on the freshet catch of the Pabda from local fish market.

Now this is news to many that most of the Bengali vegetarian dishes are strictly no-onion, no garlic recipes. Here comes another breaking news- many Bengali fish dishes are also no – onion, no garlic recipes. Apparently it seems that traditional Bengali cooking does not conform to the very idea of making a rich sauce or curry using onion, tomatoes and garlic. We prepare food very differently. Like this Pabda fish which is cooked without onion, garlic and tomato. While sorshe bata mach is doing good business in Non-Bengali circuit, that is not the only way we cook fish. A true blue Bong must know or can invent (we are very accommodating sorts) thousands of ways to make a macher jhol. In my home, Pabdas are mostly enjoys with nigella and daler bori ( lentil wadi), sans any onion or garlic, well that is almost sacrilegious to use here. Though Panch phoron is most celebrated spice blend from Bengal but in my opinion and what I have observed , nigella or kalonji or kalo jeera is the most loved spice in Bengali food.

bengali fish curry

Pabda macher jhol kalojeere ar bodi diye / fish curry with nigella & no-onion no-garlic recipe
 
Prep time
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Pabda mach or fresh water pabo catfish recipe tempered with nigella and no onion no garlic recipe
Recipe type: lunch
Cuisine: Indian (Bengali)
Ingredients
  • Pabda mach / pabo catfish : 8-10 small size
  • Nigella seeds : ¾ tsp (must have)
  • Ginger-cumin paste : 2 tbsp (see note how to make it)
  • Green chillies : 3-4 or as per taste
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder : a large pinch (just to add some color)
  • Salt : 1 tbsp plus as per taste
  • Sugar : ½ tbsp
  • Coriander leaves (fresh) : ½ cup finely chopped (must have)
  • Daler bodi / lentil wadis : 6-8 (must have)
  • Mustard oil as required
Instructions
  1. Wash the fish thoroughly and smear them evenly with generous amount of salt and turmeric powder. Keep aside for 15 minute or so.
  2. In a separate pan fry the daler bodi or lentil wadis and keep aside.
  3. Heat a large fry pan or kadhai and add the mustard oil enough for frying the fishes.
  4. Once the oil is smoking hot, carefully place the fish one by one, maximum two or three fish at at time. Do not overcrowd the pan.
  5. Fry the fish lightly (do not brown or over brown the fish). Just 3-4 minute on each side.
  6. Remove the fishes from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  7. Add more oil if requires.
  8. Once the oil is hot enough. temper it with nigella seeds.
  9. As soon as the seeds starts to crackle, add the ginger cumin paste.
  10. Lower the heat, saute the spice blend. Throw in some slitted green chillies.
  11. Add turmeric powder, pinch of red chilli powder, salt and sugar to taste.
  12. Saute nicely till the masala starts separating from the pan.
  13. Add two cups of warm water, cover the pan.
  14. Once the water starts boiling, carefully dip the fish in the gravy.
  15. Add the fried daler bodi / lentil wadi.
  16. Cook uncovered on low heat for 5 more minute.
  17. Add the chopped coriander leaves, give it a stir.
  18. Close the lid for 2 minute, and switch off the heat.
  19. Serve hot with steamed white rice.
Notes
How to make ginger and cumin paste (jeere aada bata) :
Soak the cumin seeds around ¼ cup for an hour.
Wash, peel and chop the two inch fresh ginger.
Blend them together in mixer and store in the fridge.
For smaller quantities, you can use mortar and pestle too.

Happy Fishing,

Sukanya

gota sheddho

Gota sheddho / casserole of whole lentils and boiled whole vegetables – traditions reinvented

Gota sheddho / casserole of whole lentils and boiled whole vegetables – a tradition reborn again.

Cultural diversity gives India a unique flavour and richness. Often with in the same community or region, the differences in culture, traditions, rituals and beliefs are so divergent from each other giving a different entity altogether. Like in Bengal, where Ghotis (those originate in West Bengal) and Bangal culture (people of East Bengal before partition of India) are so different from each other that we often remain ignorant of each other’s cultural values, food and rituals until the amalgamation happens in form of marriage or through other medium of cultural reciprocity.

gota sheddho

In my Bangal home, we had never heard about this ritual of eating gota sheddho on the day after Saraswati Puja. In fact in our custom, there is a ritual of eating ” jora ilish / paired hilsa” on this day. Blissfully ignorant of such customs for long until I was married into ghoti family where these rituals are celebrated on much larger scale with festive fervor. Traditions are like these only,  it kept flowing seamlessly through one generation to another and no one questions why and how it all began.

Saraswati puja also marks the beginning of spring in Indian calendar, when harsh cold waves began to retreat from the peninsula, the warmth of sunshine spreads all over the earth which looks beautifully painted in mustardy yellow, and green, weather is charming and pleasant . Large pots of khichuri and laba are stirred for the puja and air is filled with beautiful aroma of spices and of fresh harvest. The next day of Saarswati puja/ also known as Basant panchami (fifth day of the waxing moon) is Sheetal Shashti (the sixth day) when mothers keeps fast for the well being of their children. This day hearth is not lit and food cooked the day before is eaten cold.

lentils vegetable casserole

I am not a ritualistic person and my belief systems and logic are not seeped in traditions, though it may have some unknown scientific basis to this observance to which I am ignorant, but when I first tried this casserole of whole lentils and boiled vegetables, I immediately loved it. I was completely sold out to  the very idea of cooking a casseroloe of whole vegetables and lentils, wihtout any spices and oil. In one word it is hearty and healthy. Many said it is an acquired taste and every one cannot appreciate it but then my Ma-in law is considered an expert in making these dishes. I have learnt it from her and improvised (not that it is required) it with my choice of veggies and flavours.

Tradition dictates that it should be cooked on the day before, that is on Saraswati puja, as on Sheetal shasti hearth is not lit, but our belief systems would never let us follow these strictures and also idea of eating something cold especially the veggies and dals would never appeal to us. Hence I cooked this on the other day and eaten fresh.

gota sheddho bengali recipe

So on that day, I went to my local farmer’s market and collected five different whole vegetables like small potatoes in their new jackets, baby eggplants, tender green peas in pods, seem (broad double beans), small size haricot green beans and two bunch of spinach with roots and shoots. The freshest and best of the produce goes into the pot, so while making this dish use the fresh vegetables and it makes all the differences in the taste. As peeling and chopping is not allowed, so try to pick the best vegetable from the produce basket, or better use organic potatoes. Else scrub the skin of the potatoes very well. Choose the eggplants that are light in weight, and without bore marks as that will ensure them free of worms and less seeds. Wash broad beans and peas in pod thoroughly and check against the light for sign of any worm infestation. The spinach should not be chopped and leaves and shoots should not be separated. Wash the roots thoroughly and scrape the roots with a knife. Use only good leaves, if there are any decomposing leaves are there, discard them. The whole black lentils (mashkalai in Bengali / sabut urad in Hindi) should be soaked for at least 10 hours as pressure cooking is not allowed. (I don’t know why, but it will be fun to try some new cooking methods. May be that it will alter the taste) . Preparation specially the washing part is bit tedious, so try to do it very carefully. I have also used a piece of ginger with skin on.

When it comes to food, there is only one rule – that there is no rule. So feel free to use your innovative ideas. I had flavored the casserole with whole dried bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon stick. Plus I had also added two whole green chillies. Once washed, all goes into pot. First the lentils, followed by veggies. Add enough water just to cover them. Spinach with its roots and shoots intact goes last. Drizzle a spoon of mustard oil, throw the spices and green chilles and cover the pot. Use a close fit lid that will allow very low escape of steam.  Use a large size dekchi or clay pot for that authentic flavour. Once the water comes to rolling boil, lower the heat, cover and let it stem cook for around 40 minute or till done.

Gota sheddho / casserole of whole lentils and boiled whole vegetables - traditions reinvented
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Gota shedhho or casserole of whole black lentils and boiled whole vegetables.
Recipe type: lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • Whole black lentils (mashkalai / sabut urad) : 1 cup
  • Small size new potatoes : 4 or 6
  • Baby eggplants : 4 or 6
  • Green haricot beans : 8-10
  • Sheem ( broad double beans) : 8-10
  • Green peas in pod : 8-10
  • Spinach with roots and shoots : one bunch
optional flavoring
  • Ginger two inch piece with skin on
  • Bay leaves : 2
  • Black peppercorns : 8-10
  • Green chillie : 2 whole
  • Cloves : 2-3
  • Cinnamon : a small piece
  • Mustard oil : one teaspoon
  • Ghee : drizzle just before serving
  • Salt to taste (usually no salt is added in this dish)
Instructions
  1. Wash the vegetables thoroughly.
  2. Read the last two paragraph of the blog for details,
  3. Soak the lentils for at least 10 hours
  4. In a big pot, add the lentils, followed by vegetables.
  5. Throw in the spices, chillies, stir in a teaspoon of mustard oil.
  6. Add enough water just to cover the vegetables.
  7. Then add the spinach with all its roots and shoots intact.
  8. Add salt if you are using it.
  9. Let the water comes to rolling boil and then cover with a tight fitting lid so that steam escape should be minimal.
  10. Cook on low heat till done.
  11. In between do not stir it with a ladle, just shake the pot lightly. If requires you can add more water,
  12. When it looks like a casserole, and all the vegetables, spinach and lentils mixed well, remove from the heat.
  13. Serve it at room temperature with drizzle of ghee on it.

It is a tradition to devour this delicious blend of casserole with pantha bhaat or cooked rice left overnight in a bowl of water. But the dish is good on its own, so serve it as you like it.