Thursday, September 09, 2010
500gms. New Potatoes(Boiled,Peeled & Cubed)
20 sprigs of Fresh Mint finely chopped
20 Sprigs of Fresh Coriander(Cilantro)Leaves finely chopped
5-10 hot Green Chillies finely chopped
1.5 tbsps.Coriander Cumin Powder
0.5 tbsp.Chaat Masala Powder(Any Brand)
Salt to taste
100 gms.Fresh Red Tomatoes,Pureed
2" piece Fresh Ginger finely minced
1.5 tsp.Cumin Seeds
2 tbsps.Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Heat Ghee in a non-stick Wok and lower flame to Low.Add finely minced Ginger and Cumin Seeds.When these sputter and change colour,sprinkle in the Turmeric and Asafoetida Powders and saute for 30 seconds.Add the Tomato Puree and saute till the Ghee shows at the edges.Add the Coriander-Cumin Powder and saute for 1 minute till the aroma wafts up.Now add the finely minced Green Chillies,Mint and Coriander Leaves along with the Salt and Chaat Masala.Saute for 1 minute and add the boiled,cubed Potatoes.Mix well tto coat these with the Sauce.Cover and Steam for 5-7 minutes till aromatic and fragrant.This is a dry Dish.Serve hot with freshly made Indian Rotis---Whole Wheat Tortillas make a good substitute.
CALORIE COUNT PER SERVING
117 Calories of which--Total Fat 4.6 g ,Saturated Fat 2.5 g,Cholestrol---10.4 mg,Sodium 140 mg, Potassium 480 mg, Carbs.18 g,Dietary Fiber 3 g ,Sugars 1 g ,Protein 2.5 g.
This is a recipe that was used by our Cook Narayandas.This man was a genius in preparing great,tasty but simple Food---of course I've scaled down the quantity of Ghee he'd have used---about 3 times as much!!!While I concede that adds oodles of taste to the Dish(yummmmy) but today I'd be also be thinking of the Saturated Fat and Cholestrol it was adding as well!!Potatoes are one of Sudhir's favourites -----that's why I can serve these up cooked in a myriad different ways----- because he can eat these day in and day out !!!Why only him---both my sons-in-law and my grand daughter do too!!Of course the three of them will crib about there being a Potato Dish cooked daily---but the Vessel it's cooked in is literally wiped so clean and dry---that one needn't even wash it!!!
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
We traditionally host Ganpati for 10 days---it was brought into our home around 60 years ago on the insistence of Sudhir and his siblings.Since then He has been coming each year---welcomed with lots of Love and Reverence.Since there was no ritualistic Puja being performed after He came the children of the Family would enjoy His presence in the House without any hindrances.
This led to all of Sudhir's siblings and Cousins having a whale of a time during this Festival.Certain Rituals like lighting the Lamps,singing Hymns morning and evening as well as offering different types of Sweets to Him was mandatory,this actually served as a platform for everyone to have fun.The singing of Hymns used to be a fun time---accompanied by the Tabla,Harmonium and the Cymbals---not everyone sang tunefully but the enthusiasm and gusto was high and made up for it!!They'd set new tunes to the old Hymns---this would become the cause for some of them forgetting the words and would create a ripple of laughter at the hapless one who erred---but all in good fun!!!
There would be loads of visitors coming over on all the 10 days He stayed with us-
---those days anytime convenient to the visitor had to be convenient to the host---the concept of taking an appointment was considered silly----after all everyone was a blood relation---so being so formal with each other was out!!There used to be huge amounts of Food cooked those days---one never knew who would drop in and when--so serving the Meal according the time of day was the norm!!This ensured a constant supply of yummy Goodies from the Kitchen----the children had a field day stuffing their faces!!!The entire house would be overflowing with people---Atya and her sisters-in-law would be always busy toiling in the hot Kitchen ------handing out Breakfast,Lunch,Tea or Dinner constantly----and all this on Kerosene Stoves and Coal fires!!!The House used to smell of Flowers,Incenense,Food and Attars---the pure Perfumed Oils that were commonly used then.The atmosphere exuded the warmth of Love and the bond of kinship----today we are far less in number than we were then.There was nothing known as extended Family---we were all cohesive parts of one Family--tied together firmly by bonds of Blood!!!Today while I realise how draining it must have been for the women of the house---the memories of that camaraderie and warmth of that large gathering still linger---adding to my nostalgia!!!
My Panaji(Sudhir's Grandma) insisted on separating her four sons---a step that she felt was necessary to everyone's happiness.She was scared that squabbles among the children would spread to her daughters-in-law and from there to her sons---and she wanted to prevent this from happening!!!Sudhir still remembers how strange they felt after his Uncles left----and all the cousins missed each other terribly and met daily---they all went to the same Schools!!!It was during Ganapati that the entire family would again assemble under one roof for 10 days----and have a ball!!!Ganapati continued to be the strong bond between all of us----it was a time to celebrate together----our children were young and new bonds were building and cementing----and those 10 days went a long way in doing this!!!
As our children grew up the older generation passed away one by one--from being the younger generation we became responsible for keeping Traditions alive.Sudhir's cousins too married and moved to the distant suburbs---meeting less often but still coming together and celebrating this Festival as a Family each year.Those days there used to be a busy hustle bustle in the old home---all it's huge rooms full to bursting with people---family and friends both!!!Today the old house has been sold---only Babu and Suhas's son Amit are in Mumbai today----and the Family---including Sudhir's Cousins---is spread out far and wide.Atya and Milind have passed on and these days it just doesn't feel the same.Time and Weather both have changed---sometimes making physical attendance impossible---and the horrendous Traffic adding to our woes and worsening the situation during Festivals.
The Ganapati still comes with the usual Pomp and Fanfare---and is seated on His Silver "Paat"(Stool)with His Mouse next to Him, surrounded by offerings of numerous Silver Modaks in all shapes and sizes and festooned with garlands of Silver "Durva"or bunches of Grass---each representing a heartfelt "Thank You" fo wishes granted and Dreams fulfilled----from our grateful children----many of them being Sayali's gift!!!Today most of our children live abroad----they can't make it back here except once in a Blue Moon!!!We miss them terribly during this period-----and so does Ganpati!!!
Today we still make the Traditional Rice Flour Modaks for the Lord on the first day----mine mostly look like clumsily tied Bundles---but this is one thing that hasn't changed at all!!The Menu too remains the same----and Piety and Peace are palpably present and still permeate the Room.The huge Silver Lamps still cast a warm glow over the Room----and the Air still smells of Flowers,Incense ,Perfumes and Food----His Presence still pervades the house----blessing it with a palpably felt Peace and Calm!!The only thing that has changed is that today all four of Sudhir and his siblings miss their children--spread far and wide across the Globe!!!
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
I love being an Indian in India during the Festival period-----the very Air around one tingles with loads of Piety,Happiness and an indefinable something which is essentially Indian---an ambience which is replete with Vibrant Enthusiasm, Fragrance,Festivity and Joie De Vivre---a Love of Life and Living!!!
The Elephant God or Ganesha/Ganapati as He is called------is worshipped ceremoniously in almost every home across Maharshtra---the period of His stay ranging from 36 hours to 10 days---and He bids "Adieu" to us after 10 days---leaving us sad to see Him go!!!During this period only "pure "Vegetarian Fare--minus Onion and Garlic is served for the entire period of His stay---36 hours,60 hours,5 days,7 days or maximum 10 days ---each household hosts His stay according to it's individual Tradition.Some observe strict rituals during the period of His stay---worshipping Him and presenting Him daily with Traditionally pre-set Menus---of which the most beloved is the "Modakas" or dumplings made from Rice Flour or All Purpose Flour and stuffed with a sweet Coconut-Jaggery filling.The Rice Flour ones are steamed and in the case of the All Purpose Flour ones---deep fried.These Ganpatis are called "Pujechey" Ganpati---and the mood is pious, solemn and full of Reverence.Others like us host Him for 7-10 days without the Rituals---these Ganpatis are called "Mulaanchey or Khelaatley" Ganpati and are brought home just to bless the premises.
The Community ones are hosted by the Ganapati Mandals or Clubs.These are huge in both sizes as well as in arrangements.Many of these are famous---for instance the" Lal Baugcha Raja" or King of Lal Baug in central Mumbai----He has an enormous following and people stand in line for more than 24 hours at a stretch just to pay obeisance to Him!!!Then there is the GSB Mandal's Ganpati at Wadala ,a suburb in eastern Mumbai----here too people queue up and wait for hours to pay obeisance--- there are many,many more---but these two are the richest----garnering Crores(Millions) of Rupees in Jewellery and hard Cash each year!!!In fact they gather so much Money that the Coins are sifted through huge Sieves according to sizes!!!There are Entertainment Programs too arranged as a part of these Mandal activities.A lot of Regional and Bollywood Actors have used this Stage as a Platform or Stepping Stone to Fame and Recognition!!
Like all our other Festivals,this Festival too has it's lighter moments.In Goan and Konkani homes along the coastal belt of Western India, many people abstain totally from Eggs,Poultry,Fish and Meat for the entire month of Shravan preceding this Festival and for as long as He stays in their homes. They cook and eat Non-Vegetarian Food only after He exits according to His schedule from their home.These folks are avid Fish lovers and are literally dying to taste Fish again----specially the Fresh Mackerel---the Season for which starts around the time for Ganpati.Most often in such homes,the Ganpati Idol exits ceremoniously through the Front door---and the Mackerel rushes in through the "Paras Daar" or Backyard door!!!The next day is celebrated with a hearty Feast with the Mackerel being the Star attraction!!!
There are "Maharashtra Mandals" or Clubs of Maharashtrian people who live away from Maharashtra--both in India and abroad----and these arrange for Traditional Festivities for each Festival---by collecting Monetary Contributions from it's members.This way our children too learn about our Culture and Traditions---these help in keeping a connection--a bond with our Roots alive!!!
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
12 Servings---93 Calories/Serving
200 gms.Potatoes(Boiled,Peeled & Cubed)
200 gms.Pomegranate Seeds
200 gms.Fresh Pineapples(Cubed)
200 gms.Apples(Peeled & Cubed)
200 gms.Pears(Peeled & Cubed)
200 gms.Bananas (Peeled and Sliced into 0.25" thick Rounds)
200 gms.Ripe Guavas(Cubed)
1.75 tbsp.Chaat Masala (Any Brand)
1.75 tsp.Organic Brown Sugar
5-10 hot Green Chillies finely chopped
15-20 Sprigs of Fresh Mint finely minced
15-20 Spigs Fresh Coriander(Cilantro)Leaves finely minced
2 tbsps.Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Place all Ingredients together in a large Salad Bowl and mix well.Cover the top of the Bowl with a sheet of Cling Wrap and chill well before serving.
I make my own Chaat Masala at home because I prefer a spicier blend in my Masala.My Recipe for that is posted in my Cook Book titled
"KOMAL 53's Home Made Indian Spice Powders,Pickles & Chutneys"
and the address is
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