Winters in Karnataka is always mild. We have never seen a bone chilling winter! A shawl, a sweater or say a monkey cap is all we needed if we had get out early in the morning to fetch milk or something like that. My mother for instance never even owned a sweater till my father was posted to Northern part of the country where it does get a little colder. But that does not mean we southern Kannadigas don't have specialty winter time snacks! By all means we do.
Right around Sankranti, when the air is still nippy and the first rays of sun warms up your toes like a cup of hot filter coffee would, we make this deliciously crazy snack ...'Kargalu'. Its literal meaning is Kari + Kalu - Deep fry + beans. We love it and god has endowed us the potential to demolish bowls after bowls of Kargalu. My grand mother always used to make it. She does not any more. It is too taxing on her aging body. But MIL still makes it. And I am as happy as a lark.

We will need,

Avarekalu / Pappadi lilva/ Indian beans  - 1.5 cup
Roasted Peanuts   -hulled and split           1/2 -3/4 cup
Channa Dal                                              1/2 c
Dry red chillies  (Byadagi)                         2-3  
Curry leaves                                              a handful
Koshar Salt to taste
Chilly powder  to taste (optional)
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Peanut Oil to deep fry

  • Soak the avarekalu in cold water over night or for at least 4-6 hours. Drain and squeeze the beans out of the skin. Spread it out on a cookie sheet and air dry for about an hour or so. 
  • Heat oil in a Kadai. Once the oil is hot and has ripples in it, lower a handful of beans into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. 
  • Fry till the blisters appears on the beans and it turns golden in colour. Remove and drain on paper towels. Stir in a pinch of salt while it is still hot, that way the salt sticks to the beans. Repeat till all the beans are used up.
  • Now heat a tbsp of oil in another Wok. Once hot throw in the red chillies and curry leaves. Once they stop sizzling throw in the Channa dal. Stir till the channa dal is fragrant and changes colour to a shade of golden yellow. Turn of the heat.
  • While the  wok is still hot,  throw in the peanuts, fried beans and toss it well. Add salt, chilly powder and ground pepper to taste and toss. Allow it to cool and store it in an air tight jar. It stores very well for a few weeks. But that is if you are not me :)

Goes out to Treat to eyes series 2 hosted by Rumana @ spice Ur Senses

Kale Palya

Sugar free update: Well, Honey managed to stick to the sugar free diet for the past two weeks...Surprisingly he has lost 5.5 lbs... Yes! No exaggerations here. That was a pleasant surprise. Me :( There was this big bag of Snickers lying in the pantry from the last Halloween, I had to eat it. The craving used to strike me so hard and every time I walked past the pantry, i had to grab one. I finished the entire bag. Now, there is nothing much at home and hopefully I should go sugar free the next few weeks. In fact Honey's success is actually motivating me to go ahead in this direction.

So here is Kale from Suburban Organic It was fresh as it could be and gorgeous but Kale is not actually a familiar vegetable in my kitchen. Well what to do when you get something you have never tried before? Make a "Palya" out of it. We are a Palya loving family. So I went ahead with it.

We will need,

Kale 1/2 lb
Onion 1 big chopped into strips.
Dry red chillies / Bydagi 2-3
Expeller pressed Peanut oil 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Channa Dal 1 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Hing a dash
Coconut grated 3-5 tbsp (Optional)

  • Wash and clean Kale and chop it into ribbons. Put the Kale in pot with about 1/2 cup of water. Blanch till the kale has soften a bit but still kind of al dente... We dont want our Kale to look limp and mushy. Drain and set it aside
  • Heat oil in a wok/ Kadai. Once hot, throw in the mustard seeds, Jeera, Hing,Channa dal, Urad Dal, Chillies in quick succession.
  • 10 seconds after adding the chillies, throw in the onions, cook till onions are transparent. Add the blanched Kale.
  • Stir adjust salt. Add the coconut if using. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Thank Leena for your cute award..

Kadalebeeja/ Shenga Unde Peanut clusters

Me and Honey have decided to go sugar-free for the next 2 may be 4 weeks. After reading so much about the effects of sugar on metabolism and after struggling to get back to pre-pregnancy weight both of us have decided to try going sugar free (for those of you wondering if a man puts on weight during his impending fatherhood- yes they do big time, in case of Honey almost as much as I did!). The only time we did eat sugar is on major festivals and that too in moderation. It has been three days and it looks like eternity. I never realized how much sugar we indeed consume on any given day. Shivratri was an occasion we had some sweets, a small Tambittu and a small Kadalebeeja Unde aka Shenga Unde. Sadly enough the next festival is so very far at Ugadi :(  I am so glad we cleared the biggest test. Last evening at a friends house we both refused Eclairs -the pillowy, chocolatey creamy eclairs.. Ah! we did it once and it sure feels good. Hope to keep on going.

We will need,

Peanuts  1 Cup
Jaggery   1/4  to 1/2 Cup  (I used about 1/4 )
Cardamon 2

  • Preheat oven at 350 F. Spread the peanuts on a single layer on a cookie sheet. Pop the peanuts in the oven for about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven, till the peanut are fragrant and slightly deeper in colour. Remove and cool
  • Once the peanuts are cool enough to handle, spread them on a kitchen towel, cover it with another and rub it till the skin had fallen off the peanuts and they have broken into halves.
  • Combine the Jaggery and about 2 tbsp of water in a thick bottom pot. Melt the Jaggery and filter the syrup if you suspect any impurities in the Jaggery (I did not and went ahead with the recipe).
  • Crush the cardamon and toss it into the Jaggery. Bring the syrup to two thread consistency i.e. When you pinch the syrup between your wet thumb and forefinger, you can see at least two threads running between the fingers. 
  • Quickly stir in the peanut halves. Stir to coat the syrup onto the peanuts. 
  • Grease your palms and pat the peanuts into Ladoos, (The mixture will be crazy hot and it will scald) else, lift a little peanut mixture in a spoon and using another spoon, move the mixture on to a Parchment lined Baking sheet.
  • Cool it till the mixture sets and then store it in an airtight jar.

Fasting or feasting: Tambittu for Shivratri..

Happy Shivratri folks..
Shivratri is supposed to be a day of fasting. But in my family, we love to feast on Shivratri. My grandmother- Ajji makes loads of goodies for the occasion. Tambittu, Kodbale, Kadalebeja Unde aka peanut clusters..etc. Generally I stay away from making Tambittu, but starting this year I am planning to make it for the occasion: it is all about setting the tradition for my sunny little boy!!
I called up Ajji last night and jotted down the recipe. And here we are some constrained Tambittu. The constraint being my coffee grinder which did not grind the rice to my desired consistency, But taste wise no complaints.

Here are some from last year courtesy Susheela Aunty..

We will need

Raw rice  1 Cup
Jaggery   about 1/2 -3/4 cup
Roasted Peanuts  1/2 Cup
Roasted channa dal / Kadalepappu  3 tbsp
Toasted Sesame Seeds        1 tbsp
Copra/ Kobbari  3 tbsp chopped
Cardamon 3 pods, seeds crushed.

  • Heat a skillet and toast rice on it till the rice is fragrant and deep golden brown. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
  • Combine the Roasted peanuts, channa dal, sesame seeds and copra in a large mixing bowl. Set it aside.
  • Grind the cooled rice in a coffee grinder into a fine powder. The flour should resemble talcum powder.
  • Stir in the flour into the nut-seed mixture.
  • Heat the jaggery and a scant 1/4 cup water in a thick bottomed pot. Cook the mixture till the syrup reaches 'one thread' consistency i.e. you should be able to pinch the syrup between two wet fingers into a single thread.
  • Pour the syrup at the edge of the the nut-rice mixture a tablespoon at a time. stir the mixture little at a time. Press it between your palms to make Laddus. Rest it on greased cookie sheet till it sets- an hour or so.
  • Store in air tight box. It makes 5-6 lemon sized Tambittu.