Mosar avallaki/ Poha in Spiced Yogurt

Mosaravallakki... that is curds and poha, is a very common dish in temples. I remember the best version i ever had at the Katil Durga parameshvari temple. On ekadashi this happens to be one of the most favorite offerings made to god. It is very easy and quick. Makes an excellent break fast or.
This evening i was talking to my friend, she had had this dish for breakfast this morning. So i had to eat it! So i made it. We were also remembering a lesson we had in our college on this dish written by Sunanda Belgaonkar. The essay was simple and rather sentimental, with the author remembering her late father and father-in-law and their love for this particular dish. It is not true, when we loose our loved ones, wee remember then more when we make or eat something that they were very fond of?? Food forms one of the strongest bonds, one reason probably why my father always insists on having our meals together.. though my better half has other ideas! For me, eating alone is a very lonely experience. Though in recent days i am sort of used to it. I never ate alone, even during my hostel days!! after all there was always some friend at the dining table!! It was great! I do miss eating with loved ones!! What can be a better way to say we care than sharing food?

Here is mosaravalakki.

Thin Poha/ thin Beaten rice/ Avalakki 1 cup
Oil 2 tbsp
Mustard seed 1/4 tsp
Hing 1 pinch
Channa dal 1 tbsp
Urad Dal 1 tbsp
Curry leaves
Chilly powder
turmeric powder 1 pinch
thick tangy curds 1/2 cup and above

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard, hing, curry leaves. Once the spluttering stops, add the channa dal and urad dal. Keep stirring till it is all golden. Add the beaten rice, chilly powder, salt and turmeric and mix gently. reduce the heat and toss till the beaten rice is almost translucent and crisp. about 5 minutes.
Serve warm with a dollop of thick curds.

Fish and Stew

Giada De laurentis's every day Italian happens to be one of my favorite shows on the food network. the other day she was showing a recipe with fish and a vegetable broth. I had to try it! But my way! So this is what i did. The taste was unbelievable. I had never had a more delicious stew or so perfectly moist but crisp on the out side fish ever! This makes a complete meal, filling and wonderful. I am just waiting to make it again!
For the fish:
Tilapia 1 fillet ( i serves two)
Olive Oil (upto ) 2 tbsp
Chilly powder 1 generous pinch
Italian herb blend 1 pinch
Dhania powder 1 generous pinch
For the stew:
Vegetable stock 1 can
Cannellini beans 1 can
Chilly flakes 1 generous pinch
green chillies 2
Garlic 2 cloves
Mushrooms 3 big diced
Tomato 1 big diced
Red Onion 1 medium diced
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Parmesan cheese
Mix all the ingredients for the fish except fish. Pat the fish dry. Smear the mixture on the fish evenly on both sides. Set it aside for at least 30 minutes. Heat a grill pan/Tawa. Place the fish on a really hot Tawa. Do not stir till the edges are charred. Turn it just once and cook it till done.
For the stew:
Heat oil in a pan. Add the chilly flakes and garlic. Immediately add the onions and mushrooms. Stir for a minute. Mix in the tomatoes, green chillies. Cook for a few more minutes. Drain the cannellini beans and wash all the brine. Add the beans to the vegetables. Mix in the vegetable stock. Simmer till most of the stew is thick as desired.
To serve, ladle the stew into a bowl, grate some Parmesan cheese on top. Place half of the fish fillet. Serve warm!!!
We loved it! I just loved the look on my better half's face after the first mouthful!! Something i will have to repeat .. may be on a day when we have an ugly fight!!!

Al la Greece

In my quest for food from different parts of the world, there is something in recent days that I really liked! It is the Greek food. It is so curious to see that all ancient cultures have a common under current running..a similar blend of spices and carbohydrates constituting the meal, of course the creative use of vegetables and limited importance of meats!!!
Food from Greece, Ethiopia, South Asia, East Asia, Rome,Persia, Hindukush.....are all so similar in theme... extensive use of spices. (Not necessarily chillies.. but other spices like clove, cardamon, cumin etc) My palate craves for spices and chillies of course and I end up liking food that is abundantly seasoned with spices!
A few weeks back we checked out a dinner. I found that many of these dinner (which are American equivalent to Bangalore Darshinis- cheap but really good and filling) are actually run by Greek community. So most of the dinners have a very good selection of Greek food. We tried this dish called Chicken al la Greece. I ended up eating the vegetarian part of it, my better half more than gladly finished the chicken part of it for me!!! I was very eager to try it at home with Shrimp (i do eat shrimp and fish ...strange!!!). So this is what i did and it did turn out really good.

Al La Greece

We will need

Basmati Rice 3/4 cup
Vegetable Stock 1 1/2 cup
Shrimp 6-8 (Mushroom can be substituted for a vegetarian version)
Tomatoes firm 2 diced into big chunks
Capsicum /Green Peppers 1 diced into big chunks
Onion 1 cubed
Butter 2 tbsp small pieces
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Green chillies 3+ (this is my addition!!!)
Italian Herb blend 1 +1 pinch ( I buy this as i find it economical.. instead of buying oregano, thyme, basil etc separately)
Feta cheese crumbled /mozzarella will work fine too
Fresh Coriander/Cilantro 1 cup

Mix olive oil, 1 pinch herb blend, salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into a quarter and three quarters. Toss in the diced tomatoes, capsicum and onions in the three quarter olive oil mixture. Toss the shrimp in the quarter olive oil mixture. Set it aside for a while.
Heat the stock in a pot.Add salt, green chillies and pepper. Wash rice and drain it well, add the rice once the stock boils. When the rice is half way done, Mix in the butter, cover and cook. Set it aside.

Heat a griddle pan/ Tawa/ Place the shrimp and cook turning once till it turns pink. Grill all the vegetables till slightly charred on the edges but still firm.

Spread the rice on a plate. Place the grilled vegetables and shrimp on the rice.Crumble the feta/mozzarella, cilantro on top. Serve warm.

Badanekai Gojju/ Roasted Eggplant

Brinjal/Egg Plant/ Aubergine is a vegetable native to India. I was rather surprised even Okhras, Chillies and Tur dal were not actually native to India which has so much become a part of our diets these days. So Brinjal happens to be a vegetable which our ancestors feated on. No wonder every part of India has delicious brinjal dishes. and a variety of it too.
So Here is one recipe which my grandmom makes and is a very very rustic dish. I remember watching an old Kannada movie with Rajkumar and Leelavathi. In the movie Leelavathi prepares this dish using eggplants and chilles from the neighbours back yard to serve guests(because they are poor they cannot afford an elaborate feast.. is how the story goes)
This is going to be my second entry to the event SWC Karnataka .

My grandmother used to make this dish very often, and it has been my favorite dish. She used to tell me as a kid that during her younger days, they had wood fired stove in the kitchen. Apart from the soot, inconvenience, the stoves imparted a fine smoky aroma to everything that was cooked on the stove. I vouch for it too! This is one such dish that is best when made on open wood fire. My grandmothers trick was fairly simple. Once she had cooked breakfast, she would just burry a few brinjals in the dying embers of the stove. And check on the brinjals only after the embers had died down and just ashes remained. She would crush some chillies, garlic and Chopped some onions and mix it with the now skinned charred brinjals. And then the best part.. eating it!!! Here is an updated version

Brinjal/egg plants/ Aubergines (the Indian purple round variety) 6-8
Green chillies 3 and above
Coriander chopped 1 cup
Garlic 3 cloves
Shallot 5 diced
Lime Juice

  • For this particular dish, pick the meatiest of the brinjals, the plumpier the better. Wash and wipe the brinjals dry. Spray some cooking spray on the brinjal. Trasfer it onto a foil lined cookie tray and broil it in the oven till the skin is charred. That works out to be between 12-15 minutes in my oven. Keep an eye though, it does not take long for it to burn completely.
  • Once done, remove and keep it aside to cool. Mean while. Heat a non stick pan. Punch some holes in the chillies. Toast the chillies in the hot pan. No oil is required. Once the chillies starts developing black char spots remove and set aside. 
  • Toast diced shallots till almost translucent. Set aside. Toast the garlic cloves too till it develops black char spots and remove from fire.
  • When the brinjal is cool enough to handle, gently peel away the charred skin. It should come off easily. Chop the flesh fine almost mashing it. 
  • Mash the garlic and chillies and mix into the chopped brinjal. Stir in the shallots and the rest of the ingredients. Else dump everything except the shallots into a food processor and pulse it till it reaches a salsa like consistency. Finally mix in the shallots. The idea is to keep the shallots chunky so that it adds texture to the dish.
  • It is served cold with hot Ragi balls/ Ragi mudde or steamed rice and ghee!
This dish regardless makes me feel that i am inches away from heaven!
I now realise this is a fat free dish. What a way to eat healthy.. I need to make it more often.

VGT Omnivore's hundred!

I can across this activity the other day.. The foodie that i am could not resist the idea of checking all that i have ever had in this list... After the excerise i realise for all the things that i have tried, i still cant get myself to try something that walks on four legs! Sometimes i ponder if i can bring myself to eat a chicken and fish, what is the difference between these small creatures and the bigger ones say goat, lamb, pork... Beef however being absolutely out the question because of my religious beliefs. I still cant bring myself to eat bigger animal..For some reason i feel they cant be on my plate!
So for this particular exercise, these are the rules

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (hope alligator counts) (I am kind of scared of the idea!!!)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari

12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes ( I have had passion fruit wine and plum wine.. Remember Koshy's on brigade road...they used to sell these long time back.. i used to love it!)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream (One of my favorites!)
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (have had loads of them!!!)
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet peppe
r27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I’ve had cognac of course, but I’d never have a cigar!)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (I don’t know, I might if I am really drunk and the insects are deep fried.)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more ( i drank Blue label the other day)
46. Fugu (
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
(Oh! yes!! I have...i drank in this pub on brigade road Bangalore.. they brew thier own beer.. was in a bad shape for two days!!! Under-estimated their brewing power!!!)
60. carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain (The banana chips ... luv it)
70. Chitterlings
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar
73. Louche
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellin
i81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. tasting menu at a three Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (can we eat spam???)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

So after the exercise i figure out that i have had a lot of things listed here .. that a good news. I guess i am indeed a foodie!

Eeerulli Bonda (onion fritters)

This is a deep fried savory fritter made of chickpea flour and onions. I should actually confess that i often get confused between bonda, bajji and pakoda! I don't know the difference between all these. Actually i end up using these as synonyms for all savory deep fried goodies!!!So this might be bajji/bonda or pakoda. I do not know...
This again brings me back fond memories... One of my favorite street foods, i have had the previlage to eat it in expensive hotels and on the dirtiest of road side carts! I should say i am more fond of the street variety than that served in hotels.There are certain things that the pricey hotels can never replicate...for example Pani puri, Masale puri, Churmuri, Assorted bonda, bajjis, Desi-Ghee Jalebi, samosa in the North.
In fact it reminds me of one particular incident that happened in 1993. My eldest cousin is almost 10-12 years older to me. So when she finished her engineering and got her first job, I was still in primary school. She decided to take us all kiddies for a treat on the occasion. It was me, my younger cousin and my younger sister, four of us, the ninjas went to this hotel called Woodlands in Tumkur, right opposite S.I.T engineering college on B.H.Road. We were all so excited, it was probably the first time just us, the cousins went our to a hotel without any adult company (of course my oldest cousin was with us, but then she was just out of college and was considered a big kid not more). So we placed the order. Eerulli bajji two plates and something else as well but i do not remember. But the Eerulli bajji is unforgettable. It has been till date the worst possible eerulli bajji that i have ever had. It was floury, the onions about an inch thick and raw. In fact after my tryst with eerulli bajji there i had not ever dared to try it again for a long long time. It is only in 2000, in Bombay that i resumed my relationship with the eerulli bajji!!

Onion 1 large diced
Chickpea flour/ Besan/Kadale hittu 2 tbsp
Dill chopped 1tbsp
Baking soda 1 pinch
Baking powder 1 pinch
Chilly powder 1/2 tsp
Oil for deep frying

Sift the chickpea flour with baking powder, soda,salt and chilly powder. Mix in the remaining ingredients with a little water to make a batter that is thick but still has a dropping consistency.

Heat oil in a wok. test drop a small dollop of the batter if check if the oil is hot enough. If the batter is not sinking, the oil is ready. Drop spoon full of batter. Turn it once the fritters are golden brown. Remove and serve hot with tomato ketchup/ chutney.

Varamahalaxmi Pooja

Laxmi pooja for Kannadigas (may be for telugus as well because i saw a lot telugu ladies dressed in their finery, going around in our apartment complex!) is celebrated
in the auspicious month of Shravan. It actually the beginning of our festival season, of fasting and feasting. This week was the feating festival, next week Janmastami is a fasting festival!
So this is what i ended up doing for the festival. Though it is more elaborate back home. I just love the idea of wearing our fine cloths and jewels and go to neighbors, invite them to come home and celebrate. It is such a community life! I love it. Here i had only one friend coming over and that was it.
The feast was a good one. I took more than four hours to prepared what we finally ate.
For the Naivedya i had Prepared Obattu, Carrot kosambari, Tove, Beans playa, aloo gadde palya. Later we also had Mavinkai Chitranna, kadlebele (channa dal) vadaa, Jalapeno bajji! Loved it .. it was worth all the time in front of the stove and prepares me for the fasting up next week.

Here is the Thali!

Generally the first course is either the Holige/Obbattu, followed by chitranna (vangibath, hulianna etc), rice and towe, then rice and majjige huli (if it is on the menu!) then rice and vegetable huli, followed by rice and rasam at last rice and curds! Thats indeed a heavy meal is it not! I really love it. Just one point to remember when ever encountering a traditional Karnataka festive meal. Never fill your stomach with one course! Make sure you always have enough room for the next course.

Here are the recipes for the dishes in the thali.
Tur dal 1/2 cup
Curry leaves 10 and above
Ghee 1 tbsp+ 1 tsp
Mustard seeds a heaping pinch
Turmeric a pinch
Choice of Green or red chillies 4 and above
Coriander 1/2 cup chopped
Jeera 1/2 tsp

Combine tur dal, turmeric and 1 tsp ghee in a pressure cooker and cook for about 1-2 whistles. Set aside to cool. When it is cool enough to open, heat the remaining ghee in a pan. Drop the mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves, chillies in order.Turn off the heat and mix it with the cooked dal. Finish with salt and coriander leaves.

Hurlikai palya
String beans chopped 1 cup
Onion 1 small diced
Green chillies 3 +
Oil 1 tsp
Mustard seeds
Curry leaves
Grated coconut

Heat oil in a pan. Drop the mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves and chillies in order and add onion. Saute till translucent. Add the chopped green beans. Fry for a few minutes. Add water just enough to cook the beans. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook till the beans are done.

Hesarubele Kosambari
Carrot grated
Split Moong dal soaked in water for 4 +hours and drained
Lime juice
Oil 1 tsp
Mustard 1 tsp
Coconut grated
Green chillies

Drain the moog dal very well otherwise the kosambari will get soggy!!
Prepare the oggarane/tadka. Heat oil, add mustard, hing, curry leaves, chillies in order. Set it aside to cool.
Mix the dal and carrots. Stir in the tadka and coconut. Mix salt and lime juice just before serving.

Spicy aloogadde palya:

Because all the above dishes mentioned are sort mild and not spicy and tingling on the tongue, this particular dish is often added to the menu. This recipe can be replicated for raw plantains. Actually that is what is often used in this recipe. Since i did not have raw plantains, i used potatoes.

Potatoes/ raw plantain chopped into bite size pieces
Oil 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds
Fennel seeds
Chilly powder
Dhania powder
Amchoor powder (lime juice can be substituted)
cloves ground
cinnamon ground
Fresh coriander
coconut grated


Heat oil in a pot. Drop mustard seeds, fennel seeds, hing and the chopped vegetable. Saute for a few minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except fresh coriander. Sprinkle a small amount of water. Cover and cook till the vegetable is tender. When done sprinkle coriander.

Holige/Obbatu is also a very traditional sweet dish which is a very integral part of feasts. There are several varieties of holige, sakkare holige(sugar holige), kadlebeejada holige (peanut holige),Kadlebele holige (channa dala holige), togare bele holige(tur dal holige), Kai holige (Coconut holige) and so on.. This one is a tur dal holige. The principle is often the same in all the above mentioned holiges.. Prepare a sweet filling and stuff it in maida balls. Roll it into rotis. Cook it on a griddle with loads of ghee/oil. The tradition is to eat the tur dal hoilge with milk and ghee or kaihalu (sweetened coconut kheer. For me, it was just milk! (I am watching my weight as usual... does it not sound oxymoronic??) These kind of foods make me really happy... as if i am right at home... very close to my near and dear ones in my place.. which i call home.

Kaalu Bassaru/ Black Eyed Peas Curry

Last week I was just browsing some of my favorite blogs and came across SWC Karnataka So i decided to pitch in. This is my entry for the event.Bassaru is a spiced stock of vegetables and pulses along with the vegetables/pulses on the side.It is a very healthy dish too. It is very popular in the drier parts of south interior Karnataka.Generically there are broad types of Bassaru as i know.. the 'red bassaru' and the 'green bassaru' as i used to differentiate as a kid! (something that has stayed on till this date! i might be passing this on to my future children as my legacy!) The green one has a green chilly base and the red one the huli-pudi or the Sambar powder base. Vegetable bassaru generally has the green base while pulses have a red base, though it is not a water tight specification.
Here i have used the black eyed peas, which is similar to Alasande kaalu.It can be substituted to possible all whole dals, like green gram, moth dal, whole tur dal etc. I happen to love the Alasande which is not exactly available here across Atlantic. So i use the black eyed peas.

Serves 8 ||  Calories per serving (Kcl) | total 245 | Protein 4.4 |  fat 4.7 || Fiber 8.3 gm |

Black eyed peas 2 cups
Onion medium 2
Huli pudi / Sambar powder 1 tablespoon (depends on the desired spice level, can be increased/ decreased accordingly)
Curry leaves 8+8
Cumin 1 tsp
Coriander chopped 1/4+1/4 cup
Coconut grated 2 +1 tbsp
Mustard 1/2 +1/2 teaspoon
Garlic 3 cloves
Hing 2 dashes
Dry red chillies 4-5
Tamarind extract 2 tsp
Tomato 1
Lime juice 1/2 to 1 limes
Vegetable oil (peanut makes it taste very good) 1+1 tbsp

Cook the black eyed peas in a pressure cooker for at least 3 whistles. Cool and then drain the peas reserving the stock.Roast one onion till the skin is charred. Chop and grind it into a smooth paste along with tamarind concentrate, 2 tbsp coconut, garlic, tomato, cumin and a tbsp of cooked black eyed peas. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot.Drop 1/2 tsp mustard, curry leaves, Hing followed by the ground onion paste. Add about 1/2 cup of stock and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture is cooked and is fragrant add the remaining stock. Adjust salt and finish it with 1/4 cup coriander.

For the subzi:
Heat oil in a pan. Drop the hing, mustard, curry leaves, dry red chillies. When the mustard stops spluttering add one diced onion. Saute the onion till almost transparent. Add the remaining coconut,saute for another minute. Mix in the cooked and drained black eyed peas. Adjust salt. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, check and squeeze more if needed. Finish with chopped fresh coriander.

Serve hot with steamed rice and a dollop of butter!!! Traditionally it is served with ragi mudde which is cooked ragi balls.I love to eat it that way too.. Just that on weak nights, i get rather lazy to cook mudde!

Kobbari Biscuttu/ Coconut Cookies

As i have mentioned many a times in this blog before, Iyengar bakery is something i really really miss.. the aroma just round the corer of the street in Mahalakshmi layout opposite the pancha mukhi ganesha temple ...(which used to be very close to my home) man!! nothing can beat it!! not the most exotic of cookies and french pastries can beat it....
One of my favorite happens to be Kobbari biscuttu... i also love benne biscuttu and khara biscuttu and ragi biscuttu... well the list goes one.. there probably no single thing that i love most.. One secret here.. from my childhood. I grew up in Mysore....and thats where my father grew up to. He has spent 20 prime years of his life there... and we all love the city. Obviously he has friends every where in Mysore.. and one of his really good friends is Boju. I have never tried to know 'Boju' mama's real name.. he is just Boju mama.. He runs a bakery some where near Sayaji Rao Road. I used to piggy back my father on his week end trips to his friends. And we used to go to boju mama's bakery all the time. Of course as my father and boju mama chatted i got to eat biscuttu, caku, bannu... khara bannu,, or some other thing from the bakery... I dreamt of being locked up in the bakery for many many year.. never told any one about this dream. I dreamt of getting locked up in a bakery thinking i will be able to eat through out the night and no one is even watching me!!!
If this does not qualify me for pedigree foodie nothing else will!!

So here i miss the iyengar bakery style biscuttu.. fortunately my mother had long ago attended Baking classes in Mysore... She used to make many of these goodies right at home. The recipes for all her baked stuff came from the home science college/ Bangalore Unviersity. Of course they are really good. I made these kobbari biscuttu and they turned out to be fabulous..Never forget the importance of measurements when baking!!

All purpose flour/ Maida 1 cup
Granulated sugar 2/3 cup (upto 1 cup can be used..i prefer my biscuits a little less sweet)
shortening/ vanaspati 1 stick ( Vegetable oil can also be used which is much much healthy)
Shredded dry coconut 1/4 cup (toasted till fragrant)
Salt 1/2 tsp
Banking powder 1/2 tsp
Baking soda 1/4 tsp

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Mix in the shortening.. (shortening is nothing but Vanaspati or Dalda.. its Hydrogenated vegetable oil. It is not very good from health point of view but they make everything taste good) Combine everything well to make it into something like chapati dough. Pinch small balls out of it. Pressing it every so slightly in the palm of your hand.
Pre heat oven at 350 F. Arrange the biscuits on a parchment lined cookie sheet, giving at least 1" between the biscuits. Bake for about 15 minutes or till they are cracked on the top and done!
Enjoy with fresh filter coffee!!

Bhindi Do Pyasa

Bhindi Do Pyasa is one of my favorite foods of all time.. Not all Bhindi Do Pyasas (BDP) are born equal... of all the BDP i have tasted the best was undoubtedly the one at Inchara! Puttenalli/ J.P.Nagar. The restaurant has come a long way from being a sort of family Dhaba to an expensive fancy restaurant.. Back in the days when dinner for two still did cost about Rs 300, we were there almost every week end.. right next to the pool. I have a special place in my heart for the restaurant.. That were we spend most of our courtship!!! Dinning, drinking and getting lost in each other's eyes!! Boy!!! those were the most romantic of all my life too!! May be the correlation between BDP and Courtship is great!!! If someone could second my opinion. Romance apart, i had an irresistible urge the other tried recreating the dish in my kitchen....the results though not as fabulous as the one served at Inchara, was definitely better than those served in many restaurants... Here is what i did...

We will need,

Bhindi/Bendekai/ Okra/Lady's Finger 1 lb
Onions (preferably red) 3/4 lb
Chilly powder 2 tsp and above
Dhania powder 2 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Oil 1 tsp +3 tbsp
Fresh Corriander chopped
Hung Curds/ thick yogurt up to 1/2 cup

  • Wash, dry the Bhindis. Make sure it is completely dry otherwise the bhindi gets sort of sticky; dice and set it aside.
  • Heat a 1 tsp oil in a wok. Toss the diced bhindi and fry till the stickiness is gone and the bhindi is charred on the edges. Set it aside. 
  • Heat oil in another pot, drop the jeera, and the onion. Cook till the onion is soft. Mix the bhindi, chilly powder, dhania powder and the garam masala.
  • Cook covered till the raw smell of the masala is gone, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low. Mix in the yogurt, stir and adjust salt.. Finish with fresh coriander. Do not boil after adding the yogurt, it will curdle.
Enjoy with Phulkas!

Raju Hotel

I was just thinking of masale dose again this cloudy saturday noon... the memories of Raju hotel revived!! the old ghosts had come to roost again...

I was very young back then. Born and raised in Mysore for the first 10 years of my life, Raju hotel ( hotlu as we would say!!) was such an intergral part of my life... Every other week we my father, mother and my little sister would go to Raju hotel.. It was an unpretentious place, very close to home.. walkable indeed. We lived in 4th cross shankarmutta, Mysore (close to Natraja Marriage Hall) and Raju hotel was right off Ramanuja Road (if my memory serves me right) A small house like building, no fancy table cloths, no fancy cutlery... just real good food.

I still remember the days then... if any one asked 'tinnakke yen bekappa?' which is 'what do you like to eat' to my sister, she would say 'matalsose', her way of pronouncing 'masale dose' and invariably we would land up at Raju hotlu.. well the legend was that the Maharaja of Mysore liked the masale dose fron Raju hotlu and in fact the stuff was delivered to the palace at regular intervals!

The owner of the hotel I don't know his name, the elderly man bald and mysterious. Again if my memory serves me right, his residence was right opposite to mine, he was a tenent of my friend's grandfather. As kids we were always intrigued by him. But he was sweet. We would follow him to his first floor house. He would give us biscuits..... Parle-G or Glucose biscuits mostly.. We would try to peek into his house. He lived alone.. his wife had long passed away. Strangly enough there were life sized coloured busts of both his and I assume his late wife. Which we as a bunch of young moneys found really weird. There were all sorts of stories about him in our monkey circles.. from being sweet to scary.. ...But when ever he returned from his hotel in the late afternoons, typically carrying his bag in his typical white clothes we did follow him to his house for the biscuits!!
And then my father was posted out of Mysore region and so ended our tryst with Raju hotlu!!
Last year we all again went to Mysore... just to wind though the same old roads.. We did go near Raju hotlu.. but it was gone. We inquired with the neighbors and found out that after the owner passed away the hotel was closed. There were knots in my stomach, not only for the great tasting masale dose, but also for the elderly bald biscuit man.......who remained a mysterious figure till the last. May be had i grown up in Mysore, the mystery man might have no longer been mystery instead a aging elderly man, with no family one to greet at the door in the evenings after the hotel was long closed and the kitchen fires long doused!!!!
May his soul rest in peace....