Cook's Hideout: April 2014

April 30, 2014

Bavarian Dumplings/ Dampfnudel (eggless recipe)

This month's host of International Food Challenge, Saraswathi Tharagaram (Sara's Yummy Bites) is taking us on a culinary tour of Bavaria region in Germany. Germany is located in Western Europe. The topography of the country is varied, and includes regions of deep forest and high mountains, as well as a wide valley surrounding the Rhine, Germany's largest river. The highest mountain peak, the Zugspitze, lies on the border with Austria. Less than 3 percent of Germans are farmers, and the country must import much of its food. Apples, pears, cherries, and peaches, as well as grapes for wine production, are important crops in Germany. 
German regional cuisine can be divided into many varieties such as Bavarian cuisine (southern Germany), Thuringian (central Germany), Lower Saxon cuisine or those of Saxony-Anhalt. For this month we going to try Bavarain cuisine from Southern Germany. 
Bavarian Dumplings/ Dampfnudel (eggless recipe)

West Bengal -- Lobong Lathika

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 30
State: West Bengal
Dish: Lobong Lathika
The last Indian state we are going to visit today is West Bengal. It is located in eastern India and is the fourth most populated state in India. It is a major agricultural producer in India. West Bengal is noted for its political activism and for its cultural activities and presence of cultutal and educational institutions. The state capital Kolkata is known as the 'Cultural Capital of India'. The state's cultural heritage, besides varied folk traditiona, ranges from stalwarts in literature including Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore to scores of musicians, film makers and artists. West Bengal is also distinct from most other Indian states in its appreciation and practice of playing football besides the national favorite sport Cricket.
Like the other states I mentioned, my dad was in West Bengal on work for extended period of time. He would send us rasgullas in big containers, which is why I wrongfully thought rasgullas were from Bengal (they are actually from Orissa). He brought back a a variety of beautiful clay dolls from Ghurni. Showcases in my parents house are filled with these lovely dolls.
Cuisine: Rice and fish are traditional favorite foods in Bengal. Bengalis LOVE their fish and have a vast repertoire of fish based dishes. Sweets/ desserts occupy a very important place in Bengali's diet and at their social ceremonies. They make distinctive sweets from milk products, like roshogolla, chomchom, kalojam, sandesh, pitha and the list is endless.
West Bengal -- Lobong Lathika

April 29, 2014

Uttarakhand -- Mandua ki Roti with Aloo-Tamatar ki Jhol

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 29
State: Uttarakhand
Dish: Mandua ki Roti with Aloo-Tamatar ki Jhol
Today we are going to Uttarakhand, formerly known as Uttaranchal, that was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in November 2000. It is often referred to as the 'Land of the Gods (Dev-bhumi)' due to the many holy Hindu temples and prigrim centers throughout the state. Uttarakand is also known for its natural beauty.
The natives of the state are generally called either Garhwali or Kumaoni depending on their place of origin. A large portion of the population of Rajputs and Brahmins. Uttarakand is the only state in India that has Sanskrit as one of its official languages.
Cuisine: People in Uttarakand prefer vegetarian food with lots of vegetables and wheat & rice being the staples, but non-vegetarian food is also served. Coarse grain with high fiber content is very common in Uttarakand due to the harsh terrain. Cuisine from Kumouni region is interesting because they rarely use milk or milk related ingredients in cooking owing to the fact that the topological features of the area do not permit cows to produce fine quality milk.
Specialties: Gahath Soup (horsegram soup), Gahath ki dal, Jhangore ki kheer, Jholi, Phaanu, Chainsoo, Rus, Gulgula etc.
Uttarakhand -- Mandua ki Roti with Aloo-Tamatar ki Jhol

April 28, 2014

Uttar Pradesh -- Nimona (Green Pea & Potato Curry)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 28
State: Uttar Pradesh
Dish: Nimona (Green Peas & Potato Curry)
We are almost at the home stretch now, only 2 more days to go and we will be done with our month long marathon exploring the Indian States. Today we are going to Uttar Pradesh or UP for short, located in northern India. UP was home to powerful empires of ancient and medieval India, including Magadha, Gupta, Mughal and Nawabs of Awadh.
UP is a very touristy place with a number of historical, natural and religious tourist destinations. We visited UP twice and visited Agra (home of Taj Mahal), Mathura (birth place of Lord Krishna) and Fatehpur Sikhri. Though it has been more than 20 years, I still remember the beautiful sites.
Cuisine: Awadhi and Mughlai are the two major cuisines in UP and the cooking style in the state is similar to that of rest of Northern India. The cuisine consists of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Uttar Pradesh has been greatly influenced by the Mughal cooking techniques. Awadhi cuisine is similar to that of Kashmir and Punjab.
UP, especially Lucknow, is famous for Nawabi foods and use of rich spices, paneer and meats. Kebabs, dum biryani are some of the famous dishes. Chaat, samosa and pakora are some popular snacks in all of India, that are originally from Uttar Pradesh.
Wheat is the staple food of the state and breads are very significant. Breads are made of different types of flour and can be made in several different ways. Some popular breads are tandoori naan, kulcha, taftan, sheermal, lachha paratha.
Uttar Pradesh -- Nimona (Green Pea & Potato Curry)

April 27, 2014

Tripura -- Kosoi Bwtwi (Green Beans & Garlic Curry)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 27
State: Tripura 
Dish: Kosoi Bwtwi (Green Beans & Garlic Curry)
From south India, we are moving all the way to northeastern state of Tripura. Tripura is one of the seven sister states in North Eastern India. Indigenous communities forma about 30% of Tripura's population. The Kokborok-speaking Tirupuri people are the major group among 19 tribes and many sub-tribes.
Because of its geographical location, Tripura only has one major highway, National Highway 44, connecting it with the rest of the country. This is the reason for the hindered economic progress in the state. Poverty and unemployment continue to plague Tripura, which has a limited infrastructure.
Cuisine: Tripuris (people of Tripura) are essentially non-vegetarians and hence the main courses are mainly prepared using meat, but with the addition of vegetables. Traditional Tripuri cuisine is known as Mui Borok. Key ingredient called Berma, which is dried and fermented fish is used in most of their dishes. Food is prepared without oil and hence considered healthy.
Tripura -- Kosoi Bwtwi (Green Beans & Garlic Curry)

April 26, 2014

Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 26
State: Tamil Nadu
Dish: Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
We are coming all the way south of India to Tamil Nadu. Capital of Tamil Nadu is Chennai, formerly known as Madras. For most of the North Indians, people from the south are all Madrasis. I have been called that quite a few times in my own life. So the point is, it is the most famous South Indian state. It is most known for its monumental ancient Hindu temples and classical dance form Bharata Natyam.
We visited the famous temples in Tamil Nadu and I've been to Chennai to present a paper during my graduation. Food wise there is hardly anything to go wrong in Tamil Nadu with fluffy idlis, crispy dosas and other delicious South Indian dishes being sold at both 5 star restaurants and at road side stalls.
Tamil Cuisine is rice based and forms the major portion of their diet. Their are regional sub-varieties in Tamil cuisine, like Chettinadu, Kongunadu, Madurai, Tirunalveli and so on.
Specialties: Idli, Dosai, Uthappam, Filter Coffee, Kootu, Sambar etc.,
Tamil Nadu -- Chettinad Vegetable Biryani
Today's Dish: Initially I was planning to make 'Kachipuram Idli' today, but then changed my mind and started searching for some Chettinad recipes. The Chettiar community, who is the majority in this region, are a very successful trading community. Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. It is famous for its use of variety of spices used mainly in non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered essential part of a meal.

April 25, 2014

Ragda Pattice/ Patties (Chaat from Mumbai)

Ragda Pattice is a very popular Chaat item from Mumbai. This was the first dish I made for Maharashtra, but changed it to Vada Pav and kept this for 'Cooking from Cookbook Challenge' instead. I've never made ragda pattice at home until I saw this recipe being made on a Telugu cooking show and made it twice since then. I remember enjoying this snack on the road side stalls in Hyderabad, one particular one close to my aunt's house was our favorite.
Ragda Pattice/ Patties (Chaat from Mumbai)

Sikkim -- Vegetarian Momos

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 25
State: Sikkim 
Dish: Vegetarian Momos
Sikkim is a state in northeastern India located in the Himalayan mountains. The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, Tibet to the north and east, Bhutan to the east and West Bengal to the south. Sikkim is the least populous state in India and it is the only state with an ethic Nepali majority.
Because of the close proximity to Nepal and Tibet, Sikkim cuisine is highly infuenced by both of those cuisines. Sikkimese are traditionally rice eaters. Meat and dairy products are also consumed depending on the availability. Besides these, various traditional fermented foods and beverages, which constitute about 20% of the basic diet. Depending on the altitudinal variation; finger millet, wheat, buckwheat, barley, vegetables, potato, soybeans etc., are grown.
Sikkim -- Vegetarian Momos

April 24, 2014

Rajasthani Goond ki Laddoo

I have never heard or saw edible gum/ goond until I had my son about 7 years ago. My MIL sent some laddoo made with various healthy flours and goond and said they are really nutritious and good for nursing mothers. Goond is an 'edible gum' extracted from the bark of a tree. It looks like a crystal and comes in quite a few colors and sizes. I was ecstatic to see it in the local Indian store and that too in couple of sizes (and price points). I bought a package and made these nutritious laddoos for the Rajasthani thali, but of course I forgot to put them in the thali.
Rajasthani Goond ki Laddoo

Rajasthani Curry Recipes (Panchmel Subzi, Subz Jaipuri & Dhana Wadi Subzi)

Here are the three curry dishes I made for my Rajasthani Lunch Thali:
  • Panchmel Subzi
  • Subz Jaipuri 
  • Dhana Wadi Subzi
Panchmel Subzi

Rajasthan -- Lunch Thali

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 24
State: Rajasthan
Dish: Rajasthani Lunch Thali
Today we are going to the 'Land of Kings or Land of Kingdoms', Rajasthan, previously known as Rajputana. It is India's largest state by area and is located on the north western side of India. The main geographic features of Rajasthan are the Thar desert and the Aravalli Range. The northwestern region of Rajasthan is generally sandy and dry because of the Thar desert. The Aravalli range and the lands east and southeast of the range are generally more fertile and better watered.
When I think of Rajasthan, I think of the beautiful forts, palaces, colorful outfits and the colorful outfits. Like the many states I mentioned, my dad went to Rajasthan too for work years ago and brought us back lot of beautiful dress materials (for salwar kameez) and bed sheets. I still have a couple of dresses that I don't wear often, but kept them for the memories and colors -- the one you see in the background is from way back when :-)
Cuisine: Rajasthani cuisine is very rich much like its culture. It is a splendid array of colorful, spicy and unique dishes. The Rajasthani platter is a gastronomic delight and if you have been to a Rajasthani restaurant you will know the amount of food they serve and the number of dishes/ courses they have -- that is one belt bursting feast indeed.
Rajasthani cooking is influenced by the availability of ingredients in this arid region and the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Food that lasts for several days and that can be eaten without heating is preferred. Scarcity of water and green vegetables have all had their effects on the cooking.
Specialties: Churma, Gujia, Ghevar, Dal, Baati, Kachori etc.
Rajasthani Lunch Thali

April 23, 2014

Punjab -- Makki di Roti & Sarson ka Saag

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 23
State: Punjab
Dish: Makki di Roti & Sarson ka Saag
We are going all the way northwest of India to Punjab today. Punjab means five (punj) and ab (water), thus the land of five rivers. It has the most fertile land. Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab and it is the single largest producer of wheat in India.
I lived in Punjab the first few months of my life -- so naturally I don't remember anything. My mom went to Chandigarh (Captial of Punjab and Haryana) as a young bride and lived there for couple of years. She said the Punjabi neighbors there were very friendly and used to share homemade food with her. I asked her if she remembers any dishes or recipes, but she couldn't recollect any specifics (understandably so since it has been 30+ years). But she does remember the hearty sarson ka saag and makki di roti that the neighbor used to send over.
Punjabi dishes are probably the most famous Indian dishes all over the world with every Indian restaurant across the globe serving Naan, Mutter-Paneer and Lassi. Punjabi cuisine, however varies significantly between home cooked, restaurant style or the dhabas (roadside restaurants in India serving authentic Punjabi food). Punjabi cuisine is wholesome and is full of rustic flavors. Homemade ghee and masalas (spices) form the center of Punjabi dishes.
Today Dish(es): I decided to make this hearty, homey and very popular Punjabi dishes: Makki di roti & Sarson ka Saag. Makki di roti is made gluten free corn flour and it takes quite a bit of practice to get them right. This is my first attempt making them and might I say, it wasn't easy and there was a lot of stomach grumbling and mumbling from the rest of family for the delay in serving lunch. After struggling for some time, I was able to make a few good enough for the pictures, the rest were just eaten -- ahem without looking at the shape -- 'cos they were too hungry.
Hearty Punjabi Meal

April 22, 2014

Pondicherry -- Pori Kuzhambu or Pathiya Kuzhambu

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 22
State: Pondicherry
Dish: Pori Kuzhambu or Pathiya Kuzhambu
Today, we are going south to Puducherry, formerly known as Pondicherry, is a Union territory in India. The French acquired Pondicherry in 1674 and held control, with occasional interruption from the Britsih and Dutch, until 1954, when it was incorporated into the Indian Union along with the rest of India.
I have a long association with Pondicherry, not directly but indirectly. I went to Aurobindo school in Hyderabad which was founded based on the principles and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Pondicherry was the residence of Sri Aurobindo and Aurobindo ashram located there. My dad would never let me go with my school friends to Pondicherry on the yearly school excursions. But he took us all there when we went on our tour of south India.
Today's Dish: I initially wanted to make a French inspired recipe from Pondicherry and even narrowed down to a stuffed peppers with a fancy French name called Poivrons Farcis, but had to change it to this simple eggplant based rasam kind of dish. I was browsing through Cham's blog Spice Club, knowing fully well that she is the native of Pondicherry. When I found this simple rasam like dish, I made this the same dau for a simple lunch.

April 21, 2014

Orissa -- Mitha Khechudi & Mitha Dali

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 21
State: Orissa
Dish: Mitha Khechudi & Mitha Dali (Sweet Khichdi with Sweet Dal)
Today we are going to Odisha, formerly known as Orissa, located in the east coast of India. Orissa shares a border with Andhra Pradesh, but I never had a chance to visit it. My dad went there for work years ago and brought back a souvenir from Konark Sun Temple. I've seen his pictures at Puri Jagannath temple and Bhubaneshwar. That's the most I knew about Orissa.
Cuisine: Odisha has culinary tradition spanning centuries. I was really surprised to read that rasgulla actually originated from Odisha, I always thought it was from Bengal. Also Kheer or rice pudding, that is relished all over India, also originated in Puri 2000 years ago.
Oriya cuisine is rich and varied and relies heavily on local ingredients. The flavors are usually subtle and lightly spiced, unlike the fiery curries typically associated with Indian cuisine. Only 6% of the population of Odisha is vegetarian. Oriyas are very fond of sweets and no Oriya meal is complete without the dessert course at the end.
Specialties: Dali, Dalma, Khechedi, Mittha Dali, Pakhala, Chena Poda, Dahi Bara, Kalakand etc.

Today's Dish(es): After reading about the Oriya cuisine, I initially planned on making a dessert. But after making quite a few desserts for the marathon, I decided against it. I wanted to make something simple, yet traditional and authentic to Orissa. So after a lot of searching, I found this Oriya blog, Turmeric Kitchen, by Jagruthi. She has a ton of traditional dishes and I picked two that were simple and easy to make.
Orissa: Mitha Khechudi

April 20, 2014

Nagaland -- Betang Meh (Kidney Beans with mustard greens & ginger)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 20
State: Nagaland
Dish: Betang Meh (Kidney Beans with mustard greens & ginger)
Fourth North eastern sate in a row, today we are going to Nagaland. Nagaland is one of the smallest states in India. Nagaland is largely mountainous state. There are 16 main tribes in Nagaland and each tribe has its own unique language, customs and cooking styles.
Naga cuisine features meats and fish, which are often smoked, dried or fermented. A typical Naga table consists of a meat dish, a boiled vegetable dish or two, rice and a chutney. Some common dishes are 'fermented bamboo shoot' with fish and pork. Naga food tends to be spicy beacuse of the use of different varieties of chilies.

Today's Dish: Like the other North Eastern states, finding vegetarian dishes was extremely difficult even for Nagaland. Lot of emails were exchanged within our BM group and a link to a Naga facebook page was found by one lucky member. It was like jackpot and I picked one dish from there.
Nagaland -- Betang Meh (Kidney Beans with mustard greens & ginger)

April 19, 2014

Mizoram -- Chhum Han (Steamed Mixed Vegetables)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 19
State: Mizoram
Dish: Chhum Han (Steamed Mixed Vegetables)
We are onto the 5th North eastern state that is one of the Seven sister states of the North Eastern India (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya being the other four that I explored already). Mizoram, literally means 'land of hill people'. It is a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. Majority of Mizoram's population consists of several ethnic tribes who are either culturally or linguistically linked. These ethnic groups are collectively known as Mizos.
Cuisine: The cuisie of Mizoram differs from that of most of India, though it shares characteristics to other regions of North East India and North India. Rice is the staple food of Mizoram and the Mizos love to add non-vegetarian ingredients in every dish. Fish, chicken, pork and duck are popular meats among Mizos. Most of the dishes are cooked in mustard oil. Meals tend to be less spicy than in most of India.
Mizoram -- Chhum Han (Steamed Mixed Vegetables)Today's Dish: With only limited vegetarian dishes in the Mizoram cuisine, I got really excited when I saw the mention of this steamed/ boiled veggie dish. It is called Chhum han and a little Google search brought me to this boiled fish dish. So I made the veggie dish based on that recipe.

April 18, 2014

Cheela (Vegan Omelette) & Vegetable Upma

It is Spring break time for my son this week and making interesting meals for him has been a challenge for me. So I referred to the cookbook 'India: The Cookbook' by Pushpesh Pant and found this quick and easy Cheelas. I've always wanted to make these vegan omelettes, but never got around to make them. My son really liked them and gobbled up a couple with some ketchup. They taste the best when served hot out of the pan.
Cheela -- Vegan Omelette

Meghalaya -- Vegetarian Jadoh (with Tofu)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 18
State: Meghalaya
Dish: Jadoh
We move onto the next North eastern state of Meghalaya today. The name means 'the abode of clouds' in Sanskrit. Just the name makes me think of beautiful sky kissing moutains and luscious greenery and breathtaking landscapes. Coming back to reality, about one-third of the state is forested and the forests are notable for biodiversity of mammals, birds and plants. It was previously part of Assam, but formed a new state in 1972.
Tribal people make up the majority of Meghalaya's population. The Khasis are the largest group, followed by the Garos and the Jaintias. Meghalaya is one of the 3 states in India to have Christian majority with 70.3% of the population practising Christianity (other 2 being Mizoram and Nagalan, also in the northeastern India).
Cuisine: Meghalayan cuisine is very unique and is quite different from the other states in the northeastern India. Staple food of the people is rice with spicy meat and fish preparations. Each tribe has its own variety of foods. The popular dishes of Khasis and Jaintia are Jadoh, Ki kpu, pickled bamboo shoots etc. Garos on the other hand eat almost any animal, but in day to day life they usually have a simple meal with rice and kapa (this can be made of either meat or vegetables and is cooked with special ingredient called karchi which is made up of filtered ash water).
Meghalaya -- Vegetarian Jadoh (with Tofu)

Fabulous Feast Friday# 11

Welcome to this week’s edition of Fabulous Feast Friday. What are you feasting on this weekend? Join the Link Up Party so we can all feast with you! 

My blogger friends and I have teamed up so that every week there are two link up parties – One for Vegetarian Recipes ONLY and one for All Recipes. Vegetarian Recipes can link up to both parties. 

Let’s meet the team:
This week’s hosts are me for 100% Vegetarian recipes and Usha for any and all recipes.

There’s only a few simple steps to join the party: 
• Your post must include a recipe with at least one photo. 

• You must follow all of the Hosting Team on one social media platform, per your preference. 
o Srivalli Twitter Facebook Pinterest 

• Please insert our logo either in the post or somewhere on your site. 
• Add your post using the Linky Tool below. 

• Support each other by visiting and commenting on a few blogs. Vote for your favorite recipes of the week. Each week the top 3 recipes will be featured.

April 17, 2014

Manipur -- Kelli Chana (Spicy Chickpea snack)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 17
State: Manipur
Dish: Kelli Channa
We are going to Manipur, one of the seven sister states in the North Eastern India. Manipuri cuisine is simple, organic and healthy. Dishes are typically spicy foods that use chili pepper rather than garam masalas. Most of the dishes do not use oil for cooking.
The staple diet of Manipur consists of rice, variety of leafy vegetables and fish. Manipuris typically raise vegetables in a kitchen garden and rear fishes in small ponds around their house. They cook dishes based on the seasonal produce and the dishes taste very different from mainland Indian cuisine because of the use of the various aromatic herbs and roots that are unique to the region.
Today's Dish: I found this simple to make Manipuri Street food, Kelli Chana here and even though it had ingredients native to Manipur, I thought I would give it a try. Thankfully this Manipuri blogger described the ingredients and gave some substitutions to the herbs and spices that she used in the dish. I went ahead and made some of my own changes, but the final dish was quite delicious.
Manipur -- Kelli Chana (Spicy Chickpea snack)

April 16, 2014

Maharashtra -- Vada Pav (famous Street food from Mumbai)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 16
State: Maharashtra
Dish: Vada Pav
We are going to Maharashtra, in the western coast of India. It is the second most populous state and the third largest state by area in India. Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline nearly 720kms along the Arabian sea.
Maharashtra is divided into 5 geographic regions: Konkan is the western coastal region. Kandesh is the northwestern region. Desh is the center of the state. Marathwada is located in the southeastern part of the state. Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state.
Maharashtra is the most industrialized state and has maintained its leading position in the industrial sector in India. The state is pioneer in small scale industries.
Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is the capital of the State and is the financial capital of India. I have never visited Mumbai, but from what I've heard and seen in movies, it sounds like it is almost like New York -- crowded and always bustling with activity. India's main stock exchange, capital market and commodity exchange are all located in Mumbai. It is also the home of India movie industry, Bollywood.

Cuisine: Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from being mild to very spicy dishes.
Staple Food: Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, lentils, vegetables and fruit.
Specialties: Puran Poli, Ukdiche Modak, Batata wada, Thalipeeth, Misal Pav, Bhadang, Ukad, Amti etc.

Today's Dish: Street food is one of the characteristic of Mumbai. Mumbai is known for its distinctive street foods and people from all economic, religious and ethnic backgrounds enjoy their street food in Mumbai. So I decided to make one of the most popular street food from Mumbai, Vada Pav. Other favorites include Pani puri, Bhel puri, Sandwiches, Ragda pattice, Pav bhaji etc.,
Vada Pav

Sweet Chutney for Chaats (Date-Tamarind Chutney)

This sweet and tangy chutney is a must with any chaat. Balance is the key for this chutney, so adjust the quantities according to your personal taste preference.
Sweet Chutney for Chaats (Date-Tamarind Chutney)

Green Chutney for Chaats (Cilantro-Mint Chutney)

Green Chutney is the quintessential ingredient for all the chaats. It is very simple to make with few ingredients but balance is the name of the game when making this dish. A little too much of any ingredient will change the taste. So adjust the ingredients as per your personal preference.
Green Chutney (Cilantro-Mint Chutney)

April 15, 2014

Mohanthal for ICC (Gujarati Besan-Mawa Burfi)

Valli picked a simple and delicious Gujarati special sweet for this month's Indian Cooking Challenge (ICC). I am a big fan of burfis/ fudges because they are easy to make and don't need too many ingredients. Today's burfi is a Gujarati special and is made with besan, mawa/ khoya, sugar and nuts. 
Mohanthal (Gujarati Besan-Mawa Burfi)This sweet is very simple to make and can be done in less than an hour. Only complicated thing involved is to know when the burfi reaches the right consistency. I took it out of the pan a few seconds early and the burfi didn't set and was a little sticky. So I put it back in the pan and cooked it for another couple minutes to get the nice, soft, melt-in-the-mouth burfi. It does require quite a bit of sugar and ghee, so eat them in moderation. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 7~10 days.

Madhya Pradesh -- Indori Poha with Jalebi

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 15
State: Madhya Pradesh
Dish: Indori Poha with Jalebi
We are exploring Madhya Pradesh today. Madhya Pradesh is in Central India and the name literally means 'Central Province'. It is nicknamed 'Heart of India' because of its geographical location in India and it is the second largest state in the country by area. Madhya Pradesh is home to a large tribal population, who have been cut-off from the main stream development.

Cuisine: Like any other state the cuisine of Madhya Pradesh varies regionally. Wheat and meat are common in the North and West while South and East are dominated by rice and fish. Bhopal is known for meat and fish dishes. From what I've read, Indore is foodie's paradise and therefore it's now on my bucket list :-) Street food of Indore is renowned with eateries that have been active for generations.
Specialties: Dal bafla (consisting of a steamed and grilled wheat cake dunked in rich ghee which is eaten with daal and ladoos), Poha and Jalebi.

Today's Dish(es): When I read that the most famous breakfast item in Indore is Poha (flattened rice) with jalebi, I knew I had to make it. Jalebis are made all over India, but the combination of poha with jalebi is something that is very unique to Indore.
Indori Poha with Jalebi

April 14, 2014

Kerala Egg Curry

This is a tasty egg curry cooked with spices in Kerala style to serve along with Appams. Everyone in my household loves eggs and I'm always looking for different egg curries and this one was like by everyone.
Kerala Style Egg Curry (Nadan Mutta Curry)

Kerala -- Appam with Vegetable Stew

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 14
State: Kerala
Dish: Appam with Kerala Stew
From Karnataka, we are going a little south to the beautiful state of Kerala. Kerala is known as God's Own Country because of the beautiful beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and breathtaking scenic views. It is one of the fastest growing tourist destination in the world.
Kerala is the first state in India to be recognized as a completely literate state. Kerala has a large number of Hindu temples and the temples have unique traditions. We visited some of the temples and hill stations when we visited Kerala years ago; some places I still remember are Cochin, Guruvayur, Trivandrum, Kottayam falls.

Cuisine: Kerala cuisine has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Many spices like pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon are cultivated in Kerala and they find a very special place in their cuisine making it richly spicy and special. Coconuts grow in abundance in Kerala and consequently all forms of coconut is widely used in Kerala dishes. Because of the long coastline, numerous rivers and backwater networks, Kerala cuisine has a lot of sea food based dishes.
Sadya is the most famous main course food of Kerala. It is a vegetarian festive meal served on a banana leaf. Sadya is served for occasions like weddings, house-warming ceremony, for birthdays and for regional festivals and most importantly for Onam.
Staple Food: Rice and Cassava.
Specialties: Malabar Biryani, Aviyal, Thoran, Puliserry, Olan, Mooru, Upperi and so on.

Today's Dish: I have tried a few dishes from Kerala in the past. Making Kerala appam has been on my to-make list for a very long time. So I finally decided to make it for this marathon. It is made with ground rice that is fermented and resulting appams are fluffy and soft. They are served with Kerala stew, chana masala or other gravy side dishes and with sweetened coconut milk.

April 13, 2014

Karnataka -- Pathir Pheni with Almond milk

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 13
State: Karnataka
Dish: Pathir Pheni with Almond milk
After exploring the states from the North, we are travelling to southwest India today to Karnataka. It was created in 1956 and was originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed as Karnataka in 1973. Karnataka shares a border with my home state Andhra Pradesh and the language spoken, Kannada, has some similarities to our language, Telugu. Kannada script is also similar to that of Telugu. So I can probably say that I understand and read about 5% of Kannada.
When I was about 12 years old, my dad took us on a vacation to places in Southern India. We visited some famous touristy places in all 4 southern states. I still remember the beautiful Mysore Brindavan gardens, especially the light show at night. Hampi, Bellur, Halebeedu, Shravanabelogola are some of the places I still remember. My mom still has the pictures from our trip.

Cuisine: Kannadigas (people from Karnataka) make a wide array of snacks, main dishes and desserts. The variety of dishes they make with just rice and flattened rice is mind boggling. Karnataka's cuisine includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that have influences from the neighboring regions and communities. South Karnataka is famous for its typical dishes like Bisi bele bhath, Jolada Rotti, ragi rotti etc., Famous Masala dosa traces its origin to Udupi cuisine. Coastal Karnataka is famous for its tasty seafood specialties and pork curries. Coorg, the hilly district in Kodagu has its unique cuisine that includes spicy meat dishes.
Staple Food: Rice, Ragi, Sorghum etc.,
Specialties: Jolada Rotti, Ragi mudde, Uppittu, Maddur Vada, Dharwad peda, bisibele bhath, Vangi bhath, Kesari bhath, Chiroti, Chitranna, Avalakki, Mandakki.
Karnataka -- Pathir Pheni with Almond milk
Today's Dish: During our Kaaja making session, I was chitchatting with my mom and was telling her about the mega marathon and the dishes I had planned to make for each state. For Karnataka, I told her I had planned to make Chiroti, but they sounded so much similar to kaaja that I was planning to change it to something else. My mom said she tasted chirotis long time back at a kannadiga friend's wedding and she said there is no comparison between kaaja & chiroti and both of them belong to different category altogether.

April 12, 2014

Jharkhand -- Dhuska & Ghugni

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 12
State: Jharkhand
Dish: Dhuska & Ghugni

Jharkand is a state located in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar in the year 2000. The name Jharkhand means The land of forests, Jharkand accounts for 40% of the mineral resources of India.

Cuisine: Jharkhand's cuisine is very similar to Bihari cuisine. Jharkhandis use different types of flowers as vegetables like the flowers of drumstick etc., Use of Saag, i.e., leaves of different shrubs and other small plants, is perhaps another peculiarity of Jharkhani food.
Staple Food: Urad dal, Rice, Vegetables.
Specialties: Litti Chokha, Dhuska, Dudhauri, Charpa
Jharkhand -- Dhuska & Ghugni
Today's Dish(es): I made a traditional dish from Jharkhand and Bihar. Dhuska is made with unfermented rice & lentil batter and is usually deep fried. I followed Vaishali's tip and cooked them like dosas instead. I had some batter leftover after making dhuskas which I left to ferment for about 10~12 hours and then made dosas with the batter. Dosas turned out crisp and perfect. Dhuska is served with ghugni traditionally and that's what I made.

April 11, 2014

Jammu & Kashmir -- Palak Nadir (Spinach & Lotus Stem Curry)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 11
State: Jammu & Kashmir
Dish: Palak Nadir
Jammu & Kashmir is located in the Northern tip of India. It is mostly located in the Himalayan mountains and has international borders with China and Pakistan. Jammu & Kashmir consists of Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital and Jammu is the winter capital. Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape and Jammu is famous for the numerous shrines that attracts Hindu pilgrims. Ladakh is known as Little Tibet and is renowned for its remote moutain beauty and Buddhist culture.

Cuisine: Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa, noodle soup and tsampa, roasted barley flour. Kawa is a traditional green tea made with spices and almonds, is consumed all through the day in the chilly winter weather.
Kashmiri cuisine has evolved over hundreds of years and is highly influenced by the food of the Kashmiri Buddhists and Pandits. Apart from this, it is also strongly influenced by the Central Asian, Persian and North Indian cuisines. Kashmiri Pandit cuisine is elaborate and is usually prepared with lots of yogurt, oil and spices. Dry fruits and Saffron is used widely in Kashmiri dishes.
Specialties: Ladyar Tsaman (paneer in turmeric), Dama oluv (dum ka aloo/ potatoes), Nadir Yakhean (lotus stem), Shufta, Panjeeri, Kasaar and many more.
Jammu & Kashmir -- Palak Nadir (Spinach & Lotus Stem Curry)

An Ayurvedic Meal (Thali)

With the ongoing BM mega marathon, thalis have become quite popular among our BM group. I wish I had more time to make thalis for some of the states. But it is what it is, so I decided to make a thali for Cooking from Cookbook Challenge instead. Today's thali is an Ayurvedic Thali from Sukham Ayu.
An Ayurvedic Meal (Thali)

April 10, 2014

Patterned Swiss Roll Cake

For this month's Home Baker's Challenge, Pallavi Purani gave us some delicious cakes to bake this month. On the list was Patterned Swiss Roll Cake. I recently watched Martha Stewart making Chocolate Swiss Roll cake on TV and mentally bookmarked it. I used Martha's cake recipe and the pattern recipe and technique from here.
Patterned Swiss Roll Cake
I wanted to do a Spring pattern appropriate for this time of the year. I actually made this cake twice in 2 days because the first time I made, the cake broke when I tried to flip it from the baking sheet. I almost cried when that happened. I asked Gayathri on some tips and tricks she used to make her patterned cake. She was kind enough to answer all my questions, so mustered my courage and made it again.

Himachal Pradesh -- Auriya Kadoo (Pumpkin/ Butternut squash in Mustard sauce)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 10
State: Himachal Pradesh
Dish: Auriya Kadoo
Himachal Pradesh is a tsate in North India. It is famous for its scenic landscapes and aabundant natural beauty. The literal meaning of the state's name is In the lap of Himalayas. Himachal Pradesh is a multireligional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states. Some of the most commonly spoken languages are Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari, Dogri etc., The state has both Hindu communities as well as tribal communities.

Cuisine: Day-to-day food of Himachal Pradesh is very similar to the rest of the North India. They have lentils, rice, vegetables and bread. Non-vegetarian food is preferred and the cuisine is dominated by red meat and wheat bread. Thick and rich gravy, with aromatic spices, is used in abundance as the base for many dishes.
Specialties: I was so happy to find thefoodfairy blog that has so many traditional dishes from Himachal Pradesh called the Pahari food. Pahari literally means mountains and since the author's family is mostly Pahari she has a wide array of little known Pahari food. This link has some very delicious looking dishes that hopefully, I can try in the near future.
Himachal Pradesh -- Auriya Kadoo (Pumpkin/ Butternut squash in Mustard sauce)
Today's Dish: When I saw this recipe for pumpkin with mustard seeds, it sounded so much similar to an Andhra mustard based curry -- aava pettina kura. I wanted to give it a try to see how different or similar it would taste to what I'm used to. I have to say it tasted quite different since the spices used in both the curries are different, but I enjoyed this version as much I enjoy the Andhra version. It's spicy, tangy and very delicious. I used butternut squash instead of pumpkin since that is what I had in the pantry.

April 09, 2014

Haryana -- Bajre ki Roti & Paneer Do Pyaza

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 9
State: Haryana
Dish: Bajre ki Roti & Paneer Do Pyaza
Haryana is a state in North India. It came into existence on 1 November 1966 as a newly created state carved out of Punjab state on the basis of language. Haryana is a leading contributor to the country's production of foodgrain and milk. Agriculture is the leading occupation for the residents of the state.

Cuisine: Haryana's cuisine is very similar to that of Punjab, since it was a part of Punjab. With the availability of milk in abundance, milk products like paneer and ghee are used extensively in cooking. Wheat, jowar (millet) are also widely used.
Staple Food: Wheat, Jowar, Barley, Gram etc.
Specialties: Kadhi, Besan masala roti, Bathua raita, Methi gajar, lassi.

Today's Dish(es): I made rotis with bajra flour. I have seen roti recipes using just bajra flour and some times potato, but I have limited skill making rotis without gluten, so I picked this recipe on Sanjeev Kapoor's site with wheat flour. To serve with the rotis, I made a paneer curry with 2 onions -- paneer do pyaza. Onions are added at 2 different times during the cooking, which makes the curry so delicious and also gives a nice texture to the curry.
Haryana -- Bajre ki Roti & Paneer Do Pyaza

Haryana -- Bajre ki Roti & Paneer Do Pyaza

April 08, 2014

Gujarat -- Mini Thali

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 8
State: Gujarat
Dish: Mini Gujarati Thali

Gujarat is a state in the North-Western coast of India. It is known locally as Jewel of the West. Gujarat is the home of many many freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, successful entreprenuers like Dhirubhai Ambani (Reliance Industries), Azim Premji (Wipro Limited) and Jamsetji Tata. Gujarat played an important role in the economic history of India.

Cuisine: Gujarat is primarily a vegetarian cuisine due to the influence of Jain vegetarianism and traditional Hinduism. When i think of Gujarat, I think of the wide variety of dishes they have. There are so many snack items, so many breads, so many of everything. Gujaratis travel with bags full of snacks wherever they go and most of them are probably homemade. Adding a little sugar or jaggery to some of the dishes is common in Gujarat, the sweet flavor is believed to neutralize the slightly bland taste of the vegetables. Sweets (desserts) are extremely popular too in Gujarat.
Staple Food: Wheat, Rice, Lentils
Specialties: There are hundreds of Gujarati specialties, here are a few: Handvo, Muthia, Patra, Undhiyu, Khandvi, Dhokla, Kachori so on and so on.

Today's Dish(es): I wanted to try more than one dish from this amazing cuisine and with the time I had, I made a mini thali with simple and everyday Gujarati dishes. I have some good Gujarati friends and was lucky enough to enjoy their delicious home cooked dishes. Most of the dishes look so simple to make, but they are tricky and need some practice to make them perfect like Khandvi, Dhokla, Handvo etc.
Simple Gujarati Thali

Simple Gujarati Thali

April 07, 2014

Goa -- Feijoada (Vegan recipe)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 7
State: Goa
Dish: Goan Feijoada
Goa is India's smallest state by area and is located on the the weat coast of India. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita 2½ times that of the country as a whole. Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Territory India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961. Goa has beautiful beaches and breathtaking views that attract large numbers of international as well as domestic tourists.
My dad visited Goa a number of times for business purposes and he used to bring back bags full of cashews. Visiting Goa is something I would love to do sometime. Even though I cannot swim and will probably won't enjoy the beaches, but I want to explore the historic and artistic cathedrals and churches.

Cuisine: Goan food can be divided into Goan Catholic and Goan Hindu cuisine, each of which has its own distinct taste, charateristic and cooking style. Pork is widely used in dishes among the Goan Catholics. While the Hindu cuisine is partly pescetarianism and partly lacto vegetarian. Hindu cuisine mainly uses less heat, tamarind and kokum for souring and jaggery for sweetness. They use coconut oil as the medium of cooking.
Staple Food: Rice, Fish
Specialties: Vindaloo, Xacuti, Khatkhate, Feijoada, Bebinca etc.,
Goa -- Feijoada (Vegan recipe)
Today's Dish: I have tried quite a few Goan dishes in the past. I love the use of spices in goan dishes and my absolute favorite is this Xacuti. For this edition I wanted try the famous Goan sweet dish called bebinca, but changed my mind at the last minute and made yet another famous spicy curry from Feijoada.

April 06, 2014

Delhi -- Aloo Chaat recipe (Baked version)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 6
State: Delhi
Dish: (Un)fried Aloo Chaat Delhi style

Delhi is the Capital of India and is situated in Northern part of India. It is a Union territory and second largest populous city in the world. I have visited Delhi 3~4 times as a kid, but don't remember what we ate there. One of my aunts used to live in Delhi and we used to have more homemade meals and never really explored the street food in Delhi.

Cuisine: Delhi is a city with a very vast history. It has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. Through, most of the history, it served as the capital of various kingdoms and empires. It was the capital for centuries under Mughal rule and the Mughals influenced the cuisine of Delhi to a large extent. Food culture in Delhi is a mixture of North Indian food, Mughlai cuisines, Punjabi food and mouth watering street food.
Street Food is extremely popular in Delhi and a trend of dinig at local dhabas is popular among the residents. The Gali Paranthe Wali is a street in Chandni Chowk particularly for food eateries since the 1870s. Almost the entire street is occupied by fast food stalls or street vendors.
Specialties: Aloo Chaat, Dahi Vada, Kachori, Chole Bature, Jalebi etc.,
Delhi -- Aloo Chaat recipe (Baked version)

April 05, 2014

Chhattisgarh -- Chila (Rice flour Crepes) & Katte Masoor Dal

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 5
State: Chhattisgarh
Dish: Chila (Rice flour Crepes) & Katte Masoor Dal

Chhattisgarh is a state in Central India. This state was formed in 2000 by partitioning Chattisgarh speaking districts from southeastern Madya Pradesh. It is the source of elecrticity and steel for India. Chattisgarh accounts for 15% of the total steel produced in India. It is one of the fastest growing states in India.

Cuisine: Chattisgarh is known as the Rice bowl of India and has a very rich food culture. The food is classified into tribal & non-tribal cuisines. The tribes of Chhattisgarh primarily add the various types of fruits that are commonly found in the forest areas of Chhattisgarh.
Staple Food: Rice, wheat, jowar & maize
Specialties: Most of the traditional dishes are made of rice or rice flour, curd and green leafy vegetables. fara/muthiya (rice rolls in white sauce), angakar roti, chousera roti (rice puri's). state. Petha and rakhia badi are the two popular delectables of the tribes of Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarh -- Chila (Rice flour Crepes)

April 04, 2014

Alugadda Vepudu (Spicy Potato Fry)

I wanted to keep the theme for this month's Cooking from Cookbook Challenge same as the theme for the on-going month long marathon, which means I will be posting some Indian dishes from cookbooks every weekend.
For the first week, I'm cooking from 'The India Cookbook' by Pushpesh Pant. This is a HUGE book with around 1000 recipes from all over India. I remember borrowing this book from the library couple of years back, but returned it without cooking anything from it because I was literally overwhelmed with the number of dishes in the book and couldn't decide what to make before I had to return the book.
This time I borrowed it again, hoping that it would help for the A-Z Indian states marathon. I couldn't find many recipes from the states I was looking for, but ended up bookmarking other dishes that I wanted to make for CCChallenge. Unfortunately I sat on the book for too long not doing anything with it that I had to return it to the library yesterday. I was able to make only 1 dish from it. I went ahead and requested it again, so at least I can make the dishes that I bookmarked.
I was inspired to make a thali after looking at the amazing thalis on Rajani's and Manjula's blogs. I have a very very simple Andhra thali and is nowhere close to comparison to either of their thalis. Here's what I made for the thali:
Simple Vegetarian Andhra Thali

Bihar -- Litti Chokha

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 4
Dish: Litti Chokha

Bihar is a state in northern state. The name 'Bihar' means 'abode' in Sanskrit. Bihar plain is divided into two by the river Ganges that flows through the middle from west to east. This endowed Bihar with fertile Gangetic alluvial soil with abundant water resources. This makes Bihar's agriculture rich and diverse. Rice, wheat and maize are the major crops of Bihar, while toor, urad, moong are some of the pulses cultivated in Bihar. Bihar is the largest producer of vegetables, especially potatoes, onions, brinjal and cauliflower.

Cuisine: Bihari cuisine is predominantly vegetarian because traditional Bihar society, influenced by Buddhist & Hindu values of non -violence, did not eat animal products. But there is also a tradition of meat-eating, especially fish because of the number of rivers in Bihar. Bihari cuisine has many similarities to other North Indian cuisines but is also influenced by the other East Indian states like West Bengal.
Staple Food: Roti, dal, Rice, Vegetables etc.,
Specialties: Kadhi Bari (soft dumplings made of besan cooked in a spicy yogurt based gravy), Ghughni (boiled black chickpeas cooked in mustard oil with spices), Sattu (powdered roasted gram -- a high energy food), Litti etc.
Bihar -- Litti Chokha
Today's Dish: I decided to make a very traditional Bihari dish today, Litti-Chokha. These can be served for breakfast or snack. Littis are baked balls of wheat and are stuffed with spiced sattu flour (called pitthi) and served with lots of ghee. They are served with Chokha or spiced mashed eggplant or potatoes.

April 03, 2014

Assam -- Labra (Mixed Vegetable Curry)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 3
State: Assam
Dish: Labra

Assam is a state in the North eastern part of India. It is located south of the Eastern Himalayas and comprises of the Brahmaputra and the Barak river valleys. It is surrounded by the six of the other Seven Sister States. Geographically Assam and the other sister states are connected to India via a narrow strip of land in West Bengal called the Silguri Corridor or 'Chicken's neck' (this is something new to me and wanted to share with all of you)
Cuisine: Because of the geographical location, Assam has both the mountains and plains which influence their style of cooking. It is a confluence of cooking habits of the hills that favor fermentation and drying as forms of food preservation and those from the plains that provide fresh vegetables and abundance of fish from the many rivers and ponds that run through the state. The cuisine is characterized by very little use of spices, little cooking over fire and the preparations are rarely elaborate.
Staple Food: Rice, Fish, Meat & Vegetables.
Specialties: Tenga (light and sour fish dish), Pura (Assamese version of smoked or barbecued meat or fish), Pitika (side dishes), Bor-a etc.,
Assam -- Labra (Mixed Vegetable Curry)

April 02, 2014

Arunachal Pradesh -- Thukpa (Vegetarian Noodle Soup)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 2
State: Arunachal Pradesh
Dish: Thukpa (Vegetarian Noodle Soup)

Arunachal Pradesh is in the North eastern part of India. It is one of the seven states from the north eastern India that are referred to as ' The Seven Sister States'. Arunachal Pradesh means the 'land of the dawn-lit mountains' or the 'land of the rising sun' as it is located in such a geographic position that the sun hits it before spreading its rays to the other states or regions of India.
Cuisine: Cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh varies by the region as there is a lot of tribal influence on their food. Each major tribe consists of number of sub-tribes and each sub-tribe has different food habits and life styles. The ethnic cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh is simple to cook with lots of nutrient values and is scrumptious to consume. Non-vegetarian is preferred and minimum spices are used making the dishes mild to taste.
Tribes: Apatanis, Chuki, Nishi, Monpa etc.
Staple Food/ Drink: Rice, Fish, Meat and Leafy vegetables/ Apang (Rice Beer)
Specialties: Thukpa, Dre-Thuk (prepared from noodles, minced meat and soup), Zan (preparation of millet or flour and boiling water), Bak-tza (prepared from flat rectangular shaped dough, minced meat and soup).
Arunachal Pradesh -- Thukpa (Vegetarian Noodle Soup)

April 01, 2014

Andhra Pradesh -- Madatha Kaaja/ Thapeshwaram Khaja (Traditional dessert recipe)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 1
State: Andhra Pradesh
Dish: Madatha Kaaja/ Thapeshwaram Khaja
Our Blogging marathon group loves challenges and this time we have decided to do a month long mega marathon exploring the dishes from 30 Indian States & Union Territories. Which means starting today, all of us are going to post authentic dishes from each of the 30 Indian states in alphabetical order.
This would have been an impossible challenge some 5~6 years back, but with so many food bloggers from various parts of the country sharing their recipes online, finding authentic recipes was not too difficult except for the North eastern states. More about that when I do those states in a few days.
Preparations for the Mega marathon started almost 5~6 months ago, but I started working on them 2 months back. In the past couple of months, I have tried ingredients and ingredient combinations that I've never tried before. I can't say I learnt a lot about all the food cultures from the different states, but I sure know at least a few dishes names from each state now.
The most interesting take away for me after cooking from the 30 states is that 'there are so many similarities in the dishes that are made in different states, but at the same time there are as many differences in them too'. Take for example, rice is used in some form or the other in ALL the states, but the dishes that are made are very different from each other. Also the type of spices used and when they are added to a dish makes a big difference in the final taste of the dish.
Acknowledgements: First of my husband who was a very kind guinea pig. He ate everything, without a word, that was served even though some of the dishes tasted quite different with unusual ingredient combinations (from what we are used to). Thanks to the BM group for the inspiration (and nonstop chatter), without which I wouldn't have been able to complete the project on time. Thanks to the internet: Google & Wikipedia in particular for providing all the information on just about everything. Thanks for the hundreds of bloggers from across India for sharing their traditional dishes.


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