Monday, January 23, 2012

Sprouted Mung Masala Daal

Anitra came by with her friend Sylvie and we COOKED and ate and laughed and shared! Here is Sylvia's email. (She is a writer you can tell) Scroll down to see the Mung Recipe. It's delicious!!

This was the thali-style meal Anitra, 
Sylvia and me shared that day. Rice,
yogurt, carrot relish, Mung Daal, lemon
pickle and leftover spicy eggplant!!
"Cooking with Shona
was more of a dance with food...
not a recipe to be followed,
but meal to be created...
tasting, adjusting flavors,
bringing them into
balance and harmony...
where no one ingredient 
could be tasted 
over another...
instead they created one
smooth coherent taste...

Everything was done
by hand:  washing, peeling, cutting...
holding the sensuous 
in our hands 
as we julienned
the carrots, chopped very fine
little mounds of onions, tomatoes 
and cilantro.

The kitchen was filled with
such a delectable rhythm
and richness of aromas, flavors,
interest and enthusiasm
for the simple, whole foods, 
straight from the earth mingling
with generations of relationships;
bringing stories, knowledge and 
reverence for spices and herbs 
and foods right into the kitchen...
It was palpable that day
as it permeated and filled the space...

The sprouted mung beans,
bursting forth with new life
were divinely delicious...
It felt sooooo good to put such
clean, healthy, living food into 
our bodies...

Food served with care and
grace and beauty
that nourished mind, 
body and spirit.
When I handle food
now, something from that
day with Shona and Anitra
is still present with me..."

- Sylvia Anne

Sprouted Mung Masala Daal
Here is the Recipe: I am too lazy to list ingredients separately. I have colored them instead!!

You will need to prep the mung a day or so ahead:

Wash 3 cups whole green mung and soak overnight in 5 cups of water. Next morning wash and drain thoroughly and leave in a colander covered loosely with a plate for 3-4 hours. The mung will start to sprout  (see pix).

Boil sprouted mung with 4 cups of water and the following:
½ teaspoon turmeric,
11/2 teaspoons salt,
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Oginga  paste (optional)
(Cook mung till it is soft – add water if necessary. You know the mung is cooked when you should be able to squish it with the back of a spoon or between your fingers)

Take heavy bottomed pan with lid. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil till it smokes add ¼ teaspoon asaodita salt and ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds. Wait till cumin sizzles and begins to change color then add 2 teaspoon diced fresh ginger, I small diced onion, 4 cloves diced garlic, 1 large tomato &  ½ cup diced cilantro.  Cook stirring constantly till onion caramelizes. Add the boiled mung and another cup of water and cook for 20 minutes on low till water is absorbed. Adjust salt.

This dish is finished using an old fashioned method of spice tempering.

I use a bar-b-que basting cup – which is a metal cup like thing with a long handle. Heat two tablespoons of ghee or oil in this and add to it 1 tablespoon powdered cumin, 1 tablespoon powdered coriander, ½ teaspoon chili powder and ½ teaspoon garam masala. Switch off heat immediately (be very careful not to burn spices). The spices will sizzle in the oil. Pout this oil tempered mix directly into the pot of cooking mung. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice to taste. This dish goes really well with rice or Indian Chapattis (tortilla) or naan and some nice raita. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

My feedback!

Well, I was lucky enough to try out a few of Shona's special kits to help idiots in the kitchen like me make indian food like a pro. I tried the Green Chicken Korma, Keema and Chicken Tikka Masala.

The green chicken korma was the absolute best thing! My family loved it, and it was really easy to put everything together. The little packets of garlic/ginger/chili paste and the green paste made it extra easy to cook, and with the pre-measured spices there was no worry that I would get the spicing wrong (which I often do on my own)! This was absolutely delicious.

The Keema was also very good, and very easy to follow. We all enjoyed it very much.

The Chicken Tikka Masala was a recipe that was verbal, and I think I missed something a bit in the mix. It was good, but not smooth. I think I did a little something wrong with the recipe, as the sauce was not as smooth as I would expect. The flavors were delicious though, so I am sure if I try this one again with a printed recipe it will be excellent!

Thanks Shona, and I look forward to trying more recipes soon!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh the joys of an Indian Thali!

Traditional welcome at Thali Restaurant
Water Boy

Gleaming thali with katooris (bowls)

Traditional Indian thali meal


We had a traditional Gujrati thali yesterday at the Rajdhani Thali Restaurant at Value Mall here in Whitefield Bangalore. Known as a "thali place" with 72 different rotating menus with 22,464 delicacies from Gujarat and Rajasthan, the meal was truly heavenly: a little mind boggling in its variety and complexity- enough to drive you nuts. It is an all you can eat meal for  Rs. 290 for two (approximately $3 per head).
A thali is a traditional Indian meal (typically vegetarian) served in a mammoth stainless steel platter in tiny Katooris (bowls) circling the circumference like miniature planets in orbit
On your arrival you are welcomed by a turbaned greeter bearing an Arti tray with a holy oil lamp and flowers. He  dots your forehead with a small crimson Tikka of blessing and welcome. You pass through a marigold-garlanded archway to your table where gleaming thalis beam back at you. As soon as you are seated the Water Boy arrives with an brass pitcher with an elaborate curved spout and basin. He pours water over your fingers (Indians eat with their right hand). The Water Boy is followed by a long line of waiters who descend in a busy swarm to load up your katooris. All together there are 32 items. Imagine!Four kinds of bread (I loved the Bajra roti, a chewy clay oven-baked bread millet bread no bigger than 3 inches in diameter served with a dollop of fresh churned white butter and crumbles of cane jaggery (I ate three of those). Other breads included stuffed kachoris (bread with a thin layer of spiced lentils) chapattis, and dhoklas (steamed lentil cakes). The breads are followed by rice dishes, the traditional kitchdi (lentil and rice cooked together, traditionally a holy food) generously dribbled with ghee, savory rice and something else (I forget the third, by now I was too cross-eyed with all my katooris, wondering what to eat first…next… more of....) There are several kinds of Daal preparations some sweet, some hot, vegetable curries, a whole array of pickles and condiments and a variety of sweets. In a thali meal dessert is served together with your main meal in a separate katooris. Everything is washed down with cumin-spiced buttermilk. When you are finally done, the Water Boy returns with his urn and basin for you to clean your fingers. He is followed by the Paanwalla, who bears a tray of tiny green bundles that look like Christmas tree ornaments – they are slivered areca nut wrapped inside betel leaves and stuffed with candied fennel. The tiny bundle is coated with a thin gilding of silver and held together with a clove or toothpick. The paan is a traditional palette cleanser and digestive and you are supposed to chew on meditatively and ruminate on the wonders of the universe-not wolf it down, like some foreigners do. On the way out you can bang a gong to show you appreciation. The waiters yell back in unison (I am not sure what they say. They sound a little like the Sushi Chefs in Japanese restaurants). My brother in law, always the overdoer banged the gong so loudly, he made all the peaceful diners almost choke on their dhoklas and the waiters drop their serving pails. But appreciation, as we know can never be understated. I gave Rajdhani a five star rating. Amazing food, service, warmth and hospitality.  Highly recommended. India at its shining best.
Check out their website:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Green Chicken Korma Caper

“Six hours! To cook dinner!” My spouse alleged.

No communication, obviously, because I'm still not certain what he's accusing me of. I wanted to say something like "I've been to a opium den of spices." or "I was having an illicit affair massaging a Kale salad." But it is best not to antagonize one in a tenuous mood.

“Did you miss me?” I asked, knowing full well he never admit anything a kin to that. Let me insert a pregnant pause here, or a long piece of dead air, for an answer that's never coming. Cue theme to Jeopardy in your head for a moment please.
The cooler box and the groceries were unloaded from the car by yours truly with no help from the brooding spouse. I load the rice cooker and I put that awe-inspiring spice pack in the freezer, as instructed by Chef wannabe. Then I find my card for ‘Green Chicken Korma (spice level****)’; Shona, has typed up a few handy recipe cards for us. It says ‘take a heavy bottomed pot with cover -- heat oil and add chopped onions’. I decided to use the Visionware glass saucepan, my main go to pan.

"We were not cooking dinner," I say to the DH, "dinner isn't cooked, yet; the chicken is only marinated.” I was determined he wasn't going to dampen my high spirits. “Be a dear and chop this onion please.” About this time he notices the case of Negro Modelo on the floor next to the fridge; he theatrically rips open the box and finds places in the refrigerator for each and every bottle; and takes the box outside to the recycled receptacle. Only then does he finally chop the onion.

Somewhere, sometime, probably in high school, the entire male population learns you can never carry out any request instantly; first one must lodge a symbolic protest, somewhat passive aggressive, if you ask me. I must've been absent that day, because I still do not understand it.

I digress, Green Chicken Korma recipe says to fry onions until medium brown. Just as the onions are beginning to simmer I realized a Ziploc container with the marinated chicken is in Shona's spice refrigerator; Yes, she has a separate refrigerator for spices. The wind was out of my sails now. Phoned Shona, she dispenses her darling hubby, Vinoo, immediately to meet me halfway with the chicken marinade in tow. The day is saved!

We both have just under a 10 Mile Drive the meeting point being, the city dump. This time in the evening the dump is closed, but it still smells bad. So it's a matter of turning off the highway and waiting only a minute or two for one or the other to show up in that foul smelling place. As it happens, we arrive at the exact same time. Picture this if you will, Vinoo in his hot little sport car with vanity plates and me in an early 90s old SUV. I pulled in directly behind him, and we both exited our vehicles at the same time, Vinoo, with a small six-pack cooler in hand. Before we could approach each other blinding lights were in our eyes. From behind the flood of lights emerged a monstrously huge silhouette of a big cop.

“What are you doing here”, he demanded.

Before I could say anything Vinoo answers in his 007 voice, "exchanging chickens."

"Yes!" I agreed, "I left it at his house."

By this time, the policeman, was close enough to us that we could make out a face on him. Vinoo handed off the cooler to me and I asked if there was a problem.

“No” he said. “just wondered what you were doing.” With that he got back in his cruiser, turned around and headed west. Vinoo turnaround and headed east. I turned around and headed south. The scenario had the making of a comedy caper, but I can't quite put my finger on what was so funny. I wanted to say something like "I've been to a opium den of spices." or "I was having an illicit affair massaging a Kale salad." Or "there's a body in the trunk, a chicken’s carcass stewing in marinade." But it is best not to antagonize one in a tenuous mood.

Back home, I turned the burner on and heated up the brown onions, dumped in the chicken and covered to cook for about 20 minutes. Well actually, I stirred it twice in 20 minutes. Here's a part I am not clear on, the directions say to stir in the cashew powder. Do I cut the heat or no? I turned the burn off. I served it with rice and massaged Kale salad. A meal
fit for a king or so I thought.

The cantankerous King tasted his late supper; he dramatically salted and then devoured it without a word. Took his bare plate to the sink and headed back to his computer. He knew I wanted a review, but I was going to subplicate him for it.
“How was it?” I inquired.

"It was missing something."


“I don't know, something. “

“And the salad?” I added, he would just have to amitted it was the best salad ever.

“I didn't care for the greens.” He answered.

So there you have it the complete review of the Green Chicken Korma. I want to say something like "I've been to a opium den of spices." or "I was having an illicit affair massaging a Kale salad." Or "there's a body in the trunk, a chicken’s carcass stewing in marinade." Or “I spent the afternoon, talking food, shopping for food, drinking tea and cooking with Shona.” It is best not to antagonize one in a tenuous mood but do not feed him either.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Keema Masala...mmmm good !

Hey Karma Chef ~

Tonight I was tight on time, had your spices and recipe for Keema Masala, so went to the pantry for tomato paste and found diced tomatoes instead, substituted and worked great (only due to your spices). I used 1 lb of ground beef (instead of 2 lbs) followed the recipe, except for the water because the can of 14.5 oz tomatoes had the liquid. I used all the spices for the 2 lb. recipe and it was still perfect! The peas I made separate only because one family member doesn't like peas mixed with meat, the rest of us added them as we served.

Delicious dish, just the right spice - very very easy and yummy! Served with rice for a balanced meal. Thank you Karma Chef for this great recipe and making dinner time easier. I even made it to my pilates class on time!