Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chana Gashi (Brown chick peas with jackfruit)

Chana Gashi is a staple dish in Konkani Cuisine. This coconut based dish is made during special occasions like weddings and religious events since it's cooked without onion & garlic. As a child, while my family attended events at the temple, we eagerly waited for Chana Gashi to be served on a banana leaf by temple volunteers. We would start staring at everyone's banana leaf from the end of the row, hoping we would get a piece of Kadgi. At times, it was just brown chick peas! Amma (my mother) or other relatives would be kind enough to share some with the kids.

Recalling those memories, I make sure that I add plenty of Kadgi (jackfruit) in my Chana Gashi at every religious event in my house.


1 cup brown chana (brown chick peas)
I can kadgi (jackfruit)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 dried red chillies,roasted (Byadgi)
marble size tamarind
salt to taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp oil

How it's made:

Soak chana overnight (or 6 hrs) & pressure cook the next morning. (Save the cooked water & use for cooking the curry or grinding the coconut paste).
Grind coconut, red chillies & tamarind with a little water to a fine paste. Cut Kadgi into bite size peices.
In a large pan, mix cooked chana, kadgi & salt. Cook together for 5-10 mins. Add ground masala. Boil for a few mins. Adjust salt.
In a "Phanna Davlo"or small frying pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add jeera & curry leaves. Add seasoning to chana gashi. Mix well & cover. Serve with white rice.

Serves: 6

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shrimp Balchao

A teaspoon of this goes a long way! This dish turns out very spicy and I prefer to cook on summer/fall days since the house needs to be well ventilated while frying the ground paste. The taste is quite similar to shrimp pickle & stays well refrigerated for a few weeks.

This recipe reminds me of Amma's (my Mother) Shrimp pickle which was always in her refrigerator during Monsoon days when the fish mongers didn't show up at her door.


1 1/2 lb shrimp,peeled and deveined
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
10-12 dried red chillies (byadgi)
8 cloves
4 green cardamom
1-2 tsp pepper corns
1 tsp jeera(cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp haldi(turmeric powder)
4-6 cloves garlic
1 tsp vinegar
salt to taste

How it's made:

Grind red chillies, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper corns, jeera, haldi, ginger, garlic, vinegar to a fine paste with very little water.
In a kadai or skillet, fry onions until light brown. Add ground masala & fry for atleast 20 mins. The more you fry the masala, the better the taste. Add tomatoes & curry leaves. After the tomatoes turn mushy, add shrimp. Do not add water. Cover & cook until shrimp is cooked- maybe 10 mins. Shrimp turns to be chewy if over cooked. Adjust salt.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cracked Wheat Pulao

Cracked wheat is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals and easily available at most Indian stores. It is often confused with Bulghur which is popular with Middle eastern population. Raw whole wheat that are crushed is called Cracked Wheat whereas Bulghur is whole wheat that are soaked, steamed, dried and then crushed. Cooking cracked wheat takes a longer time, while Bulghur can be consumed after a short soaking time or depending on the quality, it may not need any cooking.

Cracked wheat soaks up more water and takes a longer time to cook when compared to rice. Unlike making pulao, more water can be added to cracked wheat during cooking process.

I was on a fridge/pantry cleaning spree a few days ago and this was the end result with a few varieties of vegetables and a packet of Cracked Wheat.


1 1/2 cup cracked wheat
1 1/2 cup mixed vegetables (carrot, beans, peppers, cauliflower, squash, spring onions, peas, corn- your choice)
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1"ginger, grated
2 tsp heaped curry powder
4 cups water
2 tsp oil
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash cracked wheat under running water 2-3 times.

Chop vegetables and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil. Add onion, ginger & garlic. Saute' for a minute. Add mixed vegetables, curry powder & salt to taste. Fry for 2-3 mins. Add cracked wheat. Mix well together.

Add water. Boil. Check for salt. Once it starts bubbling, cover & simmer on low flame until water evaporates. For some reason, if cracked wheat is uncooked, keep adding little water at a time until cracked wheat is well cooked.

Serves : 6

Note: I have used equal amount of cracked wheat and vegetable since I like vegetables in every bite! You can adjust the quantity of vegetable as per your preference.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tomato Rasam

This is a simple and easy version of rasam that can be made in a jiffy.


3-4 medium sized plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cup water (approx)
2 green chillies,slit
1 tsp (heaped) MTR rasam powder
1 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
a few curry leaves
1 tsp oil
salt to taste
a pinch of sugar
1 tsp coriander leaves, chopped

How it's made:

Cut tomatoes in half and cook with 1/2 cup of water until soft. Once cool, blend tomatoes in blender. Return  tomato puree back to sauce pan. Add green chillies and 1 cup water. More water can be added. Boil for 5 mins. In a "Phanna Davlo"or small frying pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add rasam powder & curry leaves. Add seasoning to tomatoes. Adjust salt, sugar & garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves: 4

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kulitha Idli (Horsegram Idli)


1 cup Kulithu (Horsegram)
1 cup urad dal (Black gram dal)
1 1/2 cups idli rava
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash, soak horsegram and ural dal for 4-5 hours. Grind to a paste. Do not add to much water while grinding. Remove batter into a bowl. Wash idli rava under running water. Drain well. Add idli rava to the ground batter. Mix well and set aside for 6-8 hours to ferment. Add salt.
Steam idli for 10-12 mins & serve hot with chutney or sambhar.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chicken Green Masala (Chicken Curry)

My son was always under the impression that this dish was made with spinach & he refused to eat it for many years. A few months ago, on a day that he was bored, he decided to help me in the kitchen when he realized what went into making the dish.

The freshness of mint and coriander leaves gives a wonderful taste & aroma to the curry. Overall its a simple curry, but its all in frying the ground masala. If the masala is not fried enough, it leaves behind a raw taste of spices. The curry tastes better if refrigerated for a day.


3 lbs chicken, cut into medium pieces
1 can coconut milk
2 Onions, sliced
2 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup Coriander leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Mint leaves
6 cloves garlic
8- 10 green chillies(adjust as per taste)
6 cloves
3 green caradmom
1 tsp pepper corns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp Oil
salt to taste

How it's made:

Grind coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom  pepper corns, coriander seeds, jeera to a fine paste.
Heat oil, fry onions until light brown. Add ground masala. Fry on low flame until the masala colors changes to deep green (takes about 20 mins). Add chicken, tomatoes, haldi & 1/2 cup water. Cover and let it cook until chicken is well done. Add coconut milk. Boil for 2 mins. Serve hot with rice/roti.

Serves: 6

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Palak with Tori dal (Spinach with Pigeon peas)

I love the simplicity of this dish. A good friend of mine made this for an event and I loved the taste. When I got the recipe, I loved it even more since it was healthy and so easy to cook! This dish was done in 15 mins and goes well with rice/ roti/ bread.


1/2 cup frozen tori (pigeon peas)
1- 10 oz box frozen palak (spinach)
1 small onion, chopped fine
Marble size tamarind (I substitued with 2 green tomatoes)
2 green chillies, slit
1"ginger, chopped fine
1/4 cup toor dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 dried red chillies
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash toor dal. In a pressure cooker pan, add pigeon peas, spinach, toor dal, green chillies, ginger, onions & tamarind. Pressure cook 10 minutes.
In a "Phanna davlo"or frying pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once it splutters add hing, garlic and red chillies. Add seasoning to the cooked dal/palak. Boil. Adjust salt to taste.

Serves: 4

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Peanut Masala(Peanut with spices)


1 cup peanuts
1 spring curry leaves
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1/4-1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

How it's made:

Soak peanuts for 3-4 hrs. Drain water & pressure cook - 2 whistles.
In oil, add mustard seeds & jeera. Once mustard splutters, add hing, chilli powder, haldi and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds. Add cooked peanuts (donot add water), lemon juice and salt to taste. Cover and cook for a minute. Lastly add onions and cook for a minute. (Adding onions at the end gives a little crunch to the dish).

Serves : 4

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sungta Human/ Sungta Hinga Udka Randayi/ Shrimp Curry

Bapama (grandmother in Konkani), who is my inspiration behind many things was always at her best. Her charming, energetic, generous, kind-hearted, lovable  affectionate personality was loved by one and all. There are innumerable ways to describe her and she is one of my most favorite person. Bapama's house was always open with countless visitors visiting the family every year but she always treated everyone equally. She remembered everyone's favorite food and spent substantial time cooking with a lot of passion.

One summer break when I stayed with her, she treated me with the most amazing dishes. Draped in pure cotton saree and a white blouse, she had a towel on her shoulder to wipe out the sweat in her little, dim lit kitchen. She never asked for a fan or extra ventilation. One of my favorite dish was "Sungta Human" and Bapama made sure she made with fresh grated coconut and good quality shrimp. I could tell the love that went into making the dish with jumbo size shrimp - you had to taste to believe it!  That was the one and only year I got to try the gigantic sized shrimp and I was overwhelmed with the size. The thought of asking for the recipe never came to my mind. It was my summer break & I was too busy having fun. Good company, good food, no studying, no routine, what more can one ask for at a young youthful age? Listening to music, watching movies, chit-chatting and giggling was all that we did. (Hanging around would be a better term as addressed by current generation).

Mid morning, Bapama would bring us a glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice with a pinch of saffron - an extraordinary drink! Followed by lunch, evening snack & a line- up of fabulous dishes for dinner. When we sat back late at night watching TV & playing cards, she would walk down the hallway from her bedroom to the living room with her red rectangular flashlight politely reminding that we had to wake up early the next morning to eat breakfast and I did (unwillingly). But I made sure, I never disappointed her.

I don't think I valued the effort she put in but I did realize a few years ago the pain & execution it takes to entertain and cook. Every time when we have guests at home, I always remember her and reminiscing those memories, reminds me to put in my best. Bapama, you are the BEST and this one's for you.


1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 dried red chillies,roasted
marble sized tamarind
1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp coconut oil
salt to taste

How it's made:

Grind coconut, red chillies and tamarind to a fine paste with a little warm water. In a pan cook shrimp for 2 mins, then add ground masala. Boil for a few mins, approximately 5-8 mins. Do not over cook. Shrimp tends to get chewy if overcooked. Add salt to taste and asafoetida. Drizzle with coconut oil. Serve with white rice. [I substituted with instant Shevai (Rice Noodles)].

Some people avoid using coconut oil due to health reasons. Canola oil can be substituted but coconut oil gives a very distinctive taste & aroma.
Bapama used to add one small chopped tomato. I've tried Bapama's way (which I call Bapama's Sungta Randayi), it gives a divine flavor to the curry.

Serves: 4

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mangalore Banana Buns

Buns is a popular food item amongst Konkani community. For us it was an after school snack when we were young. I remember breaking buns in half & consuming the soft white cotton like texture on the inside. Amma used to avoid fried food but she made it when we had one over ripe banana left behind which no one would eat. Once the bananas had several black spots on them, it was either buns or "half banana halwa".

Buns is served at most local Mangalorean restaurants under breakfast menu. Some people like it with chutney & some with Dalitoy (which I have yet to try). 


1 ripe banana
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1 cup sugar
soda bi carb - a pinch
2-3 cups maida (flour) + a few tbsps
oil for deep frying

How it's made:

Sieve 1 cup maida & soda bicarb so that they mix well together. Set aside.
Mash banana to a smooth paste. Add in yogurt , jeera and whisk well. Add sugar. (Since I like it medium sweet, I use 1 cup sugar). Add maida little at a time to make a dough a little softer than making roti/chapati. Set aside for 4-5 hours.

Roll out a lemon size ball of dough to about 1/4" thick. You can dust some flour on surface to make rolling easier.
Deep fry one at a time to golden brown in color on medium high flame.

Makes approx. 30 buns