Yesterday, we had what I always think of as "hill station weather". In the heat of the Indian summer, people love vacationing in the mountains, in wildly popular resort towns known as hill stations. I always associate these places with bracing weather that is pleasantly cool- a sweet respite from the blazing plains. Last morning, we had some rain here in St. Louis and when it stopped and the skies cleared, the bright, clean weather and the freshly rinsed air felt so invigorating; it totally reminded me of family vacations in Khandala and Matheran. Hill station weather might prompt more outdoorsy folks to go on walks or hikes, but I must admit that the primary effect it has on me is a craving for some tasty, piping hot savories at tea-time. I made a family favorite, sabudana thalipeeth. Flattened shallow-fried patties of sago and potato. Normally, I love eating these with a yogurt-cilantro chutney. But I put a little spin on it. My good old Marathi snack had some Caribbean company.
You see, Zlamushka has come up with a brand new event. Every month, a chosen food blog will be opened up for mass testing and tasting, and the recipes from that blog will be joyfully cooked and devoured. This month, the Tried & Tasted event focuses on one of my favorite blogs, Tastes Like Home, written by soon-to-be-cookbook-author Cynthia. If you are ever feeling uninspired or your taste buds are a little jaded, visit Cynthia's blog for a jolt of freshness and flavor. Her posts are companions to her wonderful columns in the local newspaper. There are two things I really love about Cynthia's blog. Actually, make that three: I love the name of the blog..."tastes like home" is surely the highest compliment that can be paid to any food. Second: the way she brings food to life with her vivid pictures. This mango had me pawing at the screen. Third: her words ring so wise and true to my ears. Like when she says "Sometimes love means hard work" in this post, or when she says, "Nothing so sweet as sour" in this one.
That last post was especially tempting! Tangy food really does tempt me like nothing else can. So it was settled! I tried and tasted Cynthia's tamarind relish as a dipping sauce for my typical Marathi snack. See Cynthia's tamarind relish recipe here and my version (with small modifications) below. Sabudana thalipeeth has already been blogged by Manasi and my version is no different, but for what its worth, I'm typing up the recipe here.
Cynthia's Tamarind Relish
(Adapted from Tastes Like Home, makes about 1 cup)
¼ C dried tamarind pulp
1 t oil
½ medium onion, finely diced
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
½ t red chilli flakes
1 t coriander powder
2 T jaggery (or brown sugar)
1 t salt
1. Soak the tamarind pulp in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes. Press out all the pulp. Strain out thick tamarind juice and discard the seeds and fibers.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil.
3. Saute the onion, ginger, garlic until soft.
4. Add the tamarind pulp and the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thick and jammy.
5. Taste and adjust the balance of flavors if necessary. Cool and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Sabudana Thalipeeth1. Knead together:
a) 1 C sabudana (sago pearls) which have been soaked in water, then drained thoroughly to get rid of the excess water.
b) 2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
3) ¼ C crushed roasted peanuts
4) 1 t cumin seeds
5) 1 fresh green chilli, minced
6) handful of minced cilantro
7) 1 t sugar
8) salt to taste
2. Divide the mixture into 12 portions. Place each portion on a piece of heavy plastic (good way to reuse some packaging bag) that has been wetted. Use damp finger tips to flatten it into a thin disc.
3. Heat 1 T oil in a skillet and fry the patties on both sides.
The spicy tamarind relish made for a wonderful variation of the usual date-tamarind chutney I normally make! Cynthia, your blog has been tried and tested and is certified "delicious"!! :D
Meanwhile, the knitting mania continues unabated (ahem...that might be a bit of an understatement). I will always adore my kitchen but there is no denying that is a sudden new love in my life (all those who hate knitting and needle-craft can safely unsubscribe at this point). The only yarn I currently have on hand is plain old dishcloth cotton, so dishcloths it is! Actually, they are very satisfying projects to knit, because they are small and can be finished in just a few hours, and every new pattern teaches me a few new stitches.
Wanna see what I made?
Ballband (slip-stitch) dishcloth. My first time working with two colors together in a project. It is waaaay simpler than it looks!
Petal dishcloth. My first time working with a pattern that is some shape other than a rectangle!
And just to prove to myself that I can knit something besides dishcloths, I made a bath mitt. My first three-dimensional project. Yay :D
I also made another paw-print dishcloth and I'm going to give it away to one of you! Check back tomorrow to throw your name in the hat if you would like to have it :)