Friday, June 22, 2007

Weekend Stuff

Weekend Dog Blogging: Puppy At Heart

Of all the thousands of pictures we have taken of Dalu, this is one of my favorites. It captures the quintessential personality of Dale- innocent and child-like, yet dignified; a little bewildered by the big bad world around him. Although Dale is nearly eight years old (middle-aged in doggy terms), people still stop us in the street and ask us if he is a puppy...this happens almost every day.
Dale gets groomed every other weekend and they often send him home sporting a colorful printed cotton scarf like the one he is wearing in the picture. I think the scarf looks absolutely adorable on him, but V insists that it makes him look like the neighborhood goonda (thug) and keeps saying, "kya, Dalu Bhai", and "kassa kai, Dalu Dada" to him! The poor puppy!

To celebrate RCI: Maharashtra, I tried three Maharashtrian recipes from my fellow bloggers...

Sabudana Khichdi, a stir-fry of sago pearls and peanuts, is a typical Marathi dish that most people really enjoy. However, a bad batch of sabudana (or a less than perfect technique) results in a gummy dish that is the stuff of nightmares. Imagine my delight when I came across a recipe that replaces sabudana with Israeli Couscous, pearl-like toasted pasta. I had to try it! I followed the recipe quite closely, except that I made the khichadi in a mixture of 1 T oil and 1 T ghee, as I normally do, instead of all ghee as is traditionally done.
Can you tell that this khichdi is made with anything other than sabudana? The taste is a little different (as expected) but the result was delightful. Kudos to Evolving Tastes for being so creative!

The next dish is a snack: Cornflakes Chivda. Chivda is like a savory trail mix, with some puffed crispy grains, nuts, and raisins. I have never met a chivda that I did not like! However, the cornflakes chivda is India is made by deep-frying cornflakes, which is why I never tried making this, at home. TC's recipe is wonderful: using store-bought cereal, and only a little oil for the tempering. The fennel seeds in the recipe are really important, IMHO. It is amazing how a bitty teaspoon of the fennel seeds transformed the taste of the chivda.
Just like the Cooker's son's teacher, I "can't get enough of it"! I have made two huge batches of the cornflakes chivda already. The first time, I filled boxes to take as small home-made gifts to two beloved friends in NYC. The next time, we were invited to a last-minute lunch party, and I had no time to get the customary hostess gifts like flowers or wine, so I showed up with a box of freshly made cornflakes chivda! The feedback was great :) Thank you, Cooker ji, for a delicious recipe; it is a keeper.

The third recipe represents a baby step forward in my growth as a home cook. When I first started cooking, it was easy one-dish meals. Then the traditional Indian dishes, then learning how to put together simple menus for entertaining. Now I am able to handle most stove-top cooking, and learning to bake, but there are some categories of cooking that still intimidate me: pickles and jams being two prominent ones. So when I read Manisha's post about the No-Oil Lemon Pickle, with crisp instructions and beautiful step-by-step pictures, I summoned up my courage and decided to take the plunge! I followed her instructions precisely, and this is what the pickle looked like right after it was made:
Every day, I walk around the apartment with the pickle bottle, trying to find the sunniest spot to cook the pickle in. Every other day, I stir the pickle with a dry blunt knife, then stand over the sink, licking the knife clean :) The pickle is now only two weeks old, and needs to cook for a couple more months, I think, especially since I am not able to provide it with full-on sun all day. But last night, we tried some as an accompaniment to a simple dinner of khichdi-raita, and it was already delicious! V announced that it "tastes like lemon pickle" (ya think?). I am just so thrilled that I now have a bottle of my own limbache lonche and that when friends visit, I will be able to scoop some into a little jar for them to take home. The little things that money can't buy! Thank you, Manisha, for being such a wonderful teacher.

Reminder for RCI: Maharashtra...Entries for this event are being accepted until 6:00 am (CST) on June 26th. When you post your entry, please don't forget to send the e-mail with the link! Due to time constraints, I am *completely* unable to accept any late entries, sorry about that. Thanks for your enthusiastic participation! It is going to be a treat to put together this round-up.

See you on Sunday with the V of Indian Vegetables! Entries for this event are due by Saturday night.


  1. Didn't know cous cous could replace sabudana... :-) Looks the same. And great looking pickle and chivda... have never tried snacks of any kind nor pickles.

    And Dale looks adorable! have a great weekend Nupur.


  2. Kasa kai Nupur!!! ;) Hahahaha that was a good one. :)

    Cous cous khichdi is something unheard of totally..... and thanks fo rthat link of chivda since I am going to try them first this tomorrow morning. :)

  3. Raaga, this is Israeli couscous, different from the more common couscous in that the pearls are large, well, sabudana-like :) and not tiny ones. You have a great weekend too :) Hugs right back :)

    Coffee, bara hai! :) (that means, I'm ok, in very-Kolhapuri dialect) :D
    This is the larger variety of couscous, and tastes great. The chivda is a must-try!!!

  4. I can see why this is your favorite Dale photo! I saw it first thing this morning, and have been going around with a huge smile ever since. Thanks.
    I have actually made the fake sago khichdi with Israeli couscous, and while the taste is a bit different, it is still delicious and looks great too.
    Keep up the fabulous work - of all the hundreds (thousands?) of food blogs out there, yours is my favorite!

  5. ha ha ha... dale no where looks like goonda:) he is so adorable trying to look serious in that pic:)
    now thats the interesting twist to saago khichdi, err, i meant couscous khichidi:) picture looks very similar to saago. if u hadn't mentioned it here i would have thought it as sagoo.

  6. Hi Nupur, you chose some fabulous dishes to celebrate your RCI -- they all look wonderful! I will have to try chivda soon as I've been craving crunchies but can't afford the fried kind ;) Making pickle is an experience isn't it? I'm glad to know you tasted yours after such a short time -- now I won't be afraid to do so.

    Love to see Dale's pics, keep those coming please :)

  7. Dale looks so handsome, with his puppy eyes and the stylish bandana! I see that he is on his favourite rug.
    Thanks for the idea of making couscous khichdi. I'll love to try that. My aai used to make a similar cornflakes chivda, I had forgotten about it. And the limbache lonche just made my mouth water.


  8. hey nupur ..

    Long time since i have been in ur blog ..Missed many things.nice one ..Pickle and Chivda

  9. Should try that lemon pickle soon. The fact that you can eat it while in the making is a great idea.
    Dale looks very majestic...a "majestic gunda" :)

  10. I have myself become a huge fan of cous cous, its such a versatile ingredient. I use the regular ones now, will get the bigger kind next time. My current favorites in the kitchen our fennel seeds and crushed coriander seeds, I have been adding one or the other in all my dishes and just see them transform the dish into something special.
    Will try the chivda soon, we generally get honey bunches of oats and so whenever cravings hit, I make chivda with flattened rice. Even that needs no oil, just the way this one is made, a few minutes on the pan and the rice flakes get nice and crispy.

    "Kasa kai, Dalu Bhai" reminded me of the Javed Jaffrey song 'I am MumBHAI'....remember that one ?? :D

  11. dale looks like an adorable goonda in that scarf - kinda like jackie shroff with the come-hither droopy eyes. give that gorgeous guy a hug from me.

  12. Do I necessarily have to go to a Mediterranean store for Israeli couscous, or can you suggest a shop?

  13. Nupur, I am so glad that the Israeli couscous worked out well for you! It makes a practically instant khichadi too, since there is no soaking time required.

  14. Dalu-Dada seems to be saying 'Raada karaycha kaa?' There used to be a Marathi serial in which a character would say this, always at the wrong time!
    Glad the chivda worked out.
    'Ji', sweet, that is a first :)

  15. Hi Dale! I like you just fine but I especially love your rug and your 'Mom's' parents! Woof!

  16. Dale looks like a naughty boy, who has been clean scrubbed and told not to get into any mischief!! he is totally adorable!! TDH as I say!!

    Had NO idea cous-cous could replace sabudana! wow !! something new learnt everyday!!! Sahi!!

  17. Did I ever mention I love reading all you write?

  18. Kasa kai, Nupur tai:). Hey, I am terribly scared of dogs, but Dale seems really cute. He looks like a cute gunda with the scarf on. That's a great spread of Marathi dishes u tried and I can imagine you roaming in the house with the pickle jar:))

  19. The cornflakes chivda is so timely! I have a TON of cornflakes at home. Now I know what to do with it all..Can't wait {0)

  20. Kamini, awww...thank you for saying such nice things! You are always so wonderful and encouraging!

    Sia, yes, when I served the khichadi, V was fooled! :)

    Linda, I had dozens more that I wanted to try...these were just the ones I managed to get to. Oh yes, the chivda is perfect for those times when one wants to scraf down a whole bag of potato chips :) Yes, we have started eating the pickle and it tastes good even as it is "cooking".

    Namita, he just does not move from that rug, it is like he is stapled on! :)

    Deepa, glad you like it!

    Sandeepa, yes, I love that we can eat the pickle and keep tasting its pickling process!

    Priya, crushed coriander to try that! I can imagine how it would make the flavor pop.
    Oh, Javed Jaffrey, he is too funny! Love that song! We should totally have named Dale "Mumbhai" :)

    Bee, Jackie Shroff LOL :) The droopy eyes are saying, "Turn the damn camera off, I need a nap!"

  21. Suganya, the original post on "evolving tastes" has a lot of info on buying this stuff.

    EvolvingT, that is true! It is nice not having to remember to soak sabudana! Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

    TC, "raada karayacha ka" sounds hilarious! Dale is *just* that kind of goofy, bumbling character!
    The chivda ROCKS :)

    Lady, you can play all you like with mom's parents...but keep your pretty little paws off my rug. Arf!

    Manasi, the clean-scrubbed look lasts about 15 minutes :) then we are back to the smelly-dog look!

    Nabeela, Thank you :) What a nice thing to say!

    Swapna, :D bara hai, Swapna maushi :D just kiddin'!

    Dhana, oh, do try it, it is addictive stuff! The cornflakes will be gone in no time!

  22. I am planning to make Manisha's no-oil lime pickle this week too :) Yours already looks so good. By the way, I love that vivid piece of writing - standing over the sink licking the knife (lo)

  23. he is SO cute. :)

  24. Hi Dale! As everyone can clearly see in that photo, you are a sweetie!

  25. Hi Nupur!
    Made the sabudana khichidi this morning and it was awesome! I have always had problems using regular sabudana (comes out all gummy), so I was happy when I found this couscous substitution. Delicious!

    Thanks to you and Evolving Tastes!

  26. Hi Nupur,
    tried the cornflakes chivda.awesome..i so agree with the importance of fennel seeds in this..
    thanksa ton

    your fan


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