Saturday, October 27, 2007

Weekend Stuff

I have to warn you right now: go grab some garlic and get ready to meet...

Count Dogula has overcome his fear of sunlight, and he has arrived in St. Louis from Transylvania to continue his blood-sucking ways:

He keeps an eye out for his next victim...

...and then he strikes!

After his vampire feast, he needs to sit and relax in the shade for a while :D

So you see, we have had a fun afternoon! The pet costume party was a hilarious circus and all the pups seemed to enjoy themselves. For all those people in the "poor-Dale-tortured-with-costumes" camp, let me tell you that he did not mind it one bit :D

Many *many* thanks for the lovely costume ideas that I got from you all: Mocha suggested a turban and pearl necklace...Maharaja style, Namita suggested a cowboy look, Bulbul suggested "SuperDale" and Cathy and Lindy also suggested the superhero look, Moon Rani suggested "WatchDog" (superhero with a twist!), Reva suggested the "little devil" look, Dhana suggested "Underdog". I was torn between all these wonderful ideas and went with "Dogula" mostly because I found the right fabric for it, and thought the name was cute (I did not make up the name "dogula", by the way. I came across it on some website selling ready-made pet costumes). But Dale is set for the next few halloweens with these ideas :)

***** ***** *****
These days, I have been cooking quick meals based on some of our favorite dishes, rather than trying anything new. However, here are some vegetable dishes that I tried in the last couple of weeks, inspired by fellow bloggers. With such delicious recipes, you can't help but gobble your vegetables.

1. Spicy Sweet Potato Fries from Kalyn

I have said this before, and I will say it again: it is a pity that we don't eat more sweet potatoes. This lovely vegetable seems to be reserved for rare occasions (Thanksgiving in the US, fasting days in Maharashtra) but is nutritious and delicious enough to be consumed once a week, at least. I jumped for joy when I saw this recipe on Kalyn's blog. The spice mixture in that recipe sounds delicious, but I have been making these with simple combinations like cumin-black pepper, chilli powder-cumin-coriander with superb results! The sugars in the sweet potato brown beautifully as it roasts, lending a delightful caramel flavor to the fries. I have been making this recipe once or twice a week since I laid eyes on it.

2. No-deep-fry Gobi Manchurian from Zlamushka

Now that I own a wok, I have been trying to use it more. This recipe caught my eye because it makes my favorite Indian-Chinese dish, gobi manchurian, without the pain of deep-frying those cauliflower florets. Here is the way I made it: Heated some peanut oil in the wok, stir-fried cauliflower florets at high heat until they seared well and were tender. In a separate pan, made a sauce using onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, red chilli sauce, sugar and some Sichuan chilli-bean paste. I thickened the sauce with some cornstarch paste. Then I added the florets to the sauce, along with some sliced green onions. I was too lazy to make fried rice on the side, so I cooked some whole-wheat noodles and stirred them into the sauce to make a one-dish meal. Yes, I know the food police can arrest you for using Italian-style pasta in place of Chinese noodles (the two are very different). Yes, I know that this concoction of noodles and faux gobi manchurian must seem very strange and "wrong". But we love the heartiness of the whole wheat noodles, and this dish just hit the spot! And that is all I really care about :)

3. Masale Bhaat from Ashwini

Moving from unholy concoctions to a very traditional and time-honored dish! Masale bhaat (literally, spiced rice) is a must at Maharashtrian wedding and feasts. Ashwini's recipe yields a masale bhaat that is astonishingly authentic- the aroma of the cooking rice itself will surely result in a skipped heartbeat among those who know and love this dish (and possibly have not eaten it for ages and ages). The rice requires only a dry spice mix (easy to make in a spice grinder) and comes together so quickly and easily that it is almost belongs on the weeknight menu. I never have access to the tondli (ivy gourd) that is traditionally used in this dish, so I use mixed vegetables instead, with great results. Here, I served it with some stir-fried mustard greens and some solkadi (the latter is a traditional accompaniment to masale bhaat). The solkadi turned out so incredibly tasty, and shocking-pink(!), because of the lovely newly-dried "kokum" sent by my aunt from the Konkan coast, which were so much better than the ones I usually buy from the store. Home-made trumping store-bought...what else is new, right?

4. Udipi Sambar from Padma.

I think by now everyone has tried this incredible sambar that Padma blogged about, and I am happy to jump on to the bandwagon. The usual sambar that I make (and love) is very different from the one served in those Udipi restaurants that I so miss. The sambar served with those endless idli and dosa platters has a hint of sweetness and a hint of coconut. I have been looking for a good recipe replicating that taste, and have found it! This sambar was so delicious, with its freshly-ground masala and a sweet-spicy taste. We enjoyed it with crispy dosas, then with plain steamed rice, and it was tasty every which way.

Many thanks to all the bloggers for helping me bring new tastes to our tables and keep meals interesting, even when life gets a bit busy! Have a great week, everyone!


  1. Oh, that is just too brilliant! How on earth did you manage to make sweet, innocent Dale (no matter what you say, that will always be my impression of him!) sport that fierce look?! Must be his NYC acting genes blossoming!
    That rice dish looks particularly yummy - might try it for dinner tonight.

  2. The count Dogula does look great in his costume:-)...and love all those wonderful dishes...isn't food blogging wonderful.

  3. Count Dogula is looking his cutest :). Whatever he wears, whatever he does, he will always stand out as the cutest :-D.

    And those are lovely recipes, Nupur. Never care much about culinary police-to me, what tastes right is good :-D.

  4. 1: I still have a bad crush on Dale, even if he's trying to look a little scary.

    2: You forgot to include a map with directions to your house.
    That no deep fry dish looks great; I'm always on the hunt for different ways to cook cauliflower. When I went on the South Beach Diet a couple of years ago, I found a recipe that I think the author calls South Beach mashed surprise. It's steamed cauliflower, mashed like potatoes with a little seasoning. That simple recipe opened my eyes to cauliflower's possibilities. Perhaps that sounds odd, but I had always eaten it raw.

  5. Oh my gosh, Dale looks positively Draculian :) What a great job you did on the cape! Looks like Dale really got into the part - especially in that fourth photo where he strikes!

    I haven't been eating sweet potatoes so often recently but they have always been one of my favorites. I love them baked whole, but those fries look great too and probably wouldn't take much more time to make.

  6. dale is a hoot! i just love the guy. he's got personality.

  7. Count Dogula indeed! Seems Dale really got into his Halloween character. What a ham!

  8. Dogula Dale sure played his part to the hilt, with the snarl and all! I'm sure he bagged quite a few treats with his scary look. Love those sweet potato fries. I make them sometimes, will definitely make them your way too.

  9. Wohoo I love this Dogula!:)

  10. Dale looks cool nupur! Perfect as dogula!
    And all the dishes look lovely!

  11. Looks like Count Dogula is having a great time.
    Love those amazing dishes from other bloggers Nupur!!LOvely indeed

  12. oooh, Am scared. Dale is slowly convincing me to join the pooch club :)

  13. Hehe..he looks so cute :). The look he is giving in the 4th photo is what makes me so scared of dogs :(.

    I will have to try the no-deep-fry gobhi manchurian soon.

  14. Dale looks adorable, Nupur! So frightening when ready to strike ;)

    Thanks for sharing your choices for fellow bloggers' recipes. I would not have known about the no-deep-fry gobi manchurian otherwise. Deep-frying has kept me from trying this dish; now I shall. Everything looks delish!

  15. I made the very same Masale Bhaat from Ashwini's was giving out a very nice fragrance while cooking I remember...and the Udipi Sambar?Thanks for bringing it to our looks and sounds DELICIOUS!

  16. he looks so cute :-) and yeah, blogging does help bring new foods on the table :-)

  17. I grabbed my garlic but he is so sweet that I had to throw it away.

  18. Kamini, I think Dale is about to sue us for slander, because the "snarl" was actually him yawning widely (afternoon is prime nap-time for this lazy one) :D We are bad, right?! Hope you enjoy this delicious rice dish, all thanks to Ashwini.

    Sunita, Oh, food blogging has increased my culinary repertoire to an unimaginable extent!

    Musical, thank you, my dear! You would have enjoye this pet parade, there were about a 100 dressed-up pooches :)

    Mari, Dale thinks you are pretty darn cute too, especially if you are going to share your cookies with him :D
    The mashed cauliflower sounds very interesting! I have never eaten cauliflower raw, I admit :) Should give that a try!

    Cathy, I loved baked sweet potatoes too! But these fries taste positively sinful, totally worth a try :) My attempts at sewing that cape were amateurish :D but it held together, miraculously!

    Bee, yup, sometimes it feels like our Dale has a little bit too much personality :)

    Reva, he really is! :)

    Namita, thanks! Yup, he seemed to enjoy himself :)

    Madhuli, Dale says woof you very much!

    Latha, thanks so much :)

    Padmaja, glad you like them!

    Suganya, :) well, you know there is a pooch out there waiting for you to bring him/her home!

    Shilpa, don't be scared at all: Dale was baring his teeth because he was yawning :D He never snarls, this dog lives his life on strict peaceful principles.

    Linda, oooh, he scared you, didn't he :D!! I know what you mean, we love gobi man. but never make it much. But the wok-frying makes it delicious!

    Nabeela, oh, the sambar is delicious, totally worth a try!

    Raaga, yes, can't imagine how boring everyday meals would be without help from the bloggers!

  19. Dale looks so cute in his costume Nupur! Hey thanks for making my Udipi Sambhar famous! I can see those eggplants in it and can imagine their divine taste. I have to try that Solkadi, so tell me can we use the Kokam which we get in our Indian Grocery stores, I know they might be old stocked! But that pink color looks so cool!

  20. Wondeful udipi sambar and potatoe wedges. Thanx fo rsharing.

  21. Dale looks awesome as Count Dogula. However did you get him to sport that fierce look...fangs and all. Daisy will be dressing up as Lulubelle the cow and going to a costume party with our neighbors daughter who is dressing up as farmer Bill. It'll be a scream, the school is acrooss the street and most kids know daisy well since she spends the whole day hanging out under the dogwood tree in our front yard.

  22. dogula is ur sambar...

  23. Count Dale Dogula ROCKS!!!!! I love the li'll guy!!! He looks positively wicked snarling!!

    Must try those Sweet potato fries! I am a huge fan of Masale bhaat too (ashwini's recipe!)

  24. Oh BTW!! I know abt not getting fresh tondli.. i was not too keen on the frozen ones so avoided it completely. but I got a fresh batch in the Indian store y'sday.. cant wait to try masale bhaat again!!

  25. What a delightful doggy costume for dear Dale! Brace yourself as he may demand to dress up all the time, seeing how successful this venture was. :)

  26. Oh Nupur, thank You so much for trying out my recipe, I am very happy to have seen it. Your picture looks great.
    Nup, I have postponed the deadline on Spoonful of Christmas event for another month, so whenever you re in a Christmasy mood...

  27. Nupur so glad you liked masale bhaat and found it authentic. I think you should have warned us about the cuteness factor than the need for garlic :-) Dale is just the most adorable vampire to prowl on the streets

  28. Dogula...that is cute :D Guess Dale enjoyed the party too

  29. Dale looks really cute in his COunt Dogula outfit. Blogging definitely makes it more interesting to cook up a variety.

  30. SUCH a cute costume! I mean, scary.

  31. Dale looks ferocius and cute at the same time. Liked the way you have dressed him. Happy Halloween!

  32. Dale looks way too cute! And such a sport too with those bared fangs to go with the outfit!!

  33. lovely dishes...honestly, its really worth tryin new recipies from others..theres a great collection out there!!

  34. The count dracula part of the post was hilarious!

  35. That cauliflower pasta looks sensational! And the dog--:)

  36. Padma, your udipi sambar is already very famous!! I have often made solkadi from store-bought kokum, and usually, it is quite satisfactory. But don't expect the color to be very pink...generally it will be lighter.

    Rina, glad you like it.

    Bulbul, the fierce look is sheer misrepresentation...he was yawning :D Daisy cow sounds adorable!!!! How cute is that?! Will she wear a little cow bell around her neck? I would LOVE to see that picture :)

    Remya, thanks :)

    Manasi, the sweet potato fries are totally worth a try! And Dogula thinks you ROCK too!!! Yes, tondli are good when fresh and tender, otherwise I prefer bypassing them too :)

    Moon Rani, I know, he is being quite the fashionista :D

    Zlamushka, I totally hope to participate in your lovely event! Keeping fingers crossed :)

    Ashwini, thank you my dear! Dale is blushing at being called "adorable" :)

    Sandeepa, yes, Dale is quite the party animal ;)

    Sagari, thanks :)

    Priyanka, oh, yes, blogging (by others) has added more to my repertoire than any number of cookbooks sitting in the shelves.

    Vegetalion, :D thanks!

    Swapna, hope you had fun on H-day too!

    Dhana, yes, he surprised me by actually wearing it for a few hours. Quite a good sport!

    Kitchen scientist..., there is, and I am always trying to keep up with the great recipes that I bookmark!

    Cynthia, thanks!

    Susan, thanks :)

  37. Hello there! You have a most interesting site here and I have a question. Can I use daliya in the recipe?

  38. Nupur,
    In addition to above, I have just re-created my recipe the way you re-created it. It was a lot of fun, your version is spicy and delish. Next time I make Gobi Manchurian with brocolli, mushrooms and maybe squash.


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