Friday, May 23, 2008

Springing Back

Hello, everyone! I have been too busy knitting (see end of post) and being sick (nasty flu virus), so the blog was unceremoniously ignored for a couple of weeks. Seriously, this spring has gone down in my life as the season of respiratory woes. I'm still waiting for the day when I can breathe normally again :)

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 Thalipeeth

1. 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 :)


  1. hi nupur, I liked the sabudana thalipeeth-nice! Of your knitting projects, the petal shape is my favorite.Wish you good health soon.

  2. Nupur! glad to hear you are springing back. I thought we were done with the flu season :( Take Care.

    Sabudana Thalipeeth and the Tamarind relish are just what the doctor ordered for those taste buds.

  3. Nupur..this is one post for a sore eyes!..everything looks awesome..glad to find you back in action...that sago thalipeeth and the sauce looks relish! send me those sago thalipeeth for the mela, would love to have them!

    and nobody would believe you are a fresher with those knitting!

  4. Nupur,
    So nice to see you back, and hopefully you'll soon feel completely fine. I second everything you've written about Cynthia's blog, and, in addition, she is one of the warmest and most generous people I've "met" through the internet.
    And your knitting efforts left me speechless! You can NOT be a beginner and churn out stuff like that! I am SO impressed! I've never progressed beyond 1 color 1 pattern rectangular creations, but now I might just give it a try again!
    A big hug to Dale. Does he get a new scarf made by you??

  5. Sorry to hear you've been feeling crummy. I do agree that Cynthia's blog is first rate, and I love the flavor of tamarind, so this sounds great.

    Very impressed you can knit. My mother did try to teach me, but I was not good at it (to say the least!)

  6. awww...i loved those cutie mitts.....considering giving away one of those ?:P

  7. heyy...get well soon...
    (forgot too write that in my excitement :D

  8. I am amazed at your knitting skills. That petal dishcloth looks really great. This summer I am planning to introduce knitting to my daughter.

    Its been ages since I ate Sabudana Thalipeeth. Well, another classic that I need to introduce to my kids :)

  9. The Thalipeeth looks absolutely scrumptious Nupur! My husband usually makes me Sabudana Khichdi on Sunday mornings (something he mastered during his IT Pune days!), maybe I should surprise him with this in the coming weekend. I just can't wait to try it, we're having cool rainy weather too and fried Indian food is always a welsoming treat!

    Have a lovely weekend! :)

  10. Nupur, you have been busy with your knitting projects. I simply adore everything that you've made. And that sabudana thalipeeth is perfect for snacking...

  11. Nupur, the tamarind relish looks so wonderful. Although I probably shouldn't, I put tamarind chutney on everything. I bet this could be a new favorite. Your knitting looks great, keep up the good work!

  12. Your knitting looks good. This is one thing I could never get the hang of. I still have my needles so maybe someday........
    I enjoy Cynthia's writing and am making something from her repertoire too.

  13. You are killing me with that thalipeeth. Its raining here too :).

    I so want to try my hand on knitting. Not sure where or how to start.

  14. Hope you are feeling better Nupur - sorry to hear you were down with the flu. Congrats on the knitting project - they look pretty neat. I also love your take on Cynthia's recipes. Lovely!

  15. Hope you feel completely better soon. Knitting and I dont make good friends, we fight so much that we literally pull each others hair :) yeah when I tried knitting, I have those needles poke my head, my elbows..

    Anyways love the petal dishcloth you made. You are one artistic gal!

    How long shd I soak the sabudana?

  16. I don't know which is more fun, the recipes or the knitting! Love the bath mitt -- though I can't quite imagine how you will use it. glad you are feeling better and up to blogging again!

  17. Nupur, very neat knitting work. Love your saboo dhana recipe, how long do you need to soak saboo dana before kneeding. I would love to try this.

  18. Good to see you back, dear! Hope you are feeling better! Love the dishcloth pattern, its so incredibly beautiful. And you made some really yummy treats :).

    Sending your way hot chocolate, chai with Tulsi and ginger and lots of warmth. A big hug to you, girl.

    Take rest and get well soon.


  19. Well I will certainly throw my name in the hat for one of your pawprint dishcloths! For someone who hasn't been feeling well, you sure been busy between the knitting and the cooking! Your Sabudana Thalipeeth look delicious - I have no experience with sago pearls, so I can't even imagine what they must taste like, but I can't wait to try them!

  20. ms, glad you like the sabudana thalipeeth. I did like the way the petal dishcloth "shaped up" too :D
    Thanks for your wishes!

    Indosungod, Flu season caught us late :( had to take time off work and all kinds of things! I hate being sick. Yes, I am slowly regaining my appetite and the tangy relish is helping me get there :)

    Srivalli, I will have other rotis for your mela so hang in there! Yes, I am very much a knitting newbie...started knitting around 7th May :D

    Kamini, I so agree...Cynthia's warmth really comes across in her blog posts and her comments on other blogs!
    Knitting...I find that there are so many clever (and do-able) patterns around that it makes life really easy for newbies. Dale will definitely get a knitted accessory soon but I have yet to come across a pattern I really like. Maybe he will have a sweater by next winter :)

    Kalyn, tamarind is such an incredible flavor, isn't it?!
    I tried learning knitting many years ago and was really poor at it. When I tried again this month, I am so much better. Perhaps it is a matter of the right timing. You might pick it up again when you have more time :)

    Shn, hmm...maybe I will give away a bath mitt at some point :D you never know! Thanks for the wishes :)

    Anjali, the petal dishcloth is a very clever pattern but so easy to knit. It is fun watching it unfold. I hope your daughter enjoys knitting! There are tons of really adorable patterns out there that would be fun to learn, I am sure.

    Meena, your husband's tradition of sabudana khichdi on Sunday mornings sounds so awesome! Yes, this would be easy to make...the only tricky part (if you can call it that) is soaking the sabudana.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

    Mandira, Thanks, girl :) My hands seem to itch and tingle unless they are holding knitting needles...I have some strange disease.

    Jamie, Putting tamarind chutney on everything is way more gourmet than putting ketchup on everything :D (as I am prone to doing). The tamarind relish is certainly delicious and worth a try.

    Aparna, Sometimes it is just a matter of timing so do pick up the needles again and maybe you will find yourself enjoying it much more this time! I can't wait to see which of Cynthia's recipes you try :)

    Suganya, Starting to suggestion is to find a friend who can teach you the basics. I would never have started if Cathy had not taught me and left me with some (actually, a lot of) supplies to begin with. She gave me a book that is wonderful since I am able to read and learn new stitches on my own. Also, there are some awesome knitting videos on the web. Finally, there are small independent yarn shops everywhere that host knitting classes for beginners. E-mail me if you want specific info and resources!

    Meeta, Thanks :) Glad you like my silly little projects :) they keep me busy and entertained...what more can one ask for?

    Shankari, Oh, really? LOL needles poking oneself can't be a good thing! I try to keep them out of my eyes :D
    The person who designed the petal dishcloth is certainly artistic! Me, I read the pattern and made it line for line like a good parrot. So no credit to me!
    Soaking the sabudana: I soak it for 20-30 minutes in warm water, then drain it (in a colander) for about 2 hours. But the soaking time can vary according to the brand/batch of sabudana so you might to try for yourself.

    Lydia, I am not going to use the bath mitt- I packaged it up with a bar of baby soap as a little gift for friends who are expecting a new baby girl. Right now, I have to admit that the knitting is more fun than the cooking :D

    Sreelu, the sabudana soaking time can really vary. In India, I remember that it needed to be soaked overnight. Here, I find that 20-30 minutes is enough, and it needs good couple of hours draining time to get all the excess water out. So soaking time is something that will depend on the brand and batch and you will have to try and see for yourself what works best.

    Musical, How are you doing, girl? Thank you sooo much for the sweet wishes. I am feeling much better except for a lingering cough.
    I thought of you this morning when I made some Kerala garam masala for myself and to give as a hostess gift to a friend :)

  21. Nupur: Aaah....torturing me! It happens to be sankasthi today and as you know, sabudana is something one is *allowed* to consume. Unfortunately, this month I will have to satisfy my fasting-hunger by looking at your thalipeeth, since I have no sabudana at home! :(

    Thanks for the recipe though - may turn out to be tastier than khichdi and healthier than the vadas. Perfect! :)

    Hope you get better soon.

  22. Yummm! Remind me of all thsoe upvas days when we hogged more than fasted:)

  23. Glad to see u back!! Hope u get rid of any lingering allergy etc. very soon! We have 'khandala/ lonavla ' weather here too! Just love it!!!
    Cynthia's blog is pure dynamite isn't it!! What makes it special is also the warm hearted person behind it! loved...loved the Relish, on my list already! Ur thalipeeth looks so yum!!!
    Ur knitting is coming along really well! that petal pattern looks difficult, u've managed it beautifully! Kinda biased here, but my Fav is the one with 'Dale's paw print' ! How is he? Please do update us about Dale!
    Take care, have a LOVELY long weekend...

    P.S: why doesn't ur post show up on Taste of India?

  24. Nupur,

    Glad to see you back in action again. Hope you are feeling better now. The sabudana thalipeet looks so delicious, I will try this out. Honestly, I did not know you could make sabudana thalipeet. Looks like the knitting bug has bitten you, good job on all the different projects. When I had learnt knitting, I started with...and ended with a whole lot of hairbands! And yes, I will be signing up for the paw print dish cloth giveaway, does it come autographed by our dear Dale?

  25. Nupur--I am just AMAZED at your knitting! So lovely! Your post made me smile, imagining you curled up on the couch, with a comfy throw covering you and you knitting and sniffling at the smae time! (Hope you feel better soon :-) ) The thalipeeth looks yummy and so does the relish.

  26. The petal dishcloth looks cute. This knitting business seems to be turning into an obsession.

  27. Hi Nupur,

    That that sabudana thalipeeth looks so real..something that you would see on HD tv and extend a hand to grab it.The golden brown color with specks of white sabudana showing through it, the boiled mashed potato adn the cruncy peanut along with jeera trying to grab our attention, and the bright green celantro.. the jewel in the crown. Exact thickness and small round shape.. yumm yummmmm.

    One question though.. which sabudana do you use? Because not every company is good. Once I did get good result but i forgot which it was . could you pl tell me which one you used for this thalipeeth?


  28. hi Nupur,

    I'd love to have the paw-print dishcloth, as a keepsake! I am a big fan of whatever you present - be it your cooking, writing and now - knitting! I yearn for your yarn!! :D


  29. Get well soooon, Nupur!

    I too made tikkis(a different kind though)tonight! :D

    For someone who's a knitting newbie, you're doing extremely well. The petal dishcloth looks very beautiful.

    I too love Cynthia's blog and that chutney/relish has been on my must-try list for a while now.

    And I cannot thank you enough for the sabudana khichdi recipe. I've made it so many times now since I first stumbled across it a few months back.

  30. €nice spread...liked ur knitting,..sago thalipeeth looks delicious

  31. Wow, those little projects are very cute, love the star shape and first one :) Flu in May, oh that should be real bad one :( Hope u re well now.
    Never had sago tali, but tempt me a lot :)

  32. Hey, love the entry. SO perfect. And your knitting, this does not qualify as beginner, Nupur. These are master pieces. I d love to have my name in the hat for that lovely dish cloth.
    But I am way too far from you, so it s ok, just post the picture :-)

  33. Hey...get well soon and enjoy spring :) Its hard to believe that you started knitting recently! Your creations are lovely!

  34. we're having hill station weather here too :-)

    I'm putting my name up please... don't say only US folks :-)

  35. Dear nupur,
    you have always inspired lazy bones like me to cook, and now blog. Looks like you will make me take up knitting next:)
    Hope you are feel better soon.
    Take care and get well soon.

  36. You're on a knitting roll, aren't you?! Love all your creations. The sabudana thalipeeth is such a lovely idea! The tamarind chutney sounds delicious!

  37. hope you are feeling better now. The petal shaped dish-cloth is really cute...i think i gotta make some useful stuff ot..than just some 'projects'. And coming to the delicious and apt for cool weather...

  38. i forgot to ask you..which yan did you use for the petal dishcloth..i have some medium worsted yarn lying around..and want to use that..actually nearly a whole freakin roll...

  39. Nupur - that thalipeeth looks delicious! Love Cynthia's blog too. I did learn to knit some years ago, and was so bad at it, I quickly gave it up! Keep up the great job you're doing!

  40. Nupur, I had to scroll down and see the pictures as soon as you said you've been knitting. They're all so gorgeous that I can't believe that you only recently took up knitting. You're my inspiration. Let me go back and read the post now.


  41. Nupur,
    I didn't even finish reading your first sentence before leaving my earlier comment. So sorry to hear about the flu and your allergies. I hope you feel better soon - hugs to you (and Dale ofcourse).

    The thalipeeths and the relish look really good - thalipeeth look like it has pearls embedded in it. Sabudana is one regular Indian staple that I've never had in my pantry, but that's soon going to change.


  42. Cathy, the knitting has really been helping me feel better :) I lie on the couch, watch mindless TV and knit. Sheer bliss is what it is!
    Sago pearls can be a tiny bit of a problem ingredient with the soaking and stuff (if you have never used them before) but if you do buy them, let me know and I'll mail you some detailed tips if you like. They taste probably like nothing you have tasted before...very unique taste if you ask me!

    Raingirl, oh, I had no idea it is sankashti today (I don't ever fast) but that's a good coincidence! I'm sorry you have no sabudana at home :( Hopefully you had some potato to make other "fasting foods"!

    Smita, LOL absolutely, as a kid, I totally loved the plethora of fasting foods :D

    Manasi, the petal pattern is not difficult. The person who wrote it has it written so that newbies can be can follow it line by line dumbly and end up with great results! :) Dale is doing great and says hello!
    No idea why my posts are not showing on TOI :( must be some glitch. Perhaps you could use something like Bloglines?? Sorry about that!

    Namita, Hello! Sabudana thalipeeth is a great compromise when one is craving sabudana vadas (doesn't need a kadai of oil and can be made in minutes). I think I will be making headbands too, just found a good pattern :D Dale stays away from my knitting...the needles are probably scaring him off :)

    Ruchika, Your imagination is very vivid and amazingly accurate :D I had to hastily throw aside the needles every time I had a sneeze coming or I would have impaled myself :D

    TheCooker, Obsession? It is a disease is what it is :D

    Vinita, Thank you for the sweet words :) you are such a dear! Sabudana thalipeeth is definitely a very tempting snack.
    I use Swad has worked well for me (fingers crossed). I totally agree with you that sabudana can sometimes be a disaster and you can never tell just by looking at it.

    Nilu, I'll put your name in the hat for sure :) Yearning for yarn...that says it all where I am concerned too :D

    TBC, Thank you for the wishes, my dear! I am not a sickly person really so this extended cold is making me so annoyed.
    So glad the sabudana khichdi has been working for you! Cynthia's relish is very tasty and a must-try.

    notyet100, Thank you :)

    Cham, Thank you...glad you like the little dishcloths. Sago thalipeeth is a nice snack for a change...give it a try!

    Zlamushka, Thanks so much for hosting...this is going to be a really fun event! Your name is in the hat :)

    Homecooked, Thank you! Knitting is so much more easier than it looks :)

    Raaga, Nope...not restricted to the US or anything. Your name is in the hat :)

    delhibelle, gosh, you are wayyy too kind! I'll have to check out your blog :) Knitting should be very useful for Delhi winters :)

    Vani, Yup...on a knitting roll and can't seem to stop :)

    Rajitha, Yeah, I am enjoying making "functional" stuff that I can use myself or give away as gifts to all and sundry.
    I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream for all these projects. It is medium worsted 100% cotton and I used size 7 needles. So your yarn sounds like it would work fine, as long as it is cotton (other fabrics would not be ideal for dishcloths, I think).

    Arundathi, Yes, Cynthia's blog is a true delight! Thanks for stopping by :)

    Mamatha, Thank you for your kind wishes :) believe me when I say that it is the fantastic patterns out there that make it really really simple to knit this stuff even when you are just starting. Dale says hello, by the way!
    Sabudana is not something that can be called one of the more nutritious items in my pantry, but we so enjoy it once in a while! It is a special treat for us :)

  43. Hi Nupur, your sabudana thalipeeth looks mouth-watering. I have avoided making these as mine always turned out greasy. I will surely try your version soon. As for your knitting projects, they are all so cute. Did u know even some of the Hollywood stars are into knitting in a big way? Its supposed to be very theraupetic. You are definitely a star in my books!

  44. Hey Nupur, loved all those knit works! the petal one reminds me of 'chakri' windmill! The glove looks good! The first one is very impressive too! Hey Sabu thalipeeth is new to me, thks for sharing..this chutney cant stop the litres of drool I m trying to dam!Reminded me of those bottles of tamarind sauce intro. by maggi, which i religiously finished off looking for using them in every meal snack in the day I had!! thks for sharing..shall fb u on thalipeeth!

  45. Hey Nupur,

    Hope u get well soon :))I love sabudana thalipeeth and ur pics have tempted me to make one sometime soon...I love ur knitted pieces..u make it sound easy..i would love to knit but always give up before trying thinking it will be too difficult for me :)

  46. Nupur, another enticing dish! The little green bits of cilantro and chile are so pretty.

  47. are on a knitting marathon Nupur. And all the projects are so lovely.Do you have a pattern of Petal dishcloth? I would love to try it. I am working on another sweater vest now(my second) for my husband :). I would love to discuss with you our knitting projects if you are interested.

  48. Hey this sabudana thalipeeth looks gr8...and loved ur knitted work....its really good.

  49. Hi Nupur, This is Asha.I myself am not a blogger but fond of reading and trying new recipes.We live in Ireland and am from Bombay.I am very fond of creatives and one of them is knitting but know nothing and was reading your blog and came across your few first knitting projects, can you kindly help me with it or can you please provide me the name of website from where you learned to knit. My mail id is

  50. Hi Nupur, I have been a regular visitor to your blog, but never left a comment till today. I must say, you are awesome! first cooking and now knitting, where do you find all this time? I started my food blog 6 months ago and till date have been able to post only one recipe on it :). I guess I can blame it on pregnancy and now being a new mom! Anyway, just wanted to drop in a line to say that I really like your blog. Keep up the good work.


  51. Thnks Nupur..unfortunately it is not cotton :( is acrylic (spl?)..i will buy a cotton yarn the next time..

  52. Wow - now thats the height of creativity, cooking and knitting - I am so in awe of people who can knit or learn to knit! Way to go - your creations already have a personal stamp all your own!

  53. I have already decided on the pithale!

  54. Dearest Nupur, I am honoured that you tried the tamarind relish! Thanks for participating.

    I am looking forward to cooking up a lot from your blog.

  55. Nupur... where did u learn to knit... its so cute the bath mitt..:P

  56. ur dale is so cute ,. no offence ,. i look forward to read about dale more than knowing abt ur gourmet adventures ,, mmmuah dale this one is 4 u

  57. Hi Nupur, I made this for dinner tonight, absolutely delicious. Thanks for the wonderful recipe :)

  58. sabudana thalipeeth looks yummy !! will definitely try it :-)


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