Sunday, March 31, 2013

Memories of Bhat and Joishy’s Herbal Soda Shops

This article was first published on April 1, 2007 in a Mangalorean web portal as ‘Herbal Coolers For Scorching Summer’

It is 11.30 A.M. The place is ever busy - Car Street in Mangalore. A man in his early sixties carefully crosses the street near Gokarn Mutt and climbs the two steps that lead into a small shop. He gazes at a display board hanging by the fridge, turns around and announces - "One Hingashtaka with sugar and salt!" and occupies the wooden bench by the side wall.

The man at the sparkling clean stainless steel machine asks his assistant to pass on the tumbler with lime-sugar syrup. Then he opens a plastic container, fills a heaped spoonful of a powder mixture into the tumbler, fills the glass with fizzy fresh soda from the machine, adds little salt, mixes the contents with a spoon and hands it over the tired man on the bench, who is busy wiping the sweat off his face.

The man hurriedly sips the contents. "Glug..glug..glug...aah!"

All the exhaustion that showed on his face earlier has vanished now! He pays the owner of the shop and walks away zealously into the scorching sun!

It is not a wonder; these incredible 'pick-me-ups' are so good at quenching thirst that many people from different parts of the city swarm this place at Car Street not only in the summer, but all round the year.

M. Narasimha Bhat and K. Sumanth Joishy, two youngsters started this unique concept of Herbal (Ayurvedic) Soda in Mangalore, in the year 2001. Bhat was inspired by Bholenath Soda Shop in Dwarka back in year 2000 where they were selling over 40 different kinds of sodas. Rajaram Bhat a relative who had similar enterprise in Karkala guided them in setting up their first establishment. Joishy had the experience of working in his grand father’s Ayurvedic Medicine shop, M/s M. Ganapayya and Sons for 5 years. He also had his own Ayurvedic Medicine shop before venturing into Herbal Soda business.

In the initial months, Bhat and Joishy had a tough time, arriving at the right formula. After many trials and errors, they could succeed in stabilizing a standard unmatched by other four or five who are in the business.

These instant sodas are sold in at least 12 different varieties such as – Lime, Ginger, Hingashtak, Pepper, Jaljeera, Chaat, Paanak, Nannari, Madiphal, Buttermilk, Buttermilk Hingashtak and Kokum. While most of these are coolants, some have restorative properties in the case of gastric disorders. Hingashtak is a known digestive and appetizer.

Madiphal has antacid action. It also induces sleep or regulates sleep. Kokum, Nannari and Jaljira are good thirst quenchers. All these products are pure and natural. No artificial flavouring or colouring is used in making these sodas. Water is purified using modern methods and care is taken to control flies especially during deep summer when they swarm in big numbers. Disposable food grade plastic tumblers are used for serving the soda. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the market.

This idea has clicked and their product has become so popular that they were inspired to open two more outlets, one near Mangaladevi Temple called 'Sharbath Katte' and another opposite Canara High School Urva in Gandhinagar called 'Rasadhara'. Rasadhara also has fresh fruit juices and assorted fresh fruits for the youngsters who crave for cool treats after play at school.

5 persons are employed by Bhat and Joishy in their business. They are all hard working boys with concern for quality and hygiene.

Their daily sales range from 400 to 600 glasses. Prices are affordable. These drinks are safer, compared to artificially flavoured aerated bottled drinks. Those who have relished these sodas have only praises for the quality and purity of these drinks.

"It is customer satisfaction that is most important for us in maintaining our standards", says Bhat. "Health is wealth" says Joishy. "Our customers range from 8 month's baby to 80 year old senior citizen!"

"Spread the news among our Mangaloreans abroad. Visit us and we will not let you down."  They both say with confidence!

I fully agree with them, for I normally wouldn't leave the place before guzzling down one Hingashtak and one Jaljira myself!

One must experience it to believe it! After all, it's herbal, natural and fresh!

Pics courtesy: Prakash Kamath Kanthavar

Happy Easter!

(Pic source: Google Images)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Goan Roast Crab

"Wishing the readers A Very Happy Easter!"

My memory dates back to 1994 January when I went to Goa by bike with my wife Meena. We went for lunch on the New Year's Day to Martin's Shack near Miramar beach on way to Dona Paula.

It was a lazy afternoon and I was sitting with a tall coconut fenny with lemon and soda, going through the menu. A nice aroma tickled my olfactory nerve and I turned aside to see what's being served to the neighbouring table. Saw a big crab looking great. Asked the waiter to get me one Roast Crab and I shared that with Meena.
That was finger licking good. I had never tasted that stuff anywhere in my life before. Later Martin had to close down the shack due to legal issues with the local authorities. I don't know if the shack exists elsewhere in Goa. I am presenting the same dish here, which I prepared at home, assuming the ingredients. This is the second time I am preparing it after about 19 long years.

Though this requires whole crab, we already had cut portions of crab which we used and the dish tasted equally good. Not as authentic as Martin prepared it then, but far better than many other roast crab preparations. Dedicating this dish to all those who celebrate Easter.

Whole Crabs - 500 Gms(2 medium ones)
Salt - To taste
Black Pepper powder - 1 Tsp
Dark Soy sauce - 1 Tsp
Diluted White Vinegar - 2 Tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 Tsp
Worcestershire sauce - 2 Tsp
Oil - 2 Tsp

Clean, wash and marinate the crabs with salt, pepper, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger garlic paste for 2-3 hours.
Heat oil in a shallow pan.
Drop the marinated crabs along with the marinade.
Saute over high flame for 5 mins.
Cover the pan, simmer and cook on slow heat for another 5 mins, sprinkling little water from time to time.
Once the crabs change colour and are cooked, increase the flame to high, drizzle worcestershire sauce, stir fry the crabs in such a way that the droplets of oil mixed with the sauce catches flame.
This gives the crabs typical smoked taste that enhances the flavour.
When the sauces get dried up, transfer the crab to a serving plate and serve with salads, a wedge of lemon and french fries.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rajma Masala

The ever popular combo meal in the North is Rajma Chawal. Hot succulent Rajma masala is poured on steaming hot basmati rice and consumed in heaps! Rajma or Red Kidney Bean is a staple lentil in most of the parts of Northern India and is also popular in the South. This delicious bean can be adapted in different curries and also with a variety of other lentils to make Maa Ki Daal.

Here is a simple and easy recipe to make delicious Rajma Masala. I ate this with chapathis. You may try it first with steaming hot basmati rice with a squeeze of lemon. Guaranteed to make you addicted!

Rajma - 1 Cup
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Oil  - 1 tsp
Onions - 2 finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 Chopped
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1⁄4 tsp
Salt  - To Taste
Garam masala powder - 1⁄2 tsp
Coriander leaves - A handful chopped

Soak rajma overnight and pressure cook upto 2 whistles or till cooked.
Heat oil in a kadai and add onions and ginger garlic paste and fry till golden.
Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till mushy.
Add coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder.
Saute till the masala powders blend well with the mass.
Add boiled rajma and bring to a boil.
Add garam masala powder and salt to taste.
Cover and simmer for 10 mins.
arnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with steamed basmati rice or rotis with a lemon wedge.

Daalimbe Solla Kadi/Pomegranate Peel Curry by Anuradha Mudalagiri Kamath

GSB curries are mostly coconut based but the variation in ingredients that go into the making and the nutritional of medicinal values these curries have make them different from many others.

Pomegranate is fruit available through out the year and it has a unique medicinal value due to astringent qualities of its peel. Daalimbe Sol or Daalimbe Voto is as important in

GSB kitchen ad Birinda or Kokum Sol. Many store sun dried pomegranate peel for use throughout the year. Hence, pomegranate in spite of being an expensive fruit, has no wastage whatsoever.

This curry is good for regulating stomach and getting rid of round worms. For those suffering from loose stool, this kadi regulates the motion. This tastes good and the seasoning with garlic is so tempting, the aroma spreads in the entire household, giving a hint about what's cooking!

Daalimbe/Pomegranate peel - One full peel of a medium sized pomegranate
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Peppercorns - 1/4 tsp
Red long chillies - 3-4
Tamarind - Size of its seed
Turmeric powder - A pinch
Salt - To taste
Ghee - 1/2 Tsp
Garlic flakes - A handful crushed
Oil - 1 Tsp

Clean pomegranate peel and cut into small pieces.
Fry cumin seeds, peppercorns, red chillies and pomegranate peel one by one with little ghee till raw smell disappears.
Grind these along with grated coconut, tamarind and turmeric powder to a smooth paste.
Add little water to the ground masala paste and bring it to a boil in a vessel.
Add salt to taste and boil for another 5 mins.
Season with garlic flakes browned in hot oil.
Serve with hot steamed rice.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pepper Fried Potato

My father had a perception of recognising the ingredients in any unusual snack or curry that he relished at an outside place, whether a restaurant or at any household. Though he never cooked anything in his lifetime, he used to tell mother to prepare the dish according to his concept and in most of the cases, the dish used to turn out perfect!
He was a journalist and he used to attend Rotary Club meetings every week at Hotel Moti Mahal. There he had the chance of tasting many snacks and dishes and these fried potatoes with a dash of freshly ground pepper was his favourite. Probably he tried French Fries at Moti Mahal and thinking my mother may not be able to make them at home, he came out with this version that is simple to make and tasty to bite.

Give this a try and your kids will go on eating them. This can be prepared quickly when you have unexpected guests. We prepare this for lunch or dinner but this can be had as a starter snack with tea or drinks. This is a good accompaniment with fried fish. You can prepare them by deep frying or shallow frying. We prefer the latter style which is good for health but turns out slightly less crispy than the deep fried ones.
Potato - 1 big(150Gms)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Rice flour - 1/2 Cup
Oil - For frying

Wash peel and slice potatoes into 4mm thin slices.
Apply salt and keep for 10 mins.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Roll the salted potato slices in rice flour to coat them evenly and drop them in hot oil.
Fry on both sides on medium flame till crisp and golden.
Drain excess oil and sprinkle freshly ground pepper.

You can also shallow fry them on the tawa with little oil.
Serve with tomato ketchup as a snack or straight for lunch or dinner as a side dish.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ubbati/Pooran Poli/Kadle Bele Holige by Nisha Baliga Shenoy

Wishing the readers of Garam Tawa, "Happy Holi!"

Holi the festival of colours is never complete without the sweet snack Pooran Poli. This is the Maharastrian tradition but many follow this all over the South today. We GSBs call this Ubbati and some may call this Sweet Chapathi. We make ubbati with cooked mashed channa dal and jaggery/sugar for the stuffing. This ubbati is very tasty and should be made fresh, consumed hot with melting ghee.
Making ubbati is an art but is not that complicated as many may assume. I am showing you step by step how to make ubbati. The embedded video by Anuradha and Maya from Faltu Productions in Konkani with subtitles in English should guide the readers and also keep them amused.

Holi hai!
Thanks to: Anuradha and Maya showing
'How to make Pooran Poli/Ubbati'
1/2 kg Maida 
1/2 kg Jaggery/Sugar
1/2 kg Channa daal
 A pinch of turmeric powder
 Salt to taste
 1 tsp cardamom powder
 1 cup oil
 Ghee to relish

Cook Channa daal in pressure for 1 whistle, then simmer it for 15 minutes and turn off the flame.
If you find impurities in the jaggery, make a syrup of the jaggery by boiling the jaggery in 1/2 cup of water and when it is cool, pass it through a sieve.
When the pressure cooker is cool, take the cooked chana daal out and grind it in a mixie to a smooth paste.
Transfer the Chana daal paste in thick bottom kadai, add the jaggery syrup/sugar (You can add less or more acc to your taste ) and keep on stirring the contents till you get a thick lump enough to form a ball.
Add cardamom powder and combine.
In a big bowl add some water, pinch of turmeric powder, salt and mix.
Add the maida flour and mix well.
You can add little water and maida and knead into a very soft dough .
Then add some oil and knead till the dough is soft and elastic but not watery.
Smear little oil on the dough and keep aside covered for 2 hours.
How to make Ubbati:
Make big lemon size balls of the Chana dal stuffing and keep aside.
After standing for 2 hours, the Maida dough should be of smooth texture.
It must stretch like chewing gum when pulled.

Take a small lemon size ball of the Maida dough, apply some oil on your palms and spread this dough evenly on your palms.
Place the ball of stuffing in the and bring all the ends together to fuse and roll with your palms into a firm ball.
Dust with maida/rice flour and roll out the Ubbati, preferably placing the ball between two plastic sheets.
Roast this on hot chapathi tawa on both sides .
Ubbati must puff like phulka if the formula is right.
Relish the hot ubbatis with fresh Ghee.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kaalle Phovu(Phova Bakala Bhaat)

This is a real summer cooler and I am sure, this will be a frequent breakfast or tea time snack for many after going through the easy recipe. Kaalle phovu is a GSB dish similar to Bakala Bhaat of Andhra Pradesh. We make kaalle phovu on Krishna Janmastami specially but my father used to ask my mother to make 'Kaalle Undo', with the kaalle phovu.
This dish is made with spiced curd mixed in with  raw phova and eaten fast so that phova remains soft but not dry. Better to prepare the spiced curd before hand, keep it in the fridge to chill and add phova just before serving.
Thin Phova(Beaten Rice) - 2 cups
Plain curd - 300-400Ml
Salt - To taste
Grated coconut - A handful
Ginger - 1/2" piece finely chopped
Green Chillies - 2 finely chopped
Coriander leaves - 2 sprigs chopped
Asafotoeda - A pinch dissolved in a spoonful of water
Oil - 1 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Curry leaves - 4-6 chopped

Add the chopped ginger, green chillies, grated coconut and salt to the curd.
Prepare a seasoning with mustard seeds, curry leaves  and asafotoeda solution in hot oil.
Allow the seasoning to cool down and then pour over the curd.
Mix well and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Mix a handful of phova with 4-5 tbsp of the spiced curd to prepare kaalle phovu.

Aloo Paratha - Version 2

My mother used to make what she called Batate Parota. She made a simple stuffing with boiled mashed potatoes like we GSBs make for Batate Ambado, fill that into chapathi batter and roll out tasty parathas that she used to feed us with coconut green chutney.

Here is the simple version of Aloo Parathas with a slight South Indian touch for the readers. I am sure, this will be a superhit.

Whole Wheat Flour - 2 Cups
Salt  - To taste
Water - QS
Potatoes - 4 boiled, peeled and mashed
Green chillies - 3 chopped
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 Tsp
Curry leaves - 4-6  chopped
Coriander leaves - A handful chopped
Lemon - 1/2
Asafotoeda - A pinch
Ghee or oil  - For roasting

Mix wheat flour with salt to taste and sufficient water and knead a stiff firm dough. Cover and keep aside for 30mins.
Heat oil in a pan. add mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Add chopped curry leaves and chopped green chillies.
Finally add asafotoeda mixed with little water.
Mix this seasoning with the mashed potatoes, salt to taste and chopped coriander leaves. Squeeze lemon and mix well.
Make slightly bigger than lemon sized balls with the paratha dough.
Roll out a thick poori. Place lemon sized ball of the potato stuffing in the centre and wrap the poori around the stuffing to make a firm ball,
Dust the rolling board and roll out parathas, taking care not to break them.
Heat chapathi tawa and roast the parathas with oil or ghee drizzled on both the sides.
Serve with any chutney or pickle of your choice.

Also see: Aloo Paratha - Version1


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