Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mango Hindi - An Exotic Pickle

When I think about 'Mango Hindi' the pickle that tickles the taste buds and ignites a tinge of exotic taste that lingers on and on, I go back in time and revisit Shivamogga in the mid Sixties, my sister's place where her sister in law Shalakka(Shalini S Isloor) from Sagar used to make this fantastic pickle and bring a big jar full of the pickle during the summer holidays.
The name hindi has nothing to do with the Indian National language, but it rhymes with Indie and perhaps the name was derived from the Kannada word hindi meaning squeezed. In the olden days, they must've been applying salt to the chopped mangoes and squeeze that to get a well brined pickle.

Shalakka was a connoisseur of good taste and her cooking was perfect, whether it was rice bhakri or Mumbri with jhunka or rice and rasam. Shalakka's Hindi was perhaps the best I have tasted in my life, well balanced taste and aroma of finely chopped well grown raw mangoes blended with exotic spices with just the right amount of salt in it. I also used to mix in hindi and gobble up double the quantity of steamed rice than my normal capacity!

Shalakka is not with us today, but the remniscence of her famous hindi makes me drool and crave for it whenever I find good raw mangoes in the summer season. My friend Mahesh Baliga from Kannur in Kerala makes it a point to give me a heap of excellent raw mangoes every season, since last Three years. He didn't disappoint me this year also. The mangoes were in town and Mahesh called me to inform about that, just When I thought summer is over, monsoons are in the horizon, and I'd not get this years quota of mangoes from Mahesh due to some reason, perhaps untimely rains spoiling the crop! He had reserved at least 15 Kilos of Mangoes for me! This summer being too hot and wicked, I decided to share them with my friend Shailesh Bhat, who runs a catering service. Besides, I was too tied up with my professional work and had very less speare time to pay attention to cooking.

I decided to make Four kinds of mango pickles this time, including hindi. I searched for recipes online, but suddenly I remembered Lata Isloor Corry, Shalakka's co-sister's daughter. Since Lata has grown up in the same joint family house hold as Shalakka was in, she must be knowing the recipe. I sent her a private message and asked her for the recipe. She followed it up immediately and asked her mother in Sagar, who gave her the recipe with the list of ingredients. Having known how the pickle tasted when I was small and how sour are the mangoes I got from Mahesh Baliga, I could deduce the exact measurement of ingredients that I can add while making the pickle. I also made small changes to suit my taste, but the pickle turned out almost as good as Shalakka made it! 

Here it is, Shalakka's Mango Hindi, which I am sure, our blog followers will simply love to make every year. I certainly decided to make this again this year and in the years to come. After all, I need to pamper myself from time to time with goodies that made me feel good during my younger days!

Raw Mangoes(Well Grown but unripe with seed) - 500 Gm
Red Chilli Powder - 1 Tbsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 2 Tsp
Salt - 2 Tsp(or to taste)
Mustard Seeds - 2 Tsp
Fenugreek Seeds(Methi) - 1 Tsp
Asafotoeda(Hing) - Chickpea size ball or 1 Tsp powder
Coconut/Sesame Oil - 1 Tbsp

Wash the mangoes, wipe them dry and then finely chop them into tiny bits.
Dry roast salt.
Apply salt to the chopped mango and keep for two days at room temperature.
Heat little oil, roast mustard seeds, fenugreek and asafotoeda till a nice arome emanates.
Cool them and grind in a mill into a fine powder. 
Mix in the powder with the chopped salted mangoes, then add the chilli powders and remaining oil.
Mix well and transfer into an airtight jar.
Keep for one or two days to ferment further, then store in a cool dark place.
For better preservation, keep in a fridge.
Spicy Raw Mango Chutney(Left) and Mango Hindi(Right)
You may adjust the quantity of salt and chilli powder according to taste, depending on the sourness of the mangoes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bread Fruit Seekh Kebab

Seekh Kebab as they call it here in India or Satay in the Orient, is a minced meat preparation, delicious baked sausage like starter snack, which has won my heart many years ago. Be it lamb seekh, chicken seekh or simple vegetable seekh, I love them all. Having tried many middle grade and star hotels over the years, I found Windsor Manor Bangalore the best when it came to kebabs. They had perfected the art of cooking way back in the early Eighties when Windsor Manor opened on Sankey Road Bangalore, started by ITC Welcome Group.

Of course Moti Mahal in Mangalore made fantastic Vegetable Seekh in the mid Eighties when I was a regular there with my vegetarian friend Mahaveer. Whenever I ate out with Mahaveer, I made it a point to share vegetable delicacies with him. Vegetable Seekh Kebab in Moti Mahal was a cut above the rest, with added cashew bits. I can still recall the taste when I think about that!

Bread Fruit as usual, is a great vegetable that can be adapted to make exotic preparations. I have tried over half a dozen different items over the last Two or more months, and as a fitting finale to the huge Bread Fruits given by my friend Manjeshwar Madhav Bhat recently, I decided to make seekh kebab with the last remaining piece.

Then my worry was, whether I should follow any online recipe or my own. I told Meena to make Chana Daal paste by soaking it and grinding in the mixer. Chana daal paste is the base for Lucknowi Nawabi Kebabs as seen in recipe books and on TV in the past. Then my logic was applied for choosing the other ingredients. I did peek into the video by Chef Harpal on youtube showing us how to make vegetable seekh kebab. He has a totally different recipe than the one formulated by me, but he gave a good tip on how to use bamboo skewers. He stressed that bamboo skewers should be soaked in water before using. This is perhaps with a view that the kebab dough sticks to the bamboo skewer well that way. Adding butter and bread crumbs help in binding the seekh.

Please go through the recipe for which I have not shown step by step pictures but the procedure is very easy and almost like child's play, as you go about it! So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make this before the Bread Fruit season ends! Before you eat them be sure to make mint and curd chutney, recipe for which can be found here:
Bread Fruit - 150 Gms(skin shaved off and core removed) chopped fine
Chana Daal(Chickpea lentil) - 2 Tbsp
Tiny Cashew Bits - A handful
Green Chilli - 1 chopped fine
Ginger - 1/2" piece chopped fine
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/4 Tsp
Brown Onion Paste - 1 Tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Lemon - 1/4
Bread Crumbs(Or powdered rusk/toast) - 2 Tbsp
Salt - To taste
Coriander Leaves - 2 sprigs chopped finely
Butter - 1 Tsp
White Sesame Seeds(Optional) - 1 Tbsp
Melted Ghee - 1 Tsp + for basting
Oil - For dipping your fingers

Soak bamboo skewers for 10 minutes in water, and then remove and keep aside.
Soak chana daal for 3-4 hours and grind into a fine paste with very littlwe water.
Heat 1 Tsp ghee in a pan and fry cashew bits, chopped green chillies, ginger, brown onion paste and ginger garlic paste for 1 minute.
Add chana daal paste and fry for 2 minutes.
Add chopped bread fruit and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add Kashmiri chilli powder, garam masala powder and salt.
Mix well and fry for a minute.
Squeeze in lemon.
Add 30 ml water, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Open the lid, add bread crumbs and sauté well till the mass becomes dry.
Now check for salt and add chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
Allow to cool down completely.
Add butter and knead the dough well.
Make six equal size balls with the dough.
Dip your fingers in oil, take a ball of the dough, flatten it and shape it into a seekh(satay) around the bamboo skewer.
Sprinkle some sesame seeds and press each seekh with your fingers to leave the mark.
Keep the seekh rolls in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Set the oven on baking mode at 180° C and preheat for 10 minutes.
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and grease it with ghee
Place the skewers on it and bake for 10 minutes at 180°C.
Baste with ghee and turn over the skewers to bake the seekh for another 10 minutes.
Baste again with ghee and turn over to bake till done.
The whole baking process should take little over 25 minutes.
Carefully remove the seekh roll from the skewers and cut into 4-5 equal size slices.
Serve hot with mint curd chutney and choice of salad.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bread Fruit Ghee Roast

The versatile nutritious delicious bread fruit can be adapted in making special dishes easily. Ghee Roast is one such dish. 
I had been planning to make Bread Fruit Ghee roast since many months but didn't get the fruit on the right occasion. When I got the fruit from Honavar sent by my friend Manjeshwar Madhava Bhat last month, I made a few different dishes and snacks but by the time I decided to make ghee roast, we ran out of stock. I felt lucky when my friend gave me 4 huge Bread Fruits last Sunday as I was travelling back from Sirsi to Mangalore via Honavar. I gave two away to my friends and we were left with two. 

After making three varieties of chips with one, I reserved the second one for making Ghee Roast and two other innovative dishes. I have found an easy way out in making ghee roast. Kundapur masala powder comes in handy, we have that in stock always, but we need to add couple of ingredients we almost always have in store. If you don't get that masala, here's the recipe.

Bread Fruit blends well with Kundapur Masala Powder. Hence this ghee roast turned out really good. Please follow this simple and quick recipe, make it and share it with your family and friends.
Bread Fruit - 250 Gms
Onion - 1/2 of one small onion sliced thin
Garlic - 3 cloves peeled and finely chopped
Kundapur Masala Powder - 1 and 1/2 Tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - 1/4 Tsp(or to taste)
Tamarind  - A pea size pinch soaked in 30 Ml water
Plain Yogurt - 2 Tsp
Oil - For deep frying
Ghee(Clarified Butter) - 4 Tsp

Shave off the outer green skin of bread fruit, remove the center core and cut into 3/4" thick, 2" wide slices.
Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry the bread fruit pieces till crisp and golden.
Drain and keep aside.
Combine tamarind extract, salt, Kundapur masala powder, Kashmiri chilli powder and yogurt.
Heat ghee in a pan and fry sliced onion till brown.
You may also add 1 Tsp brown onion paste instead of slicing and frying onion.
Add chopped garlic and fry for 1 minute.
Add the masala paste and fry till ghee leaves the sides.
Now place the fried bread fruit slices in the masala and coat them well.
Cook for 2-3 minutes on slow fire and then switch off the flame.
Serve as starter snack or as side dish with ghee rice, choice of Indian bread or Neer Dosas.
You may make the masala slightly wet by adding little more water, in case you are relishing the dish with Rotis or Neer Dosas.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Aambe Gojju - Ripe Mango Chutney

In Konkani, we say 'Aambo' for mango and gojju is a kind of chutney made with various kinds of fruits and vegetables. This gojju is almost like its cousin 'Khalaambe/Kholaambe Gojju', the one made with raw mangio in brine. This is a simple easy to make chutney full of flavours and taste, found mostly in GSB homes during the high summer season when mangoes flood the market.
I remember that my mother never made gojju with ripe mango, biut she made the one with khalaambo, pounding brined mangoes with green chillies and salt crystals in a wooden mortar, adding asafotoeda and coconut oil. Especially during the monsoon days, that chutney made justice to the piping hot congi or rice and dallithove.

When I was working in a bank, sometime in the mid 90's I came across a colleague hailing from Udupi, who spared some khalaambe gojju during lunch time. It was as good as my mother made during my childhood days and I asked her the recipe. She smiled and asked me, "Why are you asking for the recipe of such a simple gojju? This is very easy to make!". She then mentioned the recipe in brief and also added, that I can make this with fresh ripe mangoes.

Another friend Manjeshwar Vivekanand Bhakta was also mentioning recently about this gojju, and said it's his favourite during mango season. Ever since, I had been waiting for the high mango season to make this.

We had congi for dinner yesterday. As I was going for a glass of drinking water, I found two small ripe mangoes from our garden resting on the kitchen platform. Probably Meena had kept them there for eating after dinner. I immediately got into action and prepared this gojju within 5 minutes. The ingredients I added  were just right and the gojju tasted as good as any experienced mother makes it.

Try this and make your family drool before and after relishing this lip smacking, finger licking good tangy, sweet and aromatic Ripe Mango Gojju. You can add tamarind only if the mangoes are too sweet. The ones from our garden are very sweet, hence I added little tamarind to this. This gojju also tastes fantastic with chapatis, dosas, idlis and string hoppers.
Ripe, but slightly tangy, pulpy Mangoes - 2 small(Around 200 Gms)
Tamarind(Optional) - A small pinch
Green Chillies - 2-3(Depending on pungency of the chillies)
Sea Salt Crystals - 1/4 Tsp(Or salt to taste)
Asafotoeda - 1 Tsp thick solution in water(or a pinch of powder)
Coconut Oil - 2 Tsp

Slice off the mangoes and chop into 1/2 inch bits along with the skin.
Cut green chillies into 1/2 inch bits.
Coarsely pound/grind the mango pieces along with green chillies, sea salt and optional tamarind for 10-20 secs.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add asafotoeda solution(or powder) and coconut oil.
Mix well and serve with rice and daalithove, gruel(congi), or with curd rice.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Gujje Aajaadina - Raw Jack Fruit Sukkha

Tuluvas of Mangalore and Udupi call Raw Jack fruit as 'Gujje'. This grows abundantly in the coastal areas in summer. It is a rich source of fiber and regulates bowels. We make many dishes with this delicious fruit. Tuluvas also make various curries with this. Sukkha is a popular Mangalorean dry curry which is world famous. 
Tuluvas add chick peas and make a different kind of sukkha called 'Kadle Gujje Aajaadina',  but I personally prefer to make something like chicken sukkha that's very hot, spicy and tangy. Besides, I get enquiries from readers about vegetarian alternatives to authentic chicken dishes. People are over fed with paneer, mushroom, baby corn and cauliflower. Hence this is an alternative for vegetarians who want to make something that looks and tastes like non veg dish! Kundapur Masala Powder comes in handy while making this quick sukkha. I could prepare this dish within 30 minutes.

This can be relished with rice and sambar or rasam, but I had it with phulkas. You can also make some phulkas or chapathis and enjoy the dish.
Raw Jack fruit - 500 Gms 
Butter - 1 Tbsp
Onions - 2 Medium chopped finely
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Garlic - 8 cloves
Cumin Seeds(or powder) - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp(or according to taste)
Tamarind - Size of cherry
Kundapur Masala Powder - 4 Tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder(optional) - 1 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Sprig
Coconut Oil - 4 Tsp

Apply little oil to your fingers and clean the raw jack fruit by shaving off the spiky thick skin and the center core.
Chop into 1" thick cubes.
Pressure cook the jack fruit pieces with little salt, without adding water, for 2 mins.
Keep aside.
Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup water, extract pulp and then mix in salt and Kundapur masala powder to make a thick paste.
Reserve one tablespoon of grated coconut for the seasoning.
Coarsely grind remaining grated coconut with cumin and peeled garlic into a chutney without adding water.
Reserve half chopped onion for the seasoning.
Heat butter in a thick bottomed pan and fry one and half chopped onions till transparent.
Add the Kundapur masala paste, optional Kashmiri chilli powder, and fry for 1 min.
Add 1-2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Add the cooked jack fruit pieces and mix gently.
Simmer  for another 5 minutes.
Add the coconut chutney and mix gently.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes or till the curry is almost dry.
Check for salt.
Prepare a seasoning with coconut oil, curry leaves, half chopped onion and 1 tbsp grated coconut till coconut and onion are well browned.
Pour the seasoning over the curry and mix well.
Serve hot with rice and rasam, or with rotis.


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