Sunday Brunch..Chole Batura

Of all the american things that I have adopted in my day-to-day life, the one thing that I have accepted with open arms is the “Sunday Brunch” Tradition. What an excellent excuse for sleeping late into mid-morning. Wake up, make lunch that is neither here nor there and call it “Brunch”. One of the things that has become quite common,at my home, for brunch is Chole Batura, the quintessential Punjabi Dish. Chole would be curried Garbonzos while Baturas are deep fried breads made with regular flour and yogurt.

My friend, who is a punj (Of course!), once told me that traditionally,chole-batura is an breakfast item served along with sweet lassi. Can you imagine that? “I would probably skip lunch and Dinner with that kind of breakfast!!!!…”, I told her. Of course, this was me in my college days, when chatting up friends over the phone and buying new clothes seemed to fill me up pretty good. Where as, today, I eat this same combination for brunch and end up feeling hungry at 4 pm. I blame it all squarely on the huge hormone fluctuations during pregnancies.Forget the fact that I delivered over 6 months ago and my obstretician told me 2 days ago that all is normal in Vee-land. Well, Doc, you wouldn’t say that if you saw the amount of food I can still gobble up. And what about those pair of jeans that look at me forlornly, whenever I open my closet?

Anyway, all that frustration didn’t stop me from enjoying Chole-Bature with Mango Lassi on my patio today. Good Combination. Highly recommended.

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To Make Baturas

Make a dough using

2 cups regular flour
1/4 cup Yogurt
1 small potato, boiled and mashed
2 tbsp ghee/oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt to taste

Add warm water or flour, as required. Knead into a soft pliable dough. Keep aside for about an hour.

When ready to make, roll out golf ball sized dough balls into about 2 mm thick rounds and deep fry as described in the recipe for Mangalore Bun.

To make Chole,

Pressure cook or boil until tender using about 3 cups water

1 cup Chickpeas/Garbanzos soaked overnight

with

1 Black Cardamon/Badi Elaichi
1 Bay Leaf.

Meanwhile, heat up

3 tbsp Corn Oil/Vegetable Oil/Peanut Oil

in wide pan.

Add

2 medium Onions, sliced thinly

Cook on high heat stirring frequently till the onion browns. Add

1 medium Tomato,chopped finely

Continue cooking on high heat stirring frequently till the tomatoes break down and the mixture starts leaving oil. Transfer to a food processor and blend into a paste. Transfer back to the Pan.You can make the paste first and then brown it. But I prefer to do it this way. Don’t ask me why. I am weird that way. Ok, I will tell you. Its just that I think this process browns the onion faster.

Add

1 tsp Red chilli Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder

Stir and cook for a minute. Add

cooked Chickpeas/Garbanzos along with the water.
1/4 tsp Anardana Powder
1/4 tsp Amchur Powder
Salt to taste

Add more water, if necessary or decant some from the beans before adding, if it is more. Bring to a boil. Smash some of the beans by pressing them against the sides of the pan with the ladle. This helps thicken the sauce. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium to low heat to allow all the flavors to meld together. Remove from flame. Finish by adding,

1 tsp roasted Jeera/Cumin powder.

To Make tamarind Chutney
Soak

1/4 cup Tamarind
1/2 cup Dates

in

1/2 cup water

for about an 2-3 hours.

Blend into a smooth paste adding

1/4 tsp roasted cumin/jeera powder(optional)
a pinch of salt

To serve

Serve 2 ladlefuls of chole topped with 1 tbsp of Tamarind Chutney and 1 tsp finely chopped onion in a bowl per person with 2 baturas and a glass of chilled Mango Lassi.

Dosa…A Love Story.

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He beckons me as I sit sipping my morning coffee watching the world go by from the kitchen window. I try to ignore him but his pristine whiteness calls out to me.

"You know you want me",he says. I stubbornly keep looking out the window.

"I have moved on", I say. "I don't want you as much anymore".

"That's a lie. You wish, I was with you right now, sharing the coffee with you".

"No. I told you, I have moved on. There is a whole new world out there. Its simple,its easy and they dont need as much time as you demand of me."

"Yes, But you always come back to me.You can't stand the quick and easy types for more than a day". I say nothing. It was the truth. I just crave for him.

"You miss me…"

"Alright, alright,you are right, ok. I do miss you. I can't resist you." I blurt out.

"In that case,you know what you have to do." he says.

I nod. There is no point fighting it. It is always like this. I try to ignore it, to get out of the commitment. But, I always give in.

I get up, measure out 1 cup of urad dal, wash it till the water runs clear. Almost on automation, I measure out 2 cups of rice and do the same. I mix both , soak them in water and keep it aside. I don't want to look at it. I don't want to think about him. What is this hold he has over me? Why is it so difficult to let go? Maybe because he's been there ever since I can remember. How do you let go of so many years of togetherness?

I go about my day as if nothing had happened, as if I hadn't given in to my carnal cravings once more. I smiled, I nodded, I laughed as if it was all another day. But, I am thinking about him all the time. Its useless fighting it and I give in. I stop trying to ignore that he isn't on my mind. And it's like a weight off my shoulders. I can't wait to go home.

Late evening, I go to him. He is ready, so am I. I drain the water and put him in the blender. "I have to invest in a dry grinder soon", I say to myself. "It's just not fair to him". I add a little bit of water, and let the blender go at him.I want him to get as fine as he can be. It whirs and grinds as all the while I am humming to myself. Round and round he goes, hugging the blenders contours, thoroughly enjoying himself. But, soon he heats up even though he is not as fine as I would like him to be. I shut off the blender and let him cool off. I start the blender again and this time after a little while, he is all ground up and fine. I touch him, Oh, he is smooth. I giggle like a little girl and pour him into a large glass bowl.

I look at him. "Nurture me", he whispers. "Take good care of me."

That's when the doubts start hitting me. What if I didn't do it right? What if I didn't soak him long enough? What if he is still not ground enough? I shake my mind to throw those doubts away. I have committed myself to this. Might as well see it through. I open up my oven making sure it is not hot and put him in. I keep the light on, just to be sure. I carry on with the rest of the evening resisting the urge to go peek. Just before retiring for the day, I go to him and take a peek.

He seems to wink at me."I will be fine", he says.

I believe him and go to sleep. I wake up in the morning itching to see if he's ok. But I'm scared. I start on the sambhar as I try to find the courage to look at him. Wash the dal, put in chopped potatoes, onions, tomatoes, sambhar pwd , salt and let the pressure cooker do its job. Did I take good care of him? I throw in the grated coconut, a piece of ginger, salt and green chillies in a blender and try to let the doubts drown in the noise of it. No such luck. "Nurture me", he had said. Did I do it or did I let him down? I season the chutney and the sambhar with mustard seeds and curry leaves. I keep a pot of water on the burner to make some authentic coffee. There is nothing else to do but to take a look at him now. Slowly, I open the oven and sneak a look. Oh…he is fine. All light and puffed up and all proud of me. "You did good". I am glad.

I heat up a griddle and bring it to smoking point. I take a wet tissue and wipe the hot griddle with it. Now, it is ready for him. I take a ladleful and pour it on the griddle. It makes a sizzling hot sound and its like something takes over me. I just go with the flow and start spreading him out on the griddle into concentric circles until there is no more to spread. I drizzle a little oil over him and let cook. After a while, I turn him over and let the other side cook up. From the corner of my eye, I see my family rush in, all excited, no doubt from the sizzling sound and the aromas now wafting around the house. I barely notice as I am in a zone.I keep churning them out, one after another, until I hear a loud burp. *I hope it's my son*.

">Dosa Plate

He beckons me as I sit sipping my morning coffee watching the world go by from the kitchen window. I look at my dosa, take a bite and close my eyes.

I am home.

Buns…Deep-Fried Banana-Flour Bread

Buns!!!…You mean the hamburger buns?

NO.

You mean the buns that we used to get in India…maska bun?

NO.

You mean those sweet breads that we used to get at the local baker in India?

NO.

These are Mangalore Buns.They are a sort of a spongy poori made of maida kneaded with mashed bananas ..kinda sweet from the banana and kind of a mild kick from the black pepper.

In case you are wondering,that is not a typo error. I really mean Mangalore.Mangalore is small town in Karnataka and yes, it is a completely different entity than Bangalore.As far as I am concerned,this city is the center of all things Konkani.There might be many to disagree with me. But hey, my blog, my rant. S and I stayed in Mangalore for a couple of months immediately after we were married.Though I mentally prepared myself for the change it would be for a city-bred-Mumbai-snob that I was (and still am to some extent),I just wasnt prepared for the culture shock that I was in for. Mind you, growing up with my Bapama (Paternal Grandma), I knew all the traditions, rituals etc.that is Konkani. It wasn't the traditions or the small town, it was just the sheer number of amchigeles(as we like to call ourselves,loosely means "our people") around.In the vast diversity of mumbai, I had never been in such close quarters with amchis that were not my relatives. Its a feeling I couldn't shake as I left the city to head towards the new world, so to speak. But, I digress.

These buns are generally a breakfast item in Mangalore, but my bapama used to make them as an evening snack, too. Its a great way to use up an overripe banana. In fact,my mother-in-law keeps aside a banana to let overripe so that she can make these.

Now that you know what they are and whence they cometh from (I am into Shakespeare these days),you might as well know how to make them.

Mangalore Buns…

Maida or Regular flour 2 cups

1 overripe Banana

1/2 buttermilk or (yogurt + water beaten together)

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp Baking soda

salt

Oil + ghee for deep frying

Peel the banana and mash them with a fork in a large vessel.Add the buttermilk. If you are using yogurt, beat it and dilute with enough water to make 1/2 a cup.Add in the sugar,salt, pepper and baking soda. Mix together. Add the flour and keep forking it till it all comes together and forms a dough. You might have to add more flour or water depending upon the consistency of the buttermilk you are using. If its thick, may require extra water or if its too watery, may require more flour. Knead for a minute or so (isn't that great?). Apply a tbsp of oil all over the dough,cover and keep in a cool place (I keep it in my non-hot oven) for at least 4 hours.

Heat oil, add 2 tbsp of ghee to it. You don't want to fry this in just oil, they wont taste as good.Shape ball sized dough pieces into round shapes about 3-4 inches in diameter and a little thicker than a poori.Use extra flour to help roll them. Sprinkle some on the counter and rub some on the rolling pin. Use sparingly or you will be left with a gross black sediment in your oil rendering it un-reusable.Been there , done that.You might also want to roll and fry one at a time instead of roll all pooris and then deep fry. This being a maida dough, you will be left with a 2 inch diameter thick rolled poori. Not good.

Deep fry on medium heat. As soon as you put the dough in oil,keep poking at it with the slotted spoon and pressing it into the oil till it puffs up. At this point, I would like to say that the oil is HOT, be careful and please don't sue me if you meet with an accident. You deep fry at your own risk!! :) . Now that you have read the disclaimer, we can move ahead. Once it puffs up, turn over and let the other side fry up. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. They are not going to be as crispy as a poori would be , they are not supposed to be.When you bite into them, they are going to be crispy and spongy all at the same time.If they are,you have just made a perfect Mangalore Bun!!!.

Methi Matar Paratha(Fenugreek Leaves and Peas Paratha)

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I love the combination of methi(fenugreek leaves) and matar(Peas). The bitterness of the methi is beautifully complemented by the sweetness of the matar. I am a sucker for any recipe that includes both the ingredients and I have found that it is loved by everyone else too.

 

Methi Matar Paratha.

I dont have measurements for this recipe. I just eyeball everything. I have , however, tried to give approximate quantities. Use fresh methi Leaves for this one and add a pinch of Kasuri Methi for that aromatic punch. I dont add any masalas in this recipe since I make it for breakfast and I am not a great fan of too much spice early in the morn. Best of Luck!

Matar 1 cup
Dhania Couple of Sprigs
Ginger 1" Piece
Garlic 1 Pod
Green Chillies 3-4

Methi Leaves Washed and Chopped finely.
Oil 3 tbsp
Wheat Flour About 2 cups
Salt, Sugar to taste

Grind Matar, Dhania, Ginger, Garlic, Green Chillies till the blend together. Transfer to a vessel. Add chopped Methi Leaves, Sugar, Salt,Oil and mix together. Knead in the Flour. Use water if required. However, dont add too much as the methi leaves already have a lot of moisture. Roll into parathas and cook both sides on a hot tava. Make parathas immediately.