Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Kothimbir wadi

Monsoons are here.  Cloudy days, chill winds ...... This is the time to lie curled up in bed by the window under a nice blanket with a book in hand and a plate of some thing crisp to munch; or sit with a friend on the portico watching the rain soak the trees and the lawn with a plate of crispy brown pakodas and a cup of steaming hot ginger tea.

Talking of crispy brown pakodas, my mind suddenly leaps back to kothimbir wadis - corriander cakes - a Maharashtrian savoury that I had almost forgotten.  Of course in the past it was always bought out from the nearby shops.  So I decided it was now time to learn to make it myself.  There were many variations of the recipe on the internet.  This was the simplest and quickest variation I chose to try.


1 cup finely chopped corriander
1 cup besan / chickpea flour
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Jeera (cumin) powder - a pinch
(The red chilli powder, jeera powder can be substituted by roasted cumin seeds - green chilli-ginger-garlic paste).


Mix the besan with just enough water to a fine paste.  Add the turmeric, salt, red chilli powder and jeera powder to it.  Mix well.  Then add the chopped corriander to this mix.  

Pour this mix into a greased vessel and microwave it or steam it in a pressure cooker so that the mix is cooked.  Cut the mix into diamond shaped or squared shaped pieces.  These can be eaten as they are, shallow fried or deep fried.  Eat with green chutney or tomato sauce.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Banana inflorescence (Vazhapoo Parapusili)

The banana plant is very versatile in that every part of it can be used in some way or the other.  Everybody is familiar with the fruit and hence there is no need to mention it specially.  The leaves of the banana plant can be used as disposable, bio-degradable, eco-friendly plates to eat from.  But how many people know that the stem and the inflorescence of the banana can also can be prepared in different forms?

Source:  Google images
Cleaning the inflorescence of banana:

Remove the large red bracts of the inflorescence layer by layer. Each bract covers a bunch of florettes. Remove this bunch. Take the florettes individually and remove the stamen and papery transparent petal from each of them and discard. (This is a tedious job, but the final results make the effort worth the while). Keep repeating till all the red bracts are removed and you come to the central white part of the florette. Chop the florettes finely and keep in a bowl of water with 2 tbsp of yoghurt in it (to prevent it from getting black through oxidation). Then discard the stem of the inflorescence and chop the inner white part into small pieces. (There are many video clips on Youtube which demonstrate the procedure step by step).‎ ,  Wash the banana florettes with fresh water and strain when ready to cook.


Banana inflorescence
1/2 cup tur dal (pigeon peas)
1/2 cup chana dal (bengal gram)
1 dried red chilli
1 small piece compounded asafoetida (hing)
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch powdered
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Salt – to taste


1/2 cup tur dal
1/2 cup chana dal
1 dried red chilli
1 small piece compounded asafoetida

Dry roast all these ingredients together and grind them coarsely in a mixer. Sprinkle about 1/2 -3/4 cup water on this ground mix and then pressure cook it. Take it out when it has cooled and break it up into a powder.

Take a tablespoonful of oil in a kadhai (wok) and heat it. Add mustard seeds and a pinch of powdered asafoetida to it. Add the washed banana florettes to the oil once the mustard seeds have popped. Add salt, a pinch of turmeric powder and then add the mixture of tur dal and chana dal which has been pressure cooked and prepared.  Mix well.  Close the kadhai and allow to cook for 5-10 mins.

The dish is now ready to eat.

(The banana flower is rich in vitamins, flavonoids and proteins. The flower has been used in traditional medicine to treat bronchitis, constipation and ulcer problems. It eases menstrual cramps. The extracts of banana flower have anti oxidant properties that prevent free radicals and control cell and tissue damage.