Black Chickpeas and Ivy Gourd Fugadh

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Nutty black chickpeas cooked in spicy gravy; accompanied by the sweetish Ivy gourd and gently tempered with coconut and jaggery. This is one dish that is close to my heart, the one that takes me back to my childhood every single time, with the taste still lingering in my memory forever.

Though my mum makes this dish often, she confesses to learning it from her mother.  My dear grandmother at whose place I’ve spent many a happy holidays. Even to date, whenever my mum gets black chickpeas; I know for sure what’s on the menu. Every step of the recipe is magical, right from the moment when the chickpeas are pressure cooked to when the masalas are being sautéed and then finally the coconut garnish; food porn if I could call it that. And that’s not all, there is a bit of tradition involved as well.  The 8th of September, is a special day; where Christians celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day, the menu is special and is called ‘Noven Jowaan’ roughly translated to ‘new meal’; the new signifying that the meal has been prepared from the new harvest as a thanksgiving to the almighty for his graces. The dishes are prepared in series of odd numbers and this one definitely makes it to that spread.

Somehow, very honestly, I had long wanted to post this but somehow didn’t get to do it. It was the only the other day when I headed to a meeting outside office and had to eat a restaurant. I ordered this one and believe me, the beauty of the dish had been massacred. Seriously, nothing pains me more than Manglorean food gone wrong. I decided to come home and  get it done. 

So then, here is a family recipe. Like its made at my home. Try it, garnish it with spices, temper it with coconut and serve it love. My family loves it, I’m sure yours would too.

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Black Chickpeas and Ivy Gourd Fugadh

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams, black chickpeas, refer cooking instructions below in the procedure
  • 100 grams, Ivy gourd, cut length wise
  • 50 grams fresh coconut, grated
  • 50 grams jaggery, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons corriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoons, black pepper corns
  • 1 tablespoon, cummin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon, mustard seeds
  • 7-8 Whole red chillies
  • 1 small teaspoon, turmeric powder
  • 1 Sprig Curry leaves
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 300 ml water
Procedure:
  • Soak the black chickpeas in 300 ml water overnight or atleast 6-8 hours. Wash them under running water till water runs clear.
  • After washing, pressure cook for about 15 minutes or till you hear about 3 whistles. Retain the water if you wish to have some gravy
  • Dry roast the corriander seeds, pepper corns, cummin seeds, and red chillies till they give out a nice aroma. Once done, cool for a while and then, grind to a fine powder. Keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in a pan, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. Wait till the seeds splutter.
  • Add the garlic and let it . Then add the onions and saute till the onions turns translucent.
  • Now, add the coconut, turmeric and the powder. Saute, till the oil has started leaving the sides
  • Now, add the chickpeas and the Ivy gourd and mix well.
  • Add the salt, jaggery and tomatoes and give it a good mix. Cover and cook for about 7 minutes.
  • If required, add some water from the boiled chickpeas.
  • Serve hot with rice or chapattis.
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Vorn- Manglorean Green Gram Pudding- Celebrating 100 likes on the facebook page.

A very special dish for a very special occasion. This recipe is by none other than the original masterchef herself! Yes, it my mums recipe and a Mangalorean classic, Vorn (pronounced- War-rn). So then, what’s the special occasion? Well friends, my Facebook page has reached 100 fans and that calls for a celebration, doesn’t it? Remember, I told you special dish for a special occasion. Thanks a ton, dear readers, without each of you being there to cheer me on, this would not be possible. And yes, a special mention to my mum and sister who have been the backbone of this blog. Tasting, criticizing, cheering, suggesting and almost everything backstage is done by them and their input goes a long way in deciding what goes on the blog and what is left out.

It was only obvious that I would choose Vorn for this post. It is a sweet dish reserved for very special Mangalorean functions. I remember, sometime back I attended about 3 weddings in 4 days and then there was roce (which is the pre-wedding function) & every roce had vorn. Just goes to show what it means to us Mangaloreans. I remember my mum and even my grand mum making vorn in a large vessel that was specially reserved only for that purpose. As with most Mangalorean recipes, this one too doesn’t have a standard recipe, each household claims theirs is original and authentic. We’ll leave it to the food historians to investigate.
Now, vorn is best had when it is piping hot, straight out of the cooking vessel. Whenever, mum makes it, I readily volunteer to do the tasting bit. When I was younger, I would deliberately sneak into the kitchen and ask that I taste the vorn at almost every stage of the cooking process. Complex as it may sound, it’s fairly simple to make and doesn’t require any alchemy. Just a few household ingredients that are readily available in the everyday pantry and your set to wow your family, friends or guest. And if you are of the diet conscious sorts who cringe at the mere mention of desserts, worry not. This one’s for you as well since unlike other oil/ ghee laden desserts this one doesn’t use any fat. Indulgence at its best!!
And before I began writing, I promised my self that I would keep the post short and sweet. The dish has enough magnanimity to carry it through. As I always believe, food tastes best when eaten with love and shared. I do hope my dear friends you will try this recipe and share it with your family and those who you love.
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Vorn- Mangalorean Green Gram Pudding
Ingredients:
  • 200 grams Moong dal (Indian Greem Gram)
  • 150 grams jaggery
  • 60 grams rice paste (Instructions below)
  • 80 grams mixed dry fruits (Cashewnuts, Raisins, Pistachios), roughly chopped
  • 120 ml thick coconut milk
  • 4-5 green cardamom, powdered
  • 300 ml water
Procedure:
  • Dry roast the moong dal in a pan till it is golden brown on all sides. Once its brown, rinse twice under running water.
  • In a deep vessel, boil the dal and the water together. The texture of the dal should be whole but not entirely mashed.
  • Once the dal reaches this stage, add the jaggery and stir well. The jaggery should melt entirely.
  • Add the cardamom powder and the mixed dry fruits. Keep stirring well so that there are no lumps in the liquid.
  • To make the rice paste, soak (any variety of short grained) rice in water for about half an hour and then grind to a liquidy paste. Add this paste to the vorn mixture.
  • When you add the rice paste, the vorn will attain a thick consistency. Reduce the heat and add the coconut milk. Stir well.
  • Ganish with dry fruits and serve hot.

Sichuan Fried Rice!

If you have been following my blog, you would have realized by now that after Indian, my favorite cuisine is Chinese. I can go on and on raving about the simplicity and versatility of Chinese food, but one blog would not be enough..  lol.

Here is another gem from the vast treasury of Chinese one –pot wonders, Sichuan Fried Rice. Once again the ‘go-to’ meal for those times when you want to have complete meal, but do not have the energy or bandwidth to go the mile. The best thing is that it gets done in a jiffy. I have tried the vegetarian version, you could use chicken, bacon or egg if you wish.
I served it with the Singapore Black Pepper Prawns and a very special ingredient called love. Try it, I’m sure the taste will multiply manifold.
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Sichuan Fried Rice
Ingredients:
  •   1 cup pre-cooked rice
  •    ½ cup grated cabbage
  •    ½ cup grated carrot
  •    1 bulb spring onion
  •    50 ml white vinegar
  •    2-3 dried red chillies
  •    5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  •    1 inch piece ginger, minced
  •     2 tablespoon soya sauce
  •     2 tablespoon Oil.
  •     Salt- to taste
Method:
  • Soak the red chillies in the white vinegar and keep aside for half an hour
  • In a wok or a deep bottomed pan, heat oil till just before smoking point.  Add the ginger, garlic and let it cook for a while.
  • Add the vegetables (cabbage, carrot) and the spring onion greens and give it a stir. The vegetables do not take a long time to cook
  • Now, add the red chillies and give it a mix.
  • Add some of the rice, and 1 tablespoon soya sauce and stir well. Repeat the same with the other batch of rice and the remaining soya sauce, salt and keep stirring.
  • Add the vinegar and mix well.
  • Ensure the vegetables and sauce have mixed well with the rice.
  • Serve hot garnished with spring onion greens.

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Subzi Cheese Biryani (Vegetable Cheese Biryani)

“Can vegetarian food be made interesting as well?” wrote a reader recently. “Yes, of course”, was my enthusiastic answer. With a little bit of creativity and innovation, even a vegetarian meal can be an absolute delight. Though, I am a hardcore non vegetarian, I always opt for a vegetarian meal whenever I require a change from the regular stuff. Ever since the “Aloo Saunfiyana” recipe was well received on the blog, I have decided to start posting all vegetarian recipes that have been lying in my folder for eons now.

One such interesting recipe is the Subzi Cheese Biryani, which was the outcome of my sisters creative thought process. This dish was the outcome of a very healthy debate between my sister and me as what’s the best thing to make when you have almost every vegetable at your disposal. Since the two of us are the greatest biryani fans on the planet, we decided that biryani it would be, but hero of the dish would not be the veggies but a very special ingredient “cheese”. That decided, my sister, pen and paper in tow, sat conceptualizing the biryani while her brother went on and got into executing the dish.

When we decided to make this biryani, it was planned like the way a usual biryani was to be made, and we weren’t too sure of how the final product would turn up but wanted to go ahead with it nevertheless. I tried and kept the oil and fats to a minimum considering that there is a generous amount of cheese, enough to cause the mild hearted a few jitters. I must say it is time consuming but worth every bit of the effort

We had it with Butter-Garlic Prawns. The verdict?  Awesome. The joy of cooking a meal together is priceless. Try doing it sometimes, I promise it will leave a smile on your face and memories in your heart.

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Subzi Cheese Biryani
Ingredients:
       2 cups long grained basmati rice
·     100 grams mixed vegetables (I used French beans, cauliflowers, green capsicum & green peas)
·         2 medium onions- finely chopped
·         2 medium tomatoes- finely chopped
·         200 grams thick curd- beaten well
·         3 tablespoons cashew paste
·         100 grams processed cheese – for grating
·         3 cheese cubes- sliced for garnishing
·     Assortment of whole spices (2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 1 small bay leaf)
·         1 ½ tablespoon ginger—garlic paste
·         1 teaspoon coriander powder
·         1 teaspoon red chili powder
·         1 teaspoon turmeric  powder
·         1 teaspoon garam masala powder (all spice powder)
·         4 large tablespoons oil or ghee (clarified butter)
·         Salt to taste
·         Juice of half a lime
·         Some milk
·         Few leaves of coriander and mint for garnishing.

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Procedure:
For the rice:
·  Soak the rice for atleast 20-25 minutes in water before you begin working with it.
·  In a large pan heat water equivalent to double the quantity of rice. When the water starts boiling, add in the rice.
·   Add some ghee to the rice. This will ensure that the grains don’t stick to each other. Also, add some salt.
·          When the rice is about ¾th  done, take out from heat drain it on a colander and let it cool for a while.
·         Take out a large spoonful of the rice and keep aside.
·          Add ½ teaspoon of the turmeric powder to the milk and stir well. Pour this milk on the rice that has been kept aside and mix well. This will give the rice a nice yellow colour.
For the gravy:
·         In a deep pan add the oil or ghee and let it heat. Once the oil is hot add in the whole masalas and let them crackle.
·         Once the masalas are done, add the onions and cook till the onions are nicely browned. Add in the ginger garlic paste and cook well.
·         Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are pulpy. This is important since if the tomatoes are not well cooked; the gravy will separate.
·         When the tomatoes are pulpy, add in all the spice powders (coriander, red chili, turmeric& the garam masala  powder) and cook well. Add a little water if required.
·         Now add the cashew paste and cook till the oil leaves the sides and the mixture has thickened a bit. Add in the curd and let it simmer for about 7 minutes
·         Add in the vegetables, salt and cook for 5 more minutes.
·         Finally, add in the juice of lime and mix.
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For the assembling:
·         Line a heavy deep bottom vessel with ghee and pour in half of the gravy.
·         Now , on top of this add a layer of half the rice; grate half the cheese on top the rice. Also, add some of the coloured rice to this
·         Repeat the layering process with the other half of the gravy, rice and cheese
·         Slice the cubes into fine squares and layer on the top.
      Seal the vessel tightly and cook for about 30* minutes on medium flame and for another 10 minutes on a low flame.
     Once done take out from the heat and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes.
      Serve with refreshing raita.

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