Friday, December 19, 2014


During our recent trip to Mumbai, we had the opportunity to taste some authentic Maharastrian dishes. Since I grew up in Mumbai, I am quite fond of their cuisine and while there, I also bought their famous “goda masala” from one of the popular masala shops. For those of you who are not familiar with this masala, it is a special blend of spices, very aromatic, dark brown in colour and gives that special taste to the dish when added. Different regions in Maharashtra have their own version of goda masala. And “Aamti” is incomplete without the goda masala. This dish is a regular fare in most Maharashtrian  homes. In short, I can say with conviction that what “Dalitoy” is to konkanis, “Aamti” is to maharashtrians.

Well, armed with this masala, I started my search for some Maharashtrian recipes from my collection. I found four varieties but chose “Aamti” as I already had boiled toor dal (the main ingredient in this recipe) in the refrigerator and this halved the cooking time to just 10 mins. When it was finally done, I was very happy with result and so was my spouse. Try it out and see it for yourself.



Toor Dal / Split Pigeon Pea 1 cup
Kokum or Tamarind pulp 3-4 pcs of kokum / 1-2 tsps of tamarind pulp
Jaggery powder 1 tbsp
Green chilies (slit) 2
Goda Masala 2 tsps
Freshly Grated coconut 2 tbsps
Salt As per taste
Ingredients for tempering:

Oil 1tbsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Hing/asafoetida A pinch
Curry leaves 1 sprig
For Garnish:

Coriander leaves (chopped) 2 tbsps

  1. Wash and cook the toor dal/split pigeon pea in pressure cooker for 12 mins. Then mash the cooked dal well and keep it aside.
  2. If using kokum, soak the pieces in water for about 15 mins. 
  3. Heat a saucepan. Add oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts spluttering, lower the flame, add hing/asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute it for awhile.
  4. Next add the mashed dal with a little water, slit green chilies, salt, jaggery powder, goda masala, freshly grated coconut, kokum water/tamarind pulp. Mix well.
  5. Finally add more water for desired thickens. Give it a stir and allow it to boil for a few minutes and then switch off the flame.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time : 20 mins
Serves : 3

  • This is generally eaten with rice. Tastes good with rotis/chapattis too.
  • Goda masala is available in super markets under different brand names.
  • Aamti can also be prepared from Moong dal (split green gram) or Masoor dal (split lentil) too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Murud-Janjira Beach & Fort

Hello friends, I am back after a short vacation in Mumbai where we had to attend a close relatives wedding. While there, we took this opportunity to meet our old friends and relatives too. We also thought it would be a good idea to spend some quality time with my brother's and cousin's family away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. After a lot of discussions, we unanimously chose Murud-Janjira for our family get-together.

Murud-Janjira is the local name for the fort which is situated on the island off the coastal village of Murud, in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. It is a fishing village and is about 150 kms drive from Mumbai. Once we reach Murud town, we need to take a sail boat from Rajapuri jetty to reach the island fort. The fort is spread across 22 acres and has many cannons. One of the cannons weigh about 12 tons and the unique feature of these cannons is that they do not get heated even though they are exposed to the sunlight throughout the day. We were quite baked in the hot sun (temp around 35 degrees centigrade) but these cannons were very cold to the touch inspite of the heat !
The entrance to the fort is not visible from outside unless and until you are very close it. It also has a few secret escape routes.

We drove from Mumbai to the resort and we stayed at Golden Swan Beach Resort at Murud-Janjira. It is a nice place with cottages and is situated right on the beach itself. The sunset view is quite breathtaking. The beach is very clean and quite picturesque. At the other end of the beach, water sports are conducted. We took the horse-driven carriage along the beach and back as we had to rush back to the sunset point.

The next morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, we headed for the fort. Following are some of the pictures of the beach, fort and the resort.

This is the sight that greeted us as soon as we entered the beach from the resort
A Close-up of the sea-gulls that were there in hundreds
View of the Fort from the beach
Spectacular view of the sunset taken from the Idgah (sunset point)
View of the Fort from the road
Yet another view of the Fort from the road
View of the fort from the jetty
The Big Cannon weighing about 12 tons as was told to us by our guide
The inside of the fort
The Inside of the Fort
One of the escape routes
We were told that once upon a time this was sweet water pond. But now, it has turned green with slime and algae          
The sculpture at the entrance of the wall of the fort
Golden Swan Beach Resort - where we stayed
Couldn't help clicking these beauties where they were happily swimming and waddling around the premises     

We all had a wonderful time together and wished we had one more day to laze around and enjoy some water sports. Maybe next time....

To know more about the history of the ancient Murud-Janjira Fort, see the following links:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mint Pulao

Mint Pulao needs no introduction. It is an aromatic dish and easy to prepare too.  I had half a bunch of mint which I needed to use before it started losing its freshness. This time I prepared it with a slight variation and hence did not get the green colour that is generally associated with this pulao. But the taste was not compromised.

It so happened that my friend and her spouse paid us a surprise visit while I just finished preparing the pulao. They had a taste of this served with Rajma masala. I was pleased to know that they thoroughly enjoyed it.



Rice 1 cup
Mint leaves 1 cup
Curds 1 cup
Water 2 cups
Ginger 1 inch pc.
Green chilies 1-2 or as per taste
Salt As per taste
Seasoning ingredients

Oil 1 tbsp
Tejpatta 1
Cloves 2-3
Cinnamon 1 inch pc
Star Anise 1
Cardamom (green) 1 or 2
Black (big) Cardamom 1

  1. Wash the rice and soak it for about an hour.
  2. In the meantime, roughly chop green chilies, ginger and mint leaves.
  3. Whip the curds well and keep it aside.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add to it all the ingredients mentioned under “seasoning ingredients”.
  5. Keeping the flame low, add chopped ginger, green chilies and chopped mint leaves. Saute it for a while till the mint leaves wilt.
  6. Add the whipped curds. Mix well.
  7. Finally, add water and salt. Stir well and increase the flame. Allow it to boil. Then lower the flame and cover it with a lid. Let it cook for about 15-20 mins or till done. Remove from flame.
  8. Serve hot.

Preparation : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Serves : 2-3 persons

  • I used Sona Masoori Rice. You can use Basmati or any rice of your choice.
  • Instead of chopping ginger, green chilies and mint leaves, you can grind these three ingredients to a fine paste and use it in the recipe.
  • Left over rice can also be used to prepare this pulao.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bajre Ki Cheela

Hello friends, Diwali kept me quite busy before, during and even after the festival and with the result, blogging took a back seat. All said and done, we had a wonderful time. I hope you all had a nice Diwali too.

After all the sweets and savoury items that we devoured, I thought its time to eat healthy stuff and one such item that I came across is the Bajre Ki Cheela. I had jotted down this recipe from a TV cookery show. It seemed easy and healthy so tried it for the evening snack. I am glad to say it turned out quite well. And according to my opinion, it tastes best with a dollop of white home-made butter.

Bajra also known as Pearl millet is loaded with nutrients and has enormous health benefits.

Bajre Ki Cheela - A healthy snack/breakfast dish


Bajra flour 1 cup
Salt As per taste
Coconut gratings 1 tbsp
Green chilies (chopped) 1
Coriander leaves (chopped) 1 tbsp
Curds 3 Tbsps
Oil For shallow frying

  1. In a bowl add bajra flour, salt, coconut gratings, green chilies and chopped coriander leaves.
  2. Mix well
  3. Finally add curds and blend in to form a thick batter.
  4. Take a ladle full of the prepared batter and spread it thickly on a heated skillet/ non-stick pan like a dosa - frying on either sides with a little oil on the edges of the dosa.
  5. Remove and serve hot.

Preparation time : 10 mins
Cooking time : 3-4mins for each cheela
Makes : 5-6 cheelas depending upon the size

  • The batter does not spread thinly so do not even try it. Once the pan/skillet is heated, keep the flame low.
  • Make small dosas the size of Rawa (semolina) Bhakri or a pancake.
  • If your skillet or griddle is large, you can easily make three or four at a time.
  • For more info on Bajra or Pearl millet health benefits, see here :

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tofu Sandwich Spread

Off late I have started using Tofu instead of Paneer for the simple reason – its a healthier option. Sometime back I had watched Sanjeev Kapoor prepare this Tofu recipe on his cookery show which I had hurriedly scribbled in my dairy for later use.
The day finally arrived for me to prepare this Sandwich spread. I had some left over Tofu (after preparing Tofu Bhurji on the previous day) so thought I will try his recipe. But soon realized that I do not have the two ingredients mentioned in it namely; sun-dried tomatoes and pickled onions. So I substituted these items with tomato sauce and ginger and proceeded with his recipe.

I am happy to say that it turned out really good. It so happened that the next day, I had some close relatives who dropped by and since they are foodies, I asked them to sample it and give their opinion. I was pleased to see that they too enjoyed it.

You too can try your own version of this healthy and tasty spread instead of using the fat laden butter for sandwiches !

Tofu Sandwich Spread


Tofu 100 gms
Hung Yoghurt 1/2 cup
Green chilies 1-2
Tomato sauce 4 tsps
Ginger (chopped) 1 inch piece
Salt As per taste


  1. Drain the block of tofu and cut them into quarters. Squeeze out any moisture by pressing it with your hand and then place it in a blender.
  2. Add all the other ingredients (mentioned above) to it and blend it to a fine paste. The paste will resemble Thousand Island dressing.
  3. Remove it into a bowl and your Tofu Sandwich Spread is ready.
  4. Apply this spread instead of butter on the bread slices and have a healthy breakfast.


Preparation time: 15 mins
No cooking required


I used whole wheat bread and made sandwiches with sliced tomatoes, cucumber and capsicum and sprinkled freshly ground pepper on top.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


“Airaawat” is a very tasty chutney and this is not to be confused with the white elephant of Indra ! 

During the recent Ganesh festival celebrations at our ancestral home in Katapady (Udupi district), as usual, I was going around to see what new dishes the cook is churning out this time. He drew my attention to “Airaawat” which was in the process of completion. This was something new to me but looked simple and good. He rattled off the ingredients and the method. I mentally made a note of it. He also told me that there are different versions to this recipe.

So naturally, after the “pooja” and the “aarti” as we all sat for the sumptuous lunch prasad, I was looking forward to this new item to be served. As soon as it was served, I quickly had a taste of it. I loved it! It was a perfect blend of three tastes – sweet, sour and spicy and the crunchiness of the chopped ingredients (ginger, chilies and coriander leaves) leave a wonderful taste in the mouth. Try it out and see it for yourself.




For grinding

Grated Coconut
1/2 cup
Dry red chilies
1 lemon (small) size ball
Jaggery powder
About 4-5 tsps
As per taste
For tempering

1-2 tsps
Mustard seeds
1 tsp
Curry leaves
1 sprig
For Garnishing

Finely chopped coriander leaves
1 small bunch
Finely chopped green chilies
Finely chopped fresh ginger
1 inch piece


  1. First grind all the ingredients mentioned under “for grinding” into a fine paste adding very little water. Transfer it into a bowl.
  2. Next heat a tempering pan and oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts spluttering and the curry leaves. Give it stir and pour the contents into the bowl contiaining the ground paste.
  3. Finaly add all the chopped ingredients mentioned under “For Garnish” into the bowl and mix well.
  4. Airaawat is now ready to be served.


Preparation time : 25 mins
Cooking time : about 3-4 mins
Serves : 3-4 persons

  • This can be eaten with idli or dosa or even as an accompaniment to rice and daal or curd rice.
  • During the festival, I had this with "Khotto" (Idli made in jackfruit leaves). 
  • The chopped items for garnish should be mixed just before serving to preserve the crunchiness of ginger, green chilies and coriander leaves.