Friday 5 February 2021

Making Bengali style Khichuri

Khichadi on a cold, misty and wet January afternoon is just what one needs. Simple wholesome comfort food.
Khichuri requires a variety of vegetables. 
Carrots, beans, radish cut into batons, peas, cabbage cut into fine strips.
Large florets of cauliflower and small potatoes.
Sambar onion peeled, raw mango sliced fine.
Coriander leaves and stalks chopped. 
Finely chopped or pureed tomatoes. 
Chopped onions
Yellow moong dal, Masoor dal and a small grain rice like Jeera Samba. Use raw rice and par boiled rice.
The Yellow Moong dal should be dry roasted such that the raw smell disappears and the dal turns a light golden colour.
Soak the two dals and the rice in water for atleast an hour.
Spices - large black cardamom,  cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, whole pepper, turmeric and red chilli powder.
The florets of cauliflower and potatoes should be fried in oil and kept aside.

Heat oil in a kadai and fry all the dry spices till they give off a lovely aroma, see that the spices don't burn.
Next add the ginger garlic paste and chopped onions and fry. Add a little water if the mixture is too dry. Add a heaped teaspoon of salt.
Once the onions and ginger garlic paste have fried well and the oil separates, add the chopped tomatoes or pureed tomatoes and continue frying.
Next add the coriander stalks.
Then the slit green chillies. Continue to fry, stirring the mixture constantly. 
Add the dry powders - the turmeric and the chilli powder.
Add the harder vegetables like the carrots, beans, peas, and radish , raw mango, sambar onions and fry.
Any other vegetables get added to the mixture next . Then the dals and rice which have been soaking in water for about an hour are strained and added to the mixture and fried. Finally the fried and lightly browned cauliflower, potatoes and a generous spoonful of mango pickle if you have it in your pantry are added.
The entire mixture is put into a pressure cooker and sufficient water added such that there an inch or two of water above the mixture in the pressure cooker.
Cook for two whistles. The khichuri should be done.
If the khichuri is dry, add water and mix everything up. Adjust seasoning.
The most important step comes next. Add generous quantities of ghee and mix. Sprinkle coriander leaves on top.
The Khichuri is ready to serve.
Serve onion pakoras, masala scrambled eggs, pappads, pickle, or dal badas as accompaniments to the Khichuri.

Ze Gumnaam  Khichuri :)

Ingredients - 

Large black cardamom - 1
Small green cardamom - 5
Cinnamon - a few small pieces
Pepper - 1/2 tsp 
Bay leaves - 3
Cloves- 4
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp 
Sugar - 1 tbsp 
Onion - 2 large thinly sliced
Ginger paste - 1.5 tsp
Garlic - 1.5 tsp
Radish - 1 large chopped into large cubes
Cauliflower - 3/4 of a medium sized one roughly break the florets in large pieces by hand
Cabbage - thinly chop 1/2 a cup 
Peas - 1/4 cup
Finely chopped or pureed tomatoes - 2 large
Potatoes - 4 small sized ones, peel and keep them whole
Green Beans - 10 beans chopped into 3 pieces each
Carrots - 2 medium sized ones chopped into 4 pieces each other
Green chillies - slice through the middle and add as per your spice tolerance. 
Raw mango - thinly slice and add 1/4 cup
Small Pearl onions - 1/2 cup peeled ones
Spices and frying mediums - 
Ghee - 1tbsp per person :)
Any White oil of your choice (apart from coconut oil)- 40gms
Yellow Moong daal - 
Musoor daal - 
Any fragrant rice - small grain jeera samba is best else use basmati. Use raw rice not the parboiled variety 
Green chillies pickle or a spicy Mango pickle - 2 tsp 
Freshly grated coconut - 3 tsp (optional depends on your preference)
Coriander stalks - clean very well to remove the mud and chop finely. Use 1/4 cup 
Coriander leaves - a generous fistful finely chopped

Prep work-
1. Wash and prep all the veggies 
2. Take a kadai and dry fry the moong daal till it's light golden and then soak it in water 
3. Wash the rice and moong daal and soak it in water along with the dry roasted moong daal. The daal and rice should soak for an hour to soften
4. Heat some oil and lightly fry the peeled potatoes till they start getting a slightly golden hue and set them aside. Repeat with the large cauliflower florets. Larger the florets the better for your khichdi :)
Do not add salt or cook the cauliflower or potatoes completely. Just a very light fry.

I was fortunate to have a dear friend make me a pressure cooker full of yummy Khichuri, accompanied with dal badas, egg bhurji, pickle and papadams.

It made for wonderful lunch party and was thoroughly enjoyed by friends who shared the meal. 

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Farmers Market at Littlearth Square, Ooty

Lovely winter day.
Delightful way to spend a Sunday.
The Farmers Market at Littlearth Square had food, music and stalls selling home made pickles jams, spices and handicrafts.

Toda embroidery. 
Tables to eat a snack or meal. 

Lazer cut ref magnets, coasters, and lapel pins. 
A young girl selling dream catcher's and painted bottles.

Connie Hereford who made Bilberry jam when we were in school.
She had a whole array of jams, jellies and pickles. No Bilberry jam, because the trees are being cut down.
Love the fact that she recycles bottles.
Our haul from the Farmers Market.
Pear preserve, Guava Jelly,  Guava Cheese, Rhubarb preserve, Fish with Brinjal pickle and Mushroom and Prawn pickle and dalle kursani.

Tuesday 27 October 2020


On a roadtrip last month we bought custard apples. 
We choose to buy fruit which is locally grown and we like to support small businesses.
Back home we quarantined ourselves for a week and that gave a lot of time to do everything at leisure. The husband decided to count the seeds of the custard apple he ate for breakfast. An even number of seeds.
All the custard apples that we ate had an even number of seeds. Most intriguing. 
A few weeks later we bought a couple of custard apples. These were larger, the skin was leathery and there was a lot more of the custardy fruit than seeds. 
Had to count the seeds. This variety had an odd number of seeds.
I had to compare notes with my friends and I discovered the smaller custard apple always has an even number of seeds. Someones mother has counted the number of kernels on corn cobs and she found that it's always an even number. Chikoos or Sapota have three seeds.
Have you ever been intrigued enough to count the seeds in a fruit or vegetable? What did you discover?

I wonder why certain fruit have an even number of seeds while some others have an odd number.

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Food experiments with the Panniyaram patra.

It's been too long that Take Diversion has been neglected.
I intend to pay more attention and record my experiments and discoveries about food in this space. For the moment there will be no travel or restaurants to visit.
An interesting outcome of lockdowns and quaratines because of Covid19 has been the need to make changes, take diversions  in our lives and lifestyles. I for one have started taking a keen interest in the ingredients I use, trying out new recipes. Listening to talks about food on Insta live and using cookware which I have had with me and haven't used.      
One such is this heavy brass paniyaram patra. This was bought about five years ago and kept in a cupboard.   
During the lockdown it happened to be jackfruit season and we got a couple of fruit which were delicious. We ate the fruit for breakfast and after lunch and as a snack but I wanted to make something with the fruit so I looked online for recipes which use ripe jackfruit. There were payasam recipes which I had made the previous year, then I came across a recipe for jackfruit panniyaram.
Here was a chance to break out the brass panniyaram patram too.
Here's the recipe I followed


Idli rice – 1 cup

Jackfruit pieces – 3

Jaggery – 3/4 cup

Cardamom – 1

Grated coconut – 3 tbsp

Salt – 1/4 tsp

Ghee – As needed


Remove the seeds and the thin skin around it and collect the edible flesh of the jackfruit pieces. Chop roughly.

Wash and soak idli rice for 3 hrs minimum. Drain water completely and grind it in a mixer, with jaggery, jack fruit and cardamom, to a smooth batter.

Transfer to a mixing bowl, add salt and grated coconut and mix well.

Heat paniyaram pan and grease with few drops of ghee and pour the batter. Cook on a medium or low flame. After 2 mins, flip and cook with more ghee drizzled over. When both sides are golden and cooked from inside, transfer to serving bowl.
Next time pieces of the jackfruit should be added to the batter so there's more fruit to bite into.
Since making the jackfruit panniyarams the panniyaram patram is being used regularly. 
Omlette curry is made atleast once a week.
Since the easing of lockdown restrictions we have been socialising with our neighbours. 
One such evening when we decided to meet for drinks, I made these bacon and corn panniyarams. 
There was dosa batter in the fridge, a large packet of bacon in the freezer as was a packet of corn.
Fried the bacon in it's own fat, chopped it up into pieces and added it to the dosa batter along with the corn and a pinch of salt and some peri peri sauce.

The bacon and corn panniyarams were a hit. Makes for a great snack or as finger food with drinks.

Next to try are little pannicakes. Pancake batter with a dollop of homemade strawberry or plum jam. 
Quickly made because all the ingredients are usually there in the pantry and it will be great with a hot cup of tea on a cold day when the unexpected guest drops in.
A friend makes vadas in the panniyaram patram and uses the vadas to make dahi vadas.

Do you have a panniyaram patram? Is it a heirloom and does it have food memories associated with it? What do you make in it besides panniyarams?

Covid 19 has me delving into food traditions and history. So many interesting facts and stories.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Cafe Thulp in Koramangala

One of my favourite restaurants in Koramangala is Cafe Thulp.
I love it for it's casual atmosphere, manga and comic book inspired interior decor and menu design and of course the food.
The hubby and I go for the hamburgers always. Here's my order of Mooburger beef with cheese and bacon. If you are famished then there are doubles but this is satisfying. 
To go with the hamburger I ordered the Crazy Cuke. Love the fact that they have paper straws.
 Service is quick and efficient. The staff are polite and non obtrusive.
   While waiting to be served I took in the manga inspired artwork on the walls and took pictures of the menu which is a great piece of art in itself.

 The names of dishes and their description are marvellous don't you think. They should think of selling copies of their menus or create a zine inspired by their menu. I'll be first in line to buy.

 Vegetarians won't be at a loss, they are well cared for.
 I need to order the Tellicherry Tangle next time we are in Bangalore.
We love the Cafe Thulp in 1st Block, Koramangala, have been visiting since it opened its doors.
Owing to the popularity there are branches, it's a possibility there's one in your hood.

No.21, CPR Layout Road. 22, 2nd Main Rd, Kammanahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560084.
Phone 080 4160 6452

and Bellandur, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 103.
Phone 080 4965 3062