Archive | January, 2011

Spicy Rice Flour Dough Balls (My Very Popular Khichi)

31 Jan

Spicy Rice Flour Dough Balls (My Very Popular Khichi)

Hot summer days during the school holidays, mother and aunties (in the broader sense, meaning women of mum’s age) in the kitchen boisterous and rosy. The wooden fence between us and the neighbours has been worn down to stubble from ever frequent visits by the neighbours kids indelicately climbing over them and aunties leaning over the fence, chit-chatting languidly after a hard day’s work.

The kitchen was spicy-steamy even though the windows and doors were wide open; the gleeful kids were darting between kitchen and garden. My mum would pick the hottest and least breezy days to make rice flour poppadum’s and I was the contented assistant; these goings-on were tradition for summer holidays. Mum and aunts simmered the chillies and spices in hot water leaving us all coughing, before adding the flour to make dough. It’s OK; we had strawberries and fresh fruit juices to distract our throats. They rolled the oiled dough to poppadum shapes; just a couple of millimetres thick and it was my starring role to lay them onto cleaned (but unwanted) wafting saris in the garden.  I collected heavy stones and bricks, full of purpose in my loud yellow and green floral dresses, to ensure the saris were controlled and I lay the papdi (the particular variety of poppadum) neatly, not overlapping them.   Barefoot in on the summer garden slabs, I enjoyed the heat under my feet.  I’d find a shady spot to intermittently paint under, whilst I safeguarded the poppadum’s from birds and insects too, or maybe it was the Bollywood music booming (and women singing) from the kitchen that did that!

The plan was to let the sun dry the dough out completely. Once dried out and microwaved or fried they taste impressively crunchy and crispy. They are deeper and slightly chewier than the poppadums you will find in restaurants, but they remain my favourite variety.  The smooth and slippery dough itself is delectably Moorish. When steamed its spongy, a little chewy, overflowing with punch and undeniably gutsy. Funnily enough the steamed dough is often eaten as a snack, with a little oil that’s infused with salt and chilli powder. Greasy fingers are typically all that remain once a plate of these gently green balls are served. Try it; tell me how you like it.

Khichi

Deena’s Spicy Rice Flour Dough Balls; My Very Popular Kichi

Ingredients

3-4 green chillies, minced

800ml of water

1 ½ tsp. of cumin seeds

1 tsp. of carom seeds/ajwain

Salt to taste

½ tsp. of ground cinnamon

375g of rice flour

Method serves 4-5

  1. Pour the specified amount of water into a deep pan, before adding the spices and seasonings with the minced chillies and bring it to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down and continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes
  2. Take a long wooden spoon and gently pour in the rice flour and beat into the water, avoiding clumps forming. Do this quickly, before removing the dough from the heat
  3. Pour the dough into a large plate and grease your palms. Form flattened balls of about 5-6cm diameter and dip your thumb in the centre to create a well (keep the well empty though) and then steam for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove onto a plate and serve with oil infused with chilli powder and salt.

The Mumbai Sarnie

10 Jan

The
Mumbai Sarnie
Mumbai Sandwich

It would have been inconceivable to have even the tiniest hair on
my legs under that thin green cotton skirt which didn’t even puff
around my ankles in the monsoon heat. I was fortunate that it
didn’t stick. Not a mane or even some stubble…nothing that would
interrupt the flow of moisture shall we say. What? It’s not me…it’s
the July heat in a combustive Mumbai.

My sister-in-law’s sunny mum introduced me to a pleasure that I have since hankered for again and again. The recollection of it conjures up and celebrates the delicate aroma of buttery and toasted bread, tantalizing green chutney and a moist, tumbling filling. Smooth potatoes,cheese, and juicy tomatoes, sweet beetroot cooling cucumber all flirted together amidst the spikiness of peppery and salty chaat masala. When the secret was first revealed to me, I was preparingfor a pre-wedding a trip to shopping-heaven-Mumbai. ‘Auntie’ gave me an unabridged list of shops and boutiques and bazaars to visit, which was hugely helpful. But, she did stress the absolute importance of requesting ‘the sandwich’ whilst in an air conditioned sari shop. Not just any sandwich, but THE sandwich.

Auntie’s face filled with glee and she became quite poetic andinstructing; I thought, ‘what’s the big deal, it’s just a
sandwich’. Seven years andseveral trips to Mumbai later, I was back at the shabby looking,crowd beholding and sacred street shack of the ultimate sandwich. It was July then and tangerineand rust are the colours I think of now. Stifled in the heat, I waited whilst being tossed around and blended with outgoing people traffic from the bazaar behind me and incoming traffic into the more upmarket sari boutique. I felt dribbles down my back andrecognizing that I should have worn a looser vest, became increasingly exasperated. My lower back was aching – and to add to the experience I
was further pressed to queasiness and stuffiness as itwas my time-of-the-month darn it! But I waited.

Behold the sandwich. Husband arrives with boxes; scents are sending tummy rumbling, we rush into air conditioned cab. Try sliding across seats, unsuccessful. Why? Skirt decides to stick. Mother Nature’s monthly calling left me decidedly icky and needing water but devour sarnie I did.

So, I’m going to share it with you; my take on the recipe that is. My inspiring and full-of-life friend
Milan whom I would say is probably just as in love with the ‘friendship sandwich’ as I am, may seem to spend more time and infinite joy in India, but I have the sarnie at home. Aha! Idedicate this recipe to Bharti Auntie and Milan.

To make two sarnies
Ingredients
for the Green
Chutney;
80g of coriander, with stalks
and leaves 2 green chillies 2 tbsp. of water 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
2 inch stick of ginger Approximately 10 peanuts Salt to taste
Ingredients for the
sarnies

6 slices of bread Butter or

margarine to spread on the toast

150g of new potatoes 100g of

grated cheddar cheese

80g of cucumber, cut into 1cm cubes 5-6
cherry tomatoes, cubed

80g cooked Beetroot, cut into 1cm cubes

About 1tsp of chaat masala Ingredients for the Mumbai Sandwich Method

  1. To make the green chutney, grind together all of the
    ingredients until it’s a smooth paste. If the paste is too thick,
    add a little more water.
  2. Boil the new potatoes
    until soft enough to pierce; this should take 7-8minutes. Allow
    them to cool, before slicing them thinly
  3. Toast
    the bread and butter each slice. To make each sandwich, take a
    single slice of buttered toast and then spread a thin layer of
    green chutney onto it
  4. Layer the potatoes,
    beetroot, cheese, cucumber and tomatoes onto the layer of bread and
    then sprinkle about ¼ tsp. of chaat masala onto the
    bread
  5. Top this with another slice of buttered
    toast and green chutney and repeat so that you have a three layer
    sandwich.

Inside the Mumbai Sandwich Eat and enjoy. I know you’ll love it.

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