Blogging by Mail (BBM) is a food blog event with a difference, where bloggers escape from their virtual world and send each other "real" packages using snail mail.
The incredible Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness hosted yet another version of BBM this month and the theme was to send your five favorite indulgences.
My gift came all the way from Australia, from ms fifkins. All the gifts she chose were local favorites and things unique to Australia, which was so exciting for me. They celebrate native food and support the local economy. I got a set of tea-towels, beautifully embroidered with a green tree frog that is unique to Australia, a package of pasta in cute kaola shapes and a green tomato spread that I can't wait to taste.
The most unique part of the package were three spices that are completely new to me. One is wattleseed, which smells nutty and rich. The second is lemon myrtle leaf with a heady citrus aroma. The third is a savory herb, dried saltbush flakes. It is going to be fun experimenting with these new flavors!
My own package also traveled a long way, to Finland. See all the coming and goings of the BBM packages here.
Coming to the recipe countdown...
When I need a solid start to the day, a meal that will keep me going for hours on end, I turn to the trusted combination of idli (steamed rice-lentil cakes) and sambar (vegetable and lentil stew). I have recipes for each for these, but there are dozens of ways to steam an idli and hundreds of ways to cook up sambar so there's always room to learn and experiment.
Recipe #22 is Poha Idli, my new favorite recipe for idlis. I first noticed the recipe on Nandita's blog, The Saffron Trail. The original is from Sanjeev Kapoor.
What I love about it:
a) It is the perfect, tidy small-scale recipe. You need wee amounts of ingredients (half cup of ural dal, 1 cup of idli rava) and I can make exactly one batch of idlis in my 16-well idli steamer. This is still enough for two brunches!
b) The grinding can be done in my food processor. The food processor grinds ural dal to a silky smooth consistency, and the idli rava only needs a whirl since it is already ground. This means for a small batch I can avoid using the huge wet grinder.
c) The recipe calls for a small amount of poha (beaten rice flakes) to be added in, and those seem to really get the fermentation going, which is especially helpful in winter.
The only change I make to the recipe is to grind a few fenugreek seeds into the batter.
Here are the soft, fluffy idlis:
And for idli-dunking purposes, I finally got to try Recipe #21: Arachuvitta sambar, which takes sambar to a whole new level by using a freshly ground spice-coconut paste. I used Shammi's recipe. The results were divine. With just a handful of pantry ingredients, you get the most aromatic, mellow, flavorful sambar. The few extra minutes spent making the coconut paste are completely worth it!
The great thing about making a sambar with fresh coconut is that I don't feel like a separate coconut chutney is required; this seems like a 2-in-1 deal.
And with this satisfying brunch, we were ready to head off to the holiday concert in the botanical garden.
I hope you are enjoying your weekend too!