Sunday, August 19, 2012

A week of vegetables, and eggplant dal

You know what I love even better than local food? Local food blogs. I read a long list of St. Louis based food blogs and always find interesting information on restaurants and stores, events and places that I would never hear of otherwise. This week, my penchant for reading St. Louis based blogs reaped me a large vegetable harvest. 

It started when Melissa of Her Green Life posted that she had too much of a good thing with an overflowing garden harvest that was keeping her tied to the kitchen. I proposed a swap: I would trade some of my home-cooked Indian food for her vegetables. Happily, she accepted and came over on Monday. I pictured her bringing over a grocery sack or two full of vegetables. Nope. There was a huge box of tomatoes. A huge sack of cucumbers and summer squash. A bucket (!) of eggplant. Plus arugula and okra and bags of peppers. I was blown away by Melissa's generosity and thus started the week of vegetables. I cooked and cooked and we (V and I and also many of our friends) enjoyed fresh, organically grown vegetables in so many different ways: curries and rice dishes and pestos and salads and pickles. The week went by in a blur of gorgeous, colorful vegetables. 

Tomatoes on their way to being slow roasted for 12 hours 

A jewel-like assortment of peppers of all kinds: mild, sweet and hot
Red pepper chutney and tomato pickle
In celebration of this summer vegetable fest, I thought I would post an eggplant recipe. This is one I made a few weeks ago. It is a humble staple of the everyday Maharashtrian meal- DalVangi or eggplant  dal. Just your simple pantry ingredients plus fresh, sweet seasonal eggplant will give you this savory dal. The goda masala (the quintessential Maharashtrian spice mix) is absolutely optional so if you don't have any, rest assured that you will get tasty results anyway (I often make it without goda masala). My favorite way to serve it is with fresh, steamed rice, a dollop of ghee and some mango pickle on the side. 

The recipe is adapted from the Marathi cookbook Ruchira by Kamalabai Ogale. It is not just a cookbook but an encyclopedia of Maharashtrian cooking. I'll spend a lifetime exploring this cookbook (actually, a set of 2 books). 


DalVangi
Eggplant Dal 
(Adapted from Ruchira by Kamalabai Ogale) 

  1. Soak, rinse and pressure cook 1 cup toor dal.
  2. While the dal is cooking, make a dry spice mix by toasting 1 tbsp. coriander seeds, 2 tsp. cumin seeds and 1/4 cup dry coconut flakes and then grinding them to a fine powder.
  3. Chop eggplant (any size, any variety) into cubes to yield 3 to 4 cups.
  4. To make the dal, heat 2 tsp. oil. Make a tempering with 1 tsp. mustard seeds, a pinch of asafetida, a sprig of curry leaves and 1/2 tsp. turmeric.
  5. Immediately, add eggplant cubes and salt to taste and saute for several minutes. Cover and let the eggplant steam for a few minutes until par-cooked.
  6. Add cooked dal, 2 tsp. tamarind paste, 1 tbsp. jaggery powder and the dry spice mix made in step 2. You could also add 1 tsp. goda masala at this point.
  7. Add enough water to make a thick or thin consistency as desired and bring to a boil. Simmer until the eggplant is fully cooked.
  8. Add a handful of minced cilantro and serve. 

Here's another fun experience that came to me this week via another local blog called St. Louis Eats and Drinks. Ann Lemons Pollack wrote a restaurant review with an interesting nugget at the end about a halwa poori brunch special at a restaurant near our home. Within 12 hours of reading the review, V and I were in Spice -n- Grill (owned by a couple where the wife is the chef and the husband is at the front of the house), tucking into this meal. Ah, the joy of puffy fried bread dipped into two spicy curries, and a contrasting sweet halwa to top things off. Don't miss this if you live in St. Louis.

I'll definitely go back for this meal, even though the lady who owns the place spotted Lila, then told me in no uncertain terms that she looks too small for her age, and proceeded to tell me what I should be feeding her to fatten her up. Yeah, brunch was inexpensive and the advice- totally free!


Do you seek out food blogs local to you? I will miss my favorite STL food blogs very much when I move. Athens, GA (our new home) does not have any food blogs that I know of. 

On The Bookshelf

Apart from vegetables, I've been devouring books this week. Lila likes to nap on my lap, and while she naps, I read. After she goes to bed, I read. And lately, all the books have been outstanding and ones that I highly want to recommend to anyone who cares to listen.

The first two fall into the category of Mama Goes to Parenting School and will be of special interest to those with kids.

What's Eating Your Child by Kelly Dorfman is written by a nutritionist and explores the link between nutrition and common (and uncommon) childhood ailments. My two favorite things about this book:
1. It is written without judgement in a sensible tone with practical advice.
2. It is highly readable, presented in the form of case studies where the readers get to play along as "nutrition detectives". It is not every day that a book on this subject is such a page-turner. It will be interesting even for those who don't usually enjoy reading non-fiction.
Some interesting concepts that I took away from this book:

1. Nutrition problems fall into two categories: either something that the child is eating is bothering the body, or the child is not getting enough of something. Sometimes both these things can occur at the same time.
2. Kids act badly when they are not feeling well. They are often unable to express discomfort or pain and instead they act out and misbehave. Instead of punishment, parents may need to dig deeper and find out if something in the diet is making the child act out.
3. Many children are picky eaters (often eating only plain "white" foods like bread, rice, pasta, milk and little else). Consider that the child might have a zinc deficiency which causes loss of sense of smell and taste making food unappetizing or even revolting. This problem can be easily corrected with a zinc supplement. The author also provides a simple program for trying new foods one bite at a time to expand a picky eater's food repertoire.
4. Individuals have very different reactions to common foods. Many kids are intolerant of dairy or gluten. If the child has a mysterious illness which has not been helped by conventional medicine, it is worthwhile to look for nutritional causes.
5. This book is about children's nutrition but many of the same concepts apply to adults.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish is one of the most beloved and famous parenting books, and for VERY good reason. 
Faber and Mazlish are very down-to-earth and respectful of both parents and children. In an easy to understand workbook style, with very specific examples and tips, they lay out ways to better communicate with children. If you find yourself struggling to make your kids do something (or stop doing something), and it seems like all parents are caught in this struggle, this book is absolutely worth a read. How many times do you see a child and a parent together, and soon enough, you hear cajoling, arguing, then perhaps a voice raised, then threats and tears? I will be buying this book and essentially memorizing it. And while it covers communication with kids, the principles apply to communication with just about everybody. So much of the stress in life comes from being frustrated with the people in our life, and learning better ways to communicate is so worth the time.

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
Neighbor girl was surprised to see me reading this book. I didn't know you liked tennis, she said. And I didn't know you liked Andre Agassi. Well, long story. I am no sports fan but tennis does have a special place in my heart. My sister played competitive tennis in the junior (Under 12 and Under 14) category at the district and state level and while I've never held a racket in my life, tennis was a big part of my life at one point. We watched matches incessantly and followed the careers of all the pros. I took her to tennis tournaments occasionally. At the junior level, the chaperones (parents, other relatives) of the kids would double up as umpires (also as ball boys) so I knew the rules of tennis enough to be able to call matches. Anyway, we had our favorite players and I loved Steffi Graf (such a dignified and no-nonsense player) and hated Andre Agassi (full of every kind of nonsense). 
Now those two are married to each other- go figure. Anyway, this book is an EXCELLENT read. I recommend that you read it whether you care about tennis or not. This book is about parenting. It is about life and the crazy journey it can be. It was very hard to read about Agassi's cruel and violent father, endearing to read about his romance with Graf, and overall the book is just a funny and a rollicking good read. Seriously. And Andre Agassi has a new fan in me.


The last two books fall into the category of children's literature or kid lit. Many adults enjoy kid lit books. The good ones are every bit as deep and memorable and touching as the best literature for grown ups. I picked up these two at the suggestion of bloggers that I like and admire and sure enough, they were very good reads.

The first recommendation came from Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. She is crazy about kid lit and in the first installment of her book club, mentioned The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars, calling it "a perfect book". This book moved me to tears, made me laugh and had a happy ending. Perfect indeed.

The second recommendation came from my favorite book blog, Niranjana's Brown Paper in an author interview. Vanished by Sheela Chari took me straight back to my childhood summers and reading mysteries while munching on salty snacks. Read this book and escape from your grown up worries for a few hours.

Did you have a good week? What was the highlight of your week? See you in a few!

55 comments:

  1. lol at the well-meaning full of advise aunts and grandmas :) Honestly for the first 8-months we have been bouncing with the baby advise from "she seems too small" to "look at those healthy chubby chics" to "small for 8-month old, isn't she".. best to laugh along and go on :)

    The red pepper chutney and tomato pickle looks so yummy! Hoping you would post those recipes in future..

    Thanks for the book recommendations. Look forward to reading the parenting books.. in the middle of a Mma Ramostwe tell at the moment (thoroughly enjoying - as always)

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    1. The free advice for babies is pretty much universal! Everyone is an expert :)
      I read two Mma Ramotswe books last month and those were some happy moments for me.
      The tomato pickle is from Indira's recipe (my only change was to add mustard seeds to the tempering, and I eyeballed the proportions of the ingredients): http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/?p=886

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    2. Oh, and I made the red pepper chutney with almost that same recipe too. Only added some coriander and cumin seeds to it.

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  2. So many fresh veggies, what fun !! Its great that you can connect with food bloggers there...I havent found any food blogger in Ahmedabad, so really miss out on any such interactions. Thankfully, I have connected with some food bloggers in Bangalore, so did get a chance to meet up with them last time I was there...Looking forward to the red pepper chutney recipe
    And yeah, free advice, happens anywhere in the world right ?

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    1. Bangalore seems to have a thriving food blog community! I don't know of any food bloggers in Gujarat other than you. Very glad you are representing Gujarat :)
      I wasn't planning on posting the red pepper chutney but feel free to e-mail me if you want the exact recipe. It was a modification of this recipe from Indira:
      http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/?p=886

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  3. Never reached out to food bloggers in such a manner, seems so sweet and everything looks so fresh and colourful, you gonna miss this place a lot for sure :)

    even I've bookmarked this brinjal dal for long time now, will prepare soon, thanks for the reminder will prepare soon...

    hows dale doing ?? loads of love to Lila :)

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    1. Dale's doing OK but getting old, poor guy! Thanks for asking. I'll post an update on him in my next post.

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  4. Thanks, Nupur! Glad to hear about the meal at Spice-n-Grill. You've always got a mouthwatring blog.

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    1. Thanks for all the reviews you post, Ann! I always enjoy reading them.

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  5. Hi,
    Our garden has also been gifting us plenty of cucumbers (khamang kakdi and tzatziki regularly!), zucchini (use your peeler to peel long strips like pasta, add lemon juice, cumin powder, coriander powder, chopped garlic, salt and let sit; or cooked with couscous seasonings with carrots, potatoes, turnips), tomatoes (roasted and frozen for winter tourin) and most of all a lovely provencale dish called tian where you slice zucchini, vaangi, tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, a little goat cheese, cover and bake for an hour... ohhh! Your tomato pickle looks divine....will you share the recipe? also, if you have not tried this yet, try making a Slata Mechouia...roast tomatoes, onions, green chillies, garlic (with skin), green and red peppers...skin, blitz gently, add cumin, fennel coriander powders, lemon juice and olive oil and olives...
    My mum made vangi-daal and I have a little bit left in the frezer for our son who returns tomorrow from France. He has asked for Ajji's food for his first meal back home... Thanks for your ideas, Ujwala

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    1. I love all your recipe ideas! The tian sounds especially tasty.
      The tomato pickle is from Indira's recipe (my only change was to add mustard seeds to the tempering, and I eyeballed the proportions of the ingredients): http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/?p=886

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  6. So good to get an update from you, Nupur! The vegetables look wonderful. I am going to have to try slow roasted tomatoes, our pear tomato plant is going crazy and we're drowning in them. I'm sure Lila is perfect exactly as she is. People are weird! :)

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    1. Hi Holly! We should get together for a knitting session or something before I leave town. You haven't even met Lila. She's a little peanut but yes, perfect just as she is. Some people want babies to look like butterball turkeys!

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  7. All those veggie dishes look great! What did you cook for her in return? :) What a tasty dhal that is... i don't remember cooking eggplants that way at all. Loved the book reviews and I need to get a copy of 'how to talk to kids...' soon! :) Wishing you a good move to GA.

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    1. I cooked her idlis and sambar, beet koshimbir (Maharashtrian salad), egg biryani, eggplants in peanut sesame sauce and tomato rasam. You'll love the "How to Talk.." book, it is loaded with useful information.

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  8. Hi Nupur,

    I've never roasted anything for that long. What did you set your oven temperature to? I'll try this in winter. I can imagine how much fun it must be to cook with so many fresh vegetables. I'm going to cook the eggplant daal tonight; can't resist anything with eggplant in it.

    I read a book you suggested a few posts earlier (The forgotten Affairs of Youth); it was a great read. Your description of Andre Agassi and his book make me want to read it now, but it has to wait for a while. I just started reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

    cheers,
    Suchi

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    1. Suchi, the oven temperature is very low. 200 degrees F. Here's the complete recipe (incidentally, from another St. Louis blogger): http://www.kitchenparade.com/2007/08/slow-roasted-tomatoes.php
      "The Immortal Life..." was an incredible book. What a story, very well narrated, I liked it especially because I've worked with HeLa cells for many years.

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  9. I love the pictures of the tomatoes and peppers -- beautifully arranged and photographed. It's so easy to get caught up in feeling inundated by the harvest and miss the beauty.

    Is this eggplant dal the dish you brought us, or something different? We really enjoyed everything you made for us -- so glad the swap worked!

    You've also reminded me that I need to dig out my copy of "How to Talk . . ." and finish reading it. I started it over a year ago and set it aside when Gabriel was born, but I totally agree with your assessment -- a very good communication tool.

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    1. That's what I enjoyed the most, Melissa- the beauty of these vegetables. Each one had a unique shape and color. Just gorgeous.
      The eggplant dish I bought you was different from this one. Here's the recipe for that dish: http://onehotstove.blogspot.com/2011/08/peanut-sesame-vegetable-curry.html

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  10. I am curious as to what you made with those roasted tomatoes. I love the bright red of your Tomato pickle. Tomato pickle raita is the best, give it a try - whisk yogurt and you know what to do :)

    That poori plate has made me crave for some poori with potato masala and halwa. This weekend maybe.

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    1. I made a sauce/pesto with the roasted tomatoes (also had garlic in there) and then used the pesto in a pasta salad. Basically, this recipe with roasted tomatoes instead of roasted peppers: http://onehotstove.blogspot.com/2012/08/processors-pesto-and-pins.html
      The tomato pickle raita sounds freaking fantastic but my tomato pickle got over in 3 days :( LOL

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  11. Oh Nupur what a lovely idea this vegie & meal swap is! I wonder how this would work in Mumbai. Not the veggie part for sure, because space is a big constraint in this city that can only grow vertically.

    Swapping cooked meals or shopping for groceries in bulk and then sharing may help since the ratio of working mothers is very high in this city. Please, could you give a few tips on how to take this forward? I don't know any other food blogger but I do know a few other working mothers in my vicinity.

    I still can't figure out how you find time to read so much besides working, mothering, wifeing (if ever there is a word like that), blogging, knitting, gardening, entertaining..... and I don't know what else you do.

    Don't bother about comments on baby Lila. There are a sizable number of people whose welcoming comments to the young and old are 'Oh my GAAWWDD, You've put on so much WEIGHTTT' or 'You look so WEEEKKK'

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    1. Viola, it is an excellent idea to swap groceries or cooked meals. As for tips on doing that, I would go for something simple and informal. Just call/e-mail a friend and ask her if she is interested. Then each of you pick one dish that you make very well and meet up and swap. There's nothing more to it, if you both enjoy it, you could do it again.
      YES, there are people who greet you with comments about how you look etc. I've never understood that. A simple hello can suffice :)

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  12. Love the tomatoes snap! I hope you are packing up in as relaxed a way as possible.. :)

    I like how "selfless" you are, when it comes to food! Weirdly, when I cook something and it turns out well, I will be so bummed to share it with friends! I will want to eat all of it myself with a little share for husband!!! (I realized after much thought, that when I share with friends-they start giving me their so called tips to improve the dish.. and the husband does not remember taste anyway! So I think it's a reward to eat it myself!!) Thanks to you mentioning about sharing often, I am reminding myself to not be so stupid and selfish.

    In the previous post, when I asked how you prepared Lila for day care, I meant:

    "I dont know of an Indian working mother here, who sent her baby to day care before 9 months. So, what does it take more/different to give the baby the best food and health given that it's still getting used to the world so much? How did you the mother manage the stress/work load?(since you are also just coming out of post partum - not sure if thats the right term :D) What are the areas you seeked help from the husband? (because am a bad delegator and of course both should be doing stuff to make things going!)"

    I thought it will be a long post or series to write on (and may help others who knows), but if you prefer email you can certainly email me! I would love it!

    (oops. too long a comment, sorry!)

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    1. Well, a food swap is neither selfless nor selfish; rather, it is a win win situation!!! I love sharing with friends but I have to say that my friends are not critical of my cooking at all, they love it unconditionally even when the dish is obviously in need of improvement.
      As for putting a very young baby into daycare, a combination of things made it work for me: (a) I was able to pump milk twice during each workday which meant Lila could have mama's milk at daycare, (b) rather than seeking help from my husband (implying that the baby is my responsibility and he is simply a helper), we both worked very hard sharing chores and being as efficient as possible, (c) Lila is a very social child and thrived in the bustling daycare she was in, and we were lucky to find a fantastic daycare center. It is hard but remember that being a stay at home is not easy either! Do what works best for you and your baby and your family and take it one day (actually one minute) at a time. I would say that good time management was my biggest asset.

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    2. Great post, Nupur. And I see that you have started tilting toward books and activities that are more of the 'mama goes to parenting school' type. I remember that you had mentioned in some post that you would try not to focus on the baby so much or revolve your life around the child's needs:-) But I am sure you will realize that focus of one's life keeps tilting further and further toward the child as time goes by. I think one of the big challenges in putting a young baby in daycare is managing the assocaited sicknesses/infections. Younger babies tend to catch infections faster and tend to get sicker than older kids. Plus as a working parent, staying home with a sick child is sometimes just not possible. I remember those days! Best, Mira

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    3. The focus of my life couldn't tilt much more towards my daughter, because she's the very center of my world! And has been since even before she was born. When I said I intended to keep my other activities going even after baby came along, what I meant is that I would take time off from the endless cycle of chores (diapers, laundry, dishes) to keep doing the things I love, and so far I am glad it has worked out.
      As for infections in daycare, we were definitely concerned about that. And to our surprise and relief, Lila had just one sick day in 7 months. In the end, we were happy that her budding immune system got exposed to all kinds of bugs in daycare. But it varies from child to child. A friend of mine had to pull her baby out of daycare and care for him at home because he was constantly sick.

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  13. You are so lucky to have such an awesome blogger who's ready to share in town. I hope you find someone like that in GA too.
    We don't make dal with eggplant and that is completely new to me. Will definitely have to try it out soon.
    Free advise is something I don't really appreciate -- but usually end up biting my tongue and don't say anything back.
    Hope your packing is coming along well. Good Luck with it.

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    1. Thanks Pavani. I'm in the de-cluttering stage right now and getting rid of stuff left and right!

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  14. Nupur, I was in remote wilderness of Alaska with the little wireless connectivity when I read your post(Yes, I am that sincere when it comes to reading your blog!!). My mouth started watering instantly reading about daal vange and halwa poori and the craving for home cooked Indian meal got so intense that I wanted to take the next flight home. Luckily today we returned to city and I found 3 Indian restaurants in downtown Anchorage. Will be having lunch in one of them tomorrow. As usual, it is a treat to read your blog.

    On a lighter note, I used to share food with my Indian neighbor until she told me that she and her husband got an upset tummy after eating the korma I had cooked. Post that incidence I have completely restrained myself from feeding other people fearing legal action ;)
    --Reh

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    1. OMG I can't believe you're reading my blog in the remote jungles! That is the best comment ever :) I'm cracking up thinking of you craving Indian food out there. Tell you what- you have a standing invitation to come eat at my home ANYTIME.
      Incidentally, the thought of someone getting sick from my food is one of my biggest fears ever. That would just ruin things. But how can your neighbor be so sure? Did you get sick from eating that korma as well?? Bah!

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    2. Thanks a lot Nupur for inviting me over. You are too sweet. I love your recipes so much that for me it is equivalent to what a DDLJ fan would feel on getting an invitation from SRK. I will be very happy to meet you and your family in person.

      My husband and I had korma for dinner and then for lunch the next day and we didn't get sick. I was too shocked to question her on the conclusion about the korma and for a change I was at loss of words ;)

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  15. Nupur, that picture of tomatoes makes me so happy. What a lovely idea for a swap!! It would have never occurred to me. Off late, I've been using a similar spice mix (coriander, cumin, coconut with red chili and fenugreek sometimes) for many of my curries - koottu, more kuzhambu, etc. The coconut-coriander combo elevates the flavor of the dish.

    I too get the your-baby-is-too-small-for-his-age remark often. I would ignore it before but now I tend to get defensive lol!!

    Thanks for the book recos. I'd read about "What's eating your child?" sometime ago and had made a mental note to read it at some point but had completely forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. A book along the same lines that might interest you is "Digestive Wellness for Kids" by Elizabeth Lipski.

    Your posts always make me so happy and inspired. OHS is the first food blog I discovered and one of the handful I still read. The one thing that makes your blog stand out is the fact that every post of yours is filled with so much gratitude.

    Mamatha


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    1. The combination of coconut and coriander seeds is such a knock-out, isn't it?

      I wish people would realize that people (and babies and children) come in all sizes. And bigger is not always better.

      Thank you for your sweet comment, Mamatha. I have SO so much to be thankful for, and no amount of gratitude would be enough for what life gives me every day. And I definitely appreciate how you have followed my blog over the years!

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  16. Oooh! Halwa-Puri was the higlight of my trip to London. I couldn't believe that a restaurant like place would actually serve that. Enjoy it as much as you can. I laughed at the part where you say that the lady who owned the place told you that Lila was much too thin and needs to be fattened up. Our surroundings might change, but we never will ;) The two chutneys and the sheet of tomatoes look beautiful too.. Looking forward to your creations from the Maharashtrian Encyclopaedia.

    Love,
    Shoots :)

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    1. Hi Shoots! This restaurant is family run and I love how they make home-style food! We'll be sad to leave STL and all these restaurants. Hope you're enjoying good food this weekend. Baking anything special??

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  17. I feel like reading a complete book, when i read ur posts Nupur, The brinjal dish is similar to kootu, in which i adda few pieces of drumstick to give a special flavour. There was a mention in one of the comments about somebody getting ill after consuming the food she shared. I too have had such an experience, somebody who visited us after a full tummy at a roadside bandi, told me that the snacks i shared would kindle his gastric problem.Since then i would always ask people twice before i offer them anything. Love to lila.

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    1. Yes, Maharastrian cuisine has several dishes that combine fresh vegetables and dal, much like kootu. I love them because they are a 2-in-1.

      When it comes to sharing food, all we can do is offer in good faith. Let the other person decide if they want it or not. If they don't, more for us ;)

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  18. Thanks for the recipes and the book recos. Some are on my list already.

    I always loved Agassi... and loved him even more for loving and marrying my other love :-) My dad was upset I had such a liking towards Agassi... (OK, I used to moon over the man).

    I have eaten a similar vankaya pappu, made in Andhra style. Didn't know it was made in the maharashtrian style too.

    Spent a good part of today reading old posts of mine and came here to say, "Thanks for egging me on." Yuo've truly pushed my horizons when it comes to cooking.

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    1. Well, Ms. Raaga, you will LOVE the Agassi book- or have you read it already?

      Thank you for the sweet compliment. And that's certainly something we food bloggers can all say about each other- we push each other to keep learning and getting better.

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  19. The poori halwa combo is one gift to mankind!! Your tomato chutney looks really to die for.

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    1. Thanks! I was very happy with the tomato chutney, but we finished it way too soon!

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  20. Oh, thank you, Nupur!So honored to hear that I'm my fave food blogger's fave book blog. And glad to hear you liked Vanished.

    And this might make you chuckle: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/hello-stranger-on-the-street-could-you-please-tell-me-how-to-take-care-of-my-baby I still get these comments, though my baby is now 5.

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    1. LOL that article CRACKED me up- thanks for sharing the link! I've made a firm promise to myself to never never be that person who gives free advice. Although perhaps a blog is a celebration of free advice dispensed to the world at large?

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  21. Congratulations, Nupur! I think I wasn't around much when your daughter arrived. Love all the colorful cooking in this post..! :)

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    1. I haven't looked at your blog in a while- hope you are well! Thanks for the wishes.

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  22. Nupur -

    Vaangi has been my new love or rather new-ly discovered love. The hidden reason is the vegetable cooks very fast. :) I have Goda Masala, will try the recipe. Vaangi and Dal spells magic in my world.

    So far, I've been using Tomatoes in Pulav's, Raita's and Salads. Should try the slow roast method and see how I can play around with the delicious roasted blobs. A friend of mine tried making Chutney with Green Tomatoes (Tomatillos I guess) and she became a big fan ever since.

    Adding the book reco to my list. A bestie of mine was a die-hard Agassi fan. Boy, she wanted to marry him! :) I have been a Beckham fan and own his Biography titled "My Side", a great read and sheds light on his humble persona and his evolution as a sports star.

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    1. Oh you'll love vangi even more after trying this recipe ;) it is delicious in a homely way.

      Green tomatoes and tomatillos are quite different, actually. Green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes and tomatillos are a different fruit much closely related to gooseberry (amla/avla in India). Tomatillos are super tangy and make wonderful chutneys and salsas!

      Thanks for mentioning the Beckham bio- I'll look for it!

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  23. By this time, Nupur, you must be all packed and ready! All I can do is wish you, V, Lila and Dalu dada a happy, safe and uneventful journey to GA.
    Hope u all settle down quickly and love the new place as much as STL!
    The tomato pickle is so tempting, I want to scoop it in a spoon and settle down comfortable to enjoy it :)
    The food swap certainly sounds like a great idea.

    Years ago, I had Halwa, poori aur chana in Delhi and loved it! I so want to taste some again.
    As for the tips, I guess those are inevitable where there is some elderly Indian community!
    When S was about 3-4 months old, he had a bad case of eczema, his poor little cheek was inflamed. One aunty, cornered me in the park and proceeded to give me all the tips she knew, had heard of and could vaguely recollect, in addition and conclusion, said that , I quote her words, " all this happens because women give birth here, abandon their motherland.." HUH!!!! I did not know how to react,'this' coming from a woman who had lived in the USA for nearly 2 decades? from a woman whose son had white patches or what I believe, is called 'kod' and was born in India? Of course, I was not mean to point out anything, I kept my mouth shut. I had accepted that people will dole out 'upadesh', I just smiled and walked away most of the times, no reply, no talk, nothing.

    I love the new books i can add to my list! keeps me happy :)
    Take care, y'all. hope to hear from you soon, from GA. Hugs:)

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  24. Hi Nupur,
    I drooled over this post and then searched all over the site for your tomato pickle recipe. Will you please share.
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Sure: The tomato pickle is from Indira's recipe (my only change was to add mustard seeds to the tempering, and I eyeballed the proportions of the ingredients): http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/?p=886

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  25. Hi Nupur, just want to ask if I you have a recipe having a tulsi herb on it? or can I include tulsi together with the bell pepper? And do you have recipe for those autistic children having zinc deficiency problems? I've read some article that most of them are zinc deficient and my nephew is one of them. Pls... help me and thanks in advance.

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    Replies
    1. I don't have any recipe that uses tulsi (holy basil). Growing up, I knew tulsi as a sacred herb and it was never used in cooking. But they do make herbal "teas" (decoction) with tulsi as a home remedy for some things. Now if you mean thai basil or Italian basil there are tons of recipes for those.

      I don't have any recipes for zinc-heavy foods either. You should ask a nutritionist. Why did you link to those supplements??

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  26. Hi Nupur,

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I have been lurking for a long time so thought that it's about time I de-lurked. I tried the green bean potato bake and it turned out very tasty. There are couple of recipes that I have bookmarked and mean to try them out as well. I have a 21 month old daughter and I am working full time so I really truly appreciate all the recipes that are yummy,creative and most importantly can be whipped up in a jiffy. Loved your multi-baking post. I have a blog as well - I don't post often and write about a number of things. Here is the link to my blog - in case you want to take a look.
    www.indianewengland.com/blogger-juinavare

    Jui

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  27. Nupur, I wish you lived in the Bay Area. My garden is overflowing with tomatoes, peppers (some too hot for me to use), beans, and amaranth leaves. The vegetable swap for home cooked meals sounds such a great idea.

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