Thursday, August 31, 2017

Masale Bhaat

The word 'Masale' in Marathi means spices and 'Bhaat' means Rice.  As the name suggests, its a spicy and flavourful variety of rice. Traditionally, Masale Bhaat is made with either Ivy Gourd or Egg Plant / Aubergine along with Green Peas or Potatoes. Masale Bhaat is called 'Tondli Bhaat' when made with Ivy Gourd and 'Vangi Bhaat' when made with Aubergine. However, usage of vegetables like Carrots, Tomatoes, Cauliflower, French Beans, etc.should be avoided as it takes away the authentic taste and will make it taste like regular Pulao. This rice can also be made without using any vegetables as well.  

Masale Bhaat is not a every day delicacy and is reserved especially for special occasions like weddings, thread ceremonies, mangalagaur, poojas and so on. Onion and Garlic is not used in the preparation of this recipe as this served as an offering to God. Although, some regions of Maharashtra use Onion Garlic in their preparation. 

Approx. Time: 30 minutes (excluding pre-preparation)

Yield: 3-4 people

2 cups Basmati Rice 
5 cups Water (2.5 times of rice)
3/4 cup vertically chopped Ivy Gourd (Scarlet Gourd / Tondli) 
3/4 cup Green Peas 
tbspn Maharashtrian Black Masala (Goda Masala) 
1/2 cup Cashew nuts
1/2 cup Full Cream Yoghurt (Curd/ Dahi)
1/2 cup scrapped fresh Coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped Cilantro (Coriander leaves)
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
4 tbspns Vegetable Oil 
1/2 tspn Mustard Seeds
1/2 tspn Cumin seeds (or Royal Cumin i.e. Shahjeera)
1/4 tspn Asafoetida Powder
1 tspn Turmeric Powder
10-12 Curry leaves
4 chopped Green Chillies

For Garnishing:
Freshly scrapped Coconut
Finely chopped fresh Cilantro 
Ghee  (Sajuk Tup)
Lemon wedge

Optional Ingredients:
1 tspn Coriander Cumin Powder
1 tspn Sugar 

Wash Rice with plain water in a colander and drain. Keep it aside for 10-15 minutes. 

Heat oil in a deep pan. Once the oil is heated, add the Mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add then Cumin seeds, Asafoetida powder, Turmeric Powder, Curry leaves and chopped Green chillies. Then add the vertically chopped Ivy Gourd and Green Peas. Saute it for 2 minutes. Then add the washed Basmati rice and saute it for 3-4 minutes. Also stir in the Salt, Cashew nuts and Black Masala (Goda Masala). 

Simultaneously, keep a little more than 5 cups of water to boil so that it gets reduced to 5 cups at the boiling stage. Use of hot water makes this rice more light and each grain gets separated. 

Pour in the boiling water to the uncooked rice mixture. Finally add the Yoghurt and stir. At this point check and adjust the seasoning by tasting the water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the rice on medium low heat. The rice gets cooked in approximately 15 minutes . Avoid stirring the rice in between as it leads to breaking of rice grains. Once done, add the scrapped fresh Coconut and finely chopped Cilantro. Turn off the flame. While serving, drizzle a teaspoon of Ghee and garnish it with scrapped coconut and chopped Cilantro with a lemon wedge alongside. 

1. In case Maharashtrian Goda Masala is not available, you may use Garam Masala. Even combination of Goda Masala and Garam Masala tastes good. 
2. The measure of water i.e. 2.5 times of rice is for old Basmati Rice. The same may have to be modified according to the age and type of rice. 
3. Masale Bhaat can be made without using Ivy Gourd or Green Peas also. It tastes equally good. 
4. The optional ingredient - Coriander-Cumin powder should be added along with Goda Masala and Sugar should be added at the end along with scrapped Coconut and Cilantro. 
5. You may also add a Bay leaf and few Cloves in tempering. 

Stepwise Pictures:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dalimbi Usal

Field Beans (or Bitter Beans) Sprouts Curry is popularly known as Dalimbi Usal or Valachi Usal or Birde in Maharashtra. Even though the names sound similar, its method of making differs from region to region and from castes to sub-castes. Renowned marathi author Durga Bhagwat has rightly stated in her marathi book 'Khamang' that she believes in casteism when it comes to cooking and the taste differentials based on it is the glory of our country ("...पाकक्रियेच्या बाबतीत मी जातीभेद आवश्य मानते व तो सुसंस्कृतपणाचा एक भाग आहे, असंही मानते. ही रुचिभिन्नता या देशाचं वैभव आहे...").

Dalimbi Usal is a traditional accompaniment to rice and rotis. It is often included in traditional Maharashtrian wedding menu also. The method given here is a fusion method of Konkanastha Brahmins and Karhade Brahmins which is a complete  'no onion- no garlic' method. I will post another method of making this curry subsequently.

Approx. Time: 30 minutes (excluding pre-preparation)

Yield: 2 Servings

1 cup Field Beans (or Bitter Beans) sprouts (Dalimbi)
1 cup Water
1 tbspn Spice Mixture
1 tspn Jaggery
1/4 cup freshly scrapped Coconut
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Cilantro
Salt to taste

For spice mixture:
1/3 cup dried Coconut (grated)
1 tspn Cumin seeds
3-4 Dried red chillies

For Tempering:
1 tbspn Oil 
1/2 tspn Mustard Seeds
1/2 tspn Cumin seeds
A pinch of Asafoetida Powder
5-6 Curry leaves

For Garnishing:
Freshly scrapped Coconut
Finely chopped fresh Cilantro (Coriander leaves)

(Soaking of 1/2 a cup of dried Field Beans will yield approx. 1 cup of Dalimbi)
Soak the Field beans overnight in water for 10 to 12 hours. After soaking, it will be swollen and puffed up. Drain water and rinse the beans. Transfer the soaked Field beans in a muslin cloth. Fold all the edges of the muslin cloth together and give it a twist. Tie a firm knot to the cloth. Then keep it aside for sprouting for nearly 6-7 hours. The field beans will get white sprouts. Remove the sprouted Field Beans from the cloth. Then take some lukewarm water in a container and add the  sprouts in it. Allow it to remain in the lukewarm water for nearly an hour so that the peel can be removed easily. Remove the peel individually. These beans are very delicate and hence need to be handled with care to avoid breaking. The peeled off Field Beans are called - Dalimbi or Birde. 

To make Spice Mixture:
Heat a saucepan. Add the grated dried Coconut and dry roast it over medium heat until it starts releasing aroma and turns brown in colour. Transfer it in a bowl. Then dry roast the Cumin seeds till it starts releasing aroma and starts changing its colour. Transfer it in a bowl. Lastly dry roast the dried Red Chillies for 2-3 minutes. (Alternatively, the dried chillies can be roasted in a teaspoon of Oil also) Allow all the ingredients to cool down. Then grind the mixture coarsely to make Spice powder.

To make Dalimbi Usal:
Heat a saucepan and add Oil to it. Once the Oil is hot, add the Mustard Seeds and let it splutter. Then add the Cumin Seeds, Asafoetida powder, Turmeric Powder and Curry leaves. Then add the peeled Field Beans and give it a gentle stir. Add a cup of water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook it for 10-15 minutes. Once the Field beans are cooked (nearly 75-80%) add the Jaggery, Salt and Spice powder (Coconut-Cumin and Chilly Powder). Cover the mixture and further cook it for few minutes. Test the beans with nail. If it breaks easily, then it is cooked. At the end add freshly scrapped Coconut and finely chopped Cilantro. This will soak some water and thicken the consistency of Curry. 

Finally, garnish it with freshly scrapped Coconut and finely chopped Cilantro. Serve hot with steamed rice or Roti.

1. The consistency of this curry may either be thick, medium or watery as per the preference. Hence quantity of water may be adjusted accordingly. 
2. Do not cook the Field beans in pressure cooker as the beans are delicate and may get overcooked in few minutes. Also, try to stir the Filed Beans as gently as possible as they are delicate and may break if not handled carefully.
3. Jaggery should be added at semi-cooked stage (at 75-80%) because if it is added in the beginning, then the beans may turn hard and may remain uncooked. whereas adding Jaggery at semi-cooked stage makes the cooked beans firm and prevent it from breaking. 

Stepwise Pictures:

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