Archive for October, 2006

Stuffed Gilka (Silk Squash)

I am back after a short refreshing vacation to Bangalore and Mysore and with blessings from Tirupathi Balaji.

One thing I always enjoy down south is the food there. I am addicted  to all types of Idlis, Dosas and Sambar…so my mouth was kept busy all the time J.

Back to work again but I have been revitalized and hence am over the holiday inertia. Lunch today was some spicy stuffed Gilka also known as Tori or Silk squash (a change from what I had during my vacation) and Masoor (split Red Lentil) dal (recipe coming up) with rotis.


For the stuffed Gilka you need: 

6-7 young, slender and fresh Gilka 

For the stuffing:

2 medium sized onions

2 tsp Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala

1 tsp red chilly powder

½ tsp Turmeric powder

Salt as per taste

For the tempering

1tbsp oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumene seeds

For the stuffing:

Peel and Grind the onion to a fine paste (grating will also do but grinding is faster). Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

Wash the Gilka nicely. Don’t peel the skin if you have fresh ,slender Gilkas. Cut the edges. Make a slit lengthwise on each Gilka. Cut it into about 2”round pieces (each piece has a slit lengthwise for stuffing)

Stuff the onion- masala mix into each piece. If any stuffing is left over keep it aside ,you can fry it along with the Gilka.

In a wide mouth pan-a frying pan, heat oil, add the mustard seeds-the cumene seeds and then the stuffed Gilka. After a few minutes stir the Gilka pieces so that all of them are coated with the oil. Add the left over stuffing if any. Mix nicely and cover the pan and cook on low flame. Gilka gives out a lot of water while cooking. Hence usually there is no need to add any water.

Gilka gets cooked quite fast. Cook till the Gilka is soft. Hot spicy and mouthwatering Stuffed Gilka serve with Rotis.


October 30, 2006 at 10:06 pm 3 comments

Diwali special-Anarsa

The festival of lights is here. The entire city is lit up with colorful lamps and lanterns.I don’t need to mention that the fireworks have already begun. I love this festival.Diwali also brings along my favourite treats (Faral).I am really glad Vee has chosen JFI theme as Diwali treats.

Anarsa is one of my most favourite snacks for Diwali.I remember how we would eagerly wait every Diwali for my Grandmother to make them. The ingredients are quite simple..Rice and jaggery …the taste amazing…This recipe needs preparation in advance.But is worth the effort.

So go on and enjoy my grandmothers recipe this Diwali for Anarsa


To make 10- 12 Anarsas you need

2 Cups rice (the older the better)

1 ¼  Cup jaggery finely grated (change the proportion as per taste)

Ghee made from Cow’s milk for frying

2 tbsp poppy seeds

1 tbsp milk

Wash and soak rice in water for 3 days. Change the water everyday.Drain the rice and spread it on a cotton cloth and let it dry nicely.Grind this to a fine powder and sieve it through a fine mesh(the one you use for sieving all purpose flour).Add the grated jaggery and mix nicely. Press the mixture nicely and keep it closed /covered for 5-6 days. Knead this mixture into a pliable dough sprinkling a little milk if required.


 You will need very little milk. So just sprinkle the milk and knead. Take a plastic sheet and sprinkle the poppy seeds on it. Make small lemon sized ball from the dough and press it lightly on the poppy seeds. Flatten the dough into a round.Apply some ghee to your hand if the dough sticks.


Meanwhile heat the ghee. Fry the Anarsa in the Ghee with the poppy seeds side up.Keep on splashing ghee over the upper side of the Anarsa with the ladle without disturbing the Anarsa. Fry till the Anarsa is golden brown. The poppy seeds side of the Anarsa will have a siort of a mesh on it once it is fried.You have to be careful with the oil temperature here.Heat it on medium flame or else the Anarsa will break.

Remove the Anarsa and drain the ghee. To drain the ghee keep the Anarsa in a vertical position. Cool nicely…5-6 hours or till crisp and store it in an airtight container.



Happy Diwali to all of you. May this festival sparkle your life with joy and happiness. Have a safe Diwali.

See you on 28th October.

October 18, 2006 at 10:56 pm 30 comments


Preparations for diwali are in full swing all around. First the cleaning and now making the sweets and snacks! Chivda is a must every Diwali. In fact munching on Chivda is a must all year round. Its one snack which has to be made before the earlier reaches the depletion level!

I must warn you..Chivda is very one can eat just once!

Great snack to carry with you when you are traveling, it is also very very easy to make. Like most of the recipes there are many variations of this snack. Keeping Diwali in mind I made this Chivda without any masalas or garlic and with one of the easiest recipes.


For Chivda you need:

2 cups crisp Poha (flattened rice) –the thin variety

1 cup murmura (puffed rice)

¼ cup peanuts

¼  cup roasted Chana dal (daliya) 

6–8 green chillies coarsely ground

10-12 curry leaves (tear them with your hands)

2 tsp white sesame (white Til) seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1tsp powdered sugar

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumene seeds

Salt as per taste

2 tbsp oil 

The flattened rice as well as the puffed rice has to be very crisp for making Chivda. Use the thin variety of poha.

In a deep pan heat oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle add the cumene seeds and then the curry leaves. Add the peanuts and fry for a few minutes. Then add the daliya and again fry for some time.Add the sesame seeds. Add the green chilly paste, fry nicely, add turmeric and then add the poha and the murmura.Stir nicely so that the poha and the murmura is coated with the masala. Add salt and sugar and stir nicely once again. Switch off the gas and cool this chivda nicely say about 2-3 hours and then store it in airtight containers.

Chivda can be eaten as it is.

It sould be had directly from the container! Serving in bowls with a spoon…no the taste isn’t the same!!!You can also top it with some chopped onion, chopped green coriander and lime juice.

You can also add few cloves of garlic at the tadka stage…that’s one of my favourite variations…But for diwali it has to be without garlic.

So this Diwali enjoy this quick and easy, crispy Chivda.

I warned you…it is addictive!

October 18, 2006 at 7:31 am 3 comments

Ambat Chuka Bhaji (Green sorrel curry)

I found Ambat chukka on my last visit to the market. It is a tangy cousin of Palak(Appearance is  like Palak but is very sour to taste.) In fact I googled to find out what it is called in other languages and was surprised to know that in Hindi it is actually called Khatti Palak. In English it is Green Sorrel and for other Indian languages see this page here


Ambat Chukka with hot plain rice is one of the top listed comfort foods for me.

For ambat chukka bhaji you need

 ½ a bunch of Ambat Chuka leaves with stems

¼ cup of peanuts soaked in water for 2 hrs

1 tbsp Chana dal (split yellow gram) soaked in water for 2 hrs

1 tbsp Besan (Chana dal flour)

1 tbsp jaggery

salt to taste

For the tadka(tempering)

3-4 garlic cloves

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumene seeds

2 green chillies slit lengthwise

¼ tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp oil

Cook the chukka along with the peanuts and Chana dal in a pressure pan for 1 whistle. In a pan heat oil and then add the mustard seeds, once they crackle the cumene seeds. Add the garlic cloves and green chillies. Add the turmeric and then add the cooked Chuka. Add salt and jaggery and cook for a few minutes.Adjust the water quantity to the required consistency (usually this is made to a dal like consistency which can be eaten with rice)Once the water starts boiling add the Besan stirring continuously.Cook for a few minutes more .

Sweet and sour and a little spicy Ambat chukka is ready to eat. Serve hot with Bhakri or Plain rice (with ghee of course)


October 15, 2006 at 9:42 pm 19 comments

Fiery Usal-Misal (Spicy Moth Bean sprout curry)

Matki (Moth bean) Usal is very popular in most parts of Maharshtra. This recipe is prepared differently in different parts of Maharshtra.It also is differently prepared for different occasions. Like if this is made as a part of any festive food it will be without Onion and garlic, with gravy/without gray..the combinations are many.I love the hot, spicy version.

Misal is a another very popular version of Usal. Usal topped with savoury mixture (called Sev), chopped onion and lime juice is Misal. Misal is usually served with bread buns Pav and is eaten for breakfast, lunch, teatime snack, dinner …anytime.You can find it on the menu cards of most of the Maharashtrian hotels..the smaller the hotel the better the taste. We have one small hotel..its actually an eatery near my workplace which exclusively serves Misal. People come from all corners of the town to eat this special Misal right from 8 in the morning…

So here’s hot,spicy, fiery Usal-Misal


For Usal you need:

1 cup Moth/Matki bean sprouts (You can use a mix of sprouts like Moong,Chana etc..but Moth/Matki is usually used to make Usal)

4 big onions sliced

3-4 garlic cloves

½  tbsp dried coconut grated

1tsp Kanda Lasun Masala

½ tsp Mustard seeds

½  tsp cumene seeds

¼ tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp Red Chilli powder

3 tsp oil

2 cups water

salt to taste

Cook the Matki sprouts with some salt and water. Keep it aside. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add the crushed garlic and sliced onions and fry till golden brown. Add the dried coconut and fry for few more minutes or till the coconut starts turning brown. Switch off the gas and cool this mixture. Grind the mixture to a fine paste. Add little water if required. Now heat 2 tsp oil in the same pan add the mustard seeds and once they crackle,add cumene seeds. Then add the ground paste and fry nicely till the mixture starts leaving oil.(Keep on stirring or else the mixture will burn.) Now add the Kanda Lasun Masala, and the chilli powder and fry for 1 minute. Add the cooked Matki sprouts and fry nicely for 2 minutes then add some water and adjust to the consistency of a semi -thick gravy.

When this Usal or Misal is served in the eateries this gravy has lots of demand. It is called as Tarri or Rassa. If you have asked for 1 plate of Usal/Misal the waiter keeps on serving this tarri with a mug(!) till you finish. By the time we finish eating most of us are reaching for our handkerchief to wipe your eyes,nose,face J savoring the taste of this spicy Usal.

Usual at home is usually made for lunch or dinner and served like other veggies to be eaten with Rotis or rice.

 For Misal -prepare Usal and top it with Sev,chopped onion and lime juice just before serving.Serve with Pav/bread bun.


                  Matki Usal with lime,chopped onion,Sev and Pav

October 9, 2006 at 11:13 pm 12 comments

Dudhi Raita (Bottle gourd salad)

Making anything for my lunch tiffin is a great challenge-Not the cooking part but the ‘What to make and carry part!’ Every previous night I face this dilemma…it has to be something which can be eaten cold, something filling, nutritious, tasty and something that can be cooked very fast-lots of criteria. I usually don’t get enough time to photograph my lunch box. But today I was lucky, thanks to my son who got ready without any hassles.

Lunch is simple; I have to work after lunch! So it has to be light and simple…Rotis, Bhindi subji (okra curry) and Dudhi Raita (Bottle Gourd salad)


For Dudhi Raita

1 ½  cup Dudhi chopped

½ cup fresh thick curd (remove water)

2 green chillies slit lengthwise

½ tsp cumene seeds

½ tsp mustard seeds

1tsp oil

½ tsp sugar

Salt as per taste 

Add salt as required to the Dudhi and cook using as little water as you can. (I use the pressure pan and switch off the gas when the steam is just generated). Don’t overcook it. Drain the water and cool the Dudhi .Don’t throw the water, use it for making Rasam or Dal or making Roti dough. Beat the curd with a spoon to make it homogenous and add to the cooked Dudhi. In a small pan heat oil, add the mustard seeds, once they crackle, add the Cumene seeds and last add the green chillies. Add this tadka to the Dudhi curd mixture. Add sugar and mix nicely. Adjust the salt if required.

Serve cold! I had no choice but to carry it without refrigeration for lunch but Dudhi Raita tastes better cold.No accompaniments are required. It tastes best on its own.

October 3, 2006 at 9:12 pm 5 comments

October 2006




Find my recipes at The Urban Spice


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