Dec 27, 2007

Bye bye kitchen

As everyone around the world is gearing up to bid farewell to 2007, I am gearing up to bid farewell to a lot of things that mattered in this year. After staying in US for 1.5 years, we are going back tomorrow to India forever. That means saying bye to dear friends, this apartment, and most importantly my kitchen that produced all the recipes featured on Swad. I still remember the day we shifted into this apartment and I had made my first list of things to buy. It was fun setting up a kitchen and buying all the pots, pans, spoons, and gadgets. I had not carried anything from India and had to buy everything here. I loved visiting shops such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Linen and Things. I could have spent an entire day looking at items in the kitchen section. I remember my trips to the local library. I would spend hours looking at cook books to make special dishes for some event or another and carry home arm loads of books. I remember the last minute trips to grocery stores before the deadline of some blogging event. I remember making lists for grocery shopping keeping in mind I needed to buy apples for AFAM or something else for JFI. Mostly, I remember learning to use new gadgets that I had not used earlier. There's a good possibility that if we hadn't come to US I would not have taken so much interest in cooking and never started this blog. The success of Swad is due to this kitchen. I am going to miss it terribly. I still remember the day I decided to start my blog. It has been a great journey from that day. Here's a photo of the kitchen that inspired me to blog:

Nupur is hosting a lovely event,the Best of 2007. 2007 was definitely the best year for me. I started blogging this year. My dependent visa did not allow me to work but I utilized my free time in a lot of things that I always wanted to do. I pursued my hobbies, took cake decorating classes and bead jewelry classes, did voluntary work, and devoured lots of delicious home-made food. Coming back to the event, here are the winner dishes/moments on Swad:

  1. The award for the most innovative recipe goes to...Idli Manchurian. Nupur's A-Z event of Indian vegetables had really got us thinking every week. Everyone wanted to do something different and it was great learning so many dishes that you can cook a using a single vegetable. Of course, some letters were challenging. I came up with Idli Manchurian for the letter I. The dish turned out great.

  2. The award for writing a post that came straight from the heart goes to...Weaving friendship through cranberry nut upside down muffins. Bee and Jai sent the Amish friendship starter packed with love. Their affection and the lovely muffins resulted in writing a post that came straight from my heart. Some times the words just flow and you don't have to think about what you will write next. This was one such post.

  3. The award for a simple dish that turned out great...Green peas with lovage seeds. Even if it contains very few and basic ingredients this vegetable tastes great.

  4. The award for the proudest dish and post on Swad goes to...A taste of Maharashtra. RCI Maharashtra made me nostalgic and brought back memories of all lovely Maharashtrian dishes. If I had to define Maharashtrian food, I would sum it up as Zunka Bhakar. Of course, the attempt at making bhakris was disastrous and so I made mini bhakris. The zunka turned out just as I like it..zanzaneet, meaning fiery hot.

  5. The dish that I had most fun making is: Puran poli. Trupti's cooking with family and friends event was great. My friend had invited us for a treat of puran poli and we all gathered and made them together. While one group was making dough and rolling small chapatis, another was filling it and rolling out chapatis, and a third group was frying the puran polis. I took loads of snaps of each step and truly enjoyed cooking with friends.

  6. The award for one dish that I made from a fellow blogger and turned out superb definitely goes to...Tee's Microwave Besan Ladoos. I remember spending an hour last Diwali trying to fry the damn besan. I was sweaty, irritated, frustrated, my arms started aching, but the besan still wouldn't let out any aroma. When I saw Tee's recipe, I decided to give it a try. The ladoos were ready in 15 minutes without any hassle and tasted superb. I have named these ladoos 'Quick, hassle-free, arm pain free microwave besan ladoos'. Thanks Tee for this amazing recipe.

Any cooking resolutions for 2008? Definitely. One resolution is to blog regularly. I am hoping to post atleast one recipe per week. Second resolution is to try a lot of different cuisines. Majority of the dishes I have cooked in 2007 are Punjabi and Marathi. I want to try out a lot of different spices, cuisines, and techniques.

Swad will now go on a blogging break as I move back to India, settle into our apartment there, set up my kitchen, find a job, and get my Internet connection. There's a lot to be done but I will be excited to start blogging again.

I have hardly 4-5 cook books. It will be great if you suggest good books that I can buy for my new kitchen. Many thanks to all of you for visiting Swad. Your suggestions, feedback, and comments give me inspiration and energy to try out different dishes.

Here's wishing all of you a very Happy New Year!

Dec 4, 2007

Daily Daal

Most of us might have grown up with memories of Shammi Kapoor's songs and weird dances. One of his hit songs that is a classic antakshari favorite is "Baar baar dekho, hazaar baar dekho, ye dekhne cheez hai hamara dilruba..Taliiiiiiiiiiii hooooooooo". Ofcourse, when I was a kid I didn't understand the meaning of the song and often confused Tali with Daal:)) I mean I never heard the song correctly and used to wonder why he's praising the daal. Now, why did I remember this song today? That's because it's time to send in your entries for JFI: Toor Daal hosted by the enthusiastic blogger Linda.

One popular dish in any Marathi home is Varan Bhaat. Toor daal is pressure cooked and boiled after adding salt and a pinch of turmeric powder. The combination of varan bhaat toop loncha (Daal Rice Ghee Pickle) is delicious and comforting. The recipe below is a great variation to the varan. Chopped onion and tomatoes are added and cooked along with the toor daal. The mixture is then tempered with a common spices and chillies. After making this daal for the first time, I stopped making the traditional varan. I was not very fond of eating rice on a daily basis, until I discovered this daal.

Daily Daal

Serves: 3-4

(I have tweaked the recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor's Simply Vegetarian)


  1. 1/2 cup pigeon pea split(toovar daal or toor daal)
  2. 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  3. 1 tomato - chopped fine
  4. 2-4 cloves Garlic - peeled and chopped fine
  5. 2 green chillies
  6. 8-10 curry leaves
  7. Few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
  8. 2-3 whole red chillies
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  11. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  12. 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds or methi
  13. Pinch of asafoetida
  14. Oil


  1. Wash and soak toor daal in one cup of water for an hour. Add the chopped onions and tomatoes and pressure cook the daal (2-3 whistles). Once done, mash the daal slightly with a spoon.
  2. Remove stems, wash, and slit green chillies. Break red chillies into two. Clean, wash, and finely chop coriander leaves.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, red chillies, garlic. Fry for about 30 secs. Add green chillies, curry leaves and fry again.
  4. Now, add the cooked daal, 1/4 cup water, and salt to taste. Mix well and let it boil.
  5. Serve hot.

Verdict: Try it and tell me. Pair this hot daal with steaming plain white rice and mix up some mango pickle. I am off to Las Vegas tomorrow. See you next week! Taliiiiiiiiiii Ho!!!!!!!!!