Monday, March 19, 2012

Tikhat Sanja

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Its been almost 3 weeks since we commenced our gardening adventure in our backyard. It all started when I spotted a small habanero on one of the shrubs. Possibly planted by the previous owner it survived the slashing thunderstorms we had a few weeks back. Though we take no credit for its survival it gave us all the confidence and excitement to get started. So after a quick drive to the local nursery and after several evenings spent in the garden we are now proud owners of a tiny veggie patch. And we cant wait to plant more.This gardening thing is addictive. Who knew ???

On the kitchen front I have for you - "Tikhat Sanja".
  This dish reminds me of my roots ( no pun intended ), my home and the food that aai made with love.Its a breakfast we all enjoy.
Besides home there was another place that served delicious "Sanja". It was called "Janseva Dughdhalay" in the very heart of Pune. This place was famous for a menu of maximum 4 items, its straight faced waiters and above all terrific food. They never served tea/coffee instead flavored milk and even buttermilk was offered. Their "sanja" was mild , slightly sweet and sour. It was soft,almost melting in the mouth.

This is my version , very close to how "Janseva" makes it.

Tikhat Sanja

What's needed : -
3/4 C course semolina or rava
1/2 an onion finely chopped 
4-5 green chillies 
1 tsp ginger grated
2 tbsp peanuts
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp hing
8-10 curry leaves
1/4 C thick homemade yogurt ( preferably slightly sour)
1/2 juice of lemon
1 tsp sugar

salt to taste
cilantro and fresh coconut for garnish
oil as required
2 C hot boiling water (slightly more than twice the amount of semolina)

How to :-
  • Over medium heat combine the semolina with a tablespoon of oil. Saute over med-low heat till semolina turns light brown. Take care not to burn. If the rava is not roasted well then it will not fluff up. Set aside when done.
  • Over medium heat combine 5 tbsp of oil with cumin, mustard,curry leaves. 
  • When the mustard cracks add the green chillies,peanuts and saute for a minute.Then add the onion and wait till turns soft.Add the turmeric and hing (if using).
  • Smoothen the yogurt with a table spoon of water and set aside, 
  • Add the roasted semolina to the onion mixture and mix everything. Add the water and the yogurt. Add salt. Taste the water. It should be slightly more salty and spicy than you want the final product to be.
  • Add the sugar and simmer, cover the whole thing for 5 min.
  • Open the lid and mix. The mixture will absorb water and fluff up, almost twice the original quantity. 
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Garnish with cilantro and coconut and serve hot.

I would strongly advice using sour homemade yohurt here. It helps make the sanja soft and slightly sour. Add a dollop of ghee if you like , it adds to a more homey touch.
Aai would press the sanja into moulds. As kids we would love helping her out with this activity. My favorite topping besides cilantro and coconut is crunchy sev and with some more yogurt on the side this makes a hearty weekend breakfast. 

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