Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tamatar Ka Saalan

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And here comes another lazy Sunday afternoon. While the rest of the family takes a quick siesta I grab my laptop,settle myself on my comfortable sofa to have a chat with you. 

My recent weekends  have been busy with lots of homekeeping tasks. Chores that I have put off for sometime are slowly being given their deserved attention. That includes the small veggie patch in our backyard. We fertilized it a few weeks back and its now giving us lots of summer bounty. We planted some small, easy to grow pepper plants - jalepenos, thai chilli peppers and habaneros. 

 Little wild rabbits had been raiding these little plants and feasting on the tender fruits.The little one is having fun in the yard - regularly flooding watering the plants,plucking the flowers,fruits and running behind the "sasa" (rabbit). Here he is posing for a quick photo before he starts running again... :)

 On kitchen front, last week I brought home a box of cherry tomatoes. Yes, it was an impulsive purchase because the price on them was oh-so-irresistable.

After ignoring them for a week I tackled them using this recipe for tomato salan. 

Tamatar Ka Salan
( Inspired from this recipe on Zaiqa)

12 cherry tomatoes ( Make a cross on top of them without cutting them completely )
1/2 onion diced fine
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbsp ginger paste
extract from a lemon sized ball of tamarind
cilantro to garnish

Masala paste :
2 tbsp each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dessicated coconut.
1 tbsp of coriander seeds

For tempering :
1 tsp of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds
2 tsp chilli powder 
2 tsp of your favorite garam masala ( or substitute with equal parts of coriander and cumin powder )
10-12 curry leaves
pinch of hing

How to :-
Place all the ingredients for masala paste in a blender and make a fine paste. Do not add too much water. Just enough to make a paste.
Over medium heat combine the curry leaves, mustard , cumin and nigells seeds. Wait till the mustard splutters.
Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Saute till onion is soft.
Add the chilli powder, garam masala and the masala paste. If the mixture is too dry and sticks to the pan add a little bit of water. We need to cook the raw masala paste.
Add the tamarind extract and a cup of water. Cover and cook for 4-5 min until the raw smell of masala paste is gone.
Add more water to get the right consistency. Add salt and the tomatoes. Cover and cook till tomatoes are soft but do not loose their form.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice, rotis, bread - whatever you like.

This curry is very rich and creamy. I would surely make this when there a some friends over for dinner. The only modification I would make is to omit the tamarind since it makes the curry slightly sour. Lemon juice would be a good substitute. I would also add a few pieces of paneer or red pepper diced. They would nicely complement the richness of the curry.
 Next weekend is a long one for us. Yayy.. the first long weekend of the year is almost here. Am so looking forward to it...  :)
Have a great week ahead !!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day - Photos, memories and more

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I do not have a recipe today. Just a few stories, photos, thoughts....
On Friday morning we had a "Muffins with Mom" event at Aamod's school. Since I was new to such events I was pretty excited about it. Aamod was initially confused as to what the party was all about. But later he was delighted to have me over and showed me some of his best friends at school.  After a small breakfast he handed me a card he put-together. How cute is that !!

 As I drove to work my thoughts raced back to those times when aai would bring us hot meal during the lunch break at school. And that too every single day !! It was like like lunch with mommy every single day. She would walk to the bus stop and then take a bus to the school. And then back again.We often suggested carrying lunch in the morning. But she promptly dismissed the idea. My friends often asked me "Your mom gets you lunch everyday" and when i nodded they would sigh in disbelief.  Such is my aai. Such are all our moms - selfless and caring. 

  Happy Mother's Day to My Mom and to all the Mothers out there !!