Sabudana khichdi

This is a very traditiional breakfast food, served in Maharashtra , and made usually by the ” Bamans/Bramhins”. Luckily i was half of one so got to taste this delicacy many a time as a child. The sago or tapioca pearls are made from the sap of the tapioca,( Dont ask me how, because i have never researched that).

To date there are several tradional eateries in my town of Pune, where this is served only once or twice a week, depending ontheir menu or when it used to served as a fasting food.Some oof those places like ” Sri Uphaar Gruha”, maintain their tradition.Another place where i would eat this a lot was at Deccan Gymkhana Tennis Club, where an old guy called Appa was running their canteen. 2018 when i went to look alas, the whole place had chnaged and the canteen disappeared. Even Sri Uphaar gruha had moved from its share a bench with some unknown stranger and only 15 seat capacity to just down the road in a more spacious place. Fortunately the food was still good

Ok before we meander too much lets get back to the job in hand .

  • Sago/ Sabudana pearls(large sized )- 200 gm/ approx 1 cup
  • peanuts shelled, peeled roasted – 2 T/ 40 g
  • Green chilli- 1 medium
  • Potato 1 medium(125 g or so ) cooked and peeled
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar- to taste
  • cumin / jeera seeds- 3 gm/ 1 t
  • Ghee/ clarified butter- 10 g/ 2t
  • Oil- 10 g/ 2 t

The pre prearation starts the night before, when you soak or just wash the sago pearls. What i like to do is just wash in a strainer and wash a few more times after and they will swell up./Alternately you can also soak with the barest minimum water to just come up to the surface level of the pearls in a bowl.Beware too much water and the tapioca starch in it will make it into a sticky yuckey goeey mess. Practise and experience helps.

The next morning the soaked pearls should be swelled up and easy to separate not clumped up. To the sago we add crushed peanut+chilli which we blitze together in the blender. We also add salt and some sugar to taste. its not a sweet dessert so the sugar is just to balance the chilli and make it oomph.

Heat the oil and ghee and add the cumin, cook it till turns browner but not burnt then add the cubes of potato and saute them till they are coated and not very mushy. The next step is crucial too to ensure you dont get stodgy khichdi.

Add in sago mix and stir very lightly.keep on a medium/ low heat and cover just for a minute. you might need to add more oil/ ghee .Any longer and the pearls over burst and get mushy, we just want them translcent and slightly sticking to each other.

Garnish with chopped coriander and shredded coconut and or cucumber and yoghurt relish and sing an ode to ye olde masters Appa..

Sichuan chili oil

This is the home made version of a famous chilli sauce called Lao Gan Ma but this is better because we make it from scratch. This I learnt actually from my student Hao Wang ..

  • chilli flakes- 2 T / 20 g
  • chopped garlic- 1 t/ 10 g
  • Oil -50 g
  • sesame seeds- 1 t / 5 g
  • chilli powder/ paprika-1 t
  • fermented dry black beans -1t/ 10 g
  • sugar- 5 g
  • stock powder / ji jin – 1t/ 5 g
  • sesame oil- 1 t/ 5 ml

It’s fairly simple to make and stays for months in the fridge . Heat the oil and saute the garlic and beans and once it smells aromatic add chilli flakes-Do Not BURN.. then add the sesame seeds and let brown lightly .finally add the chilli or paprika and sugar , stock powder and sesame oil. Chill and serve with dumplings and so on..

Pan frying TECHNOLOGY

not really technology but just simple tricks to make sure the fish you are pan frying does not stick horribly and break up as you try to take it out. Same technique works for chicken , lamb ,beef , even 🦘 .

It’s as simple as that.line your pan or roasting tray with baking paper and as long as you don’t go overboard with the heat you are safe to cook all you want with much less sticky goo to clean off your pans .

The orange and poppy seed cake

This cake I made at work but m writing a condensed smaller version which can fit domestic ovens and don’t need a huge amount of eggs etc.

  • Butter 60
  • Oil 60 g
  • Sugar 150 g
  • Eggs 2 nos
  • flour 150 g
  • almond powder 50 g
  • Baking powder -7 g
  • orange -1 slice thinly
  • Vanilla essence
  • Orange flower water
  • Poppy seeds- 5 g

heat sugar with 25 ml water and make into syrup and poach orange slices for a little bit and drain. Cool down syrup

preheat oven to 175 C and get your tin lined with baking paper . Arrange orange slices on base.

cream the butter and oil mix with the sugar syrup .

add eggs and essences. Mix flour almond poppy and baking powder.Fold into the mix and pour into tin.

bake at 175 C for 25-30 mins until done . Cool down and invert. Don’t share ..😆😆

Sourdough loaf

With sourdough there are hundreds and thousands of recipes that you can find but all you need is practice..

This recipe is in two parts and take two days to finish..roughly as in you start one night and the next evening you can have your bread.

part 1

  • Water 100 g
  • Flour 90 gm
  • Rye flour or whole wheat flour – 10 g
  • Sour starter- 10 g
  • Mix and keep overnight
  • The next morning
  • take all starter and add to
  • water 400 g
  • flour 540 g
  • whole wheat flour -60 g
  • salt 12 g
  • then you autolyse this.( Autolyse is a term used by bakers to make you feel inadequate). It’s just light mixing to let the gluten get hydrated .
  • keep for 30 mins . And the you stretch and fold.. ..I’ll try and put some vdos to show this but it’s really simple . You pull the dough and fold into three like a trifold .
  • then rest for 15 mins and repeat and do this 4-5 times.
  • let the dough rest then for 8-12 hrs in the fridge or a cool area so it slow ferments and develops complex flavours .
  • Divide into two boules or baguettes.. pre heat the oven to 230 C.shape and slash the bread. I will look to make a vdo and add that on at some stage .
  • Preheat the tray or stone you are baking on and slide the prepared doughs ( do it on non stick baking paper) Bake for about 30-35 minutes.
  • Cool down on wire rack .

stories of foods from the world over, laced with a hint of sarcasm and some black humour, its not for everyone, but then never was meant to be..