Many people must be wondering why the Bombay Howrah Dining Car has gone so silent suddenly. That’s because one half of BHDC was diagnosed with a stomach infection two weeks ago and has been recuperating, while the other half has been extremely busy at work! I have no idea what I ate and where, but I got a fairly bad attack and as a result have been put on a very strict diet. Which also explains why our cooking experiments have ceased for a while.
A full recovery is expected to take time and till then I have been asked to restrict my diet to vegetables, fruits, rice, wheat, tofu, egg white, chicken and white fish with little to no oil and minimum spice.
Initially my helper, Katherine, took this very seriously and started cooking almost bland food. I dealt with this for all of 2 days, after which I decided to take matters in my own hand. As I reflected on the diet I was given, I realized there was a lot I could do with it and decided to go back to many of the dishes I grew up eating. Since my father and both my grandmothers were vegetarian, most of the meals at home were vegetarian. My mother would cook chicken/fish on the weekends only or I would eat non-vegetarian food when I went out for a meal.
So between my trusted recipe book and calls back home to my mother, I started to pull together a menu that catered to the prescribed diet to keep my stomach and more importantly my heart happy! It was wonderful to rediscover many of these dishes, as I don’t cook them as often any longer. And it got me thinking of how wholesome home cooked Marathi food can be.
I have 2-3 more weeks of the diet to follow, so will continue to dig through my recipes and update this post 🙂
Peeth Peroon Bhaji – vegetables , in this case red and green bell peppers, cooked with mustard seeds, hing (asafoetida), turmeric, curry leaves, chilli, salt, sugar and besan (gram flour). The gram flour coats the vegetables as it cooks, giving the dish a rich, intense taste
As promised, this is the other dish I make with bottle gourd – Dudhi with dahi. Cubed bottle gourd with mustard seeds, cumin and methi (fenugreek seeds), hing (asafoetida), pinch turmeric, dry kashmiri chilli, curry leaves, salt. Once the bottle gourd is cooked and cooled down, I add 1-2 tbsp of yoghurt. An absolutely delicious way to enjoy bottle gourd!
Amti – a traditional Marathi dal made with cooked masoor (split red lentils), mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves, goda masala (an almost black coloured spice mix unique to the Marathi cuisine), tamarind juice and jaggery. This was my paternal grandmother’s specialty and the combination of tamarind and the intense goda masala makes this a very unique preparation. I eat this with rice, a little ghee and some koshimbir (fresh salad)
Corn ani Capsicum chi bhaji – corn and cubed capsicum cooked with cumin, hing (asafoetida), green chilli, curry leaves, Madras curry powder, salt, sugar and coconut milk. My mom’s recipe!
Chawli chi usal or Black eyed peas pressure cooked and tossed with mustard seeds and a little turmeric, goda masala (dark masala), salt and sugar
Not a Marathi but one from Andhra Pradesh – Pesarattu or dosas made from mung bean/green gram. I first discovered these at a restaurant in Mumbai called Dosa Diner and absolutely loved them. Plus they’re super simple to make. Soak mung overnight and grind the next day to a slightly coarse batter with green chilli, cumin, salt and water. Cook like a regular dosa. Healthy, easy to make and super tasty
Beetroot chi koshimbir – cooked and diced beetroot, fresh cucumber and tomato mixed with salt, sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. This is a great way to enjoy beetroots!
Batatyachya Kachrya – thinly sliced potato and onion tempered with mustard seeds, hing (asafoetida), turmeric, little chilli, curry leaves, salt and sugar. A very simple preparation but very tasty.
Dudhi chi bhaji – bottle gourd cubes cooked with onions and spiced with a dash of chilli powder, coriander, cumin, garam masala, salt and sugar. It’s actually very tasty and bottle gourd is extremely good for you too. There’s another preparation we make with yoghurt, which I will post next week.
One of my favourite dishes – Kadhi. Gram flour, yoghurt and water tempered with cumin, hing (asafoetida), turmeric, salt, sugar, green chilli and curry leaves. This is a warm and comforting dish.
Jowari chi Bhakri – a rustic flat bread made with sorghum flour. Sorghum flour is gluten free, healthy and makes for a nice change from wheat chapatis.
If spinach is not your favourite vegetable, this preparation may change your mind. Palakachi Koshimbir – steamed and chopped spinach mixed with yoghurt, salt and sugar.
Batatyacha Rassa or as Aniruddha jokingly calls it, Marathi Ratatouille! This is a slightly soupy vegetable made with onion, tomato, potato, sweet potato (my addition), peas and bell peppers. It is spiced with mustard seeds, turmeric, ginger, garlic, curry powder, chilli, salt and sugar. My maternal grandmother used to make this very often and we would eat it with rice. It may sound simple but it tastes divine!
Sanza also known as Upma. This is a savoury preparation made from semolina, onions, peas and spiced with cumin, hing, methi (fenugreek) seeds, chilli, curry leaves, salt and sugar. Our homemade preparation is light and fluffy unlike the sometimes gloopy upma you get in restaurants. I have no idea why they need to drench it in so much ghee, when the lighter one is just as tasty and probably more healthy.
Kairiche Saar – raw mango soup.