Friday, 13 June 2014

Vali Bendi (Malabar spinach/Basella Curry)

Basella/Malabar spinach or vine spinach is a leafy vegetable found in tropical Asia and Africa. It is a creeper and grows in full sunlight and humid weather. In Konkani, Basella is known as Vali.  It is used in quite a few dishes..
Apart from being a tasty leafy vegetable, Basella has many health benefits as well. It helps in reducing cholesterol and is highly fibrous which helps in digestion. It is rich in vitamins and minerals. 

Vali Bendi is a coconut based gravy tempered with crushed garlic. This is usually eaten with rice. Vali /Basella is used in various Konkani recipes . Spinach/Palak in “dal palak” can be replaced with Basella thus making it which is a tasty variation to the dish.

Basella (chopped) – 4 cups
Coconut – ½ grated
Dried Red Chili – 5 (Guntur Chilli/Spicy Chilli)
Kashmiri Chilli – 2 to 3 (for color)
Tamarind - a small piece (maybe size of two groundnuts)
Garlic - 10 to 12

1.       Wash and chop the leaves.
2.        Put it in a vessel and boil in little water. Do not add lots of water as the leaves will release water.
3.     Lightly fry the red chillies and keep aside. Now grind coconut, red chillies and tamarind to make a    smooth paste.
4.       Once the leaves are cooked (they will wilt and change color) add the ground masala and mix well.
5.       In a wok heat some oil and add crushed garlic. Fry it till the garlic is slightly brownish in color.
6.       Add this to the curry and mix well.
7.       Season with salt 

Serve hot with rice.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Alsande Tonak(BlackEyed Beans in Coconut gravy)

Alsande Tonak is very common in all Goan weddings and celebration (So I have been told). It was one the attraction for my wedding receptions as well. For a foodie Goa is paradise. Authentic Goan seafood delicacies, Goan dessert bebinca, hot from the oven pav bun and freshly baked cakes are all must try. 

One advantage of marrying a Goan is that i have got a chance to learn Goan cuisine (still learning).  The first time I tried Tonak was at my wedding reception. But I was too tired to enjoy it.  Now I prepare this very often at home. 

Alsande are sold everywhere in Goa, be it in the markets or on highways en route to the airport from Panaji. Fresh stock are available in April, which are bought is huge quantities, sunned and stored for the rest of the year.
The two restaurants that serve delicious Tonak are Café Tato and Café Bhosle in Goa. These two restaurants are always on my list of “must visit” when in Goa. The Alsande and sukki bhaji mix(potato curry which is also yum!) with pav is too die for.

Alsande/BlackEyed Peas – ½ cup
Coriander Seeds -  4 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 2 tsp
PepperCorns – 4 to 5
Cloves – 3
Cinamon – ½”
Cardamom - 1
Grated Coconut -  ½ a coconut
Red chillis – 2 ( more if u like spicy)
Onion –2 big sliced. ( 1 for grinding and 1 for frying)
Coriander leaves for garnish

1.       Soak the peas for 3 to 4 hrs
2.       Pressure cook it till for 1 whistle.
3.       In a pan heat oil and fry all the above ingredients.
4.       Grind it into a smooth paste.
5.       In the same pan, heat some oil and sauté the onion.
6.       Add the ground masala and fry for a minute.
7.       Now add the boiled peas
8.       Garnish with coriander leaves.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with pav or chapati.

Note: The measurements are approximate. I don’t measure them while cooking. Usually just go with my instincts.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Veg Cutlet


Veg cutlet is a very popular tea time snack.  The ingredients are always readily available and it does not take long to prepare this.  These are extremely easy to make and one of the best ways to get kids eat vegetables. 
Cutlets were almost never prepared at home back in my childhood days. The reason being my uncle owned “Kamath Cold Drinks” in Udupi and we just got it from there. Those were the best cutlets ever. Not just because it was my uncles restaurant. It was really lip smacking delicious. 
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