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Ruchik Randhap
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I know this sounds silly but I feel so triumphant today! I have finally made something out of paneer and it turned out great! You see, I never really tried making paneer at home as the husband wasn't too fond of it. The problem was that he had eaten the chewy sort, from his experience of eating out at places that perhaps used aged paneer which tastes absolutely rubbish (once you've begun to eat fresh paneer that is). Over the past few years I have tried convincing him to eat it but he wasn't too keen. I then decided to start preparing it at home as I felt that it was about time my kids got used to it. Paneer is a great meal option especially if you are a vegetarian and your intake of protein is limited to just lentils/dals/legumes. In my case, my son doesn't enjoy chicken anymore, fish and eggs are a no no with him and red meat is something we don't bring so often. What else can give him the nourishment he needs? Paneer and soya ofcourse. While I had prepared a few dishes with soya before, it was my first tryst with paneer. I didn't really have the time to make the paneer from scratch and plus I have had satisfactory results with the fresh paneer that we get here at the Lulu supermarket
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BOSHI# 18

Until now I thought presenting a pure veg boshi was a pain. Not anymore! I actually had fun putting this meal plan together as I felt the selection of items and flavours complemented each other very well. The mushrooms could very well be a meat replacement (in terms of their texture) - the health benefits of these are immense - they are a good source of lean protein and fibre, the black eyed peas is a good source of protein while the potatoes add to the carbs. To supplement this I have added freshly cut cucumbers to balance the intake of nutrients. All this is served with simple neer dosa/panpolay to make it one delicious yet simple lunch! 

I hope you give this boshi a try and let me know how you liked it! If you have tried any of my recipes please drop me an email at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!

Do check the complete Boshi series here

RECIPES:

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I am back to another week of blogging after a pretty hectic yet fulfilling weekend. This week I will be posting the last few vegetarian recipes I have and I hope you've enjoyed the collection. When I am on the hunt for veg recipes there is never a dearth of people who share their favourite recipes with me. I happened to chat with my old friend from Mangalore who was part of the same choir at the church I went to. She now lives in Mysore and over the chat she told me how she loves veg food and having been transformed into vegetarian now has a big collection of recipes. Obviously I asked her to share a few with me and within a few minutes she emailed me her hit recipes - I am so grateful to her for having shared a variety of recipes from salads to pickles and everything in between! Thank you so much Joylyn for your generosity!
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One of Mangalore's most traditional beverages is a freshly brewed coffee sweetened with palm jaggery (obtained from the Palmyra palm, commonly known as the 'Eerol/Irvol fruit tree). While some people prefer having it plain without milk (called as 'puti kapi') some add some creamy whole milk to it that helps create a beautiful blend of milky goodness. I was introduced to this version of the coffee (with palm jaggery) after I delivered my second baby a couple of years ago. Till then, I had only heard about the godachi kapi. The term 'god' stands for jaggery in Konkani. In Mangalore we popularly use two types of jaggery, the most common one is made from unrefined sugarcane juice (called as just 'god' or 'kobache god' where 'kobu' stands for sugarcane) and the other called as 'pele (pelem) /pelyache god or 'surai god' which is obtained from the palmyra tree. The stack of jaggery discs is called as the 'pelo' and 'surai' means one that is obtained from 'sur' or toddy. The third and less popular variety is the coconut palm jaggery called as 'narli god' which is obtained from the toddy of the coconut tree. They say that it is pretty hard to tell the difference between the last two as both are sold in stacks of 12-14 discs and look similar in colour and aroma. If I manage to unravel the mystery on my next trip to Mangalore I will definitely share the information with you.
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Ever since we moved to Dubai we've increased our intake of corn, not because of any particular reason but just because of its availability and the fact that the kids love it. While I usually buy corn cobs regularly from the Farmers Market when it is in season I also like to stock up on frozen corn kernels as it turns out to be a perfectly handy option. My little one enjoys some kernels with some butter in it and the older fellow has always been a huge fan of steamed corn on the cob with some butter, chilli powder and lime juice slathered all over it. The two of them simply relish this healthy snack. 

Another great way of adding corn to our menu is in the form of this simple yet tasty, no fuss one pot meal. I usually make it when I am in a hurry to finish cooking and leave home on an errand. 
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Another traditional dish from Mangalore is a simple saute/sukka way of preparing drumstick leaves. Today, as I know it, not many people cook the leaves as they are not as popular as the drumsticks themselves which are widely used in South Indian cuisine, especially in the preparation of sambhar. My grandma had a drumstick tree in her backyard but I have no recollection of ever eating the cooked leaves. One of Roshan's relatives told me about the health benefits of the leaves and I've been a convert since then. 

The leaves apparently have been elevated to the status of a 'superfood' by the U.N and the Moringa trees have been used to combat malnutrition, especially among infants and nursing mothers. Moringa oleifera as it is known botanically has plenty of uses and goes by several common names such as moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree (the roots taste like horseradish), ben oil tree or benzoil tree. I was surprised to know that India is the largest producer of Moringa as it is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and is widely cultivated in tropical ares. Apart from its herbal uses it is also used for water purification and hand washing! Wow! Indeed a superfood.
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During my growing up years in Mangalore almost every household that grew its own veggies on a small patch of land, usually a backyard garden, used to grow pineapples among other basic vegetables and fruits. It was nice to enjoy seasonal harvest throughout the year because apart from the fact that it was free, it was also organic. Although we didn't grown pineapples in our yard we did enjoy some fruit that was grown in our neighbour's yard which they occasionally shared with us. Honestly, I didn't care much for free goodies then, I never valued them until I left Mangalore and have had to purchase everything. 

Having grown up in a neighbourhood that had a good mix of cultures I have had the good fortune of tasting food from every community in Mangalore. We had Havyaka Brahmins who lived in the next compound, where I spent many a joyous hours of my childhood playing with the kids there. Amma as we called their mother reared cows so that the milk could be sold - a way to make two ends meet. Whenever I visited their house (which was daily, after school) I kept myself busy in the verandah or within the compound, playing endless games of digging the ground, making mud cakes and castles, chasing butterflies and playing with their crazy, ferocious mongrel, Tiger. 
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This Lent has seen me trying out various vegetarian recipes - mostly Mangalorean, and I am thoroughly enjoying this experience. Mangalorean cuisine is a treasure trove of recipes from every community and there are so many similarities in our recipes albeit a few change in ingredients or measures here and there. Every time I try out a recipe which works for me I fall in love with our cuisine all over again. Most of our vegetarian recipes are coconut based but a good number of them are made with onions, yogurt, buttermilk or lentils as a base. I personally prefer the coconut based curries as I find them to be more delicious, no other reason. Also, the use of coconut ensures that you get sufficient gravy if you are a rice eater (I like lots of gravy on my rice). Anyway, this recipe is a family favourite, my mother made it a lot when I was a child but somehow I don't remember eating it much during my growing up years. Maybe that's the reason why I didn't really make it too often after I got married. 
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BOSHI# 17

Today's boshi has some of my childhood memories served on it. The chicken green curry is one my mum's trademark recipes and stands to be my all time favourite. I have many fond memories of eating it. She used to make three types of green curries, one with yogurt, one with coconut milk and the other, a bit more complex, as a base for her famous green biryani. I loved all of them so much that I have been trying my hand at making them to perfect them in terms of taste and aroma but they say that some recipes are best left original, made by the hand that makes it the best. 

Served alongside the curry is my most favourite type of legume - the kabuli chana as we call it in India or chickpeas as they are called in English. I made it the fugad way, where you just fry up some ingredients, add bafat masala and slow cook it. They tasted marvellous on this boshi. 

Since there were two types of protein on my plate (chicken & chana) and no vegetables to balance the intake of nutrients, I added a some freshly cut tomatoes and tomatoes and paired them all together with lovely, white, paper thin panpolay/neer dosa (I can't survive without neer dosa! Thank God they are so easy to make!)

I hope you give this boshi a try and let me know how you liked it! If you have tried any of my recipes please drop me an email at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!

Do check the complete Boshi series here
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It's time for another bread but this time the bread has taken a different shape! The word 'bread' typically brings to mind a typical loaf, ready to be sliced and slathered with butter or jam. The world would be such a boring place if people didn't go beyond a loaf isn't it? Thank God for people who thought out of the box and tried their hand at making something different like these breadsticks for example. Early this month I joined a new baking group called the 'Bread Bakers' hosted by Stacy Livingston Rushton of Food Lust People Love. Bread Bakers is a delightful little group of enthusiastic bakers who bake a new bread based on a theme every month. Do read more about this group at the end of this post.

This month's theme 'Seeds' is selected by Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories and I chose to work with sesame. The flexibility that we are given to select a bread helped me go on a joyride of recipe hunting and Oh boy! did I have fun! I came across so many different types of bread that I had a tough time selecting one. I thought these breadsticks were pretty interesting as they were not only fun to make but were also thoroughly enjoyed by my kids. Not just that, the Grissini has an interesting history behind it. While it can be traced back to the Piedmont region of Italy there are two versions to its origin. As per oral tradition, in the year 1675, the young duke of the House of Savoy, Vittorio Amedeo II di Savoia who was nine years old was seriously ill. Since he was a frail child since birth and having suffered from intestinal disorders he was particularly unable to digest heavy food and so his mother asked the court physician to find a remedy to feed her son.

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