This is the ubiquitous stuffing that goes inside the crispy golden folds of dosai (please don’t call it pancakes). Also a popular side dish for pooris, specifically in the southern parts of India, called poori masal. Favorite of almost anyone, it’s a very simple dish to make.
This recipe is from our friend Gautam, who dabbles in gardening, cooking, baking, grilling, photography, and on the side, is a neurosurgeon! He grows a bunch of varieties of green chilies including some of the hottest varieties, and like any Indian worth his salt, pickles them. I love this pickle and followed his recipe to make my own from my garden produce, as I was running out of his stock! Eyeballed most of the ingredients.
This is one of the best versions of eggplant/brinjal/aubergine made with a special spice mix. Like most children, I wasn’t too fond of eggplant growing up, due to the texture. But my patti got me to eat this in her own special way. After she made this curry, and transferred it to a serving dish, there would be invariably some sticking to the kadai (or maybe she left it on purpose). Anyway, she would add some hot rice to the baanali (that’s what we called the vaanali in our family), add a couple of spoons of ghee, and mix it all together, make balls of the rice shining with the eggplant and the ghee, and go around distributing it. Oh man, that was the best! To this day, I do it every time I make eggplant curry this way, but somehow my memories taste better!
A super simple dal and comfort food with minimal ingredients. Fresh and tender ridge gourd is cooked with tamarind extract and tempered in toor dal to make a satisfying light meal with rice.
Simple hacks to store bought spaghetti sauce makes this a sublime, satisfying meal. I had this first at a Telugu friend’s place – she tweaked a storebought ragu sauce with some Indian spices, and chili powder and I loved it. As a new immigrant who wasn’t used to eating sweetish tomato sauce with pasta, this made it very palatable. Not just palatable, but it became a family favorite, when I added some vegetables – fresh carrots, spinach, broccoli… Try it! It comes in handy on those busy nights, but you won’t feel guilty about opening a jar of store bought sauce.