Dahi Bhallas | The Novice Housewife

When my dad was posted to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, we got acquainted with this amazing family, who coincidentally shared the same surname as ours. The daughter, Pallavi, became a close friend of mine in spite of the age difference we shared. I was in college during my dad’s tenure in Jaisalmer but whenever I visited, she and I would get together and although there wasn’t much to do in the city, my stay was always memorable. Her parents too would make sure that I had a good stay while I was visiting mom and dad.

Pallavi’s mom, Swati aunty, used to make the most amazing Dahi bhallas- light and airy bhallas that melt in your mouth. The first time I ate them I chowed down 4-5 in one sitting and got a to-go box of more back home with me. My mom took the recipe from aunty when we left Jaisalmer because all of us agreed that they were the best bhallas we had ever eaten.While my mom made an honest effort later to make them and they always turned out good, they were never like aunty’s. Aunty maintained the secret to the light and fluffy vadas lay in beating the heck out of the batter, but I think she just had magic in her hands.

Dahi Bhallas | The Novice Housewife

As mentioned in a previous post, my mom is in town visiting, which means I am getting some respite from cooking. The other day she made dahi bhallas, her quick channa masala and bhaturas. I could not be more grateful for that meal. It was so good, and the bhallas actually turned out exactly the way Swati aunty made them- soft and airy. Today I am sharing her recipe for dahi bhallas/ vadas.

Dahi bhalla is a popular indian dish made with deep fried lentil dumplings (bhallas or vadas) that are served in yogurt (dahi) and topped with roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, date-tamarind chutney and/or mint chutney.

Generally these vadas or bhallas as we call them are made from urad dal/ split black lentils. In UP though they sometimes make vadas from moong dal. While dahi bhalla/dahi vada is a popular way to have these urad dal dumplings, in south India, another popular way to serve the vadas is with sambhar or some use them to make bonda soup.

The recipe listed below makes quite a few vadas, and generally my mom freezes extra vadas. I took her suggestion and kept 10 vadas to serve immediately and the rest I wrapped in ziploc bags with 8 each in a single bag. I froze three such ziploc bags. If you choose to freeze the extra vadas, when you are ready to use them for dahi bhallas, just defrost the vadas for a bit and then let them soak in boiled water for 15-20 minutes, before using them to make dahi bhalla.

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Chicken Chettinad | The Novice HousewifeChicken Chettinad | The Novice Housewife

I am a Sikh and have grown up on north indian cuisine. For a long time my knowledge of cuisines of the southern states of India was limited to dosas and idlis. But it is now slowly growing and some of my favorite dishes come from down south. The use of coconut and curry leaves in a lot of their dishes is what particularly draws me to the cuisine of the south, though the cuisine is not just limited to these two ingredients. The food of the state of Kerala is one of my favorites. Appam and stew, iddiyapams, kerala fish fry is something I could eat any number of times as possible in a week.

I could also eat this chettinad chicken recipe that I am sharing today every week.

Chicken Chettinad | The Novice Housewife

The recipe is from my favorite book on Indian cuisine: India: The Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant.

If there is one Indian book you want in your collection it should be this book.

Pushpesh Pant has written an encyclopedia on Indian cuisine and you can find recipes from all different parts of India. While the steps may sometimes require a little knowledge of indian cooking, the recipes have never disappointed me.

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Growing up I was not fond of Biryani, chicken or vegetarian. I don’t know why but the only rice based dish I liked was rajma chawal. Nothing else. So I avoided biryani and the likes. Of course later things changed but my true love for biryani started on one of my trips to Goa. My brother was posted there. He still is. I know, its awesome! Everyone should have a family member in Goa. It should be the norm.

About 6 years back, my parents and I went to visit my brother and his wife and they kept talking about the Biryani from a place called Anantashram.

They make handi biryani and the biryani is served in the clay pot/ handi that they make it in. One bite and I was in love. I don’t remember how many times I ate the biryani on that trip but I had countless dreams of it when I was back, and every biryani I ate was compared to the biryani from Anantashram. Sadly, over the years their quality has gone down. On a recent trip I tried it and it was a let down. My brother and sister in law resonated my feelings, and had also told us beforehand that it might not be the same as the first time we had it.

Besides the biryani disappointment our Goa trip was a huge gastronomical success. As you can see in this post. We all came back with our clothes a little tighter. And I came back in search of a new Biryani as my yardstick.

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