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8 May 2008

General stuff and junky dinners

OK, my two dear friends know how I attended my family wedding in Chennai sitting in Mumbai yesterday morning...but I still haven't gotten over the thrill of it, so had to share it with my larger audience out here. So that's where technology in India is taking us.

Last week we managed to catch one of those rare Tamizh movie releases in Bombay - Vellithirai, in one of those multiplexes we don't usually visit. When I was booking our tickets online, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that I can book my large caramel popcorn, coffee and samosa online too with my tickets and they will be delivered to my seat number whenever I'd like them to....now that's what I call spoiling the customers! Another example how technology is transforming our lives. I don't mean to say I want to be waited on hand and foot when I'm watching a movie, but I like to be given the choice :)

The last few days I've been on a junk food spree. Last week we were in the Tamizhland of Bombay, Matunga on the way back from town. We had a quick weekday lunch at the Madras Cafe, which is a functional eatery that Matunga masses of the last few decades swear by. I love their Raagi- Masala dosa and filter kaapi. They also serve stuff that very few eateries in Bombay would serve, stuff like Ragi Sevai, Rasam Vadai, Neer Masala dosa, and though we are made to share tables with total strangers because of the lack of space, when the food is so good, I don't really care if we are made to sit on a table for four where there is one stranger already slurping his sambar. Post-lunch we stopped by Venkateshwara stores close to the flower-market, picked up a big bag of Nendram Varuval (quartered plantain chips), some traditional 'mixture', a pack of thattai and a block of Tirunelveli Halwa. While I am not too interested in mixture, the plantain chips are quite irresistible and while the hubby is at work, i have been slowly working towards finishing off the contents, albeit a little at a time, with my afternoon tea.


Veggie Crescents ( I like to call them pillows)

Since the husband has been extremely busy at work this whole week and having a working dinner for most of the past few days, I have been making extremely junky choices for my dinners...well, except for one day when I gathered a lot of inspiration to shrug off my increasing laziness at cooking dinner for one, and made these Vegetable Crescents. The combination of stuffing was very finely chopped red cabbage, spring onion greens, onion, cauliflower, capsicum, paneer and cheese, and somehow these vegetable flavours mingled brilliantly together, giving a super end result. The dough asked for milk, but the lazy me had none at home, and used water instead.

Inside a pillow

The original was blogged by Sunita and then tried by Arundati, who made sure she kept egging me about this delicious thing she kept making every other day, or so it seemed. I must say it was such a treat. The hubby managed to taste one despite coming home late, and I used the yeasty dough and stuffing for making parathas the next day for lunch. With so many vegetables used, the stuffing mix was still left over, and today was promptly mixed into idli-batter to make lovely pink uthapams.

Yesterday's junky dinner was jhaal mudi, a Bengali style bhel, where mustard oil adds a whole new zing. And today I just ordered some Pairi aam-ras (mango puree) from the shop across the road, mixed a part of this with a part of milk to get some delicious mango milk shake, the last few drops of which I have just cleared off with my fingers. This was today's dinner.

Green bean-tomato salad

Talking about junky dinners, I must admit I made salad for dinner one of these days, a first experience with using green beans in salads which is quite common in American and European cuisine. For me green beans means Paruppu Usili or Pulaos. I used a salad recipe from a blog, Smitten Kitchen that I found on food blog search while searching for 'green bean salad'. Here it is, I just substituted cherry tomatoes with quartered regular tomatoes and red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar. I wasn't too excited with the flavours, the tomatoes and vinegar combining to give quite a sour taste that I'm not fond of. May be next time I'll omit the tomatoes altogether. This is my entry for Raaga's MBP - Soups and Salads.

24 comments:

arundati said...

awesome!! the crescents look lovely...if i had my way i'd have made them for you myself....but this will do for now!.....:)

Saudi Sambhar said...

Ok Its official!! I hate you!!!!!

as if you couldn't stop with the ragi dosa and Madras Cafe then u go on with the varuval and Thattai and finally (sone pe suhaaga types) had to go on the describe the aam ras and licking the last bits with your fingers.... Nandita!!!!

Here I'm on my nth diet (hence haven't chked ur blog for a while) and i chk it today to find all these deliciious things reminding me of my home far away-- to paraphrase John Denver... well sort off...

I miss my home... and the food that u so well describe.... keep up the good work... and keep practising these... perfect them before I see u in August so u can make them for me

Much love to DH and u

Nandita said...


Arundati - thanks for the inspiration :)

SS - You have IKEA in Saudi, i have Madras Cafe and Venkateshwara stores...seriya pochu illaiya!!! When IKEA comes to Bombay, then we'll do a match again...now i'm thinking of making chundo at home, from the huge Rajapuri mangoes from your Santacruz market, but the sun is playing hide and seek in afternoons...don't know whether to dive into this project that needs some 10 days of sharp sunlight...
And ok, i shall keep practising this so that i can serve you a perfect veggie pillow when you are here :) Miss you :)

Nandita said...


SS - darling, BTW did you catch a glimpse of your stone mortar pestle in the larger veggie crescent picture???

evolvingtastes said...

Sigh! Those trays of food that come to your seat at the new movieplexes right as 'Intermission' flashes across the screen was quite a memorable experience for me when I went to India last year.

Those veggie crescents have been on my list too! So they do turn out as lovely as they look. For some reason I am not overly fond of bland cold green beans either - I prefer them in sabjis with all kinds of tadkas and spices. For salads, I am more of a mixed greens person. (!)

Simran said...

I love the dosai at Madras Cafe too. And what if a stranger is sitting in front of you slurping on his idli sambar (happened to me last Sunday!)

I still can't decide which filter kaapi is better - Cafe Madras or Cafe Mysore. Where's your vote?

Richa said...

wowieeeee! u had filter kaapi at madras cafe & now u r teasing ;) oooooh! how i miss it even more now!!

Raaga said...

Matunga... I've spent more summers there than anywhere else I think... Amba Bhavan, Madras Cafe, Ram Nayak's...Mysore Cafe... endless list.

:-)

Thanks for the entry!! :-) Its good to eat healthy once in a way, OK :-)

Shyam said...

Sooo... where's the vegetable pillow recipe? :)

Aparna said...

I saw these at Sunita's. Crescents or pillows, they look good.

Nandita said...


ET - Times are changing very fast :)

Simran - you were there last Sunday, i was there last Friday :)

Shyam - it is right there in the post, link on the word 'Sunita'

Richa - yes, they do serve excellent filter kaapi in the tiny steel tumblers, so that even if we have 3 of those, its not a caffeine overload

Raaga- in the midst of all that I was almost feeling guilty to eat healthy, thanks for the reassurance.

Aparna - yes they tasted better :)

Sia said...

u tease! :) thank god u didn't go on describing some chats too ;)

Anonymous said...

Nandita, I just tried these veg cresc... they turned out pretty good except that it was a bit too dry...any tips/suggestions on how to get a better outer covering?...

Mallugirl said...

u don't need an award from me to affirm how yummy ur blog is but do visit me for the handing over ceremony!!so vellithira is a good movie or not?

Shubha Ravikoti said...

Hey I have a lovely surprise for u in my blog... check it out...:)

Red Chillies said...

Huh, I thought that Venkateshwara stores were a traditional highlight of Bangalore. Who knew?
And you could order samosa, popcorn in advance? That is way too much pampering.
The vegetable crescents look awesome and I think I will try them myself.

Cynthia said...

I like the idea of them being called pillows :)

Sandeepa said...

What ? they deliver samosas at your seat, you guys are a pampered lot.
Your junky dinners are awesome

Saudi Sambhar said...

I'll trade u one day at Ikea for a good Masala Dosa (Ragi or otherwise) from Madras Cafe with some filter Kapi thrown in for good measure... Okay aa??

No hadn't seen the stone mortar pestle-- did now... am homesick for that silly thing too...

tarla dalal has a microwaved recipie for chundo in her samsung cook book... looks interesting. ate great sweet Badami mangos here.

T C

Swati Raman Garg said...

hahaaa.. u know how to tempt ppl... huh i kinda relived my days in matunga n juhu... the aam ras... mumbai... no comparison to it huh...

Nupur said...

Just look at those shiny golden crescents...mmmm....

Pearlsofeast said...

Nandita, this cresents are irrestable.It is now lunch time for me,I could hardly resist the beans salad.
Nice pic and nice write up

gwen said...

cool stuff))

Nandita said...


Thanks :)

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