These are odd times, we know. The spread of covid-19 has resulted in a global lockdown and we have gone from having the world at our fingertips to being confined to our homes, with no work or school to go to. In India, all domestic and international travel has been banned until March 31. In times like this, travel is a distant dream. In the meantime, your kitchen is the window to the world, where you can whip up recipes that are not only reminiscent of the different regions of India but are easy to make with the most readily available ingredients in your pantry. Better yet, they make for a fun bonding exercise, much like a family vacation.
Mostly made during festivals in North India, this one requires a bit of prep. Dahi bhalla mainly requires a batter of soaked urad and moong da, which is fried and then soaked in water. The dals need to be soaked overnight or at least for four hours and then ground into a thick paste to make the batter. It is served with beaten curd, coriander chutney and tamarind chutney.
There is no denying the popularity of the ‘Bombay burger’, the on-the-go-breakfast for many. It is absolutely simple and takes around an hour to prep. One simply has to boil potatoes, mash them with spices and make palm-sized balls. Then, dunk them in a gram flour mix and fry. Serve hot.
The vada is served with bread and a variety of chutneys. The coriander chutney is the most obvious, but you can also make a garlic chutney to go along it. Wash and peel the garlic and then grind it with a bit of salt and red chilli (fresh or powdered). The garlic chutney can be refrigerated for a few days.
Bhutte ka Kees
Though not so well known in the rest of the country, bhutte ka kees is a popular breakfast snack in Madhya Pradesh, especially in Indore. Ideally, one would need the proper desi corn, but you can also use the American corn or frozen corn.
The idea is to grate the corn (hence the word 'kees'), but you can also grind it in the mixer. The grated corn (retain the corn milk) is then roasted in cumin, ginger, chilli, and curry leaves. Add a bit of milk and let it simmer for a bit. You can serve with freshly grated coconut if you have some.
This fragrant snack is an absolute favourite in West Bengal, requires little effort and needs only two main ingredients: muri or puffed rice and mustard oil. When making it at home, you can offer a variety of additional ingredients like boiled potatoes, chopped tomatoes, roasted peanuts, spices, lime juice and some sev. All of these are roasted together on a low flame and served warm.
This south Indian breakfast dish is delightfully light and healthy. Vermicelli is a common ingredient in most kitchens and grocery stores. The upma can be made in just about 20 minutes. Roasted vermicelli can be cooked with tomato puree, spices and veggies found in the fridge.