Posted in The Lazy Cook

Mangakarri – Raw mango in Coconut milk

‘Mangakarri’, or better called manga or mango curry is a ubiquitous item in all Indian kitchens once the Mango season starts. I know this, because, all my friends, from any part of India claim to have their own versions of gravy for both raw and ripe mangoes. It was never a surprise to know that there would be variations all over India, but this one is very special.

In Kerala, we usually use both the raw and ripe mangoes in gravies and pickles; although raw is usually reserved for pickles and also as a tenderizer or to add sourness in other gravies, ripe ones are made into sweet gravies.

In my part of Kerala, ‘Mangakarri’ means just one thing, teary-eye spicy and finger-licking yummy pickles made of big, raw mangoes, cut into small perfect cubes. These are sufficient enough to gobble down a plate of huge brown rice (Kerala Matta), no one would care for any other gravy to go with it. But, eating this alone with rice every single day, seemed too much far-fetched, even if it came from my no-fuss, foodie hubby. When we had this conversation, mango season had long gone, so I just got him a bottle of mango pickle. He was not particularly excited, but I attributed it to the lack of a home-made pickle. Soon, I had realized that I can never imagine to even reach his expectation of a home-made pickle; MIL is the certified best pickle maker in their whole town.

Few months later, at his aunt’s house, I had an amazing curry with rice. The spiciness, sweetness, sourness and richness; it was a deadly combo. Finger-licking me, sheepishly asked for more of the yellow curry. That was when my hubby had decided to notice that there were many other things around him, other than his food. With disbelief, he corrected me, not ‘yellow curry’, but ‘Mangakarri’. OMG!!! I just could not believe it; this was his favourite ‘Mangakarri’. I could not believe it; my humble pickle was nothing before this majestic gravy. Every one of his family were shocked, they could not believe that someone had never ever heard or tasted this heavenly dish. They told me that htis dish is originally from few areas that fall along the borders of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts of Kerala.

So, I rest my case, marry out of your caste, community, religion, or region to experience the best of gastronomic fares. And if you are family, you’ll also get to know some serious secret tips😉

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For Marinating

1/2 kg raw mango, de-seeded and cubed, 5-6 shallots sliced length-wise, 1 small-sized onion sliced length-wise, 2 tbsp chilli powder, 1 tbsp turmeric powder 1 tbsp corriander powder, 1 tsp salt and 1-2tbsp vinegar.

Mix all of these well with hand (I can’t stand the heat of chillies, so I use a ladle) in a mud pot and keep covered for 30-45 minutes

For Sauteing

Heat coconut oil in a wok or clay pot. Once hot, add 2-3 big onions sliced length-wise, 3-6 green chillies sliced length-wise, 4-6 cloves of garlic and 1 inch ginger julienned, a twig or two of curry leaves and once the raw smell goes, add 1tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tbsp corriander powder, and fry again. To this add the marinated mango, thin coconut milk (350 mL), cover the vessel and cook on low flame.

Cooking

The mango would have been well cooked in 10-12 minutes, open the cover and add thin coconut milk or water, if more gravy is needed, and let it boil well, again. Once done, add thick coconut milk (250-350mL – depending on volume of gravy desired), mix the ingredients well and switch off flame.

Seasoning

Add coconut oil in a wok, and splutter mustard, fenugreek (uluva), 10-12 sliced shallots, 4-5 broken big red chillies, 1 tsp turmeric and few curry leaves. Add this to the gravy. Add a few more curry leaves and drizzle some more coconut oil on top, if desired.

This can be served with Rice, Apam, Idiyappam,Pathiri,  Chappathi, Bread, Bun etc. The gravy thickens on cooling. Once cooled, can be stored in fridge for up to 4 days easily.

 

 

 

Posted in Personal

SAY NO TO SILENCE… REACT

Five years back I was hit on the head by a drunk man at the signal on the Gandhi Road in Velachery, Chennai, barely 100m away from my destination, Velachery gate, IIT Madras campus.

I was on phone, and was describing how a young man was acting particularly strange, trying to poke and disturb the bus driver of a bus that had a short halt at the signal. Soon, I saw him approach me, I moved and made way way for him. It was just too sudden, I was hit on my head. My friend, at the other end of the phone could hear the sound, and then it was only the sound of traffic. He could not hear my voice.

It took me full 5 minutes, and so many calls from my friend to slowly come to my senses. The time was 6:35pm, February 2011. Sun was still there, few street lights were also glowing. One of the most crowded signals here, filled with young and old, men and women, bustling with activity.

I could not sit up. The impact of the hit was pretty severe. I was expecting someone to help me get up, I wanted some water, I wanted to cry. I felt SHAME. Shame for not reacting. Shame because no one helped me. I was ashamed to be left all alone. Even, before I could make sense of anything else, SHAME engulfed me.

Soon, I could hear voices around me, few women stared at me, few men looked all confused, 3 young men (around 18-20 years) came closer and said, “Macha, no one cares that she’s been hit. Anyways, she’s on the floor and ready for more. Let’s do whatever we want, no one would care again.”

I just froze, I don’t know for how long. Suddenly an old man, a shopkeeper who had been witnessing all of these told me, “Just go away somewhere and be safe. This place isn’t good. All are under the influence of alcohol. The guy who hit you was taken away by his friend. He won’t harm you further, but others can. I have to leave, don’t get me involved in this.”

I don’t know where I got the energy from. Next I remember, I am running towards IIT gate. I got inside. Sight of the security guards made me feel safe, but I chose not to tell them. I did not want to answer why I was outside campus alone after 6pm. No, we are not forbidden to do that. I regularly used to go to a cafe outside campus, and mostly alone, and would not return before 7pm usually.

My phone was still ringing, my head was hurting bad. I talked to my friend. Told him what happened. He was already on his way. He told me to call other friends too. I called another guy who stayed outside campus. He brought in one more friend who knew Tamil.

My head hurt bad, but there was no visible injury. I was asked to take an X-ray, since the hit made me unconscious.

We went to the Velachery police station and gave a complaint. Initially, they refused to believe me. They judged me because I went with 3 male friends and no female friend to report this. They told that the spot had a TASMAC shop and that it could have been some drunk guy for sure. They made me go with them to identify the attacker. We insisted that all of us would go together. We got to know that IIT campus which has so many other schools and colleges nearby, and is located within the Institutional Area, filled with more than 100 institutes, had  at least 6 TASMAC shops around it. After few days of persistence, lack of any leads, ignorance from police and discouragement from all those who were close to me, I gave up on the case.

Five years have passed, the injury healed, the story’s been shared so many times, but still the SHAME remains, because every time people say “somebody could have helped you then”; but no one has ever said, “had I been a witness, I’d have done ………………”

STOP BEING SILENT… IT DOES NOT HELP… SPEAK UP and REACT

Posted in The Lazy Cook

Whole Wheat Mix Veg and Egg Pizza

I am starting with my latest cooking experiment; a Pizza.

I was never a pizza lover, but the new thin-crust variations had made me start to like the pizzas. With the latest addition in my kitchen, an OTG, I had to try out a pizza. Being lazy and inexperienced, I spent more time researching than cooking. So, most of my knowledge is what others have shared in different blogs and videos. This is a simple version for the same.

Ingredients

  1. 1.5 cup whole wheat flour
  2. 1 tbsp salt
  3. 1 tsp heaped baking powder
  4. 0.5 tsp baking soda
  5. 2 tsp olive oil
  6. hot water (bubbling up started) – not sure of the quantity; kept adding on 1 tbsp each till I got a medium hard dough (approximately 1/3 cup)
  7. Olive oil – for greasing
  8. 2 tbsp cornflour – for dusting
  9. For Filling – Broccoli florets, Pumpkin, Baby Corn, Tomato, Spinach torn, Onion, dried Thyme, shredded Garlic, Pepper powder, Tomato Ketchup, Chilli Sauce, Soya Sauce, fresh Green Peas, Mushrooms sliced, 1 egg, grated Cheese, salt

Add items 1 to 4 and thoroughly whisk. Add olive oil, thoroughly whisk again. Keep adding water, mix completely using a fork. Once mixed, use fingers to prepare the dough. Stretch and compress it around 5 times, make it into a ball. Keep it covered in a vessel and put it in the freezer for at least 15-20 min. After that put it in the fridge for 10-15 min. This can be kept in the fridge for another 6-8 hours, without it losing its consistency. Just make sure to put it in an air-tight container.

As soon as it is taken out, put it on a large steel/aluminium tray greased with some oil, or onto the kitchen counter greased. I directly put it on my granite kitchen counter. Now using a rolling pin, flatten out the dough as thin as possible. I should have greased the surface with 2-3 drops of oil; will do it next time to prevent the flattened dough from sticking. Removing it this time was difficult.

wheat pizza

 

Once it is bigger than your skillet or cake spring-form tin, stop flattening it. Also depending on the thinness desired.
I made mine around 10 inch big. I had the base of the spring-form tin (9 inch) lined with 2-3 drops of olive oil and dusted with some cornflour. Onto this, I put my flattened wheat pizza base on it, and made sure that there was a small edge across the entire perimeter. This also provided as a boundary for the veggies.

Use 2-3 drops of olive oil on the pizza base to prevent the filling from sticking onto it. Add the filling. Refer to the items that I had used in the list above. It exclusively includes veggies and spice that I love. Be creative and treat your taste-buds.

Put this in a pre-heated (250 degree Celsius for 20 min) oven for 15 minutes. Take out after 2 minutes. Remove pizza onto a large plate, cut into slices and serve hot.

Makes 1 pizza, 9 inch, thin crust, with 6 slices, just sufficient for 2 people