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Vangi Masala June 29, 2007

Posted by live2cook in Sauces and Gravies.

What will you cook if you want to cook for yourself?

This Question might sounds silly, but, is it?

We may claim that we are cooking for ourself everyday. Lets consider a situation when you are all alone at home and your are not required to cook anything for your family for whatever reason. You are hungry and would like to satisfy your cravings. What is it that you would you cook?

If you ask me, I will say “Eggplant”, “Brinjal”. Especially, I love the tiny brinjals very much. Rasa vangi, Stuffed Curry… the list is endless.

One such recipe is “Vangi masala”.

The Recipe is:

1 walnut sized ball of Tamarind
1/2 lb Tiny Eggplant or Brinjal
2 teaspoons of Oil
2 Garlic cloves
2 teaspoons Coriander Seeds
1/2 inch piece of Cinnamon
2 Cloves
1/4 cup of shredded Coconut
4 Dried Red chili
3 teaspoons of Salt
1 teaspoon Jaggery
1/4 teaspoon Black Mustard seeds

The Method:

1. Soak the tamarind on 1/2 cup of warm water until it turns soft.
2. Crush the tamarind in the soaked water and drain the water in a bowl. Discard the pulp.
3. Grind coconut, garlic, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cloves and red chili to a fine paste.
4. Slit the bottom of the eggplants 1/4 inch deep, but not cutting into quarters.
5. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the eggplants. Fry until they are well coated with oil and start to pale in color.
6. Add the tamarind extract and salt. When it starts boiling, add the ground paste,Jaggery and mix well.
7. Reduce the heat and let it boil until the eggplants are cooked and the gravy thickens.

Vangi Masala

This is my entry for Indira’s JFI Event hosted by Sangeetha.


Pav Usal June 26, 2007

Posted by live2cook in Snacks.

When I got married and came to US, all I knew was traditional South Indian cooking. In our families, Onion and garlic are very rare affair. The everyday cooking will be almost one among Sambar, Aviyal, Kootu, Moru khuzhambhu, vaththal kuzhambhu, etc.

To tell the truth, I didn’t know what was “Garam Masala” at that time. We were taught that “Too much masala is bad for health”. Now, If my parents and the neighbors from my town happen to see me using “Garam Masala” almost thrice a week, they will put me in the list of unhealthy people!

My husband is from a big city in India and he loves to eat variety of foods. Thanks to the Restaurants in his city and his room mates in US, he had tasted variety of dishes from various cuisines. Most of the dish names I heard, were for the first time and my husband used to say “Good God! you claimed you could cook very well and a lot of variety!”. According to his Palette, I was an illiterate and fresher to the culinary school!!

I started learning different cuisines one by one. Internet taught me a lot. “Pav Usal” is one such recipe that I tried from “Bawarchi“. The recipe calls for Fresh green peas. I replaced it with Soaked and sprouted Dried Green Peas.

The Recipe is:

1 cup Green Peas
1 Lemon (Extract Juice)
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Cumin seeds
6-8 Pav (Bread Rolls)
3 teaspoons Salt

To Garnish:

Chopped Onion
Fine Sev (Deep fried Snack from India. We can easily make this at home. Also available in Indian/Asian Groceries)
Lemon Quarters

Grind to paste:

1/3 c Cilantro
8-10 Green chili
1/2 c Grated Fresh Coconut


1. Soak the Dried Green peas over night.
2. Drain well and take in a colander. Cover with a damp cheese cloth and allow to Sprout.
3. Pressure cook or cook till soft. If creamy consistency is preferred, mash coarsely.
4. Heat oil in a large pan. Add the Ground paste and stir fry for 2 minutes.
5. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
6. Add garam masala, crushed cumin, salt and mashed peas.
7. Cook for 10 minutes and add the lemon juice.

8. Garnish with Onion and Sev. Serve hot with Grilled Bread Rolls.

Pav Usal

Today my culinary skills have developed very well and the Bread Rolls (Pav) you see in the picture was made at home by me!!