Maharashtrian thali lunch - sakhar bhaat, puri bhaji, masale bhaat, khamang kakdi

For rakshabandhan last week, I decided to do a special maharashtrian thali for lunch. Rakshabandhan also coincides with Narali Poornima in Marathi culture. On that day, narali bhaat (coconut rice) is traditionally made. I also planned masale bhaat, puri bhaaji, and the famous khamang kakdi. My mother in law brought over sevai kheer which went really well with the puri bhaaji. I also bought some taak (buttermilk) to go with the masale bhaat. We really love Govardhan brand taak. Even their masala taak is not spicy but spiced in a very balanced manner. Here is the taat (thali) in its full glory. :)

Sakhar bhaat
There are many variations of this rice. My mother used to make sakhar bhaat (translates to sugar rice) with coconut added to it. It is one of the more complex recipes for this rice but is also undoubtedly more delicious.

Adapted from Sakharbhat Recipe By Tanuja
Serves 12

Ingredients:2 cups basmati rice 1.5 cupssugar2 tbspghee1/2 tspsalt10cloves5cardamom podsa pinch ofsaffron stra…

Day trip to Save farms - Tarpa in Gholvad, Dahanu

We visited Save farms way back in March after my daughter's final exam for the school year when my parents had come down to visit us. It was the perfect season to visit the farm. The farm full of trees kept us cool from the March sun. One of our favorite fruits, chikoo was also in season. I reckon December-March would be good months to enjoy the farm.

They have this beautiful website with all the details about the farm. It is mainly a chikoo orchard but it has lots of other variety of trees too. This farm is one of my happy places. Trees, nature, farms, get the drift, these places replenish my soul.
Before I get carried away into poetic language, let's begin at the beginning ;) of the trip, ofcourse. We planned to leave by 6:30 am. The farm is about 2-3 hours away depending on traffic. Me and my husband were on the bike and both sets of parents, along with the daughter in the car. We stopped at Vithal Kamat after about an hour and a half. It is one of our fav…

Weekly recap - Super seeds no bake energy bar, beet kofta and party custard

Last week I tried a couple of new recipes, so I thought this is a good week for a weekly recap to showcase them.

I had ordered an energy bar from bigbasket since there was an offer on it. Otherwise, those things are expensive! The daughter loved the bar, so I saved the wrapper for reference to create my version of it. It contained seeds like sesame and pumpkin along with figs. The daughter is not excited about eating seeds on their own and she kind of hates the look and texture of dates. So I looked at it as an opportunity to feed her superfood seeds and dates.
I based it on my dates ladoo recipe.

Super Seeds Energy Bar (nobake)

Ingredients:1 cup mix of raisins, dates, and figs* 1 tbsp ghee 1 tbsp honey 1/4 tsp rock salt 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder 3/4 cup oats 1 cup nuts and seeds* Method
Dry roast oats in a small iron kadhai till crisp; about 4 minutes.You can dry roast the seeds and nuts if they are not very fresh and crisp otherwise it is optional.Coarsely grind the dates, raisins, …

Back to school recipes - Oats Banana Date Breakfast Smoothie and Vegetable Wrap for School Lunch

I am back after what looks like a summer vacation. The schools have reopened for the new academic year after the much-needed summer break. For us, it was a very refreshing and revitalizing break because we spent a month at my parent's place. The distance and the change in routine allow us to look at our regular routine with a new pair of eyes and see what can be changed to make it better.

The daughter used to eat oatmeal cooked in milk with some cinnamon and sugar before leaving for school every day. She thought something to drink is more appropriate in the early morning and much quicker to finish in the rush to catch the school bus. I feel just drinking milk does not have the staying power to pull her through till the 9:30 am breakfast break in school. One day she, me and my mom had a casual discussion and came up with this smoothie which she is happy to drink before leaving for school.
Banana and dates add sweetness, fiber and good nutrition. Oats up the fiber content and add…

Using the last of winter carrots - Easy gajar halwa and halwa flavoured carrot cake

Summer is about to start here but I am still not ready to say good-bye to my favourite season of the year - winter. For me, the best part of winter is the abundance of beautiful vegetables. Sweet, red winter carrots are one such gem of a vegetable. We have been eating it raw every day for the whole season.
I also made our favourite winter dessert - gajar ka halwa on a few occasions. I tried a few tricks and have streamlined the long process of making the halwa into a less time-consuming and less labor-intensive one.

Gajar ka HalwaIngredients:1 kgcarrots1 ltrmilk*1 tbspcashew pieces1 tspcardamom powder1/2 cupsugarMethod
Heat the milk in a large vessel till it comes to a boil. Let it reduce on low flame stirring once in a while.Meanwhile, grate the carrots to a medium thickness. I outsource this to my husband who does it in 10 minutes.Add the grated carrots and a cup of the milk which was reducing to a pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles on medium flame.Keep the milk reducing till thi…

Fasting recipes for Shivratri

I am not really a religious person. So Shivratri was another reason to try out new recipes; fasting recipes specifically. Shivratri is one of the major fasting days in Hinduism that is followed by a large number of people.
My thought process was that it is healthy and tasty to take a break from everyday grains like rice and wheat for a day. Instead of doing it on Monday as per the calendar, we did it on Sunday so that the husband would not miss out on the food.

Here's what I made for the day:
For breakfast, it was sabudana khichadi. It was certainly not a new recipe. It is our usual Sunday breakfast because the daughter loves it. The trick to perfect sabudana khichadi lies in the soaking technique of sabudana. I learnt this trick from my mom. After washing the sabudana a couple of times, soak it in enough water to cover it by an inch. Leave it for about 20 minutes. The sabudana would have soaked up some of the water by now. Drain the excess water leaving just a couple of tablespo…

A Bike trip to Revdanda beach and Alibaug

Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary. Being on a weekday, we decided to celebrate on the weekend by going on a bike trip for old times sake. We used to go on regular bike trips when we were in Bangalore during the initial years of our marriage.
We decided on Revdanda beach which is around 120 kms from Thane. We planned to start early on Sunday morning. The grandparents came to pick up the daughter on Saturday night. She stayed at their place for 24 hours until they dropped her off again on Sunday night. We are lucky to have such helpful grandparents who live close by.

We left home around 6:30 am. After we crossed Panvel and were out on the highway, it got so cold. We were freezing on the bike due to the bike induced wind chill factor. We stopped around 8:30 am for breakfast at Amantran hotel about 15 kms after Karnala bird sanctuary. 'Roti Shoti Chai Nashta' just before Karnala bird sanctuary is also a good place for breakfast if you want to stop earlier.
We were very cold…
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