Archive for July, 2006

Mixed Gourd Curry with Two Dals

When I went shopping last weekend, I found a small box of snake gourds. They weren’t the best looking veggies I’ve ever seen ~~ they were a little wilted. Nonetheless, I really wanted to try. I chose the freshest one I could, and popped it into my basket.

This evening I went searching for recipes, and decided to make
Priya’s Snake Gourd Curry.

I had one problem: not even enough snake gourd to make half the recipe.
I had a nice fresh ridge gourd, and the mystery gourd still keeping well in the fridge, so I mixed them up.

ridge gourd, bottle gourd, and snake gourd
mixed gourds, mustard and curry leaves

I followed Priya’s recipe.

Mixed Gourd Curry with Two Dals (a la Priya)

1/4 c moong dal
1/4 c masoor dal

3 c mixed gourd, chopped (discard seeds from snake gourd, I learned)

1/2 tsp fresh pepper, dry roasted and ground
1/4 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste

for tempering:
1 tsp oil or ghee
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves

Cook the two dals till soft and keep aside. Cook gourds in boiling water with asafoetida and a little salt, 10-15 minutes till tender but not mushy. Drain off most of the water, add cooked dals and fresh-ground pepper. Keep over medium-low heat another 10 minutes or so, until most of the water has cooked away.

Heat the oil or ghee, add mustard, and when it pops, add curry leaves. Cook a minute then add to the gourd/dal mixture. Cook 5 minutes longer, stir well, and serve hot.

three gourd curry
delicious peppery mixed gourd curry over rice ~ thank you Priya!

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Meeta’s BPW Event

cape cod clamshack

cape cod clamshack

What will be on your card?
Have a peek at Meeta’s Blogger Postcards from the World.

boston skyline

boston skyline

connecticut farm

connecticut farm on country road

Meeta, great idea! When you get to organizing the first Blogger Reunion, do call on me as I play a travel consultant in real life ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Vaishali’s Bitter Gourd Curry with Peach

Vaishali's Bitter Gourd Curry (with peach)

Vaishali’s Bitter Gourd Curry (with peach)

I’m usually pretty fearless when it comes to trying new vegetables, but I’ve been working up to bitter gourd for a while now. The only time I had tasted a vegetable called “bitter” was in a dish from a very authentic neighborhood chinese restaurant by work. Everything they make there is excellent, so I was not prepared for the bitter slices of pale green vegetable swimming in bitter sauce. It was so unpalatable, I had to throw it away. I hate to see waste, so something has to be *really* awful for me to toss it out. That was bitter melon, however, and it was a few years ago; perhaps bitter gourd could be different?

When I read about Vaishali’s new bitter gourd curry recipe, I said I was going to get daring and try it — little did I know it would be so soon. It just so happened that it was the freshest looking vegetable in the shop on Saturday.


karela slices, garlic, dried red chili, underripe peach

clockwise from top: salted karela slices, fresh crushed garlic, dried red chili, underripe peach chunks

I followed Vaishali’s method with a few exceptions concerning ingredients:

I did not have a green mango, nor hope of finding one, so I used a hard, underripe peach for sour fruit taste. I also added a little amchur powder to the boiling water.

I only cooked one bitter gourd and I adjusted the seasoning quantities accordingly; I did use the full three tablespoons of jaggery called for, however… (did I mention bitter gourd scared me a little ๐Ÿ™‚ )

I also used a dried, deseeded red chili in the tadka, rather than chili powder.

The verdict: with all that jaggery and garlic, how could you not love this! Mine came out more saucy than I believe was intended, but that sauce on hot rice was just delicious. Salting the karela did indeed make it ‘more tolerably bitter’, the peach was slightly tart/sour and the garlic and chili seasoning added a great punch.

Thank you Vaishali and your MIL, too!

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Sunday Snacking

Karela Chips

Karela chips by way of Indira and Kay, with slightly modified seasoning.

Being a good student of Vaishali ;), I first salted the karela slices, and then pressed the liquid from them with a light weight (the one medium bitter gourd gave off about 1/2 c liquid after salting).

I did not have red chili-garlic powder, so I used a portion of the seasoning I had mixed up for Meena’s eggplant recipe: garam masala, red chili powder, and amchur powder.

Being a little hesitant about the bitter taste (I once had a chinese restaurant preparation of bitter gourd that scared me off this vegetable), I also added a teaspoon of garlic paste to the oil and seasonings.

I let the slices sit in this ‘marinade’ for a good half hour before broiling them in the toaster oven.


Meena's Baingan Fry

Meena’s Baingan Fry

For this eggplant recipe I soaked the eggplant slices overnight in salted water. My hope was that waterlogged eggplant wouldn’t soak up as much oil… not sure whether that theory proved out though ๐Ÿ˜‰

Other than that I followed Meena’s recipe exactly.


Bitter gourd is a bit of an acquired taste for me, but the seasoning was delicious and sliced thin and broiled crisp, I didn’t find it too bitter. The eggplant was rich and silky; a few slices of each made a very filling snack.

Thanks Meena, Indira, and Kay!

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Random Rainy Day Reading

I was cleaning up my favorites list this morning. Came across some sites I had bookmarked before all my bookmarks mysteriously turned into blogs…


Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen
japanese cookware and supplies

Tokyo Food Page

Evergreen Seeds
oriental vegetable seeds – 22 varieties of eggplant alone!
useful for LG’s Green Blog Project

USDA Nutrient Data Lab
searchable database of nutritional info on many foods

NPR Story ~ Freighter Food: From the Galleys of the Great Lakes
interesting tale of cooking on the huge ore boats that ply the Great Lakes
with photos and sound clips

Arthur Hungry
A food blog I was reading before I realised what food blogs were!

an early dal search

Indian Food Forever
another early dal search

Beginners Guide to Regional Indian Cooking
By Monica Bhide and Chef Sudhir Seth

Maharashtra Food

Oh, look! ๐Ÿ˜‰


classic ore boat

classic ore boat at an ore dock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

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Rocky Mountain High II (more Colorado)

I really need to learn to leave the camera in the car…

mother prairie falcon

mom prairie falcon in eyrie, Garden of the Gods park


juvenile prairie falcon

juvenile prairie falcon below eyrie, Garden of the Gods park


elusive Abert's squirrel

elusive Abert’s squirrel at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument


twin eagles rock formation

twin eagles rock formation in Tarryall Mountains area


woodland strawberry

woodland strawberry (yep, I ate it, yum!) near Cottonwood Pass –elevation approx. 10,500 feet

western spring beauty and friend

western spring beauty and unidentified friend, near Cottonwood Pass


wasatch penstemon

wasatch penstemon near Cottonwood Pass


Mt Princeton

view of Mt. Princeton with Johnson Village below, just south of Buena Vista, CO


Rocky Mountains, indeed!

Check out the beautiful photos from other parts of Colorado
over at Cooking Medley.

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Rocky Mountain High (Colorado)

Does anyone else know that old song by John Denver? I used to listen a little as a kid — now I know what it means.

Vacation consisted of a few days around Colorado Springs, then a trip further west to Buena Vista, at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks. It was my first time to see the Rocky Mountains, and to experience the blazing sun and thin, clear air at higher altitude than my sea-level self is accustomed to.

I saw wildlife around every corner, including bison (buffalo), mule deer, pronghorn (antelope), rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels. Also encountered many new birds including a golden eagle — a real sight to see: bronze-backed, soaring in the sunshine. Enjoyed many beautiful trees and wildflowers, especially in the higher elevations. All this displayed against the dramatic backdrop of real mountains — something I will never forget.

I did miss blogging fun and great recipes! It will take me a month to read all the wonderful things everyone has posted.

Meantime, a few photos from the 400+ (!!???!!) I took…….. I’m addicted to the camera, I confess…


yellow salsify

yellow salsify near the Continental Divide

limber pine cone with pitch

limber pine cone in pitch near the Continental Divide


pronghorn (antelope) west of Wilkerson Pass

pikes peak from wilkerson pass

Pike’s Peak and foothills looking east from Wilkerson Pass

mule deer buck

Mule deer in velvet, Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

mule deer herd

gregarious mule deer near Florissant, CO

hummingbirds at wilkerson pass

hummingbirds at Wilkerson Pass

chipmunk lunch

Colorado chipmunk feasting at Garden of the Gods

cbeaver pond trout stream

Beaver dam on a trout stream, below Cottonwood Pass, elev. approx. 10,500 feet


Colorado Rocky Mountain High!

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Call it a Craving

It was 2 am after a long day of traveling, and ten days without anything even remotely indian-flavored. Call it a craving, call it crazy; I don’t know what to call it. I wanted mustard seed, curry leaf and cumin, and I wanted it quick!

Quick Fix Rasam Noodle Soup
for desperate late-night cravings

4 oz fine egg noodles
4 oz fresh spinach

1 small can whole tomatoes and their juice (14 oz can)
1 c water
1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 small lump jaggery
1 healthy TB rasam powder

For tempering:
2 tsp butter/ghee (never mind healthy canola oil, this is a craving, after all)
1 tsp mustard seeds
5-6 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds

Boil egg noodles in sufficient water 5-6 minutes. Add spinach and boil a further 2-3 minutes. Drain in colander and hold aside.

Empty tomatoes and their juice into a medium saucepan and break up tomatoes by hand or with knife and fork. Add 1 c. water, tamarind concentrate, and jaggery. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring, until jaggery dissolves. Add rasam powder and stir well. Simmer over medium heat 10-15 minutes, adjusting seasoning to taste. Add reserved noodles and spinach and heat through.

Make the tempering in a separate pan (too lazy to spell that out tonight) and stir into the tomato/noodle mixture. Bring just to the boil — serve hot with a big spoon and no excuses ๐Ÿ™‚



quick fix rasam noodle soup

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Mumbai Help Link

Too many sad events around the world these days — here is the link many bloggers have already listed — I’m a little late but my thoughts are with you all.

Mumbai Help



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Backyard Birding

Lucky me, I’m off to Colorado on Monday — later to Michigan. Hope to see some new birds this year. Here are a few from previous trips as well as from the “backyard” (really my front yard!).


Pine Siskin

pine siskin near arborvitae out front


Sandhill Cranes

sandhill cranes near Bete Gris, MI



male mallard duck near Frankfort, MI


Coopers Hawk

cooper’s hawk in feeder tree out front


Rose Breasted Grosbeak

female rose-breasted grosbeak near Traverse City, MI


Purple Finches

purple finches in feeder out front


Backyard Birdwatchers

my favorite backyard birders, enjoying the view


Comments (9)

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