Archive for January, 2008

Canary Beans with Brinjal and Goda Masala ~ Full Moon Rising

canary beans
buttery yellow canary beans ~ dry and soaked

It’s been hard to get back into blogging recipes! I have lots of things I want to try and a couple of projects I want to work on, but somehow I can’t get myself moving fast enough for my liking. Oh well, it’s just a little bump in the blog-road… nothing to worry myself about. Baby steps to get back in the swing!

I am a big fan of dear ISG’s cooking, which you can find over at Daily Musings.
I had some beautiful fresh brinjals in the fridge, and I was in the mood for some beans. ISG does great things with bean-and-veggie combos, but I was too tired and lazy to grind paste or powder. Instead I left the onion chopped fine and used dry ingredients, with flavors inspired by ISG’s spicy masalas. Then for a little twist, I added my quasi-goda masala. The result was surprisingly good!

If you haven’t tried canary beans, also known as frijoles canarios, hurry out and get some from your local Latin American market. They are rich and buttery, unlike any bean I’ve ever tasted.


Canary Beans with Brinjal and Goda Masala

For the beans:

1/2 c canary beans, soaked 6-8 hours
1-2 dried red chiles
1/4 tsp turmeric
pinch of hing

For the brinjal gravy:

1 tsp canola oil
1 TB ginger paste
1 TB garlic paste
1 big red onion, chopped very fine
5-6 small purple brinjals, cut in quarters
1 TB dhania-jeera powder
1 TB goda masala** (see note below)
1/2 tsp kashmiri chile powder
pinch of javitri powder (my Hindi vocab word-of-the-week!)
1/2 tsp salt

2 TB tomato paste (optional)

chopped cilantro to garnish


Drain and rinse the beans. Cook in the pressure cooker with the turmeric, hing, dried red chiles and 4-5 cups water. (I don’t have a whistling pressure cooker — I cooked these about 12 minutes and they were a bit too soft. Next time I’d probably quit at 10 min). Once cooked, set aside and reserve the water.

For the brinjal gravy:

Heat the canola oil in a medium pan over med-high. Saute the ginger and garlic paste for a minute, then add chopped onions. Saute a further 5 minutes over med-high — if they start to stick, add a little bean water to free them up.

Now add the brinjals and cook another 5 minutes, stirring and adding more bean water as needed to keep from sticking. After 5 minutes, add all the powdered spices and salt. Stir well, reduce heat to med-low and cover the pot. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until brinjals are tender.

Now pour on the beans and their cooking water. If you are using the tomato paste, add that now as well. The mixture will be very liquidy. Turn up the heat and let the gravy boil about 5 minutes. Then lower the heat and let it simmer another 10-15 minutes, or to the desired consistency.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

I had this with some cooked cauliflower (yep, it’s Weight Watchers time again!),
but like so many bean dishes, I think it will be even tastier tomorrow.
Then I will try it over rice. 🙂

canary beans with brinjal
canary beans with brinjal and goda masala ~ a bean dish a la Indosungod!

**NOTE: I don’t have all the ingredients to prepare an authentic goda masala, but I did find something close in the store: Badshah brand Rajwadi Garam Masala (oddly, stone flower is not listed as an ingredient on the website, but it is on my package). This is the closest thing to the real deal I have found yet.

More fiddling with the new camera… I really need to take a class before I can use this properly.

Lots of animal visitors are leaving tracks in the snow…

many tracks
many tracks to and from the swingset in the backyard

I didn’t see who made all those tracks, but today I looked up from washing the dishes and saw another visitor watching from afar…

coopers hawk
a beautiful coopers hawk in the backyard ~ the females are larger than the males and this was a big girl!

I ran outside with the camera, and just managed to get that one shot above before she noticed me, even from that far away, and abandoned her perch…

coopers hawk
female coopers hawk taking flight

Pinkie is a moon cat. Whenever the moon is bright, he likes to sit in the window seat or doorway and soak up the moonlight. Photo quality is not great here, but his expression is clear 😉

moon cat
pinks the moon kitty

full moon
hazy full moon on this chilly January evening


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Kadaisal, The Little Masher and Sumeet, The New Mixie

It could almost be the title of a children’s book:

“Once upon a time, there was a lovely wooden mathu — masher — named Kadaisal. Kadaisal the Mathu was a humble, traditional utensil. Sometimes she felt inferior to the fancier, newer machines suddenly available in trendy “Y2K” shops. What she didn’t realise was that with her classic beauty, she was most precious to all who knew her. With her graceful shape, she made joyous ease of mashing the yummy dals and veggies cooked in her kitchen. When one day she joined a collection of strange kitchen tools, she was scared. Perhaps she wouldn’t fit in.
She rested, (somewhat) timidly, on the (somewhat) cluttered countertop, wondering what would become of her in this new kitchen far from home.
(She didn’t know she was already at home in her *new* home!).

Soon after, Sumeet the Mixie moved in, unannounced, yet also welcomed.
Sumeet was much bigger of course, newer, and showing off — making all sorts of noise, taking over the counter, where little Kadaisal needed only a tiny spot. Sumeet and his siblings, the extra blades and jars, needed a great deal more space and often some earplugs for the user to wear.

Poor Kadaisal, already growing happy in her new home, soon thought her useful days were over.

It took only one batch of ISG’s mashed brinjal to prove her wrong. The bigger and shinier Sumeet could turn out amazing powders and silky smooth chutneys, and for that he was most appreciated! Still, that could not compare with the delicacy of Kadaisal’s traditional touch.

Kadaisal was reassured. Confidently she took up residence among the other wooden spoons in the pottery crock near the stove… awaiting her next turn in a pot of dal or brinjal… ”


One such Sumeet traveled all the way from India to Massachusetts via Canada, thanks to my secret santa 🙂 He rests comfortably waiting for the tough grinding jobs that need doing! Bring on the idlis!

One such mathu traveled all the way from India to Massachusetts in search of a happy new home, all thanks to dearest ISG who takes such good and generous care of my humble Indian kitchen! 🙂

Oh, and in case you wondered ~~ they both lived happily ever after, content to live side-by-side on the (somewhat) cluttered countertop, doing their unique work 🙂


OK, so that was a little bit of a silly tale, but my sincere sentiment was behind it and my most humble thanks go out to dearest Secret Santa and ISG 🙂

I’ve been away from the blogs too long — I promise to get around to visit soon.
I miss you all! Alot has happened since New Year’s Day. I was sick for a time with sinus problems (see ISG’s kollu paruppu rasam for a good remedy!) and then the kids’ vacations were upon me.

*begin bragging mom section*

My son made high honors with straight A’s for first term of sophomore year in college, and my daughter was chosen for a part in a very small cast of a Holocaust play at her high school — they’re keeping me busy lately, but happily so.

*end bragging mom section*

Another very happy thing is, I went for a little vacation to Michigan ~ always too short! 🙂 Still another is, I have a new camera, and I haven’t learned to use it very well yet — so my photos here are a bit poor. However, I have cooked some yummy things with the new Sumeet and the new Mathu.

Here are a few…

mythreyee’s hubby’s ridge gourd chutney
Mythreyee’s hubby’s Ridge Gourd Peppercorn Chutney
Made exactly according to their recipe with a little garlic added ~
do try, ’cause it’s *delicious*

ISG’s kollu chutney and rasam
ISG’s kollu paruppu chutney and rasam have healing powers indeed!
After days of totally blocked sinuses and no aromas, I can finally smell again.
And oh, the taste!
I used fresh tamarind water and it was excellent. I couldn’t stop eating the rasam.


And let’s not forget Little Kadaisal, who made me this lovely kathrikkai kadaisal with just a few graceful swishes 🙂

kathrikkai kadaisal from ISG’s Daily Musings
kathrikkai kadaisal, made in the traditional way ~ thank you ISG!


A few snow-shots with the new camera. I am still learning 🙂

snowy woods out back
snowy woods in the backyard… about two thirds of the way down, on the right, you can barely see the deer tracks in the faint, shrouded moonlight…

deer tracks close up
deer tracks in brighter light ~ leading from my driveway up through neighbor’s yard to the woods out back

moon in hazy winter night sky
the winter moon in a haze, far above the swamp maple out back…

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Jihva for Chocolate and Winter in Michigan

I must be getting old. I took a few days away at the end of December — came down with a bit of a cold, and now here it’s January 5 and I am still not caught up with the New Year!

Happily, I am able to make it to Jihva for Chocolate by the skin of my teeth. I’m sorry, Deepz, for the very late entry — so glad you extended that deadline 🙂

When I was a girl, my great-aunt used to make these “cookies” for my sister and me. She always used Nestle butterscotch morsels. I remember this in large part not only because they tasted so good, but because we kids, at such a young age, could help. Nowadays with the microwave, it’s an even better recipe for young ones. They can do most everything themselves with only a watchful eye on the micro to be sure the morsels don’t scorch.

I found chocolate-caramel morsels in the store today, so decided to try those. My daughter took one taste and promptly carried the whole batch off to a gathering of her friends this eve, so I guess the recipe stood the test of time 😉

No-Bake Chocolate-Caramel Krinkles
makes about 16-20 snacks

1 10-12 oz bag Nestle chocolate-caramel morsels
1/3 c peanut butter
3 c corn flakes cereal

choc caramel morsels and pb
choc-caramel morsels and peanut butter ready to microwave

In a large bowl, microwave the morsels and peanut butter on half power, about 2 minutes — check after the first minute as microwaves vary. Stir until smooth. Mix in the corn flakes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper.

Let stand until hardened — about 30-45 min.

Good luck keeping them around with kids in the house 🙂

Chocolate-Caramel Krinkles
Easy No-Bake Chocolate-Caramel Krinkles

Thanks Deepz, for choosing this yummy ingredient and bringing back some sweet memories 🙂


My Michigan trip was far too short this time. Winter beggars can’t be choosers however — I’ll take a couple of days up north, any day. Still homesick 🙂

pileated woodpecker
pileated woodpecker ~ for perspective, this bird is large as a crow

icy fence at Holland, MI
ice hanging from a fence at Holland, MI

lake michigan sunset
snow-covered sand dunes, under the muted colors of a wintry sunset over Lake Michigan

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