Food During Lockdown #1

#LockdownTales #ChineseVirus

BLOT – Cooking is a gender neutral life skill that everyone must learn.

As we city dwellers get confined to our homes and are forced to eat home cooked food rather than ordering a meal, I wanted to share some easy things to cook. The lockdown is also a good opportunity to learn cooking, whatever gender you are.

  1. Paruppu Usili – lentil mixed with a vegetable

This is a South Indian curry, supposedly Tam-Bram special, but I guess variations of this are made by every community. Its quick and easy and a great dish for the protein fanatics :):).

The recipe is as follows –

Chana Dal – 1/2 Cup for 2 cups of vegetable. You can add more Chana Dal and the dish would only taste better. Soak the chana dal for a couple of hours in cold water or an hour in hot water. Drain the water and grind it coarsely with red chillies and salt in a mixie without adding any water.

Vegetables that work for this curry – beans, beetroot, carrot and banana flower. Two cups of the vegetable is what Amma used. You can flash the vegetable if you like OPOS or you can saute the vegetable in a “kadai” or pan like my mother does, if you don’t like OPOS :).

Once the vegetable is sightly cooked, add the chana dal paste and keep turning it till its fully cooked.

A helpful link for the non-OPOS community – This recipe says you can use Arhar/Tuvar dal as well, but Amma uses only Chana dal.

Paruppu Usili

2. Bhelpuri as a salad 

Bhelpuri is a huge favourite at home. But I have never made it as a salad. I would just buy the Haldirams Bhelpuri packet and use the sweet chutney premix that they have inside, add tomatoes, onions, green chillies and a few handfuls of plain puffed rice, mix it all together and enjoy a tasty snack. Now with the lockdown and also our “no sugar” policy, I stopped buying the Haldirams Bhelpuri packet and started making Bhelpuri from scratch using plain puffed rice. One of the additions that I have done is to add cucumber and capsicum to the mix and suddenly its not a snack but a tasty salad ! I have also been adding steamed corn and it adds to the taste.

I also make the sweet chutney at home and its made with Palm Jaggery (Karupatti). Will post the recipe separately.

Bhelpuri as a salad is easy-peasy. Vegetables I used were Tomatoes, Onions, a small piece of raw mango diced finely, cucumber, green Capsicum. I added a handful of peanuts, roasted chana and some of the namkeen “mixture” that I got from Hyderabad. Mixed the sweet chutney with coriander, chillies, some tamarind and made a paste of it using the mixie. Added all of the above with two cups of plain puffed rice and the Bhelpuri salad was ready.


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