Puducherry Indo-French Butternut Squash and Potato Bisque, State Fair Funnel Cake, Ajji's Halli Mane Huruli Kattu and Hurulikalu Usli
This week at FH, we are going to visit Pondicherry/Puducherry in Tamil Nadu to have a Indo-French vegetarian Butternut and Potato Bisque, then we will taste the most popular American State Fair dessert "Funnel Cake" and then we visit my paternal grandmother's halli mane for some authentic Karnataka farm food, Huruli Kattu and Usli. Are you ready? ;D
The 4 official languages of Puducherry are Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and French, with English as the connecting language of 4 districts. As a result, cuisine of Puducherry is influenced by French, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam cooking. Indo-French is a one of the popular cuisines. Here is the photo of beautiful house in Puducherry and these infos are from here and WIKIPEDIA.
Indo-French Butternut Squash and Potato Bisque:
I made the vegetarian Bisque with Indian touch using Butternut Squash and Potato with lots of fresh herbs form my pots. It smelled so good and was very tasty. Usually, Bisque is made of Heavy cream which I am sure tastes creamy and delicious. But I used some Buttermilk for tanginess and fat free Half and half to make the sauce in this recipe to cut down the calories.
To make veg Bisque:
1. Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp Canola oil in a deep pan. Add the "French Trinity" or "Mirepoix" as it is called; 1 medium, onion, 1 Celery and 1 Carrot, all chopped, along with 2-3 minced garlic, saute until just soft.
2. Add 2 cups peeled and cubed Butternut Squash and one large Potato (red or Russet will do), peeled and cubed, stir for 3 mins.
3. Add 3 cups of vegetable stock or just water, 2 tbsp of fresh mixed Herbs, pinch of salt, 1 tsp Cumin seeds pd and 1/4 tsp dry red chilli flakes (Indian touch!). Cover and let it cook.
4. Add Herbs of your choice or Herbes de Provence, simmer on low heat. Add 1/4 cup Buttermilk, 1/2 cup Half and Half or heavy cream, mix well and simmer gently, never let it boil.
5. Once cooked, use a hand blender stick to smoothen the sauce to creamy or pour the sauce into a blender carefully and blend until smooth. Pour back into the pan, simmer for 2 mins.
(If you are adding small cleaned Shrimps (1 cup), add them now and simmer the Bisque for 5-7mins, until the Shrimps turn pink.)
6. Serve with fresh Chives, parsley sprinkled on it and with a few seasoned Croutons.
Herbes de Provence:
2 tsp fresh Thyme, 2 tsp fresh Marjoram, 2 tsp fresh Summer savory, 1 tsp fresh Rosemary, 1 tsp fresh Tarragon.
(I used 2 tbsp fresh mixed Herbs from my herb pots, like Pineapple Sage, Thyme, Tarragon, Balm Lemon, Rosemary, Chives and Parsley. Bisque smelled and tasted wonderful!)
State Fair and Carnival Funnel Cake sprinkled with sugar pd and served with fruity low sugar Strawberry jam on the side:
Gigantic American style Indian Jalebi anyone? Hahaha. Funnel cakes are exactly that, without dunked in Safforny sugar syrup but sprinkled generously with Confectioner's sugar/powdered Sugar. Every State Fair and Carnival in USA has these Funnel cakes, freshly fried and loaded with sugar, huge enough for 4-6 people to eat. Even (Dolly Parton's) Dollywood Theme park in Tennessee has these cakes sold there, my kids love to eat these loaded with sugar pd!
They say that Funnel cake batter is made of "pâte à choux" pastry batter but I made this the easy way, adding egg is optional. It's crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. For pouring the batter, you can use Plastic Mustard or Ketchup bottle with a 1/4" small hole in the lid or pour the batter thru' a small funnel, basically anything with narrow spout atleast 1/4" to 1/2" opening. Batter should be thick but pourable like Jalebi batter. Watch the video I have linked below.
Here is how you make it: (makes 2 or 3 Funnel cakes)
1. Whisk 1 Egg (optional, makes it fluffy if you add Egg), 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk, 2 tbsp Sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp Baking powder and then add 1 1/4 cup plain flour, mix well until you don't see the lumps and batter is thick but pourable consistency.
2. Heat oil to 365F in a deep bottomed Kadai or small deep fryer to get a perfectly round cakes. Pour the batter into a Ketchup or Mustard jar, squeeze the batter into the oil quickly, first in 3-4 circles and then crisscross over the circles to make a big lacy circle.
3. Let it get golden on one side, flip gently and cook the other side. Drain, cool it and serve generously sprinkled with powdered sugar.
You can pile up the fresh fruit or whipped cream or drizzle with chocolate Ganache on top of the Funnel cake to serve. Enjoy.
Watch this video to see how to make these Funnel cakes. Here is a site where you can buy all those gadgets like plastic Funnel and ring you may need to make these yummy Funnel cakes, these are not necessary things as I made without them but good to have options! :)
Although I don't want to reveal the name (with what else but a very Lingayat name of course! :D) of the farm here for their privacy, our visits to them were not more than 2 days in a year. My thatha was a "Gowda", a Panchayat chief of 8 villages (a 5 men elected for a small scale village court), a loud mouth with a big heart, also was a much feared man in his community too! Somebody has to take care of the stuff before it hits the fan (or the city court), right? Can't blame him! ;P
I loved that simple, rustic, uncomplicated, non-pretentious and peaceful life of my paternal grandparents' place, learned a lot about unselfish, unconditional, pure love (to them, love is also to make you drink freshly "squeezed/milked" warm frothy cow's milk loaded with homemade Jaggery! That's whole another story about "feeding" the loved ones in the villages! OYYY!:D) from my Thatha, ajji, aunts and Uncles. As a result, most of my traditional Karnataka cooking is influenced by my Mysore ajji, from whom my mother learnt basic cooking as a very new young teenage daughter in law!
I have copied most of the recipes of my ajji from my mother's old notebook and now I am writing down one of them, which is authentic and very rustic recipe made from the reduced stock of Horse gram or Hurulikalu water reduced to paste with spices and eaten with homemade Ghee and rice.
What can I say about the village/farm itself? Well..my paternal family own most of the village since all of my grandfather's brothers, sisters, their kids and grand kids lived there for years! They all own their own piece of property with their homes built inside their farms and they literally live few yards from each other. So once we visit the village, it's like visiting the half of the family in one place and we are constantly fed by each one of those families, mostly coconut filled sweets and more coconutty savory dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner with loads of fresh of the tree coconut water to sip!
I still remember the sweet aroma of Sugarcane juice bubbling in the gigantic Cauldron until it turns into dark thick molasses first and then turn into golden (my thatha had his "secret" recipe! :D) square Jaggery cooling in the wooden moulds.Whole village would be filled with sweet smell of Bella/Jaggery!
I remember my mother being petrified every time we kids ran off to the farm which has a huge uncovered irrigation well, a pump house and deep water tank always filled with water. She always was afraid of us drowning in one of these since we loved to get in the tank and sit there neck deep in the water for hrs in the hot afternoons. Great memories! :D
Halli mane Oota; Anna, Tuppa, Huruli Kattu, Hurulikalu Usli, Happala. Slurp!!
Phew! That's some family revelation! Okay.. Here is my Hallimane oota aka"village food", a wonderful thick and spicy sauce which is delicious and can be kept bottled up in the fridge for few weeks. You need dry Hurulikalu/Horsegram/Kulith/Kollu and a pressure cooker to make this. Don't know whether we can use any other beans, may be Avarekalu/Field beans/Lilva but this Huruli Kattu always made with Hurulikalu by my ajji. Kattu literally means "reduced sauce" in Kannada, a loooong process, cooking and boiling down the beans stock for days in my Ajji's kitchen but why bother with all that when we have Microwave? ;D
Anna/Rice, Tuppa/Ghee with thick and spicy Huruli Kattu/sauce:
Cook the beans first to get the stock:
1. Take 2-3 cups of dry Horse gram beans, make sure you clean to carefully pick the stones off of the dry beans. Most of the time if you bought the pack from Indian store, you do find tiny stones which look exactly like the beans but will cost you a tooth or a root canal if you don't take them out.
Spread a handful of beans at a time on a wide plate, look for stones, tedious job but necessary!
2. Soak overnight in lots of water in a big pot. Next day, wash the beans and drain all the water.
3. Add about 10 cups or more water to the soaked beans, 2 tsp salt and pressure cook the beans on a medium heat for about 15mins. Beans must be soft cooked but not mushy. These beans are tough to cook, so you need longer time on medium heat.
3. Once the pressure is out, open the lid and pour in to a colander to drain all beans stock into another bowl, let the beans sit until all the water is drained. Keep the dry beans separately to make Usli (seasoned beans) later. If you have too much Beans for your family, you can freeze some in individual zip lock bags for later use or make Huruli chutney, Rasam, Saaru, side dishes etc with the beans. Idea here to get the as much stock as you can out of the beans, use the cooked and drained beans for seasoned side dish. We will use the stock to reduce with spices until you get a thick sauce.
Huruli Kattu/thick sauce made of Horse Gram stock and spices:
Serve hot cooked rice with a dollop of home made ghee on top and a tbsp of Huruli kattu on the side or on top, a crunchy papad and Hurulikalu Usli on the side. To eat, mix rice with ghee and Kattu to a thick sauce coated bite sized rice morsel and chomp away!:D
Dry roast and powder these first to use as much as you need in the sauce:
To make thick and spicy Huruli Kattu:
Add salt and masala pd only after the sauce is reduced to 1/3rd, adding before might make it too salty when concentrated to thick sauce.
1. Instead of cooking for hours on end on the stove top (you can do that too if you like), take all the reserved stock water from the cooked gram in a big deep enough dish, add 1 tsp oil to prevent spilling over and put it in the Microwaveand cook on high 100% for 20 mins, uncovered.
2. Keep repeating the cooking time in the MW until the stock is reduced to 1/3rd. Add salt, 1 tsp or to your taste thick Tamarind paste from the jar and 2 tbsp ground masala powder, mix well.
3. Once you add the masala pd, be careful not to burn the sauce in the MW, cook 2 mins at a time and less until you get a thick pouring consistancy like you see in the photo. Add 1 tbsp Ghee, mix well. (You see some Horse gram Beans in my sauce above which is okay, adds to the texture but should use only the stock/water from the cooked beans to make the traditional Huruli Kattu)
4. Adjust the salt, chilli and masala taste by adding more powder if you like. Heat one more minute after adding powder, cool completely and store in the glass jar. (sometimes, my mother used to add 2 tomatoes too when reducing this sauce, but always optional)
To make Hurulikalu Usli/seasoned Horsegram/Kulith:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan, add 1 tsp mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 3 slit green chillies, fry until they sizzle and pop.
2. Add 1-2 onions, chopped fine and fry until they golden brown on the edges, add 1/4 tsp salt, mix.
3. Add 4 tbsp chopped Cilantro, mix. Add 2-3 cups of cooked Beans now, stir fry well for 1 minute until heated thru'.
4. Take off the heat, let it cool. Adjust the salt. Cover and keep it aside to serve with Kattu , ghee and rice or you can serve this Usli with any other Sambhar and rice on the side.
5. This Usli is also a favorite to serve with Ragi Mudde and Uppusaaru (I will post that recipe some other time)
Logos and event list, my thanks to all of you ladies, enjoy! :)
Butternut Squash and Potato Bisque, goes to Lavi's "RCI-Pondicherry", an event started by Lakshmi.
Funnel Cake, goes to Srivalli's "Mithai Mela" event.
Huruli Kattu and Usli, goes to Shama's "Village special dishes" event.
I am sending Huruli Kattu recipe to Deesha for her to try if she wishes as a part of her "South Indies" , a fun concept to try south Indian dishes and post.
Movies I watched:
"Maine Gandhi ko nahin Maara!"
I watched this movie thinking that it's about the Gandhi's assassination but movie is about a retired man who is suffering from Dementia and haunted by a childhood memory/abuse and keeps saying that he didn't mean to kill Gandhi when he shot at him with a toy gun. He was dragged into court on suspicion of participation in the killing although he was little boy at that time. Well acted by Anupam Kher as usaul and Urmila Matondkar is great too for a change!
"Mistress of Spices"
Voodoo spice queen, Aishwarya! :D
Story is little weird as the book is but I like that spunky, beautiful Ash girl, so I watched and liked it. Just glad that at least one actress from Bollywood has the guts to deal with different subjects however foreign it feels and do well at that instead of wear short shorts and run around the trees singing in Hinglish!
Mickey Rourke's come back film after many years, who plays middle aged down on luck pro wrestler. He was Oscar nominated for best actor. Movie gets you very emotional to see his struggle with his career and with his daughter and great movie to watch (very very bloody, violent and gory tho'). Rourke is excellent in it, movie is specially great for people who love Wrestling, but personally I just couldn't get past how he looks in this movie. It's very weird to see him, felt like I am watching a wax robot walking around because of his botched cosmetic surgery on his face. I think guys surely will enjoy this movie than us girls, but good movie to watch at least once! I love Marisa Tomei in any film! :)
I watched many many Horror movies but nothing worth mentioning except may be SAW V, so I am not listing any here! :D
Book I am currently reading:
"Dreams from my father" by Barack Obama.
Obama seems to have a great time in Indonesia playing with kids there as he grew up, talks about having eaten dog meat, Snake meat etc and having lot of exotic pets like an Ape to play with too and later moving to Hawaii to be with his grand parents when his mom divorced her second husband too. We can read about him meeting his father's family in Kenya, college in New York (when he hears that his dad in Kenya died in an car accident) and then career move to Chicago and meeting the Mrs etc., rest is history!!
Barack Obama talks about his Kenyan Father as a charming guy and a scholar student who attracted everybody's attention when he talked but Obama never really knew him as a young child. He seems to have a very confused and emotionally insecure childhood, not knowing where he belonged. I heard him once call himself a "Mutt" on CNN, comparing himself to the Animal shelter dogs when they were talking about adopting a dog for his kids!
Well..I am still reading the rest, intriguing book to read which lets you take a peek of his past and present life, his life experiences, why he is so charming and readily accepting of all the other cultures and religions. A global President, thanks God for that! Isn't that cool? Let's see how well he manages and where he takes us from here! :)
Thanks to all the bloggers who awarded me last week. Hugs to all of you, I have added your names on the side bar. Thanks again, mush appreciated by me.
Okay, enjoy the Earth day today and let me sign off quickly before all Y'all good people hit me for writing the longest post! Have a wonderful fun week and weekend. Our weekend will be hot, almost 89F as they tell us! :)