Tag: Indian flatbread

Garam Masala Tuesdays: Missi Roti

Last week I did not post on GMT. Not that I had no recipe. In fact I had cooked three different Indian dishes that could have potentially been blogged about. But, I was not able to take any pictures. And, then I sprained my ankle and could not cook for a while, thus, taking a break from cooking and blogging. But, I am back this week with Garam Masala Tuesdays (I know I am posting this a day late on a Wednesday but I could not post yesterday as I do not practice BUI- Blogging Under Influence- yes! it’s a term..well, actually I just made that up but I do think there should be such a term and I do think it is not safe to BUI- you never know what secrets come out!)

Anyway, yesterday, we installed Indian channels. Its been a year we have been here and we hadn’t subscribed to them earlier because I was never a fan of Hindi serials- they all start off well and then drag on, and I could never follow or understand them. So, we thought it might be pointless paying so much for these channels. But, for the last one month we had been contemplating giving these channels a chance. So yesterday when the guy installed the dish and I switched on the TV to a bollywood number on our TV, I was nostalgic like crazy. And there I was. On my sofa. A tear in my eye. Nope these weren’t tears of happiness. But me, missing my home, my country, my people, missing the senseless lyrics of Bollywood songs, the colorful dresses, the bargaining for a Rs.10 (20 ¢) hairband, the food, the crowded streets, the blaring music, the non stop horns for no reason- I started missing it all.

There are  a lot of things wrong with my country. I am aware. But, like every mother who knows his kid isn’t the perfect one and still loves him/her nonetheless, I love India. The country is imperfectly perfect for me. And like every mother who is away from her child, I too ache to be back in my own country. No matter how comfortable life is here in the US and the independence I have in running my house the way I like, I miss the crazy life of India. I really do. I have never been a person happy away from India. I experienced the same feeling when I stayed in Moscow for two years. I did enjoy myself there too but there was a part of me that craved India, and that craving in me is alive, now and always.

Another thing I miss about India, a feeling that I have bandied about on the blog before, is the food. And thanks to the small town we stay in I miss eating Indian food in restaurants or from roadside vendors even more! So, recently, when our friends from phoenix were over, we went to Tucson and had dinner at this Indian restaurant- Sher-e-Punjab and it was pretty good. Some of the dishes had seasoning issues but the flavors were bang on target for most dishes. (All ten of us, though, are pretty convinced that there was some mistake with our bill because we ordered a ton of things and the total came to be very affordable, bordering around the lines of really cheap food, especially since its Indian)

The one thing that all of us loved at Sher-e-Punjab were the missi rotis (an indian flatbread), served with butter. Even though some people had stuck to their usual order of rotis and naans, the 2-3 of us (like me) who did order missi roti, convinced the others to try them. And, they were glad that they did!

Missi roti, pronounced “Miss-ee Row-tee” is a staple in Punjabi homes and is basically roti prepared from besan or gram flour/chickpea flour. Served with a dollop of butter and accompanied with any Indian vegetable or lentil dish, missi rotis are an excellent way of sprucing up the proteins in your diet. Missi Roti can be served for breakfast with curd or pickle. Missi Roti is good for diabetics too because of gram flour added to it as an ingredient. Gram flour is said to keep insulin levels in check!  Missi roti makes you very thirsty, so be prepared to drink a lot of water after eating it!

Traditionally Missi Roti made in the tandoor but at home I make it on the tawa (cast iron skillet). My mom adds pomegranatae seeds and is supposed to be key to the missi roti flavor. I did not have it, but if you do, for sure add pomegranate seeds (anar dana). You can also change the ratio of besan (gram flour) to whole wheat flour but accordingly change the amount of water you will require for kneading.

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An Indian Treat, Camelback Hike and a lost ring- Exciting Start to 2011

After a year, 2011 is finally here!! (didn’t know I can be corny and rhyme at the same time!) Happy New Year every one! Welcomed the new year partying with our friends in Phoenix. Lots of fun. 🙂

I stopped making new year resolutions long back, mainly because they used to revolve around one theme- my weight. And well, most of you know, how such resolutions end up- being broken. But, this year I decided to give the theme another try with a slightly modified resolution. I am not resolving to lose weight, (with my love for all things baked and fried -don’t think that would be a practical resolution)– so I resolve that out of the 7 days in a week, 5 days I will try to get some form exercise– it could be yoga, running or time spent in the gym. I can almost hear myself saying “yeah right, all the best” in a mocking tone, but this time I am determined! Again I hear the voice: “haha, we will see”. To it I say, “Yes, we will!”

Fortunately, the first day of the new year was spent doing just that- showing my inner self that yes I can do it. Even though we had a late night (slept at 4 in the morning), and slightly hung over from the New Year party, I was up on 1st morning (well it was almost noon 😉 ), ready to hike the Camelback mountain in Phoenix.

Camelback Mountain, the best-known feature of the Phoenix skyline and the city’s highest point, is an irresistible lure to hard-core hikers, fitness fanatics and tantalized tourists. Both routes to the summit, Echo and Cholla, though fairly short, are among the steepest trails in Arizona, guaranteed to leave even the fittest of the fit huffing and puffing as they slog their way to the top. The first mile and a half of the Cholla trail, though steep in places, is easy enough for the most casual of hikers to enjoy. But the final quarter-mile is rather nasty, requiring a fair amount of scrambling along a bouldery ridgeline to the top. It is a 3.5 miles round trip for the Cholla Trail.

I managed to complete the trail, exceeding V’s expectations (he thought I would give up half-way. But I didn’t!) , and all was going according to plan! Good start to the new year.

The next day though, things went from good to bad. Woke up with a sore body, feeling pain in muscles I never knew existed in those parts of my body. That was still fine. It turned bad when, on our way back from Phoenix, I realised my yellow sapphire gold ring missing! I knew I had it in the morning before we left our friends’ house but somewhere on the way, the ring slipped from my fingers (well, the positive: I lost weight from a one day hiking trip! The negative: at the cost of a very expensive ring!) Anyways both V and I were very upset, but then things like this happen. I never wanted to wear the ring but V told me to, because he believes that the stone would be good for my overall prosperity and good luck. Since I don’t believe in such things, I wasn’t too keen. On his insistence I wore it. The irony is that once lost, I feel its a bad omen and my prosperity would be affected ( well, not that I was working or anything, but still, any chance of finding a job would get lost). Well, ok, I am not THAT superstitious but I would have felt more sure of my prosperity and my luck if the ring was in my fingers. Anyways, that too, we shall see!

Coming to today, I decided on treating V and myself to some real Indian comfort food: Poori, sookhe kale chane and Sooji ka Halwa .

Poori is a deep fried unleavened flat bread eaten in India. The dough is made of whole wheat flour, water, salt and a little ghee (clarified butter). One can also add carom seeds (Ajwain), like I did, for an added flavor.

Sookhe Kale chane is a north Indian dish, popularly made during Ashtami, (a Hindu festival) as part of Kanjak puja ( a ceremony performed for little girls). Generally, it is made sans salt (it is a fasting period and salt is not allowed). The salt is replaced with black salt (kala namak). Also, traditionally, ginger and tomatoes nor onions are used, but I have added them in my recipe (well, since we are not fasting!)

Sooji ka Halwa is a sweet dish very,very popular in most Indian households. It is also one of V’s favorites. Unfortunately for him, my first few attempts at the halwa have been disastrous. Its a tradition for newly weds to cook halwa for the husband’s family. Now, before marriage I had never entered the kitchen to cook, to bake-yes, but to cook, never. Well, probably once or twice, but that’s it. So, when I decided to make something for V’s family, I had no idea where to begin! Luckily, my in-laws had gone out of the house and the cook helped me making the halwa. Actually, I tried once, but it was a mess. So, had to take the cook’s help! Surprisingly, its very easy to make but also very easy to mess up. Fortunately, this time I found the microwave version of the recipe and thought to myself, I can;t goof up with this. And what would you know- I did! But, only slightly and because I had to third the recipe as I only had 2 cups of milk in the fridge. I also burnt the almonds in the microwave (I knew something was burning- but multi-tasking to prepare food in time for V’s lunch just ended up burning the almonds- but luckily, only a few!) The end result, though, was unexpectedly, pretty good. Actually very good!

Update: Just spoke with my mother-in-law and it turns out that losing a stone ring is good if it happens in the natural course of your day. It means all the bad energies leave you with that stone. Hmm.. 2011 looks promising! 😉

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