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May 2009

The Indian Vegetarian 100 meme

This is Nupur's Indian Vegetarian 100 challenge:

Your challenge, should you take up this meme is to:

  • Copy the entire list, along with these instructions, into your blog post

  • Bold the foods that you have tried

  • Strike out the foods you would never try

  • Tell us your score in the comments :)

  • If you wish to, make your own list or add to this one

Meanwhile here I go:

1. Ripe mangoes
2. Curd rice
3. Chaat
4. Phulka
5. Puran poli
6. Boiled peanuts
7. Samosa
8. Stuffed baby eggplants
9. Aviyal
10. Stuffed paratha
11. Masala chai
12. Tirphal
13. Murukku
14. Curry leaves
15. Banana chips fried in coconut oil
16. Jaggery
17. Vada pav
18. Tender coconut water

19. Paneer
20. Madras filter coffee
21. Boondi laddoo
22. Boondi raita
23. Navratan korma
24. Kokum
25. Masala peanuts
26. A home-cooked Indian vegetarian meal
27. Sugarcane juice
28. Sabudana/sago in any form
29. Horsegram
30. Maggi noodles
31. Podi with rice and ghee

32. Roomali roti
33. Bitter gourd
34. Nylon sev
35. Vegetable biryani
36. Thali at a restaurant
37. Plantain flower
38. Undhiyu
39. Nimbu pani
40. Papad
41. Kotthu parotta
42. Panch phoran
43. Drumsticks
44. Indian "French toast"

45. Sarson ka saag
46. Bhakri
47. Pav bhaji
48. Sitaphal
49. Glucose biscuits
50. Sprouts
51. Chole-bhature
52. Amla
53. Tomato "omelet"
54. A wedding feast
55. Grilled corn on the cob with lemon juice, salt and chilli powder
56. Cadbury's fruit and nut chocolate

57. Sai bhaji
58. Solkadi
59. Indian-Chinese meal
60. Jalebi
61. Black forest cake
62. Bharwa bhindi
63. Kashmiri saffron
64. Misal
65. Ripe jackfruit
66. Idli-chutney

67. 'Tadgola'
68. Bhut jolokia
69. Baby mango pickle
70. Meal off a banana leaf
71. Falooda
72. Moong khichdi
73. Bebinca
74. Daal baati
75. Methi greens
76. Basundi
77. Gunpowder
78. Appam-stew
79. Sweet lemon pickle
80. Ridge gourd
81. Bisi bele bhath
82. Coconut burfi
83. Caramel custard
84. Thecha
85. Rasam
86. Baingan bharta
87. Mysore pak
88. Punjabi wadi

89. Chhunda
90. Dal makhani
91. Paper dosa
92. Gongura
93. Hand-churned butter
94. Pakoda
95. Curd chillies
96. Mustard oil
97. Fresh cashews
98. Tomato pickle
99. Rajma-chawal
100. Chaas

Just three have not made it to my stomach!

Sorghum and Sesame Crackers/ Jowari and Til Biscuits

Jowar-crackers- These crackers taste very good with hummus or some cream cheese. They can be produced in 20 minutes if you have the ingredients at hand. I like to make a lunch of two of these, topped with hummus with a salad of green peppers, tomatoes and  a few  olives drizzled with a spoonful of olive oil and a squeeze of lime.


2 ½ cups of jowar atta/ sorghum flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp butter

1 ¼  cup milk

2 tbsp til / sesame seeds

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips . Make a well in the centre and mix in the milk swiftly to make a ball of dough. You may have to add up to a ¼ cup more milk depending on the consistency of the flour . Press out to a large rectangle 4 mm thick,on a 12 X 20 " baking sheet with the palm of your hand. Mark out squares lightly on the surface with a knife.  Brush with milk and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds. Bake in a hot oven for 15 - 20 minutes till golden brown on the top.

You can substitute whole wheat flour for the sorghum. Just reduce the milk to a cupful and roll out the dough.

Election Chills and Pau Bhaji

As we walked into the local polling station R noted how everyone leaving the place, after casting their vote, looked positively holy. "Just like people who have visited a temple.' he said. Yes, they looked as if they had a little halo above their heads. Doing your duty is worship too.
Sad to say only 40% of the population did their duty. Inspite of all the advertisements exhorting people to vote, this year the turnout was even less.
It did not help that the electoral rolls were once again a complete mess. It seemed that this was especially the case for the middle class. New registrations were not added to the lists. Families were divided by pages of names, societies were split apart, addresses were impossible to decipher -and the names!- It took me 4 hours to find my name. I was listed as Missus + husbands first name. It required persistance and imagination to find this. One had to imagine how  a typist, faced with a form in English, would fill the information in Marathi. Spellings, in many cases, were a figment of the imagination.
Husband and a neighbour were listed twice. One dear neighbour who passed away several years ago still lives on in the rolls.
 Give the authorities some due though. The slums were listed, page after page after page of names. Every resident of every shack.  The local politicians see to it that they are included in the electoral rolls.Is this because  their needs are basic and their hopes even less? Or can the votes be bought? For a tip and a tot?

I speculate about these things and wonder  when the parties declare that roti ,kapda or makaan are their priorities, how anybody eats a square meal these days when inflation is down but prices of food still very high. Vegetables and fruit costs are astronomical. Rs 100 per kg for any type of fruit and Rs 30 per kg for any kind of green veg.

Eating out or eating at all, for many people in Pune, means  pau bhaji where the bhaji is mighty little. Not that PB isn't tasty. In fact if you miss that sidewalk food you can try making it at home. This will go a long way in feeding a family of four with a few delicious paus.Here is one authentic recipe.


1 cup finely chopped onions,

1” ginger, grated

10 cloves garlic,

1 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric/ haldi

1 ½  cups chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup green peppers/ simla mirch, cut into small pieces

1 cup potatoes , boiled and diced

1 cup cauliflower, steamed and broken into florets

¼ cup green peas, boiled well.

½ cup butter

Salt to taste

Pau bhaji Masala, any make

½  cup chopped coriander leaves/ hara dhaniya

Juice of 1-2 lemons


Make a paste of the ginger garlic. Melt half the butter in a thick bottomed frying pan or tava. Reserve a tbsp of the onions and fry the rest  till soft. Add the tomatoes and fry well. Add the simla mirch and cook for a short while. Add the potatoes, cauliflower and the green peas. Stir well.

Using a slotted spoon or potato masher, mash the vegetables together. When the oil begins to separate from the vegetables add the haldi  and salt.

Now add the ginger garlic paste and continue to fry. Add the pau bhaji masala and the red chilli powder. Stir a few times. Add a cup of water and cook on a low fire till the vegetables have become a thick mush. Add the rest of the butter and  a tablespoon of chopped onions . Sprinkle the green dhaniya and lemon juice on top and serve hot with pau.