Wednesday was my lucky day. I had signed up for the Spice & Something Nice Swap event hosted by Nupur @ One Hot Stove. My fabulous swap partner, Gayatri of Double Expat, sent me a wonderful package of gifts which arrived on Wednesday afternoon. I won't mention all the details since Nupur will do a round-up with photos soon, but I must talk about the spice mix that was gifted to me. Gayatri sent me a family made spice mix called Paach Masala, or Five Spices literally. It's a smoky and hot(!) spice mix with chili powder, chana daal, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. There were two recipes sent along with this masala, of which I tried the Tikhat Batata Bhaji (Spicy dry potato curry) recipe promptly. The preparation was extremely simple and the fragrance reminded me of Masale Bhat. We devoured the bhaji with rava dosas. I see myself making many quick Indian veg stir fries and curries with it.
To make the bhaji, peel and cube 3 medium sized potatoes. Make a tempering by heating 1.5 tbsp oil and adding 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, a couple of pinches asafoetida, and curry leaves from one sprig. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and a teaspoon of paach masala (use garam masala in lieu), and saute. Add cubed potatoes, salt, sprinkle a little bit of water, and cover the pot. Let the potatoes and spices steam together. I garnished this bhaji generously with cilantro.
To continue the spices saga, a HUGE bag of goodies arrived from India with my in-laws on Wednesday night. Oh, the snacks and sweets and groceries and spices they brought! My stove is going to work overtime the next few months. There just aren't enough meals in a day to make all the deliciousness I want to cook!
Here's a (very poor) pictorial of some of the goodies:
Spicy and regular banana wafers - I'd take these over potato chips any day.
Chitale Bandhu bakarwadi - These hardly need an introduction.
Konfal chips - Purple yam chips
Jackfruit Chips - There's a small window before the rains start to get freshly made jackfruit chips.
Aamba vadi (candy made with alphonso mangoes) - If I can't have alphonso, it comes to me in this form!
Sutarfeni - Sweet noodles that literally melt in your mouth.
I love you Rasna! - I'm feeling soo nostalgic. These soft drink concentrates were our favorite, especially during the sweltering summer months.
Sabudana - Tapioca pearls to make khichadi. I have not found good quality sabudana in Indian stores here.Kala vatana - My the favorite usal is with kala vatana. I've looked hard to find kala vatana here without any luck.
Charoli - These seeds are used to garnish Shrikhand traditionally. Finally I can make shrikhand exactly like my grandma does!
Dabeli Masala, Sandwich Masala, Kitchen King Masala, Usal-Misal Masala, Vada-Paav Masala
Rock salt, Anar dana (Pomegranate seeds), and Garam Masala
Red Chili Powder - Freshly ground and HOT!
Metkut - Maharashtrian style poodi chutney made by mom. There's no better metkut in the world!
Malvani Masala - Konkani style masala made by my mother's help as a gift to me. Isn't she a sweetheart!
Thalipeeth Bhajani - There's a bhajani swap going on in my house. This was made by my aunt to send to my cousin. Since I've hijacked it, my mom will be sending some to my cousin soon =D.
Sambar Masala - Also made by my aunt. This came with bhajani and stays with me as well ;).
Along with all the food goodness, my in-laws brought a whole lot of kitchen ware (the copper kadhai in the first pic is one of them). The surprise item which made me the happiest was this big, flat dosa tava. I already used it to make rava dosas and finally achieved perfectly thin and crispy dosas.
Let me know if you have any fun recipes I should try using any of these ingredients. And stay tuned for the updates on all that's cooking in my kitchen!