I stepped out of the house for a stroll today. Kulfi is 6 weeks old now and I haven’t been outside other than for doctor check ups. I needed some time for myself. The ME-ME time. Hence I was out to inhale some fresh air. It was 4.30 PM. It turned dark by then. It was cold and windy too. The trees have lost all the leaves. It looked like autumn for sure. They call it FALL in the US. The trees stood firm and plain. The leaves that fell have dried up and they crunched with each of my step. I walked thinking about my mother. She fell ill and left to India one week after Kulfi was born. She underwent a major surgery and is recovering. I walked further through the dark night. Again thinking about my mother. I felt as if my body was swamped with the guilt of not being next to her. My huge family is there to support her, I reassured myself. A layer of guilt was lying below the thick Dorothy Perkins jacket I was wearing. My nostrils flared as I choked to cry loud to the world. The guilt that cannot be explained to others. They called it post-partum depression here. Your score is 13 announced my doctor during my post delivery check up. But you should be fine and do things that keep you happy, that was the last sentence she said before I left her office.
With three years old Katli, 6 weeks old Kulfi and countless sleep-deprived nights, all that keeps me happy is staying alone in my cosy home or curling up in the couch with a book and being in the kitchen to whip simple meals. Yes, food seems to be my zone of comfort. It speaks to me and says that everything would be fine. Food reassures me. So does cooking. It is therapeutic and I love to watch the spices and herbs dance in harmony with each other as I complete a dish.
After that brief walk, I returned home to my little family. Their hungry tummy would do great with a delicious meal. I decided to make khaman dhokla. It serves only one purpose that is to taste good. Khaman dhokla is one of the easiest food to fix. I paired it with mint chutney. That’s it! Dinner is served in no time.
Source: Mother-in-law’s neighbor in India
Serves: 2 adults, 1 kid
- 1 cup besan / gram flour (available in Indian grocery store)
- 1 tablespoon Semolina (Rava)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 2 teaspoon eno (fruit salt)
- 2 pinches baking soda
- Salt to taste
For the seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 green chillies ( I used dry red chilly as well)
- 10 curry leaves
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup water
- A pinch of salt and sugar
- Combine besan, rava,turmeric powder, asafeotida, yogurt, baking soda, salt and water. Mix to form a smooth paste. Make sure there is no lumps in the batter. Add eno right before you add the batter to the pan or thali.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 9inch pan or any Indian thali. Steam cook it for 8 minutes. It needs to be cooked like idly. You can also use a bamboo steamer if you don’t have idly steamer or pressure cooker. Check for the doneness with a toothpick.
- In a clean bowl, mix salt, sugar in water. Add juice of 1 lemon. Gently warm it in a microwave or over the stove top.
- In a saucepan, heat oil and add mustard seeds to pop. Then add curry leaves, green chillies and dry red chilly. Pour the above made water and switch off the flame. Pour this liquid over the cooked dhokla. Cover and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Once done, cut them into squares, garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh coconut. If you don’t have fresh, moist coconut, you can skip it or add hot water to dessicated coconut and use it.
Source: My cook aunty
Yields: 6oz jar
- 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup red onions, diced
- 1 green chilly, chopped
- 1 tablespoon anardhana / dried pomegranate seeds (available in Indian stores)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- Clean and wash mint and cilantro leaves. Pulse all the ingredients together until they form a thick paste. I like to serve my chutney smooth and little watery. You add more or less water as per your choice.