It's time to Feast errr Fast again! The month of Shravan is here and words like Faral and Upvaas are being bandied about amongst Mumbai's gastronomically inclined. Eateries big and small around the city have also introduced fasting foods to their menu. If you are gastronomically inclined do take the trouble to find out what all the fuss is about.
With all the things that have been happening, more than ever this year I am filled with nostalgia for the past. As a child I remember waiting with anticipation for days when my Grandmother fasted. i was blissfully ignorant of the religious connotations of those days then, we just looked forward to the leftovers. She would sit apart from the rest of the family for her one meal of the day that cmprised of a variety of “treats” we grew to love and look forward to at those times. Fluffy deliciously textured Sabudana khichdi - soft globules of sago, steam-cooked so each particle was separate, generously studded with chunks of savory potato and fragments of peanut.
You will find an article I did on Shravan for Savvy cookbook years ago here, and modern fasting recipes that can be served as a five course meal using allowed ingredients such as Shravan Almond and Coconut milk soup, Shravan Minted Sago salad, Shravan Baked Potato with Coriander salsa, Shravan Saffron Sama “Risotto” and Shravan Pomegranate squares here.
Here are traditional recipes from both my grandmothers.
Moriyo /Morio / Sama ni Khichadi /Sama Ni khatti Ghensh from my Dadi (Paternal grandmother) (Serves – 1-2, Time 30 mins)
My personal favorite was the Morio. A a dish made from a granular flour called Morio by the Gujaratis and Veru Arisi in Tamil. Cooked like a khichdi in sour yogurt with potatoes and peanuts and seasoned with green chillies, it retained it’s grainy texture on cooking and the chunks of potatoes in it absorbed the sourness of the yoghurt and the spicyness of the chilies most deliciously!
200 gms Samo/Morio
150 gms potatoes (Boiled, peeled and diced)
1 cup /200 ml sour buttermilk/sour yoghurt
2 sprigs of curry leaves
400 ml water
½ tsp rock salt or to taste
1 inch piece ginger, grated
2-3 green chilles, chopped
1 tsp roasted jeera powder (roasted cumin seed powder)
For the tempering
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 dry red chilli
Wash and clean Sama thoroughly. Strain of water and set damp Sama aside for 30 minutes in the same wet condition. In a large wide mouthed Kadhai add the rock salt chillies, ginger and cumin. Add all three of them to water in a wide mouth kadhai. Add salt and heat it to boil. To temper heat the oil in a small pan, add the Cumin seeds, allow to crackle and add the Curry leaves and Red chilles. Add tempering to the seasoned and spiced water. Add the damp Samo to the flavoured liquid and llow it to cook properly on a medium flame for 10 - 12 minutes. Add the buttermilk/sour yoghurt at this stage along with boiled potatoes. Mix thoroughly. At this point the consistency should be that of a loose runny porridge. If the water has dried out, add a little more and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Take of flame, cover and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Stuffed Pattice from my Nani (maternal grandmother) (Serves 2 Cooking time 1 hour)
½ kg potatoes, boiled
100 gm fresh coconut grated,
½ bunch coriander, finely chopped
½ lemon juice
rock salt to taste
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ginger and green chilli paste
2 tbsp arrowroot flour
peanut oil for frying
In a bowl, mash the potatoes well. Add in the salt and 1 tbsp of the arrowroot flour. Mix well and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the coconut, cumin powder, coriander, salt, lemon and ginger and green chilli paste. Dust hands with a bit of arrowroot flour. Make a thin disk of the potato mash on your hand. Place ½ a tsp of the coconut filling in it. Bring the potato disk together around the filling to make a small ball. Roll in a little arrowroot flour and fry in peanut oil till golden. Do not stir it too much as it might burst.
Maharashtrian fasting food
To get a taste of Maharashtrian fasting food, try places like Panchshikar Ahaar at Girgaum, Aaswad Upahar and Mithai Griha in Dadar and Kutir Udyog in Thane, look for Upvaas Thalipeeth (shallow fried pancakes made of Bhajani or fasting flour; a special mix of Vari, Sabudana and Rajgira flours), Sabudana Thalipeeth (shallow fried Sago, potato pancakes), Peanut Curry or Danyachi Aamati (curry made of ground peanuts and flavoured with chillies and cumin), Batatyacha Kees (A Spicy Maharashtrian take on hash browns) and its Sweet Potato Avatar tossed with crushed peanuts; Ratalyacha kees), Ratalyache kaap (Sweet Potato Slices and Sago chips coated in Sugar and the creamy Sago Sabudana Kheer. Culture Curry do an annual Shravan Festival with dishes from all over India including Maharashrian dishes. Location: Near Hinduja Hospital, Kataria Road, Mahim Contact: 2444 0202/0707 Delivry – yes, Credit cards – Amex, Visa, Master
Gujarati Fasting dishes
Gujarati Fasting dishes use almost the same ingredients but interpret them into Gujarati style dishes like Kutti na dhokla (dhoklas made of Buckwheat flour), Farali handvo (Potato and Buchwheat flour savory cake) Farali Pattice, Rajgira Puris, Dahi Bateka Kela Nu Raitu (Banana, Potato Raita), Rajgira Thepla (a special version of Thepla made with Amaranths flour), Kand na bhajia (Yam Fritters), Suran Bateka nu shak (Yam and Potato Subzi). For between meal snacks they have a lot to pick from Bateka no Chevdo (Patato Chivda) Bateka ni katri (Potato wafers), Masallawalla Makhana (spiced, fried Lotus seeds) Guvar ni Sukavni (Fried Guvar that has been dried first. For dessert there are Doodhi Halwa, Shrikhand and Kopra Pak (coconut halwa).
Soam restaurant's Farali food festival, is underway as usual they've got an innovative lineup. Location: Opposite Babulnath Temple Phone 23698080. Home Delivry – Yes, Credit Cards – Mastercard and visa).
Speciality: Swati Snax have a whole Farali Thali on offer during this month, consisting of Rajgira Roti, Jeera aloo, Sabudana Khichdi, Masalla Moriyo, Banana Chips, Sing Amti, Vari Bhaat and Sheera for a sweet finale. Location: Near Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo. Contact: 24920994 56808405 Delivery – no, Credit cards – yes