Kachalu (chaat)

Its not that guavas arent available here. Infact most of the desi stuff is available in Toronto, but they are not always actually affordable. Back home in India, tropical fruits as such like guavas, sapodillas etc are so easily available and a mediocre sight, that one doesnt give them their due importance. People been living outside India bereaved of such delectations I know can understand my pain.

Yellow Guavas

We even had a giant and very old but healthy green guava tree amid others in our ancestral house. In season the tree used to be full of chirping parrots, atleast a dozen of them, amongst many other visitors, that nibbled and destroyed most of the fruit for the annoyance of my dadi.

Yellow Guavas

So a couple of days back, I was thrilled to see a few those alluring guavas on sale at reasonable prices. First I thought to prepare some guava jelly using them. My dadi was an expert at it and her guava jelly used to be distributed among neighbours and loved ones during the season. Then, I recollected the classic kachalu that makes its appearance quite frequently at iftaar during Ramadan, and I just couldn’t resist making it. Kachalu is the name for guava chaat, made by adding flavorings such as sugar and black pepper power.

It was such joy to taste guavas (also called as jaam or amrood in Urdu) and to be able to fill my lungs with their characteristic musky odor after a long time. Can’t wait to visit Hyderabad and enjoy all that I have been missing inshallah.

Jaam ka Kachalu – Guava Chaat


Ripe Guaves/Jaam/Amrood – 1.5 lbs
Granulated Sugar – 4-5 tbsp
Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

chopped guavas


Wash the guavas well. Top and bottom them. Now chop them into thin triangles and transfer to a bowl. Add sugar and black pepper powder to taste, or according to the measurements given and mix well. Do not worry if a few of the pieces mush up. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for a few hours the flavors to intensify until chilled. Serve as chaat at tea-time.

Kachalu (chaat)

Note: Use ‘just overly ripe guavas’ to prepare this chaat. Green guavas that are hard/unripe are not suitable for this preparation. Also, the seasonings such as sugar is needed according to the sweetness of the guavas and to your fancy.


Masala Upma

This quick and simple preparation and a comforting one-dish meal is wholesome and perfect for a satisfying breakfast, brunch or a yummy snack and easy to take delight in. So when I returned home today tired and exhausted after a trip to the grocery mart and the Jumah salah, I thought of whipped up this instant masala upma and it was pure bliss.

Semolina/Sooji/Upma rawa (fine variety)

Idli, Wada, Sambar, Upma, Dosa are all famous South-Indian dishes, that are my absolute favorites too. And there exist many variations of each of them. This particular variation of Upma is one of my favorites. I enjoy my upma along with shallow fried peanuts, the way my Ammi used to serve upma to us all. Those peanuts really add a lot of flavor and crunch to the delicious upma.

Usually the coarser variety of semolina is preferred for upma, but I managed with the fine variety, which is used in the preparation of sweets, and it turned out fine enough.

Masala Upma – Savory Breakfast Semolina
Serves: 2


Semolina/Sooji/Upma rawa- 1/2 cup
Canola oil
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, fresh
Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Chopped Onion – 3 tbsp
Small green chillies – 3, finely chopped
Tomato – 1, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
MDH Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1 1/2 cup
Groundnuts, with skin – 1/2 cup
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped

Masala Upma, served along with shallow fried groundnuts

1. Heat a skillet at medium heat and as soon as it is warm add the upma rawa and dry roast it stirring constantly and attentively until you see and slight variation in color to a light brown and you get a wonderful aroma. Immediately remove from heat and transfer the roasted rawa to a platter and keep aside.
2. In the same skillet, pour 1 tbsp oil and add the mustard seeds. As they start spluttering, add the onions, green chillies, curry leaves and urad dal. Stir fry for a minute. Now add the tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder qnd salt. Mix well. Pour in about 1 1/2 cup of water, reduce heat, cover and let cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes are mushy.
3. Meanwhile, in a frying pan at medium high heat add about 2 tbsp oil and as soon as it warms up, add the groundnuts and stir fry until lightly browned. They burn easily, so be careful and attentive. Once done, using slotted spoon transfer the shallow fried groundnuts to a platter.
4. Now add the roasted rawa to the cooking tomato mix ture in the skillet while stirring constantly so as to avoid forming lumps and mix well. Cover and let it cook on low heat for 2-5 minutes until the rawa has absorbed all the moisture and it is mostly dry. Add chopped cilantro, mix well. Cover and let rest for 1-2 minute. Serve immediately along with shallow fried groundnuts and a mango or lemon pickle, or any chutney that you fancy.


Sem ki phalli ka salan

I am a non-vegetarian, no doubt, but there is some sort of comfort in simple and fresh vegetable preparations. Whenever I visit the grocery market I am always on the lookout of fresh Indian vegetables, and الحمد لله Toronto has many if not all of the regualr Indian vegetables to fulfill South-Asian’s taste buds.

Sem ki phalli ~ Indian broad beans

Sem ki phalli, as these beans are called in Urdu language, (Chikkudu kaya in Telugu) (also called as Valor papdi or Hyacinth Beans or Indian Broad beans) are one of my favorite vegetables. They are also sometimes available frozen in the cold sections of the markets.

characters in play –
clockwise from top: chopped Indian broad beans, onion, stir-fried suya nuggets, dill leaves, and tomatoes

This simple curry that I have made with whatever I had in the refrigerator that day was nourishing and flavorsome. We enjoyed it along with Dahi ki Kadi, Parathas and some plain rice for lunch yesterday.

Sem ki phalli, tamatar aur soya ka salan – Indian broad beans along with soya granules in tomato sauce


Soya nuggets – 1 cup
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
White/Yellow Onion – 1, large, finely sliced
Tomatoes – 4, large, finely chopped (or) Canned crushed tomatoes – 1/3 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Sem ki phalli – around 1 kg, topped and tailed and fibrous side strings removed, each bean slit into two and then chopped into pieces ( as shown in the picture above)
Dill leaves/Suva bhaji – 1/4 cup, finely chopped

Sem ki phalli, tamatar aur soya ka salan


1. Soak soya nuggets in surplus cool water for 1-2 hours. Later, squeeze them, drain the water and put the squeezed nuggets in a dry bowl. Add fresh cool water to it and again squeeze them, drain the water and put them in a bowl. Repeat this about 5-8 times, until there is no lather in the water when you squeeze them while washing them up. This is important, otherwise the lather in soya will cause severe flatulence. So, be careful there. In a small frying pan, pour  1 1/2 tbsp oil and as soon as it warms up, add the squeezed washed soya nuggets and stir fry them until lightly browned on all sides. Remove in a bowl and keep aside.
2. Pour 2 1/2 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan at medium high heat and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions. Stir fry until just lightly browned. Add chopped tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes-whatever you are using, and red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder. Mix well and pour 1 cup warm water. Let cook covered for 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium low and add the chopped beans and stir fried soya nuggets and mix well. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally.

Suva bhaji/Dill leaves

3. Once the beans are tender, add the dill leaves and mix well. Cook uncovered for a few more minutes until the moisture is evaporated. Serve warm with rotis or rice.

This simple veggie preparation goes to Meeta’s ‘Monthly Mingle‘. Sudeshna of ‘Cook like a Bong‘ is the guest host this month for this event with a theme of ‘Winter Fruits and Vegetables‘.


Rejuvenating Sprouts

Sprouts, which are germinated seeds are living foods that are highly nutritious and can be prepared very easily to enhance any recipe. They are good sources of proteins, vitamins, trace minerals and low in calories. They aid in digestion, reduce stress, boost immunity, prevent cancer and hydrating to the body.

Whole Masoor sprouts

I usually prepare a simple sautéed side dish using sprouts which I also enjoy as a snack along with a cup of hot chai. You can even substitute the whole masoor sprouts here with moong sprouts.

Sautéed Sprouts


Sprouted Whole Masoor – 1/2 cup
Yellow/White Onion – 1, small sized, thinly sliced
Tomato – 1, medium sized, finely diced
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola oil – 1 tsp

Sautéed whole Masoor sprouts


In a pressure cooker at medium high, pour oil and as soon as it warms up, add the sliced onion and let cook for a few seconds until just lightly softened. Add tomatoes, salt and half cup water and cook them for a few minutes until mushy. Add the sprouted masoor. Also mix in red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix well and pressure cook for just 5 minutes or less. Open the lid and cook for a further 3-5 minutes and serve. You can also sprinkle a little bit of fresh lemon juice if desired.


Kairi ki Khatti Dal

Patli dal (dal with thin consistency) cooked with tamarind or sometimes tomatoes as the souring agents, is a staple, atleast in my house. It is served along with a non-vegetarian or a vegetarian side dish and rice at most of our meals, and I believe at most of the Hyderabadi households as well. The usual variety of patli dal that I prepare are tamarind khatti daltomato dal, mitthi dal, lemon dal, kaddu ka dalcha, sojni ki phalli ka dalcha and kulfe ki katli. Among all these I dearly miss kulfe ki katli as I havent been able to find Kulfa (purslane) at stores here until now.

Unripe green mangoes ~ Kairi

This version of khatti dal with a hint of tangy flavor from unripe green mangoes is most flavorful and enjoyed by everyone at my house. Select sour, firm and unripe green mangoes for the perfect tangy smack in the dal. We enjoyed this flavorsome dal along with kairi ka do pyaza and tali huwi bhindi as our meal today.

Kairi ki Khatti Dal – Green Mango Dhal


Tuvar ki dal – 1 cup
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes – 2, large, red and ripe, quartered
Unripe green sour mango/Kairi – 1, small, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup) (do not discard the stone)
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 2, each broken into two
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, fresh


1. In a saucepan, add the tuvar dal, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder, quartered tomatoes and 4 cups fresh cool water and boil the dal at medium high heat, half covered, until the dal is done. You can also pressure cook it until the dal is mushy. Once done, let cool and add to a blender container. Also add the chopped unripe mango (do not add the stone now) and blend until the dal is smooth. Pour this back into the saucepan. Add the mango stone to the dal and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Add water to adjust consistency. The consistency should be just slightly thick, not too thick, or too thin.
2. Meanwhile in a small frying pan, prepare baghaar. Pour oil in a warm small frying pan and as soon as it hot, add the cumin seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and as they start spluttering immediately add to the dal in saucepan. Let cook for 2 minutes and serve warm (before serving, scrape the mango stone and add all its juices and soft tangy flesh to the dal and discard the stone).

This delicious dal is my entry to the event ‘Delicious Dals from India’ being hosted by Suma at her blog Veggie Platter.