After two exhilarating days packed with activity, day 3 started on a slow, sober note. This was the last day of our three-day meet at Ahmedabad to celebrate the 25th edition of the Blogging Marathon. Everyone was already feeling sad about having to leave. Demos on preparation of various items were lined up alongside breakfast. There was Kamalika’s demo on preparation of typical south-Indian sambhar powder, Padma prepared dalia powder, Andhra-style sambhar powder and toor dal powder, Valli prepared her Tomato Kurma and Pradnya demonstrated some ways of using fruits and vegetables to make pretty table decorations.
This was a session I totally missed because Ikshu was very sleepy and so I had to stay in the room with him. And since our “official photographer” Kamalika was busy wielding the ladle while the rest of us watched, there was no one to take pictures. Wish we had pics for all these. I only managed to click some pics of ingredients sauteed and ready to be ground into podis.
If we’d planned it better, we could have recorded these demos which could have been posted on their respective blogs. Idea to be kept in mind for next meet. Everyone all ears, right?? Anyway, along with the demos, we also had Valli and Padma handling a live counter doling out Upma Pesarettu for everyone! It tasted just yummmm along with Valli’s kurma. After a heavy breakfast that inlcuded Dal Pakwan (yummy and sinfully fried!) and Poha Ragda (this was quite a unique combo for me) apart from Valli and Padma’s goodies, we stepped out (yet again) for some shopping. But this time, it was foodie shopping.
We went vegetable shopping to buy fresh winter produce that is not available in the south. I bought fresh red and green jalepenos (I did not even know they’re available in India!), fresh green garlic, fresh green pigeon peas and colacassia leaves. We also bought boxes of strawberries that were much sweeter and plumper than the ones we get here in Chennai. We then went to a Gujarati snacks shop and loaded ourselves with packet upon packet of fafda, khakra, different varieties of sev, chutnies and what not!
We followed this with another round of light street food for lunch. We had the most delicious dabeli and vada pav that were so spicy that we all ended up downing bottles of cola, orange and mango juice to cool down our system!
Back in the hotel, we rushed through our packing as it was time to decide on the winner of the BM Chef contest. Zipping up the bags proved to be a difficult task with all the gifts and purchases bulging out! While we were packing Pradnya moved around with a sheet of paper asking everyone to rate the dishes on various parameters like taste, presentation and innovation.
We had all brought along gifts from home to make up a large goody bag for winner. But then we decided that it might be more fun to have category-wise winners so that everyone gets to take something home as a prize! We put all the gifts into a large bag and randomly pulled out gifts to dole out. Baby Choo helped by picking out some prizes, but refused to part with them when it came to handing over the gifts to the recipients!
I won the third prize jointly with Archana Both of us got cookbooks. She got a book on south-Indian sweets, while I got a book on Baking.
Need I say who won first? It was Vaishali with her flavoured pani puris. Padma came second. She had made a very traditional laddu with Urad dal (black gram) flour and it was simply mind-blowing. After the prize-distribution, we all left for the airport: the five of us going to Chennai (Srivalli, Padma, Kamalika, Rajani and I) and Archana, whose flight to Goa was a little after ours. Pradnya was to leave later that night and PJ left early the next morning. What a lovely three days it was and what a lot of wonderful memories all of us have brought back from the trip!
Once back in Chennai, my mother-in-law prepared an interesting dish with the leaves. Although the process is somewhat similar to the Paatra made by Gujaratis, this one is closer to a Paruppu Usli in taste.
PS: All the props used in today’s pics for the stir-fry are gifts recd. in Ahmedabad. The cute bowl and wooden spoon are from Archana and the mat’s from Valli
Colacassia leaves – 3
Gram flour – 2 tbsp per leaf used
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Asafoetida – a big pinch
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Wash the colacassia leaves and pat dry. If it has thick veins, remove them carefully, else they will irritate your throat when you eat it
Mix gram flour, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida and make a thick paste using very little water. Apply this paste evenly on the leaves and roll them up. Steam the rolled up leaves for 10-15 mins till they’re cooked through. Once it cools down, slice into roundels
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the seeds stop spluttering, add colacassia roundels. Saute on medium heat and give it a toss every couple of mins. You can saute as much or as little as you want depending on whether you prefer a softer curry or a crisp version. The stir-fry is ready!