A Birthday of Besan

October 8, 2007 at 3:31 AM (Inedible pleasures, random musings)


I had a pretty nice birthday weekend: a quiet night in on Friday with the B/F and a rented movie. I made mirchi ka bajis (stuffed with cream cheese, a dab of garlic paste and Shilpa’s shenga chatni pitto– sort of like a Desi-Tex fusion- do try this, extremely good!), cabbage ka pakoras :-D, and alu ka bajis, and after all that deep-frying, popped a frozen pizza into the oven for the main course. Healthy meal, yeah… and, oh… ranch-style salad dressing and ketchup! (The B/F is not as fond of my usual hari chatni as I am, so I let my little green ice-cubes rest for the night)

The pizza was a great one- for frozen that is. For those of you here in the states, I recommend you seek out this brand: Home Run Inn. Out of Chicago. Been in business a long time, and for good reason! Good crust, great sauce, quality cheese… and for vegans, their “plum tomato pizza”- a sort of “reverse” pizza with the cheese as the first layer- is worth every penny. Total yum.

On Saturday night, my good friend Leon and I visited a local haunt for a few celebratory drinks and playful parley with mutual friends. It’s been hot in Green Bay these last few days- 87 F- and that tends to pull folks out of their homes and into the bars (“out of the wood-work”, as we say here)…I may have had 1 or 2 drinks too many, but I’m staying silent, and hey, they were birthday presents! [rubs his slightly-dull-feeling head] I think I’m still recovering…

And today I sat and looked at all the leftover alu ka bajis from Friday night. I made way too many. Kind of intentionally, as they turned out pretty well. I had cut them into lengthwise wedges (instead of rounds) before dipping them in the besan batter. Sort of to convince the B/F that they were very much like the local fare. I also had a plan in mind…

You see, the first frost arrives in Wisconsin at about this time. And there is a dish that I’ve been wanting to make with these:


Yep! Around here, growing these myself from taro-corms purchased from a Thai grocer is the only way to get them. The nearest Indian grocer doesn’t stock the frozen leaves. So, today I ventured outside with sunglasses and a scissors, snipped off 9 beautiful leaves, and proceeded to follow Roopa’s interesting patrode recipe… complete with the casually-fried onions in the the tadke/tempering. Delicious, people! and then I really needed a yoghurt dish to have along with it. Yes, a raitha is probably more traditional, but remember those leftover potato bajis that needed to be used up? And let me tell you: I’ve been having ferocious cravings for a particular little recipe of Anita’s ever since the first time I prepared it. The battered-and-deep-fried potato part was already done… no, not exactly like the usual kind with the finely-diced potato pakoras, but I can’t be the only one who uses up left-over pakoras and bajis in kadhi!

Some freshly-steamed rice, this and my pretty little rolls made for a nice, quiet treat. Just what I needed. And then my equally-quiet friend, James, stopped over for some coffee, likely with hopes of having a piece of now-nonexistant birthday cake. He is recently quite taken with a songstress popular a century ago: Sophie Tucker… We sat and sipped and explored her posted works on Youtube.com… and then I felt a sudden urge to dig out my collection of old 78-speed records. Bing, Mr. Jolson, Big Maybelle, Dinah and Rosemary. We were all together; good food, good friends, what more could I wish for?



  1. Shriya said,

    Lovely Post..:)


  2. Vee said,

    et tu a libran, my friend? Belated Birthday Wishes!

    78-speed records.Hmm , my Dad still has a collection of great 45 and 78’s consisting of almost all hindi film songs from the 40’s onwards. Sadly, he doesn’t have the player anymore and he hasn;t been able to find a good one yet. One of these days, I have to get one for him. Oh yes, it just doesn’t get better than good friends, a drink or two (or more) to have good time, does it?

    Right you are! I have wanted a Victrola phonograph since I was a child, and someday, I’ll plunk down the 2 grand plus for one, as this seems to be the going rate for one of the models I like. A few years ago, I found, at a church tag-sale, an old (electric) classroom phonograph that had a 78 setting, as well as a needle that flips over to play either mono or stereo; for now this is fine, especially as it has a direct line out for digital recording and re-mastering. If nothing else, I’d recommend keeping your eyes peeled for something like this- though, there is so much competition nowadays with bargain-hunters looking to re-sell on Ebay for profit. Those records of your father’s would be quite valuable!

  3. musy said,

    So you did make mirchi bajjis and other fried goodies 🙂 and i made kadhi out of my left over pakodas and bajjis too 😀 No patrode picture, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

    Good going, dear 🙂

    Well, other people skipped food photos, so I figured I’d follow suit…really I was just feeling lazy (and hungover), but wanted to do a post anyway. And yes indeed, thanks for the mirchi baji suggestion! That sounded so good, and it had been awhile… so you made kadhi too eh? I ought to make murgh makhani one of these days too..hmmm. 😉

  4. Anita said,

    Ah, the jar with them labels – how smart 😉
    That is quite some harvest waiting for you there! Maybe you could freeze the pathrode/vadi rolls yourself – more food-processing for you, and delicious no-work vadis later…
    Way to celebrate, birthday boy!

    Hehehehe…yeah, I made my own food and cake, and had them too! 🙂 That’s a good idea- freezing the pathrode- after steaming you think? And I’ve been trying so hard to DRY everything to clear out the freezer… 😦

    Labels? Who me? 😀

  5. bee said,

    you’re having way too much fun.

    Oh yes… October you know, plus my fav holiday is coming up. BOO!

  6. Manisha said,

    Just sunglasses and a pair of scissors, eh? Wasn’t cold?

    We got our first frost last night, too. ’twas 35F at 6:30am this morning. Brrrr! Try to get out from under those comforters when it’s that cold! Someone’s going to need to clean the furnace and get it going soon!

    Glad you had fun with your LPs. I have a whole bunch in India and a whacky Sony player that needs just my touch to get it going. Not quite the same thing is it? To punch buttons on an iPod or play a CD.

    Happy Birthday again!

    Again. Hehehehe….what is this, like 5 times now? And Happy Birthday to you too!!!! Still celebrating I hope? 🙂 And you are quite correct… there is something wonderful about watching the record spin around that is lost with digital media… kind of like…stirring payasam!

    I heard about the cold weather in the Denver area- better you than me! It actually hasn’t frozen yet here; instead, today was another record-breaking high temp for GB. And I notice more people taking global warming more seriously.

    Sunglasses and a pair of scissors, yes. The neighbors just pretend not to notice… 😀

  7. neroli said,

    Isn’t life beautiful?

    As beautiful as death…

  8. Anita said,

    I forgot to tell you – besan (sans the spices, of course – though you may add a pinch of turmeric!) makes a truly great face mask! Mix with dahi/milk/water/rose water, depending on skin type, and there you have – glowing skin! 😆

    So that’s your secret! 🙂 Which liquid is best for combination skin?

  9. Anita said,

    Yes, freeze after steaming.
    or apply face mask 😆
    People are beginning to skip clicking food pics – what is the world coming to! 🙄

    Except…except…I’d hate to waste my precious besan! With turmeric…that reminds me of my Parvati-esque bath that I took a few years ago… Trust me, the ex was not happy that the bath-tub was stained yeller… but, my elbows had never been better! But, OK…after I take it off my face can I still use it for pakoras or something?

  10. Manisha said,

    Hey! Don’t look in my direction when you “other people”. I updated my blog with the picher, I’ll have you know! Hmph!

    Sonny, you have two posts announcing your birthday and you don’t log into FB. It won’t let me kick you even, unless you get the first poke! Besides, how rude would it be if I didn’t wish you a HB on every post that *you* mention it, and not do it by email and FB. Haven’t logged into Yahoo for a while now, else would have wished you there, too!

    Hehehehehe…”Sonny”…. OK Grannie! Granny… I thought I was quite subtle with mentioning my birthday… 😀

  11. musy said,

    Yes, i made kadhi and some pakode raita. Plus a pakode-wadi sabzi 😀 Ofcourse there were still a few left to go with chai 😉

    Pakodes (sp?) on their own when first made, pakode raitha (!), pakode-wadi sabzi, and you still had some for later with chai?!!! My gosh…I didn’t make enough! I’ll have to heat up the oil and catch up! 🙂

  12. neroli said,

    *As beautiful as death*
    In the near future, I see a sugar skull with your name on it, darlin’ 😉 !

    Trick or treat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Manisha said,

    Er… no that’s not her entire secret! The rest of it is all endorphin-related. 😆
    [I am now going underground for a few years, ok?]

    Was that endorphin or pheremone…? :-D

  14. musy said,

    Hey Pel:

    Cross posting my reply to your query 😉

    The cooking style is Kashmiri (kinda’). But Punju-fied, he he, thats funny :). See, no onions, no ginger, not even garam masala-how is it punju-fied;). its “something-fied/modified” though:-D. I normally make ledar tsaman (yellow paneer), but that has turmeric and very different spices (saunf, shonth, big elaichi). I had to use saffron, so i had to play with my spices, so that they don’t clash with saffron. Also shah-jeera is used frequently in Kashmiri cuisine. So i don’t think its blasphemous.

    Oh…. I don’t know about that! Look at the hell I got because my karelas weren’t cut the right way! 😀 You’ve gone way too far….. LOL It’s prison for you!!!! ha ha ha

  15. musy said,

    Oh and as for the pickles suggestion: while ledar tsaman is good by itself, this dish does need something hot along side-no red chilli powder here :).

    Pickles are like denim jeans: you can wear ’em with almost anything! 🙂 Ledar tsaman…is this what the yellow panir dish is called? Is this title Kashmiri or Punju?

  16. Manisha said,

    That might be more appropriate for avant l’activite. What I said might be more appropriate for apres l’activite. But net result is glowing skin!

    Ha ha ha ha! You’d better start that name-change and moving underground immediately! 🙂

  17. musy said,


    That title is Kashmiri. and before i forget, you’ve been tagged 😀

  18. megu said,

    I am impressed! You have inspired me – I may try to plan something once a week or so…I need to start slow.

    That’s the best way…post whenever you have the urge!

  19. Manisha said,

    And in case you’re not reading the comments over at Anita’s, you’ve been tagged.

    Yah yah yah

  20. Jai and Bee said,

    belated HB Pel. heard on the street that you have a new nickname. what’s up with that? –Jai

    It’s really just razzin’ Manisha….she did a meme on her middle name, which she doesn’t have, so she used a nickname: Misha…and had to find bloggers beginning with each letter of that name to pass the meme onto…couldn’t find an “h”, so used me…. We were calling her “Mispa”…and then I signed a comment as “Helicano”… they were enjoying the “hel” double entendre.

    Thanks for the b-day wish!

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