Wednesday, August 26, 2015

badiyon ki chutney | बड़ियों की चटनी | a condiment from the older timesn

Badiyan, Badee, Bori, Lumhdouri or Adouri are the regional names of a dehydrated spiced lentil cakes made using black lentil paste along with some spices, herbs and sometimes grated gourds added to it. The lentil paste is briefly fermented and then made into drop shaped cakes before dehydrating the in strong sun. Once sun dried completely, the badiyan are kept safe for the whole year to come.

These badiyan can be deep fried whole or can be crushed and shallow fried before being added to curries. The pyaz badiyon ki subzi or simply alu badiyon ki subzi is a classic, these badiyan are mean to impart flavour to the vegetables without additional spices added to the curries.

Badiyan were generally made during early summers so the the sun drying is done perfectly for year long storage. In older times when there was scarcity of fresh vegetables during summer months and monsoons, these badiyan were use profusely to bring flavour to the table.

Now a days when all sorts of fresh produce is available all year round, we can't imagine how it might have been in the older times. Notably, these badiyan are made using some seasonal gourds that are not regarded too good for cooking purpose but lend a great texture to the badiyan. These are made using grated Ash gourds in UP and I have seen them being made using a large cucumber variety in Uttarakhand. The famous Amritsari vadi or badi has only spices and no vegetables in it, these are bigger in size and more spicy in nature.

Use of grated Ash gourd (called as petha or safed kumhda, also used to make Agre ka petha) lends a good texture to these badiyan, the way they make it in UP. Apart from the grated gourd, some chopped coriander greens, some cumin, coriander seeds, peppercorns and chillies are added to make the badiyan flavourful.

The real flavour of the deep fried and cooked badiyan is vary different from all these spices put together. The lentil paste fermented and sun dried becomes a very different flavour in it's own, a great way to add Umami to Indian curries I feel.

This badiyon ki chutney is an easy to make condiment that lasts a few days on the table. We generally break the badis into smaller pieces to shallow fry them evenly.

If the badiyan are not too spicy you can fry a couple of red chillies along with them.

Just add a few garlic cloves and salt to taste and blend to make a coarse paste.

Everything is added to taste, you can make this chutney according to your own liking of chilli heat or garlic. Grind it smooth or coarse, add water or lime juice if required and add some dhaniya patta if you like. This chutney wont disappoint you.

The resulting chutney is a dry crumbly paste that can be spread over parathas, mixed with khichdi or whatever you like with it. I remember my dad used to love this chutney and when I made it after ages I kept eating spoonfuls of it and remembering how he used to make it all by himself.

The baby onions in vinegar, sliced ginger and green chillies in brine and this chutney were his favourite condiments on the table. When I asked him a few days ago whether he still makes this chutney, he said he will make it again and that he had forgotten how much he used to love it.

With the availability of so many new products on our super market shelves, we are definitely forgetting the foods we used to relish so much.

Do try making this chutney wit any kind of spiced badiyan you get and let me know if you liked it. Please tell me if it was made in your home too and how long back. Sometimes I am surprised to bump into people who have similar food memories, are you one of them?

Friday, August 21, 2015

dink wadi recipe adapted from dinka-che-laddu | gond ke laddu recipe Maharashtrian way

dink wadi recipe

Dink is the Maharashtrian name for Gond (Hindi) or Gum Arabic. Gond ke laddu made along with nuts, dried fruits and some millet flours or rice flour is very common in Indian homes. Every season used to have a different type of gond ka laddu I remember.

My mother still makes these laddus almost every 2-3 weeks and eats at least one everyday. Her gond ka laddu ingredients keep changing with seasons and now she adds very little sugar and makes a sugar free version for my father too. In my grandmother's time this laddu used to be a minor ceremony in the house.

In summers it used to be a plain gond ka laddu with just some nuts and a mix of flours, in winters some dry ginger (sonth and some turmeric powder would be added and if there is a new mother in the house then gond ka laddu would become a major ceremony.

During pregnancy and just after delivery the new mothers would be fed with a special gond ka laddu with many herbs added to them, the laddu will be called Sothoura as sonth is dry ginger and this sothoura had strong notes of ginger and fenugreek in it. This special sothoura laddu is meant to heal the body of new mother and help in lactation too.

The whole family and friends would long for the special sothoura made for the new mother. These rituals might get lost in coming times as now new mothers have to rely on multivitamins and antibiotics more and more. Earlier no one took any supplements and real food was the source of all nourishment, the way body recognized it best.

I was pleasantly surprised when a very dear friend Suranga Date gifted me a box of dink wadi when we met. Dink wadi is a regional form of gond ka laddu or dink laddu made in Maharashtra. The good things were valued all over the country in different forms. This version of Gond ka laddu tasted really nice and I asked the recipe from Suranga and she happily obliged.

Gum arabic properties

Notably, gum acacia or gond has immense health benefits that the older generations were aware of. A study shows how gum acacia helps normalise BMI. Another study shows Gum Arabic is helpful in management of diabetes, IBS and inflammatory disease. Gum Arabic is also an excellent prebiotic supplement. Our older generations definitely knew better by experience, ethnomedicine is no joke.

I am reproducing Suranga recipe as she sent me, in her own words.

(The traditional stuff is actually the Dinkacha Laadoo, or Dink(Gond)  Laddu in Hindi.  Normally made in winters for everyone and for post partum stage mothers at any time.   Like everything else, eating styles have changed , but  nutritional values remain, and so this is a version adapted for those needing a decent energy boost away from maida, butter, white sugar and similar  folks that my late father would call the 3 poisons  :-)  )


200 gms dink
200 gms khareek (dry dates which are light brown, wrinkled and hard;  khareek is the marathi name).
200 gms mixture of any dry fruits that you like ;  I used walnuts and almonds
2 fistfuls of desiccated coconut. (You can use freshly grated, roasted dry variety too.)
2 tspoons cardamom powder

About 600 gms  jaggery ; I used the organic suplphurless variety .

Oil to fry the dink (you can use ghee)


1.  heat oil , and on a moderate flame, fry the dink.  It is a very quick process, as the dink will immediately bloom , and you must immediately remove it from oil and deposit it on a paper so the oil can drain.    I  fry small quantities of dink at a time,  so i don't have lots of left over oil .   (Traditional types use ghee)

2. Spread out the dink , let the oil drain, and then  take a nice clean muslin cloth, spread it over the dink, and roll the rolling pin pin all over to crush the stuff . Actually crushing by hands is even better but messy.  The muslin cloth will also pick up some extra oil sticking to the dink.  
3.  Powder the dry dates, walnuts and almonds , separately in the mixer. dry datess will be a bit coarsely ground.  
4.    Mix the crushed dink, the dry fruits and the desiccated coconut.  Add  cardamom powder.  (I've added doodh ka masala  instead , at times,  with excellent results)
5.   On a low flame, in a thick bottomed kadhai, melt the jaggery.    In the meanwhile  grease  two rectangular barfi type pans  (eg 10" x 5" )   and keep ready.
6. When the jaggery kind of starts to bubble , boil, and rise (like milk) , shut off the heat,  add the dink mixture , nicely mix and bring it all together.
7.   This will not be of pouring consistency, but spooning consistency.  Spoon out the stuff onto the greased pans, and use a  plastic sheet and rolling pin to smoothen the surface   
8.    Cut the surface into required size pieces, and let it cool.   Experts and artistic types might enjoy adding a cashew piece  or badaam slivers to the surface .
9.   When completely cool, cut the wadis.
10. Eat.   
P. S.  This is ideal stuff  for a quick breakfast with a glass of milk;  or for children home from school who need to rush out to play .  I also know someone who would eat this in their daily Mumbai train commute to work  . 
The traditional recipe uses khus khus (poppy seed) powder, grated roasted dry coconut, and khareek powder.  This is a shortcut recipe. 

dink wadi recipe

Even this short cut recipe has resulted in a very flavourful delicious barfee that both of us have been enjoying with chilled milk everyday. I am going to make one batch as soon as this box of dink wadi finishes.

Thank you so much Suranga for all the love you bestow. I feel blessed.