22 May 2007

Papad ki Subzi

One advantage of living in the backwoods is that you tend to be quite innovative. People had told me before I moved here that life in Japan wasn't easy for a vegetarian. And these were people who used Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo as a benchmark. But nothing prepared me for this little town. Vegetable choices are rather limited throughout the year. For someone who spent the last 5 years in Singapore, where every veggie was available all through the year, this was a bit of a challenge.

But there is a silver lining to every cloud. The one really wonderful good to come out of this is that, A, the ultimate gourmet, is willing to try anything new. With very little fuss. Of course, I still can't get him to eat karela or soya chunks, but he's not half as fussy as he used to be.

There are days when I look at the veggies I have at home, and want something totally new to eat. Those are the days when I'm totally in the mood for something new.... anything new. One of those days my mind went into a kind of trance. I thought:
What dish I was most in the mood to eat: pittla.
What did I like best about it: the texture of papads soaked in the pittla base.
Does A like papads: yes.
Does A like the texture of soaked papads: yes.
Will A eat most veggies in his favourite onion-tomato gravy: yes.
What can go wrong: not much.
What's the worst that could happen: Leftovers.
The odds sounded good, and I thought to myself, "nothing ventured nothing gained".

And fortifying myself with that other pithy homilies, I went forth to do battle. I whipped up my favourite gravy, fried up some papads, broke them, stirred them into the hot gravy, let it soak, and served it up with rice.

First thing A asked was expected. "What on earth is this?"... I tried to explain in detail, but he cut me short. "Basically you're telling me there's papads, onion and tomatoes in this, right? Then it can't be too badly messed up, what?"

How can I ever argue with such brilliant logic??

The verdict was favourable too. I didn't have ANY leftovers. I couldn't ask for more, could I?

Papad ki Subzi
serves 2

4 medium sized papads (fried and broken into medium sized pieces)
1 large onion (sliced fine)
1 large tomato (sliced)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 pinch hing
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp garam masala/kitchen king
salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Heat 2 tbsp oil and temper with cumin seeds and hing.
Add onion slices, and fry till lightly browned.
Add tomato slices, and cook till oil separates.
Add all spice powders and stir for 2 mins.
Adjust salt to taste.
Add papad pieces to gravy and stir.
Take pan off heat, and transfer contents to serving bowl.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Cover and keep aside. Let the papads soak for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Serve hot.

Garlic or other such spiced papads work best. Plain appalams will do in a pinch, but the masala varieties are awesome.
Do fry papads for this one. For some reason, plain roasted or microwaved papads just don't soak in the gravy the way fried ones do.


sra said...

Hey, nice idea! And nice pic.

Dee said...

hey, I have some punjabi masala papads at home. I think I shud give this a try!

Vidya said...

Thanks, sra...
dee, you can't go wrong. with masala papads.... enjoy

vudining.com said...

now this is something new to me :) thanks for the post. cheers.