We stopped at the famous Murgan Idli Kadai on the National Highway to Vellore to eat kuzhi paniyaram, masala vadais and paneer / cheese bondas before landing at the Mainis in Bengaluru, to replenish ourselves with the tastiest morsel of dishes.
SK Maini and his sons manufactured and gave us the Reva car, a battery-operated convenient alternative for transport. Reva is in fact the name of Maini’s wife, who is known for her great hospitality and her skill at creating heritage dishes of Punjab. Maini a true-blooded Punjabi from Peshawar, part of the then India, is currently settled in Bengaluru.
The food prepared at their house, the variety and taste and how it’s presented are unmatched by even some of the best hotels or homes.
Tasting a dish here is like being introduced to what is best in the world of fine and heritage dining. Not only food, but the array of homemade pickles stands testimony to the love for serving the best.
We had such a variety of dishes that it was difficult to choose one from it. But my taste buds and my eyes feasted on the Patiala De Dahi Bade , with khatta meeta chutney. This dish was in fact mentioned as part of a menu at the Patiala royal house in the eighteenth century. One of their ancestors was a woman of great culinary skills, and the recipe came handed down from her as a heritage snack. The Greek and Mughal influence on this dish is also evident.
The writer is a chef and author of Festive Offerings to the Gods
Partiala de Dahi bade with katti meeti chutney
Prep Time: 4—6 hours | Cook time: 10—15 minutes Serve: 4 | Calories: 210 | Recipe courtesy: Reva Maini Modified and certain ingredients added
Ingredients for Dahi Bade
Split Black Gram: 3/4 cup
Fresh Yogurt: 5 cups
Salt to taste
Ginger chopped: 1 inch piece
Green chillies chopped: 3
Gram flour (besan): 2 tablespoons
Oil to deep fry
Rock salt: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: 1 tablespoon
Green chutney as required
Sweet date and tamarind chutney as required
Roasted cumin powder: 2 teaspoons
Fresh coriander leaves: 2 tablespoons
Brown sugar: 1 tablespoon
Chopped seedless dates, walnuts, broken cashewnuts, and crumbled paneer: 1/4 cup
Wash and soak dal in three cups of cold water overnight. Drain excess water the following day.
Grind dal to a smooth paste. Add salt, walnuts, crumbled paneer, cashewnuts, raisins, ginger, green chillies and gram flour to the batter and whisk for ten minutes. Chop cashewnuts, walnuts, and raisins into fine pieces.
Heat sufficient oil in a kadai.
Drop batter in tablespoonful’s in it and fry until light golden.
Drain the bhallas and soak them in sufficient quantity of water. Leave for two minutes. Squeeze between your palms to drain out water.
Whisk fresh yogurt well with rock salt and brown sugar to taste.
To serve, place bhallas on a plate and cover with yogurt. Drizzle mint chutney and sweet date and tamarind chutney. Sprinkle roasted cumin powder.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately.
You can also stuff these wadas with a mixture of raisins, walnuts, paneer, crushed cashewnuts and chopped coriander leaves to make Kalmi Wadas. In that case, do not add raisins and other ingredients to the urad dal batter
Chopped dhania leaves (Coriander): 1 cup
Pudinal leaves (Mint leaves): 1 cup
Garlic Cloves: 3 large
Green Chilies: 1-2 Salt to taste
Jaggery or powdered jaggery: 1tsp
Lemon Juice: 1 tbsp
Water to aid easy blending
In a blender/mixer, take all ingredients and blend using a little water at a time. Blend all ingredients to form a smooth thin paste. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly
Meeti date chutney
Preparation Time : 10 mins | Cooking Time : 15 mins | Makes : Around 1.5 cup
Dates: 1 cup / 10-12 dates deseeded
Tamarind pulp: 4 tbsp or use a lemon size of fresh tamarind
Jaggery: ½ cup grated
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
Cumin powder / Jeera powder: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Water as needed
Oil: 1 tbsp
Place a saucepans on fire, pour oil. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds and a pinch of asafetida.
Add chopped dates and tamarind pulp.
Add all the masalas and chili powder.
After 15 minutes, when it comes to a boil in a saucepan, switch it off.
Make sure the dates are cooked.
Allow it to cool down and grind it in a blender to a smooth paste.
Pass this mixture through a sieve and press it with a fork to get as much pulp as possible.
Store this in an air-tight container in the freezer for more than a month
Tip for the day: It takes 10 minutes extra , but try and grind fresh masalas, whenever you are cooking for special occasions; it adds to flavour, smell and taste. Make fresh ginger and garlic paste at home, instead of buying the ready-made which comes with a lot of preservatives