Masala Magic

Life as it happens…

Back to Blogging with a tribute to Indian Street Food!

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So Life has happened in the past couple of years..its been crazy hectic and somehow in all this I have learnt some of  the meaning of life and how to slow down :-) 

We are back in America now..had some wonderful years in India, lots of learning, made some awesome friends and lived life to the fullest!! I miss India and all my folks and friends out there; But I am happy to be here, back among the familiar and some lovely friends and learning to appreciate the things that this wonderful country has to offer :-)

Ok now that said, not sure how many people read my blog anymore..I know I have not visited here in ages :-) But hopefully now with a little time on my hands and a passion for cooking and blogging I hope to be a regular..

I’d like to start my first post with reference to a picture I captured on my phone just before I left Bangalore… 


If you are familiar with Bangalore, then you are familiar with the Blue Street Stalls that are popular for the mouth watering “Chaat” – specifically “Masala Puri” – which is basically some crispy fried puris topped with spicy peas mixture, green and tamarind chutneys and garnished with onions and sev (available in the Indian stores)…

Just watching these street vendors dish out this hot spicy masala puri is a pleasure in itself..and then waiting for him to serve you that plate is mouthwatering, what with the huge crowds that patiently wait at the stall watching this guy spoon out the piping hot masala gravy and the peas onto the plate, wondering when it will be their turn! There’s usually always a secret ingredient that goes into this dish that makes it taste as authentic and as Bangalore as ever. This type of chaat is not available in the North of India or in the West (Mumbai, Pune) which are by themselves a foodie’s paradise.

From some older pictures on file I have a small picture tutorial on how we can make this at home…


The pictures are pretty self explanatory.. the only additional thing that the street vendors add is a gravy that is kept hot – Saute chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise lightly in oil. Cool and add some boiled peas tho this and grind into a smooth paste. Add salt and water and cook on stove top until hot. 


Step 1: Crush fried puris/papdi onto a plate

Step 2: Top with boiled Peas. Soak dried peas overnight. Pressure cook next day with enough water, turmeric, soda. Once cooked, add to this some salt, garam masala powder and boil on stove top for a few minutes.

Step 3: Top with some green chutney (grind mint, cilantro, ginger, tomato, onions, salt and green chillies with some water into a smooth paste) and with some tamarind chutney (usually available in the Indian stores; for homemade – Soak some Dates and a a big golf sized ball of tamarind in warm water for about an hour; sqeeze out the pulp, to this add 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, grated ginger, brown sugar/jaggery and some salt. Cook on stove top until this thickens. Cool and Store).

Step 4: Top with the spicy hot gravy from above.

Step 5: Top with chopped onions and grated carrots (optional)

Step 6: Top with Sev (again available at the Indian stores); garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

For Indians living abroad especially in smaller cities where Chaat or any Indian street food is hard to find sometimes we have to satisfy our food cravings by cooking all these ourselves! And nothing can be as satisfying as a meal that is put together with a lot of labor of love !!!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Written by masalamagic

August 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Posted in Appetizers, Miscellaneous, Snacks

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Yellow Tomatoes

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My morning routine at works includes stopping by at the break room to pop my blueberry bread into the toaster and while the bread toasts emanating that delicious aromatic smell of toasted bread mixed with the warm smell of the blueberries, I make myself a large mug of coffee. Nothing like hot coffee and some blueberry toast :-)



Well the other day I stopped by at the breakroom for my usual morning routine and I found these huge basket of sunshine yellow tomatoes sitting out there. Obviously some kind soul had grown them in their farm/kitchen garden and decided to share…


I picked up two tomatoes and was amazed at their resplendent yellow color. I did some quick checking online on yellow tomatoes and found tons of information on this not so acidic sweetish variety of tomatoes that are rich in niacin and folate and are actually nutritionally different than their red counterparts. 

I brought them home that evening and the obvious thought was to toss them into a salad..but I wanted to try something different with them..something not so obvious :-)

I made a “Yellow Tomato Chutney” that was flavorful and bursting with a very different tangy taste that blended very well with the other ingredients I added.

Yellow Tomato Chutney:

You will need:

2 Yellow Tomatoes (You can use the red or the green variety too optionally)
4 Green chillies
2 pods garlic – peeled
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
A few mint leaves
2 small onions – peeled and chopped roughly
A few sprigs of cilantro (coriander leaves)
a small piece of tamarind
1 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
Salt to taste


1. In a pan, saute all of the above ingredients with a few drops of oil on a high flame for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring in between.
2. Cool and blend into a coarse paste in a blender/mixer.
3. Serve as an accompaniment to rotis, dosa, idli or rice. 



Tangy and tasty yellow tomato chutney

And our dinner that night :-)



Yellow Tomato chutney served with Ragi Dosa and Sambar – A plateful of nutritional goodness….


Written by masalamagic

August 24, 2013 at 11:00 am

Protein Punch

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A sincere attempt to be regular on this blog again!!! I’ve planned that I’m not going to wait for some brilliant idea to strike or some great big mood to dawn when i can post something on this sleepy blog. I’m just going to post when I feel like it…
I’ve been wanting to do these posts on some popular eating joints in Bangalore, but I have not yet gotten to taking pictures or fact finding – things that i need to do before I write up that post, for it sound and read like the way I want it to…so thats still on the back burner…
For now, this post is about a quick recipe for nothing other than the good old “Sundal” – the tamilian version of what in Kannada is “Usili”. This protein packed side has been my staple on most nights when I wont to avoid carbs but yet want to eat a wholesome, tasty protien packed meal…in yet another attempt to loose those unwanted pounds…sigh….

Green Moong Sundal
Moong Sundal

You will need:
1 cup of Green Moong – Washed and Soaked overnight

For Seasoning:
1 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Urad Dal
A pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
A few curry leaves
2 Green Chillies – Chopped fine
1 Small Onion – Chopped fine (optional)
Salt to Taste

For Garnishing:
1/4 cup fresh grated cocunut
A few sprgs of cilantro (Coriander Leaves) – Chopped fine
Juice of 1/2 a Lime

Method: Cook the soaked Moong (Green Gram) for 1 whistle in the pressure cooker or alternatively cook in a large stockpot in an open pan until the moong is cooked and tender. Drain the water.
For Seasoning: In a pan, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add the hing, urad dal, curry leaves, green chillies. Add the chopped onions and saute until transclucent. Add the cooked moong, grated coconut, chopped cilantro and freshly squeezed lime. Add salt and mix well. Adjust salt to taste and serve hot.
Great way to cut out the carbs. Replace the green moong with black eyed beans for a change.

Written by masalamagic

March 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tendli Bhaat and Food for the Soul

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I have been an avid reader of the Sunday Times of India supplement “The Speaking Tree” ever since TOI started publishing it a year or so back. I love the anecdotes, the articles and the soul stirring stories about spirituality the supplement has to offer. A good part of my Sunday is spent in reading and re-reading the paper :-)
This week’s speaking tree had a very interesting story – I’ve heard it before, but with what is going on in my life right now somehow it took on a new meaning and and the story has a totally new perspective…here goes the story – A professor teaching his class, held up a glass with water in it. He asked his students “How much does this weigh?” His students answered “maybe 50 or 100 gms”. The professor said – “I really would not know unless I weight it; but what if I held it the same way for a little longer?” The students said “Nothing would happen”…The professor said “How about if I held it up for an hour?” The students said “Your arm would begin to ache…” And the professor said “What if I held it up for a whole day?” The students replied “ Your arm would go numb and you might end up paralyzed in your hand..” So then the professor said “Great! So tell me in all this – Did the weight of the glass change??” “No” was the answer. The professor asked “So then what caused the muscle ache and paralysis??” and “What should I do to get rid of the pain?” One of the students replied “Put the glass down.”
“Exactly!” said the professor…He said “Life’s problems are something like this glass of water..hold them for a little bit and its ok, hold them for longer then they will begin to hurt you, hold them for very long then they will begin to paralyze. You will then reach a point when you will be unable to do anything about it.” It is important to think about the problems and challenges in our life. But even more important is to learn to put them down at the end of day before we go to sleep. That way we are not stressed and wake up fresh every day strong and ready to be able to handle the day – any issue, any challenge that comes our way..
I have seen from my own life experiences that the divine has a grand plan, we are just little pawns in the whole scheme of things; the wiser thing would be to let things be and live through life happily without worrying about what will happen next…what has to happen will happen, remember that it is all planned!

Ok enough of the heavy stuff for today, let’s get to the lighter side of life..or should I say heavier side really…food…:-P
Digging into my old recipes and pictures, I decided to post on “Tendli Bhaat” which translates into Tindora rice or Gherkins Rice (Kovakkai in Tamil and Tondakaya in Telugu). This is a very Maharashtrian recipe that has worked well for me all these years, it is a light refreshing rice recipe that goes great for lunch, lunch boxes and even when you have those unexpected guests. Served with raita it makes a wholesome meal…

Tendli Bhaat

You will need:
2 cups Tindora – Washed, and chopped lengthwise
½ cup fresh green peas
1 large onion – Chopped lengthwise
6 green chillies – Slit lengthwise
1 tsp chopped garlic
½ tsp shredded ginger
½ tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi)
1 tsp Red chilli powder
2 tsp Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
1 tsp Black Goda masala (Maharashtrian masala)
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 small pieces cinnamon
a few cloves
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
3 tbsp Oil
2 cups Rice – Washed and Cooked (For basmati I use 1 cup rice: 1 ½ cup water; for regular Sona masoori/raw rice I use 1 cup rice: 2 cups water)

Cook the rice, cool and spread in a platter.
In a pan, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds and the whole spices (cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves). Add the green chillies and onions and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the chopped tindora, green peas, salt and the dry spice powders. Mix well. Add about a cup of water and cook covered with a lid on a low flame until the tindora is tender. Open the lid and allow all the water to evaporate. Add this mixture to the rice, some more salt if needed and mix gently. Serve hot with raita.

I have not been very good at taking any pictures lately. But one of my new year goals this year is to get this blog (that has been hibernating ) up and running!
More to come. Thanks for stopping by folks…

Written by masalamagic

January 19, 2011 at 3:48 am

Posted in Rice, Tindora

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Hot Pakodis for “The Holiday Buffet”

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One of my friends on FB posted a few days back “is it winter, monsoon, summer ???? Bangalore make up your mind”…how true! The Bangalore weather just can’t seem to make up its mind on “weather” it has to be winter or monsoon or summer….. One day it is nice and sunny, the next minute it pours cats and dogs and then its so chill that you have run indoors for a nice warm fuzzy sweater! For the past two days its been raining off and on, the roads are slushy and all the trees and plants are resplendant with green! Even though i dont like the slush too much I will not complain about the rain…it makes the city looks really pretty, the orange gulmohar flowers are in full bloom and the trees are their greenest best!

Now with the weather being finicky like this, it demands some nice hot chai and even hotter pakodis on a rainy day! And I wanted to very much be a part of Nupur’s event ever since i read about it. Let me tell you about Nupur…she’s this extremely friendly,  adventurous, inspiring and punctual blogger whom I have read and followed for years. Her ” A Konkani Sunday” way back in 2005 was the post that inspired me to start my own blog way back then and till today this awesome lady continues to inspire me with her lovely posts!

To participate in Nupur’s event and kickstart my entries (watch out you’re gonna have more from me!) I decided to go with something familiar that I have made multiple times ever since i came across this recipe on Sailu’s blog (another one of my favorite bloggers!). I’ve posted about this before and the post is gone to lala land…:-) But if i can make it several times then i’m sure you guys can read about it once more :-)

No changes to the recipe…just make it as is on Sailu’s blog…The recipe has not failed me and has always inpressed my guests! Enjoy…

Hot Pakodis for a cold, wet day!

And before I leave here, just wanted to share with you guys a picture…

Spicy and Hot Aloo Dum Biryani Sizzler

This was a part of our main course at a restaurant for lunch recently…I have had all kinds of sizzlers, but this was the first time I had a rice sizzler! It was spicy, hot and very tasty! It had big chunks of aloo(Potato) and paneer tikka pieces in it and was generously laced with cheese and butter…not very heart friendly, but for a one off meal, it sure is a treat!

Hope you enjoyed the post! Thanks for stopping by!

Written by masalamagic

November 18, 2010 at 3:53 am

Posted in Appetizers

Three cheers to FB!

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If you’re not already on Facebook then I would suggest that you get yourself an account. Ok FB is not paying me to market for them :-) I have not been very much into social networking either.. FB just happened to me a few years back and then it sat in the backburner like my blog and twitter account has been sitting. But a few months back I got back on to FB to get reconnected with the world and boy has it been a wonderful journey! I’ve gotten back in touch with so many old, long lost friends and to tell you not the least it has been an awesome experience! It’s amazing how some of us have grown, all level headed mature and successful individuals, doing our own thing in this world, making our mark in our own little way!

And thanks to FB a couple weeks back a bunch of us girls met up after 15 or so odd years! It was a crazy reunion full of laughter, reminiscing about old times , teachers, friends, incidents etc. We laughed so much that people in the restaurant wanted to know what all the noise was about! The food was great and the pictures below will tell you more………….


Quiche and some gravy dish that I did not try

The yummy deserts!

Shessh kababs!

More main course...

Loved these little pots of Mishti Doi…
So there we go people…I promise to be back soon again with something interesting……until then Adios!

Written by masalamagic

November 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

Posted in Here and There

Tagged with

Dissappearing Act – The blog and me

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Several of you – blog friends, readers and family have been wondering what happened to masalamagic.. Well, ever since we moved back to India life has happened and things had gotten unnaturally hectic. Not to mention the huge life lessons I have had to learn this past 1 and 1/2 years. But looking back now, I truly believe I am here for a reason and the ‘karma’ that happened has made me a stronger and wiser person. With all that said, blogging was put on the back burner..and then in a fit of madness I did the unthinkable – I deleted all my posts! Now don’t ask my why…It just seemed the thing to do at that time…And trust me I have gottten so much crap from all my friends and family around here for that! And not to mention my lovely readers – you – have been very polite enough to send me emails checking on the blog. I apologize. But no regrets..I plan to start blogging again … whenever time permits that is…and hopefully will be able to post many more interesting posts…and now that I do plan to restart ..I’d like this blog to be more of a lifestyle blog – recipes (of course that is top priority), articles on life, happenings, decor, spirituality etc. whatever i feel like that is…no restrictions and no bounds…the birth of “Masalamagic and More” :-)

Thank you for stopping and hope you’ll come back again…Happy Birthday to MM&M :-)

Written by masalamagic

April 25, 2010 at 1:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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