Friday, March 17, 2017

On Tap For This Weekend: Lazy Belebath

The husband is a bit depressed or stressed this week, so I think some comfort food is in order for him. 

Thanks to Subbus Kitchen, I now have a very good visual of what dishes go with other dishes--love this visual of dish combinations, it really helps me out a lot, given I wasn't raised cooking (or eating!) South Indian food, and it's helpful to know which dishes complement others.  

My mother-in-law gave me a set of Cook & See cookbooks by S. Meenakshi Ammal years ago, and I cannot say I got much use out of them, as I don't believe there's something so necessary in the book: Menu suggestions. It's just straight recipes, no pictures, and the measurements are in metric--so prior to me getting a digital scale, this was a small obstacle for me as I never mastered metric conversions in school and today, I rely on either my digital scale for cooking--or a metric converter at work.

So my mind drifts to visiting with relatives this past October, and in the discussion I mentioned how I make bise belebath with leftover sambar. Maharajah's uncle quipped:
"That's not bise belebath--that's LAZY belebath!" 
Now, mind you, this uncle has always been so serious, and I don't get much opportunity to socialize with him (if I'm lucky, maybe 1-2 visits every two years or so), but this particular visit he really let his hair down. In India I've seen him only wearing dothis, and yet there he was (in Austin, not India!), wearing jeans and a "Super Dad" tee shirt, joking about "lazy belebath!" What a pleasure, and of course his joke just struck me EVEN MORE hilarious, as it was so unexpected. It's nice when I finally meet the "real" person, after being married into this family for many years now.

So! Rather than go to the trouble of typing out my recipe or formula, I'm just going to share this particular recipe from Cooking With Meena, as it PERFECTION, and is QUITE nearly identical to the method I use. Perhaps I'll share the link, and then herein on my blog, I'll merely identify whatever additions/"tweaks" of mine. 

Like the uncle said, "Lazy belebath," well, today I'm feeling very lazy (or is it tired/exhausted?).


I dry roast the masala, omitting 2 chiles (as my sambar is usually firey enough--perhaps even too firey for the Maharajah!).

I then dry roast the coconut, with: 1 tsp white Poppy Seeds, 1T almond meal and 1T ground cashew meal (from Trader Joes), and set this aside. 

Optional: I have 1/2 a bag of frozen pearl onions (also from Trader Joes!) on hand, which might be put to good use!

I use an electric pressure cooker--yes, even for this dish! It goes so quick, plus I can fry the tadka directly in the cooker, add the sambar and rice, and fresh roasted/ground powder for the sambar sadam, and pressure cook it all together for five minutes.

I then decide to "finish" the dish in the manner the French do, by putting the butter (or in this case, the fresh made ghee) in towards the end.  

As I said before, since he seems a bit "blue," I will probably make a small batch of pineapple rasam and thayir sadam to accompany, with possibly vendakai fry, too.

Luckily for me (and yes, this is going to sound crazy), I stowed a quart of sambar in the freezer here at work (don't look at me crazy--I always have storage issues in my freezer at home, and one day I had the brilliant idea to stow stuff at work. I figured if anyone complained, that would be the end of this storage solution. And so far no one has complained, and here we are).

It's 10:43 a.m. on Friday, and I've removed the sambar from the freezer (and it'll sit on my desk all day, thawing out), so I'm "halfway there" to the bise belebath.  

I just hope it cheers him up!

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