What with a cold, windy breeze and numerous clouds playing hide and seek, the temperature looking downwards all the while and a very light sunshine all around, the weekends have been diving me cray.
All I want is to go on long drives, for picnics, for photographs, and so on.
Basically to stay out.
Soon, when the rains come, we will have to stay indoors. But this weather now ... it is perfect to be outside.
But things are not always meant to be.
B is submerged up to the neck with work. And I with numerous chores that need to be completed before the rains start. Chores that have been piling up from the last few or more months.
But I will not be bogged down, I thought.
And decided come what may, we will go out and have a break at least on one day of the weekend.
Which was just a day away , by then.
B asked not to pick up any place that would be too far away ... he needed to be back home for work.
And said could give only a few hours, not more.
My dreams of a longish drive and lunch seemed distant. Earlier we had wanted to drive till Panvel, have lunch there and return with a small stop at Lonavla. But gave that up as Lonavla still needs some good rain and greenery.
Then B suggested we take a drive down the Bombay-Pune old highway.
Thanks to the expressway, the traffic there has lessened considerably. With a lot of trees still standing and a lot of open space all around, it has been our favourite road for aimless drives always.
We haven't 't been on that road for a long while now ... almost close to four years or more. It would be fun to rediscover old memories.
So off we went on a late Sunday morning.
Drove down the beautiful , very green with huge trees , road all the way up to Talegaon. It had started to rain by then and we rolled down the windows to let that fresh, wet breeze, in.
The small hills on the side had turned dark and light,white clouds hung on their tips.
It was beautiful.
After a while, we came to Toni da Dhaba, a place famous for its Punjabi food, for many years now.
We stopped for a late lunch, that became later, with us having to wait for around an hour .... it was that crowded.
But the food was worth the wait ... as always.
I did not eat much due to my rct; but B enjoyed his laccha paratha, dal, paneer amritsari and some garam garam jalebis.
On the way back, we took a detour and explored another new road.
Later stopped at a roadside stall for some ginger tea. And then it was time to return.
Dusk was setting in . I leaned back into my seat, closed my eyes and set some Sufi music on the loose.
And happily looked forward to another hectic week.
Back home, any holiday and sometimes a weekend , meant this pithe or pitha, for breakfast. Thanks to our Odiya cook , we had a good dose of pithas in our childhood.
The varieties were numerous and unlike the Bengali pithes that are mostly sweet, Odiya pithas have a number of savoury ones. Almost all of them can be eaten both as snacks as well as a meal.
And almost always paired with a light vegetable curry, these pithas make for a filling, healthy meal. And if had for breakfast, they can keep you going for a long time before you are hungry again.
And this Saantlano pithe or the Santula pitha was our favourite.
A cross between the dosa and the uttapam, this pitha can be eaten with any chutney or the kasundi on the side for a snack.
Ma would use the same batter that she made for idlis or dosas; so do I.
The batter needs to be slightly thicker than a regular dosa batter, but still in a pourable consistency.
Unlike in an uttapam, where the chopped onions are spread on the top of the dosa while it is still on the tawa, this pithe has the temerings and the onions fried a little first and then added to the batter.
And then spread on the tawa as a thickish dosa.
If you have the batter ready, these are real quick to make and are very good with the ginger tea on the side. A life saver when you have sudden guests.
Fermented Idli batter - thinned a little with water.
( You can see the proportions and method in this post)
Onions - chopped
Green chillies - chopped
Tomatoes - chopped (optional)
Curry leaves - chopped
Coriander leaves - chopped ( optional)
Ginger - chopped
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil - as needed
How to :
Or you can use the tawa in which the pithes are to be made.
Add the mustard seeds.
When they start to splutter, add the onions, green chillies, curry leaves and ginger.
Stir fry on low heat for a while.
When the onions start to turn pink, remove from heat.
Add the above mixture to the batter.
Now heat the tawa.
Brush it with a little oil.
Now take a spoonful or two of the batter and spread it carefully on the tawa.
Do not try to spread it very thin.
Cover for a while.
Then remove cover and let it stay for a minute.
Carefully, flip it over and fry the other side too.
Both sides should be done crisp.
Remove and serve hot.
The above photo shows the crisp edges.
Hence I usually set two tawas, so that nobody has to wait for a second helping.
Goes great with a light vegetable curry.
Or any achar or chutney.
But best of all, unlike the Soru chakli pithe, this can be enjoyed as is too.
I love it with ketchup and kasundi too.