“Happiness is having comfort food at the end of the stressful day!”
A renowned author of numerous cookbooks and an award-winning journalist Norman Kolpas says, “Food like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has the ability to comfort.”
And I have a long list of delicacies in my memories which not only can be termed as “Comfort food “ but also be identified as ‘food for a soul’.
We all have memories and I have share of mine. These are memories from my schooling days that I like talking about, with my mother when we sit and have a careless, cheerful and indolent chat. She tells me that I was always an emotional and sensitive girl, a trait that I still carry with me. I get emotionally attached quickly with people, environment and at times with even a non-living thing- verandah, swing or a well. My mother recalls countless times when I had expressed elation for having come across a genuine behavior from a good person and at other times expressed my disgust at having encountered a selfish soul. The art of pretense has always eluded me.
Since my birth, due to certain family problems, my parents had to leave our ancestral home back in Ratnagiri and migrate to Mumbai- the city of dreams. My mother, being a central government employee back then, had little difficulties in getting a transfer to Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay). My father had a more difficult task at hand, in form of hunting for a job. While both of them would step out of house for our livelihood, I was entrusted in an able hands of my maternal Grandmother (Aaji). Aaji’s presence in my childhood has made a strong impact on my mind, my life and my personality. She had played a pivotal role in carving me as a person. People often misread sensitivity as impracticality or, emotional foolhardy. I believe, sensitivity is the strength. “A sensitive person sees the world through the lens of love” and he/she never harms / hurts anyone as he/she can feel the pain of being hurt. Aaji had simple rules in her life-be kind, be sensitive and offer love in any kind to everyone around. It could be in a form of an innocuous smile on your face that you offer to a stranger, offering help to needy one or inducing your love in the food when you cook for your family. She would insist that all the negative vibes are wiped off by home cooked food. For her Kitchen was the next holy place in house after Devghar (a small temple often found in a Hindu household). She would pray to the Agni (Fire God) before she would commence her cooking every day. She would never express her love for me in words, but it would reflect in her lunch that she would cook for me and pack in a tiffin box to school. Some days she would cook an elaborate meal and other days it would just be a simple seasoned rice (Phodnicha Bhaat ) from previous night’s leftover rice, and all of that tasted delicious.
I have said this in my earlier blog posts too that I have my long list of ‘comfort food’. If you happen to search for this term, you may come across a description in ‘Urban dictionary’ that I find so apt- “food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.” I started my full time blogging career with my better half to revive these old memories, to document some old forgotten recipes of our household, and live our life more happily with these sweet memories from our past lives.
Today, I am sharing with you Maharashtra’s household recipe – “ Batatyachi Kaape” , potato roundels coated in a dry batter of seasoned rice flour with some basic spices and shallow fried till crisp. We have tweaked this recipe with minor changes to suit for fasting days as it’s the holy month of Margashirsha- a month to worship Goddess Mahalakhsmi by fasting every Thursday!
This recipe is so common, but no Maharashtrian would exist on the earth who has never taken it in his/her lunchbox ever (and I kid you not on this). You want to bet? Go ask your Marathi friend and you can share your experience in the comment section below 🙂
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- 4 Medium sized Potatoes (Approx. 400 gm)
- 4 tbsp Barnyard Millet Flour - ( Varai/Vari/Sama ke chawal ka atta )
- 1½ tbsp Red Chilli Powder (Non - spicy)
- 1 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
- Rock Salt to taste
- Cooking Oil
- Peel and Wash the Potatoes thoroughly.
- Cut into thick roundels. Make sure they are not too thin, else they would burn in hot oil quickly.
- Make a dry batter with the ingredients- Barnyard Millet Flour, red chilli powder, cumin powder & Rock Salt.
- Drain the water from roundels.
- Dip and Coat the roundels with batter.
- Heat 5-6 tbsp oil for shallow frying the roundels.
- Fry the roundels on low to medium flame.
- Cook till it achieves golden brown colour on each side.
- Flip them over after cooking for almost 3-4 min on one side.
- Let them cook on other side too. Check whether the roundels are cooked from another side with the help of toothpick.
- Remove the roundels on paper towel
- Fry remaining roundels in batches.
- Batatyache Kaap are ready to be served. Pack it in your lunch box or enjoy with hot tea on your Vrat/fasting days.
Click here to watch recipe video