Marriages are made in heaven!!!
A wedding anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of now, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow.
It was the summer of 2001, when a phone call on a quite Sunday afternoon brought this wedding proposal my way. This is the scenario of an arranged marriage, where the wedding alliance is brought forward by the elders of the house. It is customary for the elders to introduce their son or daughter to a potential spouse. Since the families are new to each other, they meet with the bride and groom present. From there on, it is up to the future bride and groom to exchange their views to give consent for future relationship. Similarly the groom's family visited us over evening tea with the photo of the groom since he lived overseas. After about a month I made my first conversation with the future groom over the phone. His voice was exquisite and full toned. He added humor to every topic of discussion keeping the conversation enchanting. This man whom I had not met made me feel jubilant in the first talk. The phone call swept me off my feet and I knew this is the man I wanted to spend rest of my life.
The summer had passed by, with exchange of emails and phone calls with this person. On a casual September day there came a magnificent proposal from the groom with a bouquet of flowers and lovely words asking me to marry him. With my heart pounding, a little anxiety but lots of joy I received the package. Was there a chance of rejection from my side?......No way. I had long decided he was the one for me, the man who was convivial and companionable in our first talk. We agreed to tie the nuptial knot two months later when my fiance would fly down for the ceremony. I often visited his parents and at the very first visit my mother-in-law made this ambrosial bisi bele bath with avalakki(Poha). Since it is a tradition for the bride not to eat rice before the wedding in her in-laws house she used avalakki(Poha) instead of rice. Atte Mane in my regional language means mother-in-laws house, from which this dish gets its name in my blog. It was so delectable, I still reminisce the bisi bele bath and the time spent with my in-laws. I put together this gratifying dish in my kitchen on our anniversary to educe the memories from my past.
This is a wholesome one pot meal. It has protein from the lentils, carbohydrates from the avalakki(Poha), vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. It will grace the taste buds to the last spoonful.
1 cup thick avalakki(poha) available at Indian supermarkets
1/2 cup Toovar dal available at Indian supermarkets
Small lemon size tamarind
3 cups mixed vegetables cut lengthwise(carrots, beans, potato, peas, lima beans)
4 tablespoons bisi bele bath powder (Recipe follows)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water to boil vegetables
For Bisi Bele Bath Powder:
The powder can be made ahead and stored in an air tight container.
The powder is also readily available at Indian supermarkets by popular brand names like MTR.
2 tablespoons urad dal
2 tablespoons chana dal
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup dried red chillies
1/2 teaspoon methi(fenugreek) seeds
1/4 teaspoon hing(asafetodia)
1 inch piece cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup dry coconut powder
1 teaspoon oil
Fry all the above ingredients in oil except coconut powder. When the dals are golden brown turn off the stove and add dry coconut powder. Mix well and allow it to cool completely and powder in a mixer or spice mill.
1 tablespoon ghee(clarified butter)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon hing(asafetodia)
2 tablespoons peanuts
1 tablespoon cashew nuts
1 sprig curry leaves
Pressure cook toovar dal in 1 1/2 cups of water with a pinch of turmeric..
Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the juice and set aside. If using ready tamarind paste measure 1/2 tablespoon.
Soak thick avalakki(poha) for about 15 minutes in water. Water should just cover the avalakki(poha). Drain the water and set it aside.
In a pan bring 2 cups of water to boil and add the mixed vegetables with a pinch of salt.
Cover the lid and cook until they are 3/4th done. Add cooked toovar dal and squeezed tamarind juice or ready tamarind paste.
Mix the bisi bele bath powder in little water and pour it into the vegetable dal mixture. This will avoid lumps of the powder in the hot mixture.
Let it simmer for about 5 minutes with the lid open. If there is excess water let it simmer for a few more minutes.
Add avalakki(poha) and mix it together. The avalakki(poha) will be done in about 8 minutes.
Stir in frequent intervals to make sure the vegetable, dal and avalakki(poha) are not stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add salt to taste.
In a small kadai heat ghee(clarified butter).
Add mustard seeds and hing. When they splutter add cashew nuts, peanuts and curry leaves.
When the cashew nuts are golden brown and peanuts open up, pour the seasoning over the bisi bele bath.
Remove it off the heat and keep it covered for 5 minutes. Let the flavors blend into each other.
Now have a ball serving a ladle of bisi bele
A toast to our coming together and living together with love and joy. Today, with two adorable kids, who are the apple of our eyes "Marriages are made in heaven" has given a true meaning to our lives.
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