Why this song you may ask? While growing up my mom always used to sing this song to me. The song literally translates to "I'm going to build a house in front of your house." It's supposed to be this cute love song where the guy wants to "build his world in front of her house." My question is, wouldn't it be more romantic if he built a house FOR them WITH her? Why does he only want to be in front of her house? I may be missing some context from the rest of the movie but regardless that's a whole different tangent.
This song was pretty much just my mom telling me she wants to live right across the street from my and constantly spoil her future grandchildren. I'm pretty sure my mom wanted a full on re-enactment of "Everybody loves Raymond." But hey, who's gonna complain about a free babysitter and delicious food? :P
(While you're at it, you should also check out her blog here! It's basically every recipe she made for me growing up that I have random cravings for since I've moved out to California.)
Sometimes I feel like I'm not a complete adult yet. Even though I'm currently supporting myself, paying my own bills, taxes, and insurance, I don't always feel like a "real" adult. Then, there are times when suddenly I feel like a full on housewife, which is something I NEVER EVER want to be.
One such instance was this past weekend, when I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new electric pressure cooker. One thing I'm sure every child growing up in an Indian household can relate to, is the sound of a pressure cooker. That sound TERRIFIED me to my core throughout my childhood, and to this day. I always feel like something somewhere is going to explode. Even in college when my roommate decided to make dal and turned on the pressure cooker, we used to hide behind our bedroom doors waiting for it to go off enough times so could turn it off and continue hiding. You'd think that it wouldn't be worth the fear, but honestly have you ever had dal or even better, Bangalore-style saaru? Yea, it's worth it. (If you're wondering what that is, it's a less liquidy and better version of rasam with more dal in it). I've tried all sorts of cooking techniques, but saaru just doesn't taste quite the same unless you use a pressure cooker. And this way, you don't end up wasting hours and hours making your meal. THAT is not worth it.
The sound of our pressure cooker is even worse for our dog because he can hear the noise WAY before we can. He panics and runs all the way up the stairs and cowers near my parent's bedroom door. This happens without fail every time my mom STARTS the pressure cooker. He knows it's coming and refuses to come down from his hiding spot until he's completely sure it's not going to go off again. Poor baby. But I'm sure you'll all realize why once you get your own pressure cookers!
But AHA! What is this?! An ELECTRIC pressure cooker? What is this magical device? So quiet and effective? Truly this can't be real! But miraculously, IT IS!
I've never been so excited for any adult purchase in my life, except maybe my car. This was a glorious purchase. NOT ONLY can it make dal in 4 minutes, but I can use it to make dahi (yogurt or curds generally eaten with indian food), rice, and basically anything else in life I could ever think of! ALL WITHOUT MAKING A SOUND! I didn't even realize it had even started and it made a beeping noise indicating that my food was READY! It's wonderful.
Amidst all this excitement over the pressure cooker, I got kind of homesick for my mom's food. I then proceeded to facetime my mom for an hour while she carefully explained step by step instructions on how to make one of my favorite childhood dishes, Bendekai Huli or for you non-Kannada speaking people out there, Okra Sambar. Most kids hate okra, but honestly it's one of my favorite vegetables, especially when it's in Indian food.
I know this might not be the most flattering picture of any of us (mainly my brother) but whatever.
One thing I will mention is that I am not sure where to get the huli pudi (sambar powder). My parents usually bring bags back from this little store in Bangalore every time anyone visits, but I'm sure you can find something similar in local Indian stores. I mean, I know I couldn't live without sambar so I'm sure there are other people who feel the same way and have found a way! There are also instant mixes available at the Indian store - while these aren't quite as good, they can satisfy the occasional craving!
Now that you've learned a little bit of Kannada, and hopefully are as excited as I was, let's begin!
Okra Sambar or Bendekai Huli
I'm giving these instructions based on my electric pressure cooker. You may have to adjust the dal portion of the recipe according to however you make it. Pressure cookers scare the bejesus out of me so be careful!
Add the toor dal to your pressure cooker and rinse. Add the water and turmeric and turn on the pressure cooker. I did the Manual setting for 4 minutes. Also make sure its set to low pressure and all the pieces are in place. When the pressure cooker was done it went into keep warm (displayed "L00:00") and started counting up. I unplugged it and let it release the pressure on its own.
In a pot, add some oil and mustard seeds on medium heat, this is called vagarne. When the mustard seeds start popping, add the frozen okra. When the okra starts to get kinda sticky and stringy, add the tamarind paste and a little bit of water. Keep cooking and mixing the okra occasionally until it is cooked through.!(https://pramods.box.com/shared/static/uq45bcrldnses3q369jmzcs1v1srqmqv.jpg)
Add huli powder and salt to taste and let it come to a boil. Add the dal and more water until it's the right consistency. Taste it as you go. I needed to add a little more tamarind paste and huli powder to fit my taste but that depends person to person.
Let it cook for a few minutes and enjoy!