My daughter has a stomach infection. Why? Because she’s teething at the speed of light and is tempted to help herself to whatever she finds at hand. Leaves from my window garden, footwear that I forgot to put inside the shoe cabinet, wrong ends of telephone-side pens (No, I do not leave them open, she has acquired the skill to open them herself)…you get the idea.

The above lines bring forward two very important points:

  • I am a horrible mother.
  • Avanee has a stomach infection.

For the sake of this food blog, we will ignore the first point and move with an immediate sense of urgency toward the second.

So. As I was saying, stomach infection. When we were kids, a stomach bug meant rice diet. Daal-chawal (Varan-bhaat), dahi-bhaat (curd rice), and most importantly, metkoot-bhaat. Metkoot is a typically Maharashtrain Brahmin spice mix that is used to lightly spike a bland rice porridge or to add that extra zing or khamang-pana to chivdas. My great grandmother’s recipe is what gets made at home. The store-bought versions are not roasted enough (if at all) and are, therefore, lacking in that sense of comfort that anything from a mother’s kitchen should evoke.

But wait. Before you bookmark this for a sick day, let me also introduce you to another very good use of metkoot—in this wonderful salad/dip of crisp onions, bitter(ish) fenugreek, sour-ish yogurt, and the subtle metkoot. Ideal as a side with an everyday meal of chapattis or rice, or as a dip with chips and suchlike.

Ingredients for metkoot:

  • 1 cup chana daal (split Bengal gram)
  • ½ cup urad daal (split black gram)
  • ¼ cup rice
  • ¼ cup wheat
  • 1 heaped tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. dried ginger powder
  • 3-4 cloves
  • ½ cup dried coriander seeds
  • ½ cup cumin seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • ¼ tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp. asafetida
  • ½ tsp. black peppercorns

Ingredients for Onion, Fenugreek and Yogurt Salad/Dip:

  • ½ a bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves (or cilantro)
  • 1 medium-sized red onion
  • 1 small tomato (optional)
  • 1 cup of natural yogurt (dahi)
  • 1 tbsp. metkoot
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste

Method for Metkoot:

  1. Roast all the ingredients and powder in a coffee grinder until fine.
  2. Store in a dry jar. Keeps well for over a year.

Method for Salad/Dip:

  1. Combine all ingredients and serve chilled.

Other uses of metkoot on this blog:

Bhadang