Saturday, 24 July 2010

Au Revoir



Sorry for the abrupt post dear folks.
And the abrupt good bye.

I may not post again in the near future.
I do hope to be back someday ... but am hoping against hope.

So many things left unsaid.
So many things left unshared.
So many thanks not said.

Before I disappear I want to thank everybody who has one time or the other mentioned Kichu Khon and me on their blogs.
Who have trusted me and my recipes and tried them.
And have written warm and glowing words about them, me and my blog.

I do not want any one of you to worry unnecessarily ... so am explaining that it is not due to any bad comments or anything else that am stopping.
The reasons are purely personal.

Take care dear friends.
This blog has been heaven to me ... letting me be myself.

And all of you have been life to me ... each one a breath of pure air.
Loving me, accepting me, allowing me to be myself.

I'll miss everyone of you and your wonderful spaces and hearts.

Do take care.
Life can be very untrue to us.
I just wish all of you love and happiness.

Warm hugs
Sharmila



Monday, 19 July 2010

Kumror Chokka / Pumpkin with Potatoes

Too many things on my mind these days ... and too many things to get done.
So in no mood to ramble ... yeah, can hear that sigh of relief from you guys. :-)
So straight to my recipe today.

But before that can't resist mentioning that I did get the first Ilish or Hilsa of the season
and had a great leisurely lunch last afternoon ...
... read had enough time on my hands to sit back and
pick through the fine bones
and munch on some great Ilish maach bhaja ...
and lick my plate clean while savouring the Ilish maacher ambol.

Also made some Chorchori with the maatha and
my very own home grown pui ...
yes I did chop off a few stems and leaves.
Was great! :-)

Still have a few pieces left ... am trying out all my Ilish recipes that I posted last year.

Today's recipe is a simple veggie dish that I make very often.

This is my way of making the Kumro (pumpkin) r Chokka or Kumror Chakka ...
... fuss free and not too much of spices.
I do not know why it is known by this name ... so do not ask me.


I like to throw in some kala chana / bengal gram ... so soak a few if am planning to do this dish.
If you are making it impromptu and do not have them ... no problem at all.
And this is one of those rare Bengali dishes in which I use Hing ... am not too fond of the thing ... so usually use it only in the Rajasthani dishes.
But it does give a wonderful flavour to this otherwise simple dish.

You can use coriander and jeera powder with this too ...
I did not.
And I did not use the bay leaf / tej patta to as I had
run out of it.

Need :

Kumro / Kaddu / Pumpkin - cut into medium biggish cubes
Potatoes - cut into a little smaller size than the pumpkin
( can use boiled ones too )
Kala chana / Whole Bengal gram - soaked overnight
( better if you can boil them with a pinch of salt ... just run it in the MW at 60% for 10 mins )
Whole Jeera / Cumin seeds
Grated or paste of fresh ginger
Haldi / Turmeric powder
Hing / Asafeotida
Whole dry red chillies
Oil to cook ( I use mustard oil )
Salt to taste
Ghee


How to
:

Heat oil in a deep kadahi / wok.

Add the jeera, hing and the dry red chillies.

Add the ginger paste and stir for just a little while.

Add the potatoes and stir well ... till the sides turn brownish.

Now add the pumpkin, haldi and salt.

Cover and cook till the vegetables are well done.
If needed add a little water so they do not burn.

When the vegetables are done, remove cover and throw in the boiled kala chana.

Give a good stir to mix everything well.

Cover for some more time ( take care not to burn ).

Serve hot.
Top it with a little ghee just before serving.


This dish should be slightly mushy, which the pumpkin will turn to anyway and will get the natural sweetness of the pumpkin.

Goes great with luchi/puri, rotis or parathas.
Or even with dal and rice too.

If you do want some spices in it, you can sprinkle some garam masala or roasted jeera powder on the top before serving.

Enjoy !!



Monday, 12 July 2010

Posto diye Pui / Malabar spinach with Poppy seeds

Do not steal
I was pleasantly surprised to see a big bunch of Pui / Poi / the Malabar spinach at my favourite Bengali store here last weekend.
Though the stems were already very thick and the leaves were a little too big for my taste, I picked up the whole bunch nonetheless ... dreaming of a thousand ... ok ... around five to six different dishes that I'll enjoy these in.

The Pui shaak is common in Bengali meals or dishes ... usually prepared with fish or vegetables or both.
But for people like me who stay away from home and do not have an easy or no access to this leafy vegetable ... it is a delicacy. A very precious delicacy.

Unfortunately am still off fish ... ( I do have every intention of getting
Ilish at least once this season ) ... so made two dishes out of my loot.
One ... the very common and much loved Chorchori.
And the other ... this.


Do not steal

I remember my Ma made a dish with Posto paste and other vegetables ... that used to have pumpkin / kumdo leaves and jackfruit / kathal seeds in it.

So tried to recreate it.

I had some Posto paste after making a few Posto Boras... so used it with the leaves and very chewable stems of the Pui.

I do not get kathal seeds here.
Also I did not use too many vegetables in this as I used them with the Chorchori.

Kept it simple ... just threw in some Turai / ridge gourd to give the dish some body. Of course, you can use potatoes in it too ... I did not.
I had never tasted this combi of posto and pui before ...
must say that I
loved this experiment of mine.


Do not steal

Need :

Posto / Poppy seeds paste - soak the posto seeds for an hour and grind in a mixer
Chopped onion
Pui / Malabar spinach leaves and stems - cleaned and cut into smallish pieces
Chopped Turai / Ridge gourd
Broken green chillies
Oil to cook
Salt to taste
A little sugar ( optional)
A little water to cook

How to :

Heat a little oil in a wok / kadahi.

Add the chopped onions and fry till they turn pink.

Add the turai pieces and the pui leaves and the stem pieces and give a good stir for a while.

Add the green chillies and the posto paste and mix well.

Add some water, salt, sugar and cover.

Cook till the vegetables are well done. Make sure the stems are well cooked. Add water if necessary in between.

Remove cover, dry up any extra water.

Serve hot.


Do not steal

This dish will be slightly sweetish and soft textured ...
... not too watery, not too dry.

Goes great on the side with steamed rice and dal.

An update on Mr.Shalik's family ....
baby number two ... much more beautiful in its downy feathers than its sibling ... left nest,
spent two days fluttering about in my balcony and on the third
day is down on terra firma ...
amongst the plants in the garden.

The parents are with it all the while ... and all is well with them.

And my balcony is empty.




Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Lau diye Mushur Dal / Bottle gourd cooked with Red lentils




My blog is slowly turning into more of a bird zoo.
And my life is turning more haphazard, out of tune and out of my hands than I ever wanted it to be.

Nose deep into work, maid absconding ... so nose deep into house work too , DH down with the sniffles now ... read needs more attention than an infant ... , beautiful weather mocking, ... so all I do now is crib, work, crib, crib, work, crib, crib .... .

And on the top of it, the little fellows on my balcony are driving me insane.

This morning started with screeches of alarm from Mr. & Mrs. Shalik. Hurriedly step out into the balcony.
This sight greeted me.



Ever since the birds made their home here, I have dreaded this day. It had fallen from the nest that is about 9 feet high, but was ok. A strong breeze kept blowing it away ... it desperately trying to hold on to the floor.

The parents keep screaming. DH puts on gloves ( they should not have the smell of human beings on them ) and picks it up.

Puts it back firmly in the nest with the rest of the babies.

Quiet and normal noises made by the birds assure us everything is fine.

Half an hour later screeching starts.
Baby is down again. This time not moving but breathing. Again put back.

Half an hour later baby down again.



Something is wrong. We try to think of possibilities. Maybe they are too crowded and the weakest is getting the boot. Maybe they have rejected it due to the smell of the rubber gloves.

Any other animal ... pups, kittens, anything else .... I would have confidently dealt with. But have no idea what to do with so small baby birds.

So called up Blue Cross Society. They directed us to the city zoo. Thankfully they took us seriously and sent us their volunteer nearest to our place of stay.

I was initially sceptical. But the way gentle and deft way the man dealt with the baby bird put my fears to rest.
He said the baby has an infection ... so is being rejected by the parents lest the others catch the same.

He treated and carried it away to the zoo where special doctors for birds will take care of it.

Phew!

This dal has been sitting in my drafts for a long time. A quick, healthy, light and simple dal, this is very good on the tummy ... especially if you have been ill and returning to normal food ... or if you want a light meal.

I use the tempering of Paanch Phoron here as I love the slightly achaari flavour it gives when paired with mustard oil and Mushur dal.

Need :
Musur dal / Masoor dal / Red lentils
Lau / Lauki / Bottle gourd - peeled and cut into small cubes
Paanch phoron ( a mix of mustard + fennel + fenugreek + cumin + nigella seeds )
Mustard oil - to temper
Haldi / Turmeric powder
Sliced onions
Whole dry red chillies
Salt to taste
Water to cook

How to :
Wash the dal and keep aside.

Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker.
Add the Panch phoron and the dry chilles.

When they start to splutter add onion and fry for a while.

Now add the bottle gourd and stir for some time.

Then add the dal and keep stirring.
Then add the turmeric powder, salt and water.

Close cooker and cook for 2 whistles on low heat.

Remove cover when cooker has cooled.

Give the dal a stir ... check for seasoning.

If needed add some more water and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Serve hot.



Goes great with plain rice or rotis and a dry dish on the side.

Blogger is going bonkers. Many of you have not been able to leave comments.
I have not been able to view comments ... I see 5 comments and get to read 1 ... that way.
And I have no idea what's going on.
So please bear with me ... if not with Blogspot.
C' ya all soon folks !!



Friday, 2 July 2010

Biri Bora / Biri Bada / Lentil Fritters



Ok ... after that hard hitting post am back to normal. Those of you who have stuck by Kichu Khon for some time now would know that am not into tough talking much ... but one can take only so much. Hence that post came to be.
Back to routine.

It rained all last night. I sat up a long while ... listening to the rain and to some of my favorite ghazals ... chatting up a good friend ... with the sniffles and a little fever it feels good to have a friend talk to. She makes the right noises of sympathy ... felt good. :-)

The day is very cloudy. Fog. Light rain. Cold breeze. Boring afternoon.
A whole bunch of work pending. The weekend looming. Don't feel like doing anything. Step out into the balcony.

Far on the hills it is raining. Can see a light drizzle there ... slowly making its way here.

Two kingfishers, caught up with chasing each other on high speed ... fly into a building ... realising at the last moment .... give out a long screech of surprise and alarm ... and dive away.

Down in the narrow lane a young boy cycling in rounds ... very slowly.
Round and round and round.
Quiet afternoon.
Light spray of rain.
Boy still engrossed in cycling ... round and round and round.
I watch.

Mr. Shalik flies in ... swoops down on my railing. Sees me standing.
Glowers.
Waits. He has to go up to his nest to check on the babies ... who have start chirping loudly as soon as they sense his presence.

I do not move.
Boy still going round and round and round.
Disgusted ... Mr. Shalik leaves.

Boy tires.
Leans against a wall ... with bicycle ... deep in thought.

Mrs. Shalik comes. A huge insect struggling in her mouth.
Screeches at me through closed beak. Nah ... these birds have no manners.

I step away. No point in depriving the kiddos from food.

Come over and start to think of writing a post. Hmm ... nothing interesting to write.
Let me move on to my recipe.



These deep fried pakodas / vadas are made from the Urad dal. Only, they are much smaller and irregular in shape than the usual Medu Vadas / Urad dal vadas.

This is the way they are made in Orissa. Come evening, the street sides would fill with hand pushed temporary stalls selling all kinds of hot deep fried delicacies ... among which will be the Biri Bora ( Urad dal vada / Biuli Daler Bora ).

This is one of the many street foods that we never miss on our trips home ... almost every evening standing on the streets in the evening breeze ... not having the patience to wait till it cools ... biting into a piping hot bora ... and then opening the mouth with "oooh" "haaah" ... to cool it. :-)
Bliss.

I love the small pieces of fried onions and green chilies that come with every bite.

Fuss free ... not too many ingredients ... quick to make ... great to snack on.
Especially on rainy evenings.



Need :

Urad dal - soaked overnight and ground into a paste
Thinly sliced onions
Chopped green chillies
Chopped coconut pieces ( optional ... if you have it or like it, then use )
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry ( preferably mustard oil )


How to :

Mix everything well ... except the oil.

Heat oil in a deep kadahi.

Gently let in small balls of the dal paste.

Deep fry till golden brown.



Serve hot.

These vadas are great to munch on as is ... but you can have them with any chutney or sauce of your choice. And a hot cup of tea.

And oh ... if you have any left overs ... which I very much doubt you will ... do try mashing them up roughly with some chopped onions, green chillies, salt and a little mustard oil ... and have it cold ... with very hot rice or curd rice.
Too good!


Have a great weekend all !