Monday, 28 January 2013

Mooli ke Parathe / Radish stuffed flatbreads

 After ranting for the nth time in my last post, I was feeling pretty ashamed.
So have decided there won't be any more ranting ... 
at least not for a while.
I'll try to stay focused. 
Try ... I said.
Winter is still around ... even if the day and night temperatures are swinging like a clock's pendulum.
And so are the beautifully fresh winter vegetables.
One of the best seasons to have different kinds of parathas and fried food,
winter becomes even more enjoyable when you have fresh vegetables to cook with.
I make all kinds of parathas during winter.
Usually for dinner.
And stuffed parathas rule.
A good stuffing encased in wholesome wheat, they turn out to be very filling.
All you need is some achar/pickle or a raita or plain ketchup.
And you are full in no time.

No spending too much time in the kitchen ... that too in this cold.
And I sometimes do not turn on the kitchen exhaust.
Love the warmth and fragrance, of parathas frying, spreading through the house,
enveloping one with a sense of coziness.
Making a house feel like a home.
In no time, I am curled up on the sofa with a plateful of hot, fried and tasty paratha.

The mooli or radish is one thing that is best enjoyed in winter.
I am not too fond of this vegetable for the usual reason ... the smell.
But lately have learnt that the smell is a lot less in baby radishes.
Earlier I used to grate and squeeze out the moisture.
But now that I get good baby radishes, there is a whole lot of moisture.
So I needed to cook it with the spices to dry it out.
And then used it as filling.

 Need :
Fresh mooli / radishes
Ajwain / carrom seeds
Haldi / turmeric
 Red chilli powder
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Oil to fry
Dough of atta / wheat flour
Some use cumin powder and garam masala ... I do not.

How to :
Wash and peel the mooli.

Use a not too fine a grater. I mean it should not turn the mooli into a paste.
Make sure you use fresh radishes. If using from the fridge and they have started to dry out, cut them into pieces and soak them in water for a good while.

Now heat oil in a flat pan ... 
( do not use a kadahi if possible ... an open pan helps in drying out the moisture quicker)
Add the ajwain and the grated mooli.
Stir for a while.
Add the rest of the ingredients and keep frying till all moisture dries out.
If it has too much moisture and turns into a lump ( happened to me once) ... 
just add a spoonful of besan and keep frying.
Will dry out in no time.

Take small balls of the atta dough and stuff them with the filling and roll out round parathas.
Well .. I should just  say parathas.
For one who cannot roll out perfect round ones, I must not have too much of expectations.

You can check out the stuffing, rolling and frying of the parathas from here.

Heat a tawa or a griddle.
Fry the parathas with a little oil till both sides are browned.

And ... enjoy!
Serve hot though ... with some cold raita on the side.
Or salad. Or pickle.
I have recently been introduced to the taste of Thokku ... 
so enjoyed mine with some spicy Mango thokku on the side.

Long live winter. Just don't last too long.
Cheerio all!

Other Parathas on Kichu Khonn - 
to try out this winter

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Puli Pithey / Coconut stuffed Rice dumplings in milk

 Much as I want to post regularly, things seem to keep getting out of hand.
I am appalled at the way my time management has gone out of the window ; or the door or my balcony.
All I know is it is not where I left it last.
Nothing seems to be in my control any more. Am so tempted to write 'no more' here!
See ... that's how much I have changed. :-|
It has taken me a lot of time to get back my kitchen.
Now that it is behaving and happily churning out simple, daily dishes, I thought I'd get started with the blog.
For that one needs to click photos.
How else am I to serve what I've cooked ... albeit virtually?!
It is another thing that I still use my photos as proof ... to prove my cooking and photographing ability ...
... to myself.
And now, after all that storing of photographs, storing of recipes in my mind ...
... when I finally start posting again ... I find myself at a dead end.
Complete lack of zeal.
To write. To upload. To arrange.
To make a post on this hugely simply laid out blog seems an effort.

Why am I writing this here ... of all things??
Well ... see ... because I just don't know what to write.
I just wish I can ... again.
Till then ... dear readers ... I guess you'll have to put up with this nonsense.
I know all of you love me; love Kichu Khonn.
But I also know that I'm asking for too much. :-)

 So, while still a lot of photographs languish in my folders, I'll just get over with this post of Puli Pithe.
I recently made these and want to share with you all ... before winter passes by.

Actually, I'd amde a post on this long, long back.
When I was a new blogger and a new cook.
When I was new to photography ... especially food photography.
So new that I could not give the pulis their authentic shape. So had made them in rounds.

But I call myself an expert now ... at least in the kitchen.
It is another thing that all I can cook up is homely food ... nothing exotic, nothing glamorous.
I mean ... not even the most glamorous of evening wear is going to successfully clothe my dishes
and make a plate look like a ... say ... beauty queen.
You can still see that lone black pepper or the jeera
or the colour of just how much frying have my onions gone through.
Nah ... no red carpet for my plain Jane dishes.

And it is another thing that I have not gone beyond a few pithes when it comes to traditional cooking.
But let us not dwell on that.
Especially when I have dished out these lovelies for you. :-)
And this time ... in all their traditional shape and glory.

Where I was enthusiastic enough to click a few steps of the process too.

And if you still can't make these beautiful moon shaped pithes, worry not.
You can make them round .. and they'd still be a winner.
And so will you be.
Serve warm or cold.
And stay warm ... winter will soon begone. :-)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Ranga Alur Pithe or Pantua / Coconut stuffed Sweet Potato

Ranga alur pantua
All three are synonymous to each other.

Traditional sweet or savoury things that are usually made with rice, coconut and jaggery.
Sometimes dals or lentils are used too.
With these few ingredients, some wonderful pithes  are lovingly made 
by the ladies of a house every winter.
The Ranga Alur Pithe or Pantua is one of them.

 During the holidays, Thamma would be extra busy.
Of course she was busy throughout the year ... what with a huge joint family to run.
But during holidays, the house brimmed with people.
Relatives of all relations ... kakimas' brothers with their families or 
Jethima's sister with her two sons. 
Or my mashis with their brood.
The house would be overflowing with people. Almost like a wedding is on.
Everyday was a celebration.
All through the day one would get hear all kinds of voices.
A mother's high pitched voice calling out to her children, ladies chattering with a lot of laughter, childern screaming out in warning when running pell-mell all across the long verandah.

The house is big. Huge.
Once you cross these sound barriers , you reach another long verandah that houses the bharaar ghor/ the store room.
And the two kitchens.
Two? Yes. One for vegetarian food too.
And from these two rooms came the most wonderful smells in the world.
All kinds of food being cooked.

And among them ... on one side there would be a small unoon/chulha .... that was used to make Pithe.
Amidst everything, Thamma made sure at least one kind of Pithe was on our plates everyday of our holidays.

ranga alur misti
My mind is a-wandering. 
More later.
I'll put in the recipe now.

To make this pithey, you can start preparing a day or two earlier.
That way you won't feel overwhelmed when you actually start making it.
I usually prepare the coconut stuffing a day or two earlier.
Boil the potatoes too and keep away.
And also the sugar syrup.
So your work gets cut down by half.All you need to do is stuff the pithes, fry and soak in the syrup.
Gets done in a jiffy.


Sweet potatoes - I used 2 big sized ones
Maida/apf - 3 tbsp
Grated coconut 
Crushed cardamom / elaichi
Oil to deep fry

How to:

Sugar syrup - Boil one and a half cups of sugar in 2 cups of water till dissolved well
(No need for any thread consistency ... just thin syrup will do)

Coconut stuffing - Melt jaggery with a little water in a pan.
Add the coconut and the cardamom powder and cook well till dryish.
Remove and cool.

Pithe / Pantua -
Peel and mash the sweet potato with the maida.
Make medium sized balls, flatten on palm and stuff with a little coconut stuffing.
Cover and roll on palm to make a smooth elongated shape.
Wet your fingers with water if needed.

ranga aloor pithe
Heat enough oil in a deep kadahi.
Slowly let in the pithes and fry on low flame till brown.

Remove and soak in the sugar syrup.
PS: If you have made the syrup a day earlier, reheat it before soaking the pithes.
Leave them for a while to soak up the syrup well.

ranga alur pantua

Serve warm or cold.

Other Pithe / Pitha on my blog

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Pithe for Makar Sankaranti

Wishing you a happy and fruitful Makar Sankaranti!!

Could make a little Pithe on this auspicious day.
So am sharing them with you on this harvest festival.

The recipe for Dudh Puli is here ... posted a long time back.
Don't go by the snaps ... it tastes awesome.
Will be updating with the new snaps I have taken today. :-)

The other one is Ranga Aloo'r Pantua/pithe.
Will be sharing the recipe in my next post.

Good wishes, everyone!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mangshor Jhol / Mutton Curry the Bengali way

( Vegetarians can make this with aloo / paneer / cauliflower. )

 Presenting the very favourite, very famous and very loved  Bengali Mangsho'r jhol!
For the very first time on Kichu Khon ... Mutton!!!
Why for the first time?
Because I did not know how to buy mutton.
Because I did not have the courage to step into a mutton shop.
Because it is a Bengali man's job.
Sunday mornings started with the man of the house going to the mutton shop to get the best cuts.
And the lady of the house spent hours in the kitchen preparing lunch ... of steamed rice and Mangsho'r jhol.

The years I spent away from home were spent craving mangshor jhol.
Of course once in a while a cousin would call me over for lunch ... but that was rare.
After I set up my own home, I fulfilled all my dreams of cooking chicken and fish for myself.
No more going to restaurants to get my fill of non veg ... yet stay dissatisfied ...
 craving some home cooked food.
But never got to cook mutton.
Or Mangsho'r jhol.
With gorom bhaat.
Ah ... heaven.

Until the supermarkets came along.
Everything under one roof.
Everything ... know the meaning?
Everything includes fish ... fresh fish, good chicken and mutton!
Good mutton. Goat mutton .... not lamb mutton.
I got very good mutton at Spar.
The pieces looked familiar ... exactly like the ones I got on my plate at home.
The meat looked fresh ... pinkish and not dull grey or white.
And definitely not dry.
Still ... I had my doubts.
Had once happily filled my plate with mutton at a  friend's party.
One bite and I gagged. This was not mutton! It did not taste familiar.
The friend cleared my doubt ... it was lamb!
I do not like lamb.

So cleared with the salesman.
"Goat?". "Yes Ma'am, goat."
"Lamb or goat?" ... I try.
Psychology ... you see. So that he wouldn't get to know what I want and fool me.
"Goat Ma'am."
I look around with a very serious face ... avoiding the man's eye.
No clue.
I wander a little ... all the while keeping an ear open ... trying to grasp what other customers are saying.
No luck. Until .....
"Ekdom taatka  paatha Dada ... niye dekhun naa!"
Sweet, familiar Bengali!

The man is a Bengali! Trying to convince another customer that it is completely fresh!
I smiled. The man smiled.
And we broke into a non stop chatter of Bengali.
And I came home happily clutching on to a bagful of half a kilo taatka mangsho. :-)

So I finally cooked Mangshor jhol ... in my kitchen.
Remembering how every Sunday the family would wait with much eagerness 
for the lunch that gets cooked in numerous Bengali homes .. 
creating memories for the young and nostalgia among the elders of a family.

I cooked it the way my Thamma used to.

Completely basic with that wonderful rustic flavour of ginger and garlic 
mixed with good quality mutton ... and mustard oil ...
makes this a wonderful dish
 that stays in the memory long after it has been eaten.
Many people love to add cumin and coriander powder too. I haven't to this one.
Maybe I'll try with them sometime when I make this  again.

Need : 
500 gms mutton(goat meat)
1 cup curd ... will be better if is slightly sour ... I used 2 days old home made curd kept in the fridge
2 big sized onions
10 cloves of garlic
3" piece of ginger
1 medium sized onion, sliced into thin long pieces
whole garam masala -
5-6 cloves
4 black cardamoms
1"  cinnamon stick
5 whole red chillies
3 bay leaves
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder, or as per your taste
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and halved
salt to taste
water for cooking

How to :
Marinate the cleaned and washed mutton with the curd and a little salt.
Keep aside for at least half an hour. Keep in the fridge if keeping for a longer time.
Grind the onions to a paste.
Grind the ginger + garlic to a paste.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed kadahi.
Add the potatoes and fry them on a high flame till golden brown all over. They need not be cooked ... just get the colour.
Remove and keep aside.

Reduce heat and in the same oil add the whole garam masalas, dry red chillies, bay leaves and then the sliced onions.
Fry well for a while.
Add the sugar and fry for some more time.
Now add the onion paste, stirring all the while.
After it loses the raw smell, add the ginger garlic paste and keep frying.

Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and fry till the masala is well cooked and the oil starts to leave the sides.
Now add the marinated mutton and keep stirring while the masala gets and the curd and the mutton all mix together.
Add salt ... remember there was salt in the marinade ... so add accordingly.
Keep koshaoing / bhuno ing till the whole thing loses that raw look, takes colour and starts to dry up.

Now add the potato pieces and transfer them to a pressure cooker.
Add water ... this will depend on how much gravy you want ... for 500 gms of mutton to have a thickish gravy you might need around 6 tea cups of water. Again depends on the size of the cup your are using.
Add the garam masala powder.
Close cooker and cook till 5 whistles on low heat.

The time of cooking again depends on the kind of mutton and the time used for marination.
If the mutton is tender, it will cook quickly. But 5 whistles should work well.
Remove cooker from heat and allow to cool.

Serve with steamed plain rice and salad on the side for that perfect Sunday lunch. 

Nothing more to say.
Just enjoy!!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Aloo Narkel Tikki / Potato & Coconut Patties

 I am on a roll. Posting left, right and center.
Rather ... posting one, two and on.
Or so you think.
The fact is ... yes ... I am rushing.Why? I don't know.
Or do I?
You see ... even when I have not been posting at all for the longest time, I have been cooking.
And serving food ... for myself and the family.
That is ... when I could cook at all. When I could finally get up; stand for long times.
When I finally got back my kitchen to myself.
In about one and a half years ... or maybe more ... I cannot remember much of those dark times ... of time.

And when I would get, even the tiniest of, spare time and I was not feeling drained, I would hold my camera.
Lovingly. Longingly.
Then came a day when I could actually click a photo again.

So when I was cooking, the recipe and steps would keep running through my mind.

I had hoped I would post again.
I hoped I could start Kichu Khonn again.
So I'd click whatever I cooked ... whenever I could.

As a result ... I have a bagful of ... well ... a folder full of snaps.
All ready and waiting to see the light of the day.
Any day.

So ... when I have started now ... I do not lack for photos.
And when I have photos, I can share the recipe too!

Hence I am on a roll. Dig?
Good. :-)

So here I am ... posting another simplest of tikkis.
The aloo tikki .... with a twist in the taste.

At home, Ma would make this on the days when we turned vegetarians.
No non veg on the table ... no clean plates.
Everyone ... mainly Bapi ... used have a pained look on the face throughout the day ... starting morning.
Even the day's  green grocery shopping would be done with complete lack of enthusiasm.
I mean, if you can't buy the best and the freshest catch of the day, if you can't have fish on your plate for lunch ... how can you be a true blue  Bengali ??
What absolute use does the day have at all?!

So Ma had to come up with something that would be eaten ... that would help to clear the air of mourning.
And this tikki was one of those many sides.
We loved it as is.
But if this was made at night, it would be dunked into a gravy of ginger and tomatoes ...
and it went very well with hot rotis.

Very simple and quick to make, these can be eaten as a snack too.

Need :

Boiled potatoes
Freshly grated coconut
Chopped onions
Chopped green chillies
Chopped fresh coriander leaves
Kalonji / Nigella seeds
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Cooking oil to shallow fry
( I use Mustard oil ... you can use any oil of your choice )

How to :
Mash everything , except the oil, together.

Shape into tikkis ... like so.
 Heat a little oil in a flat pan or skillet.
Let in the tikkis one by one.
Fry till both sides are browned properly.

Crispy on the outside and soft and melting inside.
Yes, that's how easy it is. :-)
 Serve hot off the pan.
Eat as a snack with your favourite ketchup or chutney.
Or on the side of a plate of steamed rice and dal.


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Matar ke chilke ki subzi / Stir fried green peas shells

After a long, long time I am sitting down to write a post.
And ... well ... I can't think of anything.
I have forgotten to even frame sentences ... or so it seems.
Blank. Complete blank.
So I'll just start off with the recipe.
And hope the flow of thoughts will come back again ... soon.

So here's restarting posting with this simple vegetarian stir fry.
I do have a list of non vegetarian dishes that I hope to share here.
But for this post, it will be only vegetarian ... and vegan .... for my friends out there.

It is winter and we have been getting beautiful and fresh green peas these days.
So wanted you to try this before they disappear from the markets.

Winters mean fresh, sweet green peas. I love them.
And dunk them in any curries or stir fries that I make.
But had never eaten anything made from the shells. Not until I was introduced to this dish at my in-laws place.

Not much is needed to make this. The shells are sweet and I do not use too many masalas to overpower that natural sweetness.

This dish can be made only with the freshest of the shells ... mind you.


Shells of fresh green peas
Whole jeera / cumin
Hing / asafoetida
Dhania / coriander powder
Haldi / Turmeric powder
Lal mirch / Red chilli powder
Cooking oil
Salt to taste

How to :

Take a shell and snap it ( only the freshest ones will break ).
Remove the outer fleshy part very gently and separate it from the transparent  membrane inside.
(The membrane is very thick and is impossible to chew on if left on.)

 It takes time to do this.
So is best done at leisure.
You can store them in the fridge for later cooking.
If you want you can chop them up into smaller pieces ... I do not as they release a lot of water on cooking and tend to shrink.

Wash the peels well.
Heat a little cooking oil.
Add jeera and hing.
When the jeera starts to splutter, add the shells and stir well.

Add haldi, mirchi, dhania powder and salt.
Cover and cook ... giving it a stir once in a while.
When done, remove cover and dry up all moisture.

 Serve hot.
Goes best as a side with hot rotis and a dal.

I have made this in two other ways ... both equally good.
Will post them soon.

I'll soon start visiting all your beautiful blogs again.
Till then ... enjoy!

My other posts on vegetable peels

Stir fried bottle gourd peels

Plantain Peels Chutney

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Welcome new dawn 2013!

Wish you a happy and healthy 2013!
May the new year bring love, laughter, good health and good food into your lives.
May the new dawn be the usher of all things beautiful.
May we have peace in our hearts.
May we all love;
unconditionally; unrepentantly.

I have so much to say; so much to share.
But for now I'll be quiet.
And revel in the love that all of you have given me and Kichu Khonn.
For now I'll just say "Thank you!"
For now I'll sit back and look at my blog, feel overwhelmed by the love I have for it ...
feel emotional about actually writing something for a post.

This post is for all my good friends out there for everything you have
done for me, felt for me and for Kichu Khonn.
This is for my followers who have never tired of writing to me ...
warm words always
and waiting
for Kichu Khonn's comeback.
And this is for all my dearest ones at BFBC ... you are the best!

May the New Year bring much happiness!
May we revel everyday in creating great food and serving nourishment with love ... as always.
And may we always revel
in the wonderful warmth and friendship we share ...
forever and ever.

Wishing you peace, love, happiness and great food on your plates all through this new year!!