Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Soru Chakli Pithe with Sada Aloor Chorchori / Rice flour Crepes with a simple Potato curry

Shoru Chakli pithe ar Sada alur chochchori
Winter means Pithe. Or Pitha.
I know, I know. Winter is still a far way off.
But I am lucky to be staying in a place that has beautiful weather the whole year through.
So, other than the month of May when it does turn very hot, the slightly cool weather and low temperature of this city helps hugely when it comes to making and enjoying dishes that you want to make and not worry about the right time of the year for them.

I do make the Soru chakli pithe quite regularly. But like many other dishes, never got around to make a post out of it for lack of time or energy.
And since this is made for breakfast, time is more the reason here than energy.
Ma used to make this Soru chakli pithe too. But only on holidays.
Winter holidays or winter weekends.
And served it with the Sada Aloo'r chorchori. Or plain potato curry.

But what I remember most is the Chakli pithes at Dadu's house.
Thamma would make them on the mati'r unoon or the chulha .... a hot tawa sitting on the reddish coal embers inside the dark kitchen, that went 'ssssssss' with every ladleful of batter on it.
White smoke curled out as Thamma expertly flipped the pithas and plonked them on our plates, one by one.  It was a quick process as the pithes are required to be soft and not cooked for long.
One side done ...  flip ....  the next side done.
Plonk on a plate held out by a small hand.

And then pour the golden, beautifully fragrant jhola gur or Nolen gur on each pithe.

We sat around the unoon, soaking in the warmth while once in a while a gush of bitterly cold air would come in through the door and make us jostle and sit a little more closer to one another.
That was our time ... Thamma and us grandkids ... together. Jethima, Ma, Kakimas, not even the helps were allowed in then.

Years later, after I had mastered the art of making the batter, fermenting it properly and make a decent dosa, I introduced this pithe to the man.
He took to it and I heaved a sigh of relief.

soru chakli pithey ar sada aloor chorchori 
The Soru Chakli pithe, or the Soru Chakuli pitha as it known in Orissa / Odisha, is made from a batter made by soaking rice and Urid dal. 
Soru means thin. The pancakes are very thin hence the name. 

I use the same batter that I use for my idlis
You may or may not ferment it. I do. 
Gives the batter a good resting time that way.
Ma makes another version of this pithe. I'll try to make a post of it another time.


Rice - 2 cups  
Urid dal (dehusked ) - 1 cup 
Salt - 2 tbsp 
Grated ginger - 1 tbsp 
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp 

How to

Wash well and soak the rice and dal for around 3 to 4 hours. 
I soak it overnight. 

Grind in a mixer to a smooth paste. 
Add a little water at a time when grinding. If you add too much water in the begining, it will be difficult to make a smooth paste. 
The rice will stay as stubborn grains.
Add salt and keep it covered overnight to ferment. 

To make the pithes, take a well seasoned tawa. 
A heavy, cast iron one is best. 
If you use a non stick one, then season it well with oil and water and wipe it clean. 
Keep a clean, wet cloth at hand. 

Take the amount of batter needed in a deep bowl and add water and a little salt.
Add the grated ginger and 1 tbsp of oil.
Mix well. 
The batter should be thin but not too runny. 
soru chakuli pitha with alu torkari

Heat the tawa well. 
Put in a drop or two of oil and wipe it with the wet cloth. 
Heat again. 

Now pour a ladleful of batter on the tawa and slowly move it on the batter to give it a round shape.
Cover it for around a minute.
Remove cover and flip and let it cook for around a minute.
Remove from the tawa and keep in a slotted bowl, so that it does not turn soggy in its own moisture.
Wipe the tawa clean with the wet cloth before pouring in another ladleful.

soru chakli pitha ar sada aloor chochori

The pancakes will be thin ... almost crepe like.
Do not keep them on the tawa for long as they might turn crisp.
No harm in that. But the Soru Chakli pithe is supposed to be paper like thin and soft.

soru chakli pithey

They go best with an equally soft aloo ki sabzi. Or the Sada ( white ) Alur chochchori.
Very simple, very light in flavours, no masalas, not even turmeric.
This torkari is the perfect accompaniment to these light crepes or pancakes.

Sada Aloor Chorchori 

Need :

Potatoes - cut into long slices
Kalo jeere / Kalonji / Nigella seeds
Whole red chillies - broken
Black pepper powder
Oil - I use mustard oil

sada alur chochchori
 How to :

Heat oil in a kadahi.
Add the Kalo jeere / kalonji and the red chillies.
Let in the potato slices and stir well on high heat for around a minute.
Add enough water to submerge the potatoes.
Add salt and cover and cook till the potatoes are tender.
Check to see there is enough water in between.

sada alur torkari
When the potatoes are well cooked, add the black pepper powder and give a good stir.
Remove from heat.
This dish should have a thin gravy or the potatoes should be cooked till very very soft.
Mine looks dryish because I was busy clicking the pithes.

Most people use fresh green chillies in the tempering.
I had run out of them so used the red, whole ones.
And I'm so glad I did.
The chillies give a wonderfully smoky flavour to the potatoes and mixed with the flavour of the mustard oil and the kalonji seeds, they took the simple torkari to a different level.

soru chakli pithe ar sada alur chochori
We had this for our breakfast today.
And I raced against time and my painful hand to make this post.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Ucche bhaja / Stir fried Bitter gourd

 Ucche bhaja
As I type this, it is mid morning.
I can hear the aarti from the nearby mandir ... "tera tujhko arpan .... ".  Profound words. 
The sun is finally out ... to stay I hope.
The rains are on their way out ... bidding farewell with light drizzles once or twice in a day.
Under the soft, watchful  light of the sun.
There is already a chill in the clear air.
Waiting for Durga Puja ... the festival of festivals for the Bengalis.

After that spate of Ilish overload, the only vegetable photograph I found in my folders was that Palong shaak bhaja of the last last post.
And today I found this one ... a simple Karela fry or the Ucche bhaja.
Now I can make a post!

Nothing much to write home about.
Just a plain stir fry that accompanies almost every lunch, that is if it is not the Neem eating season ... read early spring.
Not that Neem is eaten regularly when in season. But this fry almost always finds a place in the begining of a lunch thala.
Bengalis start a meal, usually lunch ,with a bitter dish, you see.
There are different kinds of dryish dishes made with this simple Ucche or the Bitter gourd, also known as Karela in Hindi.
But this stir fry is most common.

A little potato to give it some body, plain fried in a little oil till done.

These days I don't have the mind to write much.
A complete block.
Sometimes I read my older posts and wonder if that was really I who had written them.
More so because I don't find any interaction on my blog anymore.

There seems to be a kind of lull.
I'd rather have a storm, thank you very much.

Anyway, here's a simple recipe.
Quiet. Almost contemplating.
Yet good.

 Need :

Ucche / Karela / Bitter gourd - 4 medium sized pieces, chopped
Potato - 1 medium sized , chopped
Haldi / Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Red chilli powder ( optional ) - ½ tsp
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp ( I use Mustard oil )

Stir fried bitter gourd

How to :

Heat oil, in a heavy bottomed kadahi , till it is smoking hot.
Let in the potato pieces .... careful ... the oil will splutter.
Hold a cover ready with your other hand and cover them immediately.

Remove cover and stir fry for a while.
Then add the ucche and give a good toss or just stir well.
Add haldi powder and salt.

Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
Remove cover and fry for a while.

Add the red chilli powder and fry for some more time ... like around a minute.
Remove from heat.

Serve on the side with steamed rice, dal and other accompaniments.

Karela fry

Take care all ... you who visit Kichu Khonn silently.
See you all around in my next post ... which will again be of the beautiful Ilish.
And which will be the last of my Ilish series for this year.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Bori diye Palong shaak bhaja / Stir fried Spinach with lentil dumplings

Palong shaak bhaja
And Bappa is gone.
As I sit and type this post, I can see the Visharjan processions slowly moving down the road, one by one.
The air reverberates with the rhythmic beats of the drums, all over. Somewhere the Aarti is being played, signalling the start of Bappa's journey. The roads are covered with pink and red gulal.
People dressed up in traditional attires ... men in white kurtas and ladies in sarees ... accompany the vehicle carrying Lord Ganesh, dancing along.
I watch, quietly bidding Bappa adieu.
Ten days gone in a flash.

This year, the rain gods have played spoilsport. So Ganeshotsav was a slightly subdued affair.
I had a guest at home; so hardly noticed the festive days going by.
Going down to the aarti inside our society complex was by itself a task this time.

Today there is a little calm in the house.
Guest gone. Routine back.
Rains back, after a respite of two wee days.

Stir fried spinach
These days I am on a mission of cleaning up all pending photographs and making posts of them.
Some of them are as old as two years back.
Or more.
I want to be done with them before I forget the actual recipe.
Thank god my recipes do not have much ingredients or complex processes ... so far I have been in stream all along.

These photographs of the Palong shaak with Bori have been in my folder for too long.
After selecting the few photos, they sat in my drafts again ... I think for around a month or so.
Hence I'll finish with these first.
I'm short of time today. So it will be a short write and an even shorter recipe.

Growing up I got to eat a good variety of leafy vegetables or shaaks.
But the only leafy vegetables that we get here are the palak or spinach, the methi or fenugreek leaves, some Amaranth and the dill.
That's all I guess.
So, after using the palak in gravies, dals and chorchoris, I sometimes make a bhaja or a stir fry out of it.
Some chopped onions for sweetness, as the palak is slightly salty on its own, some chopped garlic for flavour and some fried and crushed Boris thrown in, it turns into the perfect shaak bhaja to go on the side of with a little gorom bhaat or steamed rice.

Need :

Palong shaak / Palak / Spinach -  (washed well and chopped) 1 coffee mug ful
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Garlic - 3 big sized cloves, chopped
Haldi / Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp 
Whole red chilles - 1, broken
Boris - 6 to 8 pieces
Mustard oil or any cooking oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch

Bori diye palong shaak bhaja
How to :

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a kadahi or pan.
Let in the Bori s and stir fry on low heat till they turn brown.
Remove and keep aside.

Add 1 tbsp of oil to the same kadahi.
Add the whole red chillies and the onion.
Fry till onion turns translucent and the raw smell is gone.
Now add the chopped garlic and fry well.

Add the chopped palak, haldi, salt and sugar.
Stir well and cover.
Cook for around 5 minutes.
Remove cover and give a good stir.
Cook uncovered till all moisture disappears.
Crush the fried bori s lightly by hand and add to the palak.
Give a good stir.
Remove from heat.
Simple, wholesome shaak bhaja is ready.

Serve hot.
Goes great with steamed rice and some dal.
You can eat it with rotis too.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Pictures speak - Rain!

Today, no recipes. No ramblings.
Today there will be quiet.
Today, we will just sit and watch the marvels of a wonder.
A wonder called Rain!

 The clouds passing by!

 Do you see what I see?!
 My garden is happy too.

 Even the Tulsi is blooming.

Hope you are enjoying the monsoons too.
So long all!!