It has only been 10 days since my last post and yet I feel like it has been ages.
The reason lies in the fact that I was away on a short vacation.
I was in a new place,with new people, new surroundings, discovering new things, eating local food and listening to local language.
I was in the land of Sarson da saag te Makke di roti.
I was in the land of tandoori chicken and lassi and kulfi and samoses.
I was in the land of exquisite phulkari works and carpets.
I was in the land of kind, happy and jovial, large hearted people.
I was in Amritsar, Punjab.
To my kitchen.
It has been simple food at home now for the past few days ... after all that gorgeous, butter laden Punjabi dishes. The night we reached home, it was very late. And yet we did not even think of ordering from a restaurant. I had put in some rice and potatoes with plenty of water and a pinch of salt on the stove. And by the time we had freshened up, steaming hot fyana bhaat, every Bengali's ultimate comfort food, was ready.
A good sprinkle of ghee and the potatoes mashed up with a healthy dose of raw mustard oil + chopped onions + chopped green chillies, into a perfect Aloo bhate and we had a very satisfying and soothing meal.
Nothing can beat such soul warming comfort food.
The perfect thing to come home to at the end of a vacation.
After returning, just as much as I was caught up with straightening the house and the kitchen, I was equally busy in editing a big number of photos to be able to share with my friends on FB.
At the same time, I had to make some posts on my travel blog too ... before I forgot the smaller details of my trip.
So got down to make a quick post there ... one post done and two more coming up.
And before I get caught up with those two posts and the rigmarole of editing and arranging photographs, writing down the details and then editing the post again, I though I'd make a quick post here on Kichu Khonn too.
So here is a quick vegetable stir fry, tempered with Kalo jeere / Nigella seeds and fried in Mustard oil.
A bhaja. A chechki. A chenchki. You can call it anything.
No overwhelming masalas. Nothing spicy.
Just the natural flavours of the vegetables, the sweetness of the Pumpkin with the hint of the nigella seeds and green chillies coming through.
Tastes simple. Tastes good.
Pumpkin - around ¼ kg
Potatoes - 2 medium or 1 big sized
Onion - 1 big sized
Fresh green chilli - 2
Mustard oil - 1 tbsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - a little
Red chilli powder - a little ( optional )
Salt - to taste
How to :
Wash the pumpkin.
Using a knife, peel it but not completely ... leave some of the skin on ... like so.
Cut it into thick, longish slices.
Cut the potatoes in the same way ... thick and longish.
Slice the onions.
Heat mustard oil in a kadahi / wok.
Let in the nigella seeds and the green chillies.
Then let in the onions and fry till the raw smell goes away.
Then raise the heat and add the potatoes.
Give a good stir, lower heat and add the turmeric powder and salt.
Cover and cook till the potatoes are half or almost done.
Remember to stir once in a while.
Remove cover and add the pumpkins, cover and cook till all the vegetables are done.
Remove cover and stir the vegetables on high heat for a while.
Remove from heat and serve hot.
This bhaja or fry is a dry preparation .... so water is added during cooking.
If you have a batch of stubborn potatoes that take time to cook, make sure you cook them on low heat till well cooked and then add the pumpkin pieces.
The pumpkin pieces will release water and so eventually the dish will turn moist while cooking. Do remember to dry it up by removing the cover and cooking on high heat for a little while before serving.
Do remember to keep an eye on it while on high heat ... we want the vegetables to caramalise a little and turn brown .... definitely not burnt. :-)
The pumpkins impart a natural sweetness to this bhaja.
It goes great with rotis, parathas or luchis.
It is great as a side too ... with dal and rice. Makes for a perfect comfort meal.