Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Kuntala's Aloo Posto

Kitchen cleaned ... check.
Dals, rice, papads, dry chillies and boris sunned and stocked in air tight bottles .... check.
Achars sunned well and stocked .... check.
Curtains washed ... check.
Pillows and cushions dusted and sunned ... check.
Mattresses sunned .... check.
Covers washed and stored away ... check.
Light quilts sunned .... check.
Light blankets washed .... check.
Light woolens, jackets and shawls sunned and ready .... check.
Winding up half done knittings at a frenzied pace ... check.
(Here is a sneak peek into one .... the throw ... almost done ... just the border needs to be done.
A riot of colours ... isn't it? ) 


Now, to sit back and  watch the clouds as they float by. Slowly increasing by the number every passing day. And I snatch some time from my daily grind to look up at the sky and play my favourite game of making out the shapes of the clouds.

I am ever so ready for the monsoons.

The breeze is heavy with a warm, wet smell ... a tell tale sign of the water content it is carrying.
Or maybe the smell of wet earth from some far off place that has seen rain way before us.
There is a marked cheerfulness all around along with the cool weather.
Even the birds come less for water these days.

When I have so much to do, I keep cooking to the minimum.
One pot meals rule the days ... read lunches; and stuffed parathas rule dinners.
Or maybe a noodles dish or macaroni loaded with lots of vegetables.
Or a simple dal, bhaat, some bhaja and aloo posto or a makha on the side. Light and uncomplicated.
Just like this Aloo posto.

I have posted Aloo posto earlier.
But ever since I have seen this recipe on Kuntala's blog, I have never made aloo posto the conventional way anymore. Kuntala is a wonderful writer. She blogs at Abantor and if you have not read her blog, yet, you are surely missing a lot.
This is her mother's recipe. 

This Aloo posto does not have any temperings, onions or turmeric.
Just the flavours of aloo and posto. And a whiff of fresh green chillies.
And a dash of raw mustard oil.
Nothing a Bengali does not love.
Pure bliss.

Kuntala suggests to keep the posto paste slightly coarse and I have done exactly that.
 Need :

Potatoes - 3 big sized, cut into cubes
Posto / Poppy seeds paste - 4 tbsp
Raw mustard oil - 1 tbsp
Fresh green chillies - 2
Salt - to taste
Water - to cook the potatoes

How to :

Place the potatoes with water in a kadahi with a little salt.

Cover and cook till they are done.

Remove cover and add the posto paste and the green chillies.
Add a little water if necessary.

Give a good mix, cover and cook till all water is soaked up.

Remove cover, spread the mustard oil all over, cover and remove from heat.

Let it stand for some time. 
Serve hot, warm or cool.
The photographs do not do justice to this ... will try to click better snaps the next time.
I have made the Jhinge (ridge gourd ) posto this way too ... was equally good.

Kuntala suggests this with rotis. I have tried and loved the combination.
But I usually make this for lunch and pair it with the bhaja muger dal and steaming hot rice with a big dollop of ghee.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Pui shaak er daatar jhal or Stems of the Malabar spinach cooked in mustard gravy

B has gone to office today and I am able to sit down with my second cuppa this mid morning.
I usually don't get to sit down and neither do I have a second cuppa on any mid mornings.
And B's presence in the house has nothing to do with it.
But there is indeed a good feel of snatching some free time , sitting down and take a deep breath. The very thought that I won't have to worry about completing cooking a full lunch ... read dal, roti, sabzi, etc. or cooking any lunch at all, relaxes me far more than a spa or a holiday would.
In case you are wondering, I do very well with a salad or some jhaal muri or just rice and a fish curry.

Hence I get to plan my day my way.
I contemplate on what to get my hands on ... my knitting, my crochet, or some left over sewing ... yes, I do have my fingers in different pies at the same time.
Or maybe I should cook ahead for some days and store.
Cooking ahead means a double bonus ... ready made meals in the fridge and also getting to click photos of them at leisure ... to make blog posts.
No pressure of hurrying.

However, blaming B for this will not be fair. He works from home.
So our home is our office too. I have to keep in mind his calls / meetings timings.
Most plans of our daily life revolve around his office times.
And working with people all around the world does not make it any easy.
Mornings are for the people in the far east ... their mornings start much earlier than ours.
Evenings that move on to late nights are for the people in the west ... whose mornings start when our evenings set in.
So keeping meal timings and plans is not easy.
Neither is it easy to plan our social life ... meeting friends or relatives, going out to relax, etc. ... all need to be planned.
And god help us if a crit sit arises.

Saturdays are spent on chores ... groceries, bills and other stuff.
Once upon a time we used to entertain a lot ... now I have cut that down completely to only a very few, closest of friends.
Sundays, we are so spent that we do not feel like going out anymore. The day is spent by cleaning and setting up the house for the next week.
And given Pune's traffic these days, we prefer to sit in our little balcony, taking turns to sit in our one little cane swing, and look out into the surrounding green patch and enjoy the lovely cold breeze.
At the most, we might go out for dinner.
And then Monday starts all too soon.
And the mad rush through the days start all over again.

Recently, I am in a mad rush to 'save for the rainy days'; literally.
I try to cook and click as much photographs as I can, in good natural light, to see me through the  coming dark, gloomy monsoon days.
What fun it would be to see bright photographs on my blog when it is actually dark and damp all around.
And I am in a hurry to complete the throw that I am crocheting right now ... will be ready just in time for the monsoon cold. Fingers crossed.
( I will update a photo here soon. )

Today's recipe is using the stems of all that beautiful Pui shaak that I had picked up in Bangalore.
A dear reader and a regular commenter and morale booster Ash had asked me how to use the stems or the data of the Pui or the Malabar spinach.
I had quickly made this one day to go with my lunch. But had completely forgotten to make a post.
So here goes the recipe.

You can make this with the stems of other leafy vegetables too. The Laal shaak  ( Amaranth leaves )er dnaata, Lau ( Bottle gourd ) er daata or even the good old Palong or Spinach will work well too.

Need :

Stems and some leaves of the Pui or Malabar spinach ( should be very fresh )
Mustard paste - 2 tbsp ( can use the Aam kasundi too ... 4 tbsp in that case )
Nigella seeds / Kalo jeere / Kalonji - ½ tsp
Fresh green chillies - 2, broken
Lemon - half ( don't use if using aam kasundi )
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )

How to :

Clean, wash and chop the pui leaves and stems.

Heat mustard oil in a kadahi.

Add the kalo jeere / kalonji and the green chillies.

Now add the Pui stems and leaves.

Stir and toss well.

Cover and cook for a while.
It will release a lot of water and cook by itself.

Remove cover, give a stir and add salt + mustard paste.

Cover and cook for some more time.

Remove cover, switch off the heat and squeeze the lemon juice all over it.

Serve hot.

As with any preparation with the mustard paste, this goes best with plain, hot rice.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Bengali Mishti Polau

Mishti polau
The mishti bhaat or mishti polau or ghee bhaat ,for Bengalis, is always associated with happy times and celebrations.
Very different from the pulao that we get to see and hear everywhere outside of Bengal, this sweetened rice preparation is usually made during birthdays, anniversary celebrations, family get togethers or when entertaining guests.
Normally, the Gobindo bhog rice grain is used to make this, but since I don't get it here easily, I make it with the basmati rice grain. Works very well.

Yesterday Kitchen-e-Kichu Khonn completed full eight years of its existence. I had started this blog in 2008, with no aim whatsoever. Was a complete novice when it came to cooking and keeping house. Also a struggler when it came to photography ... food photography actually.
Slowly I started to open up and learn as blogger friends joined me along the way. I started to write more confidently. I was a happy soul and I guess that reflected in my posts.

Slowly the years went by. I saw different faces of life. I guess that reflected in my posts too.
I learnt the details of house keeping and kitchen management slowly ... but surely. Also good cooking too.
Came to realise the finer details ... that making a simple dish tasty is far more challenging than one that is doused with masalas. Of course, I learnt to cook with masalas too.
Realised that when played with proper measurements, different masalas can weave different magic.

Today I make most of my masalas, for daily cooking, at home. I have learnt to combine different ingredients to make a whole some dish or meal. I have also learnt the difference between slow cooking and quick, pressure cooking; low oil cooking and deep fried or sallow fried cooking; ... and lots more.

I know my blog does not have too many posts and I have had longish breaks too. They were due to circumstances that were not in my hand to control.
Today, I will not dwell on that.

I will also not dwell on the fact that I missed Bapi like never before, on his birthday yesterday.
I so miss calling him up and discussing recipes or ask him to plan my menu for the day when I had no idea what to cook, on some days.
Yes, I miss him like I will never be able to explain.
But no.
I will not dwell on sad thoughts.
Rather, I will  think on focusing on what recipes and writings my readers will love.
And how I will try to make Kitchen-e-Kichu Khonn more worthy of your valuable time and love.

Bengali mishti polau
 I had made this polau long back, when I had made this Chicken in coconut milk and yoghurt.
Ideally, this sweet Polau should be served with a rich, thick mutton curry or the Mangshor jhol. Or the Kosha mangsho.
But had made this to go with the light chicken dish ... which it did very well.
So I guess this makes the perfect post for Kichu Khonn's b'day.

The real mishti bhaat or polau has fried cashews and raisins too.
I do not add them unless I am having guests. I and the family like this lighter version , redolent with the flavours of dalchini / cinnamon and pure ghee.

Need :

Rice - 1 cup ( I use Basmati ) , washed (I do not soak)
Whole red chillies - 2. broken
Cinnamon / Dalchini - 2 medium sticks, broken
Green cardamom / Choto elaach - 2, lightly crushed
Bay leaf / Tej pata - 1 
Turmeric / Haldi powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 2 pinches
Sugar - 3 tbsp
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Water - 2 cups

How to :

Heat a heavy kadahi.

Add the ghee and let it warm.

Let in the cardamom, chillies, cinnamon and bay leaf.

Fry a little and let in the rice.

Fry for sometime till every grain is coated with the ghee and starts to glisten.

Add the turmeric and stir fry a little more.

Add salt + sugar + water.

(If using cashews and raisins, add now.)

Cover and cook till all water dries up.

Remove cover and check .... the rice should be just done and not very soft.

Fluff it up a little with a fork and switch off the flame.

Cover and let it stand for 5 minutes.

That is my version of the mishti polau ... light, sweet and raring to go with something spicy with a gravy on the side.
Pair this with some chicken or mutton delicacies and some chaatni on the side, to make a pure Bengali feast.

Happy b'day Kichu Khonn!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Rui macher bhorta / Rui maach makha

Rui macher bhorta

This is one of my most favourite makhas.

With summer being so tough on us this time, we have light food everyday.
And lunches were mostly of curd rice and  paanto bhaat (rice in water).
Back home, the paanto or the paanta bhaat .... made from soaking cooked rice in water and eaten the next day or the day after ... gets wonderfully fermented and developes a taste of its own.
But I have found it very difficult to ferment it well here in Pune. Mainly because of the cool weather that Pune has.

But this year, when it reached 39 degrees in April, the first thing I did was buy a kilo of boiled rice grains ... the thick ones that we use back home for everyday meals.
And an earthen pot.
Thamma used to make panto in an earthen pot. Not only does it ferment well, it stays wonderfully cool too.

And, for the first time in all my years in Pune, I could eat the real paanto.
I have wanted to make a post but was not possible this year. Maybe next year ... what with this global warming and all, I don't think Pune will retain its 23 degrees anymore on any other on coming summers.
So, next time. 

Paanto bhaat needs a lot of accompaniments to go with it.
Fried vegetables, fried fish, fried saag(leafy vegetables), lots of makha .... of either boiled or roasted stuff, fried boris, etc. etc.
And this maach makha or the maach er bhorta has been a childhood favourite of mine.

Summer meant Dadu's house, the whole  brood of cousins, gorging on sweet mangoes with sleepy eyes after a long afternoon siesta, after a cooling and tummy stuffing lunch of Thamma's panto.
And what variety of dishes!
While the aloo makha would be omnipresent, sometimes with the boris mashed in, this maach makha or bhorta was a must too.
All of us loved it.

I specially loved it when one of the kakimas or Jethimoni or Ma ... to whosoever the task was assigned to to ... sat down with a huge plate of crispy fried big sized rohu or the katla.
She would bend her head in full concentration to pick the fish .... no bones should stay back.
Big sized fishes had big sized bones and hence are easy to pick. But one has to look for that stray fine bone too ... lest there is a mishap while eating.
 She would pick the bones and pile them on the corner of the plate.
And I would quietly sit and watch.
As soon as a big sized bone was kept, I would pick it up and chew on it. And keep watching again.
I especially loved the bones from the joints ... they had juice to suck on too.

Mach makha

The house help would provide the other things like the chopped onions, green chillies etc.
After all the bones have been picked, the entire thing will be mixed well, with a little pressure from the fingers to lightly mash it .... to get the flavours all mixed well.
Then there will be a generous amount of mustard oil doused over the whole thing and a final mix given to round it off.

How I miss those summer days ... Jethimoni sitting on an ason laid on the kitchen verandah, bent over the plateful of fish, working deftly with her fingers. And I sitting quietly beside her, watching with  fascination.
Both oblivious to the sounds coming from the rest of the house and the kitchen.
And later, came my most favourite part.
After everything is done, Jethimoni would straighten up, pick up the plate in one hand and just before getting up, smiling, would hold out her hand for me to lick it a little.
With a nod, she enquires " all ok?" and I smile back with round, shining eyes "daaaarun!"

Even today, when I make this maacher bhorta, I lick my fingers at the end, just before washing my hands ... and Jethimoni's smiling face and enquiring nod dances before my eyes.

You can make this bhorta even if it is not summer and even if you are not having the paanta bhaat for lunch. This makes a great side dish with the plain dal bhaat too.

Need :

Rohu fish - 4 big sized pieces, fried crisp (you can check out here )
Onions - 1 big sized, chopped
Green chillies - 3, chopped
Mustard oil - 2 tbsp
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped 
Salt - to taste

How to :

Break and spread out the fish pieces on a big sized plate.
Pick the bones carefully.
(If you are making the fish keema, the bones are easy to pick since they stand out when cooked. Not so here .... so be careful. Which is why only big sized pieces are used for this. )

Give a little mash ... just to get it together but not make it into a pulp.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients and mix well with a light hand.

Rui maach makha
If you want, you can fry some boris, crush them and add them too for that extra crunch.

Serve cool. 

Here is my lunch plate with the macher bhorta that I made the other day.
I had made the chana dal with lauki.
But this goes even better with the tauker dal or aam dal and rice.

Macher bhorta

Check out my similar preparations -

Rui maach er Jhura

Maacher keema 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Kancha aamer tok jhal mishti achar

Or raw mangoes cooked with spices and sugar.
I was at a loss when it came to giving this a name.
We can call it the Kancha aamer mishti achar. Or kairi ki launji.
Or plain aam ka meetha achar.

Whatever the name,this is one quick achar that is absolutely lip smacking ... if you will forgive me the extra enthusiasm for this.
I had some raw mangoes in the fridge that I had initially bought to make the Aam Panha or Aamer sharbat. 
But then, when I took out one to cut for the Tauker dal, I saw they had already formed firm stones.
The thought of chewing on the stones made me think of achar.

I wanted to make the masala one but realised I had run out of mustard oil.
So made this sweet one .... keeping in mind the coming monsoons and all the parathas that I will be making.
( I did make the masala one too ... will try to make a post later. )

This achar tastes best when made with gur or jagerry.
But is just as good with sugar.
I did not have jagerry too ... so used sugar.

Yes, I do get these urgent "need to make this now!" pushes exactly when the right ingredients are not at hand.
But that does not deter me. 

So here is the quick Amer mishti achar.
Do use tart mangoes. The sweetness of the sugar gives a perfect balance to the sourness.
And the flavours of the roasted paanch phoron takes it to a new high.
I added a good dose of crushed red chillies to make it spicy. Do go easy on it if you cannot handle spice.

Need :

Raw mangoes - 6, medium sized
Sugar - 1 cup
Paanch phoron - 1 tsp of kalonji+fennel+mustard +coriander seeds + ½ tsp methi seeds
Red chilli flakes or powder - 1 tsp (preferable home made )
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp

 How to :

Peel and cut the raw mangoes into small sized cubes.
Spread them on an absorbent kitchen napkin or some paper napkins.

Let them dry for around 2 hours.
Since I live in a dry climate, I just let them sit under a fan and they dry up promptly.
You can also sun them.

Dry roast the paanch phoron in a heavy bottomed karahi or pan.
Cool and grind coarsely.

Heat oil.
Add the mangoes and stir fry, cover and cook till done.

Remove cover and add the sugar.
It will release water.
Let it cook uncovered till all water dries up.

Sprinkle the paanch phoron powder and the red chilli powder and give a good mix.
Remove from heat and cool.

Store in clean, dry, air tight glass bottles.

If you make a big batch and want to store, then do keep them in the fridge ... especially since the monsoons are coming. They will stay well for months.

Is this piece tempting enough?


If interested, you can check out my other achars here. 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Murgir jhol or A light chicken curry made the Bengali way

Robibarer murgir jhol
Friday had started with loads of housework and more than my usual number of chores.
Since monsoons are approaching, I need to sun everything to be able to wade through Pune's cold monsoon months. Yes, I am a tad traditional ... the old aunts kind of way ... when it comes to such things.
My balcony and windows get ample sunlight.
Hence the quilts are out, the bori and achaar bottles sit on the window ledges. So do the dals.
Not to mention the washing and putting out to dry all the curtains and covers.
So by the time the dishes were done and the whole house had been set, it was almost one in the afternoon. After which I started to cook lunch.
And it was not before four that I got to eat.

Naturally, I was drained by evening.
B was extra busy and was in numerous office calls all day. And that went late into the evening.
I did not make anything for dinner, with the hope of going out. Focused on the knitting that I needed to finish yesterday.
B became free only after quarter past nine.
And we sat down to discuss what to eat or where to go.
The tab came to life again and we start our search.
B wanted to have pithla bhakri. I love bhakris too.
The picture of a crisp, hot bhakri, just out of the tawa danced before my eyes.
B wanted to pick a place where I could have non vegetarian too.

All this was taking time and Pune's eating places shut down at eleven in the night.
So there was hardly any time for us to get ready and reach a place. But finally we zeroed in on one that was around 9 or 10 kms from our place.
We somehow managed to reach the place in 15 minutes flat ... just as the clock on the dashboard showed 10:59.
I was sure we would have to end up with vada paos that night. But luckily for us they took us in.
And that is where lies the catch.
Or my rant for this post.

Most restaurants take in people who arrive just before closing time.
And after you have settled down, read the menu and given your orders, they come up with this ... "Please order everything that you want at one go ... the kitchen is closing."

Drives me up the wall.

Why on earth do they take in customers if their kitchen is closing?!
How do I know that I will not need an extra roti or rice or dal or gravy later?
Why do they have to threaten you as if they are doing a favour feeding you or allowing you in?
There is a famous restaurant in the city that has absolutely fantastic food. And is one of our favourites.
But they too do this.
I mean, if we reach at 2:45 pm, they will take us in.
And after the food comes, a server will come over and give us the ultimatum ... do you need anything else? Our kitchen is closing.
And they will plonk down a basket holding all the rotis that you need....and by the time you have finish half of one, the rest have gone cold.

Makes me hopping mad.

Bengali chicken curry

Shouldn't restaurants have a minimum sensibility to at least let the people they have taken in to have a full, satisfying meal?
The simplest thing to do is not take in any more customers who arrive nearer to closing time.
Instead of having a server or two hovering around them, waiting for them to finish as fast as they can just because they have to clean and wind up.
I find it very ,very rude.

As for the afore mentioned place, we did finish early.
Not only because I was already angry at the attitude.
But also because the pithla and the bhakris were a complete let down.
The pithla was lumpy, lacked salt and cold.
The rice bhakri was chewy and not fresh. I suspect it was re heated in a microwave oven.
The jowar bhakris too were faux.
Very thin, limp, had a thin covering almost like polis and soft. And cold too.

The dream of a rustic, fragrant, thick bhakri, very hot,  right out of the tawa remained a dream.

At least for tonight.
Tomorrow, I will make ourselves some mean Pithla and bhakri.

Murgir jhol
Today, I have this beautifully light Murgir jhol or Chicken curry made the Bengali way.
While it does have garam masalas for flavour, it does not have too much of oil or the masalas are not fried for too long.
Just a stir here, a stir there, cover and let it cook on its own.

Need :

Chicken - around 6 to 7 medium sized pieces
Potatoes - 2 medium sized, halved
Curd - 5 tbsp
Onion paste - 2 tbsp (preferably home made )
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp (   "     )
Garlic paste - 1 tbsp  ( "    )
Black cardamom -2, crushed
Tej pata or Bay leaves - 2
Dry red chillies - 2, broken
Haldi or turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1 tsp 
Lime juice - 2 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves - for garnishing

I do not use any dhaniya powder or cumin powder or garam masala powder for this.
And prefer the curd to be slightly sour ... home made curd sitting in the fridge for two days works best.

You can also mix everything together with the chicken and put it in a pressure cooker for a faster version.
In which case, do use less onion paste.

How to :

Marinate the chicken with curd.

In a heavy kadahi, heat mustard oil.

Add the red chillies + black cardamom + bay leaves.

Add the onion paste.
Fry well till dryish and brown.

Add the ginger + garlic paste.
Fry well.

Now add the haldi powder + red chilli powder + sugar.
Fry till all water has dried up.

Now add the chicken and fry well on low heat well.

Now raise heat, add water, potato and salt.

Cover and cook on low heat till chicken is done.

Remove cover and add lime juice and coriander leaves. 

Murgir jhol
See how soft the chicken is cooked? The meat is falling off the bone.
And the gravy is light and thin.

Serve hot.
This goes great with soft, hot rotis.
Of course, you can pair it with rice too. And some salad.

The light gravy is perfect for summer lunches or dinners.
If you like bread, then this jhol is perfect to dip a piece in.
Will be great for the monsoons.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Aam Shorshe Rui or Rohu fish cooked with Raw mangoes and Mustard paste

Aam shorshe rui
 This is a wonderfully light, almost soupy,  jhol that I made this morning.
Yes, this morning.
The beauty of this jhol lies in its simplicity. With nothing other than the flavour of slightly sour raw mangoes, it brings summer to you all over again, in a fresh new way.

I decided to make a post pronto so that you can try this while the raw mangoes are still available in the markets.
Since monsoon has been predicted to arrive by early next month, I know it is just a matter of time before we won't find raw mangoes any more ... not for one whole year at least.

It has rained heavily for the last two days ... the first day saw rain throughout the night.
The parched earth and plants and birds and everyone of us were waiting eagerly for it.
This year we did not see the rain in January .... we get a shower at least once then ... and neither in April.
I sorely missed the April showers.
But after the last two days, Pune is back to being wonderful, as before.
A lovely, perpetual breeze, bright mornings without the haze of the blinding sun and cooler nights are back. Even the birds seem chirpier now.

Aam shorshe rui
 And this light jhol, redolent with the tang of raw mangoes and mustard, was perfect for today's lunch.
With some plain rice.
You won't need anything else on the side with this ... I promise.

I have grated the mango here because I love the texture. You can use slices if you want to.

Need :

Rui / Rohu fish - 2 pieces , lightly fried
( I had cut pieces from a big sized fish, you can use small ones too )
Raw mango - grated, 2 tbsp ( make sure it is slightly sour )
Mustard paste - 1 tbsp
Kalo jeere or Nigella seeds - ¼ tsp
Haldi or Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Mustard oil - 1 tsp
Green chiliies - 2, slit
Salt - to taste
Water - for gravy
Some fresh coriander leaves

How :

Heat the oil.

Add the nigella seeds and green chillies.

Add the grated mango and the haldi powder.
Fry a little.

Add water and the mustard paste.
Add salt.

Bring to a boil and add the fish.

Cover and cook for some time.

Remove cover and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves.

Aam shorshe rui
Serve hot with rice.


Monday, 9 May 2016

Vani's Gawarfali ki sabzi with besan and moongfali

Guvar with besan
The best thing I have experienced in my life as a blogger is learning all about food.
Traditions based on food, foods based on traditions.
Fusion food. Experimental food.
Regional food.  Home food.
Street food. High end restaurant food.

But that comes second.
The first, best thing is getting to know so many people from all over the world.
Meeting on our blogs, sharing recipes and thoughts, and quickly turning into friends, we have stayed together in our journey of food blogging, which for me has been eight, long years.

Knowing, sharing, cooking together at different ends of the earth at different time zones, ... has been really fun.
Picking up tips, sharing little things ... both about food as well as life ... it has been a beautiful journey so far.
I have learnt a lot about food and recipes just due to these blogger friends. 
There are some non food bloggers too, who are wonderful writers. And I go back to their blogs and writings just because I love to read them so much.
All these friends, I hold very dear to my heart.

Today, I was reminiscing about these past so many years of my blogging life, as my blog completes eight years very soon.
So many ups and downs. Too many interruptions in making posts.
My life has undergone huge changes and faced numerous upheavals.
I have fallen too many times as I have gotten up too.
And all this while, these friends have been with me.

I had started this blog just a day after my Bapi's b'day. So I do not know if I will be able to make a post on this day or celebrate Kitchen e Kichu Khonn this time.
Too many memories. Too much pain in the heart ... still.

So I am taking this time to thank all of you who have been with me always, making feel loved and taking the time to share your thoughts here with me.

And a special thanks to all of you who have trusted my recipes, tried them and have let me know. 
I would not have been able to keep Kichu Khonn running without your love and support.
Thank you!

Gawar with besan and moongphali
I had posted a recipe on the Gawarfali or Guarfali or cluster beans long back. When I shared the post on FB, naturally all of us got to discussing and started sharing how each one made it.
Vani, of the wonderful Mysoorean, had mentioned that she made it with besan.
I asked for the recipe.
And the wonderful person that she is, she promptly sent it to me.

This was three years back.

I have made this recipe numerous times ever since.
B loves it. And as for me ... I am a convert now.
While I still am not a fan of the Guar or Gawar, I do eat it when it is made this way.
And the reason I have not been able to make a post so far is mainly because I do not get the time to click a photo .... B raids the karahi even before I get to serve it.

But this time I cooked it during the day ( I usually make this for dinner ) and did not let out a peep.
Hastily arranged the plate and clicked a few photos.

In case you are wondering about what the gawar or cluster beans look like, there is a photograph in this post. 

Need :

Gawar or Guar or Guvar / Cluster beans - 250 gms, washed and chopped
Roasted and crushed peanuts - 3 tbsp
Besan or Gram flour - 1 tbsp
Hing or Asafoetida - a pinch
Haldi  or Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Mirchi or Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Jeera or Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Dhaniya or coriander powder - 1 tbsp 
Jeera or Cumin seeds - ¼ tsp
Saunf or Fennel seeds -  ¼ tsp
Gur or Jaggery - 1 tsp ( I use the granules )
Lemon - half
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped
Cooking oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - to taste

 How to make it :

Boil the chopped guar in water until soft.
I add a little salt to the water.
Vani suggests nuking it in the microwave with water for about 5-6 minutes.

 Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.
Add the saunf + hing + haldi + jeera.

Add the  besan and fry on low heat until the raw smell goes.

Add the gawar.

Add jeera powder + dhaniya powder + red chilli powder + crushed peanuts + salt .

Add the jaggery.
Give a good mix.

If it is too dry add a few tsps of water.
The besan must coat the guvar and should not be too dry.

Finally sprinkle the jiuce of the lemon and add the chopped coriander leaves. 

Gawarfali  with besan

The saunf takes the dish to another level altogether.
My only change in the original recipe is the addition of the crushed peanuts.
I had made it the last time the in laws were here.

Thank you Vani for sharing this wonderful recipe, that has quickly turned into a family favourite.

This goes great with soft, hot rotis.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Aam kasundi or Instant kasundi or Not Kasundi

Instant kasundi
Who cares?
Why bother when you have this wonderfully pungent, spicy mixture of fresh mangoes and mustard seeds and garlic, redolent with that zing of raw mustard oil, right in front of you?

When you hold your mixie in front of you, just after you have zapped all of the above, bring your nose closer and take a whiff, you are sure to go back home in a second ... numerous memories nudging each other to get a space in your thoughts ... while your eyes will water a little and your nose will tingle a little ... and that will not be only because of memories.

While I have seen Thamma make numerous kinds of achaars back home ( here is a glimpse of those hilarious memories), I have never seen her make kasundi.
Neither have I seen Dida making it, ever.
It is said that making the real, authentic Kasundi takes a lot of dos and don'ts. So not many people ventured into making it other than the older generation of grandmas.
And today, even they have moved away from it. Especially due to availability off the shelves. 

Aam kasundi

 When I had made this instant kasundi long, long back when I was a new blogger, ... eight years ago to be precise,  I was floored by the taste.
And every year, when new mangoes appeared in the markets, I would first make this kasundi and then move on to other chaatnis or achars. And then, just before the raw mangoes disappeared, I would make a big batch and store it in the fridge for the rainy days ahead.
Yes, literally.
Because this is the perfect accompaniment to all those fried sinful stuff that we associate rainy days with.

But have never made a blog post on this.
Every year, I have the most honest intentions of making one. But that never happened.

So this time I decided I would make a post after all.
Though I know I am 8 years too late.
At the time I made this for the first time, Kasundi was not available anywhere outside of Bengal.
At least I did not get it in Pune.
But today, it is available everywhere ... off the shelves.
But somehow, while I do have a bottle of Kasundi in my fridge always these days, the freshness and tang of this freshly made instant kasundi touches my heart as well as taste buds with a different kind of love.

This post has this instant kasundi mentioned when I made it for the first time, after learning it from another blogger friend. 

I have used less garlic because it can easily overwhelm the flavours of the raw mango as well as the mustard.
Also, I always add the mustard oil only after grinding is done.

Do not skimp on the mustard oil if you plan to store it in the fridge. Better if there is a layer of oil on the top to stop it from spoiling.

This is one of the easiest condiments with the minimum of ingredients.

Instant kasundi
Need :

Raw mango - 1 medium
Black mustard seeds - 2 tbsp
Yellow mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Garlic cloves - 4 cloves
Green chillies - 2 or 3
Salt - to taste
Mustard oil - around 5 tbsp or more if you are storing

How to :

Run everything in the mixer to make a paste.

Add the mustard oil and give a light mix.
Aam kasundi


While it is perfect on the side with snacks, my favourite, however is a dollop of this tangy, spicy stuff on plain, warm rice.
Try it.
Aam kasundi
And this is how I spent this hot, summer afternoon.

And this one is for all those wonderful women, balancing homes and work and children and relatives.
Even if you do have a store bought kasundi in your fridge, do go ahead and make this one day.
You will make a happy you. 

I am sure I made Thamma happy.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Dimer jhol / Egg Curry

 Dimer jhol
 Of late, or for quite some time, there have been no recipes using eggs on my blog.
I have eggs very minimally these days, for the last couple of years, because of a suspicion that I am allergic to them.
So I eat them on and off to maintain a track.
Also, since B does not like eggs, I stay away from making them too frequently. Too much of a hassle ... cooking for myself and then cooking for him ... which I anyway do on my non vegetarian days.

But I love to eat eggs.
And this love is not limited to only omelettes or scrambles or bhurjis.
I love to eat eggs in different kinds of curries.

This killing summer is just not the right time for a spicy curry. But Pune turns out beautifully cool these evenings and the heat does not hurt as much as it does during the day.
So I made this egg curry since I had exactly three eggs sitting in the fridge and none of us wanted omelettes  for b'fast.
Or for dinner.
 And I got my chance to make the Dimer jhol .... the good old Bengali way.

Bengali egg curry
I don't have much to write today. Call it a block or brain turned sluggish in the heat.
So will leave you with the recipe. 

This jhol has garam masalas, which you can go easy on, if making it for a summer meal.

 Need :

 Eggs - 3, boiled and shelled
Potatoes - 2, peeled and cubed
Onions - 2, chopped
Tomatoes - 1, chopped
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
 Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 2 tsp
Tomato ketchup - 1 tbsp
Cooking oil - 2 tbsp ( I used mustard oil )
Whole garam masala - cloves + cinnamon + black cardamom, crushed
Bay leaf / Tej patta - 1
Dry red chilli - 2, broken
Fresh green chillies - 2 or 3
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp or less
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1 tbsp

How to make the curry :


Heat the oil.
Fry the shelled eggs with a sprinkle of sugar till it changes colour.
I do it because I love the crinkle skin on them ... skip this if you do not want it.

Dimer jhol
 In the rest of the oil, add the garam masalas , dry chillies and the bay leaf.
Add the onion and fry well.

When they turn translucent, add the ginger and garlic pastes.
Add tomatoes + haldi + mirchi powder.
Fry well till tomatoes turn soft.

Add the potatoes + salt + water.
Cover and cook till the potatoes are done.

Egg curry
 Remove cover and add the eggs.
Add the ketchup and some fresh green chillies.


Cover and boil some more.
Add garam masala powder, cover and let it stand for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with boiled rice.

You can keep the gravy thick or runny ... as you wish.
I love to keep it slightly thick to mop up with plain rice.