Thursday, 13 April 2017

Kathal er halka jhol / Kathal ki tariwali sabzi / Raw Jackfruit cooked in a light gravy

 All my life I have heard that Kathal or the raw Jackfruit is the vegetarian equivalent of meat. Probably due to its resemblance as well as its iron and fibre content.
And so has to be cooked like meat .... complete with onions and ginger and garlic paste and smothered with garam masalas, a dash of curd, etc. etc.
Now .... I have not had a great relationship with the raw jackfruit. Ever.
Not as an adult. Never as a child.
While I loved, and still do, the ripe jackfruit and can never fathom why many people in my home wrinkled their noses at its smell, I never gave a thought, leave alone a second look to any kathal dish on the table.
If I had to eat meat, I always had chicken or mutton. Why on earth would people cook a vegetable with a huge fuss, just pretending it to be meat or like meat ... I could never understand.
Thus was the story till I got married.

At the time, raw jackfruit was either not readily available in Pune or I did not know the right places to look it for. And I had no reason to do so too.
But it turned out that the husband loves jackfruit curry. Which obviously led me to asking around for places where I could find it.
I do not remember exactly where I found it finally and when. Maybe in the Mandai.
All I remember is the piece that I got looked very limp, yellow and dry.

Came back home and started to prep it ... which turned into something hugely disastrous. After 1 full hour and half a bottle of mustard oil smeared all over my hands and fingers, which still stuck to each other in that sticky white glue, a little knife all smeared with oil and glue that barely scratched the kathal, I was almost in tears.
And gave up.

Trying washing my hands was another story.
Finally I called Didi. She patiently explained how to go about the whole thing.
But all I was interested in was to get my hands and fingers clean.
And promised myself that I will never touch the darned thing again.

But that was not to be.
I did venture into dealing with it again. And learnt slowly.
Now, I know how to handle and cut a raw jackfruit without any hassles. 
I ask the green grocer to peel it and cut it into big chunks .... maybe two or three chunks for half a kilo of kathal
All I do is wash them under running water and cook it with some salt and turmeric powder, in the pressure cooker, for two whistles on medium heat.
And then, cutting it is a breeze.

Earlier, following hearsay, I have tried cooking the kathal just like meat is cooked. Lots of ginger garlic paste, onion, garam masalas, etc. etc.
But, very truthfully, have never quite enjoyed it.
B would eat it happily, but only once or twice. Not more than that.

This time, I decided to go by my instincts.
Had boiled and frozen a good kathal, but could not decide on a recipe.
Finally, I decided to try a light version. The hot weather played its part too.
And it was a vegetarian day for me ... so I wanted something that I too will eat without much ado ... thus saving me for making something for myself.
And settled on this recipe .... something that will have a hint of garam masala flavours but not very rich with garlic or onions.
I wanted a thin, light gravy that will allow the taste of the raw jackfruit to come through.

And what I got in the end is a very well flavoured light gravy with the kathal flavours shining through. I had added boiled potatoes, since the kathal was already cooked, and they soaked up the flavours of the gravy beautifully.

Need :

Raw jackfruit / Enchor / Kathal - ¼ kg, boiled and cut into medium pieces
Boiled potatoes - 4 , cut into cubes
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp 
Black cardamom - 1, crushed 
Tej pata / Bay leaf - 1 
Dry red chillies - 2, broken
Grated ginger - 1 tsp
Tomato - 3, pureed
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Dhaniya / Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin powder - 1 tsp ( I used my roasted jeera powder )
Oil - 3 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )
Ghee - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

How to :
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil.
Fry the kathal cubes.
Remove and keep aside.

Heat the rest of the oil.

Add the cardamom + jeera + tej pata + dry red chilli + grated ginger.
Stir and add the tomato puree immediately.

Add haldi + mirchi + dhania powder + jeera powder.
Fry well, on high heat, till oil starts to leave sides.

Add enough water for a gravy.
Let in the cut potatoes and kathal.
Adjust salt.
Cover and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer covered for 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove cover.
Add ghee.

Cover, simmer for a minute and then remove from heat.
Let it stand for 5 minutes, covered.

Serve hot.
This curry goes great with everything ... rice, rotis, luchi or parathas.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Mangshor Ghugni

With Poila Boishakh just around the corner, I thought I will give my light, vegetarian recipes a skip and post this Mangshor Ghughni.
The photos have been in my drafts for quite some time now ... and I really have no reason why I did not post this still.
What with summer bearing down heavily on us much before the expected time, I seriously doubt any Bengali will cook up a rich, heavy feast to celebrate this first day of the Bengali new year.
But having said that, I know there will be feasts.
And then there is always Unienzyme.

I do not have any intention of eating out in this weather and have decided to stick at home and cook something light and traditional.
For old friends coming by.

This year, my menu for the Bengali New year or Poila Boishakh will be from my blog. Everything that I plan to cook is here on Kitchen-e-Kichu Khonn.

Like this Mishti Polau, this very light Narkel chicken, some bhajas or vegetable fries, a Doi Maach or a kalia with the Rui / Rohu fish, and Aamer chaatni.
For the vegetarians, I will prepare some Koraishutir kochuri ( I have already made and frozen the pur / stuffing ) and this delightful Saunf paneer.
Planning to get some mishti doi from our Bengali shop, if possible.

I am hoping this will be enough.

I had made this Mangshor ghugni sometime back when I had some guests over.
Actually, all I had to do was to put together the already prepared and frozen Chicken keema with a freshly cooked ghugni.
That's all.

I had kept some chopped onions, green chillies , saunth / tamarind chutney and some homemade Aam kasundi on the side for the vegetarians. They loved sprinkling the condiments themselves and playing with the level of spices in different helpings.

For the minced chicken :

Cook the chicken kheema this way.

For the ghugni :

Need :

Dry white peas - 1 cup, soaked over night
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Whole red chillies - 2, broken
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Ginger + garlic paste - 1 tbsp, home made
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Roasted jeera powder - 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - to taste
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil - 2 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )

How to :

Boil the matar or the dry peas the way I have done for this recipe.
They should be cooked yet stay almost whole.
Not soft and mushy like I make for the simple, light Ghugni or the Ragda pattice.

In a kadahi / wok, heat mustard oil.
Add jeera + dry red chillies + chopped onions.
Fry till the onions turn reddish.

Add the ginger + garlic paste.
( Remember the chicken kheema will have ginger garlic too. So go easy on this. )
Fry well.

Add turmeric powder + red chilli powder +  sugar.
Fry well till the masala starts to dry up and the raw smell is gone.

Now add the boiled matar / white peas + water and mix well on high heat.
Adjust water + salt.

Cover and simmer for around 5 minutes on low heat.

Remove cover and add the chicken keema and mix well.
Check for salt.

Adjust water, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes till the flavours mix well.

Remove cover, sprinkle red chilli powder, roasted jeera powder + garam masala powder.
Give a mix.

Cover , raise heat, give a boil, switch off heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes.

Serve hot.

This goes very well with paratha or luchi.


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Kaddu ka Raita / Kumror Raita

Kaddu ka raita
Raita is a good way to get some vegetables as well as curd into your system. Especially in these dry, hot days of summer.
The heat has been much too torturous this year. Keeping us listless.
I cannot bear being in the kitchen for long, neither in the mornings nor in the evenings.
Inspite it being my favourite place in my house.
Yes, not even my den can keep me in for more than a few minutes. Even if I am working on a project ... be it a knitting, or sewing or plain reading, I get restless and turn to my kitchen for respite. I love looking up the shelves, picking legumes to be soaked, dals to be boiled ... or just make lists of stuff that need to be picked up on my next grocery trip.
But not anymore.
The a/c beckons and I rush back.
I have even shifted my laptop from the kitchen to my den ... and that is where you will find me holed up these days ... most of the time that is.

Kumror raita
When it comes to cooking at all, I am sticking to a lot of salads. And if not salads, I turn to boiled vegetables. Just pick your favourite vegetable or chicken or fish, steam or roast in the oven, toss with a dressing of your choice and you are ready to face lunch or dinner.
Easy and light.
And if at all I am eating rice, I turn to our good old makha or bhate. A dash of mustard oil, some chopped green chillies and onions and some fried bori ... all mashed up together and eaten cool, with panta bhaat / pokhala / or rice in water.
Or just curd and rice.
Pure bliss on a hot summer noon.

And I make sure I eat curd on the side too.
Fresh, homemade.
Throughout the year, we have the chaas / taak / ghol on the side with our lunch. But in summer, the curd comes in the form of cool raitas on our table.
I have already posted the very healthy Lauki ka raita long back. Today I share this quick, almost no oil except for the tempering, raita made with the kaddu / kumro / pumpkin.
Many people grate the pumpkin ... I do not. My hands cannot take that much of pressure ... so I cut them into cubes and steam or boil them first.

Kaddu ka raita
Need :

Ripe pumpkin - cut into medium cubes ( I kept the skin on )
Fresh curd
Mustard seeds - for tempering
Whole red chillies - for tempering
Roasted jeera powder
Roasted red chilli powder
Rock salt or plain salt
1 tsp oil or ghee
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped
Water to cook the pumpkin in

How to :

In a pan, take just enough water to submerge the pumpkin pieces.
Add a little plain salt.
Cover and cook till the pumpkin is soft and mushy.

Remove from heat and cool.
Do not throw away the remaining water, if any.

Kumror raita
Beat curd with a little salt.
Add the cooled pumpkin and lightly mash it ... just to break it up.

Heat the oil or ghee.
Add the mustard seeds.  When they start to crackle, add the whole red chillies and remove from immediately.

Pour on the curd and pumpkin mixture carefully. It will splutter a lot.

Sprinkle jeera powder + red chilli powder + coriander leaves + a little rock salt.

Serve cool.

I make a big batch and keep it in the fridge.
Stays well for a week, but you will finish it off much before the week is over. .

Kumror raita
Here is a look at my lunch plate from one of these days.

Have a lovely summer .... stay away from the sun , drink loads of water and eat cooling food.
Stay well all!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Chilli chicken from my childhood ... with lots of chillies and no Capsicum

 Chilli chicken
( If you are a vegetarian, you can make this recipe with paneer or cauliflower. )

I do not claim this recipe of the Chilli chicken as authentic or perfect or even the right way to make Chinese chilli chicken. When young, this is the way chilli chicken was made not only at our house but also the ones that we got from restaurants.
Having said that, I must say that eating out was not something that we did much. One of the reasons is me ... I was painfully shy and could not imagine sitting in a public place and eating ... no matter however good the ambience or the company.
It nearly killed me when people, who were mostly strangers to me,  would walk up to our table and talk to Bapi and Ma.
I would never accompany my parents or relatives to any wedding ceremony invitations just because of that terrifying thought of sitting among a huge number of people and eating. 
This continued till I left home for studies. At the hostel and the PG where I stayed, I slowly came to realise that if I did not loosen up, I would stay hungry. Which I did on most days.
Now, while I have changed a lot and do go out with groups to eat out, I still come back home with just a few nibbles and an empty stomach.

So, the only solution was to bring home or call for a takeaway. Which Bapi sometimes did. Like most Bengalis, there would be the fried rice and chilli chicken combination. And a beautiful chicken bharta,  that I so miss these days.
The chilli chicken lived up to its name. It would have lots and lots of green chillies, fried along with the onions ... which were both crunchy as well as sweet.
The chicken pieces would be with bones ... which is why I loved it so much ... and have a thick coating that would have soaked up the sauce by the time we sat down to eat ... giving it a slightly soggy yet delightfully sweet and sour taste.
Sometimes the chicken chunks would be red in colour and Bapi would exclaim "Colour!Again!" and get up to drain the red oil into the kitchen sink.
I loved to soak a piece of tandoori naan, that came with the bharta, into that reddish, sweet and sour oily sauce and chew on it ( I told you I am a complete desi when it comes to food).

Chilli chicken
Later, after I landed in Pune, I came across the new version of the Chilli chicken .... boneless, small pieces, deep fried to a chewy chunk, not a trace of green chilli and horror of all horrors, loaded with big chunks of capsicum!
Why the dish has capsicum is a question that has stayed unanswered to me still. You will get a few, soggy and limp slices of onions too. But you will have to search for a decent piece of chicken from under those big chunks of capsicum.
After trying to search for a good chilli chicken in Pune, I finally gave up. Sadly, even today, there is not a single restaurant in Pune where I can ask for a good Chilli chicken.
So took it to making it myself.

I do not make it too often though, especially as it is only for myself at most times. But if I am making Chinese, I do make these. On the bone for family; boneless for guests.
This time I made it with chunky, chicken thigh pieces ... ideal pieces for a juicy yet dry dish. And shallow fried the chicken, instead of deep frying it.
Pretty quick to make.
You can fry the chickem pieces and store in the fridge, covered of course, and toss it with the rest of the things just before serving.
While they are the perfect accompaniment to a fried rice or a Hakka noodles dish, they make great starters or finger food too for snacks.
Pair them with some good wine or a cocktail for a light evening fare.

Chilli chicken
Need :

Chicken - 250 gms, chopped into small pieces
Corn flour - 3 tbsp
Maida / Apf - 1 tbsp
Baking soda - a small pinch
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Green chilli sauce - to taste
Crushed black pepper - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 big, cut into cubes
Green chillies - 6 to 8, chopped
Garlic - 6 to 8 cloves, chopped
Soy sauce - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Cooking oil - 4 tbsp

How I make it :

Marinate the chicken pieces with vinegar + a little salt + soy sauce + ginger paste + garlic paste  for around half an hour.

Then add the corn flour + maida + baking soda + black pepper to it and mix well.

Heat 3 tbsp of oil in an open, flat pan.
Carefully let in the chicken pieces and shallow fry, a small batch at a time, and remove on a paper  napkin.

Add the rest of the oil ( if needed ) to the pan and add the garlic.

Fry a little and then add the green chillies + the onions + the chilli sauce.
Adjust salt + sugar.

Add the chicken pieces and toss well on high heat.

Serve immediately.
Chilli chicken


Ps: I did not realise I had already ranted about the capsicum thing in one of my earlier posts ... i.e. the quick stir fried Chilli chicken. Try that too.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dahi wali Lauki / Bottle gourd in a light curd based gravy

Doi lau
 Summer is on us with full force. And quite suddenly too.
Just as we were gearing up for spring, the days started to get hotter. It is just a phase, we said. Will be gone in a couple of days. Others agreed. A few looked up at the sky and mentioned it has been cloudy for a while. It will cool down as soon as the clouds cleared, they said.
Only, there were no clouds.
The sun only became angrier with days. Holi saw a scorching day ... the little children had to call it quits much before afternoon had set in.
The heat spread out in a haze and worsened as the day went by.
By ten o'clock in the morning, it is so hot these days that I fear to step out into the balcony to hang out clothes to dry.
Our little luxury of eating breakfast in the little balcony has been mercilessly taken away from us. Now all I can do is sip my cup of tea in the morning cool, water the plants, fill the brid bowls and bath and get inside as soon as I can.
I miss watching the trees all around in the morning sun .... shining in their  new leaves. It is still spring for them and they will have to go through their normal changes as nature has directed them to. They cannot hurry and keep up with global warming.

This morning, as I sat in my swing with my cup of tea, I looked out as usual, the vision skimming the top of the hugest trees ans settled on the eucalyptus afar. There was an eagle sitting at the top, calling out in its high pitched whistle, that started from a low note and ended on a shrill high.
Two crows came by for a drink of water, but seeing me flew away.
I know they will wait on a nearby branch and be back as soon as I leave ... so I don't feel guilty.
And as I sat there, in the cool early morning breeze, I saw a rush of yellow pass by from my right, and fly on in my line of vision.

And I was back in Dadu's house, in an instant. 

A little girl of around eight or nine, standing on the low sill of the welded wrought iron window frame of the huge French windows of the drawing room on the upper floor, clutching on to a few other to stop from falling, looking earnestly out, as if searching for something.
Her eyes scanned the scene outside .... the dark, deep pond ... with its chairs of red cement on the ghaat,  gleaming in the strong sun, the Bok phool tree that bent over into the waters instead of standing up straight, the bamboo grove beyond it, the coconut grove on the left  and the mango orchard on the right.

"Ora shob shomoye aam gaache thake. Ora khub shy tai lukiye thaake. Oder ke dekhte pawa khub lucky!"
That is what Didi had said once.
So she keeps her eyes on the mango trees, where they stay hidden as they are very shy ... as Didi had said. But could not sight even one.
It has been a long while and she could feel the heat from outside on her face. Soon the house helps would come by to shut all the windows before noon set in. She desparately wanted a glimpse of the bird before they came. Or she will have to wait for evening or the next day again.
And then, just as she was about to give up, she saw a splash of yellow dart by and disappear into the nearest mango tree.
It might come out again to fly to the other trees.
Her eyes lit up, she broke into a smile and turned around and ran through the door to the top of the stairs.
"Didi! Diidiiiii!!!", she shouted from there.  "I saw it!! I saw the Holud Bosonto pakhi!! Come.  quick!!"
She had to show it to Didi too.
She could not think of enjoying anything without sharing it with her only Didi, even if it meant the rest of the brood of cousins rushing in too.
If she were to be lucky by sighting the shy, evasive bird, Didi had to see it too. Didi had to be lucky too. After all her exams were around.
"Diiiidiiiiii", she cried desperately.
And Didi came.
Just as she always did whenever that little girl called.

But not now.
Not anymore.
Not even when her favourite cousin, 'the not so little anymore' girl looks up at the sky and calls out "Didi!"

Do the people who turn into stars hear us call out to them?
Do they come down to us?
Do they give us a little pat of assurance and we still don't get to know it?

Lauki dahi
 Today's recipe is a light dish that will keep you cool as well as full.
And healthy too.
Perfect for this scorching summer.

Need :

Lauki / Lau / Bottle gourd - 1 big sized, cut into small cubes
Curd - 2 cups
Besan / Bengal gram flour - 1 tsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli [powder - 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dhaniya / Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Hing / Asafoetida - 1 pinch (use crushed compound form )
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp
Water - around 4 cups
Salt - to taste

How To :

Make a mix of the curd + besan + a little haldi powder + red chilli powder + salt + water.
It should be of runny consistency but not too diluted. 

Heat the oil in a kadahi / deep wok.
Add hing + jeera.

Add the chopped lauki and stir fry on low heat for a while.

Add haldi + salt + red chilli powder.

Fry well, cover and cook till lauki is done.

Remove cover and add the dhaniya powder.
Mix well.

Now add the curd mix, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add chopped coriander leaves, switch off heat, cover and let it stand for 5 minutes.

Dahiwali lauki
Serve warm or cool.

This goes very well with both rice as well as rotis.

Stay cool with light, healthy food.
And enjoy summer!!

Ps: Here are a few more dishes made with the Lauki or Lau to keep you cool this summer.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Dimer Porota or Dim Parota or Anda Paratha or Egg stuffed flatbreads


So, the man comes back from sub zero temperatures with a chest full of congestion and a suitcase full of laundry. And my days started and ended with chores and all the more chores. Not to mention tending to a sick man who turns into a five year old when it comes to illnesses.

Making soups, light food, especially those that would slide down easily a painful throat, ... like the sabudana ki kheer, khichuri, vegetarian pishpash, etc. was all that I cooked.
Thankfully, Pune's cool weather helped ... it had suddenly turned very cold for a few days ... the temperature dipped as low as 10 degrees at night .... and the dryness helped in healing the respiratory infection quickly enough.

But I lost my mojo to blog. Even though I had some pictures ready to post, I did not feel like writing. Not only did I have anything fruitful in my mind, but also the very effort to sit down and make a post was too much for me.
I would be drained by the end of the day and somehow faced the evening only because I looked forward to a little low light, some good ghazals and my knitting, that gave me company through the evenings ... before I stepped into the kitchen to make dinner.
I have started a new book too ... only it is taking time to finish as I cannot read as fast as I used to earlier ... blame it on my weak hands and shoulders and also my housework.

Thankfully, B is already on the mend and I can go back to my routine and life.
So I may be able to start posting regularly now ... fingers and toes crossed.

I had made this Dim parota one of the mornings, when B was away, for myself.
This is one filling breakfast that sustains you through half the day easily. Back home, Ma would make this for me when she did not have anything else at hand .... namely on vegetarian days.
Now, I often make it when we are going out in the weekends and it keeps us full till lunch.
Very quick to make, it is one of my favourite breakfasts.
And dinner too ... when there is nothing in the fridge or when I am too lazy to cook.
All you need is some ready atta and some eggs.

Do not confuse this with the Moghlai porota ... that is entirely different.

I love the Dim parota with ketchup and sometimes add a little kasundi to the ketchup too.
But tell you what ... if you have good quality green chillies ... the kind that hits you with a bang! and shakes the living daylights out of you, then you need no ketchup, no kasundi  .... or for that matter nothing at all.

I added some chopped coriander leaves too.
Just the well chopped onions + green chillies + coriander leaves is all that is needed.
The dough was whole wheat atta + a little maida (6:4).

This Dimer paratha needs just a few drops of white cooking oil to crisp it up. And that will be possible only when you have a well seasoned tawa or a non stick tawa.
I use my good old well seasoned cast iron tawa.

Need :

Atta + Maida - ratio 6:4 , kneaded with a little salt+cooking oil
Chopped onion
Chopped green chillies
Chopped coriander leaves
A little freshly crushed black pepper
Salt - to taste
White cooking oil

How to :

Make small balls of the kneaded dough and roll out a roti.

Mix the rest of the ingredients, except the oil, to the eggs and beat well.

Heat a tawa and place a roti.

Turn it over after half a minute.

Now pour in a little egg mixture and fold the roti from both sides ... like in the picture.

Place a cover and cook on low heat for a minute.

Remove cover, flip it over and apply a little oil.

Press with a spatula and fry it on high heat, till golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot.
Makes for a great evening snack too.
This is a great way to use leftover rotis too. You can either fold them with the egg mixture as above, or layer one roti with the mixture and then lay another roti on the top. Cover and cook for a while and then add oil to fry.

I love to add some chopped sausages or ready chicken or mutton kheema to the mixture too and pair it with some soup, for a more filling meal that is perfect for hearty dinner.


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Chicken pakoda

Chicken pakora
 When I was young, we used to spend our summer vacations at my Ma's home.
The sprawling house used to be full of Mamas, Mashis, Meshos and their brood.
Our Mamimas would get busy not only in the kitchen but also in planning numerous trips for shopping and eating out with their visitng Nanadinis (elder sisters in law).
Our Meshos would have a great time getting all the attentions and having their favourite dishes on their  plates at every mealtime. 
Sons in law, after all, are born to be pampered.

Bapi, the quiet but adventurous one, would get hold of Boro Mama and arrange for the jaal fyala
(throwing fish nets into the pond in the mornings to get fresh fish ).
That was one huge event.
A few farm hands from any one of our villages, usually the nearest one, would be notified a few days before the vacations.
The fish nets would be checked. Discussions on what fish would be kept for the meals and what would be released back would be discussed.
We children ... not less than 12 or 13 in number ... would jump up and down on the grassy banks of the pond ... running after the fish thrown on to the banks by the fishermen.
We would then pick up the huge, slithery, jumping fish, shrieking when they slipped out of our hands with full energy, struggle with them and put them back in a bucket.

Sometimes a tortoise or two would get caught and be handed over to us.
We would feed them and play with them all through our holidays. And promptly forget about them after returning back home.
They were released back into the pond by the elders after we left .... I would come to know later.

Evenings would be filled with adda, singing, everyone gathering around, munching on tidbits ... mostly gorom tele bhaja like  the Beguni , shingara and  chops  brought in from the local shop in the corner, along with jhaal muri.
And the game of taash / cards.

Chicken pakoda
Their would be much hollering and arguing, bets, winning , losing and sulking.
Mostly by the poor Mamimas, who lost to the sons in law of the family.
The Meshos would be jubilant. It meant adding to the growing list of dishes to be cooked by the losing team. 
But it is not always that the men won.
Boro Mami was an expert. As was Mejo Mashi.These two, nobody wanted as opponents.
Especially because when the men lost, they had to cook something for everybody. 
That thought of spending time in the hot, old fashioned kitchen in the humid heat was enough to make them desperate to win ... by hook or by crook.
And by crook was the way that was usually taken.

But it was still not very easy for them and they often lost game after game.

After a point, the kitchen helps, who had to bear the brunt of the babus' presence in the kitchen, keeping up with their orders of cutting, mixing, grinding .... and at times cook too, protested.

So, it was decided that instead of cooking , the meshos would have to take us out for dinner or snacks, when  they lost a game.
Which was a fearful proposition, to them.
Taking that huge family out for dinner and managing them was not only a risk to reputation, but also there would hardly be a restaurant that would take in that huge, boisterous crowd, readily.
And god knows how big the bill would run to.

So, they would often call and get the food delivered.
And it was one such evening that Mejo Mesho had called in for Chicken pakoras.

And that was how I came to taste the chicken pakora for the first time.

I don't remember eating this pakora anytime again, at the time. But after leaving home, I have eaten the Chicken tikka a number of times.
And have made them too.
These pakoras of mine are more Punjabi in flavours, that tempt me to call them the Chicken tikka.
But I will call them pakodas due to that beautifully crisp coating.

Since I do not like the breast pieces of the chicken ... I find them too fleshy .... I keep wondering what to do with them and sometimes come up with the strangest and quickest of recipes.

And one monsoon evening, I came up with this. 
And instantly fell in love with it.
I had just bought a packet of Kitchen King masala powder by MDH and had added a spoonful to the
And it made all the difference.
Succulent pieces of chicken with a crisp coating, some hint of spice and the beautiful flavours of the kasuri methi and Punjabi garam masala was what I got in the end.

Chicken pakora
Vegetarians can easily make this with the paneer, or boiled potatoes or cauliflower florets.

Need :

Breast pieces of the chicken - 150 gms, cut into small pieces
Buttermilk - 1 big cup
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp (preferably made at home )
Red chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Maida / Apf - 2 tbsp
Rice flour - 1 tsp
Kitchen King powder - 1 tbsp
(if you do not have this, just add some crushed kasuri methi leaves + garam masala)
Salt - to taste
Oil - to shallow fry
Lemon juice - 2 tsp, use only if the buttermilk is not sour enough

How to :

Marinate the chicken pieces with buttermilk  + ginger garlic paste + salt + a little oil + red chilli powder + maida + rice flour + Kitchen King powder. 

Cover and keep in the fridge for at least 5 to 6 hours.
I marinated at night and cooked for brunch, at around 11, in the morning.
Do remember to take it out at least half an hour before cooking.

Heat oil in a well seasoned, open pan.
You can use a flat non stick tawa or pan too.
Add the chicken pieces, cover and cook on medium heat.

Turn over only when one side has browned.
Do not over cook or the chicken will turn chewy.

Serve hot off the pan with a salad or any dip of your choice.

Chicken pakoda
I had made these for some thoughtful friends, who had come over to give the paranoid me company, last week. 

Chopped up some cucumber, onions, green chillies and carrots, gave them a squirt of lemon and a dash of freshly ground black pepper powder and salt.
Finally squeezed half a pomegranate all over and a lovely salad was ready.

I had also made some plain parathas ... it was great fun to arrange the chicken pieces in them, heap some spoonfuls of salad , douse with a dip or ketchup, roll it up and munch on them as we chatted and laughed together.

These make for great finger food for parties, as well as to munch on with tea on a monsoon evening or a winter dusk.


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Aam shorshe bori diye Pui shaaker data*
When I asked on my facebook page yesterday as to what recipe would my readers like to see on the blog next, most answered "Niramish".
Or vegetarian.
I was a little surprised ... but happy.
Especially when Jhimly said "... your niramish are lip smacking."
Bengali cuisine has lots of vegetarian dishes, but making a vegetarian dish tasty is a little challenging.
And especially since I use very little masalas, I am very glad that people like my vegetarian recipes too.

The last week was a little nerve wracking for me.
B was away on work and I had much plans on how I will be using this free time ... making a long list of pending works, some stitching to catch up on, some non vegetarian recipes to be cooked and photographed, catch a few movies, have long baths, read, sleep,
load the dish washer exactly as I wanted to ... with nobody to correct me or rearrange it  .....  and so on.
Basically, to relax, do nothing and watch the days go by in slo mo.

But easier said than done. Given it is the worrier me.
Staying with a person, who works from home and is around you 24 / 7 has its own implications.
In ways one cannot even start to imagine.
One day into being alone and I got into the lazy mode. While that was my intention all along, not cooking at all or not making the bed or not doing the laundry and definitely not eating was never a part of my plans.
One more day and I got into the anxiety mode.
Double locked the doors and the balcony and stayed up like an owl the whole night.
On any other night, I would have happily settled down with a book.
Or let Jagjit Singh take over.
But not this time.

Even the littlest of sounds made me anxious.
I kept the lights as well as the tv running all through the nights.
And never slept a wink.
I even tried to calm myself down with some Phuchka for dinner a couple of nights.
Did not work much, I must say.
As for the rest of the days and nights ... I might as well not say anything at all.*
But I did cook some dishes that I had in mind for long, to make posts.
Since I did not have to take care of a vegetarian meal too, I rustled them up,
clicked and then ate them as my lunch or brunch ... when I had thoughtful friends who had
come over to give me company.

But since my readers wanted niramish or vegetarian,  I am posting this vegetarian Bengali recipe first.

I have used the leaves and the stems of the Pui that I had planted last year.
With summer making its approach, this dish has a touch of raw mangoes too.
A few boris thrown in and it makes for a perfect accompaniment to your vegetarian summer lunch.

Need :

Pui / Malabar spinach leaves and stems - washed and chopped , around 250 gms
Raw mango pieces - depending on the level of tartness you like 
Bori / dried lentil dumplings - 6 to 7 pieces
Mustard seeds - 2 tbsp, soaked for around 3 hours ( I use a mix of black and yellow seeds )
Green chillies - 3
Nigella seeds / Kalo jeere / Kalaunji - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Mustard oil - 1 tbsp
Potato - 1 medium, sliced
Onion - 1 medium, sliced
Salt - to taste

How to :

In a mixer, make a paste of the raw mango + mustard seeds + 2 green chillies.
Odiyas would add garlic, which I sometimes do too. But not this time.
You can try if you want to, though.

 Heat a heavy kadahi / wok.

Add the mustard oil and heat it well.

Add the boris and fry on low heat till golden brown.
Remove and keep aside.

In the same oil, add the kalo jeere + broken green chilli.

Next, add the onions and fry on low heat for a minute.

Then add the potatoes and the turmeric powder and cover and cook till the potatoes are almost done.

Remove cover and add the chopped  pui leaves + stems.

Give a good mix cover and cook for around 5 minutes.

When the leaves are cooked, add the mustard paste + salt + the fried bori.

Cover and cook till everything comes together  and is done.

Remove cover and raise heat till all water dries up.
Remember to keep stirring.

Remove from heat and keep it covered for a minute.*
 Serve hot with rice.
This pairs very well with Tauker dal, bhaat and Ucche bhaja on the side to make that perfectly light, summer lunch.
On non vegetarian days, you can add the Maacher bhorta or makha on the side too.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mushur Dal Sheddho / Boiled Masoor Dal*
To me, summer means a hardworking sun.
Summer means new leaves and fragrant flowers on the mango trees.
Summer means that light, soothing breeze from the pond, in the afternoons, when the fans did not work due to load shedding.
Summer means the sweet, ripe mangoes that were plucked in the morning and kept on wet sand, for us children to wake up  from our afternoon nap and bite into.
Summer means yellow, mango juice stains on white frocks.

Summer meant waking up to the fragrance of the Bel phool ( Mogra flower ) plants under Thamma's window, near her head.
Summer means evenings with a balmy breeze.
Summer means that beautiful smell of dry, thirsty earth when I watered our garden with a hosepipe.

Summer means light food.
Summer means Ma's watermelon juice.
Summer means the bunches of sweet Lichu (Lychee) that Bapi brought.

Summer means Thamma's achars and ambols.

Summer means Dadu's house and paanto bhaat.
With aloo sheddho, dal sheddho, maach makha, bori bhaja and shaak bhaja.
With a drop or two of achar er tel or pickle oil.
Summer means lying on the cool floor of red cement, polished with time, in Dadu's house after a lunch of paanto.
And listen to the repeated creaks of the old fan, that slowly lulls you sleep.

Summer is made of things memories are made of.*
I can go on and on.
Though officially summer hasn't set in, not yet.
But the weather outside surely spells summer.
It is extremely hot and given Pune's dry and humid free weather, burning hot is more apt to describe it.
But nature still is in spring and the trees are still bare.
New, baby leaves are yet to come.

And in these days, all I crave is plain steamed or boiled food.
As light as possible.
Given my way of cooking, food can't get any lighter in my home. But I still cannot stand a tempering of spices, leave alone frying pastes and making gravies.
Which is why I am resorting to plain boiled food.

In the Bengali way of cooking, plain boiled food can be made extremely tasty.
If you have made friends with the mustard oil, then you have won the battle already.
And if not, there is always ghee.
One dollop and a boiled and mashed vegetable, with some green chilli mashed in, it tastes like manna from heaven.
You have to try it to believe me.

I make this dal sheddho a lot, both during summer and winter.
Red masoor dal is high in protein and is very healthy.
In winters, I use it to make vegetable soups.
Or just sip on its water when plain boiled , with a drop of ghee or butter and some freshly ground black pepper.
Does wonders to a sore throat.

In summer, I jazz it up with some raw chopped onions and green chillies.
A dash of mustard oil is all that is needed for fragrance and that kick, to take it to the next level.
If having it with the paanto bhaat, I keep it thicker so that it is easy to mash.
And for eating it with rice, I keep it slightly diluted.
Like I did this time, when I made it for lunch.*
The recipe is fairly simple.

Need :

Red Masoor dal - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Onion - 1 medium, chopped into very small pieces
Green chillies - 2, chopped
Coriander leaves - chopped ( optional , I use only in winters )
Salt - to taste
Mustard oil - 1 tbsp
Water - 3 cups ( use the same cup used for measuring the dal )

How to :

Boil the dal with the turmeric powder + water + salt in a pressure cooker.

Remove and cool a little.

Add the chopped onion + green chillies + coriander leaves.
Add the onions only when the dal cools down.

Top it with mustard oil.

Serve warm with rice.*

Here is a picture of my light, simple lunch with the Dal sheddho, some Dharosh (Okra)  bhaja  and some biulir daler bora.
Post on Dharosh bhaja is coming up soon.


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Parshe macher jhal / Parshe fish cooked in mustard gravy*
I have been compiling a lot of my thoughts, in my head of course, to make a new post, for a while now. There were two or three things that I had decided to write upon. But everything went haywire this afternoon.
All because of a crow.
It was almost past twelve and the sun was blazing outside. The bare trees stood still. And there was an eerie quiet all over. It was obvious that everybody preferred to stay indoors as much as they could. Stepping out in the shimmering heat would be only for those who had to.
I had spent the whole morning doing nothing ... if you bar the laundry and some darning.
And had just stepped out into the balcony.
Finding it so hot and quiet all over, I decided to go back inside.

And that is when a crow cawed.
Not near anywhere ... from somewhere a little far away. But that cawing in that hot afternoon suddenly turned me into stone.
And a wave of nostalgia swept over me.
To make matters worse, I had Rabindra sangeet playing.
"Jedin tomar jogoto nirokhe, horoshe poran uthiche puloki ... " Sagar Sen, Bapi's favourite singer, was singing.
And I was transported back home in a blink of an eye.

Through watery eyes I saw Bapi come in, as usual, for lunch and head straight for the stereo system first. He would put on a record and wait for the food to be served. The kitchen would be a war zone then ... everyone trying to put out lunch in time .... 1 o'clock sharp.
Dadu and his sons had lunch first. So the ladies of the house hurried from the kitchen to the dining room, the house helps following them with bowls of food and trays holding glasses of water.
And the dining room bustled with the sounds of plates, glasses, talks, a cough hear or there, with Rabindra sangeet in the background.

I would sit on the window sill and watch quietly, soaking in the scene.
And look out of the big windows to see the haze of the afternoon heat outside.
And past the quiet, sleepy uthon / courtyard and the pond beyond it, on the single Taal tree, a crow would sit and caw.

And I would look at everybody's plates to see which one had the biggest pile of fish bones on the upper right corner of the plate.
Dadu would ask for another helping of bhaat just to mop up the gravy of the jhaal. His plate had the least bones .... Dadu was known for chewing up most of the fish bones easily.*
Tears flowed freely as those voices reverberated in my mind.
I did not cook and did not feel like having lunch. With B away for work these days, I have no compulsion or motivation to step into the kitchen.
Rather, spent the whole day going through albums and memories.
And wishing for the nth time that I had recorded those voices somehow.

This Parshe maacher jhaal is a typical dish cooked in numerous Bengali homes with all kinds of fish, small or big, usually for lunch.
 I add tomatoes only if I am making it during winters.

Need :

 Parshe fish - 250 gms , marinated with salt + turmeric powder
Mustard paste - 3 tbsp
Onion - 1, medium, sliced
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Fresh green chillies - 3
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp 
Nigella seeds / Kalo jeere - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water -for gravy
Cooking oil - 3 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )

How to :

Heat the oil in a heavy kadahi / wok.

Fry the fish and remove. Keep aside.

Add the nigella seeds + the green chillies.

Add the sliced onions and fry till the rawness goes away.

Now add the tomatoes + turmeric powder + salt.
Fry well.

When the tomatoes are done, add water + mustard paste.

Bring to a boil and add the fish.

Check for seasoning, cover and cook for five minutes.

Remove cover, check for gravy's consistency.*

Serve hot with rice.

Here is a snap of our lunch that day .... Rice, dal, cauliflower fry and raw banana fry.
I have more lunch plate shots and ideas on my blog's page on Facebook.
Do stay in touch there for more recent food updates.


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Pui Chingri / Prawns cooked with the Malabar Spinach*
The sun is blazing hot these days. The birds are already draining the water bath by the time our breakfast is over.
I have to fill it at least thrice a day these days.
It breaks my heart to see the poor birds flying around, looking for water.
Many try to drink from the dirty puddles on the roads but those too are not easily seen these days, given the dry weather and the heat.
I feel a kind of relief every time I see a bird drinking clean water from the bath on my balcony.
It is a sturdy and flat terracotta vessel and just deep enough for the bigger birds like the crows to dip their beaks in.

I keep the water level low in the mornings so that the little birds like the bulbuls, sparrows and the sun birds find it easy to bathe. They come very early in the mornings.
The crows, swallows, pigeons and the parrots come later.
I try to get a peek now and then .... I love to see them splashing around in the water.
And love the look of contentment on their faces.*
There is a beautiful photograph of a freshly bathed swallow who sat in the sun for a while .... and dozed, that I had clicked once.
It is on the blog too but I do not remember in which post it is in ... hence cannot give the link just now.

Given that my balcony faces west, it becomes very difficult to care for the plants too.
I get busy with setting up contraptions to cover them from the direct sun.
Watering them twice a day is a must.
I do not have a green thumb at all .... most of my plants die sooner or later. Much of which I can attribute to our frequent trips too.
No matter what precautions I take .... from half filling the bath tub and placing the pots in it to lining every little indoor pot with damp newspapers to keeping them under very light running water .... I have done it all.
Right now my only surviving plants are the few palms that I had carried back all the way from Bangalore, a curry leaf plant, which I keep an eye on like a mother hen and my very precious Pui plant .... which I had planted from the stems of the big bunch that I had got from Bangalore last year.

That Pui plant has been doing well, touch wood, so far. I have already cooked a few times with its leaves and stems. I just hope it survives this harsh summer that nature is promising us.

This time, when I made this Pui Chingri from its leaves, I decided to make a post.*
I do not use too much of spices in this chorchori.
Rather, I let the flavour and the sweetness of the prawns to mingle with the freshness of the Pui leaves.
And they speak for themselves.
If you are making this in winter, do add vegetables of your choice.
I did not add any ... just threw in some sweet potatoes for that extra sweetness and some baby Brinjals / Eggplants for some moistness.

Need :

Fresh water prawns - 250 gms , marinated with salt + turmeric powder
Sweet potatoes - 1 medium, diced
Brinjals / Aubergine - diced
Pui leaves and stems - washed and cut roughly
Grated ginger - 1 tsp
Paanch phoron / Bengali five spice mix - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp 
Whole dry red chillies - 2, broken
Bay leaf - 1
Mustard oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste ( this will a little sweetish dish )

How to :

Heat the oil in a heavy kadahi / wok / open pan.

Add the prawns and fry lightly and remove.

In the same oil add the paanch phoron and the dry red chillies.

Add the potatoes and cook on low heat, covered,  till done.

Remove cover and add the grated ginger, stir a little and add the pui and the brinjals.

Give a stir and add the prawns too.

Now add turmeric powder + red chilli powder + salt + sugar.

Mix well till everything come together.

Cover and cook on low heat till the leaves are well cooked.

Remove cover and stir well.

Cook without cover, mixing now and then till all water dries up.*
Serve hot with dal and rice.

And oh! .... This summer, if you have an empty space anywhere in your house ... even a window sill will work ... please do keep out some clean water for our feathered friends.
Be kind.

God bless !!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Amla ka achar / Gooseberry pickle
 Seasons come; seasons go.
Year after year. Time after expendable time.
We stand aside and watch.  And marvel at this wondrous thing called nature.
And the changes in it.
Every year.
We marvel at the leaves turning brown and they way they shower down.
We marvel at the beautiful rain.
We wonder at the sun's change ... from the loving warm to the angry heat.
And its move from north to south and again from south to north; twice a year.
We watch the bare trees bathe in green again.
We plan our days and nights and months in accordance to it.
Every single year.
And never tire of it. Ever.

Birthdays come; birthdays go.
We sit back and watch.
At ourselves.
And wonder.
What if we had taken that trodden path instead of the smooth highway?
Through the sunny woods and brown leaves laden trees?
What if we had opened up our faces to the sun and our hair to the wind?
What if we had stepped into that puddle instead of walking around it?
And let the rain in on us instead of hiding under that umbrella?
What would we have got had we walked through that stream and not taken the little bridge?
And what have we missed by not hugging that old person instead of just smiling and standing aside?

So many questions flood the mind.
So many 'what if?'s.
After seeing life upfront and close the past few years, this is what I have started to do.
Make a promise to myself.
That I will live in the moment more and plan less.
That I will let go of the obsession of staying organised and let myself be; at least for some time.
That I will take up things that I love to do ... more.
That it is ok to read a few more pages of that book and not leaving it for chores.
That I will learn to understand that everybody will be fine if I do not enquire after them.
That I do not have the sole responsibility of worrying about people and their well being.
That I will soak in nature more .... just like I watch Bapi's 'dwitiya'r chaand' every month, diligently.

That I will step into the rain next time, without that umbrella; for sure.
Speaking of seasons, winter is tip toeing out.
Very reluctantly; very lingeringly.
While we did travel a lot this January, I took out time to make some boris and stock up for summer and its dose of Paanto bhaat.
I also made some achaars / pickles.

The Kacche haldi ka achar and this Amla / Indian gooseberry ka achar is a must make during winters.
While I prefer to eat a whole Amla raw ... for its healthy properties to work better on us, I also make this achar so that we can have it with our food, on the side, too.

This achaar goes very well with some dal and rice. Or even parathas.
I am not much in favour of dousing things with loads of sugar ... so never make the murabba.
And neither do I boil the amlas ... all the nutrients get drained away that way.
I just keep them very small in size ... they get done quickly, in the sun, that way.
You can grate them too.
Need :

Amla / Indian gooseberries - 250 gms
Sarson / Black mustard seeds - 2 tbsp
Saunf / Fennel seeds - 2 tbsp
Kalonji / Nigella seeds - 2 tbsp
Methi / Fenugreek seeds - 1 tbsp
Whole dry red chillies - 6 pieces
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tbsp
Sea salt - 1 tbsp
Hing / Asaefoetida - 1 tsp
Mustard oil - Enough to soak the pickle ( around 2 tea cups )
How to:

Cut amla into bite sized pieces.

Coarsely grind mustard seeds + red chillies + saunf + kalonji + methi seeds.
Just one or two pulses in the mixie works.

Mix the amla with salt and the above mix + haldi powder.

Put into a dry sterilised bottle.

Heat mustard oil to smoking point.

Switch off flame and wait for a while .... till the temperature drops a little.

Add hing ... the oil should be only that much hot that the hing will sizzle and cook but not burn.

Cool the oil.

Pour it into the bottle.

Sun for four to five days ... without cover.
Here are my bottles of the Tel Kopi and Kacche Haldi ka achar along with the Amla, soaking up the winter sun.
Your Amla ka achar is ready to eat now.
Do not balk at the amount of oil ... it is just to preserve the pickle.
Over time, the oil takes in the flavours of the spices and the tang of the amla and turns delicious.
Just a few drops on some plain rice or muri / puffed rice will take you straight to food heaven.

I had made some Mooli Methi theplas that paired very well with this awle ka achar.


On another note, I finally managed to make a post on my New York trip, after ages.
Do hop over.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bandhakopi diye Muri Ghonto / Cabbage cooked with Fish head
Or Bandhakopir chanchra maacher matha diye.
Whatever the name you call it by, it will stay the same ... fish head at its glorious best.
And this is my favourite way of enjoying the Rohu / Rui fish head.
No other way of the muri ghonto ... be it with the Cholar dal, the bhaja muger dalwith the Pui shaak or the one made with rice, comes even close.
At least for me.

I prefer to make this more during the winters.
When the bandhakopi / cabbage is fresh. The green peas are fresh, tender and sweet.
And I can add a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves for that wintery feel.
The advantage of using fresh cabbage is it will turn soft quickly when cooking and has a certain sweetness too. And not at all pungent like the ones we get off season.
That does not mean you cannot make this muri ghonto during other seasons too.
Of course you can.

I am not cooking much these days. All those travels and adventures have finally taken their toll and I am down with a case of acute bronchitis.
So, right now, the whole world seems like a miserable place to be in. My throat, sinuses and bronchi have suddenly come alive and decided that they have a will of their own.
And are acting very weird.
While I lie quietly, in high fever, and give in to their theatrics.
And dream of making so many posts that my blog smiles with joy.

But life says "Dream on."

You go ahead and enjoy today's recipe.
Need :

Rohu fish head - 1, cleaned and cut
Bandhakopi / Cabbage - 1 medium, cut into thin slices
Fresh peas - 1 cupful
Ginger + garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Whole dry red chillies - 2, broken
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Dhania / Coriander powder - 1 tbsp ( optional )
Mustard oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder or Bhaja moshla - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped, 2 tbsp

How to :

Marinate the fish head with 1 tbsp turmeric powder + salt.

Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a heavy kadahi / wok.
Fry the fish head till brown.
Remove, crush to break into a few pieces and keep aside.

Add the remaining oil to the kadahi.
Add the jeera + dry red chillies.

Then add the ginger + garlic paste and fry a little.

Add the turmeric powder + red chilli powder  and fry well.

Add the cabbage and mix well on low heat.
Cover and cook till it starts to release water.

Add the fish head and salt.
Mix well and cover.  Cook till well done.

Remove cover and add the peas + garam masala powder and + sugar.

Stir and mix everything well.
Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle the coriander leaves and remove from heat.
Serve hot with rice.