Thursday, 23 November 2017

Ucche Bhaate / Boiled and mashed Bitter Gourd and Potatoes

ucche bhaate
I have been back from my vacation in the US of A for over a month now. And yet have still not been able to get my mojo back to make a proper post here.
Not to mention the thought of laying a table and clicking a proper photograph sending shivers of laziness all over me.
I did try to look through my old photographs but could not find any one good photo that deserves to be presented here.
That propelled me to further procrastination .... which is very unlike me.
And then there is this case of writer's block.
No matter how much ever I tried, I just could not frame a proper sentence.

So I let go.
Thought that lack of enthusiasm will shame my writer's block into some creativity.
But no ... nada .... nyet.
Nothing happened.
So I tried to stay active on Instagram ... at least to stay in touch with the food world. But that too lacks diligence as of now.
Most of the time I keep going back to the memories of my trip and I just love going through the numerous photos and videos .... living and reliving every moment spent at Disneyland, Seaworld and Miami.
And when I am not doing that, I am trying to get the house back into some order.

The best thing that happened on this trip, though, was that I got to cook for the friends we stayed with for a day each.
One of them, who is B's senior colleague , mentor and a wonderful person, who I was longing to meet for long, is a vegan. And loves Indian food.
I cooked them a regular Indian meal of roti, sabzi, dal and rice. Our host was very happy that the meal was vegan .... a fact that even I had not noticed till he pointed it out.
We discussed on healthy food and how a full, home cooked Indian meal will fill you up well and yet you won't  feel overstuffed.
The other friend is a vegetarian too. And happily opened his kitchen to me.
I loved shopping for fresh produce at the local markets and coming back and cook with them.
Had an absolutely wonderful time.
Nothing can beat the joy that comes from cooking and feeding friends and family in foreign lands and in unfamiliar kitchens.

ucche bhaate

Coming back, we craved light food for a few days.
The real American cuisine has a lot of deep fried stuff on the plate and we found ourselves turning to more of Mexican food during our travels ... which is a little similar to our Indian food.
Or to Indian food most times.
In Orlando, we found some very good Indian restaurants and the food quality was fabulous.
And they delivered to our hotel too ... which was a boon, considering we used to spend the whole day, from early morning to late evening, walking the parks.
So after a very tiring day, hot food on your table within half an hour of ordering, was more than what a weary traveller can ask for.

Back home, I went back to a dal,bhaat, a makha and a bhaja routine happily. Since I did not eat too much of non vegetarian food in the US, except for some fried chicken wings once in a while, I did fill up my freezer with some good fish too.
So it was a halka jhol or a light maach bhaja on most days that accompanied my rice.

But it was the sheddho (boiled) and makha (mashed together) vegetables that ruled the roost. Extremely light, detoxing and just the right thing to get your taste buds some relief, these makhas or bhortas are perfect for a light meal.
I use a lot of vegetables, sometimes individually and sometimes mixed, to make these sheddho makhas.
All you need is some chopped onions and green chillies and some mustard oil for that kick of flavour. At times I throw in some chopped garlic too, depending upon the vegetable I am using.

If you want to make a proper bhorta, then just fry the boiled vegetable in a little oil along with the onions and chillies.
I prefer my bhortas not fried.

ucche bhaate

Here is one of those vegetable bhortas, with the Ucche / bitter gourd.
Perfect for cleansing your system as well your taste buds.

All you have to do is to boil some bitter gourd and potatoes.
Cool and mash them with chopped onions + green chillies + mustard oil + salt + coriander leaves.

This mash is usually eaten at the begining of a Bengali meal, with rice, since it has the bitter gourd and Bengalis eat a little bitter at the begining of a meal ... usually lunch.
Any other vegetable mash can be eaten along with the rest of the dishes in a meal.

ucche bhaate

Leaving you with a shot of Cinderella's castle, Disneyland.