Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Pepe ar Cholar tarkari / Raw Papaya cooked with brown legumes

Life has been happening to me for a while now. And a little too much too.
So, while I have been intending to make a post, I had no idea what to write.
Everytime I came here, I would stare blankly at the screen and then log out.
Not that I do not share my life here ... I always have, as best as I could, without making it overwhelming for my readers.
But then, not always good things happen.
Sometimes, stress does.
And so does loss.
And then of course the brighter things like the love of your family and friends, good memories and on some days beautiful weather ... life is made up of all these too.

I have been on this roller coaster of emotions and experiences since my last post.
A few losses, both in the family and also a friend's, have hit me hard.
No matter how old I get, I just can't seem to fathom or get to terms with a loss.
Especially a sudden one.
That void stares back at me, unmoving and adamant, almost as if challenging me .... and just refuses to fill.
I try to look away. But can feel it behind me.
And all around.
So I immerse myself in what I do best ... cook, knit and cleaning the house.
I have lost count of the innumerable meals that I have cooked for the family and friends recently.
And my house cleaning has gone up to a higher level altogether.
I have cleaned my kitchen numerous times over and over till there is nothing more to do.
And have given away more clothes and curtains and bed sheets than I actually needed to.
I exhausted myself arranging and rearranging the furniture, driving B up the wall literally.
Yet nothing helped.
Yet the hurt persists.

I did make a few posts of my lunch plates on Insta ... the comments and interaction helps a little .... but gave up.
Right now, I have decided to take it a little easy.
And try to not dwell in memories.
Hopefully, the sun will shine again and my mood will lift.

The recipe today is a simple one, as usual.
And very, very healthy.
I have been using the raw Papaya in a lot of my cooking due to its health benefits.
But since most of them are mixed dishes ... a throw of this and that and let everything come together in their own flavours and end with a tempering ... , I never made any posts on them.

But Bengalis cook the Papaya as a standalone dish too.
Like the peper dalna ( I will make a post soon ) or this dry dish with legumes.
As children, we had to finish that piece of papaya that would be added to dal when cooking.
Boiled papaya was hated by us .... but then Thamma made it bearable by making a mash of it with some boiled potatoes to make the pepe bhaate ... much like these.
Later, I learnt to add some spices to it too and actually started to love it.
If you follow me on instagram, you will see my lunch plates almost always have a healthy boiled vegetable makha.

But if you are not into boiled stuff, then you can make a dish like this Pepe cholar torkari with spices and garam masalas.
It has all the health benefits of the Papaya and also the protein and fibre of the chola or kala chana, which also adds some texture to what otherwise would have been just a pulpy mash. 
If you want, you can use onion and garlic too, but this was usually made in our home on vegetarian days  or during pujas and paired with Luchi or Porota.

Need :

Kala chana / Kalo chola / Black chickpeas - soaked and boiled
( I usually soak and boil them in bulk and store in the fridge )

Raw Papaya - grated
Ginger - grated
Whole dry red chillies - broken
Jeera / Cumin seeds
Haldi / Turmeric powder
Garam masala powder
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch

If you want to, you can add potatoes too.

How to :

Heat oil.

Add the jeera and the dry red chillies.

Add the grated ginger.
Fry a little.

Add the kala chana + papaya + turmeric + salt + red chilli powder.
Stir and mix well.

Cover and cook till done.

Add garam masala and stir well again.

Serve hot.

This recipe has no onions or garlic ... which makes it a good niramish / vegetarian dish for the month of Shravan too.
Or for any other pooja days too.

Goes best with rotis, parathas or Luchis.
But you can pair this with khichuri too.