Friday, 27 February 2009

Tel Kopi / Cauliflower preserved in Mustard Oil

The pleasure of food blogging is getting to know about different kinds of recipes being prepared all over the world. And this pleasure is magnified when we come across recipes that have been in a family for years ... passed on from generation to worthy generation. What make these recipes very special is the love, warmth and nostalgia that is associated with them.

I recently came across one such recipe in a fellow blogger's blog. She goes by the name L .
And this recipe .... Kopi'r Teyl ..... literally translated means Cauliflower's Oil .... is her Jethima's ( aunt's ) ... and told to her by her mother.

I was pretty intrigued by this recipe. And the fact that she did not have a snap of it made me a little unsure too ... as I could not know how the finished product would look. But I decided to give it a try .... for the simple reason that it needs so few ingredients .... and is so very easy to make.

You have to really love mustard oil to like this. I must admit I was in half a mind to add something extra to it ... i.e. a little achar masala at least. But hubby dissuaded me from that. His take was ... I would never know the original taste/flavour if I did that. Point. :-)

Here's the recipe.

1 big sized Cauliflower
Enough Mustard Oil to cover the florets
Turmeric Powder
Red Chilli Powder
Water ( to boil the florets in)

How to :

Take a Cauliflower and break off the florets.

Boil water with a pinch of salt and add the florets.
Cook the florets in it for a couple of minutes and remove.
Be very careful not to overcook them ... they will hold moisture and your achar will spoil quickly.

Pat them dry with a napkin or tissue.
Air them for a while.

Now place the florets in a bowl ... preferably glass.

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and mix well.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and sun dry them for a day.

( I tried the other way too ... dried them first and then added the salt + chilli ... worked too. )

Take a dry, sterlised bottle and put in the dry florets.
Add enough mustard oil to cover all the florets.

Let the bottle sit in the sun for 2 more days.
It is ready to be served now ... but I still kept it in the sun for a few more days.

If the level of oil decreases with use, add some more oil.
Take care that the level of the oil is always above the florets to prevent fungus.


She says to have it with rotis .... which we did. But let me tell you ... it was fabulous with plain hot rice too.

Thanks L for sharing this wonderful and unique recipe. :-)

Am so glad I tried it.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Koraishutir Kochuri / Fresh Green Peas Kachori

Just like it is a must to have a huge variety of parathas with seasonal vegetables in winter for North Indians, for Bengalis it is the Koraishutir Kochuri ( Kachoris made from fresh green peas) that signals the onset and the settling of the winter season.

It is the sweetness of the green peas paste and of the fried maida that makes such a tasty combined flavour. Yes, it has to be maida.
Of course you can deviate and make it healthier by using atta and making parathas out of it.

Since in my house reside two cultures ... read two different kinds of food habits .... I make the stuffing for this kachori in two different kind of ways.

One is the usual Bengali way .... which uses less masala .... that gives the actual flavour of the fresh peas.
And the other is the Rajasthani way ... which is spicier .... and of course has some dominating flavours.

I'll give the recipes for both .... it is up to you to decide which one you'll relish ..... and take your pick. :-)

Need :

For the filling :

The Bengali version : Fresh green peas, shelled and ground into a coarse paste, grated ginger, a little sugar and salt, a little cooking oil.

The Rajasthani version : Fresh green peas, shelled and ground into a coarse paste, a pinch of hing, haldi/tumeric powder, red chilli powder, amchur powder, salt and a little cooking oil.

For the puris : Maida / refined flour, kneaded into a soft dough using water ..... with a little cooking oil, salt & sugar , cooking oil to deep fry.

How to :
The filling :
The Bengali version : Heat a little oil in a non-stick vessel. Add the peas paste and stir for some time.
Now add salt, sugar and grated ginger. Keep stirring and cook till it turns into a dryish paste.

The Rajasthani version : Heat a little oil in a non-stick vessel. When hot, add hing.
Then add the peas paste and keep stirring. Add the rest of the ingredients one by one and keep stirring. Cook till it turns dryish.

The Kachoris : Take small balls of the maida dough. Fill them with the cooked peas stuffing and seal well. Roll out small puris and deep fry them in hot oil.
They will puff up like so. Of course they'll fall flat later.

Traditionally, the Bengali kochuris would be served with Aloor Dom ( a dryish potato masala dish). And the Rajasthani ones would be had with any kind of achar/chutney.

But I love mine with a little chilli sauce/ketchup .... and a hot cuppa. :-)
What's your pick folks ? :-)

Ps: Forgot to mention .... I made the Bengali way ... hence the beautiful green colour is retained ... as appreciated by all of you. :-)

My last two posts were slightly hurried ... so am a little late in showing off this beautiful award by Yasmeen ... she has designed it herself.
Thanks Yasmeen ... you are a beautiful person .... and a sweetheart too. :-)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Bhapa Pithe / Coconut Stuffed Sweet Idlis

I remember the first time I made this, my ex-neighbour loved it so much she practically announced it to everybody she came across or knew.

I make this coconut mixture very frequently ... and use this to make laddoos or to stuff any kind of pithe ( cooked sweetmeat made of lentils & rice) .

So once while making idlis I thought of stuffing them with this filling .... a new sweet for my hubby. And the juicy, sweet filling was such a good foil to the usual bland idlis ... I have been making these regularly ever since .... whenever am making idlis .... sweet idlis are made too.
I have used jaggery for the filling ..... if you want you can use sugar too.

There is a Bengali pithe called the Bhapa ( steamed ) pithe that is made this way.

I don't know why the colour did not turn too dark ... the snaps would have looked even better. But the sweetness was perfect .... too much jaggery may have turned it slightly bitter.

Need :
For the idlis : Idli batter, a little cooking oil.
For the filling : Grated coconut, crushed elaichi / cardamom, jaggery.

How to : Heat a non stick kadhai/vessel. Put in the grated coconut with the jaggery and elaichi and cook well. Add a little water if you feel the need to melt the jaggery.
Take an idli stand. Apply a little cooking oil to the moulds.

Pour in a little batter. Place a spoonful of the filling on it. Now cover it with another spoonful of batter.

Steam like regular idlis.
Done ! :-)

Enjoy folks! And have a great Sunday! :-)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Phuchka / Golgappa / Panipuri


 Call it by any name .... everybody loves it.
India's most loved street food ... the panipuri needs no introduction. No matter which part of the country you belong to .... you will have to be somebody reaaaally different not to love this thing.
I believe there isn't one person , Bengali or otherwise, whose childhood memories do not hold a place for the Phuchka.
Known as the Pani puri in the west, Phuchka or Gup chup in the east and Pani ke Batashe in the north, our country has this street food ranking the highest in popularity. 

Back home, nobody made phuchkas like Panchu does.
This guy would stand outside our junior college from morning till late afternoon .... almost always surrounded by a bunch of giggling and jostling girls .... each one shouting out her preference through mouthfuls .... all demanding at the same time to make it a little more spicy / mild / more water etc. etc.
And my visits home were never complete till I have had Panchu's phuchkas at least a couple of times ... accompanied by a bemused B.

For that matter I have a hobby .... I always try out phuchkas at any new place I visit. :-)

Pani puri

After coming to live in this city I have almost given up eating phuchkas  from the vendors.
For the simple reason that I do not like the taste here.
And I hate mint.
So the pudina flavoured water is a big no no.
I miss that tangy freshness of tamarind , spiked with a good dose of black salt and chilli powder and other spices, in the water.
Here, the water is too plain. And the bland, half heartedly mashed potatoes with just a pinch of salt is a far cry from the beautifully smooth mash of potatoes and green chillies and other spices.
One piece in the mouth and it is enough to turn you off from Phuchkas for a long time.

So I settled on making them at home. Most times, I would buy a packet of the puris and make the potato filling and the water myself.But not this time.

I had been wanting to make the puris at home for sometime ... but somehow never got around to do it.
Finally did try my hand at them last weekend .... and found it surprisingly easy and not at all time taking.
I prefer to mashing the potatoes to cutting them .... this version soaks up the flavours better.

Chopped fresh coriander leaves give a beautiful flavour too .... but since I am raw leafy vegetables intolerant ... you won't find any in my recipe.
Do add them to get that perfect taste of phuchkas.


Need :

For the puris :

 Fine sooji/rawa - 1 cup
Maida / APF - 5 tbsp
Rice flour - 5 tbsp
Cooking oil - 4 tbsp
Water - just enough to make a tough dough

* If you use more maida your puris will fall flat.

For the filling :

Boiled potatoes - 2, medium
Boiled white peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Roasted jeera/cumin powder - 1 tbsp
Rock salt - to taste
Amchur powder - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
Green chillies , chopped or paste - 1 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped 

For the water :

Tamarind water - (soaked the tamarind in water and strain it )
Rock salt - to taste
Red chilli powder
Black pepper powder
Roasted jeera/cumin powder
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped (optional) 

Gol gappa

How to :

The puris :

Knead everything  into a tough dough.
Take a medium sized ball from the dough and roll out a roti as thin as possible.
With a very small round cookie cutter cut out small puris.

Heat oil and deep fry the puris till golden brown on both sides.

The filling :

Mash the potatoes with everything else. 

The water :

Add enough water to the strained tamarind pulp.
Add the rest of the ingredients.

How to arrange

Do I need explain this too? ;-) 

Ok ... take a puri and carefully make a small hole in the centre.

Stuff in some filling.

Dip into the water and immediately put it into your mouth.

Gup chup

Enjoy the burst of spicy and sour water with the crispiness of the puri and the softness of the filling .... all in one mouthful. :-) 

Friday, 13 February 2009

Vegetable Idlis

It is so true ... once you get a break from blogging ... however small, you find it difficult to get back into the grind. Grind? Yup .... right now for me it is.
Even though I do cook ... we all have to :-) .... I don't feel like going through the whole process of making the dish presentable and actually presenting on my blog .... which means ..... waiting for the right natural light, arranging, clicking numerous snaps, uploading, editing ... and finally on to the posting part.

And after my net connectivity problem, connection is extremely slow. So I have sit and stare at the screen ... willing it to be a wee, wee bit faster on its uploading. :-(

I find the writing and publishing the easiest part right now. Anyway, since these snaps were ready when I was having connectivity prob., am posting this very common recipe now.

When making idlis if I happen to have veggies in the fridge ( I make idlis when there is nothing else to make ... usually for weekend brunches) ... I just chop them up and add them to the batter.

This time it there was no time to make a sambar. So had them with my favourite Onion Chutney ... which is nowadays always found in my fridge.

Need : Idli batter ( Urad dal and rice, proportion 1:2, soaked and ground into a thick liquid consistency, preferably left overnight to ferment .... otherwise use a little baking powder to make the idlis fluffy ), finely chopped vegetables ( I just had beans, carrots, onions, green chilles ), a little salt.

How to : Add the chopped veggies and salt to the batter and steam in an idli mould.

Done! :-)

A bite, anyone? :-)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Bori / Wadi / Mungaudi / Sundried Lentil Dumplings

( If you do not get enough sun in your part of the world, you can stll make them.
Check out my
post on how to make them in the oven
. ) 

Even though we use Bori / Bodi / vadi in a lot of dishes, we usually tend to buy them. Of course I am not talking of the days back home, where winter noons would see an array of boris / bodi being dried out in the sunlight .... by our cooks and other helping hands. These little things have to be dried in the soft sun .... so they dry slowly .... and stay brittle and crispy when fried. . If dried under a strong sun, they tend to turn very hard.
I am proud to say that amongst us cousins in my generation, I am the only one who has treaded this path .... and successfully too. :-)

I am refering them as Mungaudis because the name is familiar to a lot of people. Of course they are usually made from the Moong/Mung dal .... but I used the Urad dal for these.

Need :

Urad / Moong dal, grated ginger, a pinch of salt, a little cooking oil, flat plates .... and of course a place where you get ample sunlight.

How to :

 Wash the dal and soak it overnight. Grind it into a paste with very little water.
Add the grated ginger and salt to it and mix very well.
A variety of spices like cumin / black pepper / fresh coriander leaves etc can also be added to the basic dal mixture. This way you can get a variety of different flavoured Boris / Bodi / vadis.
Apply cooking oil on a flat plate.

Scoop out very small ball of the dal mixture and place it on the plate.

Sun dry the boris / bodi for a few days. Do not try to pick them. They will come out on their own when done.

Here are a couple of photographs of the bodis that I made from Masoor dal / Mushurir dal.

Kichu Khonn's Mushur daler bori
 A close up shot. Don't miss the perfect peaks.
I'm sure Thamma would approve. :-) 

Up close ... the perfect peaks. 

They can be fried in a little oil and had on the side with rice and dal. Or they can be used to make some simple dishes.

Give these a try and enjoy your very own home made boris.
 And if you do not have enough sun in your part of the world, worry not.
Just hop over to my post on How to make Boris in the oven!!

Here are a few recipes where you can enjoy your Bori in : -

Lau Bori


Aloo Bori

Aloo Borir jhaal

Laal shaak bhaja

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Chilli Prawns with Burnt Garlic Noodles

( Vegetarians can replace the Prawns with Paneer or Cauliflower / Gobhi. Just fry them lightly and then continue with the recipe. )

Had a harrowing 12 days of net disconnectivity. No ... not because I could not access the net ... which spells .... no chatting with friends and relatives, no looking up favourite blogs, no writing/posting or just plain turning to Google when in doubt ..... not to mention work sufferring ..... no ... it is the experience we had to go through just to get our connection back.

It all started when our phone went dead. Numerous phone calls and registration of complaints did not work. The BSNL guys took their own sweet time to get the fault repaired. Relieved I immediately tried to connect net.

Nope ... not working. Next day again registered a complaint. And waited. Nothing.
So called up their help centre. Was told status is "work in progress". Waited more. after two days called up again. Was told "Problem resolved". Huh????

Again registered a fresh complaint. Next day status says "Problem solved". ???!!!!!
What followed the next few days was painful. Given numerous phone numbers ... nobody responds. Given numerous toll free numbers ... do not reach anybody. Looked up numerous mail ids .... not one worked .... every mail had a failed delivery.

So started numerous visits to the exchange main office. Every time we were told we missed the required person just by a few mins. Has left. Yeah .... even at 4 in the afternoon on a working day.

Finally on Sat hubby went and sat at the exchange office till a person finally asked him what the prob is. He explained everything with great cool. They said they will look into the prob ... will take time as they will have to dig out the details of our connection. We had the connection details (things they should have had at the tip of their fingers) .... and finally the job was done. A wrong switch had been made and all it needed was for the person who corrected the dead phone connection to make the correct switch assignment.

Phew .... so much for India bol raha hai. I say ... the common man ro raha hai.

So am starting posting again with this simple dish I made for myself. Of course, for hubby it is Chilli Paneer or some other veggie.

Even though I make prawns often (am very lucky to get fresh water prawns) I usually eat them up as am frying them ... unless am having guests ... and hardly make anything detailed out of them. This time I had some left over boiled noodles. At first thought of frying them up with the noodles ... but did not have any other veggies .... so decided it would turn slightly dry. So made this easy stuff.

Need : Prawns, chopped garlic, chopped green chillies, vinegar, sliced onions, soy sauce, boiled noodles, a little cooking oil, salt and sugar.

How to : Wash the prawns , apply a little vinegar and salt and keep aside.
Heat a little oil and add the onions, garlic and chillies. Fry till soft. Add the prawns and fry some more. Add the soy sauce, salt, sugar.
Keep frying till the prwans are done ( they cook very fast).

Heat a little oil in another pan and add chopped garlic. Fry till they turn deep brown. Add the noodles, salt and a little vinegar. Toss well.

Serve hot.