Saturday, 23 March 2013

Rui macher kalia jhol / Rohu fish in spicy gravy

(I've been getting a lot of mails and comments complaining about the centre aligned posts.
 So am going back to the common left aligned. Do let me know if this is ok with you. )
I loved the centre aligned though. :-( . 

The whole month has flown by ... with me getting to make only two posts. Can't blame myself ... have been caught up with a whirlwind of backlog chores. As well as preparing the house ... and myself ... for the visiting family. Bhaiya, Bhabi and their son were here and spent a week with us ... which flew by in no time.
Now that I get to catch my breath, only for a few days albeit, that I visit my own blog like a new visitor.
And see the almost empty March.

Even if I do have a draft full of snaps and recipes waiting, I did not get the time at all.
Even today, when the couch beckons and lazing around seems a priority ... I really need to get my solitude back ... in my mind ... I decide to make a post after all.

This jhol is adapted from Bong Mom's Maacher Kalia.
I made some changes ... mostly to cater to my convenience and added more water to make a thinner gravy.
Loved it and have been making rui jhol this way most times.
You can decrease the amount of water and make it the Kalia too. No difference in flavours or taste.

Need :
3 Rohu fish pieces - cleaned and fried lightly in mustard oil
1 Tomato -grated
1 Onion  - ground to paste
Ginger and garlic paste - around 1 tbsp
Fresh coriander leaves - cleaned, washed and chopped
Turmeric powder - a pinch 
Jeera / cumin seeds - a pinch
Red chilli powder - a little
Whole red chillies - 2
Salt - to taste
Mustard oil ... or the oil left over from frying the fish
(Bong Mom adds potatoes ... I sometimes do too ... but did not have any this time)

How to :

Heat oil. Add the jeera. When it starts to splutter, add the whole red chillies ... break them into half first and the onion paste. Fry well for a while.
Then add the ginger+garlic paste. Keep frying.
Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and fry till oil leaves the sides.
Now add the tomato and fry some more.
Add enough water and salt.
Bring to a boil, simmer for a while.
Add the fish pieces and adjust salt.
Cover and cook for a while.
Sprinkle the coriander leaves just before removing from heat.

Great with plain, hot rice.

Another way of my Rui Macher jhol ( with Panch phoron! ) is here.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Mutton Biryani

( Vegetarians can make this with any spicy veg curry. )

 Or quick Mutton biryani.
Anybody who is a regular on Kichu Khon will know about my obsession with
quick and simple cooking.
So this biryani is not about cooking this and soaking that.
Making of this masala and grinding of that masala.
Nah ... just pick up a bowl of leftover mutton curry and cook it with rice.
Garnish it with slivers of fried onion or Birista.
And done!
You have as good as new Mutton biryani in your hands.
Or plate.

friends on FB suggested I make a biryani with the left over curry.
And left over mutton curry I did have .... what with only me having it ...
So jumped right in.

They even directed me on how to make the perfect fried onion.
Result ... I had a great mutton biryani!
Made my day perfect.

 After yesterday's rant, I don't have much to write about today.
So will straight go to the recipe.
If you have already cooked mutton curry at home, this is a breeze.

Need :

Left over mutton curry
Whole garam masala -  cloves+black cardamom+cinnamon
Bay leaves
Basmati rice - washed well and drained ( I do not soak )
Cashews - lightly fried
Onions - cut into thin slices
Oil - to deep fry the onion slices
Biryani masala powder
Lemon juice

 How to :

The fried onion :
Heat enough oil and deep fry the onion slices in batches.
I sprinkle a little sugar on them.
Remove when well fried and brownish in colour.

 The rice :
Heat ghee in a heavy pan.
Add the whole garam masalas. 
Now add the rice and stir fry well for some time.
When the ghee coats the rice well, add equal amount of water as rice, salt and cover and cook till rice is half done.
Or ... when all water is absorbed.
Remove from heat and fluff it up with a fork.
Better still ... spread it out on a plate ... it will dry up and the grains should separate easily.

Arranging the biryani :
Now take another heavy bottom kadahi ... or a flat based pressure cooker would do too.
Smear it well with ghee.
Spread a layer of the cooked rice and sprinkle some biryani masala on it.
Now spread some mutton pieces and gravy all over.
Then spread some  fried onions and cashew and cover with another layer of rice.
Continue for at least three layers.
Finish off with a layer of rice finally ... covered with the rest of the onion slices.

Put a heavy lid on and keep on low heat for at least half an hour.
I keep a heavy iron tawa on the heat and keep the cooker on it.

Serve immediately after removing from heat.
Curd raita goes great on the side with this.
I chopped some onions, green chillies and cucumber real small,
mixed with curd
and added a dash of salt and black pepper powder.

Look at that fragrant bowlful!
Doesn't it tempt you try it out pronto? :-)


A vegetarian version of this biryani is here ... the Kathal Biryani.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Aam ki chutney / Mango chutney

It has been one of those days when everything goes right.
Everything goes smoothly ... all errands done, all chores finished, every pending bill paid, 
every encounter positive.
Yes, the latter matters most to me.
After a spate of never ending dark days ... some days it seemed I would never ever be able to get up
 and face the world again 
... some days I had felt I would never be able to see the light of the next day,
a little goodwill and a little cheer handed to me
helps me move ahead.
Helps me realise how precious those few people are ... who stood by me ... from near and afar ...
giving me strength, love and the power to believe
that a better day will come. 
Which is why every smile that comes my way matters to me.
Every good word said to me takes me to newer heights of happiness.
Every good deed done to me reaffirms my faith in humanity.
Make me want to believe that every person is not like the ones who have come into our lives being friends, and left us all alone;
cheated, defeated and making a joke out of our trust in them.

 I was not like this. Not always. Not ever.
I flew through life ... with achievements and love. Doing good deeds.
Feeling secure. 
But time brings about tests.
Untold surprises. 
Testing our faith, our resilience. Our ability to still  have trust on the higher power.
And those who move ahead, survive.
Which is why today I appreciate every good in life even more than ever.
Because I know ... there is very little good left in the world.
And if a little of that has come your way, you are blessed.
I am blessed. I realise that.
And I know ... life will be a heady mix of the sweet, the bitter, the spice and the tang.
Love it ... and it will love you back.

Which is why, when the salesman at the store today, made a small gesture of
putting us in a different section of the store where only
special billings are done,
saving us the tedious waiting at the long, long billing counters,
I thanked him
and added a  "God bless you." spontaneously.
The smile on his face showed he was touched too.
Yes, I believe in the higher power.
He will give back what he has taken.
He will return every deed done ... to Him and to us.

Spicy, tangy, flavourful life.
 Just like this mango chutney my Ma in law makes. 
Simple, tangy and spicy. 
You'll love the flavours. And since it does not have a lot of masala, you will get that strong flavour of raw mango ... which I'm sure, all of us love.
Just that very fragrance tells us summer is here!

And this is very different from the Bengali Aamer chaatni.


Raw mango - cut into thin slices ( I tried grated, but they turn into mush quick)
Whole jeera/cumin seeds
Hing / asafoetida
Haldi powder / turmeric
Sugar (can be done with jaggery too)
A little oil
Red chilli powder

How  to :

Heat oil. Add the jeera and hing.
Add the mango slices and stir fry on high heat.
Add the haldi powder, salt and sugar.
Cover and cook till the mangoes are done but not mushed up.
Add the red chilli powder and give one more stir.
Remove from heat and cool.

Serve cool, on the side.
Goes great with parathas or pulao.