Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Shakarkand aur Mung wadi ki sabzi

Mung vadi with shakarkand
I was standing at the chemist's, waiting for the man to hand me my medicines and the bill. The store was empty and I was the only one on this side of the counter. The salesman was busy on the computer, punching in my long list, when I saw a man walk in.
Lanky, unkempt hair and maybe in his early thirties.
He was wearing an uniform belonging to a security guard agency .... must still be on duty. Or just leaving.
He gave me a look that plainly disapproved of my presence. I looked away.
He waited, restlessness speaking out. Shifted from one leg to another, drummed his fingers on the counter top, looked all over the store, looked back outside.
I wondered at his nervousness.
Just then the salesman came up and handed me my paper pouch of medicines and the bill too.

Looking up at the man, he asked "Haan, kya chahiye?"
Counting out the money, I saw from the corner of my eye that he was still fidgeting.
The hesitation in replying struck me.
The salesman nodded his head in askance again. This time the guy said ... "Do na. Wahi."
Oh god! I thought ... waiting for that cringe moment.
And prayed that the salesman at least has the sense to wait for me to leave.
But no.
He promptly reaches out and brings down something and plonks it on the counter.

I slammed down the notes and the change and was about to rush out when my eyes caught the small box on the counter top.
It was a Fair and Handsome cream for men!!

Ranga aloo bori diye
Now to today's recipe ... one that has won my heart and makes me wonder every now and then as to why have I not used sweet potatoes more in my dishes , other than in the occasional Chorchori or the Ranga Alur Pantua. 

I had brought along a big bagful of wadis from our trip to Amritsar. Huge in size, spicy, they are a delight to add to any dish .... especially light flavoured ones.
They are so packed with punch  ... the flavours of whole dhania, saunf, red chilli,etc. are so evident that the Bengali me often just fries them lightly and enjoys them on the side of some plain rice and dal.
I have made Aloo mungaudi ki sabzi with them. And have also added them crushed and fried to my very favourite Aloo bhate.

But last night, I wanted to make a quick sabzi to go with some light moong ki dal and rotis.
Was thinking in the lines of the Aloo mung wadi ki sabzi when some sweet potatoes or Shakarkand caught my eye.
Fresh, red and of good size ... I had bought them with the hope of roasting them for a snack; which obviously I did not.
Picked up two medium sized ones and knew what I would be making for dinner.

The sweetness of the Shakarkand was the perfect complement to the robust spiciness of the Punjabi wadis.
And thus came out a beautifully, spicy side dish that went great with thick, hot rotis ... a perfect winter dinner.
I added some onions after much deliberation ... and was glad I did.
The wadis are very hard and tend to soak up a lot of water. I wanted my sabzi to be soft and slightly mushy kind.
Hence the onions helped to retain moisture.

You can call this a Aloo Borir tarkari too. :-)
Sweet potatoes with lentil dumplings
Need :

Wadis / Dry Lentil dumplings -
( if you do not have Punjabi vadis, you can use the regular ones, home  made or oven made or store bought )
Sweet potatoes / Shakarkand - cut into cubes
Onion - chopped
Jeera / Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
 Hing / Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Haldi / Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Red chilli powder - ½ tsp
Amchur powder - 1 tsp
Dhania / Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Cooking oil - 3 tbsp

How to :

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadahi.
Fry the vadis / wadis / boris lightly.
If they are big sized, then crush them a little.
Remove and keep aside.

Wadis or Boris or Sundried lentil dumplings

Add 1 tbsp more oil to the kadahi.
Add the jeera + hing.
Add the onions and fry till translucent.

Now add the cubed sweet potatoes + salt.
Fry well on high heat.

Lower heat, add haldi powder + red chilli powder.
Stir well.
Raise heat and add water to cook the potatoes.
Cover and cook till the potatoes are done.

Remove cover, add the wadis + dhania powder + amchur powder.
Add a little more water.
Cover and cook till the wadis are soft and the whole thing turns dryish.

Shakarkand with punjabi wadis
Serve hot.
Goes great with hot rotis or parathas.

It was a dear friend and a wonderful person Aparna who had suggested that I do buy these vadis when in Amritsar. And I am so happy I listened to her. Got three big sized packs of different kinds of vadis, ignoring B's skeptical looks.
Thanks Aparna! I owe you one for this.

Enjoy all!!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Rui maach garam masala bata diye / Rohu cooked in garam masala paste

rui mach recipe
This recipe is a keeper.
It belongs to my cousin didi's  mother in law, who uses garam masala paste to make this jhol.
That is the difference from other recipes. The garam masala paste is added from time to time during the koshaoing or when frying the other masalas.
The aroma that comes out is divine.
I am absolutely in love with this particular macher jhol.
If you eat fish, then I am sure you will want to make this again and again.
For your own self, for family, for friends.

And the fish ... usually Rohu / Rui ... is fried  till firm and crisp on the outside.
Somewhat like the fish pieces served in a biyebarir macher jhol. 
And to do that, you don't have to deep fry them .... as usually done. Just fry them on a flat pan, with minimal oil, on low heat to crisp the sides.  (You can follow the post here. )

But that is where the similarity ends.
I will come back with the recipe for the biyebarir macher jhol sometime later. But for now, let us focus on this wonderful macher jhol in garam masala.
Not at all complicated.
And divinely fragrant. And flavourful.

Do add a pinch ... or more ... of sugar to this when cooking ... it complements the flavour of the cinnamon and the masala paste in whole.

Can't write much today. So just the recipe for you.

rohu fish with garam masala

Need :

Laung / Cloves - 3
Dalchini / Cinnamon - 1" stick
Black cardamom / Elaichi - 2
Rohu fish - 4 pieces , washed and marinated in salt+turmeric powder
Onions - 2, chopped
Garlic - 8 cloves, chopped
Grated ginger - 1 tbsp
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped 
Haldi / Turmeric - ½ tsp
Red chilli powder - ½ tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - ½ tsp
Mustard oil - 4 tbsp
rui maacher jhol

How to :

The masala :

Soak the cloves , the cinnamon and the cardamom overnight. 
Make a paste in your chutney grinder.
It will be coarse .... no matter how many times I run it, it stayed coarse.
If yours turns into a smooth paste, do use that in the recipe.
Otherwise do as I did - strain the paste with a little water at a time till the residue is drained dry.
If you want you can run it in the mixer again and strain it.

The curry :

Heat 2 tbsp of the mustard oil.
Fry the fish  on low heat till brown on both sides.
It should be firm and not soft like when lightly fried. 
Remove and keep aside.

Add 2 tbsp oil to the kadahi and add the chopped onions , garlic.
Fry well.
Now add the grated ginger, the haldi powder, red chilli powder and the sugar.

Fry till everything has mixed well and starts to turn dry.

Now add the chopped tomato and fry on high heat till it turns soft and mushy.
Keep adding a spoonful of the garam masala water while frying the tomato masala.
Do keep stirring constantly.

You will need around 2 or 3 tbsp of the masala water ... of course you can add more if you want to.

When the masala has been fried well and starts to turn dryish, on high heat add 3 cups of water.
Add salt.
Cover and let it boil for around 5 minutes, on low heat.

Remove cover and add the fish pieces.
Cover and cook for  around 5 more minutes.
Remove cover and simmer for 5 more minutes till the gravy dries up and reaches desired consistency.

I kept it dryish.
You can keep more gravy if you want to.

rui maach with garam masala bata

Serve hot.
Goes great with steamed rice.


Friday, 16 January 2015

Carrot and cabbage stir fry

Cabbage and carrot stir fry

Makar Sankaranti came and went by.
For some days, before it came, I was on a fast forward mode .... planning, prepping and writing ... in my mind ....  a good post as well as recipe of a good Pithe or Puli that are traditionally made on Sankaranti in Bengali homes.
It has been ages since I made a Pithe last; so was really looking forward to making something good.
Had soaked some rice and dal too.
Had stocked up with some good Patali gur ( date palm jaggery, available only in the winters ).
Had boiled the milk well and kept it ready in case I wanted to make some Pulis too.
Was waiting for a coconut to arrive ... had delegated that work to the man of the house.
When  .... bam! ... fell the lightning.

What else? I fall ill. Yes. Again.
A bout of fainting; hit the back of my head hard; resultant ... a temporary vertigo.
The funny part is I have no recollection of any of the events except the last one ... which is making me see daylights both during the days and the nights.
And in the noons and the evenings.
Everytime I try to lie down, or get up, the world and everything in it goes into a dizzy circle, spinning round and round and round ; till I have to shut my eyes to stop the dizzy picture.
Which of course makes matters worse.
It takes my eye shutting as an insult and starts spinning with double the speed.

The spell goes on for a few seconds but for me it might as well have been a whole lifetime.
And the back of my head throbs all the while.
Which is why I refuse to watch any inane Hindi movies these days. Those fights .... ugh.
The idiots have no idea what it feels like when the back of the head is hit. Else they wouldn't show people getting beaten up all over, so easily.

So that is where I am these days ... on a merry-go-round that refuses to stop.
Only ... it does not seem merry to me at all.

Carrot and cabbage warm salad
And instead of an exotic Pithe or Puli, I am serving you a simple stir fry, making the most of winter vegetables.
Quick, simple, tasty,easy. The mantra of my blog. 

 This recipe actually belongs to a blogger friend who had posted it on fb. I immediately tried it and shared it there too. And met her approval.
Since the winter sun is at its best on my table these days, I clicked a few photos, hoping to add to my quickly depleting drafts folder.
And yes, thanks to your encouragement in my earlier post, I have clicked these on my phone too. :-)

Also. there have been too many of posts on fish here, these days.
So while some good pieces of the Katla, some prawns, two pomfrets and half a kilo of Parshe fish sit in my freezer, I am posting this vegetable stir fry today.
I have used just carrots and cabbage in this fry.
Since it is abundant now, you can use some fresh green peas too. 

Carrot and cabbage stir fry

Need :

Cabbage, 1 cup - cut very thinly
Carrots - cut into juliennes
Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
Hing / Asafoetida  - 1 pinch
Fresh green chillies - 2 chopped
Lemon - half
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste ... a pinch maybe
Roasted and crushed peanuts - 1 tbsp
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp 

How to :

Heat oil in a kadahi.
Add the mustard seeds.
When they start to splutter, add the hing + green chillies.
Immediately add the carrots and the cabbage.

Stir fry on high heat for a minute. Mix everything well.
Lower heat and fry for another two minutes.

Add salt and fry some more on medium heat.
The vegetables should get cooked but not soggy ... there should be a slight crunch in them.

Add the crushed peanuts and squirt the lemon all over it.
Add the sugar, stir well on high heat.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Cabbage and carrot stir fry
This is great as a warm salad and goes great with some toasted garlic bread.

Otherwise, this can be enjoyed with both rotis as well as plain parathas ( recipe for the parathas here. )
Or on the side with some dal and rice.

Hope all of you had a beautiful Makar Sankaranti / Lohri / Pongal!
Have fun all ....  while I go back to that ice pack.


Friday, 9 January 2015

Coffee and Rum cake for the New Year 2015

Coffee and Rum cake

 While new year came and went by ... ok, I mean the first day of the new year when people go nuts and create a huge hullabaloo about god knows what was it that went and what is it that is coming ahead ...  came and went by, I was still grappling with the lack of enthusiasm to sit down and write a post here on Kichu Khonn.
I have loads of photographs; unedited.
I have some drafts lying by; unwritten.
And I have an empty mind; unopened.
Just to think and write something creates a huge wave of blankness in me, these days.
Lazy? Me? I guess so.
No. Yes. I am being lazy. There is nothing to hide now.
The very thought of penning down a few words to go with a recipe and some photos gives me the heebie jeebies these days.
What do I write? How do I start? Is it worth writing about? The photos have turned out so bad; should I do a post at all?
And after a few anxious minutes, I shut the laptop and walk away. And stay away as far as I can , from it . for the rest of the day. 

It is not that I have been doing nothing.
Oh ... I have been very much busy. As busy as a jobless person can be. 
I have been spending the days entertaining; sometimes people, sometimes myself ... read being lazy again ... going on long drives and a picnic or two thrown in between; falling ill ... which I do very well and with all sincerity ... and stay ill for a good number of days so that it becomes a well justified reason to stay away from making a blog post. 
And I have been cooking too. 
A lot, actually.
And loving it. 
But the thought of clearing the dining table to make space, arrange the food and set about taking photographs again overwhelms me. 
And drives me away  from the very thought of it. 
Coffee and rum cake with dry fruits
And this is the way my days have been going on for the past few weeks.  
I had, of course, remembered Christmas. And had diligently soaked a big bowlful of dry fruits in rum ... with all the good intentions of baking a rum cake for Christmas. And did bake a cake ,finally.
But that was that.
1st of Jan came and went ... and so did the rest of the days after it. Life went on in slow motion ... literally.
All my fish dishes, the deep fried fritters, the two types of khichuris to celebrate the cold weather ... all came and went by. Nary a photograph. Or a thought of a blogpost.

Until this morning.

I had just stepped out into the early morning on my balcony. The fog was still hanging in mid air ... just like I had left it last night. The sun was out ... crisp and bright. I closed my eyes , felt the cold air on my face and took a deep, long breath. 
And jumped out of my skin.

"Chalo, breakfast mein cake banate hain!"
I did not know when B had come and was standing quietly beside me.
Half of my breath still stuck at my throat, I did a double take. Not only at the suggestion but also at the plurals. A quick retort bubbled up but died down just as quickly.
Maybe this was it. Maybe B's enthusisam will give me that push I so needed.
So turned at him and said "Why not?!"

 And that was how this cake got made ... in twenty five minutes flat.
And I could not help but catch the morning sun on it; smiling at my thought ... now Kichu Khonn will have a new year post.
Coffee and Rum cake
Actually, I made two cakes ... which I always do with my measurements of flour and eggs.
This morning, I did not even refer to my posts. Just grabbed this and that and threw in them together.
There were some rum soaked dry fruits ... left over from the Christmas cake ... which I threw into the second cake's batter.
Sprinkled some coffee on the top ... I never mix the coffee with the batter ... and lo, my coffee rum cake was ready.

The first one was a plain vanilla cake.
I threw in 1 cupful of flour + ½ tsp baking powder + ½ cup ground sugar + 3 tbsp oil in a bowl and mixed well.
No, B did not help me with it ... proof ... my aching hands and shoulders.

Churned 3 eggs + 1 tsp vanilla essence in a mixer and dunked it into the flour.
Mixed the batter well.

B greased the tin and set the oven to pre heat at 150 degrees C.
I poured in half of the batter and put it to bake at 150 degrees C for 15 minutes.

The cake turned out wonderfully soft. And we found it full of ground sugar ... every bite was filled with beautiful, sugary sweet grains!
A new kind of experience for us.
I attribute it to the quick procedure ... I had not given the batter any time to soak or settle in ... just mixed and set it to bake.
Also. it did not get time to rest. Out of the oven ; into our mouths. 

We loved the fresh out of the oven , warm vanilla cake with our ginger tea.
No photos ... for obvious reasons. :-) 

Coffee and Rum cake

The second part of the batter got the dry fruits and coffee in addition. And also the rum that they were soaking in.
And here is our Coffee Rum cake with dry fruits.
And oh ... I did add some orange zest too.
And happily clicked photos. 

coffee and rum cake

Have a happy year, dear friends and readers.
Have a fresh year.
Have a blessed year.

My recipe for the Coffee cake is here -

My recipe for the Rum cake is here -

And the mix of both is right here, on this post. :-)
My next post will have a detailed recipe; as always. Promise.