I am dead tired these days. The house is perpetually filled with people.
A hectic birthday .... that did nothing more than remind me that I am aging ... a fact that has long been affirmed by the mirror that reflected the shiny strands with much impudence ... and then rejoiced at my inability to indulge in my only poison ... a Black forest cake.
I do not mind a luchi and mangsho menu. But a birthday without a Black forest cake is no birthday at all.
And no ... a Chinese dinner at the Hyatt did not console me.
I am not very forgiving ... and have resolved to make it up to myself in every possible way .... one day.
One day when I have a whole day to myself, when I can cook only for myself, listen only to Jagjit Singh and not someone screaming "Aaj blue hai pani pani pani".
One day when I will have my house back to myself, my favourite chair at my favourite place, the rugs not trampled upon, the beds do not look like being walked over by a thousand elephants.
One day. Surely.
I live in hope.
Until then I will take some time out for myself to make some quick blog posts.
After all, I need to breathe too.
Most times, the food that I cook is from memories. Rather, for memories.
Most times, I try to recreate a dish that I might have tasted somewhere and liked.
Given our numerous travels as well as our hunt for good quality food, I often come across that one dish or snack or street food that I want to hold on to .... its taste, its flavours and the memories along with it.
Like the plain Ghugni that we had at Konark, the Ramrochak tarkari of Jagannath, the prasadwali Khichdi that we had at a temple, the Dal Bati from our Rajasthan trips, the Jailsalmeri chana at Jaisalmer, ... the list goes on and on.
And then there is the nostalgia of holding on to the memories of food cooked by my loved ones ... Thamma, Kakima, Jethima, Boro Ma .... and many more. My blog is full of them.
It was this same nostalgia and craving that made me cook this simple dish that I had at the Jagannath temple at Puri once. It came along with the Abhada Bhoga / prasad . And like every dish from the prasad, it was heavenly.
Lightly sweet, it had the flavour of ghee and a light pungency of mustard paste.
Very very simple, I had fallen in love with it that very day.
And have made it again and again at home .... mostly as an accompaniment to Khichuri or Luchi.
This time, when I made it, I decided to click some pictures and make a post after all.
Pumpkin - grated, 1 big cupful
Coconut - grated, 5 tbsp (more if you like) ( Fresher the coconut, better the taste )
Mustard paste - 1 tsp
( I use the yellow mustard seeds that are not too strong; make sure you soak them well before making the paste.
Also I do not add salt or green chillies when grinding them. )
Ginger - grated, 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - ¼ tsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Whole dry red chilli - 1, broken
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste ( for Jagannath prasad, they use jaggery)
How to :
Heat the oil and the ghee in a heavy bottomed kadahi or pan.
Add the jeera.
When it starts to splutter, add the broken red chillies.
Add the grated ginger and the haldi powder.
Fry for a while, but not for too long.
Just give a few stirs and add the pumpkin.
Stir well and add the coconut.
Add salt and cover.
Cook till the pumpkin is done, but there is still some moisture left.
Remove cover and add the mustard paste and sugar.
Stir well and cover.
Cook for five more minutes.
Remove cover and wait till all moisture dries up.
The whole thing will turn into mush.
This is great with Luchis, Parathas or Khichuri.
At the Jagannath temple, this is served with rice though. Or Khichdi.