I am back, bang on the very first, as promised. While the past month flew by in a whoosh, with huge loads of mixed emotions and situations thrown in, I had my moments when I missed Kichu Khonn, writing, interacting with you all and most importantly, cooking.
But right now I am back in my kitchen, in Pune, and the weather that I love so much.
Outside, the rain clouds are slowly bidding adieu. Slowly but surely they are flying by .... sometimes giving glimpses of that blue sky that we have not seen in the past couple of months.
A few linger back .... trying to hide the sun for a while, giving the impression of raining down any moment. But then they too pass by. I am waiting for the bright sunshine that we soon shall get for the rest of the year ..... until it is time for the monsoons again.
Inside, the house is full of people. The family is here for another sad occassion. But right now both I and B are trying to keep them as much occupied and happy as possible.
I am cooking regularly and taking in their feed back happily. Jethumoni, Jethima, Kakima and both my Kakus had never got a chance to see me cook before. So every meal that I make results in a lot of conversations on the table.
I watch them banter and miss Bapi ... who would happily munch on a burnt roti made by me with a serene face .... all over again.
|View from my balcony|
Now that it is not raining any more, every time there is a round of tea, almost all of them pull up chairs and sit in the balcony.
Jethumoni and both my kakus squabble with each other about their turn on the swing.
I watch them with affection .... it is like, in their age, they have turned children once again. Two losses back to back .... completing one year of both ... has taken its toll on them too.
I wish I could hold them here forever. Let them go to sleep at night without a worry on their brows for the next day.
Right now I have snatched a few moments to make this post. I can see the natives getting restless and want to open the door to the balcony. But I have said no going out in the cold and damp morning breeze before 9:00. Jethima is making tea in the kitchen .... so there will be no holding them back from stepping out soon. I need to complete this post before I join them there.
But since Pune's monsoon allows us to have hot soups and stews regularly, I make this often for lunch and eat the leftover for dinner too.
I used to call this the 'shaada shaada stew' because of its white colour. But don't go by that bland or delicate colour .... this stew packs a punch of flavours. A great way to get some vegetables into you too.
It is very warm and comforting and extremely light on the tummy.
I keep my chicken pieces whole in this. If you want to, you can shred them too.
Chicken pieces - 250 gms
Vegetables - I used carrots, sweet corn, potato, cabbage, etc. , chopped
Onion - 1, sliced thinly
Garlic - 4 fat cloves, sliced thinly
Ginger - small sized, sliced thinly
Butter - 1 cube
Black cardamom - 1
Whole black pepper - 6 to 8
Milk - half cup
Maida - 2 tbsp
Salt and sugar to taste
Water - around 2 cups or a little more
How to :
Warm the butter in a pressure cooker on low heat.
Do not burn.
Add the peppercorns + cardamom + onions + garlic.
Fry till translucent.
Add the ginger slices and the chicken.
Stir for a good while but on low heat.
Add the vegetables and fry till the raw smell goes away.
Now add water and raise heat.
Add salt and sugar.
Close lid and cook for 3 whistles on low heat.
(The cooking time will depend on the quality of your chicken. Give an extra whistle than usual for the chicken to be real soft. )
Cool and let the steam release on its own.
Remove cover and set on simmer.
Do a taste test and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Mix the maida in the milk .... make sure there are no lumps.
Add it to the simmering stew and cover.
Let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
Butter is good for health ... so go ahead and indulge.
I sometimes add some dry crushed Italian herbs and some chilli flakes too.
Great with bread or rotis on the side.
I love to eat it as is.
A bowlful of this piping hot goodness is all you need to drive the cold outside as well as the melancholy inside far, far away.
The flavours are exactly the same and there is no difference in the recipe except the chicken.