Thursday, 13 April 2017

Enchor er halka jhol / Kathal ki tariwali sabzi / Raw Jackfruit cooked in a light gravy

Kathal er jhol
 All my life I have heard that Kathal or the raw Jackfruit is the vegetarian equivalent of meat. Probably due to its resemblance as well as its iron and fibre content.
And so has to be cooked like meat .... complete with onions and ginger and garlic paste and smothered with garam masalas, a dash of curd, etc. etc.
Now .... I have not had a great relationship with the raw jackfruit. Ever.
Not as an adult. Never as a child.
While I loved, and still do, the ripe jackfruit and can never fathom why many people in my home wrinkled their noses at its smell, I never gave a thought, leave alone a second look to any kathal dish on the table.
If I had to eat meat, I always had chicken or mutton. Why on earth would people cook a vegetable with a huge fuss, just pretending it to be meat or like meat ... I could never understand.
Thus was the story till I got married.

At the time, raw jackfruit was either not readily available in Pune or I did not know the right places to look it for. And I had no reason to do so too.
But it turned out that the husband loves jackfruit curry. Which obviously led me to asking around for places where I could find it.
I do not remember exactly where I found it finally and when. Maybe in the Mandai.
All I remember is the piece that I got looked very limp, yellow and dry.

Came back home and started to prep it ... which turned into something hugely disastrous. After 1 full hour and half a bottle of mustard oil smeared all over my hands and fingers, which still stuck to each other in that sticky white glue, a little knife all smeared with oil and glue that barely scratched the kathal, I was almost in tears.
And gave up.

Trying washing my hands was another story.
Finally I called Didi. She patiently explained how to go about the whole thing.
But all I was interested in was to get my hands and fingers clean.
And promised myself that I will never touch the darned thing again.

Kathal curry
But that was not to be.
I did venture into dealing with it again. And learnt slowly.
Now, I know how to handle and cut a raw jackfruit without any hassles. 
I ask the green grocer to peel it and cut it into big chunks .... maybe two or three chunks for half a kilo of kathal
All I do is wash them under running water and cook it with some salt and turmeric powder, in the pressure cooker, for two whistles on medium heat.
And then, cutting it is a breeze.

Earlier, following hearsay, I have tried cooking the kathal just like meat is cooked. Lots of ginger garlic paste, onion, garam masalas, etc. etc.
But, very truthfully, have never quite enjoyed it.
B would eat it happily, but only once or twice. Not more than that.

This time, I decided to go by my instincts.
Had boiled and frozen a good kathal, but could not decide on a recipe.
Finally, I decided to try a light version. The hot weather played its part too.
And it was a vegetarian day for me ... so I wanted something that I too will eat without much ado ... thus saving me for making something for myself.
And settled on this recipe .... something that will have a hint of garam masala flavours but not very rich with garlic or onions.
I wanted a thin, light gravy that will allow the taste of the raw jackfruit to come through.

And what I got in the end is a very well flavoured light gravy with the kathal flavours shining through. I had added boiled potatoes, since the kathal was already cooked, and they soaked up the flavours of the gravy beautifully.

Need :

Raw jackfruit / Enchor / Kathal - ¼ kg,
( pressure cooked for two whistles on low heat, with a little salt and cut into medium sized pieces)
Boiled potatoes - 4 , cut into cubes
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp 
Black cardamom - 1, crushed 
Tej pata / Bay leaf - 1 
Dry red chillies - 2, broken
Grated ginger - 1 tsp
Tomato - 3, pureed
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Dhaniya / Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin powder - 1 tsp ( I used my roasted jeera powder )
Oil - 3 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )
Ghee - 1 tsp(skip it if you are vegan )
Salt - to taste
Kathal curry

How to :
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil.
Fry the kathal cubes.
Remove and keep aside.

Heat the rest of the oil.

Add the cardamom + jeera + tej pata + dry red chilli + grated ginger.
Stir and add the tomato puree immediately.

Add haldi + mirchi + dhania powder + jeera powder.
Fry well, on high heat, till oil starts to leave sides.

Add enough water for a gravy.
Let in the cut potatoes and kathal.
Adjust salt.
Cover and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer covered for 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove cover.
Add ghee.

Cover, simmer for a minute and then remove from heat.
Let it stand for 5 minutes, covered.

Serve hot.
Jackfruit curry
This curry goes great with everything ... rice, rotis, luchi or parathas.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Mangshor Ghugni

Mangshor ghugni
With Poila Boishakh just around the corner, I thought I will give my light, vegetarian recipes a skip and post this Mangshor Ghughni.
The photos have been in my drafts for quite some time now ... and I really have no reason why I did not post this still.
What with summer bearing down heavily on us much before the expected time, I seriously doubt any Bengali will cook up a rich, heavy feast to celebrate this first day of the Bengali new year.
But having said that, I know there will be feasts.
And then there is always Unienzyme.

I do not have any intention of eating out in this weather and have decided to stick at home and cook something light and traditional.
For old friends coming by.

This year, my menu for the Bengali New year or Poila Boishakh will be from my blog. Everything that I plan to cook is here on Kitchen-e-Kichu Khonn.

Like this Mishti Polau, this very light Narkel chicken, some bhajas or vegetable fries, a Doi Maach or a kalia with the Rui / Rohu fish, and Aamer chaatni.
For the vegetarians, I will prepare some Koraishutir kochuri ( I have already made and frozen the pur / stuffing ) and this delightful Saunf paneer.
Planning to get some mishti doi from our Bengali shop, if possible.

I am hoping this will be enough.
I had made this Mangshor ghugni sometime back when I had some guests over.
Actually, all I had to do was to put together the already prepared and frozen Chicken keema with a freshly cooked ghugni.
That's all.

I had kept some chopped onions, green chillies , saunth / tamarind chutney and some homemade Aam kasundi on the side for the vegetarians. They loved sprinkling the condiments themselves and playing with the level of spices in different helpings.

For the minced chicken :

Cook the chicken kheema this way.
For the ghugni :

Need :

Dry white peas - 1 cup, soaked over night
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Whole red chillies - 2, broken
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Ginger + garlic paste - 1 tbsp, home made
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Roasted jeera powder - 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - to taste
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil - 2 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )

How to :

Boil the matar or the dry peas the way I have done for this recipe.
They should be cooked yet stay almost whole.
Not soft and mushy like I make for the simple, light Ghugni or the Ragda pattice.

In a kadahi / wok, heat mustard oil.
Add jeera + dry red chillies + chopped onions.
Fry till the onions turn reddish.

Add the ginger + garlic paste.
( Remember the chicken kheema will have ginger garlic too. So go easy on this. )
Fry well.

Add turmeric powder + red chilli powder +  sugar.
Fry well till the masala starts to dry up and the raw smell is gone.

Now add the boiled matar / white peas + water and mix well on high heat.
Adjust water + salt.

Cover and simmer for around 5 minutes on low heat.

Remove cover and add the chicken keema and mix well.
Check for salt.

Adjust water, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes till the flavours mix well.

Remove cover, sprinkle red chilli powder, roasted jeera powder + garam masala powder.
Give a mix.

Cover , raise heat, give a boil, switch off heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes.

Serve hot.

This goes very well with paratha or luchi.


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Kaddu ka Raita / Kumror Raita

Kaddu ka raita
Raita is a good way to get some vegetables as well as curd into your system. Especially in these dry, hot days of summer.
The heat has been much too torturous this year. Keeping us listless.
I cannot bear being in the kitchen for long, neither in the mornings nor in the evenings.
Inspite it being my favourite place in my house.
Yes, not even my den can keep me in for more than a few minutes. Even if I am working on a project ... be it a knitting, or sewing or plain reading, I get restless and turn to my kitchen for respite. I love looking up the shelves, picking legumes to be soaked, dals to be boiled ... or just make lists of stuff that need to be picked up on my next grocery trip.
But not anymore.
The a/c beckons and I rush back.
I have even shifted my laptop from the kitchen to my den ... and that is where you will find me holed up these days ... most of the time that is.

Kumror raita
When it comes to cooking at all, I am sticking to a lot of salads. And if not salads, I turn to boiled vegetables. Just pick your favourite vegetable or chicken or fish, steam or roast in the oven, toss with a dressing of your choice and you are ready to face lunch or dinner.
Easy and light.
And if at all I am eating rice, I turn to our good old makha or bhate. A dash of mustard oil, some chopped green chillies and onions and some fried bori ... all mashed up together and eaten cool, with panta bhaat / pokhala / or rice in water.
Or just curd and rice.
Pure bliss on a hot summer noon.

And I make sure I eat curd on the side too.
Fresh, homemade.
Throughout the year, we have the chaas / taak / ghol on the side with our lunch. But in summer, the curd comes in the form of cool raitas on our table.
I have already posted the very healthy Lauki ka raita long back. Today I share this quick, almost no oil except for the tempering, raita made with the kaddu / kumro / pumpkin.
Many people grate the pumpkin ... I do not. My hands cannot take that much of pressure ... so I cut them into cubes and steam or boil them first.

Kaddu ka raita
Need :

Ripe pumpkin - cut into medium cubes ( I kept the skin on )
Fresh curd
Mustard seeds - for tempering
Whole red chillies - for tempering
Roasted jeera powder
Roasted red chilli powder
Rock salt or plain salt
1 tsp oil or ghee
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped
Water to cook the pumpkin in

How to :

In a pan, take just enough water to submerge the pumpkin pieces.
Add a little plain salt.
Cover and cook till the pumpkin is soft and mushy.

Remove from heat and cool.
Do not throw away the remaining water, if any.

Kumror raita
Beat curd with a little salt.
Add the cooled pumpkin and lightly mash it ... just to break it up.

Heat the oil or ghee.
Add the mustard seeds.  When they start to crackle, add the whole red chillies and remove from immediately.

Pour on the curd and pumpkin mixture carefully. It will splutter a lot.

Sprinkle jeera powder + red chilli powder + coriander leaves + a little rock salt.

Serve cool.

I make a big batch and keep it in the fridge.
Stays well for a week, but you will finish it off much before the week is over. .

Kumror raita
Here is a look at my lunch plate from one of these days.

Have a lovely summer .... stay away from the sun , drink loads of water and eat cooling food.
Stay well all!