Monday, 26 June 2017

Adai, Sambar, Aloo bhaji and Mirchi ki chutney - a South Indian breakfast on the plate today

Adai sambar bhaji chutney
I am on a serious mission these days. A mission of doing nothing.
Yes, doing nothing. And that means doing nothing at all.
Call it a strike; call it a rebellion .... call it anything you want to. But that is the truth and the whole truth.
I do not remember exactly when it happened ... but something inside me has snapped. The last I remember is cooking up a storm ... two huge degchis of biryani ... yummy, fragrant, spicy yet non greasy biryani .... one chicken and one paneer ... for guests and ourselves on Sunday.
If you are following me in Instagram or on Facebook, you must have seen the photographs there.

Spent the whole day sweating it out in the kitchen ... and loved every moment of it. Enjoyed through the latter half of the day ... watched the match .... felt totally disappointed at what our team was doling out and left it halfway to go out and have waffles ... and all in all had a good day.
And the very next day, something broke inside me. And I just did not feel like getting up and doing any chores.
At all.
At first I thought it might just be the 'start of another week' blues. But no, it worsened as the days went by and today, we are bang in the middle of the week and I am still not moving.
B is indulging .... we went out for dinner on Monday but at other times he has been cooking.
Let me see how long this goes on.

I think I need a break; a trip. Seriously.
And all those photos of  road trips or overseas trips on fb and insta are not helping too.
Social media has its own pressures ... that I can say.
So when the weather in Pune has turned so unbelievably beautiful and the view and the breeze on my balcony is to happily die for, I ignore it like a moron and long for a drive out into the unknown.

Yes, I am a moron after all, I guess.
Like, I have not done anything all this morning except to wallow in morbidity and letting Jagjit singh croon and pull me all the more down into the dark.
Like I have not made a single post here since the last one. And neither am I clicking any photos too. Just the ones that are offhandedly clicked on my iphone and posted on insta.
I'm giving in to social media, finally.
Adai sambar chutney
So, pulled myself up and without moving an inch from my settled position in my den and post this beautiful plateful of breakfast before it languishes any more in my 'to post' folder.

I often soak rice + dal and make a batter and store it. And never have to worry about breakfast most days of the week.
Sometimes I up the amount of the dal or soak mixed dals for a protein rich yet light meal.
While this kind of breakfast is very common in my house ... check out the Chakuli pitha or the soru chakli pithe and others, I have not done a post just for the lack of time needed to click proper photographs.
I do post photos on my page on facebook though ... and now on instagram too.
If you follow me there, you are more updated with my cooking, I would say.

To make this light yet very filling breakfast, all the prep work you need is to keep the batter ready. And maybe have some boiled potatoes in the fridge too.
This aloo ki bhaji is usually made for the masala dosa, but it goes perfectly well with the Adai too ... so do try to pair them.
I make it slightly on the sweeter side ... the kind that the Udipi restaurants serve with puris too as puri bhaji.
How to make the Potato bhaji for masala dosa :


Boiled potatoes - 2 medium, lightly smashed
Onion - 1 medium, chopped roughly
Haldi / Turmeric powder - a pinch
Fresh green chillies - 2, chopped
Curry leaves - a sprig will do
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Water - a little
Urid dal - 1 tsp

How to :

Heat the oil in a small wok.

Add the mustard seeds.
As soon as they splutter, add the dal and fry a little.
Now add the onions and green chillies and fry till the onions turn translucent.

Add the curry leaves and the boiled potato.

Add the haldi + salt + sugar.

Mix well. Raise heat and add a little water ... just so everything comes together.

Keep stirring till it dries up.

Remove and keep aside.

How to make the Mirchi ki chutney :

Adai sambar chutney

Need :

Ripe chillies - (not the dry, red ones) 6
Garlic - 2 cloves
Jeera - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste

How to :

Run everything in the mixer to make a coarse paste.

You can also try my other chutneys too.

How to make the Adai :

 Need :

Red Masoor dal - 1 cup
Yellow moong dal - 1 cup
Urad dal - 1 cup
Rice - 3 cups
Water to grind
Salt - to taste

How to :

Soak everything for 4 to 5 hours.

Grind in a mixie and let the batter stand overnight.

Use a little at a time and refrigerate the rest. I keep mine for almost a week.

Heat a seasoned tawa or a non stick griddle.

Apply a little oil and on high heat pour a ladleful of the batter.
Spread quickly and lower heat.

Don't try to make it too thin.
Cover and let one side cook well.

Remove cover and flip and let the other side cook .
Apply a little oil if needed.
Do not cover.

The slightly thick Adai is good to soak in the sambar.

How to make the Sambar :

You can follow the recipe for Sambar here ... or here.
Will make a new post on it later.

Adai sambar chutney

I will be back with a better post and better writing, hopefully soon.

Till then ... enjoy!!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Dahibara Aloodom - Cuttack's favourite and much loved street food

Dahi bara aloo dom
 Right now, at this moment, the state of Odisha is celebrating the monsoons with a festival that is very unique to it.
It is celebrating Raja, the festival of Mother Earth turning fertile and ready for the sowing season.
Primarily an agricultural state, Odisha has this festival celebrated with much enthusiasm at homes where every unmarried girl and married woman is celebrated during this festival.
It is believed that Mother Earth goes through the ritual of menstruation during this time and hence Raja is celebrated as a festival of fertility. There is a festive air all over and the four days of the Raja festival sees a lot of home cooked delicacies too.

The festival of Rajo ( pronounced as Rawjaw ), starts with one day before the actual festival. That day is called Sajabaja ... or decking up with new clothes, flowers, etc. or preparing for decking up by getting together new clothes and ornaments.
All agricultural work is stopped from the first day of Rajaw or Pahili rajaw till the fourth day.
Women dress up, cook, eat and share numerous delicacies like Podo pitha and other kinds of pitha, rich curries of mutton and chicken, and all kinds of sweets and payesh too.
Swings are a must ... every home and backyard will have a swing set up, either on the branch of a strong tree ... usually the mango or jamun or a neem ... and girls swing on it for fun.
This resembles the Teej festival of Rajasthan, that celebrates monsoon too.

Dahibara aloodom
 While my heart yearns for those beautiful days of summer vacation spent at my maternal Dadu's house in Cuttack, I set to create as many Odiya dishes as possible in my kitchen ... in celebration of those days and their memories.
Since my mother and her siblings were a big lot in number, the huge house would fall short when it came to accomodating all of them when they visited with their families.
So many would spill over to Boro Masi's place .
But would get together as soon as the day started and we kids, more than 15 in numbers, would spend the days with numerous adventures and mishaps, that would later stay on in the family as anecdotes to be recalled during get togethers.

I remember choto Mama would set up a swing for us in one of the branches of the huge ... and when I say huge it means HUGE ... Neem trees on the bank of our pond.
The pond had a cemented border and steps on four sides, complete with cement chairs for people to sit on and enjoy the cool breeze in the summer evenings when there would be no electricity power.
It was surrounded with other strong trees like the mango and the jamun too, but this particular neem stood a little behind the steps of the pond .... which gave the elders the assurance that no child will drop into the water, while swinging.

The swing itself was a broad, wooden plank with four holes drilled into it at the corners.
Thick jute ropes would then be knotted into them and tied in the most unique way ... nobody could undo them ... they were so secure.
And the swing would be set up in the highest possible, strongest branch ... which means it was a long swing. When we gained momentum and swing way high up, we would be directly above the waters of the pond. While I have never tried it, my elder cousin brothers have often jumped from that high right into the water, with a huge splash ... that would send us young ones shrieking into the water too ... but from the steps.
Dadu had made sure there was a gradual slope and the it was cemented too, from the banks, so that the littlest of grandchild could step into the waters and enjoy.

dahibara aloodum
 The other beautiful memory that comes back to me from during those vacations is the gorging on street food. By the elder cousins to be precise .... we kids would merely be around but share the excitement, nonetheless.
Street food was a no no, as usual. But the older ones got to bribe the househelps to get us some anyway.
Secret messages would be passed along, avoiding the nosy elders, and we would all get together on the terrace of the third floor of the house .... where most elders avoided going due to the arduous climb ... and get one of the house helps to get us the forbidden street snacks.

One day it would be the singara + aloo chop, the Ghugni on the other. Or the much loved phuchka / gup chup ( as it called in Odiya) on other days.
But it was that one thing that everyone kept their ears perked up for .... that long tone of the man on the cycle, slowly pedaling through the quiet, lonely neighbourhoods on hot summer afternoons, two huge handis of aluminium hanging on both sides of his cycle, calling out "Alooooooo dummm dahi baraaaaa!".
And then two long rings of his cycle bell.

N didi would be up in a flash .... tip toe out of the room, and jostle and bully any one of the house helps to wake up and send the sleepy eyed fellow to buy the lip smacking Aloo dum dahi bara.
The man would make a small bowl by folding a fresh, green shaal leaf, quickly throw in some aloo dum and some break a bara / vada from the dahi vada, add some chopped onions and green chillies. a handful of spicy mixture, some more dahi and some spicy powdered masalas. A final dash of red chillies and rock salt and he hands over the leaf.
Sometimes he would add the ghugni to it too ... but not always.

By the time it would reach us, the leaf would be leaking and the precious droplets of the spicy water would be disappearing fast (which is why we sent the boy with small boxes much later ... helped by our Didima/grandmother). We would all jump in and try to get at least a couple of spoons each.
It was heaven.
And stuff that childhood memories are made of. 😃

I made a plate for myself when I had made the Aloo dom.
And sent a thought to dear N didi , who is no longer around to enjoy these sinful things that she so loved.

To make this plate of Dahi bara Aloo dom, you will have to make the Dahi bara first.
Preferably a day before.

Then you make the Aloo domm.

Then you will have to chop up some onions + green chillies + fresh coriander leaves.
Then take a plate, arrange the aloo dom and the vadas from the dahi vada.

Now add a good amount of the sour and lip smacking dahi all over it.

Then add the chopped onions + green chillies + coriander leaves.

Then add a good dose of rock salt + red chilli powder + amchur powder / lemon juice.

Now add a final spoon of the dahi and throw in some spicy mixture.

Dahibara aloodom

Perfect for a monsoon day or evening.
Since it is so filling, I usually have it for lunch or dinner .... especially with friends and family.
Yep ... you have to have company to enjoy this .... those close to you, those who will sniffle with you when the spice is a tad too much and those who will laugh with you thinking of long gone days.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Aloo Potol er bhaja / Stir fried potatoes and pointed gourd

Aloo potol bhaja
 I have often noticed on social media that every time the Bhaja is mentioned, it attracts a lot of shocked 'whoah!'s or a very predictable reaction to the 'oil' used to make it.
At first, I used to wonder why.
I mean, what has the bhaja to do with a lot of oil, quite did not make sense to me then.
And then I slowly realised that most of the people who reacted this way are non Bengalis and the actual meaning of the 'Bhaja' is lost in translation.

It made me think of what Devdutt Pattanaik had said in one of his programs on the tv ... how the intricate details of our culture and ancient writings could not be explained or named by the English with their limited words .... hence they categorised everything under one word - 'mythology'.
The same way, non Bengalis have no idea of the word 'Chanka' and categorise eveything under the name 'fry' ... the straight literal translation of the bhaja.

Except for the brinjal / Begun / aubergine, every other vegetable that is called a bhaja or fry is stir fried.
And that is possible with a very limited amount of oil too.
And nowadays, it can be almost oil free too ... thanks to non stick cookware.
I, however, do not use non stick cookware at all and stick to the good iron kadahis ... which are excellent to stir fry in, with very little oil, once they are seasoned well.

The brinjal / Begun is deep fried because it has a tendency to soak up oil. So when deep fried, it can be drained well and does not hold back the oil.
Similarly, the Luchi, every Bengali's favourite, is deep fried, while the Porota is not.
So we say "Luchi chanka hocche " and "Porota bhaja hocche".

And every Bengali will have at least two or three vegetables bhaja on their plate for lunch or dinner. Or for the jolkhabar / breakfast or along with in-between meals too.
And no, they are not soaked with oil and neither are they unhealthy too.

Aloo potol bhaja
So go ahead and enjoy that bhaja. They are a great way to get some veggies into you.
Are quick to make and the lightest of way to enjoy vegetables.

I have the Aloo Potol bhaja for you today.
I have got some very good Potol / Parwal / Pointed gourd this summer.
While I am usually happy with the Potol bhaja / Potolo pithau bhaja  (this one is my favourite ) along with some dal and rice, I did make some Chenchki, aloo diye bhaja and also a Potoler Rosa / curry with gravy.
And yes, the Potol posto too.
I did not make the Potoler chop this time but if you want to try it, the recipe is here.
Also it has the recipe of the Aam Kasundi that I had made for the very first time.

I had clicked these snaps so thought of making a quick post on this.
And also share a good news - just saw this morning that Kitchen-e-Kichu Khonn has been listed among the top 100 food blogs on the planet by Feedspot.
And I get a badge too , to display on the blog! 😊
You can check it out on the right column.

So could not wait to hurry over and thank all of you for your love and encouragement and comments and interactions ... all of which give me that push to keep blogging and posting.
Makes all the efforts of cooking, clicking, cleaning up, making the time to sit down and write to you here .... very very worthwhile.
I am so glad to be able to share this blog and little parts of my life with you !!

Now, to make the simple Aloo Potol er bhaja.

Need :

Aloo / Potatoes - 2 medium sized, cut into medium thick slices
Potol / Parwal / Pointed gourd - 5 medium sized, cut into slices
Onion - 1 big, cut into thick slices
Mustard oil / any oil - 1 tbsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp or less
Salt - to taste

How to :

Heat a kadahi well.

Add the oil and spread it all over.

Add the onions and stir fry on low heat till they turn pink.

Now add the potatoes, the pointed gourd , haldi powder, red chilli powder and salt.

Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
Do remember to check and stir them once in a while.

Remove cover and fry them in the open till the potatoes turn slightly brown.

Remove and serve hot.

Aloo potoler bhaja
This bhaja goes very well on the side with dal and rice or when paired with rotis or parathas.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Tomato Khejurer chaatni

Tomato chaatni
 Hi all!!
I was planning to make an elaborate post that would include what I had made my earlier post on .... let's see if you can guess correctly ... (people who have seen my page on fb are not allowed to take part in this :-) )
.... but unfortunately my plans have gone haywire.
All thanks to a glass of water that I spilled on the kitchen floor.
And before I could mop it up ... or say 'bazooka!' ... to quote Sheldon, I was on the floor , on my back, spreadeagled, with a twisted ankle and wrist.

Later, as the day progressed, I could feel the pain spread to points and muscles and all over the right leg and ankle and the left hand, especially the wrist ... that took the brunt of the thud.
And my already weak back and right shoulder.
And with that went my plans of writing a lengthy post.

So I will leave you today with these photographs of the Tomato Khejur er chatni that I had made a few months ago.
If you need the recipe, it is here. Just substitute the sugar with gur / jaggery.
 Take care all ....
while I go lie down, watch the drizzle outside and ponder on the line ... "Paa pichle aloor dom .... "


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Aloo Dom .... cooked the typical Odiya way, with loads of flavour and spice and perfect for a snack

Odiya aloo dom
Aloo dum, Dum alu, Alur dum .... different names for different kinds.
The only common factor is the aloo / potato. Otherwise, there is absolutely no similarity in any of them. 

I had been craving Odisha's Aloo dom for a long while. These days, it is almost next to impossible to get hold of it .... not even on my visits home.
And no matter how much ever I tried, I just could not get it right .... whenever I have tried to make it by myself.
It always lacked that special flavour; that something that goes 'zing!' inside your head and your heart sings either 'yes!!' or 'home!'.
I have never eaten it at home ... our cook never made it.
I had tasted it only at my Odiya friends' houses or eaten it as a chaat / street food.
So,whenever I thought of it, I would get that twist in my heart ... almost leading me to sadness.
And yes, I had often wallowed in the self induced morbidity that I might die before I got to taste my favourite Odiya Aloo dom, ever again.

Cuttack aloo dom
 But somebody up there yonder pulled some strings, I believe. And I got to make this authentic way of the Odiya Aloo dom; finally.
This wonderful lady from a group answered my question for the authentic Odiya Aloo dom, mentioning that it has been Aloo tarkari / curry all the while and has no idea when it started to be called the Aloo dom.
I got some baby potatoes the very next day and made this Aloo dom, which is often served as a street food in Odisha ... served with a dash of this and that spice, chopped onions and other condiments. Quickly tossed and plated out in a small bowl made of a leaf of a local tree ... the shaal tree. 
This is eaten with luchis, parathas or puris too, and usually for breakfast or dinner.

I had in mind to pair it with something else too ... post coming up soon.

Aloo dom
 I leave you with this today.
Will be quiet for a while now.
Too depressed with the rampant plagiarism all over ... especially idea plagiarism.
Makes me want to stop blogging or sharing recipes or tips altogether.

Updated :

Ok ... here is the recipe ...

Heat mustard oil ... add chopped onions and fry till translucent.

Add bay leaf + jeera and + dhania powder  + turmeric + salt + red chili powder + ginger garlic paste.

Add blanched tomatoes or freshly cut tomatoes ..fry the masala till oil oozes out.

  Add boiled and cut potatoes + water , cover and cook.

Add garam masala and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Aloo dom

Enjoy, folks!!!