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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pav Bhaji comes to the rescue!

Weekends, or for the less fortunate of the human species (like me!), ONLY SUNDAYs, are often, busier and more jam packed with things-to-do than the weekdays!

We (AD & I) usually practise a division of labour when it comes to weekend stocking up the larder...he goes shopping for meat, fish etc while I go vegetable shopping. No particular reason, except for the fact, that though I love fish to death, i abhor the squalor in a traditional fish market. From this (and only this) aspect, I prefer the sanitised environment of a supermarket.

I wish some enlightened enterpreneur comes up with a retail outlet which has the feel of an Indian Bazaar sans the squalor and the mess !!!! The fresh & bright greens, oranges, purples, the scented aroma of the herbs, the smell of earth, the buzz of life and livelihood, the banter and bargaining...I love it all! The supermarkets with their racks of frozen stuff, with the uniformity and the impersonalised & almost mechanised service, bore me to death (read my take on shopping here) !

I want the best of both worlds!

I know I sound greedy and demanding..but I am! I want everything!!!!!! I want the quality, the variety, the bargain and the personal touch...i am the customer and the customer is the KING (oops! QUEEN!!)

The GenNex Biyanis, Ambanis.....are you listening?????

Well, coming back to where I started.....this weekend we decided to give schedule & discipline a miss and be lazy! We skipped the weekly marketing....
Consequence ? weekend masti and midweek crisis!!
Barely wednesday and my refrigerator was frighteningly empty.....there was a bit of this and a bunch of that and the freezer was worse was empty !!!!!

So yesterday on my way back from office, which is the time i plan what we would have for dinner, I stopped at the neighbourhood kiraana shop and picked up a few packets of Pav, having decided it had to be PAV BHAJI for dinner.

Ingredients :
1. Pav - 2 packets

2. Masalas :
a) Pav Bhaji Masala - approx 2 tsp
b) Haldi/Turmeric - approx 1 tsp
c) Kashmiri mirch - 1 tsp
d) Red chilli powder - as per taste

3. Butter - the more the better! I used around 2 tbsp for the bhaaji & 2-3 tbsp to saute the pav

4. Lemon wedges - I had only 2 ..

5. Onions - finely chopped -3

6. Coriander leaves - chopped. (Thank god for my little pot of Dhaniya in the backyard!)

7. Tomatoes - 3 small tomatoes chopped

8. Green chillies - finely chopped

9. Ginger paste - 1 tsp

10.Garlic - 1/2 tsp (optional)

11.Oil - 2 tablespoons

12.Vegetables - the more the merrier!
- I used :
a) Potatoes - 4 medium sized
b) Brinjal - 2 small
c) Cabbage - 1/2
d) Carrot - 3
e) Beans - a small bunch...around 5-6
f) Bottle gourd- 1 small 2 " piece
g) Peas - 1/2 bowl (I used frozen peas)

13. Salt

14. Sugar

1. Boil in a pressure cooker vegetables given above in 12a-12f. Mash them with a masher and keep aside.

2. Thaw the frozen green peas in salted boiling water.

3. Heat Oil in a wok and add garlic paste and 1 chopped onion and a pinch of sugar for taste and colour (very typical Bengali!!). Fry till the onions turn light brown & translucent.

4. Add the ginger paste followed by tomatoes.

5. Mix all masalas given at 2a-2d and salt with some water into a paste and add this to the fried onion-tomato-ginger-garlic. Cook till you see the oil separate out.

6. Add the mashed vegetables (prepared as in Sl. 1). Cook well for 3-4 minutes

7. Add a blob of butter and garnish with coriander leaves and finely chopped green chillies.

8. When serving, sprinkle finely chopped raw onions and squeeze a wedge or two of lemon.

9. Slice the pavs horizontally and pan fry them in butter, on a tawa till they are crisp yet moist.

10. Serve the hot buttered pavs with the bhaaji garnished with coriander-chopped onion & a dash of lime!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lau er Khosha Bhaja

Dry veggie dish made out of Bottle Gourd Skin/Peel

Scavengers...that's probably what non-Bongs would call us. Apart from our carnivorous tendencies, we are herbivorous scavengers....We eat the skin of vegetables too!!!!

I have eaten all these traditional stuff at home throughout my growing up years. But when I became the homemaker, shortcut, easy to make dishes were what I fell back upon. Moreover, despite being from a family of food lovers and great cooks, during my school-college days, I never entered the kitchen to cook ... ever. Hence the unfortunate consequence....I never got the opportunity to train under my Ma's supervision. Moreover at that point of time, vegetables belonged to the much-hated, to-be-forced-down-the-throat category. Being the food lover I am, I was forced to learn cooking when I was living alone, from Ma (over the phone) or from friends and neighbours!!!!! And now, although my unbridled love for fish, chicken, mutton continues, but vegetarian dishes have managed to carve a little place in my heart (or is it the taste buds!)

Now fast forwarding to the present......

SD (the husband) has a bowl of boiled Bottle Gourd every morning to fight his triglycerides and cholestrols. Last month, during Ma's visit, when she saw the substantial amount of bottle gourd skin being generated everyday and promptly thrown into the garbage bin, she was scandalised!!! And cooked this particular Khosha Bhaja (Khosha=vegetable skin/peel; Bhaja=fried veggie dish) or Khosha Chhechki (Chhechki=dry veggie dish).

Following her instruction, I saved up all the Bottle Gourd skin during the last one week and made Lau er Khosha Bhaja/Chhechki this afternoon!!

And the result is as follows :

Ingredients :

Bottle Gourd skin - finely chopped (3 Bottle Gourd skins)
Pumpkin - sliced (1 smal bowl)
Kalojeera/Kalonji- 1 tsp
Whole dry red chilli-2
Green Chillies - 4
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Mustard paste - 2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 2-3 tbsp
Coriander leaves - finely chopped.
Oil - 2tbsp

Procedure :
1. Finely chop the skin of bottle gourd
2. Steam the chopped skin after adding a pinch of salt
3. Drain the water and keep aside.
4. In a wok, pour some oil and season with Kalo jeera, Whole dry red chillies (2), green chillies (2-3)
5. Add the sliced pumpkin and cook till par cooked.
6. Add the steamed and water-drained chopped skin of bottle gourd.
7. Add salt, sugar and turmeric powder
8. Cook on medium flame for around 7-10 minutes or till the veggies are fried
9. Add the mustard paste followed by grated coconut. Mix well
10. Before switching off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and sliced green chillies.

The Lau er Khosha' Chhechki is ready to be eaten with steam rice.

This recipe goes to the WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING #206 hosted for the week by Yasmeen of Health Nut. The history of WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING is available here. The logo for the event is .....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Celebrating Kali Pujo & Diwali with Chhanar Jilipi

(Jalebi made out of cottage cheese)

It's that time of the year again!

Come September/October/November and the Indian Calendar is choc-a-block with festivities. Religious, social, cultural ... our festivities are a joyous symphony of vibrant colours, myriad tastes that tingle the palate and religious fervour that embraces and engulfs our sprirts. It's a time of the year I love and yearn for. The smell of new clothes, the anticipation of going home to family and friends, the smell of Pujo in the air, the sound of the Dhakis in the background are all so familiar and nostalgia evoking....yet gives me goosebumps every year thus creating the magic of pujo. For us since childhood, Pujor Chhuti meant Durga Puja followed by Lakshmi Puja and finally the festivities and fun would culminate with Kaali Puja exactly two weeks after Dussehra and finally Bhai Phonta just two days thereafter!

Maa Kaali
, the fierce incarnation the Durga, is worshipped on the Kartik Amavasya night in Bengal. While Ma Kaali is worshipped in Bengal, on the same day, Diwali is celebrated in the rest of the country and Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in most homes of North, South and Western India.

Diyas, candles, fireworks are an intrinsic part of both Kali Pujo as well as Diwali. And as in case of all Indian festivities, be it religious/cultural/social, food, especially a wide variety of sweets is an integral part of all our celebrations!

So on this ocassion of Kali Puja, as we indulge our sweet tooth, shoving to the backseat for a couple of weeks the fear of calories, pretending to ignore for a while the clockwise swing of the weighing scale needle, I bring to you a sweetdish I love.... CHHANAR JILIPI. I learnt it from my Ma during my Puja vacation and here I am sharing it with you......

Chhana from 2 litres milk (check here to see how chhana is made in Points 1 & 2 of Process)
3 Black Elaichis, made into a paste (I used the green elaichi/cardamoms-around 5)
Maida (refined flour) - 2 - 3 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Baking Powder - a pinch
Sugar syrup using sugar : Water in the ration 1:1.5
Oil for deep frying


1. Knead the Chhana into a soft and smooth dough

2. Mix the Maida with the Oil.

3. Then mix the maida-oil mix to the chhana to give some firmness to the very soft chhana dough

3.Mix the elaichi paste and baking powder and again knead very well.

4. Pinch of small balls of chhana and roll into smooth balls.

5. Roll it into a snake like shape as shown above

6. Twist the two ends as shown in pics below.

6. Deep Fry each formed jalebi in the wok

7. Keep the sugar syrup hot/boiling.

8.Fry the jilipis and dunk them in the sugar syrup.

9. Let them stay dunked in the sugar syrup for about an hour when the jalebis soak in the sweetness of the syrup and turns juicy.

Serve hot or cold......


This is my entry to the event FF:DIWALI DHAMAKA hosted by Purva Desai of PURVA's DAAWAT. The logo for the event is ....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An Apology and heartfelt THANKS !

I AM SORRY.....!!!!!

About this unannounced break ......

What started off as a whimsical aversion to the cyber world, continued much longer than I had expected....followed by the aversion phase were guests, illnesses, festivities...or in other words, the REAL WORLD took its toll on my cyber world and there I was far far away from the land of blogging!

And peeping into my cyber home after 3 long months, what do I find? Some new friends and well wishers on my FOLLOWERS list!! My joy knew no bounds......
Welcome to my virtual kitchen!

And thanks also to my friends from my active blogging days for taking time, visiting and dropping in a line or two despite my utter inactivity!

Also, thanks to Sudeshna for featuring my blog on her list of 7 TOP Bengali Blogs! I am flatttered and honoured!!!

And last but not the least, I thank my blogger friends Babli and Indrani who showered me with some wonderful awards. I promise to put them up on my blog soon!