Friday, August 31, 2012

A Punjabi recipe shared by a Kannada & prepared by a Bengali .. Punjabi Chhole Masala

Punjabi Cuisine has been a hot favorite amongst foodies all over. Be it the evergreen Parantha’s  with gallops of homemade butter, the lip smacking Chicken Tikka Masala or the Chhole Masala which is to be eaten with its inseparable counterpart, the Bature or be it a glass of homemade Lassi – the variety is diverse & assorted. Heavy on the heart (well, literally), tummy & the mind – Punjabi cuisine has it all.

I was contemplating a dish, nice and warm for today’s Lunch since last night – with not too much of hustle bustle. Suddenly the thought of a nice Chhole which I had recently had, lingered in my mind. Once P, a friend and a colleague had got it to work, which was delightful. Hence I asked her for the recipe and she was more than willing to share. She emailed the guidelines in no time and I decided, Chhole it is then. I did make minor modifications as per my taste and here is the final recipe :

Ingredients : (The following proportions will serve 4-5 people)

·         Chhole / Chickpeas / Garbanzo beans : 250 gms
·         2 teabags
·         4 cups of water

Wash the Chickpeas. Boil the 4 cups of water with a couple of teabags in it (I Microwave-d it for 5 minutes). Pull out the tea bags and soak the Chickpeas in the liquor overnight. (6-8 hours). NOTE : Adding the tea bags in the water gives a nice dark shade to the Chickpeas once they are soaked, the color I wanted in the final dish. If you want them in their natural color, soak them in regular water.

·         Onions – 2 Medium-chopped
·         Tomato – 1 large-chopped
·         Garlic – 10 cloves
·         Ginger – 1” piece
·         Green / Red Chillies – 5

In a blender, make a paste of the Ginger, Garlic and Chillies with a little water and keep aside.

For tempering :

·         Sesame seeds – ½ tsp
·         Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
·         Bay Leaf – 1
·         Green Cardamoms – 4-5
·         Cloves – 4-5
·         Cinnamon – 1” stick

Other Ingredients :

·         Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
·         Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
·         Chhole Masala – 1 tbsp (I used Suhana Chhole Masala as advised by P and it was perfect, use whatever you like)

·         Salt to taste
·         Sugar to balance
·         Cooking Oil
·         A dash of lime
·         Some freshly chopped Coriander leaves to garnish.

How I did it :

·         I cooked the Chickpeas along with the liquor in a Pressure Cooker for 3 whistles and kept aside. Do not drain the liquor.
·         Heat Oil in a Pan and add the Whole Garam Masalas, Sesame seeds and Cumin seeds and let them splutter.

·         Add the chopped Onions and sauté them.

·         Add the Ginger-Garlic-Chilli paste, sauté for about 2 minutes.

·         Let the Onions brown a little.

·         Add the chopped Tomatoes, increase the heat and let them cook.

·         The Tomatoes release a lot of water which needs to be dried up.

·         Once done, add the Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli Powder, Chhana Masala Powder and Salt and mix.

·         Once mixed thoroughly, add the liquor first and then the Chickpeas and bring to a boil.

·         Let it simmer.
·         Once desired consistency is reached, pour into a bowl, squeeze some lime on top, add coriander leaves to garnish.

This is what the final dish looks like if you do not use the liquor to soak the Chickpeas overnight

·         Serve with Bature. It was a weekday and I had no choice, so had them with Whole Wheat Rotis.. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Relationships & Egg Tadka

When I met her, I thought, she was this ever-inquisitive lady I could never fathom & thus did not develop an instant liking for her (Credit goes to the fact that we both loved the same person). But gradually down the years, she became a friend & a confidante. We gossiped, we inspired each other, we argued, learnt together, shared and cared; the bond became strong with the passing time. A lady with whom I share a beautiful relationship, both bitter & sweet; a person with whom, in spite of the generation gap between us, I have manifold things in common. Sometimes I feel, she is the Sister I never had. The resemblance in us is incalculable, be it our never say die attitude or being the argumentative Indians we both are, both being bibliophiles & great lovers of cookery & of course the most vital connection – the pillar of our lives, her Son, my better half!

Yes, it is My Maa-In-Law & I will be sharing the Egg Tadka recipe that I learnt from her: D

I have always loved the Tadka that both Babai (My Father) & Dadai (My Brother) used to bring home whenever we got bored of the routine Dinners. With Egg, I would insist & they would get this steaming Egg Tadka in a clay pot along with Rumali Rotis & some salad from a road side Dhaba. Those were blessed days and I would splurge on this splendid dinner adoringly.

I always wanted to make the Tadka the Dhaba way but never could find an appropriate recipe till Maa-In-Law shared hers with me. She had learnt it from one of her Aw-Bangali bondhu (Non-Bengali Friend) from her Para (locality). Though I still have not learnt the art of making Rumali Rotis, with which Tadka tastes the best, I can still gulp down uncountable number of plain Rotis with this Maa-In-Law made Tadka. She never adds Egg (It tastes all the same, has the Maa touch after all), however, I do. As I simply adore some eggs in my Tadka.

Here is what you need to make this: (This will serve 4 people)

1.   Black Moong and Chana dal mixed in equal proportions – 1 Cup.

2.   Onions – 2-3 medium – finely chopped.
3.   Green Chillies – 5 – finely chopped.
4.   Garlic – about 10 cloves – finely chopped.
5.   1” piece of Ginger – finely chopped.
6.   Tomato – 1 large - chopped

7.   Oil for frying.
8.   Salt to taste.
9.   Turmeric powder – 1 tsp.
10.                Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp.
11.                 Kasuri Methi – 2 tsps. (Dried Fenugreek leaves)

12.                 Clarified Butter / Ghee - 1tsp (to drizzle on top -optional)
13.                 Eggs – 2 – scrambled with some salt (Optional)

How to prepare it:

-      Wash the lentils and soak in water for about 30 minutes.

-      Pressure cook lentils for 12-15 whistles or till almost done.
-      In a Pan, heat the Oil.
-      Add the Onions and stir for a while.

-      Add the chopped Ginger and Garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.

-      Add the chopped Green Chillies and fry for 30 seconds.

-      Add the tomatoes and mix, let the tomatoes cook till they are not raw any more.

-      Add the boiled Lentils to this and mix.

-      Add Salt, Turmeric Powder and Red Chilli Powder and mix.

-      Add enough water and let it come to a boil.

-      Let it simmer for some time.

-      Take 2 tsps of Kasuri Methi and rub between your palms and add, mix.

-      Once desired consistency is reached, add the scramble Eggs and mix once more.

-      Drizzle the Ghee / Clarified Butter on top.

-      Serve with Rumali Rotis or plain Rotis & some Onion-Cucumber-Chilli Salad with a dash of lime.

Khichdi / Khichudi / Hotch-Potch

As a kid I was never fond of Khichdi / Khichudi / Hotch-Potch. As the law goes for everybody, as I started my own ‘Shonshar’, I started understanding what a divine dish this is. Since childhood, I was the one who fussed and created a havoc with eating, Dadai (my older Brother) was always the good one who ate mostly all veggies, did not fuss over food and was especially fond of Maa’s Khichudi.

It is a crime not to eat Khichudi at least once during the Monsoons. Traditionally also a part of the offerings made to Maa Durga & many other Gods & Goddesses as a part of the Bhog. It is always  served with plenty of vegetable  fritters like Potatoes, Onions, Egg-plant, Cauliflower etc. Chopped Coconut fry, fried Eggs, fried Fish (especially Hilsa) are among the many other options you can eat Khichudi with.

Last night I needed to make Dinner very quickly hence decided on Khichudi. I had some veggies sitting in the Freezer, so just sliced them up and added them and enjoyed the platter with deep fried pieces of Katla (Catla).

Here are the Ingredients needed : (This Recipe makes Khichudi for 4 people)

1.   Basmati Rice OR Gobindo Bhog (preferred by the Gods) Rice – 1 cup
2.   Yellow lentils / Moong Dal – 1 cup
3.   Red lentils / Masur Dal – ½ cup

4.   Cauliflower sliced up – about 15 small flowers.
5.   Green Peas – ½ Cup
6.   Carrots – diced, 1 cup
7.   Potatoes – cubed, 1 cup
8.   Shallots – about 10 peeled.
9.   Green / Red Chillies – to taste – split

10.                 Bay Leaf – 1
11.                 Cumin seeds – 1 tsp for tampering
12.                 Cinnamon stick – like in the picture
13.                 Green Cardamom – 4
14.                 Black Cardamom – 1
15.                 Cloves – 5
16.                 Dry Red chillies – 2

17.                 Salt to taste
18.                 Sugar to balance
19.                 Turmeric Powder – 1 ½ tsp
20.                 Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
21.                 Oil for frying
22.                 Clarified Butter / Ghee – for pampering :D

This is how made it :

-      Dry roast the Moong dal / Yellow lentils for some time and set aside.

-      Wash the rice and the lentils thoroughly and keep, do not soak.

-      Heat Oil in a big pan
-      Add the Cumin seeds, let them splutter.
-      Add the dry Red Chillies and the whole Garam Masalas & let them sizzle.
-      Add all the veggies and sauté for 5 minutes.

-      Add the rice and lentils and mix thoroughly.
-      Add Salt, Sugar, Turmeric Powder & Red Chilli Powder.

-      Add Water and let it cook.
-      Once cooked to desired thickness, pamper with Clarified Butter, let it settle in for 5 minutes.

Serve with the fritters, the fries or just by itself & experience the divinity of sorts :D