Tuesday 16 October 2012

Kasa Kasa Payasam

OMG Amitabh Bachchan called ! And before I could even grasp that I was the ghar baithe vijeyta of 1 lakh, the IVR droned on, main aapka dost Amit bol raha hun etc :( There goes my dream, kaput! Just the month some extra cash would have served in good stead what with puja and diwali and other tyohar round the corner. Sigh!
                                                                                            Nothing like my neighbourhood nani's Kasa Kasa Payasam to rev me up on a day like this. Kasa Kasa is khus khus, posto, poppy seeds, in Tamil. I'd flipped for it the first time I'd had it in nani's house. Made it in my own kitchen only lately. Try this yum dessert folks, less fattening than many other sweet dishes we love ;)

1. 1/2 cup kasa kasa(poppy seeds/posto)
2. 1/4 cup rice
3. 1/2 cup desiccated/fresh grated coconut
4. 3-4 cups water
5. 1-2 cup milk
6. Jaggery to taste
7. 1/2 tsp cardamom powder- for flavour

1. Soak kasa kasa & rice, separately, for at least 30 mins.
2. Grind the kasa kasa with 2-3 tbsp water till it is smooth paste.
3. Add the soaked rice & grated/desiccated coconut and grind till all three ingredients turn smooth.
4. Boil water, add the ingredients paste and stir continuously, so no lumps are formed. 
Cook on medium heat. 
5. When the raw smell of kasa kasa goes, add jaggery & stir till payasam turns a light brown.
6. Add milk and stir for another 5-6 mins.
7. Mix elaichi powder & remove from flame.


Allow payasam to cool & see the thick layer settle on top. YUMMMM! Serve at whatever temperature your family likes. 

Happy Navaratri, friends. May this payasam sweeten up your life. No, no, you cannot make this if you are fasting. Rice is anna & hence prohibited during fasts. OH MY GOD! 

Monday 15 October 2012

Kadhai Chicken

Pitri Paksha ends and Devi Paksha starts today. This day, Mahalaya, symbolises Maa Durga's ascent from Kailash parwat to come to her parental home. She takes five days to travel, no matter what her waahan. (This year she is taking the elephant to arrive & the boat to leave). On the 6th, shoshti, Maa is ready to be received by her folks. That is the day from which Bengalis all over the world celebrate Durga Puja. The festivities start from shoshti evening and continue till doshumi, the tenth day. 
                                                                                                  Today as Pitri Paksha ends, we also remember our ancestors and pray for their souls. Paradoxically, austerity and festivity go hand in hand this day. As a section of society starts its Navaratra fasts, the Bengali gears up for his share of food & more maach mangsho. Same days of the month, equal sense of festivity and yet such diverse food habits. Incredible Indiaindeed
                                                                                                Whichever school you belong to, savour this Kadhai Chicken. Make it whenever your faith permits you to go non-vegetarian. But banana zaroor. It is finger-licking tasty and makes you forget the restaurant fare.
                                                                                                                                     Ingredients: [serves 4-6] 
1. 1kg chicken 
2. 3 large onions- finely chopped
3. 3/4 cup cashewnut- soaked & ground
4.  1-2 tbsp- fresh cream
5. 1/2 tsp egg yellow food colour
6. Oil to cook
7. Salt to taste
For Masala Paste
1. 3 large tomato- diced
2. 1 tbsp whole garam masala
3. 1- 11/2 tbsp chopped ginger
4. 1- 11/2 tbsp garlic pods
For Dry Masala
1. 1 tsp zeera
2. 1 tsp dhania
3. 1 tsp peppercorn
4. Red chilli powder- as preferred

1. In 3-4 tbsp oil, fry the chopped onion.

2. Grind ingredients of Masala Paste by adding a little water and fry well with the chopped onion. 
3. When masala is well-fried (the raw smell goes), add the chicken pieces, salt and food colour and fry for 3-5 mins.
Add 2.5-3 cups water, cover wok and let chicken cook on medium heat for 10-12 mins. 

4. As chicken cooks, dry roast the Dry Masala ingredients and grind into powder. 

5. When chicken is tender, add the kaju paste and let simmer on medium flame till raw kaju smell goes. 
6. Add the ground dry masala and let simmer for 2-3 mins.

7. As oil leaves the sides of the pan, add fresh cream and take off flame. 
                                                                                                                                               Serve hot with fried/plain rice. 

                                                                                                        Remember: As many onions, so many tomatoes. 

May this lip-smacking dish give you the impetus to live life large!
                                                                                                  Thank you for the recipe, Lalo. Happy Pujo, friends.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Gharelu Mughlai Parantha

Ideally this post should be for Big B if it is published on his birthday but this one is for Lavanyaa. While Debolina had her nonta-mukh on her bday, it was Lavanyaa who reminded me that the recipe has still not been shared :) So this moch-mochey(crisp)  parantha is at the behest of a friend I have still not met. Lavanyaa Suresh.

Lavanyaa and I work on common projects, discuss home decor and commercials and like each other's Fb pics. All via satellite. In this virtual world, tie-ups happen online and nobody is any worse for it. If anything, in a subtle way, technology has brought back that on-the-verge-of-extinction element in society-Trust. You have never met the person, yet you commit to a contract and plunge whole-heartedly into it. All basis this one core value. Isn't that a beautiful thing?

A technical expert who evolved into a producer for a leading Cloud-based entity, our girl manages her family and work with equal élan. Amidst deciding between blinds or curtains for her new home, Lavanyaa also finds time for Mata Vaishnodevi and reminding truants when they forget their promise :)

This poor cousin of the Mughlai Parantha is a homely version of its flamboyant sibling. Ma saw this recipe in her favourite  magazine & shared it with me. Whenever you are tired of the same old roti/parantha, try this Gharelu Mughlai Parantha. It is so yum, you may not even want an accompaniment with it! Try this today and taste for yourself. 

Ingredients: [makes 4-5 paranthas]]
1. 2 cups aata/maida(wheatflour/ flour)
2. 1 tbsp saunf (aniseed)
3. 1 tbsp peppercorn
4. 1 tbsp sugar
5. 3/4 tbsp salt- or as preferred
6. 1 1/2- 2 cups milk
7. While oil/ghee - to fry parantha

1. Dry grind ingredients 2-5 to a fine powder. 

2. Sieve ground masala with aata and knead with milk.

3.Keep aside dough for 20-30 mins. 

4. Roll out like a chapati, brush a coat of oil & sprinkle some dry aata. Follow pics for a square parantha. 

You know you've got the plot right when your parantha pufffs up(pic right) as you shallow fry it. 

                      Serve paranthas hot with any curry you want to. No, please don't eye the Bengal gram in the pic. I'm not posting that any time soon! Time constraints, you see ;)

Enjoy Lavanyaa. Happy Birthday Mr. Bachchan. 

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Mutton Kaleji

Not at all a dish that has any relevance to Ganesh Chaturthi. But the recipe must be shared & shared it will! We will come to the Mutton Kaleji(Liver) soon. Only, after a quick trip across the pandals.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ganesh Puja in Jamshedpur invariably meant the seven-day mela that happened near Rankini Mandir. As kids, when one didn't know much about devotion, eating at the mela, sitting in joy rides & buying knick-knacks for friends, was what the festival was all about. Some exclusive household items were not bought from anywhere else because the stalls at the fair sold them better!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There wasn't much fervour in Dehradun & Mussoorie , and if there was, I missed it. Sadly, schools never gave a holiday for this festival in this part of India. A fact that I sorely missed, having grown used to one in my early life at Jampot.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         But the grandest Ganesh Mahotsav was in Bombay. Nothing to beat the festivity, the colour, the magnificence, the sheer opulence of it all. The first & the last day of the ten-day  long festival saw the thickest crowd, the deepest devotion, the fieriest fervour. The atmosphere is so charged with Ganapati Bappa Morya chants that it converts the staunchest of atheists to a prayerful life. To a life of celebration, at least :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Amazing how we carry our roots wherever we go. Last year, Richa & I went to the Laxmi Narayan temple in Hounslow Central, and felt at home with the puja there. As the law of synchronicity would have it, our first & last outing together, were both to two different temples in London. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Our Capital celebrates all festivals by virtue of being The Capital. Most sweet shops sell modak, Ganeshji's favourite mithai, and price them at double the rate. Money ought not come in the way of bhakti, is the unspoken mantra. Some offices are chhutti, the MNCs are not. Students have a field day, the roads are less crowded and there is a certain peacefulness about people today.  

On a traditionally, vegetarian day, if a family member suffers from bukhaar, galey mein khich-khich & general weakness, make him some Mutton Kaleji. Goat liver, a good source of Vitamin A, is sure to make your patient get up & dance. 

Ingredients: [serves 2]
1. 250 gms goat liver- cubed
2. 2 medium potatoes- cubed
3. 1 large onion- chopped/cubed
4. 1 tsp pepper powder- or as preferred
5. 1- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
6. 1/2 tsp haldi
7. 1 tsp lemon juice
8. 1 tsp ghee - for flavour
9.  1 tbsp mustard oil(preferably) for cooking
10. 3/4 cup water for gravy
11. Salt to taste
1. Fry chopped onion. 
2. Add the potatoes, pepper powder & haldi and stir with the fried onion. 
3. Add the kaleji &  fry well with the previous ingredients.

4. When oil leaves pan, add the garam masala and mix well.
5. Add water and let the kaleji cook on medium flame to 2 whistles. [You may cover the wok & cook it. I pressure cook to save time]
6. When the lid opens & the kaleji is cooked, add the lemon juice & ghee and simmer for 2 mins before removing from flame. 

Kaleji tastes best when the gravy is dried. 
Serve hot with parantha, plain rice, or puran poli, if you like :)

May Lord Ganesha bestow his Blessings on Us All. 
                        Ganapati Bappa Morya
                       Agley Baras Tu Jaldi Aa. 

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Chicken Bharta

A convent education renders you slightly incapable of Hindi comprehension. Especially when they are numbers. While Tezaab, the superhit Bollywoood flick, helped us with the elementary ek do teen...terah, the hostel mausi ji made us fluent with the rest. Chhiyalis is a number I take no time decoding. Chhiyalis number ki behenji was mausi ji's clarion call to announce a visitor to the inmates of that room. And out came Lakshmi Shetty flashing her inimitable Colgate smile. Tall, slender, curly hair, this dusky beauty with her Mangalorean roots & Bong loyalty, was one of the best students of the English Literature class. That we also shared our subsidiary subjects brought us closer by default. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lakshmi & I spent long hours chatting and finishing our tuck. I also depended heavily on her Psychology notes cz those classes were normally after lunch and waking up from a siesta was a feat I hadn't accomplished then. My friend would come calling ten minutes before the class, and, more often than not, be told, 'tu ja.' Not once did she bash me for that or throw water on the sleepy log in frustration. I am eternally grateful for her tolerance of such a sloth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of my most cherished memories of us is when we sat quietly on the stone-bench outside the Old Hostel one evening and didn't talk at all. We were under-grads then. What companionable silence meant, I experienced that twilight, thanks to Lakshmi. Later some day, we did what boys do outside all the time, just to feel emancipated. The MMV walls have been painted many times since so there is no proof of our act of freedom. We never repeated the dare, the hostel had sufficient restrooms.

In those days of limited technology & no social networking sites, we lost touch for many years till the now-redundant Orkut got us together. The reunion of the millennium made me more elated than most other events in the recent past. Lakshmi & I live in two different metros now and life situations notwithstanding, bond like before. On her birthday today, this Chicken Bharta is what I wanna serve. Learnt in ma's kitchen, this non-veg dish broke my veg resolve after more than three years! Need I say more?

1. 1kg boneless chicken- shredded
2. 1 large onion- finely sliced
3. 1 large tomato- finely sliced
4. 1-1 1/2 tsp ginger juliennes
5. 1 tsp garlic- finely sliced
6. 3-4 tbsp curd
7. 2 tsp garam masala powder
8. 1tsp Kashmiri mirch powder/as preferred
9. 1 tsp keora essence
10. 1 tbsp mustard oil
11. Salt to taste

1. Mix ingredients 1-7 and allow marination for 10-15 minutes.

2. Heat mustard oil and pour the marinated chicken in the wok. 
3. Add salt and red chilli powder, mix well, cover wok and let cook on medium flame for 15-20 min.

4. When ingredients are cooked and oil leaves the pan, add a tsp of keora essence and let simmer for 2 min.

That mouth-watering Mughal cusine aroma will waft through your house. 

Serve hot with plain rice. Or have with mughlai parantha. 

Many Happy Returns of the Day, Lakshmi. Like the keora, may happiness spread its fragrance in your life. 

PS: Chhiyalis is forty-six, angrezon :)