Friday 3 August 2012


No stories, no fuss. Just a heartfelt THANK YOU to all for being a part of Food Stall & writing to tell me all those lovely things that you do. For a journey that started saat samandar paar & came back to where the heart is, it has been extremely rewarding because of YOU, dear friends. 
                                                                                                       As I grow older today, & hopefully, wiser, this is my token of gratitude for all you wonderful people who laud me on to keep writing, cooking, clicking pics & sharing my yatra. Thank you ever so much.
                                                                                                          Murgh Hing is my bday offer to you. All my veg frenz, watch this space for a delicacy of your choice. Should come sooner than later :) This recipe, by the way,  has no adrak, lehsun, pyaaz . Just how a veg likes his/her fare to be ;)

1. 1 kg chicken
2. 2-3 potatoes - cubed(optional)
3. 2-4 tbsp curd
4. 1-2 tbsp mustard oil
5. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
6. 1 tsp hing (asafoetida)
7. 2 cups water
8. Salt to taste
Roasted Masala:
1. 1 tsp dhania(coriander seeds)
2. 1 tsp zeera (cumin seeds)
3. 1 tsp garam masala(cardamom, cinnamon, clove)
1. 1/2 tsp dhania
2. 1/2 tsp zeera
3. 1/2 tsp garam masala
4. 3-4 dry red chillies
5. 2-3 tej patta (bay leaf)

1.  Mix hing in water & keep aside.

                                                                                                                                                 2. Dry roast dhania , zeera & garam masala. Grind when cool. Keep aside.

                                                                                                                                        3.Heat oil. Allow seasoning to splutter. 
4.  Put hing water in the seasoning & let boil. 

                                                         5. When water boils, add chicken, potato cubes & salt, cover wok and 
let chicken cook for 15 mins on medium flame till tender. 

6. Add yogurt when chicken & potato are done and let simmer till gravy thickens.

                                                                                                                                                   7. Add the roasted ground masala, cook for a min & remove from flame. 

Goes best with plain rice or roti. 

Thursday 2 August 2012

Lauki Halwa

The bag was unusually heavy for a just-four-periods-and-six-books-day. I was in Std XII and a light bag was a mark of freedom and adulthood. Parking my bicycle in the stand, I headed towards the classroom, wondering what this peculiar weight meant. Rummaging through the bag for the offender, my hand touched something cold, something metallic. In full view of my friends I pulled out a pair of pliers from the school-bag! Welcome to the world of mischief-makers. They also go by the name of brothers in most parts of the globe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The term cheap-thrills, said in one breath, was coined keeping this set of species in mind. As the fairer gender, you do love draping your dupatta, I am sure. You don't bargain to be tied to the leg of the chair by that elegant piece of garment, do you?! You will. If you have a brother. And especially one like mine. Ki baandor (Bangla, what a monkey) was uttered most feelingly while describing him to a friend. Astonishingly, my friends found such harkat, cute! They taught me early in life that one man's misery is another man's mazaa.

The one unpardonable act that refuses to leave my mind is when I missed a movie because of this young one's tantrums. Dad had taken us to see Dangal, a movie on wrestling. The very experience of going to a theatre with him was a matter of delight. Through the film, the menace whispers to dad that he has to go to potty! Potty! Has this child got no sense is what my young mind thought. I remember reluctantly trailing behind dad, looking back at the screen, catching the last glimpses of whatever I could. On reaching home, the terror disappeared inside the house and stayed there for long. (Those were the days when we had verandahs outside where we sat with family & friends on a summer evening.) This aroused Ma's suspicion and she went looking inside only to find Bhaiyu smearing Lakme Cold Cream on Lakshmi Ji's photo! After this episode, the altar was shifted to the shelf above and Bhai got no thwacking cz Dad felt he was only a small child & it was mother's fault that she kept things within his reach! How unfair can life get! 
                                                                                                        On a day when sisters sing peans about their brothers, all this and more comes to the fore about my own. How I waited for him to grow up so he would't pull my long plaits, how I prayed that some sense be injected in him so that he ceases to irritate me, how a large part of my life was spent in being disgusted with his behaviour & another large one in missing him, are stuff that movies are made of. 
                                                                                                        On this special day, for the non-senti duo that we both claim to be, there is Lauki Halwa on the platter. Got up & made early morning thinking of the brother who is in another city and getting his rakhi tied by Tuli. Am I missing him? Uhh...naah!

Here's the recipe, friends. Ignore the mush, enjoy the dessert. And Happy Raksha Bandhan to you all!
                                                                                                                                           Ingredients:[serves 4]
1. 1 small lauki/doodhi/bottle gourd - peeled, deseeded & shredded
2. 1 cup sugar - or as preferred
3. 1 1/2 cup milk(preferably, full cream)
4. 1 tbsp dry fruit- chopped (leave raisins whole)
5. 2 tbsp ghee 
6. 1 tsp cardamom powder
1. In a pressure cooker, boil the grated lauki in milk for 2 whistles on high flame.
                                                                                                                                  Tip:Ensure that the milk just covers the lauki & is not excess. You don't want to waste time drying the milk & water!
                                                                                                                                                 2. Open the cooker, check that lauki is cooked , add sugar and mix well. Keep the flame on high.
                                                                                                                                          Insight: Halwa gets its gloss when sugar is being mixed. 

3. As the milk reduces, heat ghee in a separate pan and let the dry fruit fry in them for a minute. 
When the raisins puff(pic below) & the cashew turns a light
brown, pour the contents in the cooker and keep mixing vigorously, on high flame. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some people like their halwa a little milky while others prefer it dry. Depending on your palate, take it off flame. Let halwa sit for atleast 10 mins before serving.
                                                                                                                                                  Add maawa & (a drop of) green food colour for additional jazz if you want. I went without those. And by the look you can tell, it is none the worse for it!
The transformation of a humble vegetable to a sought-after delicacy is almost magical. Like the metamorphosis of a brattish child into a suave young man. Happy Birthday, Bhai. Oh sorry, Happy Rakhi :)  

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Bhindi Posto

Whoever said size does not matter, needs to rethink. You cannot make Bhindi Posto(Okra with Khus-Khus) with big lady's fingers. They have to be small. What did you think I was talking about ?! 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When the ex-French Prez married Bruni, taller than him even in her flats, there were speculations & psychoanalysis about Sarkozy's move. While some put it to a clear case of romance on the rebound, the more probing reports pointed to the Prez's sensitivity about his own height and marrying the Italian singer to flaunt a glamorous trophy wife. All this of course, to show ex-wife that if she could move on, so could he. Whatever be the real motive behind the act, the long & the short of the matter is that the couple has a daughter together, making Nicolas the first ever French Prez to have a child while in office.
                                                                                                          In the deeper things of life, maybe, size does not, afterall, matter. Good for the human race. But coming back to the veggie that packs in its little pod, very low calories, no saturated fat or cholesterol, healthy amounts of vitamin A,C & K, important minerals like iron, calcium, manganese & magnesium and a host of other benefits, I maintain what I'd shared earlier. That if you want to digress from your usual bhindi pyaz and try something authentically Bong, keep it small. The size of the bhindi I mean. It's no fun making Bhindi Posto with the vegetable, chopped. The seeds will be all over the place and you don't want that. 

This is how we go about it.
                                                                                                                                Ingredients:[serves 2-3]
1. 250 gms small bhindi - head & tail cut
2. 1tbsp posto
3. 1- 1 1/2tsp mustard seeds(sarson/rai)
4. 1/4 tsp turmeric
5. 1-2 green chillies/as preferred
6. 1 tbsp mustard oil(preferably)
7. Salt to taste
1. Soak mustard & posto- in enough water to immerse the ingredients- for 10-15 mins.
2. Heat oil in a flat-bottomed pan, sprinkle turmeric & salt, lay out the bhindis & allow frying on medium heat.

3. As the bhindis fry, grind the sarson, posto & green chillies to a smooth paste.

4. When the bhindis are fully cooked, add the posto paste, mix well and let water dry. 
                                                                    Remove from flame and let the dish sit for a while.
                                                              Served with plain rice & peeli daal, Bhindi Posto makes you turn misty-eyed in bliss....