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.