Monday, January 31, 2011

Koraishutir Ghugni

I haven't yet made Koraishutir Kochuri this season. Which means I have to make my peas offering with a peas-y alternative.

IMG_1043 This is a green peas ghugni, something which can pass off an evening snack or as a brunch with phulko luchi.

Ingredients for Koraishutir/Green Peas Ghugni are:

500 grams shelled peas (frozen or fresh)
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 medium ripe red tomatoes, chopped
Half teaspoon cumin seed
Half teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Half teaspoon black pepper powder
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 cardamom
2 cloves
2 bay leaves
Half cup fried onions, crushed
2-3 tablespoons mustard oil

Heat oil in a pan and sauté the cubes of potatoes till they are lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

In the remaining oil, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Immediately add the chopped onions.

IMG_1032 On a low heat-medium heat, sauté the onions till they are lightly red in color. Add the ginger, tomatoes, red chili powder, black pepper powder, turmeric, garam masala powder, salt and half a spoon of sugar. Sweat the onions with the spices and tomatoes till they are cooked. Keep it covered. This should take about 6-8 minutes.

IMG_1035 IMG_1031 Once this mixture is cooked, add the green peas and the sautéed potatoes.

IMG_1038 Add half a cup of water, cover and cook the peas for 5-6 minutes. The peas and potato will release some moisture of their own, make sure you don’t overcook them and make them mushy.

Now add the crushed fried onions to the ghugni and mix well. Do a taste check and see if it has the right balance of everything.

IMG_1050Have the Green Peas Ghugni on its own as a snack or team it up with some luchi or parotha. Some of you may even like to top it with some muri/puffed rice and enjoy it with some hot chai.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Heart-shaped Strawberries Dipped in Dark Chocolate

Valentine's Day is upon us. Attentions turn to matters of the heart. Thus this post of fresh, red strawberries dipped in what every lover longs for – sinful, dark chocolate.

IMG_1008 This should be a perfect way of celebrating a signature-style Valentine’s Day. Just go get some fresh strawberries and the best dark chocolate in town and you will be the queen of hearts. Or the king.


Ingredients for Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate are:

Dark chocolate
Parchment paper
Bamboo skewers

Thoroughly wash and drain the strawberries. Prepare dark chocolate (70%) on a double boiler till it has melted but not runny. A lot of supermarkets have ready-to-use bottled melted chocolates which can be nuked and used.

IMG_1013 Poke each strawberry with a bamboo skewer. Dip each strawberry individually in the dark chocolate and lay on a tray lined with parchment paper.

Let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the strawberries and the chocolate set well.

IMG_1025 Serve chilled and experience a burst of love in your mouth.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Though a Little Late…

I had a lump in my throat, goosies all over and a silent tear rolling down...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fuzzy Fusilli with Barese Sausage

If my husband were to write a love song, it’d either be – I want to lay you on a bed of pasta, or When a man loves a (bowl of) pasta. His love for pasta is undying. And my love for him is well, known in town by now. This dish was created in my kitchen out of love. My love for him.

Oh, and before you think I have misled you into a delicious image of a romantic husband, let me tell you, he doesn’t write love songs. Mine writes financial software. That’s how deprived I am in the mush department.

So to compensate for my deprivation, I start everlasting conversations with ingredients in my pantry and fridge. And today the box of Fusilli told me to marry it with the Barese sausage I got from St. Lawrence Market.

The mixed pitted olives (green and kalamata) and sun-dried tomatoes came in handy too to invoke a whole lot of flavors in my dish. IMG_0944

Ingredients for Fuzzy Fusilli with Barese Sausage are:

4 cups of Fusilli
Barese sausage (you can use any hot sausage you want)
Half cup mixed olives (pitted)
Half cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil

IMG_0940 Cook the fusilli according to package instructions. I like to keep mine al dente. Drain and keep. I always generously salt my pasta while cooking, which means I don’t use salt later.

I grilled my sausages before I added them to the pasta. This was being done simultaneously in the oven. If you are using the thick sausages, make sure you poke them randomly with a fork to avoid any blasts in the oven.

Drizzle EVOO on the fusilli, throw in the olives and the sun-dried tomatoes.
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Season with dried basil and black pepper. Once the sausages are done and are cool enough to handle, cut bite-size pieces of them and add into the pasta. Toss everything with the passion of an Italian. Serve warm as a main or a hearty lunch. And see how Cupid looks you back in the eye.IMG_0959 IMG_0957

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Comfort Food Called Kadhi

Kadhi is the blonde cousin of Indian dals. Its yogurty base is a great assurance on a cold winter day. A bowl of hot Kadhi from the pot its been slowly simmering in can give you a strange kind of comfort of being loved by a tangy, savory dish which is unashamedly simple to make.

IMG_0916 In the normal run of things, Kadhi is made differently in different parts of India. Sometimes with chunky vegetables, while it could vary at other times with dumplings or fritters made of chickpea flour. Two recipes I recently saw on the Blog world are Soma’s and Aipi’s.

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Mine is a satellite recipe and not necessarily the most traditional. But it works – from the slow buildup to the bubbling full point.

Ingredients for Kadhi are:

For the fritters/pakori:
One and half cups chickpea flour/besan
1 teaspoon red chili powder
One and half teaspoons turmeric powder
Pinch of baking powder
Canola or mustard oil for deep frying

In a mixing bowl, add together the besan, spices, baking powder, and salt. Add little water and make a thick batter. Beat the batter with your hand in a circular motion, till there are no lumps.

Heat oil in a wok till smoking. Take about a spoonful of the besan batter and drop in the hot oil. This is the pakori we make for the Kadhi. Deep fry these fritters in batches and keep aside. It takes about 3-4 minutes on medium heat for the fritters to cook through. Turn them midway of cooking. Make sure that the besan you are using is not an old stock, else the fritters will not be fluffy.
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For the Kadhi base:
2 cups plain, sour yogurt/curd
Half cup chickpea flour/besan
2 teaspoons red chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
4 cups water

Whisk together everything and pour in the pot you will cook the kadhi in. Ideally you should use an open-face thick pan which can accommodate the base and the fritters.

IMG_0908 Bring this mixture to a rolling boil, mixing continuously. Start from low heat and gradually crank it up. You will see that its runny texture begins to thicken because of the chickpeas. You can add little quantities of water if the kadhi is thickening up quickly. It took me slow to medium cooking of about 20-25 minutes to cook my Kadhi.

IMG_0911 Add the fritters to the boiling kadhi only when the raw taste of the ingredients has left this base. The Kadhi isn’t complete without seasoning or tempering it with crackling dry red chilies and spice seeds like cumin and fenugreek.

For the tempering:
2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
8-10 dry red chilies
2 tablespoons oil (leftover from frying the fritters)

IMG_0906 Heat oil in a small pan to smoking. Add the slices of garlic, cumin, fenugreek and dry red chilies in no particular order. Let them cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes till they release their respective fragrances. Do not brown the garlic.

IMG_0917 Pour this tempering on the Kadhi. Watch some sizzle action in a bowl while you get some fluffy white rice ready to go with the Kadhi.



IMG_0933 The one thing you will be sure of after this meal of Kadhi-Chawal is that you will feel eternally fulfilled and you will even have leftovers for the next day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Potty About Pottery

When P saw my work which I brought home last evening from pottery school, he said – you have graduated to the next level.

Earlier, in class, Mrs K, my teacher said she was very impressed with my work this time, and she had told people how it was for only three months that I had been doing pottery!

I was over the moon and had stars in my eyes. Just like a little girl’s. And here I am, bubbling with enthusiasm of the pure girlish kind, eagerly waiting to show you my work.

IMG_0829IMG_0846 I am specially pleased with this copper and licorice serving platter with hand-sculpted roses. By far one of my best. Or so I think.

IMG_0848 IMG_0851_1 IMG_0850 I could also use it as a fruit platter. No? I have plans to retire to an east Mediterranean island, dip my feet in an ocean inlet, and eat olives from it. You are welcome to join in.

Then I made these two soap dishes. With holes punched in them for the ease of drainage.
And then this, something inspired by my love for Sushi. These two dishes. A sea-themed Sushi/Sashimi tray and a blue-finned fish. Maybe maach bhaja will look good on it too.
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This textured trinket dish was made one day with leftover clay, I used warm green and brown glazes on it to give the colors of Earth, a sign I belong to. I also hand carved some “grass”.
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Okay, that’s all I got for this week. More from the past here if you still have some time.