Recipes

Jharkhand food series – 03

I opened my sleepy eyes one summer morning and looked outside. My bedroom window opened straight in the garden and I could see the lavish greenery, blooming flowers and chirping birds right from my cozy bed. My eyes wandered with a tiny sparrow chirping and hopping from one branch to another. It was on it’s own. As if it didn’t bother of anything and just wandered alone singing it’s own songs and loving her own company. Flying rhythmatically it sat on our iron gate. It appeared so tiny there but somehow blended with the grayish-black rusting gate. The sparrow sat there for a minute, twerked her head for a while and flew away. Might be she remembered her daily duties and took off to accomplish that?

It was then, when I suddenly noticed, how ordinary the gate looked. Of course, it had the charm of standing there since a decade. So what it has started rusting a bit? So what if it makes that cracking sound when opened? So what if it has deformed from places a bit? It still is the gate I would always love to open and come back in my this house. The house which gave me an identity, solace and unconditional love. That’s the door which leads me to my heaven on earth. But, still my heart cringed for something. It was time to leave the bed and my thoughts, so that’s what I did and got totally lost in my routine life.

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Balakrishnan Kaliyaperumal

The next morning, I woke up to the chirping again. But today, it was different. It was more robust. It seemed happier. I hastily opened my eyes and felt the garden looked more alive today. There was this sparrow meeting happening and everyone seemed too excited to put their views forward. I wondered if it drizzled a bit in the morning. The leaves in the garden looked fresh and danced with the wind. The colorful bougainvillea flowers too were clean, fresh and danced rhythmically today.

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Balakrishnan Kaliyaperumal

I guess the meeting ended on a very happy note. Everyone seemed so excited and content and flew together and sat on the iron gate again. My sleepy eyes opened wide. The gate was painted in a cool blue color. It didn’t look ordinary any more. It looked so extraordinary suddenly. It radiated energy, happiness and coolness all around. It looked so fresh and radiant. My heart swell up with happiness. I ran towards the gate to have a closer look. The gate was mended and painted. The swirls and climbers around it looked happy and great too. The sparrows were still sitting there chirping loudly. It seemed they wanted to tell the whole world how happy they were today. Their happiness was spreading like the sun’s beam on a dark spot. Enlightening everyone who came it’s way. Soon the gate was full of more sparrows, parrots, mynas and other colorful birds chirping loudly and hopping in excitement. I wondered what was the talk about?

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Gulmohar Doodles

I realized on that day that any ordinary thing can be made into an extraordinary element. It just need some patience, hard-work and tons of love. Anything can be achieved and can be given a new form and life if one has perseverance. Growing up in a small town, I saw and imbibed that in myself. I saw my grandmother and mother trying to make extraordinary things out of ordinary stuffs. No internet and not much ways of transferring or gaining knowledge yet they knew a lot. Everything was passed down from generation after generation. The quest to try, the zeal to learn and the willingness to fail and achieve. They always surprised me of their creativity. I am happy and feel blessed to have learned things from them. It is a blessing which can be passed on to another generation. And I thrive to do the same.

When my mom got married and came to my father’s home, she brought with her all the wisdom and knowledge which my Naanima (maternal grandmother) passed on to her. Along with her side jewelries and dresses she also brought her mother’s cuisine with her. That was the charm. Two families coming together. Both from the same state but a totally different way of food preparation, ingredients and taste. My folks never believed in wasting food. I remember eating lots of curries made out of peels, flowers, leaves and young branches of different vegetable plants/ creepers. It was my mother who started making the watermelon rind dry curry and even when people retaliated in the beginning, they soon started looking forward to it. It was a big hit at home. Summer meant “tarbooz k chilke ka bhujia”. Everyone loved it. Of course we made murabba out of it too. But, the bhujia remained my favourite.

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Gulmohar Doodles

So you see, it would be a lie if I tell you that every time I get to see a watermelon, I don’t think about the watermelon ridge bhujia/curry and salivate. This bhujia is one of the special food which was prepared without fail whenever a big fat watermelon was brought home during the summers. It is packed with nutrients. Health was the primary thing even back then. Food was organic, home grown, nutritious and mouth watering. How I miss eating one more morsel of this bhujia wrapped in generous amount of ghee rice from my grandmother’s hand 😔

I will be posting the recipe soon. Do try making it and let me know how you liked it? Will you? Sending warmth and love your way till we meet again 😊

Jharkhand Food Series – 02

Who else remember the onset of those dreamy winter mornings, when the world seemed covered in a lazy, chilly, misty blanket. Where the soothing green grass slept lazily wearing it’s beautiful dewy diamond dress, glittering merrily in the sunbeam’s tryst. The calm mornings, where the socks clad feet would be tightly wrapped around the soft, thick double blankets.The never-ending quest of warming up by blowing air out of the mouth and soaking it up quickly in those colorful gloves filled hands. When the chilly air sent shivers down the spine and the constant struggle to keep ourselves warm. Days when the hardest thing seemed to be saying goodbye to that comfy, warm blanket and start the day.

The days would start on a very hasty, lazy note. But, the eyes always glistened seeing those baskets full of fresh, colorful picks from the vegetable market. Winter brought colors to the kitchen and in our lives too. Remember those lovingly hand-woven colorful shawls and sweaters? That was love. Pure love! Those were the days when each season brought with them a totally different produce. Back then, there were no air conditioned supermarkets around selling exotic vegetables throughout the year. We had to wait and then taste the yummiest seasonal produces. Each season added their own beauty. Each day the kitchen saw the burst of colors amalgamating beautifully in the carefully, skilled cooking. Oh, how I loved those days. Winter was the time for comfort, of warmth and for good food, for the touch of a friendly hand and for the talk beside the fire. It was the time for home. It was the time for rustic recipes.

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Amidst all those different delicacies, what I looked for the most was the humble “aalu ka jhor”. This piping hot baby potato gravy generously poured over the ghee laden rice tasted nothing simple. It was pure heaven on earth. It tasted of the hard work of the farmers, it tasted of the simple joys, it tasted of togetherness, it tasted of rustiness of my village mud. It tasted of my roots. Roots which have lost in the transition of time, roots which were replaced among multi flavored and complicated ingredients. Roots which are struggling to be held and given the respect it truly deserves.

So you see, each time when I paraded to the vegetable market holding one of my parent’s hand, those baby potatoes never failed to bring a huge smile on my face. Those tiny, round, brown babies knew it can brighten any gloomy, dark, winter days. My old folks always believed in the magic of fresh harvest and fresh produce. No vegetable was tucked inside the fridge and left over to become dry and tasteless. Everything was cooked fresh either right from our home garden or from the vegetable vendors who brought the produce from their fields early morning.

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Aalu ka jhor was cooked during lunch at our home. When the chilly mornings were over and the breakfast was already sorted out, Maa and grandma would sit in the garden together laughing and chirping like sparrows cutting a big basket of these potatoes effortlessly with a sickle. Lunch was always a grand affair. But somehow, whenever aalu ka jhor was cooked, the other stuffs were kept to its minimal. Nothing fancy on those days. Just the humble potato curry and rice. Might be a stir fry on the side.

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I remember coming back from school tired and hungry. And when Maa served lunch, I couldn’t contain my happiness seeing this bowl full of sunshine. It was comfort, it was pride, it was love, it was contentment. This gravy is nothing ordinary. The baby potatoes were shimmered in a thin freshly harvested and pounded rice paste with loads of garlic. Not much spices just the humble basics.

Winters, when time and days seem gloomy and cold, little things can bring joy and happiness to life. We just have to look around, dig deeper and listen to our heart. Imbibing the generosity of nature and trying to come a bit closer to our roots can create a huge difference in our lives. Try to teach your kids and make them believe in what touched your heart once. Show them the cultural roots. Might be they won’t feel the same emotions but we can try. Isn’t something better than nothing always? On this note, sticking to my roots and trying to create magic and memories together, I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a very hearty, welcoming, generous and loving year ahead. Be blessed, stay blessed! ❤. ♡. ♥.

In case you would love to replicate the recipe, here is the method for you 🙂

Aalu ka Jhor (Baby potatoes shimmered in thin rice paste gravy)
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 kilos of happiness and love (Mandatory! Do not skip this ingredient :))
  • half kilo baby potatoes
  • 3-4 spoons of raw rice
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbs coriander powder
  • 12-15 pods of minced garlic
  • 2 green chillies (can be increased or decreased according to your taste)
  • 2 glasses of water (can be adjusted according to consistency)
  • 2 tbs of oil (mustard oil is preferred)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds for tempering

Preparation:

  1. Swell up your heart with happiness since you are going to prepare a humble rustic Jharkhandi dish today 🙂
  2. Soak the raw rice in little water for half an hour.
  3. Wash and cut the baby potatoes in halves. Do not remove the skin.
  4. Now, switch on the gas stove. In a pressure cooker, add all the potatoes, one glass of water, 1 tbs of salt, 1 tsp of turmeric powder and close the lid.
  5. Let it cook for 10 minutes or till the potatoes get cooked but is not mushy.
  6. While the potatoes are getting cooked, grind the soaked rice in very little water. This mixture needs to be coarse and not fine. Take it out in a bowl and add half cup water to it and set aside.
  7. Coarsely grind the garlic pods and the green chillies in a mortar-pestle. Set aside.
  8. After the potatoes get cooked, take out the pressure and set it aside. Do not throw the water.
  9. Lit the stove and put a wok on it. Best to use an iron one since it gives a very rustic taste to the dish.
  10. Add a spoon of mustard oil into it. Once the oil gets heated up add the cumin seeds and watch it dancing in happiness.
  11. Reduce the flame and add in the chilli-garlic paste. Cook it for 30 seconds.
  12. Then add the cooked potatoes along with the water it was boiled in.
  13. Add the ground rice paste to it and let it shimmer in low flame for about five minutes.
  14. Adjust the consistency of water and salt at this time. I generally add half glass of warm water at this point of time since I like my curry to be on the thinner side. Also mash couple of the potatoes for a better consistency.
  15. Add in the coriander powder and let it cook happily for about ten minutes.
  16. Keep stirring the curry in intervals since it has the tendency to stick to the bottom of the cooking vessel.
  17. Once the curry comes to a boil, give it extra five minutes to soak in the flavors.
  18. Switch of the gas and cover the curry with a lid. Let it sit for ten minutes so that the potatoes imbibe the rice flavor.
  19. After ten minutes, pour the curry generously over a heap-full ghee laden rice. Smell, eat, smile and enjoy 🙂

Good Night Awesome People :)

Thalipeeth

Here is a photo of one of my good mood cooking 🙂 :)… I hope everyone had a great day. A day to cherish, a day to remember and a day worth living for! Last but not the least, remember you all are special to me, thank you for your continuous support! I am sharing with you the Sabudana Thalipeeth recipe here. Do enjoy 🙂

Sabudana Thalipeeth
Preparation time: 15-20 mins
Cooking time: 20-30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unconditional love
  • 1 cup soaked and drained Sabudana (preferably the small sized one)
  • 2 big boiled and mashed potatoes
  • 1 medium size chopped onion
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chopped green chillis
  • 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup roasted and slightly crushed peanuts (remove the skin)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander and mint leaves finely chopped (optional)
  • oil for frying

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together properly in a big bowl except oil
  2. Now grease your hands with some oil so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands
  3. Heat a skillet and smear some oil on it
  4. Start making small balls out of the mixture and flatten it to shape it into a disc either on your palm or on the skillet directly
  5. Let it cook without disturbance on both the sides for a minimum of 4-5 minutes or until it turns into a beautiful golden color
  6. Remember to pour a spoon of oil while you flip the sides
  7. Take the Thalipeeths out of the skillet once they turn into crispy golden color on both the sides
  8. Be careful and don’t place the hot thalipeeths on top of each other as it tends to stick to each other. Keep each one of them separately until they cool down a bit
  9. Serve the yummy, fulfilling Sabudana Thalipeeths with masala curd and mint and coriander chutney 🙂 🙂
  10. Be ready for loads of appreciations and a demand for making it more often 😛


Before I run to enjoy my Thalipeeth with my darling husband, here I wish you all a very HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!! ♥ ♥

Lazy Dinner

Ahhh! It was such a hectic day for me yesterday!! The work, Bangalore traffic, dust and the back-pain really took a toll on me. Generally I love to cook…and that’s not a secret anymore. But yes, I don’t like to cook every night! Sometimes I’m lazy and sometimes I’m damn too tired. And on those nights, I like someone else to do the work for me or I just cook myself a lazy dinner. These nights, I don’t feel like measuring and dicing… other nights I just want something I can throw together without following a recipe. Once in a while it’s nice not to have to follow a recipe or really think about what to put in a meal… Don’t you think so??

As I was not in the mood for any type of culinary adventure last night and at the same time me and my husband were so damn hungry. I thought of cooking something which could be easy, delicious and doesn’t require too much of work! And, then I made this.. what I call “Rice Noodles with Vegetables and Chicken Sausages”. Just threw in a hand full of rice noodles, some chopped garlic, green bell pepper, garden beans, onion, cabbage, baby corns, red cherries and not to mention chicken sausages. A super quick and delicious meal. 😉 And, the best part, my husband who is not a big fan of noodles or I can say that he doesn’t like to eat noodles at all… LOVED IT!!! And the biggest surprise came to me when he asked me to give this someday for his lunch too… 😛

Lazy DinnerPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

So, what’s your lazy dinner idea that still tastes fresh, healthy and doesn’t require too much of an effort? I hope you are all have a lovely memorial day!!

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