Tag Archives: spicy

{friendship series} Bedmi Puri – An Uttar Pradesh specialty

28 Feb

As a continuation to my last week’s post, I have featured Ankur’s very own Bedmi Puri recipe. For the uninitiated, Puris are Indian flatbreads that are deep fried in oil and they take a puffed up appearance. Bedmi Puri is a Uttar Pradesh specialty ( a state in the north of India) which uses a unique blend of spices and urad dal.

Urad dal /www.foodsubs.com

Generally, I avoid making deep fried food at home but Bedmi puri is an exception. On days when I am feeling generous and happy such as some work -free weekends, I do make a lavish spread of bedmi puri, dum aloo and kheer ( rice pudding) for my family.

Post this heavenly lunch, we all take a much needed afternoon siesta until it is time to head out for an evening full of social hobnobbing.  Life is good in Bahrain but I still cannot help but feel that familiar longing for my old friends. This post is again about Ankur because I am not done talking about her. When I talk about Ankur, I cannot do so with talking about Deepa.  I write this post from India where I have come down for a short trip to attend a relative’s wedding. Being back in the old space – Delhi/ Noida, brings back a bucket full of memories of Deepa and Ankur. On this trip, I happened to read this beautiful book called “Sister of my Heart” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and I miss both of them even more. I feel compelled to constantly compare the two protagonists – Basudha and Anjali with Deepa and Ankur. If you are fond of beautiful, touching writing that evokes emotions that rise like tides on a full moon, you should read this book.

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Deepa also worked with us ( Ankur and me ) in the same organization and I found her as someone who could charm through the coldest of hearts with her enticing smile. I met her at a time when career-wise it was possibly the worst period and I wasn’t in the best of moods to be friendly. But Deepa danced and sang her way through my coldness. Publicly known for her dislike for the culinary arts, Deepa never felt the strong emotions that Ankur and I felt towards food and cooking. But there were other passions that we bonded over such as shopping from thrift shops, office -pantry singing and late night partying.

Goa Trip 050

This post gave me a chance to look back at my life – the carefree life with fewer responsibilities. I took this opportunity to go through all my old albums where I reminisced about our last Goa trip, the trip to Binsar, many a late night dinners and late evening coffees at Cafe Coffee Day and Barista in Noida. Ankur, Deepa and I have way too many memories and even if I try and jot all of them it will take very, many posts. I am afraid, I will only fall short of words reminding me that certain emotions are better remembered and felt. Putting them down in words can never do justice.

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Food and memories are central to my blog. Being blessed with terrible memory, this blog is my only rescue. Through words, I greedily try and capture all possible memories which time is hastily trying to erase. On 24th of Feb, this blog completed 4 years. It just slipped past unnoticed – ofcourse only I remembered because like a mother who can never forget her children’s birthdays, I cannot forget my blog’s birthday too. This blog has been my loyal companion for 4 years, changing and moulding itself into any shape that I gave it over these 4 years. I had planned  a lot of things for my blog – a new look, a giveaway etc. but none of it materialized due to the lack  of time which is such a mundane excuse that I cringe as I write it. I know I haven’t shown as much affection to the blog as it has and yet it serves me uncomplainingly. I am determined to change that going forward.

Now for the recipe of the Bedmi Puri that Ankur shared with me – thank you Ankur! Miss you and Deepa a lot.

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Spunky Chinese Fried Rice to Liven Up a Weeknight Dinner

23 Nov

It is rare that I experiment with nouvelle cuisine on a weekday. Weekdays  are chaste days ( only with regards to food) where the Routine is the Master and we are nothing but mere serfs to it. Week night dinners are the only meals that dear hubby and I have together and so it has to be simple and quick.  Then we get on with our cleaning, reading, some email checking or whatever we choose to do before we call it a night. For some reason, I haven’t been feeling the weekday pressure for quite many days. Probably it may have to do with the fact that the weather is glorious in Bahrain and it is a pleasure to wake up early and hit the gym. On one such weekday, I was felt a burgeoning urge to do something different and hassle the Big Routine. I was in no mood to refer recipe books and only wanted to make the most of what I had in my refrigerator. Once the ingredients gathered themselves, I chopped and hopped around the kitchen. Some sauces, a few condiments and a quarter of an hour later, I realized I made myself some spunky Chinese fried rice. This would be my first ever foray into the Chinese style of cooking and I was extremely happy with the way the fried rice turned out. It was full of flavour, the right amount of heat and quite enough on its own.

Recipe for Chinese Fried Rice ( Chicken)

Ingredients

Cooked rice – about 3 cups( left over rice works the best)

Salt to taste

Pepper – 1/2 tsp or according to taste

oil

Oyster sauce  – 2- 3 tablespoon ( I like the strong flavour)

Soy sauce – 2 tablespoon

white vinegar – as per taste ( I enjoy my fried rice a little tart)

Chicken ( shredded and half cooked) – 1 to 1 and a half cups ( I bought mine stir fry ready and  marinated from the super market.  But I feel that the flavour would be more wholesome if you marinate it at home in the spices of your choice)

Cabbage, chopped – 1/2 cup

beans, chopped – 1/2 or less ( these are not appreciated in my home)

mushrooms, chopped – 1/2 cup

capsicum, chopped – 1/2 cup or less

carrots, chopped – 1/2 cup

green chillies, chopped – according to taste and they serve as garnish too

spring onions, chopped – 1/2 cup and more for garnish

garlic and ginger paste – about 1 and half tablespoons

Preparation

1. Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan and shallow fry/stir fry the marinated chicken and keep aside

2. In another wok, heat some oil and saute the garlic-ginger paste.

3. When the ginger garlic paste is done, add the chopped veggies and stir continuously. Do not over do it.

4. To this, add the said quantities of salt, pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce and white vinegar and stir well.

5. Keep the flame from a medium to high all the times so that the contents do not remain soggy.

6. Add chicken pieces to and stir again. Check to taste and add more salt or sauce as per requirement.

7. Finally add the rice and mix well.

8. Garnish with chopped spring onions leaves and green/red chillies.

For vegetarians an easy substitution would be tofu or just the stir fried vegetables should do the trick.

I couldn’t believe it was so easy to put together and waited to see the reaction on my hubby’s face when I announced that there would be some Chinese Fried Rice for dinner. As expected, he was pleasantly surprised by the detour. When I saw him tuck into this rice preparation, I realized breaking the Routine once in while is good. The other thing I realized was, probably this was the only way I was going to have my Chinese Fried Rice from now on.

 

Kadala Masala Curry, a Childhood Favourite

12 Oct

Kadala  is a Malayalam word  that translates to Chickpeas ( Black or White)  happens to be one of my favourite pulses. Growing up I have had a fair share of these in curries and in their sautéed form. The way my mother made Kadala curry was to cook it in a paste of coriander seeds, red chillies, onion and grated coconut. That something so simple could taste so wonderful, always surprised me.

On the way back from school, my mind conjured these beautiful images of what all my mother would have made for lunch. That anticipation always made me race back home with a heavy school bag in tow. My mother was a banker so she wasn’t around to serve it to me piping hot. But that was hardly a bother as I was pretty much adept at doing most of the stuff myself ( also, I shouldn’t forget to mention that I had a caretaker until I was 14 years old and my brother had his).  All the cooking was done by my Mother  as a matter of principle and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyday, she would prepare a spread of two curries ( pulses), a vegetable, a raita or a salad, pappads, rice and rotis. She had to be at the her workplace by 10 a.m and before that she made a sumptuous breakfast, send us off to school with our tiffins and prepared such a large spread for lunch. Every single day.

We were so demanding, I realize now. Not giving her any respite and asking for something or the other. She happily obliged not caring if she was tired after a long day’s work.  We took it for granted and she did what she had to without complaining and with great joy. That joy translated into the food  that she made and calling it tasty would be an understatement.

Only after all these years, now that I have a child of my own, I realize, how she had to put up with her ever hungry, demanding kids. This post is an ode to all that she has done for me  and my brother for years and years. I know it wouldn’t measure up to it but something to say – “Thanks, Amma!”

Recipe for Kadala Masala Curry

Ingredients

1 cup of black or white chick peas ( soaked over night and boiled)

1 medium-sized onion , chopped

2 dried red chillies ( you can up the heat by added as many as 8 red chillies too)

1 cup fresh grated coconut

3 tablespoons of coriander seeds

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

For tempering

Oil

1-2 tsp of mustard seeds

more dried red chillies (optional)

1 small chopped onion

small handful of curry leaves

Preparation

1. Boil the Chickpeas with some salt and turmeric and keep aside

2. Meanwhile prepare for the gravy by roasting grated coconut first and keep aside

3. Next roast, coriander seeds with dried red chillies

4. finally roast the chopped onion until golden brown.

5. Once all of the above roasted ingredients have cooled, grind them into a paste with some water. Do not grind it ultra smooth. It needs to be of a coarser consistency.

6. Pour this gravy into a pan / kadhaai and cook until the raw smell has gone and nice aroma spreads.Do this under a closed lid as it would be faster and to avoid all the gravy splashing about.  This would take some time and you would notice that the colour has changed too and is darker brown in colour.

7. To this add, the boiled chick peas and cook for sometime under a closed lid.

8. Once you feel that all of it has come together, ready the tempering in a different pan by heat oil and mustard seeds until they splutter. To this add the curry leaves and chopped onions and wait till the onions are done well. Pour this tempering into the curry.

9. Serve hot with rice.

If you find it too spicy you could lower the number of red chillies and even use yogurt while you dig in ( that’s my favourite way to eat – hot rice, curry and yogurt). The rice in the photographs is the fluffy red rice that we usually eat in Kerala. I also feel, the gravy would suit all kinds of meat such as chicken and mutton. It is finger licking good, trust me!

I am sending this off to Anamika’s Herbs & Flowers  event originally hosted by Seduce your tastebuds.

Of Pizzas and Marriages

7 Oct

“Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.” said a wise man once  but this growing up happens, slowly and sometimes painfully. Opposites attract but what one forgets is that, they are Opposites to begin with. Every single time, for every single thing, for every single situation, my hubby and I head in opposite directions for no apparent reason. It just is natural for us to do. At least we are not loggerheads! Touch wood.

“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”— Leo Tolstoy

So during one such incompatible moment when hubby wanted a pizza on a weekend and I craved some  egg plant curry, we found we had reached the cul-de-sac. I am not the biggest fan of pizza and hubby is just short of being allergic to egg plants. For a moment it felt there was no solution in sight and we almost picked up the phone to order a pizza. Suddenly I remembered having seen a certain pizza that used egg plant curry and solution seemed to be in sight. I quickly browsed through Kankana’s Baigan Bhartha recipe and got down to work. I was happy working a pizza dough and while it rose in a warm place, I did my bit to get the Baigan Bhartha ( egg plant mash) ready. Smoked aubergine/ egg plants marinated in spices is the just thing to get my weekend rolling. Since I did not want to freak my hubby out with the mention of egg plants on a pizza, I kept mum until I had the piping hot spicy pizza out from the oven.

Needless to say, the pizza was a big hit and it did the best it could to satiate our cravings.

The Recipe for Baigan Bhartha Pizza

Adapted from Kankana’s Sunshineandsmile

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar

For the topping

  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilly powder ( you can turn up the heat if you like by adding an extra tsp or two)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • Combination of mozzarella  and cheddar cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oil

Preparation

1. Mix yeast with the warm water in a small bowl. Cover it and let it stand until it looks creamy. This should take about 7 minutes.

2. In another large bowl, combine flour, olive oil, salt and sugar.

3. Then, add the yeast mixture and mix it properly. Knead it for few minutes until its smooth and soft.

4. Take a glass bowl and grease it with some oil. Keep the dough in the bowl and brush some oil on top of the dough.

5. Cover it, keep it in a warm area and let it rise until it doubles in volume. This should take about an hour.

6. While the dough is rising, you can start working on the toppings.

7. Roasting the eggplants can be done either in the oven, stove top.

8. Pat dry the eggplants and brush some oil on it. Roast it until it soft and the skin starts to peel apart.

9. Let it cool before you start mashing it. After it cools down, peel the skin off the eggplant and put in a bowl.

10. Then, heat some oil in a pan and saute garlic and chopped onions.

11. Season with some salt and pepper, and once it’s translucent, add the tomatoes and continue cooking for about 2 minutes.

12. Add the roasted and mashed eggplant into this pan with the onion tomato mixture.

13. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, chilly flakes and mash it until it’s smooth. When the mixture is done, it will start to leave oil out on the sides.

14. Place  dough onto a well floured surface and roll out into a pizza crust shape.

15. In a baking pan, arrange the parchment paper and place the rolled pizza crust on it.

16. Top with the mashed eggplant mix and spread the mix evenly.

17. Grate some cheese on top and drizzle some oil.

18. Bake it at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until it’s slight brown and cooked through.

19. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

This pizza seems like a metaphor to all things that should be in a marriage. No marriage is perfect in my opinion because two imperfects cannot make a perfect like in Mathematics. But then I wouldn’t have it any other way since it is this imperfection that gives rise to immense choice and variety. This variety makes life so much more interesting.

We fought for the last crumb of this pizza and that made it worth my while.

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