Showing posts with label main dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label main dish. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Food For Hungry Soul: Chane ka Nimona

A decade ago, my marriage to a UPite (Uttar Pradesh, a state east of Delhi), outside the chartered territory of the Haryana-Rajasthan-Delhi tristate area, caused quite a furore amongst the older generation of my family.
'They have nothing in common with us' was an oft-repeated refrain from my uncles and aunts. 'You'll have a lot to deal with culturally', they warned. 'They eat very different food- it will be an inconvenience for Guddo' - reminded my naani, very gently, but worried enough to slip out the much-hated (by me) childhood endearment. 'How dare you agree to let our only grand daughter go across the river', thundered my naana referring to the the River Ganges, a geographical and symbolic divide between two of the most fertile, similar and yet disimilar, states in India. My dad fretted and fumed about his decision for days but then decided that his daughter had been brought up liberally enough in the huge metropolitan melting pot of Delhi to be able to take a few cultural diversions in her stride.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Dinner (4) : Palak aur Khubani ka Kofta

The last few days went by in a blur. If I didn't have all the leftovers from the past weekend's Holi get together, we'd have eaten out all week. Yesterday night, it was time to take stock of the groceries again. Basically all I could find was a half-bag of spinach, 3 potatoes, one sad tomato and an onion. I definitely did not want to eat Paalak-aloo yesterday. Actually I was just not in the mood for a run-of-the mill everyday dinner. So just decided to experiment a bit. I remembered reading about a spinach kofta some time ago. Although I did not have the details of that recipe, I felt like I  could do it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Encore! Tadka Idli.

 The weather has certainly cleared up quite a bit. Grass looks a lot perkier, and little shoots of daffodils are breaking ground in my flower beds. Looking at the bright sunshine and temperatures in mid 50s, we thought  last weekend that we'd go to a park and initiate the picnic season. Before we could settle on a  menu, our plans got washed away; literally. Heavy rains Thursday night into Friday left all the surrounding creeks and rivulets overflowing, with flash flood warnings. All our favorite picnic places turned into mini swamps. Rather than lose the opportunity to get together, our friend R suggested we come to her place.

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Aquired taste: Aloo- Methi ki Sabzi

I was so apprehensive about buying a house in the suburbs 4yrs. ago. We were moving out from the school campus into a more 'family-friendly' zone, except that everything was so far away.  Where earlier I could  hear even my neighbor's breath through the apartment's walls, now I'd see no one until I  drove down a mile (that's a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean). So, one of the first things that the FM's did  to seal the deal with us in exchange for our signature at the dotted line, was to drive us down to what they claimed was the 'best produce store ever'. "You won't get anything like the stuff here at any grocery store", they claimed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things I Remember - Gatte ki Kadhi

Sometimes, it is difficult being yourself. Sometimes, you just want to go back to the cocoon that was your childhood and live life the way you used to. Yes you hated school, homework, your parents' constant concern and how your life was so structured. But what do you do when you find that growing up didn't make things any easier? Not only are your life's activities more controlled than they were, but you grew up to become, supposedly, an adult. No more hugs and kisses from your mom, getting tucked in at night by daddy, bickering and fighting for the last piece of chocolate with your siblings. The realization hits that those small, infinitesimal worries just grew up, as you did, to become large, infinite, never-ending struggles. And that is when, you about the past. That is when you look back, and try to recreate that magic. In my case, nostalgia comes in large part from food. My mom's way of making me feel special, and loved, was to cook up something she knew I liked. As I grew, this also became her way to tell me that she understood me, or missed me. So with this recipe, I hope to tell her that I miss her...everything about her.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pot-pourri, Indian Style.

"My mom's ...... tastes better than yours" is one comment that can send women (read, me) in a mad, adrenaline-pumping battle mode. And I got plenty of that attitude these past 5 weeks. Not that I have anything against my MIL, mind you. She's a sweet, well-meaning lady like all mothers are. It's all him...him and his devil-may dare grin when says THE offensive sentence. And my response to that is (1) Give him one of my 'You better watch yourself' stares, meant to move mountains but effectively ineffective in our domestic tiff situations OR (2) prove to him that he is wrong; which as I (and all the married women in this world) know to be the only indisputable truth.

Although my MIL mostly stayed out of the kitchen; and our riff-raff; when she visited us recently, he still managed to specially request his childhood favorite from her - Tahari. He asked for it the day after she landed in US, and then again, and again until it seemed like we were eating tahari for dinner almost every other day. By the time my MIL's 5 -week vacation came to an end, I was so ready to not eat rice anymore. Then, came the heatwave last week. As we entered our home, it felt like we'd walked into an oven. Even the air conditioning took several hours to kick in. That was all the trigger he needed to come up with his last jab; 'If only mom was here, we could've had her tahari for dinner.' And I set out to prove that I could learn to make tahari as good as, if not better than my MIL's!
Masoor aur Matar ki Tahari
(Spiced rice with lentils and peas)


Long Grained Basmati rice : 2 measures
Red Lentils/ Masoor ki dal: 3/4 measure
Frozen Peas: 1/2 cup
Bay leaf: 1 broken into pieces
Cloves: 3-4
Green chillies: 3-4,chopped
Ginger: about a 1/2 inch piece; chopped
Salt: 1Tbsp (or to taste)
Red chilli powder: 1/4tsp, adjust to taste
Cumin seeds: 1/2tsp
Oil/Ghee: 1Tbsp
  1. Wash and soak the rice and lentils separately for about 30 min. Meanwhile prep and chop your veggies.
  2. Heat 1tbsp oil ( I used Ghee) in a wok and add the cumin to it. Let it splutter and then add the cloves, bayleaf, green chillies and ginger. Saute for a min or so.
  3. Add the rice, lentils and peas at the same time; plus all the rest of the spices. Dry roast the rice and spices till the rice appears brittle and starts breaking up (about 3-4 min).
  4. Add enough water to cover at about an inch above the level of rice. Cook uncovered on high for 10-15 min till the water is almost evaporated. The rice is still not done at this point.
  5. Turn down the heat and cover the wok. Cook for 2-3 min and then turn off the heat.
  6. Let the rice stand in the covered wok for another 10 min or so. Then serve hot.
My two cents: This is a one-pot meal, ideal for those lazy summer days. It can incorporate any veggies that suit your fancy; I know I love it with onions, and potatoes. My MIL only does peas- the lentils were my addition too; and the result was awesome. You can serve it with yogurt, any chutney or pickle. Here, I have it with Matha, a slightly spiced, salty buttermilk with ground cumin- another excellent summer cooler!

Linked to : Dish name starts with a T

VHearth and Soul Hop at the 21st Century Housewife

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thali ka Baingan....

I don't remember the incident clearly; but just the sight of baby eggplants is enough to remind me of one chilly, but bright and sunny, Delhi afternoon ages ago. I must been all of 4 or 5 yrs. old. I remember my mom and "4B wali auntiji" sitting on our balcony, gossiping over Mooli drenched in lemon juice and chaat masala. And they were giggling about something. Aunty had also brought along some baby eggplants that she was going to prep for the evening, and my mom had her knitting handy. Then auntiji said something about "baingan", and they both broke into fresh guffaws, enough to make me look up from whatever I was doing. And then aunty let her baingan roll in the thali, point towards me and repeat her remark about "Thali ka baingan".

Monday, August 10, 2009

Of Brother, Rakhi, and Paneer Nargisi

This year on Raksha bandhan, when my MIL called to wish us, I was already at work. And unaware till then of having missed that important day. Now, being the kind of person that I am, forgetting a day of festivities really bothers me. In my own defense, I wasn't always like fact, growing up in a posh South Delhi neighborhood, traditions were actually meant to be scoffed upon. But, since then, I've done a lot of growing up. Having established a home away from home, with a family of my own, skies and oceans separating me from my parents and bro, now I feel more and more drawn into the the traditional rituals of my childhood. And as an added incentive, I want to actually give my girls a taste of India as they grow up. So, as I drove home that evening, fuming and generally mad at myself and the the rest of the world, I decided to do something to right the wrong of forgetting. And what better way than to cook up a feast to celebrate?