Sunday, November 23, 2014

Peyaj Posto - Onions cooked with white poppy seed paste

Now that I have written about our travel in my earlier post...I would like to take off my traveling boots as of now and change into the home-slippers, and perhaps start cooking food for us.
Posto or white poppy seed paste is an integral part of traditional Bengali cooking.This can be included in many stir/fry vegetable recipes and fish recipes as well.There is this chicken recipe – posto bata diye murgi , and also a notey shaak with posto bata..........
Today it’s peyaj posto for you all. The recipe is simple with white poppy seeds to make posto bata/poppy seed paste, well almost and of course onion. I would say please use purple onions not the white ones. As they do give nice sweetish taste to the over-all dish.

After, I thought of putting up this recipe, I gave Google a turn, yeah I always do, so that I can recommend some other recipes .Most of the recipes that are written in the net about peyaj posto, do not talk about tempering/phoron part of this stir/fry. I am amazed and puzzled, as a general rule one always does the phoron/tadka/tempering and then add vegetables in a stir/fry recipe. I called back my Ma just to confirm my doubt and asked if I am doing it any wrong way these past years. So, she told me tempering should be done either by adding Panch-phoron or Kalo jeerey as this is what she always had been doing in past. I sighed that I am not the only person who believes in tempering and phoron for this stir/fry recipe.
But likewise, any recipe is totally dependent on the cook, even after many attempts one can not reproduce a delicious and simple stir/fry recipe again and again, what ever they might have eaten somewhere, and sometimes all it takes is a single attempt, and it hits the “Bulls eye”….Bang there!!

Peyaj posto ( Onions with white poppy seed paste)
Recipe requirements
3-4 medium size onions
3-4 green chilies
1 tsp of nigella seeds/kalo jeerey/kalaunji
¾ tsp of salt or as per taste
3-4  heaped tbs of white poppy seeds or 50 gms of white poppy seeds.
2-3 whole cashews
4-5 tbs of mustard oil
¼ tsp of turmeric powder (optional)
½ tsp of red pepper powder
Soak white poppy seeds and cashews in water for about 2-3 hrs roughly. Now wet grind those in grinder with water and green chilies.Add in salt as per taste also. Add water in batches, just enough to rotate the grinder blades. We will adjust water later on while stir/frying the onions.
Now heat up a saucepan, add in cooking oil. Now add in nigella seeds/kalaunji/kalo jeerey.
Add in chopped onion juliennes. Add in salt as per taste. Onions shrink while frying so; keep an eye on the content of salt. Start from adding less salt and then taste, if required add more. And also the poppy seed paste already has salt in it. Keep on stir/fry the onions for 5-7 mints or till they shrink in size.
Now add in posto bata/poppy seed paste to the above stir/fried onions. If required splash little bit of water. Keep on stir/fry this paste with onions, till the paste starts to dry up and starts sticking to the onions. It will take little patience to do stir/fry at medium heat, but it’s worth it.

Take it off from the heat; posto peyaj is ready to be served. Now have it with warm cooked rice.

Happy Cooking Friends

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let Me Take you Far Away- 2

We were on a short holiday to North Wales, and we are glad it turned out a surprise for us.This region has its own rich history and culture. I have loved picturesque and lovely South Wales particularly Gower Peninsula in this earlier post .This time we thought of going to North Wales. 

We were based in Conwy and had a chance to visit Llandudno, Bangor and Llanberis holiday resorts as well. The ruins of Conwy castle was intriguing, so was the smallest house in Conwy Quay.We even liked walking on the Conwy town walls that surrounded the entire Conwy City, something which is unheard of in present day context.I mean an entire city inside the walled area, to me it sounded  like a page out of those old fairy-tale books.I thought somebody has transported me to that authentic medieval era.

As we were visiting it on Sunday, there was a food festival with local food on display.We had Wales cakes and a salmon burger, salmon fish fillet was slowly smoked and then was put as a filing in between baps or may be something similar looking, but the flavor was amazing.I think I am going to make salmon burgers someday soon.

We were using public transport all the times, which involved little bit of planning but still doable if one wants to explore this way. The winter Sherpa bus ride from Bets-Y-Coed to Llanberis has breath-taking views, while you ride through; every turn that it takes leaves you in awe. There are many walks in between this journey as well, where you can hop-on /off, if one wants to explore the region while walking. And of course there is Snowdonia mountain railway in Llanberis if one wants to go mountain top using the cog-wheel train or even there is an option of exploring it by hiking which starts from Pen-Y-pass car park. Sherpa bus service also takes you to the Pen-Y-pass car-park, although my only regret is, this bus service is limited to 2-3 times a day.

Welsh are warm-hearted people and they sure do take pride in their own culture. The native language is different from English and once you start traveling in bus, you sometimes do get to hear some strange sounding words and language. So, Llandudno is pronounced as “Klan-Dudno” ……and so on...We were amazed and felt that we were visiting a totally different country all together. Great orme visit by Tramway was another interesting journey. This is very similar to San Francisco tramway that runs periodically in the city. As we had been to SFO before, we knew the similarity it has. But then the Great Orme visit was done on a windy day, and when I say windy day, I mean it. 

There we met some people, who made their way to the top all by walking and hiking, some were tired and told us the entire leg was very exhausting for them. No, we couldn't think of doing it, instead we thought tram is a better option for us. Lets’ see some day if we can pull it off.What ever way you choose, views on top are splendid.They even have a mini-golf course, in case you want to spend little bit more time.
Many greeted us on our way or when ever we need any advice about public transport, while we were out during our visit there. Some even went ahead and recommended us to visit local spots for history and culture. We were not aware about national slate museum in Llanberis, until we were recommended by gracious local people, who even showed another walking path towards Slate museum. It’s good to know little bit more about hard-working Welsh people and their ancestral history.

And there are many such creations which are revolutionizing as well, such as Menai Bridge near Bangor, which connects parts of the Northern Wales with Isle of Anglesey. Now that part we have left it for some other day. But this bridge had been made some 200 years ago and it’s one of world’s oldest suspension bridges.

 On one side is Parts of north Wales and on the other Isle of Anglesey.Our second Hooghly Bridge in Kolkata, is also a suspension bridge in case you want to know.

And when I write about Wales, it is compulsory to write about the breath-taking sea-beaches. This part is, I would say is blessed with beautiful sea-beaches. There is this view from our accommodation, sunset was beautiful to watch, almost had a calming effect on mind.

We also had similar experience in one of a coastal beach near Conwy.Now who wouldn’t love to spend some time over there, just sitting and lost in thoughts, surrounded with nature’s beauty. 

Wales thank you for making a memorable holiday for us.Hope to see you again someday........