Monday, May 31, 2010

Lao'er Torkari with Dakhini twist

Alright then; first day of the week. I thought of posting a vegetarian recipe this time. Bottle gourd /lao/lauki is prepared with sambhar powder/huli podi with some cubed potatoes .Huli podi gave a nice twist to a usual plain Bengali lao’er torkari.We enjoyed it with roti even.

Lao’er torkari with Huli Podi
Recipe requirements
Bottle gourd-1 cut into cubes
2 medium size potatoes –cut into cubes
For tempering
1 tsp of cumin seed or panch phoron
For seasoning
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
2-3 tsp of Huli Podi
Salt as per taste
Half a tsp of sugar
Cooking oil-2-3 tbs

Cut bottle gourd/lao/lauki and potato into cubes.
Heat up a pan, add oil, and temper it with cumin seeds.
Now add in potato first, fry for few minutes.
Now add in bottle gourd pieces.
Add in all the seasonings-salt, huli podi, red pepper powder, turmeric powder and sugar.
Mix in well; keep frying all the ingredients for another 4-5 mints at medium flame.
Add in half cup of warm water.
Cover the pan and let it cook well.
After 10-12 mints, open the lid and check for the vegetables. (In between, check the vegetables so that they don’t stick up at the base)
Just work with your spatula and mix in well. Serve with warm cooked rice. This is an excellent vegetarian dish with warm cooked rice or even roti.

Happy Cooking and see you tomorrow.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pabda Mach'er Tel Jhaal

When I was doing my grocery shopping on weekdays, I noticed these frozen pack of Pabda fish. One mind was telling me to go ahead and pick the packet and other mind was stopping me from doing so. You know kind of Devil on one shoulder and Angel on one. At the end my good Angel was scolding my Bad –“Stop that you, you are confusing the lady.”
My Bad hit back–“But then, it’s my job to confuse people.”
My good Angel -“Shoo! You go now otherwise I will cast a spell on you. Let her pick this packet of fish, I see no harm in it.”And it knocked hard on my bad Angel‘s head, with that my Devil/doubt in this case, disappeared like anything.
I picked the packet and I am glad I did.It was a welcome change for us.
So, here is the recipe

Pabda Mach’er tel Jhaal
Recipe requirements
Pabda fish-4-5
For marinating the fish
Few tsp of turmeric powder and salt.
Oil for frying the fish
For the gravy
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2-3 tsp of red pepper powder
2-3 green chilly slit in between
Salt as per taste
2 fat cloves of garlic
Oil for cooking the gravy if needed
Clean the fish and if it’s large then cut it into half, otherwise let the small fish remain as it.
My packet had three large and two small fish. So I cut the fish in half.
Marinate the fish with turmeric powder and salt.
Heat up a saucepan, add oil, let it heat up.
Drop fish one by one, a batch of four pieces will do god.
Fry them well till they turn out nice brown.
Now to the gravy making
Chop garlic and slit green chilly.
Temper the above oil with garlic and then add 1-1 ½ cup of water.
Add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder and salt.
Add in chopped tomato.

There is another way of preparing it same gravy
Add in garlic and fry t for 2-3 mints. Then add in chopped tomato. Fry it well until it becomes mushy and oil separates out. Add in turmeric, red pepper powder and salt. Let it cook another couple of mints and then add 1 cup of water for the gravy.
Now let the gravy comes to one boil.
Add in fried fish pieces. Let it cook covered for 10-14 mints at low.
Take out hot and serve with garam bhaat.Simple and easy recipe for pabda mach’er jhaal.There is another way of making this fish- Pabda Mach'er jhaal
I have been thinking of taking a challenge of posting recipes for 7 consecutive days. Being a lazy bone I am that’s quite a challenge. Let’s see if I can stick to my guns. So will see you on Monday, hope you all have a nice weekend.

Happy Cooking

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tangra Mach'er Jhaal ( Fish Curry )

Coming back from teaching in her school in the evening, Shakuntala devi was very happy and excited. As she got into the bus, she realized there was no place left vacant.It was office rush already and everybody was engrossed in chatting with each other about the day. Some of them were replying to the hurried mobile calls, their dear ones kept ringing frequently at. She luckily got a place near the window. A young boy in early teen years offered his seat to the old lady who seemed to him, looking tired and worn out. As she smiled to acknowledge his gesture, several crows feet started to appear abruptly on her face like a pimple menace teenagers have to face in their growing up years .Strange are the natures rule, every age has its own skin problems to deal with. The wooden window was shaky and seemed fragile, like her old ripened years. The bus and the old lady have this uncanny resemblance of never giving up on life.

As this old wooden and tin bus starts her day from Howrah Bus garage with few initial jerks, so is this old lady with hers. Both seemed to be in habit of each other. She would usually get up early in the morning, have a bath. And then would offer prayers to God, which was something part of a silent pact between God and her. She would then feed her adorable and talkative “Tiya pakhi” (Parrot) Chon-moon, her only companion in a lonely small two bedroom house. Chon-moon sometimes even is noisy as Shakuntala Devi took some extra time to offer her prayers, you know sometimes those special days. Chon-moon would be by then grumpy as he would become impatient for his breakfast of Bhejano Chola (Soaked Bengal Gram).Chon-moon would start taking rounds of his cage, up then down and he would repeat until he felt bored and would rest on the small round swing inside his cage. As Shakuntala Devi would be ringing her brass bell while offering her prayers to GOD, Chon-moon would know that his breakfast will be ready in two more minutes.
As the bus caught speed and slowly the driver changed the gear and pushed the accelerator extra hard over the road that leads to Howrah Bridge, everything started to flash in front of her eyes. As she looked out from the window, she can see Kolkata on one side and Howrah on other side. River Hooghly a diverted branch of river Ganga seemed so mighty and mesmerizing. Dark grey cloud started hovering around from South end. It seemed Howrah will soon get her share of rain while Kolkata will be waiting for her turn to get some for couple of more hours.

She liked seeing outside rather than having conversation with strangers. And today, that teenaged boy gave his seat to her, as if he can sense her disliking of mingling with strangers in bus. He could feel that she was even more eager to feel the fresh breeze blowing from river Hooghly.
Again she was engrossed in her thoughts.
Last year in summer, she sold her ancestral property in a small village and severed all her ties with the place she came there first after getting newly married. But then she has reasons too. For widow materialistic things doesn’t show any charm.One cold winter morning , Shakuntala Devi’s husband Shantanu Mitra died of a massive heart stroke. They had planned earlier of settling their life in a peaceful village of “Shankrail” after retirement. But destiny had some other plans for them. As with one strong wind, house of cards come crashing, similarly fate played a cruel joke in her life. There were all the relatives she knew, she called them up to help, but when you need them the most, and they don’t show up. She was constantly questioned about the property she owns now as per her late husband’s will. Suddenly people round her had started showing their true colors like a foliage having fall colors, although this time very ugly. She decided that its time to start a fresh chapter in her life, so what if it’s too late. When you can be friendly with yourself, your situations outside also starts to ease out. Peace within yourself can only guide you to more stability outside.

She and her late husband Shantanu Mitra were working as school teachers. Theirs was a love cum arranged marriage as both were teaching in the same school. While Shakuntala Devi was teaching Chemistry at senior secondary level, Shantanu Mitra was teaching Math at secondary level. When love happens, it doesn’t give you any notice or reasons. Both their parents were more than happy to hear their decision of getting married. They started their new married life in Kolkata in a small one bedroom house located in a very middleclass locality. Years passed by but they were deprived of the joy of having a child. Nature can be rude sometimes to a woman who has a pure mother’s heart, there was no child in her lap to call her own...Shakuntala devi and Shantanu Mitra had accepted the painful fact/truth that they will not be able to bear a child.Slowly ,they had found joy and hope in every student they had taught so far.Their face would brighten up whenever an ex student of the school ,would show up in school all of a sudden .They would seek blessings from these two genious, noble and kind hearted souls.
After her husband’s death, she was now more engrossed in teaching and school was her probably a place to hide. To hide from the demons of cultural and moral police that were scattered all the way, at her living place, to also in the journey she made from her home to her school by bus.
For Shakuntala Devi, she was now the mother of those some 50 students that she would be teaching Chemistry daily. She would be bidding her last bye each year with tears in corner of her eyes, as each batch would be passing their Board’s exams and leaving the school for the future they would be creating for themselves. As for she ,she would be there standing in her same class, holding the white chalk with the black board behind and waiting to open the first chapter of the book in every fresh summer terms.
Batch of 2000 was special to her. For it was Naren who caught her eyes for his sharp grasping power and intelligence. She knew it that this boy has something above average. Today was special, as Naren called her up and told that he would be coming to visit her. Naren was here in Kolkata for a short period of time. He was now in his last phase of doing his research from one of the prestigious College in India. He had been already offered a good job in a leading pharmaceutical company also which promises a good future and a great career, something that made her pride of him.

She told him that she would be preparing his Favorite Kalo jeere, golmorich diye Tangra mach er Jhaal and Rui Mach’er kalia .Naren was in hurry as he had some more work to do in Kolkata before he would be coming back to Howrah.
Naren was never a part of group, there was something mysterious and unique about him and so his liking for foods. Over a period of two years Shakuntala Devi was familiar with Naren’s capabilities and up to an extent even his eating habits. When Naren’s real mother died, he was devasted .He came running to Shakuntala Devi’s home on a rainy day and cried like a baby. There was nobody that Naren can call his own and then there was Shakuntal Devi who was struggling to live life of a lonely widow. A son got his new mother and a mother embraced his son with all the love she had stored in her heart over these years. Destiny can also be sometimes healing and giving.
A long honking by the bus driver and suddenly a break, jerked all the passengers including Shakuntala Devi from her chain of thoughts.
A rickshaw puller was coming from the wrong side, everyone in the street and including the passengers started scolding the rickshaw puller.

Aro ekto hoto, tui morey jetish, ki kore chalash bol to, dekhte parish Na eto boro ekta bus asche” (Are you blind, that you couldn’t see such a large bus, you could have died in that moment)
With a feeble smile, Gorong-the Rickshaw puller apologized to all, as if he was quite habitual of this facing daily. Life can be so learning sometimes, makes a timid, brave, brave enough to face up the realities of being a rick-Shaw puller.
Shakuntala Devi got off from the bus, took Gorong’s Rickshaw and asked him to take her to mach’er bazaar (fish market).
“Mashimaa, aajke ki Naren baba asche?”(Is Naren coming Today), asked Gorong enthusiastically.
“Hain rey, baba, chal amake mach’er bazaar e niye ja to” (took me to fish market Gorong)
Fish market was bustling with whole lot of activities. Shakuntala Devi could hear other machwala calling her to buy fish from them. But she knew where she should be going. She made her way to a machwala where only two customers were buying fish. She had purposefully avoided others as there were so many customers at other fish vendors, and moreover she wanted to avoid all roving eyes there.
Bhola the mach-walla was not the first choice, when it comes to getting fish .Several times people had complained Shakuntala devi that he weighs inappropriately and that the fishes were also not fresh. He was famous as Bhola-the cheater in fish market. But yet when it came to Shakuntala Devi, Bhola never cheated her.He would take out fresh fish that he would be hiding in a separate bamboo basket and weigh the fish acurately. You can say it was his way of making up for the things he would be doing with others.

“Mashimaa, aajke Naren Babu ashchen, tai na” (Is Naren coming today?)asked Bhola, the machwallah.
“Hain rey!,toder kach thekhe kicho lokano jaye na ”(I can’t hide this from you ,can’t I), grinned Shakuntala devi.
She was seeing and checking the freshness of tangra fish and then rui fish pieces.

“Mashimaa niye jaan, apni to jaanen, ami apnake khokhono thokabo na.”(I assure you, these are fresh fish and I can never sell rotten fish to you, and you know that well) said Bhola nervously.
She took the fish in her vegetable bag that she has made with some old curtain cloth using a sewing machine, and then she headed to the vegetable market. She purchased some tomatoes, onions and garlic. She came back with a heavy bag with loads of vegetables and fish near Gorong’s rickshaw at rick-Shaw stand .Gorong hurriedly took the bag from her hand and helped her to get on the rickshaw.
Gorong took another 10 mints to reach her home.And he stopped near the main gate of her house.She got off from the rick-shaw with a little Gorong’s help and paid Gorong his fare. Then she hurried to get inside her house.
Chon-moon could sense that Shakuntala Devi has come back from her school as she tried to open the door with keys. He would again start creating noise. In a very err voice he would say “Chon-moon khabar kheyecho” as this is what Shakuntala devi would ask him everyday after coming from school. He would then repeat in a very similar tone but in a very cultivated voice-“Chon-moon Khabar kheyecho”. On some day he would have finished all the bhejano chola (soaked Bengal Gram) and some day the small bati (bowl) would be all tumbled. She knew Chon-moon would be feeling bored when she is in school and could easily scatter all the chola with his sharp claws by now. For this she had made a plastic sheet, cut it into a small round and clanged it just below Chon-moon’s cage.
She changed her plain tant'er saree and went to fresh her up in bathroom. Meanwhile Chon-moon kept repeating “Chon-moon khabar kheyecho” many times in frequent interval. He had finished his share of Bhejano Chola.
When Shakuntala devi came in the kitchen, it was already 6.30 in the evening. Naren will be here in few minutes or so. She cleaned fish pieces hurriedly and then smeared holod (turmeric powder) and noon (salt) over each pieces well. She then started to make the jeerey/kalo jeerey/golmorich bata in Sheel nora.Then she quickly put the Kadai over gas stove. By the time kadai and shorsh'er tel (mustard oil) was getting hot, she was finished making the bata moshla (masala paste).
She then fried the rui mach fish pieces well in hot oil and after it tangra mach /fish pieces. She started to prepare tangra mach’er jhaal first.
It took her almost one and a half hour to prepare aloo bhaja, monger dal, Tangra macher jhaal and Rui macher kalia.She then thought of making some tomato khejurer chatni.She was putting chopped tomatoes in hot kadhai/saucepan, then suddenly the door bell rang. She lowered the gas flame and covered the pan to let Chatni slowly simmer.
When she opened the door, Naren was standing at the door smiling. He touched her feet immediately without any effort.

At the dinner table, while having such delicious food, Naren was looking for some words to start a conversation. Shakuntala Devi knew this.

“Naren, tumar research final phase e esheche, shone khob bhalo laglo” (I am glad your research is finally coming to finish) said Shakuntala Devi with a sense of contentment that she was kind of deprived of all these days.

“ Hain mane aro ek mash er kaaj ache amaar kache.” said Naren with little hesitation. Hesitation was part of his conversation as he wanted the research to finish before time, but it was going to take some more extra time.

“Madam, apnar to aro kicho mash ache retirement e, apni ki bhebhechen er pore kothaye jaben” (have you thought of anything where you would be going after your retirement) said Naren with a deep concerning look. His eyes were enquiring and Shakuntala Devi could sense that he was worried about her.

“Na, ami eyikhane thakbo, chon-moon ke niye” (I will live with chon-moon here) said Shakuntala Devi with mixed feelings of calmness and commotion at the same time.

“Apnake ke ekta kotha bolar chilo”(I have to tell you something) said Naren with a voice that sounded more like a murmur.

“Apniki amaar sathe Delhi jaben, ami okhane ekla thakte ekto osobhidhe bodh korchi, aro ekta chinta ache apni eyikhane ekla thakben” (I am worried about you, will you come with me) said Naren with an enquiring and yet in an assertive tone.

That night as they finished their dinner there was a storm going on inside Shakuntala Devi’s mind. There was this long pause after that small conversation that both don’t know how to break. She said nothing at the dinner table after that.

The other day, Naren woke up late, it was Sunday .Shakuntala Devi brought morning tea with marrie biscuits to Naren.He can see several rows of wrinkles on her somewhat glowing face. He assumed she has made her mind about coming with him to Delhi.
She went near the chon-moon’s cage and opened the cage gate.

“Ja, Chon-moon khola akashe or, ar kotodin kanche te bondho thakbi” (Go Chon-moon, go live life like a free bird, you don’t need anymore this cage) And she smiled. Naren holded her with his strong hands and Shakuntala Devi rested her head over his son’s broad shoulders. Her hands were shaking as she was waving her hands. They both saw chon-moon struggling to wave his wings in an open, vast sky.

(This is all part of fiction writing for Chalks and Chopsticks, no part is written on keeping anyone living or dead in mind.Even the incidents mentioned are all fictitious)
Now to the recipe for Tangra mach'er Jhaal.

Tangra Mach'er Jhaal

(This was saved in my draft from last year)

Tangra fish- 4-5 (serves -2-3 )
For the fish-
Marinate with 1 tsp of turmeric powder and salt.
Heat up a saucepan (that is what I am using right now for frying fish, however back home, I have always used kadai).
Prepare bata moshla in sheel/nora or dry grind the seeds.
You need to add little bit of water while grinding all the spices over sheel/nora-a type of mortar and pestle.
In a masala grinder/coffee grinder add 2 tsp of cumin seeds/jeerey , 2-3 tsp of nigella seeds/kalaunji/kalo jeerey and 10-12 whole black pepper.dry grind them to a coarse powder.

Cooking the fish with gravy
Add 2 tbs of mustard oil, let it heat up well, drop some cumin seeds, if it sizzles and starts floating on top, this is now time to drop fish one by one.
Be careful, while tangra fish, as they are slimy and shiny fish, a lot of oil droplet may splash out.
Fry each side of fish for 3-4 mints.
Take out each one of them.
Now add some 2 tbs of oil more, add 1and half cup of water, 1 tsp of turmeric powder, 1 tsp of red pepper powder and 1 tsp of salt approx.
Add chopped tomatoes if you wish. Cut and chop 1 medium size tomato and add in the gravy.
Now add the bata moshla or the dry grinded powder of cumin/Nigella seeds/ Whole Black pepper.
Add in fried fish pieces. Cover the saucepan with lid, or Kadai with a plate. Let it slowly simmer for about 10-12 mints. Take out when the gravy dries up.
Serve with garam bath.

Sending this to second edition of Chalks and Chopsticks , co-hosted by Sandeepa-Bongmom and Aqua

happy cooking

Monday, May 17, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Wings

I have been craving to make Buffalo Wings at home. This recipe came close to what I can say restaurant quality Buffalo wings. Now all the recipes in net ,are based on frying method.I zeroed on the recipe below and worked according to our taste palate. This recipe you can say is Indianised version of Buffalo wings. I have replaced tobassco sauce with crushed red pepper flakes+some red pepper powder ( or cayenne pepper) and tomato ketchup with sweet chili sauce and pasta sauce while making sauce for the Buffalo wings. Pasta sauce has more volume than tomato ketchup with extra vegetables chunks also. I have avoided using vinegar in the sauce. I have coated chicken pieces twice with flour mixture and baked them at 190 Deg C/400 deg F.Half way thro take them out and coat again with flour, brush off the extra flour and transfer again in baking tray. Double coating gives a nice crunchy texture and trust me they at this stage are irresistible also.

I and my daughter were eating right at this time without even coating with the sauce. If you are preparing it for kids, I would suggest serve it like that and keep a bowl of the sauce handy. They may dip or eat according to their taste buds.

Buffalo Chicken Wings (adapted from- Here )

Recipe requirements
Chicken nibbles-500 gm
½ cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of red pepper powder/cayenne powder/paprika
For the sauce
½ cup of any pasta sauce
¼ cup of butter
½ cup of sweet chili sauce
Salt as per taste
2-3 tsp of crushed red pepper
Prepare chicken
Wash the chicken pieces well in water. Drain all the water. Pat dry each piece with kitchen towel.
Now marinate the pieces with 1 tsp of red pepper powder and salt.
Sieve together all purpose flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tsp of red pepper powder.
Coat well chicken pieces with the above flour mixture; shake off the extra flour if any.
Preheat oven to 190 deg C/400deg F.
Now line a grease paper over the baking tray.
Place all the chicken pieces over baking tray.
Bake at 190 deg C for 25 mints.
Take out and coat them again with the flour mixture. Bake it for 20 mints now or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and juices run clear.
Prepare the sauce
In a pan, melt butter. Add pasta sauce, sweet chili sauce, red pepper flakes and salt.
Slowly let it simmer at low for 5-6 mints or till all is well mixed up.
Take out baked chicken pieces, coat them well with the sauce that is being prepared. Reserve the left-over sauce to serve along with Buffalo wings.
Serve and enjoy. However if you feel, you may again reheat Buffalo wings at the time of serving. Before reheating, again coat them well in the sauce and bake at 190 deg C for 5-6 mints.
Usually it is served along with blue cheese and celery sticks. However I served this with plain yogurt.

Note-you may use chicken wings or drumsticks in place of chicken nibbles; just adjust/increase the cooking/baking time then. There is another way, you can fry the chicken pieces in hot oil, after you have coated well with flour.

Happy cooking

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken Chowmein

As you can see, I have been working on the new layout here. Many a times I do think change is something inevitable yet when it comes to manifestation, we somehow always come up with some excuses. Not anymore with me at least. I have started a new phase in spice and curry with this new look. Do let me know if you like the new look and even if you don’t like it.
I am still working on some part of the site, like updating Recipe Index and clearing out some clutter in the sidebar. So while I keep working on it, please bear with me for some more days.

Who can resist noodles made Chinese way I mean stir/fry way(however Chinese cuisine is not merely about stir/fry, there is Cantonese and Mandarin Cuisine or Beijing cuisine as well. Chinese steamed egg and Sweet and Sour Pork/Chicken are typical Cantonese recipesHome made rice is served with every Cantonese recipes.
Pecking Duck is a typical Beijing cuisine which can be said more precisely as a "national food".I have seen a very interesting TV series about Peking duck in Discovery which reminded how particular they are about this recipe.Peking duck is eaten with pancakes,spring onions and hoisin sauce.)
However when I say Chinese Hakka noodles or the more popular term “Chowmein” what I mean is the Indianised version of Chinese Hakka noodles.Traditional Hakka Cuisine is entirely a different genre and has nothing which can be associated this to the usual stir/fry or even the famous manchurian or chowmein , that is so popular in India.This got it's name beacuse Chinese people who introduced some recipes where from the Hakka region in China.

Heavy dose of red pepper powder or green chilly gives every stir/fry a new flavour.This recipe is 100 percent a makeover of Chinese cuisine to more of a Indanised version, also known as Indian Chinese Cuisine .This comes as a savior to our options of having street food and that too in comfy of our home.
There is a place in Kolkata, Tangra which boast many local restaurants offering Indianised version of Chinese cuisine.
So,this recipe is an amalgamation of all the noted above . I have used all sorts of colourful vegetables.And chicken that is slightly pre-cooked in pressure cooker. My daughter love having these noodles so it keeps repeating every weekend nights and in comfy of our home. A very simple recipe to enjoy in comfy of our home.
Now to the recipe

Now to the recipe
Chicken Chowmein

Recipe requirements
1 chicken breast piece cut into bite size pieces or you may use the left-over pieces from the roasted chicken recipe here-- Roasted chicken
3-4 egg noodles -(I prefer the medium ones,if you wish you may use fine variety as well)
Vegetables for stir/fry
6-8 baby corn
10-12 mange tout/snow peas
1 tomato chopped
Mushroom - approx 250 gms
1 -2 cup of cabbage chopped finely
1 green bell pepper cut into long juliennes
2 garlic pods chopped finely, 2 medium size onions chopeed finely
Oil for cooking/sautéing the vegetables and chicken pieces
For the sauce
2 tsp of red pepper powder/paprika
1 tsp of black pepper powder
2-3 tbs of hoisin sauce
2 tbs of soy sauce
2 tbs of tomato ketchup or tomato paste
Prepare the noodles
I know this is the easiest part, but not that easy if they turn out soggy. In a saucepan, add ample amount of water at least up to ¾ of the saucepan. Add in the egg noodles to it. Season it with salt (I always do it).Cook the noodles at med-low for 10-12 mints. Now drain all the water with the help of colander. Run tap water over it, shake well the noodles (This will give you the real restaurant smooth noodles) add in 1tbs of butter to it. Again shake well and keep it uncovered (you don’t want noodles to be over-cooked with the moisture it has) .Egg noodles here come in 3 variety-thick,medium and fine.I tend to prefer the medium variety which gives a nice texture to the overall stir/fry.
Now prepare the chicken and vegetables
Cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces. Now pressure cook the bite size pieces with some salt and black pepper to one whistle. Take out when it depressurizes. Or you may want to use any left-over roasted chicken pieces. For the recipe of stuffed and roasted chicken-visit here--Roasted Chicken
Now heat up a saucepan, add 2-3 tbs of cooking oil, add garlic sauté for 1 mints, add onion,then add all the vegetables(baby corn,mushroom,bell pepper,mangetout,cabbage,tomato).Stir/fry the vegetables at high for 5-7 mints or till they change colour to more bright. Make sure they remain crunchy.
Now add the cooked chicken pieces.
Add all the sauce-hoisin, soy, tomato ketchup. Adjust seasoning by adding red pepper powder, black pepper powder and salt. Mix in well.
Add the cooked egg noodles. Sauté the noodles with vegetables at high, mixing in well. If you feel,you may add 1 tbs of butter at this time.
Take out and serve immediately.

Sometimes I like to eat this simple vegetable stir/fry with cooked rice also.
Happy Cooking Friends

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Aloo Soya Patte Ki Sabzi/Dill Potatoes Dry Stir/Fry and some memories

History always fascinates me.So, whenever we get a chance to take time out from our daily grind, we like to go some far off places where things can be taken little slowly .This time we went for a visit in Stonehenge and Salisbury. We took the south-west train to Salisbury from London Hayes and Harington, although trains run directly from London Waterloo to Salisbury. When we got out from the station, Stonehenge tour bus was there. This service runs every 1 hr till 3 pm.We caught the 11 am bus tour. The visit included the Stonehenge and Old Sarum entry also. Trust me we were not disappointed after we paid some hefty sums for the tour. The memories we gathered from there are much more precious and pricey.

Now those of you, who haven’t heard about Stonehenge, I would like to re-iterate that this place is of pre-historic significance. What makes this heritage site interesting is its connection to some archeological significance which dates back to some 3000 BC .Stonehenge was built by people and stones were gathered as far as from Wales. This transporting required a great deal of planning and construction.
Perhaps it was built as a temple of sort to the sun and changing seasons, carefully aligned to mark mid-summer and mid-winter (There is a similar type of plan in Jantar-Mantar in Delhi).When we started to take the round of Stonehenge, there was a sense of calmness and silence which was very prominent there and it started to grow within us also. This site is surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful landscapes. Weather was kind to us, so we were taking slow steps to cover the distance. There is ample space to sit even there. Wish I had my favorite book to read there.
Stones were covered by lichens which grow mostly on exposed coastline. Their presence remains a mystery still. An aerial view confirms Stonehenge is a horse-shoe shaped sturcture.There is many more barrows scattered around it. Barrows are Bronze-age burial mounds of wide variety of shapes and sizes, dating from the time when Stonehenge was being rebuilt in stones. We enjoyed our experience with the beauty of the surroundings and Stonehenge as much as we could.

Next we visited Old Sarum.Old Sarum is a remains of mighty Iron Age fort and perhaps first cathedral stood there also.Romans, Saxons and Normans have left their mark there. This is a hill top viewof the fort.

While we were going towards Old Sarum on old castle road, we were greeted by these sheep.
The fort is surrounded by a ditch which surrounds an inner Bailey. The hill fort is broadly oval in shape and consists of a bank and ditch.

Archeaological evidence suggests that hilltop area was inhabited by people as early as in Neolithic times. Significance of each phase has been written over in these small hoardings established probably in every corner in Old Sarum. This is great place for a family timeout .If you pre-plan you can spend a whole day there with kids and enjoy top view of the remarkable Salisbury countryside also.

There is another place of significance that is Avebury.But we were running late so we couldn’t visit that place.
Our last stop was at Salisbury centre. We were roaming in Charter market and our daughter bought some gorgeous accessories from there.This market is full of life and hawkers often scream to sell their products.Dont get surprised by that.This place is one of the best place to enjoy some loval food and purchase memoirs. We had our lunch and headed towards Salisbury Cathedral.

Overall, that was nice and relaxing experience for us. There was a mix feeling for us. One side of my heart was saying to go back and start life there as complete strangers once again. And one side was asking me to pause and ponder that nothing in this world is eternal. Might and wealth these are all Maya what remains here are the belongings how precious that can be. This is the most powerful truth yet we don’t want to hear about it.
Please do not copy the pictures; these are very dear to me.

Now to the recipe

Aloo soya patte ki sabzi

Recipe Requirements
Soya patta/Dill leaves -1 bunch
2 medium size potatoes
½ cup of frozen peas
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
2 tbs of oil
1 tsp of panch phoron or cumin seeds
Salt as per taste

Wash and clean soya patta/dill leaves. Cut potatoes.
Heat up oil; add 1 tsp of phanch phoron or cumin seeds.
Add in chopped potatoes, fry well.
Add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder and salt. Add little bit of water.
Fry the masal with potatoes well for 5 mints.Add in frozen peas also.
Now add in chopped dill leaves.
Mix well and sprinkle 2tbs of water over it. Cover the pan and cook till potatoes turn out soft.
Serve with rice or paratha.

Happy Cooking Friends.