Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nimona (Pea paste Curry )and Jeera Fried Rice

This is the season when peas are abundant in nature .Winters are marked with either eating oranges/santarey/komla lebu  or shelling peas during afternoons.It is one mundane task that has to be done during our childhood days, and my mother would often call us to help shelling peas with her, 3-4 kgs of peas at a stretch.Then we would compete also,who has shelled and how much.A healthy sibling rivalry would also become part then as we used to compete with each other .

Now with the pace of life , everything is instant and easy.You can easily get frozen peas in superstores.No more shelling peas means- no more healthy interactions with family members.
Well, I miss these small things in life now .However, this time I really liked shelling peas with my Sasumaa- (ma-in-law) and my little one (This is one of the better ways to engage your child and catch up with her day to-day happening), re-living my childhood days.
And ,I was quite surprised that it still gives me immense pleasure as it used to give when I was a child .

I would suggest you also, to do the same sometimes.Trust me small pleasures in life sometimes makes things so beautiful.

This pea paste curry is fondly eaten in eastern UP.They call it Nimona ,don’t know how it gets its name.
Anyways, people love eating with either rice or rotis .I somehow like it with muri in Bengali and Laiya in Hindi which is puffed rice in English.
It has that very tangling flavor of cumin and ginger .The spiciness adds to the flavor more.Its good as vegetarian meal also.for a pure vege version avoid onion and garlic while making the masala paste.

We had it for our dinner with rotis.
There were some left-over rice from the afternoon meal,so I fried the rice with grated carrots and added fresh shelled peas also, and our side dish was also ready .In a short span of time our dinner was ready to be served.

Here I will start with Nimona curry recipe .

Nimona /Pea paste curry
recipe requirements (serves4-5 people)

  • 1 full large bowl of peas or at least 3-4 cups of peas
  • Tomato 1 cut into small pieces
  • Potato 1 cut into cubes
  • 3-4 tbs of Ginger/Garlic /onion Paste (for a pure vege version avoid onion and garlic)
  • 2tbs of Cumin powder or freshly roasted and then grounded cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 tbs of coriander powder or freshly roasted and then grounded coriander seeds/dhania
  • ½ tbs of red pepper powder 
  • 2-3 green chillies if you prefer some real spice 
  • salt as per taste or 1 tsp works fine
  • Sugar ½ tsp
  • 1 tsp of garam masala powder
  • For tempering
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 3-7 whole black pepper 
  • 2-3 tej patta/bay leaf 
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 2-3 tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • pinch of hing/asfoetida
  • 2-3 tbs of mustard oil/ cooking oil/ghee 

How to Proceed

  • Heat a kadai /heavy bottom pan ,add oil , fry potato pieces, Take out in a separate bowl ,temper with cumin seeds ,red chilly,tej patta,whole black pepper .Fry for ½ minutes at low .
  • Meanwhile prepare the pea paste by grinding it in mixer.Make a coarse pasta just pulse through for 1/2 mint to 1 mint.
  • Now fry the ginger/onion/garlic paste for 1 mint ,
  • Add salt first ,then all the dry ingredients like cumin powder,coriander powder, red pepper powder, turmeric/haldi and hing.
Alternately you can grind all the spices with the fresh green peas into a coarse paste.For that you need to make a paste of following ingredients
2 fat garlic, 1 large onion, 1/2 inch ginger root , 2 tsp of cumin powder, 3 tsp of coriander powder,1 tsp of  red pepper powder or 3-4 green chillies in case you like flavours of green chillies and last but not the least  salt .Then add this paste to the tempered hot oil.
  • TIP -Add little bit of water to make sure the paste doesn’t stick to the kadai.splash some water in between stiring.
  • Add cut tomato ,fry another 5-7 mints .Add the pea paste, fry for another 10-12  mints at med-  low stirring in between .Add fried potato,handful of whole peas.Look if this has turn out little dry and dark.
  • Add 1cup of water ,pressure cook the entire gravy ,one whistle and stop the flame .Let the pressure subside .Take out in a serving bowl .
  • You can slowly simmer it on stove top also instead of pressure cooking it .It will require further 10-15 mints of time to cook the pea paste properly.

Updated-on 14/01/11
If you wish you may add more water at the time of pressure cooking to have more of a dal type of texture , little runny.
As one of the reader suggested adding spicy urad wadis/or mungaris  also add lot of flavour.As I have spent my childhood days in eastern UP, so we had a very close circle of Upean friends also.

One of our neighboourhood auntyji used to make Nimona with spicy urad wadis,fried potato, used to be like a dal type texture with fried potatoes and spicy wadis and it was awesome and that taste still linger on my taste buds.

Updated again to include these pictures, nimona cooked according to whatever, vague memories of our neighbourhood auntyji's recipe..

and one more

Jeera Rice with Vegetables

So what we do is we would fry the left-over rice(refrigerated) with cumin seeds (jeera ) and add some vegatables and it’s a wonderful addition to our dinner .This fried rice complements the main course well .
Recipe Requirements

  • 2 cup of left-over rice
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup of peas
  • Salt as per taste
  • Cumin seeds for tempering
  • Black pepper seeds
  • Tej patta (bay leaf)
  • ½ tsp of red pepper powder
  • Refined Oil for frying the rice

How to proceed

  • Heat a kadai,add oil and temper with cumin seeds ,black pepper seeds ,tej patta ,salt ,add grated carrots and peas .
  • Fry for 2 mints and then add rice .TIP -refrigerated rice is always good for fried rice preparations .
  • Add salt, red pepper powder and here you are ready with the Fried rice .

Happy Cooking friends

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nice Matters Award

I have always avoided the limelights ,but this time I feel like the spotlight is right on me. Dhivya/thanks for this wonderful award .It means a lot getting this award from you .

Its just so difficult to pick and pass the award to the choicest one , On a lighter side ,I now know how it must be difficult to pick FilmFare /Oscar nominees. I would like to thank everybody who loves coming here to my place ,you all are precious and special for me ,I treasure your friendship .

Nice Matters Award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world.”
Somehow I have to pick and so here it is .
I would like to pass it on this wonderful award to 3 of my friends ,

MandiraI have stumbled upon her blog when looking for some pasta recipe ,I guess it was way back in 2006,I liked it a lot and since then I visit her place frequently ,she writes so well specially her food related articles ,I love reading a lot and she chooses unique ingredients like quinoa,brown rice etc,that’s so amazing also.
She has always inspired me with the right attitude towards Blogging .

DK/- She is one such talented friend ,I guess I liked the way she pick unique cuisine like the Indonesian Banana Fritters etc… .She has been doing really well lately and that’s so commendable .

Saswati/– she is a new promising blogger Buddy, has loads of interesting tale to tell about Oriya cuisine, Russian cuisine and recipes.Its a pleasure knowing you .
All the Best to all of you ,Enjoy girls.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sojne data aar aloo torkari ( drumsticks and Potato curry)

Sojne Datta aloo turkari (drumsticks potato curry)
If we can pick one vegetable that we can survive easily on,I guess that would be Potato.Just imagine if we don’t have potatoes all together in our pantry ,then how tasteless and mundane will be our curries ,paratha,puris/luchi. I asked one of my friend ,what if you don’t use anymore Potato in curries , she replied in Bengali “ Dhek kemon che che ache ,Bhalo bhabe Moje ni “( The curry looks so unappealing to eat with anything )You guessed it right , the kind of importance potato has in our meals .

we will miss our favorite samosas,aloo tikki also .If we list the dishes made of potato ,it will go on like a saga aloo ghobhi(potato cauliflower curry),aloo matar(aloo peas curry),aloo methi,(potato fenugreek curry )aloo palak(potato spinach curry) ,aloo begun bodi diye jhaal (a Bengali dish comprising potato, Brinjal curry), Palong sager dalna ( another Bengali way of preparing spinach ) and many more.
Mashed potato is a very healthy meal itself for little ones also .
These are some of the easiest recipes for mashed potato for Toddlers or infants .

Mashed Potato recipes
  •  Some spoonful ( 4-5 tbs of milk or you may add fresh cream also , some 2-3 tbs of sugar to mashed potato and its a nutritious meal packed with goodness of carbohydrates .
  •  Then add boiled eggs to it ,a dash of red pepper powder or black pepper powder,cut 1 medium size onion pieces ,and a tsp of mustard oil .Mash it well with boiled potato .This one is a instant hit with my family. Donot add red pepper powder if you are preparing it for infants or toddlers .
  •  Then you may add boiled yellow spilt lentil (Moong Dal)( pressure cook it in pressure cooker all you need is just to add a little bit of water, go with 1 whistle and its boiled )
  • Take out in a bowl and add with little bit of salt ,2-3 tbs of milk ,1 bowl of steamed rice ,mash it well with boiled potato( you may add them while pressure cooking the lentil ,cut the potato in small pieces ,this will work out fine) .
  • This is a healthy meal for toddlers or infants( from 4-6 months onward) If preparing for infants ,add more milk to make it more mushy .Store the left –over in batches in refrigerator (stays fresh for 2-3 days easily),take out one by one to feed them whenever they are feeling hungry/cranky ,and you don’t have time to prepare meals for them .Just Microwave them for 2 mints and here the healthy home-made Gerber is ready .
  • mash it with some steamed and cooked cauliflowers and green peas.Adjsut seasoning with black pepper powder and salt.

In short potato is a necessity for us .So to celebrate this necessity Talented DK 's Culinary bazaar has come with a fabulous idea of Potato Feast , and also Vivacious Sia of Monsoon spice is celebrating Ode To Potato . I would like to send it across to Them .Please visit their lovely blogs for more details.

Here is this recipe that is made in every Bengali Home I guess .This is the season of Drumsticks/sajne data also .Now this is a very tempting combo Potato ,Drumsticks,Brinjal and seem .This one has a very authentic taste and  is best eaten with warm cooked rice /gorom bhaat .
The gravy is tempered with Panch phoron , which is the main ingredient to make any Bengali Curry .
Phanch Phoron is a mixture of Cumin seeds ,Fenugreek seeds,Kalounji (kalo jeera),Fennel seeds and usually Radhuni .Since we don’t easily get radhuni here anymore now ,we escape that part altogether in the Panch Phoron . Dash of red pepper gives some spicy flavor also .Leave some gravy to eat with steamed rice .
Sojne Data and aloor tarkari Recipe requirements

  • Drumsticks (sojne data) 4 cut into 2 inch long pieces (These should not be much ripened, more towards being tender sojne (kochi sojne ) is good for this kind of gravy .
  • Potato 2 medium size cut into 2 inch long thick julienne .
  • Seem 5-6 cut from the two ends little bit ,this helps them to soak the gravy easily or runner beans/mangetouts whatver is available.
  • Brinjal /Begun/Eggplant – 1 cut into 8-9 long 2 inch thick julienne
  • For the Gravy 
  • 1tsp of turmeric powder,1 tsp of Red Pepper powder, 1tsp of salt , 1 tsp of panch phoron
  • 2-3 tbs of mustard oil
How to Proceed

  • Heat a heavy bottom pan/Kadai , add oil , let it heat up properly,lower the heat ,add Panch Phoron ,fry it for ½ mintute or wait till it splutter.
  • Add cut potatoes ,fry them a little bit ,now add all the vegetables and saute for another 4 mints at medium heat .
  • Add all one by one at low flame ,first salt, turmeric powder , red pepper powder .Quickly add 2 cups of water,lower the heat ,cover and cook for 8-10 mints till the desired gravy is met.
  • If serving with Rice ,its better if you leave some gravy ,otherwise let it simmer more to completely dry fry it , that’s even good with rotis.

Happy cooking friends.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Payesh and Tomato Chutney

Payesh and Tomato Chutney

This one was taken in while we were in Lancaster US.We were coming from freeway and during a stop to Fill in Gas for the car , We noticed this beauty of the nature .Sunsets are always beautiful anywhere in the world ,Isnt ....
Every Bengali home swears by its Payesh and Tomato chutney ,No Birthday ,Anniversary meal is complete without these being served ,or any other good occasion in the family.Well these also don’t need reasons to make and relish them ,its just that all you need is the desire to indulge in some sweets.(Chalo Kuch Meetha ho jaye or ekto khicho Mishti Hobe )..


For payesh recipe
A handful of boiled rice .
Milk ½ liters
Sugar 3 heaped tbs (add more if you think sweetness is required more)
Some Kaju /kishmiss( cashews/raisins)
How To Proceed
Wash the rice properly and soak them in water for 1 hrs in a small bowl. TIP- this makes your payesh cooked evenly .
Now in a heavy bottom pan ,or kadai bring the milk to boil.lower the temperature ,let it simmer and stir the milk sometimes,add in cashews.
Now add rice and let it cook ,after 10-12 mints ,the milk will thicken a bit .
Check if the rice is cooked properly ,take out some of the rice in the spoon and press one of the rice grains to see if they are boiled .If the rice is cooked well ,add the sugar( TIP -sugar should be added at the end when the rice is thoroughly cooked ) and then stir well ,cook for another 5 mints Stop and take out in a bowl .
Cool and serve Payesh .

Tomato chutney

4-5 medium size tomato cut into small pieces
4-5 heaped tbs of sugar
1tsp of salt
Some chunks of aamsotto /aam papri /Mango candies
Little bit of water
How to Proceed
Heat a kadai, add all the ingredients and cover ,cook at low for 8-10 mints till the desired consistency is met .
Well some prefer tempering with mustard seeds ,1 dry red pepper and a dash of fresh grated ginger,You can add them to enhance the flavor more.
Well enjoy Cooking Friends .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Panipuri chaat/Golgappa or Puchka

An evening in Kolkata.

Well thats the view from our window for the evening ,sun is setting us goodbye after a long day work ,and its time for us to have some evening snacks.

Panipuri /Golgappa
Winters are definitely one of the most favorable season to indulge in street foods .I remember we friends would often go to the Panipuri /Golgappa wallas who would be camping outside our college Premise, Oh those were wonderful carefree years ,while we Graduated and went separate ways,some to the family way and some to the profession way .
One thing that still remains fresh in our mind is these street foods .My hubby and his friends would also go to their favorite joints and gorge on aloo tikki,Golgappas too.As we were craving for yum Golgappas and also remembering our wonderful college days ,We got these readymade Golgappa packets from our near by local grocery shop .Here it is the simple recipe that is made with some of the left-overs .We had Chickpeas curry/Chole left after last night Dinner ,and some of the boiled potatoes ,that were left after making Aloo-paratha in the Morning for Breakfast .Here with these the evening snack is ready .

For Golgappa Filling
½ cup garbanzo beans /chickpeas/chole (can use canned one also ,but I would prefer to stick to fresh ones )or leftover Chole curry .
I small boiled potato
Salt as per taste
½ tsp of red pepper powder (can add more for spiciness )
For the Pani
1-2 glass of water
1tbs of salt
2-3 tbs of cumin powder
1 green lemon ,cut for juice
Mint leaves (optional)
Mix all to prepare the Panipuri Pani
And in the meanwhile mash potato and chole ,add all the masala
Fill in the mashed potato/chole filling in every puri and dip in Pani and enjoy.
happy cooking friends.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Aloo Methi Matar or Methi Shak Bhaja

Aloo Methi Matar Ki Subzi or Methi Shak Bhaja

Methi or Fenugreek is good for health and green leafy vegetables give us whole lot of nutrients also.In eastern UP ,Bihar ,methi aloo matar is a relish people enjoy eating it with their rotis There are many different ways to make them ,this is our version of Methi Aloo Matar.

Recipe Requirements
1 -2 whole bunch of methi leaves
1 potato cut into ½ inch thick pieces
Peas ½ cup
1-2 cloves garlic
Green chillies optional
Sugar 1tbs
Salt little bit ,just to cook potatoes( tip -shak /Methi requires less salt to cook )
For Tempering
1 tsp of Kalo jeera (nigella seeds)
Cooking oil 1 tbs
How to proceed
Heat a Kadai , Add sarsher tel (Mustard oil),now add kalo jeera ( Nigella seeds) for phoron(tempering ) at med.
Add chopped garlic, stir then add potatoes and peas ,fry for some time ,add salt (little bit ,just to cook potatoes and peas )

Now add  methi shak (green leaves),and cook at high till green leaves shrinks,quickly lower the flame and fry for 7-8 mints ,occasionally stiring in between just to check if it doesn’t stick to kadai/saucepan.Add slit green chillies.

Take out in a bowl and sprinkle roasted peanuts optional .

Serve with garam roti .Recipe can very well go with Kolmi /note(chaouli) Shak also.

Here is kolmi shak bhaja

Some more recipes next time , happy cooking dear friends.