Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mixed vegetable Curry and Food Events

Paul Sartre More about him here . On his own words ...
"Reading is a pact of generosity between the author and reader"

Lets carry on with our pact of Generosity and for this I have clubed two events together , one is click and other is JFI-VOW .
Let me first start with JFI-VOW.

Pooja of Creative Idea Creative Pooja
hosts a wonderful event of Vegetable of the week ,and this time she is hosting JFI also .
Details about JFI here / is originally a brain child of Indira Of Mahanandi .
This will be real fun as both the event is held together,here is the link please visit here friends . Details of JFI-VOW .

Mixed Vegetable Curry
For the Masala paste
1 small onion
¼ cup of grated coconut
4 cashews
1 tomato
½ inch ginger piece
1 large pod of garlic,in case of small use 2 .
2 Green chilly (add this if you want the subzi spicy)
Grind all in a mixerand take out in a bowl.

Now To the Vegetables
1 Capsicum cut into 1inch of cubes
½ cup small Cauliflower florets
6-7 fresh green bean cut into 1inch of bite size
2 medium size potato cut into 1 inch cubes ( you can add 1 potato and side wise increase the vegetable content ,that will work fine also )
Tempering and Flavoring
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2tsp of red peppr powder
1 tsp of salt
½ tsp of sugar
1tsp of cumin seed
3 tbs of mustard oil
How to Prepare the curry
Heat up a kadai ,add half of the oil ,temper it with cumin seeds,add all the chopped vegetables and Fry at med for 3 mints.
Add salt and turmeric,red pepper powder and again go on frying for 5-7 mints, make sure vegetables remain crunchy .
Now take out the fried vegetables, add rest of the oil ,add the paste and fry at med for 5mints or till the oil separates out from the fried masala .Add the fried vegetables and the curry leaves and sprinkle little bit of water ,cover and cook for 4-5 mints .Take out when the vegetables are cooked and serve with rice or chappati .

This month Theme for Click is Bean and Lentils ,here I am sening this to Jugalbandi due Jai and Bee. Details are here ,Theme for Click


Happy Cooking Friends

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mango Manthram

Mango (Mangifera indica ),is one such fruit which is loved by all ,old or young or children .
Mango has a special place in our hearts .
Indira of Mahanandi ,has come up with a very beautiful Idea of Making food art . Food Art Mango Manthram . This is going to her place ,well I am so excited to see what my fellow friends will be coming up with .
Mango Thro Collage

Since this is summer vacation time for my little one and you know,how Kids can be so hard to manage sometimes .Whenever she will get bored she would ask me to put the TV on which I really don’t want ,well I am always eager to keep her busy and do things that could bring out the real child in her so that she can develop her creative skills ,so just thought of engaging her in some good summer activities .It was a funny session with her for me .We created Mango collage by tearing papers and then glueing them on a sheet of Paper .

You Can seee One busy Hand at work

What You need for this activity
2 White sheets of paper
Yellow ,mustard water colour tubes .
2 Painting Brush , one for you and one for your little one .
1 Pencil
A brown colour crayon
A glue stick or fevicol
And a little patience as they are children and needs whole lot of encouragement and support .
How we did it
Colour the white sheet of paper ,mix in equal proportions of both the colour and make it little watery .Now ask your little one to hold the brush ,dip in colour and colour the white paper ,you may also join in .She will love to do it .Let them be themselves and play with colour , If they end up spilling some colour on your T-shirts or Clothes ,let them ,Remember it’s a fun session and free of stress for study .
Let the coloured Paper dry off .
Now tear the paper with her ,this is one thing I am sure every child loves doing it .Let them do it in their own way .Tear to very small pieces .
Now its your turn , Draw a mango with Pencil on other sheet if your child is less than 5 years , Children above 5 years of age will be able to do it by themselves .Now ask them to put the glue on that sheet of paper and paste the very small pieces of colored paper over it one by one .
When whole of the Mango is covered, let it dry and then Press it in a book .Your Mango Collage is done and see the smile of your loved one also , Now ask your little one to Sketch the branch with crayon and color it .
This is one such activity for summer Vacation .This Method can be used to make Birds, Tree and other things which your child finds interesting also.
The other day she asked me to draw sun and she made the sun collage .

We will be coming up with more summer activities soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Veg Fajita and Monsoon Pics

While we are waiting for this year's heavy Monsoon showers,These are some of the pics caught on camera by yours truly during last years Monsoon shower .

The City Wakes Up

Clouds Drumbeat

Twilight Zone

Raindrops Touching The wounded souls

And Now to cooking , my other passion in life .

There are times when you don’t have much in the pantry to cook and more the Mundane task of preparing day to today meal , what if you can add some variations and zing to the daily meals ,the meals become more than a pleasure to eat .
Cooking gives you immense pleasure and it’s a real stress buster also , My friends often ask me you cook yourself (eyes wide open) , don’t have a cook for cooking in your home , my replies to them is always ,you also try cooking for your dear ones , you will know the difference .They however end up with so many excuses . Its just some time management and the desire or willingness to cook , That’s it .Any ways long story cut short .
This time I tried making some Mexican dishes for variations in our meals ,as there is a nice event by gracious DK that’s Culinarybazaar AWED going on , It turn out to be a hit with my family .I thought will give a surprise to hubby dear asking him the name of dish , before I could ask , At the dinner table He exclaimed “Oh! Veg Fajita , a great change” .Here is how a simple dish can be reinvented to suit the taste bud .

Veg Fajita
4 Tortillas
2 green Bell Pepper
1 long carrot
5-6 long gourds called Borboti in Bengali or Beans
1 Garlic pod chopped finely
½ large onion chopped finely
1tsp Red Pepper powder
2 Green Chilly or Serrano pepper
1 tsp of cumin powder
1tsp of cumin seeds
2 tbs of refined oil/ Canola oil

For the home –made Salsa
2 Large tomato chopped
1 medium size onion
2 green chilly
1 garlic pod
½ tsp of salt
1tbs of lemon juice
Blend all the above in mixer , chill atleast 3hrs before serving .
Now to Making of Fajita

Heat up the Kadai /heavy bottom pan , add oil , add cumin seeds ,let it pop splitter .
Now add finely Chopped garlic and onion .Fry at high for 3 mints
Add all the chopped Vegetables, fry at med –high for at least 5-7 mints .Make sure the Veggies remain crunchy not mushy .
Add red pepper powder, cumin powder, green chilly and salt .
Now add 2-3 Tbs of home-made salsa , sauté for 2 mints .
Add crumbled paneer (cottage cheese), left-over rice , fry again for 2mints .
Take out in a bowl , and then fill Fajita in every Tortillas and roll , I have used our home made whole wheat chappati in place of tortilla , this came out nice too .
Serve along with a bowl of sour cream and chopped onions or warm corn.
A bowl of fresh yogurt also work fine , I always prefer yogurt over sour cream .
Another Thing for variation, You can use Chicken pieces which gives a whole lot of great taste and Flavor .
I have tried this recipe with fried shrimp also .
I will be on short blogging break , will catch up with all of you later .
Enjoy life and respect Nature and Thank her,for her immense Blessings bestowed upon us .
Recycle Reuse and Respect .
Happy Cooking Friends .

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bhindi Bhaja With Rajasthani Twist

Rajasthan is a land of vibrant color , rich heritage and Royals like Rajput .We have heard so many great stories of bravery of Hindu Rajputs like the one of Queen Padmini and other womenfolk who self emolliated herself ( called jauher in local language ) for the sake of her motherland , and also the vibrant history of Mewar . This post is a tribute to the women of Rajasthan .
Such a rich culture and power of women still persists.The desert plays a crucial part in their life , In remote Villages , women folk have to travel and cross the desert of 2-3 km to get water for their families , carrying matkas ( sand/ soil pot ) over their heads and cover the distance walking and also cross the heat wave that pertains in their life …
Camels and caravans, camps in desert and so many forts like the fort of Jaisalmer.
Jaipur is the capital of this state .Rajasthan is a state famous for Palaces and forts .

Rajasthani cuisine is mainly vegetarian , but people use spices generously , Rajasthani cuisine is much more spicier than its other Indian counterparts.And people of Rajasthan are famous for their Athiti satkar , they fondly serve people, feeding guests affectionately ( Manohar in local language ) also .
I have once asked my Marwari Friend mrs S to describe Marwari or Rajasthani cuisine , she told , " are hamara khana to bohot thikha hota , harek mein ghee aour masala padta hai "( Our food is spicy and hot and we use ghee generously ) .While I searched many recipes , look what , I have found a good collection of Rajasthani Recipe here http://foodmasala.blogspot.com/2007/08/traditional-rajastani-thali.html

To feel the essence of Rajasthan I would suggest you to see Hindi film Lekin and Batwara , both featuring great artists and capturing Rajasthan ‘s beauty on screen .. Padharo Mahare Desh Main ( welcome to my motherland ) , is a famous Rajasthani folk song , I always love to hear anytime.
Here is the recipe link I have choosen for this time to cook http://www.indianfoodforever.com/rajasthan/rajasthani-bhindi.html
But I have adapted to suit our taste buds.

Bhindi Bhaja with Rajasthani Twist

Bhindi or Dhaindos in Bengali ( Okhra) – 20 , with both the ends cut .
1 small onion chopped finely

Tempering and Flavoring

2-3 tbs of Besan ( Gram flour )

1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
2 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of lemon juice or aamchur powder
1 tsp of kalounji ( Nigella seeds )
½ tsp of cumin seeds
1 tej patta ( Bay leaf )
2-3 green chilly peppers slit in between
1tsp of sugar
3 tbs of mustard oil
Cut the two ends of Bhindi and slit in between .
Mix in all the dry ingredients – Besan , turmeric , red pepper , cumin , coriander and aamchur or you may use Lemon juice also , It also works fine .
Fill in Bhindi with the mixture and let it sit for ½ hr before you deep fry them .
Heat up a kadai/ heavy bottom pan , add mustard oil , temper it with Kalounji ( or for a Bengali touch can use panch phoron as well ), Bay leaf at low.Add Green Chilly Peppers. Add onions .
Now add the stuffed Bhindi and deep fry them for 2-3 mints , cover and cook at low for 5 mints , remove from heat .Make sure Bhindis remain crunchy .Sprinkle little bit of sugar over them
If you have some of the mixture remain , sprinkle over the fried bhindi.Serve with rotis and a bowl of yogurt .
Our Verdict - my in -laws liked this a lot , Rajasthani okhra /bhindi fry will feature more in our dinner menu .
Sending this entry to Padmaja and for more details of RCI- Rajasthan , visit here Flavours of the desert rci-Rajasthan/
Happy cooking

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Potol Kumror Ghainte and my Pride Possession

My Pride Possession - Masala Box

This is my pride possession in kitchen, my moshlar Dibe or Masala Box .This is very handy for me while preparing and cooking meals .There is Kalounji or Kalo jeera or Nigella seeds , Cumin seeds, Phanch phoron ( a spice mix of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, Fenugreek seeds and Nigella seeds ) and of course there is turmeric powder , red pepper powder and occasionally it will have dried red pepper powder and Tej patta ( Bay leaf ) .

Potol Kumror Ghainte

Well I remember my mom making aloo potoler Dalna for dinner and we used to have it with rotis , Potol is a quite famous vegetable in Bengali Cuisine , in a typical Bengali lunch potol Bhaja ( Deep fried Parwal which is marinated with salt and turmeric powder) is accompanied with Dals .Then there is Potol diye Macher Jhol and so on …

Parwal is Trichosanthes dioca , belonging to cucurbitacea family.Mainly grown in eastern part of India, It is also known as Pointed gourd or Wax gourd as well , is high in water content and that’s so good during summers as its is easy to cook and easy to digest. Here is a simple recipe for potoler torkari or Ghainte what ever you feel is good to hear, choice is yours.

Potol Kumror Ghainte
Recipe Requirements

Potol/Parwal – 6
Cut the two ends of potol and peel the skin at ½ inch while let the other part of peel intact ., This way it gets 3 marks along the body, now cut rounds of ½ inch .
Kumro ( pumpkin) -10 -15 pieces cut into cubes, If using young Komro let the skin remain as it will be bright green color indicating the skin is fresh and young, If you get little old one the skin will be dull brown in color indicating the Komro is old and its better to chop off the skin , this one will be more sweet in taste .
Aloo ( potato )- 2 medium size potato cut into cubes, If the skin is paper thin let the skin remain ,its more pleasurable to eat potato with skin as the skin is high in mineral content.
Tempering and Flavoring
1 tsp of panch phoron
2 tsp of fresh grated ginger
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of salt
1tsp of sugar
3 tbs of mustard oil
½ cup of water
Heat up kadai and add oil, fry the potol pieces first till slightly brown. Take out in a separate bowl.
Add more oil, temper it with panch phoron ,ginger , add potatoes and komro , fry them at low .
Add salt , sugar , turmeric powder, red pepper powder and fry . Tip – whenever you prepare komro always add sugar in the curries , it balances the flavor of curry .

Add the fried potol /parwal , add ½ cup of water and then cover and cook for 10 mints .
Open the cover and with the help of spatula / Khunti slightly cut or press the potatoes and komro to a uniform mushy texture.
Serve with rice or roti .

Happy Cooking .