Monday, December 13, 2010

Kofta in a record 30 minutes time and life long fan following !!

We buy vegetables every Saturday morning, so it lasts us for a week. The vegetables are usually the same, and we are content with our cabbage and paneer and bhindis !! Last Saturday, i woke up 6, because of my running nose and for the sheer lack of having nothing to do, i switched on Aastha channel.For those of how with funny expressions of "what channel ??" on your faces, this is a religious channel which mints money through its huge fan following, people who do Pranayam and listen to "aapkey sitaarey "

I am not a huge fan of Yoga yet, but i do agree that a little bit of Pranayam will go a long way in keeping us healthy. Also consumption of bottle gourd or lowki can keep away many ailments. So i thought , why not try a sexier and more glamorous version of the lowly lowki . So Koftas was on the menu for dinner.

I started cooking at 7 and was done by 7 :30 in the evening, and i soaked in all the smells of the ginger and cumin flirting in my house !

Stuff needed for the sexy lowki kofta ! 

2 cups of grated lowki (bottle gourd)
2 teaspoons of grated ginger
1 large grated onion
5 table spoons besan (Chickpea flour)
1 green chilly
 Mix all the above together. You got to grate the vegetables with your hand, then add in the chick pea flour to hold them together in way, you can shallow fry them. The beginning will look like this.

After adding the flour, make the koftas, which are small round patty shaped and need to be shallow friend in refined oil, till brown and well cooked, in a kadai.

While the koftas are frying, start multi tasking and make a paste of the following. And cut 3 medium sized potatoes into medium sized pieces.

For the gravy paste 
1 large tomato
10 garlic pods
1 inch long ginger strips
1 large onion

  I had around 8 medium sized koftas fried in 10 minutes, so i got set to fry the potatoes till brown on the outside and soft inside.

Once the koftas look arrogantly sexy and tanned, and the potatoes are tender to touch, heat some oil in the same kadai and wait for it to heat up.

The final touches to your Sexy Lowki Koftas

a pinch of cumin seeds 
1 bayleaf
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chilly powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon sugar

As the oil heats up, watch the cumin seeds splutter and the bayleaf gently wilt into the oil.
and finally add the impatient paste you had made, which is now turning red with pride, because it will be adding great taste to your dish..dont believe me ?? look ...

 Start frying the paste and add your turmeric, chilly and garam masala powder along with the salt and sugar. Fry the paste on high flame, till it changes colour into a darker shade and starts giving out oil from the sides. Pour in 2 cups of water to this paste and cover it with a lid for 5 minutes. By this time, you will see you have 5 minutes left and then you remove the lid and add the potatoes and the koftas !!

Ahh see the babies lapping up the flavours of the gravy.

Cover the kadai and cook for another 4  minutes, till the koftas are softened and the juices are inside them.

That it, all set to serve with rotis or rice. Sprinkle some coriander and if you run out of any garnishing, just kiss the man when you serve his this for dinner and it will do good. !

I tried making this for the first time and i assure you, i have a man who is now very fond of the lowly lowki :)

Time Check : 7:35PM :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Aaloo potoler daalna and myths about mother in laws !!!

I travel 14 Km's to and fro from office to home and then begin my cooking expeditions. So when there is a 120 second traffic signal, i switch off my engine and think what to cook tonight ?

So last evening i remembered i had some potol in he fridge. For ages my husband has detested the vegetable and i have loved it. As a kid, we used to have a huge "Lokhi" pujo at home and as per Bengali rituals, when you serve Goddess Lakshmi the "bhog" there should be some 6 different types of fried vegetables, or maybe more. My favorite used to be the beans with grated coconut, the fried potatoes and of course the humble "Potol".

And ooh Dalna refers to most cooked vegetables, be it potatoes or even egg !

So i reach home, call Ma and ask her to give me the original Bengali recipe for the cooking. Now my mother never gives me measurement in terms of 1 teaspoon or 2 pinches. She says , you should judge your food, and smell it well..there can never be any perfect measurements since evryones palate is different. Since her son-in-law hates chillies, she advises me before hand "lonka kom dibi " (put less chilly)

I did use it sparingly !

Stuff needed for the aaloo potoler daalna

6 potol(the tips to be cut and then cut in round rings)
4 potatoes( chopped roughly)
3 tablespoons of Mustard Oil
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon jeera seeds
1 tej pata
salt to taste
sugar to please

For the gravy paste

1 teaspoon dhaniya powder
1 tespoon jeera powder
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 Tomatoe roughly chopped
1 green chilly
2 small elaichi
1 small stick of daalchini
Some fresh dhania leaves

Make a paste of the above and keep ready

To start cooking the good stuff now...

Take a large kadai (wok) and heat some mustard oil. You can absolutely use regular oil, but i am a woman who wants the kitchen to smell divine and get a kick in her palate with the mustard punch !
Add your potatoes and fry them on high flame.

While your potatoes are getting cooked, take a bowl and put some turmeric, chilli powder and salt in it. Run your potol in this mixture and keep aside.

When your potatoes are nearly cooked remove them and put in the colorful potol to be fried in the same oil. Wait till the potol becomes soft and small.

At this  time i pick out one botol, blow it cold and gobble one. the crunch of the seeds and the munch of the flesh and the flavours of the chilly mustard and salt !!

Add some more oild to the kadai, after removing the potol, heat it well, and add some jeera seeds and a bayleaf (tej pata). Hear the seeds sizzle and watch the bayleaf wilt.

 Pray to your ancestors, take a step back, stretch out your hands over the kadai  and add the paste into this fragrant oil !!

And then miracles start happening, the kitchen smells of ginger and garlic, my apron gets coated with some drops of the paste and i smile ! This is what cooking is all about

Add your sugar and salt , fry the paste well. In between, if you are like me, you will add some chilli powder too !! when asked how come it got spicy, you will blame it on that one single hyperactive green chilly you had used  :)

To this mixture add the aaloo and the potol. Let the three unite in culinary harmony of spices, colors and a mad womans love for food !

PS : Those are the husbands fingers holding steady for this shot

While the mixture finds love and makes new bonds with the others, add some water, coat it all well and cover it , to cook on low hear for 10 minutes. Now you can cook it for less , considering how soft your vegetables are and how thick the gravy is .
At times like these when you have to wait for 10 minutes , take this opportunity to look around. I looked around and found i should introduce you to the new member in my kitchen shelf.

I promise i will get you the hidden secrets inside, but without their difficult details of 125 mil of sesame oil or 4gms of mushrooms !!

And now , its time i look pretty and get ready to bring out the daalna :)

I know you want to remove that bayleaf..but guys..did you know?? As a kid i hated it when a bayleaf landed on my plate, to which my mom would say " when you get a bayleaf in your plate, you mother-in-law would be very fond of you "

It turned out to be true :)

and what about you ha ??

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Lunch Kosha Mangsho

Some of you would already know me because of my other blog, and would also be aware that my life revolves around my home, my family, the cupboard, the plants in the terrace, the fishes and of course my kitchen.
So one Sunday, a very loving husband suggests "why dont you start a cooking blog "

and in all appropriation here it is. A glimpse into our lives, on weekends with lavish menus, weekdays with quick soulful food and lots more.

Sundays in a Bengali family is a big affair since it begins with planning for the "ranna" (cooking) from Saturday morning.So on Saturday morning G and I planned to make "koshamangsho ", which basically means mutton slow cooked over low flame.

In the earlier days women , dint have a pressure cooker, cooking was done over an oven made with mud, and the fire was made of wood. Cooking utensils dint mean non-stick cookware, but "peetoler" bashon, utensils made of mixed metals, that ensured the food cooked retained its original flavour.

To make a simple easy loving version of kosha mangsho, you need

For the marinade
500 Grams of Mutton
3 teaspoons of mustard oil
1 teaspoon of jeera powder, dhaniya powder,chilli powder,salt
5 to 6 teaspoons of yogurt
2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste,turmeric powder.

Ideally this is left to marinate for 5-6 hours, since i told you women in those days considered cooking a very important business(their only business) they even left it marinated over night. My granny used to leave it marinated,overnight, up on a  high shelf so no stray cats could feats on it. You can leave it in the fridge though. And yes if you are in great hurry, marinate it for an hour only.

Stuff needed for the good stuff to happen 

6 teaspoons of mustard oil
2 bay leaves
4 small cardammons
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 green chilly sliced diagonally
3 onions finely sliced
4 tomatoes chopped
2 potatoes chopped large
1 teaspoon jeera powder,dhaniya powder,garam masala
2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste

And now the good stuff begins

Like all good things need a grand beginning, we suggest you bring out your kadai, with a large base so there is more uniform cooking. Heat the oil, and let the kitchen smell of mustard oil, which by the way is what will get your husband strolling in the kitchen, to "help" you. Once the oil is heated, add the bay leaves, the cinnamon sticks , the cardamom sticks and the thinly sliced green chilly.

Once the kitchen starts smelling nice and earthy, the man is standing around the burner, add the onions and wait for them to turn brown and soft. This will take time, so i suggest you could water the kitchen plants, or ask the man to make some tea. It only 12 in the afternoon !!

So you dont have plants in the kitchen?? why ?? take a look at how gorgeous they look.

Fry the onions and tomatoes on high heat, since i know you, want the cooking done soon, cuz Sunday is the only time you both can actually sit on the couch and talk, or you can soak your feet in a bucket of warm water, or just iron your weekday clothes for office. Since the next step is to add the ginger garlic paste, go ahead and put two nice teaspoons of it. And if you are like me, who is in love with Garlic, you will make an extra paste of 10 to 12 pods of garlic. Did you know widowed women in ancient India , were forbidden from eating non-vegetarian food or garlic and ginger. Garlic claims to b one of India's oldest Aphrodisiac, and now i know some of you are smiling on reading this..yeah yeah..thank me !!

And now, the ,magic starts happening, the kitchen smells of heaven, the neighbors know you are making heaven, and you are waiting for that heaven to unfold on your pallate. Time to add that marinated pieces of succulence lying in your fridge. Always remember to cover the marinated meat, so the moisture does not escape.

Bring the flame on high, and keep moving the pieces so the masala is well coated to the meat and now the right time to infuse more flavors, the dhania powder, jeera powder, salt and sugar. While the meat is getting cooked, time to add the potatoes, chopped roughly, separately in a kadai so it browns a little.Fry the meat on high heat, till you see the mutton pieces giving out water. Now time to add the chopped tomatoes and the fried potatoes. And finally add the garam masala 

So now the stage is set, the make up is done, all that we need to do now, is transfer the good stuff into a pressure cooker. 

I am sure you will not not be a traiter and forget the old faithful kadai, yes, now you will pour 4 cups of water in the empty kadai and get this liquid gold, which you will pour into the pressure cooker. You can pour more water, but the purpose of the kosha mangsho is to be dry and thick, so i suggest less water, more yummyness !

And thats it, wait for the loud whistle of your pressure cooker to shout to you for 3 times, on high flame. If you think this would suffice, switch off the gas. But if you need more, let it stay on low heat, and let the cooker shout once more.

Now, lets see heaven, all drizzeled with brown fried onions and chopped chillies. i dint have coriander, but you should keep it, so the red and brown of the mutton curry pushes the coriander to look greener. And the anxious husband greedier :)

Kosha Mangsho as the couple who love cooking, cooked it up !!

And what goes best with this , some steamed rice, a bowl of cucumber and tomatoes and onions as salad, some envious neighbors and Gods Yummy Blessings