Friday, 26 February 2010

Aloo Matar Rassewala / Potatoes and Green Peas curry

Lots of things going on these days. Life sure has a way of reminding you that not all will stay hunky dory. Not always. So even before we have had enough of our whatever little good time we get, there comes a jolt that brings us back to reality.

And I find myself taking solace in Mirakkel ( an absolutely wonderful Bengali stand up comedy show on Zee Bangla ) more and more ... just so that I know I am still humane enough ... that I can still forget reality and laugh for an hour.

I'll not write anything about the blast in a favourite hangout ... the German Bakery ... in the quiet lanes of Koregaon Park of my city.
The reason being too many things are being written and said.

I for a change will just say quiet ... and keep trying to figure out why the release of a movie is so important than the lives of innocent citizens. And why was the police, patrolling KP for so long, sent to guard multiplexes so that a movie can be released ... so that some already filthy rich could make some more money. Citizens life be damned.
No ... I'd rather stay mum.
Cook. Serve. Eat. Live.

And to add to my woes, my TP crashed. Finally got it back whole. And fell in love with the "Mark all as read" button.
Much as I would have loved to visit all the beautiful blogs and leave lines, the number on my reader overwhelmed me and I scurried to get rid of it. But I do promise to start visiting all of you again.

On a slightly happier note, I did get to make a small trip to the beach in the past long weekend ( post coming up in my travelogue soon ). After almost a whole rough year, I got to breath awhile.

Coming to today's dish, it is a family favourite that is ridiculously simple to make yet wonderfully flavourful. A huge help when you have family or close friends visiting. Makes a cosy quick dinner or a very filling breakfast too. This dish is made very regularly at my in-laws place. I have added fresh green peas as they are in season. Can be skipped too.

Need : Boiled potatoes, green peas [optional],
a pinch of haldi / turmeric powder, a pinch of hing / asafoetida, a little jeera / cumin seeds,
a little red chilli powder, cooking oil, a pinch amchur powder / dried mango powder,
salt to taste, water to cook.

How to : Skin the potatoes and lightly crush them by hand. Do not mash them completely ... do keep a few medium sized pieces.

Heat oil in a wok or kadahi. Add the jeera. When it starts to splutter add a little hing ( if you like the flavour of hing, you can add enough to make the dish pungent ... else keep it to just a little).

Add the potatoes, the peas and toss around a little on high heat.

Add the haldi, chilli, amchur powder and salt. Add enough water to cover the potato pieces.

Lower heat, cover and cook.

Let it stay on heat and simmer for a longish time. Do remove the cover and check in between if it needs more water. If the gravy is turning thickish, then add more water and cook for some more time.

The more you boil this, the better the flavours are absorbed by the potatoes.

Pair it off with hot rotis or parathas or puri/luchi.
This tastes best when it has been kept over for a day or overnight. Try it out this weekend for brunch or dinner. :-)

TC all !!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Whole Wheat & Jaggery Biscuits

What with so many wonderful looking cookies being made everywhere, I have decided to call these biscuits as they are not as thickish or crumbly as real cookies.

When I made and posted these, I got a mail from my regular reader D ( the shy girl is not comfortable with her her name here :-) ) asking me if she could use jaggery instead of sugar.
As I am not so rigid about cooking and exact recipes, I told her she can and asked her to go ahead and give it a try.

She did ... and wrote back that the cookies turned out very dry ... and something was wrong.

I myself had not made them with jaggery, so thought of trying them out myself first. So in the midst of packing and preparations last month ( it is another thing we never made that trip ... everything went against our plans ... sudden work load, then ill health, then the fog playing spoilsport and flights getting canceled in the last minute ... everything :-( ... all in all we rescheduled bookings and tickets thrice ! ... and still ended in a dud) , I baked them one morning and sent her the snaps.

She told me the snaps helped ... she got the idea what went wrong. I do not know if she ever made them again ... just hope she did and was successful ... else my posting recipes will be of no worth.

The one thing I have found out ( am speaking for myself ) is that when baking, you cannot use the minimum of shortening ... say butter / cooking oil, etc. and still hope to get a wonderful result.

True, baking ... or healthy baking ... does use less oil or fat ... especially if you are using it as a substitute to deep frying. But baking tends to dry stuff . So you cannot go completely minimalistic if you want that moist or perfect bake.

Well .... that's my take. Baking experts may feel differently. :-)

Here's the recipe.

Need : 1 and a half cup of whole wheat flour, a little cooking oil ... around 1 and 1/2tbsp, 1 tsp baking powder, around 5 tbsp jaggery granules, milk ... around half a medium cup ( use just enough to knead the dough ), 2-3 drops of vanilla essence.

If you want you can use powdered jaggery too ... or if you have the big sized lumps, break them down to granules.

I purposely did not melt the jaggery in the milk as I wanted bits of it in a bite. If you want to melt and use ... go ahead.

How to : Knead everything together to make a dough like we make for rotis.

Take a medium sized ball of dough and roll out a thickish circle ... like a big roti. You can use dry flour to dust when rolling.

Prick with a fork all over ( this way the biscuits won't puff up ).

Cut with a cookie cutter ... or any small sized bottle cap will do.

Oil a baking tray or use a baking sheet.

Arrange the cut out biscuits on it.

Pre heat oven at 160 degrees C and bake in the same temperature for around 20 minutes.

Done! :-)

I had made a batch in a muffin tray ... the one on the top is one of them ... slightly thickish.

These biscuits were pretty good ... not to mention healthy ... but not very soft and did not crumble on breaking.
In fact, on a bite, they broke into a half ... that tough ... which I'll attribute to the jaggery.

So the next time I made them, I added a pinch of baking soda ... and it did make a difference.

These stay well for about 2 to 3 days ... maybe more ... I just never got 'round to keeping them very long. Very healthy ... these are great as a snack to munch on anytime ... or with some spicy ginger tea.

Enjoy !! :-)

A few more of my cookies / biscuits / scones
Coffee Cookies
Onion Cookies / Crackers
Whole Wheat Eggless Banana Cookies
Cakes & Rose Cookies
Fruity Scone / Cookies with Strawberry Compote