Thursday, 19 February 2015

Savoury Poda Pithe

Odiya recipe for poda pitha

Breakfast is one thing that I never get around to posting on my blog.
While I do make a lot of different things for breakfast, there is hardly enough time to arrange and shoot them.
Earlier I used to make a lot of egg based things like omelettes with vegetables, French toasts ... both sweet and the savoury ones, egg bhurji, pancakes, etc.

However things changed after I was found to be allergic to eggs. It was a sudden discovery ... and life changed for me after that.

First ... I love eggs. And it broke my heart when I was told, rather warned, to stay away from them ... a warning I do ignore at times, when greed overrules common sense.
And little white figure on the my right of my head just sighs and turns away from the grinning one on my left.

Second ... it created a huge problem concerning breakfast.
I had to turn to the Poha, which incidentally I am not too fond of.
And bread ... but had to come up with ideas for sandwiches stuffing.
And every morning, or even the night before, breakfast was a big question mark.

Until I started making idlis and dosas. It was a Eureka moment for me when I realised I could do a whole lot more stuff than those two time taking things.
That batter was a life saver.
I started to make big batches of the batter and store it in the fridge.
It was a huge help.
Breakfast, a different kind of lunch, evening snacks, dinner .... I could do a whole lot of different things.

Slowly I started to make a batter from mixed dals .... it all started when I had some leftover soaked dals after I had used the desired amount for my Dal Panchmela .... and made pancakes and dosas from it.
Later came to know it is very common among South Indians.

I now almost regularly make pithes, handvo, vegetable idlis, quick uttapams and of course the dosa with this  dal and rice batter.
Among them, the regular is the Poda Pithe.
Quick to make, needs no baby sitting, great with a hot cup of tea.
Very light, yet very filling.
Healthy too.

Poda pitha

I usually make the slight sweetish one.
But this time I made the savoury one. And thought of clicking some quick pictures ... just so I will be able to share it here.

How to make the batter :

Soak 1 cup of urad dal + 2 cups of rice for around 4 to 5 hours.
Grind it into a paste. Add a pinch of salt, cover and keep overnight to ferment.
You can use this batter to make everything mentioned above.

Need :

Rice + Urad dal batter - 2 cups
Jeera / Cumin seeds - ¼ tsp
Ginger - 1", chopped
Green chillies - 2, chopped
Coconut - chopped, around 5 tbsp
Fresh Curry leaves - chopped, 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Ghee - just enough to smear the kadahi

Poda pithe

How to :

Take a heavy bottomed kadahi ... preferable a cast iron one.

Mix all the above ingredients except the ghee.

Smear the ghee well on the kadahi. Do not heat the kadahi first.

Pour the mixture and set the kadahi on low heat.

Put on a tight cover.

Check after 10 minutes. Flip it over, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Remove and let it cool.

The outer crust will be very very crisp. But it will be very soft inside.
Great as a breakfast or as a snack, anytime of the day.
You can also eat it with a chutney or achar on the side too.
In Orissa, it is eaten with a potato curry that has a very thin gravy ... to soak it up with.

You can try it with this aloo ki sabzi or this one too.

Podo pitha

I clicked this quick picture to show the insides in detail, before settling down with the day's paper and my hot cup of the very spicy ginger tea.


PS: This post of mine has been selected as one of the top 12 food posts of February 2015 by Baggout.
Yeh! :-)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Rosh Bora / Lentil dumplings in Sugar syrup

 Lentil dumplings in sugar syrup
 This is a quick post. And a long pending one.
Having risen early today, I am indulging in some quiet time after what seems like ages.
I am not pushing myself to start the washing machine, walk into the kitchen to put the water for tea on, go to my favourite room for dumping and start working on the dry clothes from yesterday ... sorting for laundry, folding, arranging them in their alotted rooms.
And most importantly, I am not thinking of breakfast.

I am sitting in my favourite chair by the bay window ... I have opened it to feel the slight cold that still lingers in the morning air ... and just looking out.
Soaking in the morning quiet.
I do not feel like reading too, this morning. I am even ignoring the new book by Jeffery Archer .... yes, I finally bought it ... lying on the center table.

I look out, eyes scanning the tree tops and the land on the hills far away.
Just last evening we had seen a huge fire there .... so strong and so bright that we could easily make out the red, orange and then the yellow of it ... showing the intensity.
It is a regular phenomenon here ... I have been seeing it ever since we have come to this flat.
We assume it is either wild fire that the dry grass and plants easily catch. But another reason can be the ritual that the farmers of sugarcane fields follow .... after a harvest, they burn the whole field to get rid of any pests or rodents that might stay to enjoy the sweet sugarcanes.

Whatever it might be, we have a beautiful view of the fire. It starts, rises and spreads to the adjoining hills. And looks like a big, orange  garland that goes up and down and around the hill tops.

Rosh bora
Now, as I look at the hills, there hangs a light fog. There is no trace of the wild dance of destruction that they had seen the earlier evening.
My trance is disturbed by a quick movement below in the garden ... a bird darting from one tree to another.
The Koyel.
We have lots of them here. The poor thing is a shy bird.
And since the highrises are much above the trees, we get to see them below us. Which I am sure gives them a lot of stress ... to stay hidden all the time.
To get from one tree to another, they have to fly as fast as they can to get away from being in the open ... aznd settle down inside the branches with, I am sure , a sigh of relief.
The poor dears.

Among all this I remember I have some photos ready to be posted.
So get my laptop and start typing away.
And that is all that blabber you have been reading till now .... if at all you have been patient enough to. :-)

But I will get to the recipe now.
I had made this Rosh Bora during Diwali. With my hand and shoulder slowing recovering, I could not resist the temptation to make a few sweet and savoury snacks this time.
Made everything in less quantities but clicked some hurried photos, hoping to post them on Kichu Khonn.
Who knows when I'll be able to make some again.

Rosh bora narkel diye
Need :

Urad dal batter - around 1 cup (soak for 2 hours and grind the urad dal to a paste )
Grated fresh coconut - ½ cup
Whole Black peppercorns - ¼ tsp , lightly crushed
Green cardamom - 2 pieces
Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1 and a ½ cup
Oil - to deep fry

How to :

To make the Sugar syrup :-

Take a deep pan and put in the water and the sugar and keep on low heat till it starts boiling.
Crush the green cardamoms and add in.
Keep stirring and boiling till the sugar dissolves and the syrups cooks well .... say around for 5 minutes after the sugar dissolves.
You do not need to thicken the syrup.

To make the Boras / dumplings :-

Beat the Urad dal batter with a fork to make the batter a little fluffy and incorporate some air into it.
If you want to, you can add a pinch of baking powder ... I did not.
Add the coconut and the crushed black peppercorns.

Heat enough oil in a deep kadahi.
Scoop out small balls of the batter and drop them carefully into the oil.
I cannot make perfect balls ... I use a spoon to pick up and drop the batter .... hence the imperfect shapes. :-)
Keep the heat on low and fry them till golden brown in colour.

Dunk them into the warm sugar syrup and let them soak in for a while.

Rosh bora
This is one of my very few favourite sweets .... though I do not make it very often.

You can serve them both warm or at room temperature.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Narkel Kumro / Pumpkin with Coconut

Narkel kumro

I am dead tired these days. The house is perpetually filled with people.
A hectic birthday .... that did nothing more than remind me that I am aging ... a fact that has long been affirmed by the mirror that reflected the shiny strands with much impudence ... and then rejoiced at my inability to indulge in my only poison ... a Black forest cake.
I do not mind a luchi and mangsho menu. But a birthday without a Black forest cake is no birthday at all.
And no ... a Chinese dinner at the Hyatt did not console me.

I am not very forgiving ... and have resolved to make it up to myself in every possible way .... one day.
One day when I have a whole day to myself, when I can cook only for myself, listen only to Jagjit Singh and not someone screaming "Aaj blue hai pani pani pani".
One day when I will have my house back to myself, my favourite chair at my favourite place, the rugs not trampled upon, the beds do not look like being walked over by a thousand elephants.
One day. Surely.
I live in hope.

Until then I will take some time out for myself to make some quick blog posts.
After all, I need to breathe too.

Pumpkin cooked with coconut

Most times, the food that I cook is from memories. Rather, for memories.
Most times, I try to recreate a dish that I might have tasted somewhere and liked.
Given our numerous travels as well as our hunt for good quality food, I often come across that one dish or snack or street food that I want to hold on to .... its taste, its flavours and the memories along with it.

Like the plain Ghugni that we had at Konark, the Ramrochak tarkari of Jagannath, the prasadwali Khichdi that we had at a temple, the Dal Bati from our Rajasthan trips, the Jailsalmeri chana at Jaisalmer, ... the list goes on and on.

And then there is the nostalgia of holding on to the memories of food cooked by my loved ones ... Thamma, Kakima, Jethima, Boro Ma .... and many more.  My blog is full of them.

It was this same nostalgia and craving that made me cook this simple dish that I had at the Jagannath temple at Puri once. It came along with the Abhada Bhoga / prasad . And like every dish from the prasad, it was heavenly.
Lightly sweet, it had the flavour of ghee and a light pungency of mustard paste.
Very very simple, I had fallen in love with it that very day.
And have made it again and again at home .... mostly as an accompaniment to Khichuri or Luchi.

This time, when I made it, I decided to click some pictures and make a post after all.

Narkel kumro shorshe bata diye


Pumpkin - grated, 1 big cupful
Coconut - grated, 5 tbsp (more if you like) ( Fresher the coconut, better the taste )
Mustard paste - 1 tsp
( I use the yellow mustard seeds that are not too strong; make sure you soak them well before making the paste.
Also I do not add salt or green chillies when grinding them. )
Ginger - grated, 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - ¼ tsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder - ½ tsp 
Whole dry red chilli  - 1, broken
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste ( for Jagannath prasad, they use jaggery)

How to :

Heat the oil and the ghee in a heavy bottomed kadahi or pan.
Narkel kumro

Add the jeera.
When it starts to splutter, add the broken red chillies.
Add the grated ginger and the haldi powder.
Fry for a while, but not for too long.
Just give a few stirs and add the pumpkin.

Stir well and add the coconut.
Narkel kumri
Fry well.
Add salt and cover.

Cook till the pumpkin is done, but there is still some moisture left.
Remove cover and add the mustard paste and sugar.
Stir well and cover.
Cook for five more minutes.

Remove cover and wait till all moisture dries up.
The whole thing will turn into mush.

Narkel kumro shorshe diye
Serve hot with a little more sprinkle of ghee, if you want to.

This is great with Luchis, Parathas or Khichuri.
At the Jagannath temple, this is served with rice though. Or Khichdi.