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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Rice with Peas

I had a difficult day today. Didn't sleep last night well. There is a rat inside the room. Agghh..! Disgusting! As usual, got up very early today when my roomate was getting ready and tried to sleep as soon as she left at about 06:30 a.m. but woke up again and about 08:30. Was half asleep lying lazy till about 11:30 and then got wide awake when I realised that the air conditioner was no longer working and I started sewating profusely. it is already close to 40 degree celcius here. There was no electricity. So, there was no wifi, no drinking water, no lights, no way to charge the phone and call the landlord. And there was no motivation to cook.
 I left the house frustrated, walked up to our ladlord's office a few hundred metres away, paid the rent and informed him about the power cut.
 Then I left for some work. On my way home later in the evening I picked some frozen peas -- for a change because I always buy the fresh ones from the local market --  as I went to the supermarket to get a particular brand of mustard oil and some rice. While entering our building, I enquired with a neighbour and found out that they had electricity.                              Tired, hungry having eaten not a single grain of rice since my dinner last night, drenched in sweat and exhausted in this merciless Indian summer, I made this super quick, super easy one pot rice dish to rescue myself from starvation and collapsing.       
      I poured some frozen peas in luke warm water in a big bowl and chopped one tomato. I heated some mustard oil in my pressure cooker until it reached its smoking point and added about a half of a teaspoon cumin seeds and 4 small dried red chilies into it. This is my seasoning. I removed the seeds of those chillies. I always do that. Now I added the tomato into the oil and stirred a little. I added the peas now and then, a little turmeric powder, goda masala powder (optional), coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder and stirred to mix well. I added salt now and let it cook on a low flame. In the meantime I quickly rinsed basmati rice with filtered water and then added that too. When I have time, I always soak the rice for about half an hour.                                                                   I mixed all the ingredients together and now added coconut milk in it. No recipe of peas pulao /peas-fried-rice really asks you to add coconut milk but recently I have got so fascinated by it, after cooking caulCaulifl with it recently, the recipe of which I am going to post soon, that I wanted it in my rice too. But it is completely optional. I added a little jaggery (I have stopped eating sugar a few years ago.) And closed the lid. After eight whistles, my meal, my first meal of the day, was ready. I had it at 18:37 p.m. Electricity came back in the meantime. The caretaker told us over phone that somebody turned off the main switch. I don't know how that is even possible because the main switch cannot be so easily accessible. I was however, too tired to check it personally. Will do that tomorrow, but not before having the left-over rice as breakfast.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Cucumber Khichuri/Khichdi

In reality there is no Bengali dish called "Cucumber Khichuri". But I invented this dish today, proving "necessity is the mother of invention.".

There was one cucumber left in my fridge. I know it is healthy to eat salad with cucumber; I also know that cucumber raita helps to lose weight. But healthy food rarely tastes good and I don't consume dairy. So, I let the cucumber sit in the frigde, finding no tasteful utilisation if that harmless vegetable.
I had lunch at a friend's house at 17:00 and we all ate too much. On the way home in the evening I didn't feeling like going to the local market. It was New Year and the streets were crowded and the traffic was slow. A friend dropped me home on her way home.
I took rest, chatted over whatsapp a little and sent text messages to good morning and waited for sometime for him to reply. Then I went to the kitchen and found the lonely cucumber there, waiting! I decided to experiment. I decided to make Khichuri, our traditio .n rice and lentil dish, with cucumber. Here it is worth mentioning that we never cook cucumber; we don't even pickle it. We always eat it raw, often with puffed rice or even more commonly, with tomato and onion as salad. Yes, here salad refetes to tomato, onion and and cucumber cut into small pieces and served together, without any dressing and here "sauce" means mainly "tomato ketchup"!

Now back to our cucumber Khichuri, I cut the cucumber in very tiny pieces after peeling it. I heated mustard oil in my presure cooker and added shredded onion and green chillues to it.

After the onion turned golden I added sfhredded garlic and half a teaspoon if cumin seeds. Then immediately I added the cucumber; I didn't want to fry the garlic. I stirred and mixed everything and added mung dal that I soaked about half an hour. I did the same thing with rice, too. The quantity of rice was half of that of dal. At this point I added a little tumeric powder and a little cumin- and coriander powder. I wanted to really simple at dinner. But you can add cumin- and coriander- and turmeric powder before adding rice and dal and mix it well. You can also add a little red chilli powder which I very rarely consume.
I stirred everything to mix them well, added water and closed the lid.  I waited till the cookerwhistled five times and then turned the gas off. I opened the lid only after the cooker stopped sizzling on its own.
I cooked without fulling concentrating because thete was an undercurrent of sadness and cry always at the back of my mind the whole time; I was expecting a normal reply from "Good Morning" but nothing came but my Khichuri was delicious!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fascinating Food in a Fascinating City 3 -- at Dadar on Sunday

          It was our last in India's commercial capital. It was Sunday.
Our host works long hours six days a week but still spent his single free day with us. Our dayout started with a late breakfast and roamed around the whole day through this fascinating island city.

Breakfast with Sabudana Khichdi

Sabudana Khichdi at Gypsy, Dadar

Bajri Roti, Bharli Vangi and Phulgobi Rassa
Masala Bhat -- this I'm going to learn, too.
Thalipeeth of Millet with Curd -- I was very curious about this dish because M_ has already invited me to her place sometime later to taste thalipeeth made by herself. She told me thatshe got bhajNi through online shopping to prepare Thalipeeth at home.

In the internet, while searching for its recipe, I found Sabudana Thalipeeth, too, which I'm going tp prepare very soon.

Mumba Devi Temple

Photography is prohibited in Mumba Devi Temple premises. Outside at the entrance we were given boxes of sweets flower and a piece of new cloth (I don't know the exact term for this cloth because I am not very familiar with Pujas). The sweets were like sugar bombs! Just like me, our host also doesn't have sweet teeth and cried out for water as he put one into his mouth. After we did Puja with them, the sweets are Prasad of God. And Prasad is something not to refuse.
Mumba Devi's Prasad

During this stay in Mumbai, I regularly sent all the photos of these food to M_. "Stop torturing me", she said! So, immediately after my return, I asked her if she is going to talk to me again in her life because of those tortures!
     After visiting Mumbai I realised why M_ said that she took time to understand the concept of "bikal, late afternoon in kolkata.Unlike Kolkata evenings are sunny and much longer here. It reminded me of European summer evenings. Snacking on a beach basking in the mellowing evening sun in a metro city? Remarkable indeed! And beautiful!

Tamarind Rice (Puliogare)

Puliogare powder and the tamarind sauce: --

Masala Bhat

Masala Bhat -- Maharashtrian Style

My Quick Eggplant Curry

Eggplant with Tomato and Potato

Spinach Curry

The common Palong Shak to go with Roti