I Love Pumpkin, Why Don’t You?

Isn’t it tragic that in spite of being such a wonderful vegetable, pumpkin is not as popular as it deserves to be? Most people add a lot of spices while cooking it to make it more palatable.

I recently cooked pumpkin in two different ways with just the basic ingredients (salt, turmeric, mustard seeds, mustard oil, and one whole red chilli) and I was pleasantly surprised to find it so delicious! Well, that proves that food can be tasty even without too many spices.

Here are the step-by-step pics.

1. Pumpkin with Karela (bitter gourd): Pumpkin neutralizes the bitterness of Karela and the net effect is absolutely heavenly.

First chop the Karela into thin slices and soak them in salted water for about 30 minutes. Then wash them thoroughly and squeeze excess water from them. Deep fry these karela pieces in small batches in hot, smoking mustard oil till they turn light brown. Keep them aside in a plate.

Next, keep only 2 tablespoonfuls of mustard oil in Karachi and pour out the remaining hot muatard oil in a utensil. Heat the Karachi again and add 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds and one whole red chilli. Once spluttering starts, add chopped pumpkin, turmeric, and salt as per taste.

Once the pumpkin becomes a bit soft, add the fried karela pieces and put a cover after lowering the gas flame. This will prevent burning.

Keep checking every 2 minutes till the vegetables are tender without becoming mushy.

Your pumpkin-karela dish is ready. Bon Appetit!

2. Grated Pumpkin

Here, the method is same as above, except that this time you use the grated pumpkin.

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Sprouts Salad

Courtesy photo: Suroshri Chatterjee

My daughter works these days in the night shift. The food I cook daily doesn’t always suit her, as she needs to eat things that keep her active and fresh during her working hours.

Last week, she made a sprouts salad for herself and she left behind some for me too. I found it extremely delicious. See its photo on top.

I had it for myself again for breakfast on the following day. I did not feel bloated, like I generally do whenever I eat sprouts. By lunch time, I was hungrier than usual!

It is commonly believed these days that fruits and vegetables must never be eaten together, but this particular sprouts salad that I am going to tell you more about now has both of them. It is healthy, light, nutritious, easy to make; doesn’t take much time.

Ingredients: one Apple, one pear, one cucumber, one small onion (optional), a small cup each of boiled sweet corn and sprouts, juice of one lemon, salt and chaat/raita masala/or any masala as per your taste.

Method: Chop the apple, pear, cucumber, and onion. Add sweet corn, sprouts, lemon juice, salt and raita masala. Mix well. Your sprouts salad is now ready.

Simple, isn’t it?

Enjoy! Bon Appetit!

Alu-Gobhi simplified

Alu-Gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower) sabji is a very popular dish in North India. It has to be made with great care as Gobhi (cauliflower) tends to soften faster than alu (potatoes) and you run the risk of ending up with mashed cauliflower with potatoes standing out, which doesn’t taste good.

In an ideal Alu-Gobhi Sabji sabji, alu and cauliflower pieces are soft without being mushy and have a spicy, crispy, fried taste.

A lot of chefs first deep fry the alu and cauliflower pieces separately and then cook them together in a karahi with the required spices, curd, tomatoes, and some more oil. This takes far too much time and oil.

On 28 July 2019, I discovered an easier, simpler, and far healthier method of cooking Alu-Gobhi without compromising on that typical restaurant-like taste.

Here are the step-by-step pics. Do try out this recipe and write back. I look forward to reading your comments.

1. Start off by steaming chopped potatoes and cauliflower in a pressure cooker. Be careful while you do this as there is a risk of overboiling. Usually, one whistle or just when the whistle is about to begin is sufficient cooking time. My mini pressure cooker is of Prestige and in one whistle, it parboils without making the items too soft. Once done, place the veggies on a sieve and let the excess water drain out into a container below. You can use it in making other dishes such as dals or soups, etc.

2. Grind ginger and make a rough paste.

3. Heat some oil in a thick-bottomed karahi. Once it is hot, lower the gas flame and add turmeric, chilli powder, whole Cummin seeds, and whole corriander seeds powder.

4. Then add the veggies, ginger paste, and one red chilli. Stir a few times and allow the veggies to fry properly. Mix well and add salt and amchur as per your taste. Your Alu-Gobhi bhaji is ready. Enjoy.

5. You can add grated paneer too in the end. I had some paneer-onion bhurji in the fridge, so I added this to the Sabji when it was done.


Read my other food recipes here. https://wordpress.com/page/jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/8762

Trees…Sometimes Worshipped, Sometimes Used

Trees are an intrinsic part of our lives. But because of rapid urbanization, a lot of them have been eliminated mercilessly without ensuring their immediate relocation or replacement.

Wherever they exist, especially those with thick trunks and huge canopies, their treatment is generally in two extremes, either worshipped with stings attached or manhandled. Rarely ever are they left alone in peace, free to grow and breathe in full freedom, the way all trees ought to be treated…

Given below are pics of three trees; a used one; a heavily worshipped one with a concrete fence around it; and a free, unfettered tree, a very lucky guy indeed, growing somewhere on the NH8 Delhi-Jaipur Highway…Look at them closely and feel the effect each one of them has on your senses…

Today, on 15 August 2019, as we celebrate our Independence Day, let us free all living things, not just humans, and let them live only for the bliss of living…

Being Laid Off

Every year brings with it new challenges. This year, in India, apart from floods and other natural calamities, there have been massive job cuts and layoffs, especially in the automobile industry. Industries are always interlinked, so repercussions are being felt in other industries too.

At a micro level, something that is not talked about much, a lot of people lost their jobs, not because they were redundant or not good enough. On the contrary, they were outstanding. They did multi-tasking and often did jobs of at least 2 people with the salary of only one. They added huge value to their organizations. But their immediate bosses always saw them as big threats to their own survival and used the cost cutting phase as an opportunity to have them removed.

Senior management, unfortunately, can only look at the overall picture and their only objective is to ensure that their organization survives somehow through the tough days. The first thing that they do is cut costs and salaries are always the first to be slashed. They have neither the time nor the inclination to look at the human aspects of downsizing. So they listen to their sycophants and managers below them and give approval for a selective weedout of employees as per their recommendations.

If you have been this kind of a hapless victim, just stay calm and keep your faith in God; take this as a bad dream and move on. No point in fighting corporate monsters. It is self-destructive. Take a break and seek your joy in all those things that you never gave yourself time for, like spending more time with your family, gardening, etc, etc. Because God takes care of everything else. He keeps an accurate account of the good deeds and the bad ones.

You will soon get a better opportunity where your achievements are celebrated while all those sycophants, ‘close friends’ of bosses, etc will get what they deserve…