It gives me great pleasure to announce that I have finally learnt the art of growing mint in a pot, starting from a mere branch sans any roots or leaves.I spend my mornings these days gazing happily at the young mint leaves sprouting from the greenish-brown shoots sticking out proudly from the soil…
I look forward to making mint chutney in future with my own home-grown mint…
Here are the step-by-step pics…
Step 1: Choose a thick stem and slice it diagnally as you can see here.
Step 2: Plant it gently in the pot in a diagonal position.
Step 3: Press the area around the stem on the soil to remove the air bubbles
Step 4: Water the pot and press again like this.
Step 5: Just be patient and take care that the pot is never dry. After a few days, you will be rewarded with new leaves like the ones you see in the pic. Not all branches will survive though. Some will wither and dry.
Once upon a time, there was a pigeon. He was a poet and his name was Shelley. One day, while gazing at the sky from the rooftop he was perched on, he called out to the retreating moon, “Don’t go away yet, dearest! You are immortal, but I may not be around tomorrow.”
“Oh, come on, Shelley! Don’t be ridiculous, “Said the Moon.
Her packing was done and she was just about to disappear for the day. But her love for the poet refused to follow her. Torn between Duty and Love, she decided to listen to her heart. From her heavenly abode, she descended towards earth for just one moment and came close enough for Shelley to look into her eyes…It was a beautiful moment…
I consider myself really fortunate to be able to capture that wonderful picture!
Last Sunday, during my weekly stock-taking in my kitchen, I noticed that my fridge contained a 4-day-old cooked Gavar Phali (Cluster Beans) dish. We had already had it several times already and none of my family members wanted to eat it any more. Gavar is not a very popular vegetable anyway. But I hate to waste food items, so I had to find a way out and turn it to into something else that could be eaten with great relish.
Another item sitting idle was pudina (mint). I had bought fresh pudina 3 days ago for making chutney. But the mixie conked out at the last minute, leaving me with a bowlful of pudina that couldn’t be stored in the fridge for too long. Its leaves turn black very soon. So I dried the leaves in the microwave oven. I used a little bit of this in a few dishes, but a lot of it was still remaining…
I decided to apply my Mom’s style of cooking that day and combined both of these items with atta, onions and spices. I kneaded the whole stuff into a dough and made parathas with it. They were delicious and all the items were over in a jiffy. Here are the pics…
Mix atta (mixed grain preferable), cooked gavar vegetable (you can use boiled gavar also), chopped onions, dried pudina (you can use fresh pudina also), and spices (ajwain, salt, etc). I added only salt and ajwain, since my cooked gavar was already well-spiced.
2. While kneading the dough, remove the gavar threads that you come across, since they might upset your stomach. This bowl that you see here contained the cooked gavar earlier, as you must have guessed from the oil and spices sticking to it. The idea of writing this post came to me only after the gavar and pudina had got mashed inside the dough…
3. Take out rolls of dough.
4. Roll each of these balls on a chakla like this.
5. Shallow fry the paratha on a tawa and remove it after it turns brown on all sides.
6. Serve the parathas with a chutney/dip of your choice.
If you ever happen to be walking on a dusty street of Delhi, just stop for a moment and look around you. You will most certainly find a couple of culinary heroes. They are generally migrants who have come from far-flung towns and villages in UP, Bihar, Haryana, Darjeeling, Nepal, Mizoram, etc. From morning till night, they cook, toil, and sweat, and sell their stuff to the locals with the hope of earning enough money for themselves and their folks back home. Their grit, courage, and determination are really admirable and that’s what makes them little Gods in their own right. The items they sell may not qualify for Michelin’s 5-star status, but they carry that special touch and feel of the land they have originated from. This is what makes Delhi a melting pot of so many cultures and cuisines.
Let me tell you about 2 such people.
Raju: You will find him at Uttam Nagar Bus Terminal, near Uttam Nagar East Metro Station. He has come from Uttar Pradesh. From morning till night, he fries cocktail samosas in a little karahi and sells them to the passersby. His price is Rs.10 for 4 samosas, that is, Rs.2.50 per piece, which is damn cheap if you compare it with a standard samosa in Delhi which costs Rs.10 per piece. His low pricing is his way of fighting competition.
A few days ago, it was raining when I passed by his shop. I usually avoid street food, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation and I bought these samosas. I was pleasantly surprised to find them very tasty and the spices were very balanced too. During the rainy season, he puts up a tent and carries on because sales are much more when it rains. Considering the amount of plastic that goes inside a packet of Kurkure of the same price (Rs.10), these samosas are, I think, far safer and more nutritious. Try them whenever you are passing through this place and you feel like eating something crunchy and spicy.
Tashi Sherpa: Tashi works for a living at Mini Market, AG-1 Vikaspuri. He has come from Darjeeling and lives in Uttam Nagar at present. He began his business in Vikaspuri about a year ago. His daily routine begins here at 4 PM.
His most significant contribution to this locality has been the introduction of ‘Buglet,’ a recipe which he has brought from Darjeeling, and 2 new varieties of samosa, chowmein samosa and macaroni samosa.
Samosas with fillings other than potatoes were earlier associated with places like Moti Nagar and Paharganj. Thanks to Tashi, we get them now in AG-1, Vikaspuri too! He is doing quite well here, he says with his characteristic smile, especially with his buglets and samosas.
Buglet is a kind of roll made from maida stuffed with chicken or vegetables depending on the preferences of the customers. The roll is fried in a karahi and sliced into two before serving.
Here are the photographs.
Raju @ Uttam Nagar Bus Terminal
Tashi Sherpa, AG-1, Vikaspuri
Buglets being deep-fried…
Before serving/packing, each Buglet is sliced into 2 pieces.
Tashi, busy with his customers…
Here are a few more heroes and Gods. These pics were all clicked near Uttam Nagar Red Light…
Seller of luscious and colorful fruits
Guptaji’s Faluda Kulfi…
Pawan Tikki Burger
Selling Shikanji (drink made with lemon juice, water, sugar, ice, and spices)