Tag Archives: cooking

Potato Peels Sabji – A Lockdown Recipe

On the night of 11 June 2020, while rummaging through the fridge for items to use for dinner, I found a bowlful of potato peels.

As it was too hot for pakoras (recipe link: https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/potato-peels-pakoras/), I decided to experiment with cooking them as a sabji which we could eat with dal and rotis.

I searched in the internet for a suitable recipe for this, but I just couldn’t find any. So I decided to go it alone.

I cooked them in a karahi as per Bengali style, sauteed in mustard oil along with panchforun (saunf, kalonji, jeera, methi, and sarson seeds) and slow cooked with salt, kasuri methi, chilli powder, and coriander powder. I also chopped onions too to add some sweetness and neutralize the bitterness. Once the peels and onions became nicely done, some of them had become crisp, I switched off the gas.

The final dish turned out to be unexpectedly delicious! See the pic above. Do try this out and let me know.

Keeping Papads Crispy – A Kitchen Tip

For those of you unfamiliar with Indian cooking, papads are large crispies made from cooked, salted, spiced, and sun-dried mixtures of rice, pulses, and sometimes sabudana. Some are roasted before eating, but they are mostly deep-fried, after which they swell further and become bigger in size. It is at this stage that you need to ensure that they don’t lose their crispiness and don’t fly off like birds from the plate as soon as you switch on the ceiling fan!

All you have to do is put them all inside a polythene bag and tie up the open end. See the pic above.

An empty bread polythene bag is always best suited for this purpose.

Minimising Food Wastage

1. Leftover Rice sticking to pot: Every grain matters, doesn’t it? When you find some rice sticking inside the electric rice cooker, just put some water in the container till the rice is soaked. After an hour, the rice will come off on its own and become easy to remove. Run this water through a strainer and feed the leftover rice to the birds. They will love you for this!

2. Leftover onion: When the onion you have cut is too large, keep the remaining portion in the fridge in a covered container. Use it at the earliest.

3. Leftover Chapatis: And when you have leftover rotis, you can break them into little crumbs and keep them outside for the birds. Or you can keep them in the fridge for consumption next day. Stale rotis can be used to make lots of delicious things, e.g., pizzas, frankies, pakoras, just to name but a few. If you google ‘Stale rotis recipes,’ you will find hundreds of quick, easy-to-make entries.

Potato Peels Pakoras

On 20 May 2020, I experimented with the idea of making pakoras of potato peels. They were ready in a jiffy without much effort and tasted heavenly. They were light on the stomach too and the best part was that they remained crisp even after cooling down; which was why I liked them more than the peels chips I made earlier, see link below. https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/lockdown-recipes/

With lockdown still going on in India and the need to minimise wastage, such recipes always come in handy. Another wonderful thing about potato peels is that they don’t spoil when kept in fridge. So you can keep collecting them and use them later as per your convenience.

Here are the step-by-step pics. Do try this out and let me know how it went.

1. First sprinkle salt and turmeric in the peels. Then add enough besan and rice powder to form a coating on the peels. Then sprinkle jeera powder, amchur, ajwain, a pinch of asafoetida, and dhania powder. I had some green coriander too, so I put that in as well. Mix with a spoon. No need to add water, as the peels also shed water.

2. Deep fry on medium heat in batches. Don’t put too much oil in karahi. Keep turning them over till they are golden brown all over.

3. Bring them out with a perforated handle and place them on tissue paper to drain out excess oil.

Yoghurt Setting Made Easy

Ever wondered why your yoghurt is so watery and not set properly?

Here is a tried and tested tip.

Just before keeping aside the warm milk-yoghurt mixture for setting, pour it into another container and then pour it back to the first one. Do this about 6 to 8 times.

The yoghurt or dahi, as we call it in India, will be far better and well-set.

Here are the pics.

The final stage is below, frothy and ready to be kept aside for setting.

Sweet-Sour Chutney – A Lockdown Recipe

Most Indian parties have a sweet-sour chutney as a side dish. It is usually made with imli (tamarind), which gives the sour taste, and gur or sugar or dates for the sweet taste. These ingredients are boiled together along with some water and spices including salt as per taste and the resulting concoction tastes great with snacks such as samosas, dhokla, and sandwiches.

On 2 May 2020, my daughter’s birthday, I wanted to make this chutney for our family celebration, but I couldn’t find the basic ingredient imli at our local grocery store because of lockdown.

So I experimented with amchur (dry mango powder), which was already available at home, as per the recipe from our microwave oven manual.

I was amazed to see how wonderful it tasted; and it was ready in a jiffy with no messy soaking, grinding, boiling, and repeated tasting and adjustments of ingredients to get the desired viscosity and sweet-sour taste.

Here is the recipe: Take a glass bowl, add one tablespoon of amchur, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and a small cup of water. Add salt as per your taste and about a quarter- teaspoonful each of your favorite spices, e.g. asafoetida, red chilli powder, jeera (cumin) powder, coriander powder, saunf, kalonji, etc, and microwave for 5 minutes. Voila! Your sweet-sour chutney is ready. See the pic above.

Keep it in a glass or porcelain jar. Once it cools down, keep it in the fridge. The chutney tends to get more viscous and darker in color after cooling down. So do add enough water, keeping this in mind.

Potato Peels Chips – A Lockdown Recipe

During lockdown, when nothing is certain, you need to be careful with food items and avoid wastage. What do you do with raw potato peels? Do you throw them? Don’t.

My friend Sampa Das recently told me about what how you can make chips with potato peels. My version is below with self-explanatory pics.

1. The smaller katori contains peels kept in fridge from the previous day.

2. Wash them properly and drain out excess water.

3. Sprinkle some salt, rice powder and besan on the peels to make them crisp.

4. Mix with your fingers.

5. Deep fry them on medium heat to prevent burning.

6. Once they turn brown all over, place them on tissue paper to absorb excess oil.

Green Chutney With Roasted Gram & Tulsi Leaves

Here are the step-by-step pics. They are self-explanatory. Next time, I will experiment with palak (spinach) leaves.

1. First assemble the ingredients, one onion, a small bunch each of leaves of mint (pudina), dhania (corriander), 3-4 green chillies, some curry leaves, Tulsi leaves, and half cup of roasted, de-skinned gram.

2. Wash all the leaves properly and grind them in a mixie with some salt as per taste.

3. Garnish.

Poha Cutlets, A 1-2-3-4 Recipe

As I mentioned in an earlier recipe too, what I enjoy most in cooking is ulilising leftover items to create a new food item that is tasty, nutritious, and gets consumed fast.

Apart from being environment friendly, there is always a sense of adventure and excitement associated with this exercise because you can’t be sure how the end product would be like. There is always the risk of ending up with another leftover item that no one wants to eat, that too, after an expenditure of precious time and other resources. But when it turns out well, you get a wonderful sense of achievement that stays with you for a long time.

On 29 September 2019, a Sunday, my weekly off, while rummaging through our fridge, I found some green chutney in a little katori, some cut paneer pieces, chopped carrots, and a 2-day old alu-baingan sabji which wasn’t such a big hit.

I had made the green chutney this time with roasted chana (whole gram) and Tulsi leaves, apart from green chillies, amchur, mint, coriander, and curry leaves. See here for recipe. https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/green-chutney-with-roasted-gram-tulsi-leaves/?preview=true

I took them all out and put them in a kneading bowl. I added a cupful of soaked poha (flattened rice), chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of besan (black gram powder) and salt. I didn’t need to add any spices as the chutney-Sabji combo was spicy enough by itself. I kneaded them all into a dough. Then I took out small balls from it and turned them into egg shaped rolls with my hands. After deep-frying them in batches tilll they were brown all over and placing them in tissue paper to drain out excess oil, I had a plateful of poha cutlets that disappeared quickly during our family breakfast!

Do try this out as a regular recipe and tell me how it works out. Here are the 4 pics. Because it is so easy to follow, I call it a 1-2-3-4 recipe.

Being a working woman, time is always a scarce resource and 1-2-3-4 recipes are the ones that suit me the most.

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.