Tag Archives: food

Love Sandwich

My 23-year-old daughter Suroshri recently made us proud by being selected for a prestigious internship in a British Council teaching project.

She leaves home for work these days at 7 AM and I face the daily challenge of sending her off with a tiffin box containing food which, apart from being filled with motherly love, is healthy, tasty and doesn’t require too much time to prepare.

Today, on 21 June 2019, I surprised myself by creating a sandwich that fulfilled all of these parameters.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

Bread slices, 4

Leftover yellow dal, 4 tablespoons

Grated paneer: 50g

Chopped items: one green chilli, some green coriander leaves, one small onion.

Spices: salt, amchur, jeera powder, dhania powder as per taste.

Method:

Mix paneer, all chopped items, and spices with a spoon.

Next, toast 2 bread slices on a tawa after smearing it with some Amul butter. Once they turn brown at the bottom, flip them and place some filling on the toasted part of one of the slices. Place the other slice on it. Toast the sandwich on both sides. Now sandwich is ready. Here are the step-by-step pics.

Do try this and let me know what you think.

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A Winter Recipe

At the peak of winter, when it’s chilly, misty, and cloudy outside and the plants are bereft of green leaves, it’s best to head to the kitchen and make these unusual pakoras for yourself and your family. Have them with a cup of hot masala chai. It will drive away the blues and make you feel better.

Here are the step-by-step pics…

1. Grind some cauliflower ganthals (stalks) along with a bunch of garlic, some ginger, and a green chilly. Take out this paste in a vessel and add besan (black gram powder) to it.

Add salt, ajwain, hing, amchur, cumin powder, and coriander powder as per your taste.

Mix well.

Take out spoonfuls of this batter and deep fry in hot oil in a Karahi till they turn brown all over.

Place them in a plate once done. Enjoy with a dip of your choice and a hot cup of tea.

Happy eating!☺️

Sandwich Art

Here are the step-by-step pics.

Prepare Pomegranate Chutney: Blend a cup of pomegranate seeds with 2 green chillies, some gur, and amchur. Add some water if required. This is what you will get.

Cut sandwich into 4 pieces. Garnish with chopped carrots.

Jimikand Stew

Jimikand (Elephant Yam) is an ugly duckling among vegetables.

Pure vegetarians don’t like it much because of its meaty flavor while pure non-vegetarians don’t like to waste their time and energies on something that masquerades at being what it isn’t.

And those who love it don’t eat it very often either. In my complete life of 5 decades so far, I remember having eaten it only 4 times; first time as a child when Mom made it. Second time was when an office colleague brought it for lunch. I ate it with great relish on both the occasions. Third time, I tried to make it myself. It was during the Google-free era when recipes were not always readily available. Though I put in my best possible efforts, it turned out to be awful! I thought I would never cook it again.

But, as destiny would have it, in around October 2018, my husband bought some jimikand along with other vegetables at a local grocery store. It was because of one of their special offers. For several days, the jimikand sat in our fridge. Finally, when all the other veggies were over, I decided to make one more attempt at cooking it. I gathered a lot of ideas from Google.

To my great surprise, the dish turned out to be very tasty and it was made in a jiffy.

My husband said, “It tasted somewhat like the way my Mom used to make it.” I took that as a big complement as my mother-in-law was a highly-accomplished cook.

It gives me a lot of joy today as I share the recipe with you all in this post.

Process

1. Wear gloves while peeling jimikand as it causes itching on bare skin.

2. Soak the cut pieces in water and squeeze some lemon juice into it. Keep the vessel aside for about 15 minutes.

3. Take out the cut jimikand pieces and wash them well in water. Deep fry them in batches in a pressure cooker till they turn brown. Take them out out of oil once done.

4. Take out excess oil and leave just about two tablespoons of oil in the pressure cooker. Turn on the gas again. Put a half teaspoonful of whole cumin into the hot oil. Once they start crackling, add chopped onion. After they start turning pink, add chopped tomato. When the oil starts appearing on the sides, add the spices as per your taste (turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, jeera powder, etc). Stir a little bit. Then add the fried jimikand pieces followed by salt according to taste.

5. Add water as per required viscosity and some green coriander leaves.

6. When the water starts boiling, cover with the lid and place the whistle. After about 4 or 5 whistles, the jimikand stew would be ready.

7. Open the cooker once it cools down. Serve hot with rotis. Enjoy!☺️

Ghughni Simplified…

After days of feasting, it feels good to return to the joys of simple eating…No oil, no green chillies, no green coriander, no tomatoes, no ginger…

Ingredients: Boiled chickpeas, lemon juice, onions, whole jeera and dhania powder, chilli powder and salt as per taste.

Process: Mix all ingredients with spices, salt and lemon juice as per taste.

See photo above. Enjoy…

Cream & Strawberry Crackers

Last night, after dinner, I had a sudden craving for something sweet. We had some sweets lying in the fridge, but I wanted to eat something different. I had neither the time nor the energy for any more cooking and something had to be done, I thought. That was when an idea came to my mind.

I rushed to the kitchen and created a plate of cream and strawberry crackers. See the photo above. I was amazed to find that it took me just 3 minutes!

Given below are the steps of this 1-2-3-go recipe.

1. Bring out Frozen cream (Cream from milk kept in freezer for making desi ghee)

2. Take out strawberry sauce and Brittannia Marie biscuits or any other tasteless biscuits you have at home.

3. Rub cream on the biscuits and then pour strawberry sauce over each biscuit. Sprinkle some sugar on the biscuits.

Your cream-strawberry crackers are ready. Enjoy!

I wondered why I didn’t do this earlier. Well, necessity is the mother of invention, isn’t it?

I recently shared this recipe on a Facebook group Mad Food addicts. They were all floored by its sheer simplicity. Someone out there mentioned that it reminded him of his childhood experiments in cooking and suggested that I also experiment with Horlicks or Bournvita paste.

Cauliflower Stem Pakoras

Cauliflower is a much-loved vegetable. Most people use only its florets in cooking and discard the hard stem (danthals, as they are known in Hindi) as it does not soften very easily and has thick fibers that are difficult to digest.

In summer, however, when prices of vegetables start skyrocketing, you need to ensure that every bit of the vegetables that you buy is utilized. That’s the time when you need to be able to use the danthals as well.

My recent experiment with making gobhi ganthal pakoras met with great success and I was pleasantly surprised to find them so wonderfully delicious. I reallh wonder why they are not as well-known as they deserve to be. It gives me great pleasure to share the recipe with you today.

Here are the step-by-step pics.

Wash the danthals thoroughly.

Place the cleaned pieces in a vessel. Cut them into smaller pieces and remove the hard parts and fibers.

Grind these in a mixie. Add some water , if required.

Take out the paste and put it in a vessel.

Add to it some besan (chana dal flour), ajwain, hing, red chilli powder, garam masala, amchur, and salt according to taste.

Mix well.

Scoop out portions of this batter with a tablespoon and deep fry these in hot oil in a karahi.

As soon as they turn brown all over, take them out and place them on tissue paper to remove excess oil.

Gobhi danthal pakoras are ready now. Enjoy them with a dip of your choice.

You can use them further as dahi wadas or koftas…

Happy eating!☺️

Litti Kachoris

My introduction to the pleasures of Bihari cuisine happened recently in January 2018 through Litti Kachoris, thanks to Phulwanti, a tea-shop owner in Okhla.

A few days ago, as I walked briskly to my office, my gaze fell on this plateful of kachoris at a roadside stall (pic on the top). It was a chilly, wet morning of late December 2017 and the idea of munching them with a hot cup of tea felt irresistible…With great difficulty, however, I resisted the temptation and carried on…I couldn’t afford to fall sick, I reminded myself…Street food, especially the deep fried type, is a very risky thing.

But the sight of those kachoris refused to leave my mind. So, a couple of days later, I walked to that shop shortly after settling down in office. The utensils looked clean and the place had a quaintly pleasant, earthy feel to it, especially because of an adjoining huge tree spreading its protective branches over it. The woman at the counter looked up from the karahi she was busy with. She was stirring something and seemed to be enjoying what she was doing. The newspaper that the kachoris were sitting on, I noticed, was dry and not soggy with oil, which was quite intriguing…

I began by asking, “What kind of kachoris are these?”

She replied patiently, in a soft spoken manner, “These are litti kachoris. They are filled with sattu, onions, green pepper, and garlic.”

“How much are they for?”

“Two for Rs.10.”

That sounded quite reasonable.

“Today I will buy just one. If I like it, I will return for more.” Mentally, I added to myself, if my stomach remains okay, I might eat them again.”

She smiled and nodded her head. She quickly tore off a piece of newspaper and wrapped a kachori in it for me. I was again pleasantly surprised to see that it did not leave behind any oil stains on the newspaper.

Eating that kachori that morning made me feel sinfully fulfilled. My feel-good feeling continued the following week too, so I kept the promise that I had made to myself and treated myself to those kachoris again; this time it was two at one go, not just one…

I am now a frequent visitor to this shop. While talking to the lady the other day, I learnt that her name is Phulwanti. She hails from Gaya, Bihar, and she lives in a settlement in Okhla, Phase 1. The sabji, she said, she cooks everyday and it varies, depending on availabilty of ingredients. People who work in adjoining offices often order for it. That day, she was making aloo-tamatar. The smell of spices wafting outside from the karahi seemed quite familiar. Out of curiosity, I asked her in Hindi, “Kitne ki deti ho?” Meaning: How much is it for?

Her reply in a typical Bihari accent was, “Dus ki deta hoon, bees ki bhi deta hun.” Meaning: For Rs.10 and Rs.20.

Her way of mixing up the gender and her manner of stirring inside the karahi suddenly reminded me of my late mother-in-law…She always preferred the slow cooking of a karahi to a pressure cooker. That way, she insisted, the spices and the ingredients get a better chance to assimilate with each other. She always looked at cooking as an art and she was well-known in her family as a great cook. My relatives used to keep advising me to learn all I could from her regarding cooking at least!

Well, one of these days, I think, when I am unable to pack my lunch for office, I will try out her sabji.

See her pic below…Her shop is next to A-271, Okhla, Phase 1, opposite to Intex Service Center.

Culinary Heroes – Part 2

In May 2016, I wrote an article titled ‘Culinary Heroes,’ which I subsequently uploaded into my personal blog. (https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/culinary-gods/).

I hardly realized its importance at that time. For me, it was just another post. But I had a great time writing that piece because it was about people who had unfulfilled dreams and a definite purpose in life. I could easily identify myself with them.

This post did not, however, get much attention on the web. Even after sharing it on Facebook and Whatsapp, all I got was a like or two. But gaining popularity has never been my goal, so this didn’t bother me at all. Being able to write the way I do is rewarding enough for me.

A few months later, however, my friend Deepak Dahiya, whom I have known for more than 3 decades, gave me a pleasant surprise by calling me up to say that he found my post ‘Culinary Heroes’ very inspiring. With a voice bubbling with enthusiasm and excitement, he added that he was inviting me over on coming Sunday to the opening of his new shop ‘Samosa Medley.’

I was quite intrigued and thrilled. But I was also a bit worried as Deepak was just about to diversify into food business for the first time with this outlet. His future looked both exciting and challenging, full of uncertainties…

Well, on the opening day, around July 2016, when I reached Deepak’s shop in Janakpuri, I was really impressed. His shop had a classy exterior and the interior was tastefully designed with all the latest technology available to ensure that the samosas served to customers are tasty, safe, healthy, and also reasonably priced.

Here are some pics of this shop.

Top signboard

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Deepak, in supervisory mode, watching customers arrive and go…

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A year later, Deepak called me again. This time, it was for the opening of his second shop in Uttam Nagar! His wife Neena has quit her full-time job in a telecom company and she is now his business partner as well.

Here are some pics clicked during our recent visit to his second shop…As you must have noticed, from 30 varieties of samosas, Deepak has graduated to 56!

Deepak and Neena, at work…

Deepak and Neena, talking to customers…

Wish you all the best, Deepak and Neena! I look forward to visiting your third outlet next year… May God bless you both with joy and success in everything you do.

Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee