Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Mutton Kaleji

Not at all a dish that has any relevance to Ganesh Chaturthi. But the recipe must be shared & shared it will! We will come to the Mutton Kaleji(Liver) soon. Only, after a quick trip across the pandals.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ganesh Puja in Jamshedpur invariably meant the seven-day mela that happened near Rankini Mandir. As kids, when one didn't know much about devotion, eating at the mela, sitting in joy rides & buying knick-knacks for friends, was what the festival was all about. Some exclusive household items were not bought from anywhere else because the stalls at the fair sold them better!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There wasn't much fervour in Dehradun & Mussoorie , and if there was, I missed it. Sadly, schools never gave a holiday for this festival in this part of India. A fact that I sorely missed, having grown used to one in my early life at Jampot.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         But the grandest Ganesh Mahotsav was in Bombay. Nothing to beat the festivity, the colour, the magnificence, the sheer opulence of it all. The first & the last day of the ten-day  long festival saw the thickest crowd, the deepest devotion, the fieriest fervour. The atmosphere is so charged with Ganapati Bappa Morya chants that it converts the staunchest of atheists to a prayerful life. To a life of celebration, at least :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Amazing how we carry our roots wherever we go. Last year, Richa & I went to the Laxmi Narayan temple in Hounslow Central, and felt at home with the puja there. As the law of synchronicity would have it, our first & last outing together, were both to two different temples in London. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Our Capital celebrates all festivals by virtue of being The Capital. Most sweet shops sell modak, Ganeshji's favourite mithai, and price them at double the rate. Money ought not come in the way of bhakti, is the unspoken mantra. Some offices are chhutti, the MNCs are not. Students have a field day, the roads are less crowded and there is a certain peacefulness about people today.  

On a traditionally, vegetarian day, if a family member suffers from bukhaar, galey mein khich-khich & general weakness, make him some Mutton Kaleji. Goat liver, a good source of Vitamin A, is sure to make your patient get up & dance. 

Ingredients: [serves 2]
1. 250 gms goat liver- cubed
2. 2 medium potatoes- cubed
3. 1 large onion- chopped/cubed
4. 1 tsp pepper powder- or as preferred
5. 1- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
6. 1/2 tsp haldi
7. 1 tsp lemon juice
8. 1 tsp ghee - for flavour
9.  1 tbsp mustard oil(preferably) for cooking
10. 3/4 cup water for gravy
11. Salt to taste
1. Fry chopped onion. 
2. Add the potatoes, pepper powder & haldi and stir with the fried onion. 
3. Add the kaleji &  fry well with the previous ingredients.

4. When oil leaves pan, add the garam masala and mix well.
5. Add water and let the kaleji cook on medium flame to 2 whistles. [You may cover the wok & cook it. I pressure cook to save time]
6. When the lid opens & the kaleji is cooked, add the lemon juice & ghee and simmer for 2 mins before removing from flame. 

Kaleji tastes best when the gravy is dried. 
Serve hot with parantha, plain rice, or puran poli, if you like :)

May Lord Ganesha bestow his Blessings on Us All. 
                        Ganapati Bappa Morya
                       Agley Baras Tu Jaldi Aa. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Chicken Bharta

A convent education renders you slightly incapable of Hindi comprehension. Especially when they are numbers. While Tezaab, the superhit Bollywoood flick, helped us with the elementary ek do teen...terah, the hostel mausi ji made us fluent with the rest. Chhiyalis is a number I take no time decoding. Chhiyalis number ki behenji was mausi ji's clarion call to announce a visitor to the inmates of that room. And out came Lakshmi Shetty flashing her inimitable Colgate smile. Tall, slender, curly hair, this dusky beauty with her Mangalorean roots & Bong loyalty, was one of the best students of the English Literature class. That we also shared our subsidiary subjects brought us closer by default. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lakshmi & I spent long hours chatting and finishing our tuck. I also depended heavily on her Psychology notes cz those classes were normally after lunch and waking up from a siesta was a feat I hadn't accomplished then. My friend would come calling ten minutes before the class, and, more often than not, be told, 'tu ja.' Not once did she bash me for that or throw water on the sleepy log in frustration. I am eternally grateful for her tolerance of such a sloth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of my most cherished memories of us is when we sat quietly on the stone-bench outside the Old Hostel one evening and didn't talk at all. We were under-grads then. What companionable silence meant, I experienced that twilight, thanks to Lakshmi. Later some day, we did what boys do outside all the time, just to feel emancipated. The MMV walls have been painted many times since so there is no proof of our act of freedom. We never repeated the dare, the hostel had sufficient restrooms.

In those days of limited technology & no social networking sites, we lost touch for many years till the now-redundant Orkut got us together. The reunion of the millennium made me more elated than most other events in the recent past. Lakshmi & I live in two different metros now and life situations notwithstanding, bond like before. On her birthday today, this Chicken Bharta is what I wanna serve. Learnt in ma's kitchen, this non-veg dish broke my veg resolve after more than three years! Need I say more?

1. 1kg boneless chicken- shredded
2. 1 large onion- finely sliced
3. 1 large tomato- finely sliced
4. 1-1 1/2 tsp ginger juliennes
5. 1 tsp garlic- finely sliced
6. 3-4 tbsp curd
7. 2 tsp garam masala powder
8. 1tsp Kashmiri mirch powder/as preferred
9. 1 tsp keora essence
10. 1 tbsp mustard oil
11. Salt to taste

1. Mix ingredients 1-7 and allow marination for 10-15 minutes.

2. Heat mustard oil and pour the marinated chicken in the wok. 
3. Add salt and red chilli powder, mix well, cover wok and let cook on medium flame for 15-20 min.

4. When ingredients are cooked and oil leaves the pan, add a tsp of keora essence and let simmer for 2 min.

That mouth-watering Mughal cusine aroma will waft through your house. 

Serve hot with plain rice. Or have with mughlai parantha. 

Many Happy Returns of the Day, Lakshmi. Like the keora, may happiness spread its fragrance in your life. 

PS: Chhiyalis is forty-six, angrezon :) 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Paneer Capsi

Incredible, it's almost a month that I last came here! What with meeting in-laws, outlaws, house-hunting and the logistics of shifting, one's own pursuit of happiness shifts. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Had read a poem by Sarojini Naidu as a school-goer long ago. Wherein she urges God to give her joy and sorrow both and the strength to face both with equanimity. Passing through the stages of life, one realizes how fluid life is. And how like it we have to be, to be able to soak in its essence. Quite a realization, that! Gone with the wind, rigidity, favouritism, strong likes/dislikes. Be like the flowing river makes more sense now than it ever did. No, we are not talking about the current state of Yamuna!
                                                                                                  From digging mangsho to embracing paneer, life has indeed been fluid. And then came the awareness that you should include as many colours as possible in your diet. Not just for the aesthetics but also for health. This simple Paneer Capsicum saute scores on both counts, the look and the taste. Great to look, yum to eat is how you may want to describe it to a friend. And fast to cook, goes without saying :) 

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1. 150 gms paneer/cottage cheese- cubed
2. 1 medium capsicum/bell pepper- cubed
3. 1 large onion - cubed
4. 1 large tomato- cubed
5. 1- 11/2 tbsp tomato ketchup
6. 1 tsp chilli sauce
7. 1 tsp sugar
81-2 tsp white oil- to cook
9. Salt to taste

1. Heat oil. Saute the onion, capsicum, tomato(in that order) by adding salt.
2. Cover the pan for 3-4 min and cook on sim for veggies to soften a bit.
3. Add the paneer cubes and mix well. 

4. Add sugar & sauces and saute for two min.  

Remove from flame. Serve hot with roti/parantha/naan/pulao.

Chef Speaks: The beauty of this dish is that the veggies are cooked & yet, crunchy. And, they retain their original colour. To accomplish this, saute on medium flame. You don't want browning here! 

                                                                                                                                                                                                 You canNOT go wrong with this dish. Try it today!