October 29, 2014

Decadent chire bhaja with chocolate, almonds and tart cherries

Decadent chire bhaja


Hope it is not too late to wish everyone Happy Diwali. Hope you had a wonderful festive season with lots of joy, time with friends and family and delicious food.

Lil A is has a Diwali celebration at school and since it will probably will be the only time he is celebrating it in school, he is quite excited. The teachers mentioned that there will be diya painting, mehendi, bollywood dancing and food.

I have signed up to take rasgullas and mini idlis to share with his class, and will be sure to report back on the festivities that happen there.

Today, I have a new twist to the Bengali staple Chire bhaja (flattened rice). My mother used to make the savory version during each festival with peanut, curry leaves and salt and pepper.

This year I dcided to shake things up a bit and make a salty and sweet version. So went in chocolate, tart cherries and some chutney spiced almonds along with chola bhaja. It tasted pretty amazing, if I can say so myself.

I was a little zealous and mixed in the chocolate before the chire had cooled completely so the chocolate melted slightly and formed clumps of chire which tasted heavenly.

Ingredients:
1lb chire/pohe/flattened rice
1/2 cup chocolate pieces
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup tart cherries
1/4 cup chola bhaja (roasted chickpeas)

Method:
Take a wok and heat about 1/2 cup oil in it till it is quite hot. Not add half the chire and watch it puff up immediately. Take it off the heat and set it on a paper towel. Do another batch.

Let the rice cool and now mix it with chocolate, almonds, cherries and chola bhaja.

Decadent chire bhaja
It's ready to eat. Enjoy!

October 16, 2014

Moroccan style chicken stew with harissa

How is Fall weather treating you? What have you been cooking? Last post I talked about all the cleaning. This time let me tell you about all the cooking that has happened in the last two weeks.

I have been trying to be good about packing lunch for work. A lot of times it is leftovers, but sometimes I get inspired. Just yesterday, I made quinoa, vegetable burgers and had it with cucumbers.

Eggless date cake I have also been trying several blogger friends recipes that have been bookmarked for long. I recently made Manisha's Kadipatta chicken, and Sandeepa's date cake. Both came out great, thanks gals. Nupur's zucchini dosa has become a staple in our house. We make it as long as zucchini's are available in farmer's market.

There is a new harissa shop that has opened in Ann Arbor selling different varieties. We picked up a bottle and made Moroccan style chicken stew and it was delicious.

October 02, 2014

Tale of two mango pickles and Happy Pujo season

Sweet Mango pickle - the bengali way

It's Pujo season and that means there is a lot of activity - clothes to buy, getting ready, friends to meet, sweets to make and food stalls to try. To everyone who is celebrating, have a wonderful Durga Pujo and Shubho Bijoya.

This season has been quiet for us this year. I don't have any sweets, but I have two sweet mango pickles to share.

When I went to India, I ate copious amounts of the pickles and even helped make one of them. I brought a bottle of each back with me too.

One of the recipe comes from my mom, and the other one comes from my SIL's grandmother. One is cooked with sugar and had a jammy texture. The other one is cooked with jaggery and spices and has soft long mango pieces. The process takes a couple of  days - to dry the mango and then cook it in batches. But the result is fantastic.

The kids love the sugar one and will eat it as jam. I love the gur/jaggery pickle. It satisfies my craving for sweet and spicy in one go and it is fantastic with some khichuri. 

September 24, 2014

Tomato and corn salad and comfort fits

Now that the mornings are cooler, I have been sorting kids clothes, adding some layering, full shirts and t-shirts and removing clothes that are too small and storing stuff that can be used next year.

I had a lot of clothes to give away this time, mostly Tiny M's because he is suddenly a toddler and I have bags full of baby clothes. It took some time, but I had to sorted by months. They were then separated into many piles - going to india to MIL's neighbor, Aswin's cousin who will soon have a little baby, a colleague friend and donation.

What do you do with the clothes that don't fit anymore?

After coming back from India we have been at the Farmer's market and it is overflowing with so many fresh vegetables and fruits. I picked up cantaloupe, tomatoes, corn, radish, beetroots, eggplant and herbs this week.

The tomatoes and corn came together nicely in a salad we had with tandoori chicken. The beetroots went into a pachadi and the greens were a quick stirfry.

September 10, 2014

B is for Bhaate Sheddo

Bhaate sheddo

I am back with ABC of Bengali cuisine.

Now, B can lead us to many crunchy Bengali food journeys with bhaja (fried) and beguni (dipped & fried eggplant). But I want to deviate to talk about simple comfort food that has been had in almost all Bengali households -  bhaate sheddo.

 I love a good bhaja and had a good share of them while in India.This kumro bhaja with fresh kumro (pumpkin) was just divine and was perfect with a hot cup of chai after the rains.

Bhaate sheddo literally means cooked with rice. It becomes a one pot meal where most commonly potatoes and sometimes even eggs are cooked with rice. Sometimes lentils like mushrir dal (masoor dal) will be put in a pouch and dropped in the boiling rice water to have some boiled lentils on the side.

When the rice is cooked, the potatoes, eggs and the lentil pouch is separated. The potato and the eggs are mashed with oil, salt and green chilli. One can also add some chopped raw onions to the sheddo mix.

My thakuma would burn or fry a red chilli and mash it in the alu sheddo. It tasted divine. Now thakuma had rice for breakfast, and lunch. Most of the times, her breakfast was bhaat aar sheddo. When me and my cousins were little we would sit around her during her breakfast time. She would make a little round ball of rice and sheddo and each of us would get a bite. 

August 28, 2014

Tanjore Marathi specialty Ambode


This time when we were in India, a friend was coming to visit for lunch and we decided on  ambode and kadhi for the lunch menu.

Now, this is a dear friend from Ann Arbor and the kids were very excited to see a familiar friendly face, but were also confused and asked "Why are you in India?"

Once they settled down, the boys had a lot of fun showing off their new toys, chota bheem t-shirts and had Bourbon chocolate biscuits together.

We said bye to the friend with some sadness knowing we won't see him back in Ann Arbor when we are back. 

Coming back to the lunch menu, ambode is a mixed dal vada which can be made two ways - usually without onions. You can add onions then it becomes more like masala vada. You can also add curry leaves, or methi leaves to add a different taste.

It makes its presence during festivals when ambode and kadhi is a popular combination followed by payasam.

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