June 20, 2012

Sorshe Begun with a twist

My parents have been busy since they got here. Between them, they have take care of Lil A, taught him Bengali rhymes even "Brishti pore tapur toopur...", cleaned and tended to the garden, built the vegetable patch and cooked up a storm, some familiar and some new dishes.

Summer garden
Thanks to my dad, my vegetable patch is growing rapidly this year and the tomatoes are almost ready. Lil A has helped a lot too keeping it watered :) He has a little watering can that he insists of taking out every evening, filling it with water and watering everything his heart desires. The plants may be the lucky ones and the bugs and ants the unlucky ones.

Shorshe Begun

This shorshe begun my dad made is one of the new dishes he tried here. I don't remember eating much of shorshe begun (eggplant in mustard sauce) growing up. And I am not a big fan of eggplant either. But one bite of this and I am a convert. 

The twist is this is a little bit of peanuts that he added in the paste. The sharpness of mustard combined with the creaminess poppy seeds and peanuts provide give the eggplants, which are cooked till they are soft, a delicious taste. Eat it with some plain rice and you'll agree as well.

2 medium eggplants - cut vertically in in 4 pieces each
1" ginger -  grated
1/4 tspoon asafoetida
1/4 tspoon kalo jeere
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
4-5 tbspoon oil

For the paste:
1 tspoon poppyseeds
1 tspoon  mustard seeds
8-10 pieces of peanuts
1green chilli cut into smalll pcs (increase heat as per your taste)
Put 3-4 tbspoon oil in nonstick pan, Heat the oil and shallow fry the eggplants for 2-3 minutes till they start to turn brown. 

Grind the paste ingredients to a fine paste and keep it aside.

Once the eggplants are done, add in the rest of the oil and temper it with kalo jeere. Then add the asafoetida, ginger and turmeric powder. 

Add the eggplants and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the paste and let it all mix together really well. Add 3/4 cup of water, salt and let it cook on low medium heat on closed lid (about 6-7 minutes) till the eggplants are soft and the oil separates. 

Shorshe Begun

Shorshe begun is ready to be served.

June 13, 2012

Sabudana Vada (Tapioca and potato patties)

Sabudana Vada (Tapioca patties)

I rarely post any snack items, that's because we don't make it so often. But the luxury of having parents over is that it changes. They think of delicious snacks we can have with chai. And the sabudana vada was one of them.

I am a big fan of this vada and have made it with sweet potatoes as well. So when my mom said she had soaked some extra sabudana (tapioca pearls) and suggested "How about some vadas with the leftover sabudana?" I was all in agreement.

We quickly boiled a couple of potatoes, grated some ginger and chopped a chilli, mixed it all together and got a hot batch quickly.

Lil A is getting introduced to the "pakoras" after the "bhajas". And his favorite kind is potato. I thought he would try this, he tried a couple of bites and then gave up. Oh well, more for me.

Sabudana Vada (Tapioca patties)
2 small/ medium potato boiled, peeled and mashed
1 cup sabudana (tapioca pearls)
Water (to soak sabudana)
1-2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger grated
1 tbspoon cilantro finely chopped
salt to taste
1/4 tspoon freshly grated black pepper
1/4 cup oil(I used non stick for this)

Sabudana Vada (Tapioca patties)
Soak the sabudana for a good 3-4 hours. Drain the excess water and then mix the sabudana with potato and salt.

Once it's mixed in, add the chilli, cilantro and ginger and then form small flat patties using the palm.
My mom usually wets her palm to prevent the patties from sticking.

In a shallow pan, heat oil and put the patties in once the oil is hot. Let it cook on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes till it browns. Turn over and cook the other side.

Sabudana Vada (Tapioca patties)
Serve hot with chutney or sauce.

June 06, 2012

Sukha Kala Chana

Sukha Kala Chana

 My morning rides to the office have changed forever.

Nowadays Lil A is with us and we usually drop him to his preschool on the way to work. And we spend our time in the car spotting "big bus", "truck", "school bus", jeep, "police car" etc. Not even one goes unnoticed!

It's become so addictive that I find when I am alone in the car, I am still counting what I have seen and it's not that interesting without that little voice from behind saying "mommy, look, look, a biiig truck."

If you are wondering, today we saw 3 buses, 2 school buses and 1 truck, not to mention 1 police car too :-)

Okay, now back to the recipe, I had bought a big bag of this kala chana from the Indian store and haven't used it that often. I found the box when rearranging and soaked a big batch and made this sukha kala chana with it.

The curry is "makha makha" or dry enough that it sticks to the smaller black chickpeas which makes it quite yummy. I served it with some lime soaked cucumber which gave it a fresh bite.

It's perfect for a snack or even a side dish with chapati or rice.

Here's how to make it:

2 cups kala chana (black chickpeas) soaked for a good 24 hours
3-4 tbspoon oil
1 tspoon cumin seeds
2 green chilles (not slit)
1 1/2 tspoon fresh grated ginger
1 onion - chopped thinly
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon red chilli powder
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
1/2 tspoon ammchoor (dried mango) powder
1/2 tspoon cumin powder
handful fresh cilantro chopped
1 cucumber - chopped thinly
1 tspoon lemon juice
salt to taste

Boil the chickpeas in a pressure cooker till cooked. I end up with 4-5 whistles. Drain and reserve some stock.

In a deep pan, heat the oil and temper with cumin seeds and green chillies. Now add the ginger and saute for a minute.

Then add the onion and fry on medium till the onion are soft and turn brown on the edges. Now add the turmeric, chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder and the aamchoor and mix it well and let it cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the kala chana, 1/4 cup of water and salt. Cook on closed lid for 2-3 minutes, mix well and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes without the lid till the water disappears.

Add the cilantro and take it off the heat.

Add the cucumber garnish (optional) and serve.


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