March 27, 2013

Khejur gurer payesh for Holi

Khejur gurer payesh


It's Holi today and I am dry, going about my daily routine. But in my mind, I am thinking about Holi I celebrated a couple of years ago at home. I was home for Holi after many years, and it was Lil A's first trip to India so it was extra special.

The evening before Holi, I was sure that we would do dry colors, just a little bit here and there and we will be done. The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast, applied oil and changed into holi clothes and then we were all ready.

Then the first group of aunties came.  I had forgotten about aunties' holi-playing techniques. I went out with gulaal or abeer and that turned out to be very bad strategy. In minutes I was soaked with all kinds of color. And then all the resolutions were out of the window. We played a wet, wet holi with family, cousins, friends and neighbors. By the end, we had run out of colors and were making do with plain water.

After we cleaned up we ate hot Khichuri my mom made for purnima (full moon) and my father made khejur gur/nalen gur/patali gurer payesh.

Patali gurer payesh
My parents are here and this time they got some patali gur from Kolkata so for Holi we may not have played colors but we do have Khejur gurer payesh.

Khejur gur or jaggery is made with sap of the date palms during the winter months. A good comparison would be maple syrup. The payesh turns out caramely, smoky, mildly sweet and incredibly rich and delicious. Here is a wiki entry which talks about it.

You may want to test your gur before adding it in milk. Add a small bit in hot milk, if the milk separates, it may not be the best one for payesh.

I use a combination of whole milk and 2% milk for my payesh and it turns out as creamy as regular payesh.

Ingredients:
1 ltr  2% milk
1/2 ltr whole milk
1/3 cup gobindo bhog rice (this rice is has aroma all it's own and is small unlike basmati)
1 cup patali gur (chopped in small pieces)
handful chopped almonds (optional)

Method:
In a thick bottom saucepan, boil the milk on low-medium heat, stirring continuously. Once it's boiled add the rice and let it cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Stir and cook for another 5-7 minutes stirring so it doesn't get burned.

After the rice is almost done, add the gur little by little. Now cook it on low heat till the milk reduces and the rice is done.


Take is off the heat and sprinkle the almonds. Serve either warm or cold.

Happy Holi everyone.

March 11, 2013

Tarkari diye Moong Dal (in pressure cooker)

Tarkari wala moong dal

A few days back a friend posted on her Facebook that work life balance is a myth. With two little kids and a full-time job, a sentence like this gets my attention. I agree it's hard to find even a day when I have it in balance. For me, the weight shifts every week, make it everyday, depending on what I have going. Depending on what time of day you ask me, I may be trying hard to get one or the other in order.

What I do find, however, are moments when things are working in harmony and it is those moments that make it wonderful.

What do you think? Is it a myth? Or you have work and home in harmony with a good balance?

When you add to this question a healthy, balanced meal, things get even more complex. And that's where a dal like this comes in handy.

The recipe is my sister-in-law's who started making this when my niece was little. Now I have started making it as well. What makes it even better is it gets cooked in a pressure cooker.

I recently saw Bong Mom Cookbook and Indian Food Rocks showcasing their pressure cookers and I wanted to join in even though I am late for the event. So I wrote to Jaya of Desi Soccer Mom and she graciously accepted my request.


Dal in cooker

 I don't know what I would do without my pressure cookers. I use it several times during the week to boil dal, make sabji, make a quick chole, rajma, other lentils and sometimes even murgir jhol. When Lil A was small I made his lunch in a little pressure cooker. In a few months it will be Tiny M's turn to eat delicious stuff made fresh in a pressure cooker just for him.

I own three cookers, a small Hawkins, medium Prestige one and a big Futura pressure cooker.

I mostly make the dal with carrots and peas, but you can add any vegetable of your choice.

Ingredients:
1 cup Moong dal (washed)
1 big carrot or 2 medium chopped small
1/4 cup peas
1/2 tspoon ghee
2 pinch of asafoetida (hing)
2/3 tspoon cumin seeds
1 green chilli (adjust to taste)
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon cumin seed powder
salt to taste
1 tspoon oil

Method:
Heat oil and ghee in a pressure cooker. Then temper it with asafoetida, cumin seeds and chilli.

Then add the washed moong dal and the vegetables and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the turmeric powder, cumin seed powder, and salt and let it mix together for another 1-2 minutes.

Add double the amount (and a little more) of water, so for 1 cup I add about 2 1/2 cups of water.  Close the lid and move the heat to medium high. Let it cook for 3 whistle and turn it off.

Tarkari wala moong dal

The dal is now ready to eat. Serve with rice and a salad.

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