Murghir Jhol

Murgir Jhol – Bengali chicken curry

I am still on the movie subject. People go to a masala movie and complain that it’s just masala. People go to a movie with a solid script and fret that it is slow. They go to a movie like 2.0 and tut-tut that it’s too absurd (the very same ones who rave about the transformer series). They’re disappointed that gangster movie A does not have all the elements of gangster movie B, different story notwithstanding. All of them will claim that they thoroughly enjoyed “Inception”. I am surprised that people do not employ simple everyday logic in movie criticism. A movie is what it is. Take it as it is. Do not ask for Nasi Goreng in Saravana Bhavan. Don’t complain that the sushi place has very few vegetarian options. They are what they are. A masala movie cannot be an art movie, an animation movie and a “Hey Ram”. Comparing movies and expecting one to be the same as the other is dumb. If it’s the same, it’s a copy. Every gangster movie need not be like “Godfather”. Let me say it. I wasn’t as taken by “Godfather” as the rest of the world. Just my opinion. See I am not comparing “Godfather” to “Billa” or “Basha”. That Hollywood movies are by default the better, superior versions – I refuse to accept. Nitpicking little details in the movie and taking offence is absolutely ridiculous. I cannot imagine what people would do in a Karan Johar movie? I suppose they’d do the reverse of what they do in a regular movie – sit in for the songs and go out to smoke the rest of the movie. Enough about movies. Let’s move on to food. I am drawn to Bengali food the way I’ve been drawn to Kerala food. I’ve never eaten Bengali food before. I just know I’ll like it. I stocked up my pantry with Nigella seeds and mustard oil. I’ve been reading about Aloo Posto, Murgir Jhol, Chana bhapa.. I am smitten. I started with Murgir Jhol. It seemed like just the kind of thing to make for a Sunday lunch. I was weary of Sunday biryanis.  Also my last couple of experimental biryanis did not turn out too well. I was wincing from that memory and I wanted to take some time out from biryani until we could both reconcile. As much as a Sunday...
Lemon sevai

Lemon Sevai

I’ve fallen terribly behind schedule in posting my healthy recipes because I’ve been swept up in a movie watching frenzy and the resultant domino effect on everything else. If you have to watch the first day first show at 4 am and get back in time and drop kids off at school, come back home and leave to office then you’ve got to prep your ass off. If you have to watch the same movie the next evening with your office buddies and you’ve got a ton of work to get through, you’ve got to work your ass off. All for cinema. What will we do without cinema? It’s heartening that I am surrounded by bigger, crazier cinema fans. End of this week I would have watched Petta 3 times. How many times have you watched Petta? Today’s recipe is a simple lemon sevai recipe. Easy, quick and light. I made this sevai with a pack of readymade Millet sevai for an extra boost of health. You can choose rice sevai or any of your favourite sevai varieties. Having a couple of sevai packs in your pantry will always come in handy. Let me know if you like this lemon sevai recipe. Enjoy! Print Recipe Lemon Sevai Lemon Sevai - easy, quick and light tiffen for anytime of the day! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Readymade Sevai1 Onion, chopped fine2 Green chilli, chopped fine1/2 tsp Grated ginger1 stem curry leaves1 Lemon, juiced3 tsp Cooking oil 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds1/2 tsp Split urad dal1 handful coriander leaves, chopped fine Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Readymade Sevai1 Onion, chopped fine2 Green chilli, chopped fine1/2 tsp Grated ginger1 stem curry leaves1 Lemon, juiced3 tsp Cooking oil 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds1/2 tsp Split urad dal1 handful coriander leaves, chopped fine Instructions Soak sevai in normal room temperature water for 2 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the sevai and place in a plate. To a kadai, add the oil and wait till it gets hot. Add the mustard seeds and wait till the mustad seeds splutter. Add the split urad dal and allow them to turn golden brown. Add the curry leaves, grated ginger, chopped green chillies and onion and fry until the onion turns translucent. Add salt,...
Mixed vegetable curry

Mixed vegetable curry

I realized recently that I am quite possibly irrevocably infatuated about food forever. The minute I decide I am going to go on a juice fast, the smell of the parotta kadai korma beckons me, I notice a lot of just-what-I’ve-been-looking-for recipes on Instagram/in my inbox, I am beset by a sudden desire to cook everything and my mother arrives with a dabba of vazhaipoo vadai. How does she know? I saw someone on facebook who had lost a lot of weight. Lots of eager fat friends asked him how he’d done it in the comments. Many other fat but shy friends didn’t ask but went through the comments to find out the secret. He had been on a diet of just fruits and fruit juices for 2 months. Wow. I thought I could do that. 2 months would be brutal. Maybe 10 days or a week. I could see how much I lost and then do it again after a break. Now go back and read the 1st paragraph. It’s like the whole world is conspiring to keep me fat. If you’re still eating healthy, do give this mixed vegetable curry a shot. It’s light and creamy and beautiful with phulkas or crusty bread even. You can use any combination of vegetables. Everything goes. It’s a king of clean- your-fridge kind of recipe.   Print Recipe Mixed vegetable curry Creamy, veggie-packed curry to sop up with your favourite bread! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Servings 4-5 people Ingredients 200 gm Baby potatoes, halved or quartered200 gm Baby corn, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces1 capsicum, sliced into large pieces1 Onion, sliced into large pieces1/2 cup peas1 large tomato pureed2 cups cups Coconut milkSalt to taste1/4 tsp Turmeric powder1-1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder1 tsp Cumin powder1/2 tsp Sugar1 tsp Kasoori methi3 tsp Coconut oil (or preferred cooking oil) Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Servings 4-5 people Ingredients 200 gm Baby potatoes, halved or quartered200 gm Baby corn, sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces1 capsicum, sliced into large pieces1 Onion, sliced into large pieces1/2 cup peas1 large tomato pureed2 cups cups Coconut milkSalt to taste1/4 tsp Turmeric powder1-1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder1 tsp Cumin powder1/2 tsp Sugar1 tsp Kasoori methi3 tsp Coconut oil (or preferred cooking oil) Instructions Bring a large pot or saucepan of...
Paavakkai crisps

Paavakkai crisps | Bittergourd chips

I am getting all tangled up trying to put down what exactly I want to do in the new year. My first line is about cleaning the combs and hair-brushes regularly, my second one is about writing a book and the third one is cooking a new vegetable every week. My canvas encompasses my home, the beings in it, the dust on the windows, writing a book, losing weight, worrying about all the plastic… I am mixing up things on so many levels, it makes my head spin. So I decided to take each area of interest and write down a list of resolutions for each. So I’ll start with my favourite place – the kitchen. These are my kitchen resolutions I will cook one new/rarely cooked vegetable a week. I plan to fast once a week or go on an all-fruit diet one day a week depending on my mood that week. I have seen enough whatsapp forwards to believe that fasting is good for the body and lemons can cure cancer. I will use up my exotic ingredients before I buy more exotic ingredients. I have some un-identified millets, a pack of phool makhana, a big jar of shrimp paste among many other things. I’ll plan the weekly menu every Sunday so that I am prepared through the week and we’re not forced to order in. I don’t want to deal with all those plastic containers and plastic covers. I will be more patient while frying onions and waiting for the oil to separate from the masala. It makes a lot of difference. I’ll try to cut down the sugar in my coffee and Horlicks, but I don’t promise anything. I will try a little harder to seek out the plumpest seetapazham (sitaphal / custard apple), the sweetest sapota (chikku), the best long-grained basmati rice. Many times, the big chain stores don’t have the best produce. The paati at the market has the freshest greens. I am going to try buying produce anywhere I see them like my maamiyaar. She will stop on a highway, on a jammed road and walk into unknown farms to get her hands on fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve never bought Paavakkai before because I could not process that much of bitterness. I hadn’t devised a way to make it better. Until now. On a recent shopping trip, I thought I needed to...
Red rice puttu

Red rice puttu|Sweet puttu

What you wear when you drop orpick up your kids from classes speaks of how much you care for public opinion and how unbelievably lazy you can be. The majority of people hover around the respectable average. But there are the ones who wear possibly the oldest usedT-shirt & mukkal (three-fourth) pant. Me. The ones who wear mix-and-mismatched churidhar sets. Me. There are a few like-minded lazy bums likeme out there. Our tribe put comfort over public opinion and laziness over propriety. I urge you to try it sometime to feel really and truly liberated.You’ll get inured to stares and judging looks. You’ll think less of others when you want to take the less trodden path. With that great piece of life advice, I am going the share the recipe of red rice puttu. I hope you’re eating healthy. Red rice sweet puttu is my favourite puttu among puttus. I have a thing for sweet breakfasts. Jagan doesn’t have that thing. So that must mean we’re the right match. I look for signs everywhere. He enjoys the puttu too but just not for breakfast. I can have this anytime of the day. The best part is it can be served at room temperature. You can prep a big batch of the red rice puttu flour up to “breaking up to the soft puttu texture” part and then refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can pull it out anytime, let stand for a bit to get to room temperature and just mix in sugar, coconut and ghee. I know that this recipe has quite a bit of sugar but remember this is for the entire recipe. In one portion, it is going to just a little bit more than what you putin your daily coffee or tea. Skip your coffee or tea the day you’re making this puttu if you’re very particular about sugar intake. This puttu is worth it. Print Recipe Red rice sweet puttu This sweet red rice puttu breakfast will sweeten your mornings! Fluffy, soft puttu studded with coconut and sugar and laced with ghee, yum! Cuisine Indian Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 4 people Ingredients 250 gm Red rice puttu flour1/2 tsp SaltWarm water as necessary1/2 Coconut, grated6 tbsp Ghee3/4 cup Sugar Cuisine Indian Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 4 people Ingredients 250 gm Red rice puttu flour1/2...