I have woken up late. It is a holiday. I don’t go downstairs to the kitchen because I want to scrub myself clean today after a week of 5-min showers. Actually I want to avoid the late-comer scene. There may be no dialogue but those scenes are usually the worst. I put it off for later.
I massage copious amounts of oil on kids’ heads trying to make up for instant noodles, lollipops, smartphones and excessive T.V. I hope I am making up in some way. I scrub them up, dress them and send them downstairs so I can wallow in the bathroom in peace. I massage oil, apply the face pack for good measure and think of soaking my feet but begin to feel I am taking too long. I then try to relax but hurry along at the same time.
It is some auspicious day. When I finally descend downstairs feeling clean, smelling nice for a change, I am ravenous. I eye the kids in the hall watching TV and eating from banana leaves. I head to the kitchen. Nobody’s around. I find some vadais are already fried, payasam made, sambar, rice and potato thokku ready by the side. I grab a vadai and bite into it. There’s no salt in it I realize. I go out with the half eaten vadai and see that there’s no banana leaf in the Pooja room. Poojai is not over yet.
You don’t eat before the poojai (Kids don’t count).
I turn back to the kitchen and try to find a nook to hide my half eaten vadai in. I also know that there’s no salt in it. At that moment, somehow everybody emerges ready for Poojai. Maamiyaar heads to the kitchen to fry more vadais. I have just enough time to snuck the vadai in a corner. I walk out trying to look innocent, casual and purposeful. I don’t want to be stopped.
I hold the terrible truth about the salt-less vadai batter. It breaks me to think I’d have to eat salt-less vadais. My mind races on how best to expose this truth before the vadais are fried.
Just telling her is not an option. That’s not how we roll here.
I ask the kids about the vadai. They haven’t eaten it yet. They’re too engrossed in TV.
I manage to corner Jagan in the hall, I lower my voice and explain in great detail my catch-22 situtation, and reveal that there is no salt in the vadai. He nods sagely and then turns and shouts to his mother in the kitchen “Vadai le uppu illayam” (It seems there is no salt in the vadai).
I look around for the best place to hide and finding nothing, fuss around the kids and try to fit in with them.
Ever happened to you?
My life is filled with diplomatic challenges like these every day.
I had made up my mind to make this Khoya Aloo mutter on Saturday. I walked to the kitchen in the morning mentally going through the best bowl, camera angle for the dish. The house was already abuzz with activity. The ‘coconut tree climber man’ was there hurling down tender coconuts. The maid was busy scooping the tender coconut flesh “vazhikkai” into bowls. The Maamiyaar was busy running around giving instructions.
Drawing as little notice as possible, I went about prepping for the Khoya Aloo mutter. She came in saying “I’ve made Aappam batter. Making Aappam and coconut milk for breakfast”.
I mutter “Oh.. ok” and continue while thinking how to best position Khoya Aloo mutter alongside Aappam.
She asks “Is that for lunch?”
“Yeah, yeah.. Correct. Yeah, it is for lunch.”
I went on to make Garlic Naan to go with the Khoya Aloo Mutter for lunch. I loved the combination. Jagan loved it. Hasini loved it. The Mamiyaar liked it too I am led to think.
The Khoya/khoa is the key ingredient. It lifts the regular Aloo mutter to a new creamy, luscious, dreamy level. You could stir it into any of your curries – Gobi, Aloo, mushroom or peas with wonderful results. The resulting curry is rich without being too heavy, full bodied and absolutely delectable. Think of it as the more sophisticated substitute for cream. It is a wonderful curry to make for a dinner party or if you are just in the mood for some dreamy curry. I would recommend having a block of unsweetened khoa in your fridge for times like these.
Khoya Aloo Mutter
A wonderful curry to make for a dinner party or if you are just in the mood for some creamy, dreamy curry.
- Khoya/Unsweetened khoa – 200 gm crumbled or grated
- Fresh Green Peas – 200 gm
- Potatoes – 3 medium boiled, peeled and cubed
- Onions – 2 medium chopped roughly
- Tomatoes -2 medium chopped roughly
- Garlic – 5 cloves
- Ginger – 1 tbsp chopped
- Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
- Cumin powder – ¾ tsp
- Coriander powder – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Garam Masala powder – ¾ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Unsalted butter – 2 tbsp
- Sugar – ½ tsp – 1 tsp (adjust)
- Water – 2 cups
- Heat a medium pan. Pour 1 cup of water. Add the chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger and bring to a boil. Wait till the water is mostly gone and the onions and tomatoes are soft and cooked through. Transfer the onion-tomato mixture to a mixer grinder. Cool and puree the mixture. Set aside.
- To the same pan, add a tbsp. of oil. When the oil is hot, add the crumbled/grated khoa and fry for 2-3 mins or till the khoa is sort of melted and halwa like. Remove the fried khoa to a plate. Set aside.
- To the same pan, add back the pureed onion-tomato mixture. Add all the spice powders and salt and mix well. Tip in the boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes into the pan. Add in the peas also. Add a cup of water. Mix everything well. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or till the flavours have blended nicely and the oil has separated.
- Uncover. Stir in the fried khoa. Mix well to break up any lumps. Add a little water if necessary to get the gravy to your desired consistency. Add sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning. Simmer for 2-4 minutes more. Switch off stove.
- Serve hot with poori, roti, naan or pulav.
Food Better Be Good http://foodbetterbegood.net/