Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rally to ban Kokum.

Dear cookerific constituents,

Why do we put Kokum into food? Why do we spoil a perfectly nice Dal, by adding these dark inedible whatevers into them?

Join me in passing a resolution against adding Kokum to foods. Choose the good life and good taste. Ban Kokum.

(If you don't know what Kokum is. . .trust me. It's horrible.)

Please place your vote in the reply.

From your official eating representative,
Pauli.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Spinach Mushroom and Bleu Cheese

OK... this is hard core experimental. Its akin to 'exploratory research to pursue bold ideas'!! It resulted from my great love for Bleu Cheese, the need to get rid of some spinach lest it should get spoilt and the habit of starting every dish with some cumin.

First wash the spinach and then boil it so that it becomes very soft.
Crumble some Bleu Cheese (about half a slab) and about 1/3 of a butter stick and put them in a pan and gently heat so that it all melts together.
Put in some cumin and fry it in the melt
Add the mushrooms to the melt and continue frying. (be care not to burn the cheese)
Add the spinach and the water you boiled it in.
Add some garam masala, salt and pepper seasoning.
Cook for a little bit and then let it sit for a little bit and let the sauce thicken.

Eat it and tell me how best to improve it.

The kitchen and living room now have the happy agreeable smell of Bleu Cheese :)

Garma Garam Khichuri

Khichuri/Khichdi is one pot meal all of us cherish, specially during the winter months. I am obviously talking about the spicier wholesome version as compared to the yellow mush which is pedalled as sick grub. Last night we found ourselves with company during dinner time and decided to invite them over. Khichuri was the ideal choice as I had a less than full refrigerator at the time.
I made the Bengali version where one uses yellow moong dal which has been dry roasted first. Dry roasting brings out the wonderful flavour of the dal, and I also like the way the dal looks after being cooked - specks of brown to break up the montony of plain yellow. If you are not using long grained rice, use a 1:1 ratio of rice and dal. As I used a long grain rice, I increased the quantity of dal used. Usually adding seasonal vegetables like cauliflower greatly enhances the taste...but remember fresh, do not use the frozen mushy stuff. If using fresh add it along with peas and potatoes. And finally, sorry for the lack of pictures, we ate it all up as soon as it was cooked. That tells you something doesn't it.

Ingredients:
Basamati Rice -1 cup
Moong Dal - 1.5 cups
Onion - 1 medium, diced
Italian Tomato - 1 medium, diced
Peas - 1 cup
Red Potato - 1 medium, cubed with skin on
Shredded Coconut - 1/2 cup
Green Chillies - 3 slit and deseeded
Ginger - 1 inch piece, made into paste
Bay Leaf - 1 large
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Oil - 2tbsp
Salt - To taste


Methods:
1. Dry Roast the Moong Dal for about 5-6 minutes till golden brown and soak along with rice in five cups of water.
2. In a deep pan heat oil. Add Cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once the seeds start sputtering, add the onions and sautee.
3. Add tomatoes and cook till slightly mushy. Then add ginger paste, cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the split chillies, peas and potatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and add shredded coconut. Cook for a minute or so.
4. Finally add the rice and dal mixture along with the water. Turn up heat to high till water starts boiling and then turn the heat down and let it simmer till done. Add garam masala at last.
5. Check seasoning, garnish with cilantro and serve with scrambled eggs or favourite pickle.