Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji For Puri Or Kachori

(This post has been updated with new pictures)

Read somewhere that the best things in life are free. A smile, sleep, hugs, kisses, laughter, family, memories- all these are at no cost. Isn't it priceless when a stranger smile at you in the train; or your husband hugs you when you are sad; or a child kisses a mother....nothing beats these emotions-correct?

It is good to be busy, to make excellent use of time but it is also imperative to spare a little time for the best free things :-) Same goes in cooking as well. When you walk through memory lane of your mother’s kitchen, what is that you remember? Did she always cook some exotic panner dish for you? Did she always use oven? May be yes, may be no. But I am sure most of the Indian mothers made simple basic things and we enjoyed it and now miss it the most.

Simple bhindi ki subji after a tough day at school; or sukha aloo in tiffin; or plain mango pickle rolled in parathas ...are the best.Aloo ka parathas or poha was all we needed for Sunday breakfast while watching Mogli or Malgudi Days on TV. Do you also believe that real pleasure of enjoying food is in eating simple meals? If yes, then today’s post will surly make you happy. I bring before you the most common and straightforward dish- Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji.

Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji (Potatoes Tomatoes Curry) which is paired with Puri (fried bread) or kachori (Stuffed fried bread) needs no introduction. People from Rajasthan, Bhiar and UP will surely know what I am talking about. The classic combination of potatoes and tomatoes with loads of massala when served with puri or kachori is a pure bliss- or simplicity at its best. Rain or shine, cold or hot days this paring can never go old or fade- will always stay- from generations to generations.

Compose this in your kitchen and recollect all the memories.

4 medium size- boiled and diced- Potatoes/Aloo
3 medium size- chopped- Tomatoes/Tamatar
2- Green chilles/Hari Mirch
1 inch piece- grated- Ginger/Adrak
2 tablespoon Oil/Tel
1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida/Hing
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds/Jeera
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds/Rai
1 bay leaf/Tej Patta
1 teaspoon kasturi methi
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder/Haldi
1 teaspoon Coriander Powder/Dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder/Lal Mirch
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoon Coriander leaves/Dhaniya
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
Salt to taste

Heat oil in kadai/wok and add mustard, bay leaf, cumin and asafoetida. Let the seeds splutter. Add slit green chillies, kasturi methi and grated ginger.
Mix turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam massala, salt with 4 tablespoon of water and make a paste.
Mix chopped tomatoes in the kadai and add the above spice paste. Mix well and let tomatoes cooked covered. Cook till tomatoes are mushy and soft.
Add 4 cups of water and potatoes. Mix well and let it boil covered for 10 minutes.
Finally mix in lemon juice and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with Puri or Kachori.

Adjust red chilli powder and garam massala as per your taste.
This is best when served with puri or kachori.
If in hurry, blend all the dry spices with tomatoes, ginger and green chillies.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Achari Bhindi Pyaz:Okra In Pickle Spices

I have a funny story to share today. Now, back in India we always knew Bhindi is called as Lady Finger-that is what we were taught in schools-right? After coming to the UK, one day I asked a grocery vendor if he has got some lady fingers in his shop. He quickly went inside and got me a pack of finger cakes (also known as finger sponges, mainly used in tiramisu). I was shocked and embarrassed at the same time, I did not know how to react at all, and thus I purchased that cake pack :-). I came back home and quickly searched on internet-it was then I came to know that bindhi is actually known as Okra ;)

From simple stir fried okra subji to exotic Bhindi Do Pyaza you can do so much with this humble vegetable. I have made oven roasted Bhindi also and if you fancy something marwadi then check Bharwa (stuffed) Bhindi recipe. Today, I gave okra a pickled taste.

Achari Bhindi Pyaz is robust of flavours. Easy but would give an impression that you have taken lot of efforts. Achari massala is dry roasted spice powder made by grinding the spices that are used in making pickle. Then, you need to use mustard oil (sarso ka tel) to bring that sour and authentic achari taste. I have seen people using yogurt (dahi/curd) in this recipe but I feel that it makes it very mushy and I personally don’t recommend it.

For me, Achari Bhindi Pyaz should be dry, coated with pickle massala and should have a bit of tanginess in the end. This is surely a crowd pleaser recipe.

For Achari Massala
1/2 teaspoon fenurgreek seeds/methi dana
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds/dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon onion seeds/kalonji
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds/rai
For Subji
250 grams okra/Bhindi
2 onions/pyaz
1-2 green chillies
2 tablespoons mustard oil/sarso tel
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya powder
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirchi
1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur

For Achari Massala
On a low flame dry roast the ingredients till you smell good aroma. Approximately it takes 5-8 minutes.
For Subji
Chop Bhindi and pyaz lengthwise.
Heat oil in a kadai. When oil gets hot, add bhindi and pyaz.
Reduce the heat to low. Mix in salt and turmeric. Cover and let it cook for 8-10 minutes or till bhindi is half done.
Add in 1/2 teaspoon achari massala, coriander powder, red chilli powder and green chillies. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes.
Add in amchur powder. Mix. Cover and turn off the flame/heat.

Recently when my parents visited us my mother got me homemade achari massala and I used the same in this recipe. If you want a quick fix then I highly recommend using MDH Achari Massla which is easily available in Indian grocery stores.
Feel free to use some other oil as well, but mustard oil does bring the authentic pickle taste.
Make sure that okras are washed and dried well before using.