Saturday, September 26, 2009

Macha Ghanta and Happy Dusshera

 In Orissa, we celebrate Dusshera with a lot of fan fare. There are lots of pandals setup with Durga mata in different poses and each pandal tries to outdo the other one in size and grandeur. In most households, the celebrations starts from the 6th or 7th day of Navratri and ends with a big feast on Dusshera day. In my grandma's house everyone fasts on Asthami day and then has a grand feast in the evening after puja. Fish is offered as offering and is a must on that day.

Macha Ghanta is a typical Oriya dish again. While I don't think it is a main dish for asthami, it is one of the fish dishes made on that day. Ghanta in oriya means 'mixed' and each specific ghanta has a typical set of vegetables to be added. Macha ghanta has the additional fish pieces in it. In Orissa mom makes it with the head of the fish - oh it is delicious...

Fried fish - few pieces
1 large onion - thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1-2 pieces - bay leaves
1-2 cardamom
1 big cinamon stick
2-3 tablespoon of Oil
Salt to taste
1 tea spoon of turmeric powder
1 tea spoon of chili powder
1 tea spoon of garam masala
1 handful of channa dal (washed and soaked for 4-5 hours)

Vegetables of your choice (what works well is mentioned below)
1 large potato diced
few string beans - cut into small pieces
1/4th of a large white radish
1 egg plant - diced
1-2 tomatoes (optional)
few pieces of red pumpkin or white pumpkin

How To
Heat Oil in a Pan and add a large Bay Leaf, cardamom, cinnamon stick.

Add the thinly sliced onions and fry till the onion turns golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and turmeric powder and chili powder and mix well for 2-3 minutes and then add the vegetables and the Dal. In this process you don't have to cook the ginger-garlic paste through completely, since it gets cooked with the vegetables.

Cover and cook the vegetables until cooked through. Add any tomatoes if you like and the garam masala and then the fried fish. Mix well. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with rice and salad.

Also if you want, you can make the vegetarian version where you don't add the fish. That's the version my Mom had. Since you add fried fish at the end, you can easily make both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian version at the same time...

In Orissa it is usually made with fried head of the fish and tastes awesome. It is a regular in Oriya weddings too...

Happy Dusshera everyone.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yin and Yang kadhi

Well, no I didn't make a special Chinese version of the kadhi. But we make 2 versions of the kadhis at home, especially if my mom or MIL is around. I like mine with vegetables, is that the Oriya version (?) - not sure, while my hubby likes the ones with the pakoras. The kids love the pakoras version too. So usually if I am cooking, I go with the majority vote. Knowing my love for the vegetable version, my mom made both versions.

The yin is the healthy version and the yang is the not-so healthy version of dahi kadhi. Both are alike, mine has boiled vegetables added to the sour yogurt curry, while the other favorite has deep fried pakoras added to it. So if you want to choose the healthy one - you know what to try!


For the gravy
Yogurt - 1 cup
2 cups water
Besan - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - pinch
Chili powder - 1 tea spoon
Salt to taste

For seasoning
Oil - 1 tea spoon
Panch Phutan - 1 table spoon
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Couple of whole red chilies
Garam Masala - 1/2 tea spoon (optional)

For Pakoras
Besan - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1 big pinch
Chili powder - 1 tea spoon
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

For Boiled vegetables
1 small egg plant sliced lengthwise
few small pearl onions
few Okras
Add any other vegetables you fancy (these are what I like in my kadhi)
Salt to taste

How To

Take the curd and beat well.
Add water and salt and besan and turmeric powder and chili powder. Mix well until there are no lumps left.

Take a pan and add oil for seasonings.
Once the oil gets hot, add the punch phutan and the curry leaves and whole red chilies. Add the seasonings to the curd gravy above. Add some garam masala if you want and mix well and keep aside. Also boil the gravy if you want a thicker consistency.

Take a pan; boil the vegetables with salt and turmeric powder. Keep an eye on it, that it doesn't get overcooked. Usually we add the okra 1/2 way through when the vegetables are cooked. Add the vegetables to 1/2 the yogurt mixture and boil again with the yogurt gravy.

For the pakoras, mix the besan and baking powder and chili powder and salt with water. Make sure the consistency of the besan paste is thick.
Heat oil, add these pakoras and deep fry them.
Add the pakoras to the yogurt mixture just before serving, no boiling here...

Serve the kadhi warm or cold.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fleeting summer fruits - Watermelon

I love summer - especially here in US where it is a mere 2 months with bursts of rain in between. It also reminds me of the summer vacations in India. Growing up I loved the long summer vacations lazing around at my grandma's house. She had huge mangoes, custard apple, lichi and guava trees and we cousins would have a feast on different fruits everyday. Oh I wish for those days... Mango was a high-light of the season. Well mangoes are gone here... But we still do get watermelon. Between cousins, a huge water melon would vanish in seconds...

Now a days when I get watermelon, sometimes it goes bad and gets thrown out. I love eating it, but there is barely any time to enjoy this simple delight. Also I feel its fun to have it with friends/family, with the juice rolling down ones hand.... My kids are not big watermelon fans, but I religiously bring it and try it on them every year... I am sure they will develop some taste for it sometime.

This watermelon juice was a favorite in summer for the adults. While we chomped on the full melon, the elders sipped elegantly on this simple juice.

Both these simple juice and sorbet are going to " Soup N Juice "event hosted by Sreesha of Mom's Recipes.

How To

There is not much to the recipe, cut some water melon flesh, add some sugar or honey and a little salt and lemon juice and there you have it. Serve cold with crushed ice...

Watermelon Sorbet

This sorbet is nothing but frozen watermelon balls. This reminds me of those hot summer days when we used to quietly eat ice cubes while our moms were napping or busy chatting...

How To

Take some water melon pulp, sugar and freeze for an hour. Break it up with your fork and refreeze for an hour again. Scoop out with your ice cream scooper and serve in a tall glass or in a plate (as I did...) It tastes yum either way! Slurp it down before it melts and drink it if it does....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Awards time

I have recieved few awards from friends.

The 1st one is the participation award from Shanthi for participating in her State's Special event. Thanks a lot Shanthi. It means a lot to me. It was a nice event to participate in and showcase different cusines from different states.

Hema has showered me with the following awards. Thanks a lot for thinking of me. The lovely awards and the encouraging comments keep me going. So here is the list of awards

Scrumptious Blog Award

Yum Yum Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

Beautiful Site Award

Inspiration Award

Brilliante Weblog Award

A Giant Bear Hug Award

Best Blog Darts Award

I would like to pass these awards to all my blogger friends. You all have been true inspiration to me....

I am happy to receive the Honest Scrap award from Padma. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

1. I love to sleep.
2. I work diligently, given any task I take it seriously.
3. I love good food decorated nicely. I will try anything well presented.
4. I love shopping, window shopping more so...
5. I love chatpata food...
6. I love fresh herbs - mint, cilantro...
7. I love the food channel.
8. I love get togethers, I just sit and watch the fun around me.
9. I am a very quiet person and it takes me a long time to open up and make friends
10. I am trying to teach honesty to my 8 year old daughter. Any help/tips on that will be a life saver.

I would like to pass this award to all my blogger friends.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eggless Blueberry muffins

Parita this muffin is inspired by your blueberry muffins! When I saw her muffins, I knew I had to try it. What attracted me to the recipe was the egg less, low fat healthy version of this muffin. Mine is not low fat really, since I can't seem to enjoy muffins made in Oil. So I replaced the Oil with butter and made some minor tweaks to her recipe... The muffins came out really well. They were a little dense, but still much better than the blueberry muffins from the store. My kids had fun time packing in the blueberries into the batter and we ended up putting more blueberries than intended into the batter. That made the muffins even more flavorful... Its a simple one and takes about 20 minutes to put together, including the time for a 3 year old trying to help...

1 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup of oats
1/2 cut of whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup of butter (melted to room temperature)
1 and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

How To:

Preheat the oven to 375F, line 12 muffin molds with paper liners.
Mix the wheat flour and baking powder and salt and oats by hand.
In a separate bowl mix butter (at room temperature), sugar, milk.
Slowly add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix carefully.
Fold in the blueberries.
Spoon the batter into the muffin pans, filling up to 3/4 full. Bake them for 20-25 min, until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

We all sat down and enjoyed it warm off the oven. And the rest of the muffins were gone the next day by the time I was back from work...