Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Raja with Stuffed Idlis

Today is the start of Raja festival for Oriyas. It is a special occasion for girls. Girls get to wear new clothes and spend time with friends - dancing, singing and swinging. Lots of adhoc swings (ropes hung out from tall trees)  come up during this time. There is a lot of pithas (Oriya sweets) made during these 3 days of Raja celebration. This is my simple recipe to celebrate this great festival.

Urad Dal - 1 cup
Idli Rice - 1 cup
Salt to taste

For the filling
2 tablespoon of paneer (fresh, home made paneer)
2 tablespoon of gur/brown sugar (sugar will work too)
1 tablespoon of shredded coconut
1 pod of elaichi

How To
Soak the Ural dal and Idli rice overnight.  Grind it and leave it for few hours for it to ferment.

Mix the paneer, brown sugar, shredded coconut and elaichi well. You can cook on the stove top for a few minutes. I just microwaved it for 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the mold. Add the filling on the top and steam the idlis as required for regular idlis.

Serve fresh. It tastes great with warm milk too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Saaga of saga or spinach

When I was a youngster, we used to live in government quarters with a huge garden. Dad was in the Orissa government service and while I guess we never had a lot of money, we did have load of fresh vegetables from the garden. And I hated all veggies other than a chosen few. When we visited friends or relatives, my mom would pack 1 or 2 huge bags (depending on the size of the visiting family) of fresh vegetables for them. While others would get sweets or fruits as gifts, ours was always these fresh vegetables and don't ask me how embarrassed I was! I couldn't imagine then why my mom would carry such gifts (Of course it was economical for my mom and tasty for the visiting family - but it was well beyond my comprehension!). When we moved out of the big house with the garden to a small house with no garden, thats when I saw the the anguish of my mom when she bought dried, not fresh vegetables at atrocious prices.

Here is a quick saga (any green leafy vegetable - my mother in law has used spinach here) with additional vegetables that is made commonly in Oriya household. The choice of vegetables is up to what is available, but these are the ones usually used. Sending this to Preeti's green gourmet event, though there is nothing gourmet about it!

Green leafy vegetable like spinach - a whole big bunch washed and cleaned and cut
1 small eggplant cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of pumpkin cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon of panch phutan
2 red chillies
2 tablespoon of oil/ghee
handful of badis (optional)
Salt to taste

How To
Take a pan and fry the badis in hot oil. Move the hot badis into a paper towel to drain the oil.
Take a bigger pan and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the panch phutan and red chillies.
Add the pumpkin and salt and fry for few minutes. Then add the eggplant and cool on high heat for 2 minutes.
Then add the spinach leaves and let the spinach wilt and let the vegetables get cooked.
Once everything is cooked, adjust the salt and add the fried badis an serve.

The Badis need to be added just before serving. It is optional and can be left out if you don't have it.
You can make this with ghee too, it tastes even better.