Kaitha chutney

While growing up collecting woodapples/elephantapples
(Limonia acidissima) from trees around backyards of small bunglows and row houses in so called mohallahs of Sheikh Sarai Delhi use to be our summer adventures . My taiji would really wake us up early morning for the dogs’ walk. Me and my brother would happily volunteer since it was super fun and even the pets helped us locate the woodapples/elephantapples fallen from the trees. Gathering as many bringing them home for some summer delights. The flavorful fruit full of vitamin C with micro nutritients helps cure so many diseases and combat summer heat waves.

Recipe

Ingredients

2-3 tablespoon kaitha pulp

2-3 green chillies

1 cup of Coriander

1 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of heeng optional

1 teaspoon black salt

Little water to blend finely.

Method

Grind everything minus sugar and black salt. Once its completely fine add sugar and black salt and give quick spin.

One can also use woodapple to make panipuri , in nonveg gravies and dals. It works best souring agent providing micro nutritients.

Jimikand ka chokhha

Humble dishes like chokhhas which can be aloo , aloo baigan or baigan, infact I make aloo baigan tamater pyaaz all mixed up with heavy on raw mustard oil to get extra punch of flavors. But maa tho maa hai.. she has to have something unique from her mother’s kitchen. What better than  jimikand chokha. Jimikand or suran or elephant foot yam isnt much liked root by many. You must already know and understand the flavors about how it will taste before you bring it to the table. Our moms and grandmoms already had that factor in mind without even discussing like we do now a days. So let’s bring in not so famous jimikand ka chokhha.

Recipe

Ingredients

250 diced suran / jimikand

7-8 cloves garlic (you can add/minus)

2-3 slit green chillies. ( Go for spicy ones)

Half inch ginger thinly sliced

2-3 tablespoon mustard oil preferred

2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon aamchur ( lemon is ok )

2 cups of water

More water to blanch the root.

Method

In a vessel boil water, add turmeric and diced suran. Just cook until half done and drain and wash the suran pieces. This helps to remove calcium oxalate which causes itchy feeling.

In a kadhai heat mustard oil. No need to bring it smoking point. Add fenugreek seeds with quick succession of rest of ingredients. Add two cups of water and salt to taste.

Keep boiling on slow flame. Mash few pieces of suran  while stirring it. Make sure that garlic is not mashed up. There will a point when oil disappears and thickens. Add aamchur / lemon as per your taste. Souring agent also helps to tame the itchiness. It will thicken as it cools down.

I love it with leftovers reheated fulkas or ajwain parathas. Many a times we forget how wonderful simplicity is !!

Mutter Halwa

It was winter season and we all were in Gorakhpur , Uttarpradesh for a cousin’s wedding. Papa and mamaji went to the market and got 2 sacks of mutter along with various other winter vegetables , obviously damn cheap. The haldi ceremony for the bride was about to begin so the house was full of neighbor ladies who happily gathered in the aangan teasing each other singing the folks  songs for haldi ceremony peeled both the sackfuls within half an hour .The fact that it will be consumed same day itself . Nani was curious to make some goodie with it. She called me and whispered to gather few things which was already there being a wedding house. We sneaked away to terrace where a special chullah was kept during winter season. Old wrinkled hands super  soft carefully lit the chullah . Curiously watching her make the mutter ka halwa . My eyes shone brightly. “Le bitiya zara chakh ker batai, kahu ko boliyo mati “ the spoonful melted in my mouth while Nani simply rubbing her surti chuna enjoying the winter sun.


Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup boiled fresh peas

Half cup home made chenna ( koya or milk powder will do)

1/4th cup sugar

1 tablespoon roasted fine rava

1/4th cup desi ghee ( sorry for not included in ingredients pic)

Dry fruits of choice. I have used sliced almonds

Few rose petals. It does enhance the taste.

Method

Roughly grind the boiled peas as shown in picture. Do not make a fine paste.

Heat ghee in a non stick pan. Add roasted rava and slightly fry them. Don’t over fry it since it’s just to add denseness to the dish. Add peas paste and fry on low heat until ghee starts appearing on the sides . Add sugar and cook it. The sugar will easily melt making the peas look darker. Cook it for another 2-3 minutes. Add the chenna/ koya/ milk powder keep stirring until everything comes together and starts leaving sides. Don’t over power it by adding too many dry fruits and cardamom. I have just added sliced almonds and few rose petals only after the dish was ready.

Nani added few fried cashews.

Chatori Arbi

As the name suggest, it was clearly my name whenever my maa made this awesomely crispy masala arbi. Ok ok..I know everyone will now call me chatori Uma..but maa called me billi coz I would be hiding around with handful of them eating away most of it before it could be served. Papa name this arbi as chatori arbi coz this is everyone’s favorite. While fried masala arbi is made all through the year it is also typical eaten during fasting minus haldi and regular salts. These are small arbis essentially should be rounded ones to avoid the inchy feeling inside foodpipe. Maa also would make them with the larger arbi called BADHARBI that’s little pinkish.  The meaty roots are real delicacy in north and I find them been served as chaknas for vegetarians.

Recipe

Ingredients

500 gms boiled Arbi with little salt. Salt assures that they remain firm

Oil for frying

Salt to taste

2 tablespoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

Half teaspoon tumeric powder

1 teaspoon aamchur powder ( u can add more according to taste )

1 teaspoon black salt

1 teaspoon Chaat masala

1 teaspoon carom seeds

Pinch of hing

Little water to sprinkle

Method

Slice the boiled Arbi. It should be in temperature to make it nice and crispy. Fry them in hot oil until the edges are golden

Don’t over fry them else they loose the meaty texture. Drain the oil in separate container. Let around 2 tablespoon of oil remain. The oil is already hot , add carom seeds and hing with quick succession of the haldi , coriander powder and chilli powder. Sprinkle little water allowing the masala to cook through. Add both salts. Add the fried arbi and toss it well. Add aamchur powder and chaat masala. Toss is extremely well. Adjust any flavors according to taste.

Maa served it with plain dal and rice. During fasts just black salt , red chilli powder and aamchur will do the magic.

Besanwale Aloomutter

Maa experimented this recipe when I started cooking at the age of 9 along side her and cribbing over the few recipes to cook aloo mutter. One can’t challenge mothers bcoz your sure to get a dose of her being most superior in every form. More that my parents’ family was spread over Rajasthan , UP and MP use of besan was quite regular in various forms. Our daily food had influences of all three states while settled in Maharashta, imagine how recipes were tweaked every day in my maa’s kitchen. Best part is she started cooking seriously only after getting married to a crazy foodie.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups boiled fresh peas

1 cup boiled diced potatoes

2 large onion rough paste

1 large tomato pure

2 tablespoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

Half teaspoon tumeric powder

1 teaspoon cumins

4-5 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoon besan

2 tablespoon cream

1-2 table spoon of chopped coriander

1 teaspoon kasuri methi

2 cups water

Salt to taste

Method

Ahead of cooking make a paste with coriander powder+red chilli powder+ haldi powder with little water.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds followed by onion paste and salt. fry the onion paste until it starts turning brown. Add the paste of dry masala prepared earlier.

Cook till oil starts separating. Add tomato puree along with chopped coriander and cook till oil separates completely. Add besan and cook over slow flame stirring continously. Cook till oil separates and raw taste of besan disappears. You can taste the masala to check.

Add water and salt bring it a boil stirring continously. Add boiled potatoes and peas. Cook until u reach desired consistency. Add cream and just cook till everything is well incorporated. Add kasuri methi and mix well

Maa served it with dash of ghee and hot fulkas. The creamy texture is simply awesome !

Dal ki bhafori

Lentils are the most humble source of protein widely consumed around India in various forms. My home it plays a major role in daily food from simple to complex dishes. Obviously maa had to make sure that we eat it regularly without getting bored. She had this UP dish which she learnt from my Nani called dal ki bhafori mostly made during winter and rainy seasons. Made with mixed dal with hardly any oil in it, super tasty and simple.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup soaked mixed dal

3-5 garlic clove

1-2 green chillies

1 teaspoon cummin seeds

Pinch of hing

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon oil for greasing the steamer

2 cups of wheat atta

Water to knead the dough and to steam the bhaforis

Method

Prepare the dough like any roti atta with little salt, not very soft.

Prepare the steamer greasing it slightly. Let the water come to boiling level.

Coarsely grind the soaked mixed dal with garlic ,green chillies , cummin , pinch of hing and salt.

Make small puri size rotis and place the ground dal on one side and fold over without sealing it completely. Place it carefully in the steamer and steam for 10/12 minutes making sure it’s cooked through. One can do the toothpick test as well.

Serve it with any favorite chutney. Maa’s personal touch was a spoonful of ghee melting over the bhaforis.

Makke ke Bhafle

Cooking comes easy since there are few things in life which doesn’t need any specific training when we have been doing it from childhood. Maa would involve me in cooking with her stories round the dish and I would curiously sit to help her learning them gradually. Whenever I make them now I remember the stories she knitted ..may be just to make me learn the dishes she cooked. Isn’t it the right way to make our kids learn anything in life ??

Recipe

Ingredients

500gms corn meal (corn atta)

2-3 tablespoon finely onion chives

2-3 tablespoon finely chopped carrot

2-3 tablespoon finely chopped capsicum

Salt to taste

4-5 glasses of water in suitable container to boil the bhafle

Method

Mix everything and knead a dough. Shape into size of tennis ball pressing a dent as shown in picture.
Bring the water to boiling point and slowly poach the bhafle. Cook it until it starts floating on top. Cook it further 3-5 mins. Strain them out and allow them to cool down.

As winters brings in lots of goodies. Corn meal is one of those important flour which every one loves to eat in various forms. Maa made makke k bhafle with kadhi pakoda or muli ki kadhi.  One can serve it with kadhi or any favorite dal.