mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Archive for the ‘Punjab’ Category

Sunday Brunch: Gobhi Paranthas

In Bread, Punjab, Vegetarian on December 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Gobhi Parantha
A lot has happened in the past four weeks since my last post.  I am back to eating foods through the week that are usually reserved for weekends!

It’s not a very long story, actually.  Over the past few years I gave into TH’s helpful insistence on delegating more housework to the maid so that I had less on my mind and hands.  But that is more complicated than it sounds.

There are two kinds of people: those who like to have extra hands to do their work, and those who wish they could do without.  If you have a slight OCD regarding how you want things in your home and kitchen, you may have to start by teaching the maid everything.  And then you have to remind her constantly (about the same thing) in a kind of continuing education for her (which has nothing to do with your OCD).  If you can look the other way, then it is all fine and dandy.  I cannot.  I cannot drink out  of cups with the lightest tea-stain; I have to have my veggies cut exactly so; the rug centered, the doors shut, and the windows open.  All this takes supervision.  I mean, really super-vision!   One time I caught her about to chutney a roach along with the coriander!  I  don’t know how I saw from the corner of my eye what she could not while putting the ingredients in!  Enough to say that after that there was little chance of her being allowed to cook unsupervised.  To me it always felt as if the maid was in control of my time!

pizza dinner
Pizza dinner on Monday

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Movements and Mah di Dal or Dal Makhni

In Punjab, Ruminations and rants, Under 30 min! on April 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm

If you live in India then you have all just been witness to a new kind of activism – the non-violent, light-a-candle protest for a cleaner, corruption-free India.  You may well ask what is new about that – did the Mahatma not start it all those years ago?  I beg to differ.  Those were sustained movements that had mass support from people who knew what they were struggling for.  Anna Hazare rightly said that the struggle has just begun.  But the masses that turned up to support him, especially those in this most corrupt of cities, do they really know what it means to be part of a clean society?  I will be amongst the happiest people if Delhiites really want to be honest and clean.

But I seriously doubt we understand the meaning of signing up for never paying a bribe.  It will mean waiting in line for our turn.  It will mean following rules and living by the laws.  Even when we don’t agree with them.  It will mean no unauthorised constructions, building within prescribed FAR, no encroachment on public land.  It will mean paying our taxes.  It will mean jail time every time we break the law (imagine that!).  It will mean being civil! Those who were there at Jantar Mantar the past week to support Anna in his mission, do they understand the full portent of being part of a non-corrupt society?

The visual media came into its own and declared it a revolution.  If these journos spot a white person in a crowd they assume them to be experts and ask, “So, do you think India has changed?” ??? What kind of a question is that for a tourist?  The forthright white woman told this senior journalist she couldn’t answer that but she might call what she was witnessing a spark perhaps. I think it was lost on our reporter from NDTV who (and many others like him) went on to then compare it with the recent uprisings in the Arab world!  Don’t ask.  Here’s another perspective.

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Another pickle for you

In Pickles, Preserves, Punjab, Vegetables, Vegetarian on March 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm

gajar, carrots

Something strange is going on with the weather.  We have had the wettest spring ever and the frequent showers have kept the temperatures down.  I start my day wearing a vest by habit and then within an hour find myself going back down to change into a full-sleeved sweater.  Climate change?  Maybe that is too drastic but this is definitely not our usual Spring.

Beating the Retreat

I did indulge myself in some typical spring activities anyway, such as drinking kanji and enjoying the sunshine; the spring did start out sunny. Mid-January found us traversing the city on a few occasions.   One Sunday morning was spent at the IGNCA viewing Delhi: A Living Heritage exhibit.  On our way back we decided to criss-cross a little and take in the city lights.  We found ourselves joining the crowds watching the rehearsals for the Beating the Retreat ceremony.  We stood there awhile, soaking in national pride and such emotions.

India Gate

Another Sunday afternoon we first hopped on the Metro,  took the city bus next, and then walked to the National Gallery of Modern Art where we heard the very articulate Anish Kapoor talk about his work (and even enjoyed a cup of tea with him!).  Later we walked from the NGMA to the Chinmaya Mission auditorium for TH’s student’s Kuchipudi dance performance, and then took the Metro back home. Read the rest of this entry »

Palak Panir

In Low Fat, Punjab, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on September 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Palak Paneer

I have been cooking a lot of express-Indian these past few months. In fact, my usual cooking is reasonably Express, and predominantly Indian. But this was additionally challenging because I was looking for 6 ingredients or less. I am going to take some creative license and add oil to the list of not-to-be-counted ingredients. There is just a tablespoon of it anyway.

Yes, really. And, no cream. Sorry to have been the harbinger of this disappointing information but it is true that in the ‘real’ palak-panir (pah-luk-pun-nir) there is no cream. The creamed-spinach is likely the contribution of some restaurant-cook to fulfill the expectations of Indian food (quasi-Punjabi-Mughlai in most restaurants abroad) shimmering in that layer of floating fat. You do serve sarson-ka-saag makhan mar ke (splattered-with-butter) but not palak panir. Or, maybe, the name-change that this dish underwent when it was exported to the Western shores might have had something to do with this. Palak-(ka-saag)-panir got mixed up with the aforementioned saag and somewhere along the way became saag panirSaag is the generic word for ‘greens’ in Punjabi, but when used by itself usually refers to mustard greens. I believe I have come across recipes (on food blogs) for mustard greens cooked with panir. Inspired? ConFusion? I will keep my counsel.  Maybe Punjabi-kudi can shed more light on this subject… Read the rest of this entry »

Kanji One Sunny Spring Day

In Drinks, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Under 30 min! on March 29, 2009 at 1:15 am

kanji
Natural.  Home made. Brew with a (nonalcoholic) kick.  Lip smacking. Kanji.

Every winter I look at the black-purple carrots that appear in the vegetable markets of Delhi and the rest of Northern India, and make a mental note to track down a recipe for kanji. As far as I know, they are used only in the making of this fiery colourful end-of-winter drink. And every year passes just the same as the previous one.

Now, this blog has given me a lot of readers. Some of the readers have gone on to become good friends. Friends who share their views and opinions – and I am glad you are opinionated – share their likes and dislikes (of people, of colours and pictures on this blog and in general, punctuation and pronunciation, and of course, food related stuff). Some have been willing to risk sharing their blog… only to end up fuming later at some very persistent confusion regarding ‘the real owner of IFR’ as the movement spread! I wasn’t complaining about the unintentional link-love it brought. Especially, since I haven’t exactly been in the thick of it all this past year.

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Getting into Spring: Paneer Tikka

In Low Fat, on the side, Punjab, Punjabi, Tea Party, Vegetables, Vegetarian on March 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm

kanji

Spring is here and Delhi is a riot of colour. There are the myriad shades of green and now the blooms. To all this, Holi added its bright colours this week.

skewered

It has been a while since we joined in the revelry that Holi is but a party is always welcome. My MIL would always make fruit salad on this day. But who can handle all that cream in this day and age. One Holi we ate homemade pizza and ordered ice cream. If I feel like I will sometimes make gujiya, the traditional Holi sweet here in the North.  [Some other traditional Holi recipes here.]

This year all I did was cut up great looking purple carrots and start the process of preparing a cooling fermented drink… (yes, Pel are you listening?) As it turns out, it is a traditional drink for Holi second only to the frothy bhang! It is an apt one alright – with that deep purple colour…

While you wait for that recipe, here’s the one I promised last time – great party fare this one too. Read the rest of this entry »

Paneer Tikka Parties, and other things

In on the side, Punjab, Tea Party, This and That, Uncategorized, Vegetarian on February 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm

labne
My entry for Click Feb: Cheese!

It has been a very busy time for me on the personal front this time. First my sister was visiting from CT, and now I have a friend visiting from Chennai. From Monday will start the stress of the XII Boards for the son. But it hasn’t kept us from having a jolly good time. The kitchen has been buzzing with activity.

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Caronde he Caronde

In Bread, Chutneys, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 19, 2008 at 12:25 am

caronde ki chutney

Please don’t mention Caronda* for some time…it is in every jar I had spare!  There is no room for any more pickles or preserves…As I mentioned last time, I made some caronda chutney a week ago, to use up part of my Dad’d harvest from a bush I planted about ten years ago in the front yard of their house.  I used the idea of a sweet-tangy Indian chutney such as saunth (sweet and sour tamarind chutney) or a mango chutney made with unripe mangoes.  The effort was much appreciated. Since it was a trial batch I got just enough to fill two tiny jars that I sent off to my mum and sister.  The next batch was a repeat of the recipe and this time the effort yielded a big jar – plenty, I thought.

There were still some carondas left which then went into a pickle, pits and all, along with some unripe mango, lotus root, and green chillies. I keep that stoneware jar in the sun, what little there is of it at this time, bring it in every evening, and give it a good stir.  It is looking good.

So far so good.  My mum liked the relish a lot.  She doesn’t eat too much pickle because of the high salt content.  I told her that pitting the fruit was a pain in the rear.  She pitted about a kilo with the help of her maid and presented it to me.  I had thought more like: ok, here’s a recipe you might like to try… But I came home and made my third batch of caronda chutney.  This batch had fewer ingredients – I had already used up my dates; no gur – I couldn’t be bothered; less sugar – I had used up a lot of sugar in the past couple of weeks between the caronda relish and the mango jam, and was making statements with big exclamatory marks regarding the sugar content of the chutney.  The fruit for this batch had ripened further on the plant, was a deeper pink, and there was a subtle change in texture too.  What a pretty pink it turned in the pan!  And the texture – why, it reminded me of sour cherries in syrup!  The slight crispness as you bite into one was so similar!  That made me Google for recipes using sour cherries and I found a bunch that hold promise for next year!  I make no promises…but there might even be Caronda Liqueur on these pages one day!

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The Old Faithful: Aloo Parantha

In Bread, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Vegetables, Vegetarian on May 11, 2008 at 2:48 am

aloo parantha

Usually, I love my time in the kitchen. More often than not, TH stays out, and is very appreciative of the food I put on the table (even when it is store-bought bread on days such as today when I am too rushed for even a 30-minute meal). But there are (many) days when I am not inclined to step into the kitchen at all.

One such day last year was my birthday. It is rather pathetic to have to cook yourself a special meal when it’s the perfect opportunity for others to show their love for a change. Yet, neither my son nor TH can be expected to bake a cake (not everyone is like Jai!). Every time I am not inclined to cook, the son is willing to order pizza and TH is only too happy to step out to get a fresh loaf of bread. But that day I insisted on a home cooked meal, and varan-bhaat was not going to cut it.

As it crawled towards dinner time and I showed no signs of getting off the couch, TH finally got the message and decided to grab the bull by the horns 😀 . Off he went into the kitchen and busied himself to prepare paranthas stuffed with my favourite vegetable – no prizes for guessing this time – potatoes. To bide my time till the paranthas were ready was a seasonal twist on my favourite drink – mango margaritas! Yes, he excelled himself.

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Sarson ka Saag aur Makki ki Roti

In Punjab, Punjabi, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 27, 2008 at 12:45 am

sarson ka saag

Spring is upon us! Temperatures are climbing steadily – we are already at 27 degrees C. But a nip still lingers at night and in the mornings. Therefore, the mustard family gets to reign for a few more weeks. I have mentioned mustard fields and I have talked about Punjab…but I haven’t yet talked about their favorite winter greens preparation.

About Saagsarson da saag (Punjabi) or mustard greens. When I first started reading food blogs a couple of years back, I was impressed by the familiarity of the Western world (the US-based blogs, in any case) with ‘saag’ which is the Punjabi word for greens in general. Just like Kashmiris refer to one specific kind of green when we say haak, saag too refers to sarson or mustard greens, unless specified otherwise – palak ka saag (spinach greens), bathuey ka saag, so on and so forth. Punjab has never heard of saag-paneer. The saag-paneer combination intrigued me till I discovered it was the American avatar of good old palak-paneer, which, I am told (by none other than our own desikudi, Musical) is not that traditional in rural Punjab. Read the rest of this entry »