Monday, June 29, 2015

Omeltte er Jhol -- Omelette in a Curry

This Omelette er jhol or Indian style Omelettes in a gravy, is one of my favorite egg dishes. There is something about an omelette basking in a thin curry and growing fat and pillowy, all so that you can bite into its softness and let the curry juice trickle down your throat. It makes an omelette far more sensuous than an omelette.

I don't know if anywhere other than in a Bengali home, an omelette is dunked into a gravy. Why you might ask ? I mean why can't you just eat an omelette like it is destined to be eaten?

For we like to change destiny, I say. For we see rainbow where you might just see a blue sky with white clouds. Nothing wrong with a blue sky and white clouds. But a rainbow adds magic. Just like the omellette in a jhol.

Now, there are many Bengali homes too where this dish is not the norm, like this dish was never made at my in-law's home and when I made it for the first time, they thought it was some crazy idea of mine.

But my Ma, has been making this for ages and I have always loved this slightly runny jhol with its potatoes and soft omelettes. Big Sis loves it much more than the regular egg curry aka dim er jhol and asks for it often. It is pretty simple to make too. Rice and omelette er jhol makes for a very comforting dinner for us.

Bengali Style Omellete er Jhol

First take 4 large eggs. Or more eggs if you so wish. Let us not even go into the conundrum of which comes first "Chicken or the Egg"

Now comes the difficult part. Break the eggs in a bowl, two at a time.

To it add
a tbsp of onion finely chopped
green chillies finely chopped
salt to taste
1 tbsp of milk
chopped coriander leaves(optional)
Beat them to a smooth mix

Now make an Omelette. Heat oil in a frying pan. Pour out the egg batter on the pan and swirl till the batter is evenly distributed and let it cook. Fold the omelette in half and cook both sides. Slide it out on a plate. When cool slice in two portions. You can also slice up in cubes or squares.

Making the thin gravy for Omlette er Jhol.

You can make a richer and thicker gravy if you so wish but we like a thin gravy.

Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a Kadhai/Saucier

Temper the Oil with
1 tsp of PaanchPhoron

When the seeds pop add half of a medium onion chopped fine + 2 green chillies slit along the length. Saute till onion softens.

Toss in 1 potato cut in thin half moon shapes. With a sprinkle of turmeric powder, fry the potatoes and onion until they turn golden. At this point the fried flavor of onion and potatoes will make you very hungry!

Next add a chopped tomato.

Add about 1/2 tsp of ginger paste. Fry for a couple of minutes. Tomato should be totally mushed up by now.

Meanwhile in a bowl add
1 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch/Red Chilli powder
pinch of turmeric powder
and mix well so that you have a smooth paste

Add this masala paste to the potatoes in the kadhai and cook at low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add about 2 cups of warm water, salt to taste and mix well. Let the gravy come to a simmer.

Cover and let the potatoes cook.

Once the potatoes are done, taste the curry and adjust for spices. You might like to add a little sugar to the jhol at this point.

Once the jhol/gravy is ready add the the omelette into the gravy and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Best served with rice.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Aam Pudina Grilled Murgi -- Chicken grilled with Mint-Green mango chutney

Yesterday was the dress rehearsal at LS's dance class. Being an Indian classical dance you can well imagine the lengths one had to go to, getting the child dressed. But this post is not about the dance so let us not deviate.

I usually drop Little Sis off at her dance class and come back to pick only later. Yesterday however I had to stay back to check with the teacher if the dress and get up was okay or anything more was to be done. The place was full of little girls all in traditional costume and their Moms. Mostly the parent/guardian was female so I assume it was the Mother except for one whose Dad was there.

Now on other days I see many Dads doing the drop off and pick up but yesterday it was mostly Mothers. I guess it was because they were in charge of the costume and make up for the child. Now this particular Dad who was there yesterday wasn't just doing a drop off. He had come armed with full knowledge of what his daughter's dress and makeup should be and was not afraid to ask questions. His daughter, a little girl of probably eight was beautifully dressed but was missing a couple of fake jewellery.There were a few other kids who were missing the same.

The teacher handed them the pieces and said it has to be secured with safety pins. Most of the Moms were clueless and did not have any safety pin on them. I myself had just bought a box of safety pins the day before and the box was tucked away at home.As we were looking around, this particular gentleman fished out a box of safety pins from his bag and fixed his daughter's jewellery. He then also took out some bobby pins and fixed her hair. When all was done, he shared a few of the safety pins with us too. I was really amazed at how well prepared and organized he was compared to moi. Maybe it his wife who had packed the bag, maybe it was his super organized nature but he seemed like a pretty good Dad to me.

The resident Dad is an all rounder and I often get to hear how my life is extremely easy as the Dad chips in.I am happy to see that there are more of his kind.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Aam Pudina Chaatni -- Mint and Green Mango Chutney

The school is wrapping up for the year and there are too many things going on. The middle schooler had her auditions for the school choir and band, and for two whole weeks the house reverberated with sounds of clarinet, piano and singing. Looked like the entire year of practice to be done at home, was crammed into the last two weeks of school. After several nail biting days of audition, first callbacks and waiting, finally the list was up. Big Sis was too happy to be selected for the school show choir and also got a chance in her school jazz band. She decided to go with the choir though and is already looking forward to the inter school competition at Hershey Park next year.

There is also music(vocal) and piano recitals as the year ends and honestly all this is too much of "kaalchar" for me.

The one recital that has me the most stressed though is Little Sis's dance recital next week.  This is LS's first year of BharataNatyam lessons and the dance school has a full fledged show to mark the year end. All these months LS has been dancing to glory in her shorts and tees and doing her aramandis and mudras with perfect comfort. Unlike BigSis, who never wanted to take dance lessons, LS took to classical Indian dance very naturally. However she treated the dance class just like her gymnastics class and wore what she was comfortable in, which again turns out to be shorts in summers and leggings in winter. I was perfectly fine with it.

The dance recital however demands full BharatNatyam regalia with costume, makeup, hair and what not. The costume had to be bought from the school and cost me E-I-G-H-T-Y dollars. A total rip off. And the size is 2 sizes big which means I am begging crafty friends to alter it for me. Then there is makeup. Yeah makeup! I  don't wear eye shadows and have two lipsticks in shades like burberry brown that last me for 2 years. So the word "makeup" sends a chill down my spine.

"They should wear gold eye shadow", says the dance school, "and red lipstick. Also eyes should be lined with kohl. Don't forget a red bindi for the forehead."

The more I hear all these the more I want to grab LS and walk away from this whole dance business. But I have to stay put. Which apparently is not a good idea, as there is hair to be done! LS has short hair and the teacher wants every kid to have their hair tied with garlands wound around it.
I mean seriously? What about free spirit and flying hair? Is their no such thing in classical Indian dance?

I have a really tough next week what with the dress rehearsal and then the actual recital and all that glittery eye shadow. Keep your fingers crossed so that I live to tell the tale.

On a brighter note, I have lots of mint aka pudina growing in my garden this year. Mint has a tendency to spread and grow and the few saplings that I had put down in the ground last year has morphed into a flourishing bush this year.

My Mom used to make a aam-pudina chutney with mint and green mangoes in the months of summer. The house help would make the paste in sil-nora, the flat pock marked piece of stone ubiqitious in all Indian homes to grind spices, and the green semi-liquid chutney would be a favorite accompaniment with musurir dal. It would be minty, tangy and sweet with a strong summery undertone. Yeah thats a lot of "y". So a friend of mine make this chutney too and recently reminded me of it.

I used a cup of mint leaves, half of a raw mango, two green chillies and made a paste with a splash of water. You can also add some coriander leaves to the mix.

I then added sugar and salt to the paste until it tasted just right. If your mango is not too sour add a little lime juice to makeup for the tang.

We are using this chaatni in abundance. I put it on top of grilled fish and also made a chicken with it. It is the perfect sauce or chutney for summer.

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