Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Giveaway because I love You

Because it is Durga Pujo and on Pujo we Bongs have a tradition of giving gifts to people we love, like, and dislike but pretend to like I am having a giveaway.

In your case though it is only love,like, love, like and so on.

You don't have to love me in return. But
1. You can Like my Blog on FaceBook

2. Read me without fail by Subscribing

3. Leave a comment telling me what you can do to bring world peace. Ok scratch that, here is an easier one.
Tell me in your comment "What is a forgotten food in your family that you would like to bring back"

I will pick ONE winner by random draw from the comments to this post.


The winner will be able to choose a gift from one of the following

1. Miss Masala by Mallika Basu -- I loved this book. It is a wonderful wonderful read with lovely recipes.

2.Garlic & Sapphire by Ruth Reichl -- This is another of Ruth Reichl's memoirs. I am a big fan of her writing . In this book Reichl focuses on her life as a food critic, dishing up a feast of fabulous meals enjoyed during her tenure at The New York Times.

3. An Amazon.com gift card worth $25.

Disclaimer: These gifts are not sponsored by anyone, not even the husband. I just wanted to share the spirit of the season and this is a small something from me to say "Thank You".
Books will be shipped only within US. I think the gift card can be used all over the world if I e-mail the gift card.

In your comment DO NOT tell me what you want instead answer the question I asked

"What is a forgotten food in your family that you would like to bring back"

I will announce the lucky person's name by end October.

Till then have Fun and wish Happy 4th Blog Birthday to Bong Mom's Cook Book in October.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kochur Loti diye Ilish Maach -- lost in translation

If someone told me last week that I would hardly find time to do things that are important to me, like cook or blog or browse blogs or do nothing this week, I would say "Pfbttttt".

And this week, I cannot tell you how much I am missing doing nothing.

If someone told me last year that I wouldn't miss Durga Pujo at all this year, I would roll my eyes and look away

But this year I really am not missing it. No nostalgia about sharat, sheuli, kashful whatsoever.

Nope, none, nada, zilch.

I am secretly happy that I don't have to push aside sweaty bodies smelling of jasmine and Aminia's biryani in Gariahat and prostrate at my tailors to get my salwar stitched in time. I don't have to decide which pandals to visit on Panchami when the crowd is at its mildest best and sit home on Ashtami watching "Sharodo Parikroma" on Television. And yes the food, the long wait for that single egg roll because it is Pujo, ahhh I have overcome that.

If someone told me last year that I would have "Kochur Loti diye Ilish er Matha" in my blog, I would say "In your dreams, dude".Ok, maybe not the "dude" part.

Yeah, really. Kochur loti ? Who am I kidding ?

I am sure my Ma cooked such stuff but honestly I have no memory of Kochur Loti from my childhood, teenhood, pre-adult hood, neighborhood...

But LS's baby sitter who is from Bangladesh and has this fond fascination for such things got a pack of Kochur Loti from where else but New York. I already had the Hilsa fish's head or Ilish maach er Matha languishing in the freezer, waiting to be thrown out, for my family detests such smelly things. So when LS's baby sitter said she wanted to make Kochur Loti with fish head, what did I have to loose ?

M Didi made this with onion, garlic, ginger and lots of chili. It was hot and happening.

I don't remember my Ma cooking it that way though. She belongs to a different genre. I am sure she made it with coconut and kala chana. I am not even sure if she added fish head.

Google tells me Kochur Loti is nothing but colocasia stem/shoots and it requires special technique of cooking to remove crystals of calcium oxalate. Kochu or Colocasia too has these crystals and cause itching if they are not removed by thorough cooking. These stems or shoots are very popular in Bangladesh and is now also popular in West Bengal. It is available in the US in South Asian grocery stores in the freezer aisle and a frozen packet costs around $2.

To cook Kochur loti with Ilish Macher Matha follow this recipe, looks pretty authentic. For vegetarian version just don't add fish head.

Edited To Add: The blog Akansha's Recipe, that I had linked earlier has stolen many blog posts and photos. I was not aware until Jaya of Spice and Curry told me she herself was a victim. This Plagiarism is killing us.

I do not have an exact recipe because I did not cook it. Here is how LS's sitter made it.

Wash and clean the fish head pieces and smear with salt and turmeric

Heat Mustard oil

Add ginger, garlic and onion. Fry well

Add the fish head pieces. Fry till they are lightly browned

Add the Kochur loti, Red Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder and salt to taste.

Keep stirring frequently at medium heat. Continue stirring till all the water released has dried up.

Add little more water and cover and cook till fish head is soft. Dry up excess water.
And since Durga Pujo is less than 3 weeks away and we know that you need to eat good food for that IS celebration, here are some things you can cook if you are stuck at home watching Pujo Porikroma on the telly. If you have a steel heart and iron arms , I am sure you will be out there during Pujo waiting behind umpteen people at the Phuchka wala outside the Mandap. Or do people go to Mainland China these days ?


Luchi Alur Dom ar Cholar Dal
Luchi ar Alu Charchari 
Doi Fulkopi




Bijoya Dashami

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mutton Rogan Josh -- any which way

Last week when I decided to cook Mutton Rogan Josh I found that it was as disputed as Park 51 if not more. There were several manifestations of the dish depending on where you came from.None radically different from each other but differing in subtleties that was enough to cause mayhem. Every one looked down upon the other Rogan Josh and there was much confusion about the authentic version.

For all you know Rogan Josh could be God.

From the several sites I visited I could narrow it down to the following.
Not God, Rogan Josh !

1. Authentic Rogan Josh -- This is the version created by the Kashmiri Brahmins, a clan who ruled India after the Mughals and Brits. Kashmiri Brahmins have the same food philosophy as Bengali Brahmins and are happy to eat meat as long as it is made satwik way with no onion or garlic. This version of the Rogan Josh has no onion or garlic but has Hing/Asafoetidia. The red color of the dish is brought by a root known as "Ratan Jot" found only in the Kashmir Valley. Recipe is here and here and here...

2. British Indian Rogan Josh -- This is the version created by HaraCurry Singh Patak in Glasgow, UK. This version was cooked like any other mutton dish with onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in the small galley kitchen but was given a brand new name. It was made mild so as not to upset the Brits who loved curry and HaraCurry. Soon it became popular among Indians and non-Indians living abroad and depending on the heat tolerance quotient(HTQ) of the clients the dish was made Red with Red Chili Powder, Red with Kashmiri Mirch or Orange with Food Coloring, the last being the most popular.

3. North Indian Rogan Josh -- Exactly same as British Indian Rogan Josh, made popular in Delhi by HaraCurry Singh Patak's second cousin Dhaba Singh Telwala. The cousins share the exact same recipe and this version only differs in the amount of oil floating on top of the dish. Grease being not a problem in India and available cheap the chef uses all kinds in this dish.

4. South Indian Rogan Josh -- This recipe was a novel creation by Swami Idli Iyer who had fallen in love with this dish on his tryst with the Brits in the late 1940's. Swami never told his mother Rasam Amma that he ate meat, smoked tobacco and never took his meals at Chennai Tiffin while in London.Instead he told her Rogan Josh-a was made with Jackfruit and was offered as Prasadam at the Balaji temple in UK. His version has fragrant curry leaves and grated coconut and is popular in Udupi restaurants.

5. Bengali Rogan Josh -- This version was created by Mishti Kumro Mukherjee who on her visit to Delhi was as impressed by the height and physique of the Punjabis as she was with the Red Fort. She took to feeding her "roga"(thin) son Rogan Josh every day at lunch since she felt that is what made the Paanjabi "mota"(fat translates to strong in Bengali) and not "roga" and also gave them "Josh"(fame & money). She added a good amount of sugar to this dish to make it mishti and marinated the mutton in mustard oil. No news of the son was ever reported.

6. Madhur Jaffrey Rogan Josh-- Whether this version was created by Madam Jaffrey, her mother's cook or a cook at Sitar I cannot tell. This version has onion and garlic but no tomatoes. It is made by people who blog and are not sure of what is the exact way to make Rogan Josh. The recipe is from here and it says Preparation Time :0:00, whatever that means.

*Recipe Number 2 to 5 are partly figments of the author's demented mind who has lots of time on her hand today. They do exist though.

If I am honest and look deep down in my heart and squint through the arteries, blood vessels, muscles and whatever they have there I should tell you that I wanted to make Rogan Josh as per Recipe Number 1. The only reason why Number 1 tilted my favor is it does not have onion. I can go any lengths to not chop an onion. I am lazy that way.

However I was supposed to take the mutton dish to a Bong Picnic and anyone who has been to a Bong Picnic knows how important a role food plays there. Bongs do not play badminton, antakshari, cricket or dumb charade at Picnics. They eat and chat and eat in a vicious cycle. I couldn't take risks at such a place. I have never cooked mutton sans onion & garlic. If my mutton dish faltered, I could as well be ousted and denied the Luchi, Alur Dom, Lyangcha which also featured on the menu. So I chose recipe Number 6, simply because of the brand name which backed it.

Recipe Number 6 was actually great. Even the measures worked perfect. I however added Fennel seed Powder from Recipe 1 to this one because I thought it would give this dish the unique flavor. In the end it was not a whole lot different from any other mutton curry but it definitely was one more great mutton curry. Go cook your own version of Mutton Rogan Josh or just follow this one. If you don't eat mutton substitute with chicken or jackfruit(kathal), really.


Mutton Rogan Josh

This is an easy dish to cook and the only factor is time taken to cook the mutton. Do not use pressure cooker to cook the meat, the flavor comes out only on slow cooking.

What You Need

Mutton(Goat meat) or Lamb ~ 2 &1/2 lb, shoulder or front leg cut in medium pieces
Marinate the meat for 2-3 hours in 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 2 tsp vinegar or lime juice, a little turmeric and salt

For Gravy

Fresh Ginger peeled and chopped ~ 2"
Garlic ~ 8 fat cloves

Onion ~ 2 cups finely chopped

Yogurt ~ 6 tbsp

Oil for Cooking

Spices in Gravy

Cumin powder ~ 2 tsp
Corriander Powder ~ 1 tsp
Fennel Seed Powder ~ 2 tsp
Kashmiri Mirch ~ 1 tsp or more to get the coloring
Red Chili Powder ~ 1/2 tsp to start and then to taste

Pepper powder ~ 1/4 tsp
Garam masala ~ 1/4 tsp

For Tempering

Green Cardamom/Choti Elaichi ~ 6-8 pods
Black Cardamom/Badi Elaichi ~ 2 pods
Bay Leaf/Tej Patta ~ 2 small
Clove/Laung ~ 6 whole
Whole Black peppercorn/Kali Mirch ~ 10 whole
Cinnamon/Dalchini ~ one 2" stick
Mace/Javetri ~ 1/2 tsp

How I Did It

Marinate the mutton as instructed for 2-3 hours in 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 2 tsp vinegar or lime juice, a little turmeric and salt

Put the ginger, garlic and very little water in a blender and blend well into a smooth paste.

Heat White oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium-high flame. Add the meat in a single layer and saute till they are browned. Add a dash of Kashmiri Mirch while frying the meat. Remove and set aside.

Temper the same oil with all spices listed under tempering. Wait a few seconds for the spices to sizzle.

Now add the onion. Fry the onions to a medium brown color.

Add the ginger-garlic paste that you made and saute for the next minute or so.

Now add the dry spices the Cumin Powder, Corriander powder, Fennel powder, Kashmiri Mirch and red Chili Powder. With a sprinkle of water fry the masala till you see oil separating from the edges.

Now add the browned meat cubes along with the meat juices. Mix well so that the meat is coated with the masala. Now lower the heat and put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and stir and fry for about 30 seconds until yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time in the same way. Stir and fry for another 3-4 minutes at low heat.

Add 1&1/2-2 cups of water and salt to taste. Mix everything well, scraping the sides and bottom of cooking pot. Bring the gravy to a boil.Check to see if salt and red chili powder is in correct amount. If you need it more hot add more chili powder.

Cover, turn heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour or two until meat is tender. Every 10 minutes give the pot a good stir to prevent burning. If the gravy is becoming too dry add some more water.
When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the fire to medium high and boil off some of the excess liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened.

Sprinkle the garam masala and black pepper over the dish and mix them in just before you serve it.

Trivia: Rogan means oil in Persian, while josh means heat, hot, boiling, or passionate. Rogan josh thus means cooked in oil at intense heat. Another interpretation of the name rogan josh is derived from the word rogan meaning color and josh meaning passion, hot or red. So this is a meat dish which is red in color.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Raspberry Cup Cakes for a Tea Party

In the age and place I live, people are strange. They do not drink tea. Even if they do, it is the weird stuff, the echinacea tea, the dandelion tea, "please-don't-drink-me" tea but very rarely ever the simmering on the stove-frothy-milky-sweet-dhaba-style Indian tea.

I like the last kind. I patiently wait for the milk and water to simmer and froth, to put a teaspoonful of Lipton Red Label, to soak an Earl Grey tea bag in it, to sweeten it with sugar or Truvia when feeling guilty and then dunking my Marie Biscuit in that hot tea before I take a sip.

I do that every afternoon disregarding cries from my neglected kids who haven't seen their Mother all day. But I just need my tea exactly so, I need my inner strength to face home after a long day and so I brew my tea. The kids get a Marie Biscuit each, they are allowed to dunk their biscuits in my steaming cup. Their baby hands falter and often a sliver of Marie sinks into my tea, it's lumpy form settling at the bottom of my cup. Some days I don't mind. On rough days I do, I want to sip my tea in peace without a lump of Marie in the dredges.

But I never have a tea party. I don't call people and invite them to one. Not that anyone would come if I asked. Unless I said I would fry some pakodis and promised a dinner after wards. I have great friends that way. People don't have time to sit down and talk over only tea, they would rather grab a coffee and go and call to chat.

People have changed. They don't call out for "duto half cha"(two half tea) to justify their sitting and smoking all day on the rickety bench by Montuda's canteen. They don't acknowledge your hard work. No one thinks twice about passing your Mom's recipe as their own.They don't give you credit if it was actually you who inspired them. Being polite is no longer the norm.

So I drink my tea all by myself. I like it that way better. Even with the sunken Marie.

These Raspberry Cup Cakes are from Madhuram's Vegan Strawberry Cup Cakes. It was HC's raspberry cup cakes which had actually pushed me towards baking some. But I wanted an eggless version, and I wanted raspberry. Madhuram's strawberry cup cakes came to the rescue. They have vinegar. Can you believe...VINEGAR ? I was so awed by vinegar in the cake thing that I simply had to do it. And it is amazing, those cakes actually rise and are so moist inside without the buttery richness.

Since I used raspberry and not strawberry the measures were a little off for me. I added almost 3/4 th cup of milk and 2 tbsp of oil extra because my batter had become very thick. But those cakes were awesome. While serving I slathered some raspberry jelly on top and made a butter cream frosting like Happy Cook does. Only mine weren't as pretty as hers. Thanks Madhuram and Happy Cook.

I don't have any measurements so the recipe I have here is exactly like the original . But I did have to make some adjustments and I will add that as a Note.

Cup Hanger from Mother's Day

And yes I did have them with my tea, only I had my tea in under 6 minutes and that cup that you see in the first pic does not have tea. It is so pretty, a friend got me a pair from Italy and I don't drink from it. I just stare at it while I drink from my regular cup, that one I got from the job fair, the job fair which never resulted in a job...ok whatever.

Does this make this post good enough for a Tea Party at Anita's ? If yes, over there it goes.


Original Recipe

Raspberry Cup Cakes

Preheat Oven to 350F

In a saucepan put about 20 raspberries, sprinkle with 2tbsp sugar, a little lime juice and let it sit for 30 mins. Then make a raspberry filling like this, only I didn't make mine very thick. Or else just puree the raspberrys.

In a mixing bowl combine together
1 & 3/4 cup flour,
1 tsp baking soda and
1 cup sugar.

In another bowl, mix
1/2 cup oil,
1 tbsp white vinegar/apple cider vinegar and
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add the raspberry filling that you made to above and mix. It won't mix well but try.

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir together but do not over stir.
Note: At this point my batter was very thick. So I added almost 3/4 cup of Milk and 1-2 tbsp of oil. I did this gradually starting with little milk so that I did not add excess milk.

Grease 12 muffin cups or cup cake liners. Pour the batter in them

Bake for about 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, slather the cupcakes with raspberry preserve, butter cream and top each with a whole raspberry.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

If you are a sucker for Numbers-Thank You..if Not-Thank You

Thanks for the 1.5 million hits.

You guys mean a lot to me. Without you this would never have been possible.

Trust me, except for me, the hub and my Dad, no one I know and influence in real life visits this blog.

My Dad has a slow connection and accounts for maybe 1% of the hits.

The hub has blogger blocked at work, he can do only so much on his blackberry -- 0.5 %

Me -- ok, ok 2%

The rest 96.5% is you guys who came, Visited, Liked, Subscribed and Searched.

Thank You from the bottom of my heart, even the one who searched for "arun sour daey a girl hot video" and landed here.

I hope you like what you get here, except for ummm..."hot video"...I will see if I can do anything for you next time. For now be happy with a "hot curry".

We will celebrate in 2 weeks time, stay tuned.

"Ganapati Bappa Moriya, Pudhaycha Varshi Laukar ya"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Samwich -- Sandwich

Easy, quick meals is my mantra these days.

In my late twenties I would have scoffed at "meal" and "mantra" being uttered in the same breath and dialed DeenDayal Dabba Delivery or Shanghai Indian Chinese for the quickest route to nirvana. If DeenDayal refused or my delicate digestive system protested I would say "Yenna Rascala" and throw potatoes, egg and rice in the pressure cooker. In under 20 minutes I would have a princely meal of alu seddho(mashed potatoes), dim seddho(boiled eggs), bhaat(rice) and ghee with a tender kancha lonka(green chili) to be bitten into.

As I even write the above line, I have a strong desire to do it again. The "alu seddho-bhaat" part I mean. Ok, ok even the "Yenna Rascala" part.

But growing up to be in the wrong side of thirties comes with it's own baggage. Blogging adds to it. So even though Indian cuisine has a plethora of quick-easy meals, Dal-Chawal cooked in the Pressure Cooker being a prime example, I don't do that.

I make sandwiches.

And I intend to write erudite sentences like "And what works better than a sandwich for a quick easy meal, may I ask ?"

So we have had sandwiches for dinner exactly 4 nights in the last 3 weeks. The sandwich toaster languishing in some dark corner of the closet has been fished out, dusted, wiped and given a warm hug.

"Why didn't I think of you in my dark, cranky, loony days ?", I croon to her, the sandwich toaster, in a hushed tone. Yeah I am weird and I have phases. Currently it is the sandwich's turn. Let it bask in unrequited love till Dal-Chawal pushes it over.

The idea of the first meatball sandwich with mushroom comes from the Pioneer Woman. Also the term "fry sauce" which I then saw in the price club's flyer last month

If you have the ground chicken do everything like my Chicken MeatBall post and instead of making spherical shapes make patties. Or if you have those chicken meatballs already, just use them. Drizzle a little olive oil and pan fry or bake them.

Now heat some olive oil in a fry pan. Add onion and saute till soft. Add some chopped mushroom, a little garlic, salt and lots of black pepper powder. Saute till the water from mushroom has dried up and it is cooked.

Take a slider or a whole wheat burger bread. Mix a little mayo with Maggi hot & sweet ketchup. This apparently is called Fry sauce. Only no one but me uses Maggi Hot & Sweet, actually they use some ketchup or hot sauce and cayenne. Slather this on the bread. For a Desi touch, use green corriander chutney instead but that doesn't go too well with the onion+mushroom combo.

Place the chicken/balls/patty strategically on it. I halve the chicken balls and place them on the bread.

Heap the onion+mushroom on it. Sprinkle some grated cheese. Pop in the oven and broil till cheese melts.

Put the other half of bread slathered with the same sauce on top. There is your sandwich with dark,musky secrets inside. Yum, yum.

The idea for the Tomato sandwich cones from One Hot Stove.

In a bowl put some chopped fresh tomatoes. The tomatoes need to be good, fresh ones, the one's from Patel Cash & Carry will not seal the deal. Add some chopped fresh basil. Sprinkle some salt and fresh ground black pepper. Drizzle a little Olive Oil. Let the tomatoes sit for 15 minutes.

Now take a slice of whole wheat bread. Slather it with a green corriander chutney. I used straight from a jar. It is beautiful. Heap the tomatoes on the bread. Sprinkle grated cheese. I used Taco Blend. Cover with another slice of whole wheat bread and pop in the sandwich toaster till it magically turns into a sandwich that shrieks spring even in Fall.

Tomorrow we will make Rogan Josh, maybe Not.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Alu Gajor er Tarkari

School has started. The weather too has decided that summer vacation is over. The car windows have signs of frost in the mornings and dusk comes in early. BS started 2nd grade and seems to like her class teacher a lot.

We have the same bus driver since last year, a sweet soul who drops off BS right in front of home and always has a cheery word in the morning. This is important because our current situation is such that walking even a few yards to a bus stop and waiting for the bus to drop off in the afternoon would be very inconvenient. The driver could have easily told us to do that given that there is one more kid down the road but thankfully she didn't. Thank God and bus drivers for the small blessings they scatter our way.

The only change BS faces is in her section and hence a change in some classmates. She hasn't complained about it yet and continues to meet her old friend during recess.

The morning commute however has been worse, worser(?), worsest(?) with start of school and looks like it is me who is the most overwhelmed with the start of a new school year. There is so much to get done during a day that I just wish the earth would spin slower or the girls grow up magically and go to college, live in a dorm, make their own meals and leave me alone. It is another thing that when that time comes I will cry my heart out, write sob stories and book a vacation to Greenland.

Talking of growing up either I am going nuts or the world is no longer the place of my childhood but I seem to have weighted questions on my mind these days. Like how do I tell BS to be safe when I am not around, I meant not "not around for ever", momentarily, an hour or two or eight. Like is it okay to drop her off at one of her activity classes and then spend that 45 minutes contemplating what to make for dinner while roaming the streets with shrieking LS in the car seat.

Do you sit through your kid's activity classes or do you just drop and pick up ? What if it is a solo activity and you are not too familiar with the instructors ? What do you do, I desperately need to know.

The Alu Gajor er Tarkari/Potato and Carrot sabzi is a quick dry dish usually prepared during the winter days back home when the first sweet orange carrots of the season have made their appearance and green peas are in plenty. It would be served with rutis hot off the tawa on cold evenings or with parota/paratha on Sunday breakfast.

I made neither ruti nor parota. But I like it with rice and BS does too.

Sometimes I give BS rice mixed with a dry vegetable dish or lemon rice/fried rice for her school lunch.This was a friend's brilliant idea and works for at least one lunch a week. The Alu Gajor er tarkari works well towards that purpose. I wish I could say BS happily ate this lunch of hers. But I will be honest, she didn't. I made her eat the leftover at home though and that she happily did.


Alu Gajor er Tarkari

Chop 3 potatoes in small cubes.

Peel and chop fresh carrots in cubes or longitudinally(cubes preferred). You can use frozen mix of carrots and peas too. I had 1 cup of carrots and 1/4 cup of green peas.

Heat Olive Oil/Canola Oil in a fry pan

Temper the oil with 1/2 tsp of Kalonji/Nigella Seeds and 4 green chili. If you like the smell of Hing/Asafoetida add a pinch

When the spices pop, add the potatoes and 1/4 tsp of turmeric. Saute for a minute

Add the carrots and saute for one more minute. Next add the peas. Add salt to taste.
Edited to Add: I add a tsp of fresh grated ginger too. I forgot.

Cover and cook with intermittent stirring. Sprinkle a little water if necessary, only little. The potatoes should retain their form and not be mushed up.

When the veggies are all done, not mushed up but done, add a few drops of lime juice and adjust for seasonings. This is usually a light dish with no spices overpowering the taste.

Similar Recipes:

Beet Gajor Chechki

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Doi Murgi -- Dahi Murg

She wanted to make Dahi Murg today. From that Madhur Jaffrey book sitting on her dresser. The one she had checked out from the local library three months back and never renewed or returned.

The book was a treasure of good life made better with excellent food. She wished she had that kind of life, the kind spiced up with green mangoes sprinkled with red chili powder, the one rich and sensuous like the Chicken korma on Page 123, the flirty kind with a dance or two and spicy bazaar wale aloo on the side.

But no, here she was doing her second laundry of the day, while folding the first neatly. Then she had to clean the kitchen, the breakfast mess from morning and vacuum the family room. By 9 she had to be out to her job where all she did was sit in a small cubicle and enter data on a dumb screen. 8 hours of that sterile environment and her was numb by the time the clock said 5:30.

The only interesting part of the day was the half hour lunch break when she could sample Cathy's ravioli, Sujata's rawa idli and discuss Ingrid's non-existent love life. The days the girls praised her aloo-paratha or drooled over her butter chicken life seemed a lot better though. Her kohl bereft eyes shone as they praised her cooking prowess.

They would ask her the recipe in details. How many onion, chopped or sliced, paste or not, red or white... so many questions. She would preen secretly and patiently answer. Her voice glided from dull to sensuous while explaining the onion's color and shape. With a sparkle in her eye, she could go into details about how exactly the oil separating from the masala should look and what it meant to beat an egg white to stiffness.

Today though nothing like that happened. No one said a word about her aloo-gobi. Instead they praised the Swiss chocolates Ingrid's boyfriend had got. She finished her lunch in a short fifteen minute span and went back to sit in front of her screen. "No point talking to these girls and wasting time", she thought to herself . She would rather go home 15 minute early and start on that Dahi Murg.

It was almost dark by the time she returned home. After school, she had to take Nutan for karate and Rakesh for his ballet lessons. Everyday there was some chore or other to be done after work and finally when she could plonk herself on the couch with a cup of tea she would be totally out. Today she sat at her exact spot, her back resting against the arm rest, her feet stretched out, her fingers flipping through Jaffrey's "Climbing the Mango Trees". Yes, there was Dahi Murg, Chicken in a Yogurt Sauce on Page 134. She read and re-read the one page recipe, raising a eyebrow there, furrowing a forehead here.

"10 cloves of Garlic. Ahhh, now that sure is much. What was Madame Jaffrey thinking ?", she called out loud. The children used to such ramblings didn't turn a head and continued their work.

"Some Kasoori Methi would deepen the flavor in this dish, I am sure. And cashew paste, yes that would be perfect. I will see how Sujata will ignore my Dahi Murg tomorrow", she said with a steely determination in her voice.

She then flipped her phone and pulled up the Address Book.

D -- for Desi Khana...naah they don't do non-veg.

G -- Ghar ka Khana ...their aloo-gobi today was a total failure.

H -- Hardeb Home Delivery...now this was a guy who could deliver. His Shahi Egg Masala on Tuesday was so delicious that Cathy had asked in an incredulous voice " How can you cook such difficult dishes after a long day ?". She had smiled and doled out Cathy some more of the Masala.

She quickly pressed Hardeb's number. Hardeb on the other side was clearly pleased to hear his regular and connoisseur customer's voice.

"Dahi Murg? Sure Madam. Tomorrow by 8 we will deliver at your home", Hardeb's greasy voice said. "Yes, yes, Kasoori Methi and Cashew paste Madam. No, no Kari Patta.Sure Ma'm. Thank You Ma'm"

She took a deep breath. She could smell the slender sticks of cinnamon and the dark, rough, tiny peppercorns dancing in the hot oil. The Dahi Murg was going to be lovely. Hardeb had never failed her.

Tomorrow she would explain to Sujata what exactly needs to be done so that the Dahi, the Yogurt does not break in the gravy.


This is my entry for Of Chalks and Chopsticks hosted by Jaya @ Desi Soccer Mom and started by Aqua.

My Ma used to make a Doi Murgi -- a Chicken in yogurt sauce, long time back. Her recipe was based on the Doi Maach. I somehow never made it. Many years later I saw a Dahi Murg in Jaffrey's book which reminded me of my Ma's Doi Murgi. In between these episodes, Bong Working Mom had mentioned a Doi Murgi/Doi Chicken in her comments which I vaguely remembered.This recipe is an amalgamation of all the above recipes. I loved the addition of Kasoori Methi that BWM introduced and I really think it adds a wonderful flavor to this dish. You can skip Kasoori Methi and Cashew for Madhur Jaffrey's version.


Doi Murgi -- Chicken in Yogurt Sauce

What You Need

Chicken ~ 2lb--3 lb. I buy a whole small chicken which is almost 3lb, after removing skin etc. the weight would be around 2-2&1/2 lb I think.

I have given a range for the garlic, ginger etc. because I think it depends on individual taste. The original recipe suggests about 20 clove of garlic. Now my garlic cloves are much fatter than the ones I have seen in India so I think 4 fat ones is fine for me in this dish which has little gravy and in which I didn't feel the need of too much garlic. You are free to improvise.

For marinade

Ginger paste ~ 1 tbsp
Garlic paste ~ 1tsp
Corriander powder ~ 1 tsp
Cumin Powder ~ 1 tsp
Garam masala ~ 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder ~ 1/2 tsp
Yogurt ~ 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

For Gravy

Onion ~ 1&1/2 -- 2 cup of chopped red onion OR 1 large US size red onion
Garlic ~ 4-5 fat ones
Ginger ~ 1 heaped tbsp of chopped Ginger

Yogurt ~ 1 cup
Cashew ~ 1 tbsp

Kasoori Methi ~ 1/2-1 tbsp
Kashmiri Mirch ~ 1/4-1/2 tsp (depending on taste)
Red Chili Powder ~ depending on taste

For tempering

Cinnamon ~ 2" long & thin stick
Clove ~ 5
Cardamom ~ 5
Whole Black Peppercorn ~ 8-10

How I Did It

Marinate the chicken for 30mins to an hour with all ingredients listed under marinade.

Heat about 3 tbsp of Oil in a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai. Temper the Oil with
2" thin stick of Cinnamon,
5 Clove/Laung
5 Green Cardamom/Elaichi
8-10 Whole black Peppercorn

Add about 1&1/2 -- 2 cup of chopped red onion and fry the onion with 1/2 tsp of sugar till onion is soft and browned on the edges.

Make a paste of
4-5 fat cloves of garlic 1 heaped tbsp of fresh chopped & peeled ginger 2-3 green chili(optional) very little water

Add this paste to the pan and saute for 2 minutes, sprinkling water if necessary.

Add the chicken pieces shaking off any excess liquid and fry the chicken pieces till they are lightly browned. Let it cook uncovered at medium heat for the next 10 mins or so, with frequent stirring. You might need to add a tbsp of oil at this stage. This process of stirring and cooking is actually called "bhuno" in Hindi or "kashano" in Bengali. At the end of this process you will see the oil separating , that indicates good things are in the making.

Now add
1/2-1 tbsp of Kasoori Methi crushed between your palm
1/2 - 1 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch(or Red Chili Powder)
Saute for 1 more minute

Take the pan off heat and wait for a minute. Meanwhile prepare a smooth paste of 1 tbsp of cashew and 1 cup of thick Yogurt. If you are afraid of Yogurt tending to break, wait for the pan to cool a little before adding the yogurt. You can also add a pinch of flour to the yogurt.
Add this to the pan and mix with the chicken pieces so that all the pieces are uniformly coated.
Wait for maybe 1 more minute, to err on the side of caution, and then put the pan back on low heat.

Let it cook at low heat for 2 minutes. Now add about 1 cup of water, salt to taste, mix everything and let it come to a simmer at medium heat. Cover and cook till chicken is done.

Taste and adjust for seasonings. The gravy should not be too much but clinging to the chicken pieces. If you see gravy is watery reduce the gravy by removing cover and letting it simmer.
Serve with Rice or Roti.