When I was vacillating between blogging and not-blogging a month or two back, I realized two things.
I referred to my blog to cook. Yes, things have gotten that bad over here. Of course I don't trust myself that much and 1" inch of ginger does not warrant an exact measure but I do look up my recipes and then bring out my teaspoons and tablespoons and on days I am feeling gloomy add 2 tsp of Red Chili Powder where it said only one.So Suanta, whoever you are, when you say "Bit peculiar recipes with mild taste...maybe for weak stomach" -- yeah those are my happy days.
The second and more important thing I realized is, I needed my blog to remember.
No, not recipes but small moments in the life of two little girls as they grow up. When we were kids, there were many people cris-crossing through our lives remembering snapshots in time as we grew up. While parents remembered us as a whole, the uncles, the aunts, the grandparents, the dudhwala, the Shanti's Ma remembered how we would love the nimki at the bhujia store, how we insisted on helping with the jharu, how we said "kapekha" and not "opekha". As they talked, reminding us at our 20th birthday about our love for "nimpi" at 3, these childhood snippets took form of a legend.
At 20 I hated such legends.
In my mid-thirties not so much. Now that some of those people are no longer there to remind me how much water I wasted during my baths, I try to remember them. And strangely I do so, by iterating over those snippets they once remembered about me.
My girls' life with all the fullness lacks people to remember things. Yes, there is the camcorder but that is never taken out at the right moment. If at all, it records a staged life rather than the au naturel.
So if I do not write about how Little S loves eating bamboo shoot from the Thai Red Curry at the restaurant and calls it "bangashur", how the heck will we talk about it 30 years later ?
Like say about this other day when LS broke two of my precious vase that stand right by the fireplace. I loved those. I mean as much as you can love a "vase". For someone like me, that is quiet a lot.I had once screamed when a little boy running around had so much as chipped one of them.
So the other day when I came home and entered a house resounding with eerie silence I didn't once think it was to do with the vase. But Big Sis whispered into my ears, that the vase were gone, LS had shattered them and she had given LS a scolding followed by "thup thup" on her butt. LS sat quietly on her haunches, in a corner, behind the couch. I didn't feel like scolding her. That was a big change in me I realized. Instead I thought of what I could now buy at Pier1.
Later I sat her down and tried explaining why she should not go around home breaking things. Maybe there was not much conviction in my voice. After much explanation when I asked "Tumi bujhecho ki bollam(Did you understand what I told you ?)", she looked at me with her big eyes, said "kichui bojheni(I didn't understand anything)" and with that skipped away.
This I really need to remember for ever. It is important.
Also the fact that LS sat through the entire movie of "Mars needs Moms", in a dark theater, munching chips and trying to climb chairs. She wasn't even a wee bit scared. And that is because her review of the movie said "Chele ta broccoli khelona, cat ke diye dilo, tai or Ma khub boklo( the boy did not eat broccoli, gave it to the cat, so his Mom scolded him)". Regarding everything that happened there after she just shrugged.
And then the whispering and telling of secrets, a new skill she had acquired. She will come up close to my ear and in a hushed tone say totally illegible things. In response, I will say "Tai naki?" and act surprised. She too will act all astonished at the big secret that has been shared.
Big Sis teaches LS her alphabets. And honestly what little LS has learned is thanks to her Didi. These days she goes around writing the letter "A" and tells all and sundry, "Ami A likthe pari, B likhte pari na (I can write A but not B)"
These are as important to remember as is this recipe of Chicken Korma which my friend R makes. It is really wonderful, by the way. I love all the spices going into this chicken and it is pretty easy considering that it has such a heavy duty name of "Korma" assigned to it.
I will not go into any debate regarding whether this IS a korma or not. I really do not know what a Korma makes. The other recipe of Chicken Korma that I have is from Madhur Jaffrey, it has almonds and is pretty good too.
This one I find is pretty simple and a lot of the work can be done before hand. So works perfect when you are expecting guests and have a lot to cook. Don't get intimidated by all the spices. I found all of them tucked away some where in the pantry except the white pepper powder.
If I am cooking this on a Sunday for a family meal, I use the pressure Cooker.At the point where oil is surfacing, close the lid of the Pressure cooker and cook till chicken is done.Takes about 4-5 mins after full pressure in my cooker. The advantage of using the cooker is after the chicken is done, I cook rice in the same cooker with a little stock from the chicken gravy remaining to flavor the rice. It tastes wonderful and there is one less utensil to wash.
Both the girls love this Korma and the rice. It makes for a Happy Meal.
One more Chicken Korma
Marinate 2lb Chicken(skinless & cut in pieces) with
4 hot green chili coarsely pounded
1 tbsp Garlic Paste,
2 tbsp Ginger paste,
1 tsp Corriander powder,
1 tsp Cumin Powder,
Garlic Powder(I used about 1/2tsp),
Ginger Powder(sonth)(I used about 1/2 tsp),
1 tsp Pepper Powder(White is better),
Cinnamon Powder(About 1/4th tsp),
Mace Powder (Just crush some mace roughly in a mortar to make 1/4th-1/2tsp) ,
Nutmeg Powder( I grated a nutmeg to make roughly 1/4th tsp),
Note: When I am cooking this for everyone including the kids, I skip the hot green chili. Instead I add it later at the very end of the cooking process. Also add Red chili powder and increase spices if you like it that way.
Chop 1 & 1/2 of a a large onion in chunks. Saute till onion is brown on the edges, around 4-5 minutes.
In a blender put
1 cup thick yogurt
Make a fine paste
Heat Oil in a heavy bottomed deep pan or use a Pressure cooker.
Temper the Oil with
4 green cardamom,
10 whole black peppercorn
Add the marinated chicken pieces.
Saute/Fry for 10-15 minutes till chicken loses raw color and starts turning golden
Add the onion + yogurt paste. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
Let the masala cook. Sprinkle some water if necessary. When you see oil surfacing add about 1/2 cup of water and let the gravy simmer to a boil. Adjust for salt and other seasonings.
Cook till chicken is done.Garnish with chopped corriander leaves if you so desire.