Friday, February 22, 2013
Chirer pulao featured a close second in my "Most wanted School Lunch" list as a kid.
The winner was almost always the egg noodles.
Third and Fourth place were tied and was either a fried rice, savory french toasts or aloo paratha. Yes, my mother packed good lunches.
As far as I go Chirer Pulao is largely similar to a Poha, with small differences like the former does not have kari patta, is sweeter and is overall Bong. The experts may differ. My Mother made chirer pulao with a tadka of mustard seeds and finished it with lime juice and fresh coriander leaves. It would be a little sweet and tart. That chirer pulao would be studded with crunchy brown friend chinebadam pale on the inside, alu bhaja -- finger length potatoes fried and soft and soft green jewel like green pea motorshuti . It was a simple dish, I thought.
The first time I tried to make it on my own in the US, my self-esteem took a good beating. The chirer pulao turned into a chirer khichuri. And it all happened in the split second that I was searching for the mustard seeds while the poha was soaking. I did not know of a term called "mise en place" and I did not know I was using thin poha. It was the wrong kind. The thick poha stands a better chance of holding its own and is the poha of choice for Chirer Pulao.
Having survived that tragedy, I have been making the chirer pualo the way my Mother makes until that is this Monday.
This Monday I decided to add oats to chirer pulao. Why you ask ? Why not just let oats be and eat it as a breakfast cereal.
Well, while me and the husband eat a decent amount of oatmeal, the kids do not. They don't like the texture. Since I was making this for BS's school lunch, I thought why not make it a bit more healthy by adding steel cut oats. I mean people make oats upma all the time so why not this.I used only 1/4 cup of steel cut oats and 1 cup of poha and then cooked and rinsed the oatmeal to remove the slimy texture. The end result was pretty good if I may say so myself.
I was pretty impressed by my fine sense of culinary mix and match (ahem) and just when I was feeling a wee bit like Marc Samuelsson this conversation happened.
The husband(who was at work on Monday and would be back next day): What did you make today ?
Me: I made a Chire Oats er Pulao for tomorrow's lunch.It turned out so good.
He: Oats and Chire together ? ***Followed by Long silence ***
Me: Yeah, why ? It is really good.
He: Amake khete hobe na to ? I hope there will be none left by the time I return.
But of course I did not let that bother me. The lunch was packed for BigSis next day and she did not complain.
For the recipe of Chirer Pulao with Oats check my blog for kids where I am storing lunch box ideas.