There has been no posts in this blog for a long time and I wish there was good enough reason for it. Something like "Ta Da, I have been busy publishing my second book and third, so the blog has been given a period of rest". Or even better, something like "I have been on a world tour and that is taking up all my time you know, so things on the blog have been a bit slow". At least anything better than "It has been cold and I have been lazy to even wiggle my fingers out of the throw, wrapped in which I sit at the corner of my couch, and watch back-to-back episodes of Big Bang Theory".
But that is the truth.The last bit. I have been lazy. And it has been cold. Bitter cold and plenty of snow.What else do you expect January to be at 40.0000° N, 74.5000° W anyway ? To top it all the husband-man had kind of taken over the kitchen in the last couple of months. If you have known me for some time via blog, book or real life you surely know the brilliance of husband-man around the kitchen. He was the one who started early in the culinary department, is a better cook than me and has far better knife skills. Now all of this is really great things to have in a spouse until that is some 8-9 years back I myself found some interest in cooking. Initially the husband-man took my pottering around the kitchen mildly. He has a high faluting standard and a lot of the time I fell far short of it. That did not deter me though. I was finding cooking very enjoyable and tried to take away the ladle and spoon from him. I know, I know, you would think of it as the most un-feministic stance but hey, a girl gotta do what she wants.
Now, you would also say, why couldn't we cook together in there ? A valid question and it works fine when I can bark orders and he acts as merely the sous chef. But when he is in charge, let me tell you it is not easy to cook with someone who thinks your onions are not sliced the right thin and who judges you for charring the all-clad stainless steel saucier. Given that I was the one one guilty of those acts, you can well imagine, why I wanted to be left to cook in peace and asymmetric onion slices.
At this point, I have to take a breather and say, my heart goes out to a lot of the husbands who beat a quick retreat from the kitchen under such remarks. Guys, I am with you. Learn from me. Stand your own ground. If you are passionate about cooking, your time will come.
So anyway, what with his long days at work and such related travels, I could eventually redeem my place in the kitchen and write this blog and then the book and so forth. He cooked occasionally, worked as a sous-chef(which was a good thing), but mostly I was in control. You would think that would secure my place by the stove and kitchen island ? Right ? But nope. Did not happen.
In the last couple of months, the husband-man found himself with some extra time and his passion was rekindled in full force. There he was wielding the frying pan, whipping up one delicious dish after the other and looking wearily anytime I tried to chop a potato.
"Why don't you relax while I whip up dinner?", he suggested sweetly on most evenings.
"Remember, it is the tempering of jeera in hot oil that is supposed to help me relax", I tried to remind him.
He paid no heed to my relaxation technique and with an edge of steel in his voice declared, "I am making posto. Your favorite."
"Heck, I want to make posto", I would try to put up a losing war.
He would then aim the final arrow in a war that he had almost won, "No one makes better posto. Than me".
And there was no denying it. I would sulk a bit and finally find my spot in the couch and watch television. Anything from Peppa Pig to Modern Family. I even learned to operate the DVR and found that "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" can be quite entertaining. And then of course there is Big Bang Theory and this channel which plays re-runs of BBT for two hours almost every day. At the end of which there is a sumptuous meal without my lifting a finger. Things weren't too bad after all. I soon got sucked into this vortex of comfort and though the heart often missed the excitement over creation of a kasundi murgi, Howard and Raj more than made up for it.
So now that you know why posts have been so few and far in between do you understand my plight? If you are a married female reader, do you understand how your excruciatingly detailed knowledge as to how the luchi should puff can turn away your partner from the kitchen for ever ? Unless of course the other half is a passionate foodie too and then there is a war in the kitchen over how much "puffing" is the right puffing.
This Ranga Aloor Mishti or Sweet Potato something was made when I could snatch a huge sweet potato and some sole time in the kitchen. I had started out wanting to make Ranga Aloor Puli Pithe since it was Sankranti. But since laziness now sat permanently in my bones, I found that to be too much work. So I settled for a Ranga Alur Pantua instead. But then again didn't want to make the syrup as I myself am not very fond of Ranga Alur Pantua.
Incidentally in between all the BBTs, I had also watched several episodes of "Chopped" on Food Network and realized that innovation is the key to cooking. If you can pair Japanese mayo with khejur gur, you win!
So I thought I would make sweet potato fritters and instead of sugar syrup, drizzle it with Maple Syrup . Eventually I found more inspiration in Mahanadi's brilliant recipe and instead of making the coconut kheer stuffing I used a chocolate chips stuffing. Innovation, here I come.
This is how I made the Ranga Alur Mishti or Sweet Potato Fritters with Chocolate stuffing:
First, boil the sweet potato until just tender. Pressure cooker is your best friend in this case. You can also boil it any other way deemed fit.
Once that thing is cooked, cool, peel and then mash it up smoothly.
Take 1 cup of mashed sweet potato. If the mashed potato looks a little watery dry it in the microwave.
To it add 1/2 cup of grated coconut. Use the frozen one or freshly grated. Don't use the dry grated coconut.
Then add 2-3 tbsp of grated khejur gur. Substitute with sugar in absence of gur.
A sprinkle of little salt and a teeny bit of black pepper powder.
Now add to it about 4 tbsp of AP Flour/Maida. Mix everything well so that you get a dough like mixture.
Leave it covered in the refrigerator for an hour.
Now take out the sweet potato dough and make about 18-20 marble sized balls. Flatten the balls on the palm of your hand and press a chocolate chip at the center. If you have really small ones put more than one. Cover the center with dough from all sides and make small rounds. Repeat the process for all the dough balls.
Heat enough oil in kadhai for deep frying.
To test if oil is hot enough, put a teeny piece of the dough and see if it bubbles and rises in the oil. If yes, the oil is ready. Now drop in the sweet potato balls in the hot oil and fry both sides brown. At medium heat, it takes about 4-5 minutes to get brown after which you flip and do the other side. Medium heat ensures that the dough is cooked through.
Take out the fried balls and drain excess oil on a paper towel.
Ideally the fried balls should be dunked in syrup now. But since I had skipped the syrup making, I drizzled the fried balls with Maple Syrup.
Now honestly, I am not a fan of ranga aloor puli but I liked this sweet. I thought it was a pretty good as innovation goes. The husband-man however took the oozing chocolate to be a sign of things gone wrong. "Poche geche" he declared confidently. He clearly did not like it as much as I did. I have no idea if he would have liked it dunked in syrup. I usually tend to cook things, I feel I will like and so I ate up most of this sweet potato balls. BigSis said she liked them too. I say, why don't you try to see how it goes with you ? You can also dunk them in sugar syrup if you so wish.
And the good news is, I am slowly gaining more time in the kitchen as the husband-man's vacation time is almost over. So keep your fingers crossed, you will see more posts here soon. Yippee.
Desserts from previous Sankranti:
Poush Parbon er Pati Shapta
Pati Shapta Original