Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bati Charchari 2 -- with cauliflower stalks et al, pumpkin and eggplant

Bengali Bati Charchari
Our Lunch plate today

engali Cuisine has so many different varieties of vegetarian dishes that it is hard to keep a count. Charchari, Ghonto, Chechki, Jhol, Jhaal, the permutations and combinations are endless.

Even within each of these genres -- there are hundred different varieties.

Charchari is a dish which is usually made with multiple of vegetables. However there are exceptions and individual charcharis also rule the genre, like "Aloo Charchari" with only potatoes or "Dharosh Charchari" with only okra. But most charcharis involve a  myriad of vegetables with a lot of sauteing and thus generous amount of oil. I had read somewhere the name "charchari" came phonetically from the "char char" or charring sound that happened while sauteing vigorously in an iron kadhai.

The Bati Charchari is a little different from usual charcharis as it does not involve any tempering or  sauteing at all. In fact the bati charchari that I have grown up with was made with only potatoes, chopped in long  thin slices, cooked in a steel container with mustard oil drizzled oil from the top.

Today's Bati Charchari which I am calling Bati Charchari 2 is a variation of the typical charchari. It has mustard paste and a tempering of Paanchphoron , Hing and Green Chili. I love the flavor of Hing in my vegetarian dishes and often add them to charcharis. Instead of Mustard paste, I have used Kashundi from a bottle because my Mother sent me  a large stock of Kashundi recently.

The star of this dish was of course the cauliflower stalks which were tender and tasted delicious. I was delighted to see again a cauliflower with such lovely stalks and used the stalks and green in this dish as well as in a dal. Yep, I am officially that age when I get excited by cauliflower stalks.
Instead of going "Oooh, Farhan Akhtar", I am like "Oooh, such lovely green, firm, kopi'r daanta (cauli stalks)"🥰. My heart races seeing such stuff.
Here is a video to give you an idea about making this dish.

Bati Charchari 2 -- with cauliflower stalks et al, pumpkin and eggplant

Chop in equal proportions all of the following vegetables.

Cauliflower stalks and leaves

*I have chopped everything in cubes but you can chop them longitudinally

Heat Mustard Oil for cooking

Temper the hot oil with
1 tsp Paanchphoron
3-4 Green Chili
a pinch of Hing

Now add the vegetables, one after the another.
So add pumpkin, quick saute, then add cauliflower stalks.
Next, goes in cauliflower florets, saute for a minute.
Next eggplant

Sprinkle some Turmeric powder and saute everything for a couple of minutes.

1 Cup of water
1 tsp of Mustard paste (OR 1 tsp Kashundi mixed with some water)
Salt to taste

Mix well.

Cover and cook at low medium until vegetables are tender.

Finish off with a tsp of kashundi and few green chilies for best taste

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tumi'r Chicken Malai Kabab

Today is Bishawakarma Pujo.

And guess what ? I do not have a single food memory of this festival.

Tomato? Potato? Khichuri? Biriyani? Potol Posto? Neem Begun? Bishwakarma ki kheten🤔

Nothing. Zilch. Nada. My brain throws up a 404 Error at "Bishwakarma Pujo Food". Ki blasphemy!!

There are several for Durga Pujo, a couple for Lokkhi Pujo, a nice number for Saraswati Pujo, even one for Ma Mongol Chondi'r Pujo.

But Biswakarma? Nothing. My mother never made anything special for this guy. Neither did my Thama, paternal grandmother.

Even Dida, my maternal grandmother, who usually was the one with all the rituals and related food, did observe something called "Arandhan", on the day before Bishwakarma Pujo but that was for another goddess Ma Manasa.

Actually I don't remember my Mother making anything special on Ganesh Pujo or Karthik Pujo either.

Do you see the trend here ? I guess these Bengali females were more feminist than any. They made special dishes only for the Goddesses!

But I believe in equal opportunity. If Durga, Lokkhi can have their bhog er khichuri and narkel naru then Baba Biswakarma can have my Kababs.

So what if the women in my family never cooked anything for him! I have other resources.

These tender, soft, juicy malai kababs are my friend's sister's recipe. She lives in UK and she shared this recipe with me almost 4 years back. I have made it umpteen times since then and everytime I make it I remember her saying that she uses "Crème fraîche" for this dish, for that is what they get in Europe and not just some blah "sour cream".

There are many recipes of Chicken Kabbas out there but I always, always stick to Tumi'r recipes. And every freaking time I make these kababs with hung yogurt, some cream cheese, a little sour cream -- I say to myself I should have used "Crème fraîche"!!!

That is how recipes are for me, they are always about who told you about it, whom you learned from, where you heard about it, whose home you tasted it, who gave you those small to  and what you remember it by.

Chicken tenderloins cut in kabab sized cubes -- 1.5 lb

Marinade Ingredients

Thick Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt strained of whey) -- 1/2 cup
Sour Cream -- 1/4th Cup (I usually don't have sour cream at home so skip this)
Cream Cheese -- 3-4 Tbsp
Olive Oil -- 2 tsp

Spices for marinade

Garlic Paste -- 1 Tbsp
Tandoori Masala -- 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder -- 1 tsp
Chat Masala -- a sprinkle
Dried Mint -- 1/2 tsp
Green Chili -- 2 minced
Lemon Juice -- from 1/2 lemon
Salt -- to taste

Marinate the Chicken pieces with all the ingredients listed under "Marinade Ingredients"

Then add all ingredients under "Spices for marinade"

Toss the chicken pieces well making sure all pieces are well coated. Now refrigerate for 1 hr to overnight.

When you are ready to cook, put the pieces on a skewer. put the skewers on a grill rack with a dripping tray below. Into the oven at 375 F for 20 mins.

Then take out and turn the skewers. Drizzle a little bit more of olive oil and put to broil for 6-8 minutes

Serve it right away with salad or roti.

School Lunch ideas: You can also cool and freeze in portions and add these to noodles or fried rice or even make a chicken tikka gravy with these kababs

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