Monday, January 13, 2020

Khejur Gur er Rasogolla in Instant Pot

Khejur Gur Roshogolla, Rosogolla
Khejur Gur Roshogolla

Today is a day that will go down in history. Well, at least my history.

First, because I pulled out the InstantPot from the caverns of the Pantry and found it still smelled of mangshor jhol made a month ago. Well, the second part is not historical. That I pulled the IP out and put it to use was a historical moment.

Second, I used the InstaPot for something that was worthwhile finally. I used it to make Khejur Gur er Roshogolla !!

There are two people who are directly or indirectly responsible for this. Our friend, Kaushik, the master roshogolla maker who makes roshogolla making seem as simple as a magician taking a rabbit out of a hat. Second, is our other friend Deepshikha, who champions the IP and finally pushed me to use it.
And then my Dad, who sent photos of  "Notun Gur Utsav" -- a festival celebrating the new date palm jaggery that is a product of this season. The sight of those delicious sweets, sondesh, patishapta, pithe puli would send anyone to depression

I was seriously craving some khejur gur er roshogolla aka rasgullas in date palm jaggery syrup, after seeing the photos they shared and had to make some. This time around , the process really seemed far more streamlined and easier. I think it was practice that made it seem so.

The roshogollas came out soft, juicy and spongy both times I made them. The Khejur Gur I had got from India during my November visit was not the best quality but even that added a beautiful flavor to the syrup and to the roshogollas.

Also, I can now totally understand those stories about folks who went to a wedding and ate 100 roshogollas straight from the bhiyen (the sweet maker's set up). The fresh, spongy, roshogollas with no additivies, hot off the syrup are really delicious and kind of melt in your mouth. I, who am not a big sweet fan, had 20 today. Yes TWENTY!!!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts -- with Sichuan Peppercorn and Peanuts

Since last December, on my morning commute, instead of tuning in to NPR, I have started listing to 102.7.

This is my daughters' favorite channel playing popular music in English, half of whose lyrics I do not understand. Like really not understand. For a long time, I would hum Pink's "Beautiful Trauma" as Mala Mantra Mala....

Until now, every evening, we would actually get into a fight because as soon as they got into the car, they would flip my car radio channel to 102.7 and disrupt my NPR or Radio Mirchi listening. Since December, I have voluntarily flipped to 102.7 in the mornings, to listen to holiday songs and stayed on because the Morning show is very funny. Like really, laugh out loud funny. And I need funnies to get my mind away from the news.

So yesterday, I was tuned on to the show, and this caller calls in about his girl-friend not returning his call blah, blah. It seems this is one of their regular segments where the RJ's then call up the girlfriend/boyfriend and gift them an all paid date, if they agree to go out together. So anyway, the girlfriend is called, she picks up the phone and seems not very enthusiastic about this all paid for date thing. They then ask her, if there was anything wrong and she goes, "Well, he is very nice and everything but he said he loves me within 2-weeks of knowing each other and I am afraid, he can propose anytime. I find it very insincere that someone can say "I LOVE YOU" in 2-weeks!"

Having been brought up on healthy doses of Bollywood where the pair falls in love the minute they see each other and burst into a song at the end of the first meeting, I have always lamented that "love at first sight" has always eluded me. That it could be insincere is something I only now realized. The lady had a point.

However the caller guy, refused to understand this and kept pushing if he could meet her or come over and such. The lady very patiently explained that she liked it slow, and what he was doing was too much for her. The guy sounded, really desperate and I doubt their relationship will last. He was trying to do too much, too fast.

Sichuan peppercorns. And those are Big Sis's pretty nails

That could or could not be the problem for this Brussels Sprouts Dish. I was giving those cute vegetables too much attention and too many ingredients. Like usually I just roast them in the oven and they are good that way.
This time I seasoned them with Oil flavored with aromatics like garlic, ginger and my new found love Sichuan peppercorns. I also added a little of Maple Syrup to add a hint of sweetness

And then as if that was not enough, I roasted and crushed peanuts and added that on top of the roasted vegetables.

I am not sure if my Brussel Sprouts were feeling claustrophobic with all the attention because we ate all of them. This is one vegetable 75% of the family loves, only Little Sis does not eat her Brussel sprouts!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The Indian Vegetable Stew or Bangali r Sobji Jhol

Come fall and then winter, my feed gets populated with soups. Every one is making a soup. And I agree, they are delicious and warm and perfect for those chilly winter evenings.

My grudge is this.

If you can have a bowlful of Minestrone Soup and take a photo and post recipes and raise a whole lot of brouhaha, why not have a bowl of Sobji Jhol ?

What you ask is a Sobji Jhol or Indian Vegetable Stew? It is a light soupy dish with a medley of vegetables. In winter, that would be cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, green beans, green peas in their pods. But then there is no set recipe, it can be anything you want to add.

This jhol was in the background of all dishes that my Mother cooked throughout the year. In one form or another it always arrived at our dining table.

The vegetables in the jhol would tell you the season you were in. Winter always made brighter with tightly packed fair cauliflower, orange carrots, ruby red beets, green pearl like peas in their pods.

The spicing determined by time and my Mother's mood. Sometimes it would be freshly pounded cumin and ginger, on other days a sprinkle of Kitchen King from a box. It was "everything goes" kind of a dish and how we loved this runny, soupy dish with some rice.

I make a big pot of this "jhol" or vegetable stew often. Mixed with rice and a squeeze of lime juice, my girls happily eat the vegetables. I can eat a big bowl of this just by itself but it does taste best with some rice.

The Indian Vegetable Stew or Bangali r Sobji Jhol

The Vegetables

Cauliflower -- Chop 1 Cauliflower in medium sized florets.

Carrot -- Chop 1 big Carrots in cubes

Green Beans -- Trim and Chop 12-15 green beans in 1" pieces

Cabbage -- 1 Cup of chopped cabbage

Green peas in pod -- a fistful, washed

The Indian Mirepoix

Onion -- 1/2 of an onion chopped in small pieces (Optional. I skip onion most of the time)
Tomato -- 2 medium tomato quartered
Green Chili -- 4 green chili sliced
Ginger -- 2" piece of ginger grated

Paanchphoron (Five Spice Mix) -- 1/2 tsp

The Spices

Kitchen King Masala -- 1 tsp

If you don't have Kitchen King use 1 tsp of Cumin-Coriander Masala.

Salt -- to taste

Mustard Oil -- 2 Tbsp (You can also use Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil)

Fresh Coriander leaves -- for garnish

How I Make It

Heat Mustard Oil to smoking in a deep bottomed pot.

Temper the Oil with 1/2 tsp Paanchphoron and 4 green chilli

When the spices start sizzling, add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Next goes in the tomatoes and ginger. Saute them for the next couple of minutes until tomatoes are soft.

Now add the vegetables in this order
Cauliflower florets -- sprinkle 1 tsp of Turmeric powder and saute florets for 1 minute
Carrots -- mix and saute for 1 minutes
Green Beans and Peas -- Saute for 1 minute
Cabbage -- Mix and saute for 1 minute

Now add
1 tsp of Cumin+ Coriander Powder
1 tsp of Kitchen King Masala
Mix with the vegetables with a sprinkle of water.

Add enough water so that the vegetables are just covered by water. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium

Cover and simmer until vegetables are all done. The vegetables should not be cooked to death. They should retain a little crunch.

Adjust for seasoning and add salt, red chili powder or garama masala powder as needed. I finish it off with some fresh chopped coriander leaves and couple of chopped green chili.

Serve like a soup in a big bowl with a squeeze of lime juice. Add a little cooked rice to add more body to the thin soup.

If you like what you are reading, get Bong Mom's Cookbook in your mailbox
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Monday, January 06, 2020

Quinoa and Samo Khichdi - with Madhulika Liddle's tomato tadka

It's the New year and there's lot going on in the world, and you are probably thinking "What a way to start!!" But then you get on with your life and think how you can survive and whether or not you should stick to your resolutions or just give them up, since the world is anyway coming to an end.

Speaking of resolutions, I am sure at least 70% of people in this world have "healthy eating" in the top of their resolutions.

Quinoa Khichdi, Samo Rice Khichdi, Millet khichdi
Quinoa and Samo Rice Khichdi 

I don't have resolutions but I do like eating healthy, especially after the heavy feasting that happens during the holiday season. And we did eat a lot. Like every year, we were on our annual getaway with few friends from college and their families. This time we had rented a log cabin in the middle of nowhere in Virginia, with a fantastic view. We ate out, we ate in, we chatted and cooked and ushered in the New year at a fancy mediterranean lounge in Maryland. It was fun but now I need to detox for a few days and bring my body back to regular routine.

I am not very good with diets so "keto" or "IF" are not meal plans that I can stick to. Instead I try to inculcate somewhat of a healthy eating during the week and do portion controls. That makes me feel better from the inside.

When I saw Madhulika's khichuri on facebook last year, I was very intrigued by the last step of it. The thing caught my attention because of its unique tomatoey tadka. It was very different. In our Bengali home, we are used to 3 types of Khichuri -- Bhuni Khichuri which is more like a pulao, the Bhog er khichuri with roasted yellow moong and the regular Masoor Dal er Khichuri. None of them feature a tadka like this.

@madhulikaliddle as many of you know is a fiction author of repute and I love her short stories. Her historical murder mysteries are more popular I believe.
Any which way, I am pretty much in awe of her. Having written only one book and nurturing this secret aspiration to write more, I am always in awe of authors who have successfully written and published several.
So, when I saw her khichdi recipe I knew it would be a killer. Wait not that murder mystery "killer" 😜.
I adapted the recipe to reduce the carbs and add some more healthy grains and this is how I did it. I used Quinoa and Samo Rice instead of white rice.  Samo rice known as millet (Kodri) or Morio Seed, also called ‘Jungle Rice’, as it grows wild along with grass in the rice paddy fields. It is gluten free, has less calorie and less sugar content. In India, it is used during the time of fasting and called "Vrat ke Chawal". Quinoa is also a seed rich in proteins, dietary fiber and vitamins.

The original recipe was with rice and whole masoor.

This is the simplest that a one-pot meal can get. With added vegetables and a fried egg while serving, it has everything a weeknight dinner needs. Plus, it is very quick and requires minimal chopping or grinding. With that less work, the result is so delicious that you shouldn't pass this on!