Monday, October 31, 2005

Ootti- Veg delight from manipur

I Shall introduce to the world, today, a manipuri delicacy, very simple to cook but I promise you, its very very addictive and very heavy. I sugest you try it on a lazy sunday noon. In manipuri, we call it "ootti"( 'ti' read as in liberty not as in ooty). A grand feast, and we have many grand feast( for any occasion from shradh to childbirth, marriage to death anniversary), house warming to festivals, is never complete without this dish. We Prepare it on the Manipuri New Year.
And my Mom cooks the best Ootti, and she cooks a lot when she does because, if our neighbour comes to know that my mom cooked OOTTI and was not shared at least a bowl, hell would have had hath no fury than the neigbour denied of my mom's Ootti.
I have cooked the same dish many times by now, with cell phone in one hand, spatula in another.It was almost as if my Mom remote cooked them. And thats how I learnt most of the recipes. And I am passionate about cooking, not gourmet cooking per se but simple Home meals. I prefer 5 Stars hotels for Gourmet Food and don't even wanna try cooking them, or maybe I do. Someday, when I retire, maybe.

Now for the Ootti.
A small onion or half a big onion cut into thing slivers, not chopped both ways but chopped finely in top down fashion.
A small finger of ginger, crushed.
Teaspoon of whole JeeraFew bay Leaves,
A few dried red chillis,
Cooking Soda,
Peas(White mattar)..
OK Peas, not peanuts not chick peas but Peas. tell the bania that you want white Mattar( green also serves). The peas should have been soaked overnight. 4 hours also might do depending upon the Pea's quality :-)

1) See if you can get green garlic leaves. These are not actually garlic leaves, but the barcode in Foodbazaar( of Bigbazaar) says its garlic leaves. It looks like spring onions but thinner and not hollow. Spring onion is hollow while this herb is not. Its a long leaf, looks like grass but longer and soft and very nice smelling. It is the Manipuri substitute of Spice. Gives instant flavor to any dish, when fried along with the onions. If you are lucky you might get it in Food Bazaar, otherwise just the onions will do.
Cook the pre-soaked peas in a pressure cooker. Peas to water ratio should be 1:2. Give about 2 whistles and let cool. After the cooker has cooled down, open the cooker and see if the peas are cooked. This is very crucial. The peas cannot be over cooked or undercooked. Take out a few peas in a spoon and crush with your find. The peas should give away without any pressure, yet it shouldn't crumble or break-down easily.

Let it boil, for some time.
Add salt to taste.
Now, in the boiling peas, add the cooking soda.
Measurement? Ahh!!! ok, slightly more than half the amount of salt you have put.
Now Beware!!!!!!
Don't forget to lower the heat when you put the Soda, because there will be lots of bubble formation and might spill out like boiling milk. Don't worry, it normal.
Let it boil in low flame.
In the other burner, heat a pan( preferably concave bottom and non stick).
Heat two table spoon of oil,
Add the BayLeaves(2 or 3).
Add the Jeera.
Add the Chilli, and turn them.
When chilli becomes dark brown( takes less than a minute to burn, don't burn).. remove the chillis and add to the Boiling mattar.
Add the onions to the oil. Fry till golden brown.(Had you got the green garlic leaves, you could have added it along with the onions after cutting them one inch long)
Add the Ginger.
Pick up this whole tadka and pour into the boiling Mattar.
Cook for a minute and its done.
Serves well with Rice, but even better with Manipuri Khichdi..

Manipuri Khichdi

Manipuri Khichdi, have it with any Gravy and you will come back for more.
It is not like the short cut Khicdi, taken when you are sick or by the poor.
It is a delicacy, we serve during the rath Jatra festival. Every evening for 10 days.
We serve it on lotus leaves which gives out a very sweet smell and makes it taste even better.
If you haven't tasted manipuri khichdi on Lotus leaf, you haven't tasted real khichdi.
Come to manipur during rath Jatra and enjoy..Goes well with Ootti, recipe of which I shall post soon.
1)Basmati Rice, 250 grams( don't complain if its not enough. The measure should be slightly less than how much you took for Rice)
2) Arhar Dal. 1/3 rd the amount of rice.
3) Peanuts( ground nut). One katora( about 4 table spoon)
4) Butter two tablespoon.
5) Pure Ghee two table spoon.
6) Whole Jeera, one teaspoon.
3 red chilli, 3 bay leavesand 3 pieces of elaichi and clove each. Haldi, namak etc.
7) Half an Onion, finely chopped
8) Ginger-Garlic freshly ground or chopped well. One teaspoon

1. Boil the dal in water, in a pressure cooker. Water should be a little
more than twice the amount of rice and dal mixed. When the water and dal
starts boiling add half a teaspoon of haldi. Let it boil for few minutes,
then add the rice. Add salt to taste.

2. In a Frying pan, heat the ghee( leave half a tablespoon) and add the
jeera, bayleaves and chilli elaichi and cloves. Now add the onions and fry till golden brown
and add the ginger garlic paste. Pour it into the boiling cooker of
dal-rice. Cover the cooker and let go of two whistles and let cool.

3) Heat remaining ghee and then fry the Peanuts. Fry in low heat till the
coulour changes to slightly dark. the peanut will taste soggy, if not fried
well, but fry too well it will be bitter. Like i keep saying heat and trial,but trick is fry in low heat for about 4 minutes.
When the pressure from the cooker has subsided, open it. Add the butter along with the peanuts and mix well.

The Khichdi is ready to serve. With OOtti or dal or any kind of Subjee or Even acchaar.

The Step 2 above of frying the tadka and pouring can be skipped. After step One directly cover the cokker and whistle twice. Cool down.Then heat pan, add all the ghee, fry the Peanuts till done. Remove the peanut, but let the ghee remain. In the remaining ghee repeat step 2.
Now open the cooker and add pour the fried stuff along with the peanuts. Also add the butter and mix well. This will give a different taste. believe me. Both are equally good.

Pure bachelor Khichdi, to be served with Aacchaar.
Heat Ghee in the cooker, directly go to step 2( no step 1).. fry onions and bay leaves and everything.Add haldi and some dhania jeera powder, half teaspoon each. Add water, then the dal boil for 5 minutes and add -2 Potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes-2 tomatoes, chopped-SOme french Beans( your own measure)-Some cauliflower( ur own measure)-2 capsicum-1 katora or 6 tablespoon of green peas.
Boil for 2 minutes, add the rice. Add salt to taste. Cover and whistle twice. No need for the peanut or butter part. Good if you can add, Okay if you on't.
Serves well even with Aacchaar.And cooks real fast. No need for a second dish too. Its a real Life saver for bachelors.

Read more about Manipur

Bachelor's Chole Masala With little Masala

Serves 4 with Rice or Chapatti.
Cooking time: half Hr.

What you will Need:
200 gms Chole, soaked in water for at least 5 hours.( Or two cups at pre soaked stage)
Three large Tomatoes.
Two Medium Potatoes.
3 green chillis chopped well
I tablespoon each of ginger and garlic paste(medium ground, should not become too smooth. make it half grind)
One large Onion Finely Chopped.

Keep ready
Jeera Powder, Dhania powder, Chilli Powderwhole jeera, 3 cloves(laung), 3 Elaichi, 2 bay leaves, Three Dried chilliGreen Coriander leaves

# For South Indian or Madrasis :-)Keep some curry patta and 1 cup scrapped Coconut

Boil the Soaked Chole with The potatoes( peeled and cut in half) in pressure cooker.
(for quantity of water, the level be one inch above the top surface of the chole.)
Also add the Tomatoes as it is(without cutting).
For the Southerners, add the Coconut while boiling.

Now depending on the chole(diff chole takes diff cooking time believe me), After 3 whistles, cool it down or if you want quicker result 6 whistles and run under tap water over it.
The chole should be soft enough that it breaks when you press with spoon,if not boil for some more time.

Keep aside the whole ensemble.
Heat three tablespoon of veg oil in a deep pan.
In the hot oil,Add curry patta, bayleaves, 1 teaspoon whole jeera, 3 dried Chilli, cloves and elaichi.
Now add the Finely chopped Onion and then the chopped green chilli
and fry till the onions are golden brown.
Add now the Ginger Garlic paste, let it mix well and fry for about a minute or two..
Add half a tespoon Turmeric powder,half teaspoon red chilli powder
A teaspoon each of Jeera and dhania powder. fry and make it mix well.

Pick up the cooker and pour the boil chole into the pan along with the water and potatoes and everthing else.
Stir well and press the potato and tomato using a spatula to mix with the gravy. Also press and break some of the chole.
Boil till it slightly thickens.
Sprinkle some MDH chiken masala, and garnish with Coriander.
Its a delight. Cook again to gain expertise.
PS: In cooking, practice makes the food perfect...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fried Chicken Wings

Tried those chicken wings at Pizza Hut.
Yummy.. no???
None of friends liked it either. They found it too sweet. But I just loved it.
But I thought I'd give it a try.
When i was in Kolkata, we use to get fresh Chicken wings separately.
I don't know if you get it elsewhere, have to try in mumbai as well.
I don't know if a local chicken vendor would give you only wings.
Well, it can be done very quickly and easily at home.
What you need:
1. Half a Kilo of Chicken Wings.
2. 1 Tbs of corn flour.
3. 1 teaspoon Pepper corns, 1 table spoon Whole jeera,
1 teaspoon coriander powder, I teaspoon Red Chilli Powder, a few red chillis.
4. vegetable oil
5. Salt to taste.

Wash the Chicken carefully, drain the water and leave aside.
Slightly roast the Whole jeera and Peppercorn and 3 red chillis.
After roasting for a minute or two, grind well in a mixie.
Now in a mixing bowl keep the chicken wings.
Now add the ground masala, the dhania powder, the chilli powder, flour to it.
Add salt to taste and Mix well.

Heat oil in a deep bottom pan.
Fry four to five wings at a time. or more, just make sure they don't crowd the Pan.
Fry for 5 minutes and turn and fry for further 2-3 minutes.
Lay them out in a Tissue paper to absorb excess oil.
Goes very very well with Chilled Beer

Shifting my Blog from tonyskitchen

I have decided to move my cook blog as well to Blogspot.