Know Food!

Khorisa is an ethnic ingredient used in Assamese cuisine. Essentially, it is grated bamboo shoots in raw, fermented or pickled form.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fish With Indian Gooseberries (Amlokhi Maas)


I wouldn’t recommend this dish if your taste buds aren’t adventurous; but if they are, this is certainly a must try! Native to lower Assam, this ‘healthy to the core’ dish comes packed with all the goodness of ‘amla’. I chanced upon this recipe while discussing ‘food’ with my good friend, Rimi.
This dish is normally prepared with boriyala fish ( boriyala maas). But since I had no access to boriyala fish, I used rahu fish as a substitute.

Ingredients:

• Four-five pieces of rahu fish
• Five-six Indian gooseberries (amla)
• Mustard oil to fry the fishes
• A pinch of five spices (paas phuron)
• Green chillies (chopped)
• Salt to taste

Method:

Marinate the fish pieces with salt, turmeric powder and a dash of oil. Fry the pieces (not too deep) in a pan. Boil the gooseberries with a pinch of salt and set them aside. The water should be kept intact.
Heat about a teaspoon oil in a pan. Add the ‘five spices’; when they splutter, add boiled gooseberries along with the water. Add the salt too. When the soup thickens, add the fish pieces, followed by the chopped green chillies. After 5-10 minutes add coriander leaves and remove from stove. Your ‘healthy’ gooseberry fish is ready!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Papaya Chutney (Omitar Chutney)


Craving for mango chutney at a time when the fruit is nowhere to be seen? Here’s something that’ll give you a mango-like feel even if you’re nowhere close to the mango season - papaya chutney!

Ingredients:

· One fourth raw papaya (medium) skinned and washed well

· One-fourth slice of lemon

· Two green chillies

· Salt to taste

Method:

Grate the papaya. Squeeze the lemon over the grated papaya and add green chillies (chopped) and salt. Mix well. Your papaya chutney is ready in a jiffy!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mangosteen Fish Curry (Thekera Maas Tenga)



Last time Ma (mother-in-law) had visited us, she got us a jar of dried mangosteen (thekera) slices. For the uninitiated, mangosteen is a tropical fruit, grown in the humid climates of Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. Sour in taste, this fruit can be used raw or can be sun dried and preserved, as shown in the second image.
In India, mangosteen can be found in good measure in my native state Assam. That apart, I believe it is also grown in areas like Malabar and Nilgiris. Back home, the fruit is commonly used in sour preparations like maas tenga (sour fish), tenga daal (sour daal), etc.
Last weekend, I used this ingredient to dish out sour fish. Abhijit just relishes the unique flavor that mangosteen adds to the preparation.

Ingredients:

• About 5-6 pieces of Rohu fish
• Five-six pieces of dried mangosteen (soaked for about half an hour)
• Two-three medium sized tomatoes
• ½ teaspoon white mustard seeds
• Two tablespoon oil (I used non-stick pan – so you might need more depending on the type of pan you’re using)
• Two-three green chillies (chopped)
• 1/4th teaspoon turmeric powder
• Salt to taste

Method:

Marinate the fish with salt, turmeric powder and a dash of mustard oil; set them aside. Soak the mangosteen slices in a bowl. The water so obtained is the key ingredient in the preparation.
Heat the pan, pour oil and fry the fish (it shouldn’t be deep fried). In the remaining oil (we need just about a teaspoon of oil for this preparation), add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the chopped green chilies and cut tomatoes. Add salt and turmeric; when the tomatoes go pulpy, add water (preferably hot). Add the fish and then add the mangosteen pieces along with the soaking water. Heat them for some time and your thekera maas tenga is ready!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cauliflower Fritters (Phulkobir Bor)



This is something that’s saved me umpteen times when guests have come down unannounced. Quick and easy to cook, this can be used as starters, snacks for your cocktail parties or as add ons to your meals.

Ingredients

• Half a cauliflower (medium sized)
• Two-three eggs – One may even use gram flour (besan) in place of the eggs
• Salt to taste
• Mustard oil/refined oil

Method:

Take the cauliflower florets and boil them with a pinch of salt. Once boiled, keep them aside.
Break the eggs in a bowl, add salt and beat them. Dip the boiled cauliflower florets into the egg mix and fry them in hot oil. Take them off when golden brown. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Skin Fry (Rongalaur Bakoli Bhaja )


After peeling off the pumpkin skin, many people discard it, not realizing that it can be a good cooking ingredient. So the next time you get pumpkin home, just remember to keep the peeled skin intact so that you can dish out a snack that is mouth-watering and yes, healthy. Remember, maximum nutrients are contained in the skin of a fruit or vegetable.
Here’s how:

Ingredients:

• Peeled pumpkin skin washed well
• Two tablespoon mustard oil
• Two to three medium sized onions
• Two eggs
• One pinch black cumin
• One dry red chili
• One pinch turmeric powder
• Salt to taste

Method:

Cut the pumpkin skin and onions into very thin pieces, as shown in the image. Heat the oil and add the black cumins, dry red chili, followed by the onions. Add the pumpkin skin along with the salt and turmeric and fry them in low flame. Break the eggs into them and fry them dry. Relish it with rice and dal!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Egg Curry (Konir Dom)


In Eastern India, egg curry is prepared with potatoes. When I came to Delhi, I really missed the potatoes in the egg curries served here. Not someone to miss out on my favorite egg curry, I started cooking it myself at home: Here’s how:

Ingredients:

• Four eggs
• Two large potatoes
• Three medium sized onions
• One tomato
• Ginger and garlic ground to a paste
• Two-three tablespoon mustard oil
• One bay leaf
• Two red dry chili
• A pinch of black cumin
• A pinch of garam masala if you want
• A pinch of red chili powder
• 1/4th teaspoon turmeric powder
• Salt to taste
• Coriander leaves to sprinkle (optional)

Method:

Boil the eggs and potatoes and remove the egg shells and potato skin. Dab salt and turmeric on the eggs and fry them in low flame till golden brown, and keep them aside. Cut each of the boiled potatoes into four large pieces. Grate one onion and cut the other two into very thin pieces. Likewise grate half the tomato and cut the other half into tiny pieces.
Pour some more oil into the pan. When the oil turns hot, drop the black cumins, bay leaf, red dry chili followed by onions (both cut and grated), ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, and chili powder and stir them for some time. When they turn reddish, add the potatoes, and fry them for some time. Add the tomato (both cut & grated) too. Then add hot water (you may even add the water that you used to boil the eggs and potatoes) and drop the eggs into the curry. When the gravy thickens, sprinkle coriander leaves on top.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sweet Pulao (Meetha Pulao)

This is a pulao dish that’s popular in Assamese cuisine. Even though it is predominantly for non-vegetarians to be had with chicken curry, vegetarians too can savor it with Bengal dal gram (chana dal).

Ingredients:

  • Two to three cupful of basmati/broken basmati rice (bhonga basmati)
  • Two-three tablespoons of pure ghee (gorur gheeu)
  • Four-Five medium sized onions (piaz)
  • Two medium sized carrot (gajor)
  • About 50 gm peas (matar)
  • 10 cardamoms (elaichi)
  • About 50 gm cashews/peanuts (kaju/badam)
  • Around 15 raisins (khismis)
  • Two bay leaves (tej paat)
  • Two tablepoon sugar
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Soak the rice beforehand for about an hour or two. Drain the water from the rice and dry it. In the meantime, soak the cashews, cardamoms, raisins and peeled peas in a bowl and keep them for about an hour or two. Cut the onions and carrot into thin pieces and keep them ready.

Then heat the ghee in a cooker and add the onions, bay leaves, carrot, peas, and fry them for some time. As they turn golden, add the rice and cook them for a while in low flame. Add sugar and salt and keep stirring the mixture till you get a golden tinge.

Add hot water just above the level of the rice. This is the most crucial part of the entire cooking process because if you pour less or more water than called for, your pulao will be a disaster. Pressure cook to a single hoot and let it cool. Your pulao is ready to serve two to three people. Best when had with chicken curry!