Know Food!

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

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ou Tenga Dal (Lentils with Elephant Apple)


Elephant apple (ou tenga) is one of the most popular fruits in Assam, used as a sour enhancer in traditional curries; but whenever I talk about this hard-shelled fruit to people here in North India, they give out an expression of “Now what on earth is this?”

For the uninitiated, elephant apple or wood apple is native to South East Asia and has a tangy flavor that adds a unique taste to your dal (lentils), fish and other curries. Back in Assam, we grew up on a lot of mythical stories surrounding this intriguing fruit too. So when my husband got me some during his last visit to the state, I rushed to my kitchen and prepared tangy dal with  this fruit. This is how:

Ingredients:

•    Half elephant apple (washed well)
•    250 gm lentil (masoor)
•    3-4 chopped green chillis
•    1-2 pinch mustard seeds
•    Salt to taste
•    One pinch turmeric powder

Method: This is one of the easiest things to cook. Just cut the fruit into pieces and crush them. Keep aside. Wash the dal and add in a pressure cooker, along with the crushed ou tenga pieces, salt and turmeric powder. Pressure cook and remove after two hoots.In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds and chopped green chillis. Pour the dal into it. Remove after some time.

Health benefits: The fruit is very effective against diabetes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicken Raja Mircha (Bhut Jolokiar Logot Murgi Mangxho)



Whenever we visit Naga stall at Dilli Haat or the Nagaland Kitchen at Green Park, we make it a point to have Pork Raja Mircha for sure. I wanted to cook this dish at home but since pork is not readily available here in Faridabad, I tried my hand at Chicken Raja Mirchi; the taste was distinct from the Chicken Raja Mircha we normally have at the Naga stalls but we simply loved this fiery dish!

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients 

·         Chicken 250 gms (preferably small pieces and washed well)
·         Raja Mirchi – one or two – depending on how hot u want it to be
·         Garlic – 4-5 pods
·         One-two tablespoon oil
·         One large onion (grated)
·         Grated bamboo shoot/ bamboo shoot pickle – 1 or 2 teaspoon
·         Salt to taste
·         Coriander leaves (chopped well) - optional


Marinate the chicken with oil, salt and turmeric powder. Grate the onion. Crush the garlic and raja mirchas separately – keep them aside. Heat the pan and add oil.  Once hot, put the crushed garlic, followed by the grated onion. When the onion turns brownish, add the chicken, salt and turmeric powder and cook for some time. When you feel the chicken is cooked, pour 3-4 cups of hot water followed by the crushed raja mircha and grated bamboo shoots. Cook for some time and allow the water to recede. Add the chopped coriander and your chicken raja mircha is ready. Make your tastebuds ready for some fiery and tantalizing experiences!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Health-Enriching Tamarind Coolers (Teteli Tengar Shorbot)



During summer we drink gallons of aerated beverages without realizing that they could be causing so much harm to the body. Why consume harmful drinks when you can prepare health-enriching drinks at home within minutes. This summer we are making a conscious effort to stay away from aerated/soft drinks and sip only natural and fresh juice. Last week, I used up my stock of ripe tamarind pulp to prepare a jar of cool, refreshing and health-enriching tamarind juice. Just perfect on hot days to cool the body down and quench your thirst!

Tamarind juice has a series of health benefits too – it can be an effective remedy in curing and treating bile disorder.  The pulp of ripe tamarind is very useful in treating digestive and constipation problems; it can improve the loss of appetite too.

Tamarind juice is very easy to prepare; just follow these instructions and you’ll be right there. 

Ingredients:                                  
   

  • ·         Two-three tablespoon ripe tamarind pulp
  • ·         Four-five  table spoon sugar (or depending on your taste)
  • ·          1/4th teaspoon black salt (optional)
  • ·         Half litre potable water
  • ·         Two-three sprigs of mint (optional)

Method

Wash the tamarind pulp well. You may have got them from a well-known brand, but still you need to wash them properly in potable water to ensure hygiene.  Set aside. Boil the water and add sugar. Add the tamarind pulp too along with salt. Stir well with a spoon. Use tea strainer and drain the tamarind syrup into a jar. Add the sprigs of mint to the tamarind water if you want and then refrigerate.  Your tamarind syrup is ready.
Remember: This is a concentrated syrup. So you need to mix it with the right amount of chilled water before serving.
This tamarind concoction is good enough to serve more than four people. You can even store them to serve when guests visit unannounced.
Note: If you like it spicy, you can add crushed green chillis too.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Morisa Haak (Red Indian Spinach)


Leafy vegetables have been always popular in Assamese cuisine; even more now as aptly substantiated by a report on Beltola market which reads - consumers are now rediscovering local ethnic food like tender bamboo shoot, pashala and various leafy vegetables with medicinal properties because these are much cheaper compared to other vegetables like beans, capsicum, lady’s finger and brinjals.  

Recently we explored the sabzi mandi (vegetable market) of Sector 16, Faridabad and got some fresh leafy vegetables including the familiar Red Indian Spinach, popularly known as morisa haak in Assam.I cooked this spinach with potato and it turned out really nice (the stem too is relished in East India )!
Ingredients
·         Two bunches of the red spinach (wash well and cut)
·         Two or three medium sized potatoes
·         Two medium onions (chopped finely)
·         2-3 green chillies
·         About two teaspoon mustard oil
·         Salt to taste
·         Cumin seeds (jeera) 1/4th teaspoon
·         Coriander (optional)

Method
Boil the potatoes, cut into four pieces and set aside. Heat oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds to it. Add the chopped onions to it and fry. Before it turns golden, add the potatoes along with the cut spinach. Don’t add the salt immediately as it may be difficult to gauge the quantity – initially it may seem more but you’ll soon realize that it has receded considerably. That way you’ll know how much salt to add. While frying add the chillis (chopped well) and the coriander leaves (chopped well). Keep them on for some time.  Remove from gas and serve with dal and rice.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Til-or Laru (Sesame Balls)


Rongali Bihu is here again! And with it, the longing to have home-prepared til pitha (rice powder roll stuffed with jaggery, sesame seeds, etc), narikolor laru (coconut balls), gur-or logot cheera doi (dry flat rice with curd and a bit of jaggery) til-or laru (sesame seed balls), the list goes on.

Even though juggling a home and the corporate world leaves me with very little time to prepare these delicacies, this time I wanted to dish out home-made delicacies for sure. Preparing them at home has its own charm; perhaps the Bihu spirit becomes even more palpable! And more importantly, Abhijit is so fond of these! 

One of his favorites is Til-or laru (sesame balls).  I got sesame seeds and jaggery from the nearest Easy Day store and got rolling! 
 
Ingredients
  • Sesame seeds – About 100 gm (or depending on the quantity you’re looking at.)
  • Jaggery – About 50 gm 

Method

Wash the sesame seeds well with water using your hands and sundry them. (Most people skip this step, but it’s important if you want to maintain hygiene). Once clean and dry, roast them in a pan till you hear the popping sound. Be careful not to over roast; doing so might give your larus a burnt taste which may not be to your liking. Once done, keep aside. 

In a pan, heat the jaggery by adding some water. Once it gives out that sticky feel, add the roasted seeds and stir them well for some time.  Take off the fire and start preparing the larus while it’s still hot. 

Tip 1:  If you feel the heat while rolling the laddoos, wet your hands with some water.
Tip 2: While heating the jaggery, ensure it doesn’t become too mushy – maintain the right balance. 

Health quotient: Sesame seeds are rich in minerals like copper and manganese, and are a good source of iron and calcium too.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pickle: Bhut Jolokia or Naga Morich (Ghost Pepper) – The Hottest Chilli in the World


Health quotient: The ‘hottest chilli in the world’ can be used as a remedy for stomach ailments and to fight the scorching summer heat! Improbable, but true! 

Ghost Pepper, better known as Bhut Jolokia in Assam and Naga Morich in Nagaland, finds a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Hottest Chilli in the World; and quite rightly so. One bite is enough to ensure watery eyes and a runny nose! These chilies are also referred to as Bih Jolokia (poison pepper) in some places of Assam.

Although rare to find (concentrated in NorthEast India; and in some parts of Bangladesh too), Delhites can get a taste of this fiery chilli in the various cuisines that Naga Stall (Delhi Haat) dishes out (Try their Pork and Chicken Raja Mirchi). I believe one can get this chilli ordered online too, but for a hefty price! 
On my recent trip to Assam, I bought some. Since this was the off season, I had a difficult time getting them; finally I laid my hands on a few in two of the shops at Ganeshguri market. Needless to add, I had to shell out much more than what I would have paid otherwise. 

I stored them in pickle form. Here’s how: 

Ingredients:
·        Bhut Jolokia 250gms (cut in small pieces; remember to wear a globe while cutting the mirchi).
·         Mustard oil – 200 gms
·         Salt to taste

Method:
Sun-dry the chillis for a few days; Heat oil in a pan and add the salt. Once the oil cools, add the chillis and bottle them in a clean and dry bottle. Sun-dry every day for a few days; this is very important. Also, see to it that they don’t come into contact with water.
Once, your bhut jolokia pickle is ready, one drop of the pickle oil is enough to excite your palate.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Granny’s Corner


These days everyone’s talking about eating healthy and eating right considering the stressful lives we lead. Grandma’s healthy and delectable recipes would have been the perfect balm for today’s harried soul! 

That’s why KHORISA takes a peek at Grandma’s kitchen – and brings you a corner dedicated to her, comprising cooking secrets, health-enriching tips, and remedies straight from her kitchen. 

(These tried and tested tips are taken only from reliable word-of-mouth sources).


Tip for today

Granny says, “Rice powder helps to make your fritters crispy. Say for instance if you’re preparing fritters with gram flour (besan), just add a teaspoon of rice powder in the batter along with the other ingredients – and fry them. You’ll notice the difference immediately as you’ll roll out crispy and mouth-watering fritters with no extra effort!”