Sunday, September 21, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Growing up in Bihar , one vegetable that would turn up on the dinner table was the ubiquitous bhindi .
Eaten with hot chapattis , with a bowl of arhar daal on the side , it was heaven .
Easy to clean ,cut and cook and immensely tasty, bhindis played a stellar role in the kitchen recently , when my maid was on leave .
One easy dish which I repeated more than twice was this :-

(picture - courtesy - Wikipedia)

Fried Bhindi

  • Bhindi - 500 grams
  • 2 medium oinons chopped fine
  • Mustard Oil
  • Half teaspoons each of cumin,coriander,turmeric and chilli powders
  • Chaat masala - 1 teaspoon

Fry the onions till pale brown and translucent and add the chopped onions . Sprinkle a little wheat flour over the lot .Add the powdered spices and toss . Cover for a bit and steam. Take off the covers and stir the vegetables till they are dry . Add the chaat masala and serve with hot off the stove chapattis .

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chitol Muithas for Poila Boisakh -

I almost didnt post an entry for RCI Bengal but a stray comment in Sandeepa's blog about cooking chitol mithas for Saturday lunch led to her asking me to put in an entry The chitol is a large freshwater fish with a very soft , oily delicious stomach , which is called "peti"or the area around the stomach and a fleshy back ringed with bones called the "gaada" in Bengali . out of which the muithas are made .

The oilier the chitol peti is ,the more delicious it is, and cooked in a light coriander -cumin paste curry with a tempering of cumin seeds and bay leaf and boris (lentil puffs fried to a crisp before being immersed in the gravy) , is to die for

The muithas are a little complicated but the result is so absolutely delicious that the effort is well worth it .The flesh on the back is between two layers of bones so make sure you tell the fish seller to splice it down the middle so that the scraping is simpler . I normally use a teaspoon to scrape the thick flesh off .


For the muithas

  • Chitol gaada or back- 250 gms
  • 1 onion, minced fine
  • 2 medium sized potatoes boiled and mashed smooth

The gravy

  • Two medium sized potatoes diced
  • 1 bay leaf and a stick of cinnamon
  • Onion and ginger ground to a paste – three teaspoons
  • Turmeric,cinnamon and cumin powder mixed to a paste –two teaspoons
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • Salt and sugar to taste

Scrape the flesh off the fish back . Mix the scraped fish with the potatoes and add the mined onions and salt to taste . Form into large roundels .Meanwhile heat a pot with a litre of water and let it boil . Immerse the roundels in the boiling water . I sometimes add a little ginger garlic paste and salt . Boil for at least 10 minutes or so till a knife inserted in the roundels comes out clean .Slice the roundels through when cool and dice them , Fry to a light brown .

To make the gravy

Heat mustard oil in a wok ( any other oil if you are queasy about mustard oil) . Temper with the bay leaf and cinnamon. Add the pastes and spices and fry till cooked . Add the potatoes and cook till soft . Add 2 cups of water . When it comes to the boil, add the fried muithas . Add salt /sugar to taste .Serve with steamed rice.

And while I do grumble when AG toddles in on Sunday morning with a whopping lot of chitol gaada for muithas the glee in Tani's eyes when she sees her favourite muithas for lunch is reward enough !