Thursday, November 15, 2007

RCI - Bihar .... Dal-Puri

Sangeeta, our hostess for RCI this month has us travelling to Bihar! Luckily for me, I had a super shortcut!!! My friend S (I affectionately call her - Heroine!!) is from Bihar and is my sure-shot source for the regional recipes!
My very first attempt to secure a recipe was to contact her, I did not even bother browsing thru any sites!! And pat came her reply... though she did mention (with a sigh) that 'sattu ka atta' was the ingrdient she would have recommended, but since it is impossible to procure it here, she was sending me another simple and tasty recipe.. DAL -PURI.

After some back and forthing about the recipe details, where she mentioned that Dal-puri is eaten with pickle/ chutney/ yogurt , but the real thing is making 'Ali ki rasdar subzi' with it, so ofcourse I had to haunt her for that!!! Now heroine is smart! so in her reply, detailing the Alu ki subzi, she also sent me the recipe for a sweet, as a bonus!!
I also asked her if there was a special ocassion that this was made or a specific season? It seems that Dal-puri is usually prepared during Holi, but there are of course no set rules!

Now, I am a puri fan... but I don't usually indulge.. afterall, one has to 'weigh' the pros and cons before biting into these deep-fried goodies! But this is the festive season! time to shamelessly indulge ( after all those chaklis, karanji, laddu, shankarpalis, puris can squeeze in!!!)
After all a foodie can but say... eat and be merry, for tomorrow me may diet!!!

For the Dal -Puri:
Do the prep:
My measurement are sufficient just for 2 people ( and that too after a warning about ' keeping the oily stuff within limits')
For the Puri Stuffing:
1/2 cup Chana daal
One pinch Asafetida
1/8 tsp. Turmeric powder
1 Green chilli minced (+/- as per required heat)
1 tsp. Ginger-Garlic paste (I used the store brought, but fresh paste is a much better option)
1 Bay leaf/ Tej patta
1 whole Red Chilli
1/2 tsp Jeera / Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Garam Masala ( I added 1/4 tsp, M does not like the 'too strong' taste of GM)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. Cilantro minced
1 tbsp Oil for tempering ( preferably mustard oil, but refined works just as well)
Making the stuffing:
In a wide pan boil the channa in adequate water with salt and turmeric powder. Ensure that the daal is cooked, but firm, we do NOT want a mush. Drain all the water. The daal should look dryish.
Grind the daal (do not use a blender) I used my handy chopper, to a fine crumble.
Heat oil in a kadhai/ wok, add cumin, asafetida, bay leaf and the whole red chilli. Next add the minced green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and the crumbled daal. Add salt as per taste, garam masala and cilantro. Mix well. The stuffing is now ready. Keep it aside to cool completely.
For the Puri Dough
Whole wheat flour ( roti atta)
1 tbsp Farina/ sooji/ rawa
A few pinches Salt
2 tbsp Hot Oil
Water to knead dough
Oil for deep frying
Mix all the ingredients and make a semi-stiff dough. the dough should not as stiff as puri dough and not as pliable as roti dough. . Cover and keep for 15 - 20 mins.
* It is not mandatory to add the farina, I added it for some crispiness. My friend also suggested that regular roti dough can be used just as well.
To make the puris:
From the stuffing, discard the red chilli and the bay leaf.
Take a portion of the dough and roll out a disc (this puri has to be slightly bigger than the regular puri), spoon the mixture and close. Roll out a regular puri, just like you would roll a stuffed paratha! Deep fry in oil.
* care: Ensure that the stuffing is fine crumbled, otherwise roiling the puri will be difficult and will split in places and cause the stuffing to come out. Look at the picture below, there is a small split in the puri (rt. hand corner, bottom), the puri will puff up, but when you turn it , the stuffing may out. ( BBoy ! is it difficult to fry and take pictures at the same time!!)

This puri is a superb variation from the regular puri and is a delightful change. It pairs well with the Alu ki rasdar subzi and will pair well with pickles/ chutney or can be eaten as it is!! Great for lunch boxes and picnics too!

For the Alu ki rasdar subzi:

2 Potatoes (boiled/ cooked in a microwave)

1 Onion chopped

1-2 Green chillies chopped1 Bayleaf

1 Whole Red Chilli

1/2 tsp Cumin / jeera seeds

1/2 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste

2 med. size tomatoes

Cumin & corriander powder (1/2 tsp each)

Red chilli powder (optional)

1/8 tspTurmeric powder

1/2 tsp. Garam Masala

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Oil

Cilantro leaves for garnishing

First : boil the potatoes…let them cool, then break them unevenly into small sizes,u need not mash them.Set aside.
Heat oil in a kadhai.
Add cumin seeds…when it splutters add tej patta and the red chilli. Add green chilly…and onion…when the onion turns brown add the ginger garlic paste…cumin- corriander pwd, turmeric , red chilly pwd…sauté for a little while then add the chopped tomatoes…when they become soft and leave oil add in the potatoes and salt…sauté till the potatoes blend in with the masala….then add water…cover and cook for sometime…..when the gravy becomes thick…add garam masala!remove it from fire and garnish it with coriander leaves!
Voila its done!

Thank you Sangeeta for hosting RCI this month, which gave us another opprotunity to explore a different cuisine! And thank you , S, my Heroine for the recipes and for clarifying all my doubts and being patient with me!!!

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Monday, November 05, 2007

A Box Full of Love!!!

It was late, I was tired and dragging my feet in the passage and doing something that comes naturally (to me) when tired... thinking morbidly about climbing the stairs (even though it is just one flight up) and cleaning up the house.. which I always leave in a mess when going off to work in the mornings.. and of the weather and the laundry.. and ironing (and how I can make M do it again this week). Does that happen to you guys and gals too?

Somehow in all these thoughts, another slid into my mind, that of my Mother and how she managed to do everything when I was a kid. If I leave my house in a (kind of) mess in the mornings, it is NOTHING compared to the hurricane that used to hit our home every single day when I was a kid! But I rarely heard my Mom grumble (not until I was *old enough* to start tidying up behind me), somehow that memory gives me comfort and the strength! So on this (grumbly) evening as M and I climbed the stairs, I decided to go and tidy up, afterall, it is not so bad!

As we came in view of the door M spotted a package left at the doorstep... perplexed we both ran forward to see what it could be.. we had not ordered anything, we were not expecting anything! Picking up the box and looking at the senders address was even more confusing.. the label said ' Godbole, Mumbai'. We don't know any Godbole, Mumbai!!
What do you suppose this is?? and what is it doing on my doorstep? Oh it was for me... no mistake about that! Had my Name, my address... yet???? Do mistakes as big as this box happen??

I'll be honest, it did not click! Mom had made a reference to "don't make any Diwali sweets/ namkeens this year, don't strain yourself " a few days ago, but I did not associate that conversation to the box or to Godbole, Mumbai!
On opening the box I was stunned!!

And then I read this e-mail...(excerpt)

When I came to know that this facility is available in Vashi, I was thrilled. I always wanted to send Faral to you for Diwali. My wish is fulfilled now. Hope you will enjoy it. You need not wait till Diwali to taste it. You can enjoy it after you get it. I know the quantity is too small but can not help!
Love and ashirwad,
So this is my Box FULL of LOVE!!

RockYou PhotoFX - Get Your Own

And NO, the contents are NOT limited in quantity!!! They are perfect and of course the unlimited love that comes with it satiates us!!!
My throat welled up and I could not say a word! All that was left unsaid coursed down my cheeks in a warm wave of love! My vision was blurred for a few minutes (just like it is now, as I type this post) but once again my own words came back to me...... I used to quote this to my trainees ( when I was a Trainer in India with one of India's largest mobile phone networks) in reply to their queries about 'free calls' .." Nothing in this world is free, except parents love". Am I right, or am I right????
This time last year my parents were with us, celebrating my very first Diwali after my marriage and it was a very very special time for me and I was feeling a bit flat this year and missing them a lot, but now, now they are with me in spirit and this display of their undying affection has bridged the huge gap between two countries!

What more can a Daughter ask for? I am truly blessed!
Happy Diwali!!
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