100220081064.jpg Recipe 1 :Stuffed Puris Chapter – II : Weekend Food Series

“Like Water for Chocolate”,  this film is about the emotional and spiritual effects food can have when one prepares it passionately and uses love as the key ingredient. ..A quote from my all time favorite film Babette’s Feast (Danish: Babettes gæstebud), an Academy Award winner (1987), summarizes the sumptuous experiential  value of Food…. babette_feast.jpg The General talks of the chef of the Café Anglais, : “The ability to transform a dinner into a kind of love affair, a love affair that made no distinction between bodily appetite and spiritual appetite.”….Babette’s Feast is an elegant celebration of well-crafted food in the days of abstinence…it’s the spread, the enormous detailing one gets into to create a great tasting,art-piece like food -{link: foie gras, turtle soup, quail stuffed with truffles, followed by baba au rhum and washed down with champagne.} It’s enough to make a man to sit back and re-evaluate his life, which’s what exactly happens to General Lowenhielm.

The elegant film is woven around the story of a mysterious French emigrée Babette (Stephanie Audran) who is taken in by two endearing elderly spinster sisters in 1871. Over the years, an unlikely bond grows between them and the  Frenchwoman, who works as their housemaid, and her pious, modest & kindly benefactors. When Babette wins the lottery, she decides to cook a fabulous feast for the dour villagers. The sisters agreed to her plan, which is quite radical to the belief system they belong to, thus risking the wrath of their puritanical fellow parishioners.

The seven-course delight, a tour de force for the taste buds is politely received by the gruel-eating puritans, and the culinary magnificence stirs almost a Catharsis like experience for the General Lowenhielm who slips into a deep philosophical evaluation of his emotions/love for one of the sisters, and the persistent existence of the same in him despite his marital status.

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I do not hesitate to declare that I am not as great a cook as my mom, or my sisters or that man who I talk to everyday, or all those foodies who feature in Celebrity-Chef / Non-Celebrity-Chef Cookery shows which churn out sinfully delicious gastronomical delights or those who watch them ardently. I may not be blessed with much-desired attribute called “Patience”, the restlessness that features on my forehead may be potent enough to stir a battle ground out of a kitchen. But I love the whole idea of fixing something for myself or my loved ones, love to mingle with the spices/masalas waiting to be ground, to be mixed with freshly cut vegetables (am a strict vegetarian), the splendid mix of colours, the aromas spiralling upwards & across the room….The whole process of relocating myself, now, opened, for me, this new dreadful prospect of the head-on-collision with varied struggles that life’d tucked in for me, Cooking food for self being one of them. I understand that the life is going to be rather aggressive to me from now on, and I have no option other than bracing myself for the same.

Now moving onto Fixing a delicious Brunch ……What one needs  {I am not getting into that conventional way of delivering a recipe, as I am not a master chef, who can fix the most from the least, and I fare quite badly at measurements and I hate seeing others toiling over such tangible factors ….And I can tell, our moms usually do not create divinely sinful dishes using ingredients in measured quantities. An instinct – it happens when one enters kitchen more frequently than it could be done, which guides when, what to add and in how much quantity. 100220081057.jpg Recipe 2 :Baingan Bartha – Smoked Eggplant simplified for “Foodies-who-run-short of Patience” like me  …..baingan.jpg

a) Two large Eggplants.Roast them on a gas burner over medium heat. Turn them upside down, and roast them till they look fabulous and release smoky flavour across

b) Let them cool off and peel off the blackened skin. Do not throw away the seeds inside. Mash the flesh.

c) Chop Tomatoes,1 Onion, Garlic into thin slices. Heat oil in a kadai /Non-stick pan, add Mustard seeds,Black Gram,Jeera seeds, and let them splutter with energetic leaps. Then add pieces of dry-red chilli, curry leaves, a pinch of Turmeric, salt to taste. Add a spoonful of Chilli powder, * when you add chilli,at the last mile, it retains the natural reddish tinge* 

d) To this seasoning, add the chopped  Onion, Garlic, Tomatoes (in that order), let the whole combination cook for a while, until they become tender. Add Garam masala powder, Coriander + Jeera powder  to this. Then add the mashed eggplant. Let them cook on a medium heat. Do not disturb!  

e) Spread a thin layer of butter over the dish and cook it for a while. Taste it, and if you are sastified with it, remove it. Great to have it with Chapatis, Parathas etc.     

Recipe 3 : 100220081058.jpg Sweet Pumpkin Cooked with Groundnuts 

a) Pumpkin, next to the Potato, is the most malleable sweet little thing. A tiny pumpkin is enough. Chop this into medium-sized cubes. Heat oil in a kadai /Non-stick pan, add Mustard seeds,Black Gram,Jeera seeds, and let them splutter with energetic leaps. Then add thin slices of Onion. A spoonfull of Turmeric, Chilli powder , Salt to taste.    

b) Add Pumpkin cubes to the seasoning + fried slices of Onion. Once they become softer, add water. Let them cook for a while. Powder roasted Groundnuts along with a tiny garlic + a pinch of salt & chilli powder. Add this powder to the Pumpkin dish that is being cooked. Let it simmer a while and remove it from the cooking device. That’s it!

Recipe 1 :Stuffed Puris  {Pic is in the beginning}

a) Boil Green Peas (one cup-full) and mash them into a tight paste. 

b) Take Maida (two cups). Add salt, a bit of oil and water to it. Knead the combo softly, with your fingers and work out a softer dough. Put it aside for a while, cover it with a thin muslin cloth.

c) Make tiny balls of this soft dough. Apply a little oil to your palm and use it as a base to make tiny puris. On each tiny puri, spread a spoonfull of paste of Green Peas, and fold its corners to the centre so that it becomes a round stuffed ball. Then, use your palm as the base and fingers to flatten the stuffed ball. 

d) Heat oil in a deep Kadai. You have to deep fry the flattened stuffed ball. If you have not done a tighter seal of the roll, the stuffing – peas paste, like a disobedient child, spills out into the oil. Do not panic. You will become perfect after two or three trials

{To Mom….}090220081047.jpg

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