Monday, January 7, 2013

Nostalgic Winter Food


Isn't Denver supposed to be colder than Delhi in winters? For the past few days, apparently it isn't  As the national capital chills, I remember my childhood days in New Delhi.

I used to catch the 7’o clock bus to school, with every morning being a Mahabharat yuddh between my mother and me, I always trying to defend my position in the warm blankets. At the bus stand, my father used to stand gobbling down the morning news from the Hindustan Times; he was visible only to a few feet in the fog, so I kept near. The bus had its lights painted yellow, since the concept of fog lights was still nascent back then. Being covered from head to toe in woolens, it was really tough to move, with the added weight of my school bag. Once on the bus, all used to be well; off went the hat, the scarf and the pesky gloves. Used to catch cold and fingers used to go numb, but the sense of freedom without those three things (especially the hat), was paramount. Wasting the whole day gossiping and somehow studying, I hoped to get back home to have that tasty winter stuff that mother made.

After more than a decade, even today I fight for staying on the bed a few minutes more, but have started cooking the winter food myself. I dare say I can cook them up pretty neat!

So here go few of them:

Rajma Masala
Have with steamed rice or parathas or just like that. My sister preferred having the Rajma with Rice Crispies(Muri/Murmura).

Soak the Rajma(Kidney Beans), overnight or like me just put them in a pressure cooker and cook them till they are tender inside but firm outside. In a pot, heat some oil and ghee/butter. Add some Cumin seeds and let them crackle. Now add sliced onions and sauté till they are brown. Add some chopped tomatoes, diced garlic, grated ginger and all spice powder and fry like there’s no tomorrow. Add some sugar and salt whenever you like. After the masala is cooked, add the cooked rajma and top it up with some chopped cilantro. Add water and let it simmer slowly till you get very consistent gravy or till it starts tasting good. Add a cube of butter on top before serving. Kids love it!

Gobi paratha
Have it with the Rajma Masala or anything. I eat it with ketchup.

Heat some oil in a pan on medium heat. Add Asafetida, Ginger and Garlic and let it crackle for some time. Add minced cauliflower and mix mix mix. Add with Salt, Coriander Powder, Dry Mango Powder, Cumin Powder and Red Chili Powder. Mix well and cook uncovered until cauliflower is tender and moisture is evaporated. Set it aside to cool down. Now in a bowl add atta, Salt and Oil. Mix until Oil is well incorporated into the dry flour. Add a little water at a time to knead flour into smooth dough. Sprinkle a few drops of Oil to coat dough, cover and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Make the dough into small balls and roll them with a rolling pin after dusting with some atta; just roll out a medium sized paratha. Now put a bit of the cauliflower mixture in the middle and pull all the ends of the paratha to the center and join to form a small bag filled with cauliflower. Now dust with some atta again and roll out into full blown parathas. Put it on the skillet and heat it till it starts changing color. Flip over to do the other side; keep flipping till it’s cooked. Put a cube of butter before serving.

Gajar Ka Halwa

Boil some milk in a pot till it is reduced to half. Keep stirring while it boils. Melt some butter in a frying pan and stir fry some shredded carrots till the carrots are slightly tender. Now add the previously boiled milk to the carrots and keep stirring till it’s all gone. Add some sugar and cardamom powder and stir till the halwa starts leaving the sides of the skillet. Add some roasted cashews and almonds.

So you have the recipe for a full winter meal now. Bon appétit!!!!