Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lullabies and Stories.

            

           There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter,                    the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.  ~         Elizabeth Lawrence   
                        
         Lullabies are often sung by parents or grandparents or the care takers to the children to calm them, to make them sleep or simply spending time with them.Music helps us with memory with interpreting emotion,language and may makes us effective communicators.

            When my daughter was a newborn, I dont know what kind of activities to do with her. Some how I remember  my mother sung bedtime songs or lullabies to her .One by one she will sing it for hours. The soothing lyrics of the songs,her calming voice made my daughter to sleep,or calm down. somehow I remember my childhood stories of odia folk tales, stories of the epic "Ramayan" or the "Mahabharat". I learnt some songs from my mother and later on my daughter started enjoying it, and soon it became a bedtime ritual for her.  We all have some or few treasure moments of our childhood to cherish. When we go down the memory lane and think about the moments and time, about our childhood, it gives us immense happiness.
               
                   I will like to pen down few lines of one lullaby, I have heard from my mother.

             "Atika doati dhoi thoili, Nigidi padila ghia,
               tubai lo...
              Ama bapa nkara bahuta jhia,Dada nku gotia dia
               tubai lo...
              Dada nahi nahi kale,
                tubai lo..
               Khudi nka manare kapat thila,Daria ku peli dele,
                 tubai lo..
              Daria pani ta huku huku,Kie neigala jai phula ku,
              Tala mala raija ku… 
                  tubai lo...
              Tala maluani pani kangaluni, Hasta re kholanti chua,
                 tubai lo… 
               kana mala dei hengula diaan, Neigale jhankadia
               Jhankada pokhari kau
               tubai lo….
               ame dui bhauni puchi khelutilu, Jhuri maruthile bohu.
               tubai lo…..
              Gobar gadia poka, tubai lo…
              Ame dui bhauni puchi kheluthilu, jhuri maruthile loka.
               tubai lo..
              Tota charipata buli aasili,Amba nahi amba chana
              bhainka gharaku anei deli , padichhi phula bichhana.
              tubai lo…
              Phula bichhanara jari, tubai lo..
              kaha sange bhai karichha kali , srimukha jauchhi jali
               Nai separi ku anei deli,Kumbhir galuchhi matti
               tubai lo..
              Kumbhir nuhe se amari bhai,Bhanguchhanti danta kathi."
             Bangi dhana kie kuti neichhi, batare padichhi chashu
             tubai lo….
             gaan bohu mane hulahuli dia, mo dhana bedire basu..
  
                               And it goes on and on. I remembered times listening to stories told by my mother,one of my uncle(who used to visit us after his daily shift of work), and one of my friend. During my upper primary years of school, daily we walked to school , and it took us some 30 minute on our feet to reach the school.  Near to my house lived a girl "pratima". Pratima was a very good story teller .She knew many stories about the kings and queens. On the way to school  she told me many stories. And with that story our time flies and we reached our school . I remember one story my father told us years back. It was about a soldier and 3 witches. How the soldier fought with the witches , acquired all the wealth and married the princess with the help of a"tinder box".
                                Stories are a way to keep children's occupied. During my high school days , my mother kept a big brass plate or "thali" to feed us all together , before we are off to the school. She will bring  the rice, dal, sabji in that big plate for  us, and start telling a story from "Mahabharat" or "Ramayan". We were so much engrossed in that story that hardly we noticed what we are eating and how we are eating. She will accomplish her job without much effort and soon our stomach s are filled too. There goes some old song I heard from my mother.

 "Asa re asa para jodika,
  Ama pindha re basa,
Khaibaku debi tumaku, Nadia ra rasa,
Pibaku debi tumaku, Mahanadi ra pani,
Soibaku debi tumaku, Ratna khata ani."


"Bai chadhei re bai chadhei, To maa jaichhi gai charei,
Gai ru aaniba pachila bela,  Taku khai tote kariba gela,
Bai chadhei re bai chadhei, To maa jaichhi daria pari,
Daria pari re suna naara, Maa mora patarani tahara.
Bada hele jiba daria deiin,Sanga hoi maa sathire muhin.
To pua mo jhia kariba baha, Bai chadheire kheiliba aa.


        I remember some of the songs from "Manabodha Chautisha". I love the way it starts wit the Odia alphabets "KA" "KHA"  etc .


"Kamal lochana srihari, Karena sankha chakradhari
Khaga asane khagapati, Khatanti laxmi saraswati.


Specially I love it when I listen my mother doing puja and reciting all the mantaras.

Miss you Maa, Miss my home.






            




                  

        

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rasogolla

                    As the name says "Rasogolla" or the ball in syrup, is a very very popular sweet dish in Odisa.None of our festival or ceremony goes without this "soft and sweet cheese ball in syrup". And we Odia people are crazy about this speciality of Orissa. I am sure of this fact also that any non oriya person also fall in love with this Rasagolla, after eating it once. Somehow the preparation is different outside Orissa. Either it will be less sweet or chewy or spongy kind . When the name of Rasogolla comes into mind , how can a Odia forget the famous "Pahala Rasogolla". The name itself brings water into mouth. When you live outside Orissa and you look forward to a trip to the Land of LORD JAGANNATH, you will definitely have plans to go and gulp down this heavenly thing.

                    Its an age old tradition in puri Jagannath temple offering Rasogolla to Goddess Laxmi  by the Lord of the Universe ,while coming back to the temple after the chariot festival in order to please her for being ignored. Its called the "Niladri Vijay" .

                     While trying my hands in cooking, somehow I just passed making rasagolla. First experiment result was "ok" kind, second time it was "good" but can be improved kind. And it was "mind blowing" after that. So I will say one thing just keep on trying this sweet savory dish , and you will be more then happy with the result. So here goes the recipe for "Rasagolla" from  my kitchen for all of you who loves this dish.

Rasogolla:
Ingredients:
      1 ltr whole milk.
      1 tsp all purpose flour (maida).
       2 big lemons, cut into halves.
       2 cups sugar.
       2 cups water.
       1tsp rose essence.
       2 cardamom finally  powered.

Preparation:
           Heat milk in a deep pan , stir it and bring it to boil in a medium flame. When starts boiling properly, squeeze on the lemons. Stir it well. The milk will start curdling.  When the water separates from the cheese or chhena , switch off the gas and cover the pan for 5 mins.  With the help of a strainer, strain the chhena from the water, now tie it in a piece of muslin cloth , put some weight on it so that the water from the chhena will be drained. It may take 2-3 hrs or more, if the quantity of chhena is more.

      Get a wooden board or a container where u can knead the chhena. Add the flour , knead it till its smooth and creamy. The quality of rasogolla depends upon  the kneading. So it is the most time consuming thing in this whole preparation. Put small amount of cardamom powder( less then a pinch) in the center of the chhena balls. If you want the Rasogolla  s colour to be light brownish, u can caramalized the sugar in a small bowl and later on when its cools off, u can put small pieces inside every chhena balls center.

        Take a pressure cooker, pour 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water into it.( you can use brown sugar, and if you want u can reduce the sweetness by adding less sugar, here I have used brown sugar to make this Rasogollas) . Add on the rose essence. Put the chhena balls into the cold water mix.  Make sure the water is enough for the cooking. Pressure cook the balls in low flame till 2 whistles. Usually after 30-45 mins the rasogolla s are done . Leave it to cool. After its cools off, serve hot .When serving make sure to warm it in a microwave for 15 seconds.

                                  Soft and delicious Rasogolla s are ready. enjoy guys.


    



                    
   

Friday, January 14, 2011

Simeyi Upma(Vermecelli upma)

                   Simeyi or Vermicelli is made from hard wheat semolina. Its healthy and tasty in any kind preparation.Be it Kheer, Pulav, Upma . After getting sensitive to sugar, I switched myself to cooking this beautiful and tasty dish Simeyi Upma. I remember eating the regular sooji  upma in many places, but the one I ate at "Gajanana Restaurant " is the best one. Their they put vermicelli into the sooji  upma. While eating the upma , the strands of vermicelli comes in view. It looks attractive and tastes awsome. Feeling homesick and nostalgic remembering  delicious food.
Home sweet home , there is no place like home. Your home is there, where your heart is.


Simeyi Upma:-




Ingredients:


2 cups vermicelli or simeyi.
4 cups of water.
2tbsp oil.
11/2 cup chopped vegetables( potato, carrot, beans, peas)
1 tomato diced into cubes.
2 onion, thinly sliced.
1 tsp of ginger garlic paste.
1/2 tsp cumin powder.
1 tsp coriander powder.
whole garam masalas( clove, bay leaf, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom).
 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 bunch mint leaves chopped.
1-2 green chillies, silted.
salt .

Preparation:

                  Take a deep pan on flame. Roast the vermicelli slightly , pour water in it.  Add on 4-5 drops of oil to the boiling vermicelli(that way it wont stick to each other). When cooked , take it out, strain it with a strainer and keep aside.

Put the  pan on flame again. Pour oil , add the garam masalas, green chili and mint leaves, saute it for 1 min then add the onion slices. Fry till the onion changes its colour to translucent. Add the chopped vegetables, fry it for 3-4 mins. Add the tomato slices, cook it for 3-4 mins, then add the ginger garlic paste. Stir it properly so that it will mix with the vegetables, add the cumin powder and coriander powder. Let the vegetables to be cooked by stirring it occasionally  and covering it. After  the vegetables are done, add on the boiled vermicelli or simeyi. Put salt as per your taste, garnish with the chopped cilantro.
(You can put 1 tsp pepper powder  to enhance the taste) .

Now the beautiful and tasty Simeyi Upma is ready to be served. Enjoy with your chai cuppa !

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nadia Pura Idli(Coconut Stuffed Sweet Idli).

          
                  Idli is a south Indian steamed rice cake, its an ideal breakfast. Made of rice and urad dal, making idli is not difficult. In Odia households we  prepare many steamed rice and urad dal cakes like this. Some of are made of steaming only the rice batter also. Sijha manda, Enduri pitha, Muaan pitha and Idli are named to be among them. We prepare idli by steaming it as it is made in south india, and sometime we do steam it with the sweet coconut stuffing. In Odisa idli is served with ghuguni, dalma or hot milk with sugar.
Here goes the recipe of a favourite dish from my kitchen.

Nadia Pura idli:-


Ingredients:


2 cups rice
1 cup urad dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds.
Pinch of Baking soda.
1 tsp oil.
11/2 cup of grated coconut.
I cup brown sugar.
2 cardamoms,powdered

Preparation:

            Soak urad dal , rice and fenugreek seeds in enough water for 6-8 hours. Grind the mix to a thick consistency adding water in between. Add the salt and baking soda to the batter, stir it. Keep the mixture in a warm place overnight to ferment .
Put a pan on flame. Pour the grated coconut and brown sugar into the pan. Fry it till the brown sugar melts and coats the coconut. Add the cardamom powder into the coconut mixture. Let it cool.

Grease the idli plate with oil. Pour the batter into the idli plates(3/4th), place a spoonful of coconut mixture on top of it.  Now cover it with another spoonful of batter. Steam it in a idli cooker or rice cooker for 10 mins. Let it cool for sometime, take it out with a butter knife. Serve hot with ghuguni, dalma , sambar or with milk n sugar.


Awesome! enjoy guys.









Friday, January 7, 2011

Ghuguni

                  

                           Ghuguni is a tasty , spicy  curry of dried peas. I remember eating the yummiest bara and ghuguni in kalamandir market , Bhubaneswar. There it served with a dash of sliced onion and some black salt on it. .Ghuguni can be eaten with rotis or parathas as well. It can be served as a evening snacks . I love to eat this ghuguni with mudhi.  Rich with protein, this curry can be eaten like a chat too.


Ghuguni:

Ingredients:-

2 cup dried peas.
1  large  tomato diced
1   large onion,thinly chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, cut into small pieces and crushed.
1  bay leaf / teja patra.
1/2 tsp cumin seeds / jeera.
1 tbsp vegetable oil.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
1/2 tsp chili powder.
2 tsp MTR sambar powder.
Salt as required.
( if you like adding potatoes, u can pressure cook them with the peas and add them to the curry. somehow I like it without potatoes.)
Preparation:-

          Soak the dry yellow peas  in water for 6-7 hours. Pressure cook the peas , till its cooked( do not over cook). Heat oil in a deep pan,add cumin seeds and bay leaf.  Add on the onion slices, fry it till the onion turns golden brown, add the crushed garlic, stir till 2-3 minutes.( I like the taste of garlic pieces while eating the ghuguni) .Add the diced tomatoes , turmeric powder, chili powder. Fry till the oil comes out now add on the MTR sambar  powder,mix it well and leave to cook for another 3-4 mins in a medium flame. Add salt as per taste.You can smell a nice aroma coming out of the masala. lastly add the boiled peas. let it simmer for another 10 mins. if required add some water. remove from flame and garnish with cilantro leaves,onion slices and a dash of lemon juice. Serve hot with parathas, roti, nan , puris , chakuli pitha or last but not the least biri bara and singada(samosa).   Yummm…


 One hot cup of ginger tea with this mouth watering dish. Bliss!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Potatoes and Delicacies.

      Potato or aloo is a favourite vegetable for we Odia people. As I have written before we cannot live without it. A simple meal in any Odia house hold is rice , dal and aloo .In every curry we add potatoes. Somehow for the carbohydrate content , many health conscious  families trying to avoid it these days. But some dishes are just unavoidable for their taste. Here am writing the recipe for Aloo Posta. I like it cooking this way. Hope you will enjoy it too. If you want to make it with janhi or ridge gourd( Chinese Okra), you can cut that into small cubes and add to the potatoes while frying,and then you can add the posta paste.

 Aloo posta.

Ingredients:-

4 medium sized potato.
1 large onion.
5-6 garlic cloves.
2-3 tbsp khus khus / posta / poppy seeds
1 tsp pancha phutana.
2-3 green chillies or dry red chillies.
1 pinch of turmeric powder.
1tbsp mustard oil /any cooking oil.
Salt as per taste.

(boil the khus khus for 2-3 mins in water,and keep it in that water for 10-15 mins.)

Preparation:-

           Wash and peel the potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1inch long pieces and keep in water to prevent from blackening. Cut the onion into thin slices . Strain the khuskhus (posta) in a tea strainer and make a paste of it adding a little water into it if the paste is too thick . Put a deep pan on flame. Pour the oil into it. Add pancha phutan,when begin to splutter add onion slices,green chillies and garlic pods into the oil. Fry till the onion is soft and translucent , add the potatoes ,fry till its half cooked. Add the khuskhus paste, turmeric powder and salt. (you can add a bit of more turmeric powder if u wants it to be look yellow, I prefer mine a bit whitish). Pour in 1 cup of water to the potatoes. Let it be cooked in a slow flame till its fully cooked. The mixture should be thick and the khuskhus paste should be sticking it to now. Remove from fire and serve it with rice,roti, parathas or mudhi (puffed rice).



Happy cooking Guys !
    

Aloo Bati Basa:

Ingredients:-

3-4 potatoes
2 tsp  khus khus paste.
2 tsp mustard powder(soaked in water).(You can make the paste by grinding  mustard seeds with water)
2 green chili .
1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
1 medium sized onion,thinly sliced.
2-3 garlic cloves ,crushed
1 medium sized tomato diced
1 tbsp mustard oil or any cooking oil.
Cilantro leaves to garnish.
salt.

Prepartion:-

                Wash and cut the potatoes lengthwise into thin slices. Take a deep pan  put the potatoes diced tomatoes, onion slices,  khuskhus paste, mustard paste, oil, green chiles, crushed garlic, turmeric powder,salt into it together. mix it well, add little water to cook the potatoes. Cook that mix for 10 -15 mins till the potatoes are cooked. Garnish it with cilantro leaves and you are all set. It can be eaten as a side dish to lunch or dinner.


Enjoy folks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spices inside Odia kitchen.

                       Masala is a  word that often used in Odia cuisine. It literally means a blend of several spices. local influence distinguishes curries from one region to another. So one can say that the characteristic of each curry relies entirely upon the herbs and spices that goes into it. A spice is a dried root, fruit, bark, seed or vegetative substance used in as a food additive for the purpose of flavoring the food.


                    Inside an odia kitchen you will find several spices or masalas. Jeera (cumin seeds), dhania (coriander seeds), sorisha (mustard seeds), pancha phutana (pancha phoran), methi (fenugreek seeds), pana mahuri (saunf, fennel), posta (khuskhus,poppy seeds), haladi (turmeric powder), sukhila lanka (dried red chilies), gota garam masala, garam masala gunda are named to be few of them. Pancha phutana is a mixture of five seeds which used in tempering dal , fries and curries. It consist of mustard , fenugreek, fennel, nigella or kalonji and cumin seeds. I have seen in my mother adding dry chilli parts to it , for a better taste. And mostly I love the taste and smell of fenugreek seed.  The compositions of garam masala differs regionally. Some common ingredients are  cloves(lavanga), pepper corns(gol maricha), bay leaves (teja patra), cinnamon (dalchini), green and black cardamom (aleicha), nutmeg (jai phala), star anise( chakra phool). In some places cumin and corainder seeds are also added to enhance the flavor.

                        Here goes the recipe of garam masala powder, what I use in my kitchen.

GARAM MASALA POWDER:

Ingredients:-

3 tbsp coriander seeds
3 tbsp cumin seeds.
20 green cardamoms
10 cinnamon sticks(1 inch long).
2 tbsp cloves.
10 blades mace.
10 black cardamom pods.
1/2 nutmeg.
1tbsp black peppercorns.
4 cinnamon leaves or bay leaves.
1 tbsp fennel seeds.

                     Heat a dry frying pan and all the spices. Stir them and shake the pan as they start to crackle.
when they smell roasted and aromatic remove the pan from heat and pour the spices onto a plate. Allow to cool.
           To grind the spices use a mortar and pestle or a spice mill or a clean coffee grinder.


Happy cooking friends.