Thursday, March 6, 2008

I cooking! and honestly, I find it one of the most creative things under the sun. Ever tried to count how many recipes are prepared around the world out of a limited number of ingredients ! Just amazing !!

And of course , there is that saying – the way to one’s heart lies through one’s stomach . How true !! It feels like heaven when my kids tell – oh , Mama – the dish was yum.m.y !! And of course , a lot other admirers !!

I would add one more feather to the cap . Cooking is a real stress buster too ! And that’s the time when I sing to my heart’s glory , ha , ha !!

Clarification - I am neither a housewife nor a Chef . I m a senior executive in a bank and normally I have very little time for myself or my hobbies . So , as a matter of principle , I prepare the lunch for the family in the morning – have carved out that 1 to 1 &1/2 hrs time in the morning before I leave for office . Advantages of cooking the lunch myself in the morning before leaving for office at 9:

- End up managing my time and so , am never late for office

- Get to cook for the family and so, able to keep that emotional bond alive despite lack of time for being with the family

- Get to retain and sharpen cooking skills for ever, one of the skills most useful till the last breath

- Enjoy the creations

- Enjoy singing while cooking – so get to maintain my singing talent even without real practice

I think, those are quite enough to motivate anyone – at least me – to continue with my rendezvous with recipes !!!

So .. I thought I would start my blog with Ode to Cooking and to my utmost pleasure , I just read from Asha (foodieshope), Zorra has organized an event for them to cook or bake something "Yellow", to celebrate and support the economic, political and social achievements of women. She says color Yellow represents respect and an expression of solidarity with the women in their support for oppressed women worldwide.

Here I join hands with millions of women around the World in celebrating this great day by placing below a “ Yellow” item ., which I had cooked yesterday and just coincidentally , my daughter had taken a snap out of fun .

MACHHA BADI BESAR (Fish in Mustard Gravy)

It is a typical fish curry dish of Orissa state in India .

Ingredients : Fish pieces ( recommended fish : Rohu/Katla/ Hilsa) , oil ( recommended oil : Mustard Oil) mustard paste * , chopped onions, tomato, Panch Phutan **, Haldi ( turmeric powder), Red Chilly powder, Jeera powder ( cumin seeds powder), salt to taste and Badi #

* Mustard Paste : Heat some water and take out of stove; soak mustard seeds in warm water for 8 to 10 minutes – drain and grind together with garlic flakes, a little bit of Onion & a bit of turmeric powder ( Roughly 2 tablespoon of mustard with 7/8 garlic flakes , half of one medium onion for 4 to 5 pieces of fish).

** Panch Phutan ( seasoning of five ) : mustard seed, jeera ( cumin seed), black cumin seed, Saunf , Fenugreek seeds – mixed together . Usually we keep this mix in a large measure and use only 1 or half teaspoon for seasoning .

# badi : these are pre-prepared stuff stored in dry condition . Grind black grams( deskinned) - the gram used for batter of Dosa/Idli etc . Do not make it watery . On a plain loin cloth , put small small measures of this , and dry well in sun . Peel off from the cloth and store in air tight jars .

Wash the fish pieces – add salt & termuric powder . Heat a frying pan – add oil

( roughly 1 teaspoon per piece – I m very bad at giving measures for recipes – I am sure, anyone who cooks would have the knack for knowing the proportions - by eye estimate & tasting before finish). Fry the fish pieces well ; keep aside .

Heat some oil ( 2/3 teaspoons) in a Kadai ( or frying pan with space for gravy), add paanch phutan ( 1 teaspoon) . When they splutter fully, add chopped onion, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and a little bit of salt . Add cumin seed powder ( about 2 teaspoon) , chopped tomato ( about 2 medium sized). Stir fry for some time , add boiled potato pieces or raw patato slices ( may avoid potato also )- stir fry, then add the fried fish pieces – mix carefully without breaking the pieces. You may also add long pieces of Spring onions at this stage of frying ( as shown in the picture – I had put only this and no potato or coriander leaves) . Keep cooking on low fire for about 2 mins . Mix the mustard paste with water and pour into the Kadai. Add enough water ( about 1 tea cup per piece ) and salt to taste . Cover lid and bring to a boil on high flame – then leave simmering with the lid on for 15/20 minutes . Add chopped fresh coriander leaves ( avoid this if you have put spring onion stalks).

After switching off the stove, add fried “ Badi ” pieces and cover . The curry will taste as delicious even without badi.

This curry is also ideal for adding drumsticks .

This curry can also be prepared with thicker gravy ( but my kids love the “jhola” i.e the watery gravy , which goes very well with Rice ).

Trust , some readers would try this out and comment honestly !!


Asha said...

WOW!! Guess what I made for Bengali cuisine I am going to post next weekS! YUP, same fish dish but different and simple following my Bengali cookbook. Your's look really authentic. Great entry, glad you made it!
Now, I admire you for having full time job and managing home so well too. I am like you too, very organized, although I am a stay at home mom!:)
Great job Snigdha, glad to visit you here from now on, hope to see you there too. Welcome!:))

Snigdha said...

Thx a ton Asha for being so wonderfully encouraging ! What I had posted is a typical ORIYA dish - actually , we share a lot with Bengalies . Guess, u r referring to " Bhanpa Hilsa" - that's really simple and y.u.mmy . We make that too very often - tastes very nice even with other kinds of fresh water fish like Rohu/Katla . I will post it later when I cook that & take a snap . I was experimenting with a simple chicken dish last Saturday for my daughters - tasted really cool and looked exotic . I will post it this sunday ( feeling damn sleepy now !) I will also try out one of your Potato recipes - photos looked too inviting!!

veera said...

madame dear madame
i am reminded of those days when we lunched and travelled together in mumbai oh yes Veera here ia m so glad you have started this and am spellbound. i always thought your recipes should be noted and published and you have found a way out. though i have not yet taken up your suggestion of using cooking as a great stressbuster but whenever i do i know where to find yummy recipes short and quick to make