Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quick Bong food

Some days are just so busy, when you can’t care less for the healthy antioxidants in the food or the calories or even the masala proportions, and invariably these are the days which have to follow the Murphy’s Law to the T, talk of chaos aaaaargh!! Like yesterday, I was running late for work when I realised that the maid didn’t turn up, the electricity went out and whatever we had as a leftover is on verge of rotting…or so I was told. With age I think the nostrils flare-up at the sight of anything more than a day old, and I happen to be staying put with such two pairs of noses. Ah well! so life took a downward swing early in the morning and I needed to perk it up for my own sanity, what can be better than ‘Aromas from the east’ …Bong comfort food for the bong at heart all I needed to ensure, is that it better be super quick with an option of zanning it up with red chillies for those with red hot defiant tongues, and I’m ready to start—I better or else I miss my Monday morning meeting!!!

A couple of things before I start my quick cooking expedition is to make a mental note of inventory and list if things to prepare. So yesterday, I thought of making musurer dal(red lentils curry), Alu deem bhate (mashed potatoes with eggs) and Moon bean salad. Before I began scouting for rest of the masalas , I quickly used a pressure pan in which I put 1 cup Musurer Dal(red lentils) for softening with a pinch of salt and turmeric and two potatoes and eggs along with it for boiling. Remember only 2-3 whistles in a cooker/pressure pan, as you run the risk of mixing the egg shells with the Dal if you are not careful. For novice cooks, boiling the eggs separately is advisable.

Musurer dal(red lentils curry)

This is a Bengali quick boil Dal, especially a blessing for those frenzy days. All you need to do is

Ingredients:

1)1 cup Musurer dal/ red lentils
2) Salt to taste
3) Turmeric I tsp
4)2 green chillies
5) Ghee (clarified butter) optional
6) Coriander for garnishing
7)1 tsp cumin seeds

How I did It

As I said earlier, put 1 cup Dal with 3 cups water along with salt and turmeric in the pressure cooker, and you should be done in 2-3 whistles. Open the pan once the steam runs out and churn the Dal. Bengalis like it a little watery.

There are two options of having it, heat ghee(as much as you think you should ) I put 1 tsp for a cup of Dal serving three people, and once the you start seeing the flames splutter cumin seeds and green chillies, once they are fried , mix it with the pressure cooked and churned Dal. You will hear a hiss.

Option 2 calls for leaving the Dal as is, adding ghee and slit green chilly on top.(No cumin.) Depending on you likeability.

Alu deem bhate (mashed potatoes with eggs)
Here the pre boiled potatoes and eggs which I you put along with Musurer Dal for boiling in the cooker come in handy.

Ingredients:

1)3 boiled potatoes
2)3 boiled eggs
3) Green chillies to taste
3) 1/2cup milk
4) Mustard oil 2 tsp or any pickle oil 2 tsp
5) Coriander/parsley/chives (all or one depending on availability chopped fine)
6) Onion half (chopped fine)
7) 1 tsp cumin seeds (roast and ground)

How I did It

Mash all the above as finely as possible, use a food processor for larger quantities and lace it with mustard oil in the last leg of mashing up procedure! You are done.


Whole Green Moong salad

Now I had the soaked green Moong in the refrigerator, so no sweat. For this one needs to plan in advance as it’s quick to make but takes a long time to soak and soften. Overnight is a good time period, you can get a nice salad in the morning. As it goes, we use this little salad with our cocktail nights to hurried lunch cooking days like today. You also have the option of turning it into a western classing by stuffing the salad in tacos or go as desi as possible with zeera and lal mirch tadka(cumin and red chilly seasoning). What I did was:

Ingredients:
1) 2-21/2 cups of soaked green gram/moong beans/dal
2) 1tsp zeera/cumin seeds
3)1 finely chopped onion
3)1tsp finely chopped green chillies
4)1 pinch of heeng/Asafoetida
5) 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
6)Salt to taste
7) 1 tsp any vegetable oil

For the garnish

Finely chopped cucumber and coriander
Fresh coconut or chat masala (depending on what you like and what is available easily at home)
Lime Juice ~ 2-3 tsp

How I did it:

In a pan put the oil, once it’s hot add the zeera, ginger, heeng/Asafoetida, onion, green chilly. Once they start spluttering and onion is a little done then you can add the moong beans. If you feel its sticking to the pan because of less oil, add a little water and cover and cook. Check intermittently and stir. It will be done in 5-7 minutes.

Ps: The time taken to soften the moong will vary based on the time you have soaked the moong, the amount of water. Keep adding water till its soft for yoyr satisfaction. Continue this till the green gram/moong is soft (as you like it)and little damp with no visible water.

Garnish with coriander, chat masala, lime juice, chopped cucumber.

Enjoy it with Alu deem bhate (mashed potatoes with eggs) and Musurer dal(red lentil curry) and steaming hot rice. Perfect summer lunch for a bong belly:)
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