Monday, 21 April 2014

Pariba Khechudi and Dahi Bainga - Odisha

Odisha or Orrisa is the next state that we are travelling to in this Indian Food Odyssey series.In the ancient times, this was the Kalinga kingdom and was also known as Utkala as mentioned in India's national anthem.

This is the 9th largest state by population and 11th largest by population.

Since the per-historic times, this place has been inhabited by various people and has a history of over 5000 years.

Bhuvaneshwar, the capital of Odisha is a house to 1000 temples! The famous among them is the Puri Jagannath Temple.

This is the place where the oldest dance form - Odissi originated.

Coming to the cuisine,mainly relies on local produce/ ingredients. The flavors are subtle and has a mild use of spices.Only 6% of the population is vegetarian and for the rest of the folks, sea food is the most widely used and most popular one.Mustard oil is used for cooking and turmeic poswer, panch poran seeds, garam masala are widely used in this cuisine.

These people are fond of sweets and no meal is complete without a dessert.

Garlic and onions are shunned during festivals and even some restaurants near the Puri Jagannath Temple have dishes without garlic and onion in their menus!

This cuisine boasts of a large repertoire of dishes in all categories.

Today's post is a rice -lentil one pot meal with vegetables and milk spices. It is paired with a raita

Behind the scene:

Since rice is a staple at home, this sort of one pot meal is always welcome. All of us enjoyed it. Hubby felt I could have avoided the raisins.The raita was something different and I loved eating it as such.

And I must admit that the fried brinjal pieces are super addictive so I sincerely advice you to keep them out of reach till it is ready to be used in the recipe..

Pariba Khechudi:

I used:
Adapted from - Kumkum's Delicious Kitchen

Rice - 1 cup
Moong dal-1/2 cup
Onion-1, chopped
Tomato-1 chopped
Red chilies- 3,broken
Whole spices- Bay leaf-1, cloves-2, cardamom-1,cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon,cinnamon -1" piece,Black pepper corns-1/2 teaspoon
Grated ginger- 1/2 teaspoon
Mixed vegetables- a little of carrot, peas, potato, cauliflower, beans, chopped
Turmeric powder- 1/8 teaspoon
Ghee- 2 tablespoons
Oil-1 teaspoon

To garnish

Roasted peanuts

Soak the rice and dal for half and hour. Heat a pressure cooker with oil and add the whole spices and red chilies.Saute for a minute. Add the onions,ginger and saute till onion turns translucent.

Add the tomato and cook till it softens. Add 3 cup of water and bring to boil.Add the vegetables.

Add salt and turmeric powder. Drain water from the soaked rice-dal mixture and add it to the cooker.

Pressure cook for 15 minutes or 4 hisses or until done.Remove from the pressure cooker onto a serving dish.Heat the remaining ghee and pour over the rice. Garnish with roasted peanuts and raisins.

Serve as such or with a raita...

The next dish is a raita that goes well with any flavored rice dish....

I used:
Adapted from - Kumkum's Delicious Kitchen

Eggplant / brinjal-1 large,chopped into finger sized pieces
Besan-1 tablespoon
Red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Fresh yogurt- 2 cups
Kaala namak / black salt- 1/8th teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

For tempering:

Oil-1 teaspoon
Mustard- 1 teaspoon
Green chili-1,chopped
Curry leaves- a few

Take the brinjal pieces, besan and red chili powder in a bowl and mix well so that the masala coats the brinjal.Keep aside.  Whisk the yogurt.

To the yogurt add salt, kala namak and keep aside.Heat oil for deep frying and fry the besan coated brinjal pieces till they turn golden brown.Drain and keep aside.

Heat oil for tempering and add the ingredients mentioned under it. When the mustard splutters, pour over the yogurt mixture and mix.

Just before serving, add the brinjal piece, gently mix and serve...

Other Oriyan / Odiyan recipes

Olo Kopi Bhaja - Odiyan Turnip stir-fry
Chenna poda - Indian cottage cheese based dessert

Bon Appetit...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Rusep | Cooked Vegetable Chutney - Nagaland

From Mizo, we are now travelling to the next sister state of Nagaland. This state is situated in the extreme North Eastern part f India.The people of this state are called Nagas and previously as Nakas meaning people with pierced noses. There are 16 main tribes that inhabit this region along with several smaller tribal clans.There are around 20 dialects!!Nagaland is largely a mountainous region and rich in fauna and flora.

Since there are so many tribes and sub-tribes,the cuisine of these tribes are distinct and yet some overlap each other and still have some delicacies that are specific to a particular tribe!

The naga cuisine uses any thing and everything in their cooking! And hence it was really difficult to locate an exclusive vegetarian dish for this state. I read that they cook dogs, worms, insects and also use pork and other meats.

A Naga meal would contain rice,which is the staple, along with some meat preparation / bamboo preparation, boiled vegetables and spicy chili sauce.

Their cuisine though bland often have an accompaniment of some sort of spicy sauce that lightens up the meal.

The Nagas preserve their food through smoking or fermentation.

Meat is so much a part of their life style that they associate a curative property with each type of meat - like,dog's meat cures pneumonia, bee larve, snails heal skin and bones etc. Even now, these are followed.

Naga cuisine has somehow not changed due to modernization and still retains all the traditional and cultural aspects of their cuisine!!

Today's recipe is a simple boiled vegetable side that is from the Ao Naga clan cuisine....

Behind the scene:

This is perhaps the simplest recipe that I have cooked in this series. It hardly qualifies for a recipe with step by step pictorial coz, it is that simple!!

The taste, like the other NE dishes that I have cooked ,is bland with a hint of spice from the green chilies that I used. I liked it but the others did not try more than a spoonful!

And also I skipped the Dried anchovies in this recipe...

I used:
Recipe Source - Pan Cuisine

Mixed vegetables - Tomato, onion, brinjal/ eggplant - cut into even sized cubes
Green chilies- 2
Salt to taste

Boil 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker and put in the vegetables and salt. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and remove from cooker after the pressure releases.


Bon Appetit...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Mizo Bai | Mizoram Rice - Vegetable Stew

From one North Eastern sister state - Maghaglaya, we move on to another sister state- Mizoram.Mizoram literally means - Land of the Hill people.True to the name this is a land of rolling hills,rivers and valleys and I was surprised to read that there are as many as 21 major ranges of different heights and lengths running across this state with plains scattered in between them!

The origin of the people of this state is shrouded in mystery.The Kukis are the earliest inhabitants of this state and nothing much is known about their earlier existence. Until the British rule in India, these people lived in autonomous villages.

It is indeed great to know that this state stands second in literacy after Kerala and has the second highest urbanization rate in India!

Since this state is blessed with a mesmerizing beauty, the government is trying to increase the revenue by promoting tourism.But due to the lack of essential amenities, the process is getting delayed.

Just like the other North Eastern States, the main food category here too are the non vegetarian dishes. Though vegetables are used and savored, no meal is complete without a few meat based dishes.

Pork, duck, chicken and fish are the most preferred foods along with bamboo shoots and locally grown herbs.

Lard was traditionally and now a day mustard oil is used but in very minimal quantities. Most of their foods are boiled or steamed  and no oil is used in such dishes.

Spices are also sparingly used and the dishes are usually flavored with locally grown herbs and bamboo.Some commonly used spices / flavoring agents are onion, green chili, ginger and garlic.

Meals are usually served on plantain leaves and desserts are not common after a meal. The locals prefer a fresh fruit to desserts.

The use and choice of ingredients can be used as a mark to determine the social / economic status of the family.

It is the job of the women of the household to prepare the daily meal.But in festive times or family gatherings, the male members take over the cooking!You can read more interesting facts about the food and culture of the Mizo people here...

Today's dish is a type of stew from this beautiful state.A soupy -stew kind of dish with rice and vegetables that can be served as a main or a side and can be eaten hot / cold.

Behind the scene :

 As usual, one fine day I went veggie shopping to the farmer's market..I cleaned all the vegetables, removed the stalks of the cauliflower, cleaned the coriander and other greens and put them in containers and neatly stacked all the veggies in the fridge and then sat down to look out for Mizo recipes.

That is when I saw this recipe here.It uses cauliflower stalk as the main ingredient.I was so disheartened as I had just thrown out a huge pile of stalk!I made consecutive trips to the farmers market in the next few days and to my bad luck, I could not find cauliflower anywhere! So I made this with other vegetables.

Coming to the actual dish...Well, this is the only dish that I did not share with any one!!! I made it for breakfast one day and had it all by myself while the rest of the family relished piping hot idlis with sambar.I was sure even the kids will not like this one. So I made it after they had their breakfast! This is very quick to make and I did not really mind the bland taste!

Yes,the taste is a bit bland even for me.May be I should have added more chilies. But it was a really filling meal as it had rice and veggies.

I used:

Rice - a handful
Mixed vegetables
Green chili- 1
Water - as needed
Salt to taste

Chop the vegetables [ I used carrot, cabbage, spinach, bean, cauliflower,potato].Heat 2 cup of water in a pan and bring to boil.Add all the vegetables, green chili and salt and cook for 2 minutes.

Add rice and cover and cook till the vegetables and rice are soft.Add more water in between if needed.

Serve Bai Hot / warm/cold.....

Bon Appetit...