Saag – an Indian dish of leafy greens, eaten along with rotis or rice. A variety of leaves can be used in saag: spinach and mustard greens are popular choices, while chaulai (amaranth leaves) is used often in Bihar. Chaulai saag is a simple, dry preparation with amaranth leaves and a hint of spices.
Mid-April each year, the harvest festival (or the start of the regional New Year) is celebrated round the country in diverse ways. Punjab has its Baisakhi, of bhangra and drum beats; Kerala its Vishu, of vishukkani and vishu kanji. Bihar welcomes the season with Satuaan (सतुआन), also called Satuaa Sankranti (सतुआ संक्रान्ति).
The prefix ‘satuaa-‘ comes from ‘sattu‘ (roasted Bengal gram flour), a staple food in Bihar. For Satuaan, it is customary to eat a meal comprising mainly of sattu, with accompaniments like green mango chutney on the side. The start of the year by the Indian solar calendar also ushers in summer, so associating sattu-eating with the day follows sound logic: sattu’s cooling properties are an effective antidote to heat.
We keep up with tradition by having sattu in some form on the festive occasion, even if not a full-fledged sattu meal. This year, we had sattu chokha.
The very versalite sabudana sits as comfortably in sweet dishes as in savory. This South East Asian inspiration – sabudana coconut milk pudding with mangoes – is a fine example of sabudana in its dessert avatar.
Like hot spicy food? Green chili fry (bhuni hari mirch) is a star in that genre – coated with spices, quickly cooked in mustard oil, a bit of green chili fry on the side with an Indian meal will give your taste buds a delightful fiery kick.
Each festival in Bihar has a signature sweet linked with it: thekua for chhatth, pidukiya for teej, tilkut for Makar Sankranti – and pua for Holi. But when the goodies are this good, why wait for an occasion to cook? Build your own reason for sweet celebration.
The answer to "What have you put in it?" seems almost incredible when the dish in question is gur ka paratha. Surely something as delicious as this MUST have a long list of ingredients mixed in careful proportions? Plausible as that sounds, it really, truly does not. Gur ka paratha is one of those goodies that produce far greater output effect than input effort. Hardly any effort, and only 3 ingredients.
A summertime favorite inspired by a recipe I saw on the TV show Turban Tadka. Mango phirni gives a seasonal twist to the conventional rice phirni. Serve it in silver bowls for a classic feel, or layer it in glasses western-style with nuts and mango pulp.