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Sattu Chokha: Comfort Food from Bihar

16 Apr

Sattu Chokha Balls

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.

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Microwaved Tomato Salsa, Desi Style

23 Feb

Microwaved Tomato Salsa Recipe

The microwave in my kitchen is usually relegated to the role of reheater. Rarely is it called upon to participate in the making of a dish. This microwaved tomato salsa recipe dodges the norm – it gives the neglected apparatus a rare opportunity to show its cooking potential.

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Mooli Lachha Sabzi: Grated Radish Stir Fry

22 Dec

Radish Stir Fry

White radish, crisp and juicy, is in season. I like radish but can’t have much of it raw. More than a couple of bites, and I’m left nursing a stinging sensation and – if it’s a particularly potent specimen of the vegetable – watery eyes.

I wasn’t a fan of cooked radish either, until I discovered aloo mooli kadhi. Recently a new radish recipe has made its way into my armory, the one this post is about: mooli lachcha sabzi, or stir-fried grated radish. Thanks to a friend who shared her family recipe with me.

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Broccoli and Red Pepper with Indian Spices

6 Oct

Broccoli Red Capsicum

Broccoli and red pepper are not traditionally used in Indian cooking, but they take to Indian spices very well. A simple red capsicum curry works wonderfully when you want to cook quick. With a bit more time and a few more ingredients on hand, take a stab at this colorful mixed vegetable recipe.

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Paneer Butter Masala

10 Aug

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe

I wanted to make a paneer dish taste close to ‘paneer butter masala’ that we get in Indian restaurants. Here is what I came up with. This rich curry is a great hit with paneer lovers, something you can happily serve at a party.

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Ridge Gourd Onion Chutney

12 May

tn-ridge-gourd-onion-chutney

Ridge gourd onion chutney spiced with pepper and tamarind. Add a spark to a simple Indian meal with this chutney on the side.

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Baingan Bharta: Smoky Eggplant Mash

12 Oct

For a really good baingan bharta, getting the eggplant perfectly roasted is half the battle won. And for a perfectly roasted eggplant, the ingredients you need most are patience and balance – patience in cooking the eggplant on a low, open flame through till the core, balancing the heat all around without charring, leaving no spot raw or burnt.

The proportion of other ingredients and spices, the duration of post-roasting sautéing, can vary, but if the heart of the dish – the mashed eggplant – is nicely done, baingan bharta turns out delicious.

With that thought, on to my baingan bharta recipe in all its smoky splendor :-) 

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