Chura Bhuja Mattar: Crispy Flattened Rice and Peas

14 Feb

The most archetypal of snacks from Bihar – chura bhuja.

What is chura, did you ask? Chura is the Bihari word for flattened rice, called chiwra elsewhere in north India. The better-known way of preparing chiwra is in its moistened form, as poha. Chura bhuja, in contrast, works on chiwra crisp and dry.

What is bhuja, did you ask? That is another Bihari word, meaning a dry roasted snack.

Chura bhuja can be had on its own but tastes best when paired with a mattar (peas) dish. Here is a simple recipe. If you have the time and inclination you could prepare it as a full-fledged ghughni with onions and tomatoes.

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How To Make Triangular Parathas

8 Feb

Triangular Parathas

Have you had those triangle-shaped parathas with layers inside them and wondered how they got made? Wonder no more: in this post, I’ll show you how to make triangular parathas with step-by-step pictures.

The word "paratha" comes from the words parat (layer) and atta (flour). So parathas are literally layers of cooked flour.

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Toor Dal Tadka with Spinach

6 Feb

On regular days my simple yellow dal has a spicier accompaniment. On other days, the accompaniment is plain aloo fry while the dal is spruced up. Here is one way I make my dal interesting – a spinachy-garlicky version: toor dal tadka with spinach.

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Masala Bhindi: Okra Sans Onions

2 Feb

Masala Bhindi - Okra with Spices

I’m on a run of no onion recipes. This is another such. Masala bhindi (okra) that uses dry spices like cumin and coriander only – no onions, no garlic, no tomatoes.

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Toor Sabut Moong Dal

31 Jan

A simple lentil dish to go with Indian meals – toor dal (arhar dal/pigeon pea split) with a fistful of saboot moong (green gram or whole moong, with the green skin on) in it. The yellow and green of toor sabut moong dal makes for a bright-looking colorful dish.

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Tomato Olive Capsicum Pasta

27 Jan

Tomato Olive Capsicum Pasta

They talk of "trial by fire" as a true test of character – instances of it abound in medieval Europe as much as Indian mythology.

While one may question the veracity of such a test with reference to people, it does throw up interesting results when applied to fruits and vegetables.

I’m referring to roasting.

Placing raw whole vegetables on an open flame and slow-cooking them brings out latent attributes that you wouldn’t even know existed. Roasted capsicum becomes juicy and sweet, shedding much of its pepperiness; tomatoes take on a delicious smoky note.

This tomato olive capsicum pasta – with its key ingredients roasted – has a lot of character. It has been through trial by fire, after all.

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