northern lights

northern lights

Saturday, 21 April 2012

From my kitchen diary part v

In response to my post  'From my kitchen diary' many friends have  expressed their wish to prepare something  which is typical Multani. A multani dish, Kadhai wali subji,  recipe was posted in my kitchen diary part (i,) which was appreciated by many friends. Today I am giving  a recipe which is very popular  with people with  originating from Western Punjab.The procedure is  quite time consuming but the end result is so good that we don't mind preparing  it occasionally.It is known as 'Doli ki roti'.This roti is a favourite with all Multanis.It requires fermentation of wheat flour.The fermenting agent is prepared in the following method
  Step 1
  For this the following ingredients are required (1). big ( 2).cloves....five( 3). poppy teaspoon (4)nutmeg ...One (5) small piece  (6)  jaggery....six  teaspoons . These six items are boiled in 500 ml. water for five minutes. This concoction is kept in  a bowl, well covered and wrapped in a woollen  cloth , and placed in a warm place for 24 hours.This concoction is used for preparing the base for the dough.
Step 2
Take one cup of whole wheat flour and make a paste  with the concotion .The paste should be of the consistency of dosa/ pakora  paste.The paste  is again kept in  a warm place for  about 24 hours, Bubbles  will be formed  in the paste. The fermenting agent  is now ready.
 Step 3
Mix it well in  four cups of wheat flour and half a cup of suji. Knead it  with warm water like  a dough  for Poories. This dough is again kept for about two hours for rising in  a fairly big container.The flour will rise to almost  its double volume.
Step 4  
Now make equal number of balls. These balls should be flattened  within the palms of both hands. of approximately 3 mm thickness.Deep fry them on medium heat till golden brown .
  This roti can be taken with  any curry. We  can prepare the roti with a filling of Chana Dal or chicken/mutton keema.These rotis can be kept for three or four days.  
 Another  recipe which I am sharing with friends is Dahi Ke Kebab which is very simple to prepare and very delicious. The ingredients required are;
1. Hung  curd   1/2 cup
2.Paneer(cottage Cheese)  1/2 cup
3.Bread slices(with sides cut)   3
4. ginger, garlic paste  1 teaspoon
5 salt      according to taste
6 pepper powder  1/4 teaspoon chili       1finely cut
8.coriander leaves 2 teaspoons
Mash the hung curd and cheese very finely.Add salt, pepper powder, ginger.garlic paste,  green chili and crushed bread slices. Mix very well.Make balls and flatten them in the shape of kebabs.  Shallow fry them in a frying pan. Yummy kebabs are ready. Children will love them. 
And now some useful tips for the kitchen;-
  • To bring shine to aluminium vessels just boil  some apple peels in it.Rinse and dry the vessel . It will get its original colour.
  • To clean copper bottom from vessels  simply scrub and  rinse them with tomato soup paste.
  • To remove stains from non-stick cook-ware,simply boil it  with 2 table spoons of baking powder and  white vinegar for 10-12 minutes.The next time you use the pan  use some olive oil to season it.
  • For cooking lentils add little turmeric and sesame oil. This will enhance the taste.
  • While making dough for rotis and paranthas add a little malai(thick layer formed on the milk after boiling).The rotis will turn out to be very soft.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Delhi Summers.....Then and Now

   Summer is here again. Early morning brightness, peeping through  my bedroom  windows, is indicative of   the onset of Summer.Only a few days back, it was pitch dark with no sign of life even at six in the  morning. Little birdies huddled together in their nest and the love making pigeons , housed in the A/C  cover of  my windowsill  quietly folding themselves in their own feathers , are  now actively fluttering their wings and engrossed in wooing their lady love who responds with equal vigour.The balcony  in front of my bedroom is suddenly alive.Twittering of birds and squirrels  running  up and down the nascent  green  grape vines,which appeared to be deadwood  some days back ,   are making themselves merry.
     Well this is the early entry of Summer which is welcome after the dull and gloomy Winter.  Soon, very soon, this pleasant  experience will  become a memory.Summers in Delhi are  unbearable. Temperature  is slowly and steadily rising  and days are not  far  off when the Mercury will  peak at  45 'centigrade and beyond.   Sample a day in the peak of Summer. It is six 'o clock in the morning and the sun shines  in its full glory.It feels like midday. Sweating and perspiring you find that the electric  current has gone off.Quite often in the middle of the night the current goes  off and the A/C ,which offered some relief, too gives  up.  Somehow the  poor inverter, which bore the brunt the whole night, refuses to move further.This is the scene in  the morning. As the day progresses,the scene  becomes more and more gloomy. Throats are parched and gallons of water gulped down in the stomach  hardly give any succour.You feel lethargic and listless.One does not want to step out from the air conditioned  room. But you have responsibilities... you have to go out for work. A long dreary day is ahead.Evenings are no better. Loads of cool drinks have been pushed inside the body. Even the fridge  appears to be affected by the scorching heat.There is no ice formation. The fridge is also exhausted.Too hot...tooo hot   tooo ho and you are over taken by sleepiness .The cool breeze emanating from the A/C  slowly relaxes your whole being. Modern gadgets have made life much easier.Air conditioned houses, air conditioned cars and air conditioned work place have made summers  enjoyable.
     I am transported  sixty years back.Reverse gear has been applied. I can sense the summer  days of the fifties in Delhi.The gadgets which have made summer months easier and tolerable did not exist  even in dreams.How did they get rid of those hot hot days? People slept in the open, under the sky!! I remember that the area was very well washed with  several buckets of water to  remove the effect of burning heat  from the cemented floor. Driving away the mosquitoes  was  a problem which was solved by using mosquito nets.Picture a family of eight to ten members! Equal number of charpoys were spread with a net in each bed!!They looked like tents for vagabonds!! With no fridge, drinking water was stored in Surahis  and Matkas made of clay.Even ceiling fans were rare.Table fans were in use.If you had a revolving table fan , well, it was termed as a luxury.In  offices and in well to do homes Khas-Tatties were used .These Khas-Tatties performed the role of an air conditioner. The  Khas-Tatties were made  of twigs  woven  like a curtain and hung outside a door or window of a room.Every hour it was sprinkled with water to provide relief to the in-mates.I remember that in our house we had a fridge which worked on kerosene oil! A small container of oil had a wick of cotton, which was lit and  changed every evening.This flame was a substitute for electricity!! How people devised  such  innovations to bring comfort  in their lives!
    All this I remember vividly. We  don't know how our forefathers lived and suffered the travails of weather and nature. !! How life was difficult for them!! how they struggled.How they thought of  various  methods to make life  comfortable.It is their struggle which brought comfort in our lives.We must think of them with gratitude! A small  'thank you' for our fore fathers  will bring solace to their souls. Let us also teach this lesson to our children!!