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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Achari Aloo Salad ( Indian Potato Salad)

Last week I happened to find some really good freshly harvested baby potatoes at the local vegetable market. Coincidentally I had been craving for some Kashmiri dum aloo for sometime. So, it was the first dish that I cooked up with the lot. The next dish to go on the table was my favorite fish head curry with mustard paste. And I was still left with a sizable lot !

That is when I realized that I havn't had a decent salad bowl for almost a week. Eeeks !! I needed to do something about my eating resolutions. It has been just a month into the new year and I am already lagging behind. A potato salad with some protein and veggies seemed like the right choice for the next day's lunch . A few minutes of browsing threw up quite a few gems like the Mediterranean potato salad, an English potato salad and even a Russian one among all. Sadly I couldn't really find anything like an Indian version.

That was it ! I decided to make one on my own. But what flavour could encompass the entire width and breadth of a country that is better known for it's diversity ? Of course, the humble 'achar' or pickle. Though pickles from various regions make use of different ingredients, there are a few basic ingredients that are quite common. And using these very ingredients that are common to every Indian kitchen, I mustered up a yummy and filling bowl (actually two bowls) of potato salad !

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 10 mins

Ingredients -
  • 2 cups of boiled baby potatoes
  • 1 cup boiled kidney beans (rajma)
  • 1 cup of chopped veggies (tomato and cucumber)
  • 1 small red onion (chopped into thin long pieces, optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (use more if required)
  • 1 tsp mustard oil
  • 1/6 tsp mustard powder
  • a pinch of fennel powder
  • a pinch of roasted fenugreek powder
  • 1/4 tso chili powder ( use a little hot unless you like it really spicy )
  • salt to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnishing
  • a few drops of pickle oil ( optional )

Preparation - Peel the potatoes and cut each one into two halves.

Take all the ingredients (except salt) in a big mixing bowl. Toss them together . And let it sit for 15-20 mins for the flavours to come together. Season with the salt and garnish with chopped cilantro .

Serve at room temperature.

































Note - If you do not want to use the powdered spices, go directly for the pickle oil which has already imbibed all these spices.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Garlicky Bok-Choy with Dried Shrimp !

Noodles. Fried rice. Manchurian. Chilli. Soups. Ummm. Cantonese. Hummmm. Ummm. Ahh....kung pao. And just when you think that you have exhausted the entire gamut of terms used to describe Chinese food, the real stuff reveals itself. By real, I do mean 'REAL' and not the heavily desi-fied variety that could literally give new meaning to the 'Hindi-Chini bhai bhai' sloganeering. I will leave those to some inspiration-deprived Bollywood bloke and his period drama. For now, I will just revel in the new found joy of discovering real Chinese food.

The Chinese are surely masters in the art of stir-frying. A chosen few ingredients, a large cooking surface that allows individual components to actually get fried instead of being steamed and the hottest flame that you can muster up in order to retain the crispness of the veggies are the key components that go into the making of this culinary dream. So, even before you attempt to replicate these stir fry recipes at home, make sure you have the right kind of wok and a really big burner. Else no amount of effort is going to give you the desired outcome.

Here is a real simple recipe to start with. I have stir fried Bok choy with some dried shrimp (as I was out of the fresh ones), lot of garlic and a dash of light soy sauce. Read on for the details -


















Preparation time - 10 mins

Ingredients -
  • 100 gm Bok-choy
  • 1/4 cup dried/fresh shrimp
  • 4-5 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • red chili (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation - If using dried shrimps, soak them in hot water for about 20 mins. Drain water, wash again with fresh water and squeeze dry.

Wash the bok-choy and chop it into medium sized bits.

Cooking - Take a wide wok. Add the oil and heat it to a high.

Add the minced garlic, red chili and shrimp. Stir fry at a high heat till the shrimp turns crisp. Takes about 3 mins.

Add the bok-choy and stir quickly to let off the steam without making it soggy.

Finally add soy sauce and very little salt . Give a quick stir and remove from the wok.

Serve hot.





































Note - I personally like to have this stir fry with some steamed white/brown rice and a light dal/rasam.



Sunday, January 22, 2017

A (Fish) Bone Of Contention and Some Delicious Resolutions

Though I have been rather fond of eating fish right from my childhood days, the 'fish head' was one part of the anatomy that was strictly off limits for me. I always found it too intimidating and it was much later (sometime in my mid twenties) that I gathered the courage (plus some accompanying good sense) to attempt a go at it. And it was made possible only because some good Samaritan introduced me to a fish head curry without giving away the secret ingredient. Most of them are quite delicious and with a multitude of ingredients, it is tough to pick out the fish unless one encounters the bony pieces.

But in most Odia homes, the head of the family and the fish head are considered to be a match made in heaven. The uncanny Odia folks do know a thing or two about good (read nutritious) food. While many communities discard the fish head or dress it up to a such an extent that whatever remains is barely a few pieces of bone joined together by a bit of cartilage. The Odia people however place a lot of stress on preserving every possible bit of the fish head which they believe to be highly nutritious. And regular consumption is rumored to make a person intelligent. Although the last statement is highly debatable, the fish head contains high levels of Vitamin A, Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, zinc and calcium. No wonder the head of the family, who is often the one making the highest contribution to the household kitty, stakes a n undisputed claim to it.

But during the community feasts, there would have been too many claimants on this bounty. Any kind of refusal could only lead to slighted egos and fights. Hence, some devious chef might have come up with this idea to appease everyone's egos and palates. Instead of dunking the fish heads into the gravy, they were cooked with an assortment of vegetables, leafy greens or even lentils. Not only a new non-vegetarian dish was added to the menu, it was also extremely delicious . And it also spared me the horror of looking into those lifeless eyes. Or the guilt of tossing it into the waste.

Here is a list of those delectable 'Fish Head' preparations that grace Odia cuisine. These are the more common ones  -

1. Fish Head cooked with Malabar spinach and other vegetables ( Poi Chenchedda ) -































Read recipe HERE.

2. Fish Head cooked with Cabbage (Bandha Kobi Chenchedda ) -






























Read recipe HERE.

3. Fish head cooked with lentil dumplings (badi), potatoes and mustard paste
 ( Maccha Munda Besara ) -


















Read recipe HERE.

4. Fish head cooked with split Bengal gram and few vegetables (Mudhi Ghanta) -






























Read recipe HERE.

5. Fish Head cooked with a medley of seasonal vegetables (Maccha Mahura) -
































Read recipe HERE.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Almond Pumpkin and Shallots Soup (Vegan recipe)

A tentative foot inches out from beneath the blanket. The cold is intimidating. Almost on reflex, it is withdrawn immediately into the warm confines of the quilt. And just as the brain begins to lull itself to slip back into a dreamy state, the shrill alarm goes off. Yet again. Only to be put on a snooze.

This childish little game of peek-a-boo continues for half an hour ever morning before another alarm goes off. This time in another room. The kitchen to be precise. Letting out a sigh I throw off the quilt and swing my legs off the bed. My eyes are barely open as I stumble and fumble to reach and turn off the irritating device. Even before I switch off the alarm, I switch on the electric kettle placed right next to it. Throughout the year, I like to kick start my day with a glass of warm water. But with the cold weather playing havoc with my immune system, I need a glass of warm water even for splashing on to my face. Open pores be damned.

No wonder warm fluids are the mainstay of my life during the winter months. And after endless glasses of warm water and half a dozen cups of tea, piping hot soups are very much a part of my everyday routine. Especially on days like today when I have a bad throat and everything tastes like sawdust. As usual ended up skipping lunch in favour of a big bowl of Pumpkin and Shallots soup. Roasted the stuff in an oven for added flavor though it can also be prepared in a pressure cooker.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 40 mins ( takes just 20 mins if pressure cooked )

Ingredients -

  • 1 cups pumpkin slices (about 4 mm thickness)
  • 10-12 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4-5 almonds
  • a dash of paprika
  • a pinch of powdered cloves
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock

Preparation - Soak the almonds overnight . Wash and peel them.

Place the pumpkin slices , 4-5 shallots and garlic cloves on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a dash of salt.

Place it in a pre-heated oven and bake for 30 mins at 200 C. Remove .

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender jar along with the almonds and 1/2 cup of hot vegetable stock. Blend for 2 mins .

Pour the liquid into a saucepan and place it on a low flame. Add the sugar and paprika. Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding more vegetable stock. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

In the meanwhile, peel and chop the remaining shallots into tiny rings. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a pan and add the shallots. Fry on low flame till they are caramelized. Remove and keep aside.

Pour the soup into the serving bowls. Garnish with the caramelized shallots.

Serve hot.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Vegan Red Lentils Soup

Clear like the skies. Or a riot of happy colors like a garden at the peak of it's springtime glory. Or just another muddled up canvas. I like it when my food looks like a reflection of my thoughts rather than a figment of someone's imagination. Though it might sound somewhat like a narcissist, I like to relate to every meal that I am having. And for that one reason, I love cooking solely for myself. To please and pamper my senses. So, whether it is the play of colors or the assault of the aromas or even the final amalgamation of flavors, I can have it customized to the very last detail. But thankfully, those occasions (moods to be more precise) are rare and hence my family ends up enjoying all their favorite dishes on a regular basis.

Today happened to be one such day. With happy and cheerful thoughts playing on my mind, I wanted more colors on my plate. But at the same time, I needed to make up for the weekend indulgence. After a bowl of fruits for breakfast, lunch had to be something more substantial and yet low in calories. That is when I decided to go for this wholesome lentil soup with a smattering of vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and spinach. Bursting with flavors and packing in a whole day's worth of fiber, this is one must-try recipe for everyone and anyone who is trying to lose some weight without starving themselves.

Read on - 


















Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients - 
  • 1 cup red lentils ( i used the one with the skin ) (masoor dal)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves 
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • lime juice as per taste

Preparation - Wash the soaked the lentils overnight. [ Skip this step if using the skinless variety ]

Peel and chop the garlic into tiny pieces.

Cooking - Heat the oil  in a pressure cooker. 

Add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Then add chopped onions, garlic and carrots. Fry till onion turns translucent,

Add the tomatoes and cook to a mushy state.

Finally add the washed lentils along with 2 cups of water. Add the salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 whistles. Keep aside till steam escapes.

Take half of the contents of the pressure cooker and blend into a puree. Add it back to the pressure cooker. 

Place the pressure cooker on the flame and add hot water to adjust the consistency of the soup. Throw in the finely chopped spinach and let it boil for 5-6 mins.

Serve hot with a dash of lime juice.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Buckwheat and Sesame Halwa ( Makar Sankranti Collab )

 IMP - Buckwheat and Sesame Halwa is an original recipe created by the blogger and has been published for the first time on oriyarasoi.com.

Sugarcane. Freshly harvested rice. Sesame seeds. Jaggery. A whole lot of ingredients that remind one of Makar Sankranti (also known as Gudi Padwa or Lohri in different parts of the country). Curiously enough, unlike other Hindu festivals, this is one festival that falls on 14th of January every month. Apart from being a harvest festival, it also marks the beginning of six months of 'Uttaarayan', an auspicious period for the Hindus. Hence most parts of the country celebrate this festival by distributing sweets among friends and relatives as a gesture of goodwill.

One of the most popular Makar Sankranti recipes is the 'til-gud' or 'til ki barfi'. Both the primary ingredients used in this recipe are believed to keep the body warm and their consumption is considered to be beneficial during the cold months. But since sesame and sugar are high in calories, I put my own twist by substituting a portion of the sesame with buckwheat flour.

And if you happen to be thinking on the lines of why buckwheat, here are 5 reasons why you absolutely need to make this gluten-free and allergy-free grain a part of your everyday diet -

  1. Helps prevent diabetes
  2. Lowers Cholesterol and blood pressure
  3. High fiber content
  4. High quality protein
  5. Rich in Antioxidants

As part of my resolution (mentioned in the earlier posts), I will be including more of the indigenous superfoods in my everyday diet this year. So, read on for this 'gluten-free' and ' dairy-free' recipe -

[ Do not forget to check out more Makar Sankranti recipes shared by my blogger friends Parinaaz and Saswati ]


















Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp jaggery
  • 1/4 cup date syrup
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • extra sesame seeds for garnishing


Preparation - Toast the sesame seeds on a skillet. Remove from flame and allow to cool down. Grind into a fine powder.

Heat 1 tsp ghee in a wok. Add the buckwheat flour and roast on a low flame till the flour takes on a pink color. Remove and keep aside.

Add the powdered jaggery and date syrup along with 1 cup of water to a wok. Bring to a boil and let it boil for 3-4 mins before adding the roasted buckwheat flour and powdered sesame seeds. Cook for another 2-3 mins before removing from the flame.

Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds on a greased plate. Spread the halwa over the seeds and let it cool down before cutting into desired shapes.


















Store in a airtight container in the fridge. Consume within the week.















That's not all !!! More yumm-e-ness to be discovered when you scroll down -

























Parinaaz's  Til and Nuts Chikki (Sesame seeds and mixed nuts brittle bars)




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Baba Ganoush ( Culinary cousins and random ruminations )

Baigana Poda or roasted aubergine is one of my favorites winter recipes. This typical Odia recipe is characterized by the frugal use of seasoning. Just some green chillis, chopped onions, garlic, salt and a dash of mustard oil to compliment the smokey sweetness of the tender flesh. Nothing that would reminds one of the more flamboyant 'baingan ka bharta' .

But in the food-scape of this vast universe, culinary cousins keep popping up here and there. Sometimes at the most unexpected of places. Whoever would have thought that another frugal 'roasted aubergine' recipe would find so make takers in a land that is better known for it's baklava and Shawarma. The 'Baba Ganoush' is nothing but a mellower cousin of the fiery 'baigana poda'. The ingredients, olive oil, tahani (sesame paste ), garlic, lemon juice and cumin, are almost banal for the residents of Lebanon. Just as mustard oil, onion and garlic are for most odia folks.

Mellow, smokey and infused with just the right amount of pungency, the Baba Ganoush is the perfect definition of comfort food when served with some pita bread. Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 35 mins

Ingredients -


  • 1 big aubergine (around 300-350 gms)
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • a pinch of roasted cumin powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • parsley for garnishing


Ingredients - Wash the aubergine and pat it dry with a paper towel. Rub a few drops of olive oil all over it and place it on the burner . Grill on medium flame till the skin starts to peel off.

Wrap it up in aluminium foil and place it in a pre-heated oven. Roast at 200 C for 20 mins.

Remove and take off the foil. Keep it aside on a plate for 10 mins to let the liquid ooze out of the aubergine. Discard this amber colored liquid along with the blackened skin.

Place the tender flesh in a bowl and mash it up with a heavy fork.

Add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin powder and finely crushed garlic to the mashed aubergine. Season with salt and mix it up with the fork.

Finally drizzle the olive oil on top and garnish with parsley.

Serve immediately with the Pita bread or even some chips.



















[ Cover with a layer of olive oil and store it in the fridge up to 5 days. Bring to the room temperature before serving. ]

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Black Rice On a Platter(share) !!

Image source : Plattershare.com
















It's the latest superfood on the block. Nutty tasting, low in GI and loaded with anti-oxidants. black rice has been around for ages. But the world is just waking up to it's goodness.

Oriyarasoi and Plattershare.com bring you a collection of the most exotic black rice recipes. Click on to know everything that you would want to know about this amazing ingredient -


Black Rice - Is it still forbidden ? Enjoy 9 Healthy and Easy Black Rice Recipes 

Some of the recipes at a glimpse -















Thank you team Plattershare for the feature !!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Original Turmeric Latte (Haldi Wala Doodh)

"Turmeric Latte ?? Really ?" ROFL. Some more ROFL. "Do you mean that yucky yellow drink that Mom used to force down my gullet ?",says my friend as she lets out a mock shiver.

"Yeah. But a lot more yuckier than the stuff we used to have in our days ", I replied back. "Now they add coconut milk and even some virgin coconut oil to it ", I added. Now it was my turn to let out an involuntary shiver.

"And yet there are others who really go for it with all guns blazing. How else does one come up with gems like cayanne, chia seeds, hazelnut butter, vanilla extract or something equally exotic ?". My words added to her growing horror.

Thankfully I am able to check myself before the whole post turned into a continuous rant about how the Western world embraces these 'magic' potions with a zeal that could easily rival that of village bumpkins out to get the 'darshan' of a so-called holy man. And to think that they call us superstitious.

This post is dedicated to the original 'Haldi wala doodh' which more than deserves its '15 minutes of fame'. For one, I swear my it's effectiveness is soothing down my throat inflammation.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time -

Ingredients -


  • 1/2 inch fresh turmeric (else use 1/2 tsp powder)
  • 2/3 cup skimmed milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 1/3 inch cinnamon
  • 1 green cardamom
  • a few drops of ghee
  • honey to taste (optional)


Preparation - Slice the knob of raw turmeric.

Coarsely pound all the spices in a mortar.

Cooking - Add the 1/2 cup of water along with the ground spices and the turmeric to a saucepan.
Simmer it on low flame for a few minutes .

Add the milk to the same vessel. Let it boil for 2-3 mins on a low flame.

Strain into a glass/cup and stir in the ghee and honey.

Drink it while it is still hot.



















Note - Unlike the Western diet which advocates going off all dairy products for a complete detox, the Ayurveda actually includes milk, turmeric and ghee as essentials for a detox ritual.

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