Been long that posted anything on my lovely blog. Don’t know where all the motivation has gone. Not that I’ve stopped cooking, …
It’s the festive season when I miss India the most. There is something special about each festival there. The smell of the air, the crowd in the market, the decorations, the social gatherings, and above all food. It is absolutely unbeatable. But, I am so so far from there. Can’t smell anything in the air, there is no festivity around. All I can do to get the feel is to make some traditional food and connect with the roots. And, so I did.
It’s not thanksgiving yet, but I have a center piece for my table. I am not a thanksgiving doer, but I do like thanking people for the good round me. So, here it is for all of you.
I had never tasted Gobhi Mussallam until I made it for one of my friend couple who came over for Dinner. They are special so I had to made something special. I started searching on Internet on what can be possibly so good to make them feel special. And, I discussed the menu with my all time foodie and bestie and here is the result of that discussion. I decided that Gobhi Mussallam will be the crown of the table.
Agar firdous baroye zameen ast, hami asto, hami asto hami ast – Amir-e-Khusru Dehluvi
(If there is paradise on earth, It is here, it is here, it is here)
Kashmir, not only it is a heaven on earth, but it has heavenly food as well. The special flavor that the cuisine has is unbeatable. You get that punch in every bite and each flavor unfolds it in layers.
I so wish to visit Kashmir once in my life and absorb the heavenly beauty inside me. It is one of my thousand desires. The snow, the peaks, the flowers, the dal lake, the shikara, the beautiful people, the folk songs, the traditional food, the people, the firan, the jewelry, I can go on and on. But, I will not go further writing the intro to this blog or I will start writing about Kashmir and its impeccable beauty instead of Gobhi Kalia. This dish is my ode to Kashmir and my desire to see the beauty hidden there. So, here I go with the recipe for Kashmiri Gobhi Kalia.
I grew up having Chhole Bhature from an famous shop in my hometown. It used be our Sunday brunch at least once a month. Every time Dad and I went to the shop to buy Chhole Bhature, Pinki uncle (the shopkeeper) would give us gulab jamuns while we wait for his assistants to make fresh bhaturas and pack for us. Those memories are still afresh in my mind and the taste alive on my tongue. I don’t think I will ever be able to replicate that taste, for it was not just the magic of special hands and masalas, but also the pleasant smile of Pinki uncle and the drive to the shop with Dad. Well, some things needn’t be replicated, they are only meant to be cherished as memories. Nevertheless, I tried my hands on chhole bhature. Here is what I did:
Have you ever tried a dish with raw mustard oil and garlic? I never did before I got married. It was after i got married that I started my experiments with different cuisines, both to satisfy my taste buds and to impress my husband. He, being from the eastern side of the country, enjoys the local food much more than any exotic dish. Would you believe that even though we had known each other for 6 years before marriage and were quite comfortable with each other, he never demanded any special dish. I had to coax him to tell me what he wants to eat; something different, something special. And, he is such a simple person that he asked (very politely with least expectations; or may be he was doubtful of my culinary skills ;)) for the desi food he had back in his home town. And, so I began searching for recipes online, tweaked them to what he told me from his best food memories and came up with my own version of Litti Chokha. The low fat, baked littis with the rustic chokha.
My regular guinea pig (read husband) was not in a mood of being my guinea pig today, so had to experiment with something that would satiate his taste buds, and yet be oil free. Ah, oil free because I was participating in an event called Oil Free Cooking, hosted on FB by my friends Sonal and Shailja. And, so this is what I did for him. Zucchini koftas, absolutely oil free, milk free, cream free, and nuts free too.
I have always been fascinated with the Rajasthani cuisine. Be it a humble gatte ki sabji or the delectable Mal Puas. I love it all. Not to forget their hospitality. It truly is a pleasure and honor to be served in a Rajasthani restaurant or household. They have it in their blood. After my honeymoon in Rajasthan, I fell in absolute love with kair sangre ki sabji and dal baati. I had it everyday, be it a roadside dhaba while driving to the dunes or Taj hotel. I couldn’t just skip these two. The best however was served at the RTDC hotel at Sam Dhani (Thar Desert). Since then I wanted to make these beauties and so here is my attempt at making stuffed dal baatis. And, I must say they turned out delicious. The best part of these is that they are baked and just brushed with ghee (clarified butter) to give the authentic taste. And, believe me they tasted no less than the authentic ones.