At this moment in time, I’m happily married to the man of my dreams — who with much love prepared for me Chana Dal Pulao on a lazy, Sunday afternoon. A conventional Punjabi Recipe, simple and flavoursome. Post a long vacation in Singapore, he offered to make me lunch, about five years after we got married. I was taken aback by surprise. The man who only enters kitchen trailing the aroma of good food, talking about cooking lunch. To many of you, it may sound no out of the box story. But for a woman who waited from the first day of marriage for this moment, it was surely an exceptional day. And around then is when he, cheerful and enthusiastic than ever, walked through the kitchen door. I was already on cloud nine. There were butterflies in my stomach like I had on the day of our first date. But that was not the end of panic and pangs. For someone, who never stirred even a pot of milk, cooking main-course meal seems like an uphill task.
It’s almost end of August, and predictably the monsoon season is expected to last till mid of September. These days North India is damp and grey, the frogs are having a ball and I deal with it all by keeping myself busy in the kitchen. I love the thunderstorm, the lightning in between the clouds and the shades of grey during the day itself. I make myself a strong cup of coffee and flip the pages of cookbooks in search of new recipes. During this entire season, we are enchanted by the craving for spicy food, nice Indian dishes that go very well with the rain – Aloo Paani, Fulori and now Karonde Mirch Ki Sabzi. Yesterday morning I went to the market and came home with beautiful Karonde (natal plum) having natural vermillion shades. I had no special plans for them, they just were the most attractive looking thing at the vegetable stall. Without having any recipe in mind I got a full bag of Karonde. But there was no revelation. I still didn’t know what to cook. My mind kept asking “what goes well with rain?”
This year, it rained like never before. It poured cats and dogs. Waking up to the sound of water gushing down, no sunshine, is almost a routine for a month now. The rain in North India always seems more dramatic somehow than rain anywhere else I have been before. Largely, because when it rains for a while, the streets begin to flood with water in a most disgusting fashion; perhaps using boats and knee high boots seems like a sensible decision to reach your destination. Being house arrested due to rain for days we have ample time to read, cook, chatter and capture the mood of the season in digital frames. The sound of the rain, beating down heavily on the windowpanes – is enough to break the afternoon silence. I find myself oddly pleased in the midst of this raining chaos to continue the normal humdrum of life: cooking and writing. Hence, the weather is perfect to talk about this simple, unglamorous Pahadi Aloo Paani Recipe that makes me feel grounded, happy, contented and connected to my Kumaoni roots.
In India, everyday meals are an integral part of the food culture. Three full meals a day is the food ritual that we usually follow in our routine life. These three full meals are the combination of rice, flatbread, lentils, vegetables, yogurt and protein either in the form of cottage cheese (paneer), egg or meat. This seems like a hell lot of food but each ingredient or dish on the plate has a meaningful purpose and adds to a balanced diet. From sorting the menu in advance to grocery shopping and then finally skillfully executing these meal plans every day for each course requires a lot of advance planning. As a food blogger, I am often asked what my everyday meal is like? Is it always fancy, gourmet and styled as one can see on my blog or do we eat simple meals as well? To answer, all those curiosities, we curated this series – 30 Everyday Indian Meals.
Have you ever had Dahi Lauki? It is bottle gourd cooked in a subtle yogurt based sauce without any onion or garlic. It kind of works like a healing, comforting food that you crave for, after an array of food indulgences. You can dip hot Chapati into this Dahiwali Lauki, relish it with steamed rice or if you are too tired to make any sides, then enjoy a bowl full of it just like that. So delicious and satisfying in its simplicity. I like to make it on days when somebody in the family is in need of a wholesome and light meal, the kitchen help is on leave or on occasions when we come back home from a party empty stomach. Dahi Lauki is one such curry which has rescued me on many such gray days. This is a minimal effort curry but high impact sort of affair that fits just right for summer suppers.
Missa Paratha is one our favorite Punjabi Recipes. Why? Because it takes less than 30 minutes to make these Parathas. I mean that literally this a real simple, time saving and easy to remember Missa Paratha Recipe. I, as a cook, turn to this recipe for a quick weekday breakfast, hastily packed lunch box meal or a fulfilling dinner. With Missa Paratha dough sitting in the fridge, you can make the Paratha during any given hour of the day.
Mint and Pomegranate Raita is a delicious combination of mint, coriander, and pomegranate pearls. The freshness of mint and coriander definitely make this raita a summer favorite packed with the goodness of pomegranate. The red in those pomegranates just make me feel bright and energized. Loaded with pomegranate pearls, mint, coriander, yogurt, green chilies, garlic and spices, it is my favorite raita I’ve made ever.
Bombay Potatoes Recipe (Masala Aloo) is the best ever Indian-style roasted potato recipe. And this delicious recipe is been generously shared by Richa with us. Who is Richa? A self-taught cook, baker and a food photographer. Richa is the force behind a buzzing food blog My Food Story. Her heart-warming smile and a contemporary approach towards the conventional recipes are the two things for which you should not miss out being a regular visitor to her blog. If you spot a drool-worthy food image compelling you to dive into the computer screen and grab the food then Richa might be the person responsible for that. When we approached her to share a guest post with the readers of the blog, she readily accepted the invite and hence – Bombay Potatoes Recipe happened.