Monday, March 25, 2013

Let's eat first!

“Cooking is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires love,  instinct and taste rather than exact recipes & measurements.”
 Bapa loved food...and he instilled in us a fervor for good food...Ma is an excellent cook yet every Sunday when we were kids, Bapa donned the figurative apron and cooked a "goat curry" which was FABULOUS but a labor of love & time, a long list of instructions and lots of chaos in the kitchen (imagine a control freak like Ma having to give up the reins of her kitchen to disorganized Bapa and then having to run around and do his bidding ..cut the red onions such, grate the green papaya...etc. etc.). As we grew up those sojourns of Bapa to the kitchen grew very infrequent...yet some of our my favorite foods were vegetarian...I craved Beetroot Cutlets, Baigona Bhaja and Aloo Jahni Posto (Ridgegourd and Potatoes cooked in poppy seed paste). I know the last dish was an absolute favorite with my Bapa and his youngest (and favorite!) brother. They tortured my tomboy aunt who would rather be wielding a mike (she is a wonderful singer) or a badminton racquet than cook this dish for them...I don't claim to make this dish even half as well as Ma or Gita/Gui Nani but if you are looking for an off-the-road vegetable dish, which I will bet isn't readily available in any cook book and tastes gotta have to try this...dedicated to Bapa (today is 2 weeks since we lost him and I go about my day with the feeling that there is a huge hole in my heart ...who can I bug ask two times a day on what he ate for breakfast/lunch/dinner, who would patiently answer with great details...give me good advice only when requested...motivate me to think, stretch beyond where I would normally go...who loved me unconditionally with all my strengths and flaws.

Aloo Jahni Posto 

You Need : 
2 Medium Sized Ridgegourds (peeled & diced)
2 Large Potatoes (peeled & diced)
Panch Phutono (this is to Oriya cooking what 5 spice is to chinese cooking)
1-2 Dried Chillis
Turmeric, Chili Powder
Green Chillies - 1-4 depending on your spice tolerance
1.5 tbsp Poppyseed (grind with a few cumin seeds, 2tbsp of milk and the green chillies above to a smooth paste)

Heat the mustard oil, when it is tempered...add the panch phutono & dried red chillis...when it sizzles & crackles and smells divine...add the potatoes and ridge gourd along with salt to taste, chilli and turmeric powder....when the mixture is half way cooked through add the posto paste  and cook till it looks like the picture...have patience and don't pull off the flame till it is fully done...or you will be missing out on the magic...enjoy with hot rice and dal (or if you are feeling adventurous Dalma) 

 Daddy...I hope there will come a time when I will remember you every time I eat  Aloo Posto...but right now it feels like I miss you every minute of every day...