Halshashthi-Kamarchhath-Vrat Food!

Monsoon season in Chhattisgarh is starting of a long series of festivals, fasts and celebrations starting from Hareli. Each auspicious date has some or the other importance and is celebrated through various rituals, folklore and food. Kamarchhath (also called kamarchhat or Khamarchhath) or halshashthi pooja is one such fast that is observed by most married women in Chhattisgarh. It is also observed through out India. However, what sets it apart in Chhattisgarh is the food that is eaten here on this particular day. I have quite a fond memories of celebrating this day every year and waiting eagerly for the food that is served afterwards. Simple, satisfying soul-food!

This fast is mainly observed for the protection of children – both born and unborn – and for fertility and conception of healthy children. Mothers observe fast and prepare special food for this day.

Let’s now concentrate on the food and get to know the rules that are followed while preparing the food for kamarchhat pooja –

  1. All the food that is eaten on this day is from a non-agricultural land or so to say where the land has not been plowed. So most of the produce cooked on this day comes either from the wild or from the family garden that has not been plowed. In Chhattisgarh, most houses in the villages have special gardens that are not plowed and greens are grown there to be used during this special day!
  2. All the dairy that is used must not come from the cow or so to say that all the milk, ghee, curd or buttermilk used on this day is from the buffaloes.
  3. Only rock salt to be used in food.

So, now the question is so what all is prepared on this day and how. So here is everything that was prepared this Kamarchhat.

Red wild rice or pas-har chawal

The most important part of the food is the rice. That is the only grain eaten on this day and can be purchased from the local market. It is sold by local farmers who collect it from the wild un-plowed land. This rice is mostly red in color and is very flavorful.

14068009_598911183630210_6256948322866661504_o

It is cleaned and washed before cooking and requires more water as well as more time to cook than the usual rice. It is cooked in water without salt and is mostly cooked in an open container rather than in a pressure cooker.

Once it becomes fluffy and is fully cooked, the excess water is removed.

IMG_20160823_165509

Greens and more greens

All typed of greens are cooked on this day. I have tasted more than twenty types of greens in my hometown and I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t. All types of greens are allowed on this day and the rule remains that the land that they are grown in should not be plowed.

To name a few the most popular greens used are bathua, chech, chowlai, drum stick leaves, kusum, khedha and karmatta bhaaji, etc.

The greens are thoroughly washed before cooking.

received_525442104318402

Picture Courtesy: Priya Diwan

They are mostly boiled and then fried with green chilies in buffalo ghee without any other spices. The only other addition is the rock salt.

received_525442177651728

Picture Courtesy: Priya Diwan

In most houses at least six types of greens are used to prepare one saag.

received_525442077651738

Picture Courtesy: Priya Diwan

Apart from greens, sometimes we get to lay our hands on some jari or kheda which is also cooked with some buttermilk and ghee.

received_525442080985071

Picture Courtesy: Priya Diwan

Finally, the rice is eaten with the pas-har chawal, saag bhaji, rock salt, ghee, buttermilk and curd complete with green chilies.

There is no specific recipe for these dishes. The procedure and taste depends on what ingredients are procured and how they are utilized to prepare one satisfying meal! 🙂

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jimikand-Jhurga ki khatti subji-Yam and black-eyed peas curry!

Today we are going to learn one more Chhattisgarhi delicacy that is prepared on special occasions. Jimikand as you know is a very important vegetable in Chhattisgarhi cuisine and is called the king of all vegetables. It is prepared in both masala and curd based gravies and is relished especially with rice, the staple food of Chhattisgarh region. In this recipe we will also use jhurga also called as lobia in Hindi and black-eyed peas in English.

So let’s jump into the recipe!

Wash the whole jimikand and cut it into big portions. Cook these chunks in pressure cooker with some water, a small ball of tamarind, a piece of alum and some salt. Once it is boiled cut into small pieces and let dry for thirty minutes. Fry these pieces and keep aside.

DSC_0009

Soak the black-eyed peas for about two hours before cooking.

DSC_0005

In a pressure cooker take the soaked jhurga, one tomato and some salt and cook on medium flame till three whistles.

DSC_0007

In a bowl mix four table spoon of curd, one tea spoon turmeric powder, one tea spoon red chili powder and two table spoon chick-pea flour.

DSC_0016

Add a glass of water to the curd mixture and stir. Keep aside.

DSC_0031

 

In a pan heat one table spoon oil and add one tea spoon each of mustard (sarso) seeds and fenugreek (methi) seeds and let them crackle. Now add two dry red chilies.

DSC_0022

Add the boiled tomato to the pan and fry till it leaves oil.

DSC_0024

Add the black-eyed peas and fried jimikand and mix.

DSC_0028

Now add the curd mix to the pan. Adjust salt and let cook in medium flame for about ten minutes.

DSC_0037

The jimikand-jhurga kadhi is ready. You can add chopped coriander leaves if you wish and enjoy with a good helping of rice!

DSC_0045

 


Recipe

Preparation time: 60 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • Jimikand or Yam – 500gms
  • Alum – 1 small piece
  • Tamarind – a ball size of a lemon
  • Jhurga or black-eyed peas – 1 cup
  • Tomato – 1
  • Curd – 4 tablespoons
  • Besan (chickpea flour) – 2 tablespoons
  • Tumeric – 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Dry red chilies – 2
  • Mustard (sarso)seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek (methi) seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – for frying and tempering

Instructions:

For Jimikand or Yam:
  1. Wash the Jimikand thoroughly.
  2. Cut into large chunks.
  3. Put them in the pressure cooker and add alum, salt and tamarind.
  4. Add enough water to submerge the Jimikand.
  5. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
  6. Let the pressure release. Jimikand should be cooked but firm.
  7. Let cool and then cut into small 2 inch pieces.
  8. Let dry in the sun for about 30 minutes.
  9. Deep fry in oil till golden brown and keep aside.
For jhurga or black-eyed peas:
  1. In a pressure cooker put the jhurga, salt and tomato with two cups of water.
  2. Cook for 3 whistles.
  3. Separate the tomato and jhurga.
  4. Mash the boiled tomato and keep aside.
For curry:
  1. Mix curd, turmeric and red chili powder in a bowl. Add a glass of water to this mixture and stir. Keep aside.
  2. In a pan heat oil and crackle the mustard and fenugreek seeds.
  3. Add dry red chilies and fry for few seconds.
  4. Add the mashed tomato and fry till oil separates.
  5. Add boiled jhurga and fried jimikanda to the pan and mix.
  6. Add the curd mixture to the pan.
  7. Adjust salt and cook on medium flame for ten minutes.
  8. Put off the flame, add chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve with fragrant rice!

     

    I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.

    Much love❤

    Nonee

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s eat flowers! Pumpkin blossom chilla-Konhada phool chilla-Kumhada phool chilla

It always amazes me how we eat a lot of greens in Chhattisgarh! I’m sure we eat the most types of bhaajis (greens are called bhaaji and vegetables are called subji or saag in Chhattisgarh) as compared to any other region. I have tasted more than 25 types of these bhaajis which I intend to share with you as and when I lay my hands on some fresh produce. However, the reason I’m talking about so many types of bhaajis, is that it amazes me how people in various regions eat what is available and that includes so many types of leaves that today’s generation (that includes me too) will not be able to differentiate between. Also, that so many parts of various plants are eaten in my state and in so many ways that I felt it is important to document these recipes, that we may soon forget!

DSC_0234

Here I’m sharing one such recipe where the pumpkin blossoms are used to make chillas. Pumpkin blossoms are used in many ways in Chhattisgarh- in curries, in fritters and in chillas. These blossoms that I’ve used here are homegrown-in our balcony-all organic. That really makes me grin-growing something healthy on your own is such a pleasure!

DSC_0310

So let’s get started!

DSC_0236

Take few pumpkin blossoms remove the base of these flowers.

DSC_0248

Break the petals from one side so it spreads flat.

DSC_0247

Make a batter of rice flour, besan (chickpea flour), red chili powder, coriander powder, salt and water. The batter must be of pouring consistency but not too thin.

DSC_0239

Spread the flower petals and dip in the batter.

DSC_0253

Heat a non-stick pan with a tea spoon of oil and spread the flower petal dipped in batter on the pan.

DSC_0275

Add more batter with a spoon around the petals and make a round chilla.

DSC_0279

Let the chilla cook on one side till golden brown and turn to the other side and cook similarly.

DSC_0283

Make chillas out of all petals.

DSC_0294

Serve with red chili and garlic chutney or any other chutney or pickle of choice.

DSC_0310

This is the easiest and very tasty chilla recipe and goes well for breakfast or any time snack. All you need is pumpkin blossoms and if it is monsoon afternoon tastes best with tea!


Recipe

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin blossoms – 4
  • Rice flour – 1/2 cup
  • Besan (chickpea flour) – 1/2 cup
  • Tumeric – 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – as required

Instructions:

  1. Remove the base of the flowers and only use the petals for this recipe. Wash and keep aside.
  2. In a bowl, add rice flour, besan (chick-pea flour), red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Mix well. Add a cup of water to this mixture and stir well. Adjust water to get a runny consistency but not too thin. Keep aside.
  3. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a non-stick pan. Dip the flower petals in the batter and spread it on the pan. Add more batter around the petals to create a round chilla.
  4. Cook on one side till golden brown then turn to the other side and do the same. Once the chilla is cooked on both sides remove from the pan.
  5. Make the remaining chillas in the same way. Serve with choice of sauce or chutney.
  6. Tastes best with red chili and garlic chutney.


    I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.

    Much love❤

    Nonee

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Masoor Batkar (red lentil) Kadhi! Step-by-step! :P

Batkar or simply the Chhattisgarhi masoor dal kadhi is yet another curd curry from Chhattisgarh. We Chhattisgarhis love our rice and curd based curries. Polishing off loads of rice with ghee and these curries is the ideal food we would prefer to any other gourmet meal.

Batkar is made of whole masoor and curd. It is technically a kadhi with masoor as its base. It has a strong smoky flavor of garlic and dry red chilies with a tempering of methi seeds. One of the most prominent kadhi dishes from Chhattisgarh, batkar is sure to capture your heart as a buttery comfort soup!

DSC_0098

When I think of batkar, I remember all those lazy afternoons, either during holidays or after school that my BFF and I spent together at my home. Both of us were lanky kids. We had grown tall for our age but were not really plump by the Indian standards. This gave our mom’s an ever prevailing excuse to feed us more and more. My BFF was particularly picky about food, not in the sense of variety but in the sense of quantity. She was a real birdy when it came to eating. One chapatti and she would be done. We both would make excuses not to eat dal. We would be happy eating ghee rice then eating dal-rice. Maa was, however, relentless and would sit with us on the dining table until we’ve had enough food – that was considered enough as per her satisfaction not ours! But there were few days when she didn’t have to supervise us while we ate. Few of those days were when she made masoor batkar! Batkar was one dish that my BFF and I both enjoyed and would eat till we had finished every drop of batkar. And the good news was – we would not have to eat dal, as batkar already had masoor dal, but didn’t taste like it!

Batkar, when paired with rice can be called the ultimate comfort food for us Chhattisgarhis in any given weather. On a warm summer afternoon when the scorching heat is unbearable, there is nothing like pouring cups and cups of cold batkar into the rice and slurping the yummy liquid off the bowl. While for a cold winter night add hot batkar to rice and enjoy a yummy, soupy meal – add a dollop of pure ghee to it! 😉

So let’s get started!

Cook the pre-soaked masoor with tomatoes and a tea spoon of salt in a pressure cooker. Put off the flame after one whistle.

DSC_0060

The pre-soaked masoor gets cooked quickly and will get too mashed if cooked any longer. Many people soak masoor for lesser time and cook it in pressure cooker for longer. I’ve tried both the methods and am more comfortable pre-soaking the masoor for longer. Pre-soaking properly ensures that the masoor won’t be under-cooked. Nothing is worse than having batkar with under-cooked masoor.

DSC_0061

Prepare the curd to be added to the batkar. Add curd, besan (chick-pea flour), red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt to this mixture. Remember, that you have added a bit of salt to the masoor while cooking it and hence, adjust the salt accordingly. Now, mix all these ingredients together so it has no lumps. Add a glass of water to this mixture and stir well.

DSC_0072

For tempering, heat oil in a pan and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add the garlic and dry red chilies and sauté for a while.

DSC_0073

Add the cooked masoor and tomato and cover the pan immediately. Remember that this dish needs to have that smoky flavor of garlic and dry red chilies and hence, covering the pan immediately after adding the masoor is important. After about two minute remove the lid and add the curd mixture. Stir well and let cook for five minutes

DSC_0075

Add a tea spoon of sugar or jaggerry and let the kadhi cook for about five minutes.

DSC_0077

Transfer in serving bowl and add fresh coriander leaves at the end.

DSC_0079

This Chhattisgarhi kadhi is pretty versatile! You can it is hot or cold with rice or chapattis or just by itself as a soup!

Happy eating!

PS: You can add curry leaves to the tempering if you want a proper kadhi touch to it. However, its best without it, as adding curry leaves takes away the garlic flavor to a great extent. So ditch the curry leaves, especially if you want to have it as a soup.


Recipe

Preparation time: 25 minutes (including the pressure cooking time but excluding soaking time!)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • Masoor or red lentil (whole) – 1 cup (Soaked for 6 hours)
  • Curd – 1 cup
  • Besan – 1 tbsp
  • Tumeric – 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Dry red Chillies – 1 tsp
  • Garlic – 4 cloves
  • Tomatoes – 1
  • Corriander – small bunch
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar or Jaggery – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pre-soaked masoor with tomatoes and a tea spoon of salt in a pressure cooker. Put off the flame after one whistle. Keep aside.
  2. In a bowl, add curd, besan (chick-pea flour), red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Add a glass of water to this mixture and stir well. Keep aside.
  3. For tempering, heat oil in a pan and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add the garlic and dry red chilies and sauté for a while.
  4. Add the cooked masoor and tomato and cover the pan immediately. After about two minute remove the lid and add the curd mixture. Stir well and let cook for five minutes.
  5. Add a tea spoon of sugar or jaggerry and let cook for about five more minutes.
  6. Add fresh coriander leaves and serve.

     

    I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.

    Much love❤

    Nonee

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jimikanda (Yam) Masala – No onion no garlic recipe – Step By Step :)

Jimikanda Masala – Also known as the king of all curries in Chhattisgarh! No feast is ever complete without this yummy dish on the menu!

DSC_0045

This particular one is a ‘no onion no garlic’ recipe and yet the most tastiest ever!

The story behind this recipe is quite memorable to me. Every nonee (girl) of Chhattisgarh is traditionally  expected to know this recipe before she is married. Obviously, as this is the most important dish to be prepared during festivals and feasts. Also, this recipe requires special acumen to be prepared. How, you may ask? Well, the yam that we get in Chhattisgarh is quite wild and the curry becomes very pungent and itchy to the tongue if not prepared right. It can give you a serious pain and itchy sensation in your tongue and the whole feast might be ruined for you!

However, I did not know how to cook this curry when I got married and learnt this amazing dish from my lovely MIL (mother in law) who was in turn taught this by her maa. Now that’s some piece of history being passed to me, so, excitedly I learned this dish with equal enthusiasm and love as it was taught to me by my MIL. It is a staple now at our home and we have never experienced an ‘itchy jimikand’ in out kitchen – thanks to the time tested recipe! 🙂

I also need to mention that this one is a ‘no onion – no garlic’ recipe simply because this curry is prepared during most festivals and ours being a brahmin house hold it was always prepared this way!

Let’s begin then!

DSC_0003

Start by peeling and chopping the Jimikanda. It’s a hard task but worth the effort. Make sure you apply lots of oil in your palms and try not to touch the cut part of this vegetable too much. It can be very itchy at times! 😦

Cut into big chunks and boil with alum, tamarind and salt. Doing so will take out all the itchiness and ‘tongue-swelling’ juices from the vegetable.

Cut into about two inch pieces and dry in the sun for about half an hour.

DSC_0023

Now deep fry the pieces in hot oil till golden brown.

DSC_0180

Take cumin seeds, green chilies and tomatoes in a mixer and grind to make a smooth paste.

DSC_0182

Like so!

DSC_0184

In another pan take oil for the tadka and crackle some mustard seeds and add the tomato paste to the pan.

DSC_0185

Add turmeric, chili and coriander powder to this paste.

DSC_0186

  1. Add salt and fry the paste till it leaves water.

DSC_0025

Now add the fried Jimikanda pieces to the pan. Fry for two minutes.

DSC_0188Add 2-3 glasses of water. Add the chawal jeera masala. (See recipe below for chawal jeera masala). Let boil for 15 minutes. Add a dollop of ghee and a teaspoon of garam masala. Cover and simmer for two minutes.

IMG_20141208_192931

Voila! The Jimikanda masala is ready. Add fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with roti or rice!

insta 1

It will taste the best if you can find some fragrant Chhattisgarhi rice like ‘Kanak Jeera’, ‘Kubri mohar’ or ‘basa bhog’! 🙂


Recipe

Preparation time: 60 minutes (including the pressure cooking and drying time!)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

For boiling Jimikand or Yam:
  • 500 gram Jimikanda or Yam
  • Oil to apply in your hands
  • A small rock of alum or fitkari
  • A small lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 glasses of water or enough to submerge the jimikanda!
For Chawal Jeera Masala:
  • 1 tablespoon rice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
For curry:
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Oil, for frying and for tadka
  • chopped fresh coriander leaves, for garnish!

Instructions:

For boiling Jimikanda or Yam:
  1. Wash the Jimikanda thoroughly.
  2. Cut into large chunks.
  3. Put them in the pressure cooker and add alum, salt and tamarind.
  4. Add enough water to submerge the Jimikanda.
  5. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
  6. Let the pressure release. Jimikanda should be cooked but firm.
  7. Let cool and then cut into small 2 inch pieces.
  8. Let dry in the sun for about 40 minutes.
For Chawal Jeera Masala:
  • Dry roast the rice and cumin seeds in a pan.
  • Grind and keep aside.
For curry:
  1. Heat enough oil for frying the Jimikanda, in a pan.
  2. Fry the Jimikanda pieces till golden brown. Keep aside.
  3. Cut 2 large tomatoes into chunks and grind along with 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds and two green chilies. Keep this paste aside.
  4. In another pan heat two tablespoons of oil. Add mustard seeds.
  5. Add the tomato paste to the pan once the mustard seeds have crackled.
  6. Add turmeric, chili and coriander powder to this paste.
  7. Add salt and fry the paste till it leaves water.
  8. Now add the fried Jimikanda pieces to the pan. Fry for two minutes.
  9. Add 2-3 glasses of water.
  10. Add the chawal jeera masala.
  11. Let boil for 15 minutes.
  12. Add a dollop of ghee and a teaspoon of garam masala.
  13. Cover and simmer for two minutes.
  14. Put off the flame, add chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve with roti or fragrant rice!

     

    I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.

    Much love❤

    Nonee

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Babra or Bobra? :D – Step by step recipe!

Babra or Bobra, whatsoever you want to call it, is my most favorite chhattisgarhi sweet dish. Why? Because I’m not really a sweet lover and this savory dish is just about the sweetness I like and when made in pure ghee has the capability of taking you to heaven…

DSC01036

My early memories of having unlimited number of babras has to do with my nani (maternal granny) who spoilt me with it whenever she came over to our place or whenever we went to her’s, during the monsoon breaks. Nani was a very strict and hardworking lady with eight children and twenty four grandchildren. That’s a lot! Well, yeah at our times that IS a lot! 🙂 All her grandchildren would gather during these monsoon breaks as out maternal home and she would make sure all of us had our share of her love in the form of sweet and savory food that she would prepare and keep in advance. It wasn’t customary of her to hug and kiss us to show affection. Her way of showing affection was to provide for an unlimited amount of food and to make sure none of us got bored. She had plans for every single day we stayed with her and every single plan was related to food. And yes the food was never over in her kitchen, I don’t remember her ever telling us that the food was over! The food would just increase day after day in her kitchen.  Also, the food was made in enormous amounts, whether there were guests or not; I’ve never seen her cooking anything in lesser quantities. And, about babras? Well there was never a holiday of mine without her babras. 🙂

Babra is essentially a sweet savory type of a pancake that can be stored for days without getting spoiled. Nani would make and store babras in the traditional dohni. Our damp, gloomy monsoon afternoons would brighten with fluffy babras and a never ending supply of chai. Ah! That makes me smile!

Babras, like most Chhattisgarhi dishes, are made of rice. It’s one of the easiest sweets prepared in Chhattisgarh, and you can whip it up in matter of minutes only if you soak the rice overnight. For making babras, the rice is soaked in water and grinded to a thick paste and mixed with jaggery before frying them into fluffy discs. If you can lay your hands on some fragrant rice from Chhattisgarh then the babras taste and smell much nicer. It is important to remember not to make the paste too runny. My nani would judge a babra by its edges, if you get scalloped edges on your babras (see picture) after frying, then you have mastered the art of making perfect babras!

So, let me lead you step by step to my world of scalloped edged, fluffy babras!

Soak the rice overnight. In the morning, drain the excess water and grind the rice into a thick paste. You can add very small quantity of water while grinding if the rice becomes too dry to grind.

DSC_0513

Add jagerry and cardamom powder to this mixture and grind again.

DSC01033

Make sure the paste is not very runny or too fine. It should be little thicker and coarser than the idli batter.

DSC01034

Heat the ghee (you can also use oil or vanaspati ghee instead) in a heavy bottomed pan and add a drop of the above mixture in it to check if the mixture floats immediately. Once the ghee is hot enough add a ladle full of mixture in the hot ghee. You’ll see that the mixture is collected like a disc at the bottom of the pan and looks like a fluff poori. This is your babra in the making. Lower the heat to medium and fry the babra by splashing the hot ghee on top of it.

DSC01041

Turn it to the other side and fry in the same way. Once the color of the babra starts turning brownish, remove it on a plate.

DSC01035

You’ll see that the babra will now have a golden brown color and scalloped edges.

DSC01037

Your babra is ready.

DSC01038

 

Serve it hot or save it for later. This can remain good for up to 8 to 10 days without the need of refrigeration!

insta babra final

Recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes (excluding the soaking of the rice overnight!)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw fragrant rice
  • 1 cup grated jaggery (gur)
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
  • Ghee, for frying

Instructions:

  1. Soak the rice overnight.
  2. Grind the rice adding very little water.
  3. Add grated jaggery and cardamom and grind again. The batter should be little thicker and coarser than the idli batter.
  4. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.
  5. Once the ghee is hot add a ladle full of batter in the middle of the pan.
  6. You will see the batter settling down like a disc and then quickly rising up.
  7. Fry the babra by splashing ghee on top until it fluffs up like a poori.
  8. Fry the other side as well till the babras are golden brown.
  9. Remove in a plate.
  10. Enjoy these babras hot or cold to your liking – they taste heavenly either way! 

I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.

Much love❤

Nonee

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phara (Fara) or simply, rice sticks!

DSC_0124 The moment I think of a scrumptious breakfast recipe from maa’s kitchen, phara comes to my mind without any second guess. Most of us know, from our general knowledge, that Chhattisgarh (CG) is called the rice bowl of India and it’s indeed true and reflects so in our recipes. Phara is the most loved breakfast dish at a CG household. More so, because it stands strong for so many reasons as the most loved breakfast. It can be eaten as a breakfast dish, at a brunch or as a snack in the evenings. Additionally, it is a very good recipe where you can use the leftover rice!

I remember how we as kids would wait for maa to make crispy pharas on Sundays and would plead her to make more rice on Saturday nights to be converted into pharas the next morning. Only a passionate phara lover  will remember to make extra rice on the previous night to make phara the next day for breakfast. 😀

But yes, most of the time phara is seen as a healthy, tasty and leftover-rice-saving option by our thoughtful CG mothers!

I consider this as the easiest CG recipe ever. However, it’s a bit tricky to make the dough for this recipe.  I have many friends and cousins who would love how maa makes phara and would often ask her for recipes. Yet, many would complain that it didn’t quite become the way maa made it. Well, obviously there is a “maa ke haath ka khana” reason, but eventually I realized that they were going the wrong way about the dough.

So here in this recipe – I’ve tried to be as descriptive about getting the dough right. 

Start by mixing the rice, salt and sesame seeds together. Add the flour gradually to the rice and knead the mixture to make a soft dough. You may not need the entire one cup of flour if the rice is too sticky.

DSC_0082Do not add any water while making this dough. The moisture from the rice should allow the dough to be formed.

DSC_0090

If you stick to this “no water” rule you are going to achieve the perfectly shaped pharas that are neither going to break while frying and become a halwa, nor are they going to be rock hard to chew on! 😀

DSC_0091

Now start rubbing the dough between your palms. You will understand it very well if you have seen your granny making the cotton ‘batti’ for the everyday ‘diya’. It’s the same process!

DSC_0092

Once all sticks are ready, prepare for the seasoning or ‘phoran’ as we Chhattisgarhis call it!

DSC_0097

You will see, from this and the coming recipes, that the spice load is minimal in CG cuisine and still the dishes can taste amazing even with such less usage of spices. Here, we are only using some curry leaves, sesame seeds and few dry red chilies.

DSC_0094

Take oil in a pan and add the ‘phoran’.

DSC_0101

Now, add the phara sticks to the pan, add a quarter cup of water and cover the pan. Lower the heat and let simmer for five minutes.

DSC_0105

Open the cover and dry roast in the pan for about five to ten minutes.

DSC_0104

Add chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve hot!

DSC_0119

Enjoy the crunchy snack with the sauce or chutni of your choice! 


Recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

For rice sticks:
  • 1 cup cooked rice. (You can use the left over rice from the previous day, but make sure it is not very dry)
  • 1 cup rice flour (approx.)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • salt to taste
For seasoning:
  • 3 dried whole red chilies
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • chopped fresh coriander leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

For rice sticks:
  1. Add salt and sesame seeds to the cooked rice and mix well.
  2. Gradually add rice flour to the rice and start kneading into a soft dough. Remember to add only a small amount of flour at a time and knead the rice into dough that is soft enough to shape into sticks but stiff enough to retain that shape.
  3. Do not add any water while making the dough. The moisture from the rice should allow the dough to be formed. 
  4. Once you have achieved the perfect dough start making the phara sticks.
  5. Dust your palms with a little bit of flour and take a small piece of dough at a time and shape into sticks.
  6. Do not make the phara sticks too thin or too thick. Make them a quarter of an inch thick and not more than three inches long.
For Seasoning:
  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Add sesame seeds and let them crackle.
  3. Add dry whole red chilies and curry leaves.
  4. Add phara sticks and coat the sticks with oil and sesame seeds.
  5. Sprinkle a quarter cup of water and cover the pan.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for five minutes.
  7. Open the cover and dry roast it in the pan itself for five to ten minutes, occasionally tossing the phara sticks from side to side.
  8. Once done add chopped fresh coriander and serve with chutni or sauce of your liking!

    I would love to hear from you if you liked this recipe or have suggestions, questions, comments or feedback.

    Much love ❤

    Nonee


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The first post!

Hello, everyone!

This is my first post on Nonee Cooks and I’m very excited to share my world with you. I will share some yummy recipes from Chhattisgarh along with some heart warming and nostalgic memoirs, stories, anecdotes and pictures. You can go read more about Nonee and this blog here. Meanwhile, I will get you some recipes and stories!

Much love ❤

Nonee

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment