Potato Biryani

Sitting in my bed swathed in blankets, I gazed at the downpour. Raindrops softly tapping the window, opened the door to a lot of memories.

I have always loved rain. I could gaze at it for hours and every time it would make me nostalgic, reminding me of the time when I used to make paper boat and put an ant inside it, setting it off on a sailing adventure.

Submerged in my thoughts, I accidentally glanced at the clock. It was already 12:30 pm, which reminded me that I have to prepare lunch.

Aren’t there days when you are too lazy to put too much effort into cooking, yet your taste buds crave for something delicious?? Well it was one such day when all I wished to do was sit in blanket with my favourite book listening to the rain singing a lullaby.

Anyways, I got up and decided to make the easiest biryani.

All you need-

Potato – 1 big

Rice – 2 cups

Onion- one big

Tomato- one

Green chillies – 3-4

Biryani masala ( any brand) – 3 tbsp

Ginger- garlic paste – 2 tbsp

Yogurt- 1 tbsp

Bay leaf- 1

Cinnamon stick- 2 inch

Black cardamom- 1

Cumin – one tsp

Coriander and mint leaves.

Lemon- 2 tsp

Salt- as per taste

Orange food colour- a pinch.

Ghee (Clarified butter)- 1 tbsp (optional)

 

– Start by cooking the rice and keep it aside.

– Fry chopped onions and keep half of it aside.

– Add whole spices ( bay leaf, cinnamon, black cardamom, cumin) to the remaining onion and let it fry for one minute.

– Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté it for two minutes.

– Add potato, chopped tomato and salt and cook it for 2-3 minutes.

– Add the biryani masala and yogurt. Cover the pan and let it cook properly for 5-7 minutes.

Now comes my favourite part. “Layering”.

-Layer the cooked rice over the potato masala and top it off with the remaining fried onions, coriander-mint leaves, lemon juice, ghee and the food colour.

IMG_20190108_120958

-Cover it and keep it on a low flame for 5-7 minutes.

IMG_20190108_124054

Serve it hot with a raita of your choice.

IMG_20190108_124205

What could be better than biryani on a rainy day? 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Chimera

I chose a road often travelled by,

Started a journey with spirits high!

Lost in my dreams with twinkly eyes,

I moved ahead without any sighs.

 

A bright future,

Lots of smiles,

People I love

And cozy shelter

With these desires, I trod by.

 

Crossed few miles and came across Happiness,

Unable to believe my luck for awhile

I pleaded her to be my own,

She halted me in a grim tone

“Have you ever made a forlorn heart smile?”

Bowing my head, I said slowly, “none but mine.”

She turned away and told me hence, “Well, then I don’t owe you one”.

 

 I went ahead and encountered Love,

Asked him to fill my life with color.

“Have you ever shown love to poor? An orphan, an outcast, a dirty beggar?”

Bowing my head, I said slowly “none but me.”

He turned away and said to me “then what true love is you’ll know never”.

 

With heavy heart and ignoble soul,

I kept on moving in dilemma.

It dawned upon me slowly and firmly,

The happiness I ran after was just a chimera.

With each step that I took now

I knew that I should have chosen the road less travelled by.

 

Nahid Khan

Image source: pixabay.com

Her light

In her,

She found

an Ocean of love.

So deep,

Ceaseless

That none could break her heart.

 

In her,

She found

a strength.

So mighty,

Relentless

That none could hurt her soul.

 

In her,

She found

a blaze.

So fierce,

luminous

That none could extinguish her light.

 

In her,

She found

everything

ever taken from her;

Everything

she ever ran after;

Everything,

she ever compromised for.

 

Nahid Khan

 

 

 

 

Photo by luizclas from Pexels.com

https://www.pexels.com/photo/afterglow-backlit-bokeh-dark-556658/

The Quintessential Rumi

There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. 
You feel it, don’t you? 

Reading these lines again and again I couldn’t help but wonder, what a pleasure it would be to read Rumi in his own language. Profusely rich in meaning and transcendental in it’s power, it transports the reader to a majestic sublimity.

Born in 13th century, Rumi’s work is not bounded by time. His soul yearned for the true freedom, liberation from the shackles of life and death. This emancipation is evident in his work.

My professor once said “A translator will always be the Best man, He can never be the Bridegroom”. Being a translator myself, I couldn’t agree more. But the bundle of  translated Rumi-treasure that I found, ignited my love for this Mystic poet. It was because of the translations of Rumi’s work that I was able to take a few dives in the majestic Ocean of verses.

These are a few of my favourite verses from the fragment of what I’ve read:

I went to my Beloved’s House
And knocked on His Door.
God said, ‘Who is it?’ 
I said, ‘It is I.’
God said, ‘There is no room here for I and You.
Go away!’ 
God shut the door hard in my face.
I went ahead and began my lifelong journey 
Toward the total annihilation of ‘I’ and Self.
After years of annihilating my own Self into non-existence,
I finally reached the exalted state of non-being.
I went back to my Beloved and knocked.
God said, ‘Who is it?’
I said: ‘It is You.’
God opened His Door wide for me!
<————–>
“In love, 
aside from sipping the wine of timelessness,
nothing else exists.
There is no reason for living 
except for giving one’s life.
I said, 
“First I know You O my Lord, then I die.”
God said, 
“For the one who knows Me, there is no dying.”
<—————>
I closed my mouth
and spoke to you in a 
hundred silent ways.
<—————>
“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere
They are in each other all along.”
<—————->
“The way of love is not a subtle argument.
The door there is devastation.”
<—————->
“In front of the shining candle of love,
the lover circles like a helpless moth.
Those burning marks on the moth
are for the sake of an everlasting love.”
<—————->
“You are the bird of happiness
in the magic of existence,
what a pity! Why you let yourself be chained and caged?”
<—————->
“Be wild and crazy and drunk with love.
If you are too careful,
love will not find you.”
<—————->
“Let the lover be disgraceful,
crazy, absentminded.
Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.”
<—————–>
It’s so difficult to choose. You can read more of Rumi’s work here-
This is where I quench my spiritual yearnings from.

Aalu pakoda (Potato fritters)

Prancing around in the busy streets, the waft of different delicacies invaded my nostrils. The aroma of  samosa, pakoda, jalebi, vada pav etc. was enough to make anybody’s mouth water. Me and my brother, roamed around with 3 rupee each, which was our pocket money for the day.

We often stopped at our favourite fast food corner, the pakoda stall. This stall had a hoard of pakodas ranging from bread, onion, potato, spinach, cauliflower chilli and many other. Our favourite was potato pakoda. After handing the stall owner our six rupee, We would jovially come back home with six pakodas and would savour three each leaving our taste buds longing for more.

Today, after so many years the longing was back. I had no other option but to make Aalu pakoda myself.

I created my own recipe as I didn’t know the exact recipe of my childhood pakoda.

20181224_202142

Here’s how I made it-

Potato – 1

Gram flour – 200 gm

Corn flour – 2 tbsp

Green chilli- 2

Ginger – 1 inch

Garlic- 4-5 cloves

Red chilli flakes – 1/4th tsp

Fennel seeds– 1/2 tsp

Chaat masala – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Cumin powder – 1/4th tsp

Salt- as per taste

METHOD

Make a paste of ginger, green chillies and garlic and fennel seeds.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, including the paste.

Now add in some water to make a batter of medium consistency. (Not too thick, nor too runny)

Keep it aside for at least an hour for the flour to soak. Soaking  gives it a nice texture and tastes better. (You can use it right away as well)

Chop thin slices of potato and dip it in the prepared batter.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the potato slices one by one.

Serve it with any sauce of your choice.

IMG_20181224_220459

 

 

 

 

Dates and Nuts laddoo

The onset of winter brings back many memories. Sitting by the fire with family, eating, talking was nothing short of bliss.

My mother always made different variety of laddoos during winters, to keep us warm and healthy. I never had a sweet tooth, but I loved snuggling up in my blanket with a few laddoos by my side.

Living far away, my nostalgia got the best of me and I tried to replicate one of the laddoos.

20181222_092229

All you need is-

Seedless dates – 300 gm

Mixed dry fruits – 100 gm ( I’ve used Cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, chironji, and a small amount of grated coconut.)

Poppy seeds- 2 tbsp

Clarified butter (ghee)- 2 tbsp

Method –

Start by grinding the dates into a coarse paste.

Roast the Poppy seeds untill it becomes light golden in colour.

Now add a tbsp of ghee in the pan and roast all the dried nuts for about a minute.

Keep it aside and in the same pan add one tbsp of ghee and add in the dates paste.

Stir it continuously, it will become soft once heated. (Keep it on low flame)

After around three minutes of stirring on low flame add in half of the poppy seeds and all the roasted nuts.

Mix it again for around a minute and turn off the flame.

Take a small amount of mixture and make small round balls of it, before it cools down.

Spread the remaining poppy seeds on a plate and roll the laddoos into roasted poppy seeds.

That’s it. Laddoos are ready. You can store it into airtight container in the refrigerator for upto three weeks.

 

 

Awake in my dreams

I dreamt of winsome countryside

Little girls playing with gleeful strides

I dreamt of love,

And childhood sweet.

I dreamt of the mother

proud so deep.

This made me fall into slumber so sweet.

In my dreams now I see a rustic land

a helples man

Waiting for rain

His children starving,

His wife dying.

In my dreams

I see a little girl

Her eyes pearl, her mind a whirl,

Soaked in blood

Her clothes torn apart,

shown her place

By a virile churl.

I dream of people

engaged in mindless brawl

Killing eachother

unmindful of the cause.

In my dreams

I hear a skirl

A mother who’s son,

has returned from a mission

His body wrapped

in a proud flag.

I hear same wail

Other side of the fence,

Unable to discern the difference.

Trying to figure out how to sleep,

In my dreams i’m wide awake.