Thank you, Bindu, for a lovely recipe and the reminiscence of home… (today’s post and yummy recipe are courtesy Bindu Borle who’s given us a yummy laddu earlier!)
Every Indian mother knows how to run her kitchen efficiently. Not only that there is one trick or another up their sleeves to have everything go smoothly. I won’t be wrong, if I use the word jugaad! It is one thing every mother does, when running short of stuff when unannounced guests come.
According to Wikipedia,”Jugaad is a colloquial Hindi-Urdu word that can mean an innovative fix or a simple work-around, used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such, or a person who can solve a complicated issue.”
I remember so vividly, we used to get a lot of guests at home – be it visiting distant cousins, a cousin who came for a job interview, an aunty on her way to pilgrimage but stopped by to see us or someone who just happened to be in town. The one thing common between all of them – coming unannounced! None would ever inform in advance of their arrival and we were always taken by surprise. Those days mobile phones were not even heard of and the mode of communication was the good old black rotary phone, the ’15 paisa’ yellow postcard or the ’35 paisa’ blue inland letter! It used to be a classic situation; we would have just finished our dinner/lunch and sitting together and relaxing. Suddenly, the bell would ring and everyone would be shaken off their stupor and run helter-skelter tidying up the room. Behold! On the main door stands a family of the distant aunt, whose husband is just paying the fare to the auto wallah. Every one at home, including the aunt and her family would give a cocktail reaction of shock, surprise and bewilderment.
Once their luggage occupied the maximum place in the room, they would start looking for a place to make themselves comfortable. We would be wandering around with our grumpy faces, as her children would start playing with our toys. Since they would have come past the dinner/lunch, my mother would exchange pleasantries with them and then slowly ask, “Aap chai lenge?” And they would say,”Nahin hum to khaana khayenge!“
This unexpected answer would start the kitchen machinery in full swing – making the dough, putting the dal in the pressure cooker, preparing the rice and subzi.
Interestingly, my mother always used to insist that we should keep two-three boiled, unpeeled potatoes in the fridge. We never understood why she insisted. While all the other stuff would get prepared, she would ask us to peel the potatoes and chop them into neat pieces.
Another thing, which was an integral part of our food, was the coriander-mint chutney. It was never made in the electronic grinder. We would take turns to grind it on the sil-batta. Sil is a rectangular piece of granite. Batta is used as a handheld device to grind. Batta is also called Lorha, make Chutney, or make beverages such as Thandai.
It used to be difficult but we enjoyed doing it, as once the chutney was made and put into the bowl, we would wipe off the residual and taste it! So, this tangy-sour chutney was something we enjoyed the most, as we would get the chance to lick the bowl clean! Those were the days of small pleasures in life…
My mother would conjure up a quick subzi with boiled potatoes and chutney. This would hardly take any time and the unexpected guests would appreciate this tasty, exotic subzi!
My kids were quite surprised when I prepared this for them. As they couldn’t believe that chutney and potatoes together can turn into a wonderful subzi. My guests simply adore this different version of oil free, spicy-tangy-sour potatoes.
Boiled potatoes- 4 large
Chaat masala – 1tsp
Green chilies -2(finely chopped)
Fresh coriander (finely chopped)
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – 1 cup
Mint leaves – 1/4 cup
Green chilies – 4-6 (as per the taste)
Raw mango – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Lemon juice- 1 tsp.
For the chutney, grind together coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilies and raw mango to make a fine paste. Add lemon juice and salt. Mix well. Keep it aside.
Next, peel the boiled potatoes and cut them into neat, equal pieces.
Now, mix the chutney and boiled potatoes together. Add salt, chaat masala, chopped green chilies to it. Garnish it with finely chopped coriander. Serve it with poori, paratha or chapati.