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Food diaries from Punjab

Slim Punjabi is a handy book about all things Punjabi, from recipes to even love stories. The writer, Harmeet Kaur shares easy recipes to try

Aate ka Halwa (2-3 servings)
>> 1 cup clarified butter (ghee)
>> 1 cup wheat flour (aata)
>> 3 cups water
>> 2-3 green cardamoms, slightly pounded
>> 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
>> 1 cup sugar

Aate ka Halwa

Method
>> In a kadhai, heat ghee and add wheat flour. Gently roast till it becomes golden brown. Don’t overdo the roasting, as the wheat flour can get burnt very quickly.
>> Add three cups of water and cardamoms (and saunf if you prefer the flavour).
>> After it starts boiling, simmer and stir the mixture till it gets a semi-solid consistency.
>> Add sugar towards the end, adjusting as per your taste.
>> Serve warm or at ambient temperature.

Rice Kheer (3-4 servings)
>> 1 cup rice
>> Water, enough to soak the rice
>> 1 litre full cream milk
>> 1 cup sugar
>> 6-7 green cardamoms, slightly pounded
>> 10 almonds, soaked, peeled and sliced
>> 10 cashews, sliced
>> 10 raisins

Rice Kheer

Method
>> Soak the rice in water in a cup for about 20 minutes, so that it becomes brittle.
>> Gently crush the rice with a spoon in the same cup and keep aside.
>> Pour milk into an aluminium vessel and bring to boil. Add the rice and lower the flame.
>> Cook, stirring continuously; otherwise the milk will start sticking to the sides and the bottom of the vessel.
>> When the rice is soft and the mixture starts thickening, add sugar, green cardamoms, almonds, cashews and raisins.
>> Cook for five minutes and adjust the sugar as per your taste.
>> Serve hot or cold.

Ajwain Wali Arbi (2-3 servings)
>>  250 gm colocasia (arbi)
>>  4 tsp oil
>>  3 tsp ajwain
>> salt as per taste
>>  1 tsp red chilli powder
>>  1 tsp coriander powder
>>  1 tsp cumin powder
>>  1 tsp dried mango powder
>>  1 lemon, juiced


Ajwain Wali Arbi

Method
>> Boil the arbi in a pressure cooker for one whistle.
>> Don’t overdo it, as the vegetable would mash up.
>> Peel the arbi, cut into thick roundels and keep aside.
>> Place a kadhai on medium flame. Pour in the oil. Once heated, put the ajwain.
>> To this, add the arbi pieces and salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and dried mango powder.
>> Mix well till the pieces are covered with spices evenly. No need to overcook, as the arbi is boiled already.
>> While serving, add a dash of lemon juice and eat it with phulkas.

Chhuare Wala Doodh (3-4 servings)
>> 10-15 dried dates (chhuare), soaked
>> 1 litre milk
>> a pinch nutmeg powder
>> 8 green cardamoms, slightly pounded
>> 3 tbsp sugar

Chhuare Wala Doodh
Chhuare Wala Doodh

Method
>> Finely chop the soaked chhuaras and keep aside.
>> In an aluminium vessel, bring milk to boil.
>> Once boiled, add chopped chhuaras, nutmeg powder and green cardamom powder.
>> Keep stirring continuously, else the milk will start sticking to the vessel’s walls and bottom. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
>> Add sugar at the end. Mix for two minutes, check for sugar as per your taste and remove from the flame.
>> Serve hot in glasses. Do not strain. The chewy chhuaras are delightful!

About the book

Slim Punjabi is “a folk account of the culture, cuisine and traditions of Punjab where my parents hail from and the only cuisine and lifestyle I have lived on for the first 21 years of my life,” says Kaur.

Continuing how the book came about, she relates, “Away from home (Delhi) and missing the food, I have experimented with many cuisines and their parent cultures, over the years. For me, cuisine is that aspect of a broader culture that you can taste.”

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