|An old family photo!|
Families of three brothers (my grandfather's and his two brothers') stayed together in our sprawling house. In 1970s India, families believed in staying together and the great Indian joint family was very much the norm.
My grandfather had two more brothers, one lived in another city. So he and his family would come to spend the summer holidays with us. During the summer vacations the house would be bursting at seams. But for me it was a treat. Mostly my mother was too busy to notice what I was upto. Also it meant more uncles and aunts to pamper me!
|The ladies dressed up in lovely saris for some occasion!|
There was always something or the other happening in the family. There were the usual birthdays, marriage anniversaries, celebration of various festivals, picnics, day trips and summer trips. Apart from these, there were impromptu chats (adda) happening all over the house, in the balcony, the staircase, the kitchen, the roof. There was never any fixed time...sometimes late at night, other times during the afternoon. All it needed was for my mother and a couple of my aunts to gather. Their laughter would resonate throughout the house. Often the uncles joined in, teasing them mercilessly, but that did not faze them. My family was also pretty active culturally, they were always singing, acting in plays, dancing, painting, stitching or knitting.
A recipe which was popular during those days. Chire or Flaked Rice is one of the many derivations of rice. Other popular one being Puffed Rice with which the rice cakes are made. Flaked rice is popular in many parts of India. It is used to make Poha in northern and western India. Presenting to you the Bengali version Chirer Polao. This is my mother's recipe. This is different from other versions because it is sweeter in taste, filled with seasonal vegetables.
Like I mentioned in the 'About Me' section I am a ghoti, originally from the western part of Bengal. The speciality of our food is that all our savoury dishes have sugar/jaggery. We believe that a little sweet fine tunes the savouriness of a dish and brings in a better balance. This dish is a classic example of this tradition of cooking.
As a child I remember eating this snack mostly during winters. My mother loves making it in winter so that she can add all the winter veggies like carrots, green beans, peas and cauliflowers.
This is served for breakfast or a late afternoon snack to the children after they return from their schools. Also served to guests as snack.
What You Need For The Recipe:
What You Need For The Recipe:
i. 2 cups of flaked rice
ii. Whole garam masalas-- 2/3 whole peppers, 2/3 cloves,
2/3 cardamoms, 1 inch of cinnamon bark
and a couple of bay leaves, slightly crushed
iii. Handful of cashew nuts and raisins.
Soak the raisins in a little water to fluff them up
iv. Seasonal vegetables like carrots, green beans, cauliflower
(one fourth of a large one), chopped as shown in the picture
Half a cup of peas
v. One medium potato chopped
vi. One medium onion chopped
vii. A couple of green chillies,
snapped in the middle
viii. Half a tea spoon of garam masala powder
ix. One tea spoon of sugar
x. Salt to taste
xi. Half a tea spoon of ghee/ clarified butter (I skip this)
xii. Chopped coriander to garnish
xiii. I almost forgot, 2 tea spoons of oil,
vegetable or sunflower
How To Make This Dish:
Wash the flaked rice and drain the excess moisture. In a pan, heat the oil, add the whole garam masalas and the potato cubes. Fry till the potato pieces turn light brown, add the onions and fry till the onions turn light brown, by now the potatoes should be turning golden/darker brown. Now add the rest of the seasonal veggies and the cashew nuts and fry for 2 to 3 minutes more.
|The vegetables frying|
Add the salt which will help to soften the veggies. After this add the drained flaked rice and mix everything well. Put the lid on and let it cook on low medium heat for a couple of minutes. If it becomes too dry add a few drops of water. Stir occasionally.
Enjoy your chirer polao with gorom cha (hot tea)!