Sunday, November 3, 2013

A new look at bitter...




Bitter is better
The tastes as we know it are Sweet, Sour, Salty, Umami and bitter . Of The last two, one is less known and the other less liked. Well lets talk about the less liked taste today, lets talk about Bitterness .
Ever since we grew up we have related to bitter as the taste of medicines or poison and that subconsciously triggers our brain to spit out something unexpectedly bitter. But every region in India has used bitterness of foods to their advantage, whether it’s the Kashmiri’s love for Sounchal (the bitterish wild spinach) or the Rajashthanis love for Methi ki launji and who can forget the 2400year old “karivrnta” , the bitter gourd or karela as we know it today… what would a Shukto , a starter that every Bengali Lives by , be without karela in it ? . Bitter has been as much a part of our food as the other tastes. Yet surprisingly we are still grasping to come to terms with the” real” chocolate which is of course bitter. Oh and if you want to feel good heres some more facts, bitter foods are high on free radicals, they protect the liver , reduce diabetes ,  aid digestion and  improve hunger.

Heres a simple recipe for your “bitter” appreciation
                                         
Methi ki lounji
Ingredients

1/4 cup seeds soaked for 2 hours
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 whole dry kashmiri red chillies
2 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup chopped jaggery
1 tbsp raisins
salt to taste


Dry Masala 1/2 cup
With equal quantities of Amchur . red chilly , dhaniya jeera powder
Method
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, red chillies, cloves and cinnamon and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds.
Add the soaked methi seeds, 1 cup of water, jaggery, raisins and dry masala mix well and pressure cook for 1 whistle.
Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.
Boil on a medium flame for 5 to 7 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
Remove from the flame, allow it to cool completely.



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