Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Chhena Poda - Uncommon Food


The state of Odisha in India boasts of many unique dishes. Chhena Poda is such an uncommon food that interests the foodie in me. Not just to mere mortals, Chhena Poda appeals even to Lord Jagannath of Puri as it is the Lord’s favorite sweet! 

(From L to R)- Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra & Lord Jagannath
In Odia language, Chhena means ‘cottage cheese’ and Poda means ‘burnt’. Chhena Poda literally means ‘burnt cheese’. When one thinks of home-made soft cottage cheese, one can never think such an uncommon dish can be prepared out of it, unless one has tasted Chhena Poda and the other similar uncommon foods. While Chhena Poda is available in many places in Odisha, it is yet to have a national presence and identity unlike the Rasagola that was born in Odisha too and has links with Lord Jagannath, Maa Lakshmi & the Puri Temple, but is very famous.


Chhena Poda looks like a soft, caramelized pudding or cake with brownish black covering. Don’t go by its burnt looks as it tastes divine. Some prepare it traditionally, baked with coal. Many places in Odisha still follow the same centuries-old recipe and process. These days, Chhena Poda is even prepared using the modern gadgets- microwave, oven & pressure-cooker...

Ingredients for the Chhena Poda:

For the Chhena or Cottage Cheese:
1.5 Litres milk
Curd or Lemon juice

For the Chhena Poda:
2 cups Chhena or Cottage Cheese
2 cups Sugar powdered
4 tbsp Semolina/Sooji
4 Cardamoms powdered
1 tbsp Cashew nuts
1 tbsp Raisins
1 tbsp Sugar for Caramel
2 tbsp Ghee

Preparation of Chhena:
Boil milk. When it starts boiling, simmer and add curd or lemon juice. Milk curdles and Chhena separates. Boil for a minute and switch off the flame. Sieve the Chhena through a strainer. Tie in a muslin cloth and let the water drain out.
Preparation of Caramel:
Melt Ghee on a low flame, add the sugar and twirl the pan around to spread the Caramel evenly.
Add the Sugar, powdered Cardamom, Raisins & Cashew-nuts to the mashed Chhena. Knead them all together. Place the mixture on the Caramel, and bake. 

Method of Preparation of the Chhena Poda:
Knead the Chhena and Semolina (added to bind the dough.)
This uncommon soft food is the result. 
Slice and serve it hot or cold & eat!

I feel Chhena Poda needs to graduate from being uncommon to being available everywhere. An enhanced shelf-life will help. With its great taste, Chhena Poda has a great potential to entice all and earn the adulation and fame it deserves.

I went on a trip down the memory lane recollecting uncommon foods thanks to the culinary stars, Vikas & Vir, talking about their #FoodventuresVir’s video featuring Nakchi Bokum and Vikas’s video with Shankalu Salad inspired me to embark on my #Foodventures. You too can share your #Foodventures and stand a chance to feature in a video with the celebs.

Have you ever tried Chhena Poda? Which is the uncommon food that you have experienced? Please share your views in the comments below.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

That Touch

When she refused to marry the groom,
As his family demanded dowry that day,
In the marriage-hall there was gloom,
The groom & his family walked away.

Onlookers felt she was being foolish,
Rejecting a groom with high market value!
How to make a bride & her family realize this-
The groom has been groomed to extract his due!

"Now who will marry this girl?" wondered all.
A smart gentleman was promptly on the stage.
He walked up to the bride, cool, confident & tall,
And taking her hand in his, he proposed marriage.
Writing Prompt

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Inheritance

When the billionaire old man died, many were fanatical about his will.

On hearing the news, his heir, his only grandson, arrived galloping on his horse, expecting an enchanting twist in his life.

three line tales week 16 – letterbox
Picture Prompt- photo by Kirsty TG

Monday, 16 May 2016

League Of Lost Things

I have many clips & earrings left lonely,
As the other ones in the pairs are lost.
I can babble about many other things,
Thinking of my loss as I paid a heavy cost...

Those stamps, coins, paint-boxes, brushes,
Copies, purses, crayons, pencils, erasers, pens...
The loss seems fresh as if it happened now;
Loss of those is no more in the past tense.

League of Lost Things

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Pitha - Dessert With A Twist

The state of Odisha in India has many festivals where amazing sweets and treats are prepared and served. Pitha is a sweet that is a common treat as every festival has some variety of Pitha. There are many types of Pithas based on the ingredients used and the preparation style. I love Muduka Pitha. 

Muduka Pitha of Odisha, India
Here is the recipe for the Muduka Pitha. 

Ingredients for the Muduka Pitha:

For the Dough:
4 cups Wheat Flour (Atta)
2 cups Sugar 
½ litre Refined Oil 

For the Stuffing:
1 cup Grated Coconut
½ cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Cardamom

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mom, I Promise

Mom, I promise-
I'll try to fulfill your wish.

I'll try more & play fair & square,
Value my time & self-respect everywhere.

Sensibly, I will knock or open the doors,
Not end up being unfair or settling scores!

I am no more brooding or living in the past;
Just revisiting to make your memories last.

Sculpting a better me, scrutinizing with a lens,
Doing your job in the four years of your absence...

I miss you & your guidance so much, what to say or do?
Mom, I promise I remember & will always think of you.

This post was selected as  a WOW post HERE.
Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!

What are your promises to your Mom? Do you take extra care of your Mom during Mother's Day?

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
WOW- Mom I Promise
Five Minute Friday


Friday, 6 May 2016

Quite Queer

They said her brain was damaged as it could not sense light and darkness, suffered serious seizures, and would quietly lose its existence like a sand-dune.
three line tales, week 14
Picture Prompt- TLT 14 photo by Fabio Rose
Queerly, no one neither valued her vivid imagination nor understood her except for her best friend, her dear pet deer.

Picture Prompt- photo by Tom Chambers
She felt quite often that everyone had damaged brains as they never made any quest to acknowledge the presence of her pet deer no matter how much effort she made! 

Linking with-
ABC Wednesday - Q for Quietly, Queerly, Quite, Quest

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Secret

Unselfish, she shared what she thought she knew.
Had gathered the info from reliable sources
I took it with a pinch of salt; nothing new!
Whether it was true was anyone's guess!

"It's a secret!" she said rolling her eyes.
"Don't reveal to anyone; I trust you!"
I felt burdened with trust (or was it lies?)
Why chosen to bite more than I can chew?
A secret is something that everyone tells everyone not to tell anyone!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Sweet And Spicy

I love sweet and spicy food. When I think of ‘sweet and spicy’, many memories come flooding. I especially love ‘Dahibara Aludum’ and ‘Gupchup’ (i.e. Panipuri or Golgappa).

I was very small when I was introduced to Dahibara Aludum, a famous dish of Odisha. 

Dahibara Aludum
My maternal grandfather and subsequently my father treated us to the Dahibara Aludum prepared by Raghu, a much-in- demand Dahibara Aludum maker & seller. Raghu sold his yummy fare in front of Barabati Stadium of Cuttack - the venue of many important cricket-matches.

Famous for Dabhibara Aludum- Raghu, Cuttack, Odisha
I still remember the very first time I had taken a bite of this delightful dish! Apart from majorly satisfying my taste-buds, Dahibara Aludum also encouraged the serious thinker in me. As my spoon pierced into the fair and tender Dahibara’s flesh, I wondered how can something be so soft and yet retain its shape without breaking. Later, I wondered, how can any fried item maintain uniform fairness and not have burn injuries! 

Dahibara, Cuttack, Odisha
By itself, the Dahibara dipped in the curd-water tastes sweet. Though most vendors do not add sugar in the Dahibara or the curd-water, yet it tastes sweet perhaps because of the natural sugar-content in the milk that is used for curd-preparation. The Dahibara is sweet only if one hasn’t added the hot and spicy chilly powder on top of it; such addition turns it spicy.

Also, there is the spicy Aludum, easy to tear, that is served along with Dahibara. One bite of Aludum and you can sense the rich spices lingering in your mouth. Together they are a super cool sweet and spicy combination that anyone can eat without any tantrum!



On one occasion, being an over-zealous spice-lover, I had added extra chilly powder on my Dahibara serving. Ah! Fiery hot and spicy! I had to have water then! Having been in the same situation earlier, my understanding family stepped in to help me! I was offered fresh Dahibara and curd-water. I gobbled one Dahibara up and drank a whole bowl full of curd-water, but still the effect of the spice magic persisted in my mouth! That’s when I had to resort to sweet Peda- a sweet that is sold near Dahibara Aludum to control such emergency!

Peda
When I was small, when Raghu brought his treats, they got over within less time as many Dahibara Aludum lovers like us were eagerly waiting! Not much has changed after all these years. Though Raghu has changed his address and his grandsons handle the business now, his Dahibara Aludum tastes the same and there are still eager foodies waiting to lap it all up within no time! The twin-cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar boast of yummy Dahibara Aludum that’s available on major roads and areas. Served by vendors on cycles or hand-carts, you cannot miss this filling and appetizing snack that doubles up as a meal!

Also, Gupchup (i.e. Paanipuri or Golgappa) is a must-try when you visit Odisha. Many varieties of Gupchup are available. In an incident similar to my above Dahibara experience, I had zealously asked the vendor to add extra green chillies and spicy powder in the potato mixture served as filling inside the Gupchup balls or puri. The dish became very spicy. Then, the vendor dipped the Gupchup into sweet and refreshing jaggery-water- syrup infused with mint and tamarind. Aha!

My sweet and spicy memories got triggered when I came across the culinary stars, Vikas & Vir, talking about their #FoodventuresVir’s video featuring Alubukhara Dahi Tikki and Vikas’s video with Lobster Thermidor are #Foodventures that sweet and spicy food-lovers like me would love to try.

I love such sweet and spicy concoctions, don’t you?
Which is your favourite sweet and spicy food? Please share your views in the comments section below.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Operation Food

Before you judge the title of this post & think of nations-
And about their carefully planned & executed food operations,
Let me confide that the tale that I am about to narrate here-
Relates to children, whose eating-tantrums cause fear!

One evening, when the kids of different ages, shapes & sizes,
Decided that they would not eat dinner, there were surprises!
Despite the tasty fare & their moms at their coaxing best,
The not-willing-to-eat-behaviour of the kids was a tough test!

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