Mouthpiece #49

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Vibha Sharma

April 22 - Issue #49 - View online
Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

What's in the routine?
‘Routine’, the word sounds even more mundane than what it stands for. What can possibly be so special about routine because it is what everyone has to engage in anyway. Moreover, one can never outgrow it no matter how revolutionary one tends to become. But is that really so? Here I am not talking about the regular ablutions that every new day expects from us. I categorise those along with food, under the very basics, which are absolutely required to maintain the bodily machine. The routine that I am talking about here is at least one activity which one self-inflicts oneself with and follows it religiously without fail. It could be going for a walk early in the morning, reading at least two pages from a book of one’s choice, or shutting oneself off from the world for a few seconds to show gratitude to the giver of all or as simple as watering a tulsi(just an example) plant at a specific time every single day. While it may sound way too simple but one needs to do it to believe it that days come when taking out even two minutes to stick to the routine becomes a big challenge. Such are precisely the days when one’s commitment and dedication get tested. 
While there is a lot of value in breaking free from the routine to nurture the creative juices of one’s being, there is no denying the fact that 'Magic lies in the routine’ because conforming to routine teaches one the value of consistency, discipline and fulfilling commitment. Interestingly, if this routine part is compromised even once, the casualness tends to creep in quite unceremoniously and ultimately it becomes just one’s best effort. I experienced it yet again, this time with my mouthpiece. I think I did decently fine in sticking to the routine (of publishing it every alternate Saturday) for the first year and was getting confident that it would now stay as it is. But there was this one Saturday when I pushed it for one more week and then posted an out-of-turn post. I could clearly sense that composing mouthpiece was automatically losing ground as it was getting pushed way down in my 'to do list for the week’.
I think I had started to miss this self-set routine of composing something of my own choosing which gives me pleasure and satisfaction. So once again committing myself to this routine of posting a mouthpiece every alternate Saturday.
Stay tuned :)


What's cooking?
Potatoes and pooris - can anyone ever go wrong with this combination? This particular duo has immense capability of being anything that one wants it to be. From being part of religious bhojs, travel item, tiffin option to being a comfort food - aloo and poori can work best at all times and for all occasions or no occasion. Now when these two can come as a real saviour for all seasons and reasons, it is but natural that these can be prepared in a variety of ways too. So here are a few ways how I prepare aloo-sabzi. 

Jeere Waale Sookhe Aloo
Ingredients:
Potatoes : 4-5 (medium sized)
Oil : 2 tbsp
Hing: ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds : 1tsp
Salt : to taste
Red chilli powder : ½ tsp
Turmeric powder : ½ tsp
Coriander powder : ½ tsp
Green chillies : 2 in no.
Coriander leaves : 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Amchoor (dry mango) powder : 1 tsp
Boil and peel the potatoes. The potatoes should be cool before they are cut into cubes. Take oil in a pan and warm it up a little. Now add hing to it, followed by all dry ingredients - cumin seeds, salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. Mix well and add potato cubes to it. Fry them nicely in the condiments for 2-3 min. Now sprinkle some water on the potatoes so that they don’t stick to the pan. Reduce the flame to the minimum. Give them a nice mix after every 2-3 min. Sprinkle some more water if the lower layer is sticking to the pan, but not too much as the end product should be dry only. It will take almost 25-30 minutes for the potatoes to absorb all flavours. Sprinkle garam masala, amchoor powder and coriander leaves on the potatoes and give them a good mix.
Important tip: Make sure the potatoes are boiled way in advance. After the steam escapes the pressure cooker, take the potatoes out of boiled water and keep them on the sieve. Potatoes are easy to peel when cold and also the cubes will retain their shape when the potatoes are cut after cooling them down. For this dish, you can make use of potatoes that are boiled a day or two in advance too.

Gravy aloo sabzi (no onion-garlic-ginger-tomatoes)
Potatoes : 4-5 (medium sized)
Oil : 2 tbsp
Hing: ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds : 1tsp
Salt : to taste
Red chilli powder : ½ tsp
Turmeric powder : ½ tsp
Coriander powder : ½ tsp
Green chillies : 2 in no.
Curry leaves : 7-8 (coarsely cut)
Coriander leaves : 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Boil and peel the potatoes. The potatoes should be cool before they are cut into cubes. Take oil in a pan and warm it up a little. Now add hing to it, followed by all dry ingredients - cumin seeds, salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. Mix well and add potato cubes to it. Fry them nicely in the condiments for 2-3 min. Now add 2 cups of water and let it boil. Add green chillies, curry leaves and reduce the flame. After about 30-35 min, the gravy will get dense and consistency would be perfect for the pooris, if not then let it be there for some more time. Turn of the gas and garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves and garam masala. Mix it well and cover the lid for 10-15 minutes so that the garam masala and coriander flavours get infused in the dish.
The above tip is applicable in this case too.

Ajwain waale aloo
For this, it is better if you have baby potatoes with tender outer covering.
Baby potatoes : ½ kg
Ajwain : 1 tsp
Salt : to taste
Turmeric powder : ½ tsp
Red chilli powder : ½ tsp
Green chiliies : 2 (finely chopped)
Ginger : 2 inch (grated)
Mustard oil : 2 tbsp
Garam masala : ½ tsp
Wash the baby potatoes nicely with warm water. Do not peel them. Cut very small ones in halves and a little bigger ones in quarters. Take an iron skillet (preferably) or a thick-bottomed pan is fine too. Put mustard oil in it and let it get piping hot. Reduce the flame, put ajwain, green chillies, ginger and fry for a minute, add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder to it. Mix well. Put potatoes in it and mix thoroughly. Fry them for 2 minutes on medium high flame. Now reduce the flame and put the lid on the pan. Keep stirring after regular intervals and check if the potatoes are done. Once they are soft, open the lid and fry them again on medium-high flame so that they get crispier. Sprinkle garam masala on the potatoes and serve them with hot paranthas. 
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