Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mustard Sting...ting ding

It is sarson season in Dilli, and I savoured the first offering of the season only a few days ago. Give me Mustard Greens any time and you won't hear a 'no'. I absolutely relish the mix. And I take pride in being mommy's veggie supplier. She instructs me, and I go out to the market/mandi/Big Apple/Reliance Fresh, wherever time permits, to find her the best and freshest possible produce. For this season's 'first buy', I walked to a rickshaw vendor. He combined bathua, soya, palak and of course sarson and chopped it for me (they do it on request) in his hand-driven chopping machine.

And since I am talking Mustard here, I might as well add about my obsession of using Mustard oil in my cooking. When cooking with Mustard oil, you have to be a little patient else you get that bitter taste in your food which all (barring some nerds) dislike. The Mustard oil, unlike clarified butter and vegetable oil, takes a lot of time to heat up. But, as I have a penchant for elaborate cooking procedures, waiting for it to heat up is no issue for me. The simple 'stir and serve' does no good to my creativity as far as the kitchen is concerned. That perhaps 'may' explain my prolonged absence from my place near the cooking stove (yes it remains that for me, no matter what fancy names you may want to call it).
Anyway, back to Mustard oil: Many consider it unhealthy, some call it outdated compared to the much celebrated Extra Virgin Olive Oil, yet others make the weirdest face expressions to display their hatred for it. I confess I was one of them too. But then that was 'Once upon a time'. Now, I propagate its use in the same manner as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar promotes The Art of Living. It does wonders to your hair (heat it and add 4-5 small cubes of camphor after crushing them), to your digestive system and what not. And then, the ones who create a lot of noise over their dislike for Mustard Oil should not forget that ages ago, when there was no Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Vegetable oil and blah, Mustard oil was the sole medium of cooking.
I do the simple stir fry aloo with Mustard oil, which is a personal favourite. It takes about 45-60 minutes to prepare. Then there is the 'On Special Request' gobhi aloo dish that is relished by all in the house; of course it is done by me in Mustard oil.
And then to add some zing to the mustard sting is this silly little boy called Brother Bear. He hates the smell of Mustard oil. Every time I cook in it, he comes out of his room shouting curses at me. He even goes to the extent of making some hilariously outrageous statements that the 'smell' of Mustard oil causes 'rashes' on his body. Now, how absurd and silly can it possibly get?

24 comments:

Asha said...

Whoa!! I love that chopping machine! Wish I had that at home. Southern US people love greens as we cal them, so mustard leaves are always available here in big bags washed and cleaned but not chopped.
Enjoy girl, have a great weekend:))

J said...

I still can't figure out the whole mustard deal. Very very very confusing it is.

Juhi said...

Mustard! where do I start? I was never a fan of mustard greens...my tasting of sarson ka saag (aur makki ki roti) has been limited to hotels and diwali melas in delhi...untill recently when my mum-in-law started cooking it in my kitchen and i started savoring it! But you see here in US we get washed, cleaned, chopped and frozen mustard..so it is easier to cook..at least for me...and for once I am happy to add a new dish to my limied recipe list!

Juhi said...

Coming to mustard oil...oh I like it...unlike those who think its bad for health...i believe it is very good for the human body. In yesteryears (when we did not have the extra virgin olive oil)...mustard oil was the key ingredient in Indian dishes. Aloo cooked in mustard oil is a favorite...aloo ka bharta with a dab of mustrad oil is yummy...
and of course...mustard oil works wonders if you heat it up ..put some haldi and massage on a muscular wound...
and while talking of mustard...how can u forget mustard sauce... mmmmm..yummy!
great post Skeeter!

Kulpreet said...

Hi Reeta,

I too love the mustard ka saag. In fact on typicaly wintery days, I have at in the breakfast with parathas, in lunch with chapatis, in evening with Whiskey and finally in dinner with makke ki roti. It is one dish I cannot live without.
Liked the pictures. Authentic...

Pritika said...

Hey! skeety! nice pics! I love mustard oil for cooking (not that i have cooked in it!) but i love eating food cooked in mustard oil...its authentic and reminds me of my childhood when in winters we would have lunch in the sunshine drinking kaanji and eating makkai ki roti with white butter and sarson ka saag...nice post! You have given mustard its due place in the Indian Palatte. P.S. i didn't know Asha lived in the US :D

Juhi said...

And I learnt another one today...karela..fried in mustard oil and then cooked in masala tastes awsome..try it sometime.

Shardul Kerkar said...

Nice Post. I wish being a foodie could be my full time profession like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. Talking about mustard..the weirdest form of mustard i have eaten is mustard icecream in Seattle Downtown.

dRoZzY!!! said...

skeetarrrrrr puttar
very good.... i am delighted to read about the sarson da saag te makki di rotti.... not to forget the white butter and all the gudd (jaggery) that goes along....
OMG!!! i am hungry

Reeta Skeeter said...

Asha: Hmm... I shall help you buy all these and more when you are in Dilli :p
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j: ufffff...okay have a look at this...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard
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juhi: hmm hmm hmm... Tune mere ghar ni khaya na isliye :P Thanks for the so many comments :D Yeah I too like Aloo ka bharta with a dab of mustard oil.. simply delicious! And will try the karelas some day ;)
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Kulpreet: I see... Nice... and Thank You! Happy blogging!
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Pritika: Thanks darling! Love ya!
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Shardul: Mustard icecream :o Neva heard of that! Ok let us plan a coup on Anthony.. whatsay?
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dRoZzY: Thank you dadaji!
Heeeee you are always hungry :P
==================================

Gonecase said...

Its been ages since I ate sarson ka saag but that's not my concern anymore, Diwali aa rahi hai :D
One more addition to dishes worth savoring, chicken fried in mustard oil, yummy.

KP said...

Cooking and Me are never on the same page...never had this sarson ka saag.l..i have heard taste good...we`ll definately try it...if i ever find my way into desi restaurent which offers in their menu....:)

don said...

A fine series of the chopping machine and mustard greens. The comment adds much to this post. I don't believe I have ever tasted food cooked in mustard oil.
Now I'm very curious and wondering if a local Indian restaurant uses it.

Madhavi said...

Hey Reeta...
Mustard...hmmm ummm mez already hungry whn r u gonna gve me a feast :) n sarson da saag n makki di roti wah wah :)
I too love cooking waise..ive just hve strted to knw the basics dheere dheere sikh hi jaungi...u hve a rockin week ahead :)

~ Deeps ~ said...

the mustard oil goes best with fish.........awesome flavor it has........and ofcourse sarson ka sag and aloo bharta rocks anyday :)

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

you, i suppose are not considering the folks from down under who cook in Koconut oil.
:)
thanks for coming by, and you are ruining my diet here.

Reeta Skeeter said...

gonecase: main veg hun! saag hi kha sakti hun!
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kp: Do try! You will love me for it :)
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madhavi: abhi aa jao :D
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~deeps~: me veg :| so aloo ka bharta and saag eet ees for me :)
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ToOothlEss WOndeR! : HAHAHAHA :D Welcome here you... coconut oil nahiiiiiiiii

The Twisted Gourmet said...

Done :)

Gonecase said...

Mein bhi sirf veggie chicken hi khata hun :P

Drama Div@ said...

>> the 'smell' of Mustard oil causes 'rashes' on his body.

LOL

Yoga Gal said...

Be careful with that blade!

The Twisted Gourmet said...

yeh bhi koi puchne wali baat hai!! ofcourse you may and you don't have to quote me :)

bee said...

that contraption is way cool. never seen something like it.

jayjit dasgupta said...

Dear skeety..

very engaging read. what's more engaging is, perhaps, the passion you have about food. we chatted a while ago on g-chat (if you remember).. the project on Education and Training. nyways (that's for reference).

what i also admired is the language. being a 'writer' myself, i found it lively and intuitive at once. i think your 1. joie-de-vivre, 2. passion for culinary voyages and 3. sense of humor and 4. native intelligence (read 'creative perspective's) rock. way to go. keep the flag flying.

finally, a word about mustard. Being a bong (Kashmiris and Bengalis, sfarsiknow, are the only two indian communities to use mustard oil as a fundamental essence in every/all their culinary capers/experiments), i am a fan of the medium myself. yes, it's quite matchless when it comes to, well, the pungent zing that mustard IS fabled for. What i'm really driving at is that if you're interested, i'll bung off a roster of traditional Bengali dishes (all made with the oil, of course) that, i believe, you'll find delightful. The connoisseur that you are, this particular exercise will be 'my pleasure entirely', of course.

what more can i say? we don't really know each other beyond one chat session, but i'm already in love with your 'psyche'. The energy you bring to your blog is refreshing. Keep up the great work. one humble word of advice, though: for all the might of mustard, don't be too hard on your brother. it's a borderless planet, after all, where we're free to pick our loyalties, and, after all, blood IS considerably more thick than all that golden (albeit, admittedly, delicious) gore on the non-stick! lol. high five, long live mustard oil, and you, well, you go, lady, and 'take it higher'! shall keep following your adventures with interest here. cheers, and the warmest regards. jayjitd@gmail.com