13 June 2006

World Bazaar

One of the local events of the season, the 'World Bazaar', took place at the Dewa Shonai Kokusai Mura (Dewa Shonai International Forum) on Sunday. We got talked into setting up a food stall. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to stick to the simple and uncomplicated. After all, making 100-150 boxes of anything authentically Indian isn't that easy. So I decided on making Aloo-tikki and 'khatti-meethi' chutney.

Making the sweet chutney in such large quantities isn't a joke. With a miniscule kitchen like what I have here, and lack of large cooking pots, it was a bit of a challenge making 3.5 liters of chutney.

And of course I didn't have vessels big enough to boil and mash 5 kilos of potatoes. So I spent the better part of Sunday morning cooking potatoes in the microwave in 1kg batches, mashing them in the most decent sized vessel in hand, spicing it right and transferring that my pressure cooker, the only vessel that could hold 5 kilos of mashed potatoes!

So after lugging the pressure cooker to the festival venue, it was 3 hours of non stop cooking on a small frying pan to make 150 tikkis... by noon I finally finished making all my tikkis. And by 12:30 it was all sold out. One of our friends asked whether I could go get some more potatoes and make another 100 or 150.. After all we did have more than enough chutney to spare. I thought about it for a bit and decided to call it quits for the day. If anyone was enthusiastic enough, they could go get some little bottles and we could sell the leftover chutneys.

W-san, a sushi-chef and restauranter loved the chutney... I have promised to let him know when I make the next batch, so he can see the process for himself! After aloo-parathas and palak paneer, maybe its time I I introduced W-san to the finer nuances of chaat!

Here's how one goes about making 3.5 ltrs of chutney. For smaller quantities, just use all ingredients in equal proportion and season to taste.

Khatti-meethi Chutney
(makes way too much)

1/2 kg Tamarind
1/2 kg Jaggery
1/2 kg dates (seedless)
1 cup salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup jeera powder
1/4 cup red chilli powder
3 tbsp chaat masala

Soak and dissolve tamarind in 2.5 ltrs of water. Drain and keep aside. Discard seeds and any other impurities.
Soak dates. Discard waxy skin if any, puree in blender.
Take a saucepan or any other deep pan with a 4 ltr capacity.
Bring tamarind, jaggery and dates puree to a boil, stirring constantly to remove any lumps.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the tamarind loses its raw smell.
Add seasonings and adjust to taste.
If you wish to store it for later use, let it cool completely to room temperature before bottling it.
This chutney has a shelf life of upto ten days if kept refrigerated.

Bare-basics Aloo Tikki
makes 15 medium sized pieces

1/2 kg potatoes
1 green chilli (finely chopped)
1 tsp jeera powder
salt to taste
1 onion finely chopped
Oil for frying

Parboil potatoes till they are cooked, but firm. If using a microwave, 10 minutes on high should be fine.
Peel and mash potatoes with chilli, jeera and salt.
Add onions and mix well.
Divide into 15 equal portions (or as many as desired).
Grease palms lightly. Roll into balls and flatten into 1 cm thick patties. Flatten edges with fingertips.
Generously grease a skillet and heat.
Fry tikkis on hot skillet with a little oil till browned. Turn over and brown other side.
Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

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