Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kamla Kheer from Cooking on the Run. Cookbook review

More orangey © Cookaroo

I love cookbooks. I have so many that my husband shudders every time the doorbell rings and there's a man with a book-shaped parcel in his hand. So when Boria Majumdar's Cooking On the Run was delivered home, he didn't look too pleased.

Nor did I for that matter. Here was a book written by someone who knew plenty about cricket, so would he know anything about food? I flipped through it, and saw recipes after recipes. Bah humbug, I said. And shoved it into my bedside table to read it sometime in the future.

Only, I totally forgot about it. Until I was looking for something to read almost a month later. I picked the book up and looked at the cover closely. It made me laugh. The pair of slippers looked so tiny and the phone looked like it was ringing. And the bat in the kitchen might have made a good mop. I spied Kunal Vijayakar's name at the bottom (who's he? The gentleman who hosts The Foodie, on Times Now) and wanted to know what he had to say.


I read the foreword. It sounded like fun and decided I needed to know what was going on with book. And I'm glad I did. Right at the beginning, Boria talked about how he's really not a cook, but is someone who realised he needed to cook to survive, to feel liberated. I immediately liked the guy. I thought it was very brave of him to put himself out there and write about something that was outside his comfort zone. Some of his recipes seemed simple enough. So half way  through the book I decided to try make the Chicken Mix at home - a simple risottos/khichari type preparation that could be made in under 20 minutes.

I made it on a cold winter night. Just chopped some onions, cut up some leftover boneless chicken and threw in the rice. In about 20 minutes the Chicken pulao/mix was ready. It turned out pretty tasty. So when the husband ate it, he said, "Oh I could have made this too."

I think that's exactly what Boria has in mind. Any one can cook out of the book. The idea is to just the simple recipes and have Boria talk you through it like he does in a cricket match. I think he's done a pretty good job with that and I think you have totally give him credit for the fact that his recipes are quite tasty.

Of all the things, he often repeats how important it is to know how to cook. How  it can help cure homesickness, how it can quickly become therapeutic, how it is just something that will help you save a lot of money.

All that apart,  I totally enjoyed reading the book. In fact in parts I loved it. I loved how he described mealtimes at his home in Kolkata, I loved the descriptions of how he had to cook in order not to get cranky and I totally loved how much he actually started enjoying cooking food. I even liked all the bits about cricket.

The things I didn't like? No photographs! Not a single one.  Oh and there were so many Chicken and Prawn recipes, it was as if  the world ended with these two things. Of course you had the token vegetarian recipe, but apparently to survive you must eat prawns. To be fair, I understand why these two meats were featured so often, they are fastest to cook and easiest to clean. But even then!

And that he seemed to talk in circles and every other chapter ended up in why people needed to know how to cook. Or that he wasn't a cook. But that was it. I thought was well written, engaging and great fun to read. So then I knew I had to try out another recipe.

Dessert this time, I thought. The Kamla Kheer or Orange Pudding really intrigued it had exactly three ingredients - milk, oranges and two tablespoons of sugar. That seemed so interesting.

I made the kheer according to the specifications and once while it was cooling, drank a whole cup up. It tasted delicious! Like liquid orange creamsicle. It was bursting with citrus flavours and just to add a bit of dimension to it, I through in a tablespoon of orange juice as well. It  just made it awesomer.

I read up on Kamla (orange in Bengali and Telegu) Kheer and realised it was a Bengali delicacy which was only made in the winters. A childhood favourite several Bengalis I talked to. It was a good thing to have tried.


Kheer Kamala
From Boria Majumdar's Cooking on the Run. Available in India, US and UK

Ingredients
1 liter milk (I used double toned)
2 oranges
2 tblsp sugar

Method

1. On a double boiler, boil the milk until it reduces down to nearly half
2. Meanwhile peel the oranges, de-segment them and throw away the white veins and seeds. Keep aside.
3. Once the milk has reduced down, add sugar to it and let it cook away for about four minutes. Turn the heat off.
4. This is important. Wait till the milk is totally cool and then add the orange segments. Otherwise the milk will curdle. Chill and then eat away.

Is yum. You won't regret it. Promise.

Pudding! © Cookaroo

6 comments:

  1. Looks so yum! There's another, slightly more complicated way to do this. My grandmother's recipe. If I make it, I'll let you know too!

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  2. Sounds really interesting..orange and milk,never heard of that combination before. Will definitely try it.

    Aparna

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  3. havent heard of this.. worth trying since orange is my fav fruit..

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  4. orange and milk in a pudding is a lil weird to hear... but i know its a knock off dessert Ruchi

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  5. I have picked up this book (am a sportsman and a cook so this is a perfect combo for me) and enjoyed reading it. Have not tried anything yet but will make it a point to do so.
    Never had this kheer before, have to try it out :)

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  6. Love the way you write {have I said this before?}. Seriously I do. Say Boria and I see cricket, and a little cricket diplomacy. When you talk about him and cooking, it's time to take notice. Boria and a cookbook? Really? Sounds like a fun read and yes, I do love the cover and the little 'slippers and cell details'. You have made the book come to life. NICE!! <3

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