Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bhutte ke khees (spicy corn mush) - Delicious & saatvik corn chat for a lazy Sunday

BH & I are not serious hikers by any standards, but we do like to climb some hills for the exercise it provides but more importantly for the exhilarating feeling we get after hiking for a couple of hours. It always feels good to go out in the open air, breathe some fresh breeze, generally change the routine of the weekdays where we sit at the desk and stare at monitors for more than 10 hours usually. We did some climbing last summer and back to it this year too as weather & time permits. Last weekend I posted a few pictures from our Olympic mountains visit, we went up one of the easier trails in the Hurricane ridge. As you walk up the trail, it is almost as if you are on top of the world because everything else is below you except for the sun and the blue sky. There are friendly wild animals on the path and if you are lucky, you can spot a few, we saw fearless little birds, and a very active mermot (type of squirrel but much larger) who I think was also a diva and was very used to posing for pictures :-)
Since I am not cooking very seriously nowadays (is it a violation of foodie world to say such things for a self proclaimed foodie and a food blogger?), I have more time on weekends to just set out for a hike with BH. Oh, about the non cooking part, don't be alarmed, I am still as passionate as I ever was, it is just that I am still getting used to the suddenly reduced number of consumers in my household and the heat wave from last week left me in no mood to switch on the stove and make the house resemble a furnace. I heartily agreed with BH to sustain on fresh salads and gallons of spiced buttermilk.

Also I am on a mission to clean up my storage. Here is what happens, I am very much into grocery shopping. I love to go for vegetables and pantry shopping more than any other shopping, it is the best form of retail therapy for me. I love to bring loads of veggies, fruits as well as pantry supplies of every conceivable kind every week. If you have a large family, you probably will finish the stored items pretty fast but right now with just the 2 of us at home the supplies are very slow to dwindle. I haven't switched on the oven in a month almost and the cooking is very limited. All this keeps the backup in the refrigerator and the pantry as high as ever.
So here is what I did 2 weeks back, no more grocery shopping until everything in the pantry is gone. There are a dozen varieties of lentils, a number of pulses, different types flours, numerous varieties of rice etc, you get the picture. So BH has been fairly forewarned that he might be served some hitherto unheard of experimental dishes or a repetition of dishes until the ingredient is over. As always, he is game for my crazy ideas and so we are working successfully albeit slowly at our 'clean the pantry' march. I am very proud of some of the dishes (though experimental) and how tasty they turned out. Will start posting them on the blog sometime. Stay tuned.
Before I go off on to the recipe today, I do want to share some tips if you are interested in hiking. Like I said, I am just a hobby hiker, I do it for my own joy and here are some practical tips if you are setting out on a hike -
  • Always carry water even on the shortest & easiest of the trails. 
  • Sometimes looking at the very end of the peak when you start out can be daunting, keep your head down as you walk the path and allow yourself to stop and get a glimpse of the end goal for perspective. 
  • Always take a step at a time or keep a bend in the path as your next goal and you are bound to feel good as you get closer to the peak.
  • Enjoy the journey as much as you can, it is not a race you are in, reaching the top first is not the intent (someone has already done it), so take the journey to be equally sacred to the goal. 
  • Keep the cameras inside (leave them in the car or better still don't carry bulky stuff) unless you are on the trail for the purpose of taking pictures. Some views are meant to be stored in the eyes of your mind and no expensive camera can do justice to what you can hold in your eyes and heart. And practically, it is one less thing to worry about as you are walking up.
  • Things do get rough if you really want to go high, the paved trails ultimately end in rugged, unpaved path. Stay focused and keep moving ahead. 
  • If your knees seem to become jelly and refuse to carry you any further, it is ok to stop, take a deep breath and then get back to walking. 
  • Hiking & walking are akin to meditation, whether you do it for 10 mins or an hour, as long as you stay in the moment, you will have the best experience of your life. 
Ok, now that I am done with parting my hiking wisdom, let us move onto the recipe for today, shall we? 
Do you like sweet corn? I do, something about the fresh, juicy corn with those Unicorn soft silk hair makes me all happy and warm. With that said, I avoid bringing the frozen corn just because I love the feel of the fresh ones. I wait for summer to get my hands on them. Though you get dehusked, cleaned and packed corn in the stores, my hand invariably goes to the ones with the outer cover even though it means one additional step to remove them before cooking :-). What can I say, the silky hair feels good on the skin. If you are a sweet corn person like me and looking for recipes and corn stories, I have some here, here & here on the blog. All very yummy, so make them before the season is gone.
I saw this recipe in a cookery show and had wanted to try this for a long time. And there were 3 sweet corns tucked away in the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator and threatening to spoil my 'clean & not waste' theme of the week. The lady who was from Madhya Pradesh (a state in central India) was very enthusiastically introducing her home town recipes and mentioned this to be a very popular street side snack in Indore. I have not been to the place but something in the combination of fresh corn, green chilies and ginger kept telling that this was a sure winner of a recipe and my instincts didn't let me down. The lady's recommendation was to use real butter and cook on slow heat to evaporate milk and absorb the flavors. Both are the life line of Indian street chats, cook with heavy dose of fat and keep cooking till a unison of flavors is achieved. I skipped the lecture on butter but stuck to the slow cooking to get the flavors happy together and the result was a delicious snack for a cloudy, slightly cool & breezy Sunday afternoon - slightly sweet from the corn but with a great flavor of green chilies & ginger, made a little tangy by the lemon juice. I am a corn happy girl.

What do you need to make Bhutte ke khees? 
2 fresh corn cobs (I had a white & a yellow cob)
2-3 green chilies
1X1 inch piece fresh ginger
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 Tsp mustard seeds
1/2 Tsp cumin seeds
1/8 Tsp asafoetida/hing
1/8 Tsp turmeric powder
1/2 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
1 Tsp chopped cilantro
1/2 Tsp lemon/lime juice
How do you make Bhutte ke khees? 
  • Remove the outer husk from the corn cob and grate them, collect all the juice/corn milk. 
  • Finely chop green chilies, grate ginger and keep ready. 
  • Heat a pan with 2 Tbsp oil, add mustard and cumin. 
  • Once mustard starts to pop, add asafoetida, chopped chilies and grated ginger. 
  • Roast for a minute. 
  • Add the grated corn along with any milk collected. 
  • Mix well and cook on low flame for 6-8 minutes until color changes slightly and you get a heavenly aroma from the kitchen. Make sure to stir a couple of time so it doesn't burn. 
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and 1/4 cup milk. Give a good mix. 
  • Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until milk evaporates and you have a solid but moist mixture in the pan. Stir a couple of times in between.
  • The mixture feels light when you turn it over (it is like making a spicy Mysore Pak :-))
  • Switch off, add the lemon juice, grated coconut & chopped cilantro and mix. 
  • Serve hot. 
  • You can grind corn instead of grating but make sure you retain the texture and not grind into a fine paste. 
  • Use butter instead of oil if you prefer for a richer taste. 
  • Don't skimp on asafoetida, it adds to the flavor and the aroma. 
  • Use only fresh corn and not frozen in this recipe for best results. 
  • Covering and cooking after milk is added is important since the moisture stays in the pan and locks the flavors in. When you life the lid off to stir the mixture, make sure you drop all the moisture into the pan. 


NamsVeni Pothas said...

looks very interesting recipe with sweet corn. and healthy too. we must try it.

kitchen queen said...

delicious and yummy.

Sreemala said...

Tried this one today, was pretty good. The quantity that turned out with 5 cobs was not as much as I expected. However, it went very well with chapathi too and kids loved it (am sure it's the butter and less spicy combo:)
Thanks for yet another yummy recipe.

Nagashree said...

@Sreemala, glad you guys enjoyed the bhutte ke khees, with chapatti, sounds good, I will try it the next time I make it too :-)