Haathi paus days are going on. That is "Elephant rain". The size of the raindrops are unbelievable Like elephants.And it is appropriate that this happens during Ganesh Chaturthi the festival of our elephant god. Within the last week we have made up the shortfall in rain for the whole season. This is good news for most farmers. The bad news is that it has also resulted in the flooding of our roads which are not equipped with proper storm water drains inspite of this kind of rainfall being the pattern in the last 5 years.Within minutes traffic comes to a grinding halt as the roads start looking like rivers. Breast beating begins in the Corporation. Promises are made. Next year....etc etc etc .X number of crores have been allocated....etcetcetc. Meanwhile the citizen plods along trying to avoid aqua, authorities and aggravation.
Monsoon days are as close to typical dreary English weather as we can get here, with not a sight of the sun and the need for warming food. Not the usual dal /chawal but soups and pies.
Here is a photo of a family favourite. Chicken Pot Pie.
It can be produced in under an hour from scratch and in less than 40 minutes if you have cooked shredded chicken ready in the freezer which I always do. The way to do this is buy fresh chicken in kilos. Pressure cook an assortment of cut chicken, breast, thighs and legs,about 1 1/2 kg for two to three whistles in about 300 mls of water. Let it cool and remove the meat from the bone.Chop and freeze in two to three containers ( depending on the size of your family) for use later.) Freeze the chicken stock in a seperate container.
Double Pie Crust
for 9 " pie or 4 servings
2 cups flour/ maida
1 cup butter
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp chilled water. ( Add three icecubes to two tbsp water)
Add the salt to the flour.Rub the butter into the flour. Make a well in the centre and slowly add the cold water. Gather the flour together to make a soft dough. Do not handle. Keep covered in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out half the dough on a floured surface till larger than the pie tin.Do this quickly again without handling the dough too much. Fold the dough circle over the rolling pin and unfold over the pie plate.Snip off extra bits, fill with marbles or dried peas ( rajmha, mung and black eyed beans act as a good weight as well.) Cook in the oven for 15 minutes then remove. Take out dried peas.
500 gms shredded cooked chicken
400 ml chicken stock
1 bouillon cube ( Maggi)
1 cup peas
1 cup chopped carrots
1 bay leaf / tez patta
2 cloves / lavang
5 cloves of garlic
1 cup chopped onions
2 tbs flour/ maida
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp parsley or coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs of chopped chives ( optional)
Boil the peas and carrots till done. Melt the butter and saute the bay leaf and cloves in it. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Now add the onions and saute till light brown and soft. Sprinkle the flour over the onions while stirring well. Slowly add the chicken stock, powder the bouillon cube and add mixing well all the time so that no lumps form.You can add a mixture of water and milk if you have no stock. Add the chicken and vegetables and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes till the mixture thickens. Add a good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, the salt and herbs.
Roll out the second ball of dough as before and keep ready. Pour the chicken and vegetable mixture into the precooked crust of pie, cover with rolled pie dough and seal the edges by pressing them with a fork.
Brush the top with some beated egg.
Cook in hot oven of about 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Now you are ready to chase away those rainy day blues wherever you are in the world.