Bhutte Ka Kees is a popular and delicious street food from historic, colourful Indore.

Bhutte translates to mean corn and kees means grated. The grated corn is then fried up and given a tadka. Umpteen variations of this creamy, quick snack are available on every street corner of Madhya Pradesh’s largest city — some with milk, some with ginger, some with garlic.

Chef Varun Inamdar‘s offers yet another take. He spiced up the grated corn with walnut milk, tempering and and masalas, drizzled it with lemon juice, and serves it garam-garam as a tea-time snack.

Inamdar, who has fed the likes of the Bachchans, the Obamas, Nicolas Sarkozy and Vladimir Putin, and has an entry in the Guinness World Records for creating a 3,000 kg chocolate mud pie, has declared he is obsessed with food and travelling and has voyaged across the world on his tummy only to come home and wonder at the richness of Indian food.

Indori Bhutte Ka Kees

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels, crushed or ground into a paste
  • ½ cup walnut milk (please see the recipe for walnut milk below)
  • 1 green chilly, chopped
  • ½ tsp rai or mustard seeds
  • Sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp jeera or cumin seeds
  • ½ haldi or turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp hing or asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • ¼ cup walnuts, broken into half

Method

  • Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed frying pan.
    Add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds and let splutter.
    Add the asafoetida, chopped green chillies, curry leaves, turmeric, salt and stir for a few seconds.
    Now add the crushed corn, walnut milk and mix well.
  • Fry until the liquid reduces, the colour begins to change and the ghee starts leaving the sides of the pan.
    Take off heat and add the lemon juice, crushed walnuts, grated coconut.
    Serve hot.

Editor’s Note: You can also use frozen corn kernels or grate the raw kernels off the corn cob directly.

To make walnut milk at home, soak 1 cup untoasted walnuts for 2 hours in 2 cups of water. Strain and rinse walnuts well.
Transfer to a blender with 1 cup mineral or filtered cold water. Blend on high for a minute.
Strain through a muslin cloth till you get an almost dry powdery mass in the cloth after pressing the milk.
Transfer in a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. This gives you 2 cups homemade pressed walnut milk.

You may also try coconut milk or regular milk instead of walnut milk. Finely-chopped garlic, a tbsp chopped onions and grated ginger are welcome further additions. Or even consider Mexicanising it with fajita seasoning and chopped capsicum and have it on a tortilla.

To veganise this recipe, use cashew butter instead of ghee.

Varun Inamdar is a chef, food stylist and chocolatier.

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