Thursday, 8 December 2016

STUFFED RAW PAPAYA KOFTA CURRY



Its almost weekend, we are again threesome from twosome.... so everything seems happy happy. From an almost no cooking mode to moderate cooking is the present scenario at home. The quiet mom with a quieter son was living a quiet life, missing someone. When the mamma was just about to believe that her son has stopped loving her, would he come and sit at the other corner of the couch threatening mom to throw out of the window if she tries to hug him. The mamma keeps wondering when and how the lolly polly mamma's boy turned onto become a daddy's one. Yet she is never worried, instead takes pride that they are different. If the equation of relationships is strong and is well understandable, one should not worry at all. There will be a lot of cooking for the coming week now since the senior is not accompanying us for holidays this time. I absolutely do it in my own will because my man has never demanded anything from me ever neither had he ever put any restrictions on me. As I always say I am a very bad example of women's lib or may be the definition of women's lib is different to me.

Life and Philosophy is as interesting as of cooking for me. So I do not miss the chance of expressing my thoughts along with my recipes. If given a choice, I may quit the recipe part, its getting complicated for a free willed person like me, perhaps for others like me too. I lack farsightedness, hence misunderstood . Anyway we are heading for a good movie tonight, so the mind should be set free. I wished to share this kofta curry made with raw papaya and dry fruits with you all today. Kancha Pepe or Raw Papaya is a common vegetable among us. I tried this Raw Papaya Kofta Curry just to get a breakthrough from our very own Aloo Peper Dalna or few other veggies with kancha pepe. Since, Raw Papaya is in itself  bland, I tried it with a dry fruit stuffing . Let us prepare this Stuffed Raw Papaya Kofta Curry together.


INGREDIENTS :

Raw Papaya : 1medium [kancha Pepe / Kacche Papite]
Cashew nut : 6-7chopped
Raisin : 7-8chopped
Pistachio : 5-6chopped
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Onion Sliced : 1big
Green Chilli : 2chopped
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Melon Seeds : 1/2tsp
Plain Yogurt : 1/4small cup
Refined Flour : 1/2small cup
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 1small cup [for frying the kofta n for the curry]

METHOD :

Peel and wash the raw papaya. Cut the two ends and cut further into four halves. Cut off thinly the inner skin along with seeds and discard. Wash again and shred the papaya. Take in a bowl, add two cups water and little salt. Microwave for 4 minutes. Take out, strain the water once cool and squeeze off all the excess water.

Add the sliced onion, chopped green chillies, little of turmeric, cumin, coriander powders and salt. Mix very well. Add the refined flour and mix well. We can now shape small balls. Chop the cashew nuts, raisins and pistachios.

Make a hole in each ball and fill with some chopped dry fruits. Close and shape the balls round again.
Heat oil in a wok, fry the kofta in batches till brown. Transfer onto tissue paper.

Make a paste with the melon seeds and plain yogurt. Temper same oil with cumin seeds and the bayleaf. Add the onion paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for further 2 minutes. Add the yogurt and melon seed paste and stir for a minute.

Add the rest of the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, sugar and salt. Saute for a minute. Add 1big cup water and let boil for 3-4 minutes. Gently add the kofta balls. Let cook for a minute. Transfer to a bowl.

Enjoy with rice or roti !!




Monday, 5 December 2016

SEMOLINA N DALIA KHEER





A beautiful, sunny morning and I am sitting at the favourite corner of our couch. As usual I am taken over by many a thoughts. I was happy with my performance at yesterday's Marathon event.... I am not a runner, I jog, I brisk walk, most importantly I absolutely enjoy the total ride. Walking together with so many people, the smiles at me coming from unknown quarters gives me pleasure. I was thinking of the yesteryear's very lethargic, fat, quiet girl who was never fond of any kind of sports. Some of my childhood buddies will echo my words, so today when they pat my back, they mean it, and I am as much as proud of their achievements..... big or small. My participation in sports was limited to taking part in MarchPast as it was compulsory and clapping for my friends and brother. So to me, doing half marathon is a pretty big thing given my medical condition and BMI. Age?? Do not give it much importance. Feel young, be young. Just when the mind was in such a happy state, yesterday evening we got the news of a death at the race event...... the person was just 29 years old, collapsed just a kilometre away from the finishing line and died later in the hospital.... very much saddening. I am not a seasoned or experienced runner, yet I would suggest do not push yourself too hard, listen to your body. Relax, we are not in a competitive run and most of our bodies are not trained as such. So go in your own pace and enjoy the ride.

I am just sitting idle, unable to go for a walk with the body aches and thinking of the bereaved family. I strongly felt I should compile a recipe post to get out of my present thought process. Not so much in the mood to write  an elaborate recipe, I thought of sharing this simple dessert recipe of kheer done with semolina [suji] and dalia [broken wheat]. This recipe is nothing but a modification of our very own Sujir Payesh [semolina kheer] that we grew up eating. After my son was born, I tried to give him such proteins like dalia, now I use it for myself as a substitute for rice. At times I mix both and prepare either a halwa or a ladoo or a kheer that is liked by my men. Let us prepare this easy recipe of Semolina n Dalia Kheer together.

INGREDIENTS :

Full Cream Milk : 2lt
Sugar : 11/2medium cup [or according to your tastebud]
Dalia [broken wheat] : 1/2small cup
Semolina : 1/4small cup
Cashew nut : 7-8 [halved]
Raisin : 10-12
Bayleaf : 1-2
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Ghee [clarified butter] : 1-2tbsp
Garnish as you wish or do not.....

METHOD :

Soak the raisins in water for an hour. Heat the ghee [clarified butter] in a wok. Dry roast the semolina and dalia for about five minutes till they are light brown.

Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel, put on gas and boil adding the bayleaf till it becomes one third. Add the semolina and dalia mix. Stir well, cover and let cook for 6-8 minutes stirring every 2 minutes.

Add the sugar, stir and let boil for another 6-8 minutes. Add the cashew nuts, raisins, discarding the water and the green cardamoms tearing them a bit. Boil for 2-3 minutes. It is done.

Transfer to a serving bowl, let cool, refrigerate and serve chilled.




Sunday, 4 December 2016

CHALKUMRO GHONTO / ASH GOURD WITH LENTIL FRITTERS



This dish was part of my 200th blogpost last year, where I compiled four heirloom recipes from the kitchen of Bengal. I thought let me share them individually with the wish to reach more people. I take a lot of pride in my roots and lot of bloggers are actually doing the job very beautifully. I humbly add mine, recipes that have come down to us for generations should be compiled and archived. Honestly, when I started with the blog, I very much wished to keep it exclusively as an archive for family recipes, representing  Bengal's Kitchen. Somehow midway I could not keep my promise and the blog turned onto a 'Khichdi'..... meaning.... a hotchpotch one. It feels good to see some of my friends doing the same beautifully, I just provide fillers when they are not doing it.

I have decided to archive certain family recipes on the blog. Whether I promote them or not, they should be on the blog. I know even my daughter-in-law may not try them, yet they should be there. This particular dish is prepared with AshGourd and Lentil Fritters or Dal pakora. Actually, the dal pakora is a substitution for 'bori'..... that is dried lentil balls.. With the on and off rain scenario here, I never try preparing them at home. There is a way of doing it in microwave which I am yet to try. So, I team this non-spicy dish with dal pakora. You can also substitute the Ash Gourd with Bottle Gourd or Raw Papaya. Let us prepare this healthy, vegetarian dish together.

INGREDIENTS :[for the dal pakora]
Masoor Dal : 1/2 cup
Nigella Seeds[kalojeera] : 1/2tsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Sugar : 1/4tsp
Oil to fry.

INGREDIENTS :[main]
Ash Gourd [chalkumro] : 1medium
Green Chilli : 2-3
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Turmeric : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Peel, wash, cut and shred the ash gourd. Add salt n turmeric, mix well.

Let us do the dal vadas first. Soak the dal in water for 1 hour. Grind to a paste discarding the water.

Add kalojeera,salt, turmeric,sugar. Beat well for 2-3 minutes and shape into small balls. Heat oil in a wok and fry the vadas till golden brown.

Once done, add 2tbsp oil in the remaining oil. As it get hot, temper with cumin seeds, bayleaf and halved red chillies.

Add the shredded ash gourd, stir and cover. Keep heat at low.

After 12-14 minutes, uncover and add the vadas and slitted green chillies. Stir and cover again.

Keep stirring every 3-4 minutes till the water dries up. Add the sugar, stir again, cook for 2 minutes, its done.

Dal vadas are used as a substitute for bori [dried lentil ball].



Thursday, 1 December 2016

CABBAGE FRITTERS / BADHAKOPIR BORA





Its monsoon here, raining every now and then. One good thing about the weather here is that it does not rain incessantly. So, there is ample reason to romanticise with the tiny droplets that create a ripple deep within. As I walk past, I stop and watch the water drenched leaves, flowers. That is one major reason why it takes four hours for me to finish a half marathon. Nothing in this world comes in a platter. Then, I love all attributes of nature, except for its fury. With the senior on a tour , not really in a mood / mode to cook. Not that he is a big eater but when one member from the threesome is absent, one just not feel like. Besides, my boy is happy with his dose of chicken with  luchi[Bengali Bread]. With such simplification of kitchen cores, one does have ample time for reading, listening to old favourite numbers. I also wished to revisit some of my old favourite movies from Ijjazat to Step Mom, I can watch them any number of times. I can create a movie hall ambience with a big bowl of popcorn too, yet unable to get into the mood. Though there had been several threat messages sent during such absence, the answer had always been  "phew... let me work"..... the obvious answer should be "good... let me shop". I think all women will agree with me.... The problem with me is I am a bit miser and cannot shop till I drop.... so it is always a win... win situation on the other side.

So when one has ample time to sit and write such silly notes, it means she wants to share a recipe with you all, keeping in tune with the simplistic approach of her blog. Whether it is monsoon or not, everyone love fries and fritters. We do it with all available vegetables, perhaps. My senior's big aunt who expired few months back was an expert on it. In that humble home, each evening there had / has to be 2-3 kinds of fries to go with lentil and rice.... ohh.... so yum. This cabbage fritters or Badhakopir Bora are a childhood favourite. The mom thing had a trouble some time given a foodie daughter and her son is still so..... my dude brother is definitely not going to like this post today, haha. Yet I am eager to prepare this yummy vegetarian fry / fritter together with you all.

INGREDIENTS :

Cabbage : 1small [shredded]
Onion : 2big[sliced ], authentically not used
Nigella Seeds [kalonji] : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Chopped Green Chillies : 2-4
Sugar : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Rice Flour : 1small cup
Gram Flour : 1/4small cup
Refined Flour : 2tbsp
Oil : 100ml.... left over can be used later

METHOD :

Through the outer leaves of the cabbage. Wash and cut into 4 pieces. Cut and discard the hard portion. Now shred the remaining portion and wash again.

Cut the two ends of the onions and peel. Wash and slice. Take both the shredded cabbage and sliced onion in a big bowl. Add the chopped green chillies. Add little salt, mix well and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

In a wide mouthed bowl, take the rice flour, gram flour, refined flour, nigella seeds, sugar, salt and turmeric. Add water to it little by little and mix well until it reaches a paste like consistency.

Heat oil in a wok. Drain any excess water from the cabbage-onion mix. Take some mix, coat with the batter well and carefully add to the oil. Fry at medium to low heat as and when required.

Fry in batches, once done transfer onto a tissue paper first and then to a serving plate.

Enjoy with tea or as an accompaniment to rice and dal / lentil.

















Monday, 28 November 2016

DAL BHAPE / STEAMED LENTIL




....... and it was so easy to do.... I totally loved and enjoyed doing it. I am scared of whatever is complicated..... recipe or otherwise. Whatever is easy.... whether it is a recipe or easy going people makes me happy, gives me pleasure. Yet, I so much respect some dear people who put all their heart and soul in preparing and drafting a recipe, or may be preparing a lesson plan for their next day class or say put immense effort to be a near perfect housewife. I am none of them, rather would say I feel myself enriched been surrounded by such beautiful people. Everything seems happy happy, going to meet family and friends soon. It feels so great to be silly with your dear ones. The ones with whom I was a bit angry few days back.... I am settling meeting dates in advance with the same.... we are as silly as we had been many winters back...... the silver streaks, the under eye bags could not reach deep inside. Some of them are coming down to the city at the same time, just to sit together, giggle, do naughty talks going back to teen hood. The only glitch is that my senior is not been able to accompany me this time.... who happens to be as dear to them as much as of mine.

This typical 'kochughechu' type Bengali was so happy to discover this recipe at a friend's place last month. . Her name is Paramita Chakrabartty, a foodie herself and a fabulous cook. We were giggling all through when she was telling us the story of her daddy's diet till date which is a full 5-7 course typical Bengali meal. I could suddenly connect with it as we have seen in our family years back. A fat wallet? colourful home decor? gadgets? decades back these were not important part of life but the food plate had to be full from Gondhoraj lebu to chutney. This steamed dal is not to be confused with Dhokar Dalna's Dhoka which was/is regular at my side of the family. This dal is prepared by totally steaming it. My friend did not use onion like me. She did with matar dal, I did with moong dal. The process was hassle free, just prepare the mix and put on steam. So it was an altogether 'dhinka chika' kind of cooking listening to my favourite numbers. This dish I dedicate to myself because my not so Bong men hardly love such things. We can save time by doing it in microwave but I am yet to try. Let us prepare this Dal Bhape or Steamed Lentil together following the stepwise pictures.

INGREDIENTS : 

Moong Dal [skinless green gram lentil] : 1big cup
Shredded Coconut : 1/2big cup
Onion : 1big[sliced]
Green Chilli : 2[chopped]
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Mustard Oil : 1tsp + As required to drizzle later

METHOD :

Dry roast the dal till it turns light brown. Wash and soak in hot water for 2-3hours. Grind to a paste adding water little by little. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the sliced onion, chopped green chillies, shredded coconut, salt and turmeric. Mix well.




Now grease a steel container with mustard oil. Transfer the dal mix to it. 




Cover the box tightly. Heat enough water in a wok. Place the steel container on the wok. 





Let it cook for 1hour 15 minutes to 11/2hour. Let cool. Take out and open cover.



Loosen the sides with a knife and turn onto a plate. Serve hot with piping hot steamed rice drizzling some mustard oil on it. Since my men are less of a Bong, and cannot have raw mustard oil, so they had with ghee.




Thursday, 24 November 2016

BIRD NEST FRIES





Fry, Fry, Fry..... You are so worth to try..... I know the health aficionados will be after me. Then we are heading towards weekend, I would keep my ears shut to what I preach. I am neighbour to a health freak couple friend who help me a lot with my diet. Though not always do I follow their valuable inputs, but yes, I always give a thumbs up to them for their self control . I love food so much so that it is impossible to follow a routine. Hence, I am far from my dream body, but then we cannot have the best of both worlds. My friend tries her best to keep me in track, wants to introduce me to her personal trainer, but I am a laid back character in all aspects. So if four days of the week is healthy eating for me, rest three days is indulgence. For my men all days are indulgent days, anything from burgers to poori / paratha with meat curries.


I got the idea of bird nest from the various food groups I am part of. This was my first attempt of doing this evening snack, I could not create a perfect shape of it. I took a safer path of doing a full covered one. My main ingredient here is yogurt because I too much love and wished to have dahi kebabs which I am yet to master at home. That thin cover making process I need to correct. So I had to take help of a dough to cover it... coat with vermicelli and deep fry. Let us do this yummy, vegetarian snack together and enjoy it with our evening tea coming weekend.

INGREDIENTS : 
Plain Yogurt : 500ml
Refined Flour : 1big cup
Gram Flour : 1/4small cup
Corn Flour : 1small cup
Green Chilli : 2-3[chopped] 
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp 
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 1tsp
Baking Soda : 2pinches
Chaat Masala : 1tsp
Black Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Vermicelli : 100-150 gm
Ghee [clarified butter] : 1tbsp
Oil : To deep fry

METHOD :
We will take the yogurt in a bowl and beat well. Pour it onto a clean, white cloth and tie to the kitchen tap. Let it be like that for 2-3 hours. By then all excess water will go.

Now we will take together the refined flour, gram flour and the baking soda in a big, wide mouthed bowl and mix well.

Then add the chopped green chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, cumin seeds, little salt and ghee to the flour mix. Rub well for 2-3 minutes. Add water little by little and keep kneading to form a firm dough.

Keep the dough covered for 1/2 an hour. Take the vermicelli in a plate. Prepare a batter with cornflour and little salt.

Take down the yogurt and transfer to a bowl. Add the sugar, black salt, chaat masala and mix well.

Prepare medium sized balls from the dough, fill with yogurt mix, close and flatten lightly with your palm. Now dip each one in batter and roll onto the vermicelli very well.

Heat enough oil in a wok so that we can deep fry. We will fry them in batches till both sides are brown and well done.

Transfer onto tissue paper first and then into serving plates.



Serve hot with your choice of chatni or sauce.













Monday, 21 November 2016

LIGHT RIDGE GOURD CURRY



There is a saying at my home that chillies and oil comes for free at our home. Every visiting friend has by now by hearted it perhaps. No I do not take is as an assault or criticism on me because that is not his nature except for accusing a large number of people for choosing a wrong guide of late. His research did not match the result.To that I say cool darling its not an one of case, echoing you I would say people learn from their mistakes. We are also doing the same mistake of treating someone as Godly who is actually far from it. People will either realise or struggle and juggle through / with life. Next month when I will give a big note to the poor vegetable seller, he/she will look at me with blank, painful eyes. Nothing happens to our class, we eat, merry, drink whoever holds the rein, its the lower strata of the society who suffers, always.

Coming back to the chilli and oil discussion, it is true that I love to use them generously in my cooking. I love spices actually. At times I just open the containers and smell them, oh so natural. I may sound very silly to the world, what to do I am that way. I was never smart enough to change according to other's needs..... Stubborn to the core?.... yes I am.... take me as I am or quit..... it was some 19 autumns back.... on this day a very worried mother told someone, my daughter does not understand life, she is fragile, handle her with care please..... a promise was made and kept till date....
Hopefully he is not reading this otherwise would have gone wild as to why I went public with this day after repeated requests of not to .... and the duo will always conclude mamma is such a silly thing....

This kind of light curries are an after effect of the scoldings and warnings.... S...... we need to cut down on spices and oil. This recipe of a very healthy curry with ridge gourd was learnt from a dear friend....  Piyali Mohanty..... our kids were in the same pre school. When our kids were at school, we used to sit and discuss on everything.... from films to food. A very good cook herself she told me about this healthy curry. I do not remember the exact recipe, neither did I whatsapp her for the details..... I just went ahead with it in my own way. Before I get engaged with some special cooking for the evening, I wished to share this simple, easy to do healthy and light curry with ridge gourd for all of you today. Let us do it together.


INGREDIENTS :

Ridge Gourd : 2-4
Milk : 1/3small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Nigella Seed : 3pinches
Wild Celery Seed : 3pinches
Ginger Paste : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 2[slitted]
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :

Peel and wash the ridge gourds. Cut half each one and then cut further length wise. Discard the seeds if there are too many. Apply little salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok, temper with nigella seeds and wild celery seeds. Add the ginger paste and stir for a minute, now add little turmeric and salt.

Add the marinated ridge gourd pieces. Stir well and cover.

After 5 minutes, open cover and you will see it has released water and is almost done.

Add the milk and slitted green chillies, cover cook for another 2 minutes. Add sugar, stir and take down after 1 minute.

Serve hot and fresh with rice. Since we are using milk here, it is preferred to be had fresh and not refrigerate for the next day.