Friday, 20 January 2017

BEGUN ALOO BORI DIYE PALONG SHAKER GHONTO



This was also a part of my 200th blogpost a year back or so. I was never happy with the post, felt it incomplete without the use of 'bori', that is dried lentil balls. I never bring bori from India as they say carrying bori while travelling far is a bad omen. A dear friend here who is less superstitious and prejudiced compared to me got me a priceless packet of Bori. Did she ask anything in return ? No, she knows when S  makes palong shak with bori, begun, aloo, a bowl full will go to her house, in return S waits for her variety of salads. Extremely health conscious that she is, her day starts religiously with visiting the gym. Yet she envies Priyanka's curves while I shamelessly gobbled four to five pakoras yesterday night without a bit of exercise in the past two months. Ipsita if you are reading this, you know there is not a bit of exaggeration in it. Ipsita never sends her husband alone to our house, not because both S' will fall for each other..... hihi..... but because she knows this S will feed her S all junks and ghee smeared stuffs. By the way I love been treated as a mother hen here by some dear ones. I still regret though for no one falling or feeling for me since my teens and hence destiny got me to live with such a tiger and non-foodie under one roof. Not for a single day he read my blog, neither do I watch CNBC with him, so no fights. My dream of having a small eatery of my own will remain a dream always. Coming to the reason of regret, I have promised to start with my walks and jogs from next Monday, though my friend says there is no toning possible without taking weights. Moreover the true heart Bengali cannot sacrifice her love for spicy and fatty food altogether. 

With the priceless gift of bori [dried lentil balls] from Ipsita, I made this PalongShak er [spinach]  Ghonto with begun [eggplant] and aloo[potato]. Now its authenticity can be claimed. This is a non-spicy, vegetarian dish that we usually have with rice. It also goes well with Indian breads. Let us prepare this Begun Aloo Bori diye Palong Shaker Ghonto together.

INGREDIENTS :
Spinach [palak] : 2bunches
Potato : 1medium
Eggplant[begun] : 2small
Green Chilli : 2
Dry Red Chilli : 1
Panchphoron : 1/4tsp[an equal amount of fenugreek, fennel, cumin, wild celery,nigella seeds mixed together]
Salt : As required
Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
Bori[dry lentil balls] : 7-8 [no need to break if they are small]
Oil : 2-3tbsp

METHOD : 
Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Wash. Cut the eggplants into cubes too. Rub salt and turmeric.

Chop the palak leaves and wash thoroughly.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potatoes and egg plants separately and keep aside. Fry the dried lentil balls and keep aside. They may soak oil, so add a spoon if required.

Temper the same oil with panchphoron and halved dry red chilli.

Add the chopped palak, add salt and little turmeric. Stir and cover. A lot of water will release.

After 10 minutes uncover and add the fried potatoes and slitted green chillies. Stir and cover. Uncover after 5 minutes, the water should dry up by now. Add the fried eggplants and bori. Stir carefully, let cook for 1-2 minutes. Its done.

Have it hot and fresh with rice or chapati.



Monday, 16 January 2017

BAKED SANDESH


Yes, this is how a true heart Bengali expresses love for her roots sitting in another country. It is also true that I got this tart pan to try  tarts, an egg tart to start with. As usual extremely scared to do what is not my forte, neither wanting to keep the tart pan as a showpiece, I thought let me inaugurate it with something easy and less time consuming. Why I am posting dessert one after another.... Oh I am trying to remain calm and sweet tempered keeping aside all tensions. My help, now a family member Cristine is yet to come back from vacation and I am literally going crazy. Moreover, with a son going for his boards in another fourteen months, my mind is literally in two pieces, should I take a long break or not? Going by the standards of a Bengali mother, I can see myself ranking almost last. Each time I come back from Kolkata I feel more guilty watching my friends back home dedicating and sacrificing everything for the kids. Moreover with a senior like mine, I am going extremely crazy with his patent dialog I do not want my son to be in any rat race, I want him to be happy. How much I disagree, he is firm on his belief that a child is only liable to fulfil his / her own dreams and not their parents. Now the son, going by his extreme love for history says he wants to be the curator of a museum, while the very average, typical Bengali mother wished to see him somewhere near and around NASA. There is nothing wrong in the mother's wish as her son has the potential going by all his teachers' feedback, what he lacks is effort.

Taken into account all these factors, no wonder why the fat old lady is getting fatter and greying super fast. I am so very used to my Cristine.... dear knead the dough little more, Cristine do the stuffing and I will roll them. Amidst all these mess, I so much appreciate my fellow foodie bloggers doing so great job sharing so many dishes every other day. Whether they are doing it with or without a help is not important , the effort and love for it is what I appreciate. This Baked Sandesh was done during Diwali celebration, then for one reason or the other my wish to share it with the world got delayed. Today I felt I should share this mess free way of making a Sandesh, a Bengali sweet or in a way dessert famous worldwide to sweet lovers. I have provided stepwise picture for the entire process to prove my point that it does not require kneading or mashing . I even used store bought paneer for this sweet. Let us prepare this Baked Sandesh together.



INGREDIENTS [for the instant khoya]
Milk Powder : 1medium cup
Full Cream Milk : 1/2medium cup
Ghee : 1/4th small cup


INGREDIENTS : [for the final product]
Paneer : 150 gm
Condensed Milk : 50ml
Sugar : 1-2tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Baking Soda : A pinch[can skip]
Instant Khoya : As we get.
Ghee [clarified butter] : A drop or two

METHOD :
Preheat oven to 180*C. 

Let us prepare the instant khoya first. By now my readers must have by hearted this khoya recipe as I keep on mentioning which again I have learnt from an you tube video. I just adjusted the amount of the ingredients as it suits my family. We will take all ingredients of instant khoya in a bowl and mix well.



Now microwave the mixture for 2-3 minutes pausing and stirring every 30 seconds. Our instant khoya is ready.



Now we will take the paneer in a wide mouthed bowl, break further and crumble with hand. 



Add the instant khoya and condensed milk to the crumbled paneer and mix roughly.



Now put the mixture in the mixer grinder. Add 1-2tbsp sugar, a pinch of baking soda and 1/4tsp of green cardamom powder. Grind to a paste for 1-2 minutes pausing in between.



Grease the tart pan with a drop of ghee [clarified butter]. Pour the mixture into it. 



Bake at 180*C for 12-15 minutes depending on the temperature level of your machine. It is done when the top is light brown.




Friday, 13 January 2017

RANGA ALOOR PULI PITHE



Makar Sankranti brings back a number of childhood memories. At this time of the year we were always at our maternal grand parent's place where it used to be kind of 'pithe'....... sweet and salted steamed or fried snacks festival during Makar Sankranti. Our grandfather had some landed property in the outskirts of the small hamlet they lived in, about 100km away from Kolkata. So, fresh farm produce used to come from there, of which date palm jaggery and juice were a part. Our wintry morning started with drinking 'khejurer rosh'.... date palm juice. Then almost everyday in and around makar sankranti, Grand mom used to prepare various kind of pithe. The sweet ones had khoya, lentil and coconut fillings whereas the salted ones we had with liquid date palm jaggery. My grandma lived few years in Assam where she learnt a number of steamed pithe . Wish I could try them all some day.

We get very good sweet potatoes throughout the year in the place we stay. Bengalis do prepare a number of sweets with sweet potato which we call ranga aloo. This is a very simple recipe of sweet potato dumplings with a dal / lentil and shredded coconut stuffing. It is a fried sweet meat or pithe soaked in sugar syrup that is done mainly in winter. I do it when I feel like. Let us prepare Ranga Aloor Puli Pithe together.

INGREDIENTS : [for the filling]
Moong Dal [split yellow dal] : 1small cup
Shredded Coconut : 1/3small cup
Sugar : 1/2small cup
Ghee : 2tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the sugar syrup]
Sugar : 1small cup
Water : 11/2big cup
Green Cardamom : 2-3

INGREDIENTS : [for the coverage]
Ranga Aloo [Sweet Potato]: 3-4 [medium size]
Sugar : 1tbsp
Refined Flour : 11/2tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1tsp 

Oil : 1medium cup to fry the dumplings.

METHOD :
Dry roast the moong dal and soak in hot water for 2 hours.
Take out the skin of the sweet potatoes, wash and cut them half. Boil them till tender in enough water, cool and drain the water. Take in a bowl and mash well adding the refined flour, sugar and cardamom powder.


Drain the water from the dal, wash and grind to a paste in the grinder adding very little water. Heat 2tbsp ghee in a wok. Add the dal and keep stirring till it comes out of the sides and the raw smell goes away. Add the sugar and shredded coconut, fold in well and stir cook for 3-4 minutes. Our stuffing is ready.


Now shape the sweet potato mix into tennis size balls, smoothen by rolling between palms for a while. Make a hole and fill with the dal and coconut stuffing. Close and flatten a bit. This takes less oil to fry.


Heat oil in a wok. Fry the stuffed dumplings in batches. Simultaneously we will prepare the sugar syrup with sugar, water and green cardamom.



Take out the fried dumplings and place onto tissue paper. The sugar syrup need not be too sticky, little will do. Switch off gas once done.


Now soak the stuffed fried dumplings in the sugar syrup. Serve hot or chilled after sometime as you prefer.


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

EGGLESS JAGGERY ROSHOGOLLA CUPCAKE WITH A YOGURT PISTACHIO TOPPING



Just back from a month long holiday, no work and only leisure and a bit of shopping. Going back to the same old place gives me pleasure, I never get bored been there though my mind was in two pieces as my senior could not go for a week also. This has another problem too, I could not have there the food he loves, did not even feel like having both of our favourite duck egg curry, few fresh water fish he loves. More surprisingly I even did not have what I love..... rolls and biryanis. All of a sudden I realised I am ageing mentally too, the sight of high caloric food was getting me tensed, strongly felt
diabetes kills you mentally too. Yet in between I did have food I like at people's places, had sinful bites of muffins, fried chicken while with friends, my neighbourhood friends treated me with my favourite momo too. All these I had without a bit of exercise. Now I am really scared to stand on the weighing scale, thought let us start with some workouts first. This time I strongly felt I am no more craving for any food, on my three weeks stay I hardly felt I have to have it except for some sweets, which I bet you will not get anywhere in the world other than Kolkata.

The above lines should not mean I have stopped cooking. At this moment I am going slow with it, with lots of other things on the line. Makar Sankranti is near and still thinking what to prepare on the day. I wish for something that is easy and quick. Before that I wished to share this cup cakes with jaggery and roshogolla / rasgulla. This was my first attempt to prepare cake with jaggery, n it turned out well. For topping I used yogurt, trust me you will like it. Come let us enjoy doing these yummy and easy  eggless jaggery roshogolla cake with yogurt pistachio topping together.

INGREDIENTS [for the cup cake]
Roshogolla/ Rasgulla : 8-10[1 each for one cup cake]
Jaggery : 1/2small cup [grated]
Refined Flour : 1big cup
Milk : 1/2big cup
Baking soda : 1tsp
Vinegar : 1tbsp
Oil : 1/2 small cup
Cinnamon Powder : 1tsp

INGREDIENTS [for topping]
Plain Yogurt : 1small cup
Condensed Milk : 1/4cup
Pistachio : 6-8 [chopped]

METHOD :
Preheat oven to 180*C.

Take the yogurt and condensed milk in a bowl and beat well. Add the chopped pistachios and mix well.

Sieve the flour, cinnamon and baking soda in a wide mouthed bowl. Put the grated jaggery in the grinder and grind for a minute. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add milk, oil and vinegar. Mix well and keep beating with a hand or electric beater for 5 minutes.

Add the flour mix little by little and beat well. Once done it looks as below.



Now pour the batter up to 1/4 of the cups. Squeeze the juice from the rasgulla and place at the centre of the cup. Pour little more batter. Place the cups on the baking tray. They look as below.



Bake at 180*C for 25 to 30 minutes depending on your machine. Please do check after 20-22 minutes  inserting a fork in the middle.



Once cool decor with the topping and enjoy fresh with your loved ones.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

CUCUMBER N BLACK GRAM CHAAT



My favourite these days.... chaats and salads. Always looking forward for some good alternatives for carbohydrates, I find such dishes best suited to my changed tastebuds. I do not follow any strict diet as such or as prescribed by the dieticians. I am just unable to have heavy breakfast, light lunch and even lighter dinner. I usually prefer soups or salads for lunches. Since I had never been a salad kind of person, I try to make them suit my taste buds, turning them to chaats. I do this so that I can have two spoonful of my most favourite rice sitting together with my men at night. We usually have our dinners late when perhaps others plan to go to bed. Well, we never claim ourselves to be healthy eaters, but then our body clock got used to it.

It is time to take a break, before that let us share this easy and yummy chaat recipe.This dish is a chaat kind of salad made with boiled and sautéed black gram. Though not so much of a Bengali preparation, my mother used to prepare black gram or kala chana this way sautéed with onion and green chillies. Actually this was sold  at the road side carts at our place. How much would I slurp looking at them, my mother would not allow me to buy. Instead she would prepare for me. At times we used to have it with puffed rice. Modifying it into a chaat is my contribution to the dish and I can assure it will not dishearten you. A bowl full of health and taste. Let us prepare this Cucumber and Black Gram Chaat together.

INGREDIENTS [main] :
Black Gram : 150gm
Onion : 1big
Green Chilli : 2-3
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp[optional]
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp[optional]
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Cucumber : 2medium 
Oil : 2-3tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for topping]
Date Tamarind Chutney : 4tbsp 
Plain Yogurt : 1/2small cup
Coriander Leaves : 1sprig
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Black Salt : 3- 4 pinches
Chaat Masala : 1tsp
Bhujiya or Chanachur [ salted snack, fried gram flour noodles??] : 2-3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash and soak the black gram in hot water for 3-4 hours, if in cold water then overnight. Wash again and pressure cook up to 1 whistle adding water and little salt. Let cool, drain the water and wash again.

Peel, wash and slice the onion, chop the green chillies and coriander leaves. Wash them. Slice the cucumber, wash and apply little salt, refrigerate. Blend together the yogurt, coriander leaves, sugar and black salt. If the mixture becomes too running, add little more yogurt and beat well. Refrigerate.

Heat oil in a wok. Saute the onion slices and chopped green chillies till they are soft and golden brown. Add the boiled black chana, fold in well. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes. Its done. Let cool a bit.

Transfer the cooked black chana to a bowl. Arrange the cucumber pieces on the sides or chop them and mix. Add chaat masala and fold in well. Top up with chanachur, tamarind date chutney and yogurt - coriander mix. Enjoy !!




Monday, 12 December 2016

RAW BANANA N POTATO CURRY / ALOO KANCHAKOLAR JHOL





What gives me utmost pleasure wherein blogging is concerned? My answer is compiling dishes that I have grown up eating, dishes for which I do not have to browse Google, dishes whose taste lingers on  till date, dishes which has my mother's touch on them. Today I wished to blog on one such dish. The old lady is at present cleaning up her daughter's home so that I can head to an all decked up home straight from the airport. A refrigerator full of essentials, bedrooms adorned with clean, washed bed covers is what awaits for me. This is the scenario each time I visit. We cannot just say thanks to our own, we need to be thankful in various ways. Yet I get very angry with her for been overprotective towards both of us siblings. In the process, we failed to learn the basics of life, to be independent. In her defence she would say life's lessons are not to be taught, it is to be learnt. Her daughter was not so keen on taking interest in worldly matters and was always engrossed in her own created world of fantasy. Well, I would not deny I am still so. At any gathering or a party, I choose my own cosy corner and love watching others present while sipping my favourite ones, getting little tipsy. Wherever I am, I create my own ambience.

...... and whichever part of the world I am or will be .... I will continue to cook up my desi recipes, laced with beautiful memories. My mom used to prepare this curry with Raw Banana and Potato, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions. Usually she used to prepare Shingi-Magurer Jhol [cat fish curry] with raw banana and potato. At times she added raw papaya to it. In the vegetarian version of this she used to add dry roasted broad bean seeds[shimer bichi] too. Unable to get shimer bichi, I prepared this vegetarian curry with raw banana and potato for myself, my men are force fed such things alluring with their choice of non-veg dish. I use the raw banana skin too to prepare a yum sides, laughing ?? you may please.... but nothing went waste in the middle class environment we grew up in..... and I do treasure my values. Let us prepare this Raw Banana N Potato Curry together.


INGREDIENTS :
Raw Banana : 2
Potato : 1
Tomato : 1medium[my inclusion]
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 14tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Cumin Seed : 2-3 pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1tsp
Oil : 4-5tbsp

METHOD :
Peel both the potato and raw bananas. Cut half and then lengthwise as seen in the picture. Wash and chop the tomatoes. Rub the potato and raw banana pieces with little salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the raw banana and potato pieces separately in batches. Keep aside. Temper oil with cumin seeds and bay leaf.

Add the ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir till it melts and separates from the oil. Add the cumin powder, chilli powder,  turmeric powder and salt. Stir well for a minute. Add the fried potatoes and fold in well.

Add a cup of water and let boil for 2-3 minutes covered. Now open cover and add the fried raw banana pieces. Let boil for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cardamom powder and cinnamon powder. Stir and let boil for a minute.

Add the ghee and give a stir. It is done. We love to have it with rice but it goes well with chapati too.











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 !!