Tuesday, 28 April 2015

KANCHA AAMER MISHTI ACHAR / RAW MANGO SWEET PICKLE






The mango season is on and I can very well see its reflection everywhere.... from shakes to desserts to pickles....we call it achar.... a South Asian condiment. The very mention of achar / pickle brings forth many a sweet memories. My mom used to prepare pickles with mango, tamarind, elephant apple, mainly sweet ones using jaggery considering Bengal's love for sweets. I remember only the lemon pickle she made was a sour one. She did prepare one sour mango pickle which I loved very much. My daddy had to have little bit of sweet pickle with his fish curry and rice, hence that sweet pickle fair had predominance at our home. That simplistic love story was so typical of that generation..... altogether a different generation, a different perspective of life.... 

Coming back to pickle, ever since I saw the raw green mangoes in the market, I was planning to prepare some achar for my senior who loves it with his flat breads, even if the flat breads are accompanied by veggies and meat. Though he prefers the sour pickle in oil, I prepared this sweet one, with a typical Bengali dry roasted ground spice mix. I prepared this KANCHA AAMER MISHTI ACHAR yesterday evening. What you see in the picture has to be kept under the sun for a week and then stored in a jar.

INGREDIENTS : [ for the dry spice mix]
Cumin Seeds : 1 tbsp
Coriander Seeds : 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 5

INGREDIENTS : [ for achar ]
Raw Mango : 2 big
Sugarcane Jaggery : 500 gm
Sugar : 100 gm
Salt : 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp

METHOD :
Dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and the dry red chillies. Grind them coarsely in a grinder. Keep aside.

Peel, wash and cut the mangoes into medium sized cubes discarding the seeds. Rub with salt and turmeric powder.

Put in a deep bottomed vessel along with water. Put it on oven. As  the water boils for 2-3 minutes, switch off and discard the water.

Take a wok and put on fire. Add the jaggery with one coffee mug water. Keep heat at medium to low.

As the jaggery melts, keep stirring till it turns little sticky. Add the sugar to get the mixture more sticky.

Now add the mango pieces. Stir very well so the mango pieces are well coated with the jaggery mix.

Cook for 2-3 minutes. Switch off gas.

Transfer to a bowl. Pour in the dry spice mix. Mix very well.

Now transfer to a wide mouthed vessel and keep under the sun for few days before transferring into a jar.






Saturday, 25 April 2015

CHICKEN BIRYANI


Royal, Rehmania, Shiraz, Aminia, Aliya are few among other Biryani specialists of Kolkata, taking forward the legacy of Lucknowi Biryani. Besides these very old restaurants, some of which are more than 100 years old, we have numerous small shops in the Park Circus, Ekbalpur, Kidderpore area who sell authentic Lucknowi Biryani. I will not elaborate on how Kolkata ended up following Lucknowi style Biryani because by now the story is known to many. It goes as this, when Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was deported to to Kolkata, he brought with him his personal cooks. It was from then perhaps Kolkata's love for Mughlai khana was born. The recipes were passed on to the next generation till date. I have tried to bring in that taste but never claim it to be authentic Lucknowi Biryani.... it is quite impossible to get the secret ingredients the ustads use....they never divulge the full recipe outside family. Whatever I could gather from different recipes, I have jotted down according to my own convenience. I follow that at my home, it does turn good, a lighter version of the very flavourful and tasty restaurant ones.

The potato piece, that is peeping is definitely not a part of the authentic Lucknowi Biryani. Knowing Bengal's love for potato, it was a later addition. There you also get one boiled egg per plate of biryani garnished with crispy fried onion. I omitted the two and kept it light and simple. I served it with carrot raita, but let me tell you Kolkatans love to have it with mutton/chicken chaap. Our love for  food can take us to any extent and we never claim to be healthy eaters till recently. A community obsessed with food, football, cricket, drama, cinema, politics.

INGREDIENTS : [ for the biryani masala ]
Green Cardamom : 4-5
Black Cardamom : 2
Cinnamon : 2 one inch stick
Clove : 4
Nutmeg : 1
Mace : 2
Cubeb[kebab cheeni] : 4-5
Shahi Jeera : 1/4 tsp
Star Anise : 1

INGREDIENTS : [ for the rice ]
Basmati Rice : 2 coffee mugs
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Clove : 2-3
Cinnamon : 2 one inch stick
Shahi Jeera : 3 pinches
Bayleaf : 2-3
Salt : As required
Water : As required

INGREDIENTS :[for the chicken]
Chicken : 1 kg [big cuts]
Potato : 2-3 cut into halves
Ginger Paste : 2 tsp
Garlic Paste : 2 tbsp
Onion : 2
Yogurt : 250 gm
Biryani Masala : 1 tsp
Bayleaf : 2
Oil : 2 tbsp
Ghee : 1 tbsp
Kewra water : 2-3 drops

INGREDIENTS : [ for the final round ]
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1 small cup
Saffron : 1 pinch soaked in 1/2 small cup milk [I used very small amount of yellow food colour]
Kewra water : 2 drops for each layer

METHOD :
Peel, wash and cut each potato into two halves. Slice the onion. Wash the chicken and marinate with salt, beaten yogurt and half of ginger-garlic paste along with the potatoes. Keep aside for 2 hours.

Dry roast all the spices meant for biriyani masala and grind them together.

Now let us prepare the rice. Take enough water in a deep bottomed vessel and put for boil. Add the required amount of salt.

Tie all the spices in a piece of cloth and immerse in the boiling water. Add the rice. Cook till 60 % done. Discard the tied spices and the water.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with bayleaf. Add the sliced onions. Fry till brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the spices separate from the oil. Add the chicken with the marinade. Potatoes to be added later.

Cook covered at medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring ocassionally. Add  the potatoes and cover again. After 10 minutes, add 1 tsp of biriyani masala, ghee and kewra water. Add salt if required. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Done.

Take a deep bottom vessel. Arrange in this order.... a layer of rice, some chicken and potato. Sprinkle a pinch of yellow food colour, 2-3 tbsp of ghee, 2 drops of kewra water. Arrange few such layers with rice at the top.

Seal with dough. Place a pan on the gas oven. Place the vessel on it. Cook at medium to low heat for 45 minutes.

Serve hot with raita and salad!!









Friday, 24 April 2015

NO OIL SUKHA MUTTON



Whenever I think of mutton I visualise of a bowl full of soft, succulent mutton pieces soaked in a gravy that is more of oil. Talking about yesteryears, in an average Bengali home mutton meant cooked in generous amount of oil. At times forgetting that mutton itself releases its own fat which is good enough for the whole dish to be cooked or may be a little amount of oil is required. Me, an authentic Bengali do the same, perhaps by default. These days I feel a kind of guilty using too much oil in cooking. Considering the health hazards, I am trying to cut down on the use of oil in any dish, particularly in meats.

Just few days back was talking to a g+ friend on food and cooking. She said at her home mutton is cooked in no oil. They marinate the mutton with spices for quite long hours and slow cook it. I quite liked the idea and thought of cooking mutton without oil. I forgot to ask what spice combination she uses and used my own combination of spices. I kept it sukha [dry], as I wished to serve  it with flat breads. You can always keep the gravy according to your requirement or preferences. So here goes the recipe which is quite simple.

INGREDIENTS :
Goat Meat : 500 gm
Plain Yogurt : 200 gm
Onion Paste : 3 tbsp
Garlic Paste : 3 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1 tsp




METHOD :
Clean and wash the mutton thoroughly. Add onion paste, ginger-garlic paste, salt and turmeric to it.

Beat the yogurt and pour onto the mutton. Mix the whole thing nicely. Keep refrigerated overnight  in an airtight container. Take out at least one hour before cooking.

Heat a wok properly on the gas top. Once heated, pour the marinated mutton along with all the marinade.

Stir for 3-4 minutes at high heat. Lower the heat to minimum and cover the wok.

Let it cook on its own. You can see the yogurt releasing water and the mutton its own fat. Stir occasionally. 

When the mutton is about 80% done, add the coriander powder and chilli powder. Stir and cover.

After 10-15 minutes add the garam masala powder and stir. Switch of after 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with flat breads or jeera rice!!




Wednesday, 22 April 2015

GRILLED PANEER


With so many other commitments taking over me, elaborate cooking in the weekdays have taken a backseat. I keep on searching recipes that are easier and takes less time to prepare, colourful and suits my men's taste buds. Honestly, my senior is not so fond of paneer, but wraps are his favourite. So any filling wrapped in tortilla/ paratha works wonder for him. My junior is very fond of paneer. Yesterday back from work I had to go out... trying to balance everything, I settled on Grilled Paneer, served fresh wrapped in tortillas.

It was so easy and quick to do it. With Singapore heat on, people get tired easily end of the day. This was done so happily listening to my favourite music. Isn't that what I love doing most... music and cooking.... a soft melody, a meaningful movie feeds my soul, cooking gives me that satisfaction of being a mother,  a wife. With my earphones on, I marinated the paneer and bell peppers with tandoori masala and yogurt. Again went out, came back and it was done in few minutes.

INGREDIENTS :
Paneer[Indian Cottage Cheese] : 300 gm
Onion : 1
Bell Pepper : 1 each of red, yellow, green
Garlic Paste : 1 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1 tsp
Plain Yogurt : 1/4 cup[hung preferably]
Tandoori Masala : 2 tbsp
Lemon : 1
Salt : As required
Oil : 2 tbsp
Sweker : As required

METHOD :
Cut the onion and bell peppers into cubes and wash. Take the paneer, bell peppers and onion in a bowl.

Marinate them with salt, tandoori masala, ginger-garlic paste, beaten yogurt and oil. Keep aside for 2 hours.

Take the sweker, pierce through an onion piece, each of bell pepper and paneer and repeat. You may require 2-3 swekers.

Grill each side for 7-8 minutes.

Squeeze juice of lemon. Serve alone with mint chutney, or wrapped in tortilla.


Monday, 20 April 2015

RAW JACKFRUIT CURRY / ECHORER DALNA





When I look at jackfruits in the market, I dive into my past and reach straight to my childhood. I was born and brought up at my maternal grandparent's house till age six. Even later the bond got stronger. Every summer and winter vacations I had to be there... to get cosy on my didu's [grand mom] lap, ride behind uncles' scooter... I was spoilt by their indulgence.... My grandfather loved gardening....the house had a very big garden surrounded by coconut trees. Besides,  there were mango, jackfruit, lemon, drumsticks and so many types of flowers grew. He used to grow seasonal vegetables too. Most of the time I used to be in the garden, playing alone. My cousins are much younger than me.

His jackfruit trees bore fruits in abundance and they were so big. The Bengalis eat the green ones made into curries and also the ripened juicy ones.... aah...the taste was divine...just cut from the tree and eaten fresh. I remember the ordeal of didu on the day she decided to cook  green jackfruit curry. Uncles used to cut one, rest she took up from cutting it, grinding the spices to cooking. The end product was heavenly, flavourful with a garnish of ghee and Bengali garam masala.

Now a days the process is so easy.... the complex process of removal of its hard skin is no more, its already done and then sold. So there is no reason why we should not cook it. I would take forth the legacy with due respect to all yesteryear women for whom things were not as easy as it is now. Only the cutting part is a bit time consuming but when u eat the curry u forget all the pain. We call it " Gach Patha" meaning tree mutton. In our family its a no onion, no garlic dish. We also use small prawns in this curry but today I kept it pure vegetarian.

INGREDIENTS :
Raw Jackfruit : 500 gm
Potato : 2 medium
Tomato : 1 big
Ginger Paste : 2 tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Cumin Seed : 2 pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Bengali Garam Masala : 1/4 tsp[ an equal amount of green cardamom , cinnamon and cloves ground]
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1 tbsp
Ghee : 1 tsp
Oil : 5 tbsp

METHOD :
Apply little oil in your palms before cutting the jackfruit because the secretion from the raw fruit will make your palm sticky. The skin is already cut. So cut the hard mid region of the fruit, discard it. If your jackfruit has seeds take out and discard the yellowish skin that covers the seed. Now cut into small cubes. Wash and apply salt and turmeric as required.

Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into cubes. Apply salt and turmeric. Wash and cut the tomatoes too.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the jackfruit pieces in batches till brown and keep aside. Fry the potatoes too.

Add little more oil if required. Once hot, temper with bay leaf and cumin seeds. As they splutter, add the ginger paste.

When the raw smell goes, add the tomato pieces and fry till the spices separate from the oil. Add the cumin powder, remaining salt n turmeric powder and the chilli powder. Stir for 1 minute.

Add the fried potatoes and jackfruits. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes at medium to low heat. Add one medium cup water. Cover.

After 6-7 minutes, open cover and check whether they are soft. If so add the Bengali garam masala powder, sugar and ghee.

Cook for another 1 minute. Its done.

Serve hot with rice or even rotis go very well with it.

Please note I have kept it a bit dry as preferred in my family. You can have little more gravy but do not add too much water, it becomes tasteless.








Saturday, 18 April 2015

DOI MURGI WITH PUDINA PARATHA


Its weekend, time to set loose and indulge ourselves quite generously. Whether we dine outside or at home, the food has to be a little colourful, a little more different from the rest of the days..... and why not? We get lot more time for experimentation in the kitchen. The countdown begins from friday evening. My hidden wings spread in some kind of a joy..... Though I am an early riser, it feels good to think I have no compulsion to wake up early next morning. This weird lady gets up at the wake of dawn, she loves watching the calm view outside, its dawn, its still dark.... and the koyal coos. She gets lost somewhere and sings.... Koyal boli duniya doli...samjho dil ki boli... Like in the song she believes that the sky above and the earth below is the worthiest home an awesome twosome can have.... she believed and still believe for the right cause and the right person, one can denounce anything in life. She thinks she can, or could...considering her sarees and jewelleries. She tries to put through the message to her son if you want something so dearly, you must fight for it.....

She does come back to reality gazing at the rising sun, walks up to her kitchen, takes her yogurt marinated chicken box out of the refrigerator and settles on the simplistic DOI MURGI for that day. Her expert fellow googler friends post exotic chicken recipes or otherwise and she gets inspired to put up her contribution.... in the simplistic way. She is yet to achieve that level of expertise. To see that smile of satisfaction on her men's face, she decided to serve it with some MINT PARATHA.

INGREDIENTS :[for the chicken curry]
Chicken : 1 kg[medium cut]
Plain Yogurt : 250 gm
Onion : 2 medium
Garlic Paste : 2 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Green Cardamom : 2
Cinnamon : 1 one inch
Clove : 2-3
Oil : 3 tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the pudina paratha]
All Purpose Flour : 1 coffee mug
Whole Wheat Flour : 1 coffee mug
Mint Leaves : 1 big cup
Coriander Leaves : 1 small cup
Onion : 1 medium
Green Chilli : 2
Salt : 1/4 tsp
Oil : 1 tsp + as much required for frying each paratha

METHOD :[ for the chicken curry]
Wash and cut the chicken into medium pieces. Beat the yogurt and pour onto the chicken. Add salt and turmeric as required. Mix well and refrigerate in an air tight container. Keep marinated for 2-3 hours. Take out 1 hour before cooking.

Peel, wash and slice the onions. Heat oil in a wok and temper with the bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamoms and cloves. Add the sliced onions. Fry till golden brown.

Add the ginger garlic paste. Fry till the spices separate from the oil. Add the remaining turmeric powder, salt as required, coriander powder, the chilli powders. Stir for 1/2 minute.

Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade. Stir well n cover. Cover cook at medium to low heat for about 30-35 minutes stirring every 3-4 minutes.

No need to add water as enough water will release from the yogurt. Once done transfer to a bowl.

METHOD : [for the pudina paratha]
Take both the flour in a bowl.

Peel, wash and slice the onion. Wash and chop both the leaves and the green chillies. Add to the flours.

Add 1 tsp oil, salt and mix very well. Rub for 2 minutes.

Prepare a smooth dough adding water as required. This may take 15 minutes.

Prepare balls, dust with flour and shape into round parathas with help of a rolling pin and base.

Put onto a heated pan and cook each side for 1 minute. Then add oil and fry each side well.

Serve hot with chicken curry.



Thursday, 16 April 2015

RAW BANANA KOFTA CURRY / KANCHAKOLAR KOFTA JHOL




Raw Banana.... does not sound that glamourous.... at least 25 years back I felt so. What is raw banana? If there is something called banana, it has to be a ripe one eaten as a fruit or in smoothies or desserts. This was what I felt till I tasted Raw Banana Kofta curry. That this humble, simple, plain looking vegetable can be made into a tasty dish was known to our family only few years back. Honestly... mom used to cook raw banana curry along with papaya and cat fish whenever we were sick. She used to tell us stories of lip smacking fish and meat curries that she would cook for us once we get well and managed to feed us this soup made of papaya and raw banana. Then may be someday she got this recipe of Raw Banana Kofta Curry from some friend and prepared it for us... it became an instant hit at our home.


Raw Banana or Kanchkola are firmer than the ripened ones and are usually cooked before eating.  We can actually prepare quite a number of yummy snacks and curries with this non-glamourous vegetable. I prepared this curry simply in a tomato base, using a potato to tighten the kofta. You will absolutely love this raw banana kofta curry / kanchkolar kofta jhol on an all vegetarian day. Let us do it together.


 INGREDIENTS : [ for the kofta ]
Raw Banana : 2
Potato : 1
Cashews : 7-8
Raisins : 10-12
Salt : as required
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp

INGREDIENTS : [ for the gravy]
Tomato[red n ripe] : 2 medium
Onion Paste : 2 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds : 2 pinches
Bay leaf : 1
Salt : As required
Oil : to fry the koftas and for the gravy.[ 1/2 small cup]

METHOD :
Peel the skin of the raw bananas and the potato. Cut half and wash. Pressure cook up to 1 whistle.

Once cold, open lid and discard water. Mash the boiled potato, raw banana along with salt, sugar, turmeric powder, broken cashews and raisins. Shape into balls and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat oil in  a small round shaped wok, so that the balls can be deep fried. Deep fry the balls in batches and arrange in a serving bowl/ tray.

Wash and cut the tomatoes into small pieces.

Transfer the remaining oil in a bigger wok. Temper with bay leaf and cumin seeds.

Add the onion paste. Saute till the raw smell goes.

Add the ginger paste. Fry up to 2 minutes and add the tomato pieces. Fry till they melt and the spice mix gets separated from the oil.

At this stage, add the cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric and fry upto 1/2 a minute.

Add 1 cup water. Let boil for 3-4 minutes. Switch off and pour the gravy over the koftas.

Let them soak in the gravy for at least half an hour before serving.

Serve hot with steaming hot rice or chapatis.




Tuesday, 14 April 2015

RANGA ALOO R PANTUA / SWEET POTATO DUMPLING IN SUGAR SYRUP





Poila Baishakh/ Bangla Noboborsho is the first day of the Bengali calendar, celebrated on 14th April in Bangladesh and on 15th April in the Indian state of West Bengal by the Bengali community. Besides whichever part of the world we are, we celebrate this day. The Bengali calendar is tied to the Indian solar calendar, based on the Surya Siddhanta. It commences in mid- April of the gregorian year. Traditionally, businesses start this day with a new ledger, clearing out the old.

This day is marked with singing, processions and fairs. The new year is welcome with songs and dance performances. People visit their relatives, friends and neighbours. We prepare special dishes for family and guests. Mostly we wear classical Bengali dresses on this day... women.... sarees and men.... panjabis. Poila Baishakh is about celebrating the roots of Bengal in a simpler manner.

I prepared this SWEET POTATO DUMPLINGS IN SUGAR SYRUP on the occasion of Bengali New Year. The main ingredients used here is sweet potato, home made paneer, sugar. In general, khoya is used instead of paneer. This is a home made sweet mainly... not sold commercially.

INGREDIENTS : [for the dumplings]
Sweet Potato : 4
Milk : 1 litre
Lemon : 1 medium
Sugar : 1 tsp
Green Cardamom : 2
Oil : 1/2 cup to fry

INGREDIENTS : [ for the syrup ]
Sugar : I cup
Water : 1 cup
Green Cardamom : 2
Rose Water : 2 drops

METHOD :
Peel, wash and cut half the sweet potatoes. Take water in a pressure cooker, put the sweet potatoes and pressure cook up to 1 whistle at low heat.

Once cold, put in a bowl, discard the water.

Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. Get the juice from the lemon.

As the milk boil, pour in the juice. The milk curdles.

Strain the mixture through a white clean cloth. Can store the whey for later use. Squeeze extra water from the chena. Wash it under cold water and hang it for 30 minutes.

Add the chena to the sweet potato. Add the green cardamom seeds and the sugar.

Mash for about 15-20 minutes till all ingredients are mixed well.

Shape into balls. Heat oil in a wok. Fry the balls till brown.

In another oven take one cup water n sugar together. Keep boiling.

Tear the green cardamoms a little and add to the syrup.

As the syrup turns little sticky, add the rose water.

Now add the fried balls and switch off gas.

Let them soak for 1 hour. Refrigerate.

Serve chilled.





Saturday, 11 April 2015

MACHER ROKOMPHER



The much awaited day of the year is near and we are in a celebration mood. Its the BENGALI NEW YEAR.... celebrated all over West Bengal and Bangladesh. In whichever part of the world we are we celebrate through songs, drama, food, new clothes, merry making, laughter. As others, we too cook our favourite dishes to greet our family and friends, fish and sweets being the main.

Remembering childhood, in all Bengali households it was thorough cleaning of every corner of the house. Most pleasure was wearing new clothes, I loved the smell of it, still do. It was in fact whole week of merry making and eating our much loved dishes. So I have selected four  most common fish preparations that are authentically Bengali to welcome our special day. They are already in my blog, compiling them again on our very special occasion.

DOI ILLISH :




INGREDIENTS :
Hilsa fish[illish] : 1kg
Plain Yogurt : 250 gm
Mustard Paste : 1tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Green Chilli  : 4
Kalonji[nigella seeds] : 2 pinches
Mustard Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Clean and wash the fish pieces properly. Apply salt and turmeric and rub well. Beat the yogurt and add to the fish. Make a paste of black mustard, green chillies adding salt so that the paste do not turn bitter. Add to the fish and marinate everything well. Keep aside for half an hour. Heat oil in a pan. Temper with kalonji. Place each fish carefully along with the marinade. Turn over after 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water after 3-4 minutes. Cook for another 3 minutes at medium to low heat. Goes best with plain rice.

BORI-PABDA R JHOL :


INGREDIENTS :
Pabda [butter fish] : 4
Bori [dry lentil balls] : 6 [skip if not available]
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1tsp
Nigella Seeds : 1 pinch[kalonji]
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder: 1tsp
Coriander Leaves : 1 sprig
Mustard Oil : 2 tbsp

METHOD :
Clean and wash the fish. Apply salt and turmeric and keep aside for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a wok and fry the dry lentil balls, keep aside. Lightly fry the fish and keep aside. Temper the same oil with kalonji. Add the ginger-chilli paste and fry till oil separates from the spices. Add salt and  turmeric powder. Mix well and add one small cup of water. Wash and chop the coriander leaves.When the gravy starts boiling add the fish and boris. Boil for another 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped coriander leaves and switch off. Goes with plain rice.

MACH PATURI :





INGREDIENTS :
Fish Fillets : 500 gm
Mustard Paste : 4 tbsp
Shredded Coconut : 2tbsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Mustard Oil : 2 tbsp
Banana leaves : 1 square shape for each fillet
Cotton Thread : to tie the wraps
METHOD :
Wash the fish fillets  and marinate well with mustard paste, chilli paste, shredded coconut, salt, turmeric, mustard oil. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour. Remember to add little salt while making the mustard paste to avoid it to turn bitter. Wash the  banana leaves and cut into square shapes big enough to wrap each fillet. Place each fillet along with some marination on the leaf and wrap. Tie with cotton thread. Heat a frying pan and grease with little oil. Pace the fish wraps on it. Cook one side for about 15-20 minutes and turn over. Cook for another 15 minutes at low heat. Its done... unwrap and serve with hot plain rice.

DAB CHINGRI :




INGREDIENTS :
Green Coconut : 1
Prawn : 500 gm[medium size]
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Red Chilli Paste[dry] : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Onion : 1
Salt : As required
Turmeric : 1tsp
Cumin seed : 2pinches
Mustard oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Clean, devein and wash the prawns thoroughly and keep in a bowl. Add little salt n turmeric to the prawns. Peel, wash and slice the onions. Heat oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds. Add the sliced onions and fry till golden brown. Add the ginger and chilli paste. Fry till the spice mix separates from the oil. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, turmeric and stir well for one minute. Pour onto the prawns and mix well. Cut the green coconut from the top and pour the water in a glass. Wash it in and out. Put inside all the Prawn mix and cover. Bake in a pre heated oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour at 160 degree C. Serve with plain rice.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

BEET ROOT PARATHA WITH CORIANDER COCONUT CHUTNEY



Summer is in full swing in this part of the world. That urge of eating lessens somehow even for the extreme foodies. The body and mind craves for more coolers in form of ice-cold drinks. During summers we tend to use less oil while cooking, try to keep it as simple as possible, at least few days of the week. This is a wise idea and helps keep a healthy balance of food and nutrition that we are taking in. There are days when my pantry runs out of vegetables literally. Mid of the week, back from work, I go for the simplest recipes on earth. I just take care of few things, that they look appealing, are tasty and have some nutritive value. With few much loved persons loving vegetarian food, it feels good to cook and post veggie recipes for them. Perhaps, they stop by some day and say...thanks Soma...that will mean a lot to me. Before I try to feed another stupid story I should bring myself back on track.

It was on such a day when I had one beet root, few green chillies and a handful of coriander leaves that I thought of cooking BEET ROOT PARATHA to be served with CORIANDER COCONUT CHUTNEY. I felt they were quite colourful, healthy without compromising with the taste. The chutney was done in 5 minutes while 10 beet root parathas took about 45 minutes....from preparation to cooking... So within an hour a colourful platter of health can be served to our loved ones. 

INGREDIENTS :[for beet root parathas]
Atta[whole-wheat flour] : 2 cup
Maida[all purpose flour] : 1 cup
Beetroot : 1
Green Chilli : 2-3
Coriander leaves : 2 sprigs
Salt : 1/4 tsp
Water : As required
Oil : 2 tsp for each paratha + 1tbsp for the dough.

INGREDIENTS :[for the green chutney]
Fresh Coriander Leaves : 100 gm
Shredded Coconut : 1 small cup
Roasted Peanut : 2 tbsp
Garlic Clove : 1
Green Chilli : 1
Juice of half a lemon
Salt : As required

METHOD :
For the GREEN CORIANDER- COCONUT CHUTNEY we have to wash the coriander leaves and discard the roots. Peel the skin of the garlic clove and wash it along with the green chilli.

Blend together the coriander leaves, shredded coconut, roasted peanuts, garlic clove and green chilli.

Pour onto a bowl. Add the juice of half a lemon and salt. Mix well.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

For the BEET ROOT PARATHA.....

Peel, wash and shred the beet root. Wash and chop the coriander leaves discarding the roots. Chop the green chillies too.

Take the atta, maida, salt, 1tbsp oil in a bowl. Mix together and rub for 2 minutes.

Now add the shredded beet, chopped coriander leaves and green chillies.

Mix well and rub for 3-4 minutes. Add little water if only required.

Keep on rubbing until a smooth dough is formed.

Take the oil for frying the parathas in a bowl.

Heat the tawa. Make balls and dust with little flour.

With help of rolling pin and base shape into round parathas.

Place a paratha in the hot tawa. Turn over.

After 1/2 a minute add the oil.

Fry each side till done.

Serve hot with the chutney and a vegetable of your choice.




Monday, 6 April 2015

CHEESY POTATO CROQUETTES



In a starter menu, I feel there should be a variety of options, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. It becomes easier for the guests to choose from according to their taste buds and preferences. If there are kebabs, there has to be both veg and non veg varieties, along with some cold chaats and salad platter. I have seen people prefer a variety in the starter menu than in the main course. Its so relaxing to indulge in a chit chat binging your favourite appetiser, sipping your wine or cocktails, mocktails, whatever. 

I prepared these all veg. Potato Croquettes in a jiffy in fact. If you have a sudden guest at home or your kids want something very tasty all of a sudden, this can come as a rescue. Made in less than 1 hour these Cheesy fillers are awesome, with both young and old. Very few ingredients I have used in preparing this.

INGREDIENTS :
Potato : 3big
Black Pepper Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Butter[melted] : 2 tbsp
Cheese Slices : I/2 for each rolls
Cornflour : 1tsp
Bread Crumbs : 50 gm
Oil : 50 gm to fry

METHOD :
Peel, wash and boil the potatoes. Let it cool a bit but has to be mashed when still warm.

Melt the butter, half the cheese slices.

Take the boiled potatoes in a bowl. Add salt n pepper, cornflour and melted butter.

Mash for about 10 minutes to get a smooth dough.

Take the bread crumbs in a plate.

Shape the potato mix into rolls and make pockets.

Fill each pockets with half of cheese slice and close. Bring into shape again.

Roll onto the bread crumbs and deep fry in batches.

Serve with your choice of sauce.

2 potatoes should yield 7-8 croquettes.





Saturday, 4 April 2015

CHOCOLATE CUPS


Every day I get to see so many kinds of desserts all through G+.... I gorge on them virtually.... No, I do not make them because I cannot. But I love to see with what expertise they do it from cheese cakes to baklava.... then I visit a cake shop or a restaurant to taste though rarely as I am not allowed to. So they are really a visual treat for me everyday.

I have limitations when it comes to baking. At the same time I wished to post something relevant to Easter. Though we do not celebrate it, I faintly remember during my childhood I grew up in a small township which had a big church. I did my kindergarten in the church school. My aunt had a couple of Christian friends and I was a part of Easter celebration. With a couple of dear ones residing in the Western world, and also for the fellow googlers I prepared these CHOCO CUPS.... which perhaps their kiddos can also make. I am happy being part of this cake making session.

INGREDIENTS :
All Purpose Flour : 11/3 cup
Baking Soda : 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder : 2tsp
Cocoa Powder : 3/4 cup
Sugar : 1 cup
Butter : 1/4 cup[softened]
Eggs : 2
Milk : 1 cup
Vanilla Essence : 1tsp

METHOD :
Preheat oven to 180 degree C.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder.

In another bowl cream together sugar and butter.

Add beaten eggs one after another and mix well.

Add the milk to the batter and mix.

Pour the flour mix little at a time and keep mixing.

Once done, add one spoon vanilla essence.

Pour onto paper cups till half and place them in cup cake tins.

Bake for 15-17 minutes at 180 degree centigrade.

Once cool decorate with your choice of frosting!!



Friday, 3 April 2015

BHUNA MUTTON






After having that very rich Cashew Mutton, I promised myself I will not get mutton for sometime now. Yesterday, once I stepped into the wet market, all my promises were broken. Standing in front of Haji Meat Shop I could not think of anything else but buy it. Being a Bengali, perhaps love for mutton is by default, besides fish. Though I know the side effects of having it much. So need of the hour is to put control on that 'much'. We can have but in moderation. So I keep in between once or twice a month. With meat and roti lovers at home, it is really difficult not to cook it, knowing how important it is to have more vegetables than meat. So, I balance it. Along with the meat, I would definitely cook veggies and lentils. That keeps me happy.

Today I cooked BHUNA MUTTON, without using water. The less gravy one goes well with any kind of South Asian flat breads. Mutton marinated overnight with a souring agent and slow cooked to perfection. What you get is tender pieces of mutton soaked in its own juices made flavourful with aromatic spices. This recipe is largely influenced by the maestro Sanjeev Kapoor.

INGREDIENTS :
Mutton : 1kg
Onion : 2 big
Garlic Paste : 3 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Coriander Powder : 2 tsp
Plain Yogurt : 200 gm
Caraway Seeds[sha jeera] : 1/4 tsp
Coriander Leaves : 2 sprigs
Tomato : 2 medium
Cinnamon stick : 2 one inch sticks
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 2 tsp
Oil : 3 tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the mutton thoroughly.

Marinate with beaten yogurt, half of ginger-garlic paste, salt and turmeric. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

Take out 2 hours before cooking. Slice the onions and wash. Chop and wash the coriander leaves. Cut and wash the tomatoes.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with a bay leaf, caraway seeds and crushed cinnamon sticks.

Add the sliced onions. As they turn brown, add the rest of the ginger-garlic paste and turmeric.

Fry till the spices separate from the oil. Add the mutton. Stir and cover.

Open cover every 5 minutes and stir to avoid burning.

After 30 minutes add the tomato pieces.

After another 15 minutes, open cover and add the coriander powder, chilli powder and salt. Stir and cover.

Open cover after 10 minutes and add the chopped coriander leaves. Stir and switch off.

Serve hot with any kind of chapati !!