Wednesday, 30 September 2015

FOUR NON SPICY BENGALI VEGGIES


This is my 200th post on the blog, I perhaps had to post something exotic.Then the pure Bengali soul in me thought I must and should post something very Bengali in essence. I grew up in an essentially Purbabangio[EastBengal] family who brought with them its culture, food and vouched never to part with it. Hence, I learnt eating kochughechu[arbi] to shakpata[greens] right from childhood. What is good cooking?....to me it is something made of simplest of ingredients with minimal spices. Besides being fish lovers, the people of East Bengal knew cooking a wide variety of vegetables, using every part of it, from roots to leaves. Perhaps because of the availability of lot of greens. Every house had a piece of garden where they grew veggies and fruits and there is not a bit of exaggeration in this. They had, they lost, they migrated and yes, they regained in due course because they were strugglers. If we do not carry forward the legacy, who will?

Keeping this in mind, I compiled together 4 very simple, almost no spice, simple veggies which are cooked everyday in many Bengali homes. Let us preserve our culture, food,take pride in them, besides exploring the new. The two can go together. So here for you 4 Bengali veggie preparations which you can do on a regular basis. What is missing in them is the use of bori[dry lentil balls]. I am still to learn doing it in an oven. In order of compilation, they are PANCHMESHALI TARKARI[a mixed vegetable medley], JHINGEY BEGUNER JHOL[ridgegourd and eggplant curry], CHALKUMRO GHONTO[a veggie with ash gourd], PALONGSHAKER GHONTO[a spinach veggie]. I have used sugar which the people of East Bengal do not. I do not believe in the created divide between two Bengal, but in the the common culture we share.

                                                       PANCHMESHALI TARKARI



INGREDIENTS:
Drumsticks[Sojnedata] : 2sticks
Ridgegourd[Jhinge] : 2
Pumpkin[kumro] : 1/4 of one
Long Beans[borboti] : 2
Potato : 2
Eggplant[begun] : 1medium
Panchphoron : 1/4tsp[An equal amount of Nigella Seeds, Wild Celery Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds mixed together]
Dry Red Chillies : 2
Green Chillies : 2
Bayleaf : 1
Salt : As required 
Turmeric Powder : As required
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil[mustard authentically] : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Peel and cut the drumsticks, ridge gourds, long beans lengthwise and the potatoes, eggplants and pumpkins into cubes. Wash and keep in separate bowls. Rub with salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with panchphoron, bayleaf and halved dry red chillies. Add the drumsticks, potatoes, stir and cover.

After 5 minutes, add the pumpkins, stir and cover again for about 4 minutes. Open cover, add the ridge gourds and eggplants. Slit the green chillies and give. Stir again and cover cook for another 5 minutes stirring in between.

Open cover, add the sugar, stir and its done. Make sure all the water has dried up.


                                                     JHINGE BEGUNER JHOL



INGREDIENTS :
Ridge Gourd[Jhinge] : 2
Egg Plant[Begun] : 1
Nigella Seeds[kalojeera] : 2pinches
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil[authentically mustard] : 1tsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves : 1tbsp

METHOD :
Peel and cut the ridge gourds and eggplants lengthwise. Wash and rub with salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with kalojeera. Add the veggies and stir at high heat.

Lower the heat and cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and add 1small cup water.

Again cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add the coriander leaves.

Switch off after 1 minute, its done.



                                                         CHALKUMRO GHONTO



INGREDIENTS :[for the dal vada]
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 boris.


                                                         PALONGSHAKER GHONTO



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] is a must in this dish but I did not have.
Oil : 1tbsp

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.

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. Stir carefully, let cook for 1-2 minutes. Its done.

If you are using fried bori add with the potatoes.

We eat all the four dishes with steamed rice but it tastes good with chapatis too.


Monday, 28 September 2015

KALAKAND


Festivity knocking at the door, how can we stay away from sweets. From Durga Puja to Diwali we will indulge in celebrations and sweets. Every part of India rejoice over fun, food and frolic in their own way, following their own custom. Those who stay abroad? We too safeguard our culture and upheld our tradition, whichever part of the world we are. Like many others, I too feel, it is very essential to stay attached to our roots and imbibe that culture and values in our kids. How much they take it is up to them but we should not be miser in out efforts.

I do not know about other cities abroad, but we are at certain advantages living in Singapore, we always feel at home. There are 4 Durga Pujas happening, The Diwali Bazaar already started displaying beautiful puja samagris and home decors. It is altogether a feel good factor. There are a variety of air flown sweets we get.... courtesy ...a well known super market. There is also a sweet shop selling a variety of fresh ones. Inspite of all these, we love preparing fresh at home. I feel I may not be able to do the complex ones, lets choose the simple ones and enjoy doing them. Hence I prepared these KALAKAND yesterday evening. They were fresh and tasty, I was satisfied. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Milk : 1lt + 500 ml
Fresh Cream : 100 ml[we can opt this out, in that case we increase that 500ml to 1lt]
Milk Powder : 3tbsp
Sugar : 1 small cup
Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Ice Cubes : 1small cup
Pistachios to garnish

METHOD :
Pour 1lt milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Once it comes to boil, pour the lemon juice,stir. As it starts curdling, switch off and pour the ice cubes to prevent the paneer been hardened.

Once cool, strain the paneer through a clean white cloth, tie it and hang for 30 minutes to drain off the excess water. Transfer to a bowl and lightly crumble. Do not mash.

In another vessel boil 500 ml milk and reduce to 300 ml. Let cool.

Mix together paneer, boiled milk, milk powder, sugar and cardamom powder.

Heat a wok and pour the mixture. Now we need a little patience. We keep on stirring at low heat till it gets sticky and starts coming out from the surface of the wok.

Pour into a greased plate, press with ladle to level. Let cool, refrigerate for 1hour. Now take out and cut into desired shapes. Garnish as you wish.

Enjoy freshly made Kalakand at home.



Saturday, 26 September 2015

YELLOW PEAS SALAD CHAAT


These days I am looking for such ideas of how to have salads with the same liking of having chaats. Honestly, for health reasons I have to have these. Otherwise, the rice loving me can have rice for all meals of the day. The good old days are long gone. While going to school, back from school, at dinner, the typical Bengali, plump little girl would have rice, chapatis were not so favourite. She was never bothered about her plump, her pimples, using vicco turmeric to look attractive.... her only demand was food n Anandamela, Shuktara, Desh. She still remembers those golden moments.... just back from school... sitting at the balcony with her story books, while mom feeding her favourite rice and fish.

Now this boiled yellow peas chaat is attached with a severe nostalgia. We used to call it sheddo matar makha.... it was not found much in Kolkata.... it was typical of a small township of Krishnanagar, some 100 km away from Kolkata. It was my maternal grandfather's place, I was born there, spent my childhood there, immensely pampered by my uncles n aunts. During Durgapuja we used to be there. Dadu[grandfather] used to hire rickshaws for all of us to do a puja parikrama[visiting puja venues throughout the city]. That joy of enjoying and sharing together has lost somehow down the line but I strongly believe the bond is still there.This matar chaat was sold outside Krishnanagar Rajbari....many of you know about Raja Krishna Chandra Ray. After watching the beautiful puja rituals there, I had to have this chaat. A poor vendor selling it on top of an aluminium box with a 'kupi'[lamp] aside.How I managed eating it sitting on the rickshaw is a different story. I thought let me revive it giving it a healthier salad like look... for the convenience of all.
Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Yellow Peas : 100gm
Onion : 1small
Cucumber : 1small
Tomato : 1small
Green Chilli : 1
Coriander Leaves : 1sprig
Black Salt : As required[alternatively salt]
Chaat Masala : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 1tbsp

METHOD :
Wash and soak the yellow peas overnight. Pour them in pressure cooker with enough water.

Pressure cook at low heat up to 2 whistles. Let cool. Drain the water and transfer to a bowl.

Chop and wash coriander leaves, green chilli, tomato, onion and cucumber. Add to the boiled peas.

Add chaat masala, lemon juice, salt and toss well.

Have it fresh. Serves as a very healthy lunch alternative.... filling and tasty.



Tuesday, 22 September 2015

CHETTINAD CHICKEN


Chettinad... a region of the Sivaganga district of southern Tamilnadu, is specially known for its spice laden and aromatic cuisine. Its cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices in its dishes.... both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The dishes are quite hot with freshly ground spices and they usually top a dish with a boiled egg. They use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables and generally use fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken, lamb, a variety of vegetables as the main ingredients. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments.

The spice lover in me will definitely be in love with Chettinad cuisine. I thought to try out its Chicken Curry first. I explored through a number of recipes to cook an authentic version of Chettinad Chicken, a really spicy and aromatic one. Finally I zeroed in on this one with slight moderation. Moreover I used less amount of chillies according to the taste buds of my men. Spicy does not always mean use of lots of chillies, in fact its about all the spices taken together. Let us do it.

Recipe Courtesy : Indianfoodforever site.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 1kg
Tomato : 2medium[chopped]
Onion : 2 medium[chopped]
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 2tsp
Grated Coconut : 1/2 medium cup
Poppyseed : 1tsp
Fennel Seed : 1/2tsp
Coriander Seed : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/2tsp
Mustard Seed : 1/4tsp
Cinnamon Stick : 1inch
Green Cardamom : 2
Cloves : 2
Star Anise : 1/2
Dry Red Chilli : 4-5
Curry Leaves : 8-10
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Oil : 4tbsp
Chopped coriander to garnish.

METHOD :
Clean, de skin and wash the chicken. Apply salt, half of turmeric powder and the lemon juice. Keep aside for 1hour.

Heat 1tbsp oil in a wok. Roast the shredded coconut, cumin-coriander-fennel-poppyseed, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves,aniseed, red chillies together.

Grind into paste with little water.

Heat rest of the oil in a wok. Temper with mustard oil and curry leaves.

Add the onions and fry till golden brown. Add the spice paste and fry for 1 minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken. Stir well and cover.

Cover cook at low heat till chicken is tender stirring every 5 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve with rice or chapati.



Sunday, 20 September 2015

MACH-TARKARIR JHOL


A fish curry with assorted vegetables..... doesn't that sound too yum?.... if off course you are a fish lover like me. Some mornings I do not cook, I reserve the cooking thing for evening. I cook my men's lunch, pack send them to school and office, then go out for my outdoor exercises or sometimes take a leisurely stroll at the nearest mall. Some evenings I wish to spend less time in the kitchen but at the same time do not forget that my family needs to get proper nutrition. I really have to struggle to feed veggies to the two veg haters at home. So the other day, to all of our convenience I prepared this Fish Curry with Assorted Veggies.

This time I can claim the sole idea of how to cook it is entirely mine. There may be many regions who cook veggies and fish together. Even in my side of the family, we prepare fish curry with pointed gourd, potato, egg plant, loofa. Here I am talking about the spice mix I used. I thought of coming out of the regular ada[ginger]-jeera[cumin]-dhoney[coriander] bata[paste] and use a different spice mix to make it more flavourful. This flavour thing has become a necessity because we need to cover up the smell of sea fish which we cannot stand as we have grown up on fresh-water fish. You see just a little change in the spices can bring a change in the taste of a dish which is required. Let us see how we have done it.

INGREDIENTS :
Any Firm White Fish : 500gm
Tomato : 1big[washed, chopped and grind to paste]
Onion : 1medium[peeled,washed, sliced]
Long Beans[borboti]: 2-3[washed and cut into 2inch pieces]
Lady Finger[Bhindi] : 6-7[keep whole]
Potato : 2medium[each into 4pieces cut lengthwise]
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds : 2pinches
Fennel Powder[mouri guro] : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder[dhone guro] : 1tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tbsp
Asafoetida[hing] : A pinch[optional]
Lemon Juice : 3tbsp
Salt : As Required
Tamarind Juice : 2tbsp
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash and marinate the fish pieces with salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice for 1hour.

Wash the cut veggies and rub with salt. Half boil them in water. Cut the ends of the lady fingers.Keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok, temper with asafoetida and fenugreek seeds. As they crackle, add the onion slices.

Once the onions turn golden brown, add the ginger-garlic paste, saute till the raw smell goes away.

Add the tomato paste, salt and turmeric. Fry till the oil separates from spices.

Add the fennel, coriander and Kashmiri red chilli powder. Stir for 1 minute.

Pour 1 big cup water and cover . As the gravy comes to boil, add the fish pieces and the half done veggies. Cover cook at low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add the garam masala powder and tamarind juice. Boil for 1 minute. Its done.

It goes very well with piping hot steamed rice.



Friday, 18 September 2015

NOODLES PIZZA


Noodles and Pizza are so much loved in so many homes. At my home too I do not have to think much when I serve them to my men. They look so happy, which in turn makes me happier. What if we can bring both together in one recipe and serve? The result will be awesome. We can only see happy faces around. Off course, this innovative idea is not mine, it is hired. The modifications are done by me as per availability of ingredients at my home and our taste. I prepared it fresh for dinner day before yesterday and it came out so well and awesome was the taste.

Ever since I started my journey as a food blogger, I come across so many innovative recipes which I can again use in my kitchen with some moderation. It is altogether an excellent learning process for me. I came across this unique idea of using noodles as a pizza base from a video of Tastemade. The choice of toppings was mine, I preferred to keep it vegetarian this time. The choice of toppings are always yours. Thanks to Tastemade for getting me to learn something my family loves. I am sharing my way of doing it.

INGREDIENTS :
Noodles : 400gm
Mozzarella Cheese[shredded] : 200gm
Red Bell Pepper : 1/2 of 1
Green Capsicum : 1/2 of 1
Onion : 1
Pizza Sauce : 1/2 cup[I used Maggi hot n sweet sauce instead]
Salt : As Required
BlackPepper Powder : 1/4tsp
Egg : 2
Oil : 2tsp

THIS WILL YIELD 2 MEDIUM SIZED PIZZA THAT WILL SERVE 4 PEOPLE.

METHOD : 
Boil the noodles in enough water adding little salt. Allow the water to drain.

Beat the egg and add to the boiled noodles, add 2 pinches of salt and mix together well.

Cut the bell peppers and onion into cubes or strips, wash and mix little salt and pepper.

Heat 1tsp oil in a frying pan. Add half of the noodle mix. Flatten with a spatula so that it takes the shape of an omelette.

Spread half of the sauce all over the base.

Top it with half of the vegetable mix. Add 100 gm of shredded cheese.

Cover cook for 7-8 minutes , its done.

Repeat the same for the second one.

Sprinkle any dried herb if you wish to before serving.

You will enjoy to the fullest I can assure.




Wednesday, 16 September 2015

GHUGNI




GHUGNI....the lip smacking street food of Kolkata... equally popular 30-40 years back and now. For all such posts there is some and same kind of nostalgia attached.... perhaps so I feed you with more or less same kind of story when it comes to any food related to Kolkata, Family or to be precise, related to Bengali culture itself. Just like the Kulfiwala, a Ghugniwala also used to visit our neighbourhood in the evening. These guys were demi-Gods to us kids... a relief from the monotony of studies.... one call and we were in our balcony. Hence they were considered villains by our moms. However, I feel the daddy of the house were not bothered with such trivial issues. In short, the story is, in those days at every middle class neighbourhood, these vendors would flock in....we would get distracted and our moms would come up with the same dialogue... they are unhygienically made, I will prepare for you at home. We kids were never happy with such decisions, that was not the age to accept. Moms kept their words...they did for us... but we craved for what we could not have.

Though Ghugni is exclusively a street food, at our home or may be in many other Bengali homes too, it was always served with luchi[puris made of refined flour]. I remember this was our breakfast on many a sunday and on my birthdays..... luchi, ghugni, dum aloo, mutton/chicken, kheer,rasgulla, the menu was, never it was ordered from outside. Its time I prove I have learnt a bit from her, hence I try to take care of my family, the way she did. Also wish to support and keep alive the street food culture who are facing tough competition from the big giants. Let us cook it up ....

INGREDIENTS :
Yellow Peas / Matar : 250gm
Onion : 1big
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Coriander Seeds : 1tsp
Cumin Seeds : 1tsp + 2pinches for tempering
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Tamarind Juice : 1/2 cup
Oil : 2tbsp
Chopped Coriander, Green Chilli, Onion to garnish.

METHOD :
Wash and soak the yellow matar in hot water for 2-3 hours. Pressure cook with enough water adding salt and turmeric at low heat up to 4 whistles.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with the cumin seeds. Peel, wash, slice the onions and add to the oil. Fry till golden brown.

Add the ginger paste, add rest of the salt and turmeric powder and fry till the raw smell goes. Add the boiled yellow peas, stir well and cover cook at low heat.

In another wok dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and dry red chillies. Dry grind them in a blender.

After cover cooking the yellow matar for about 20-25 minutes, add the ground spices. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Switch off.

Add the tamarind juice, mix well. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, onion and green chillies before serving.

It is actually a Bengali street chat but my mom always served it with luchi.... hence....



Saturday, 12 September 2015

POTATO BIRYANI


The once veggie hater girl is loving vegetarian dishes these days too much. Perhaps too much of non-veg diet is the reason. I remember, my father did not like having non-veg while on tours. He felt it is not safe to have fish/meat in hotels considering the hygiene part. That was a kind of punishment for me. Even the obedient me refused and said I cannot go veg for so many days. I clearly visualise the teen sitting beside the Dal Lake and demanding for fish..... the poor father walks down from here to there and gets fish fry for his love. Back to present, the heart pains for the old man....living thousand miles apart....the lady feels sorry.

In pursuit of having an all vegetarian complete meal, I prepared this Potato Biryani and served with a yogurt eggplant curry and salad. This is one way of satisfying myself and keeping my religiously non-veg men in track. You see I have used khoya in the preparation as told by the person who gave me the recipe. Back in my hometown, there are a number of biryani outlets in my neighbourhood, learnt about this use of khoya in biryani from a cook who happens to live in the locality. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :[for instant khoya]
Milk Powder : 1small cup
Ghee[clarified butter] : 2tsp
Whole milk : 1/2 cup

INGREDIENTS : [for the rice]
Basmati Rice : 1cup
Green Cardamom : 3-4
Cinnamon : 1inch stick one
Cloves : 3-4
Bay Leaf : 2-3
Salt : As required
Water : As required

INGREDIENTS :[for cooking the potato]
Potatoes : 4big
Plain Yogurt : 3tbsp
Whole Spices :[ 2mace, 7-8 black peppercorns, 2 one-inch cinnamon stick, 3-4 cloves, 1 black cardamom or 3-4 green cardamom.... dry roasted and ground]
Salt : As required
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 2tsp
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
Oil : 2tbsp
Ghee : 1tsp

INGREDIENTS : [final round]
Ghee : 1/4 small cup
Khoya : 1/2 small cup
Saffron :[7-8 strands soaked in 1/2 cup warm milk or yellow food colour]
Kewra Water : 4-5 drops

METHOD :
Lets prepare the khoya first. Mix together the milk powder, whole milk and ghee in a bowl and microwave at high for 3 minutes stirring every 30 seconds.

Boil enough water in a vessel to prepare the rice. Add salt to the water. Take a clean cloth, add green cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leafs to it, tie and put into the boiling water. The rice has to be washed and soaked for 1/2 an hour. Add it to the boiling water and cook till 60% done. Drain the water and discard the whole spices.

Peel and wash the potatoes. Marinate with beaten yogurt, salt, ginger-garlic paste, ground masala for 1 hour. Heat oil and ghee together in a wok. Add the onion paste and fry till brown. Add the potatoes with the marinade and cook till they are 75% done.

Now the dum part. Add the khoya and ghee to the rice and mix lightly. This way we need less ghee.
In a deep bottomed pan arrange the rice first. Then few potatoes with gravy. Pour some saffron milk or sprinkle little yellow colour. Make three such layers. Topmost should be rice. Add few drops of kewra water.

Place a frying pan on top of gas. Place the vessel on it. Cook at low heat for 45 minutes, shaking 2-3 times in between.

Its done, serve hot with salad.




Thursday, 10 September 2015

MURG KALIMIRCH





I really have very high regards for the working women, balancing home and office is not an easy task. Both are demanding and one cannot ignore one for the other or should not? Well it all depends upon one's level of commitment. I feel an urge to write few recipes, very simple ones for such women so that they do not have to sweat in the kitchen back from work. Today, if there are smart solution for everything, our kitchens should also get smarter, atleast on weekdays. Less elaborate, minimal effort, yet no compromise with taste and to be served fresh on the table.

Keeping all these factors in mind, I prepared this simple black pepper chicken with minimal spices. Doing this I did not follow other black pepper chicken recipes already present. It was a kind of experiment for me using only onion, garlic paste, freshly ground black pepper and turmeric. I visualised a tired woman in the kitchen on a weekday night and proceeded. The curry was light and soupy, went very well with hot rotis. Served with rotis along with a veggie or dal, its an excellent and easy weekday menu which will make your family happy. Let us see how we do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 500gm
Onion : 2medium
Garlic Paste : 1tbsp
Lemon Juice : 4tbsp
Black Pepper Powder[freshly ground] : 1tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 4tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the chicken thoroughly. Marinate with lemon juice, black pepper powder, half of the turmeric powder and salt as required. Keep aside for 1 hour.

Peel, wash and slice the onions. Heat oil in a wok. Fry the sliced onions till golden brown.

Add the garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away. Add the rest of the turmeric powder and salt  as required. Stir for 1minute.

Add the marinated chicken with all the marinade. Stir and cover cook at medium to low heat till all the water dries up. We need to stir every 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup water and cover cook for another 8-10 minutes at medium to low heat.

Enjoy with any kind of Indian flat bread.



Tuesday, 8 September 2015

GOAN PRAWN CURRY


Goa.... what are its main attractions? Its beaches, historical sites and its cuisine.... spicy and flavourful. Many years back when I visited Goa, I remember I enjoyed sipping through the extra large young coconut sitting at the beach as much as its food. My love for spicy food makes it quite natural for me to love Goan food... whether its in Goa or elsewhere. Goan food is influenced by its Hindu origin and 400 years of Portuguese colonialism. Its food has an international appeal perhaps because of the demography of its tourists.

Coconut milk, kokum[a special kind of tamarind?], seafood, fish, lamb.... Goan food revolves around these things. This particular recipe of prawn curry that I picked up from one of the master chef of India's collection does not have the use of kokum in it. I specially loved the spice mix that have been used which I believed would be extremely flavourful and it was so. This curry goes extremely well with piping hot steamed rice.

INGREDIENTS :
Prawns : 500gm[medium sized]
Tomato : 1[big]
Onion : 1[medium]
Cinnamon Powder : 1/2tsp
Cloves Powder : 1/4tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin seeds : 2pinches
Garlic Cloves : 3-4
Coconut Milk : 1cup
Curry leaves : 6-8
Salt : As required
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Clean, devein and wash the prawns thoroughly. Rub with half of the turmeric and required amount of salt.

Blend together tomato, onion, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, red chilli powder. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add the spice paste and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the marinated prawns. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cover cook for 5 minutes at medium to low heat.

Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.





Monday, 7 September 2015

NELEKATA...... COCONUT STUFFED FRIED DUMPLING


NELEKATA..... as it is called in my family are actually fried dumplings with a coconut filling. This one I have learnt after my marriage as it is a speciality of this side of the family. At my in-law's place, it is a must offering to Ladoo Gopal on the occasion of Janmashtami. Both my men are extremely fond of it, so my maa-in-law used to prepare, now its on me. We do not consider it as a pitha but rather a sweet snacks. Its a special pleasure to post this recipe as it is exclusively a family one. Yet I believe there will be similar ones with a slight difference made in other regions of India.

For the Nelekata, we need to prepare the coconut filling first with freshly shredded coconuts and sugar. Then we prepare a dough with all purpose flour, roll out small puris, stuff it with coconut filling, fold it, press the ends to close and deep fry them in oil. Works as perfect evening snacks for the kidos at home. Let us see in details how we make it.

INGREDIENTS :[for the filling]
Shredded Coconut : 2cups
Sugar : 1/2cup
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Water : 1cup

INGREDIENTS :[for the dumpling base]
All Purpose Flour : 2cups
Salt : 2 pinches
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1tbsp
Water : As required

Oil : 100ml to deep fry the dumplings

METHOD :
In a wok, add the sugar and water. Let boil till sticky. This will take about 15 minutes.

Once sticky, add the shredded coconut and cardamom powder, fold in well.

Keep stirring till the whole thing dries up and gets sticky. It may take 10-15 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl.

Take the all purpose flour in a wide mouthed bowl. Add the salt and ghee. Rub for 2-3 minutes.

Add water little by little to form a dough with constant rubbing. This will take 10 minutes or so.

Roll out small puri from the dough and stuff with the filling as shown below.



Fold it and press to close the ends. Take a look at the picture below.


Now heat 100 ml oil in a wok and deep fry the dumplings in batches at medium to low heat. They look as this.



Tastes best when hot. What we can do is each time we serve we can warm it for 1 minute in the microwave. We can refrigerate upto 2 days.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

DHABEWALA ANDA CURRY



Egg was something I severely disliked as a child and my little brother completely hated it. Our mom had to try really hard to feed us eggs. I remember when my brother was 1 or 2 years old, mom used to mix the boiled egg yolk with lentils and forced feed him. The poor boy would strongly object to it. I feel force feeding does not really help. If our taste buds do not accept something, our body may not get the essential nutrient from that particular thing. The same naughty boy, however, loves Egg Rolls with lots of onions and chillies.

After my marriage, it was a different scene. This side of my family had been egg lovers, specially my husband and maa-in-law. They specially like duck egg curries. Duck eggs are banned in Singapore, but egg curries have to be prepared for his love for it. Hence I try to bring in variety in the curries. I keep on searching for recipes and stuck on this DHABEWALA EGG CURRY the other day. These days I am hooked towards these Dhaba recipes, Railway Canteen recipes..... hahaha.... may be because they are rustic, easy, flavourful, done in a jiffy and served fresh. Let us cook this flavourful and colourful Egg Curry in our kitchen.

INGREDIENTS :
Egg : 6
Tomato : 1big
Onion : 1big
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Punjabi Garam Masala Powder : 1/4tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Cinnamon Stick : 1inch one
Green Cardamom: 2-3
Cloves : 2
Cumin Seed : 2pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 3tbsp
Chopped Coriander leaves for garnish.

METHOD :
Boil the eggs in enough water. Once cold, de shell, wash, make small slits and rub little salt in them.

Peel, wash and prepare a smooth paste of the onion.

Wash, cut, deseed and prepare a paste of the tomato.

Heat oil in a wok, temper with bayleaf and all the whole spices.

Fry the onion till the raw smell goes away. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli Powder, salt and stir well.

Add the boiled eggs and fold in well with the spice mix.

Add a cup of water, cover and let boil for 7-8 minutes.

Add the Punjabi garam masala and stir.

Transfer to a bowl and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy with chapati/naan/parathas.