Thursday, 27 October 2016


Roshnai... Mithai..... Celebration with crackers..... its that time of the year again when we lit up our homes n minds both, together. So there should absolutely be no place through which evil can get in .... or to be precise and correct we should not let it come out from within ..... yes, both good and evil are an inside thing... what needs to be taken care of is who wins over whom... Such festivals from time to time.... does help us to refreshen our minds... the entire environment contributes towards it.... The lady who is giving such big talks forgot a total of twelve diyas in the shop today, thanks to The Almighty.... the rest of the things came home safely.... this is nothing unusual with her given her nature.... the condition just aggravated with age and her incapability to deal with her surroundings.... sitting on a train / bus in opposite direction of her destination, not been able to recognise known people on road, no other reasons...... actually she was in another world, also because her observation power is.... nil or null? Back to the bygone days, her mother had to listen such complains that her daughter did not talk to the person or at least smiled when she met . The world never believes in silly acts, neither does it forgive a small mistake.... better we embrace all complaints and ignore it the next moment.... tough but essential for inner peace..... When she was at high school, her little brother complained to the mother after she returned home one day ... mum didibhai washed my clothes, combed my hair, served me food but never talked to me the whole day..... a genuine complain indeed..... yet she pledges to the world let her be herself.... else she gets more confused....

Now that her little brother, now a big man [physically though] is visiting them in two days with his bubbly wife.... do you think she has time for any elaborate cooking this week? Such a busy week with the joy of celebrating Diwali with them and the excitement of having Bhaiphota at home after six long years. Yet she wished to share a sweet dish with the world, been in tune with her friends though not at par with them. Had she not been so laid back with no urge to excel, she could have at least contribute fruitfully to the society.... but she can always gift you an easy to make, very few ingredients, almost no cook sweet. Let me stop talking too much [another sign of aging, haha] and share with you this sweet.... a lingering mithas [sweetness], that rules our mind during any festival, which I prepared few days back. Done with homemade paneer [Indian Cottage Cheese] mainly, its taste is guaranteed.

Milk [fat free] : 1lt
Lemon Juice : 11/2 to 2tbsp
Milk Powder : 1/2big cup
Refined Flour : 1tbsp
Sugar : 1/2medium cup
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2 tsp
Ghee [clarified butter] : 1tbsp
Garnish as you wish

Let us prepare the paneer first. Take the fat free milk in a vessel, switch on gas and bring it to boil.

Just when it is boiling, switch off gas and add the lemon juice. We will see the milk will curdle.

Cover the vessel and let it cool a bit. Now strain the whey water through a clean, white cloth. Tie the cloth to your kitchen tap, squeeze the extra water. Let it stand for 20-25 minutes.

Take it down and transfer the paneer to a plate or bowl. Mash and knead for 5-10 minutes.

Transfer the paneer to the blender. To it add the milk powder, sugar and green cardamom powder.

Blend the mixture for 2-3 minutes with intervals scrapping the sides. Transfer to a plate and add 1tbsp ghee to it.

Rub your hands with a drop of ghee and knead the mixture further for 3-4 minutes. At this stage you may need the refined flour to tighten the dough. Knead further for 2-3 minutes.

Take out small portions and shape as desired. Garnish as you wish.

Offer to your God and enjoy whatever the occasion is.

Monday, 24 October 2016


Diwali at the doorsteps, hence many of us would wish to give the world dishes just appropriate for the festive season, be it sweet or otherwise. At home too, the celebration mode / mood is on since Durga Pooja. During the olden golden days, our celebration started from Durga Pooja and went on till Bhai Phota / Bhai Duj . Between this period whosoever visited home were treated with homemade goodies.... essentially snacks and sweets... The Bhai Phota day was so full of fun...  with mom's brothers and my brother's visiting.... though the circle was incomplete as some relatives lived far off and never could make it..... Fun, Food, Crackers made life happier. Though I am individualistic, little self centred, I do believe a joint family system has its own advantages. Been together feels good if we can respect each other's space..... which is again an utopian concept.

I am so awestruck to see my blogger friends gifting so lovely Diwali dishes. I was thinking of starting with a simple savoury snack that can be made quickly and stored for a couple of days without been spoiled. Hence, these spicy twister fries. These fries are made mainly with refined flour adding few spices, made flavourful with ghee and use of Nigella seeds. Let us do the Spicy Twister Fries together  and treat family and friends this Diwali.....

Refined Flour : 2 big cups
Baking Soda : 1/4 tsp [optional]
Ghee : 4 tsp + 1tbsp
Nigella Seed [kalonji] : 11/2 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 100 - 150 ml [for frying]

Take the refined flour, salt and baking soda in a big container and mix well. To it add the nigella seeds, cumin powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder.

Mix well and rub for 2-3 minutes. Add warm water little by little and form a dough. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft, yet firm.

Cover with a moist, soft cloth and keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Open cover and knead for another 1-3 minutes. Prepare balls from them.

With rolling pins, shape into round chapati.

Now roll each roundels and cut into 3-4 pieces as below.

Now twist them and cut further into halves.

Heat oil in a wok. Add 1 tbsp ghee to it and let it melt. Fry the spicy twisters in batches and transfer onto tissue papers.

Once cool we can store them in airtight containers for about 4-5 days without refrigerating.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


If I say we can prepare this egg curry without using any spices or may be minimal spice would you believe? You have to because I have exactly done that. It can be an easy solution on a busy weeknight.... As told earlier a number of times... my senior is an ardent egg lover, hence I have to think of bringing in variety in its preparation. Given the health benefit of having eggs, non availability of our kind of fish at the place we live in, I find it extremely convenient to prepare an egg curry at least twice a week. As the senior of my men always say spend less time in kitchen, be smart, cook less. With the age factor given and lethargy gripping in... I think I am finally giving in to that... By the time my junior steps out home to explore the world, I perhaps will come down to grilled stuffs and salads for the two of us... the small eaters.

The very thought of living far from my teen has a piercing effect on me. I remember the younger him sitting on mamma's lap while going to and from school. On his birthdays I even cooked for 35-40 guests with ease.... now I am so scared.... So need to accept I am aging.... In tune with simple cooking solutions for myself and you all, let us do this quick  Egg Dry Curry in few easy steps using minimal spices. Using whole garam masala for tempering makes the curry flavoursome.....

Egg : 8
Plain Yogurt : 1medium Cup
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
Garlic Paste : 1tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp [optional]
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Cinnamon Stick : 2 one inch
Green Cardamom : 3-4
Clove : 2-3
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Oil : 4-5tbsp

Boil the eggs in enough water for about 6-8 minutes. Let cool. Drain the water and discard the shell.

Slit both ends of the eggs and rub with little salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok and lightly fry the eggs in batches. Keep aside.

Temper oil with a bayleaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamom and clove.

As you get a nice aroma, add the onion paste. Fry till golden brown.

Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Beat the yogurt and add to the wok. Mix well and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Stir for a minute.

Add a small cup of water. Let it come to boil.

Add the eggs and let cook for 6-8 minutes till the curry dries up. Add the sugar, stir well.

Its done. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot with rice or chapati.

Sunday, 16 October 2016


Marasim.... meaning relationship or connection.... however reluctant I am about building networks or connections with the world, my 'Marasim' with poetry, music, nature strengthens with each passing day. As of now, my headphone takes me to an ethereal musical journey of Gulzaar saab and late Jagjit Singh ji duo's Marasim album... the cool breeze adding to the mood. Been a sunday, a statutory warning also breaks the silence, ...... you will spoil your ears now. When the environment calls for some kind of romanticism, if someone acts otherwise, how would you feel? I do not know about you all, but I have always felt myself very secured in the two trusted hands which I know will never leave mine, for whom the old lady is surviving in a world peacefully that neither did understand her, nor she could understand its ways. Looking back, the daddy of the house got her lots of books, the mom protected her within the warmth of her arms, failing to teach their loving daughter how to deal with the world. The lazy little girl loved to be in the cocooned shell, never willing to learn the nitty gritty of life....

Is that little girl, now an old lady had a troubled life? Not really, the son-in-law took charge in time and with elan..... Is she naive as they say?.... she thinks she is no more so... the once naive and innocent girl is actually a confused, silly being, lost in her own utopian world... a warm, cosy, easy- peasy world... so her weekend conversation is always as this.... bossy I lack common sense right? The person on the other side who never spoke ill of his lady, would say stop thinking too much, take things as it comes. Learn to ignore, the world does not work your way. The little girl living within the tired physical being feels very secured sitting beside the uber cool, confident person, Gulzar saab's lyrics lingers on 'Chulhe Nehi Jalaye, Basti Hi Jal Gayi'...... The otherwise quite, yet stubborn lady reaffirms.... whatever may come... one needs to be graceful... been wild at others is not her forte. She will do what she thinks is right.

Did I sit to write a recipe?.... hope so, a busy monday ahead, I preferred to do the write up this evening. This bhindi / okra curry with considerable amount of yogurt is surely a vegetarian delight. Have it with roti, paratha or rice, you will love it.... I have used more yogurt and less spices for the dish. I completely omitted garlic paste, you can use though. Let us cook this easy peasy Dahi Bhindi / Doi Bhindi Curry together.

Okra / Bhindi [lady finger] : 250gm
Plain Yogurt : 11/2 medium cup
Onion : 1 medium [sliced]
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Coriander Seed : 1tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/2tsp
Carom Seed : 1/2tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp

Wash and dry the bhindis. Discard the ends. Apply little salt and microwave at high for 5 minutes adding a cup of water. Once cool take out of the water. Drink that water, helps to clear bowel.

Dry roast the cumin, coriander, carom seeds and the dry red chillies and dry ground into a powder. Add the spice mix to the yogurt and beat thoroughly.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds.Add the onion slices and fry till golden brown.

Now add the ginger paste and fry for two minutes. Add the spiced beaten yogurt. Stir. Add salt, turmeric as required. Stir for a minute.

Now add the boiled okra pieces, 1/2 medium cup water, fold in well and cover cook for 2 minutes.

Its done, transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve hot with roti, paratha or rice.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


With the festive hangover still on, I am too lethargic and reluctant to write a single line. Yesterday we bid adieu to Maa Durga, greeted each other, had a lunch bhog with Khichdi and Hilsa Fry... and came back home heavy hearted. Sitting at the favourite corner of the couch, rewinding all the fun we had in the past five days and getting mentally prepared for a lovely dinner invitation at a dear couple friend's place.... I thought I have nothing at home that I can carry for them. I usually wish to prepare something with love when I go for an invitation.... however little and simple it is. Yet, honestly I am still in no mood to cook. The glam and glitz and festivity of Durga Puja is ruling my heart. Besides, the pathetically romantic me is again back to her music maniac state. So I planned to prepare something simple and hassle free, so far my headphone allowed me to.... I am kind of immersed in Rafi saab's "Abhi na jao chor kar, ke dil abhi bhara nehi"at the moment. I am pretty sure by now I am a food blogger by fault.

From now till Diwali many of my friends will come up with their unique sweet recipes, I know. Let me add mine. Yesterday, I had exactly two hours time to prepare something. So, I prepared this sweet, which took me less than two hours. It is definitely not rasmalai... I did not have enough time and energy to go with a long process. The paneer and khoya balls you see are not cooked or fried. The two are prepared fresh, mashed and kneaded well and soaked in hot milk and sugar syrup. What else do you expect from a lazy cook... I can guarantee about the taste though. Come lets prepare RASBHARI PANEER N KHOYA BALLS together.

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

INGREDIENTS [for fresh paneer]
Skimmed Milk : 1lt
Lemon Juice : 2-3tbsp

INGREDIENTS [for the milk malai]
Full Cream Milk : 500ml
Sugar : 1/2medium cup
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp

INGREDIENTS : [final dish]
Paneer : As we get
Khoya : As we get
Milk Malai : As we get
Sugar : 2tbsp
Green Cardamom : 1/4th tsp
Pistachio [chopped] : 2tsp for garnish.

For the instant khoya, we will take the milk powder, full cream milk and ghee in a microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave at high for 3 minutes, pausing and stirring each minute. Let cool.

For the paneer, take the skimmed milk in a heavy bottomed vessel, put on gas and bring to boil. Once it comes to boil, switch off gas. Squeeze the lemon juice. Stir and the milk curdles. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Strain the whey water through a clean, white cloth. Tie the cloth with remaining paneer to your sink top for 1/2 an hour.

Take down and transfer to a plate. Add the instant khoya, 2tbsp sugar, green cardamom 1/4tsp.

Mash and knead the whole mixture for about 15 minutes. It looks as below.

Now we will shape into medium sized balls or flattened tikkis. They look as below.

Arrange all the balls in a little shallow dish.

Boil 500 ml milk for about 12-15 minutes till it reduces to 250-300ml. Add the sugar and boil further for 5-8 minutes. Add 1/4tsp cardamom powder, stir and let boil for 2-3 minutes further.

Pour the hot milk syrup atop the paneer and khoya balls. Garnish with chopped pistachios. Serve chilled or warm.

Monday, 3 October 2016


The festive season is here again.... our biggest festival Durga Puja is at the doorsteps.... for the rest of India it is Navratri... All clean, lighted up homes with everyone at home in a festive mood. Happier are the souls, yet we miss that feel of Kolkata during this time of the year. In a foreign land, unless and until we are at the festival venue, we do not even understand it is Durga Pooja. I love to sit quietly at a corner and watch the priest performing, watching the all decked up crowd and off course diving into the array of food in offer. The best part of Durga Pooja for me is visiting Ramkrishna Mission watching Maharaj performing the rituals, listening to the boys of the home singing.There is not much cooking at our home during these five days. At my parental home, it was /is an all vegetarian fair during the four days of Durga Puja. In general, at all Bengali homes, it is the time for an exotic food fair with a variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes.

Taking into account both Navratri and Durga Pooja celebrations, I wished to share a quick and easy sweet recipe with everyone so that they can prepare it during this festive season. By Instant Festive Sweet, I did not mean it is a no cooking sweet. What I meant is it needs very less cooking. I think like me, many of you will wish to spend less time in the kitchen, specially during the festivity. The basic idea for this sweet is drawn from a famous food site which I have mentioned below. Let us prepare this easy to make Instant Festive Sweet together.

Recipe Inspiration :

Milk Powder : 1big cup
Full Cream Milk : 1/2big cup
Desiccated Coconut : 1medium Cup
Semolina[suji] : 11/2 medium to big cup
Sugar : 1small cup
Green Cardamom Powder : 1tsp
Ghee[clarified butter] : 2tbsp

Take the milk powder in a bowl. Add the full cream milk to it. Mix very well so that no lumps are there.

Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the semolina, fold in well and keep stirring till the semolina turns light brown and releases a nice aroma.

Now add the sugar and keep stirring for a minute or 2.

Add the desiccated coconut, fold in well and keep stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the milk mixture, fold in well and stir for 2-3 minutes until it turns sticky.

Transfer to a mould of your choice and spread evenly.

After an hour turn upside down on a plate.

Cut into shape of your choice. I garnished with sultanas.