Wednesday, 30 March 2016

SHAHI EGG CURRY



Its been long I have not blogged on an Egg dish. It is a regular affair at my home. My senior loves egg to the hilt. The day I prepare an egg curry, I add few extra spoons of rice to his plate without fear of been scolded. My men are not fond of rice and me.... a typical Bengali of East Bengal origin thinks how can one survive without rice. After been diagnosed with diabetes, rice is as much forbidden to me as was apple to Adam n Eve. At times I get angry with the Lord as to why he had to gift diabetes to a person who is a diehard foodie. I still do not deprive myself of the white beauty, I eat 2-4 tablespoon everyday. The sight of rice gives me a pleasure which might be taken away when I get my next medical report.

Singapore is the perfect place for foodies. You are spoilt for choices when it comes to food. Almost with every dish there is a choice of rice or noodles. Thats where I have restrictions and settle with a soup or salad. Coming to the Egg Curry, yesterday I wished to prepare something different from the regular affair. This homemade shahi spice paste I use in chicken/mutton/paneer also. It is mildly spiced, little sweet n flavourful. Shahi Egg Curry goes very well with both rice or flat breads, perhaps better with flat breads. Let us prepare this yummy Shahi Egg Curry together in few easy steps....

INGREDIENTS :
Egg : 6
Onion : 2medium
Poppy Seed : 2tsp[if you are in Singapore or Dubai, use white sesame seeds instead]
Cashew Nuts : 5-6
Melon Seed[charmagoj] : 1/2tsp
Raisin : 4-5
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Cinnamon Stick : 2 one inch
Cloves : 2-3
Bayleaf : 1
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Plain Yogurt : 2tbsp
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Boil the eggs in enough water adding little salt. Once done, let cool and then peel off the shell. Rub little salt on the egg after making small cracks on both ends with a knife.

Peel, wash and roughly chop the onions. Grind them to a paste.

Wash and soak the poppy seeds in hot water for 1/2 an hour, strain the water.

Grind together cashew nuts, poppyseed, melon seeds, raisins using water as much as is required for a paste.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper oil with bayleaf, cloves, cinnamon and green cardamoms.

Add the onion paste. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the ginger n garlic pastes and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the poppy seed paste now and saute for a minute. Beat the yogurt and add to the spice paste, add the chilli powder. Stir for 1/2 a minute.

Add a cup of water. As the gravy comes to a boil, add the boiled eggs. Add salt and sugar.

Let boil for 3-4 minutes. As the gravy thickens, switch off gas.





Monday, 28 March 2016

SWEET N SOUR PINEAPPLE PANEER



As the trend I see these days, the visiting guests at any home are more keen on a varied appetiser spread. With the unwinding chitchat at the weekend, we really need munch ons to accompany. So far as I am concerned, whenever I visit someone's home, I forget all about diet and indulge in eating from cheese to fritters. These days when guests come over, I try to keep the appetisers as healthy as possible keeping in consideration the taste factor. The taste and colour of food matters a lot to me. If the colour does not appeal me, half of my interest to have it is gone.

Last week I had some visiting guests at home. I wished to prepare vegetarian appetisers for them as the main course was predominantly non vegetarian one. To me paneer[Indian Cottage Cheese] is a very good vegetarian option. I love using it in different ways. When I prepare salad for myself, I use paneer instead of feta cheese. I love cheese but too scared to have them. That day I had some pineapple too at home. So the idea of Sweet N Sour Pineapple Paneer popped up. The pineapple and paneer combination did work well. Let us do the very quick and yummy Sweet and Sour Pineapple Paneer together.

INGREDIENTS :
Pineapple Cubes : 1big cup
Paneer Cubes : 2 big cups
Red Bell Pepper Cubes : 1/2 medium cup
Green Capsicum Cubes : 1/2 medium cup
Onion Cubes : 1/2 medium cup
Green Chilli : 4-5 slitted
Tomato Chilli Sauce : 1/4 medium cup
Cornflour : 1tsp
Minced Garlic : 1tsp
Minced Ginger : 1/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 3 tbsp
Sugar : 11/2 tsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the pineapple cubes and marinate with the sugar. Marinate the paneer cubes with salt and lemon juice for an hour. Rub the bell peppers with salt 10 minutes before cooking.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with minced garlic and ginger. Saute for a minute and add the cubed onions.

As the onions turn translucent, add the bell pepper cubes. Stir at high heat for a minute or two.

Add the paneer cubes, pineapple cubes and slitted green chillies. Stir very carefully for a minute.

Add the chilli tomato sauce and stir to mix well.

Dilute the cornflour in 1/2 small cup water and pour on top of the mix. Fold in well and switch of gas after a minute.

Enjoy with noodles or as an appetiser..... both ways it works well.


Saturday, 26 March 2016

DRY SPICED FISH N INDIAN HERBED RICE


Another lazy fair from my kitchen. Such dishes which do not have a tradition associated with them does not give me much pleasure doing and then blogging on them. Then again I think, the pleasure is elsewhere... my men love such fairs.... that should be satisfying enough for me. Looking at their happy faces , I decide I should blog on it too, there might be many who look for quick solutions for busy weeknights. Though I love cooking, I must admit I am aging and somedays I do wish to spend minimum time in the kitchen. At large I would always love to keep my kitchen a traditional one stirring up traditional recipes and compiling them.

Such combo meals I stir up when there is no food stored in the refrigerator, my pantry is almost empty, it is 7pm and I am unable to decide what to cook. At a Bengali home a fish and rice meal is always a hit. My junior is not fond of fish curries, me too do not get interest to cook up a curry if it is not a fresh water one. So this dry spiced fish was cooked up in a jiffy. I love using coconut in my cooking whenever possible and spicing up my dishes with Indian spices is a must.The idea of cooking a herbed rice dish flavoured with Indian fresh herbs was on line for long because coriander leaves, curry leaves and kasoori methi[dried fenugreek leaves] are always in my store. Believe me, their combined flavour was really worth it. So this combo meal of DRY SPICED FISH N INDIAN HERBED RICE was a hit at my home, which I hope you will like too. Let us cook it together.

INGREDIENTS :[for dry spiced fish]
Fish Fillets[any] : 8[I used Salmon]
Shredded Coconut : 2tbsp
Curry Leaves : 6-7
Onion[cubed] : 1[medium]
Green Chilli : 3-4[slitted]
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 3-4tbsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Fenugreek Seeds : 2pinches
Refined Flour : 1tsp
Oil : 4-5tbsp

INGREDIENTS :[for the Indian herbed rice]
Rice : 1big cup[long grained]
Coriander Leaves : 2tbsp[chopped]
Curry Leaves : 8-10
Kasoori Methi[dried fenugreek leaves] : 1tsp
Shredded Coconut : 2-3 tbsp
Black Mustard Seeds : 1/4tsp
Red Chilli : 2-3[halved]
Turmeric Powder : 2-3pinches
Salt : As required
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Oil : 3-4 tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the fish pieces nicely and rub with half of the turmeric, red chilli, cumin, coriander powders, salt and lemon juice. Keep aside for an hour.

Cook the rice in enough water till 60-70 % done. Drain the water and spread over a newspaper.

Heat oil in a wide wok. Temper with halved red chillies, mustard seeds, dried fenugreek leaves and curry leaves. Add the shredded coconut and stir till its little brown. Add the rice, fold in well.

Add salt, turmeric powder, chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice. Stir at high heat carefully for a minute. Our Indian herbed rice is done.

For the dry spiced fish, heat oil in a frying pan. Discard the fish marinade, dust them with refined flour and lightly fry in batches.

Temper same oil with fenugreek seeds. As they give a nice aroma, take them out of the oil.

Add curry leaves to the oil, saute. Add the onions and green chillies, saute for 1-2 minutes till golden brown.

Add the shredded coconut and fry till light brown. Add all the powdered spices and salt. Add 1/4 small cup water. Gently add the fried fish pieces. Fold in well. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve with a salad of your choice.





Wednesday, 23 March 2016

KHOYA BADAM KHEER



I really wished to say Happy Holi / Subho Dol Purnima to everyone on a sweeter note. With a series of sweet on making for the past few days, the refrigerator is full of it and the poor lady's sugar level rising high. For the past few days I was thinking what to prepare for the D-Day that will be essentially Indian and also be loved by my Ladoo Gopal. Those who have interest in Hindu Mythology, know by now that Ladoo Gopal loves malai, kheer kind of stuff. While I am writing this piece, I was  looking at few years back and smiling. My junior when younger was very much jealous or unhappy with mamma's undue attention for Ladoo Gopal. When we were not around, he used to throw away his flute. We had to replace it for a couple of times. Many a old memory keeps visiting on such special occasions ..... how my junior used to go out with his paternal grandparents to play Holi, how my friends of my present abode in Kolkata pestered me to come down quickly to enjoy with Bhang, Pooris and Jalebi. Going back even further, my little brother played too much of Holi... from morning till afternoon. We had to really work hard to take them off from his skin. His sister would watch him play from the terrace of the rented house they lived.

I was a bit tired yesterday and finally decided to prepare a dessert that will be easy, yet yum. I thought this KHOYA BADAM KHEER will be perfect for the occasion. Khoya Badam Kheer is a mixed nut and milk dessert. At times I find it very difficult to do proper translation of a dish. So, I try to explain the recipe as clearly as possible. Let us prepare this easy to make KHOYA BADAM KHEER together this Holi.

INGREDIENTS :
Milk : 1lt
Khoya[solidified milk] : 100gm
Almond : 6-8
Cashew Nut : 10
Pistachio : 6-8
Raisin : 8-10
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Fennel Powder : 4-5 pinches[optional]
Sugar : 1/2small cup + 1tbsp
Condensed Milk : 100 ml

METHOD :
Lightly roast the almonds, cashews and pistachios and transfer to a grinder. Add raisin, fennel powder, green cardamom powder and 1tbsp sugar too to it. Grind to a coarse powder.

Break the khoya[solidified milk] and crumble it with your palm.

Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. Put for boil. Keep stirring. After 10 minutes, add the sugar and condensed milk.

As the milk gets thicker, say after 5-8 minutes, add the coarsely  ground nuts. Let boil for 2-3 minutes.

At this stage, add the crumbled khoya, stir well and boil for another 2-3 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl, bring to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Please note, the reason why I use both sugar and condensed milk in a sweet dish is that given my taste bud, i felt sugar not only adds sweetness but enhances the taste of a sweet dish. Condensed milk  alone cannot do that. It is my view off course.




Monday, 21 March 2016

SWEET POTATO MALPUA


With Holi around, I kept curries aside and wished to share with you all some homemade sweets and shakes.... essentially Indian. In our family, we do not play Holi, but I keep some special prayer for my Laddu Gopal [younger avatar of Lord Krishna]. It is a very auspicious and fun filled day for us, the whole of India gets more colourful. Lord Krishna started playing Holi with his lady love Radha and the rest of India follow the tradition till date. Holi is also about celebrating spring. The beautiful colours of nature during this period is brought alive ..... we play with colours with our loved ones. My wish to visit two places during Holi is yet to be fulfilled.... Vrindavan and Shantiniketan. The former celebrates Krishna's love for Radha and the later colours of spring.

These are sweet potato malpua. It is an Indian pancake, eggless, dunked in sugar syrup. This variant of doing it with sweet potatoes is not common. We usually prepare a lot of sweets with sweet potatoes. I thought let me try malpua with sweet potatoes, hence this. The sweet potato malpua I prepared are perfect for your dessert cravings, just indulge guilt free, we are not having it everyday. Let us enjoy doing together SWEET POTATO MALPUA.

INGREDIENTS : [for the malpua]
Sweet Potato : 3medium
Refined Flour : 1small cup
Semolina : 1small cup
Rice Flour : 1/4small cup
Sugar : 1/4small cup
Milk : 1big cup[boiled to a medium thickened consistency]
Water : 1medium cup
Fennel Seeds : 2tbsp
Black Peppercorns : 1tbsp
Oil : 100-150ml + 1tsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the sugar syrup]
Sugar : 1big cup
Water : 11/2big cup
Saffron Strands : 8-10[optional]
Green Cardamom : 4-5[little cracked]

METHOD :
Peel, wash and boil the sweet potatoes. Once cool, mash them nicely.

In a big bowl soak the semolina in the water for an hour. Add the mashed sweet potato, refined flour, rice flour, 1tsp oil and milk. Mix very well. There should not be any lump present.

Add the sugar, black peppercorns and fennel seeds. Stand for 1/2 an hour, let the sugar to melt. The consistency of the batter should not be running, neither be paste. A dropping consistency rather. It looks as below.



Heat oil in a wok. Bring it to smoking point and then lessen it to minimum, after 1 minute we will fry the first malpua with a round ladle. The heat has to be lessened and increased from time to time. Look at the picture below.



Simultaneously, we will prepare the sugar syrup in another vessel. Take the water, green cardamom and sugar in a vessel. Boil for 10-12 minutes. Add the saffron strands. Boil till it reaches a single thread consistency. Do look at the picture below.


We will place the fried malpuas on tissue paper to soak the excess oil. They look as below.



We will now soak the malpuas for 3-4 minutes in the sugar syrup in batches. Look at the picture below.



We will now arrange them in a serving plate and pour the remaining sugar syrup on top of the malpuas. They look as below.



Keep standing for 1/2 an hour before serving. Serve warm or chilled as you wish.....

Friday, 18 March 2016

KOLKATA R SHADA MISHTI DOI / HOMEMADE SWEETENED YOGURT



As you all know by now, I cannot stay away from my Kolkata chapter for long. A kind of guilt feeling works, since my prime wish was to show case cuisine of my region , get them acquainted with people who do not have any idea of what Bengali Cuisine is. Bengali Cuisine is not only about Fish Curry and Roshogolla, there is lot more to it. From fritters to desserts, we have wide choices for you to offer. Just and just because of lack of proper marketing techniques, our cuisine may not be in the top chart of the world cuisine. Otherwise, we offer a wide range of dishes of both variety.... vegetarian and non vegetarian.... I feel we need a couple of Anjan Chaterjee[restauranteur and owner of a chain of Bengali restaurants].

Going back and perhaps till date a Bengali meal would not complete without Mishti Doi[Sweet yogurt] & Roshogolla. Treating the guests with Doi, Roshogolla, Pantua[gulabjamun] and Shingara[Samosa] was the norm, an essential part of our food culture. I remember whenever there were sudden guests at home, mom would prepare luchi[indian bread] and dum aloo and send me to the neighbouring sweet shop to get mishti doi and roshogolla. Till date, that generation Bengalis will not get chicken roll for the guests. Plain yogurt mom would prepare at home.

In West Bengal, there are two kinds of Mishti Doi[sweetened yogurt]... one is less sweet white one, i.e. the Kolkata r Shada Mishti Doi and another is the more famous Kolkata r Lal Doi. However, I have always loved the less sweet one and so much wished to blog on it. No qualms in admitting, this is my 4th attempt of doing it and when I was about to quit, I could finally get the taste of success. Life is perhaps so, you succeed when you are at the verge of losing hope. I believe if we do no wrong, God / The Universal Power is the saviour.

They say earthern pots are best for preparing yogurt. Never mind if you do not have, use glass or steel bowls. I got this Matir Khuri[earthern pots] from my last visit to Kolkata to try my hands on Kolkata r Shada Mishti Doi.

This Kolkata r Shada Mishti Doi is done simply in few easy steps. Let us see how we do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Full Cream Milk : 500 ml
Plain Yogurt : 3-4 tbsp
Sugar : 1/2 medium cup
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp[optional, I did not use]

METHOD :
Take the milk in a heavy bottomed container and put on the oven. Let it boil for 8-10 minutes. We will not let it turn reddish.

Add the sugar and boil for another 5 minutes. Now add the cardamom powder if you are using it, stir and pour in the bowl. Let it turn to lukewarm state.

This setting of temperature is very important for setting yogurt. Once the milk is luke warm, beat the plain yogurt and add to the lukewarm milk. Gently stir.

Cover with a plate or lid. Cover the bowl again with a deep bottomed vessel. Now wrap a heavy towel all over.

After this we will not touch or move it till the yogurt is set. Keep it in a warm place, preferably inside a microwave for 10-12 hours. However it took me 14 hours to get the right consistency.

Enjoy the home made dessert bliss from my region.



Thursday, 17 March 2016

ALOO POTOLER DALNA / POTATO POINTED GOURD CURRY

             






Its start of summer back home. The markets will be flooded with young pointed gourds/parwal/potol.
We usually prepare different kinds of curries with it.... dry gravy or otherwise. When it starts to get little old/ripe, we love to have it fried accompanied by daal and rice. For us it a heavenly dish. Oh, not to forget to squeeze some lemon juice on top of the dal rice. The rest of India perhaps is not so fond of this veggie.

As thought, I will compile as much Bengali authentic dishes here as possible. A curry with potatoes and pointed gourd is most common at our place, we call it ALOO POTOLER DALNA. Today, I wished to share with you the authentic Bengali recipe of ALOO POTOLER DALNA. Let us do it....

 INGREDIENTS : 
Pointed Gourd : 8
Potato 2 medium
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seed : 3 pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Cinnamon Powder : 3 pinches
Green Cardamom Powder : 2 pinches
Ghee : 1 tsp
Oil : 4 tbsp[mustard]

METHOD :
Peel the potatoes and the pointed gourds. Cut the pointed gourd half, the potatoes into four pieces.

 Wash them and apply salt and turmeric. Heat oil in a wok, fry both in batches. Keep aside.

Temper oil with cumin seeds, bayleaf . Add the ginger paste. Saute for 2 minutes, add the cumin powder, turmeric powder, salt, red chilli powder. Saute for 1 minute.

Add the potato pieces first. Coat very well with the spice mix. Add 1 cup water and cover cook for 3 minutes.

Uncover and add the pointed gourds. Stir and cover cook for 4 minutes.

Uncover and add the cinnamon and green cardamom powder, sugar and ghee. Stir well and cook for another 1 minute. Done.

To be served with steaming hot rice.

BADHAKOPI CHINGRIR GHONTO / CABBAGE WITH PRAWNS


       
                 


Bengal's love for fish gets them using it in various vegetables quite often.The heads of the fish or small prawns we fry and use in lentil curries , mixed vegetables and so on. Earlier when cabbage was available throughout the winter, every Bengali home made good use of it. At our home , mom prepared both vegetarian and non vegetarian version of this veggie. We call cabbage as Badhakopi. All of us would agree, this is a very easy to do veggie. I find it so comfortable to prepare, just shred and do the way you wish to.

Badhakopir Ghonto is a very common dish among the Bengalis. We do both vegetarian and non vegetarian version of it. The vegetarian version we do with green peas, tomato and potatoes that tastes awesome with plain rice, Khichdi and chapati. The non vegetarian versions are done with fish head or small prawns . Cabbage with prawns is an absolute favourite of the Bengalis, we call it Badhakopi Chingrir Ghonto. This Badhakopi Chingrir Ghonto goes with steamed rice, well one can have with chapati too. The Badhakopi Chingrir Ghonto of mine is done in the most authentic way. Always use small prawns for this. Let us do Badhakopi Chingrir Ghonto together and enjoy with piping hot steamed rice.We can keep lentil curry and fries as sides.

INGREDIENTS :
Cabbage : 1 small
Small Prawns : 250 gm
Ginger Paste : 1 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2 tsp
Green Chilli : 2-3
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Whole Dry Red Chilli : 2
Cinnamon Powder : 3 pinches
Green Cardamom Powder : 2 pinches
Cumin Seeds : 3 pinches
Ghee : 1 tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 4 tbsp

METHOD :
 Clean, devein and wash the prawns, apply salt and turmeric.

Throw the outer leaves of the cabbage and wash nicely. Shred nicely and discard the hard part.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the prawns lightly, keep aside.

Temper the oil with bay leaf, cumin seeds and slitted dry red chillies. Add the shredded cabbage. Add salt and turmeric powder. Stir and cover. Let cook for 8-10 minutes.

Uncover and add the ginger paste and cumin powder. Stir and cover cook for another 10 minutes.

Uncover and add the slitted green chillies and prawns. Stir and cover cook for 3-5 minutes.

Uncover and add the sugar, green cardamom and cinnamon powder, ghee. Stir for 2-3 minutes.

Its done. To be served with rice.


SHOJNE DATAR CHOCCHORI / DRUMSTICK MASALA


                     
     



Our elders used to say eating drumsticks with the onset of spring was a necessity to keep off  measles and similar kind of diseases. Starting from end February, till April we used to eat drumsticks in various ways, in lentil curries, mixed veggies. Our moms even prepared veggies and fritters with drumstick flowers. In those days, when Kolkata was not congested with condominiums, we had a drumstick tree at every nook and corner of our neighbourhood. These trees do not need much care, they grow just like that. I vividly remember our school was situated in a protected zone, there we had a number of these trees ..... I used to look at the freshest green drumsticks hanging and how much I wished to get them for mom but were not supposed to touch even. The market ones were not flawless green. When my son got admitted in school back in Kolkata, it was situated in a 14 acre landed area in the suburban outskirts of Kolkata, I was overjoyed to see so many greens around. The villagers would get me drumsticks and other veggies just for free. While our kids were at school, we moms would go for walks in the nearby villages or chit chat. I miss those days.

This dish we call SHOJNE DATAR CHOCCHORI. Chocchori is usually a dry preparation. We prepare Shojne Datar Chocchori with  a mustard and green chilli paste. We cut the drumstick and potatoes lengthwise and cook it with the mustard paste with some tempering. Let us prepare this humble veggie of Shojne Datar Chocchori together.

INGREDIENTS :
Drumsticks : 3-4
Potato : 1 big
Black Mustard : 1tsp
Green Chilli : 3-4
Salt : As required
Turmeric : 1tsp
Whole Red Chilli : 2
Nigella Seeds : 3 pinches
Oil : 1 tbsp [ mustard preferably ]

METHOD :
Cut the drumsticks lengthwise. Peel off the skin lightly, the flesh should be intact.

Cut the potatoes lengthwise too. Wash and apply salt n turmeric.

Prepare a paste with mustard seeds, green chilli with little salt. This prevent the paste from turning bitter.

Heat oil in a wok, temper with nigella seed and slitted dry red chillies.

Add the drumsticks and potato pieces. Stir well and cover. Let cook for 3-4 minutes.

Uncover and add the mustard paste. Stir well and cover.

Let cook for another 5-7 minutes at medium to low heat. Uncover, if the water dries up, its done.

To be had with plain white rice.


MACHER TOK / SOUR FISH CURRY


  



Macher Tok.... a summer time bliss for many among our community and perhaps in some other regions of India too. The way of doing it may be different. In West Bengal, summers are really hot. It happens that we even refuse to enjoy fish curries. It is then mom used to prepare toker dal[tangy lentil curry and Macher Tok[Sour fish curry] for us. Tangy curries are considered to be body coolants and helps beat the heat in summer.

Different families have different ways of preparing Macher Tok. My mother used to prepare it this way. I exactly followed my mother's way of doing Macher Tok. The tamarind paste can be replaced with raw mango pieces. We usually alternate with tamarind, raw mango, wood apple. This Macher Tok[sour fish curry] recipe is done with tamarind paste. Let us do together Macher Tok.

INGREDIENTS :
Any White Fish : 500 gm [back home we use Rohu or Katla ]
Radhuni Paste [wild celery seeds] : 1/2 tsp [ alternatively 1 tsp fresh Thai celery paste]
Tamarind Paste : 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Green Chilli : 2
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Kalonji Seeds[ nigella] : 3 pinches
Oil[preferably mustard] : 2 tbsp

METHOD :
Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup water.

Prepare a paste with the wild celery seeds or with the Thai celery leaves if seeds are not available.

Wash the fish pieces and marinate with turmeric, salt, red chilli powder, wild celery seeds paste[alternatively celery leaves paste].

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with kalonji seeds. Add the marinated fish along with the marinade.

Cover cook each side for 3-4 minutes.Uncover, Add one cup water and cover cook for another 3-4 minutes at medium to low heat.

 Strain the tamarind juice and pour into the gravy. Add slitted green chillies.

Let boil for another 2 minutes. Switch off.

To be had with hot rice, specially during summer we have it. You can replace tamarind for raw mango.


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

DUM KA MURG / SLOW COOKED ONE POT CHICKEN




Eureka.... was the word I murmured when I came across one pot slow cooked chicken recipes. As said earlier, not so much of an innovative person, I look for ideas, thanks to Google search, my saviour. With a teen at home, we are in constant need of a variety of recipes. If someone has to prepare chicken thrice a week on demand, she has to look out for variety. The messy cook is such a poor planner. None of her blogger friends seems to be so poor in planning, how beautifully they plan around a theme, work and research on them and finally come up with a beautiful something. This lady is a lazy cook.... plans a recipe in the morning, cooks in the evening and blogs on it next morning. She thinks almost a life spent this way, let it be.... striving for better is perhaps not a lazy escapist's cuppa.

It was a Saturday, the senior has a habit of starting with a movie when I am busy. That day it was one of my interest too. Hence I was looking for a hassle free chicken recipe. It was then I came across a number of Hyderabad Dum Ka Murg recipes. Chicken marinated in aromatic Indian herbs and spices and slow cooked in a pot. Given my nature, I was again running out of some spices exclusively used in this cuisine. The alluring temptation of a hassle free Dum ka Murg recipe could not stop me. So I went ahead with my version of DUM KA MURG, purposefully skipping the word Hyderabadi. Whatever we do we need to be honest, there is no other way to it. My homely DUM KA MURG was no bad either, it was so aromatic, and since it was slow cooked all the juices was so well incorporated. Doing so I could watch the movie uninterrupted. I have decided whenever there will be guests at home, I will take up this hassle free DUM KA MURG recipe. Let us see how we do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 1kg[medium cut]
Tomato : 2medium[chopped]
Plain Yogurt : 1/2medium cup[beaten]
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Stick : 2 one inch stick
Cardamom [green] : 2-3
Cloves : 3-4
Bayleaf : 2
Garam Masala Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Coriander Leaves[chopped] : 2tbsp
Mint Leaves[chopped] : 1tbsp
Green Chilli : 3-5[slitted]
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Oil : 3tbsp
Wholewheat Dough to seal the cooking container.


METHOD :
Clean and wash the chicken pieces very well. Take them in a big bowl.

Add all the ingredients to it. Mix well rubbing thoroughly with your palm for 3-4 minutes.

Cover and marinate for 1 hour. After marination, they look as below.



Now grease a deep bottomed vessel with few drops of oil. Transfer the marinated chicken with all the marinade to it.

Cover and seal the sides with the dough and place on fire. It looks as below.



Slow cook at low fire for about 45-50 minutes. Lot of water will be released and it will be cooked in its own juices.

At the end we get an extremely aromatic chicken curry... tangy and spicy.




Monday, 14 March 2016

EGGLESS WHOLEWHEAT BUNDT CAKE



Let me not start with those cliched words of how poor a baker I am and I still try my hands on it. Let me be positive and say I am learning each day to do better and the whole experience is an enriching one. Not only that, but as a person I have become bit more positive, looking at things in a newer perspective. Thanks to a chanting practice I am doing on a friend's recommendation, life seems happier. So, every week I do some kind of baking, with a growing teen at home we need to keep a variety of food in store, the mamma thing prefers  homemade ones.

Today, I very much wished to blog on this Eggless Wholewheat Bundt Cake that I prepared yesterday evening. Doing so, I have poured all my heart into it. When we do something with love, it cannot go wrong. I so much wished to weave a beautiful story surrounding this Eggless Wholewheat Bundt Cake but life has taught me...... some stories remain best unspoken. Let certain things be treasured as memories and we move forward with new hopes, aspirations. I prepared this bundt cake with wholewheat for two reasons.... I was running out of enough amount of refined flour. Secondly, I wanted to see how a whole wheat cake turns out. I decorated them with white chocolate coins and strawberries as I had them in store.

I wished to share with everyone today itself how simply we can do it. I tried to provide stepwise pictures for it. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Whole Wheat Flour : 2 big cups
Baking Powder : 2tsp
Cocoa Powder : 3-4 tbsp
Sugar : 1/2 cup
Condensed Milk : 100-150 ml
Full Cream Milk : 1/3 cup
Vinegar : 2tsp
Butter : 1/2cup[softened at room temperature]
Oil : 1/2 cup
Vanilla Essence : 1-2tsp

METHOD :
Preheat oven to 180*C.

Take the wheat flour, baking powder and cocoa powder in a large bowl and mix together well.

In another one, take the butter and sugar and beat well till both are well incorporated.

Now add the milk and beat well. Add the condensed milk. Beat well. Add the vinegar and beat well again. The mix look as below.



Now little by little add the flour mix and keep beating. It will look as below.



After all the flour has been poured in, we will beat further for 5 minutes. The mix will look as below.



Now we will grease the cake tin with few drops of oil. Pour in the cake batter onto the mould. It looks as below.



Bake at 180*C for 40-42 minutes in convection mode. At this stage you need to adjust time according to your oven.

Let us enjoy it with tea or with a scoop of ice cream.



Saturday, 12 March 2016

MALAI KULFI



Summer is already in full swing in this part of the world. There is no rain too in the past few days. The tropical heat calls for keeping the body hydrated and indulge in all kinds of cooling desserts. My junior is very fond of coolers. I do not allow him soft drinks much, instead there is always a supply of iced lemon tea, peach tea, cold coffee tetra packs. Mamma loves watching him moving around, opening the refrigerator and sipping them. It is weekend, the mamma thing usually prepares some desserts and sweets for the family. I think I am yet to master the art of making a super creamy, no churn ice cream. They remain a bit icy which worries me. Besides, I do not keep heavy cream always at home. Once open, they need to be used up quickly. Anyway, both men calls her fatso, if she keeps on adding cream on food.... imagine what is going to happen.

Considering all these factors, she sticks to ice lollies and kulfi for the weekend cool fiesta. So this week it is a simply made Malai Kulfi, trust me that only with two to three ingredients. She can take the liberty to say that her Malai Kulfi did taste rich and creamy, just as kulfi should. The owner of the simple kitchen loves simplicity. Any kind of show offs irritates her. That makes her a loner but how much she loves her own company, reading, music, cooking, her blog and having a trusted, qualitative few surrounding her. Coming back to the point, this  Malai Kulfi was made within an hour, leaving the freezing time. Let us do together, the creamy, rich Malai Kulfi.

INGREDIENTS :
Full Cream Milk : 1lt
Condensed Milk : 150 ml
Sugar : 2tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/4 tsp
Almond : 4-5
Pistachios : 4-5
Cashews : 6-7
Stick Ice cream moulds[I preferred doing the Malai Kulfi in them this time]

METHOD :
Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Let it boil. Once it comes to full boil, we need to monitor it to  avoid burning. So keep stirring at short intervals.

Dry roast the nuts a bit and crush into smaller pieces. I use a rolling pin to do it.

Once the milk is reduced about 40%, add the sugar. Stir and let boil for another 5 minutes. Stir in between.

Add the condensed milk and boil for 3-4 minutes stirring continuously. Add the cardamom powder and boil for a minute.

Switch off . Let cool and add the crushed nuts. Pour into the moulds. Tightly close the caps.

Put into the freezer for 8-10 hours. Our malai kulfi is ready to serve.



Thursday, 10 March 2016

BHETKI MACHER JHAL/SEABASS OR BARRAMUNDI IN MUSTARD SAUCE



Macher jhal, jhol, kalia, kosha, paturi...... everything you will get in a Bengali kitchen..... Macher jhol is perhaps a light curry, macher jhal refers to a curry using mustard paste.... kalia is a really spicy treat using lots of spices and onion and kosha is a dry curry using very less water, paturi steamed in banana leaves. Well, I have not really done any research on it but delivered what I grew up hearing.

Bhetki or Seabass or Barramundi is actually a preferred fish of Bengalis of West Bengal origin. So, at our home bhetki or barramundi was not so much in making. Bengalis from East Bengal prefer different varieties of catfish, carps, hilsa, small fish. Bhetki fillets were brought occasionally at our home when mom made fish fries. It was not a regular affair because bhetki fillets were usually made from big ones and they were expensive at all times. We as kids were not deprived of anything we loved, but in moderation. In comparison, are our kids learning to value money??.... this issue bothers me a lot.

Fish curry is not a complex thing to do. If you love it, it cannot be a failure. Since we get very fresh and moderately sized seabass/bhetki/barramundi here, I get it quite often. Though not in my favourite list earlier, I am gradually developing a taste for it. Mustard paste is an integral part of Bengali cooking. In this dish, I have used a little coconut paste too that we do not usually use in jhal, but more in paturi.... This recipe requires frying of the fish, but I did not. They were so fresh and soft and you will not regret doing so I assure. In the process, much less oil was used. Let us prepare Bhetki Macher Jhal/Barramundi/Seabass in mustard paste.

INGREDIENTS :
Seabass/Bhetki/Barramundi : 1[700-1kg cut into roundels]
Mustard Seed[black] : 1tbsp
Coconut[shredded] : 2tsp
Garlic Paste : 1/2tsp[optional]
Green Chilli : 5-6[adjust as per your taste]
Nigella Seeds[kalijeera] : 3pinches
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Lemon Juice : 1-2tbsp
Oil[authentically Mustard] : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the fish pieces thoroughly. Reserve the head for using later. Marinate the fish with lemon juice, salt and turmeric powder for 1/2 an hour to 1hr.

Prepare a paste with washed black mustard seeds, green chillies, shredded coconut adding little salt and water. Pour into a bowl, add the garlic paste and rest of the turmeric if required.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with nigella seeds. As you get the aroma, add the spice paste, lower the heat and saute for a minute. Add 1 big cup water. 

As the curry comes to boil, add the fish pieces gently discarding the marinade. Cover cook for 2 minutes. Open cover, turn over the fish pieces. Let cook covered for another minute. Its done. 

Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with slitted green chillies. Enjoy with steamed rice, fresh and hot.

Please note always add salt while doing this paste to avoid it turning bitter. You can substitute the black mustard with the yellow one to mellow down the heat.




Tuesday, 8 March 2016

ALOO PANEER CURRY/ALOO PANEER ER DALNA





Paneer is a rescuer in our family in an all vegetarian day. The junior loves it so much that I find it as a safe alternative to his much loved  chicken. The senior though not so much fond of it, does not refuse to have it either. Actually, food does  not feature at the top of his priority list. He is a food connoisseur though, mainly loves Japanese and Middle Eastern Cuisine. Otherwise, a nicely made fresh water fish curry and rice is what he adores. How much the lady of the house wished that her man be a little more demanding, take little interest in the food world. Perhaps, he too thinks the same way, if the wifey thing would have spared five minutes watching CNBC. So, a kind of peace treaty was made mutually, senior been a strong believer of no rule policy at home. So if one is glued into CNBC, the other happily fries fritters to enjoy together.

This Aloo Paneer Curry or Aloo Paneer er Dalna was prepared by mom just this way once paneer was introduced in Kolkata, in the late 80's or early 90's. Though she fries paneer always, but do not. Paneer is not authentically a Bengali thing. Till date some of our friends would say before a get together, Soma please do not cook paneer. However, paneer was very much accepted in our household. Bengalees  usually use homemade paneer[chena] for their curries. This Aloo Paneer Curry/Aloo Paneer er Dalna is prepared without onion or garlic at our home. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Paneer[Indian Cottage Cheese] : 250gm
Potato : 1big
Tomato : 1medium
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1-2tsp
Salt : As Required
Cumin Seed : 2-3 pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 3-4tbsp

METHOD :
Cut the paneer into cubes and soak in warm salted water for an hour.

Peel, wash and cube the potatoes. Rub with little salt and turmeric powder.

Heat oil in a wok. Lightly fry the potatoes and keep aside.

Temper oil with cumin seeds and a bayleaf.

Add the ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes.

Wash the tomato, roughly chop and add to the wok. Saute till it melts and separates from oil.

Add the cumin powder, turmeric powder, little salt and chilli powder. Saute for a minute.

Add the fried potato pieces, stir for 3-4 minutes. Add a cup of water.

Let boil for 3-4 minutes at low heat.

Now add the paneer pieces discarding the water.

Let boil for 2 minutes. Add the sugar.

Transfer to a bowl after 1/2 a minute.

Serve with roti or steamed rice.






Saturday, 5 March 2016

DAHI ALOO / LEHSUNI BHINDI / KASURI METHI PARATHA


Pretty busy with other priorities, I was not getting time to sit and write about what I am cooking.... However busy cooking never stops for me..... my men are not kitchen friendly people. Besides.... end of the day I love to cook for my family however busy I am.... Many of you will agree that it gives immense pleasure doing so.... I believe if you love doing something and there is no pressure on you in doing so.... it does not rob you of your women's lib. A couple of my male friends are excellent cooks, they do it for their family just for the love of doing it.... that does not make them less of a man. Do and practice freely what you love doing... that makes you happy.... My man whips up wonderful coffee but hardly makes it these days. I remember, when we set up a separate home for ourselves, son not yet born, I was learning to cook. Bored of getting naan from the local restaurants, I was trying my hands on triangular shaped parathas.... he showed me .... see Soma you should do it this way.... without giving much pressure with your rolling pin. We definitely learn a thing well when we enjoy the learning session.

This was a vegetarian platter I cooked up a while ago. As I always say my men are so fond of non-vegetarian meals, once a week I force them to eat an all veggie meal. I was in their league a few years back.... now my taste buds have changed, though I cannot become a vegetarian given my love for some non-vegetarian dishes. So I prefer a balanced meal of a non veg dish, a veg dish and a lentil for the family meals. This is a complete vegetarian meal of garlic tempered lady finger, potatoes in yogurt and dried fenugreek parathas. We have to travel to the Indian market for fresh fenugreek leaves, so I keep a kasuri methi packet at home always. So this platter of lehsuni bhindi, dahi aloo and kasuri methi paratha did went well with us all. Let us do them one by one.


                                                              LEHSUNI BHINDI



This was a recipe daddy used to have in his office canteen, the office canteen boy made this well. So one day he told my mom to prepare it and serve with rotis. Then it became a regular dish at home. To simple to do and good to eat. We learn from everywhere, thats the way it should be.

INGREDIENTS :
Lady Finger : 250gm
Onion : 1medium[sliced]
Garlic : 1tbsp[minced]
Dry Red Chilli : 2[halved]
Nigella Seeds : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Green Chilli : 2[slitted]
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the lady fingers. Dry with a soft cotton cloth. Discard the two ends. Cut half. Rub with salt and turmeric powder. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with nigella seeds, dry red chillies and the minced garlic. As they turn golden brown and give a nice aroma, add the sliced onions. Fry till golden brown.

Add the lady fingers. Toss well. Cover and stir every 1 minute. Lower heat to minimum. After 2-3 minutes, add 1/4 small cup water . Stir carefully. Once the water dries up, its done.

Enjoy with any kind of Indian breads.


                                                                   DAHI ALOO




The other day I got some baby potatoes and wished to prepare it in yogurt. There must be a number of recipes on it, but I did it in my own way.

INGREDIENTS :
Baby Potatoes : 250gm
Yogurt : 100-150gm
Onion : 1medium[sliced]
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1/2tsp
Fenugreek Seeds : 2pinches
Fennel Seeds : 2pinches
Mustard Seeds : A pinch
Dry Red Chilli : 3-4[halved]
Dry Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As required
Coriander Leaves : 1tbsp[chopped]
Oil : 4tbsp

Method :
Peel, wash and boil the potatoes till half done in enough water. Let cool and apply salt and turmeric.

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

Temper same oil with fenugreek, fennel, mustard seeds and the halved red chillies. Add the sliced onions and fry till brown.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes. Beat the yogurt and add to it. Stir well for a minute.

Add the cumin, coriander , red chilli powders, turmeric and salt. Fry for 1/2 a minute. Add the potatoes and fold in well.

Add 1/2 medium cup water. Cover cook thickens as seen in the picture. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot.

                                                      KASURI METHI PARATHA



 It is not a paratha with stuffing. I mixed all ingredients with the flour and prepared the dough of the paratha. I have given a stepwise picture for it.

INGREDIENTS :
Refined flour : 1cup
Whole Wheat Flour : 2cup
Kasuri Methi : 1medium cup[dried fenugreek leaves]
Coriander Leaves : 2tbsp[chopped]
Onion : 1medium [chopped]
Green Chilli : 2-3[chopped]
Cumin Powder ; 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Salt : 1/4tsp
Oil : 4-5tbsp
Ghee : 2-3tbsp + 1tbsp

METHOD :
Take both the oil and 2-3tbsp ghee in a bowl as below.



Take all the other ingredients in a large bowl except this bowl of oil and ghee. Rub the whole thing for 2-3 minutes.

Add warm water little by little and keep kneading to form a soft dough. It looks as below.



Cover with a moist cloth for 30 minutes as below.




Remove cover, knead again for 2-3 minutes. Prepare medium sized balls, dust with flour and shape into round  parathas with a rolling pin as below.



Heat a frying pan on the oven. Place each parathata on it. Cook both sides for 1/2 minute each. Add 1-2 tsp of that ghee and oil mix. Cook for a little while each side till the paratha soaks up all well.


 Serve hot with the veggies, accompanied by pickle. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

MOM's POMFRET CURRY



Going back to mid 80's, all of a sudden a new kind of fish flooded the Kolkata market. Looking at its price, the silvery, flat shaped fish caught many eyes. The middle class households always had and have a 'month end' factor. So the then price of the silvery pomfret caught many middle class eyes. Not knowing how it tastes, how to cook it, daddy got it one day with all smiles.... saying got it very cheap you know. Maa said, do not know how to prepare it.... The first attempt to prepare a light curry with it was a total flop.  The daughter of the house found it too smelly. As kids, we never understood how a household is run, that we need to adjust with situations. Now I can feel and regret and scold myself saying I should have been more accommodating. The cheap pomfret did not remain cheap anymore though, within two years, its price went soaringly high. Perhaps, the restaurants started buying them in bulk.Now, its in same league with the other prestigious fresh water fish.

Going back again, a neighbouring aunty told my mother you need to cook it with lot of onion and garlic, your 'ada-jeers bata jhol' i.e. ginger-cumin seed paste curry will not do. Thereafter, mom prepared it with lots of onion, garlic and ginger. Yet, the daughter of the house never loved it, its so till date. Now I prepare it just because my men love the fish. I prefer a chaat, poori-bhaji or a bowl of salad to it. There are various other ways to cook it I see around but I tell them please try them outside. While cooking I practically have to cover my nose. Then, we can go to any length for our loved ones, so I get it once or twice a month. Let us do it the way my mother used to do.

INGREDIENTS :
Pomfret : 4[medium sized]
Tomato : 1big[chopped]
Onion : 2medium[sliced]
Garlic[minced] : 1tsp[my addition]
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cumin Seeds : 1/4tsp
Vinegar : 2tbsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 4tbsp

METHOD :
Clean the stomach of each fish and wash thoroughly. Make 2-3 slits on the body. Marinate with little salt and the vinegar for an hour. Drain the marinade.

Rub very little salt and turmeric to the fish pieces. Best it we cut half the fish. Heat oil in a wok. Deep fry the fish. Keep aside.

Temper the same oil with cumin seeds and minced garlic. As they give a nice aroma, add the sliced onions. Fry till golden brown. Add the garlic paste. Fry for 1 minute.

Now add the ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes. Fry till they melt. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Stir for half a minute.

Add a medium cup of water. Let it come to boil. Gently add the fried fish. After 1 minute turn over and let boil for 2 minutes. Its done.

Enjoy with piping hot steamed rice.