Saturday, 30 April 2016

MUTTON KOFTA MALAI CURRY




It is weekend.... let us indulge ourselves in some elaborate spread forgetting about how much extra calories we are taking in. There has to be one or two cheat days in the week. We need not be so calculative with life, calculations do not bring happiness. Rest of the week we can go for some light cooking. For my men, healthy eating is a no no, they love their burger, pizza, homemade all kinds of paratha, poori, mutton and chicken curries. I do these all for them..... whether I am wrong or right I do not know. What I feel is they are small eaters, let them have what they like.

These Mutton Kofta Malai Curry was made for a guest quite close to us. Years back when I just got married and was learning to cook, this person was among few people who were my guinea pigs.... from over cooked pulao to over salted fish curry... they had it all with a smile and said boudi [sis-in-law] do not worry, next time it will be perfect. Appreciative.... very few people can be... so I have a special place for some people in life. So today if they visit me, I will definitely prepare an elaborate meal pouring my heart into it.

What I can boast of about this Mutton Kofta Malai Curry is that I did not fry the kofta, using less oil in the process. What I did was after cooking the kofta mix and shaping them, I refrigerated for 2-3 hours. Then I took them out, arranged in a serving plate and poured the prepared gravy over it. You can see not a single piece was broken. Let us do this Mutton Kofta Malai Curry together.

INGREDIENTS :[for the mutton kofta]
Mutton Keema : 250gm
Potato : 1big[boiled and mashed]
Onion : 1big[sliced]
Minced Garlic : 2tbsp
Minced Ginger : 1tsp
Green Chilli : 3[chopped]
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Clove Powder : 2pinches
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Oil : 3tbsp

INGREDIENTS :[for the curry]
Yogurt : 1/2 small cup
Onion Paste : 1tbsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Ginger Paste : 1/2tsp
Melon Seed Paste : 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Stick : 1 two inch
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Cloves : 4-5
Bayleaf : 1
Fresh Cream : 2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the keema and marinate with lemon juice, salt, turmeric for 45 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the minced garlic and ginger, fry till light brown. Add the sliced onion and fry till golden brown. Add the chopped green chillies and give a stir.

Add the keema discarding the marinade. Stir and cover cook for 10-12 minutes at minimum heat.

Open cover, add the powdered spices and salt and fold in well. Cover cook for another 5-8 minutes at minimum heat stirring every 2 minutes.

Add the mashed potato and fold in well. Add little salt if required. Transfer to a bowl. It look as below.



Let cool and shape kofta as you wish. Refrigerate them for 2-3 hours. The kofta look as below.



Let us prepare the curry. Heat oil in a wok. Temper with bayleaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, cloves. As they release aroma, add the onion paste. Sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the melon seeds paste and saute for a minute. Beat the yogurt and add to the wok. Fry till the oil separates from spices. Add red chilli powder, salt and fold in well. Add 11/2 big cup of water.

Let boil for 3-4 minutes. Add the garam masala powder and boil further for a minute. Add the fresh cream now and switch off.

Take out the koftas from the refrigerator and arrange on a serving plate. Pour the gravy on them . Let stand for 1/2 an hour so the koftas soaks in the gravy.

Serve with your choice of bread or rice.



Wednesday, 27 April 2016

CHANAR PAYESH / PANEER KHEER


A sudden guest at home or may be you are craving for a dessert but do not have time or energy to go for elaborate ones..... go for quick and easy ones. Our sincerity as a homemaker does not depend on how much time we spend in the kitchen. Its all about time management and how much love we are putting into whatever we are doing taking into consideration few factors like will it be loved by the family, will it be tasty without bringing any major health hazards to them. Even a one pot meal is welcome if it is loved by the family and is served with utmost love and care on the dining table.

At times we really crave for desserts. I would suggest go for something that is quick... say a microwave cake in a cup, a yogurt and mixed fruit bowl with a drizzle of honey or any sweet that requires less cooking and done with homemade ingredients. This Chanar Payesh or Paneer Kheer was made as a part of Bengali New Year Celebration. I was thinking of a quick dessert as that day I was up to preparing an elaborate platter. Hence I came up with the idea of doing a Chanar Payesh or Paneer Kheer which was quick and easy, one with everything available at home. There are different ways of doing Chaner Payesh or Paneer Kheer, I did it my way, perhaps its simplest. Let us do this yummy dessert together.


INGREDIENTS :
Milk : 500ml[Full Cream] +500ml[Low Fat, Fresh Milk]
Sugar : 1/4 to 1/2 small cup
Vinegar : 1tbsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Almond[chopped] : 1/2tsp to garnish[optional]

METHOD :
Let us prepare the cottage cheese first. Take 500 ml of low fat milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. Put for boil.

As it comes to boil, switch off gas. Add the vinegar, milk gets curdled. Let cool.

Strain the whey through a fine cloth and tie the remains on to your tap for 1/2 an hour. 

Take down and transfer to a bowl. Add 1tsp sugar and the green cardamom powder. Do not knead, just crumble and mix together gently.

Boil the remaining 500ml milk in a vessel for 10 minutes. As it gets creamier, add sugar. Let boil for another 5-8 minutes. Add the crumbled paneer. Stir and switch off.

Let cool, refrigerate before serving.

Please note... we do not get good paneer with full fat milk, this is the case with me at least.



Monday, 25 April 2016

PINEAPPLE ICECREAM WITH WATERMELON


In this part of the world it is always hot, during this period, even hotter. The mind and body is craving for coolers. My personal choice is Singapore famous Iced Tea / Ice Lemon Tea. Its my son's favourite too, there is always a stock at home as he has it any time, even at an unearthly hour of the night. That is something mamma loves watching. The mamma thing also loves sipping them on her way back from walks / jogs. The lady loves her own company, a lazy lunch with herself sitting at a cozy corner of the local food court, with her headphone on.... watching people around.

There is one advantage of staying in a tropical country, we get those juicy, yum, thirst quenching, fresh fruits throughout the year. I find the pineapple, watermelon here too good. I am too fond of the red beautiful, juicy fruit and can survive on it alone. The other day I got a pineapple to prepare a cold appetiser along with few other ingredients. The whole of the pineapple was not required obviously. It was then I thought of preparing a pineapple ice cream with the rest of it. Watermelon is always there at home, so pampered us with a pineapple ice cream served with watermelon. It was an absolute bliss.
Let us prepare together the very easy to do Pineapple Ice Cream with Watermelon.

INGREDIENTS :
Pineapple : I/4 of a standard size 
Pineapple[chopped] : 3tbsp
Fresh Cream : 300ml
Condensed Milk : 100-150ml
Watermelon Pieces : 2cups

METHOD :
Peel, wash and chop the pineapple. Transfer to a grinder and grind to a paste.

Add the cream and condensed milk to it, beat for 2-3 minutes at intervals.

Transfer to a covered container and freeze for 2 hours.

Take out and transfer to a mixer. Beat for 3-4 minutes at intervals.

Transfer to the container, add the chopped pineapple. Cover and freeze for 5-6 hours.

Take out, stand for a minute or two before scooping out.

Serve with chilled, cubed watermelon.



Friday, 22 April 2016

GOBI BUTTER MASALA



Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and is accepted universally. I look at various recipes of the world and see such wide usage of this vegetable..... be it soup or curry. Since I love this vegetable, I strongly feel in whichever way we prepare it, it will taste good. I have gone through a couple of recipes on creamy soups made with it and wish to try for myself. My men are in no way soup loving kind of, hence I will do that in my own good time. I never feel like preparing something specially for myself, I am too lethargic doing so. I prepare what my family loves and have that lowering the amount of carb. As told many times, my men loves breads, any kind of. So I always look for curries that well suits with breads, which are mainly South Asian breads at my home.

We Bengalis usually prepare a cauliflower and potato curry garnished with ghee and Bengali garam masala. I love trying different kinds of curries in my kitchen. Been fond of spicy and flavourful North Indian cuisine, I thought of trying Gobi Butter Masala just as their very popular chicken in such a gravy. I remember, that particular day I prepared this rich Gobi Butter Masala and kept the chicken as a light, simple curry and served with chapati... hot from the tawa. They loved it and that makes me happy. This Gobi Butter Masala was done in my own way, as I preferred so. Hence, it may not be so authentic. Let us do this butter n garam masala flavoured, tangy cauliflower curry together.

INGREDIENTS :
Cauliflower : 1
Green Peas : 2tbsp[optional]
Tomato Paste : 1big cup
Onion Paste : 1/2small cup
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Minced Garlic : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1tsp
Cumin Seeds : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Fresh Cream : 1tbsp[optional]
Butter : 2tbsp + 1tsp
Oil : 2-3 tbsp

METHOD :
Cut the cauliflower into medium florets, wash them thoroughly and microwave in enough water at low speed for 5 minutes adding little salt. Let cool, discard the water.

Rub the cauliflower pieces with 1/2tsp turmeric powder and some salt. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the cauliflower pieces  lightly in batches. Keep aside on a tissue paper that will help to soak the excess oil.

Add 2tbsp butter to the oil and let it melt. Temper oil with cumin seeds, bayleaf and minced garlic. Stir for a minute. Add the onion paste and fry for 2 minutes.

Add ginger paste, fry for 2 minutes and add to the tomato paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, rest of turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Stir well for 1/2 a minute.

Add the fried cauliflower pieces, fold in well. Add one medium cup water. Fold in well. Cover cook for 3-4 minutes.

Open cover, add the green peas, 1tsp butter, 1tbsp fresh cream and 1tsp garam masala powder. Fold in well and cook for a minute.

Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot with breads or jeera rice.





Wednesday, 20 April 2016

EGG RENDANG



Rendang is actually a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia. In the Minangkabau culture, Rendang represents the philosophy of musyawarah, discussion and consultation with elders. They say the four main ingredients of Rendang represent Minangkabau society as a whole. The meat refers to the clan leaders, nobles, royalty and elders, the coconut milk symbolises the intellectuals, teachers, poets and writers, the chilli symbolises the religious leaders and the spice mixture symbolises the rest of the Minangkabau society. This ethnic group is mainly from West Sumatra. In their tradition, rendang is a dish prepared during special occasions like marriage, birth ceremonies, religious festivals, etc.

Rendang is also very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. As I stepped in to Singapore, I tasted Chicken Rendang and the spice loving girl loved it. Not so much of a chicken lover, I loved the chicken lapped up in delectable spices, yum and flavourful. Earlier I have tried chicken rendang, this time it was Egg Rendang. I knew it cannot go wrong, we Indians love our curries spicy. The spice laden, yet not so hot Egg Rendang curry will equally go well with both rice or roti/paratha. How authentic the recipe is I do not know. I went through a couple of recipes and landed into mine. For some of you getting turmeric leaf may be a problem, leave it. We are always open to our version of a dish. I am pretty sure for an authentic version of rendang curry, we have to travel to West Sumatra and learn the recipe from a Minangkabau family. So no worries, let us enjoy doing Egg Rendang curry together.

INGREDIENTS :
Egg : 4
Shredded Coconut : 2tbsp [I used desiccated]
Coconut Milk : 1/2 small cup
Shallots : 4-5[or a medium onion]
Minced Garlic : 1/2tsp
Minced Galangal : 1tsp
Minced Ginger : 1/2tsp
Chopped Lemon Grass : 1tbsp[or lemon zest]
Dry Red Chillies : 3-4[soaked in hot water for an hour, adjust amount as per your taste]
Chopped Lime/Lemon leaf : 2tsp
Chopped Turmeric Leaf : 2tsp[if u do not get it add 1/4tsp chopped raw turmeric to spice mix n grind]
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp[I used palm sugar]
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 2-3tbsp
Lime/Lemon Leaf : 1to garnish

METHOD :
Wash and boil the eggs in enough water. Let cool and clear off the shell. Apply little salt.

Heat a wok on oven and dry roast the desiccated or shredded coconut. Put the roasted coconut, minced garlic, galangal, ginger, chopped lemon grass, peeled shallots, dry red chillies, chopped turmeric leaves to a grinder. Add little water and grind to a paste.

Add oil to the wok and heat. Add the bay leaf, stir. Add the spice paste and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped lime leaves, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and palm sugar. Stir for a minute.

Add the boiled eggs. Fold in well. Add the coconut milk. Stir and cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with a lemon/lime leaf.

Serve hot with rice/roti/paratha.



Monday, 18 April 2016

SOYA KOFTA CURRY



Perhaps I am up to compiling a list of kofta curries on my blog. Actually, I love kofta.... any kind of. I find it as a very good vegetarian side dish to go with rice or breads. Since my men are not vegetable lovers, I have to find out tricks to feed them veggies. They definitely will not want to eat a carrot or beans curry, but what if I mix them all with selective spices, make kofta balls and cook in a flavourful curry.... serve with rice or Indian bread... they will eat. Should not we do this much for our loved ones??... we must.

My men are not bored of eating chicken / mutton in any form.... minced, with bone, boneless, but I get bored cooking meat everyday. It concerns me giving them meat so often. With this thought, I keep packets of soya, minced soya, paneer in my pantry. I try to make dishes with them as tasty as possible so they happily eat them. Preparing a kofta curry with minced soya was long on my list.... I did this Soya Kofta Curry in a yogurt and gram flour based curry and viola, my men did not understand it is not minced chicken kofta they are eating. Come, let us do this easy to make Soya Kofta Curry together.

INGREDIENTS :[for the kofta]
Minced Soya : 1big cup
Potato : 1medium[boiled]
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 2-3[chopped]
Onion : 1medium[chopped]
Gram Flour : 1tbsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Oil : 2tbsp + 50ml[to fry the koftas]

INGREDIENTS :[for the curry]
Plain Yogurt : 100-150gm
Gram Flour : 1tsp
Onion : 1big[sliced]
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Stick : 1two inch
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Cloves : 2-4
Bay Leaf : 1
Sugar : 1tsp[optional]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash and soak the minced soya in hot water for 1/2 an hour. Drain the water completely. Mash the potato adding little salt.

Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan. Temper with cumin seeds. Add the chopped onion and green chillies and fry till brown.

Add the minced soya and mix well. Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, salt, coriander powder and stir well for 4-5 minutes.

Add the mashed potato, sugar and gram flour and stir for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Let cool. Shape mixture into round balls.

Heat 50 ml oil in a wok and fry the soya koftas in batches till light brown. Place them on tissue paper to soak excess oil.

Temper rest of the oil with a bayleaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, cloves. As they release a nice aroma, add the sliced onions. Fry till brown.

Add the ginger paste. Fry till the raw smell goes. Beat the yogurt along with the gram flour and pour on the wok. Stir well for a minute.

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

Add one big cup water and let boil for 3-4 minutes. Add lemon juice, sugar and garam masala powder. Let boil for a minute. Switch off.

Arrange the kofta balls in a serving bowl. Pour the gravy on them. Let the kofta balls soak in the juice. So wait for 1-2 hours before serving.

Note: They taste best the next day.





Friday, 15 April 2016

MACHER CHOP / FISH CROQUETTE



For us Bengalis, any time is chop time. We do not need a festival or a special occasion to have it. It is usually an evening tea time pleasure for us. Earlier, I remember the men of the house would have chop with muri [puffed rice] and tea back home from office around 7.30 pm when rest of the world usually have their dinner. Now a days, perhaps it has become a week end affair. At least, at my house the small eater senior will not have anything but a small bowl of nuts on weekday evenings. He cannot have early dinners, so at our home we maintain the unhealthy practice of having dinner late.


Chop / Croquettes are a quintessential part of Bengali food culture. We prepare chop with almost anything, vegetables, fish, meat, egg. We either have it just like that or accompanied by jhal muri[spiced up puffed rice]. Tea is a must have with any kind of fritters. When I got married, I almost fainted to see this side of the family having tea end number of times throughout the day, even at an unearthly hour of the night, say 10 pm. The early to bed kind of girl thought when will they have dinner so that she gets to dive into the bed. Later, the situation improved with a cooperative pa-in-law who too wished to finish his dinner by 10-10.30 pm and retire for the day.

These fish chop / croquette were made last week as a week end fiesta. I usually try to prepare something special on weekends as they are special with my men around. If we are not going anywhere, we will have a late lunch, spend a leisurely evening over chitchat, tea and chop /fritters /fries. Come let us do Fish Chop / Fish Croquette in few easy steps.

INGREDIENTS :
White Fish Fillet : 300 - 500gm
Potato : 2medium[boiled]
Onion : 1big [sliced]
Minced Garlic : 1tbsp
Minced Ginger : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 2[chopped]
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 4-5 pinches
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Bread Crumb : 1cup
Egg : 2[beaten]
Refined Flour : 2tbsp
Oil : 150 ml[to fry]

METHOD :
Wash and cut the fish fillets into smaller pieces and boil them in enough water for 5 minutes adding little salt. Once cool, drain the water and mash it with your palm.

Wash and boil the potatoes in enough water adding little salt. Once cool, peel and mash.

Heat oil in a pan. Temper with minced garlic and ginger. As they give a nice aroma, add the sliced onion. Fry till brown.

Add the mashed fish fillet to it and keep stirring for 4-5 minutes till the water released dries up.

Add all the spice powders and turmeric. Stir well for 2-3 minutes.

Add the mashed potato, salt and sugar. Fold in very well. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add the refined flour and fold in well. Transfer to a bowl. It will look as below.



Once cool, shape into croquettes. Roll onto the bread crumbs taken on a plate. Put onto the beaten egg and then again roll onto the bread crumbs, just as below.



Our fish chops are ready to fry now. They look as below.


Heat oil in a wok. Fry the fish chops in batches just as below.



Once done, transfer them on a tissue paper to get rid of excess oil, as below.



After sometime, transfer them to serving plate and serve with your choice of salad.



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

INSTANT LADOO



Poila Baishakh.... one of the two major festivals for us.... our New Year. Just like Durga Puja, during this period I do miss my family a lot. Memories... old and new rush in. Earlier, it was much more fun. Waking up early, taking shower, wearing new clothes, getting ready for the special prayers. An elaborate lunch menu was the most interesting part for this foodie girl. This is one of the days Bengalis would go beyond their limits and have a scrumptious lunch and dinner menu. Evening, either someone visited us or we visited others.

It is very unfortunate that what we love to eat is going beyond our limit. Every year I see the price of mutton increasing on each visit, Hilsa price goes up to 2500-3000 rupees per kg on such special occasions. How many can buy.... next question..... is it worth it? The new trend back home for the past few years is dining out... all the speciality restaurants arrange for a Bengali spread. We have never been then, neither now. Such special occasions had always been a homely thing in our family, I have maintained that tradition. Though we usually prepare and eat a non-vegetarian fair on this day, I prefer to have a vegetarian fair for the day to offer a 'bhog' to the family deity. There will be a non vegetarian item done separately to accompany at dinner time.... I wish to see my men all smiles.

These Instant Ladoos are made of milk, powder, ghee, paneer and little sugar. We prepare so many kinds of ladoo, sweets throughout the year. I was lazy enough the other day to cook coconut for so long and planned for these Instant Ladoos instead which were done within an hour. Let us do these mouthwatering Instant Ladoos together.

INGREDIENTS :[for the paneer]
Milk : 1lt
Vinegar : 1tbsp
A clean, white cloth
Ice Cubes : 1small cup

INGREDIENTS :
Milk Powder : 1/3 big cup
Sugar : 4 tsp[fine or powdered]
Paneer[cottage cheese] : 1/2 big cup
Rose Essence : 2-3 drops[optional]
Ghee : 3-4tbsp

METHOD :
Let us prepare the paneer[cottage cheese] first. Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel and put on the gas. Bring it to a boil and put off gas. Add the vinegar, the milk will curdle. Add the ice cubes to avoid the paneer getting harder. Let cool. Strain through a white cloth and tie it to the kitchen tap to let the excess water drain. It should take 1/2 an hour.

Transfer the paneer to a wide mouthed bowl. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes. Add the milk powder and mix well. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Add sugar and rose water drops. Knead for further 3-4 minutes. At this stage, they look like crumbled. Add the ghee. Mix well and keep kneading. The sugar will melt and incorporate well with the mixture.

We get a soft, yet firm, flavourful dough which will not be dry in any case. Do add a little more ghee if it is so. Apply a drop of ghee on both of your palms and shape into round balls taking a portion from the dough.

Our Instant Ladoo is ready. I would suggest not to refrigerate and have it fresh. It can be stored without refrigeration up to a day or two in a cool, dark place.




Tuesday, 12 April 2016

DOI ILISH



Many a poet was born in Bengal to write an ode to this silver queen. If I say so I may not be exaggerating. This exotic, silvery beauty is almost worshipped by the Bengalis. Commonly known as Ilish among Bengalis and Oriyas and Hilsa worldwide, it is said there is about 100 recipes of this fish. Authentication of this information is required though. Whatever, we eat it in every form, fried, steamed, smoked. even dried.
    A rain drenched evening in Kolkata, and you get  smell of  khichdi and fried ilish......the famous Bengali menu on a rainy day. I am getting nostalgic but I never cry over it! I create the same ambience here to nurse my pain....pain of living far from my own place. On a rainy day, at the Singapore suburbs, you might get the smell of fried hilsa and khichdi. Singapore, off course is the facilitator here. Very good quality hilsa are available in the wet markets, mainly imported from Burma. The best quality hilsa are from Padma river of Bangladesh and the Ganges of India.
   Very less spices are required to cook this fish. Too much use of spice spoils the unique taste of this fish. This super soft fish is cooked in the oil it releases while cooking. I romanticise with rain and ilish together on a rainy day. A rain drenched evening, tiny drops running down, poetry and hilsa....tuned together by the very romantic me.

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

METHOD :
Clean and wash the fish pieces properly. Apply salt and turmeric and rub well.

Beat the yogurt and add to the fish. Make a paste of black mustard, green chillies adding salt so that the paste do not turn bitter. Add to the fish and marinate everything well.

Keep aside for half an hour. Heat oil in a pan. Temper with kalonji.

Place each fish carefully along with the marinade on the wok.

Turn over after 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water after 3-4 minutes.

Cook for another 3 minutes at medium to low heat. Goes best with plain rice.



Monday, 11 April 2016

YOGURT N GRAPE POPSICLE



Well... these popsicles were prepared last evening to pamper myself, also my junior is having his session break who hunts the refrigerator more frequently while at home. Besides, I do like to keep in store some kind of chilled dessert for the nocturnal senior. Yesterday was a no cook day for me, was not in a condition to move . Ok, perhaps by now the world got to know that this old lady did her first half marathon yesterday. Though she finished nearly last, she is extremely happy that she could finish it and never quit midway.... inspiration?..... so many around... apparently... whatever. Whole day the body craved for hydration. I thought let me take up something that does not require cooking and is just apt for the hot summer .

You know I cannot stay away from my kitchen for long, my beloved corner. I did not have the energy to boil milk and prepare a kulfi or an ice cream. So I landed with the idea of this super quick, no cook Yogurt n Grape Popsicle. I will call it healthy too as I did not use sugar in it. Let us do this yum laden Yogurt n Grape Popsicles together. I used red grapes for this just to add in some colours.

INGREDIENTS :
Plain Yogurt : 200gm
Red Grapes : 150gm[or as per your choice]
Mint Leaves : 5-6
Honey : 2tbsp
Cinnamon Powder : A pinch
Red Food Colour : A pinch[optional]

METHOD :
Wash the grapes and the mint leaves. Put in a blender. Blend for 2-3 minutes at intervals.

Add the yogurt and honey and blend further for 2 minutes at intervals.

Add the cinnamon powder and food colouring and blend for 30 seconds.

Pour into popsicle moulds and freeze for 5-6 hours.

Enjoy your super fast and healthy yogurt popsicle anytime throughout the day.


Friday, 8 April 2016

A BENGALI VEGETARIAN BREAKFAST PLATTER



Poila Baishakh.... Bengali New Year is round the corner.... This time of the year was such a celebration with new clothes, good food, visiting each other.... In our childhood, we got new dresses two times a year... during Poila Baishakh and Durga Puja. So new clothes meant a lot then. It is not like now, oh I am not in mood, lets go shopping and set it right. Remembering those days is a kind of pleasure.

Food is considered to be a major part of our community. We love to think, talk and dream food. All the three major meals has to be a hearty one paying no heed to health factor. We can start with ghee smeared flatbreads in the morning and end our meal with a mutton curry n milk rich dessert around 10 pm at night. We are not worried at all, the chemist stores are there to provide us with antacids. Hahaha... the Bengalis who are reading this, please excuse me making so honest a confession.... if only you have not planned to shoot me at the first sight.

Things are changing now, we are making an effort to eat healthy too. If you think I am been sarcastic, you are wrong. I love being a Bong [Bengali] every way and take a lot of pride been so. Only a die hard Bong has the spirit and patience to feed her burger and pizza loving men man kochu bata [yam, mustard seed n green chilli paste with a drizzle of mustard oil]. How much I wish to have a daughter-in-law to support me. If my junior does not have a personal choice, I will definitely look for someone who would love to wear saree, eat Bengali food with some interest in cooking.

We all know breakfast is the major meal of the day..... but we are Bongs.... we never followed heavy breakfast, light lunch and lighter dinner pattern. All meals for us is heavy. My uncle, daddy's next one ate 25-30 rasgullas after a full meal in a marriage ceremony, I remember. One of my friend's brother can eat an omelette made of 22 eggs. There is not a bit of exaggeration on what I say, all true that many will agree.

Keeping in tune with our tradition, I wish to introduce you all to a regular breakfast platter of the Bengalis consisting of two simple veggies made with ridge gourd and potato[jhinge aloor torkari], pumpkin with black grams[kumro r chokka], a dessert with homemade cottage cheese and milk[chanar payesh], Lentil with Bengal gram[cholar dal] and Doier Ghol[sweet yogurt drink]. The eggplant fries I am not providing the recipe, you all know. So let us prepare together A Bengali Vegetarian Breakfast Platter.


                                                        KUMROR CHOKKA/
                                                     PUMPKIN WITH BLACKGRAM



INGREDIENTS :
Pumpkin : 500gm
Black Gram : 1/2 small cup[soaked overnight n boiled to tender]
Green Chilli : 2-3[slitted]
Nigella Seeds : 1/4tsp[kalonji/kalojeera]
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Oil : 2tbsp[authentically mustard]

METHOD :
Peel the skin of the pumpkin and cut into small cubes, wash thoroughly. Rub with salt and turmeric powder.

Soak the black grams overnight and boil in enough water adding little water. Drain the water and wash them under cold water.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with nigella seeds. Add the pumpkin pieces , stir and cover cook for 3-4 minutes . Open cover, add the slitted green chillies, boiled black grams and cook without covering till all the water dries up.... say 3 minutes.

Add the sugar, stir gently and transfer to a serving bowl. Yes, it is as simple as this.


We usually have it with paratha/chapati/poori and not with rice.



                                                       CHOLAR DAL/CHANA DAL/
                                                          YELLOW LENTIL CURRY


INGREDIENTS :
Bengal Gram Dal : 1small cup[soaked in hot water for 2hrs]
Coconut pieces : 2tbsp[fresh]
Dry Red Chillies : 2[halved]
Green Chillies : 2[slitted]
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Cumin Seeds : 1/4tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 2tbsp[authentically mustard]

METHOD :
Wash and soak the Chana dal in hot water for 2 hours. Pressure cook the dal with enough water upto 2 whistles at medium to low heat.

Cut the coconut into small pieces . Keep all the spices ready in hand. Slit the green chillies.

Heat the oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds, dry red chillies each torn into two and the bay leaf. Put in the coconut pieces and fry till light brown. Put in the ginger paste. Put in the salt and turmeric and cumin powder. Keep stirring till the oil separates from the spices.

Pour in the dal. Pour in one coffee mug of water. Give a stir. Cover and let it boil for 5 minutes at medium heat.

Remove the cover. Add the slitted green chillies and sugar. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Switch off, its done.


Transfer to a bowl.



We can have it with both Indian breads and rice.


                                            JHINGE ALOOR TARKARI/
                                      RIDGE GOURD WITH POTATOES


INGREDIENTS :
Potato : 2big
Ridge Gourd : 2
Green Chilli : 2[slitted]
Dry Red Chilli : 2halved
Nigella Seeds : 1/4tsp[kalonji/kalojeera]
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 2pinches
Sugar : 1/4tsp
Oil : 1tbsp[authentically mustard]

METHOD :
Peel and cut the potatoes and ridge gourds. Store in separate bowls, wash thoroughly. 

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with halved dry red chillies and kalonji. Add the potato pieces. Cover cook for 3-5 minutes.

Open cover, add the ridge gourd pieces and stir. Add salt and turmeric, slitted green chillies and stir.

Cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Open cover, add sugar, stir and take down.



This goes well with Indian breads.



                                           CHANER PAYESH /
                                            PANEER KHEER


INGREDIENTS :
Milk : 500ml +500ml
Sugar : 1/4 to 1/2 small cup
Vinegar : 1tbsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Almond[chopped] : 1/2tsp to garnish[optional]

METHOD :
Let us prepare the cottage cheese first. Take 500 ml of milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. Put for boil.

As it comes to boil, switch off gas. Add the vinegar, milk gets curdled. Let cool.

Strain the whey through a fine cloth and tie the remains on to your tap for 1/2 an hour. 

Take down and transfer to a bowl. Add 1tsp sugar and the green cardamom powder. Do not knead, just crumble and mix together gently.

Boil the remaining 500ml milk in a vessel for 10 minutes. As it gets creamier, add sugar. Let boil for another 5-8 minutes. Add the crumbled paneer. Stir and switch off.

Let cool, refrigerate before serving.



Please note, different families have different ways of doing it. I do it this way. Garnish as you wish.


                                           PARATHA/ POROTA/
                                          INDIAN FLAT BREAD


INGREDIENTS :
Whole Wheat Flour : 1big cup
Refined Flour : 2big cup
Salt : 2pinches
Oil : 1tbsp + 2tsp for each paratha
Warm Water : As required for kneading

METHOD : 
Take both the flours in a wide mouthed bowl. Add salt and 1tbsp oil. Rub for 2 minutes.

Add warm water and keep kneading till we get a soft dough . Cover the dough with a moist cloth for 1/2 an hour. Prepare medium sized balls.

Dust the balls with flour and shape into triangular shaped parathas.

Heat a tawa/pan. Put each paratha, cook each side for a minute. Add 2 tsp oil and fry paratha till crisp on both sides.


                                        DOIER GHOL/SWEET LASSI/
                                               YOGURT DRINK


INGREDIENTS :
Yogurt : 1big cup
Sugar : 2- 3tsp
Black Salt : 1/4tsp
Lemon Juice : 2tsp
Ginger juice : 1/2tsp
Cumin Powder[dry roasted] : 2-3 pinches.

METHOD :
Take the yogurt, sugar and salt in a glass and beat for 2-3 minutes.

Top it with cold water and stir. Add cumin powder, ginger juice and lemon juice. Stir gently.

Serve chilled.



 This was my regular Bengali Vegetarian Breakfast Platter, simple and each one is very easy to do. Enjoy !!