Thursday, 15 December 2016

CUCUMBER N BLACK GRAM CHAAT



My favourite these days.... chaats and salads. Always looking forward for some good alternatives for carbohydrates, I find such dishes best suited to my changed tastebuds. I do not follow any strict diet as such or as prescribed by the dieticians. I am just unable to have heavy breakfast, light lunch and even lighter dinner. I usually prefer soups or salads for lunches. Since I had never been a salad kind of person, I try to make them suit my taste buds, turning them to chaats. I do this so that I can have two spoonful of my most favourite rice sitting together with my men at night. We usually have our dinners late when perhaps others plan to go to bed. Well, we never claim ourselves to be healthy eaters, but then our body clock got used to it.

It is time to take a break, before that let us share this easy and yummy chaat recipe.This dish is a chaat kind of salad made with boiled and sautéed black gram. Though not so much of a Bengali preparation, my mother used to prepare black gram or kala chana this way sautéed with onion and green chillies. Actually this was sold  at the road side carts at our place. How much would I slurp looking at them, my mother would not allow me to buy. Instead she would prepare for me. At times we used to have it with puffed rice. Modifying it into a chaat is my contribution to the dish and I can assure it will not dishearten you. A bowl full of health and taste. Let us prepare this Cucumber and Black Gram Chaat together.

INGREDIENTS [main] :
Black Gram : 150gm
Onion : 1big
Green Chilli : 2-3
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp[optional]
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp[optional]
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Cucumber : 2medium 
Oil : 2-3tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for topping]
Date Tamarind Chutney : 4tbsp 
Plain Yogurt : 1/2small cup
Coriander Leaves : 1sprig
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Black Salt : 3- 4 pinches
Chaat Masala : 1tsp
Bhujiya or Chanachur [ salted snack, fried gram flour noodles??] : 2-3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash and soak the black gram in hot water for 3-4 hours, if in cold water then overnight. Wash again and pressure cook up to 1 whistle adding water and little salt. Let cool, drain the water and wash again.

Peel, wash and slice the onion, chop the green chillies and coriander leaves. Wash them. Slice the cucumber, wash and apply little salt, refrigerate. Blend together the yogurt, coriander leaves, sugar and black salt. If the mixture becomes too running, add little more yogurt and beat well. Refrigerate.

Heat oil in a wok. Saute the onion slices and chopped green chillies till they are soft and golden brown. Add the boiled black chana, fold in well. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes. Its done. Let cool a bit.

Transfer the cooked black chana to a bowl. Arrange the cucumber pieces on the sides or chop them and mix. Add chaat masala and fold in well. Top up with chanachur, tamarind date chutney and yogurt - coriander mix. Enjoy !!




Monday, 12 December 2016

RAW BANANA N POTATO CURRY / ALOO KANCHAKOLAR JHOL





What gives me utmost pleasure wherein blogging is concerned? My answer is compiling dishes that I have grown up eating, dishes for which I do not have to browse Google, dishes whose taste lingers on  till date, dishes which has my mother's touch on them. Today I wished to blog on one such dish. The old lady is at present cleaning up her daughter's home so that I can head to an all decked up home straight from the airport. A refrigerator full of essentials, bedrooms adorned with clean, washed bed covers is what awaits for me. This is the scenario each time I visit. We cannot just say thanks to our own, we need to be thankful in various ways. Yet I get very angry with her for been overprotective towards both of us siblings. In the process, we failed to learn the basics of life, to be independent. In her defence she would say life's lessons are not to be taught, it is to be learnt. Her daughter was not so keen on taking interest in worldly matters and was always engrossed in her own created world of fantasy. Well, I would not deny I am still so. At any gathering or a party, I choose my own cosy corner and love watching others present while sipping my favourite ones, getting little tipsy. Wherever I am, I create my own ambience.

...... and whichever part of the world I am or will be .... I will continue to cook up my desi recipes, laced with beautiful memories. My mom used to prepare this curry with Raw Banana and Potato, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions. Usually she used to prepare Shingi-Magurer Jhol [cat fish curry] with raw banana and potato. At times she added raw papaya to it. In the vegetarian version of this she used to add dry roasted broad bean seeds[shimer bichi] too. Unable to get shimer bichi, I prepared this vegetarian curry with raw banana and potato for myself, my men are force fed such things alluring with their choice of non-veg dish. I use the raw banana skin too to prepare a yum sides, laughing ?? you may please.... but nothing went waste in the middle class environment we grew up in..... and I do treasure my values. Let us prepare this Raw Banana N Potato Curry together.


INGREDIENTS :
Raw Banana : 2
Potato : 1
Tomato : 1medium[my inclusion]
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 14tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Cumin Seed : 2-3 pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1tsp
Oil : 4-5tbsp

METHOD :
Peel both the potato and raw bananas. Cut half and then lengthwise as seen in the picture. Wash and chop the tomatoes. Rub the potato and raw banana pieces with little salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the raw banana and potato pieces separately in batches. Keep aside. Temper oil with cumin seeds and bay leaf.

Add the ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir till it melts and separates from the oil. Add the cumin powder, chilli powder,  turmeric powder and salt. Stir well for a minute. Add the fried potatoes and fold in well.

Add a cup of water and let boil for 2-3 minutes covered. Now open cover and add the fried raw banana pieces. Let boil for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cardamom powder and cinnamon powder. Stir and let boil for a minute.

Add the ghee and give a stir. It is done. We love to have it with rice but it goes well with chapati too.











Thursday, 8 December 2016

STUFFED RAW PAPAYA KOFTA CURRY



Its almost weekend, we are again threesome from twosome.... so everything seems happy happy. From an almost no cooking mode to moderate cooking is the present scenario at home. The quiet mom with a quieter son was living a quiet life, missing someone. When the mamma was just about to believe that her son has stopped loving her, would he come and sit at the other corner of the couch threatening mom to throw out of the window if she tries to hug him. The mamma keeps wondering when and how the lolly polly mamma's boy turned onto become a daddy's one. Yet she is never worried, instead takes pride that they are different. If the equation of relationships is strong and is well understandable, one should not worry at all. There will be a lot of cooking for the coming week now since the senior is not accompanying us for holidays this time. I absolutely do it in my own will because my man has never demanded anything from me ever neither had he ever put any restrictions on me. As I always say I am a very bad example of women's lib or may be the definition of women's lib is different to me.

Life and Philosophy is as interesting as of cooking for me. So I do not miss the chance of expressing my thoughts along with my recipes. If given a choice, I may quit the recipe part, its getting complicated for a free willed person like me, perhaps for others like me too. I lack farsightedness, hence misunderstood . Anyway we are heading for a good movie tonight, so the mind should be set free. I wished to share this kofta curry made with raw papaya and dry fruits with you all today. Kancha Pepe or Raw Papaya is a common vegetable among us. I tried this Raw Papaya Kofta Curry just to get a breakthrough from our very own Aloo Peper Dalna or few other veggies with kancha pepe. Since, Raw Papaya is in itself  bland, I tried it with a dry fruit stuffing . Let us prepare this Stuffed Raw Papaya Kofta Curry together.


INGREDIENTS :

Raw Papaya : 1medium [kancha Pepe / Kacche Papite]
Cashew nut : 6-7chopped
Raisin : 7-8chopped
Pistachio : 5-6chopped
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Onion Sliced : 1big
Green Chilli : 2chopped
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Melon Seeds : 1/2tsp
Plain Yogurt : 1/4small cup
Refined Flour : 1/2small cup
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 1small cup [for frying the kofta n for the curry]

METHOD :

Peel and wash the raw papaya. Cut the two ends and cut further into four halves. Cut off thinly the inner skin along with seeds and discard. Wash again and shred the papaya. Take in a bowl, add two cups water and little salt. Microwave for 4 minutes. Take out, strain the water once cool and squeeze off all the excess water.

Add the sliced onion, chopped green chillies, little of turmeric, cumin, coriander powders and salt. Mix very well. Add the refined flour and mix well. We can now shape small balls. Chop the cashew nuts, raisins and pistachios.

Make a hole in each ball and fill with some chopped dry fruits. Close and shape the balls round again.
Heat oil in a wok, fry the kofta in batches till brown. Transfer onto tissue paper.

Make a paste with the melon seeds and plain yogurt. Temper same oil with cumin seeds and the bayleaf. Add the onion paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for further 2 minutes. Add the yogurt and melon seed paste and stir for a minute.

Add the rest of the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, sugar and salt. Saute for a minute. Add 1big cup water and let boil for 3-4 minutes. Gently add the kofta balls. Let cook for a minute. Transfer to a bowl.

Enjoy with rice or roti !!




Monday, 5 December 2016

SEMOLINA N DALIA KHEER





A beautiful, sunny morning and I am sitting at the favourite corner of our couch. As usual I am taken over by many a thoughts. I was happy with my performance at yesterday's Marathon event.... I am not a runner, I jog, I brisk walk, most importantly I absolutely enjoy the total ride. Walking together with so many people, the smiles at me coming from unknown quarters gives me pleasure. I was thinking of the yesteryear's very lethargic, fat, quiet girl who was never fond of any kind of sports. Some of my childhood buddies will echo my words, so today when they pat my back, they mean it, and I am as much as proud of their achievements..... big or small. My participation in sports was limited to taking part in MarchPast as it was compulsory and clapping for my friends and brother. So to me, doing half marathon is a pretty big thing given my medical condition and BMI. Age?? Do not give it much importance. Feel young, be young. Just when the mind was in such a happy state, yesterday evening we got the news of a death at the race event...... the person was just 29 years old, collapsed just a kilometre away from the finishing line and died later in the hospital.... very much saddening. I am not a seasoned or experienced runner, yet I would suggest do not push yourself too hard, listen to your body. Relax, we are not in a competitive run and most of our bodies are not trained as such. So go in your own pace and enjoy the ride.

I am just sitting idle, unable to go for a walk with the body aches and thinking of the bereaved family. I strongly felt I should compile a recipe post to get out of my present thought process. Not so much in the mood to write  an elaborate recipe, I thought of sharing this simple dessert recipe of kheer done with semolina [suji] and dalia [broken wheat]. This recipe is nothing but a modification of our very own Sujir Payesh [semolina kheer] that we grew up eating. After my son was born, I tried to give him such proteins like dalia, now I use it for myself as a substitute for rice. At times I mix both and prepare either a halwa or a ladoo or a kheer that is liked by my men. Let us prepare this easy recipe of Semolina n Dalia Kheer together.

INGREDIENTS :

Full Cream Milk : 2lt
Sugar : 11/2medium cup [or according to your tastebud]
Dalia [broken wheat] : 1/2small cup
Semolina : 1/4small cup
Cashew nut : 7-8 [halved]
Raisin : 10-12
Bayleaf : 1-2
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Ghee [clarified butter] : 1-2tbsp
Garnish as you wish or do not.....

METHOD :

Soak the raisins in water for an hour. Heat the ghee [clarified butter] in a wok. Dry roast the semolina and dalia for about five minutes till they are light brown.

Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel, put on gas and boil adding the bayleaf till it becomes one third. Add the semolina and dalia mix. Stir well, cover and let cook for 6-8 minutes stirring every 2 minutes.

Add the sugar, stir and let boil for another 6-8 minutes. Add the cashew nuts, raisins, discarding the water and the green cardamoms tearing them a bit. Boil for 2-3 minutes. It is done.

Transfer to a serving bowl, let cool, refrigerate and serve chilled.




Sunday, 4 December 2016

CHALKUMRO GHONTO / ASH GOURD WITH LENTIL FRITTERS



This dish was part of my 200th blogpost last year, where I compiled four heirloom recipes from the kitchen of Bengal. I thought let me share them individually with the wish to reach more people. I take a lot of pride in my roots and lot of bloggers are actually doing the job very beautifully. I humbly add mine, recipes that have come down to us for generations should be compiled and archived. Honestly, when I started with the blog, I very much wished to keep it exclusively as an archive for family recipes, representing  Bengal's Kitchen. Somehow midway I could not keep my promise and the blog turned onto a 'Khichdi'..... meaning.... a hotchpotch one. It feels good to see some of my friends doing the same beautifully, I just provide fillers when they are not doing it.

I have decided to archive certain family recipes on the blog. Whether I promote them or not, they should be on the blog. I know even my daughter-in-law may not try them, yet they should be there. This particular dish is prepared with AshGourd and Lentil Fritters or Dal pakora. Actually, the dal pakora is a substitution for 'bori'..... that is dried lentil balls.. With the on and off rain scenario here, I never try preparing them at home. There is a way of doing it in microwave which I am yet to try. So, I team this non-spicy dish with dal pakora. You can also substitute the Ash Gourd with Bottle Gourd or Raw Papaya. Let us prepare this healthy, vegetarian dish together.

INGREDIENTS :[for the dal pakora]
Masoor Dal : 1/2 cup
Nigella Seeds[kalojeera] : 1/2tsp
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Sugar : 1/4tsp
Oil to fry.

INGREDIENTS :[main]
Ash Gourd [chalkumro] : 1medium
Green Chilli : 2-3
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Turmeric : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Peel, wash, cut and shred the ash gourd. Add salt n turmeric, mix well.

Let us do the dal vadas first. Soak the dal in water for 1 hour. Grind to a paste discarding the water.

Add kalojeera,salt, turmeric,sugar. Beat well for 2-3 minutes and shape into small balls. Heat oil in a wok and fry the vadas till golden brown.

Once done, add 2tbsp oil in the remaining oil. As it get hot, temper with cumin seeds, bayleaf and halved red chillies.

Add the shredded ash gourd, stir and cover. Keep heat at low.

After 12-14 minutes, uncover and add the vadas and slitted green chillies. Stir and cover again.

Keep stirring every 3-4 minutes till the water dries up. Add the sugar, stir again, cook for 2 minutes, its done.

Dal vadas are used as a substitute for bori [dried lentil ball].



Thursday, 1 December 2016

CABBAGE FRITTERS / BADHAKOPIR BORA





Its monsoon here, raining every now and then. One good thing about the weather here is that it does not rain incessantly. So, there is ample reason to romanticise with the tiny droplets that create a ripple deep within. As I walk past, I stop and watch the water drenched leaves, flowers. That is one major reason why it takes four hours for me to finish a half marathon. Nothing in this world comes in a platter. Then, I love all attributes of nature, except for its fury. With the senior on a tour , not really in a mood / mode to cook. Not that he is a big eater but when one member from the threesome is absent, one just not feel like. Besides, my boy is happy with his dose of chicken with  luchi[Bengali Bread]. With such simplification of kitchen cores, one does have ample time for reading, listening to old favourite numbers. I also wished to revisit some of my old favourite movies from Ijjazat to Step Mom, I can watch them any number of times. I can create a movie hall ambience with a big bowl of popcorn too, yet unable to get into the mood. Though there had been several threat messages sent during such absence, the answer had always been  "phew... let me work"..... the obvious answer should be "good... let me shop". I think all women will agree with me.... The problem with me is I am a bit miser and cannot shop till I drop.... so it is always a win... win situation on the other side.

So when one has ample time to sit and write such silly notes, it means she wants to share a recipe with you all, keeping in tune with the simplistic approach of her blog. Whether it is monsoon or not, everyone love fries and fritters. We do it with all available vegetables, perhaps. My senior's big aunt who expired few months back was an expert on it. In that humble home, each evening there had / has to be 2-3 kinds of fries to go with lentil and rice.... ohh.... so yum. This cabbage fritters or Badhakopir Bora are a childhood favourite. The mom thing had a trouble some time given a foodie daughter and her son is still so..... my dude brother is definitely not going to like this post today, haha. Yet I am eager to prepare this yummy vegetarian fry / fritter together with you all.

INGREDIENTS :

Cabbage : 1small [shredded]
Onion : 2big[sliced ], authentically not used
Nigella Seeds [kalonji] : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Chopped Green Chillies : 2-4
Sugar : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Rice Flour : 1small cup
Gram Flour : 1/4small cup
Refined Flour : 2tbsp
Oil : 100ml.... left over can be used later

METHOD :

Through the outer leaves of the cabbage. Wash and cut into 4 pieces. Cut and discard the hard portion. Now shred the remaining portion and wash again.

Cut the two ends of the onions and peel. Wash and slice. Take both the shredded cabbage and sliced onion in a big bowl. Add the chopped green chillies. Add little salt, mix well and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

In a wide mouthed bowl, take the rice flour, gram flour, refined flour, nigella seeds, sugar, salt and turmeric. Add water to it little by little and mix well until it reaches a paste like consistency.

Heat oil in a wok. Drain any excess water from the cabbage-onion mix. Take some mix, coat with the batter well and carefully add to the oil. Fry at medium to low heat as and when required.

Fry in batches, once done transfer onto a tissue paper first and then to a serving plate.

Enjoy with tea or as an accompaniment to rice and dal / lentil.