Monday, 30 January 2017

NOTUN GURER ROSHOGOLLA



Though I live in a tropical country, back home it is still winter and people are enjoying all sorts of pithe [steamed and fried snacks] and sweets made of notun / nolen / patali / khejur gur [date palm jaggery]. As said earlier it is available only during winter, so I felt why not do some more favourite sweets with  notun gur  before it goes off the market. I get very small amount of this gur, say about a kilogram only from Kolkata because I have seen refrigerating them for too long hardens it and its unique flavour is lost. In such tropical weather we cannot keep it in normal temperature as it spoils quickly. In such a scenario, I prefer to finish it off quickly preparing goodies for my family. I remember since childhood till date roshogolla and Marie biscuit ruled among all other sweets and biscuits at my parent's home. Oh, cream cracker biscuit too, topped with homemade jelly. Maa used to make guava, mango and pineapple jelly.

Roshogolla / Rasgulla is not something I do on a regular basis, I prefer doing sandesh, ladoo and kheer rather which I find easier. However I feel I need to do roshogolla more often at home because the rasgulla we get here is not that much in taste as back home. While preparing roshogolla, the most famous of all Bengali sweets, my heartbeat gets faster. I am too very tensed thinking will it break while its boiling or not. I have slowly and gradually learnt the tricks of getting it right. Now only practice can get me off the fear. Earlier I blogged on a rose flavoured roshogolla, hence each time while doing it I take the measurements according to it. I have tried to give stepwise pictures for the rosogolla preparation with date palm jaggery. Few of the pictures are repeat ones from earlier post, there is no point taking same picture again and again. Come let us prepare Notun Gurer Roshogolla together..... a winter treat from Bengal.

INGREDIENTS : [for the chena / paneer]
Milk [fresh] : 2lt [I never get good paneer from tetra pack milk]
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Ice Cube : 1small cup

INGREDIENTS : [for the jaggery syrup]
Patali Gur : 200gm
Water : 6- 8 coffee mug [while doing rasgullas we cannot allow the syrup to get sticky][the paneer balls should get enough space to move around while boiling]

INGREDIENTS : [for the final thing]
Paneer : As we get
Semolina [suji] : 1tbsp
Baking Powder : 1/2tsp
Jaggery syrup



METHOD :
Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. Bring to boil, add the lemon juice. As the milk curdles, switch off gas. Add the ice cubes immediately. Let cool.



Strain the whey water through a clean white cloth, tie the cloth with paneer on your kitchen tap. Keep tied for about 40-45 minutes  and take down, untie.



Transfer to a bowl or plate. We need to knead it well.



Keep mashing and kneading for about 15 minutes. Add the semolina and baking powder at this point. Knead for 10 minutes more.



Prepare small balls from the dough. We get about 20-22 roshogolla / rasgulla from the dough.



Break the jaggery further into smaller pieces.



Take 6-8 coffee mugs of water and the date palm jaggery / patali gur in a deep bottomed vessel. Put for boil.


After it boils for 2-3 minutes and the jaggery melts, drop the paneer balls, cover and let boil for 20-24 minutes.



After 20-24 minutes of boiling, they should be done. Transfer carefully to a bowl. Serve warm or chilled as your family prefers.


Friday, 27 January 2017

CORIANDER POORI



It is a long weekend for us starting today. If you are thinking these pooris are made this morning you are wrong. The senior at home does not like elaborate breakfast anymore. Gone are the days when he loved a plateful of luchi / poori, paratha / chapati with a vegetable bowl accompanied by a sweet. That does not mean he has stopped loving them, so I have changed the schedule a bit. As I told earlier my family do not go by the healthy rule of having a heavy breakfast, light lunch and lighter dinner. After all day, we meet together at dinner and love to have the best meal of the day then, that too at 10 pm. This weird, happy family do not go by any rules, each one of us love our freedom so much and give due respect to each other's space. I love them and try to stir up dishes they love.

It may not sound healthy, but it is during dinner time that I prefer doing different kind of Indian breads for my men. This coriander poori was done on such a day. I usually serve them with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian sides. At times there is also a sweet and dessert bowl to accompany. This coriander poori is not a stuffed one. I have used chopped fresh coriander leaves in the dough itself along with few other spices. Hence the poori will not be fluffy much, I have kept them crisper rather using little more ghee than usual for preparing the dough. Let us prepare this easy, peasy and yum Coriander Poori together. I have tried to provide stepwise pictures for the whole process.


INGREDIENTS :
Refined Flour : 2big cup
Whole Wheat Flour : 1big cup
Cumin Seed : 1tsp
Coriander Seed : 1/2tsp
Carom Seed : 1/2tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Fresh Coriander Leaves[chopped] : 1small cup
Green Chilli [chopped] : 2
Ghee [clarified butter] : 2-3tbsp
Salt : 1/4tsp
Oil : 100-150ml [or as required to deep fry]


METHOD :
Dry roast the cumin seeds, carom seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chillies, cool and grind to a little coarse powder.

Take both the flours in a wide mouthed vessel. Add the ghee and salt and rub for 3-4 minutes.

Now add the powdered spices, finely chopped green chillies and coriander leaves. Mix very well.

Add water little by little and keep kneading until its smooth, yet tight.



You may cover with a clean, moist cloth for sometime or you may not. Now form balls tearing some from the dough.



Dust each ball with some flour and roll into round shaped poori with help of a rolling pin and base.



Heat oil in a wok and fry each poori on both sides till crisp. Take out draining the excess oil.



Serve hot with choice of your sides.


Monday, 23 January 2017

PATALI GURER KANCHAGOLLA





Patali Gur / Nolen Gur / Khejur Gur / Notun Gur .... these all are actually Date-Palm Jaggery. Patali Gur is the hardened form while Nolen or Khejur Gur is in liquid form. Is there any difference between them ..... remains always my question to the shopkeepers back home who are never clear with their answer. At this point I miss my maternal grandfather who would have given satisfactory answer to my query. What I have found is that when we boil the patali gur adding some water, we get the liquid form called nolen gur. Going back to my childhood, I have seen my grandmother boiling Date Palm Juice in big pots for hours in clay ovens to get Date Palm Jaggery. Later my mom used to do the same in her gas oven. Now she has stopped given the skyrocketing price of a gas cylinder back home. On my winter visits I buy my Patali Gur, pack them nicely and bring here. This time I almost bought a container of liquid Khejur Gur [date palm jaggery] too but changed my mind fearing they may spoil my sarees and all the new clothes I was carrying. For whom do I take the risk, my men do not have a Bengali tastebud. At times I tell them you are not mine, one whose winter morning does not start with Triangular Paratha and a small bowl of liquid Khejur Gur, cannot be called a Bengali. Looking back I can see a little girl wearing a divine smile, tearing small pieces of parathas, dipping it into the khejur gur..... and then what happens is a divine pleasure.... as accompaniment I always had with me my favourite characters 'Tenida', 'Ghanada', 'Felula'. At that tender age I even enjoyed reading Homer, but when it came to Science, Mathematics or even doing Topo Maps, I got totally numb and dumb. The mornings when the balcony of our two roomed rented home glittered with 'Shuktara' and 'Anandamela' [bi-monthly Children Magazine], I couldn't concentrate at school, eagerly waited for homecoming. I loved only literature and history, chose a wrong subject as major. Later during masters, wished to switchover to anthropology but was not eligible . Then continued with the same subject because the mother of the house wished to see the tag. No wonder why my junior has developed so much of love for history.

By now my readers must have known I use this space to pen down my thoughts on life and various social issues. I love to keep my life as an open book, I am not Kareena Kapoor that my TRP goes down doing so.Today happens to be my little brother's birthday. I remember it was a Basant Panchami day and also celebration of the birthday of the national hero Subhash Chandra Bose...... had he been allowed to continue as the leader after independence, we could have seen a better India, and off course West Bengal would not have been treated as a step child as been so for the past sixty years. I am not interested in who Gumnami Baba was, I like many others lament over the fact on how a promising leader was sabotaged. Coming to my brother, he is seven years younger than me, and I had always been a very protective elder sister. He is adorable who does not understand life till date. I do not know when the happy go lucky will grow up, I blame it on the over protective mother. It also happens to be my sister-in-law's wedding anniversary.... I wish them all a blissful and happy life.

These Patali Gurer Kanchagolla [a sweet with date palm jaggery] can be made in a jiffy. I do have a Kanchagolla recipe on blog done with sugar as I love it since childhood.While in Kolkata, my friend Chandreyee got us this nolen gurer kanchagolla from Balaram Mallick... a famous sweet shop in Kolkata. It is particularly during winter, when the Bengal [on both sides of the border forcefully divided in 1905 for vested interest] markets are flooded with nolen / khejur / patali , each Bengali homes and sweet shops make pithe and sweets with it. We call it notun gur because we get it with the onset of winter and finish off by spring. All Bengali bloggers will have an array of Date Palm Jaggery sweets displayed on their blog during this  period of the year, I am adding mine. Let us prepare this Patali Gurer Kanchagolla together with homemade paneer and date palm jaggery. I forgot to take picture of all the steps, I was so eager to taste one. Dear readers, please do bear with this forgetful mind.

INGREDIENTS :[for the homemade paneer]
Fresh Milk : 2lt 
Lemon Juice : 3tbsp
Ice Cubes : 1 medium cup

INGREDIENTS : [ for the final product]
Homemade Paneer : As we get
Patali Gur [date palm jaggery] : 100-150gm
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Water : A small cup
Raisin : One for each sweet to garnish

METHOD :

Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to boil and add the lemon juice. As the milk curdles, add the ice-cubes and let cool.



With help of a clean white cloth, strain the whey, tie the cloth and hang for 40-45 minutes.


Take down and transfer to a bowl. It needs to be mashed for quite sometime.





After mashing it looks this smooth.






Now it is time to cut the patali gur into smaller pieces.





At this stage I forgot to click stepwise. Anyway, bring to boil a cup of water. Add the jaggery and keep boiling till it gets sticky. Pour it over the paneer. Let cool a bit. Add the cardamom powder and mash further for 5-6 minutes. Shape into Kanchagollas, garnish with raisins and serve fresh and warm.






























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Friday, 20 January 2017

BEGUN ALOO BORI DIYE PALONG SHAKER GHONTO



This was also a part of my 200th blogpost a year back or so. I was never happy with the post, felt it incomplete without the use of 'bori', that is dried lentil balls. I never bring bori from India as they say carrying bori while travelling far is a bad omen. A dear friend here who is less superstitious and prejudiced compared to me got me a priceless packet of Bori. Did she ask anything in return ? No, she knows when S  makes palong shak with bori, begun, aloo, a bowl full will go to her house, in return S waits for her variety of salads. Extremely health conscious that she is, her day starts religiously with visiting the gym. Yet she envies Priyanka's curves while I shamelessly gobbled four to five pakoras yesterday night without a bit of exercise in the past two months. Ipsita if you are reading this, you know there is not a bit of exaggeration in it. Ipsita never sends her husband alone to our house, not because both S' will fall for each other..... hihi..... but because she knows this S will feed her S all junks and ghee smeared stuffs. By the way I love been treated as a mother hen here by some dear ones. I still regret though for no one falling or feeling for me since my teens and hence destiny got me to live with such a tiger and non-foodie under one roof. Not for a single day he read my blog, neither do I watch CNBC with him, so no fights. My dream of having a small eatery of my own will remain a dream always. Coming to the reason of regret, I have promised to start with my walks and jogs from next Monday, though my friend says there is no toning possible without taking weights. Moreover the true heart Bengali cannot sacrifice her love for spicy and fatty food altogether. 

With the priceless gift of bori [dried lentil balls] from Ipsita, I made this PalongShak er [spinach]  Ghonto with begun [eggplant] and aloo[potato]. Now its authenticity can be claimed. This is a non-spicy, vegetarian dish that we usually have with rice. It also goes well with Indian breads. Let us prepare this Begun Aloo Bori diye Palong Shaker Ghonto together.

INGREDIENTS :
Spinach [palak] : 2bunches
Potato : 1medium
Eggplant[begun] : 2small
Green Chilli : 2
Dry Red Chilli : 1
Panchphoron : 1/4tsp[an equal amount of fenugreek, fennel, cumin, wild celery,nigella seeds mixed together]
Salt : As required
Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
Bori[dry lentil balls] : 7-8 [no need to break if they are small]
Oil : 2-3tbsp

METHOD : 
Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Wash. Cut the eggplants into cubes too. Rub salt and turmeric.

Chop the palak leaves and wash thoroughly.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potatoes and egg plants separately and keep aside. Fry the dried lentil balls and keep aside. They may soak oil, so add a spoon if required.

Temper the same oil with panchphoron and halved dry red chilli.

Add the chopped palak, add salt and little turmeric. Stir and cover. A lot of water will release.

After 10 minutes uncover and add the fried potatoes and slitted green chillies. Stir and cover. Uncover after 5 minutes, the water should dry up by now. Add the fried eggplants and bori. Stir carefully, let cook for 1-2 minutes. Its done.

Have it hot and fresh with rice or chapati.



Monday, 16 January 2017

BAKED SANDESH


Yes, this is how a true heart Bengali expresses love for her roots sitting in another country. It is also true that I got this tart pan to try  tarts, an egg tart to start with. As usual extremely scared to do what is not my forte, neither wanting to keep the tart pan as a showpiece, I thought let me inaugurate it with something easy and less time consuming. Why I am posting dessert one after another.... Oh I am trying to remain calm and sweet tempered keeping aside all tensions. My help, now a family member Cristine is yet to come back from vacation and I am literally going crazy. Moreover, with a son going for his boards in another fourteen months, my mind is literally in two pieces, should I take a long break or not? Going by the standards of a Bengali mother, I can see myself ranking almost last. Each time I come back from Kolkata I feel more guilty watching my friends back home dedicating and sacrificing everything for the kids. Moreover with a senior like mine, I am going extremely crazy with his patent dialog I do not want my son to be in any rat race, I want him to be happy. How much I disagree, he is firm on his belief that a child is only liable to fulfil his / her own dreams and not their parents. Now the son, going by his extreme love for history says he wants to be the curator of a museum, while the very average, typical Bengali mother wished to see him somewhere near and around NASA. There is nothing wrong in the mother's wish as her son has the potential going by all his teachers' feedback, what he lacks is effort.

Taken into account all these factors, no wonder why the fat old lady is getting fatter and greying super fast. I am so very used to my Cristine.... dear knead the dough little more, Cristine do the stuffing and I will roll them. Amidst all these mess, I so much appreciate my fellow foodie bloggers doing so great job sharing so many dishes every other day. Whether they are doing it with or without a help is not important , the effort and love for it is what I appreciate. This Baked Sandesh was done during Diwali celebration, then for one reason or the other my wish to share it with the world got delayed. Today I felt I should share this mess free way of making a Sandesh, a Bengali sweet or in a way dessert famous worldwide to sweet lovers. I have provided stepwise picture for the entire process to prove my point that it does not require kneading or mashing . I even used store bought paneer for this sweet. Let us prepare this Baked Sandesh together.



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


INGREDIENTS : [for the final product]
Paneer : 150 gm
Condensed Milk : 50ml
Sugar : 1-2tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Baking Soda : A pinch[can skip]
Instant Khoya : As we get.
Ghee [clarified butter] : A drop or two

METHOD :
Preheat oven to 180*C. 

Let us prepare the instant khoya first. By now my readers must have by hearted this khoya recipe as I keep on mentioning which again I have learnt from an you tube video. I just adjusted the amount of the ingredients as it suits my family. We will take all ingredients of instant khoya in a bowl and mix well.



Now microwave the mixture for 2-3 minutes pausing and stirring every 30 seconds. Our instant khoya is ready.



Now we will take the paneer in a wide mouthed bowl, break further and crumble with hand. 



Add the instant khoya and condensed milk to the crumbled paneer and mix roughly.



Now put the mixture in the mixer grinder. Add 1-2tbsp sugar, a pinch of baking soda and 1/4tsp of green cardamom powder. Grind to a paste for 1-2 minutes pausing in between.



Grease the tart pan with a drop of ghee [clarified butter]. Pour the mixture into it. 



Bake at 180*C for 12-15 minutes depending on the temperature level of your machine. It is done when the top is light brown.




Friday, 13 January 2017

RANGA ALOOR PULI PITHE



Makar Sankranti brings back a number of childhood memories. At this time of the year we were always at our maternal grand parent's place where it used to be kind of 'pithe'....... sweet and salted steamed or fried snacks festival during Makar Sankranti. Our grandfather had some landed property in the outskirts of the small hamlet they lived in, about 100km away from Kolkata. So, fresh farm produce used to come from there, of which date palm jaggery and juice were a part. Our wintry morning started with drinking 'khejurer rosh'.... date palm juice. Then almost everyday in and around makar sankranti, Grand mom used to prepare various kind of pithe. The sweet ones had khoya, lentil and coconut fillings whereas the salted ones we had with liquid date palm jaggery. My grandma lived few years in Assam where she learnt a number of steamed pithe . Wish I could try them all some day.

We get very good sweet potatoes throughout the year in the place we stay. Bengalis do prepare a number of sweets with sweet potato which we call ranga aloo. This is a very simple recipe of sweet potato dumplings with a dal / lentil and shredded coconut stuffing. It is a fried sweet meat or pithe soaked in sugar syrup that is done mainly in winter. I do it when I feel like. Let us prepare Ranga Aloor Puli Pithe together.

INGREDIENTS : [for the filling]
Moong Dal [split yellow dal] : 1small cup
Shredded Coconut : 1/3small cup
Sugar : 1/2small cup
Ghee : 2tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the sugar syrup]
Sugar : 1small cup
Water : 11/2big cup
Green Cardamom : 2-3

INGREDIENTS : [for the coverage]
Ranga Aloo [Sweet Potato]: 3-4 [medium size]
Sugar : 1tbsp
Refined Flour : 11/2tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1tsp 

Oil : 1medium cup to fry the dumplings.

METHOD :
Dry roast the moong dal and soak in hot water for 2 hours.
Take out the skin of the sweet potatoes, wash and cut them half. Boil them till tender in enough water, cool and drain the water. Take in a bowl and mash well adding the refined flour, sugar and cardamom powder.


Drain the water from the dal, wash and grind to a paste in the grinder adding very little water. Heat 2tbsp ghee in a wok. Add the dal and keep stirring till it comes out of the sides and the raw smell goes away. Add the sugar and shredded coconut, fold in well and stir cook for 3-4 minutes. Our stuffing is ready.


Now shape the sweet potato mix into tennis size balls, smoothen by rolling between palms for a while. Make a hole and fill with the dal and coconut stuffing. Close and flatten a bit. This takes less oil to fry.


Heat oil in a wok. Fry the stuffed dumplings in batches. Simultaneously we will prepare the sugar syrup with sugar, water and green cardamom.



Take out the fried dumplings and place onto tissue paper. The sugar syrup need not be too sticky, little will do. Switch off gas once done.


Now soak the stuffed fried dumplings in the sugar syrup. Serve hot or chilled after sometime as you prefer.


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

EGGLESS JAGGERY ROSHOGOLLA CUPCAKE WITH A YOGURT PISTACHIO TOPPING



Just back from a month long holiday, no work and only leisure and a bit of shopping. Going back to the same old place gives me pleasure, I never get bored been there though my mind was in two pieces as my senior could not go for a week also. This has another problem too, I could not have there the food he loves, did not even feel like having both of our favourite duck egg curry, few fresh water fish he loves. More surprisingly I even did not have what I love..... rolls and biryanis. All of a sudden I realised I am ageing mentally too, the sight of high caloric food was getting me tensed, strongly felt
diabetes kills you mentally too. Yet in between I did have food I like at people's places, had sinful bites of muffins, fried chicken while with friends, my neighbourhood friends treated me with my favourite momo too. All these I had without a bit of exercise. Now I am really scared to stand on the weighing scale, thought let us start with some workouts first. This time I strongly felt I am no more craving for any food, on my three weeks stay I hardly felt I have to have it except for some sweets, which I bet you will not get anywhere in the world other than Kolkata.

The above lines should not mean I have stopped cooking. At this moment I am going slow with it, with lots of other things on the line. Makar Sankranti is near and still thinking what to prepare on the day. I wish for something that is easy and quick. Before that I wished to share this cup cakes with jaggery and roshogolla / rasgulla. This was my first attempt to prepare cake with jaggery, n it turned out well. For topping I used yogurt, trust me you will like it. Come let us enjoy doing these yummy and easy  eggless jaggery roshogolla cake with yogurt pistachio topping together.

INGREDIENTS [for the cup cake]
Roshogolla/ Rasgulla : 8-10[1 each for one cup cake]
Jaggery : 1/2small cup [grated]
Refined Flour : 1big cup
Milk : 1/2big cup
Baking soda : 1tsp
Vinegar : 1tbsp
Oil : 1/2 small cup
Cinnamon Powder : 1tsp

INGREDIENTS [for topping]
Plain Yogurt : 1small cup
Condensed Milk : 1/4cup
Pistachio : 6-8 [chopped]

METHOD :
Preheat oven to 180*C.

Take the yogurt and condensed milk in a bowl and beat well. Add the chopped pistachios and mix well.

Sieve the flour, cinnamon and baking soda in a wide mouthed bowl. Put the grated jaggery in the grinder and grind for a minute. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add milk, oil and vinegar. Mix well and keep beating with a hand or electric beater for 5 minutes.

Add the flour mix little by little and beat well. Once done it looks as below.



Now pour the batter up to 1/4 of the cups. Squeeze the juice from the rasgulla and place at the centre of the cup. Pour little more batter. Place the cups on the baking tray. They look as below.



Bake at 180*C for 25 to 30 minutes depending on your machine. Please do check after 20-22 minutes  inserting a fork in the middle.



Once cool decor with the topping and enjoy fresh with your loved ones.