Monday, 20 February 2017

MINTY EGGS



Its been a jam packed weekend and I enjoyed every bit of it. Last Saturday we went to watch the play Dear Liar held at the National University Cultural Hall of this Island City ..... and who else could portray George Bernard Shaw and Patrick Campbell better other than Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah ...... based on the letters exchanged between the two over forty years of time, it was a wonderful, powerhouse performance by the latter and we had to be there. Even if Naseer had come for a 'Oye-Oye' dance, I would have gone though I never could accept my Albert Pinto taking up that role in Tridev. I do enjoy Bollywood commercial movies but cannot accept such people doing it, its just a waste of talent. Though I am not so much of a theatre person, I enjoyed. After the show, we rocked over a full Panjabi platter at Khansama Tandoor. Yesterday too was another beautiful day with nice people around of which I will talk later. You know I have to mention them even if later because two packets of bori arrived, accompanied by a very thoughtful gift and another blissful one from a loving aunty. Life is beautiful indeed with nice people around.

By the way, I have not blogged on an Egg dish for long, that does not mean my senior has stopped loving eggs. I was weaving ideas. Keeping in tune with my love for fresh herbs, I thought how about using some fresh mint leaves in my curry along with my favourite ingredient yogurt. My forefathers hail from Comilla [now Bangladesh], using fresh coriander paste in curries during winter is common among us.... Mint is not so much in use among us but when it comes to food, my acceptability is much higher than rest of my family. This Egg Curry with fresh mint paste was a kind of experimentation last week and I loved it with piping hot steamed rice. It definitely should go well with Indian / South Asian breads. Let us prepare this Minty Egg Curry together to go with fresh, hot Rice and / or Chapati.

INGREDIENTS :
Egg : 8
Mint Leaves[fresh pudina] : 1small cup
Plain Yogurt : 1/4small cup
Onion : 1medium [sliced]
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Cumin Seeds : 2pinches
Green Chilli : 3-4
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3-4tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the eggs carefully and boil in enough water adding a spoonful of salt. This helps peeling off the shells easily.

Prepare a paste with the green chillies, mint leaves adding the plain yogurt.

Drain the water once cool, peel the eggs and apply little salt and 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder on them and rub well.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the eggs lightly in batches, take out.

Temper the oil with cumin seeds and as they splutter, add the onion slices.

Keep stirring till the onion slices turn light brown. Add the cumin and coriander powders. Fold in well. Add 1/2 small cup water.

As it comes to boil, add the fried eggs. Let boil for 2-3 minutes.

Now add the yogurt-mint paste. Fold in well. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes at low heat. Its done.

Transfer to a bowl and enjoy hot with your choice of rice or roti.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

BATTER FRIED STUFFED BHINDI



So you see that 'two tablespoon of rice' does not really work unless we are into a balanced diet on a regular basis. The health experts say once a week can be a cheat day, for me it comes to three to four days a week. Of late I have realised that I cannot keep my tongue under control for long, so I have set it free.... the world knows I love my freedom too much. Then there is someone at home who would always say the most important thing in life is to be happy..... you eat and workout. Hey come on it does not work that way is my feeble answer..... Weight Loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise. Furthermore when I see the food fare in all the food groups I am part of, it becomes impossible to be otherwise than to cook and eat. Just when I decide to have a bowl of dal and salad for the dinner accompanied by a big piece of fish, someone would come up with a post on mutton biryani and leave me nowhere. It is for hilsa and mutton that I am unable to turn a vegetarian. Once I had set out of Kolkata, my taste bud has undergone a sea change and I am loving it.... chaats to fries ..... with six years of stay in this health freak island city, I do love my share of soups... steamed dumplings and other healthy spreads like Yong Tau Foo. After few hours I will be going to the Indian market, and do you think I will come back without having a plate of my favourite Appam?.... nah.... at Anand Bhavan they serve it with a small bowl of coconut milk and an orange colour sugar ..... whereas our very dear Keralite couple friends Mitty and Anjana Matthew serve it with egg or chicken stew. Diabetes, I have made peace with you.

As weekend arrives, we have to have some snackers if we are not going out anywhere. I made these stuffed Bhindi / Lady's Finger last Saturday. Instead of preparing a curry with it, I batter fried them. Trust me you will love it this way as a snacker. I have made the stuffing with a filling made of shredded coconut and few spices. I like it with a bowl of plain yogurt adding some black salt, ginger juice and chopped green chillies. My men have it with same old sauce, you can pair it with any kind of chutney, sauce or pickle. Come let us do this easy, vegetarian snacker / fry together and enjoy the coming weekend. I have tried to provide few stepwise pictures for the whole process.

INGREDIENTS :[for the stuffing]
Coconut [shredded] : 1medium cup
Gram Flour : 1/4small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 2 [chopped]
Carom Seed : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required



INGREDIENTS : [for the batter]
Rice Flour : 1/3small cup
Corn Flour : 2tbsp
Gram Flour : 1/4small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Water : As Required

INGREDIENTS : [finally]
Lady's Finger : 8-10[washed, dried,slitted]
The Stuffing [assorting together all ingredients]
The Batter [Mixing all ingredients adding water to get a paste like consistency]
Oil : 100-200ml to fry[leftover can be used later]

METHOD :
Wash the lady's finger / bhindi in running water and pat dry.



You see I did not cut the ends because I wished to hold it royally, dip it into the yogurt and take love filled bites. Slit the bhindi from middle but do not cut half. Take all the ingredients of stuffing in a bowl, mix well. Sprinkle little water to tighten it.




Fill the lady's finger with stuffing as much as possible.



Let us prepare the batter now. Take all the ingredients of batter in a bowl, add water little by little to get a paste like consistency.



Coat the stuffed Bhindi well with the batter.



Heat oil in a wok. Deep fry the batter coated stuffed Lady's Finger at medium to low heat till they are brown.



Serve hot and fresh with your choice of condiments.


Monday, 13 February 2017

MINI CHEESY PARATHA BITES WITH STRAWBERRY-YOGURT DIP



Ain't the little hearts looking beautiful ? They indeed are because I have put in a lot of love planning and making them. I do not believe in any one day of celebrating love, but there is no harm if there is a grand celebration on a particular day, what is wrong if a right ambience is created where one can say .... with you I experienced heaven on earth. The world need not go by my set of rules ........... At times I love going back to the childhood, teen hood days and cuddle with the fond memories. How silly we had been, specially the boys of the class. Their so called crushes within and outside the school gate, doing all stupid things seeking attention, even one or two young, new teachers were not spared. It was our 10th board examination, we had to go to another school to write the papers, a very beautiful, all decked up young teacher Pricilla used to come for invigilation...... do not tell me my boyfriends' all concentration was on the paper. Of them all, there was a sweet little boy whose crushes changed at higher frequency, and an indulgent me had to listen to all his stories patiently. At times I had to chase those girls to gather some data to give him some feedback. Looking at his deep, doe like eyes, I could never say dear you should not talk so much of beautiful women to a 'not so beautiful' one. I knew he was not doing it purposefully, he worshipped beauty and poured his heart to a trusted friend. Later he and others did get beautiful partners for themselves except for my senior.... no love for telling me he did not wish to have one.. All of them  more or less got what they wished in life, I hope, according to their own capability. As of my girlfriends, with some I literally grew up together. I do treasure them all ..... far or near. A dear one who lost his love few years back, has a wonderful kid as support. As I stepped into junior college, I came out of my shell and made innumerable friends.

My ever romantic nature was perhaps discovered first by our Bengali teacher .... I.... miss. She recommended me Maitreyi Devi's Na Hanyate .... meaning 'It does not die' when I was only 15. Is it her autobiography? We do not know, I believe there cannot be absolute truth in a biography too. We are not at the liberty to disclose everything about our life neither it is required.Through this write up I wished to say do not set hard rules for your kids, just see they do not cross boundaries... they definitely will do well in life.... Secondly, echoing Bengali Miss, one of my favourite teacher I found it to be the right time to recommend Na Hanyate as a wonderful read for those who believe 'It does not die'. To accompany any good read we need some tit bits or snackers .... hence these Mini Cheesy Paratha Bites that I made last weekend and served with a chilled bowl of StrawberryYogurt Dip with addition of shredded carrot, beetroot, chopped green chillies, cherry tomatoes and fresh coriander leaves. Come let us do both together and serve happily to our family and friends.


INGREDIENTS : [for the yogurt dip]
Plain Yogurt : 200gm
Strawberry : 2
Condensed Milk : 1tbsp
Carrot [shredded] : 2tbsp
Beetroot [shredded] : 1tbsp
Fresh Coriander [chopped] : 1tbsp
Cherry Tomato [chopped] : 1tbsp
Green Chilli : 2 [chopped]
Black Salt : 1/4tsp
Chaat Masala : 1/2tsp


INGREDIENT : [for the cheesy paratha bites]
Refined Flour : 1big cup[maida]
Wheat Flour : 1medium cup [atta]
Cheese : As Required [I used smoked]
Raspberries : 1 for each 
Salt : 3-4 pinches
Oil : 2tbsp + 1/2 tsp for each paratha


METHOD :




Let us prepare the strawberry-yogurt dip first. Prepare a paste with the two strawberries, add it to the yogurt taken in a bowl.

Add the condensed milk, black salt, chaat masala to it. Beat well with a spoon.

Add all the chopped and shredded vegetables to the yogurt dip.

Let chill for an hour.




For shaping the parathas and cheese slices, I used  cookie cutters of different sizes.

Take both the flours in a wide mouthed bowl. Add salt and 2tbsp oil. Rub well for 2-3 minutes.

Add water little by little and prepare a dough kneading it well for 10-12 minute. Keep covered with a moist cloth for 15 minutes.

Remove cover, take out portions and prepare balls.





With rolling pin shape them round dusting with some flour. Place the cookie cutter right in the middle and press.



Keep the heart intact, remove the sides.



Prepare a batch before frying.



Put the pan on gas. We can prepare 2-3 mini parathas at a time. First cook both sides for a minute, then fry in little oil both sides.



Transfer to a plate. Shape the cheese with smaller cookie cutter. Now place the cheese on top of paratha. Decor with a raspberry, top with the strawberry - yogurt dip, sprinkle shredded and chopped carrots, beetroot, fresh coriander, green chilli all over... enjoy with tea, coffee or your favourite drink.


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

PHOOLKOPIR BORA O AAMER TOK MISHTI ACHAR




I think I should stop all the big talks I do on health because it does not tally with what I do within the four walls of my home. With my daily dose of just two tablespoon of rice if I have eight to ten fries, people will definitely ask me to shut my mouth soon. Well, we do not always practice what we preach, though we should. Our Cristine is so tired of the same question .... dear do you find me a little less? Her innocent answer would be it is same as last month. The heavy hearted me wants to say some lies are harmless dear. Looking at the mirror I can see piled up stubborn fat in the arms and tummy. My senior would say stop worrying, be happy, you cannot or need not be Priyanka Chopra. He is jealous actually because he knows the wifey thing is not dependable kind of, dated so many right from her teen.... Imran Khan to Wasim Akram to Pranoy Roy to the magnanimous Big B. Of them all it was the Little Master who ruled my heart. Loving him I loved Cricket, I am not at all a sporty kind. I was in standard 8, and he was supposed to be present at the Aajkaal ]Bengali Newspaper] stall. I went with an equally mad friend... Dalia. We stood in the front row with an autograph book and pen and told each other if lost we will meet at the Vostok stall entrance. We knew there will be a ruckus but never imagined  it will be of that magnitude. Everyone shouting Sunny.... Sunny rushed towards the stage, me been one. I could grab his shirt and no wonder the police will start using sticks. I fell from the steps, with deep bruises both of us friends were given first aid at the Calcutta Police Booth .... and the autograph book was lost... within a week I wrote him a letter, the answer I got after three years when in 11th standard. Today I cannot think of facing a policeman, not even for the Little Master .... I am aging....

So, I keep cooking for my men, for the silent and indulgent observer of his wife's madness .... Fries and fritters are a regular kind of thing at my home. We love it either as an appetiser or as a sides with lentil and rice. Phoolkopir Bora / Gobi Pakora / Cauliflower Pakora are quite regular at our home. Yesterday two of my friends came over tea..... they do not know each other, i felt they are of same nature, quiet and composed.... so let me introduce them to each other and the three of us can often meet. One is a North Indian and another South Indian.... and my Filipino Cristine made both happy with tea and coffee respectively. Nonetheless to say, all of us rocked over Phoolkopir Bora that was served with a homemade Raw Mango Achar / Pickle. Let us do them together.

INGREDIENTS : [for the achar / pickle]

Raw Mango : 2-3big
Mustard Seed : 1/2tsp
Sugar : 1/2small cup
Cumin Seed : 1tbsp
Coriander Seed : 1tbsp
Fennel Seed : 1tsp
Carom Seed : 1/2tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 5-6
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Mustard Oil : 50ml

INGREDIENTS : [for the phoolkopir bora]

Cauliflower : A medium sized
Rice Flour : 1medium cup
Refined Flour : 1/2small cup
Gram Flour : 1/2small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Leaves [chopped] : 1/2medium Cup
Green Chilli : 2[chopped]
Baking Powder : A pinch
Oil : 100-150ml to fry

METHOD :




For the pickle,  peel, half and discard the seed of the mangoes. Chop into smaller pieces and wash. Heat 1tsp oil in a pan. Temper with mustard seeds. Add the chopped mangoes, turmeric powder and little salt. Cover and cook for few minutes at low heat till they are soft.

Add the sugar, stir and let it melt. Add little water and let cook till the water dries up. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Dry roast the cumin, coriander, fennel, carom, dry red chilli and grind to a coarse powder. Add to the pickle and mix well. Add the mustard oil.






Transfer to a jar and pour the mustard oil atop. Refrigerate but give it a sunbath whenever possible.



Enjoy with roti, paratha or any fries.

Let us do the phoolkopir bora now.

Cut the cauliflower into medium florets, wash and microwave adding water for 3-4 minutes. Discard the water and add salt to them and let marinate for few minutes.


Prepare the batter with the three flours, chopped coriander and green chillies, turmeric, red chilli and baking powder, salt. Add water little by little to get a paste like consistency.



Heat oil in a wok. Coat the florets well in the batter.



Fry at medium to low heat till all sides become brown and crisp.


Once done turn onto tissue papers. Serve hot with your choice of condiment, I served with the mango pickle this time.


Monday, 6 February 2017

FRIED RED RICE WITH VEGGIES N PAN FRIED MASALA FISH




..... and I am frantically looking for ideas to get my junior love our most favourite staple rice and fish. Ever since we shifted to this neighbourhood which has a mall just opposite of our home, he is having Mac meals every now and then. The mamma thing is really really worried with his food habits. This island city is a food hub, we just cannot resist the alluring food fare at every corner. I will do injustice to my boy if I say he is fully into fast food. He does love soups, local style fried rice, sushi everything provided it is served in a restaurant like ambience. What concerns his mumma is his apathy towards typical Bengali dishes. I find it hard to accept the fact that he still could not adapt to the taste of our much loved Hilsa, the mumma learnt to debone fish at age six. Lots of thanks to my maternal grandfather who worked in Kolkata and lived with us from Monday to Friday. Back from the market, he would call me and made sure I touch and feel the fish, watch it breathe if it was a whole, living .... 'jyanto' fish. Weekends, he would travel all the way to his own home and do lot of gardening. I have grown up watching all these. I loved hearing stories of 'opar Bangla' now Bangladesh  from my father, who I lovingly call Papu. There is not a bit of exaggeration  when they say that they never bought mangoes or fish, everything was home grown. I could feel the pain from these repeated stories, the pain of leaving everything behind and migrating to a foreign land penniless. When grown up in such an environment, it is quite obvious that the mumma will be worried with his son not been rooted to his own culture much. My papu thing is a typical Bengali who prefers puffed rice, roti paratha more than bread any day but was a big fan of Sophia Loren. He would tell his daughter mamoni did you see how graceful the lady is, how expressive her eyes are, off course the oomph factor was not mentioned haha. So I do not bind myself to a particular place or belief either, the whole world is mine. The old man made me read Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay to Maupassant and I enjoyed all. I can relate to anything that talks about relationships, nature, environment, culinary art, you discuss science and technology with me, I make it sure you are talking to a five year old and wasting your energy. No wonder someone sitting beside will say darling I still wonder how you cleared your 10th boards, I say keep quite, life has other attributes too, I can identify some flowers from their smell, feel romantic watching a colour smitten butterfly, make love with those tiny droplets atop a leaf.... can you?

I am doing a lot of irrelevant talking I know, but I love this space and pour in my heart here. Can we fully do that? no we cannot... Coming back to food, My son hates plain rice unless it is served with chicken or mutton curry, he is totally averse to bony fish. If I can sacrifice my Bangaliana a bit and fry the rice with anything available in the kitchen and serve it with spice laden crispy or shallow fried fish, he will lap up the whole plate. For his happiness, anything. This red rice was prescribed by none other than my friend Ipsita, my health freak buddy, she said it has higher nutritious value. My doctor says it does not matter whether you are having red, brown or white rice, roti... chapati, what matters is the amount of intake. This red rice got favourite with me and my son, not so much with my senior who prefers long grained. As said my son loves fried rice in any form, be it an oriental one, peppery buttered one or biryani, I do not have any problem with that, only if they did not skip the salad and raita part.Such combo meals save a lot of time. This time I prepared a fried rice with this red rice and carrots, french beans and green peas, to accompany was succulent pieces of boneless fish, marinated in garam masala and lemon juice and fried till crisp. Ain't that a yum laden combo deal ? It definitely is, hence let us do this Fried Red Rice with Veggies and Pan Fried Masala Fish together.

INGREDIENTS : [for the fried rice]

Red Rice : 1big cup [should be ok for 4-6 heads]
French Bean : 1/2small cup [chopped]
Carrot : 1medium cup [chopped]
Green Pea : 1small cup
Onion : 1big [cubed]
Green Chilli : 2-3 [chopped]
Blackpepper : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Butter: 2-3tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the fried fish]
Any firm white fish fillet : 500gm [to feed 4 -5 heads]
Punjabi Garam Masala : 2-3tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli powder : 1tsp
Onion : 1 [finely chopped]
Green Chilli : 1 [finely chopped]
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Refined Flour : 1tbsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 5-6tbsp to fry

METHOD :
Let us soak the rice in hot water for 2 hrs else for 4-5 hrs in normal one .

Drain and wash water and pressure cook adding 21/3 coffee mug water up to 2 whistles. Switch off gas and let cool. We prefer it little sticky.

Heat butter in a wok. Add the cubed onions and saute for a minute. Add the chopped green chillies, carrots and stir in high heat for a minute, add the green peas and stir for another minute. Add black pepper powder and salt. Stir and add the rice, mix well and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Its done.

Wash and marinate the fish fillets with  salt and lemon juice for an hour. Drain the marinade. Take the garam masala, salt, red chilli powder, refined flour, finely chopped onion and green chilli in a bowl and mix well. Coat the fish fillets with it.

Heat oil in a pan, fry the fish pieces well at low heat. Drain excess oil and turn on to a serving plate.

Serve hot with the fried rice made with red rice and assorted vegetables accompanied by a salad.






Friday, 3 February 2017

PANEER BITES



Its weekend and our hearts do go out for some fries. At least my senior loves them during his wine session. The more we are aging, we prefer quieter weekends, at times accompanied by few friends. However, our movie going session with a couple friend continues . Going out for night shows when rest of the city retires for the day is so thrilling. Cooking is equally thrilling for me, whether it is for the family or friends. How much of big talks I give on health, when it comes to cooking I give utmost importance to our tastebud. The resultant fact ..... yesterday's blood report says the blood sugar level has gone quite high. I am not surprised anymore, for emotional fools like me, stress is a major factor besides unhealthy food habits. The only concern or truth whatever is that the junior should grow up quick enough to take hold of his father. The fiercely independent father says he can take care of himself till his last breathe. I remember all the incidents, from severe illness to sudden accidents that proves what he says. So, I never get angry when he threatens me to throw out of the window for been a fool. It is the same man who handles my extreme nausea condition with so much care. In the journey called life, we lose many a precious thing, but we gain too. My weekend take this time is that however threatened or dejected we feel, we should accept it gracefully yet not play a victim either. As they say learn to ignore.

So let us ignore all that hurts us and do what we love doing. For me it is cooking, reading and travelling. With a son gearing up for boards, exploring new places will not happen this year, reading thing is going slow too. Having all the attributes of Uncle Podger in me, I forgot all the books I bought this time back in Kolkata. So lets cook to keep ourselves happy. This time I wished to share a starter / appetiser recipe with my favourite ingredient paneer. I am also using fresh herbs in my cooking these days, don't they add a lot of flavour to dishes? I was trying my hands on these parsley and coriander coated batter fried paneer to go as a starter. They were crisp with use of rice flour in the batter. My family loved it, you too will. Let us prepare these paneer bites together and enjoy with tea, coffee, wine or with dal and rice.

INGREDIENTS :[for the batter]
Rice Flour : 1/3small cup
Refined Flour :1/2cup
Gram Flour : 1/4cup
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the fries]
Fresh Coriander Leaves [chopped] : 1small cup
Fresh Parsley [chopped] : 1/2cup
Green Chilli [chopped] : 2-3
Paneer Cubes : 200gm
Salt : As Required
Refined Flour : 2-3tbsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
The Batter as made
Oil : 100-150ml to deep fry

METHOD :

Marinate the paneer cubes with salt and lemon juice for 1/2 an hour.
Take the freshly chopped coriander, parsley, green chilli, salt, refined flour in a bowl. Add 1tbsp water to bind everything together.




Drain the marinade from the paneer cubes, and start coating them with the parsley, coriander mixture.



Once coated they look as below.


Take all the ingredients for batter in a bowl. Add water as much required for a paste like consistency. Mix again very well.



Heat oil in a wok. Fry the coated paneer cubes dipping in the batter in batches. Fry both sides well till brown at medium to low heat.



Drain the excess oil, keep on tissue paper before serving hot with choice of your chutney or sauce. I served with tomato-tamarind chutney.