Thursday, 8 April 2021

MICROWAVE COASTAL MOSHOLA MURGI


 

CHICKEN; ONCE A LOVE; THEN THOROUGHLY DISLIKED; NOW IT'S REVIVING THE LOST POSITION!

Yes, for quite sometime, I am trying to make friends with chicken. Until 2019, I was getting home mutton a lot and lamented when it could not get the desired taste. Gradually, we have accepted how much of a pricey variety we buy, it cannot get us the taste of the Kolkata mutton; its a different breed. The senior loves lamb, I miss the fat in it. I do not understand the difference between goat & lamb here, both seems same or it seems the goat meat may be just a bigger size of the lamb. The sheep meat has the coveted fat but it smells. In the younger days, I used to salivate reading about "bhyarer mangsher shurua" in Molla Nasiruddin's tales; which I assume may be something like sheep meat stew. After tasting sheep meat, I have lost interest in having all that I have read in Arabian Nights or Molla Nasiruddin's stories. I cook for hours with all the required spices, yet cannot get rid of the horrendous smell. Or may be my nose is too sensitive. On many occasions; Cristine or the man told they got no smell; all three of them including the son too could have carp fish which I could not tolerate after a single bite. So, a light curry with chicken and potatoes is good for me, the family loves. Moreover, my clients want it on a regular basis, so we have to eat! Foremost, Chicken is healthy; at this time, we are unable to go vegetarian. This particular spicy one; MICROWAVE COASTAL MOSHOLA MURGI is easy to make!

NOT AN ARDENT FOLLOWER OF THE FAMILY KITCHEN; BUT A LOYAL LOVER OF THE FAMILY BENGALI RECIPES!

I mean, I do not mind tampering the method of cooking a dish that the family had followed all this while. Like, I must do a "thor ghonto" regular but like the family veterans, I will not cook it for hours. Instead of soaking it in salted water for hours and then cooking it in a wok all along; I pressure cook the chopped banana stem, and cooking it thereafter gets super simple. I do not mind if Cristine cuts the cabbage or spinach or shred the radish or gourds a little fat with a manual shredder; I cook happily with it and we all eat without a noise. This cannot happen in our mother's world or did happen in her mother's hay days. With a "boti", the Bengali cutter, they would shred vegetables so fine, we cannot think of, neither I am so particular. The world has gone too far, my family veterans do not wish to move with time; can anyone imagine they do not allow tetra pack milk in their homes? Mid 2019, I fed my brother and mother CHICKEN COOKED IN MICROWAVE, they liked but was not comfortable with the idea. If I suggest, taking these steps may ease her workload, our mother simply shun, the brother is also got to be like her, he has not seen how hard the world is outside of one's doorstep; I so wanted him to get out and explore! Any way, I keep experimenting with the faster means of cooking; though I too believe slow cooking gives the best result!

WHAT IS THIS COASTAL SPICE MIX? HOW DID I PREPARE THIS CHICKEN WITH COASTAL SPICES IN THE MICROWAVE?

I really do not know if the spice mixture I used in this RECIPE is AUTHENTIC COASTAL SPICE MIX or not! Few years back, I did an egg & a mutton curry with a similar spice mix taking inspiration from certain Konkani or Kolhapuri recipes. I hardly study in details or have in depth knowledge about anything! Where do I have the time or patience to? All day I was happily busy! I walked to the Indian Market for raw produce; did all the shopping, ate at Aunt's Kashmiri stall, butter naan & dal tarka; with a less sugar bubble tea bought from the brother's shop! I loved my lunch today, only that the place is unhygienic!





Now I am having a fruit bowl tossed with salt & red chilli powder and trying to share with my readers a wonderful, easy CHICKEN RECIPE done in the MICROWAVE! The SPICE MIXTURE was good, the NON-VEG DISH tasted good. However, it felt, had we cooked it on the stove top, it would have tasted better. All day, I think about food, if only people at home respected my passion and ate wholeheartedly! Anyway, I keep doing what I want, at times it can be a pleasure activity like repeated repotting my plant kingdom. 






INGREDIENTS FOR THE COASTAL STYLE SPICE PASTE :

SHREDDED COCONUT : 1/2 SMALL TEA CUP
SLICED ONION : 1/2 MEDIUM TEA CUP
GARLIC CLOVE : 5-6 [BIG] OR 8-9 [SMALL]
DRY RED CHILLI : 4-5
NUTMEG : 1/2
CINNAMON STICK : 2-3 ONE INCH STICK
CLOVE : 2-3
GREEN CARDAMOM : 2-3
CUMIN SEED : 1/2 TSP
CORIANDER SEED : 1/2 TSP
FENNEL SEED : 1/2 TSP
BLACK PEPPERCORN : 1/2 TSP
BAY LEAF : 1 [SMALL TO MEDIUM]
OIL : 1 TBSP

INGREDIENTS FOR TODAY'S MICROWAVE CHICKEN :

THE SPICE PASTE
CHICKEN : 500GM [MEDIUM CUT]
TURMERIC POWDER : 1 TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
PLAIN YOGURT : 1 SMALL TEA CUP
OIL : 2 TBSP

PROCEDURE :



Break further the nutmeg! Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and add to it all the ingredients required for the spice mixture. We will stir cook them at minimal heat for 6-7 minutes.


We will transfer the spice mix to the blender and let cool. We will blend it to a paste, pausing in between. No problem if it remains a little coarse.


Add the spice paste to the chicken that has been cleaned and washed thoroughly. Also add to it the plain yogurt, salt, turmeric and 2 tbsp oil.


Fold in well and keep it aside for 2 hours. Thereafter, put the microwave proof bowl inside, cover it with a microwave proof lid.


Cover cook for 12 minutes at 300 power. Take out, remove the cover and stir.


Again cover cook for 12 minutes at 300 power. Take out, remove the cover and give a stir.


Cover cook again for 10 minutes at 300 power. Take out, remove cover and give a stir.


Cover cook for 13-15 minutes at 600 power. We should be done.



Please remember, every machine is different! We must know through trial and error, the exact time required for the cooking!

We can enjoy it with both chapati & rice. You can see, I did the plating with "aloo potol er dalna, dal, choto maach er chocchori", means its for rice to go with!






Monday, 5 April 2021

LAU CHINGRI JHOL


 

PRAWNS & BENGALIS WALK TOGETHER!

Whatever little I know about Bengali Cuisine, our community is used to adding prawns of different sizes in varied dishes. In a couple of homes, of the different branches within the family; I have seen, even the smallest prawns are been added to this vegetable and that. Being a foodie, I would take the liberty to say adding a few prawns to the dishes does make a difference. Many a BENGALI RECIPE calls for adding prawns to enhance the taste of the dish; not really for the sake of the prawn itself as such! I remember a couple of such dishes with a number of vegetables, in which the family added very small sized prawns; so small that could not be de-shelled properly. I can guarantee you the taste. I have grown up knowing each size of prawns are meant for a particular kind of dish and we cannot mess with the "rule"! However, I do not follow ditto these rules. I have seen in the family, some are hell bound on doing a Hilsa curry with freshly bought green chillies; even if there had been a good stock of green chillies at home, just that they may be two-three days old. I will never take such pressures on me, not be this particular and stock piles of stuffs at home. Neither, I would want to waste a single green chilli or any vegetable; an important lesson learnt from the mother. Even, she did not mind using a day or two old green chilli in hilsa; trying to get along with the city life! But again; she could not come totally out of the spell of her family traits!

HOW AUTHENTIC BENGALI IS MY KITCHEN?

I am a bit away from the rigidity my family veterans still practice in the kitchen and household. I cook with what I have, but try to safeguard the essence of a recipe. Especially, if I am cooking BENGALI PANCHMESHALI / MIXED VEGETABLE; I will definitely not add zucchini or broccoli to it! This is how my BENGALI KITCHEN runs; based on simple rules and principals. I confidently claim that we need not run to the market for fresh green chillies if one has forgotten to get it along with the hilsa! I also have grown up watching how the family had been / still is particular about what to buy where from. Not others, but I can scold our mother why she had to get her cutter from Assam or the indigenous rice variety. Why could not she source stuffs locally! I think I am just right not been so rigid with my household, an influence of the home I got married to also works. The same rigidity causes irritation within too; when girls from other homes were taught to make a career, my family was busy perfecting a "pithe" or arguing with others how a dish be made or finding the fault in one's way of home making; accusing them of not been tidy or hygiene conscious! I am happy that I am not an extreme, neither my men will want me to be that way!

WHAT IS THIS LAU CHINGRI JHOL?

If not this one, a medley with shredded bottle gourd and smaller prawns is one of the major identification mark of "Bengali Cuisine"! "LAU CHINGRI" was too regular in our home, also throwing in a bit of prawns in this and that dish is common in our family. Even though my brother got allergic to seafood later in life, prawns kept coming. He never was bothered about the food scenario at home, so long his little demands were fulfilled; that are potato fries on Thursdays; Puffed and Flatbreads almost every day and meat thrice a week. Our parents never were keen getting home meat often. I allow freedom when it comes to personal choice of food; neither of my man or the son would even care if they are asked to follow prescribed rules. My brother too eats what he wants when. The mother does not like it but she has to understand there is no other way for them to enjoy in that place so far from the city. They both earn enough but where to spend; outside our Barrackpore home is either "Jhumri Mashir Khatal" or "Mamur Mishtir Dokan" or "Tel Kol"! Anyway, about this NON-VEGETARIAN SEAFOOD DISH; LAU CHINGRI JHOL / a light CURRY with BOTTLE GOURD & PRAWN, is not a family thing! I might have taken the idea from somewhere and it clicked. We so loved it! It was done last year, in February when the circuit breaker / lockdown started. I was shopping locally and cooked whatever was possible! My family totally cooperated and we had spend together some good time. We are so missing our child, we have taken subscription of this and that to cover up  the void, not really party goers we are!




INGREDIENTS :

PRAWN : 500GM [MEDIUM TO SMALL SIZED]
BOTTLE GOURD : 1 SMALL SIZED OR 1/2 OF A MEDIUM SIZED
SLITTED GREEN CHILLI : 2-3
CHOPPED FRESH CORIANDER : 2 TBSP
RED CHILLI POWDER : 1/2 TSP
FENNEL POWDER : 1/2 TSP
CORIANDER POWDER : 1 TSP
CUMIN POWDER : 1 TSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1 TSP
CUMIN SEED : 1/4 TSP
DRY RED CHILLI : 2 HALVED
BAY LEAF : 1
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 2 TBSP

PROCEDURE :

De-shell, clean, wash the prawns thoroughly, marinate with little salt & turmeric. Peel off the bottle gourd; cut half and then into smaller cubes. Wash and marinate with little salt & turmeric! Do not throw away the skin of the bottle gourd; cook this LAU ER CHOKLA BOTI; its yum.

Heat the oil in the wok and temper it with the bay leaf, dry red chillies and cumin seeds! Give a stir and add the marinated bottle gourd cubes along with the marinade. Give a stir and cook covered at minimal heat for 10-12 minutes. 

Uncover and add the prawns, discard the marinade[they say the prawn marinade is not good]. Stir cook at low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin+coriander+red chilli+fennel+the rest of the turmeric powders and stir cook for a minute.

Add the slitted green chillies and cover cook at minimal heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add 11/2 coffee mugs of water. Cover cook at low heat for 7-8 minutes. Uncover, add the washed, fresh coriander, stir, cook for a minute and we are done! You can add salt to adjust, if only required!

Have it with steamed rice, you may try with chapati too! 








Thursday, 1 April 2021

LEMONGRASS FLAVOURED MUTTON CURRY


 

I ALLOW ONLY TWO VARIETY OF MEAT AT HOME; MUTTON & CHICKEN!

It is true Hindu Bengalis did not allow chicken & eggs in their homes, once! That was until few decades back. In our case, it was mid 1976, when we shifted to the suburbs of Kolkata, DumDum, coming right out of the maternal grandparent's lap. The maternal grandfather did not have any problem with any food, he even enjoyed noodles & indochinese at times. He was a foodie but took a controlled amount. It is our paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother who did not allow chicken & eggs in their lives. The paternal grandparents were very liberal otherwise about allowing others to live their lives. It is the maternal grandmother who wanted every other person to follow the rules set by her. At one point in life, I felt it is not okay to impose one's rules on others! She had to respect the current time and trends and give a nod to the wishes of her kids. That way, one retains the chair of respect till the end. To build a peaceful environment in home requires strategy, not hard work! What is the point if you work hard and give a lot, yet do not earn that much of love and respect from your own? Beyond a point, your kids are also not your own when they reach an age. Anyway, the entry of chicken was not so troublesome in our DumDum home; it suited our Sunday dining table well. Why did chicken taste so well on those days of Ramayan, Sherlock Holmes, etc.? I want to watch again that particular Sherlock Homes series, by the way! If the price of mutton was rising by then; chicken was an easy and yum solution for the middle-class Bengalis! 


CHICKEN THEN; CHICKEN NOW!

We always had been mutton lovers in the family, it had been the most loved meat variety among the Bengalis. I do not know about now; has chicken taken over? It is also true we loved chicken and looked forward to a Sunday, it was the meat eating day in the family. We siblings used to be very happy on a Sunday; if it was a chicken day, we were very happy; if it was a mutton day; we were little more happy; the parents too ate one or two pieces extra if it was mutton. It was a calculated amount cooked; we waited the entire evening for that dinner with hot ruti / chapati and the few remaining pieces of the meat post lunch. These days; we can buy in bulk any day, any time. But, we cannot have more than two pieces at a time; most of the time it is one big piece if chicken and three small pieces, if mutton. In those days, we were served three to four pieces at a time, yet we craved for more. May be because a gap of six days was a lot! Our son was getting meat every other day whilst at home. My brother too eats now and then; easy availability makes any thing less interesting! The other reason for my diminishing fondness for meat is the reason the meat varieties here do not attract my taste bud. A major factor playing here is definitely our age. As a couple, we really enjoy a number of vegetables with potatoes; at times prawns thrown in to them. If I cook a kali dal or narkol diye cholar dal; the man happily have them with ruti / porota / luchi. He would be happier if there be an egg omelette too!

LEAVE CHICKEN TODAY, WELCOME THE MUTTON! WHAT IS LEMONGRASS FLAVOURED MUTTON CURRY?

I would always stand for variety in the food dishes I cook! Besides many of my blogger friends; I find BREADVESALT's blog space for various Turkish delights very descriptive and apt! My family told me about the variety of meat they have eaten in different picnic get-togethers. I was either not born then or I was just a toddler. Actually, the brother next to my father had been a food enthusiast, till date is. He used to stay with my parents in Asansol and arrange for picnics; gather even deer meat and cook a feast for all. I have heard these stories from mani, our mother. Once my uncle went back to Assam, life got different for them. They shifted to Kolkata and my baby brother was born; life got super fast for our mother; the father had no interest in the kitchen. Hence, I had seen mutton & chicken been cooked alternately in our home. Our mother cooked a variety of dishes other than Bengali that she had learnt from here and there. But chicken and mutton were cooked typically the Bengali way! We never got bored with it, till date we love it that way! I do bring in some changes at times; like adding LEMONGRASS to the MUTTON CURRY to get a FLAVOURSOME MEAT CURRY. Else, the other ingredients remain the same. I may tell you this LEMONGRASS FLAVOURED MUTTON CURRY is a FLAVOUR BURST  NON-VEGETARIAN MEAT CURRY! We liked it for a change!



INGREDIENTS :

GOAT MEAT OR LAMB : 1 KG
TOMATO : 2 MEDIUM SIZED
ONION : 2 MEDIUM SIZED
GREEN CHILLI : 3-4 
LEMONGRASS : 1-2 STALK
GINGER PASTE : 2 TBSP
GARLIC PASTE : 2 TBSP
RED CHILLI POWDER : 11/2 TBSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 11/2 TSP
CINNAMON POWDER : 1/2 TSP
GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER : 1/4 TSP
CLOVES POWDER : 2-3 PINCH
BAY LEAF : 1
VINEGAR : 2-3 TBSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 4-5 TBSP

PROCEDURE :



The first thing to do is to clean the meat very well; get rid of any residual hair and skin. Thereafter, we will wash it few times. Then we will marinate it with some salt, half of the ginger & garlic pastes, half of the turmeric and red chilli powder, vinegar!


We will cover the meat container tight and refrigerate it for at least 5-6 hours; 12 hours should be better. We will take it out an hour before starting to cook.

We will slice the onions, discarding the skin and the two ends, wash well. We will cut the lemongrass stalks smaller; I take the inner core portion. We will crush well half, the other half lightly.

We will heat the oil and temper it with a bay leaf. We will add the onion slices and stir cook at low heat for 2 minutes. Then, we will add the properly crushed lemongrass stalk; give a stir.


We will cook the sliced onion & crushed lemongrass furthermore for 3-4 minutes at low heat and then add the rest of the ginger & garlic pastes, 1/2 of the turmeric. We will stir cook it for 3-4 minutes.


Thereafter, we will add the red chilli powder and sprinkle some water; stir cook it for a minute or two.


We will add the marinated mutton and fold in well; stir cook at high heat for 5-6 minutes. Then we will add the lightly crushed lemongrass; fold in well.





We will reduce the heat to minimal and cover cook for 25-30 minutes. We will remove the cover; add 2 coffee mugs of warm water; washed and chopped tomatoes, washed & slitted green chillies, cinnamon+green cardamom+cloves powders. We will fold in well and again cover it.



We will cover cook at minimal heat for 40-45 minutes, stir every 5 minutes. We should be done by then.



Have it with plain rice, have it with bread varieties; it tastes great; even the stale next day! On that particular day, I also had cooked a light hilsa curry, kolmi shaak bhaja / kangkong stir fry, spinach lentil curry / palong er dal!






Thursday, 25 March 2021

DRY FRUITS AND READYMADE FLOUR IDLI


I AM INDEED IN A LOOK OUT FOR HEALTHIER SNACKS; DONE IN FEW EASY STEPS!

Yes; I am aging. Its quite sometime, I am trying different hacks to get tasty idli, dhokla, cakes, hassle free and in less time. Some of my attempts fail; for some I get so good result that I myself get surprised. Thereafter, I get eager to share the beautiful experience with my readers! I am doing idli at home for many years now; ever since I got my own microwave oven in 2001; along with it came a free idli maker. In those days, I did not know what food blogging is; life was extremely busy bringing up a child; cooking and eating was a need. Once the toddler started going to school; of the few food items he could eat during the lunch hours, idli made in microwave was one. I used to traditionally soak the rice and dal separately, do a paste in the mixer-grinder; keep overnight! Only the last step was done in the microwave. Because I had this microwave proof idli maker; I never felt the urge to buy a steel or handulium one. A stronger reason may be this that I am a Bengali, I need not be too particular about the authenticity of an idli or dosa or dhokla. Moreover; my men just eat idli but are not great idli lovers, I am. They may want chicken or mutton beside a plain dosa or cooked minced chicken atop a dhokla! Cristine is fond of dosa; we three are not. A quick honey-apple-oats cake or a DRY FRUITS AND READYMADE FLOUR IDLI in microwave help us in this family!

I AM SHOPPING, COOKING AND TRYING TO HELP THE WORKING COUPLES!

Wasn't this my plan for the past 2-3 years? I was not starting because I was happily occupied with my baby! Now that no one is around me to say, "phone recharge korey de", "tokey merey debo", "tokey bhenge du tukro korey debo", "ekdom amar school e jabina; beshi katha bolbi na"; I can now concentrate on the long standing wish and bring it to reality. In the process, I know well I will not touch our savings and invest the man's hard earned money in bulk. I have so seen people getting bankrupt investing all their being and money in a business. Not everyone have business acumen. It is true people like me would always remain a mediocre because we cannot think or dream big, we refuse to take risk in life! I accept that and continue to carry on with my venture just the way I want it to; with very little investment and of profit. My purpose of taking Homely Bengali Food to households who want it but do not have the time to chop and cook "mocha-echor-shaak-thor"! I do not mind the less amount of profit if what I am doing makes me happy. A few years back, people had asked me if I have decided how to cope up with the void that will be created once the baby leaves the nest. I was clueless then but I seriously thought about it! The problem is I lack tenacity, communication skill; fear hard work.

DRY FRUITS READYMADE FLOUR VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE IDLI IN MICROWAVE; A LAZY LAME WOMAN'S PLEASURE TRIP!

Its about two years, I am trying different combinations in porota, idli! About idli, I had been desperately trying to make the process simpler. Not a single person from Southern India would approve of how I did it but trust me; it tasted very well and were fluffy. I ate it for three consecutive days and even packed the man's lunch box with idli made from the two day old refrigerated batter, they were still fluffy!





Here, the "Housebrand" line sells rice flour and Urad dal flour. I am a Bengali who is lazy and love idli; just wished to avoid that soaking the rice and dal separately; grinding them, mixing and then ask Cristine to wash 7-8 pots! I felt let me try, if the batter do not ferment; I will either add fruit salt or make crepes from it adding water. Then what happened you can see in the following pictures. If you are steaming them on stove top; they will be even softer & fluffier! But I am very happy with my microwave proof IDLI MAKER and I believe, this IDLI BATTER with READYMADE RICE FLOUR & DAL FLOUR would prove very helpful for busy homes. Idlis are HEALTH BITES; no doubt!



INGREDIENTS : 

RICE FLOUR : 1/3 COFFEE MUG
URAD DAL FLOUR / SKINLESS BLACK LENTIL FLOUR : 1/4 COFFEE MUG
BEATEN RICE : 2 TBSP [WE CAN USE COOKED RICE PASTE TOO]
SALT : 1/4 TSP
CHOPPED DRY FRUITS & NUTS : 2-3 TBSP
FEW DROPS OF OIL TO GREASE THE IDLI MOULDS

PROCEDURE :



We will soak the beaten rice in water for 15 minutes.

We will take the rice and urad dal / skinless black gram dal flour in a deep bottomed vessel.



We will drain the water from the beaten rice, mash it and add to the flour mix.



We will add the salt and also water little by little to prepare a thick batter; not paste like, nor a liquid! There should not be any lump.


We will cover it and place the vessel inside the microwave oven wrapped with a towel.



We will keep it like that for 12 hours. Thereafter, we see this; a light and fluffy batter.


We will chop the dry fruits and add to the batter.


We will mix it well. Mine is a microwave proof idli maker. I had added some water in the base and placed the stand on it. I had greased the idli mould with a bit of oil.


I have poured the batter little by little in each of the moulds.


I had put on the cover; placed the idli maker inside the microwave; cooked at 450* for 8 minutes. Every machine is different; your cooking time may differ a bit! I forgot to click one step!



We will take them off from the moulds with the back of a spoon and have hot with our choice of chutney, achar, sauce, dal!