Friday, 11 December 2015

GREEN PEA DUM ALOO N RADHABALLAVI


This dish is an ode to my college days. Our college was at the centre of very old and famous sweet shops and movie theatres. This was a dish served at the sweet shops. Some of us spent more time in these two places rather than the classrooms. A bowl full of dum aloo, two radhaballavi, a roshogolla or chaner jilipi or sandesh was a blissful branch/lunch for us. Though mom packed lunch for us, we always had space for these. We were always hungry. Those shops are still there, ailing actually under the shadow of big brands. Wish we could do something to revive them.

I remember at home, radhaballavi was not done much. Dum Aloo was accompanied by luchi or paratha and green pea stuffed kachoris in winter..... ahh sheer bliss!! I am a hardcore foodie , ate like a demon once.... now not allowed to.... I do it for my family.... that gives me satisfaction. Radhaballavi is a kind of lentil stuffed poori. I have given a stepwise pictures for the radhaballavi. Let us cook it up!

INGREDIENTS :[for the dum aloo]
Potato : 4
Green Pea : 1/2cup
Tomato : 1medium
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 3pinches
Cardamom Powder : 2pinches
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 3tbsp

INGREDIENTS :[for the poori filling]
Bengal Gram dal[chana dal] : 1medium cup
Coriander Seed : 1tsp
Cumin Seed : 1tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Cinnamon Stick : 1two inch stick
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Sugar : 1/4tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Oil : 1tbsp

INGREDIENTS :[for the poori dough]
Refined Flour : 1big cup
Whole Wheat Flour : 1medium cup
Salt : 2-3 pinches
Ghee : 11/2tbsp
Oil : 1cup[to fry]
Water : As Required

METHOD :[Green Pea Dum Aloo]
Peel, wash and cut half the potatoes. Half boil them in enough water adding salt.

Cut them further once cool. One potato should yield 4 pieces. Apply little salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok, fry the potato pieces till golden brown. Keep aside. Temper oil with a bayleaf and cumin seeds.

Add ginger paste and fry for a minute. Cut and wash the tomato pieces and add to it. Stir for 2 minutes. Add cumin powder, turmeric powder and salt. Stir well for 1/2 a minute.

Add the green peas and fried potatoes to the spice paste. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 small cup water. Let boil at medium to low heat for 2-3 minutes.

Add sugar, cinnamon and green cardamom powder. Stir well and take down after half a minute.

Transfer to a serving bowl.

METHOD :[the filling for the poori]
Bengal Gram Dal has to be soaked in hot water for 2 hrs and pressure cooked in 1cup water up to 2 whistles. Let cool. Blend it in a blender.

Dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds, dry red chillies and cinnamon stick. Dry grind them to a powder.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds and add the ginger paste. Fry for a minute and add the dal paste. Stir for a minute.

Add the spice powder, salt, sugar and turmeric powder. Fold in well. Cook till the dal mix gets sticky and dry. Take down and let cool. It looks as this.




METHOD :[RADHABALLAVI]
Take the 2 kinds of flours in a wide mouthed bowl. Add the salt and ghee. Keep rubbing with your palm for 2-3 minutes. Add water little by little and keep rubbing until a dough is formed. Cover it for 1/2 an hour with a towel.

Remove towel and rub once again. Make medium size balls and make pockets. Fill each pocket with dal fillings. It looks as this.



Close the mouth of the ball. Do same with all of them. It look as this.


With a rolling pin, roll into roundels. Do not press too hard, or else the stuffing may come out. It look as this.



Heat oil in a wok and fry each at a time, until both sides puff up. Serve with Green Pea Dum Aloo. An accompaniment of rosogolla would just be fine.


Thursday, 10 December 2015

ECHOR CHINGRI[GREEN JACKFRUIT WITH PRAWN]


Echor Chingri- A dish prepared with green jackfruit and small prawns. A Bengali delicacy which was served in Bengali weddings and other important ceremonies some 15-20 years back. That was when we did not feel shy to flaunt and follow our own tradition. At any Bengali ceremonial functions, the food fair was predominantly Bengali, as it should be. I am not regional but there is a need to protect and follow our own tradition. Some regions of India strictly follow it and I so much respect that.

In such a scenario it is necessary to keep our traditional recipes alive, hence this urge to compile. We prepare a vegetarian curry with jackfruit  and at times add a special touch to it cooking it with small prawns. This dish goes very well with steamed rice. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Echor[green jackfruit] : 500gm
Prawn[small sized] : 150gm
Tomato : 1medium
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 2tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 2pinches
Green Cardamom Powder : 2pinches
Cloves Powder : 1pinch
Cumin Seed : 3pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Oil[preferably mustard] : 4tbsp

METHOD :
Cut the skin of the jackfruit, cut into cubes. Take out the seeds and discard the yellowish outer skin. While doing so apply little oil in both of your palms. Wash them and apply salt and turmeric.

Clean the prawns thoroughly, devein and wash. Apply salt and turmeric. Cut, wash and discard the seeds of the tomato.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the jackfruit pieces till light brown. Keep aside.Lightly fry the prawns. Keep aside.

Temper the same oil with cumin seeds and bayleaf. Add the ginger paste and fry for 1 minutes. Add the tomato pieces and let cook till they melt, keep stirring them.

Now add the cumin powder, red chilli powder, remaining turmeric and salt. Stir for 1/2 a minute. Add the fried jackfruit pieces and fold in well. Stir for a minute. Add water about a cup of. Cover and let cook for 4-5 minutes.

Open cover and add the fried prawns. Fold in well and cover cook at low heat for 2-4 minutes. Uncover and add the cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves powder, stir well and let boil for 1/2 a minute.

Serve with hot steamed rice.





Wednesday, 9 December 2015

ALOO CHANA CHAAT



Chaats and Slurps have become synonymous for me these days. I am so much loving them that I keep doing it for myself, rest in the family are not chaat lovers. On the contrary, food is something you enjoy in the company of others. Though they say, it is very essential to pamper self, to do or have what makes the soul happy. Perhaps, the upbringing/values taught are such in the entire subcontinent, by default the lady of the house cannot think beyond her family, her personal likes and dislikes takes a backseat. It has got nothing to do with lack of freedom or anything  in the present day situation, it is just the frame of mind we are stuck in.  It is a debatable issue and need not continue here.

What I was trying to say is, I keep a chaat item whenever there are guests at home. Looking back, I remember a cute, funny story regarding chaat. Though not a favourite then, all of a sudden I started loving them while I was expecting. I was severely restricted from having them by the senior man. Completely ignoring it was in the interest of the mother and child, I felt it was a serious threat on my freedom. Looking for an opportunity, one day I got it. A lazy afternoon, the man was sleeping, I heard a vendor passing by... irresistible calls to have his 'ghugni'... I leaped to the balcony, asked him to stop, had it to heart's content. Reactions started after 1 hour when I started feeling sick and thrown out everything. A sleepless night with a wiser soul was spent, next 10-12 years I did not have chaats, neither was I much into variety cooking being so busy looking after my son. Cooking was limited exclusively to Bengali regular dishes.

It is now that I try this or the other. The teen is busy in his own world n mamma in the kitchen. The other day I prepared this Aloo Chana Chaat and enjoyed a spicy chat session with our visiting friends. An easy to do dish, which is yum and healthy, with no oil used in it. Who says Chaats cannot be healthy? My son's doctor once said feed your son homemade panipoori at times, no problem. If you feed your child same old thing everyday, they will tend to hate food. 'Homemade' is what is important.
Let us do this quick, easy dish together.

INGREDIENTS:
Chana[chickpea] : 1[medium]cup
Potato : 2medium]
Tomato : 1[medium]
Onion : 1[small]
Cucumber : 1[medium]
Green Chilli : 2
Sev[fried gramflour noodles] : 2tbsp
Coriander Seeds : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seeds : 1/2 tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 1
Salt : As required
Chaat Masala : 1tsp
Coriander Leaves : 1sprig[chopped]
Green Chutney : 1tbsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Soak the chickpea over night in hot water. Next day pressure cook it in enough water  up to 2 whistles adding salt. Drain the water once cool.

Dry roast the dry red chilli, coriander and cumin seeds and ground them to a coarse powder. Wash the tomato, coriander leaves, green chilli and cucumber, chop them. Peel, wash and chop the onion.

Peel, wash and boil the potatoes in enough water. Once cool, drain the water and mash. Add salt, 1/2tbsp lemon juice, coarsely ground spices and mix well.

Arrange the boiled chickpeas in a bowl. Add 1/2 tsp lemon juice and little salt if required. Mix well. Arrange the potato mix on it. 

Add little salt to the chopped onion, tomato and cucumber and arrange over the potato mix. Add chopped green chillies. Sprinkle with chaat masala, pour the green chutney on it. Add 1tbsp lemon juice.

Add the sev and chopped coriander leaves. Refrigerate and serve chilled!!








Monday, 7 December 2015

SEMAI ER PAYESH/VERMICELLI KHEER


In India and other countries of the Indian Subcontinent, vermicelli is known by various local names. In Bengali, we call it shemai/semai. Vermicelli is used in a number of dishes including a sweet dessert, made in a similar way as of rice pudding. Upma is also made with vermicelli in many parts of India, adding various vegetables to it. Semai Payesh/kheer is not an authentic Bengali dish as of Chaler Payesh/Rice Kheer. It may have started as an experimental alternative to Rice Kheer, which gradually may have been accepted as a much loved homemade dessert.

I remember Shemai er Payesh was welcomed in our home when I was in High School and my brother much younger. I had always been a food lover but my brother had always been choosy. Hence, mom tried to bring in variety in food. We accepted it as a good dessert option and then it continued to be prepared on a regular basis at home. It takes less time to prepare than the rice kheer, ingredients been more or less same. Let us proceed with the recipe.

INGREDIENTS :
SEMAI[VERMICELLI] : 1/2 medium cup
MILK[FULL CREAM] : 1lt
SUGAR : 1medium cup[or as per your taste]
CASHEW : 8-10[halved]
RAISIN : 10-15
GREEN CARDAMOM : 2-3
BAYLEAF : 1
ROSEWATER : 3-4 drops.
GHEE : 1/2tsp

METHOD :
Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel and put for boil. Add the bayleaf.

In a wok, heat the ghee. Add the cashews, saute for half a minute and keep aside. Add the vermicelli and fry in ghee until light brown. Keep aside. Soak the raisin in water for an hour, drain the water.

Let the milk boil till it reduces to 500ml. Add the sugar and let boil for another 5-7 minutes. Stir continuously.

Add the vermicelli, raisins, cashews and lightly crushed green cardamom. Let boil for 3-4 minutes. Add the rosewater, stir and switch off.

Once cool refrigerate and serve chilled!!


Sunday, 6 December 2015

CHILLED PASTA SALAD


I have learnt this dish from a dear friend. She prepares scrumptious starters. This Chilled Pasta Salad dish she usually serves alongside kebabs. I keep learning recipes from my surroundings. At times I improvise on them or sometimes just remake them in my kitchen. This typical Indian cook does at times cook different, if only she has the ingredients ready in hand..... My western and middle-eastern food loving men have to visit restaurants for those kinds. I do not like messing up with cooking, I do what I am comfortable in.

In this pasta dish, we can add things to our preferences. Lots of vegetables, sausage, boiled chicken, eggs, mayonnaise. In a low caloric version, we can substitute mayo with olive oil. Since I prepared it for my guests, among which there were little ones, I used mayonnaise. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Pasta[spiral or otherwise] : 200gm
Tomato : 1
Cucumber : 1
Green Pea : 2tbsp
Sweet Corn : 2tbsp
Parsley[chopped] : 2tbsp
Egg[boiled] : 2[to garnish]
Mayonnaise : 2-3 tbsp
Salt : As Required
Black Pepper Powder : 1/2tsp

METHOD :
Boil the pasta in enough water with little salt added to it. Drain the water and wash with cold water again.

Chop the washed tomato and cucumber . Boil the green pea and sweet corn for 3-4 minutes, drain water. Boil the eggs n cut into smaller pieces. Wah and chop the parsley.

Add little salt to the tomato and cucumber. In a serving bowl take the pasta. Add tomato, cucumber, boiled green peas and sweet corn, parsley,  black pepper powder and mix very well.

Cover and refrigerate. Take out after an hour, add the mayonnaise. Fold in very well and serve.




Friday, 4 December 2015

PANEER CAPSICUM


Paneer[Indian Cottage Cheese] is a very versatile ingredient to cook, specially for a largely vegetarian population in India. I find it very handy and easy to prepare. Besides, high in protein, it is very healthy to have and a good alternative to meat.  My son and me are paneer lovers and prepare it quite often. Earlier, at Bengali homes, paneer was made at home curdling milk, we called it chena, softer in texture. Paneer was available at shops much later. There might be a fine line of difference between Paneer and Chena which I do not know.

Since its a regular at home, I try to prepare it in different ways. This time I prepared it with capsicum in a typical Indian spice mix. The slightly tangy, spicy paneer dish goes very well with any kind of South Asian flatbreads. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Paneer[Indian Cottage Cheese] : 250gm
Capsicum[Shimla Mirch] : 1[small]
Red Bell Pepper : 1[small] optional
Tomato : 1[big]
Onion : 1[big]
Plain Yogurt : 1/2small cup
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seeds : 2pinches
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Cut the paneer into your desired shape and apply little salt. Cut the tomato, deseed and wash. Peel, wash and slice the onion. Cut the veggies into cubes and wash. Rub with salt.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds. Add the onion slices. Fry till golden brown. Add the ginger n garlic paste and fry for 1-2 minutes till the raw smell goes.

Add the tomato pieces, salt and turmeric. Keep stirring till the tomato pieces melt. Beat the yogurt and add to the wok. Stir till the mix separates from the oil.

Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and stir for 1/2 a minute. Add the veggies and stir at high heat for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water.

Once the gravy comes to boil, Add the paneer pieces. Let boil for a minute. Add the garam masala, stir and let cook for a minute. Its done.

Serve hot with any kind of South Asian Bread!!


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

FULKOPI ALOOR DALNA




Fulkopi Aloo r Dalna.... the typical Bengali way. In our childhood this was a winter treat. In those days Cauliflower was available only during winter, its taste incomparable. They tasted heavenly as no chemical fertilisers were used. Be it fry, curry or a dry preparation, the Bengalis loved it all. I remember, at our home no part of a cauliflower was thrown. The leaves were made into a paste, then cooked with sliced onions, chillies with a tempering of nigella seeds. The stems[data] were also used to prepare a yummy veggie. These days I don't even see leaves on them unless one is growing them in their own garden. I remember my maternal grandfather growing them in his garden during winters. Two years back my mom grew them in pots and reserved one for me to cook when I visit. The taste was awesome.

This curry with cauliflower and potato is a regular at my home. I do it the typical Bengali way. Here I did not fry the cauliflower florets and the potato pieces which we are supposed to do just to avoid more consumption of oil. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Cauliflower : 1medium
Potato : 1big
Tomato : 1big
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Powder : A pinch
Green Cardamom Powder : A pinch
Cloves Powder : A pinch
Cumin Seed : A pinch
Bayleaf : 1
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1/2tsp
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Cut the potatoes into big cubes and the cauliflowers into florets. Wash and rub with half tsp turmeric powder and salt as required.

Boil the cauliflower florets in enough water for 5 minutes. Drain the water. Cut the tomato into pieces, discard the seeds and wash.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds and bayleaf.

Add the ginger paste and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato pieces and fry for a minute. As it melts, add the cumin powder, salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp red chilli powder. Fold in well and saute for half a minute.

Add the cauliflower florets and potato pieces, fold in well and stir for a minute. Add 1 cup water. Cover cook for 3-4 minutes at low heat.

Open cover, add sugar, cinnamon powder, green cardamom powder, cloves powder. Fold in well. Add the ghee, stir well. Its done.

Enjoy with steamed rice or chapati.






Tuesday, 1 December 2015

EGGLESS FRESH FRUIT CAKE



There were a couple of pears and grapes lying on the refrigerator which said use me up asap. My family is not much of a fruit lover, I have to force feed them. The diabetic me is not allowed to have much fruits. On weekdays, I manage to pack some fruits for them. On weekends, the pizza, burger lovers simply refuse to have fruits. Hence, I have to think of making a wise use of them that will be loved by my family.

This week I prepared an eggless cake with pears and grapes and then topped it with a simple butter frosting. Though cliched, I love to admit in all my baking posts that I am a learner when it comes to baking. So my cakes are the simplest ones that even kids can do. I am satisfied that I have done it all by myself without following any recipe. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :[for the cake]
Refined Flour : 1big cup

Semolina : 1/2medium cup
Yogurt : 1medium cup
Milk : 1/4medium cup
Sugar : 1/3big cup
Butter : 100gm
Baking Powder : 11/2tsp
Baking Soda : 1/4tsp
Vinegar : 1tbsp
Vanilla Essence : 1tsp
Pear : 1
Grapes : 8-10

INGREDIENTS :[for the frosting]
Butter[room temperature] : 1/2big cup
Sugar[powdered] : 1small cup
Milk : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Wash, peel and chop the pear. Wash and chop the grapes too.

Sieve together the refined flour, baking powder, baking soda and semolina.

Beat together the melted butter and sugar till bubbles appear. Add the beaten yogurt, milk, vinegar, vanilla essence and beat further for 3-4 minutes.

Add the flour mix little by little to the butter-sugar-yogurt mix and beat the whole thing for 3-4 minutes to turn into a smooth batter.

Preheat oven at 180*C.

Grease a cake tin with oil and then dust with flour. Pour half of the batter. Arrange half of the chopped fruits on it. Pour the remaining batter. Arrange the remaining chopped fruits on it. The batter should not cover more than half of the cake tin.

Bake at 180* for 40-45 minutes. Insert a fork after 40 minutes to check if its done or not. If done, it will come out clean.

Let cool. Turn onto a plate.  For the frosting, beat together butter, sugar and milk and apply on top of the cake. Enjoy!! I garnished with red grapes!!

















Monday, 30 November 2015

MIXED DAL DAHI VADA




Weekly once I crave for a chaat, of late I have been tuned that way. My men are not chaat lovers, I do it for myself and my help. Her Filipino taste buds got adapted to Indian Cuisine so fast, I should get some credit for that. Back home, my mom loves them. Whenever we went out, we would hop into the eateries and have a platter of chaat or Dosa or Idli. Then, I may not have loved these so much but now I do. It is quite for sometime I did not prepare Dahi Vada at home, I have  2 bottles of homemade Date-Tamarind Chutney and Green Chutney following few friends' recipes, sev too, so why delay?

Usually we do the vada with urad dal. This time I did with a mix of urad, moong, masoor, chana, adding few spices. They tasted well with an addition of generous amount of yogurt and chutney. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :[for the vada]
Urad Dal : 1/2 medium cup
Masoor[red lentil] : 1/4 medium cup
Moong Dal : 2tbsp
Chana[Bengal Gram] : 1tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 100ml[to fry]

INGREDIENTS :[final assembling]
Plain Yogurt : 200gm
Salt : 3pinches
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Chaat Masala : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Date-Tamarind Chutney : 1/2small cup
Green Chutney : 1/4small cup
Sev : 2tbsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves : 1tbsp

METHOD :
Wash and soak the dals in hot water for 1-2 hours. Drain the water and grind to a coarse paste in a blender.

Add cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and cumin seeds.

Heat oil in a wok. Simultaneously boil half a vessel of water and switch off. Fry the vadas in batches and drop in the water. Take out after 5 minutes. This gives them sponge like consistency.

Keep the vadas on tissue papers to get rid of the excess oil. Beat the yogurt adding salt and sugar.

In a plate, arrange the vadas. Pour the yogurt. Add the date-tamarind chutney and green chutney. Sprinkle chaat masala, red chilli powder and the sev on top. Add chopped coriander at last.

Serve chilled. Enjoy!!

















Sunday, 29 November 2015

MURGH PULAO


On days when I do not feel like spending much time in the kitchen, I choose this type of recipes to be cooked. Less time spent in the kitchen with happier faces at the dining table. The carnivore duo at home are not very fond of rice, but when they get to see meat in the rice, they happily have it. They prefer one-pot meals, specially the senior does not want me to spend much time in the kitchen. I love being in the kitchen though there are days when I love doing such smart cooking.

Yesterday was such a 'no mood in cooking' day. So, I planned to  prepare this Murg Pulao and serve it with raita and salad. Incorporating cucumber, tomato, carrot in the raita makes the whole platter a wholesome and tasty one. I prepared the pulao in the most simplest way with few spices. Lets see how we do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 500gm
Rice[long grained] : 1big cup
Cashew : 8-10[halved]
Raisins : 8-10
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tbsp
Onion[sliced] : 1big
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Cinnamon Stick : 2one inch
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Cloves : 2-3
Cinnamon Powder : 2pinches
Cardamom Powder : 2pinches
Cloves Powder : 1pinch
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Bayleaf : 3-4
Oil : 3tbsp
Ghee : 1tbsp +1tsp

METHOD :
Wash the chicken pieces and marinate with salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice. Keep aside for 1hr.

Wash the rice and soak in water for 1/2 an hour. Drain the water.

Take a heavy bottomed vessel. Heat 3tbsp oil and 1tbsp ghee together. Saute the cashews and raisins for 1 minute and take off. Temper with bayleaves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, cloves.

Add the onion slices and fry till brown. Add the ginger-garlic pastes and saute for 2 minutes. Add salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Stir for 1/2 a minute.

Add the marinated chicken, fold in well. Cover cook for 10-15 minutes stirring at regular intervals. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves powder. Stir.

Add the rice, fold in well and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 cups water using the same cup that measured the rice. Add little salt if required.

Cover cook at medium to low heat for 10-12 minutes. When the rice is 80%done, add 1tsp ghee, the fried cashews and raisins. Lightly mix with a ladle. Turn off gas after 2 minutes. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes. Shake well before serving.





Friday, 27 November 2015

EGG MAHARANI


Some day, somewhere I have read that a community in the North-East region of India prepares an egg curry using lentils along with other spices. The rest I managed to forget, neither did I attempt to look for the exact recipe in the net. Yesterday I planned for an egg curry and wished to incorporate some dal protein, making the dish wholesome and flavourful too in the process. I purposefully did not look for the original recipe, I wished to prepare it in my own way with the apparent idea I had of it.

In such a scenario, what I find tough is naming the dish. I cannot think much and named it Egg Maharani, given its unique taste and flavour. Here, the whole garam masalas are dry roasted and boiled with lentils and made into a paste, sautéed in oil with other spice mix to prepare the gravy for the eggs. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Egg : 8
Tomato : 1
Onion Paste : 1tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Clove : 2
Bengal Gram Dal : 1tsp
Moong Dal[skinless] : 1/2tsp
Masoor Dal[red skinless] : 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Stick : 1two inch
Green Cardamom : 2
Clove : 2-3
Black Pepper[whole] : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 2pinches
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Garam Masala Powder : 1/4tsp[optional]
Cashews[halved] : 5-6
Raisins : 7-8
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Boil the eggs in enough water adding little salt. Once cold, clear off the shell. Slit little on both ends and rub with little salt.

Wash and soak the lentils in hot water for 2hrs. Dry roast the cinnamon stick, green cardamom, cloves, black peppers and garlic cloves together.

Wash and cut the tomatoes, discard the seeds. In a pressure cooker put together the tomato pieces, roasted spices, the dals straining the water. Add little salt and half cup water. Pressure cook upto 2 whistles. Let cool.

Once cool, blend the dal mix into a paste. Heat oil in a wok and fry the eggs, keep aside. Temper the same oil with cumin seeds. Add the cashews and raisins. Fry for 1/2 a minute.

Add the onion paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger paste and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the dal mix and saute for 3 minutes. Add the cumin powder, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Stir well for  1/2 a minute and add 1 medium cup water.

As the gravy comes to boil, add the egg pieces and let cook at low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the garam masala, stir. It is done.

Serve hot with any kind of Indian Breads.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

CHINGRI KASHA


Our community is prawn lovers, just as the whole world is. We prepare it in many ways, a dry curry, at times with gravy, with different vegetables... potato, jackfruit. When we prepare it with vegetables, we choose the smaller variety, while for gravies dry or soupy, the medium or bigger ones are preferred. The soaring height of its prices have made it very difficult to have it on a regular basis, at least back in my hometown. We are unable to have what we like. Back home tiger prawns are much loved, unfortunately seen rare on the plate now.

Where I stay at present is slightly better when it comes to the price of prawns. Its sea based, so we get a wide variety of prawns in varied sizes. Moreover, my men love them, so I do often. This particular preparation is done with shredded coconut and selective spices using very little water. Let us do this very easy dry prawn curry.

INGREDIENTS :
Prawn[medium sized] : 500gm
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 3pinches
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Salt : As Required

METHOD :
Clean, devein and wash the prawns thoroughly. Rub with salt and 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Lightly fry the prawns in batches and keep aside.

Temper oil with cumin seeds. Add the shredded coconut and saute for 1 minute.

Add the ginger paste, salt, turmeric and stir for 1-2 minutes. Now add the red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, fold in well and stir for 1/2 a minute.

Add the fried prawns, fold in well and keep stirring at high heat for 1 minute. Add half small cup water. Let cook covered at medium heat till the water dries up.

Enjoy with peeping hot steamed rice.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

VEGETABLE ROLL


A childhood favourite, we actually called it vegetable chop. Priced at 50 paisa or 1rupee then, they were considered expensive. We were denied of having them, not solely because of the price but with the same warning time and again.... they are fried in poor quality oil. I think this was the scenario at many homes. Beyond all these warnings was a greedy soul who would stand in front of 'Chop kaku's' shop and watch all the activities. A big wok full of hot oil, how skilfully the person dipped the thing in gram flour batter and dropped in the hot oil. At times the lady of the house did give in and bought her kids those fries. I remember the newspaper bags[thonga] all soaked in oil and me carefully taking out the 'chop' and giving a heavenly bite. Honestly, today me too will not allow my son to have such oil soaked stuffs.

Our mom used to prepare them at home though not regularly. I do them too when there are guests at home or on weekends to accompany with tea. Aah... home sweet home and all these small things adds up to the sweetness. This vegetable rolls I have prepared mainly with boiled beetroot, potato, green peas, roasted peanuts. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Beetroot : 2
Potato : 2
Green Peas : 2tbsp
Roasted Peanut : 1tbsp
Cumin Seed : 1/2tsp + 1/4tsp
Coriander Seed : 1/2tsp
Whole Red Chilli : 2
Cinnamon : 1two inch stick
Green Cardamom : 2
Cloves : 2-3
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Bread Crumb : 1/2 cup
Refined Flour : 2tbsp
Semolina : 1/2cup
Oil : 1tbsp + 1cup[for frying]

METHOD :
Peel, wash and cut the beetroots and potatoes. Cut them and pressure cook upto two whistles. Once cold, strain the water and mash adding little salt. The water can be reserved for future use in curries or soups.

Dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, cloves,dry red chilli and coarsely ground them in a blender.

Heat I tbsp oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds. Add the green peas and roasted peanuts , saute for 1 minute. Add the mashed potatoes n beetroot and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes.

Once the mixture starts drying, add salt, sugar, the spice powder, refined flour and fold in well.

Transfer to a plate. As it cools down, add breadcrumbs. Mix well.



Shape into rolls and coat well with semolina. They look as this.




Heat a cup of oil in a clean wok. Deep fry and transfer onto a tissue paper to get rid of excess oil.




Serve hot with salad of your choice.




Monday, 23 November 2015

KASHMIRI PANEER CHAMAN


I was looking for a different paneer recipe which I have never cooked before. I landed into this recipe of Kashmiri paneer which they call Veth Chaman in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. As I came across the recipe, I was once again lost in the past. It was October, 1987 that we visited Kashmir, indeed a Paradise on Earth.Mesmerised by its picturesque beauty, I always wished to visit again with my special man but never could. Everything I saw there is still fresh in mind, even the innocence of the rural people. A basket full of apples was gifted happily, they even refused to take money. Then what did they ask in return? My mother's strip of Bindi.

What I do not remember is whether we tasted local cuisine there or not. What I always say our parents were limited in their choice of food then. What I read is this Paneer Chaman is a dish prepared by the Kashmiri Pandits of Jammu and Kashmir. I went through a number of recipes and finally adapted this recipe from mapsofindia.com. The paneer pieces are usually fried but I did not as I was trying to reduce the amount of oil consumption. Let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Paneer : 300gm
Tomato : 2medium
Asafoetida : A pinch
Ginger Powder : 1tsp
Fennel Powder : 1tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/4tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As required
Cumin Seeds : 2pinches
Milk : 1/2 small cup
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Cut the paneer into cubes and marinate with little salt.

Cut and wash the tomatoes and discard the seeds. Prepare a tomato paste in the blender.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with cumin seeds and a pinch of asafoetida.

Add the tomato paste and saute well for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, turmeric, ginger powder, fennel powder, Kashmiri mirch, red chilli powder and stir well for 1 minute.

Pour half cup water and let the gravy boil at low heat for 3-4 minutes.

Add the paneer pieces and milk. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the garam masala powder. Stir carefully.

Let cook for half a minute and switch off.

Enjoy with any kind of South Asian flat bread.




Sunday, 22 November 2015

PARSHE MACHER JHAL


I google searched frantically but did not find the English name of "Parshe" fish. The Bengalis who will stop by my recipe will understand which fish I am talking about , those who love Bengali Cuisine, they will perhaps know if they regularly visit Bengali restaurants. For the rest, you can do with any small fish of your choice. This particular fish is very common among us, a common sight in any Bengali fish market. This fish has very less bones and hence very comfortable to have. We prepare plain curry with it, have it deep fried accompanied by rice and lentils or prepare a thick gravy with it from a paste made of black mustard seeds and green chillies.

The other day I got fresh Parshe in our wet market. We usually get them on weekends. I was so very happy to see them on a foreign land, that too fresh. Their price also is reasonable compared to other varieties. Always buy the smaller in size, because they taste better. Using mustard seed paste is very common among us in curries and veggies. Let us prepare this extremely easy to do Parshe Macher Jhal.

INGREDIENTS :
Parshe Fish: 6
Mustard Seed[preferably black] : 2tsp
Green Chilli : 4-5[adjust according to your taste bud]
Garlic Clove : 2[optional]
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder: 1tsp
Nigella Seeds[kalonji/kalojeere] : 3pinches
Oil[authentically mustard] : 4tbsp

METHOD :
Clean the stomach and the scales of each fish and wash 2-3 times thoroughly. Rub 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and salt as required. Keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile wash the mustard seeds thoroughly through a strainer. Put it in a blender along with green chilli, garlic cloves, little salt and water. Blend it till smooth. We get a paste like consistency. Add the rest of the turmeric powder to the paste.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the fish in batches till brown on both sides. Do not over fry.

Temper the same oil with nigella seeds. Add the mustard paste and quick stir for 1/2 a minute. Add 1/2  cup water and let the gravy boil for 3-4 minutes at low heat. Add salt if required.

Add the fried Parshe fish carefully and let boil for another 2-3 minutes at low heat. Its done.

Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with slitted green chillies and enjoy with piping hot steamed rice.




Friday, 20 November 2015

DAHI POORI



Yesterday was a  hot day, I had to be out for a pretty long time. I craved for some chilled thing back home. It is for quite sometime I was planning to prepare Dahi Poori. Just back from the afternoon heat, I was tired, yet went ahead with it. I felt it will give me some respite from the heat. Those who stay in tropical countries, they will echo my words. As I have said earlier, my food preferences have also undergone changes in the recent years. I have started to love more of fruits, chaats and different kind of veggies. Fish.... I will always be in love with.

I largely followed Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe while doing it. For the home made crispy kachoris I went through few recipes earlier too. I was happy that I could make the crispy kachoris at home. Doing something from scratch is very satisfying. Below is the recipe of Dahi Kachori with stepwise pictures.

INGREDIENTS :[for the kachori]
Semolina : 1cup
Refined Flour : 2tsp
Salt : 1/4spoon
Baking Powder : A pinch
Oil : 1tsp + 50ml[to fry]
Water : As Required

INGREDIENTS :[for the filling]
Potato[boiled] : 2
Bengal Gram[boiled] : 1/2cup
Plain Yogurt : 1cup
Green Chutney : 1/2tsp in each kachori
Date Chutney : 1/2tsp in each kachori
Roasted Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Roasted Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Chilli Powder : A pinch on top of each kachori
Chaat Masala : A pinch on top of each kachori
Sev : 1/4tsp for each
Sugar : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Coriander Leaves[chopped] : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Prepare a hard dough using the semolina, refined flour, salt, baking powder, oil and water.

Roll into small puris as seen below.



Heat oil in a wok. Fry the puris till crisp. They look as this.



Let them cool. Make a hole in each in the middle.

Mash the boiled potatoes adding salt, cumin powder and coriander powder.

Beat the yogurt with the sugar. Take all the ingredients in separate bowls as below.



First fill the puris with mashed potato, then the boiled Bengal Gram chana, green chutney, date chutney, yogurt, sev, red chilli powder, chaat masala, chopped coriander leaves. They look as this.



Refrigerate for sometime and serve chilled.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

OMELETTE CURRY



This one is an entirely family recipe . I mean I have seen other recipes of Omelette Curries in the net but followed the family recipe here. May be later I will try them. As a child I did not like eggs. To be precise, I loved the yolk and discarded the white altogether. My brother altogether hated eggs. Preparing this Omelette Curry was my mom's trick to feed me egg protein. Keeping with tradition I too do it to feed egg to my son who does not love eggs much. The senior at home loves egg in any form except raw.

This is quite an easy recipe done with minimal ingredients. As a Bengali, the use of potato in curries is perhaps by default. You can skip it if you wish. It tastes absolutely yum with both rice or roti. It is a very quick and simple recipe that can be done on a busy week day night. Let us proceed with the recipe.

INGREDIENTS :
Eggs : 4
Potato : 1
Onion : 1
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 2pinches
Green Cardamom Powder : 1pinch
Cloves Powder : 1pinch
Cumin Seed : 3pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Salt : As required
Oil : 1tbsp + 1/4tsp for each omelette

METHOD :
Prepare omelette with the eggs and cut them into smaller pieces.

Peel, cut, wash and cube the potatoes. Apply salt and turmeric. Slice the onions.

Heat 1tbsp oil in a wok . Fry the potato pieces till brown and keep aside.

Temper oil with cumin seeds and bayleaf. Add the onion slices and fry till brown.

Add the ginger paste, fry for 1 minute. Add the cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt to it and saute for 1/2 a minute.

Add the fried potato pieces and mix well. Add one cup water and bring the gravy to boil.

Let the gravy boil for 3-4 minutes. Add the omelette pieces now. Let boil for 2 minutes.

Now add the cinnamon powder, cardamom powder and cloves powder. Stir and switch off.

Serve hot with rice/chapati.



Monday, 16 November 2015

MULI KOFTA CURRY




I have seen preparing kofta with the simplest of vegetables adds a zing to the dish. Earlier kofta was not so common at Bengali homes. We perhaps have hired the idea of preparing kofta from northern India. I love it, sharing food habits is also a kind of bonding among souls within a country. A vast country like ours needs to bond at all levels.... social, political, cultural. Standing at present, I think we have become more adaptive to each other. Our ethnicity and nationality can go together without been a threat to each other.

With all these feelings strong in my heart, I love cooking dishes belonging to different states or regions of India. I did not follow any recipe while  cooking this Muli/Radish Kofta Curry. I just did it the way I felt will appeal to the taste bud of all.. The thickness of the gravy is from the peanut paste I have used. It is a no onion, no garlic recipe. Let us proceed with the recipe,

INGREDIENTS :[for the kofta]
Radish : 2medium
Gram Flour : 2tbsp
Refined Flour : 1tbsp
Nigella Seeds[kalonji] : 1/4tsp
Green Chilli : 2
Coriander Leaves : 1sprig
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
Oil : 50ml[to fry]

INGREDIENTS :[for the curry]
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Roasted Peanut Paste : 1tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1pinch
Cardamom Powder : 1pinch
Cumin Seeds : 2pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 1tbsp

METHOD :
Peel, wash and shred the radish. Boil in enough water for 5 minutes. Let cool, drain the water. Squeeze very nicely and take in a bowl.

Wash and chop the coriander leaves and green chilli. Add the coriander leaves, green chilli, gram flour, refined flour, salt, turmeric, nigella seeds to the boiled radish. Mix well and shape into balls.

Heat oil in a wok and fry them till light brown. Place them on a tissue paper to drain the excess oil.

Now keep only 1tbsp oil in the wok. Temper with cumin seeds and bayleaf. Add the ginger paste and saute for a minute. Add the peanut paste and saute for 2 minutes.

Add salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and stir for 1/2 a minute. Add 1small cup water. As it comes to boil, add the kofta balls. Cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Add sugar, Cinnamon and cardamom powder and boil for 1/2 a minute. Its done.

Enjoy hot with rice or roti.







Sunday, 15 November 2015

CAPSICUM CHICKEN


If I prepare this kind of meals, there are happier faces at my home. My labour in the kitchen gets half. Then I cannot give in to that, I never can forget my roots, not even at the cost of my comfort. Cooking desi meal is also a part of being strongly rooted to my homeland, I feel. The primitive me feels very insecure if I do not cook Bengali/Indian recipes for two days in a row. Anyway, the teen at home forgot reading and writing Bengali, at least he should eat what we grew up eating. I am trying hard as long as it is possible. Nonetheless I also cook what they like too quite often.

This combination of Chicken with bell peppers and Garlic rice has been a hot favourite with my men. This Garlic rice I tasted here in Singapore in a restaurant by the seaside. Its so simple but flavourful, just frying the cooked rice in burnt minced garlic adding some light soya sauce, salt and black pepper powder. Goes well with South East Asian preparations so well. A fan of Chinese and Thai Cuisine, I so much love the number of sauces they use in their cooking. I do not have much knowledge about them, neither do I have them all in my pantry. So I prepare them with whatever ingredients I have in my kitchen and do not claim authenticity. This is too easy and quick to do, let us do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken[boneless] : 500gm
Green Capsicum : 1medium
Red Bell Pepper : 1medium
Yellow Bell Pepper : 1medium[I did not have, hence skipped]
Onion : 1big
Green Chilli : 4
Garlic[minced] : 1tbsp
Ginger[minced] : 1tsp
Thai Fish Sauce : 1tbsp
Thai Chilli Sauce : 2tbsp
Cornflour : 3tbsp
Salt : As required
Vinegar : 2tbsp
Oil : 4tsp

METHOD :
Wash and cut the chicken into cubes. Marinate with vinegar and salt as required for 1-2 hours. Coat with cornflour.

Wash and cut the green, yellow, red bell peppers and the onion into cubes. Slit the green chillies.

Marinate the bell peppers with little salt.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the chicken pieces till light brown. Drain the excess oil on tissue papers.

Add the minced ginger and garlic and stir at high heat. Add the onions and stir till translucent. Add the bell peppers and slitted green chillies. Stir at high heat for a minute. Add the chicken.

Pour the Thai fish sauce and chilli sauce. Mix well and keep stirring at high heat for 3-4 minutes. Its done.

Serve hot with Garlic rice.




Friday, 13 November 2015

BREAD GULAB JAMUN



Today is Bhai Phota.... a day when all sisters pray for their brother's life long health and prosperity. This is the day I miss my brother a lot. I remember my brother was five years old when I started giving 'phota' to him[a dot on his forehead wishing him good luck, good health]. It was quite a celebration at our home then.... my brothers, my maternal uncles all together at one place, sweets, elaborate lunch menu, smell of incense, diyas, crackers in the evening..... a very pious, divine and joyous atmosphere altogether. I think of those golden days and relive the moments.

Ever since I relocated to another city, far from home, I miss my brother the most on this day. I send rakhi to him through post but no way to send phota that way. I religiously call him this day and exchange some comforting words. This is same with many a sisters I know. Thought of sharing a simple sweet made in a jiffy on this occasion. I learnt this recipe of bread gulab jamun after going through a number of similar recipes in the internet. What attracted me is the simplicity of the ingredients in doing the same. Let us do it together.

INGREDIENTS :
Bread : 8pieces
Milk[boiled]  : 2 cups
Milk Powder : 1tbsp
Sugar : 1 small cup + 1tsp
Baking Soda : A pinch[optional]
Water : 2 small cups
Green Cardamom : 3-4
Oil : 1cup.

METHOD :
Boil the milk for about 10 minutes stirring in between, let cool.

Cut the sides of the bread slices and dip in the milk. Take out and squeeze, keep in a wide mouthed bowl.

Add 1tsp sugar and 1tbsp milk powder. Knead very well and shape into balls.

Heat oil in a wok. Simultaneously in another burner boil 1 cup sugar with 2cups water. Add the green cardamoms to it. Cook till its sticky and switch off.

Fry the balls till brown and soak in the sugar syrup. Keep them soaked for quite sometime.

Serve hot!!