Saturday, 30 May 2015

CHICKEN KASHA





This dry Chicken Curry prepared in a jiffy on a weekday evening is justified. It is time saving made with few basic ingredients. A sudden guest at home, on a weekday can also be treated well with warmth if we have some chicken at home. A simplistic chicken curry, a dal, fritters and a mixed vegetable medley is what we can humbly serve. When we were young, in an average middle class home, guests came without a notice, relationships were informal, warm. The ladies of the house never got scared of it as we do. Our home being nearer to the airport, there was regular flow of guests. The market being very near to the house, as late as 9 pm mom used to get chicken from the market and prepared a simple curry with or without potatoes which was heavenly to us. Served warm with rice/roti, along with dal, veggies were really a saviour. A nuclear family would definitely not have four/five extra pieces of fish stored in the pantry, at a time when going to the market everyday and buying fresh was the norm. When I was in 8th standard we got a refrigerator at home which was used only for making ice. A simple, middle class, two-roomed rented home did accommodate 5-6 guests at a time with warmth. This was the story every where. It is all inside I believe. Life was not mechanical then. Do I want back those days? YES.... I do...

I call it a rustic curry because it is made with few basic ingredients, in a jiffy but with warmth. This chicken kasha meaning dry chicken is prepared without water and tastes best with chapatis and steamed rice. I believe, in a platter, everything should have an earthy appeal. I very much wanted to serve this in steel utensils but I use them only to offer God, hence will not be touched with any non vegetarian item. Let us see how we do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 1 kg [medium cut]
Onion : 2 [roughly chopped]
Green Chillies : 4 [slitted]
Garlic Paste: 2 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 4 tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the chicken and marinate with turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt for 1 hour.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the chopped onions. Fry till golden brown.

Add the ginger n garlic paste. Keep stirring till the raw smell goes.

Add the slitted green chillies, salt, turmeric and stir till the spices separate from the oil.

Add the chicken pieces and fold in well with the spice mix.

Keep stirring at high heat for 2-3 minutes.

Lower the heat to minimum, cover n cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes to avoid burning.

Serve with steamed rice / roti. Some salads will make it complete.




Wednesday, 27 May 2015

FROZEN STRAWBERRY YOGURT


This is my first ever attempt to prepare frozen yogurt. I was not really familiar with this dessert back home. After landing here in Singapore, discovered them in the supermarkets. Never did I buy them, instead got home ice-creams. Then what is the inspiration behind preparing them ??.... Well I would say a series of irresistibly attractive desserts posted by my fellow bloggers that are flooding G+ for the past few days. They are definitely a pleasure to watch sitting in a tropical country. I thought let me contribute mine... a simple, humble, easy, cooling dessert which is very easy to prepare.

The desserts posted in G+ are having an amazing cooling effect on me, most of them made with the king of all fruits.... mango. I thought let me think of a fruit, a colourful one which can be used to prepare dessert ideal for summers. I thought of using fresh strawberries. Ever since I came back from Cameron Highlands, I am kind of in love with this redilicious tart fruit. I felt a Strawberry- Yogurt combination should be a healthy way to beat the heat. Hence, I prepared this Frozen Strawberry Yogurt with very little ingredients in a simplest ever way. Lets see how we do it.

INGREDIENTS :
Plain Yogurt : 500ml
Strawberry : 300 gm
Condensed Milk : 100ml
Strawberry Essence : 2-3 drops[optional]

METHOD :
Transfer the yogurt in a clean cloth, tie tightly and hang for about 45 minutes.

Wash the strawberries very well. Discard the green portion.

In a blender, put together condensed milk, hung yogurt, 2-3 drops of strawberry essence and the strawberries leaving 2-3of them. Blend throughly for about 3 minutes.

Pour in a container. Chop 2-3 strawberries and mix with the yogurt mix.

Put inside the freezer covered and freeze for 1-2 hours.

Now its ready to serve!!





Monday, 25 May 2015

NOTUN ALOO R DUM / NO ONION / NO GARLIC


This is a winter speciality back home. It is during winter only we used to get small potatoes which is called 'notun aloo' meaning new potato... perhaps grown in Nainital....a beautiful, picturesque hill station in the Himachal range. I never could or can equate its scenic beauty with potato fields. Yet to visit the place, I am sure the inquisitive me will look for potato growing areas and justify the sellers shouting in early december mornings.... 'didi Nainital aloo niye jan'.... at times they go to the extent of suggesting recipes.... I never mind...I could feel the warmth. Missing home is not only about missing family but every little thing taken into account.

So, since childhood Nainital meant both..... a beautiful tourist attraction and the source of small round, new potatoes flooding the markets in winter. So far savouring its beauty is concerned, its in our retirement plans to explore the beautiful, incredible homeland, just the two of us. They say a lifetime is not enough to explore through all the places of our homeland. Coming to NOTUN ALOO R DUM, here we get the small potatoes throughout the year so I do not have to wait for a winter season to prepare it. At my home these small potatoes were prepared without onion/garlic. I follow the same recipe. This goes very well with plain chapatis or a vegetarian pulao. Let us see how the recipe is.

INGREDIENTS :
Small Potatoes : 300gm
Tomato : 2 medium
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Cumin Seeds : 3 pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2 tsp[can be skipped]
Oil : 4 tbsp
Coriander Leaves : 2 sprigs

METHOD :
Wash and boil the potatoes over gas oven till it is 60% done.

Chop the tomatoes and coriander leaves and wash separately.

Once cold, peel the skin with fingers alone.

Rub turmeric and salt keeping it either whole or cutting it half.

Heat oil in the wok. Fry the potatoes in batches till light brown.

Drain the oil and keep aside.

Temper same oil with cumin seeds, bayleaf.

Add the ginger paste and fry till the raw smell goes away.

Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till it melts.

Add the salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder. Saute well till the raw smell goes.

Add the potato pieces, fold in well. Stir for 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water and boil for 3 minutes.

Add the sugar and chopped coriander leaves. Stir, its done!!





Sunday, 24 May 2015

MOGLAI POROTA




Are you laughing at the spelling 'MOGLAI POROTA'? This is exactly how it is pronounced everywhere back home. An extremely popular street food, you find this every 200 metres being sold in wheel carts, besides the very old cafes still struggling to survive in strict competition to the boutique restaurants. It is still sold as hot cakes, but the quality has gone down. This is because people prefer to flock the mall hangouts, it is because college goers these days have fatter pockets, they can afford to watch a movie spending 200 bucks following a lunch in a decent restaurant. Back in the 90's, it was college goers like us who really helped these small eateries to survive. In spite of mom packing our lunch boxes, we would manage to save our pocket money and flock into those wheel cart pullers or cafeteria's for a Moglai Porota / Chicken Roll /Fowl Cutlet / Fish Fry. We shared one into two, just as we shared our joys, sorrows, innermost feelings.

My love for Moglai Porota started when I was much younger. The little girl hanged onto  her mom's hands and pestered her to buy it. Mom was not always willing to saying they are unhealthy. The girl who prioritised taste over health, as every other child of her age do, failed to understand mom. Her anger lingered quite for sometime though mom made them at home which never tasted as good as the stall ones. Mine too I do not claim to be as authentic as the popular eateries never divulge their secret recipes fully. These are stuffed parathas, the filling generally made with mutton keema or kept vegeterian using chana dal, then brushed with beaten eggs, folded in square shapes and fried. It is served with curry based boiled potato and onion rings. I served with dum aloo. If you prefer a vegetarian version, omit the minced mutton and increase the amount of bengal gram.

INGREDIENTS :[for the filling]
Minced Mutton : 250 gm
Chana Dal [Bengal Gram]: 3 tbsp
Chopped Onion : 3 tbsp
Chopped Green Chilli : 3
Minced Garlic : 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Chopped Coriander : 2tbsp
Lemon Juice : 2 tbsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 2 tbsp

INGREDIENTS :[main]
All Purpose Flour : 3 big cups
Salt : As required
Eggs : 4 beaten
Oil : 1 tbsp + 1/2 big cup to fry the parathas

METHOD :
Let us prepare the dough first. Take the flour in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp oil and 2 pinches salt and rub well for 1 minute.

Prepare a smooth dough adding water little by little. Cover the dough for 1/2 an hour with a wet cloth.

Let us prepare the filling now. Wash the minced mutton thoroughly. Marinate with little turmeric, salt and lemon juice for an hour.

Soak the Bengal Gram Dal in hot water for 1 hour, discard the water and coarsely grind.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the minced garlic. As it releases aroma, add the chopped onion and fry till brown.

Add the minced mutton, stir and cover cook for 20 minutes.

Open cover, add the coarse dal, chopped green chillies and coriander leaves, salt and turmeric.

Stir and cook till the whole thing dries up. Switch off and cool.

Now make balls from the dough and roll out round shaped  parathas. Place 2 tbsp of filling on it and brush with generous amount of beaten egg. Take a look at the picture.




Fold in from all sides. It will take the shape of a square, just as in the picture below.



Heat 1/2 cup oil in a pan. Deep fry the parathas, flipping over after 1 side is done.
To be served with a curry and onion rings!!



Thursday, 21 May 2015

AMRITSARI MACCHI


Every year in the peak summer season, a kind of apathy towards curries grips in It is nothing permanent, just that the mind and body craves for coolers. I feel I can survive on watermelons throughout the summer season. While thinking and doing so I suddenly start missing a humble piece of fish after 2-3 days. Remembering olden days, when Kolkata had frequent load shedding with the summer heat on, we barely had the urge to eat anything. Mom used to feed us yogurt lassi with lemon juice, lots of watermelons. When it came to rice, it was either yellow chick pea dal prepared with raw mango or red lentil with onions, lemon juice squeezed in, crispy potato fries , a veggie n fried fish. In the months of April n May, only sour curries made with tamarind/ raw mango were welcome in our family. Those humble dishes served hot tasted heavenly. Our mothers did not have a microwave then, yet they made it sure we eat fresh and hot.In our home, summer or winter, food was always served hot.

At home it was always a typical Bengali food fair. This AMRITSARI MACCHI I learnt much later as I love exploring through various cuisines in the restaurants or elsewhere. Yesterday evening I had to cook, I had some fish fillets, son is not fond of curries, I do not like spending full evening in the kitchen, it is too hot.... considering all the factors, I found this recipe of fish to be easy, quick, if we can be considerate with the marination time.

INGREDIENTS :
Any firm white fish : 500 gm
Bengal Gram Flour : 2 tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp
Carom Seeds : 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala : 1/2 tsp
Chat Masala : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Lemon Juice: 1/4 cup
Oil : 4tbsp

METHOD:
Wash the fish pieces thoroughly. Marinate with salt and lemon juice. Keep aside for 2 hours.

Prepare a batter with the gram flour, carom seeds, salt and all the powdered masalas adding water as required.

Discard the extra water from the fish pieces and marinate them in the batter for about 1 hour.

Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the fish pieces in batches.

Put them on tissue papers to soak the excess oil.

Squeeze lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Usually these are served as an appetiser, I served them as main course along with jeera[cumin] rice.



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

ALOO PEPER DALNA / POTATO N RAW PAPAYA CURRY



Simple, humble, Bengali vegetarian dish is my pick today. It is a curry made of raw papaya and potato. As a child I hated vegetables, but now I love them as much as a scrumptious fish curry. Perhaps I understood the importance of including vegetables in our daily diet. This vegetable curry is an age old traditional Bengali one.....we generally call ALOO - PEPER DALNA. Any weekday lunch /dinner is just perfect with such a veggie curry, dal, a fish curry and any kind of fritter with piping hot rice. That is what a Bengali meal is all about.

Raw/ Green Papaya has many nutritional benefits. It is a powerful fruit full of essential nutrients and enzymes to promote digestive health. We also use it as a natural meat tenderiser. I remember, in our childhood at my grandparent's place we had a couple of papaya trees. Whenever grand mom wished to prepare  a curry with papaya, she would pluck one and do. It was as simple as that. No doubt it tasted amazing. Later, we had papaya tree at my parent's place too. They are easy to grow without any special care taken. Can be enjoyed ripened or raw in curries....gravy or dry.

INGREDIENTS :
Raw Papaya : 1 medium
Potato : 1 big
Tomato : 1
Shredded Coconut : 1/2 cup
Ginger Paste : 2 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seed : 3 pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Bengali Garam Masala Powder : 2 pinches[1cinnamon stick of one inch, 2 green cardamom, 2 cloves....ground together]
Oil : 4 tbsp
Ghee : 1tsp

METHOD :
Peel and cut the papayas into cubes discarding and scraping the middle portion nicely. Peel n cut the potato into cubes. Wash and cut the tomato into small pieces.

Wash both separately. Rub with half turmeric and required amount of salt.

Heat oil in a wok. Lightly fry the potato and papaya pieces separately. Keep aside.

Temper oil with a bayleaf and cumin seeds.

Add the ginger paste. Fry till the raw smell goes. Add the shredded coconut and fry for 1 minutes.

Add the tomato pieces and fry till the paste separates from the oil.

Add the cumin powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Stir for 1 minute at low heat.

Now add the fried papaya pieces. Fold in well and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the fried potatoes and stir for another 2 minutes.

Add 1 medium cup water. Stir and cover.

After 5-7 minutes, open cover and add Bengali garam masala, sugar and ghee. Stir and boil for another 1 minute.

Serve hot with steamed rice or flat breads!!



Sunday, 17 May 2015

MACHER KALIA



MACHER KALIA.....typical of Bengal.... its rich, spicy, finger licking and obviously not an every day curry. Long back, in our childhood, at Bengali weddings it was typical Bengali Food fair. Catering services had not overtaken the duty of taking care of the guests. In all family weddings and others I have seen family members and friends serving food to the guest, there was a warm, caring, unprofessional touch in the work done. It was in these weddings that dishes like Macher Kalia, Red, Hot Mutton Curry, Roshogolla, Sandesh, Dal, Eggplant fry, Panchmeshali Torkari were served.... all very typical of Bengal. The greedy, food loving little girl ate them all and licked her finger and never missed her pan[[beetle leaf] before leaving. I missed that personal touch, that warmth in the Bengali weddings later..... now a days it is more of show off, from choosing the venue to selecting the menu. I believe at least in few occasions we can stick to our tradition, preserve it, highlight it.

In some states of India, they do follow their own tradition, gather in their own ancestral home, in whichever part of the world they live, they will, feast on their traditional food. I so much love and honour their feeling. I wish to celebrate my son's wedding the typical Bengali way with a typical Bengali food fair served in earthen ware on top of banana leaves. Few childhood memories and tradition I would love to treasure and follow whenever possible. MACHER KALIA was prepared at home too but occasionally given its richness. We usually do it with ROHU fish but any white fish can be used.

INGREDIENTS :
Rui/Rohu Fish [or any white fish fillet] : 500 gm
Onion Paste : 3 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Garlic Paste : 1/2 tsp[optional]
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Plain Yogurt : 1 tbsp
Cinnamon Stick : 2 one inch stick
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Cloves : 2
Bayleaf : 1
Raisins : 7-8
Oil [preferably mustard] : 5 tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the fish pieces and rub salt and half tsp turmeric on them.

Prepare all the pastes.

Heat oil in a pan and fry all the fish pieces till light brown.

Temper the same oil with cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves and a bayleaf.

Add the onion paste and fry till golden brown.

Add the ginger garlic paste and fry very well for 2 minutes.

Beat the yogurt and pour into the spice mix. Stir.

Add the salt, cumin powder, turmeric powder, chilly powder. Fry for another 1 minute.

Add one cup water.

As the gravy boils, add the fish pieces and cover.

After 3-4 minutes, uncover and add the sugar and raisins, let cook for 1 more minute.

Its done. Serve with piping hot steamed rice.





Friday, 15 May 2015

BAKED AAMRAS




This is that time of the year when mangoes sweep away all our senses. Considered the king of all fruits, we eat it to our heart's content. When it comes to mangoes, who stops at one? not even the diabetic me. I remember my father's favourite breakfast in this season was / is aamras with puffed rice / pressed rice and milk.....very typical of those who migrated from East Bengal to India. My father very proudly would say....we never did buy mango from market and never in kilos. It was always getting from our own trees and having in huge quantity. Here we fail to understand their psychology and laugh it out....oh .....but the actual fact is even the humblest of the person had his own house, a garden and a small dairy farm with at least two cows.... One fine morning they had to leave everything and migrate, taking shelter as unwanted guests in relative's houses or even in shanties. That pain of loss we will not understand who got everything in a platter. From that penny less point they did soar high in say 20 years and did win their lost pride. So when they speak of their past glory, we can give a patient ear, they feel happy.

Coming back to track, ever since we landed in this island, my mother would lament over phone that she cannot feed us mango from her garden. All attempts to convince her that we eat a lot of mangoes here which also grow in trees, goes in vein. I let her do n say all these as I understand all is done out of love. This evening I saw two slightly overripe mangoes in the refrigerator. I had to do something with them, family would not love it to have it as a fruit. So I prepared this BAKED AAMRAS which took just few minutes to be prepared.

INGREDIENTS :
Mango : 2
Condensed Milk : 50 ml
Milk : 1 cup
Cornflour : 1 tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4 tsp
Pistachios : To garnish[optional]

METHOD :
Preheat oven to 160* C.

Peel the mangoes and get the pulp. Put the mango pulp, milk, sugar, condensed milk, cornflour and green cardamom powder in a blender.




Blend the mango pulp, milk, condensed milk and the green cardamom powder together.




Pour into  an ovenproof glassware.




Bake at 160* for about 20 minutes.

Stand for few minutes, take out and let cool.





Garnish with Pistachios.




Refrigerate for 1 hour and serve chilled.








Wednesday, 13 May 2015

DHABEWALI CHICKEN



DHABAS..... another attraction while touring India.... your speeding car through the newly upgraded national highways, the inevitable stops at the dhabas gives you a new high. This pleasure is in fact a part of your tour. Whether its a cup of tea or a lunch with rajma chawal or a dinner with chicken, chapati n dal, all served fresh and hot is such a joy, at least to me. I sit and watch the crowd around, at what pace and expertise the waiters carry 4-5 plates at a time, how the cooks prepare roti on the oven one after another. A big work fare going on whole day n night. Had I have that writing prowess, I would have definitely written a book on them. Isn't it from these dhabas that these recipes of tandoori chicken/roti, tikka masalas originated and got place in the prestigious fine dining restaurants? I think so, though this foodie does not have much knowledge on food history.

This recipe of DHABEWALI CHICKEN I came across while surfing and is heavily influenced by India's master chef Sanjeev Kapoor. I served it with puri and dhaba style salted lassi.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 500gm [I used boneless]
Onions : 2
Minced Garlic : 1 tbsp
Minced Ginger : 1 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1 tbsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4 tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 2 pinches
Clove Powder : 1 pinch
Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Tomato Sauce : 1 cup
Salt : As requried
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice : 2 tbsp
Garam Masala : 1/4 tsp
Oil : 4 tbsp
Chopped Coriander leaves for garnish

METHOD : 
Wash the chicken and marinate with salt, turmeric and lemon juice and keep aside for 1-2 hours.

Slice the onions, mince the ginger and garlic. Wash them.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the minced ginger and garlic and fry till fragrant.

Add the sliced onions and fry till golden brown.

Add all the powdered masalas except the garam masala.

Stir for 1 minute and add the chicken.

Fry for 3-4 minute at high heat.

Reduce heat and cover.

After 10 minutes, add the tomato sauce.

Stir well and cover cook for another 20 minutes at low heat.

The water will dry up and hopefully its done.

Add the garam masala powder, stir and transfer to a bowl.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with your choice of  breads!!







Monday, 11 May 2015

STIR FRY PANEER



Some days I am literally left with very few vegetables in my pantry, specially on fridays. I purposefully let it be this way. Idea is to use up everything by friday night and cook fresh on saturday morning. I strongly believe nothing should go waste in the kitchen unless it is rotten. I have learnt to prepare something with minimal ingredients whenever situation demands. I am a minimalist, except for my sarees and jewelries. On such a friday, I had 2 carrots, 1/2 each of green and red bell peppers, 1 big onion, few green chillies, 1/4 jar of sweet n sour sauce and a small packet of paneer [Indian Cottage Cheese]. I thought of  making good use of them, planned for a light STIR FRIED PANEER. Later I prepared noodles to go with it.

India has a large population of vegetarian people. The Indian restaurants brought various innovations in their recipes so that the veggie lovers are not deprived of experiencing different cuisines. A platter of chilli potato or chilli paneer or roasted cauliflower do give us immense pleasure. Its all about with how much care we cook it and how beautifully we present it. Mom n son have lots of paneer stuffs whenever the daddy of the home is away on a tour. It is not because we are not allowed to but because I prefer to cook something that cater to the tastebuds of all in the family. We respect each other's feelings, space, freedom, taste, likes and dislikes, even of the youngest member of the home.

This dish was very simple to do, and was a time saving one. I never like spending longer periods in the kitchen on evenings.

INGREDIENTS :
Paneer : 250 gm
Onion : 1
Bell Peppers [red n green]
Carrot : 1
Green Chilli : 2-3
Minced Garlic : 1tsp
Sweet n Sour Sauce : 1/4 cup
Black Pepper Powder : 1 tsp [coarse]
Salt : As required
Oil : 1 tbsp

METHOD :
Soak the paneer pieces[Indian Cottage Cheese] in hot water for 1 hour. Drain the water.

Cut the bell peppers and onion into cubes. Slit the green chillies. Mince the garlic. Wash all separately.

Heat the oil on a wok.

Add the minced garlic. Fry till fragrant.

Add the onions. Saute till translucent.

Add the carrots and saute for about 2 minutes.

Add the bell peppers and saute at high heat for 1 minute and add the paneer pieces.

Add salt, pepper powder and the sweet n sour sauce.

Stir well for 1-2 minutes.

Serve hot on a bed of noodles, the Indian way of eating noodles.



Friday, 8 May 2015

DAL POORI WITH SPICED POTATO




These Dal Pooris takes me back to the 80's. I was in middle school, and very much friends with my maternal youngest aunty. As soon as my vacation started, I used to go to my grandparent's home, some 100 km far from Kolkata. I keep on mentioning about this in many of my posts because I was born there, grew up there. The place and environment shaped my childhood. Some mornings, a dal poori seller used to visit the neighbourhood, attracted people towards him 'Dal Poori nebe Dalpoori, gorom Dal poori' meaning do you want hot dal pooris. The plumpy, greedy me was on my toes. My aunt would ask me to stop him at the gate, herself would run to get her piggybank. In 5 leaps I was at the gate, shouting ' o dal poori wala  darao, amra kinbo', stop we will buy. I vividly remember he carried them in a squared glass box, still wonder how he carried such a heavy box. Aunt says one day he stopped coming. We  never even bothered to ask where his home was. We humans are self centred and forgetful creatures.

Ask me how it tasted, I would say.... heavenly.... I rolled each and took heavenly bites with no accompaniments. I never could forget the taste, never did follow any other recipe of dal poori because I still believe that man prepared the best dal poori ever. The little me never thought of asking him the recipe either. So for dal pooris I follow my own recipe. Any form of poori n chapatis are favourite with my men. Hence, yesterday I prepared dal poori with a chana dal stuffing and served with a spicy potato dry curry and home made achar. 

INGREDIENTS[ for the stuffing ] :
Bengal Gram Dal : 1 cup
Onion : 1
Ginger Paste : 1 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/4 tsp
Coriander Leaves : 2 sprigs
Green Chilli : 2
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
Oil : 1 tbsp

INGREDIENTS [for the dough] :
All Purpose Flour : 1 cup
Whole Wheat Flour : 1 cup
Salt : 2 pinches
Oil : 1 tsp + as required for deep frying

INGREDIENTS [for the spiced potato]
Potato : 2 big
Cumin Powder : 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder : 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/4 tsp
Coriander Seed : 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli : 1
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp
Oil : 2 tbsp

METHOD 
THE SPICED POTATO :
Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut into cubes. Apply salt and turmeric and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with coriander seeds and dry red chilli. Add the potatoes discarding the marinade. Stir and cover.

After 3-4 minutes add the cumin, red chilli and coriander powder. Stir and cover.

Better to check every 1 minute. Uncover after 4 minutes. Add the garam masala powder and salt, if required.

THE FILLING :
Wash and soak the chana dal in hot water for 1 hour. Pressure cook upto 1 whistle.

Chop and wash the coriander leaves and green chilli. Peel, wash  and slice the onion.

Heat oil in a clean wok. Temper with cumin seeds. Add the sliced onions.

As the onions turn brown, add the ginger paste, salt and turmeric powder. 

Add the dal and stir. As it starts drying, add the cumin and coriander powder. Stir.

As it dries, add the chopped coriander leaves and green chilli.

Stir a while, its done.

THE POORIS :

Take the two flours, salt and 1 tsp oil in a big wide mouthed vessel. Rub well for 1 minute.

Add little water at a time and prepare a dough. Cover the dough with a clean wet cloth for 1 hour.

Shape into round balls, make hollow space and fill with the dal mix and close it.

Roll into poori as shown below :


Heat enough oil in a wok. Fry one at a time. When one side is done, flip over.

Serve hot with the spiced potato and pickle of your choice!!









Wednesday, 6 May 2015

GRILLED POMFRET IN CORIANDER PASTE



Going back 25 years, a morning in Kolkata, daddy got this fish for the first time to our fresh water fish loving home. Why only our home, it was true with all homes then and in those days our mothers/aunties were a bit averse to experimentation. Daddy was very excited to get something new which was not so heavy on pocket. It still did not get a place besides the very prestigious Hilsa, Barramundi, Long whiskered cat fish, Katla or Pabda. Mom was visibly unhappy, she never knew how to cook it. Naturally when she made a curry with it, we could not have it, found it extremely smelly. That was because the community was not used to having sea fish. Gradually mom learnt that cooking this fish needs use of onion n garlic. She used to marinate it with masalas and deep fried coated in a batter. Otherwise I could not have it. Within few years the price of pomfret sore high in Kolkata markets, perhaps because the middle range restaurants / hotels could not afford using bhetki for the fish fries and started substituting it with pomfret. Bengal is in love with fish fries. Now its one of the high priced fish in the Kolkata market.

The primitive me still find it difficult to have it. My family loves, so I cook. The other day I got very fresh ones in the nearby supermarket which has counters for fresh fish too. This island is a fish loving nation. It was a weekday evening and I preferred to marinate them in a masala paste and grill. This was an easier option for me. We can have it with a good serving of salads.

INGREDIENTS :
Pomfret : 4
Coriander Paste : 1/2 cup
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice : 4 tbsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 2 tbsp

METHOD :
Clean n wash the pomfrets. Make slits on both sides with a knife.

Marinate with the lemon juice and salt for 1/2 an hour. Discard the excess water.

Add rest of the ingredients and mix well. Marinate for 1-2 hours.

Rub little oil on your grill. Place the fish on it.

Grill one side for 10 minutes. Flip over and grill the other side for another 8 minutes.

You can brush little oil and marinade in between.



Monday, 4 May 2015

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS


Yesterday was the last day of the long weekend.... I thought of ending it on a sweeter note. After an elaborate Sunday lunch we usually enjoy an afternoon nap....that pleasure is perhaps gone forever...an after noon nap results into sleepless nights for me these days, so I prefer to sacrifice the simple pleasure of 'ektu goriye ni', which in Bengali means let me take a small nap....that 'small' refers to anything between 1-3 hours. Instead, we enjoy watching a movie together, small talks, leg pulling, planning for the evening if its not planned with friends...this way I enjoy the simple pleasures of life, enjoy being in each other, wait for another weekend.

We planned to stay at home yesterday evening. After two days of fun and frolic with friends, cooking, arranging special pooja at home, we needed a quite evening together at home. I thought why not prepare some fresh, hot muffins to enjoy with the evening tea. When it comes to baking, the learner me hunts for the simplest bakes. I had a small box of blueberries in the refrigerator.... so thought how about BLUEBERRY MUFFINS.... fact is I did not have the time, energy, patience to bake a cake which requires longer time, muffins seemed a better option. The teatime was approaching, with a tea connoisseur at home... I usually try to serve it in time. These blueberry muffins were done in 1 hour including the preparation time. The measurement yielded 12 muffins.

INGREDIENTS :
All Purpose Flour : 1 1/2 cup
Baking Powder : 2 tsp
Sugar : 1/2cup + 1 tbsp to sprinkle on top
Salt : 1/4 tsp
Butter [softened] : 1/2 cup[unsalted....if salted...skip using salt... I did so]
Milk : 1/2 cup
Eggs : 2
Vanilla Extract : 1 1/2 tsp
Fresh Blueberries : 1 cup

METHOD :
Wash the blueberries and dry them. Preheat oven at 200*C.

In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl cream together butter and sugar.

Add one egg at a time and beat well.

Add the milk and vanilla essence, mix well.

Add the flour mix to the liquid.

Just combine, do not overmix.

Add the blueberries leaving few.

The batter looks as below :

Pour the thick batter into muffin cup.

Sprinkle little sugar on top and place 1 or 2 blueberries over it.

Place on the low rack of your oven :



Bake at 200*C for 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven.








Friday, 1 May 2015

STIR FRIED PINEAPPLE CHICKEN



I was exploring through some quick fix recipes that can really be handy on a week day. I really do not like spending much time in the kitchen in the evenings. I have other attractions in life, my evening walks/runs and hunting from this store to that store in the local mall. Another favourite activity of mine is to explore through various sauces and condiments or spices in the super market. Its such a pleasure for me. Coming back home around 9 pm, how much time is left for an elaborate cooking? Is this a lazy girl speaking? Never mind, as long as my family is happily eating it, everything else falls in place. With a chicken phobic at home you have to explore through various meat recipes.

Midweek I had very few things left in my pantry. A small broccoli, a red bell pepper and some boneless chicken was what I had. Suddenly I saw a whole pineapple peeping through the refrigerator, of which I entirely forgot, neither did my help remind me of it. Well, you cannot expect more from an Uncle Podger's daughter. Last weekend saw the tag Sweet Sixteen Pineapple on it and this sixteen at heart bought it at once. Now the family refuses to eat pineapple in the mango season. After having 1/4th of it, I thought how can it be used in cooking. Googled and settled on Pineapple fried rice and Stir Fried Pineapple Chicken.

It required very less time to cook it with very less ingredients, if off course one excludes the marination time. You can always add more veggies into it. I did with what I had. You can also use pineapple chunks to it, in addition to the sauce made with pineapple juice. I skipped.

INGREDIENTS :[main]
Boneless Chicken : 500 gm
Vinegar : 4 tbsp
Salt : As required
Onion : I big
Red Bell Pepper : 1 medium
Broccoli : 1 small
Black Pepper : 1/2 tsp[coarsely ground]
Minced Garlic : 1 tsp
Cornflour : 2 tbsp
Oil : 3 tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the sauce]
Pineapple Juice : 1/2 cup
Sugar : 2 tbsp
Soya Sauce[light] : 1/4 cup
Cornflour : 1/2 tsp

METHOD :
Cut the chicken into cubes and wash thoroughly. Add vinegar and salt, mix well. Cover and marinate for 3-4 hours.

Cut the broccoli into medium florets and the onion n red bell pepper into cubes. Wash thoroughly and apply salt. Mince the garlic.

Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients for the sauce and stir till the sugar dissolve.

Heat oil in a wok. Discard the marinade of the chicken. Add the cornflour to the chicken, coat well.

Fry the chicken pieces at medium heat till golden brown. Keep aside.

Add the minced garlic to the oil. As it gives a nice aroma, add the onions and fry till translucent.

Add the broccoli and red bell pepper and keep stirring at high heat for 1-2 minutes. Pour the sauce, stir well. Add the chicken, add the black pepper and salt if required. Sir fry for 2 minutes and its done.

Serve immediately with piping hot rice!!