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!!