Saturday, December 26, 2009

Triple chocolate cheesecake !

Ah!!! The year end festivities and the gooey cakes! Lovely!
Wanted a decadent cake this time with the chocolate and cheese and that's what I got....
I mixed and matched a number of recipes and this is what I landed up with! And I am not complaining!

Dry Ingredients:
flour--1 and 2/3 cups
corn flour-- 1/3 cup
baking soda--1 tsp
baking powder--1 tsp
cocoa powder--4 tbsp
salt-a pinch

Wet Ingredients:
eggs--2 beaten lightly
brown sugar-1 and 3/4 cup
butter- 10 tbsp
chocolate chunks-1/2 cup

light cream-2 cup
chocolate chip-2cup
butter-5 tbsp melted

light cream cheese--2 cup at room temperature
chopped hazelnuts-- to garnish

Mix the dry ingredients and keep aside.
Cream the butter and sugar and to it add the eggs.
Fold in the mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chunks and fold lightly.Butter a round baking pan and preheat oven at 340 F.
Pour the batter in the baking pan.
Next lightly whisk the cream cheese and add it over the batter. With a flat knife slowly infuse the cream cheese into the batter. Do not whisk.
Bake for 40 -- 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

In a pan heat the cream and butter just under boiling point. Pour it over the chocolate chunks and mix into a smooth paste.
Now freeze the mixture for around 2 hours. and the frosting is ready.

When the cake has cooled with a sharp large knife cut the cake horizontally.
Slather the cooled chocolate frosting inside and also over the top.
Sprinkle a handful of nuts on top.
Now sink into the chocolaty velvetness!

Happy New Year! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Run-up to Christmas!!

Christmas is not the same without cakes. With our moving to the new apartment I wanted to test my new oven and what would be better than a lovely Chocolate Vanilla Nut cake! I peeked into my pantry and discovered a packet of chopped hazelnuts and thought it would be lovely to include the nuts....
It was a snowy winter afternoon and even with the heating on, it was quite chilly inside. The warmth of the oven was inviting and even more inviting was the aroma of chocolate and vanilla . So here it is.... make your Christmas a little more delicious...(you are free to add any other type of nut or fruits if you like)

What you need:

For the vanilla batter:

Flour: 1 cup
baking powder:1tsp
baking soda:1/2 tsp
white powdered sugar:1/2 cup
brown sugar:1/2 cup
chocolate chips:1/4 cup
vanilla:1 tbsp
egg:1 lightly beaten
butter:4 tbsp molten
salt:a pinch

For the chocolate batter:

Flour:1 cup
baking powder:1 tsp
baking soda:1/2 tsp
white powdered sugar:1/2 cup
brown sugar:1/2 cup
chocolate chips:1/2 cup melted over slow burner with 2 tbsp milk
hazelnuts:1/4 cup
egg:1 beaten
butter:5 tbsp
salt:a pinch

Vanilla batter:

Mix all the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar. Slowly add the egg . Whisk well.
Now mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Add the vanilla and salt.
Fold the mixture in slowly. Add the chocolate chips.

Chocolate batter:

Same as the vanilla batter.
Mix the chopped nuts and the molten chocolate last.
Take care that the chocolate is at room temperature.

Now line the baking tray with a tin foil .Lightly brush melted butter.
First add the chocolate batter and smoothen it out.
Next add the vanilla batter.
Preheat the oven at 350 F.

Bake for 40 -45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Serve warm with a dollop of caramel vanilla ice will be in heaven!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A simple lunch

A simple curry..... heartwarming yet amazingly delicious,easy to cook but still reminds you of Ma er Ranna.... how good is that!
My Mother in law makes amazing bandhakopi r torkari.... and she showed me the trick...
Well.. I have never been a big fan of this vegetable.... tastes kind of vegetably (whatever that means!) and takes ages to cut and then of course it never seems to have any taste!
But then all of it changed 2 years ago.... I learnt how to manage this veggie properly...
Yes, you have to be patient and do a little bit of hard work... but the superb lunch we had today... was so totally worth it!

What you need:
Cabbage- 1/2 of 1 large finely shredded. Discard the outer leaves.
potato -2 medium diced
green peas-1/2 cup
green chillies-2 slit
ginger paste-1 tbsp
tomato-1 large finely chopped
turmeric-1 tsp
cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
cumin powder-1/4 tsp
garam masala-1/2 tsp
bay leaf-1
ghee(optional)- 1/2 tsp

Add the shredded cabbage to a pot of simmering water. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Then discard the water and drain the cabbage.
In a pan add 2 tbsp oil, and sizzle the cumin , green chillies and the bay leaf with a tsp sugar.
Next add the ginger paste and tomatoes. Cook on medium heat until the tomatoes are cooked and oil separates.
Next add the potatoes and the green peas. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the drained cabbage , turmeric and salt. Stir for a couple of minutes and cover and cook for 25-30 minutes on low heat. Do not add water. Add water only if the cabbage dries up.
When the cabbage cooks down and turns all mushy, and potatoes have cooked, add the cumin powder and garam masala.

Stir in the ghee after the gas is put off. Serve hot with steaming rice.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coriander chicken and a cold saturday lunch

No No...the lunch wasn't cold.... after all there is nothing worse than a cold lunch on a weekend...the day was unusually cold.... the sun was out though... and the patio was bathed in the usual warmth.... but the the nip in the air made it impossible to sit out and enjoy the warmth.... inside too with our old pink blankets wrapped around our feet... we had a hot and yum lunch....

I am back after a long time.. with the pujas at home and the festivities continuing... I was as usual too lazy to sit in front of the computer and blog....But now I am back in full energy...

I made Coriander chicken after a long time... I love the aromatic coriander ... because it goes so well with all our curries.... veggies or non veg... the fresh leaves and the pliant stems impart so much flavor to the base....and one of my favorite chicken dishes is coriander chicken.....

What you need to do:

Chicken~1 lb
yogurt-2-3 tbsp
fresh coriander leaves and soft stems-1 bunch properly cleaned. Exclude the hard woody stems
mint leaves-5-6
green chillies-4
onion garlic ginger paste-tbsp
cashew nuts-10
garlic-2 large cloves

Marinate the chicken with the onion ginger garlic paste and the yogurt.
Meanwhile put together the coriander, mint,chillies, cloves and garlic and a little water and make a fine paste in the food processor.
Also dry grind the cashew nuts .
Now heat oil in a pan and add the coriander paste. Put on medium heat and lightly fry the paste until the water starts drying up.
Next add the chicken and the marinade and increase the heat.
Evenly coat the chicken with the paste . Add salt, put the heat on medium again, cover and cook.
The yogurt will release water and the chicken would cook in that. If it dries up too much add a little water.
When the chicken is completely cooked add the cashew nut powder.
Put off the heat and let the chicken cook in its own juices.
Serve hot with jeera rice or pulao.... Hmmmm...... lovely...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fish Fry and super entertaining!

I love fish fries (who does n't) and this weekend I had such a lovely lovely time frying , serving and just popping them in my mouth...

We got some really fresh Tilapia from the local grocery store and yes of course... Panko Breadcrumbs! These are really really good and as promised the Fish Fries turned out really crusty and crunchy!

What you need:
tilapia fillets---1 lb cut into bite sized pieces
eggs---3 lightly beaten
flour---3/4 cup
bread crumbs---1 cup (I used Panko....Just get hold of any good bread crumb)
oil for frying

For the marinade:
shallots-2 sliced
garlic-2 cloves
coriander-a handful
ginger paste-1 tsp

Just blitz them in the food processor wit h 1 tbsp vinegar.

Marinate the fish in the paste for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Now season the fish with salt as also the flour and bread crumbs.
Dredge the fish in four, dip in the eggs and then roll in the bread crumbs.
Fry in hot oil until they turn golden brown on all sides. Serve with a lemon wedge and have a good time munching!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thai Green curry

Thai food is one of my favorites. It is light , has a curry base usually and incredibly healthy.
This Green Curry is part of traditional Thai Cuisine and is made specially with with the green curry paste. Thai cooking uses their traditional versions of vegetables and spices like galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
Last weekend my trip to the supermarket had a surprise in store for me. I discovered fresh lemongrass in the "Oriental " section. And of course I had to bag one and give it a try in my version of the curry. I could not lay my hands on any lime leaves though.
Also I skipped the fish sauce which I found was being used in all the authentic recipes. Instead I opted for soy sauce mixed with garlic paste and brown sugar.
The result was not too bad..... do try it out.

Thai Green Curry with Chicken:
boneless chicken: 1/2 lb cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces
eggplant:1 cup diced
red bell pepper: half of one julienne d
coconut milk:1 and 1/2 cup
soy sauce:1 and 1/2 tbsp
brown sugar:1 and 1/2 tbsp
garlic:1 clove chopped fine
canola oil:2 tbsp
green curry paste:2 tbsp (See below)
basil leaves:4-5(optional)

Green Curry Paste: (yields around 1/2 cup)
garlic:3 cloves
coriander:handful of leaves and soft stems
lemon grass: half of one (I finally got one in the supermarket YAY! Find out how to work with the lemongrass here)
green chili:3 slit
shallots:4 chopped fine
ginger paste: 2 tbsp

Just make a paste of the above in the blender.

Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the green paste and fry for 2 minutes on low medium heat.
Add the coconut milk and let it come to a boil.
Add the chicken pieces and the egg plant.
Add the soy sauce , brown sugar and the garlic.
Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
Add 1/2 cup water, salt to taste and the red bell pepper.
Cook for 5-6 more minutes or until the eggplants are tender and the chicken is cooked. Garnish with the basil.
Serve hot with white rice and go on.... Dream THAILAND!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Banana Walnut muffins..... with an added treat

Ripe bananas are a nuisance. I cannot eat them and their final destination is the dustbin. I hate to be wasteful but when that black ugly fruit sits on the top of my fruit bowl screaming , on most weeks I end up disposing 1-2 in the garbage bag.
Yesterday however was different. The banana was ripe and the skin was black as usual and I ventured into peeling the fruit. I discovered the fruit was perfectly alright, just a bit too soft and the fruity smell was a tad too overpowering . And so I could not bring myself to throwing the poor one away. And VOILA! there it is calmly sitting in my warm muffins totally at peace..... I am happy and the banana is too(I hope!).
What you need:

flour---1 tbsp less then 1 cup
baking soda---1/2 tsp
baking powder---1 tsp
ripe banana---1 mashed
chopped walnuts---1/4 cup
chocolate chips---a handful
brown sugar---1/2 cup
sour cream---2 tbsp (at room temperature)
egg---1 beaten
butter---6 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Cream the butter and sugar together and keep aside.
Lightly beat the egg and add to the butter and sugar. Add the sour cream.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together with a pinch of salt and slowly add to the egg mix.
Lightly fold in the mixture.
Next add the ripe banana and gently mix.
Add the chopped walnuts and a handful of semisweet chocolate chips.
Line a muffin pan with the greased pastry sheets.
Scoop out equal portions of the batter.This batter makes about 8 medium sized muffins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is puffed and golden brown. Take them out and cool for 10-12 minutes.
Lovely yummilicious treat..... just pop it into your mouth and enjoy the softness! :)

And P.S..... The added treat as indicated in the header is the "chocolate chip".... which is totally optional...... but then you know my desserts are never really desserts without a hint of chocolate..... so then..ENJOY!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Easy Apple Tart

This is a simple apple tart and an absolutely amazing one ....sweet yet with a bit of tang.... the texture is not entirely like cakes.... it is much softer and and has an amazing apple y top...
I got the original recipe from here. Just wanted to give it a try since I had two red apples sitting on the top of the microwave and staring at me. It is also also very different from a usual cake. It is a tart but without any crust making and the recipe is amazingly simple.
I am not very fond of apples. Of all the fruits the least I like is apple. Somehow I do not like the texture of apples. So whenever I buy apples I try and incorporate it into custards and fruit salads. And this apple tart is another way of making my desserts healthier.

apple-1 large red one
brown sugar-1 cup
white crystalline sugar-1/2 cup
flour-1 cup
baking powder-1/2 tsp
sour cream-2tbsp
butter-6 tbsp

I omitted the lemon zest and vanilla as I did not have them handy.

Peel and scoop out the core of the apple. Cut into wedges and arrange at the bottom of a glass pie dish .Butter the surface of pie dish generously.
Now combine the brown sugar and water and put on low heat until a thick brown sugar syrup forms. Pour the syrup on the apples evenly.
In a bowl combine the white sugar and butter and cream them.
Slowly add the eggs, sour cream, flour and the baking powder. Add a pinch of salt.
Next spread the batter over the apples and even out the batter.
Bake for 40 -45 minutes at 350F. Cool for 15 minutes before turning it out upside down with the apples on top.
Serve warm with cold vanilla ice cream.

P.S.:If you do not want this tart to be too sweet just reduce the amount of sugar in the batter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The traditional Appetizers

The traditional appetizers in a Bengali meal are served in the same plate with the hot steaming rice. There are a variety of fried stuff ---- vegetables and greens as also boiled vegetables like potaotes or bittergourd and pumpkin and even okra...
Let's start with the boiled stuff.....
This is the healthy part of the appetizers. Children usually hate these and mothers force them down their mouths. But honestly speaking I think there is nothing like boiled potato with bitter gourd or ucche alu sheddho. The bitterness of the bitter gourd is really balanced out by the mashed potato. Its a lovely combo. otherwise if you are not really into bitterness then you can try out with pumpkins and even raw papaya. But as it is said back home.....A little bitter at the start is always good for the belly...
Next comes the lightly pan fried varieties:
Mostly the greens fall into this variety or the shaak as we call it. Well you can have the greens boiled too but it tastes better if fried just lightly. We do not prefer our greens raw and these are always cooked right... boiled or fried.Greens like pui, notey and laal , palong(spinach) to name just a few are not only good for health but taste good too.Even lightly fried bitter gourd is a favourite among Bengalis.Also during winter you can always smell the neem leaves crackling up in the bengali kitchen . It is a favourite winter delicacy back home. The neem leaves are chopped, washed and tossed in to hot oil with small slices of egg plant. It is a very bitter appetizer but then it does wonders to your taste buds as also to your immunity.
The deep fried ones are the least healthy ones. There are a variety of vegetables, grains or greens which are deep fried. The varieties are infinite and you can practically deep fry anything and the batter is usullay of cornflour or flour or chickpea flour. Sometimes it just needs hot oil and no batter just like this posto bora I made C for lunch.
My favourite appetisers are shaak bhaja and posto bora. And I love bitter stuff . So I serve bittergourd both ways.... fried as well as boiled.

Shaak bhaja:
spinach -1 bunch
nigella -1/2 tsp
black mustard seeds -a sprinkle
mustard oil -2 tbsp
green chillies -2 slit
posto /poppy seeds -a sprinkle

Boil the spinach until they wilt.
Drain the water and squeeze the extra water out.
Heat oil in a skillet and sizzle the nigella and mustard and add the chillies.
Add the spinach and lightly fry in medium heat.
Add salt and sprinkle the poppy seeds on the top. The seeds will from a sort of a crunchy crust on the top.
Taske it off heat and serve hot .

Boiled potatoes with bitter gourd:

Potato-1 medium boiled
bitter gourd-1 medium boiled
mustard oil-1 tsp

Mash the potato and the bitter gourd.
Add salt and the mustard oil.
Make small balls with your hand and serve.

Posto bora or Poppy seed Fritters:

poppy seeds-1/2 cup
chopped red onion-quarter of a medium one or according to taste
green chilli-2 slit
mustard oil-3-4 tbsp

Grind the poppy seeds to a fine paste with a little water and salt. The paste should not be runny.
Add the onions and chillies.
Heat oil in a skillet and add a spoonful of the ground poppy seeds.
Fry golden brown on both sides. and serve with hot white rice.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A lovely little treat----- Chococlate cream cheese filled mini tarts

One of my favorite passions have always been baking. I have always loved baked goodies and if they are sweet .... ooh!! Lovely!
The cakes and pastries in this country are a little different from what we have back home. I hardly see any layered pastries (and by pastries I mean the sweet creamy small cakes which are sold by piece at shops like Monginis or Cookie Jar or Flury's).Here I find either the cakes are fruity ( that I get at Starbucks) or the scones and muffins which are not really what I crave for.
These mini tarts are not too sweet and and i just baked them last afternoon when I suddenly remembered the most delicious boat-shaped pastries that Baba would buy us from Flury's.It has a boat shaped bottom which is the crust and it is just like biscuit and tastes kind of crumbly and the filling is the most divine chocolate and mocha cream.....
Any ways my mini tarts are just a crude version of those pastries but they taste just as good! Just give them a try!
I used a filling of chocolate and cream cheese.... if you are not in a mood for chocolate just use any of your favorite jams or jellies or any other filling that you have in mind.

What you need:

For the mini tarts:
Flour-1 and 1/2 cup
butter (cold)-2 sticks
ice cold water
salt-a pinch
sugar-4 tbsp

For the filling:
chocolate chips or any bar of -one small packet
cream cheese-1/2 cup softened at room temperature

Take a fork and mix together the salt , sugar and the flour.
Now take the cold butter and with the fork just fold it in so that the mixture is crumbly. it should not form a dough. Wrap it in a plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Next take ice cold water and bring the flour mixture to a soft dough.
Take the dough on a floured surface and roll it out flat with a rolling pin.Do not roll out too thin.
Next take a pastry cutter or any round object with sharp edges and cut out small round sections.
Place them on greased pastry liners and fit them inside your muffin pan.
Chill them again for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile in a pan soften the chocolate chips and the cream cheese.
Do not make the filling too runny.
Bring the filling to room temperature.
Take out the small tarts and spoon in the filling. Chill again for 15 minutes.
Next bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the crust turns golden brown and crunchy.
Serve hot with a dollop of cold vanilla ice cream!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A ruby red jam and a hearty breakfast

Breakfasts are the first meals of the day and when it is weekend , they have to be hearty and delicious.
I am not a big egg fan... I cannot just cook 5 eggs in the morning and serve them... we both find them too heavy ..... they are better off for the later part of the day.....
So how to make the breakfasts special?.... No poached eggs, no scrambled eggs, C is not very fond of pancakes either...
And then I decided ....Why not give home made jam a try? That would be special..!
C always likes long lazy breakfasts especially on Sunday mornings when he can wake up late and sit at the table with his morning tea for hours and talk to me and twiddle with the his laptop at the same time. So I decided on a simple strawberry jam and warm baguette for breakfast....
The recipes I followed are here and here.
I combined the two for a yummy jam.....

What you need:
fresh strawberries-1 lb
sugar-17-20 tbsp
lemon zest-2 tsp
lemon juice-6 tbsp
orange juice-2 tbsp

Wash the strawberries and hull them .
I quartered all the big berries and halved the smaller ones.
Now in a deep heavy bottomed saucepan,add the lemon juice and the zest.
Put the flame on medium low.
When the juice starts boiling add the strawberries.
Cook for 4-5 minutes until the strawberries soften and start releasing their juices.
Add the sugar slowly stirring each time.
Add the orange juice.
Now let the mix cook for 25- 30 minutes at low medium heat.
Skim off any foam that forms on top.
Pour in a glass bowl and let it cool.
When it has cooled, cover and store in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
We enjoyed ours on warm oven roasted baguette..:)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kacha aamer chutney or raw mango chutney

My mother loves this.She calls it Kacha aam er jhol or just a very light sweet and sour concoction with raw mango and sugar.Chutney is the thicker counterpart..... just reducing the juice over low heat....
Anyways this a summer favorite back at my place and every day a bowl of chutney is prepared and devoured straight from the refrigerator. It is cool, sweet and really really refreshing!
Over here surprisingly in our Indian grocery store we always find a basket full of wonderfully fragrant green raw mangoes. I eye them and I think ...Gosh! How badly I miss the aamer chutney from home!My mother makes great chutney..... if there is family dinner or lunch she makes sure that her chutney is perfect...
Now chutney at our place is not like the conventional pickle kind of thing that is available in jars. Rather for bengalis chutney is a sweet and tangy savory concoction that is served at the end of a heavy meal to freshen the taste buds. It is not really dessert .... well something in between the main course and dessert can say!

How to make Aamer chutney:

raw mango-1 diced and the central seed removed (if you want you can add the pit too) Do not peel the mangoes.
salt-2 pinches
sugar-5-7 tbsp (depending on how sour the mangoes are)
panch foron-a pinch
white oil-1 tbsp
water- 2 cups

Heat oil in a pan and sizzle the panch foron.
Next add the mangoes and the salt.
Cook in medium heat , covered, for a minute or two.
Next add the water and cook covered until the mango pieces soften and the juice starts coming out.
If you want a thicker chutney , just simmer uncovered on low heat until you get the desired consistency.
Add the sugar when you think the mangoes are already soft and done.
Stir and remove from heat.
Pour in a porcelain or glass serving bowl.(avoid steel)
Chill in the refrigerator and serve just after lunch on the same plate and SLURP!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kosha mangsho or Bengali Goat curry....

As I am writing this post... I am thinking how soon I can coax C to get the fresh goat again (not a live goat.. silly! just the meat)... umm... C does not need much coaxing though.....
We get fresh goat meat from the nearby Indian store.... and who can resist the lure of kochi patha r jhol on a leisurely Sunday mornings!:)
I decided on this particular recipe...since I was not in the mood for jhol.... Kosha Mangsho is a slightly richer version but hey! I love to indulge once in a while!
The way I chose to cook this meat was the slow cooking process.... it is long and painstaking but totally worth it!

I have had this dish a million times both at home and outside... but still I cannot seem to get enough of it! Baba would get the freshest and tenderest goat meat and Ma would cook this with all the personal touches and the air would be filled with the aroma of the spices and the stew....Oh! those sunday lunches would be such a treat! Just hot steaming rice and mutton .... and nothing in this whole wide world can match that!

What you need:

fresh mutton- ~ 1 lb
red onions- 1 small made into a paste and 3 large chopped fine
ginger-2 tbsp
garlic paste-2 tbsp
potatoes-3 large quartered
yogurt-3 tbsp
2 red chillies+2 green cardamom+4cloves+1 stick cinnamon+1 black cardamom+1/2 tbsp cumin- dry roasted and coarsely ground
tomatoes-2 medium sized diced
coriander powder-1 tsp
cumin seeds-1 tsp
mustard oil-around 1/4 cup
turmeric-2 tsp
bay leaf- 1
green chillies- 2-3 slit
coriander leaves-a handful

Clean the mutton pieces and marinate with 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste ,the onion paste and turmeric for at least 2-3 hours.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and lightly fry the potatoes. Set them aside.
Now in the remaining oil sizzle the cumin seeds, green chillies and the bay leaf.
Next add the onions and the remaining ginger garlic paste with a pinch of sugar.
Put the heat on medium and fry the onions until they just start caramelizing. This will take around 10-15 minutes depending on the strength of your gas flame.
Start adding the mutton pieces one by one making sure to coat them evenly with the onions.
After all the pieces have been added , add the dry spice powder , give them a quick stir, add some salt and cover with the lid.( just cover with any lid do not pressure cook).Put the heat on low medium.All the juices from the onion will come out and the mutton will cook in that. DO NOT ADD ANY WATER.
Let the mutton cook on low heat.
Keep an eye on the pot. Stir every 4-5 minutes.After around 20 minutes add the tomatoes.The tomatoes will further release water. Cover and continue cooking.
After 10-15 minutes when all the water from the gravy starts drying up, mix the coriander powder in the yogurt and add to the cooker. Stir , cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
After around 55-60 minutes you will notice that all the onions and tomatoes have melted into a gravy and the mutton is around 2/3 cooked.
If you find there is enough water from the tomatoes and yogurt already in the cooker do not add water .But if it is too dry, just sprinkle enough water, add the potatoes and pressure cook for 3 quick cities.
Put off the gas, let the cooker sit for another 10 minutes and then open.
Add the coriander and get ready for the yummiest lunch /dinner ever!

P.S. You can replace mustard oil with white/canola oil but the heat from the mustard oil gives the real kick to the curry.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Of Parfaits and summers!

Now that summer is here.... and with the heat and sun and long afternoons ,I decided to whip up a cool treat for C. It had to be healthy and tasty and of course cold. And so I decided on a fruit parfait... well mine was slightly different since I was not using granola. I had some very colorful fruits and some vanilla yogurt... and so parfait it was!

It was so scrumptious and cold and full of flavors !

What you need:

ripe papaya-1/4 cup diced
banana-1/2 of ripe one sliced
apples-1/4 cup diced
grapes-halved and de seeded
cashews- 1/2 cup chopped
vanilla yogurt- 1 and 1/2 cup (depending on the size of serving cups)
sugar-1/2 tsp
lime juice-2 tbsp
whipped cream can

Dice the fruits into small bite size pieces and toss them with the lime juice and sugar.
Alternatively you can also use honey.
Whip the yogurt smooth and add the chopped cashews.
Take the serving glass and start layering alternating the fruits and yogurt.
Top it off with whipped cream...ooohhhh lala!LOVELY!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Topshe Maach bhaja...or crunchy Topshe Fry

This is a personal favorite and every time I am home I make sure Bhalomashi (my maternal aunt) cooks this for us. A simple fish dish and really easy to make... that is if the fish is available.
Topshe is a typical sweet water fish with a central bone . The flesh is chunky and cooks very easily. There is not much kaanta or bones and so quite easy to manage.
And Topshe maach bhaja is a traditional Bengali way of preparing this fish. I have had this fish only this way.... deep fried and served hot and crispy..

Prepararion of the fish:

topshe fish- 5-6 cleaned and descaled
turmeric-3-4 tbsp
onion-ginger paste-4 tbsp
chickpea flour batter-5tbsp dissolved in water without any lumps (note that the batter should not be watery)
oil to deep fry

Rub the fishes with turmeric, onion-ginger paste and salt and keep them aside for an hour before serving.
Make the batter and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a pan .
When the oil is smoking, dip the fishes in the batter, coat evenly and fry to a golden brown on both sides.
Serve piping hot and.... Enjoy!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bora r jhal or Lentil Dumpling curry

the dumplings cooking in gravy
Borar Jhal and pea rice
These days I am so much into vegetarian food. I am amazed just how delicious the veggies are without any onion paste or garlic or any other masala paste...Lovely.... isn't it? And healthy too...
The first real taste of authentic vegetarian food ... ie., without any onion or garlic was from Dimma 's (grandmother) kitchen.She was an amazingly talented woman. She sewed the prettiest of table cloths and pillow cases, made the most adorable dolls, embroidered the lovliest designs on bedcovers and knitted the best fitting sweaters during winters. And ...when she cooked..... oh! I have never quite tasted vegetarian food ..the kind she simple yet the best tasting ever.... it was her Hather gun.....I guess....the amazing paturis, cutlets, chochhoris, chenchkis... they just tasted so delicious when she cooked them...
So this humble blog post of is my way of remembering her....

How to make Borar Jhal:

For the dumplings:
matar dal (split pea lentil)- soaked overnight and made into a fine paste ~ 1 cup (the paste must not be runny)
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
oil for frying

For the gravy:
potato- 2 medium sized ones diced
tomato- one large roughly chopped
ginger paste-1 tbsp
cumin seeds-1 tsp
bay leaf-1
garam masala powder-1 tsp
coriander leaves-a handful
green chillies- 3-4 slit
ghee-1/2 tsp

Grind the lentil to a fine paste with salt .Add the cumin seeds. Now heat oil in a fry pan and add one tbsp of the lentil paste to the smoking oil. Fry to golden brown. (Be careful not to make the paste too watery.) Continue frying the dumplings.
Remove and drain the extra oil.
In the remaining oil add the potatoes and lightly fry them.Remove and drain the oil.
Next add the chillies, sugar(a pinch ),cumin seeds and the bay leaf and let them sizzle.
Add the ginger and tomatoes and turmeric. Lower the heat , add a little salt and let the tomatoes soften.
Now add a cup of water, cover and cook until the potaotes are done.
Carefully spoon in the elntil dumplings in the simmering gravy so that they are soaked.
Season with salt and add garam masala. Add the coriander.
Let the dumplings cook in the gravy for a minute or two.
Just before removing from heat stir in a the ghee.
Note that the lentil dumplings soak up all the gravy. So add more water if you want a little jhol(gravy).

Serve hot with pea rice or just white rice or just take it in a bowl and enjoy...just like that!:)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bata maacher jhal

I love fish. And being a Bengali just any kind of fresh water fish is a favorite. Be it the delicate Bhetki, or the chunky Rui, or the small Tyangra, or the crispy fried Topshe or the seasonal Ilish.....fishes have always been delights.I remember as a child when I would sometimes accompany Baba to the fish market and marvel at the glimmering silvery fishes stacked neatly, people haggling over the prices,some of them expertly commenting on the quality of fish by just touching them....Oh! the fish market was such an interesting place(the fishy smell was a tad dampener though!).
This particular fish Bata as we call it.... is a favourite of mine and Baba's.It is very tasty but if you are not comfortable with fish bones, you migh find it a little difficult . Maach bechhe khaoa.. is the traditional way of eating fishes where you use your hand to separate the flesh from the bones...and Baba taught me that loooong back.....
This country never ceases to surprise me and so of course when I discovered this fish at our fish shop... I was elated....

How to make Bata maacher Jhal:

Bata fish-5-6 cleaned and descaled
turmeric-3 tbsp
mustard oil-about 1/3cup
ground mustard-2 tbsp
nigella-1 tsp
tomatoes-1/2 of a large tomato diced
boris(optional)-a handful fired and kept aside
green chillies- 2 slit

Marinate the fishes with salt and turmeric.
Next fry the fishes in mustard oil until both the sides are browned.
Remove the fishes and drain the excess oil.
In the remaining oil sizzle the chillies and the nigella.
Add turmeric and tomato pieces and mustard paste. When the tomato softens add 1 cup of water.
Let the gravy come ot rolling boil.
Add the fishes and season with salt.
Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes in medium heat. let the gravy dry up a bit.
Add the boris and serve with white rice.... Love it..!

Monday, June 29, 2009


I remember , whenever we went out for dinners, baba and me would order soups and I wanted only Chicken Sweetcorn soup! I was totally in love with it and it was such a tasty appetizer......healthy yet incredibly tasty. I loved the boiled chicken pieces, the sweet corns and the egg white....
Since then, soups have been a hot favorite.So when C was craving for a hot and sour soup I decided to give it a try at home.... and it turned out fine...

What you need:

chicken stock:1 cup (I used 1 bullion dissolved in 1cup water)
sweetcorn, baby carrot, broccoli, beans- chopped fine 1 cup
chicken-2 tender breast pieces
chinese egg noodles- half of a packet boiled and kept aside
ginger -1 tsp fine paste
pearl onions-2 diced
thai chilli sauce-4-5 tsp
vinegar-1 tsp
soy sauce-1tsp
white oil -2 tbsp
lime juice-2-5 tsp

Boil the vegetables and keep them aside. Do not overcook them.
Cut out small chicken strips or the way you would like in your soup.
Season with salt and pepper.Fry in medium heat with white oil with the onions and the ginger.
Now in a saucepan , add the chicken stock and 3 more cups of water. Add salt according to taste.
Once the stock comes to a boil add the vegetables and chicken.
Next add the sauces and the vinegar.
Just before removing from heat, add the noodles.
Sprinkle lime juice and serve hot.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shimai er payesh... or Vermicelli milk pudding

Birthdays always bring back fond memories of home.The nostalgia sets in big time and my mind flies back home. There were no elaborate parties but the food was always there...sumptuous and made with a whole lot of love .
And payesh is one such thing which is definitely my mother's birthday specialties.
Back home we made this traditional Bengali pudding/kheer with rice. But at in-laws place Shimai is preferred instead of rice. And over the last two years I too have grown to love this sweet delicacy.I love to see C's face lighting up when he sees his bowl of payesh.

What you need:

milk (full cream!) -1 lt
gur-1 cup crumbled
chopped cashew-a handful
shimai/vermicelli-1/3 cup
oil/ghee-2 tbsp
sugar-2 tsp

In a saucepan start boiling the milk at low temperature. Careful not to scald the milk at the bottom. This is a long process as the heat is low medium.
Meanwhile add ghee /oil to another pan and lightly fry the shimai until they turn deep brown.
When the milk has reduced to half add the shimai and keep stirring.
When you think it is the desired consistency add the sugar.
Next add the gur/jaggery and let it dissolve into the milk and watch the as the color turns a rich chocolaty brown. Add the gur according to taste... depending on how sweet you want your payesh.And the sugar is added before the gur so that the milk does not curdle even if the gur has some impurities in it.
Remove from heat and add the chopped cashews.
Cool and serve.

So long..... enjoy your payesh... and day dream about home.....!:)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lau chingri.....and a rainy afternoon

Well no ... not rainy exactly.... but cloudy certainly and very depressingly gloomy....
I was debating whether to have lunch or just have anything that was in the fridge.I usually refrain from keeping cooked food for more than 2 days.(C does not like it) and so usually you will not find anything very edible stored in the fridge other than milk, sauces, jams and raw vegetables.
So very stealthily I opened the fridge praying to find something and there it was..... no no... to be more precise... there was 'nothing'.. readily eatable.... (Poor me!sob!)...
But by then my hunger pangs had grown severe and I decided to cook something that would take me less than 20 minutes.
I fished out a gourd ( half of which we have had two days back) and found a quarter pound of kucho chingri (small shrimps) in the deep freezer.
So there it was Lau Chingri... a very traditional bengali recipe and very light and healthy.
You can spice this up with coconut shavings and boiled bengal gram lentil.... but without these condiments too this dish is simply delectable.


Bottle gourd: half of a medum sized one peeled , washed and chopped finely
Shrimp: 1/4 lb
Mustard seeds:1/2 tsp
Panch foron:1/2 tsp
light coconut milk:5 tbsp
ginger paste:1 tbsp
dry red chilli:2-3
coriander leaves:a hanful
oil:4 tbsp

Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan and lightly saute the shrimp with a pinch of salt.
Set them aside.
Now heat the remaining oil and sizzle the mustard seeds, chiilies and the panch foron.
Add the bottle gourd. Add a pinch of salt and stir.
Now cover the pan ,put the heat on medium and let the gourd cook in its own juices for 7-8 minutes.
When the gourd is soft add the ginger paste and stir again.
Add the shrimps now with the cocnut milk and cover and cook for 2 more minutes.
Now remove the cover and add salt and sugar according to taste.Note that the coconut milk should dry up before you remove form heat.
Add the coriander and serve hot with white rice...YUM!

P.S. Paanch foron is a Bengali spice mix comprising of paanch or 5 spices. This is mainly used for tempering or foron. It comprises of whole
4. Mustard (black)
5. Cumin

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jamai Shoshthi Menu: part 2...ilish bhape/steam ilish

I know I am pathetically late with my recipe and there is no plausible excuse....God ! I am such a lazy slob....
And to make up for that here is my recipe for Ilish bhape that I made for Jamai Shoshthi.
This a traditional bengali recipe originally from East Bengal and no body makes this better than the bengalis. It is a delicately prepared dish and quite hot because of the mustard sauce and mustard oil. But if you like fresh water fish and fish bones do not bother you will love this.
So happy steaming Ilish....

How to steam the Ilish:

ilish -cleaned and cut into pieces (about 8-10)
mustard seeds-1/2 cup
green chillies-2 slit and 2 ground to a paste with the mustard
mustard oil-5 tbsp
yogurt-1 tbsp
coconut-a handful

Rub the fish pieces with turmeric and salt and keep aside for 1-2 hours.
Soak the mustard seeds in water and grind them into a fine paste with a pinch of mustard oil, green chillies and little salt. Now if you dry grind the mustard seeds in a coffee grinder, be careful. This may turn out to be a little bitter.Alternatively you can use ready made mustard powder.
But the authentic taste comes only from freshly ground mustard seeds with little salt, green chillies and turmeric.If you are using yogurt mix it with the mustard paste.
Now lightly brush the inside of an aluminum or steel container with the mustard oil.
Place the fish pieces inside.Lightly fold in the mustard paste.
Drizzle the rest of the mustard oil on the fish pieces. Sprinkle the coconut over the fish with the slit green chillies.
Next comes the steaming part.
If you have a lid to the steel container (which contains the fish) you can put it on or you can leave it open.
Place this container in the pressure cooker and put in water just enough to cover the bottom of the cooker.
Be careful so that when you steam the water does not come inside the fish container (specially if you are using an open container).
Now put on the pressure cooker on medium high and cook until 2-3 whistles.
Put off the gas and let the cooker cool. Take out fish container carefully (it is awfully hot!) and cool it under water(if you are in a hurry!). If you have used an open vessel then just scoop out the fish and the mustard sauce and serve with hot white rice.
Oh....! The GREAT ILISH...!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jamai Shoshthi Menu: part 1...Cholaar Dal & Alu posto

I will be writing the recipes in batches .So here I am with the recipe of Cholaar Dal and Alu Posto.
These two are integral parts of traditional bengali cuisine and very healthy too. My mother-in-law makes great posto dishes and after I got married I was really hooked on to them.
Back at home Ma's alu jhinge posto (potato and ridge gourd curry in poppy seed paste) and dim posto (eggs in poppy seed paste) are favourites.
But C is the die hard fan of Alu posto and so Alu posto it was... for Jamai Shoshthi.
And Cholaar Dal was a universal choice .

For the Dal:

split yellow grams-1 and 1/2 cup
coconut -chopped into small square pieces
ginger paste-1 tbsp
tomato-1 medium diced
dry red chilli- 1 dry roasted(optional)
whole garam masala-two cloves, two green cardamom, small cinammon roll dry roasted and crushed coarsely)
whole cumin seeds:1 tbsp
bay leaf -1
turmeric -1 tbsp
oil -3 tsp

Pressure cook the lentils with turmeric and a pinch of oil.
Heat the oil and sizzle the cumin seeds and the bay leaf.
Add the chilli and the dry roasted spice.
Next add the ginger and the toamtoes.
Add the coconut and fry until the spice is done and the coconit pieces are browned.
Add this mix to the lentil and adjust the seasoning and consistency.
Put on simmer for a couple of minutes and its ready to be served.

We like our Dal a little sweet .... so add sugar accordingly.

For the Alu posto:

potatoes- 3 medium diced
poppy seed paste- 5 heaped tbsp
green chillies-4-5 slit
kalajeera or black onion seeds-1/2 tsp
mustard oil :1 tsp
white oil:4 tbsp

Heat the white oil and lightly fry the potato pieces.
Add the onion seeds and the poppy seed paste.
Stir until the potatoes are coated with the posto.
When the posto is fried, add water (around 1/2 cup).
Add salt and the chillies and cover until the potatoes are cooked.The water should also dry up.
Just before taking off the heat add the mustard oil.
Serve hot.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte ---Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake is one of the best cakes I have ever had......
It was an unbelievably cold and rainy July afternoon and we were waiting for our train at the Freiburg station. And the cold had numbed my nose and my exposed fingers. So i decided to go for a stroll and then I saw the yummiest Black Forest Cake in the station bakery. i bought two pieces and while on our way back home we savored the cake with full gusto!

And so this Monday with a holiday I decided to give it a try(very skeptically) and it turned out quite ok.
I browsed through many recipes and settled on one basic easy one.C had been peeking in and out and perhaps wondering...." What is she up to?!"(I decided to surprise him... you see)
I had all the things handy..... but decided to make a few alterations:

I did not use cherry liquor
I did not use chocolate shavings
I did not use heavy whipped cream

OOoooooooh! I am a health freak.....:)

For the cake:

flour-1 and 1/2 cup
cocoa-1/2 cup
baking powder-2 tsp
sugar-1 and 1/2 cup
eggs-2 large
low fat butter/margarine -5 heaped tbsp
milk-1 cup

For Frosting:
light low fat whipped cream(Cool whip): 1 can
fresh cherries:de seeded and halved
chocolate chips:a handful

First sift the flour ,baking powder and cocoa powder together.Mix evenly.
Next beat the eggs and add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and frothy. Do use a beater.
Soften the butter over low heat and cool.
Then add the butter to the egg-sugar mix and beat again.
Next add the flour mix and gently fold the mixture.
Beat for 10 -15 minutes.
Line a baking pan with greased baking sheet and preheat oven at 350F.Pour the cake mix.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. This may vary. insert a toothpick/knife to check if the cake is done.
Take the cake out and cool for 1 hour.

After the cake has cooled properly cut horizontally with a broad knife. You can cut 2-3 layers according to the height of your cake.
Spread the layers on a flat plate.
Now generously cream the layers with the whipped cream.
Spread evenly with a knife.
Sprinkle the chopped cherries and the chocolate chips.
Repeat with all the layers.
Carefully re arrange the layers on top of each other .
Now cream frost the outer layers.
Spread evenly with knife.
Decorate with cherries and chocolate chips.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Serve cold with hot black coffee...... and enjoy a good book! :) ( I did that!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

And finally!!! IIish

And so finally is here.... the fish of all fishes.... the greatest.... the tastiest....Ilish....the fish which inspired this blog.....(oh my!! how great is that?!):)

So we finally discovered this Bangladeshi shop and we drove all the way and we came back loaded with fish and mutton(goat meat).
We are "river fish " people and however tasty the sea fish is... the bengali 'macher jhol' just cannot beat anything..... and so C was quick to pick up the ilish/hilsa and Bata(a very bony but very tasty small sweet water fish).

And last evening it was hilsa time! I will try out the more elaborate recipes later... but for now we were happy with the 'ilish mach bhaja'(crispy fried hilsa) and I must say it was too good.... the kitchen was filled up with the overwhelmingly fishy smell and we hogged on the fried fish with plain rice and boiled masoor dal!!

Just wash the fish in cold water and rub salt and turmeric on the fish pieces.
Keep them aside for 10-15 minutes.
Heat mustard oil in a deep frying pan/karhai/wok.
Fry the fishes till they are brown and crisp.
Enjoy with white rice and dal or best... khichudi!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lip smacking Alu paratha!

Weekends are the best.. and the run up to the weekends... even better!
And so of course ... it is time for leisurely talks ,a particularly engrossing game of Scrabble and late dinners!
And this Friday.. what a dinner it was..!And the smile on C's face made my day...
All my previous attempts at making Alu paratha have not been very successful... maybe the dough was too soft, maybe the filling was was not right and of course while rolling out the parathas ... the fillings were everywhere but inside the paratha...
This time however I was very careful... and VOILA!.... it was perfect...

You need:(for 5 parathas)

flour and atta:2 and 1/2 cups (mixed equally)
flour for dusting
ajwain: 1 tsp
salt:a pinch
oil :1 tsp

For filling:
potatoes-2 large peeled
green chillies bits(optional)
pearl onions:2-4 chopped finely

Add the ajwain ,salt and oil to the flour. Mix well and take care that the oil does not form lumps.
Next add water and amke a soft dough form the flour/atta mix.
Keep aside for 1/2 an hour.
Meanwhile boil, cool and mash the potatoes.
Add salt,onion and green chilli bits.
Mix well.
Now pinch a medium sized ball from the dough and roll it into the size of a roti all the while dusting with flour.(about 6" diamater)
Carefully spoon in 2-3 tbsp filling in to one half of the paratha and fold the other half over it.
Tightly seal the edges and flatten by ppressing gently by hand.
Heat oil in a pan and fry until golden brown.
Serve hot with cold onion cucumber raita and hot mango pickle....YUM!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beans in coconut and poppy seed paste

This is a very simple lunch dish .. one you can make in a jiffy and enjoy with hot white rice.
C came home for lunch and I had fresh beans in the refrigerator. So there I go and in 15 minutes this delicious veggie dish was ready.

To make this you need:

fresh green beans:300-400 gms
poppy seeds(posto)- 4 tbsp ground into a fine paste
coconut shavings-1/2 cup
nigella seeds-1/2 tsp
green chillies-2-3 slit (according to taste)
turmeric-1/2 tsp
white oil- 3 tbsp
mustard oil-1 tbsp

Heat the white oil in a pan and sizzle the nigella and the green chillies.
Next add the beans and fry for a minute .
Add little salt, the turmeric and cover the pan and put the flame on low medium.
Let the beans cook for 5-7 minutes.
Once the beans are soft, add the poppy seed paste and the coconut.
Mix properly with the spices and check the seasoning.
Before taking it off the heat just sprinkle them mustard oil and serve.

P.S.1. You can replace the white oil with mustard oil if you want.
2. This is a recipe I picked up from Sananda.... a popular Bengali magazine.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Soul food!

Typical bong breakfasts on weekends are a little elaborate .It is essentially a 'luchi ' or 'parota' time with the simple 'cholar dal' or 'alur dom'.
Even C who is so much into healthy eating cannot say no to these 'not so healthy' treats.
At any time we prefer parota to luchi because it is not deep fried.

How to make parota:

flour-2 cups
oil-1tsp for kneading and 4-5 tbsp for frying
salt-a pinch

Mix the flour with salt and oil. Now knead it into a soft dough and keep it aside for 10-15 minutes.
Next pinch out small balls form the dough and roll it to a circular disc on a smooth surface .
Fold the disc twice and press roll it again for the triangular parota.
Heat oil in a shallow pan and on medium heat fry the parota.

Alu r dom:

potatoes-6-7 medium ones peeled and halved
peas-a handful
tomatoes-1 large diced
ginger paste-1 tbsp
whole cumin-1 tsp
slit green chilli-2-3
garam masala powder-1 pinch
yogurt-2 tbsp
turmeric-1/2 tsp
oil-4 tsp
coriander leaves- a handful

Pressure cook the potatoes till they are soft but not mushy.
Drain the water and keep them aside.
Next heat oil in a pan and lightly fry the potatoes and keep them aside.
In the same oil sizzle the cumin seeds.
Add the ginger and tomatoes and lower the heat.
Pan fry until the tomatoes soften and release oil. Add the peas.
Add the yogurt, turmeric , chillies and let the gravy come to a boil.
If it is too thick add little water.(We do not like ours too watery.)
Add the potatoes and salt and stir .
Add sugar according to taste and the garam masala powder..
Add the coriander leaves.
Serve hot with parota.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Teto r dal (bitter lentils)

Calcutta is famous for its sultry summers. Those summer afternoons were long and balmy and every day after school when I sat down for lunch with Ma there would be two things that were Ma's summer specials. The first one was teto r dal . Now , I am very fond of bitter vegetables (funny eh!) and since then I have come to know that these bitter stuff help to keep the body cool.

Since Sunday the weather here had been unusually warm. And so I missed Ma's tetor dal more than ever. C was a little apprehensive.."Bitter dal?!! How do you make that? Is it good?"He asked me over the phone when I told him that's what I had packed for his lunch."Tell me how it is after you have had it", I told him.
An hour later C told me it was his best lunch ever! He loved the dal!( I knew he would! :))

I also looked up the recipe from Bong Mom's Cookbook.

moong dal-1/2cup
masur dal-1/3 cup
bottle gourd (lau/lauki)-half of one middle sized one chopped into chunky pieces
bitter gourd (ucche/karela)-2 small cut into circular pieces
ginger paste-1 tbsp
Kalo jire (onion seeds)- 1/2 tsp
salt-according to taste
oil-2 -3tsp
green chilli- 1-2(optional)
turmeric-a pinch

Pressure cook the dal (do not dry roast or fry the dal) with the bottle gourd, turmeric , salt , ginger paste and 1/2 tsp oil.
Now in a pan fry the bitter gourd pieces (not too crisp). Just let them cook.
In the remaining oil sizzle the onion seeds and the green chilli.
Pour the boiled dal and adjust seasoning and consistency.
Serve with hot white rice on a summer afternoon and ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy 1416

Shubho Nababarsho.....

The start of the Bengali New year was always fun time back at home.
But here in 'Phoren' land nothing like that. Weather wise it is much better though. The sun shines bright,the trees are leafing and there is a nip in the air still.

C wants a special dinner today with all his favorite goodies(read: alu bhaja and muger dal).

So dinner will be a tad more elaborate as I plan to include a few more dishes.

Will post about it soon!

Till then have a great time!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Baked Salmon

C always likes his fish baked..... and since here we do not get many fresh water fishes and the only salt water ones that I can eat is salmon..... I too prefer the baked variety. It is incredibly healthy,mouth watering and amazingly easy to prepare.


Salmon -1 lb
yogurt-1 cup
coriander- a handful
coriander powder-1/2 tsp
cumin powder-1/2 tsp
onion paste-1 tbsp
ginger garlic paste -1/2 tbsp
salt- according to taste
lime juice- 4-5 tbsp
oil for basting
lime wedges

Marinate the salmon pieces with salt and lime juice for 1 hour.
Whip the yogurt until it is a smooth paste. Chop the coriander fine and add it to the yogurt.
Next add the spice powders with the onion and ginger garlic paste to the yogurt.
Add salt to the yogurt .
Coat the fish pieces with the marinade and keep it aside for 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 30-40 minutes on each side.
From time to time bast with oil.
Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bottle gourd curry or simply.... lau ghonto

OK! A simple vegetarian curry was what we were craving for.... it was chilly outside..... and C was home for lunch and I had half of a bottle gourd at my disposal..... so the genius me thought ...why not try "lau bori" for a change....!!!
Till now everything was fine.... and then the idea struck....So here is the little "tweaked" recipe of my version of lau ghonto...!

Ingredients:(for 3-4)

half a bottle gourd- shredded fine
bengal gram lentil-1/4 of a cup(cholar dal) boiled and almost cooked with no turmeric
bori (small ones)-a handful
shredded coconut-3 -4 tbsp
cumin (whole)-a pinch
panchphoron-a pinch
ginger paste-1 tsp
black mustard (whole)-a pinch
dry red chili- 1
Ghee-1/2 tsp
cooking oil- 1 tbsp
Coriander sprig

Fry the boris till they are brown and crispy and set aside.
Now heat 1 tbsp oil and add the red chili, panchphoron, cumin and mustard. Let them sizzle.
Next add the gourd , coat with the spice , put the gas on medium , sprinkle little salt, cover and let the gourd cook in its own water. It takes around 10-15 minutes. Check from time to time and stir.
Now add the ginger paste and the boris. Cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Next add the shredded coconut and adjust the salt and sugar according to taste.
Finally sprinkle a handful of coriander and stir in the ghee.
Serve with white rice and voila!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Holi...... and a yummy dessert....

Its been 4 days since I returned.... Surprisingly enough there is no jet lag and I feel totally fresh and perky in the morning... Yesterday being Holi I decided to cook a proper dinner for C who had been surviving on take -aways for the last 1 month.....

I cooked paneer khichuri, Chicken keema and this yummy dessert....... I will post the recipes for the former two later...... today its 'Shrikhand' time..... Learnt this form my Sister who stays in Delhi and thanks to her I gathered the recipe for an easy dessert....

Ingredients:(for two)

Unsweetened curd-2 cups
A clean white muslin cloth
Sugar-4tbsp or according to taste
Chopped pistachios-a handful
Black cardamom powder-a pinch

Hang the curd in the white cloth for 3-4 hours till all the water drains out.
Next transfer the curd in a serving bowl(not steel) and add the sugar.
Beat the curd until the sugar melts and the curd is thick and creamy.
Sprinkle the cardamom powder and the pistachios.
Refrigerate until you serve.
Serve chilled.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Homeward bound .....ghugni and a little magic!!!

I am ecstatic these days..... going home after a loooooong time....... its not about going back to my parents or in-laws so much as it is going back to Calcutta ......our parents visit us on and off..... but it is me visiting Calcutta that is so important this time!!!!
In winter its all about that morning fog that hangs around in the air ,the warmth of the blanket, the smell of 'patali gur' er payesh ,the frying of 'koraishuti r kochuri',the steaming cup of hot milk tea, the hot 'jilipi' s dripping with syrup and so many fond memories.....
Calcutta also brings back memories of ghugni that is cooked at home. It took me 1 and 1/2 years to figure out the exact recipe but now I can proudly say I have mastered the art of a perfect vegetarian dish.


Ghugnir matar or garbanjo beans- 1 cup
potatoes-2 medium diced
tomato-1 large sliced fine
ginger-1 tbsp paste
green cardamom-1
whole jeera-1 tbsp
turmeric-1/2 tsp
kasuri methi-1/2 tsp
green chillies-2-3 slit
asafoetida-a pinch(optional)
coriander leaves-a sprig
cooking oil-3 tbsp

Pressure cook the garbanjo beans until they are soft but not mushy.
Boil the potatoes and keep aside.
In the cooking vessel heat oil and sizzle the whole jeera and the whole garam masala.
If you are using asafoetida add it now and let the smell come out.
Next add the ginger and the tomatoes and turmeric.
Put the flame on low medium and let the mix cook.
Now add the matar and the potatoes and coat properly with the masala.
Add salt and 1/2 cup water and let it cook.Add the slit green chillies.
When you have the correct consistency of the gravy add the kasuri methi and mix.
Garnish with sprigs of coriander and serve with hot rice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fun times....Desserts and all that!!

I love desserts... what is a meal without one? Be it ice creams or cakes or sweets or the typically bengali amshottwer chutney or doi or ... oh god... I could go on and on and on.....So for New Year I baked a simple chocolate cake and it was heavenly.....
Here's how I did it...

Baking tray
Milk Chocolate chunk-150 gm
Cocoa powder-4-5 tbsp
All purpose flour-1cup
Baking powder-2-3tsp
Eggs-2 large
Sugar-1 and 1/2 cup
Margarine or low fat butter-5 tbsp

In a shallow pan heat the butter/margarine and just as it melts away add the chocolate chunk. All this while keep the flame on low. Be careful not to burn the mix.As the chocolate melts and the syrup thickens slowly add the sugar and the cocoa powder and let it melt away .
Grease the baking pan and preheat the oven to 180C.
In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
Beat the eggs and slowly fold the flour mix in it. Mix thoroughly.
Meanwhile take the chocolate syrup off the flame and let it cool.
Then mix the syrup in the flour-egg mix and beat for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the mix in the baking tray and set it into the oven for 40 -45 minutes.
Bake until the cake is set and test with a knife or tooth pick.
Cut and serve with a hot cup of coffee or just like that!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mug Chingri....A perfect start to New Year!!!

Hey!!!! Happy New Year to all and sundry!!!!!
We had a quiet New year.... we had had a long day on New Year's eve
and so we stayed at home and cooked and ate and made merry.... and caught up on all those movies...
I had bought a bag of shrimps(kucho chingri) which were too small to be put in a gravy.... so I decided to cook 'Mug Chingri 'or prawns in Mung Dal..... its a yummy simple dish which i had in Belgium last year at a friend's place.
It was absolutely delicious and so I decided to give US a special treat this New Year!!! So here it is:


Shrimps-1 small cup
Mung Dal-1cup
cauliflower florets-half of a medium cauliflower cut into small florets
frozen peas-a handful
Onion-1 medium made into a paste
tomato-1 large diced
ginger garlic paste-1 tbsp
whole cumin-1 tbsp
green cardamom-1-2
garam masala powder-1/2tsp
lime juice-3-4tbsp
oil- 6 tbsp

Marinate the shrimps in lime juice for 20-30 minutes.
Boil the lentils with a pinch of turmeric and set it aside. Do not overboil the lentils and do not put excess water.
Boil the cauliflower florets(in boiling water for 4-5 minutes) but do not let them soften. Drain the water and set them aside.
Heat oil and fry the shrimps till they are golden on all sides. Set them aside and soak the excess oil in kitchen towel.
In the remaining oil sizzle the cumin seeds , cloves and green cardamom.
Next add the onion and the ginger garlic paste.Put the flame on medium low and cook until the raw smell goes.Next add the tomatoes and turmericand cook until oil starts separating.
Add the boiled caulilflower florets and the peas.
Cook until the florets and peas are coated with the spices and let the mix cook in medium low flame.
Next add the shrimps and the lentils. Mix properly.
Add water according to the consistency you want.
Add salt and sugar according to taste.
Let the lentils come to rolling boil .
Sprinkle garam masala powder.
Serve with hot rice and have a great lunch!!