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.