Friday, March 20, 2015

And he turned 5 and a half!

The 5 and a half year (today) old can talk non-stop! And he can come up with some "shock Mamma into silence" questions. Like a couple of months back...

"Mamma, do you know what the F-word is?" I braced myself! My mind raced... so soon? I mean he's not even 5 and half (then)! I was fumbling for an appropriate response when he repeated the question once more, this time a little impatiently!
I barely manage a whisper... No, what is it?
"Frog-face Mamma.. it means frog-face!"

Relieved beyond words, I went on to lecture him on name-calling.. blah.. blah... blah.. the usual drill!

He has stunned me to silence on many occasions, like the other day, when his father came back from a 4 day work trip to Washington D.C., one of the first things he told him was, "I think Mamma needs to retire!". Trust you me, I have not told him one word about retirement, and what do I retire from? 

Then he will come up with questions like, "Does Iron Man (the superhero) iron clothes like you and Baba do?" which will make us burst out in laughter!

"You are my Valentine everyday Mamma..!" - definitely takes the cake! 

There are many, MANY such questions/comments/nonchalant statements that he is thrown at me over the years, I wish I had jotted those down!

What can I say, I am bringing up a chatterbox! I will tell him to be quiet for a minute many times during the day, but the minute he goes off to school or is off to bed for the night, I miss his non-stop repartee and wisecrack comments. 

So when he asked for a cake for his 5 and a half birthday party with gifts and balloons (there was no party, just the cake and some balloons), I could not say no! I scoured the internet for cake ideas and came up with this!

M&M Rainbow Half Birthday Cake

Very soon he's going to grow up and I am going to miss this sweet boy of mine terribly!  For now, I will enjoy this short-lived phase to the fullest!

Cake inspiration from here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney

I do not know what came over the husband that made him buy a mango for me while grocery-shopping at Wholefoods. He usually sticks to the list I message him and will pick up an occasional bar of chocolate or a pineapple when we are out! Since he is the only one who eats (he cuts it like a pro, I will take photos and share soon) a pineapple I will almost always forget to include it in the list!
Anyways, long story short, I was stuck with one ripe, organic mango. And yes, you can call me a mango snob! Alphonso or the Mexican variety like this one is not my thing. I will only eat a mango as a fruit if it bloomed on a tree that has grown from a wee sapling to its majestic splendor on the soils of West Bengal. I have never met a mango outside West Bengal that I have liked. If I do, I will happily renounce my mango snobbery, I promise! For now, I will enjoy the mango chutney that I made.

Ingredients: 
  • 1 large ripe mango
  • 1 tsp mustard oil (you can use canola or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1 dried red chili 
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • A fat pinch of asafoetida
  • A pinch of salt
  • Brown sugar or regular sugar adjusted to your preference, I used one heaped tablespoon of brown sugar
Cut the mango around the stone and cube the flesh.Scrape off all the flesh from the peels as well. Back home, we always soak the mangoes for sometime in tap water before cutting.
Heat the mustard oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat and temper it with the mustard seeds, pinch of asafoetida and the dried red chili. You can use canola or vegetable oil, but I just love the jazzy pungency of mustard oil. Once seeds start crackling, add the mango pulp to it along with sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook for few minutes till the mango pieces break down and turns slightly darker. Add the grated ginger and cook for a minute or two. Take it off heat and let it cool it down completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Keep it refrigerated. I love eating a huge spoonful of it with lunch or dinner or just like that! It takes care of my untimely sugar cravings!

I will be making some raw mango chutney soon!



Monday, March 09, 2015

Individual Raspberry Cheesecakes topped with Raspberry Compote

Individual Raspberry Cheesecakes topped with Raspberry Compote

Yay! It is getting warmer here at last! Spring is almost here with its bouquet of earthy aroma and the faint hint of pretty blossoms. We are feeling pretty sprightly and hopeful that the warmer temps are here to stay! Sunny days, outdoor play, promise of vibrant blossoms and spring bounty - what is there not to love! 
On this happy note, I thought of doing a little spring-cleaning in the draft section of my blog! So here's the Individual Raspberry Cheesecakes topped with Raspberry Compote that I had made a few weeks back!

Ingredients:

For the cheesecake:
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs - 1 1/4 Cups
  • Butter - 5 tbsp (at room temperature)
  • Cream Cheese (at room temperature) - 4 oz
  • Ricotta Cheese - 1/2 Cup
  • Raspberry Compote - 3 tbsp (recipe here)
  • Raspberry Jam - 1 tsp (optional)
  • Eggs - 2 (at room temperature)
  • Sugar - 6 tbsp
  • Fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)
For the topping: 5 tbsp of Raspberry Compote

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with butter till it is a crumbly mix. Line a muffin tin with using two cupcake liners in each cavity. That just holds the batter better. Drop a tablespoon of graham cracker mix into each muffin tin hole/cup and using your fingers press it down firmly. 
In a food processor make a smooth batter by mixing together the cream cream cheese, ricotta cheese, raspberry compote, eggs, sugar and raspberry jam (if using). Spoon in the batter till about the 4/5th mark. 
Now fill an ovenproof bowl with some hot water and place it on the rack below the muffin tin inside the oven. You can stick in the bowl in the oven when you start preheating it. The steam will keep the cheesecake moist and prevent it from cracking. Also curb all your urges to open the oven door and peep as this will bring the temperature inside the oven down which might also result in a cracked pr sunk cheesecake. Though this step is more important when baking a whole big cheesecake instead of itty bitty individual ones in a muffin tin, I do it anyways!
Bake for about 25 minutes or till it is firm on the edges and a little jiggly in the middle. Once it cools down, let it chill in the fridge for at least couple of hours for it to set perfectly. Scoop spoonfuls of the raspberry compote on top. Garnish it with fresh raspberries and serve.

Individual Raspberry Cheesecakes topped with Raspberry Compote

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Whole Wheat Bread inspired by Rakhee

Yes! Something that I have been waiting for make for a long time now! All I needed was a little push!  This is the last week of KYB 2 and as this wonderful event comes to an end, we at KFB are a little older, a lot wiser (since we got to know so much about our fellow bloggers and their style of cooking/baking) and our recipe stockpile grew by volumes. 
Spend two minutes on Rakhee's space - The Simple Pleasures of Baking and you will know that baking is her thing and not just cakes and cookies, but bread! I have immense respect for people who bakes so effortlessly with yeast. So far, all of my yeasty bakes have been a success, but I still get jittery at the mere thought of baking with yeast! Mommy to a very cute daughter and a busy professional, she still finds time to bake for her family.
Visit her page to learn how to bake a 100% Whole Wheat bread without using vital wheat gluten. She has used yogurt (can be replaced with vinegar) which makes her bread soft.
Since I was using vital wheat gluten (not yogurt), I got another KFBian - Sayantani (of A Homemaker's Diary) to help me with a recipe! And she was gracious enough to not only provide me with one but help me at all odd hours and answer my 1001 questions!




I am sharing just the photos this time! Will share the recipe soon. But in the meantime do visit Rakhee's space and check out her recipes.








Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Raspberry Compote


Raspberry Compote

Another quick post minus the banter. Berry (or stone fruit) compotes perfectly sweet and slightly tart and takes even the most mundane of food to another level. Add some to your morning oatmeal or your pancakes/waffles and you have yourself a special little treat! 

This recipe is roughly adapted from here!

Ingredients:
  • Raspberries - 1 Cup
  • Granulated Sugar - 2  tbsp (use more if  you prefer don't prefer it tart)
  • Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
  • Cornstarch - 1/2 tsp
Heat all the ingredients in a saucepan, on medium-low heat while stirring occasionally. Simmer till the raspberries break down and the sauce start to thicken. Let it cool down before serving. I added dollops of it to my Individual Raspberry Cheesecake. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chai Spice Glazed Muffins

Chai Spice Glazed Muffins - Wholewheat & Eggless

I have made two versions of this Chai Spice Glazed Muffin - with Whole-wheat Flour + Egg & All Purpose Flour without egg - and each turned out pretty darn good! Just a few tweaks here and there and you have more than one way to make this!
I baked and took some of these (the AP Flour and eggless version) for my friend's daughter when we visited them during Christmas and she loved them. Since she is allergic to many things she misses out on many treats. But the sweet little soul hardly complains and braces her allergies bravely! I am so glad that she loved these and the Eggless Chocolate Brownies that I made for her! I am so glad that she loved them. 
Today I made the Whole-wheat with egg version. Honestly, I did not think that the 5 year old will enjoy eating these, but he did!! Maybe because he helped me bake these or perhaps it was wrong of me to assume that he won't like it just because there was no chocolate chips in it! He however insisted that I add a little red&blue (his favorite colors) sprinkles on his. He mentioned more than once that he LOVED these! Happy Mamma!

Chai Spice Glazed Muffins - Wholewheat & Eggless


Ingredients for the Muffins: Yields 6  
  • Whole-wheat Flour  - 1 1/3 Cup (You can use All Purpose Flour as well)
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Oil - 2 tbsp (I used canola)
  • Granulated Sugar - 1/4 Cup
  • Light Brown Sugar - 3 tbsp
  • Applesauce - 1/3 Cup (or 1 egg at room temperature)
  • Baking Soda - 1/8 tsp
  • Baking Powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Ground Cinnamon - 1 tsp
  • Ground Cardamom (green) - 3/4 tsp
  • Ground Allspice - 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Ginger - 1/2 tsp
  • Black Pepper - 1/8 tsp, finely ground
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
  • Milk -  3/4 Cup + 1 tbsp (1/2 Cup if using All Purpose flour)
Ingredients for the Glaze:
  • Confectioners Sugar -  - 1/4 Cup, sifted
  • Butter - 2 tbsp, melted
  • Milk - 2 tsp (more or less)
  • Allspice - 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom Powder - a fat pinch
  • Cinnamon Powder - a fat pinch
  • Ginger Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Freshly cracked black pepper - a pinch
Chai Spice Glazed Muffins - Wholewheat & Eggless

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake lines. This recipe will yield about 6 or 7 muffins.
In a bowl, cream together the butter, oil and sugars until smooth. Add the applesauce (or egg) and beat till incorporated.
Next, stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, green cardamom powder, ginger powder,  allspice, cracked black pepper, salt and vanilla. Mix gently to combine.
Add the flour 1/3rd Cup at a time into the butter and spice mixture alternating with the milk. Fold in to combine but do not over-mix.
Let the batter rest for about 20 minutes. 
Scoop the batter into lined muffin tin, about 2 to 3 tbsp in each till it is almost full.
Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes, till a toothpick inserted into the middle  of a muffin comes out clean. 
While the muffin is baking, prepare the glaze.
Take the muffins out and transfer to a cooling rack.
Once the muffins have cooled down slightly, dunk the muffin crown into the glaze and let it harden. 
Go ahead and double dip it if you want. 

For the glaze: In a bowl, whisk all the ingredients listed under Glaze till smooth.

Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Couscous Salad inspired by Antara

Oh boy! Is it cold outside! I mean bitterly cold! Grey and blustery! Snowy and frigid! I wish I could crawl into a semi-hibernation mode, slowly and steadily! Somebody needs to douse me with gallons of hot tea or brandy, may be! Sadly, curling up with a favorite book under a cozy blanket drinking endless cups of steaming tea (made by someone else) is a luxury - it is a price one has to pay for growing up!
This was an extra long weekend, today being President's Day and the 5 year old's school was closed on Friday as well. The arctic blast forced us to stay in for the better part. Last night the school declared that it is going to be a snow day today as well! Staying in means cooking a lot and eating a lot! And that is exactly what we have been doing!


At KFB, this week belongs to Antara Ray of Antypasti and this recipe is inspired by her Mediterranean couscous salad! Her blog is a wonderful mélange of exotic travels and exquisite food. A Management Consultant by profession, she manages to steal time away from her busy life to go on vacations, submerge herself in culinary adventure of sorts and share those delicious experiences with us!

The husband teases me often saying that I sometimes buy things just so that my pantry looks good! Guilty as charged! I just love opening the cabinet doors and looking at the spices and lentils and what-nots. This recipe also gave me the opportunity to open the box of couscous which had been sitting pretty on the top shelf for a while now!

Ingredients:
  • Couscous - 3/4 Cup, uncooked
  • Chicken Broth (or water) - 1 Cup
  • Tomatoes - 3/4 Cup (I used grape tomatoes, halved)
  • Cucumber - 3/4 Cup, cubed
  • Kalamata Olives - a handful, halved and pitted
  • Dried Dill Weed - 2 tsp (you can use fresh as well)
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp (or more if you prefer it a little more tangy)
  • Salt to taste 
  • Feta Cheese - a handful (I had no feta on hand, and it was too cold to go out to buy some)
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and stir in the couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let it stand undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then fluff it using a fork. Or, you can cook the couscous according to the package instruction.
In a large-ish bowl, throw in the halved tomatoes, olives, cubed cucumbers and dill weed. Add the couscous to it and mix to incorporate.
In another small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil and salt. Drizzle it over the couscous and toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors blend in.
Sprinkle cheese before serving.

I am sending this recipe to KFB's Know Your Blogger 2 event


Friday, February 06, 2015

Mashed Butternut Squash with a drizzle of mustard oil


While picking up some frozen veggies from Wholefoods, I chanced upon a bag of butternut squash and suddenly had an intense craving for 'kumro bhaatey' or mashed pumpkin that Ma used to boil along with rice and serve with a healthy drizzle of mustard oil. I could almost smell it! I picked the bag up, stuck it in the freezer and then forgot about it for a whole week. We make plans, then life gets in the way and cravings take a backseat but thankfully not for long! This was not exactly like mashed pumpkin, but satiated my craving nonetheless!

Steam (or boil) 1 Cup of butternut squash. Heat 1 tsp of mustard oil and temper it with a 1/2 tsp of nigella seed and 1 green chili (chopped). Once the seeds start spluttering, add the steamed butternut squash to it. Break it down suing a wooden spoon or spatula. Season it with salt and cook till all the liquid dries up. 

Enjoy with piping hot rice. I overate, of course. 



Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Marshmallow Pops for my little Valentine



Over the last 18 years that I have known (and been in a relationship) with the husband, I can remember just a handful of times that we have celebrated Valentine's Day. We have spent many a Valentine's Day apart, sometimes in different countries, sometimes in different cities and sometimes even in different continents. Yes, a couple of them involved roses and gifts and gifts for each other (we were young once), but that was a long LONG time back. Nowadays, we are just happy to stay in, eat good food and drink our favorite wine while watching a movie. 
This year it is all different! I have a new Valentine! One who is counting down the days till Valentine's Day, making card after card for his Baba & Mamma, who has reminded me more than once not to forget to buy cards for his friends and who has been asking me repeatedly if we can have a Valentine's Day party(!!!). I do not think he understands the nuances behind the day but there is definitely a lot of LOVE and excitement involved. I did not promise him a party but I did make him some Valentine's Day Special Marshmallow Pops. 

Marshmallow Pops for my little Valentine

Ingredients:

  • Marshmallows - about 10 or 12. bigger the better
  • Paper Straws - as many as the marshmallows
  • Candy melt - about a cup (I used Wilton's Candy melts)
  • Sprinkles of your choice
Melt the candy melts according to package instruction. Cut the paper straws to desired length, and poke through at least two-thirds way into the marshmallows. Roll each marshmallow in the melted candy, shake off excess and dabble it in the sprinkles. I used a small bucket, filled with rice to stick the pops in. Let it dry before serving or it will drip all over. Store extras in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container. These should be good for 5 days. 

These are inspired by my friend Gen's Christmas Marshmallow pops!

Marshmallow Pops for my little Valentine

I am sending this to Kolkata Food Bloggers 
Valentine's Day Celebrations


Monday, February 02, 2015

Turkish Pide Bread

Turkish Pide Bread

I made some Turkish Pide (Pee - day) Bread to go with the Cilbir: Turkish Poached Eggs. I have worked with yeast a few times now, and it still gives me the jitters, especially during the cold, cold winters! But I just wanted to make from fresh Turkish bread to serve with the surprisingly tasty Cilbir! I just love the smell of freshly baked bread, don't you!


Turkish Pide Bread


Ingredients: 
  • Bread Flour - 2 Cups plus some for flouring the kneading surface
  • Warm Water - 1 1/4 Cup (more or less, and the water should be too hot)
  • Yeast - 1 tsp
  • Salt - a fat pinch
  • Sugar - a fat pinch
  • Olive Olive - 1/2 tbsp + some for greasing the bowl
  • Sesame Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Nigella Seeds - 3/4 tsp 
  • Egg wash - a mix of 1 egg and a little milk, whisked


  1. Add about 1 tbsp of flour and sugar to the warm water and give it a quick whisk. Sprinkle on the yeast and let it stand for at least 30 minutes. Cover it with a towel and keep it at a warm place. If it is too hot or too cold, the yeast will not activate. 
  2. After half an hour (the yeast starter should look frothy) add the flour, olive oil and salt and mix together. The dough will be sticky. Once everything is combined, knead it gently for 4-5 minutes till it just comes together. Do not over-knead. 
  3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Since we are in the middle of (bitter) winter, I preheat the oven to the lowest temperature )170 F for me), switch it off and stick the bowl (covered with cling wrap) containing the dough in it. In about an hour or so, it will have doubled in size. 
  4. Put the dough on a well floured surface, sprinkle and gently rub some more flour on it. Keep it whole or cut into halves with a sharp knife. I quartered mine. 
  5. Place the dough portions onto a floured baking dish and spread each out gently using your hands. Do not use a rolling pin. Now, gently make some indentations on the dough portions using your fingers. Keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  7. Brush on the egg wash on the dough portions and sprinkle the nigella seeds and sesame seeds on.
  8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes till they turn golden brown. Transfer to a cooking rack and in about 15 minutes or so you will have fresh and delicious bread to enjoy with Cilbir or a dip of your choice. 





Recipe adapted from here!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Super Bowl and Super easy & Super quick Nachos

I have been trying very hard to follow Superbowl! Honest! Growing up amid cricket and soccer (the actual football for us), it is no easy task I tell you! Today evening reminded me of my early college days. My parents had just about had the cable connection installed and my world had opened up to a host of sitcoms, family dramas and National Geographic. While I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nat Geo, I would sit through the rest just to watch the commercials. I sat through the first half of the game just to watch Katie Perry's half-time performance (and what a stunning performance it was!) and the amazing.. AH-mazing commercials! So far, my favorites were the ones that featured Matt Damon (ooh) and Mindy Kaling (love her!), the car ad featuring the almost 100-year olds (some over) and the JEEP ad! 
When it was almost half-time, I suddenly craved for some nachos! I ran to the kitchen mentally making a list of the things I had on hand, threw them together and voila, my quick-fix nachos was ready in under 10 minutes, just in time to watch Katie's performance. 

Super Bowl and Super easy & Super quick Nachos

I had about half cup of leftover Satwik Rajma Curry that my friend PG had packed for me yesterday and added it to the nacho as well. 

I mixed together the cooked kidney beans (canned beans can be used as well), 3 or 4 tbsp of chopped onions, 4 tbsp of diced tomatoes, 2 tbsp of finely chopped cilantro. Seasoned it with salt, cracked black pepper, little cumin powder & paprika. Since I did not have jalapenos, I added a few drops of Frank's hot sauce along with few squeezes of lime. 
I chopped up one avocado, hit it with some lime juice and season with some sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and sprinkles a fat pinch of paprika. 
Layered a microwave safe bowl with handfuls of corn chips. Spooned in the bean-mix. Sprinkled handfuls of cheese (more can be used) on top and microwave it in intervals of 45 seconds till all the cheese melts. Topped it with the chopped and seasoned avocado and served it with chilled beer. 

Note: I had shredded Mexican Four Cheese mix on hand which was a mix of monterey jack, cheddar, asadero, queso quesadilla cheese.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Chat with Anwesha and Beer Battered Shrimps

In her own words, Anwesha is a passionate traveler and an insatiable foodie, and her blog is the perfect reflection of that. It is a beautiful travelogue dotted with some delicious recipes! The Beer Batter Prawns recipe was an easy and almost immediate choice. There's always a stash of beer in the fridge as both the husband and I enjoy drinking beer. And the entire family loves shrimp! My recipe is almost like hers excepting that I omitted cornflour, added an egg and also gave the shrimps a coating of desiccated coconuts. 

Each week, Anwesha would have a little chat with the featured star of the week, albeit virtual! Now that she is the star of this week, she has graciously answered the questions for the rest of us! And what a wonderful way to get to know our fellow bloggers! Here are a few glimpses from her life as a research scholar (she is working on her PhD thesis right now), a voracious traveler and a foodie!


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?

I started my blog to mainly document my travel stories including travel experiences, tips and local food.As the blog matured and I really got into experimenting with food and food photography, I have started posting recipes on the blog as well.

Why the name Peanuts on the Road?

Every week, I travel at least a couple of hundred kilometers by train. A very common sight on the Indian trains are peanuts sellers. To me, they are the quintessential flavors of travel, the very essence on being on the road. It is incredible to think how many conversations I have had over buying peanuts on the weekly train in the weekends I catch to return home from my research institute. Local food and travel are  inherently intertwined and the fastest way to get the flavor of a place. This is why my blog is called Peanuts on the road.

What is the most rewarding part of blogging for you?

The most rewarding part of blogging for me is a selfish one. Of course I love the interaction with like minded people, but what I love most about blogging is when I read back some of travelogue and am reminded of things that have slipped from my mind - it is as if I get to relive my travels/food experiences again.

If I make only one dish from your blog, what should it be?

If you are to make only one dish from my blog, I would recommend my Mom's fish cake recipe - it is a family recipe and you won't find anything like this on the internet.

What is your most favorite food memory of Kolkata?

My favorite food memories of Kolkata mostly involve the street food of Kolkata - be it the Phuchka near Vivekanada Park or in front of Jadavpur University or the muri-telebhaja from the neighborhood shop on rainy evening.

What is the ingredient you love to cook with the most? The one you are scared of the most? The one you have never used but are most eager to try?

The one ingredient I love is good quality butter - I love how it can really add a delightful dimension to a dish.
Though I love eating pork, I am a bit scared of cooking pork at home.

I would love to be able to cook with truffles someday.
*********

Now to the recipe... 

Ingredients: Yield 2 (enough for the 3 of us)
  • Jumbo Shrimps: 12 to 15, de-veined and cleaned
  • Desiccated Coconut/Coconut Flakes - 3/4 Cup 
  • All Purpose Flour - 1/2 Cup
  • Egg - 1, at room temperature
  • Hot Sauce - few drops, according to taste (I used Frank's original)
  • Black Pepper - 1/4 tsp + 1/2 tsp freshly cracked
  • Paprika - 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric - a fat pinch
  • Half bottle of your favorite beer
  • Salt to taste

 Beer Battered Shrimps

  1. First off make the batter. Whisk together the flour, egg, beer, salt and 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, paprika and hot sauce. Hit it with a little more beer if necessary to get the correct consistency. The batter should stick to the shrimps. Let the batter rest while prepping the rest.
  2. Take the shrimps in a bowl and season with salt and remaining pepper, paprika and turmeric. Toss gently  to coat. Set it aside. 
  3. Spread the coconut flakes on a shallow plate.
  4. Once the batter has rested for at least 20 minutes, dunk the shrimps into it (one at a time), shake off the excess batter and roll the batter coated shrimps in the coconut. Place on a plate in a single layer (do not stack) and let it rest.      
  5. Start heating oil on medium high.
  6. Take a swig or few of the remaining beer (or not) while waiting for the oil to heat up.
  7. Once the oil is hot but not smoking start frying the shrimps, not more than 3 to 4 at a time. Fry till the shrimps turn a nice golden brown, fish them out with a slotted spoon (shaking off gently as much excess oil as possible) and drain on a paper towel.
  8. Serve hot with your choice of condiment. 
 Beer Battered Shrimps

I am sending this recipe toKolkata Food Bloggers' event
Know Your Blogger 2




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Urmi's Microwave Coconut Barfi

I am particularly late with this post! A sudden unplanned trip to New York City last Sunday totally messed up our routines! We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 day trip (even though it was not a vacation), walking the streets of my second-most favorite city in the world (after Kolkata, of course), eating street food, re-living our memories and making new ones with our son!
Urmi Ghosh of Ume's Kitchen is the star of this week! I am yet to meet her, but she sure comes across as a sweet soul with a very sweet smile! Mom to a very cute 4 year old, she has recently launched her home bakery and is baking some pretty amazing cakes! Do check out her page
Sunday we celebrated Saraswati Pujo here and I had signed up to make chutney. While I was making tomato chutney on Saturday night, the 5 year old pranced into the kitchen, sniffing and singing , "I smell mishti! I smell mishti!" It was his bedtime, so I send him off with the promise of making him some soon! 
Urmi's Microwave Coconut Barfis is the perfect fix for the sudden "I want mishti" pangs! However, it took me three tries before I got it right. If you are planning to make it, do babysit it the first time. Depending on the microwave power, the time of cooking will most definitely vary. What worked for me might not for you. Also, since I was using desiccated coconut instead of fresh, I had to add more liquid than suggested in the recipe. I also adjusted the amount of sugar and cardamom powder according to our taste, and  omitted saffron and yellow food color that Urmi has used. 

Urmi's Microwave Coconut Barfi


Ingredients: Yield - 4
  • Coconut - 1/2 Cup
  • Ghee - 1 tsp
  • Cardamom Powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Sugar 2 tbsp 
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Milk - 1/3 Cup
  • Slivered almonds for garnish
Grease a container or a deep dish and set aside.
In a microwavable bowl, mix the coconut and ghee together and nuke it for a total of 2 to 3 minutes. You absolutely need to stir it at the 1 minute mark and then every 45 seconds. Add the milk, sugar and cardamom powder to and mix well. I had to cook it for a total of 4 minutes - cooked for 2 minutes first, and then in increments of 1 minute, stirring and scraping the sides of the bowl each time. Overcooking will cause it to harden. Spread it out on the greased container and press it down gently using the back of a spoon. Let it set for at least an hour, cut into diamond shapes and serve. Store leftovers in airtight container. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cilbir: Turkish Poached Egg inspired by Manjari

When Manjari (of For the Love of Food) joined Kolkata Food Bloggers close to a year back, she was pretty new to the blogosphere. A quick learner, she has come a long way since then. A junior from school, she is also my schoolmate's cousin - talk about it being a small world! 
When Manjari shared her Cilbir (pronounced Chilber) recipe, I remembered the saveur.com Cilbir recipe that I had come across early last year. Poached eggs served with garlic infused yogurt and topped with melted butter, dill leaves and paprika sounded so fascinating! I did a little more digging around and I found that "Çılbır is a Turkish dish of poached eggs with yogurt (often with garlic mixed in). There are records of çılbır being eaten by Ottoman sultans as far back as the 15th century. It is now common to serve the dish topped with melted butter infused with Aleppo pepper, for which paprika can be substituted." (Source Wikipedia). 
I had also bookmarked this particular recipe, which co-incidentally is the one Manjari's recipe is inspired by as well. Then I forgot all about it, till Manjari shared hers. She, however, chose not to use the garlic. Find her recipe here: Cilbir

Cilbir: Turkish Poached Egg inspired by Manjari

Ingredients: Serving 1
  • Eggs - 2 large, at room temperature
  • Vinegar - 1 tbsp
  • Water - 4 to 5 Cups
  • Greek Yogurt - 1/2 Cup 
  • Paprika - 1 tsp
  • Butter - 1/2 tbsp 
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper - 1/4 tsp, freshly cracked
  • Garlic - 1 clove, finely minced 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)
  • Dried mint leaves - a couple of fat pinches (I did not have any hand so had to skip!)

In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt and minced garlic. You can skip the garlic if you want, but the garlic-y yogurt tastes so good. 
Heat a pan and melt the butter in it on medium-low heat. Once the butter starts sizzling, add the paprika and let it cook for about 30 seconds. Set it aside.
Bring the water, vinegar and salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Once it starts boiling. reduce the heat. Crack each egg into a small bowl and gently slide them in one by one into the hot water. Make sure that the water is not boiling. Cook it for 3 or 4 minutes if you prefer your yolks runny. For a more cooked yolk, cook for at least 5 minutes or so. Using a slotted spoon fish out the eggs. Shake off as much water as possible (very gently) and transfer onto a plate.
Spoon the yogurt on top of the poached eggs and pour the butter on it. Crack some black pepper, sprinkle a little sea salt and serve with warm Pita or Turkish Pide Bread. 

Recipe adapted from here: Almost Turkish 

I am sending this to Know Your Blogger event 


Monday, January 05, 2015

Hot Chocolate for my Sweetheart!

Hot Chocolate for one

Today is the last day of winter break! The 5 year old will be heading back to school tomorrow! What better way to end a wonderful break with some Hot Chocolate that I made just for him! 

Over the winter break, we had loads of fun baking, cooking, partying  and just having plain awesome time with friends! We went on a road trip, reconnected with friends who are more like family, and came back rejuvenated souls! It was such a refreshing little break! 
As much as I look forward to the 'me time', I really miss the Little Champ when he is not around! Source of endless happiness he's not! I feel a medley of things when he's around - amusement, anger, frustration, happiness, pride - but sadness is not on that list! And that is what I love about kids - their amazing ability to pull us out from the 'depths of despair' with a simple toothy smile or a sloppy kiss!

Hot Chocolate for One

This is a very easy recipe and the result is oh-so-good! It is rich and luscious and terribly delicious! A few ingredients and you have yourself a perfect little treat!

Ingredients
  • Milk (of your choice) - 1 Cup
  • Semi-sweet Chocolate - 2 ounces, chopped (I used Ghiradelli baking bar)
  • Vanilla Extract - 1/4 tsp
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 1/2 tbsp (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Marshmallows - 2 or 3 (optional)
Heat the milk on low heat and bring it to a simmer. Take it off the heat and add the chopped chocolate pieces. Let it rest for a minute or two. Whisk it briskly till all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is silky smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract, add a pinch of salt and mix. If you prefer a more intense chocolaty flavor, add the cocoapowder.
Since the Little Champ had specially requested that his 'Hot Chocolate' be at room temperature, I did have time to take the photos. If you prefer, heat it up a little before serving it. Throw in a couple of marshmallows, if you wish! 

Hot Chocolate for my Sweetheart!



Recipe adapted from epicurious.com

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Eggless Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Cup with M&Ms

Ringing in the year on a sweet note with these cute cuppies, albeit a few days late! How can I not get excited about these easy to make kid-friendly desserts. Double Chocolate Cookie cups filled with chocolate ganache and topped with M&Ms. The name itself is enough to make the mouth water! The kids were delighted, and the husband wanted one too! I have adjusted the recipe to make 4 cookie cups. The recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Eggless Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Cup with M&Ms

Ingredients: Yield 4
  • All Purpose Flour - 6 tbsp
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Granulated Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Brown Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Cornstarch - 3/4 tsp
  • Water - 1/2 tbsp
  • Vanilla Extract - 1/4 tsp
  • Baking Soda - 1.4 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder - 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt - a fat pinch (1/8 tsp)
  • Mini Chocolate Chips - 2 tbsp
  • Coffee Granules - a pinch (optional)
  • M&Ms - 1/3 Cup (more or less, I did not really measure, sorry!)
For the chocolate ganache:
  • Chocolate Chips 3 tbsp
  • Butter - 1 tsp
  • Milk - 1 tsp
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a muffin tin with butter and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the butter and sugars till smooth. Add the cornstarch mix, vanilla extract and coffee granules and give it another good whisk. Now add flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa and combine, gently. Fold in chocolate chips. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and press down into the prepped muffin tin. Bake for about 8 minutes, take the muffin pan out and using the back of a spoon or something round (refer here) press down to make a cup. Return to the oven and bake for another 4 or 5 minutes, till done. If required, press down again while the cookie is still warm. Let it cool till the cookie cups firm up and then transfer to a cooling rack. Once completely cooled down, fill with M&Ms, ice-cream , Nutella or chocolate ganache and serve.

Cheers to a wonderful new year!

Recipe adapted from: Dinner-Mom

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Alton Brown's Fruit Cake

Holidays are here. I am not baking as much like I had planned to. Half of my counter-top is cluttered with various baking supplies. I had been bookmarking recipes for almost two months and had a pretty long list of Holiday baking. Unfortunately, I am still nursing a sore arm (from flared up tennis elbow), which starts hurting at the slightest notion of work. Talk about bad timing! But I did manage to bake some fruit cakes and some sugar cookies with little help from the husband. I followed Alton Brown's 'Free Range Fruit Cake' recipe almost to the tee, with a little change here and there. Preposterous, I know! Altering the recipe of Alton Brown! But for once I wanted to enjoy my fruit cake without having to dig out the assortment of nuts I am allergic to. Also, I thought I had no allspice berries so used ground Jamaican allspice instead. I completely forgot about the bottle of whole mulling spices that I had picked up from Wholefoods. All I had to do was fish out a few and pounded it away to glory. I wasn't kidding when I said that I have been pretty muddled in the noggin. Duh!

Alton Brown's Fruit Cake

I baked small loaf pans and mini bundt pans, so it took me less time than it would have if I had baked the entire thing together.

Alton Brown's Fruit Cake


Ingredients:

  • Golden Raisins - 1 Cup
  • Currants - 1 Cup
  • Dried Cranberries - 1/2 Cup
  • Dried Blueberries - 1/2 Cup
  • Dried Cherries - 1/2 Cup
  • Dried Apricots - 1/2 Cup, coarsely chopped
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • Zest of one large orange
  • Candied Ginger - 1/4 Cup, chopped
  • Rum - 1 Cup (I used
  • Granulated Sugar - 1 Cup
  • Butter - 1 1/4 Stick, unsalted
  • Unfiltered Apple Juice - 1 Cup (you can use apple cider as well)
  • Ground Jamaican Allspice - 1 tsp (or 4 whole cloves and 6 whole allspice berries, ground)
  • Ground Cinnamon - 1 tsp
  • Ground Ginger - 1 tsp
  • All Purpose Flour - 1 3/4 Cup
  • Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda - 1 tsp
  • Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  • Eggs - 2 large, at room temperature
  • Slivered Almonds - 1/2 Cup (original recipe asked for toasted pecans, roughly chopped. You can use walnuts as well)
  • Brandy or Rum for basting or spritzing - I used brandy to baste my cakes

Alton Brown's Fruit Cake

In a bowl, mix together the dried fruits, orange and lemon zests, and candied ginger. Add the rum and macerate it overnight. Alternately, you can nuke the rum & fruit mixture in the microwave for 5 or 6 minutes to re-hydrate the fruits. I prefer macerating it overnight. 

In a medium saucepan, bring the rum & fruit mixture along with the apple juice, sugar, butter and spices to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool for at least 15 or 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 325 F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the fruit mixture and using a wooden spoon bring everything together gently. Stir in the eggs, one by one till completely incorporated and and then fold in the nuts. Spoon the batter into greased and floured loaf pan and bake for an hour. The batter is going to be thick. Insert a toothpick in the middle to check for done-ness. If it comes out clean, you are done. If not, keep baking in increments of 5 minutes. 

I used 4 small loaf pans and 2 mini bundt pans which I greased and floured, started checking every 5 minutes after 30 minutes. The mini bundt cakes were done in 35 minutes and the mini loaf pans took about 40 minutes. 

Once done, take the pans out of the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack before trying to take the cakes out of the pans. Baste or spritz with brandy or rum before storing in an airtight container. Baste or spritz with brandy or rum every 2 to 3 days if the cake looks dry. I let the cakes develop its flavors for about 7 to 10 days before gifting them to friends. If possible, allow 2 weeks time. 

I am sending this to Kolkata Food Bloggers' Christmas event. 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mulled Apple Cider

Winter night. Cuddled up on the sofa under a warm fuzzy blanket. Favorite show on the TV. Can it get any better. Oh yes! It can! How about a glass of warm Apple Cider? Along with a slice of booze-laced Fruit Cake. Last week was a bad one health-wise. I am still in the recovery mode, but getting better with each passing day! So to pick me up from the dumps I treated myself to these sweet things two nights in a row!  There's something about this warm concoction with a hint of spice that makes you feel oh-so-good and fuzzy!

Mulled Apple Cider

Ingredients: Serves 2 
  • Unfiltered Apple Juice - 2 Cups
  • Honey - 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon Stick - 1
  • Ground Clove - a pinch
  • Allspice berries - 3
  • 3-4 thin slices of orange
Place everything in a medium saucepan and on medium-high heat bring it to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and let the concoction simmer for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm... with a slice of Fruit Cake, may be!



Monday, December 15, 2014

Pritha's Chicken Roll

I am so very late with this post for the star of the week Pritha Chakrabarty of Guilt Free! I had all good intentions of making Chicken Roll for our anniversary dinner last Tuesday. But Tuesday morning found me otherwise indisposed. My tennis elbow had flared up which forced me to go off using my right arm for three straight days. My tonsils were the size of golf balls and I had lost my voice. For three days I could barely whisper a sentence or two every couple of hours. I guess that was the best anniversary gift I could have given the husband - no hounding or harrying for three full days! He must have had the time of his life! I can talk now, but I sound 'weird' - the 5 year old keeps reminding me that. And so does everyone that I talk to on the phone. I like to think of it as my 'sexily husky' or 'huskily sexy' voice (are those even adjectives?! The noggin's been kinda muddled)

About Pritha. A journalist by profession, she blogs from Guilt Free. Bubbly and vivacious, she always has this twinkle in her eyes which will make one like her almost instantly! Even though I have not met her in person, I have a sneaky feeling that she has a hearty infectious laughter. She might be a newcomer on the blogging front, but she has some killer recipes on her blog. She loves to play with flavors, try out new things and is so committed. She did a 30-day Eat like a Bong series where she covered 30 quintessentially Bengali recipes in 30 days. In a row! What a tremendous feat! This Chicken Roll is from that series, and it turned out SO awesome. And I have followed her recipe almost to the tee.

I know the husband for 18 years now! More than half of my lifetime. Phew! His cousin (and my friend) introduced us on fateful day way back in 1996 (I was still in school then, and he had just started college). Resources were sparse when we started dating but we would almost always end up in an eatery. And almost always he would order a Chicken Roll. I would always settle for a cup of tea and something else. But never a Chicken Roll. Then one day, I took a bite, and boy was I hooked!And thus my love affair with Chicken Roll started. The husband and I had several favorite joints all over of Kolkata that we frequented just for their Chicken Rolls. I used to think we were 'berosik' to the core, but now I know, we have always been 'khadyorosik'. So the Chicken Roll seemed to be the perfect choice to celebrate 12 years of married life! But life had other plans and we ended up having Spicy Tuna Fresh Rolls, Frozen Biriyani, Vanilla Cheesecake and a beer named Bengali from Wholefoods. I made the Chicken Roll 3 days later. Boy, what a treat it was!

Pritha's Chicken Roll

Ingredients: Yield: 6 rolls

For the Chicken filling

  • Chicken - 1 lb boneless, cut into bit-size pieces
  • Onions - 1 Cup, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • Green Bell Pepper - 1 Cup, thinly sliced
  • Lemon Juice - few squeezes
  • Oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
  • Green chilies - 2 or 3 or more, finely chopped
  • Chat masala - as required

Marinade for the Chicken:

  • Grated Garlic - 2 tbsp
  • Grated Ginger - 1 tbsp
  • Greek Yogurt/Hung Curs - 2 tbsp 
  • Lemon Juice - 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Paprika - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp (Spice mix of 
  • Salt to taste

For the Parathas:

  • All Purpose Flour/Maida - 1 1/2 Cup
  • Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Water - enough for kneading into a dough
  • Ghee or Oil - enough for frying (I used ghee)

Whisk together everything under "Marinade for Chicken", give it a quick taste for seasoning, adjust if required before add the cubed bite size chicken pieces to it. Mix well so that the marinade coats the chicken pieces nicely and leave in the fridge overnight.

Next Day: In a bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add the oil and mix using your fingers till you get a crumbly mixture. Add water little by little and knead till you get a soft dough. Pinch out 6 equal balls from the dough, using the palms of your hands shape into smooth little balls, cover and let it rest for at least half an hour.While the dough rests, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the onions till they start caramelizing. Throw in the sliced bell peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel, sprinkle some salt and set aside.

To the same pan, add 1 tbsp oil and fry the chicken pieces (marinade and all) for couple of minutes, then cover and cook on medium high heat. Once the oil starts to leave the sides, uncover and cook for 5 or 6 minutes till all the liquid dries up. Scrape and stir as required. Take off heat and keep aside.

Now, roll out the pinched out dough-balls. Heat a tawa/pan and add ghee or oil (couple of teaspoons) to it. Fry each rolled-out paratha one by one. Flip once you see the paratha puff up. I followed Pritha's tip and sprinkled few drops of oil around so that the edges crisped up but the middle remained soft. If the entire paratha crisps up, then it will not roll up pretty!
Now it is time to assemble the Chicken Rolls. Lay each paratha flat and place a straight line of chicken pieces around the 1/3rd line mark.  Top it with the fried onions and bell pepper, squeeze a little lemon juice, adorn it with little specks of green chilies and sprinkle the chat masala. Now roll the paratha and wrap it in a piece of parchment paper. Serve hot!

Once again the original recipe is here! And do visit a blog. It is such a fun read!

PS: Please don't judge my parathas - they were victims of my tennis-elbowed arm. Wait, is that even an adjective?!

I am sending this to Kolkata Food Bloggers KYB2 


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Gajar Ka Halwa with Condensed Milk

I had a 1-pound bag of baby carrots lying in the fridge for over a week. Each time I would pull out the vegetable tray, stare at the bag and immediately my brain would shut down! I had no clue what I wanted to use them in. Usually I make chicken soup with carrots and celery, but not this time. Then someone shared a picture of carrot soup on a group on Facebook which prompted me to look up carrot soup recipes. No sooner had I clicked on a link that a tiny voice inside my head screamed, Gajar Ka Halwa. A lot encouragement from Cocoawind's Facebook Page gently nudged me to the correct direction that would use up the carrots and satisfy the soul!  
Happy soul, I danced off to the kitchen, took out the food processor and let it work it magic to shred the carrots to little itty bitty pieces. Pirouetted over to the fridge to take out the milk, only to realize that I did not have enough. So settled for condensed milk instead. I have to confess that I like the other version (made with milk and sugar) more, but this wasn't half as bad. And definitely involves less stirring than the real deal. 
I used about 3/4th of the 14 oz condensed milk can to make this which was made more to suit our taste buds, feel free to use more condensed milk. And a little more ghee wouldn't hurt either. 

Gajar Ka Halwa with Condensed Milk

Ingredients:
  • Carrots - 1 lb, shredded
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp (please use a tbsp more for a richer taste)
  • Green Cardamoms - 4 or 5, slightly crushed
  • Condensed Milk - 14 oz Can (I used 3/4th of the can to reach the desired sweetness)
  • Raisins - a handful
  • Cashews or Almonds - a handful (I used slivered almonds since I am allergic to cashews)
In a heavy bottomed pan heat the ghee on medium low, and fry the green cardamoms in it till fragrant. Add the shredded carrot and cook till tender. Keep stirring and scraping once every couple of minutes. Stir in the condensed milk and mix well. I prefer adding the condensed milk 2 tbsp at a time, so that it does not become over-sweet. Dress it up with the cashews/almonds and raisins. Alternately, you can fry the cashews and raisins in some ghee and add it. Cook  on low heat till the liquid evaporates, stirring often. 

We like it slightly warm, but you can eat it chilled too! Tastes amazing either way!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Indrani's Runny Aloo'r Torkari

A very warm person, always armed with kind words and a beautiful smile, Indrani Dhar has been a passionate blogger for over seven years now. She has been blogging religiously from her space - Recipe Junction, which is a beautiful collection of Bengali recipes, Baked Goodies, Continental Recipes. Her recipes will always have a very informative introduction, either about the history or the benefits of the main ingredient. Mommy to three adorable kids, she is a rock of a person who brings stability to our close-knit group of foodies.
I had eyed, drooled, mentally gobbled up her "Runny Potato curry-Kolkata street food joint style" many times ever since she posted it couple of months back. Wanted to make it for the husband's birthday along with Hing er Kochuri, but somehow ended up with the same lunch that I have been serving him last few years on his birthday - Luchi, Sada Alu'r Torkari, Begun Bhaja, Chicken Curry and Kalakand. So what better time to make it but now that we are celebrating each blogger of Kolkata Food Bloggers during its ongoing event - Know Your Blogger 2. This is bound to remind you of the runny aloo'r torkari that you get only in the mornings with kochuri in Kolkata. I had made some Hing er Kochuri and Gajar Ka Halwa to go with it.
I stuck to her recipe for the better part except for a couple of minor changes.

Indrani's Runny Aloo'r Torkari

Both the husband and I love to eat Kochuri-Alu'r Tortaki from the hole-in-the-wall joints of Kolkata. Many a morning we would drop off  our son at school (the few months that we were in Kolkata, last year) and head over to City Center to have Kochuri-Alu'r Torkari, Jilipi (just for me) and Bhar er Cha (Tea served in a earthen pot).  Sometimes we would go over to 'Haryana' in Kankurgachhi. The husband would follow up his Kachuri breakfast with some freshly made Lassi. I would stick to my 'Bhar er Cha'.

From outside City Center, Kolkata

Ingredients:
  • Potatoes - 2 Cups, diced (I used russet potato)
  • Cholar dal/Bengal Gram - 1/3 Cup, soaked overnight in water
  • Dry red chilies - 2
  • Panch Phoron - 1 tbsp (an equal mix of mustard seeds, fennnel seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds) 
  • Asofoetida/Hing - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Powder - 2 tsp
  • Paprika - 1 tsp (or red chili powder if you prefer more heat)
  • Mustard oil - 2 tsp
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

The special mix of 5 spices that we Bengalis call 'Paanch Phoron' is used in this dish for tempering. Typically, Paanch Phoron will include Fenugreek Seeds (Methi), Nigella Seeds (Kalo Jeera), Fennel Seeds (Mouri), Cumin Seeds (Jeera) and Wild Celery Seeds (Radhuni) in equal parts. 'Radhuni' is rarely available outside West Bengal, so black mustard seeds are also used as the 5th spice. It imparts a unique flavor. 

I used my pressure cooker to cook it. If you are using a regular pan, cover and cook after adding water till potatoes are fork-tender and the dal is cooked.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker on high heat and temper with the dry red chilies and panch phoron mix. Once the seeds start crackling and sizzling, sprinkle the hing/asofoetida and lower the heat. Add the diced potatoes and mix till the masala coats each piece. Fry for a minute. Spoon in the soaked chana dal. Throw in the turmeric powder, cumin powder, paprika, salt and sugar and stir well to mix. Add enough water to cover the potatoes and pressure cook till you hear 2-3 whistles. Check the potatoes for done-ness and the curry for seasoning.

Serve piping hot with Kochuri, Luchi, Puri or Paratha. 

My family loved it! I had taken some over to our neighbor along with some Hing er Kochuri and Gajar ka Halwa, they said that it tasted like the torkari they used to eat at the famous shacks just outside Dakshinswar temple. Two thumbs up from all of us Indrani! 

I am sending this to KYB 2 

    

Friday, December 05, 2014

Rosh Bora

Rosh Bora


I got married pretty young (by modern day standards). The husband and I moved to the USA within a year of getting married. And from then on we went wherever life took us. We were rootless, footloose and fancy-free. It was a life we enjoyed to the fullest till we decided that it was time to put down our roots. So after 4 years of vagabond-ish life, we returned to Kolkata to settle down for good. But after yet another bank job (my 3rd one) and one baby later, we found ourselves back in the USA within 2.5 years of going back. And we are still here. We do not know where life will take us next. 
I miss Kolkata. I miss my family. I miss my friends. 

Recreating the dishes that I have grown up eating  is one way of holding onto the warm fuzzy feeling that only my hometown, my loved ones can engulf me in! 

I still struggle with quantities. Most of the time I am cook way more than required. Especially when I have guests over. But I am getting better, I think. My Baba has always been my go to guide when it comes to measurements (not baking, of course). If I am cooking for company, he will tell me exactly how much ingredients I need. Even though we speak different languages when it comes to measurements - he goes by grams and I prefer Cups/tbsp/tsp - his estimates are always close to accurate. He does not cook, but he is surprisingly good with ingredients as well. I based this recipe on the rough estimates that he gave me.

Rosh Bora


Ingredients For the Bora/Vada/Dumpling:
  • Kolai/Biuli Daal - 1/2 Cup
  • Fennel Seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Black Cardamom Seeds - 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Water - Enough to soak the daal plus some to make a thick paste.
  • Oil/Ghee - Enough for frying
Ingredients for Sugar Syrup:
  • Sugar - 1/2 Cup
  • Water - 1 Cup
  • Green Cardamom - 2 split
  • Green Cardamom Powder - 1/4 tsp
Soak the Kolai/Biuli Daal in enough water overnight. Make a paste in the grinder. Use just a little water to make a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl. Mix in the fennel seeds and black cardamom seed. Now add enough water to make thick paste. Drop dollops of the batter into the hot oil using two spoons. Reduce the flame/heat to medium low. The dumplings should be fried on medium low heat so the they cook inside out till they turn a lovely golden brown. Flip once in between. Drain excess oil on a paper towel and transfer to the bowl of sugar syrup. Let the dumplings soak in the syrup. Serve warm.

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