Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Yoghurt Mayo Salad Sauce

You will need (or what I used):

  • Mixed steamed veggies of your choice and quantity
  • 2 tbsp Yoghurt (I used the mother dairy one)
  • 1 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp diced garlic (or grated if you prefer)
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  1. Put the yoghurt in a strainer (I use the small tea strainer) or a muslin cloth and let the water drain.
  2. Steam and drain the veggies. I use carrots, beans and peas normally. Cauliflowers or cabbages once in a while.
  3. While the veggies are draining, peel and dice the garlic. You can add as much or as less depending upon how garlicky you want the sauce to be. For me, 1/2 tsp does nicely for one portion of the steamed veggies.
  4. When the water's drained off from the yoghurt, put it into a small bowl (smaller the better since it does so smear and difficult to get off from the bowl), add the mayonnaise and a pinch of salt - the mayo I use is a bit sweet. This is as per your own taste buds.
  5. And mix with a fork.
  6. Mix with the veggies and eat!
  7. I carry it to work and so I take the veggies and the sauce separately and mix it just before eating.
  8. Easiest thing to do and yet how very tasty. And looks good too! And low cal to boot!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My balsamic vinaigrette

I had, in a moment of madness, bought a bottle of expensive balsamic vinaigrette from my local in and out store in the Petrol Pump at the Hazra - Lansdowne Crossing. And to top it, I had no clue what to do with it. Many many months later, last week, I stumbled upon an easy recipe and with moderate alterations, made my own balsamic vinaigrette! Since I needed enough for one to go with my boiled veggies - OK steamed veggies, the quantities are very tiny. But it can be proportionately increased or reduced (I did. The original quantities were quite large)!

You will need:

For the Vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (normal would do as well)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic grated (you can reduce this amount if you want to)
  • A pinch dried oregano (actually I used a pinch of mixed herbs)
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste (although I used salt only)
How to:
Or what I did:
  • Put all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl. Mix well.
  • Steamed assorted veggies - whatever you have at hand. I had beans, carrots, cauliflower, green peas. Drain.
  • Put in a lunch box. Carry to work. Pour the vinaigrette on the veggies during lunch and EAT!
Viola! And it was very tasty. Attested by my colleagues who are usually hesitant to sample my bland fare!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Almost Caesar salad

Actually its almost caesar and part waldorf (a very small part though)!

My home is overflowing with good cooks giving me little reason to venture into the kitchen. But, I do miss my erst while experiments with food. Which? All of it...all of the posts on Timid Cook are my experiments.

Yesterday, I shook off my lethargy (difficult but I did it) - opted for a caesar salad variation, drew up a ingredient list and went shopping Sunday morning and tried it out Sunday night! And it wasn't half bad. Ma liked it. (Which is a big compliment)! So here it is -

You will need:

  • 1 head Romain lettuce, torn - I found "lettuce" at the Spencers on Rash Behari Avenue and didn't quite mind that this was iceberg and not romaine!

  • 4 slices of bacon, diced - I was more liberal here and went a wee bit overboard. Much more than 4 slices (but in this case, more is really merrier)!

  • 2-3 thick slices of good hard bread, cubed. [I looked for the easy way out ... but couldnot find any croutons] 4 tbsp parmesan cheese grated. In the end, I didnot use any cheese, parmesan or other - the dressing sans cheese was quite heavy.
For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp Mayo (I used a low cal eggless one ... alas am allergic to eggs)

  • 400gs Yogurt (Two 200g tubs of mother diary yogurt - actually 300 g is fine. One tub and half of the other)

  • 1 fat garlic crushed - but I simply grated it over the bowl where I was making the dressing.

  • 1 tsp mustard powder (recipe calls for dijon...anything at hand will do, I guess)

  • 1 large lemon juiced

  • A few liberal dashes of Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
How to:

  1. Wash and dry lettuce and tear it into bite sized pieces. Put in a bowl and set aside.

  2. In a pan, fry diced bacon in their own fat, remove and then fry the bread cubes in this fat.

  3. I toasted 4 slices of bread till crispy. Cubed them with a bread knife and then lightly tossed them into the bacon fat. Set aside. Or omit this step and use croutons.

  4. Combined all the ingredients for dressing a plastic container with a lid. Whipped well using a knife.

  5. To serve, pour over salad, garnish with fried bread cubes!
PS - If you find good thick greek yoghurt, lucky you. If you dont, then use any normal unflavored yoghurt. To strain, I set a metal sieve onto a pan. Lined the sieve with a muslin cloth - actually a square of an old cotton sari belonging to ma; the poured the yoghurt on to the cloth and left it there. Within 1 hour or so, the water had nicely drained out and the yoghurt was easily lifted using a spoon from the cloth.

I toasted 4 bread in a toaster till crispy. Cubed them with a knife. Then tossed them into the pan where I fried the bacon. An easier alternative could be a packet of croutons?!

PS - The two recipes inspired me to make my own melange salad. Caesar & Waldorf.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Chillie Coriander Pasta

Ocassionally, I do get it right!

I cook up a quick salad for my brown bag lunch (actually white plastic container in a white plastic packet lunch). While I have been eating really healthy (and keeping trim), the food is really bland. Not bad...just bland. At work, all of us eat together in a long room. And while everyone readily dig into the assorted fruits I bring, salad is left for me, untouched. Mostly.

Today, was different. However, most of my colleagues just happened to be out. Only four of us at lunch, two of whom are vegetarian and the salad I made had chicken. So, here it is, if not interesting enough for anyone else, then, atleast for remember the recipe.

You will need:
Canelloni pasta: a handful really, 15-20 if you want to be picky. Any pasta would do, I presume
Boiled shredded chicken: a small cupful
Garlic: 1/2 tsp diced
Dried red chillie: 1
Coriander: 1/4 cup
Salt, freshly ground pepper
Oil: 1 tbsp

How to:

  1. Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet. Drain, keep 2-3 tbsp of the water in which the pasta was cooked in.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan.
  3. Add the diced garlic and red chillie julienned. You can de-seed and put the chillie if you can't stomach hot. I just love the smell of chillie cooking...although we - Ma, R & I were all coughing and gasping from the fiery fumes!
  4. Add the chicken and stir.
  5. Add the drained pasta.
  6. Add 2-3 tbsp of the reserved liquid
  7. Add the coriander
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Stir to mix-well and remove!

Viola! Done.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brinjal fried in eggy batter

I am awfully allergic to eggs. It runs in the family (of all the things I could have inherited...). And it is agony for me at lunch time when nearly everyone bring egg in one form or the other. Sigh! I can only gaze in envy and dismay. And here I have to mention that dimer dalna - bengali egg curry is one of the things I can make well.

Today was no exception - two boiled eggs, one omlette, one egg roll, one egg chowmein and on top of it all, J - the VSO volunteer joined us for lunch and this is what she brought:-

Talang Tortang (I hope I got that right) - Brinjal fried in eggy batter.
  1. You will need:

    Eggplant 1
    Egg 1
    Oil 2-3 tbsp
    Salt to taste
    Soy sauce

How to:

  1. Wash and pat the eggplant dry. Prick it with a fork.
  2. Roast it whole over a naked flame (like for baigan ka bharta).
  3. Let it cool, remove the peels - which should have turned flaky by now. Keep the tail on.
  4. Flatten it by pressing gently.
  5. Beat the egg. Add a little salt.
  6. Heat oil in a flat pan.
  7. Dip the flattened, roasted eggplant in the beaten egg and fry for about a minute.
  8. Remove and eat with steamed rice.

J said that it tastes really well with soy sauce sprinkled on it just before eating but she found the local soy sauces sweet - I assured her that salty soy sauce is available and I have no doubts that she will soon locate one. Afterall, three days after she joined (first time in Calcutta, ever), she attended our NGO's 20th anniversary in saree having found a boutique which stitched her choli overnight and 4 months later she had found herself a music teacher and has already learnt three rabindra sangeet and which she sings very tunefully, albeit with a sweet accent! She also cooks well.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jackfruit curry

Lunch at Suruchi. Doesn't quite have the same zing as 'Breakfast at Tiffany's" - however that was one session of gluttony (on my part).

After 8 long years I went to Suruchi yesterday for lunch. An air con has been added, some attempts at beautifying, thankfully more or less unchanged. .The ocassion was to introduce two visitors from UK to Bengali food. One of them stuck to vegetarian and the other tried bits of non-veg items from us. I sat in a corner and ate. And how. Rice, musoor dal, aloo bhaja, kanchkolar kofta curry, echor er dalna, bhetki fry, bhapa ilish, a bit of chingri, gokul pithey and ampora sarbat. This is what I ate. Regretfully, I had to turn down pabda, parshey, galda chingri and mangshor jhol that others had ordered. Afternoon at work was AGONY - felt comatose. Luckily recovered sufficiently to be able to have echor-er dalna for dinner at home! So here is the recipe for Jackfruit curry - Echorer dalna (the way its made at home, by K our cook):

You will need:

Jackfruit - 1/2 kilo
Onion - 1
Garlic - 3-4
Ginger - 1/2"
Tomato - 1-2
Potato - 1
Cooking Oil

For the Garam Masala
1 green ilaichi, 2 cloves, 1/2" cinamon stick in a mortar - Coarsely grind
1 bay leaf

How to:

Cut the jackfruit. I find it difficult so I ask the vendor. But if you do happen to be adventourous...remember to remove the bits which feel plasticky!

Cut it into small cubes. Wash and clean. Smear with a pinch of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt and cook in a pressure cooker with a little water for one whistle. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai. Add the sliced onions, ginger and garlic paste. Stir. Add the cubed potatoes and fry.

Add the tomatoes. Season with salt. Stir well.

Cook till the potatoes are half done.

Add the jackfruit. Add the ground garam masala and bay leaf, 1/2 tsp sugar. Adjust for salt. Add one glass of water, cover and cook on low flame for 20 minutes or till done.

Remove from fire and eat - with rice!

PS - This dish can be made without onions, garlic and ginger. If you want more curry, add more water, lesser for a thicker curry.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

J's Filipino shrimp vegetable stew

Ah the horrible weather. Can there be anything worse that this humidity? There is: A bad cold, runny nose, headache and humidity. Funny how both have been bogging me done for nearly two weeks and yet I haven't got used to them :-).

This afternoon, J, the VSO volunteer physiotherapist was eating what looked like a large bowl of soup with bread. She offered me some and I thought why not? I tasted a bit and the tangy soup was HEAVEN. Forgot my cold and the heat and humidity. I quickly looked around for a bowl, finding none, I grabbed a tea cup and a large spoon and took a proper helping (which J, bless her soul and her culinary skills, shared readily enough). "Liked it"? "Yes, Yes, yes...," I said. To which she replied - "Good. This means you can live in Phillipines happily". Very Very happily I thought. So in between the never ending job list, thursday staff meeting, she gave me the recipe and hurrah ... she gave me local substitutes, all available easily! We did have a small problem trying to figure out whether she used paalak or pui sag. Then she said - either would do...any green would do, I think. I have put in spinach because I thought it looked like spinach. The stew can be made without shrimps if you want something vegetarian. So here is J's Filipino shrimp vegetable stew.

You will need

Eggplant: 1 cubed
Lady's Finger: 4 cut into two
String Beans: 5-6 cut de-stringed and cut into two
Spinach leaves: 4-5 leaves shred coarsely
Onions: 2 quartered
Tomato: 3 quartered
Shrimps: Handful
or Shrimp flavoured cube: 1-2
Tamarind powder: 250gms
or Tamarind pulp: 1 lemon sized ball
Salt to taste
Water: 250 ml

How to

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables and drain.
  2. Devein the shrimps, remove the shell and keep aside.
  3. Stir fry the shrimps lightly and reserve.
  4. Grind the shells in a mortar and soak in a little bit of warm water. Strain the shells through a seive. Remove the shells and reserve the water.
  5. You can omit step 3 & 4 if you manage to get hold of shrimp flavoured stock.
  6. Boil water in a pan.
  7. Add the quartered onions and tomatoes and cook over medium flame till the tomatoes become pulpy.
  8. Add the shrimps, vegetable and salt.
  9. When the vegetables are slightly cooked, add the tamarind powder or tararind water got from soaking a small ball of tamarind in hot water and strained.
  10. Cover and simmer till vegetables are cooked.
  11. Eat & Enjoy!
PS - Makes about 2-3 large soup bowls but depends upon who is doing the eating! It would be one helping for me!!