Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mustard Chicken

The last recipe I posted was three months ago. It has been an incredibly busy three months. Went for a long shoot at Wai village in Satara district, bang in the middle of monsoon, when the river Krishna was in spate. Had a quick holiday in Jakarta and enjoyed the cuisine as much as I could eat in the one week I was there. And only now, I have some breathing time. So here is another quick and easy chicken recipe, given to me by R.

You will need
500gm boneless chicken pieces
1 tsp dark vinegar
1 tsp white pepper powder
3 tbsp mustard oil
3 tbsp mustard paste
3 tbsp poppy seed paste (khus khus / posto)
3-5 green chillies
Salt to taste
¼ tsp sugar

How to
1. Wash and marinade the chicken pieces with a little salt, 1tsp
each of vinegar and white pepper powder for about an hour.
2. Heat mustard oil in a pan and add chicken pieces.
3. Fry till light brown.
4. Add 3tbsp each of mustard paste and poppy paste seed paste.
5. Add 3-5 slit green chillies, salt and a little sugar.
6. Add 1 cup water and reduce heat. Cover pan and cook till
7. Add more water if needed. Cook till gravy thickens.
8. Serve with rice.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Koi Macher jhol (Koi Fish Curry)

Koi Mach or Gangetic Koi is also known as Climbing Gouramie. It belongs to the perch family. (Perhaps the sporty cousin of the kissing gouramie??). This is one of my favorite fish dishes ever. And I have never cooked it myself. Never had to. Ma and K (our temepermental cook) have always obliged. K dictated this recipe to R who then emailed it to me. (Its a bit different from the other koi recipes available on the net, the most common being tel koi or koi in oil).

Koi is widely available. So do try this one. I guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

You will need:
Koi 1 kilo
Potato 1 large
Turmeric powder 1 heaped tsp
Cumin seed 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp (made into a paste with a little water)
Coriander powder 1& 1/2 tsp (made into a paste with a little water)
Bay Leaf 2
Ginger grated 1 tsp
Water 2 cups
Coriander leaves
Oil for frying

How to:

1. Ask the fish seller to de-gill the fish. Smear salt on fish
and wash well.
2. Drain. Smear 2 tsp salt and 1 heaped tsp turmeric on the fillet
and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Slice the potato lengthwise into sections.
4. In a wok / kadai heat 1/2 cup oil to smoking.
5. Medium fry the fish (if required in batches) and set aside.

6. In the same kadai, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves.
7. When the cumin seeds start crackling, add the potato sections
and stir.
8. Add 1tsp cumin paste, 1 tsp coriander paste, a little turmeric,
1 tsp ginger paste, a little salt and a pinch sugar.
9. Stir well and fry a bit.
10. Add the water.
11. After two minutes add the fried fish and cover.
12. Cook for 5-7 minutes or till potatoes have softened and fish
well soaked in gravy.
13. Add the coriander leaves remove from fire.
14. This curry has to be eaten with steamed rice (a must).

Note: K prefers to take cumin grains, grind them using a shil patha (a stone block with fine carvings to aid in the grinding. The spices are ground using another stone not unlike in shape to a rolling pin - also carved - but smaller). Same for coriander. I, on the other hand, would have little qualms of using powdered spices and making them into a paste with a few drops of water!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Moong sprout cutlets

R got this recipe from somewhere and passed it on to me. Quick and easy.

You will need:
Potatoes 2 cups boiled and mashed
Moong Sprouts 1 cup
Green chillies 3 finely chopped
Grated ginger 1 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Carrot 2 tbsp chopped
Bread 2 slices
Oil or ghee for frying
Salt to taste

How to:
1. Boil the carrot pieces and mash them gently.
2. Soak the bread slices in water and squeeze out the water.
3. Mix well the potatoes, carrots, bread slices, green chillies,
ginger, salt and garam masala.
4. Take lemon sized portions and shape into cutlets.
5. Press about a tablespoonful of sprouts on one side of the
6. Shallow fry on both sides using a little ghee.
7. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Aam Paana

I am EXCITED. I tried something new. And it turned out FINE.

I was out buying veggies on Sunday when on an impluse, I picked up two Green mangoes. Unripe that is. Rushed back home and rang my faithful R. I had a pencil and paper at hand. "Tell me how to make Aam pana".

She gave me the recipe in her style (which means some one who is not a timid cook and would immediately know all proportions and finer details). I had to ask her to repeat with exact measurements. That meant tsp, tbsp, minutes etc. I varied it a bit. Egad. If she reads this post, she might say, "That is not my Aam pana". In any case, it tasted really nice. Not at first though. It was yummy after I chilled it. Try it, its easy enough.

You will need:

(I used only two small mangoes. If you use more, you will, hopefully be able to increase other ingredients appropriately. I will, stick to two mangoes till I am perfectly sure about it)!
Green (unripe) mangoes 2
Cumin seeds 2 tbsp
Mint leaves 1 small bunch
Rock Salt 1 heaped tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Sugar 2-3 tbsp (you can can vary this. I used about 1 & 1/2 since A is not allowed sugar).

How to
1. Wash the mangoes well. Really scrub the skin.
2. Use a knife or a fork and slash / prick holes on to the skin of the mangoes.
3. Boil them in a pan with a little salt (about 1 tsp).
4. Plunge them in cold water to cool them and then peel them.
(This is a very messy process. But I guess practice makes perfect).
5. Dry roast the cumin seeds on a "tawa" or any pan (actually).
6. Coarsely grind them.
7. Mix the ground cumin seeds, rock salt, mint leaves, sugar, salt in a mixer / blender (I really don't know the difference between the two).
8. In a frying pan, add a tsp of oil.
9. Sprinkle some cumin seeds (about a pinch really), one red chillie (I used red chillie flakes), and then added the blended pulp.
10. Add about 2 cups of water (250 ml).
11. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
12. Adjust seasoning. Here you can make it more tangy, salty or sweet, according to your taste.
13. Strain (I did) all the pulp away and chilled the juice.
14. Actually, I put it in the freezer (don't quite know why) and had to thaw it (which i did by just letting it sit on the kitchen counter. Its really hot here, right now). But when it unfroze, it tasted really, really yum.

Usually, Aam pana is served as an apertif. But last night, we had it as Digestif and loved it.

The portions were really small: Half a glass each.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

2 recipes for Chocolate Mousse

Menu I never cooked

One Saturday last winter, A sprang a surprise on me by inviting a couple I had not yet met. Naturally, the first thing I did was to PANIC. And at once, shot off an email to R.

Me: Din-Din scheduled for Friday so hurry up with your suggested menu. OK???
R: Have loads of errands, studies and am again going early for practice session-will try to squeeze in a few doable recipes by your standards.

She had by next Friday, emailed me several easy (do-able by my standard recipes). And I knew she was terribly busy. And sadly, the dinner got cancelled and I never really had the chance to try out any of them. But perhaps, you can. Here they are bit by bit.

Recipe # 1
Eggless Chocolate Recipes

What you will need:
Milk 2 cups
Sugar 5tbsp
Gelatin 2tsp
Cornflour 1tbsp
Cocoa powder 3tbsp
Plain chocolate 40 gm(1 slab)
Coffee Powder 3/4 tsp
Vanilla Essence 1/2 tsp
Cream whipped till fluffy 3/4 cups(150gm)

How to:
1. Mix cocoa and cornflour in 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl.
2. Boil the rest of the milk with sugar in a heavy bottomed pan.
3. Add cocoa and cornflour paste to the boiling milk stirring continuously.
4. Add chocolate broken into pieces.
5. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes till chocolate dissolves.
6. Add coffee and remove from fire.
7. Put 1/4 cup water in a small pan.
8. Add gelatin(unflavoured),dissolve on low heat.
9. Mix gelatin solution with chocolate custard.
10. Chill in the freezer till a little thick but not set.
11. Beat this thickened chocolate custard.
12. Beat cream and essence till slightly thick and fluffy.
13. Add whipped cream to the chocolate mixture. Mix gently.
14. Transfer to a serving dish or pour in individual mould or glasses.
15. Refrigerate till set.
16. Decorate with whipped cream or add one dollop or spoonfull of cream on top if you don’t know decorating.

R: Its easy -try it-wont go wrong if you don’t mess up badly.
Me: Baby, is this easy?? Gelatin? Where do I get that frm?? I Meant easy by my standards, not yours. Give me vanilla icecream + fruits + something stuff. Also give me your easiest coffee (parina) recipe.

Reply : sent you some more recipes and don’t know why it didn’t reach you-am a bit busy-am trying to send-takes time to type out the recipes.

Recipe # 2
Quick and easy by baby standard chocolate mousse

What you will need
Dark chocolate 300 gms
Butter 2 tbsp
Fresh double cream 6 cups
Castor sugar 1/2 cup

How to
1. Break chocolate into small pieces ,transfer into a bowl and add butter.
2. To melt this mixture put some water in a bigger vessel and place bowl with chocolate in it and cook till it is smooth and even.
3. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
4. Mix half of the cream into it.
5. Stiffly beat the remaining cream with sugar, fold this into the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for 30-40 min.
6. Take a piping bag with large star nozzle and pipe this chilled mousse into individual glass and refrigerate. You can also pour it instead of piping.
7. Serve chilled
R: Do this a day before your guests come- all sweetdishes are best done ahead.

To continue....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

2 Recipes for the New Year!

Today is Poila Boishak. Or the first day of the Boishak month which marks the Bengali new year. And so, can food be far behind? So here are not one, but two recipes -- both courtesy R. A mutton dish from Lucknow (or so the name suggests) and then for the sweetdish - Malpua. Both are not R's own. Definitely not the Malpua which happens to be a great favorite not only in Bengal but elsewhere in India as well.

Enjoy!! Have a great year ahead.

Lucknavi Ghosht kaa achar
(Loosely translated it means Mutton Pickle from Lucknow...although its not a pickle).

You will need:
Mutton Half kilo
Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Dried red chillies 2-3
Khaskhas (Poppy seeds) 1 tbsp
Cloves 4-5
Cardamom 3
Aniseed(saunf) 1 tsp
Cinnamon 1 stick
Sesame seeds 1 tsp
Corainder seeds 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Salt to taste

How to:
1. Marinate the mutton in ginger garlic paste,salt and sugar for
an hour.
2. Dry roast the poppy seeds,cloves,cardamom,aniseeds and cinnamon.
3. Grind these to a paste.
4. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the whole red chilli.
5. Add the meat and the ground spices,turmeric powder,red chilli
6. Pressure cook the meat in 1 cup of water(for about 6-7
7. Open the lid of the pressure cooker and simmer till liquid
evaporates and dish is dry.
8. Keep stirring to prevent from burning.
8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and whole corainder seeds.
9. Serve hot with parathas or rotis.


You will need:
Milk 1 1/2 litres or 7 cups
Khoya or Mawa grated 50 gms
Green cardamoms 3
Refined flour 3 tbsp
Ghee to deep fry or white oil will do
For sugar syrup
Sugar 2cups
Natural yellow colour (optional) 1/4 tsp
For garnish
Pistachios 15-20
Saffron a few strands

How to:
1. Boil milk in a thick heavy bottomed pan, reduce heat and simmer
till it is reduced and reaches a coating consistency.
2. Add grated khoya and mix well.
3. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
4. Reserve 2 tbsp of sugar and form sugar syrup with the rest of
the sugar and two cups of water.
5. Dissolve saffron in 2tbsp of hot milk.Add it to the sugar
syrup. Chop pistachios finely.
6. Add refined flour and reserved sugar to the reduced milk. Mix
well and make a batter of pouring consistency using a little
milk if required.
7. Heat sufficient ghee in a wide mouthed flat bottomed kadai.Pour
a ladleful of batter to form a small pancake.
8. Cook on low to medium heat.
9. Turn it over when it starts to change colour slightly. When
both sides are done, drain and immerse in sugar syrup.
10.Sprinkle chopped pistachios and remaining saffron on malpuas.
11. Reapeat till all the batter is used up.
12. Serve hot.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Aunty's Cauliflower Recipe

(I can't think of any other name)

Soon after we had moved into our own place in Calcutta, our neighbours came over and brought with them a plate of this wonderful dish. All of us relished it and R, went over and got the recipe from the lady next door and so happily, not only did we only got to taste it from time to time, the "lady" next door became our dear aunty. So here goes:

You will need:
1 large cauliflower
1 tsp ginger paste
4 tsp garlic paste
3 medium onion
4 tbsp white vinegar **
2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
2-3 green chillie paste
3 tbsp oil
1&1/2 cup water

How to:

1. Cut the cauliflower into biggish florets.
2. Pierce the thick stem portion to facilitate easy seepage.
3. Place in a bowl, the ginger, garlic, onion juice (reserve the pulp), sugar, salt to taste, and vinegar. Marinade the cauliflower florets for 1 to 1&1/2 hours.
4. Turn the florets from time to time so that they soak up the marinade evenly.
5. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a wok or kadai.
6. Add the reserved onion pulp and fry till light brown.
7. Add the cauliflower and not the marinade and fry for 6-7 minutes.
8. Take a pressure pan or cooker, add 1 and half cups water, cauliflower, the marinade and cook till done. 1 whistle should do-if not two whistles.

Bon Appetit!

** (In my blissful ignorance before my entry into cooking, vinegar to me meant - white or red. Simple. This basic simplicity turned my first shopping venture into a nightmare. At the supermarche - I was faced with rows and rows of vinegars in all sorts of colour and ingredients. God. What do I do??? Give me my simple white or red vinegar back and now). I am wiser now. But since this recipe has been provided by R and she has not mentioned the exact type of vinegar, I am putting it down the way she has and yet I hesitate).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Quick Rice Pakodas

Work has been punishing. And not only has my blogging suffered, but everything around me. Its like I live at office and go home for a few hours. Well, here is a recipe thats just the thing for a hurried and harried schedule. One of R's. And what's more she says, it make a perfect quick and tasty snack when guests arrive and you are not prepared. Quick Rice Pakoda! And since I swear by her culinary skills, sense and advice, she mut be correct!

You will need:
4 tbsp cooked rice (leftover would do)
1 large onion finely chopped
3 green chillies finely chopped (optional)
1 small bunch coriander leaves finely chopped
1 egg
oil for deep frying
salt to taste

How to:
1. Mash the rice and mix it with the other ingredients.
2. Shape into oblong balls and deep fry till light brown.
3. Serve hot with tomato ketchup (or any other chutney or sauce of your preference).
4. Viola!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Kadai Murgh Afghani

I have always loved cook books. Almost all of R's cook books have been gifted by me. Doesn;t matter if I tried out recipes from them. I just love going through the recipes. Infact, there was a time when I couldn't sit through lunch and dinner without leafing through one. (OK, weird, I know). And the exotic recipes more than made up for the simple daily fare that I happened to be eating. Actually daily fare plus exotic recipes from cook books was the ideal combo for me. I don't have those books here with me. They are with R. But ocassionally on a weekend, I look up a food blog...but its not quite the same.

What with the avian flu scare and chicken being a big no-no, I asked R for her Aaghan chicken recipe (she got that out of a book and then added her own twist)...to read through while I ate decidely vegetarian meal. So here it is:

Kadai Murgh Afghani
(Can't vouch for it to be authentic afghani but its very tasty and looks great too).

You will need:
Chicken 1 kg
Cooking oil 6tbs
Garlic paste 3½ tsp
Whole red chillies 5-6
Coriander seeds 3tsp
Tomatoes chopped 4 ½ cups
Green chillies chpped 3-4
Ginger chopped 5tsp
Corainder leaves chopped 5tbp
Garam masala 2tsp
Fenugreek or methi powder 1tsp
Salt 2tsp

How to:
1. Clean and cut chicken into medium sized pieces.
2. Pound red chillies and corainder seeds into a paste.
3. Heat oil in a Kadai and add garlic paste and saute over medium flame till light brown.
4. Add red chillie-coriander paste, followed by tomatoes and bring to a boil.
5. Add green chillies, ¾ of the ginger and 1/3 of chopped coriander, reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
6.Add chicken and bring to boil.
7. Reduce heat to allow gravy to simmer,stirring occasionally until oil separates from masala and the gravy becomes thick and chicken tender(approx 15 min or so).
8. Sprinkle garam masala and methi powder, stir for two minutes. Adjust seasoning.
9. Pour the chicken into a dish and garnish with leftover ginger and coriander.
10. Serve with rice or rotis.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dal with Radhuni

Here I am, after an enormously exhausting week. I worked late everynight and returned home at 4.30am on Thursday. I was alone today and (A having gone to his parents for weekend) and so instead of eating out (which I do when I am alone), I rustled up a simple bengali meal. Aloo posto, Radhuni dal and rice. And savored every bit of it. So for Weekend Herb Blogging, at Kalyn's Kitchen here is the recipe forDal with Radhuni

Radhuni is a herb used (to my knowledge) by bengalis mostly. I looked up the net to find out more about it (for the benefit of non-bengali readers of my post) and to my surprise found radhuni is the seed of celery! Perhaps my knowledge is scant, but I can think of only a very few dish that requires the tiny dark grains of radhuni. And yet, these dishes cant be cooked without radhuni. There is simply no substitute for it! It looks a lot like "ajwain" or Carum / Carom. But that's where the similarity ends. It has a very distinct flavour. And only a pinch is required, otherwise, it could overpower the dish!

(For Two)
You will need:
1 small cup of masoor dal (Marc has explained dals very well here)
1/2 tsp radhuni / celery seeds
salt to taste
1 tsp oil for tempering
green chillies optional
1/2 l water

How to
1. Pressure cook / boil the masoor dal with 1/2 tsp turmeric and salt. Reserve.

2. In a kadai / wok, heat 1 tsp oil.

3. Add the radhuni seeds.

4. When they crackle, add the dal.

5. Add water if dal is too thick or cook on high flame to reduce if too watery.

6. Adjust salt.

7. Eat with rice and veggies of your choice!

Bon Apetit!!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rohu and cauliflower curry

This isn't an original recipe. Its a staple Bengali dish. But it is one of my favorites. I checked up the net to get some background on Rohu (Rui in bengali) and to my amazement found a link from Wikipedia which stated that its popular in Punjab. Good for them. Just as well. What with the Avian Bird Flu, perhaps its safer than Butter Chicken?!

Here it is then: Rui machcher phulcopi diye jhole: Rohu and cauliflower curry

You will need:
6 pieces of Rui fish
1 small cauliflower
4 small or 2 medium Potatoes
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cumin Powder
2 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp turmeric for the curry "jhole" &
about 2 tsp to coat the fish before frying them
6 tbsp oil for frying the fish
2 tbsp for the Curry
Water for the curry

How to:
1. Wash the pieces, drain / pat dry. Sprinkle liberally with salt and turmeric and mix well (with hands). Careful....turmeric so does stain the fingers and nails.
2. Heat oil in a kadai / wok till it smokes. (It must smoke otherwise the fish pieces will stick to the pan and you will end up with scrambled fish).
3. Add the pieces into the oil a few at a time in batches. Now, some people prefer it lightly fried, I prefer it deep fried (till the fish turn brown...unhealthy but like all things unhealthy, very tasty)!
4. Slice the cauliflower into biggish florets, wash, drain and then parboil them with a little salt. Drain and set aside.
5. Cut the potatoes into largish cubes. Wash well and drain.
6. Heat oil in a kadai. Add cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the cubed potatoes. Fry for a while.
7. Add the cumin, coriander & turmeric powders. Season with salt.
(R taught me this - Add 2-3 tbsp water and fry the masalas on high heat. Repeat this proces couple of time. This helps to fry the masals well. Only then proceed to step 8).
8. Add Water. Here you aer adding water to make the curry About 1 large cup (specifically, 1/4 l). Cover and lower flame.
9. When the potatoes are nearly boiled, the water reduced, add the cauliflowers, the fish and 3-4 slit green chillies (can do without if you don't like them...but it does add a lovely flavour). Adjust the water for the curry...you might have to add some more. This is after all a curry.
10. Add a pinch of sugar (to even out the flavour).
11. Cook over high flame for 5 minutes.
12. Serve with steamed rice!

1. The correct procedure would be to fry the cauliflower florets separately (instead of parboiling them in step 4) and then add them in step 9. This is a latter day, attempting-to-be-healthy-variation. Both taste equally good.
2. Parwal / Potol can be used instead of cauliflowers. They will have to be fried and not parboiled!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging : Methi Chicken

First time, I managed to catch Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging.

Fenugreek. We call it methi and use the leaves fresh or dried or even the yellow grains. Widely used all over the world (or so it seems See Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages ), it is supposed to have a host of medicinal properties including a must for diabetics. Read more here.

That apart, it has a very distinct flavour. To the simple chicken curry, add methi and viola! A new dish entirely (whereas really, it was just a teeny tiny variation). Makes a great dish to serve at dinners (and yet is so easy to make, that it almost feels like cheating)!

This recipe was given to me by R. It was slightly more intricate. But I changed some of the steps (easier for me to remember) and to my delight, I found it tasted the same!

You will need
1 kg chicken cut into pieces
3 bunch methi leaves
3 bunch coriander leaves
3 green chillies (optional)
2 medium or 1 large onion
6 garlic pods
2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

How to:
1. Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry.
2. Chop the coriander and methi leaves and grind into a paste with the chillies (if using).
3. Marinade the chicken pieces with the methi-coriander marinade for a couple of hours. ( I cheat….and don’t really marinade for couple of hours)!
4. Slice the onions finely. Grate the garlic.
5. Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in a kadai / wok.
6. Add the sliced onions and grated garlic till the onions are pink and translucent. (Sprinkle half a tsp of salt. This helps to fry the onions faster).
7. Add the chicken pieces (and not the marinade) and stir so that all the pieces are fried properly.
8. Add the chopped tomatoes.
9. Fry till the tomatoes softens and the juices come out of it.
10. Add the marinade and and stir to mix well.
11. Cover, lower gas and cook till done. If you are using a pressure cooker, the till one whistle.

Serve with rotis or rice!

Bon appetit!

Note: Methi is slightly bitter to taste and therefore, do add the coriander with it. If you are using dried methi leaves, then halve the quantity.

Monday, February 13, 2006

You are what you eat meme

I was tagged by Marc of Mental Masala

I actually had to think very hard about my top 10.
(Alas, no photos)

My favourite foods:
1. A pot of freshly brewed (and not boiled as most people tend to do in north india) Darjeeling tea, with just a dash of milk and 1 tsp sugar. Ah! I can have it any number of time and at any time, but must have first thing every morning. Although my cooking skills (whatever little i have learnt and so late in life) are sketchy, I remember learning to brew my first cup / pot when I was
four years old.

2. Two crispy toasts. Not soft, not hard. But toasted to a golden brown. Sans butter. Dip into tea and eat. Savor! My staple breakfast with 1 cup of freshly brewed cha. I make do with whatever bread is available around my place of residence, but still have fond memories of the Soft american bread with rye on crust that i had at my aunts in NY, when i visited her for a month in 1984!

3. Rui macher phulcopi diye jhol: Rohu / carp gravy with cauliflowers. Easy to make and always tasty. How I dreamt about it, while eating all the salmons, halibut, haddocks and soles while I was in Paris.

4. Soupe de Poisson : Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.The proper one is ofcourse where your soup bowl is sealed with a thick layer of cheese. And you break through it with your soup spoon to the delicious steaming hot soup below!

5. Prawn in coconut milk gravy: Derived from the Portuguese from the time when they landed in India / Bengal.

6. Fish Moilie (also called Meen Moilie): South India fish curry in coconut milk and quite distinct from the prawn in coconut milk gravy of bengal.

7. Mutton Curry: Made from the tender meat of a young goat. Young goat. And not Lamb. I prefer to have it a sunday, for lunch. And follow it up like a true blue bengali, by a good siesta!

8. Creme Brulee: Again, from my days in Paris. Cafe Le Royale Jussieu in the 5th Arrondissemnet. A step by step detailed recipe of it is given here. Don't forget to read the comments this post attracted (Just for laughs)!

9. Beignet: Puts every make and flavour of donuts to shame. Really.

10. Apple Upside Down cake: My sister's recipe. Which I thought was an apple strudel and it reminded me of the Sound of Music...odd combination that...but darn good cake, that.

Harder is to find food bloggers to tag. Since I am timid, in all matters related to cooking, I have only Sailu to Tag.

I would also like to tag non-food bloggers. Am I then, disqualified? I hope not.

So, hey there Rezwan, you are hereby memed / tagged.

That' still just two. (Sorry).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mixed Vegetable Casserole (K)

This is exactly how I have this recipe scribbled in my book of recipes.

After having mastered recipes using a single vegetable like bhindi (okra), Cauliflower and cabbage, ‘K’ our temperamental but gem of a cook taught me this recipe. The cleverness of this recipe is a) as always (with my recipes) it is very simple b) can be made at any time. No special planning required.

The ingredients can be varied increased or decreased. So can the seasoning. Its makes a pleasant change from the koftas, kormas and polaos. (Truth be told, I’d rather make this dish than tackle koftas, kormas and polaos)!!

You will need:
2 cups Peas (shelled)
1 small Cauliflower
2 cups Beans
2 carrots
2 small potatoes
1 onion finely sliced
2 garlic cloves grated
2 tbsp oil
1-2 green chillies (optional)
1 to 2 cubes of maggie chicken or vegetable or any other seasoning (also known as bouillion or stock)

How to:

1. Cut the carrots and potatoes into small cubes.
2. Julienne the beans (that means take the long bean and cut it into little pieces but make the cut at an angle breadthwise. De-string the beans before you julienne them. And sometimes, if the beans are very fresh and young, there is no need to pull the long stringy bit which runs vertically from top to bottom).
3. Cut the cauliflower into tiny florets.
4. Par-boil cauliflower with salt(that means for couple of minutes). Drain. Throw away the water.
5. Par-boil the other veggies together. Reserve the water.
6. Heat 2 tbsp (or less if you prefer) in a non-stick pan.
7. Add green chillies (if using), onion and garlic. Stir.
8. When the onions turn pinkish, add the veggies.
9. Add ½ tsp turmeric
10. Crumble one cube of Maggie seasoning (I use chicken flavour. Vegetarian cubes would do just as well I guess).
11. Add ¼ tsp sugar (evens out the flavours), taste and then add salt. Remember, the seasoning cubes are usually very salty, so careful about adding more salt.
12. Add the water used to boil the veggies.
13. Cover and cook over low flame for 3 to 4 mintues till the veggies soak up the seasoning.
14. Before removing, add a handful of chopped coriander leaves.

Bon appetit!

Note: This dish has been called a casserole. Perhaps because K serves it in one. Normally, all the casserole dishes I have read involves baking (I think). No such complications here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Simple Chicken Curry

I have such a soft corner for this chicken dish. Is it because it was the first non-vegetarian / meat dish I learnt? Or because its so easy to make is always tasty even if you vary the contents. Or is it because with slight variations you can have an entirely different curry? Whatever be the reason, it is, comfort food, for me.

You will need:
1 chicken (about 1 kilo)
2 large onions
6 garlic pods
1" ginger
2-3 each of cloves, cardamom
5-6 grains of whole black pepper
1" stick of cinamon
1 bay leaf
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tomatoes
2 Potatoes quartered
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnishing

How to

1. Wash chicken pieces well. (This is for those of you who get it fresh). De-frost for those who pick it up from frozen section of supermarkets. Pat dry / drain and sprinkle with about 2 tsp of salt and the turmeric powder. Use hands to mix well with the chicken pieces.

2. Slices onions finely. Grate the garlic and ginger separately. Slice the tomatoes and keep aside.

3. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. (About 2-3 tbsp)

4. Add the cinamon, cardamom, black pepper, bayleaf.

5. In about half a minute or so, they will release their "aroma". This is about when the pepper corn will start popping!

6. Quickly add the onions and stir to mix well with oil. Fry till the onions are light pink.

7. Add the grated garlic and stir till they are lightly browned. Be careful. Garlic can burn very easily and we dont want them burnt. Just browned.

8. Add the chicken pieces, and mix well with the onions. Add the grated ginger. Fry on high flame. After 2 minutes, stir so that the pieces on top are at the bottom and vice versa. In about 10 minutes or so, all the pieces will be fried.

9. Add the sliced tomatoes, cover with a lid (but dont close the lid). Lower flame and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. The tomatoes will go soft and mushy and release their juices.

10. Mix well. Add about 250 ml of water (about 2 cups). You can add more water if you prefer more gravy. (I do). Adjust the salt.

11. Add the sliced potatoes.

12. Close the lid and let it cook for one whistle of the pressure cooker. If you are not using a pressure cooker, then cook till the potatoes are done.

13. Take off the lid and add the chopped coriander leaves and cook over high flame for 1-2 minutes.

14. Serve hot with rice!

Adding potatoes is optional. You can also add more garlic and onions if you so prefer. If you dont want to add tomatoes, curd works fine. If you are using curd, add it to the chicken in the begining with the salt and turmeric or you can add it at step no. 9 in place of the tomatoes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mutton Rupali

We had just moved into a new set of apartments in Kolkata and R & I were living by ourselves, while our parents were still in the Middle East. R had taken over (forced to), the running of our apartment. And immediately after we had moved in, all of us kids put up a play, another of my great ideas! But I came down rather heavily on R during our rehearsals and she quit! But at the end she did ennoy it from the sidelines and felt proud (she claims shen did), when our over acting was a roaring success. And as a part of the after play get together, she russled up a mutton recipe which like the play was a roaring success! And the unanimous decision was to christen this recipe “Mutton Rupali”. So here goes - Another great and totally original recipe from R.

You will need:
1kilo mutton
1tsp cumin seeds
4-5 green chillies
1 medium onion
6 flakes of garlic
1” ginger
Raw papaya – 2 piece
1tsp corainder seeds and leaves
2tsp khus khus or posto or poppy seeds
1tbsp garam masala
1tbsp ground coriander powder
2tbsp lime juice
1 cup curd
4 tbsp butter or ghee (clarified butter)
1tsp sugar
red chilli powder(optional)
Coriander leaves

How to:
1. Grind the chillies, onion, ginger, garlic, papaya and spices to a smooth paste.
2. Mix the paste with the curd.
3. Wash the mutton pieces and prick them with a fork (allows the spice mixture to seep into the mutton) and dry them.
4. Rub with salt mixed with lime juice and set aside for half an hour or so.
5. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the mutton pieces and cook for about 2-3 whistles.
6. Open lid and set aside.
7. In a pan add ghee, then put the mutton and the paste and cook over medium heat till tender and palatable. (This will take sometime depending upon the tenderness of the mutton).
8. Garnish with onion rings, lime wedges, corainder leaves chopped and slit green chillies.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sweet Tomato Chutney

My cook has been ill these past few days. To complicate matters, work (usually hectic) has been maddening just now. We had to take a brief on phone, develop three scripts, find a celebrity (one with the right profile -- all India appeal, clean as a whistle background, willing to give us couple of hours and do it free of charge...its is after a public service spot). And the A turns up with a kilo of tomatoes. Once in a while, OK. But tomatoes are a no-no for him. Doctor's order.

So, I get up wearily really early and make a sweet tomato chutney, which I then take with me to work to share with colleagues. Felt a bit mean. But its really better this way. So here is a the recipe for sweet bengali tomato chutney. Simple and easy.

You will need:

1 kilo tomatoes (any sort except the small cherry ones)
Heaps of sugar
1/2" ginger either grated or sliced really thin
A bit of salt
One dried red chillie
1 tsp mustard seeds
fresh coriander, chopped

How to

1. Heat a tbsp of oil in a Kadai / wok. If you are using a pan make sure its a deep one

2. Add the dried red chillie.

3. Add the mustard seeds.

4. When they start to pop, add the tomatoes.

5. Cook on high heat for three to four minutes and then lower flame and cover.

6. When the tomatoes have softened, add the sugar. About 3 tbsp. Taste and adjust. This chutney has to be sweet. Be sure to add the salt..about 1/2 tsp. This takes care of the tartness of the tomatoes.

7. After another few minutes, the tomatoes should have all become pulpy, and become a thick mass.

8. Add about 1/2 cup of water. Cover and let stew.

9. Check frequently. The chutney shouldn't be too thin or thick.

10. Add the grated ginger. Let it stew for couple of minutes more.

11. Add the chopped coriander leaves and cook for a further two minutes.

12. Remove from fire and let it cool down.

13. Traditionally, chutney is eaten last after any bengali meal. It is ladled onto the now empty plate on which lunch was eaten and the chutney is eaten by hand.

14. Quite a few people like to eat it mixed with plain steamed rice... but that is really for those who are used to it. Chutney by itself is rather nice. Bon apetit!

Note: You can vary the proportions to suit your taste. You can have it less sweet if you wants. Works just fine. I prefer it sweet though.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

R's Apple Upside Down Cake

This recipe is entirely R's. She must have got it from somewhere and added her variations. I don't know why, but I was under the impression that this was an Apple Strudel. R set me right --- "Its an apple upside down cake". The first time she made it, she was in school (class 5 or 6 ... yes that early). And as she is wont to, had her luxuriant tresses in a wild bird's nest on her head. Dressed in a nightie, she took over the kitchen in a very authoritarian, brisk, no nonsense manner, while I could only watch
with amusement (nothing more I could do, since I could not contribute anything to the process, except tasting the batter). And I have loved it since then!! I still haven't tried it and don't thing am going to in the near future (Can always beg her to make it for me when I visit Kolkata). But for those of you who can't have that pleasure, you can always try it... and enjoy it. It's foolproof since the proportions etc are R's and not my haphazard ones!!

You will need
About 4 medium sized apples(the red smallish apples, the ones you get in winter, here I mean in India), peeled and decored and then cut into thin slivers or slices lengthwise.
1 & 1/2 cups flour
3 or 4 eggs whipped in a blender
1 cup sugar (ground)
1 cup sunflower oil
1& 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1& 1/2 tsp baking powder
Half cup milk
About 4tbsp ground brown sugar
75 gms butter

How to:
1. Sift flour and baking powder through a sieve, keep aside. R does it on a clean piece of newspaper. Less messier this way!

2. In a deep bowl beat together oil and ground sugar.

3. Add about 2 tbsp of the seived flour and a bit of the blended egg. Whip by hand held blender or spoon. Add more flour and egg. In this way mix and add and alternate the two till all the flour and egg have been added.

4. Add milk to help in the blended process.

5. Add the vanilla essence. (Be sure to give into tempatation and taste the batter...its not only wonderful, but helps to check if you have got the sugar and vanilla right)!

6. Melt butter in a pan and when warm, add brown sugar and wait till blended well.

7. Pour the butter in to a greased baking round dish.

8. Arrange sliced apples in a circular fashion starting from the sides and gradually filling in.

9. Pour the cake batter over it.

10. Bake in an oven over medium temperature for an hour or till a knife comes out clean when inserted.

(Don't forget to enjoy the aroma of the cake baking!! At this point, I usually start drooling...)!

11. Cool and turn the cake over onto a plate. Then you will have the browned apple layer at the top! Bon appetite!

Note:- This be make about more than 10 generous slices....for people with normal appetite. Unlike me. I'd leave one slice each for baba, ma & R and K (our cook) and hog the rest myself.

Note2:- I was in Kolkata two weeks ago and went to a small gathering of friends. I hit upon the bright idea of getting R to bake me this cake. Which she promptly did. My friends all oohed and aahed over it and ate one slice each. The rest was kept away for eating later on by my host and his wife. I feel really mean to say this, but I could have eaten the cake all by myself and taken something else for my friends??!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dal for the family and close friends

H, a friend from work, dropped in yesterday. I was not alarmed. There was afterall mince meat that hubby dear cooked all by himself, one veggie dish, some rice and rotis (chapatis). But when hubby himself said that he didnt want the mince meat, I got suspicious. He is afterall a die-hard meat eater. He sheepishly said that it want very tasty. Oh Oh. My dear cook is not too great either. So I one hungry guest, one hungry hubby and two dishes both badly cooked. Quick fix idea (which I try every time and never fails) is to rush and get some kala dal from the fauji dhaba next door. Sure enough, it worked. This prompted a story from H . His father, after his wedding, had postponed all dinner parties till such time his wife had learnt enough. The date arrived 6 months later. She had cooked 8 dishes. They were stationed in Amritsar at that time. Everyone enjoyed the food and when asked which dish they liked the best, everyone said in unison, "the dal". The dal was the only dish she had not cooked and got it from a local dhaba!!

I have a very easy and fast dal recipe....it is NOT a party dish. But works well for family and really close friends. It is really very simple to make. And once you make it, you realise how easy it is to vary the dal and the various ingredients to make your own combo.

For a great explanation on dals / lentils/ pulses, See Mental Masala's December Dal post.

You will need:

1 small cup (a little more than the tiny coffee cups) arhar dal, washed and drained
1 green bell pepper / capsicum / shimla mirch cut into long strips
1 or 2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 carrot, cut into long strips or sliced into roundels
1 medium onion sliced finely (optional)
3 or 4 garlic pods grated
handful of peas
5 or 6 florets of cauliflower (taken from one big one)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

How to:
1.In a pressure cooker, heat one tbsp oil and add 1 tsp cumin seeds.

2. When the seeds crackle, add the garlic and onions and stir.

3. When the onions become translucent, add the veggies and stir.

4. Add 1 small tsp of turmeric powder and the salt, to taste.

5. Add the dal and stir. The dal will in a bit, stick to the pan.

6. Add water. The rule for a pressure cooker is, to add a little less than double the quantity of the main item, which in this case is the dal. But since there are a few veggies along with the dal, add 3 to 3 & 1/2 cups of water. Close the lid and cook for 2 or 3 whistles. This again depends where you are. At high altitude or cold weather, pulses take more time to cook and hence more whistles.

7. Remove from fire and wait for the steam to go out by itself and the cover to drop (open). If the dal has become too thick, put it on the fire and add a little water and check and adjust seasoning.

8. If you donot have a pressure cooker, any pan with a tight cover will do. But it will be preferrable to soak the dal a few hours in advance, drain and then cook.

9. Now, if you don't want to use onions, add the veggies straight after the cumin. You can vary the dal used too. Masur and chana (bengal gram) dal works just as well.

This takes not more than half an hour from start to finish and is always, tasty! Bon apetit! I should know. Back in Paris, we practically survived on it.