Thursday, December 29, 2011

Badshahi Mochar Dalna - Royal Banana Flower Curry

This Badshahi Mochar Dalna is truly royal in its taste and flavour. I learnt this recipe from a cookery show telecast on a Bengali Channel. The only difference that I have added from my part is the way I have prepared the mocha patties. Except that, everything else remained same. I must say this is one of the best Mochar Dalnas I ever had in my life.



Before sharing the recipe, let me touch upon some of the benefits of eating banana flower.

1. Besides being rich in unsaturated fatty acids, dietary fibres, banana flowers are also a good source of vitamin E and flavonoids.

2. Banana flowers help in reducing blood sugar level, if taken daily.

3. Cooked banana flowers consumed with yogurt is an effective means to cure heavy bleeding during menstruation.

For more information on the values of banana flower, visit the following link:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/401844-what-are-the-benefits-of-banana-flowers/



Peanut Pineapple Salad

At the threshold of a new year, some very nostalgic thoughts are crowding my mind. This year has been quite a bit eventful. I have been to an array of exciting places including Niagara Falls, Chicago, Yercaud and Hyderabad. I have got myself engaged in things I enjoy pursuing like embroidery, cooking, reading and beading. All these have been possible because I have taken a professional break from the 9-5 job that killed me with boredom and monotony. I am now spending time the way I want without staying bound by routine.


Peanut Pineapple Salad is a simple fruit salad with few this and that ingredients added to heighten the flavour.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chicken Kofta Curry

Good food has the curative attribute to take a lot of tension away from home changing the mood of an ambiance. Once me and my husband, both sour in mood after a nasty argument, entered a restaurant. I recall how our temperament lightened up over a lip-smacking starter which incidentally was both of our favourite in Mainland China.


Such is the magic of food that it works divinely in matter of curbing depression. Our life is tugged and pulled by various factors most of which are not within our range of control. In an era of rat race and nerve-wrecking peer pressure when the words 'morality', 'integrity' are fast becoming obsolete, people stabbing each other, betraying trust to achieve one's end, infidelity are not fairly uncommon. So depression and blues are triggered by many a things, professional and personal ones. One good way to beat the feeling of blues is through eating. Hey I said 'eating', not 'binging'. If in a bout of depression, you keep binging on fast food; surely you will end up being plump and obese. Rather concentrate on eating good food in right amount. For more information on food therapy you may go through the following link: http://www.jaredstory.com/depression_food_therapy.html


About the recipe of Chicken Kofta Curry, needless to say it is one of my all-time favourites. The meat balls floating in flavoursome gravy made from curd and lots of spices add a new dimension to any meal experience. A perfect cuisine to be served in a party, it will potentially win your spurs.


Chushi Pithe

Chushi Pithe is a sweet preparation that is fast getting obsolete. Last time I had it may be when my grandmother was alive. In an effort to bring back some of the forgotten recipes, I cooked Chushi pithe recently and sharing the same in my blog so that you people try this at home and the legacy of chushi pithe passes on to our next generation.


The recipe is very simple. All you need to do is first of all soak about one cup of rice in water (I used gobindo bhog rice) for an hour or so. Then drain the water and let the rice dry. When the rice will become completely dry, grind them into powder. This powder is the key ingredient to chushi pithes (sweet dumplings).


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pomfret Steaks in Hara Masala

Recently a blogger friend of mine who maintains a blog dedicated exclusively to fishes shared an award with me. The award, meant to inspire fellow bloggers, has 8 questions which you will find answered at the end of this section.


Concerning the recipe now, this hara masala is an exotic spicy amalgam of different flavours like coconut, kokum extracts and a handful of Indian spices. The fineness of the dish depends largely on the quality of fishes. So please make sure that the fishes used are fresh and although I have cooked it with Pomfret, I believe it will equally taste nice with other sea fishes like Salmon and Red Snapper. Since kokum extracts is not very easily available, I have substituted kokum with tamarind extracts.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Crab & Sweetcorn Soup

Just the moment I would set my mind to have my lunch and would make arrangements to warm my food in the oven, power would go out leaving me in wait for another 30 minutes or so till power comes back again or fed up of waiting any longer, I would warm my food in gas oven. The problem of warming food taken just out of fridge in gas oven is things get burnt at the bottom of the pan white heating and if the curry is dry, food does not warm uniformly. My mother and their generation in the absence of microwave used to take use of some special tactics but we or our generation is way beyond that. At least I don’t have the patience.


Last week there was hardly any power cut except for one day. May be owing to Christmas celebration we were given a respite from these intermittent load shedding. Now Christmas being over, power cut is back to the track. So irritating Bangalore is in terms of power cuts.


My bickering about load shedding is non-stop. Hence no point in dwelling on things that is not in my hands. I cannot change the way BESCOM functions, after all. Meanwhile as I am waiting for power to restore, let me share a nice recipe of a soup I concocted yesterday. The original recipe was pretty bland, so I added some twists to make it palatable. Hope you will like it: D

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pati Shapta

Pati Shapta is a sweet dish prepared at every home in Bengal during "Poush Sankranti." Poush Sankranti also known as 'Makar Sankranti' is a harvest festival largely celebrated in different provinces of India. Considered to be very auspicious, this festival marks an end of winter season and welcomes new produce. People wear new clothes and cook lots of delectable goodies at home in celebration of this occasion. An assortment of home-made sweet delicacies including Pati Shapta, Puli Pithe, Rosh Puli and Chitoi pithe are served on table and delightfully feasted upon.



I made Pati Shapta recently cause I could not curb my desire to cook something with the lovely sought-after nalen gur (date molasses) which is sold in the market only during the winter. Nalen gur is a sweet cake made from the juice of date trees.


 In Kolkata, all the sweet shops around this time sell varieties of sweets made from nalen gur. Oooh the rosogollas of nalen gur simply taste awesome and bring water to my mouth at the very name only. I am dreadfully missing all the sweets of Kolkata now.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Khow Suey

Khow Suey is a Burmese dish made with lots of vegetables, noodles, split chickpeas and chicken. Now you might be feeling curious to know my affinity with Burmese dish. It so happened that my father was born and raised in Burma before they migrated to India. With them came some Burmese dishes into the family cuisines, one of them was often cooked at our home - Mohingar. Mohingar shares the fraternity with Khow Suey, the only thing telling them apart is that Mohingar is based on fishes while Khow Suey is on chicken.



My mother, raised in Siliguri, didn't know a crumb about Burmese delicacies until she got married and became a part of my father's family. She learned the dishes at her in law's place only. Her acquired knowledge passed on to the next generation i.e. us. While I cooked mohingar couple of times after marriage for my hubby who, considering it to be one of the tastiest soups ever tasted in his life, often comes with the plea to prepare it, cooking Khow Suey was a new challenge for me as I had never cooked it before. Keeping our Indian taste bud in mind, I have prepared the dish in an Indianised way adding the spices required for our regular cooking.


Let me assure you here that Khow Suey is tastier than mohingar and every effort of mine went into preparing it truly succeeded in terms of having a fulfilling dinner at night.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rohu Methi Curry

It's in Mumbai at a relative's house I first tasted Rohu Methi Curry. The unique flavour of the gravy basking in the richness of kasuri methi clung to my taste bud. I didn't know even the basics of cooking then. Now when I am up to trying this and that recipe in my recently found enthusiasm for culinary art, I don't know why I took so long to try this one. Better late than never. Here goes an exotic lip-smacking Rohu Methi concoction that has the potency of instantly becoming a success among guests and family alike.



Shim Bharta

Winter has finally settled itself in India for this year in full swing. Apart from forcing people to pull woollen clothes out of the closet and get bundled up, winter also brings along a varied range of seasonal vegetables, such as cauliflower, peas, cabbage, carrots, hyacinth beans, radish and the list goes on.

"Shim" known as Hyacinth beans in English is one such seasonal vegetable. My mother used to make some wonderful dishes with shim, but I always liked the preparation made with its seeds better. The seeds of hyacinth beans are not so easily available in Bangalore. In my two years stay here, I have managed to get it in a supermarket only once. Last year I was so darned busy with my job that I forgot to look for shim seeds in the market, but I won't do the same this year. I will make sure to include some more shim recipes in my blog. Just watch out.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oatmeal Banana Bread

Oats & Banana combined make a flavourful treat for an occasion. The pleasure multiplies if you boost your cake up with a dash of choco chips. The turnout is not only a delicacy; it bursts with awesome flavours of banana, vanilla and chocos.



Shrimp Spinach Soup



Shrimp Spinach Soup makes a wholesome meal in itself because it is heavy and has everything that requires to make a meal complete - shrimps, spinach, corns, cream and ofcourse butter, though I have stuck to olive oil throughout, but if you don’t have a weighty weight gain problem like me, you may use butter instead of oil.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sour Cream Banana Bread


Last week we went on a trip to Shivasamudram, which is about 3 hours of driving distance from Bangalore. Since the availability of foods on the way was scarce, we planned to carry some eatables along. I prepared Sour Cream Banana Bread for the occasion, the recipe of which I have adapted from Dorena Long.


 The soft mushy texture of the cake with a sweet banana flavour leaves your palate satisfied, longing for more. I have kept the cake simple adding no topping as decoration, but you may spread scoops of cream cheese or sour cream on top to pep it up.


Additionally, if you want to give some extra zing, you may use walnuts, raisins, dates and Choco chips during the making of the cake.



Chicken Diwani Handi

When was the last time I entered a chicken recipe? Let me check...two weeks ago!! It's very much unlike me that I have not prepared a wholesome chicken dish for a fortnight because I simply drool over chicken and ensure to have it at least twice a week.





My mother is a chicken expert. I have never eaten chicken curry anywhere as tasty as the one cooked by my mother. Perhaps it's true for all; we all find our mothers' cooking to be the best in the world. The curries that I concoct don't even come close to hers in taste. May be someday I will be able to achieve the expertise required to conjure up a fine chicken dish. Till then....I will keep trying and learning in the process.




In the original recipe of Chicken Diwani Handi, boneless chicken was used, but I personally prefer traditional Indian chicken preparation with bones in. So it's up to your discretion whether to use boneless or bones-in.




Chicken Diwani Handi not only looks delicious, each morsel of rice mixed with this gravy tastes heavenly and as you take a nibble at the soft juicy flesh of the chicken, it melts in your mouth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Potato Eggplant Curry

Last Saturday we watched MI-4: The Ghost Protocol. Like all the other movies of MI series, MI-4 too lived up to the expectations of the audience with its power-packed innovative action sequences, specially the one from Burj Khalifa and the other one executing a visionary illusion were simply stupendous in making an impact. While watching the movie, I was feeling amazed at the fitness level of Tom Cruise at the age of 49. The way he performed all the stunts was truly remarkable and will put anyone half his age to shame. I am already ashamed of the unfitness my sedentary lifestyle has caused to me at this young age. Dread the consequences to follow in future. Life was way better in all aspects when I used to play hide & seek scampering from one end of our locality to another in search of friends in hiding. I used to be agile like a dog, in a good sense.



Back to the recipe, Potato Eggplant Curry is a flavoursome veg curry to have with rice or chapati. This aloo-baingan concoction with the help of coconut to enhance the taste further works like a miracle to win the hearts of even the finicky vegetable hating people.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chicken Pumpkin Soup





If you think soup is bland and not tasty enough to satisfy your appetite, think again for soup is not only tasty, it's healthy and if you are on a diet, just prior to taking a meal be that lunch or dinner, start with a soup first. It is a superb filling agent and will make you full. Hence automatically the amount of your food intake will reduce. So will your weight with time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rosebud




Rosebud reminds me of those gorgeous sugar coated fritters that were sold at the fair near to our locality in Kolkata. I don’t know how many of you have heard of Chandimela organized every year by the descendants of zamindar Srabono Roy Chowdhury, but it was a famous funfair in Behala-Thakurpur region where people from different corners of Kolkata assembled to celebrate Chandi Pujo. The deity 'Chandi' is another incarnation of goddess Kali and the zamindar family has been worshipping Chandi for over 100 years. The fair, held in honour of Chandi Devi, still takes place every year in the month of December, but with time the fair has lost its previous charm and glory.

Bursting with enthusiasm, we used to start saving money one month prior to the beginning of the fair and once the fair was set up, we indulged ourselves in buying varieties of fancy items that drew our attention. The fast-food joints, the rides and death-well shows where four or five bikers used to perform different life-threatening dangerous stunts to amuse visitors were huge crowd-pullers. The fair, lasting merely two weeks, used to leave us amid a feeling of sorrow, a kind of sadness associated only with the end of Durga Puja. Such was its effect on us. I have so many memories attached with Chandimela. The faintest one was of my first visit, when barely a toddler, I was sprinting to the fair holding the hands of my parents and the gleam of merry go round revolving in distance caught my eyes. I was totally taken in awe by such a magnificent rotating wheel carrying people shrieking in excitement. That was the beginning of my long-lasting connection with Chandimela; not only me, all the other children staying in that region were equally boisterous about the same.


The appellation 'Rosebud' stands true to its name as the fritters generously coated with sugar resemble rose buds. It was an instant hit at my home when the first time I made it. A jar full of rose petals was put away within few minutes. The good thing about rosebud is you can prepare it in spadeful and store in a jar for weeks.

 

Lamb Tagine

Lamb Tagine is a Moroccan delicacy slowly cooked in a funnel shaped utensil called Tagine. Tagine is an earthenware pot consisting of two parts - the upper portion is a domical cover while the lower part is a flat circular plate with low sides and both combined create an array of magnificent tagine cuisines, Tunisian tagine, Chicken tagine to name a few.



Widely popular in North African Province, Lamb Tagine is slowly cooked on low heat. Braised at minimum temperature, the meat lends a wonderful aroma to the sauce mixed with vegetables. Since Tagine is not available in my city, for my preparation I have used a non-stick cookware with a cover that has a properly fitted outlet to let off the steam. It took me about 2 hours exactly before I turned off the gas. But I believe, if you pressure cook the meat with two or three whistles before you set it for marinade and further slow cooking, it would tenderize the meat to the desired consistency within less time.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sambharo - Cabbage Salad




Sambharo is a Gujrati Cabbage Salad that is served as accompaniment to main meals. I often use this as filling for my sandwiches and it increases the taste largely. In my preparation I have substituted raw green mangoes with touches of vinegar, but original Sambharo requires green sour mangoes in good measure.
Ingredients:                                         Cooking time:10 minutes
ü  1 cup of cabbage, julienne cut
ü  1 medium sized carrot, julienne cut
ü  1 capsicum or bell pepper, julienne cut ( I have used red bell pepper)
ü  2-3 green chillies, julienne cut
ü  1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
ü  1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
ü  1 tsp of sugar
ü  1 tbsp of vinegar
ü  5-7 curry leaves
ü  Couple of pinches of salt to taste
ü  1 tbsp of white oil
Method:
1) Cut all the vegetables and mix vinegar with them.
2) Heat oil in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves when oil becomes smoking hot. Add all the vegetables and turmeric powder. Sauté on medium heat till vegetables turn a bit tender. Add salt & sugar. Stir around for a while. Remove from the flame.


3) Serve hot or use as filling in a sandwich.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Potato Masala Sandwich

Recently I read an informative article upon spices. I never had any clue of information that apart from enhancing the taste spices contribute to killing bacteria and prevents food-poisoning. I also came to know that the trend of using more spices grew in tropical countries due to the reason of foods spoiling sooner in hot and humid weather than the colder ones. Now that's a nice bit of information. Isn't it? From now on while eating a spicy dish, think of all the good effects of spices rather than worrying over stomach doldrums.


If you are on a diet and want to avoid carbs, this sandwich is not meant for you, but if you are like me going by the demands of your palate, potato masala sandwich would be a toothsome treat to feast upon. I just love to have such sandwich once in a while during the weekdays.


Hilsa with Eggplant - Ilish Macher Jhal Begun Diye






This is a very simple, yet tasty Elish cuisine my mother used to prepare at home during monsoon when Ilish sale remains at its peak. The flavour of soft brinjals blending with that of hilsa makes it an exotic item to relish. The pungent smell of mustard oil adds to the savouriness further. A warming meal of Elish Brinjal curry served with rice makes anyone feel like in seventh heaven.
Ingredients:                                       Cooking time: 15 minutes
ü  6 pieces of Hilsa
ü  1 small or medium sized Eggplant (cut into small cubes)
ü  5-6 green chillies (slit in the middle)
ü  1/2 tsp of nigella seeds
ü  1 tsp cumin seeds (turned into paste)
ü  1 tsp turmeric powder
ü  Salt to taste
ü  Mustard oil for cooking (a must have ingredient if you want that heady mustardy aroma)

Method:
1) Heat oil in a wok. When oil turns smoking hot, add nigella seeds and allow it to sputter. Then add eggplants and fry them till they turn little brown in color. Add turmeric powder and cumin seeds paste. Sauté for 1 minute.
2) Now add water as per your need for gravy. Let the water come to a boil.
3) Sprinkle salt and throw in the fish pieces. Add the green chillies and cook covered for 5 minutes.
4) Check seasoning and remove from the flame. Serve hot with rice.

Mexican Cole Saw

My hubby yesterday in a very sombre tone asked me as if testing my knowledge "do you know why the hand of a compass is always directing towards north by default?" Quite taken aback by such an amusing out of the blue question, I racked my brain for a while before coming up with the answer, "No"....his reply left my brain dizzy for a moment...."because nobody dares point fingers at Rajinikanth in South." I know it is one instance among scores of silliest wackiest jokes on Rajinikanth and how tired I am of those PJs splashed all over Facebook.


Day before yesterday was Rajinikanth's birthday. Those of you who don't know yet who Rajinikanth is, please google to witness the craze about him. If you are living in southern part of India, you might have definitely felt the madness about Rajinikanth. He is worshipped like a demi-god here. Seriously!!


Back to the recipe, Mexican Cole Saw is a tasty tangy Mexican salad. I can guarantee that you would like its taste even if you are not a typical salad lover because my husband who otherwise never touches salads regarding them as "bland" gobbled a bowl of it, with pleasure.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Red Spice Salmon

Red Spice Salmon is a must try recipe if you are a Salmon lover. Originally this recipe should be tried on Salmon fillets, but I have cooked the curry cuts. It so happened that while my better half was going out to weekly shopping of groceries, I, in my usual cautious tone, told my hubby couple of times specifically stressing on Salmon fillets, and he, with his usual slipshod and forgetful manner, took my words in one ear and out with the other and ultimately brought curry cuts home claiming, in the face of my allegation of his always giving my words a deliberate miss, that I was the one who didn’t mention anything about the fillet.  


I was about to give him gentle reminders about how he forgets to switch off the geyser after using it or turn off the faucet or how we had been saved from a great robbery only by the grace of sheer luck when he forgot the key to our home entrance in the keyhole and left it there hanging overnight till a maid from the neighbouring flat drew my attention towards it and the list goes on, but nah, I was not in a mood to fight. I cannot change him so why waste time trying!! Rather I put all my energy and attention towards pleasing my tummy. A wholesome meal is lot more appetizing than spoiling the mood of Sunday over a silly dispute. What say?


Monday, December 12, 2011

Spaghetti Alla Norma




Pasta Alla Norma is a popular Sicilian dish prepared with eggplants, tomatoes and ricotta salata as base ingredients. Ricotta salata is one kind of cheese made from sheep's milk and very popular across Sicily. But as this cheese is not easily available in Bangalore, I have substituted it with parmesan cheese. I chose to cook the dish with spaghetti, but as alternative options you may use penne or gemelli pasta also.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bengali Shukto

A traditional Bengali meal encompasses 5 - 6 courses with a bitter tasting vegetable to begin and a sweet dessert to end with. An array of culinary delights including dal-fries, vegetable curry, fish, chicken are served in between, in that order. Back home, my mother still prepares 6-7 items daily for a lunch as opposed to our finishing the same job with maximum 2 items here.


Shukto is a concoction of assorted seasonal vegetables with the taste of bitter gourd predominating the flavour. I never ate Shukto at home because of my eternal dislike for vegetables with anything bitter-tasting topping the list of my dislike. As might be norm with marriage, we leave behind many of our bad habits and adopt new good habits. Learning to eat vegetables is one of the good habits I have picked up post wedding. In fact, I have stopped turning up my nose at bitter gourd, though I am yet to develop a liking for it. Shukto is my husband's favourite vegetable dish and over last 4 years he has told many a time how he misses the shukto cooked by his mother. So with intent to fulfil his craving, I have learnt to cook shukto at last and often prepare it during the weekends. Needless to say, I love it too because if you can cook it properly, the dish definitely exudes a rich taste. No doubt why it has made its entry into the menu of many wedding ceremonies.



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