Monday, December 31, 2012

Chicken Double Decker Sandwich

Yesterday we visited Toledo Zoo in the evening to view the Christmas and New Year special lightings and decor. The entire tour inside the zoo was conducted in open air and with temperature dipping below 18F, the air was so chilly only comparable to the inside temperature of a freezer. I was properly bundled up from head to toe in few layers of clothing but as if that were not sufficient enough, air penetrated through my jeans and jacket reaching my bones. It was one of the bone-rattling experiences you might say as I was chilled to the bone, hook, line and sinker and could feel my muscles getting numb. Quickly for half an hour we took shelter inside a cafe located at the zoo, and then I came out sipping hot chocolate purporting to keep my body warm. Usually, I am not the kind to drink anything bubbling hot. I usually let my drinks come down to lukewarm temperature before allowing myself the first sip. Having the centre of my tongue singed couple of times by drinking very hot tea or coffee has turned me super cautious while drinking something just out of the oven. But in a terribly cold weather, gurgling down a hot drink seemed so soothing for throat, tongue and every nerve running through my body.

After a nerve freezing walk around the zoo, my hands and legs stiff from numbness took at least an hour to restore its normalcy; it was like I was a frozen 'murgi' (chicken) thawing in normal

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Besan Paratha

With the new year on the threshold, I look back to review how another year of my life has gone by.
 This year has been pretty eventful for us. There were a lot of personal and impersonal occasions
that caused moments of both happiness and unhappiness in my life. As I was happy and content
having celebrated my 5th marriage anniversary, there were some events, which although not
associated with me directly, have affected me. There was this young girl who got widowed barely 2
months after her marriage in an accident in Kolkata which left her husband dead in front of her
eyes. I didn't know the woman but being a woman myself I could imagine what kind of mental
trauma she might be going through. There are a lot of other such incidents involving women
mostly that have left me aggrieved and sad. The recent death of the hapless girl in Delhi whose
ordeal came to an end yesterday shook my conscience forcing me to mull over the worsening plight
 of women kind in our country.

I checked upon a thread going around in FB stating "Daughters in India are neither safe inside
womb nor outside." I know many people who have rued over the birth of their daughters. For
example, my own mother refused to see my face after I was born because I was a girl. There are
 many parents who don't desire a daughter because our society is structured in a way that men
always have an upper hand over women in every of the social issues concerned and hence to this
 date the birth of a son is celebrated amidst joy and merriment while the birth of a daughter is
mourned in many families. Anyway, I am digressing into another topic, so let me reflect back
on how the year went for me. Earlier this year, my husband's sudden sickness immediately
upon our arrival in US imprinted a sense of fear into my mind regarding his well-being, the
feelings of anxiety taking a while to abate as it became normal for me to turn antsy when he didn't
come out of the bathroom within minutes anticipating that he might have fainted again. Further,
 my father's frail health and his growing senility upon the cataract operation put me on edge till he
 recuperated, especially when far away from my motherland I was unable to see him.

But it's not that only bad events have occupied me, there are some wonderful moments that I have
spent with my husband this year and also I have met and befriended a lot of new people who with
 their presence have filled my life with happiness. So overall, on personal level, this year has been
pretty satisfying regardless of few bumps in the road.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Eggplant with Sesame Seeds - Til Begun

The recipe of Til Begun was in my draft folder for some time now. I didn't publish the post because
 last time when I made it, although the gravy was awesome in taste, the brinjals I bought from a
Middle Eastern shop were very springy in texture, which completely ruined the flavour and hence
 the pics taken then were not up to my satisfaction. So mind it, in order to get a favourable result,
 you need to buy good breed of brinjals or eggplants that are soft in texture. Good quality eggplants
don't take much time for cooking. They easily soften. You know your brinjals are not good in
quality when they take longer time than usual for cooking and remain springy despite your best
efforts of cooking it for more than half an hour.

Anyway, this time while cooking it, I ensured to buy the best quality of brinjals from Wal-Mart. I
wonder why last time I bought the eggplants from the Middle Eastern shop, may be because they
 looked healthy and appetizing, a reason enough to allure a potential customer. You see we eat with
 our eyes first. Just as "anything that glitters is not gold" same way any brinjal that looks plump and
beautiful is not always the best in quality. In Kolkata, I never had reasons to complain about
vegetables; they were always fresh and green. I cannot report the same, however, about Bangalore :( 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Walnut Cupcakes

In the wake of the recent rape incident the brutality of which sent shockwaves through the country, Facebook has become a ground for expressing the frustration and anger, simmering in the minds of people for a long time, which now have boiled over. When we all are backing up the demand for capital punishment to the culprits, it's important to note that the law of capital punishment, even if it is decreed, is not going to solve the problem as long as the mindsets of Indian people remain narrow and hidebound. Anyway, I am not going to talk about a serious issue in my cooking blog as I think this is not the right place for a serious issue to be discussed. The reason why I broached the topic here is because recently in a discussion I came to know of an interesting point of view put forward by a friend. He is a vegetarian. According to him, eating meat and non-veg foods induces aggressiveness putting a number of hormones into action and hence non veg people are more violence prone. Now whether or not I support his view, I felt curious to gain information as regards the validity of the statement and interestingly, there are a lot of opinions and counter opinions available in the cyber world. Many are of the opinion that eating red meat increases aggression while according to many, the sight of red meat calms down people.

I don't have the knowledge to cite medical reasons, but I would like to relate my observation in terms of vegetarian diet and non-veg diet affecting the disposition of the canine race, which I believe is viable for human race too. Have you seen or heard of dogs living on vegetables? Well, I have seen one pet dog at a friend's place who was a vegetarian and so the pet dog was raised fully on veg diet. The dog was of mild disposition, not aggressive as is natural for canines fed non veg food. Is that possible that the high protein diet constituted of meats releases extensive amount of energies leading to an increase in aggressive pattern of behavior? I am not saying that the aggression is exercised in negative way always, so maybe we all channelize the aggression hidden in us more in positive ways than negative. What do you think??

Over to the recipe, I have been longing to try my hand on preparing walnut cupcakes ever since I had a piece of scrumptious walnut cake at the Marriott Residence Inn where I stayed briefly after coming to US. Now, walnut cake is really high in calories, so despite the feelings of guilt welling up inside me, I gave it a try and my first attempt turned out to be pretty successful. It was decadent, absolute pleasures to be had in the morning with a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuna Sandwich with Pineapple Salad


Snow started pouring from early hours of the morning today continuing throughout the day. The entire town of Perrysburg is now buried under ankle deep snows. The view is amazing outside at night with the street lights reflecting on snows diffusing a beautiful glow across the sky making it appear brighter than normal. I will post some snaps as soon as the snow falling stops.


Tonight we were in mood for having sandwiches. No cooked item being present at home, I had a lot to cook for tomorrow; hence I planned of making these quick tuna sandwiches for dinner. These sandwiches are very easy to put together, so easy even my husband can make them :) Seriously, all of you wanting their husbands to attain a shade of decency in cooking may goad them into preparing sandwiches, that way you would get some time off for relaxation while your hubby stays busy making a meal for you. What say!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mutton Vindaloo

Merry Christmas to all my fellow bloggers, all the visitors and my friends. May God bless you with lights - lights of knowledge, lights of inner strength, lights of morality, lights of dignity and lights of passion. Christmas remains incomplete without a bite into chocolates. Last two days were fabulously spent with me and my hubby first going on a long drive and chancing upon the famous DeBrand Chocolatier on our way where we spent few good hours indulging in various chocolate based desserts - Hazelnut Mousse with a layer of crispy dark chocolates in the base topped with caramel sauce and Almond flavoured hot chocolate, besides shopping a choice collection of chocolate truffles. Then we started for Flint to watch the Christmas special lightings and decoration in the only place that was open for public viewing during Christmas holidays. On our way we encountered heavy shower of snow and flurries that limited the visibility of outside completely and the risk of car swerving perilously by a sudden brake was looming large at every turn as the roads were covered under thin ice sheets. Somehow driving at minimum speed with best of cautions taken we reached our destination and although we could not step out because of snow falling, we managed to capture some good snaps of the lightings. Some snapshots below:

Mutton Vindaloo is a popular Goan dish that was first introduced into Goa by the Portuguese who cooked it with a generous amount of wine vinegar and garlic, but due to Goan influence soon lots of chillis and spices took over adding an extra richness to the dish. Traditional vindaloo preparations are cooked without potatoes, but the addition of potatoes came into practice may be because 'aloo' means potato and now an array of restaurants serve vindaloo dishes cooked with potatoes, which personally I like a lot since potatoes increase the flavour of any meat preparation to a great degree.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mangalorean Prawn Curry

The whole neighborhood where we stay in Ohio is illuminated and decorated beautifully for
Christmas. It looks so amazing at night when rows of trees are lit up in different shades of color
adding a warm glow to the cold wintry nights. Though the desire to get myself clicked with the
luminous Christmas tree in the background engulfs me at times but the weather outside is so
freezing at night that the moment I step out, I feel like going back inside the warmth of our car.
Although I loved winter of Kolkata and Bangalore but the winter of Ohio is dreadful, seriously.
With every passing day winter is ensconcing comfortably making my movement outside home an
 affair of putting on a few layers of clothing to keep warm.

Tonight we went to watch "Hobbit" in a nearby theatre. While coming back from the theatre into
the parking yard where our car was parked walking half kilometer in the open made me chilled to
 the bone, the freezing climate sending shiver through every inch of my body. I thought the winter
coat would be sufficient enough to keep me insulated, but that I should have bundled myself in few
more layers of clothing I realized as my hands turned numb from cold. When the good old summer
months will be back God knows.

Paneer Chilli

Mackinac Island located in Michigan State is a picturesque place offering breathtaking views of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Hardly 4 hours distance from our place, we made the trip to Mackinac in Easter break this year. I envy people who have their cottages in the island. I imagine it must be a wonderful experience to live in an island blessed with such tranquil and serene natural beauty. I wish I had a house there where I could take a retreat at times escaping the monotony and drudgery of my day to day life. If anybody is interested in reading more about the island, you may view the following page: Mackinac Island Trip.

In Kolkata I used to make paneer chilli pretty often in the evening as snacks. It surprises me why I took so long to post the recipe of Paneer Chilli here; I guess I was too busy trying my hand on other unusual dishes of paneer that it skipped my notice. Anyway, better late than never. Enjoy!!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Mulor Chechki - Dry Radish Curry

Mulo or radish is not a favourite vegetable of mine. I dont bring it home unless I make Radish Fry or
Mooli Paratha, in both the cases radish tasting way beyond just mouthwatering. But other than that
not many radish preparation are dear to my heart until very recently I came upon a very interesting
radish recipe in a culinary show where mulo was cooked with potato, cashew nuts, raisins and lot
of other ingredients in an unconventional way. I made an effort to try it out at home and it turned
out so appetizing that I have to admit it's by far one of the best radish preparations I have ever
tasted. I am sure you too will find it equally delectable. Just give it a try :)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Alur Chop - Potato Fritters

There are many in Kolkata whose evenings will remain dry without a bite into alur chop. At one point, I was very regular to a small makeshift stall nearby our home that sold lip-smacking evening snacks like alur 'chop', Beguni, Egg Devil and pakodas of different varieties. Yes, I know it was not a very healthy habit to munch on deep fried oil greased fritters every day, but then I used to be rail thin and no matter what I ate nothing stuck to my body, no trace of weight :) ....the reason being I used to be very much physically active, always walking and scurrying around. The student life in India is pretty stressful with relentless academic pressure, tuitions, classes, homework; you don't have a moment of respite. Managing all at once is not easy, added to fact of my home being far from my college and all tuitions were scattered around the city. So I was on the move all day long.

Anyway, I was talking about that makeshift chop stall and the chop maker whom I used to devour with my eyes in amazement at his skill of catering to about 30-50 customers at once, one after another in practiced hands. Most of the time while returning home from my English tuition class, I would stop by the stall waiting at least half an hour in the queue to get my turn to place order. Awestruck, I would stare at the man dipping perfectly shaped potato discs into a bowl of batter and deep frying them in a giant metallic wok blackened with burnt marks accumulated over the years. The beautiful smell of the freshly fried 'chops' would stir turmoil within my stomach arousing an urgent desire to satiate the craving. To give a final touch he used to add a sprinkling of rock salt (bit noon) on to the potato 'chops' before wrapping them into a paper packet. Each morsel of the steaming hot 'chops' was truly divine.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rui Macher Kalia

I was in for a surprise when yesterday while shuffling through my recipes, I discovered the recipe of Rohu Fish Kalia missing from the list. It's unbelievable. In my attempt to try a whole spectrum of unique fish preparations, I gave the most common yet the most popular Rohu curry of Bengal a miss. Trust me, it was not deliberate. Rui Macher Kalia is quite staple in our home, but somehow the recipes which are not so easily available on the net or which are not so common a preparation in our part of the world got more preference in my blog or rather simply put, I was more in favour of this idea of posting the experimental recipes frequently in my blog than the common ones which are cooked at every home. Whatever the reason may be, I was shocked not to have found the recipe of Rui Macher Kalia uploaded in my blog. As far as my memory goes, I have taken the pictures of the curry every time I made it at home, but at the last moment I might have become engrossed with something or the other. My mind never remains in one place for long, normal for anyone tugged between career and family. So the skip happened.

Anyway better late than never, Rohu Fish Kalia as I have mentioned is one of the popular rohu fish preparations in Bengal. Before the fashion of caterer service or verbosity of menu came into picture, traditionally in our marriages in West Bengal, all the food arrangements on special occasions like marriage or rice ceremony were done by a group of 'thakurs' who had been into the profession of cooking from generation after generation. Rui Macher Kalia used to be a sacrosanct item in their menu. In my childhood I attended many such marriages or occasions where Rui Macher Kalia or Katla Macher Kalia were served in the fish menu. The oil and ghee glistening on the surface of the gravy easily came to notice evoking temptation. However, these days no longer Rui Macher Kalia is served in marriage ceremonies, other fancy preparations having taken its place. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bread Patties with Mozzarella Cheese

It's shocking when few dozens of school children die helplessly at the hand of a deranged man armed with a firearm, but what's more astonishing is in spite of such frequency of mass killing incidents involving guns, people of US are so adamant of their right to own guns. In a country which is comparatively safer than many other countries in the world, I find the possession of guns by its civilians completely redundant. After all, gun is a weapon used in war and it being owned by normal people would only lead to more of such massacres. It's been not even a year we have come down to US and within this 10 months, this is the 5th gunfire incident killing innocent lives that came to our notice. Shocking!!

Getting back to the recipe, Bread Patties with Mozzarella Cheese is a tasty snack to be savored with a cup of coffee in the evening. Don't make them, however, with fresh breads, few days old breads being ideal to make good patties. The breads I used were seasoned with sesame seeds which lent the patties an extra crunch. You too like me may use seasoned breads or if you like keeping it simple, use simple white breads. They turn out equally nice. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Badhakopi Chingri - Cabbage Prawns

I was having a discussion with my friend which kind of led to an argument later on regarding the role social media is playing in terms of changing people's social lives. While I was talking in favour of the Social Medias, my friend has other thoughts to share. It's true all the points she emphasized on are valid considering how after social media came into being, we instead of calling up friends to wish on their b'days get the job done wishing them online and how the custom of sending greeting cards to wish someone on b'day or marriage is slowly going out of practice. My friend was specially sounding concerned about the next generation children growing up under the predominating influence of social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter and the like, their social life being limited to interacting with friends online rather than going out with them and having some real fun. Though there are a lot of things going in favour of Social Medias, however, there is no denying the fact it has some side effects that are gradually changing our social lives, especially this is true for people addicted to social networking.

Just as anything good is not without drawbacks, Social Medias too are not without theirs. For me, it helps me keep in touch with friends, classmates that I would have eventually lost touch with had Facebook not been there. Anyway, this could be a never ending conversation as the topic is open to various opinions, everything being viewed in different light by every one of us. So I would rather focus on the recipe of the day - Badhakopi Chingri or Cabbage Prawns. If you have enjoyed Cabbage Curry with Rohu Fish Head, I am sure this one too is going to win your heart. A perfect treat to be had with rice or roti, I love prawns cooked with cabbage, completely fascination combination.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chicken Liver Fry with Onions

I am not much of a liver fan. To be frank, I don't enjoy eating liver as much as my husband does. It
is, in fact, in order to make him happy that I cook liver curry at times, the one my mother used to
prepare at home and I used to scoff at. Anyway, very recently while buying chicken liver from a
Lebanese grocery store here, the man behind the counter shared this recipe with me which I
slightly modified suiting my taste bud. I don’t wanna sound braggart, but the liver fry turned out
absolutely tantalizing and mouthwatering. The butter sauce poured at last lent a beautiful flavour
enriching the taste of the dish beyond measure. Served with crisply toasted breads, each nibble of
this fry melted in the mouth and I could not stop hogging.


An apt preparation to make even the worst liver hating person begin to appreciate, I, for example,
 being transformed from a hater to an admirer, this is the ultimate way to relish liver in its
delectable best. Though I have cooked it with chicken liver, but I believe it will turn out equally
 delightful with livers of calf or lamb. Try out and lemme know.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Egg Korma

Is there anyone of you following Big Boss: Season 6? This season of Big Boss has been the most happening one, Imam Siddiqui being one of the most entertaining guests in the show. I simply love the way he gets on the nerve of all the other inmates through his antics and nuisance. I don't like to imagine though how I would have dealt with if I ever come face to face with a persona like him, perhaps would have torn my hair out in frustration. This year Big Boss house resembles the environment of corporates in a way that everyone is friendly with everyone, but no one is your friend. In fact, I doubt how firm is the friendship between the trio - Delnaz, Ashiqua and Sana, only time will testify.

Coming back to the recipe, this is one of my favourite egg recipes. I cook it quite frequently, precisely because my hubby loves the yogurt infused sweetness of the gravy. It's singularly awesome in taste.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Alu Phulkopir Dalna

Alu Phulkopir Dalna has been a part of traditional Bengali cuisine from time immemorial. My mother inherited her culinary skill and heirloom recipes from her mother, my dida (my maternal grandmother) whom I had seen very less. My youngest maternal uncle died very young in his early 30's. Heartbroken, dida could not come to terms with chotomama's death. Four years later, dida too passed away despairing over her son's untimely demise. I have very little recollection of either my dida and my uncle because when my uncle died I was barely a child, and then our visits to mamabari (maternal uncle's place) were not very frequent because either of we three siblings had some sort of business going on; classes, exams, school or college, so much as vacations were chock a block with tuitions, if not classes. By the time I was into my 9th standard, dida breathed her last and I could never get to see her again.

The image of dida that I have in mind has been built upon what my mother told me in reminiscence of her own mother because I never got to know dida in person.  Dida suffered a lot in her life. She lost her own mother when barely few months old. Raised by a step mother who lavished unconditional love on her, she didn’t know until the day she was getting married that her step mother was not her real mother. Then after marriage she lost three of her toddler children to smallpox one after another within few years before my mashi (my aunt) and my mother were born. My dadu (maternal grandfather) was a doctor who died of cancer in his early 50s when my mother and my uncles were very young. Dida went through a great deal of struggle while bringing up her minor children in the absence of their father. Then in her old age she lost the youngest uncle of mine, who not only died very young but left behind two very small children - one aged 3 and another few months old.

The recipe of alu phulkopir dalna is making its rounds in our family for eternity with my mother having mentioned many a time this curry being one of her favourite vegetable preparations made by dida.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chicken Keema with Mushroom

Good to come back to blogging again after two weeks break. I was out on vacation for 5 days and then upon coming back, I was so tired that the next few days were spent in getting the lost energy back. Cooking was not what I was enjoying as I was recuperating from fatigue. So for two weeks I was on very light meal, not having an iota of desire to try anything new.

But now that I have got my former vigor back, I am into my experimental self again. Okay, so this curry I cooked over dinner last night and it was scrumptious to say the least, my hubby having eaten 4-5 parathas with the curry.


Monday, November 19, 2012


Namoura is a traditional Lebanese dessert, cooked with semolina and soaked in sugar syrup that melts in the mouth the very moment it goes in. Known under different names in different regions, Namoura is a very versatile recipe. Some people instead of coconut use ground almonds and flour, the top of the Namoura glazed with maple syrup or honey or simple sugar syrup. I love it best when cooked the following way and my hubby dear loves it so much that before even a day ends, all pieces of Namoura are polished off the plate.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Aloo Moong Masala

I watched Saif and Kareena starrer Qurban tonight for the first time. I didn't know any college staff room could be so empty to allow two love stricken professors share cozy moments with each other so much as kissing without catching any notice or picking on gossip until I watched this movie. Truly, some unreal things happen only in hindi movies. Besides Tashan, if any movie that has Kareena looking so haggard and sickly that no pads or make up is able to hide, Qurban has to be named first. I wonder what got on her to shed pounds in pursuit of size zero feat compromising her healthy glowing look. Her ravishing sexy avatar in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam comes as no match with the pale and languid complexion she has developed during the filming of Tashan.

Aloo Moong Masala is another variation of Egg Tadka Dal and Chicken Tadka Dal prepared with the same old whole green moong lentil, my favourite among all dals. This time I have made it with chunks of mashed potatoes and spices, an ultimate lentil concoction to be had with roti or chapati. I love this dal so much that I don't need any other accompaniment. Just a bowl of this dal topped with a sprinkling of lemon juice suffices to make a fulfilling meal for me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Egg Potato Mughlai Paratha

Anadir Cabin is a small shack at Esplanade in Kolkata with a very humble setup famous for its Mughlai Parathas. My Esplanade visit on any errand would always end up eating at Anadi's. Its soft yet crunchy exterior with mushy stuffing inside melts in your mouth. The following recipe is of a Mughlai paratha I have concocted out of my own perception with the ingredients I felt are used in Anadi's Mughlai. It turned out really lip-smacking and my husband was full of praises.

If you have tried out EggChicken Mughlai Paratha at home, then Egg Potato Mughlai Paratha is another version sure to win your heart.

Dry Cauliflower Curry

Nowadays cauliflowers are available round the year, but there was a time when cauliflowers entered the market only in winter. Besides cauliflowers, there was an array of other vegetables sold in the market on winter months only, such as peas, carrots, beetroots and so on and so forth. Cauliflower and green peas are two of my favourite vegetables. At a time when my fussiness over eating veggies would test my mother's forbearance in the face of my tantrums, I never gave my mother any trouble for eating cauliflower and green peas. My mother's favourite cauliflower concoction was "Phulkopir Dalna" the recipe of which I would post sometime soon, but there was this simple dry cauliflower curry that I liked best with rotis.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Borishali Elish

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day for me. Eventful for the event etched a lesson on my mind I would not forget for sure at least some time soon. I was planning to cook a bucket of festival goodies to share among friends and colleagues for which I started the preparation of nimkis, a must have item in any festival menu. Rice flour and all-purpose flour both look identical and are of similar texture; it's difficult to distinguish them just by taste. I have them stored in two identical looking jars on my kitchen shelf. Added to the fraternity is another similar looking ingredient - the confectioners' sugar, which, thankfully, has a distinct taste of sweetness making it easily recognizable.

So three jars that are carbon copies of each other with content exactly alike are bound to create confusion; adding to the woe is the fact that the jar of all-purpose flour was empty for a week which I forgot to refill and rice flour having been of occasional use totally slipped out of my mind. So, as was inevitable, I confused rice flour with all-purpose flour and kneaded dough twice with the same wondering why the dough was falling apart. It took me a second round of kneading to perceive the error and by that time it was too late for I have already kneaded two crumbly doughs blowing about 750 gm of rice flour, a considerable amount of ghee, oil and butter each, not to mention the drainage of my enthusiasm.

It is utterly frustrating when an hour worth labour goes to waste for one single error of judgment. As a precautionary measure to help me next time such confusion happens, I have now stuck labels upon all the three jars with the name of the content written on them.