Monday, November 19, 2012

Namoura




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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Masoor Dal Fry


Winter is setting in here, the cold blast reminding me every morning of the coming days of torture. Already, the layer of clothing has been increased by one; time is near when I need to hide beneath few layers of clothing just to keep myself insulated. Trees shorn of leaves, grasses turning paler, number of people walking on the roads almost getting nil are all foreboding signs of a dreadful winter looming in near future, the season I looked forward to when I used to stay in Kolkata.


 

Though Kolkata is a place where summer is just unbearable with soaring temperature and heavy humidity taking toll on its inhabitants, but given an option to choose between Kolkata summer and Ohio Winter, I will always go for summer. At least in summer, no matter how horrible the temperature is, after nightfall, you may go out to spend a pleasant evening with friends in open air whereas during winter after a heavy snowfall, when the entire neighbourhood and surrounding areas get covered in snow and ice sheets, staying indoor for days is the only option open to you, standing or walking in open air becomes a thing completely unimaginable.


 

Masoor Dal Fry is an awesome treat to savour in winter nights. Teamed up with a heap of rotis, this steaming dal fry gives pleasure at every mouthful.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Honey Glazed Fruit Topped Pound Cake





It is diwali today. Diwali is a festival of lights when every Indian home is illuminated with diyas, people indulging in mouthful of sweets and bursting crackers. In Kolkata, it is Kali Puja that we celebrate in Diwali, timed a day before the actual diwali takes place in the rest of India. In our childhood, once Durga Pujo was over, we would start counting days for Kali Pujo that would give us another momentous occasion for indulging in festivity and merry-making. There was a grand way Kali Pujo held in the area my childhood best friend resided; so as soon as lighting candles at my home was completed, I would dash to her place staying there full-time, returning home only for sleeping at night. We friends would all gather for pandal hopping in the evening before the fire crackers had begun bursting in full swing. The excitement of travelling from one pandal to another during Kali Pujo amid all the lightings and illumination with fire crackers bursting on and off here and there is one of a kind.

 



I was planning to light some candles all around my home today in celebration of diwali, but an afterthought reminded me of the danger involved in putting burning candles in a wooden structure with floors covered entirely in carpet. So instead of too many, I would place two burning candles upon the centre table to illuminate my home. Not a bad idea given the constraints!!

The following recipe is of a simple pound cake that I have glazed with honey, decorating the top with fruits. Besides chocolate cakes, my all-time favourites are such simple pound cakes that are friendly for consumption at any given occasion.




Monday, November 12, 2012

Dum Aloo



Yesterday was forecasted to be the last day of the year with favourable temperature, the coming days promising to be of freezing cold. From today onwards, it's drizzling continuously dropping down the temperature further below. I dread the winter here when your movement outside home becomes limited due to the icy cold wind slapping your face every time you step out and you run for a shelter, into the warm cocoon of your car with the heating full on or any place else that gives you warmth. Last year while coming back from Detroit upon a weekly grocery shopping, we encountered a sudden burst of snowfall which blurred our vision outside completely, the blinking lights of cars merely indicating of their presence ahead and behind our vehicle. It was utterly chaotic and highly dangerous.


 

For the first time in life I witnessed a snowplow removing heaps of snow from the roads making our ways clear for driving. It was looking beautiful though when the snowfall ended draping the neighborhood in snow white sheath. But driving into the spirals of snowfall with no view of outside is not an experience, I would like, to be repeated.



 

The name Dum Aloo brings saliva into my mouth, it crazily tasting awesome paired with a plate of puri or luchis. Just blissful! Nothing else can surpass the goodness of the meal a combo of dum aloo and luchi recreates. It transports you into heavenly world of sheer goodness. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kolkata Egg Roll



I could not wait to finish the book "the Hunger Games", brimming with suspense and twists at every turn of the events, that I stayed up late for couple of nights just to complete the reading while the movie made on it generated an opposite reaction. I could not wait for the movie to end. It was so bad and pathetically warped out of storyline. Though I have always enjoyed reading books more than watching the movies based on them, no other movie proved to be this much disappointing. I was cursing myself to spoil the lingering impression of fulfillment that reading a good book leaves in mind by watching a thoroughly downgraded cinematic adaptation, poorly cast and directed both, that totally ruined the feel-good factor. I don't know why some people choose to make such hollow image of a great book. It's sheerly outrageous and unforgivable.

 


Back to the recipe, Kolkata Egg Roll is a very popular street food in Kolkata. All across Kolkata, there are roadside stalls almost at every junction possible selling egg rolls, chicken rolls and egg chicken rolls like hot cakes. Your visit to Kolkata remains incomplete without a dig into the rolls. 


For more egg recipes, click the links below right away:





Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mangalorean Chicken Curry



Today I was watching Dr. OZ who made a startling revelation about coconut oil as being effective in weight loss. Being born and raised in a tropical country, I am aware of the benefits the regular use of coconut oil furnishes to hair and skin, but I always knew coconut to be higher in fat content, hence associating coconut oil with the weight reduction didn't fit the bill. But the claims and subsequent demonstrations related to coconut oil helping in weight loss in Dr. OZ's show brought about a whole new perspective to my thought. According to Dr. OZ, recent medical and science research has clarified that the high content of saturated fat in coconut oil is medium chain fatty acid that is quickly absorbed in the bloodstream and immediately converted into energy with no chance of being stored thereby contributing to weight loss.

 



Now the part of India I hail from, mustard oil is the main source of consumption for cooking food. But there are many places in Southern India where coconut oil is the primary ingredient used in cooking, so much as a packet of banana chips reeking of coconut oil. One of my Mallu colleagues from Kerala declared rightly when he said that he could not live without food cooked in coconut oil. Though in Bengal, coconut oil is used in abundance to nourish hair, the same is not so true for cooking, mainly because of our culinary practice being dominated by the use of mustard oil and white oil.




 
It's popularly believed that coconut and tamarind pulp is a known combination used in South Indian cuisines. Recently I was invited over dinner by a friend who is originally from the beautiful coastal region of Mangalore. It was a simple home cooked fare that we relished to our heart's content, but the one that won our heart was the Chicken Curry concocted in typical Mangalorean fashion, the mild tartness of tamarind and the whiff of coconut and curry leaves bursting with an awesome flavour.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Lasooni Dal - Garlicky Lentil




I was reshuffling my friends' list couple of days back on Facebook and it came to me as a shocker finding out that some of my school friends and colleagues who I thought I was very close to, who regularly visit my albums and leave comments on them have their own albums restricted for me, the reasons beyond my knowledge. One of my colleagues was so close to me that she even slept over at my place when she was in problem, whenever there was any late night party from office, I always having made sure to drop her to her home. In fact upon my leaving the job, I kept in regular touch with her and went out with her on occasions like Durga Puja and day long road trips. It just hurts when people you care for don't reciprocate the same way and in her case, her keeping 30+ albums hidden from my view only betrayed her true feelings for me, feeling of distrust. One of my close friends very rightly commented "sab matlab ke liye f'ship karte hain.Just give as much as you get and don't feel disheartened." Without much delay, I put that colleague of mine to the restricted list of friends. If she doesn't care, why should I!!

As the name suggests, Lasooni Dal is a lentil concoction with a good quantity of garlics chopped, shallow fried and added into the dal lending it a garlicky flavour. Lasooni Dal is cooked in different many ways in different regions of India, but the most popular version is the one cooked in north. I love to have it paired with chapati. It tastes awesome.
 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Lemon Glaze




Yesterday was Halloween; though somewhat stirred up by Sandy and the untimely cold windy weather, people here still managed to don spooky costumes matched with outrageous hairdos and make ups. It is cool to see people roaming on the streets attired in distinct clothing, heading for parties; Halloween special decorative items, figurines and pumpkins colored in orange flashing in the porches throughout the Halloween month. I too bought a brightly-hued doormat and one flamboyant vase with gorgeous silk flowers arrangement in orange to decorate my home for the purpose. It feels nice to tune yourself in to the festive mode and feel the mood pulsating through the ambiance.
 



In celebration of Halloween, I baked this warm squishy Pumpkin Carrot cake inspired by the recipe of Martha Stewart, though I adjusted the quantity of the ingredients according to my convenience. Both Pumpkin and Carrot combined into a full-bodied flavour with lemon frosting spiking up the richness to a greater extent; this cake spoils you, providing sinful pleasure of pure decadence. 

Lemony Garlicky Rohu with Cheese



Sandy has hit and wrought havoc in eastern coastal areas. Some places are reported to be still under waist deep water with no power supply over 24 hours. Before the impact of Sandy could wear out in US, another cyclone called Nilam has hit the Tamil Nadu coast in India. Conditions there are in total mayhem with 8 people already dead and scores of people affected by the heavy damages. The way world is in total turmoil right now, I can only feel the prophecy made in the movie Doomsday looming larger in our near destiny. What you guys will do if you ever come to know of the world ending a month after? I, for one, would pack off my bags, go to Kolkata and gather up with my friends and relatives to have a feast and will spend the last few days in merriment eating, drinking and dancing. What say!! No point in sulking over something not within your power, so the best is to accept the inevitable with open arms.
 
 
Anyway, the following rohu preparation I learned from my mother in law. She cooked this curry when the last time we paid a visit, some 7-8 months ago. It was so tasty that I ate one bowlful of this curry with 3-4 fishes in one go.

 
 
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